A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

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. http://wilopiooguta.blogspot.com

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!


  1. Holy Cow!!! Those are two of the most interesting pieces of fabric manipulation I have ever seen. Good for you Wil to launch out and try something that creative!!

  2. Fascinating techniques, Wil! Thanks so much for introducing us to them! Would love to see samples of your work where you have incorporated these methods... will have to visit your website!

  3. Thanks Wil!
    I have done similar things with fashion students. You can twist damp fabric - producing what is often called broomsticking and used for boho skirts. And after you leave it to dry while twisted, you unroll it a bit and use fusible interfacing. Then it can be cut like your circles using garment patterns like pocket, collar, yoke and sew it in without adding stretch like smocking would.
    I have also used a metal cooling rack from baking. you use your damp fabric and poke through the holes with the other end of a paint brush or wooden spoon. Start in the middle and work towards the outsides in a circular manner so your pokes stay more in place. If the fabric is only damp, you can go ahead and fuse using fusible interfacing.
    So we were using the fusible interfacing so the pieces could be used to sew into a garment. But I like the idea of a fusible web for using it like fusible applique.
    Sandy in the UK

  4. What an amazing technique - thank you for sharing Will. Just a thought but could you achieve a more stable result by fusing the webbing to the flat fabric, then going through the shibori technique, wait for it to dry then heat it in the microwave or oven so that the folds are "glued" from the inside too rather than just at the base?

  5. Teri, there are several reasons why I do not know if this will work. First I do not know how the webbing will respond to the water. Will the glue stay as strong? Second the folds will be thicker because of the webbing, so the final result will look different. Also I have to admit that I have never tried webbing in a microwave. No idea how well it will glue to the fabric.

  6. Judy, all my circles ended up in a quilt.

  7. Sandy, I have never heard of broomsticking, but I will try it out. The cooling rack is one of the techniques Kelly described on Monday (the Starbucks house).


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