Friday, October 30, 2009

Tapestry Frames Bag + Machine Embroidery (contd) ...

The machine embroidery is taking a while to complete - as it normally does! The effect is just what I wanted and whilst working, I'm trying to decide whether to complete the final stitchery in metallic or black thread. I'm slightly biased towards the black thread as the metallic will probably be unpractical when completed as it can easily get caught - however it may unify the metallic areas. On the other hand, a black thread will unify all the colours better as well as suitable match for additional outer fabric (I think I have a large remnant of black drill which would be ideal).

I'm also considering using my couching machine - haven't used it for ages but it would add quite an unusual texture. It will also use up a variety of thick threads/yarns etc - but again it may result in a 'catching' type surface. As a secondary idea, I might use one of my sewing feet that couches fine yarn - this would possibly provide a more uniform stitch/line compared to the couching machine. Food for thoughts whilst I continue with this part of the stitching!

(Unfortunately I don't think I have any spare or surplus test samples to trial on - will have to investigate this further and have a dig-around in some of my boxes!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tapestry Frames Bag with Machine Embroidery ...

As promised, here's the canvas now with some of the machine embroidery added. Some colours are appearing to be more 'brilliant' and the piece overall is looking more textural (not so apparent in this photo).

Here's the same section as shown last Friday:

And now, a new section side by side for side-by-side comparison purposes. The photo to left is the original with no machine embroidery added - just the plain tapestry.

You can see immediately that shapes and colours are slightly more 'enhanced' in the photo right together with a few additonal ones from the machine stitches.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tapestry Frames Bag - First Stages ...

Well, finally got started on the first stages of the outside panel yesterday - using some texture-making techniques not tried before.

I'm definitely going to machine embroider over the canvas prior to quilting it. This is because of the durability problem(s) of tapestry stitches as previously mentioned. It would also use up a rather large surplus stock of cotton threads as well as providing another textural layer on top of the stitched wool one. Additionally, the quilting shapes will become more prominent when finally stitched since there will be less stitching needed to hold the fabric together (here's hoping the machine embroidery will do its job!

I first pinned together the canvas, its fine net top layer and a fine fabric layer underneath (to prevent stitches snagging when machined I used a recycled net curtain remnant). Random selected stitched ' shapes' were outlined by machine in straight stitch to hold the 3 layers together instead of pins. Overall, this was started in the centre of the panel and was worked towards the outside. It was difficult to control the fabric tensions 100% but I'm hoping the top net layer (which caused the canvas to pucker in places) can be stretched slightly when machine embroidered.

A small initial area close to the centre has been started using a cotton thread in a colour similar to the wool. Free zig-zag stitch has been used, following along the pattern shapes of the wool stitching. So far, the net is stretching quite well and flattening the area out (photo of this to come).

It looks as if the machining will take longer than anticipated ... NEXT ENTRY should show how far I've got!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frames Bag - Initial Ideas

Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about the frames tapestry idea (mentioned last week) - here are some initial thoughts, possibly for a bag:
  • It will be something along the lines of the Carry-bag that was made to hold the 'Make-Do-and-Mend Embroidered Book’
  • One issue that must be met is that the bag should be capable of holding a wide variety of larger frame sizes … so very likely to have panel(s) that can be removed. First thought on this were use of Velcro fastenings but these can be difficult to sew and, in layers, can be quite thickand create further 'bulk'. On further consideration, I’m thinking of using a series of zips – possibly open-ended.
  • The bag is needed for carrying and holding frames plus if/when transported, it should also add a degree of protection to any tapestry on the frame(s). For this reason, and to add further textural interest to the stitched panel, I've decided to quilt the stitched panel.
  • A further problem that must be given consideration, is the durability of the tapestry panel. Being made with the odd/wide variety of yarns and stitches, the finished canvas is not particularly hard-wearing. I've already noticed a couple of stitches whose threads have broken/split since it was made a couple of years ago. It's possible this will develop into a greater problem once the bag is in use. So, following this with my earlier thought of quilting, I’m going to machine-quilt the panel. However, this cannot be completed directly on the stitched canvas as many stitches are long ones and could get caught under the quilting foot. Also, much of the canvas could become visible once quilted so I have decided to use a fine/transparent covering over the top of the tapestry to hold yarns in place. Initial tests ‘in the hand’ are being done and ...
... it's complete to its next level ! 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tapestry Idea …

Having just mentioned about finding the frame (see yesterday's entry), it's first a good idea to show you what I shall be using for the bag's fabric inner and its outer.

When I first started using the computer for design, I just played around getting to grips with the software. Digital cameras weren't around, so the best (and quickest) way of transferring imagery into your hand was by use of an 'old-fashioned non-digital camera'. As I started to 'play' in the software and manipulate shapes etc, I found myself constantly camera-clicking - quickly gathering photos as reference for design ideas.

And it was one of these photos (see left) which was then used as a reference to start a small canvas stitching sample ... to use up a selection of left-over yarns for a stitching demonstration. Next, having made that initial start, I decided to continue with it and re-create the entire photo in stitching and use up a huge quantity of odds and ends of knitting,
sewing and embroidery yarns. And so it grew ... and grew and became a much larger panel - almost as wide as the full width of the canvas!

And here it is finished (right) together with a partial (lower inset) section.

It is this tapestry that will now be used for the main section of the outer bag. The inner lining is to be made from one of those pieces of fabric that you come across in your store and wonder "why did I buy that?" ... with the answer "to finish this ... !"

Monday, October 12, 2009

EQUIPMENT: Cutting Board ...

I expect you noticed that the background for some of the crib liner photos (see September - October headed as PINS .... Crib Liner) was a gridded cutting board. It's one of my many pieces of equipment bought over 20 years ago and is still always very useful.


It’s basically a large piece of (folded) cardboard that opens out to a full size cutting table. Photo at right shows it folded (size appx. 25cm wide x 1.25m depth) - but it can be opened out 6 times more giving you a max. total size of appx. 1.50m x 1.25m (see centre photo below).

It can be placed on the floor, on top of a bed, over a small table as wel
l as on many other pieces of furniture that initially you are unable to use as a cutting table. It has series of pre-marked notations on it (eg. straight lines, curves, scallops, right-angles, measurements) so can be used for a wide variety of uses - including photography !! It's easily folded up so can be stored away simply plus you don’t have to open it out to full size to use it. I often use it over/across) the ironing board if/when I run out of space (fairly often!). Being cardboard, it's really light to carry and move around AND you can trace through any or all of the notations on to pattern paper.

Opened out full-size, it looks like this: