Saturday, 13 December 2014

Tableware FreeMotionEmbroidery style


The background of this cushion is made up of torn pieces of hand-dyed linen.  
I dyed them using common household things:
Red wine
Various herbs
Onion skins
etc etc

The kitchen smelled rather weird for a bit!
Get some inspiration here

Thursday, 20 November 2014


Water soluble wax pastels, my new find.
Work beautifully on paper, but was curious how they would survive a washing if used on fabric.

The faded bird was drawn on, then painted over with plain water, and washed at 40° - as you can see, he didn't survive the wash.
The bright bird in the bottom right hand corner has textile medium added, so hopefully he'll survive the wash - cross your fingers.
The white on him is the only part not done with NeocolorII, that is FW ink, well, and the black on the eye & sketched bits, that's fabric marker pen.
Good news, post wash, and he looks EXACTLY the same!
Yippee for textile medium!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wool(l?)y Coos

Or as they are properly called, Highland cattle, from the Scottish Highland have always intrigued me.  I just adore their furry faces!  

I grew up with farm fresh milk from a family friend's Jersey farm, and got to love these gentle giants, while visiting them on 'milk collection Saturdays'.    Have you seen a Jersey Cow?  Think Norman in City Slickers, cute doesn't even start.  Even the adults are beautiful, big, expressive eyes, long eyelashes, beautiful colouring, sweet natures oh if I had a farm!

So, all this to tell you about my latest work

My hubby, knowing my love of Wooly Coos, brought back a postcard of one from 'our' Scottish trip I couldn't go on, and it has become the inspiration for a new FW ink & thread piece…

Here he is ink only, pre thread painting:

I'm busy with the thread painting part, will add photos once done.

I have started using my Brother Innovis 4000 for FME, and now I cannot figure out why I didn't do so years ago!  It is perfectly suited.  I simply changed over to my usual modified free motion foot.  With the Brother Innovis 4000 you can save exact stitch settings, so I now have some set up for FME EXACTLY as I want them, tension, width, everything.  As everything is electronic on this machine, I can even store the foot height I desire!  And to think, I have been using it solely for machine embroidery!  What a waste!!!!!!

Want to modify your foot?  Watch this video:

Brilliant advice!
Works a treat.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Crayola on Fabric

I am rather in love with 'painting' backgrounds for FME with Crayola - REGULAR Crayola, not the fabric ones.  This is where I first learned about it:

You can also heat your fabric with an iron, and colour directly onto your fabric - great for background.

I have ordered a new book on this topic:
You can get a peek inside on Amazon
Great weather to get out your art supplies :)

Friday, 3 October 2014

Transferring images for Free Motion Embroidery

Sometimes I am ingenious!
Okay, not often, and it ALWAYS involves crafty stuff, not with anything like complex maths problems, rocket science etc!

So, in my last post, I mentioned that I was inspired to stitch out my favorite sketches from my life drawing class, and I was playing around with this idea, when inspiration hit…

I had been talking, in my latest FME class at Bobbin Sewing School, about drawing on stabilizer and then using this as your template for designs, making the bobbin thread your visible work as you thread paint over the design you have drawn on your stabilizer that is ironed onto the back of your fabric, and as I set about my sketches, it hit me…

Stiff stabilizer can go through your printer!!!

So, I took a photo of one of my sketches, cut a piece of stabilizer A4 size, and, hey presto…

What you are looking at here is a photo of my sketch printed onto the non-iron-on side of the stabilizer!
I adore this particular stabilizer for FME as it is so thick and stable, you don't actually need to hoop when using this.  It is from Ceka - I have mentioned Ceka before - and really great!  This and the felt stabilizer (also from Ceka) are the two I use ALL the time for free machine stitching/ free motion embroidery.
You could possibly also use tear away stabilizer for projects that cannot have stabilizer remaining behind, but then I would MOST definitely hoop it!  Let's see if you can print on it, I don't see why not…

Bonus round… my roll of tear away is A4 height!
Now… Linen or cotton….??

Free Motion Embroidery Inspiration

Nicola Henley - Plover Movements, printed, painted, embroidered

I have been completely wrapped up in free motion embroidery lately.  I have been having so much fun incorporating new techniques.  With FME, you never stop learning. It is great to peruse the work of amazing textile artists and be inspired by their work, like the work above that is featured in Alice Kettle and Jane McKeating's book Machine Stitch, which is well worth a read!
Alice Kettle's mammoth work Looking Forwards to the Past adorns the walls of the Winchester Discovery Center, at over 3m long, you then see why I describe it as a mammoth!  It is a wonder to behold, and you can walk right up to it to see how she has worked her fabric.  Next time I am there, I will have to be courageous and ask if photos are permitted!  I am in love with Alice Kettle's Head II Cele - you can surely see why, right?

The book came about as a group of textile artists met and discussed their art on a regular basis, encouraging each other and sharing ideas and inspiration.  What a lovely way for a book to grow!  Each artist wrote a chapter that is as unique as their work, offering different perspectives to consider.

It has inspired me to stitch out my favorite sketches from my life drawing class, photos to follow…


Be sure to see "Endangered" Mechanical Drawing – the Schiffli project Manchester Metropolitan University 2007 

I adore his Two Gods Are Chosen, read about it here

need I say more?

This is a close up of a dress!

Her website opens with close-ups of some of her work, beautiful!!

Have a look at my Pinterest Board Free Machine Stitch for further inspiration, I have pinned loads of my fav textile artists' works that I drool over and find inspiration from.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Good Dog (?) Car coat Ruby Jeans Closet




Would you like to see where he is swimming these days?

Well, not sure it can be called a Good Dog Car Coat this time ;)

Ruby Jean's pattern, is once again outstanding!

My niece tired of being my model:

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Setting Inktense with Textile Medium

Inktense on linen 
Pre wash:

I went over the rabbit again, this time adding a layer of Textile medium over it, letting it dry, then heat setting with a HOT iron

top square of colour: I wet the fabric with normal water, drew on with Inktense, let it dry, then applied Textile Medium and heat set
Spots left to right: 1. Yellow spot: I applied a thin layer of textile Medium, while it was wet, I added Inktense over and mixed with paintbrush
2. Plum spot: Shaved off some Inktense and mixed it with Textile Medium before applying to fabric
3. Plum and orange spot: testing mixing colours, Painted on thin layer of Textile Medium, then drew on with Inktense, using brush to mix colours
4. Red and orange spot:  Applied thick layer of Textile medium to fabric, and then mixed Inktense directly into it on the fabric

Now, off to the wash we go….

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Pen and Inktense on fabric

Test run on Linen : Inktense and fabric marker pen.

60°C pre-washed linen (no fabric softener)I used the crayon transfer method described in my previous post to get the rabbit's outline onto the fabric.  Then I covered small areas of the rabbit in a thin layer of Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera gel.  I apply this with a paintbrush for precision.

I applied Inktense colours to the wet gel, left the rabbit to dry as much as possible, heat set him with a hot iron, and this is the result (pre wash):

Now, let's see how he fares in the wash!
Last time my Inktense sketch disappeared, hopefully I have it right this time.

Thought it may be wise at this point to do a wash test

Before wash

Yellow spot: I added the aloe gel to the fabric with a paintbrush and then mixed the Inktense directly into it
Orange spot: Mixed aloe gel with Inktense in mixing dish and then applied to fabric
Bigger purple spot: Added water to the fabric with a paintbrush and then mixed the Inktense directly into it
Smaller purple spot: Mixed water with Inktense in mixing dish and then applied to fabric

Now, to the wash we all go…

The results are NOT good!

He's a ghost of the bunny he was.

And the spot test?  I cut the strip in half, and only washed half

Not good!!

I am going to now try fabric medium which I have on hand from the wonderful lino printing class I took with Hey Crafty at the Consortium Winchester.
You can see my peacock here - GREAT fun!!!

That works a treat!  And the fabric still has a lovely soft handle, with not a smudge of that 'plastic' feel you get from Dylon Image Maker.  The right hand piece I washed HOT, with soap and seriously rubbed it.  Colour did not budge.  Oh happy days

So, after much trial and error, I have found the perfect way to use Inktense on fabric so that it is washable once that fabric is sewn up into clothing.
I colored directly on dry fabric with Inktense
I applied a thin layer of Textile Medium over the Inktense with a paintbrush, working the colour as I went to get rid of the lines that were visible where I had drawn on the Inktense.
You need to work on each colour separately or you will end up mixing colours.
I have gone over the ghostly bunny again, using this method.  Once he is dry, I will heat set him, scan him & then see how the wash test works out.  
Look out for this post.

Transferring a sketch to fabric

A great way to transfer your sketch to your fabric is to use tracing paper and wax crayons.
Sketch your image on tracing paper in pencil, adjusting it until you are happy.  Then turn it over & re-sketch on reverse of tracing paper in wax crayon.  Use light strokes.  Now you see why tracing paper is used!
Simply lay the tracing paper sketch on your fabric, wax crayon side down & iron without steam.

You can use this again and again, perfect if you want a line of rabbits!

Painting on Fabric

Test run on Linen : FW ink and various fabric marker pens.

I pre-washed the linen at 60°C to shrink it as much as possible pre painting and ultimately sewing up.
Then had at it with markers and FW ink, and heat set it quite seriously with iron on hottest setting.

Pre wash:

Post wash:

Pre wash:

Post wash:
This one I scrubbed rather vigorously just as a test. A washing machine would not be as cruel to the bunnies, but I really wanted to test their staying power.

Again, the sketches were 2 second sketches, so, please excuse!!

Things I have learned (so far) from my various tests:

1. Fabric must be bone dry before painting / drawing
2. Pre-wash without fabric softener 
3. Leave work to dry completely before heat setting
4. Wash on gentle cycle 30°C after painting / drawing
5.  Don't water down ink for fabric, less bleed and lasts better if undiluted

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Painting on Fabric

Sketching rabbits to test the some new toys I am trying out
He is FW ink (colours) outlined with Pilot Laundry-Tec pen.  Don't be fooled, the packaging of this pen is blue… it has black ink.
This is pre wash (above & below)
Yes, I know, he looks like a rabid rabbit!  The eyes need more work.  This was a two minute sketch, forgive me!

Post wash - 60°C (hotter than you'd really wash anything you value!!):
It should be noted here:  I painted first, then drew on wet fabric (not the best result for the laundry pen)
The FW held firm!!
I did hot-iron set it, with steam.

I tried three fabric markers.
Below is the Marabu Textile Painter

It has a thicker nib, and bleeds slightly when you go over lines (look at where the leaves join stem)
I wrote 'Textile Painter' on wet fabric - not advised, it bleeeeeeeeeeeds!
But, as you can see, it stays put through washing!  PERFECTLY!!!!
Colours are (again) FW, and they stayed put after heat sealing with steam-iron on HOT
FW on fabric does bleed without the aloe vera gel, but I kinda like it here

Next up: The Pilot Laundry marker.

Nice fine nib
NO bleed!!!!!  Even on wet fabric (see '(laundry marker)' in pic below)
Fades a bit in wash, even when not over FW
BUT, in fairness, it was 60°, and fade is minor when directly applied to fabric

This is my personal fav

Last up:  Pentel Marker for Textile

Fine point nib
Works well on wet / dry fabric
Very little bleed
Very little fade.

As I write this, I am trying to work out why I preferred the Pilot.  
I like it's roller ball nib
I like it's precision
You can go over lines with NO BLEED
Writes PERFECTLY directly on wet fabric, BUT, for staying power - write on dry!
I suppose, I just simply do

The colour wheel was drawn with Sharpie, which does bleed, and it runs into the FW when applied
But, it stays PUT through a wash

Below is Pilot Laundry Tec on dry fabric 
Perfect after 60°C wash
FW is direct (undiluted) from bottle