The last few weekends I haven’t been melting something. I thought it was time to finish something instead of just making new backgrounds all the time. It was really cold, so I spend much time indoors, stitching. November always has this slowing down effect on me. If only things at work were as slow, they are definitely not. This project still isn’t finished, but I’m getting there.
The next are peaks at the kind of stuff I was doing. Kantha stitching, seed stitches and couching. Repetitive, but still difficult because the melted background is stiff and brittle.
Closeup on some melted stuff. The weave you see is in fact fine batiste, so it looks really different in real life. This is so good I just couldn’t resist.
The last fruit of the year.
It’s weekend, and I’ve been at it again. I stitched onto jute scrim using manmade materials, heatgunned it and sandwiched it between more or less translucent fabric, this time lightwight grey lutradur. I’m sorry the pixs are not what they should be, the blue wool is in fact turquoise, and a bit on the greenish side. My scanner hates all shades of cyan, and there wasn’t sufficient daylight for photographs by the time I was done.
I have to say for the first time that I like the sample before the process more than after. Firstly, I had problems with my cheap heat gun, it didn’t get hot enough on the first setting, so I had to use the scond which means 500 °C, and that burned the jute a bit. Also, the grey yarn didn’t melt well. Also, Lutradur doesn’t seem to be the material of joice for such things, not translucent enough and too uneven.
After heatgunning; the grey did not turn that yellow, no idea what my scanner is doing there. I liked that scanner much better before I had a digital camera and saw what this one can do in good light.
after layering; In reality, it looks much more blurred and opaque than this because the scanner will see through the fibers, while in real they will reflect a lot of light blurring everything.
In order to trap such bulky things properly betrween thin fabrics, I put a layer of fusible web on each thin fabric piece, trap the jute in between, then pack it between two sheets of baking paper. Then, I first iron the whole package on a soft cushion, from both sides. That makes the ends stick together well. Then I iron it again on a hard surface to make sure it sticks well to the bulky stuff, again from both sides. Then I let the whole sndwich cool down completely before pulling off the baking paper, because if some fusible web spills through the fabric it will adhere to the baking paper while hot and you may damage your sample when tearing the hot paper away.
OK, so I did melt something last weekend, sorry I didn’t get round to posting it sooner. It was done like the sample last weekend, just a bit more elaborate. This is jute scrim, embroidered with organza torn in stripes, organza ribbon and knitting yarn made from manmade fibers. As you can see, I used some chain stitch to produce a more structured embroidery than by just weaving the threads into the scrim.
This is after heatgunning the whole thing. I know it is not that different from last week.
After heatgunning, I put it between two layers of crincled organza (it was sold as curtain fabric) with spunfab (like bondaweb) on each piece of organza. The organza is lilac in colour, I’ll have to shoot this again in better light.
Well, I was at it again. This time I wove polyester organza stripes into a piece of jute scrim. Then I heatgunned it with low heat, the label says that is 350 °C but I doubt the cheap thingy really gets that hot. As you can see, it didn’t really distort but the stripes partially turned into little pieces of plastic that nearly fell off. So I decided to trap the thing between two layers of nylon chiffon scarf and spunfab (similar to bondaweb).
The nylon scarf is nicely translucent, but also too loose and thin to keep the spunfab from showing and even spilling through. Maybe it would have been good to use some carrier fabric on the underside instead of another layer of chiffon.
It will need some stitching to turn it into something else than a curious sample. Well, maybe it’s time that I do something with some of the experimental samples I did lately instead of producing new ones ll the time. But this melting stuff is so much fun and not very time-consuming, so just what I need.
The piece before heatgunning:
After treatment with the heat gun:
After putting it between nylon scarf pieces; the whole thing is a bit bigger than a postcard now, but could be trimmed to that size.
A detail of the picture above, it shows the remnants of spunfab.
Im ealier Experimetnts I found this hot pink lutradur hard to melt with a flat iron. I had got it from a craft shop where it was sold for use as floristic ribbon.
In the first trial, I simply heatgunned a piece of it. It shrunk to about half the size and crumpled up nicely without becoming unreasonably stiff or brittle. It was not hard to make it lay flat or or maintain a regular form, This is roughly postcard sized now and will make a good background for something one day, For my taste it is still too thin to use without some kind of backing. This experiment definitely was a success.
The next one was two sheets of the same lutadur, a layer of blue polyester organza trapped between them and the whole thing stitched together with polyester and cotton thread. The whole thing is much less beautiful than the first one, because it became too flat and opaque.
This one is perfectly flat and not brittle either. It is kinda stiff, just enough that it can be worked on further without a backing. Still, two sheets of heavier lutradur like this are probably too much.
This is a detail from the latter one. The section was stitched together with polyester thread (Gütermann buttonhole machine sewing thread). The tread shrunk together with the rest of the material without completely melting away.
The last picture shows a section that was stitched together with cotton (standard stranded embroidery thread). As you can see it wasn’t harmed by the temperatures needed to melt this, but of course it did not shrink so it sticks out weirdly now. This is a good effect if it is wanted, if not I’d rather use manmade thread.
I’m showing some details from last week’s project that showcase both the stitching and what the hot air did to it. Especially the before pics are not that good, I was in a hurry when I took them because I wanted to start melting. Unfortunately I’ll have to work sunday to get all the stuff done that heaped up while I had vacation, so I probably won’t get much done. I’ll take the chance to post some details of older stuff.
Two circles with different pattern. Started in the middle, worked in kantha running stitches.
Another running stitch circle. The second one shows the real colours.
This is what happens when you try to sew a large sircle on starting on the outside.
This weekend, I did my next melting experiment. This time I used the same panne velvet as last weekend and lilac fine lutradur. I applied forms cut out of the lutradur using polyester sewing thread. As you can see, I spent quite some time on the kantha stitching.
The next picture is the same piece after heatgunning. I heatgunned it rather gently, the panne velvet and the polyester thread are only a little bit affected. The lutadur melted surprisingly well.
I am much more contend with this than with my last efford. I don’t know jet if I’m going to leave it as is or add some more embroidery. I think it is screaming for a dash of orange, but I don’t want to rush this.
I have been shopping for cheap manmade fabrics, and wanted to play with heat tools again. For this experiment, I had manmade shiny velvet (please help me – what is this stuff called in English?) and a sheer curtain fabric, similar to organza but less stiff and a sniplet of lutradur.
Edit: This kind of velvet is called panne velvet. By the way, in German it’s Pannesamt (samt=velvet). Me bad.
The first picture shows the materials as I assembled them before heating, I didn’t stitch them together this time. Sorry, it was taken in bad artificial light.
Next, I ironed the whole thing. I ironed very hot, but the curtain fabric was completely unwilling to melt, the velvet and the lutradur melted only the slightest bit. The lutradur did not adhere to the rest at all. The part where the curtain fabric melted away happened when I toughed it without baking paper under the flat iron. So I knew it was meltable.
This is the lutradur sniplet after ironing. It was coloured by the curtain fabric.
Next, I heatgunned the whole thing vigorously. Yes it did melt. Surprisingly, under the direct heat the curtain fabric melted easier than the velvet. This is still not what I would call beautiful or well done, but a start. Maybe I will use it for something, but I have no idea yet. Well, it was for the experience.
So wordpress made some changes to their new image uploading process – it is slowly getting more comfortable. So I post a few more scraps. These were also treated with the heat gun, but they were not melted brutally but heated carefully from both sides to avoid curling. Obviously, the temperatures needed to melt this kind of kunin felt I have would burn away about anything else. I begin to think that it contains heat guarding chemicals or something.
The first scrap is a strip of green organza, lutradur and lazy daisies stitched with knitting yarn made of manmade fibers (I have forgotten which one).
The second one is green organza stitched on the cunin felt with the same yarn and some green gift wrapping band.
So the month of march is over. Where has the time gone? My march tif is nowhere near done, and this time I’m determined it before I start something new. I’m not that happy about this months’s challenge anyway. Up to this point, I tried to work with both the colour palette and the topic, but I honestly don’t know how to do a piece about life and its cycles in such dull colours. So I will probably pass this one.
For March tif, I have bought a nice linen fabric for the background. I’m planning to do something really big this time which may look good as a wall hanging. You will get to look at my progress as soon as I have something to show, in the mean time I have got some scraps I haven’t posted jet.
Here is one more scrap for last months tif. I stitched kunin felt with wire that was supposed to keep it flat when I heat it. Then I heatgunned it as brutally as I could. My heat gun is one of those from the hardware store, it does 300° Celsius. As you can see, it did a good job on the felt, it even altered the colours. The part that was less heaviely stitched curled up totally, the heaviely stitched part was deformed considerably.
The first picture is before heatgunning, the second one after. The pictures were scanned and prepared the same way, so they show the actual shrinkage of the piece. Of course, it is very stiff now, probably it doesn’t fit the description of Fiber any more.