Samples Galore!

I like making samples, small swatches of felt where I can let my creativity and curiosity run wild safe in the knowledge that if it doesn’t work I haven’t wasted a heap of money and time on something that is only fit for being deconstructed into something else or worse, the bin.

Most of these samples were made for a C&G course module where I have to make a scarf to meet someone else’s requirements, but I confess, some I made just out of curiosity and don’t really have anything to do with the design brief ;o)

Rainbow dyed ponge 5 silk laminated to merino 

Strips of rainbow dyed ponge 5 silk laid in a grid pattern on merino.

Rainbow dyed ponge 5 silk laminated to merino with a grid of rainbow dyed prefelt laid over the top.

Reverse of the piece above – the grid of prefelt on the front has created a relief effect on the back.
Using wool yarns and pencil roving for decoration. I love how straight lines become wiggly when you felt them!

Rainbow dyed muslin laminated to merino.
Rainbow dyed muslin laminated to merino with pencil roving for decoration.

Rainbow dyed silk chiffon laminated to merino. 

Using rainbow dyed cotton scrim as decoration.

White tussah silk top carded with 2 shades of blue merino

Rainbow dyed silk hanky used as decoration. This one was my favourite, it’s not very clear from this photo but the pale green silk has a beautiful sheen and slightly bumpy texture.
Strip of sari silk used as decoration.

Rainbow dyed Wensleydale locks felted into a merino base.

That was quite a productive afternoon :o)

In case you are wondering my friend chose the green silk hanky on a dark purple felt with red/purple dyed ponge 5 silk on the reverse. I hope to share photos of the completed snood next week…

Shibori Experiments

Following some very helpful suggestions from the ladies at the Felting and Fibre Studio Forum I have felted the original piece of shibori dyed silk and created a couple more samples, trying out alternative methods in an effort to maintain the beautiful folds of the bound fabric.

Felting the original shibori piece
I laid a very fine layer of merino all over the silk and lightly sprayed it with soapy water. Then folded the fabric concertina style from one end, trapping the wool between the layers of fabric.

 Once folded up, it was secured with elastic bands every 4 or 5 cm and felted with warm soapy water.

This was the result once the bands had been removed and the piece stretched at little. It is a similar width to the original silk but the length is much shorter, it was 50 cm long and is now just 8 cm. I think it will make a nice cuff / bracelet with some beads nestling in the folds.

Creating a laminate for shibori

For this sample I felted a piece of silk to 2 fine layers of merino and fulled to achieve rippling of the silk. Then it was stitched and the threads pulled ready for shibori dyeing.

It was dyed with Procion MX midnight blue – as you can see the silk has accepted the dye much better than the wool.

It was allowed to dry before removing the stitches and stretching out. It has a springy nature; it can be pulled almost flat but always springs back to this position.

Adding wool fibre while drawing the threads tight
On a third sample, I stitched the silk as normal but while I was drawing the threads tight I poked wisps of merino into the folds and felted the piece before dyeing with the piece above. This is what it looked like after it had dried and the stitches were removed. It looks remarkably similar to the first piece with very sharp folds in the silk.

Shibori Conundrum

Last weekend I dyed a piece of stitched shibori silk from my craft group, to be honest I am more enamoured with the texture of the silk than the dye effect. I would really like to felt this piece so I can use it as a book cover but I am sure the texture will disappear as soon as I wet it out.

Do any of you clever people have any ideas how I might laminate this fabric without losing the texture?

I am also open to other uses for this piece of silk, it doesn’t have to be book cover….?

Linked to nina-marie

new organza laminates

I was mooching aimlessly in Ebay after my win on the blue chiffon (always a dangerous and expensive thing to do) and came across some interesting looking organzas.

It’s not easy to see in these photos but the piece on the left has a shimmery green lustre to it and the piece on the right is a very shiny metallic silver.

I made a couple of samples to see how well they would felt. While they both felted successfully I think the silver one resulted in the prettiest finish, it has the most potential as a laminate for a small clutch bag or as nuno accents in a larger piece.

Since I was felting small samples I included the piece of blue chiffon that I painted with discharge paste last week, as expected, this felted very easily. I’m still feeling good about that purchase 🙂

I am itching to turn it into a dozen different bags and maybe a tunic top but there are sooo many other things I must finish first, including a piece I want to submit to the Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers national exhibition, the deadline in only 4 weeks away and I have barely started on it…. I can’t really say too much about that yet but here is another textured piece I have just started assembling….

Feeling chuffed

Part of my New Year’s non-resolution was to spend more time being creative and to that end I bought some extra annual leave from work (not cheap but I think it was worth it), so I took today as annual leave to be crafty ;o) I’ve had quite a productive day, finishing a low relief sample from a monoprint for my C&G course:

And started felting some rainbow dyed cotton scrim for a hooded scarf, still a way to go yet but I’m liking the colours. As usual I have wandered off brief and used a carded mix of colours instead of plain white merino tops. With some careful stitching I’m hoping I can make it reversible. This is the wooly side:

And the dyed cotton side:

I also started some samples exploring acrylic paints on prefelt, I am testing acrylic paint on their own, with an iridescent additive and both of these with and without a textile additive for acrylic paint. Then I repeated these samples on wet and dry felt. This is what they look like while I (im)patiently wait for them to dry. The bars in the middle are some commercial fabric paints. Next step is to iron fix them and see how well they stand up to felting.

Last week I had a lucky win on Ebay, I bid on 8 metres of blue silk chiffon and won it for just under £33. It’s pretty shade of royal blue, actually appears to be silk (I’ve lost track of the number of times I have bought things on Ebay that have turned out to be something different than described) and is in good condition.

Best of all, I conducted an experiment using discharge paste on it today and it worked!! Here are the results, the white grid is where I painted the paste on. It was so easy!

I feel the urge to do some shibori discharge dyeing….

And just in case you think I forgot about the Q1 challenge, here is a sneaky peek of what it currently looks like….

(linked to Off the Wall Fridays)

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