Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Creating Texture with Stitching and Fabric Manipulation - part 3

Today we will be looking at more from one of our guest artists this month, Wil. I can hardly wait to show you the finished piece she did. It will be posted tomorrow.

So we'll get right to today's tutorials!! Take it away, Wil!!

All Kinds of Stuff

I had a look at the material I have in my studio and picked out the following:

 Some bleached mulberry bark, cheesecloth, pearl cotton, Tyvek, zapped lutrador and some strips of white fabric. This I arranged on a cut out paper circle till I had a pleasing composition. With the pearl cotton thread I stitched everything together. When this was done I trimmed it till it had an exact circle shape. While stitching it, the shape had disappeared a bit J.

At this stage I could have stopped, but because I want all my circles to be blue I had to add some color to it. Dyeing with Procion was not an option as some of the materials I used were synthetic, so I opted for ink and paint and this is how it turned out:

No doubt that you will have other materials at hand, but that is perfectly okay. This is one of those techniques in which everything goes.

Thanks Wil! I did this technique is a quilt and they were actually circles as well.  This one was inspired by a VERY  hot streak during the summer. I chose raw silk for the background and the snowballs were done with the technique shown above. It is titled:  "I Miss Snow"

Now for the next section from Wil............


Another way of creating texture is by folding the fabric. I started with a rectangular piece of fabric and placed a mark at every inch:

The marks are a guideline where I have to fold the fabric. Notice that all the folds go into the same direction.

To make certain that they stay in this position I pinned the strip onto a felt covered piece of foam. Beneath the fabric is a strip of fusible webbing so that after the ironing the fabric stays where I want it to stay.

Next step is to press down the fabric with a hot iron. The folds get a nice crisp line.

After the ironing the pins can be removed and the piece can be lifted of the felt covered foam and is ready for the stitching. As you see in this picture I stitched a straight line close to the edge of the fabric.

For the next stitching line I turned my fabric around and started stitching from the other side. This way the folds were forced to stand up and move over to the other side.

The same process was repeated again for the next stitching line.

And a final stitched line close to the edge of the fabric.

As my strip of fabric was rather narrow, I stopped after these four lines, but if you are working with a wider piece of fabric you can continue with these lines. In my experience 2” between the stitching lines is the closest you can do.

On this sample I placed a circle cut out of paper, pinned this and stitched close to the edge.

On purpose I stitched the circle with a white thread, so that it would show up in the picture.  As the samples will be stitched onto a background, the white thread of the circle will be covered. 

And we are done for today!  

I have already received some wonderful examples from a couple of you that will be posted on Free For All Friday!  Still room for lots more so send in your own examples.

Hope you are being inspired to try some of these techniques in your own work.  See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Creating Texture with Stitching and Fabric Manipulation - part 2

Round and Round we go....where we stop.............

There is no stopping I'm thinking!!

Today I want to start with some techniques from our guest artist, Wil Opio Oguta. Her examples will keep you "spinning round"

Hi, I am Wil and I am a friend of Kelly. We see each other once a year (she lives in the US and I live in the Netherlands) and that gives us both a creative boost J. Check out my blog and my website to see what I do as an artist.

August is all about texture and I am going to show you some ideas what you can do with this. There are many ways of creating texture, both actual texture or perceived. For this month I have focused on fabric manipulation.

First circle
A texture I love – but which I strangely have not seen described in books – is this simple one. I started with a square piece of hand dyed fabric which I soaked in water. The next step was to crunch it into this shape. To keep it into this shape I pinned it onto my ironing board. Placed a piece of paper on it and pressed it with a hot iron till it was dry. My iron is a cordless one, so I had to do this in several steps as the iron cooled down.

When the fabric was completely dry, I removed the pins and ironed it onto a fusible webbing. This webbing gives an extra security that all the folds stay into position till you are ready to stitch it onto something.

At the moment I am working with the theme circles. With the samples I made for this texture project I will make a quilt. This sample will be included in this quilt and that is the reason that I cut the sample into a circle size. Normally I would use my circular rotary cutter, but because this is a rather thick piece of fabric, I had drawn the circle on the paper backing of the fusible webbing and cut the circle using scissors.

Second Circle
Have you ever done arashi shibori (pole shibori)? If so, the first pictures will look familiair to you. If not, I will guide you through the process step by step. I started with a rectangular piece of fabric, but you can also use a square piece of fabric. Size of the pole is not that important as we are not going to dye the fabric.
Place the fabric on your working surface and put the pole on top of it.

Wrap the fabric around the pole and wind thread around it. The thread can be cotton or any other type of thread you have. If the fabric does not want to stay put, put some small pieces of tape at the edges. Tie a knot in the thread after you have circled the pole for the first time. You might want to put some tape on the thread end.

When the whole pole looks like this, tie a knot in the end of the fabric as well. Now you are ready to start pressing the fabric together. If you have used tape, this is the moment to remove that. This can be difficult, depending on how tight everything is, but your final result should look like this:

Now soak this in water. As it is likely that the fabric is somewhere in the middle of the pole, the easiest way to do this, is under a running tab. Leave your pole till it is completely dry. Usually that is the next day, but if you live in a humid area it might take a bit longer. Cut away the thread and carefully unwind all of it from the fabric. When you take the fabric of the pole, you will see that it stays into shape.
In this case I had used a narrow strip of fabric, but if your fabric went around the pole several times,  it will look the same.

To make certain that it stays into this shape I ironed the fabric onto fusible webbing.

And as it is a sample for my circle quilt, I have cut the sample into a circle shape:

The fusible will make certain that it stays into position till you are ready to use it. Whenever I use a texture like this in one of my quilts, I iron it onto the background. Because of the thickness it will be difficult to quilt it, but not impossible. There is however the question, do you want to quilt it, or will you use it in such a way that a satin or zigzag stitch is enough, after all because of the fusible it will be attached to your quilt anyway.

Thanks, Wil! OK...I have done arashi shibori many times but have always ironed it flat. This deeply textured effect is one I will definitely be trying out!!

There will be more circles and other techniques tomorrow! Now, everyone sit down so you don't get dizzy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Creating Texture with Stitching and Fabric Manipulation - Part 1

OK, fasten your seat belts! This is going to be a lot of info in a short amount of time!  I'll try to keep it concise but still give plenty of a technique's process steps. If you have any questions, please either post them in the comments section or e-mail me:

Now we are getting into the area of not only perceived texture but also actual texture...and a mixture of both!

So, let's get right to it........

Another group I have been a part of once decided to do a twist on the "fractured art quilt" concept. We started with a drawing of the Canal Houses in Amsterdam, split them up, designed each individual house as a separate piece, exchanged them and when we received the swapped pieces - made a wall hanging art quilt for ourselves. Everyone, of course, had their own take on how to attack this project but there was a lot of fabric manipulation going on!  I can only show you the pieces I did and which were sent to be swapped. (No....unfortunately, I can't show you the completed wall hanging....I haven't put mine together as yet.)

There are usually several techniques in each house so I'll post the photo and then the description of the techniques used. (due to the VERY vertical nature of the houses, a full photo of them is difficult but I WILL add closeups of pertinent parts)

House 1
For this house I wanted to create a ripple water feel. I chose one of my blue hand-dyed fabrics, ironed parallel pleat sets into it (I wasn't really precise about the pleats as they would be for an organic look anyway) I then stitched the pleats down in opposite directions to create a wavy effect.

I also used a decorative stitch on my sewing machine to make the "carved wood" around the attic window.

**Added note - texture with dye - a tied shibori piece I had in my stash I love the look this created for a sky.
- texture with paint - I had a piece of lino cut I had used for bricks on another piece. Painted it with black and used it on this "brick" house as well.

House 2
Yes, it is Starbucks! This house was for a particular person in the swap that I KNOW loves Starbucks! The canal houses are fronted by a sidewalk and then a wall along the canal. I chose a brick wall for many of my houses. In this one, I used a grid cooling rack, laid the fabric across it and with chopsticks, pushed the fabric into the holes. It takes a bit of finessing (and I don't have photos of this process and have loaned out the cooling rack) and you need to begin with a much larger piece of fabric than you might imagine. After the fabric is pushed into the holes the way you want it, cover it on the back side (fabric holes) with an adhesive sheet like WonderUnder or something similar and iron it down. When it is cooled, remove the fabric from the grid and you have a wonderful grid of "bricks" or "rocks" or however you wish to use it.

**Added note - texture with paint - the house fabric was created by placing squares/rectangles of adhesive backed felt (sheets in the hardware store - used usually for placing under objects to keep them from scratching a table top, etc.) stuck in a random manner onto a wine bottle, painted and rolled onto the fabric.

 This is the whole "sheet" of bubbled grid fabric". I used a strip of a few rows for my canal house brick canal walls.

House 3
I wanted a dark stormy looking sky for this house. I used a darker piece of hand-dyed fabric, cut out wavy strips of a indigo shibori fabric, made using a pebble-like sink protector, and a shiny darker blue fabric I had in my stash. I stitched these on with raw edge applique. I think the sky has a lot of texture and evokes the feel of a dark storm brewing.

House 3
This house has two of the techniques I want to mention.

First - Again for the brick canal wall - I used two fabrics and wove them together to create this staggered "brick" wall. Start with a piece of WonderUnder (or similar) and weave the fabrics on top of that adhesive sheet. Then, when it is woven, iron it and you have your brick wall!

Second - The water is a piece very appropriate for this blog!! It is a sheer with organza between various other blue sheers. I zapped it with a heat gun just enough to melt away the organza and wrinkle up the other blue sheers.

OK, I think that is the best of the bunch.  I might add some other examples later in the week.

Now, earlier in this month, I had shown you the beginnings of a piece done by another of our guests artists this month, Francie Ginocchio.  Here now, since we are discussing texture creating with stitching, is the rest of that piece.

I enjoy creating my own dyed and textured fabric.  My favorite methods are shibori resist and mono-printing, both using Procion MX dyes.  Once you are finished creating lively textured fabrics, what do you do with them? -- Francie 

I was involved in a monthly12” x 12” project and one of the themes was “Texture.”  I used some of the shibori as well as mono-printed fabric to piece the background. 

Clothespin Shibori

The finished fabric I used for this piece is in the upper right


Spread out the thickened Procion dye

Created lines and cut out the poppy masks (on the right). Place the fabric over the dye and press

Setting my machine on free motion and using red and orange thread, I stitched over the poppy outlines, which were part of the mono-printing.  The strong verticals of the poppies were balanced with horizontal rows of narrow straight stitching to complete my piece. 


Thanks, Francie! I'm so glad you shared your process with us this month!

Oh and we've only just begun!! Tomorrow I'll start with getting you going in circles!!

Don't forget!!  PLEASE join in the fun and share your inspiration and texture and this week - especially your art using stitching and fabric manipulation to create texture! E-mail your photos to me at

Friday, August 15, 2014


Can't tell you how much fun it is working with so many amazingly talented artists! And here are just a few examples! Thanks to all who sent in these examples!

FREE  FOR  ALL  FRIDAY - when you get to send in your beautiful art and I have the privilege of posting it! This week we have been talking about Creating Texture with Paint

First, some pounded fabric from Ginger Wilson! 

I tried pounded fabric a couple weeks ago. I just blogged about it today.  The two week wait was torture... -- Ginger

Ginger, I KNOW!! That waiting is the hardest part but so worth it when you end up with such gorgeous pieces. Of course, I'm partial to the purple one but they are all wonderful! Love your use of metallics! At least they look metallic!

And some wonderful painting examples from Jane Hartfield

I started this piece as a deconstructed screen print. However, it washed out because it has polyester in it. I then painted it, fused painted Wonder Under to it, painted more, then foiled it. I have used a large part of it in a quilt in progress.

I started with a hand dyed fabric, stamped it with paint and quilted it.

Started with a hand dye, added paint and fabrics I had applied paint sticks, and dyed silk ribbon and a scrap from another project.

Two pieces of hand dyes that I painted. Added dyed silk ribbon and copper. Machine and hand stitched.
I am really enjoying this segment on "fire". -- Jane

Thanks, Jane! These are all such inspiring and beautiful pieces. I hope they are all right side up! When I imported them into Picasa they all flipped around from what was in your attached files. Love the abstract and organic feel of these! The first one reminds me of fossilized leaves! 

And YES! you can paint either before or after stitching/quilting. Each gives a different look!

Here are three more smacked examples that for some reason, didn't download yesterday.


Ann Scott (guest artist this month) sent this short example to me and I absolutely love it and can't wait to try it! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Painting with Egg Whites ( read it correctly!)

The image is a detail crop of a painted whole cloth. The neat thing about it is that I whipped egg whites with my white paint to get tiny bubbles aka sea foam and it worked! And yes, it did smell like fried eggs when I first heat set it but that went away after a couple washing and more ironing. -- Ann

Thanks so much Ann! I think I could survive a little fried egg smell for results like this!

I'll check in tomorrow to see if any more examples have arrived in my inbox. If so, I'll get them posted ASAP!

And this week draws to a is your Moment of Texture (sent in by Ann from her recent trip - ocean side bench and redwood bark)

Have a great weekend everyone!! See ya back here on Monday for Creating Texture with Stitch and Fabric Manipulation!