Sunday, 15 June 2014

Blue-bird

Blue-bird

...This little blue-bird is made out of tie-dyed ribbon and double-sided heavyweight fusible interfacing. The ribbon used is a roll of 15mm wide cotton Twill Tape Ivory from those wonderful folks at fantasticribbons.com
http://www.fantasticribbons.com/http://www.fantasticribbons.com/twill-tape-ribbon/15mm-twill-tape-ribbon-ivory
The great thing with this ivory tape is that you can dye, stamp or colour it to make your own ribbon design. So I chose to tie-dye the ribbon and see what effects I could create.

A quick note about tie and dye: It is a 'resist' form of dyeing, which means that patterns are created by preventing dye reaching the cloth. To block out the colour uptake, parts of the cloth are either tied with thread/string, knotted or stitched and the thread pulled up (tritik). Tied parts retain the original colour of the cloth; so if for instance white cotton is then dyed blue, the pattern will appear in white against a blue background. Further tying, untying and then re-dyeing in a different colour(s) will give more elaborate patterns.

The essential things needed to tie-dye are:
  • A water supply and a sink
  • A work surface covered with plastic
  • A waterproof apron and rubber gloves
  • Elastic bands – for tying cloth
  • Sewing threads
  • A pair of scissors
  • Dye powder and bottle
  • Ribbon pre-washed
Stay Clean and Safe when Using Dyes:
    Dyes do stain. Cover your work surface with plastic and protect floors with newspaper. Always wear a waterproof apron. Dyes may irritate skin and eyes. Always wear rubber gloves when handling dyes and safety glasses if using dye in powder form. Always use dyes in well-ventilated areas. Avoid inhaling dry dye powder over an extended period. Wear a mask, if possible.
Cut several metre long lengths of ribbon and stitch, tie and dye it, as follows:
  1. Two rows of baste stitch applied along a length of ribbon. Knot ends of sewing thread at one end. Pull threads to gather ribbon and knot remaining ends of threads.
  2. Spray ribbon with water to dampen it.
  3. Add water to powder in dye bottle. Replace cap. Shake bottle to dissolve dye.
  4. Apply dye to ribbon. Do not over saturate it. Apply additional colours, if required.
  5. Wrap dyed ribbon in cling film and let set for a minimum of 6-8 hours.
  6. Rinse ribbon. Cut sewing threads and let dry.
  7. Concertina fold a length of ribbon. Stitch to secure at 90º to selvedge. Repeat steps 2 to 6.
  8. Join two lengths of ribbon using fagoting stitch. Concertina fold and secure ribbon with elastic bands. Repeat steps 2 to 5. Rinse ribbon, untie elastic bands and let dry.
 It was interesting to see the final results of my tie-dye experiments. I liked the striped effects on the second sample the best, although the more subtle patterns obtained on the other samples were also pleasing. The ribbon is good quality, which really helps when sewing and tying it.

To assemble the blue-bird:
  1. Cut two bird shapes out of Pellon® Peltex® 72F double-sided fusible ultra firm interfacing.
  2. Lay sections of ribbon on one side of the interfacing. Place a small amount of wool fibre to fill in the gaps. Cover with baking parchment and iron (cotton setting) to fuse in place. Repeat for the other bird shape.
  3. Apply free-machine embroidery to each bird shape.
  4. Stitch bird shapes WS together along the edge, leaving a small gap as shown.

  5. Insert wadding to pad the bird. Slip stitch to close the gap.
  6. Use remaining lengths of ribbon to decorate the bird.
  7. Open a pack of black and white buttons from fantasticribbons.com You get approximately 150 buttons in lots of different shapes and sizes in this pack, so much design inspiration. So go on, get sewing to give your bird a final bit of decoration! Enjoy your blue-bird.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Willow Weaving...Something New

It's always good to try something new. This weekend I had a go at the craft of Willow Weaving. The photo is of a bird feeder; this involved weaving five willow withies (long stems of willow) together to make half a feeder and then repeating the process, and finally joining the two halves to make the finished feeder. The willow had been soaked for a few days...this makes it pliable so you can bend it into shape. Would like to learn some more about this fascinating craft!
http://www.beetlefelt.co.uk/

Saturday, 10 May 2014

'Craft It Now'

I am a contributor to a new book entitled, Craft It Now edited by Shannon Miller and published by F & W Media Inc.
What you need to craft it now!
There you are, enjoying a normal Saturday afternoon, when it hits you, the sudden, inexplicable urge to make something. Whether you're carving a new piece of jewelry or an adorable plush bunny, you'll find something to love in Craft It Now. With more than seventy-five simple projects ranging from crochet to polymer clay and everything in between, this book has you covered when you need a quick craft fix.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1440238243
  • Simple step-by-step instructions.
  • Projects can be completed in a weekend (or faster!)
  • Original projects for papercraft, jewelry-making, needlework and more!

My project is 'Polymer Clay Buttons' on pages 12 & 13. It's a great project to have fun with clay, particularly if it's a medium that's new to you.


http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1440238243http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1440238243

The book will go on sale on 30 May 2014, but can be pre-ordered from Amazon - just click on the photos to go to the Amazon store.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Guest Blog Post: Bella Crafts Quarterly

Upcycled Crafts: How to Make an Egg Cozy


http://bellacraftsquarterly.com/upcycled-crafts-how-to-make-egg-cozy
"Upcycled crafts are all the rave!  Today, Anne Glynis Davies show us just what you can make with all those pieces of scrap fabric that you have from previous projects.  It’s a great lesson in why you should save your scraps!"
...To read more, click on the image to go to Bella Blog

Thursday, 17 April 2014

10 Facts About All Things Felty

If you're interesting in wet felt-making, make sure you read these ten felty facts before you get started:
  1. Felt – The Oldest Man-Made Textile
Felt pre-dates knitting, spinning and weaving. Wall paintings found in Turkey dating from 6500 to 3000 B.C. show a motif of felt appliqué. It's origins are uncertain, although legends suggest nomads packed their clogs with pieces of wool fibre to keep warm, which compacted with friction during wear to create felt.
  1. Not Just Sheep...Other Animals Too!
Sheep are the main source of animal fibre used in felt-making, although alpaca, camel, goat and rabbit are suitable, too. There are more than 200 breeds of sheep worldwide. Some breeds have fibres that are coarse and hairy such as Herdwick, whereas Merino produce soft, fine fibres that felt easily.
  1. It's All In The Fulling
Wool fibres are covered with overlapping scales. When heat, water and friction are applied the scales 'open up' and act as hooks that tangle together. Soap is massaged into the fibres to allow the scales to slide more readily over one another. As the wool cools and dries, the scales close up again; locking the fibres together to form a dense mesh known as felt. During this process known as fulling, wool fibres can shrink 25-30% from the original.
  1. Don't Go All The Way...Just Pre-felt It
In pre-felt the fibres are matted so that the piece just begins to hold together, yet the scales are still loose enough to felt onto a base layer of wool fibres. Pre-felt can be cut into squares, circles, strips etc. and felted into a background of unfelted fibre to create designs known as inlaid work.

  1. 5. So Easy...No Ravel Or Fray
Felt is a non-woven textile that does not ravel or fray; so you can felt a fringe, cut buttonholes or slits and use the natural edge as a hem.
  1. 6. Go Colour Crazy...Or Not
Undyed fibres are either a natural off-white or black, the colour of the original fleece. Commercially dyed fibres range from brights through to soft pastels and neutrals. Fibres can also be dyed with natural dyestuffs including onion skins, woad, elderberries and cochineal. To blend fibres of different colours, use wooden carders to give a subtle mix of shades and tones.
  1. Jazz It Up...With Yarns And Fibres
Woollen yarns placed on a fibre base create interesting designs when felted in. Try splitting the yarns into individual plies to produce a crimped effect or experiment with using slub yarns. Silk fibres, metallic fibres such as Angelina® and synthetic yarns are also used to decorate felt, although it is a good idea to sprinkle fine wisps of wool fibre over the different elements to 'trap' them to the background fibre before felting.
  1. Felt in 3-D
Wool can be modelled in three-dimensions without the need for seams. This means you can make different forms including pods, vessels, cones, bags, purses, hats, berets, mittens, slippers and smart-phone covers. To create a hollow form, a plastic resist or template is used to prevent the two sides of wool felting together.


  1. Nuno...A Perfect Fusion Of Fibre And Fabric
Amazing textured effects result when fibre and lightweight fabric are felted together and the wool shrinks to ruche up the cloth. This technique was first practised in the early 1990s by an Australian fibre artist, Polly Stirling and her Japanese assistant. The name is derived from the Japanese word nuno, meaning cloth.


  1. 10. You Don't Need To Felt Alone...Join Other Makers
The International Feltmakers' Association, is a not for profit organisation established to promote felt. The association welcomes everyone with an interest in felt-making from the beginner to the professional; and members receive a quarterly journal, a forum to network with other members and exhibition opportunities .

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

back to black

No colour...a big step for me to work in greys and black. Liked stitching this way...will definitely be doing some more sample work using a monochromatic palette. It's so good to do something completely different once in a while.

Friday, 11 April 2014

A...is for Anenome

I adore Anenomes and this one just went 'pop' in my window box this morning!

Google+ Followers