Friday, September 24, 2010

Fun in the Sun

This is Tashi, just one of my helpers this week behind a pile of packaged silk, wool and slushies. Some have gone to Dale at The Thread Studio, the other with Rae to the textile show in Geelong.
Tashi was very proud of her tower. Or, The Great Wall of Tashi!
I will be in Queensland for a week with the girls so I thought I'd leave you with the 'destruction's'
for sewing a silk fibre scarf. This is best done with silk- not wool as the wool eventually pills.


Lay one 1.5 metre piece of baking paper on a flat surface, padded with towels to protect your work surface. Then, holding the silk in one hand, gently tease away a tuft of fibres using your other hand. You will need to be holding the silk about 20cms from the end in order to allow the fibres to pull free from the silk. The larger the amount you ‘grab’ from the end of the silk, the thicker the tuft will be. (This will affect the final thickness of your scarf so if you want a delicate scarf, only tease away fine tufts from the silk.) Begin to lay the fibres on the paper in a random fashion interspersed with torn strips and pieces of the velvet and other fabrics. You can make your scarf as wide and long as you like. Mine is about 15cm wide and 130cm long.

When you are satisfied with how the fibres and fabrics appear- spray with Fabulon, or spray starch (Crisp) taking care not to disturb placement of the fibres. Cover with another piece of baking paper and iron carefully until fully dry and the fibres have adhered to each other. If some are loose—you can respray.

Carefully remove the silk scarf from the baking paper and centre it on the soluble(it dissolves in water and leaves just the fabric, fibre and stitching, for example -Romeo from The Thread Studio). Pin to secure and place the centre of the scarf in an embroidery hoop, taking care not to displace the fibres. Fill four bobbins with the machine embroidery thread supplied. Fit a darning foot to sewing machine, loosen the top tension by one (or a little) and drop or cover the feed dogs. (Check your machine manual if you have not done this before.) My machine’s top tension is usually on four, so I reduce the tension to three. Machine embroidery thread is not as strong as cotton or polyester so is prone to breakage. It helps to have a needle with a large eye; I recommend Topstitching needles or a jeans needle.

Set your stitch width and stitch length to zero. Bring up the bobbin thread before you begin stitching and hold it and the top thread away from your stitching.

Using the machine needle as a pencil, move the hoop with your hands making circle or spiral patterns. It helps if you practise drawing these with a pencil first. Start off slow and smooth. Use a medium to fast speed of stitching and move the hoop slowly and smoothly. If you have not done this before it can take a little practice. Try using some scrap fabric in a hoop first.

If you wish, you can use automatic stitches to stitch your scarf or interconnecting lines if you are unsure of free machine embroidery.

Machine stitch the length of the scarf, moving the hoop along as you move along the scarf, interconnecting the spirals or circles for added strength. At each end of the scarf you can extend the spirals further and overstitch the spirals or circles to make a lace edge. Each spiral needs to interconnect with another and be overstitched 4 times at least so when the 'Romeo' Fabric dissolves away, the stitching will not fall apart.

When you have finished stitching the scarf, take it out of the hoop and check for any areas not stitched, re hoop and fill in. Cut away any ragged edges and place the whole scarf in a bucket of warm water for an hour. Rinse the scarf carefully ensuring all of the 'Romeo' has dissolved away. Gently iron the scarf when dry. Hand wash as needed.

Copyright –Jacinta Leishman The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Do you remember?

I did finish it finally. It's called Woodland Wrap. I felted a mix of emerald slushie and rivendell wool onto emerald coloured muslin hand dyed by Rae. Pretty awkward though, I had to cobble together bubble wrap big enough and it took ages to manage.

This one is still going. It's dried out on the table. Hope to get to it later this weekend. In the meantime, I am busy dyeing for the Fibre Forum in Geelong beginning Sunday week. Rae is taking stock down there for the week. Dale is busy packing to take stuff to Alexander Palace in U.K for their show in October, so there is not a lot of time for felting or stitching.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


It's been a busy week and I don't think I have managed anything productive. So today I decided that come hell or high water ( apt I thought because of Victoria flooding) I was going to at least lay out a nuno wrap for rolling on Sunday. The colour way is sky and the fabric is a silk chiffon print blouse from the op shop.
If it works out great- I'll take pictures, if not well.......
The washing machine died and needed reviving, the chicken's koop needed cleaning, rabbit needed rehousing, Belle needed a taxi and extra TLC this week followed by more Doctors. Looking forward to a week in Queensland. Whoo Hoo.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Embossed Velvet Book

I mean it....Stop taking my photo!

Inner pages of my embossed velvet book. Vintage book page images, cut out and hand painted with Twinkling H2Os. These are artist quality watercolour paints with an iridescence.

The background to the images- the actual book pages are decorated using walnut ink. Sprayed on and encouraged to 'pool' in some areas, and colour 'lifted off' with paper towel in other areas. When wet, you can press things such as bubble wrap onto the surface and leave it there until the ink has dried. It leaves the marks behind- great pattern. You, of course, could place any number of things down on the wet surface to leave patterns- doileys, lace, paper towel, crumpled paper....

The cover is embossed velvet with the edge beaded.

An accordion book is simple to construct. Trick is the cover must be .2cm larger than the pages
all the way around. I make the covers first, and make the accordion to fit. I'm sure it's supposed to be the other way around.

For anyone who wants to have a go- here are my 'destructions'!

Illuminated Book

Additional Materials

  • 180gsm water colour paper
  • Paints and collage elements
  • Gesso
  • Extra Large sized Illuminations polymer stamp
  • PVA
  • Brushes
  • Palette
  • Stamps
  • Antiqued paper or blank vintage paper
  • Appropriate quote
  • Craft velvet
  • Decorative backing fabric
  • Metallic machine embroidery yarn
  • Sewing machine
  • Beads
  • Beading needle
  • Glue Stick
  • Yellow Rose Polished Pigment or metallic paint of your choice


  1. Emboss two velvet pieces according to general instructions.
  2. Use a glue stick to adhere velvet pieces (covers) to craft felt and decorative fabric to the backs.
  3. Trim away excess fabric from embossed images leaving 1/8 inch seam allowance around both covers and stitch around edges to secure.
  4. Switch to zigzag and stitch around the embossed covers several times using the metallic thread to cover raw edges.
  5. Stitch beads along the edges for added decoration.
  6. Cut and fold water colour paper into an accordion book to fit covers. Decorate pages as desired.

For my book, I have scraped gesso onto the pages and pressed an assortment of stamps into the surface. This leaves behind a subtle imprint which ‘takes’ paint a little differently. When dry, I ‘splodged’ and ‘splattered’ on Luminarte’s Twinkling H2O watercolour paints, letting the paints bleed and overlap each other. The colours were Honey Amber, Hot Cinnamon, Ginger Peach, Ginger Flower and Wild Plum.

  1. When dry, further decorate with collage elements, stamps and words.
  2. Stick the covers to each end page of the accordion book using PVA, fold up and leave between heavy books overnight.

And of course, all the stuff I use is available mail order from The Thread Studio.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Embossed Velvet.

A favorite technique of mine and Dale's is embossing Rae's hand dyed silk velvet using a metallic paint, usually Lumiere by Jacquard or Opulants by KraftKolour. You can use any acrylic paint for this technique. Jo Sonja is fine, so is any artist quality acrylic paint. I prefer a metallic for this because it is well matched to velvet. The look mimics time- aged icons.
Usually embossing velvet is done with a steam iron and just water. It presses the pile down but is not permanent. Using a paint or clear gel medium makes the embossing permanent. The paint acts as a permanent glue. The pin pictured above is a square of silk/viscose velvet, embossed using Halo Pink Gold Lumiere paint and a special polymer stamp from the Thread Studio.

Not all stamps work. Unfortunately wood blocks and rubber stamps wont work. They keep the paint and it wont transfer to the velvet. The stamps we use are good quality, deeply etched. They don't melt under the heat of an iron. I can't vouch for any other brands- sorry. I've tried cheap ones and they distort or melt. I just know that the stamps commissioned by The Thread Studio don't melt, distort and release the paint.
You don't need to have silk velvet or hand dyed for this either. Cotton and synthetic velvet will work too. Remember to use a lower heat setting for synthetic or you can melt the fabric.

First Step requires paint, paint brush, silver foil or palette, velvet, stamp, hot iron and a wooden board. Do not do this on an ironing board or soft surface- it wont work.

Paint the silver foil or palette with your paint, don't have it gloopy or sloppy, the paint will seep into the stamp crevices if you do and spoil the print.
Press your stamp onto the paint surface, turn it over checking that the stamp has paint on it.

Place your stamp paint side up on the board.
Lay velvet pile side down onto the stamp and gently press with hand.

Place iron directly on stamp covered with velvet and press, moving the iron in circular motion. Weird as it sounds, you will know when it is done when you can see the details of the stamp through the back of the velvet. Really ! Make sure you look for that before you peel the stamp off.
Carefully peel the stamp off the velvet, folding the velvet seems to help. Try to pull it away with the direction the pile has been pressed rather than against it.

That's pretty much it.
Points of importance-
1. Any velvet will do
2. Only polymer stamps work
3. it only irons on a hard surface ( no ironing board)
4. Do not, I repeat do not ever, ever, ever apply paint directly to the stamp using a paint brush- ever. It will ruin the image. And the stamp eventually.

Try using more than one colour of paint on the stamp.
Oh and, I would appreciate direct links to the instructions rather than copying. Go ahead and share though.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


These beautiful pieces of work are by an U.K artist Priscilla Jones. I found them while researching tea sets ( hoping to do some on dissolvable fabric soon). These blew me away so I wanted to share my admiration for her work.