Category Archives: modern techniques

Blogging? And a Challenge

So obviously, I am blogging again, and I do have the intention to keep it up longer than last year. Yes, this is one of those dreaded “why do I blog?” postings ;-). I do this for me, because it helps to motivate me to do creative stuff, and gives me sort of deadlines for my crafting. I need to have stuff to blog about, after all.

I know it is sort of cheesy to use that sort of motivation, and the I don’t want to stoop so low to do stuff just to blog about. But sometimes, I just need a bit of external motivation. I like to tell myself that I do a good thing along the way because my postings may provide entertainment or even inspiration for others. Like ever during the last years, I have been battling health issues and stress at my day job the last months, and sometimes I forget how good it would do me to create something instead of just sleeping or watching TV through most of my free time.

The thing that inspired me most to stitch during the last years was Sharon Bogon’s TAST challenge, which is on a long break at this point. I have done more for it than I posted during the last year, and I miss it. I have a few stitch tutorials in the pipeline anyway, so I’ll do my own challenge, again, both for you and for me. Of couse, it will not be on tuesdays, I respect Sharon too much for that. It will be stitch sunday. I may post a detailed challenge proposal tomorrow and the first installment next sunday. Basically, I will post a stitch description each sunday and everyone who wants to go along with it can do a blog post about the stitch and comment on my posting to let people know where to find it. What do you think, will there be participants?

Well, I guess it doesn’t matter anyway. I have resumed work on my samplers and other stitching, and writing about it in a somewhat structured way will be no loss of time. It definitely will help me to keep at it.

OK, enough navel gazing for today. And to make sure even this post doesn’t come without eye candy, here is a pice of fabric paper I did last weekend. I haven’t messed with acrylics for too long, it was such fun. it was made from cheap 100% cotton fabric, commercial flower paper, dried moss and turquoise silk chiffon as top layer.

fabric paper


Adventures in Monoprinting (Rose in the Rain making of I)

When I posted my finished piece Rose in the Rain I promised to post a making-of. I know it took too long for the tastes of most readers but here you go. Warning: I’s image-heavy.

When I feel like messing arround with paint there is no better thing than monoprinting with acrylics. I wanted this piece to be kind of intuitive, so that looked like the way to go. Also, you can create additional texture with this technique when you use lot of gel.

For my technique, I cut up a plastic shopping bag and paint on the inside. the acrylics get heaviely mixed with regular glossy gel medium and some water, I used a no name product from a German painting supply house, Boesner. Fluid gel medium is even better, but I want only so many expensive paint bottles arround when I don’t know when I’ll use them.

This is how my pallette looks when mixing the paints, you see I’m using lots of gel:

This is how I apply the mix to the shopping bag. It should be applied rather thickly so that it can form additional texture later.

This is the whole painted plastic surface. it is then put on the paper, GENTLY pressed with hands or foam roller and carefully peeled off.

Well, and this is how the result looks when you press too hard. And yes, this was the big piece of precious paper that later became my rose embroidery.

Of course I didn’t want to throw it out, so I painted over it until it looked acceptable. Looking at the finished thing now, I think this failure was an amazing case of serendipidity.

This is an example for yummy gel texture. You only get this with monoprinting.

Of course, after this I had to try my luck again. I did a small tryout print, and it turned out just as it should. I still haven’t done anything further with this one, maybe I should. But not sure what, it looks so, well, orderly.

Finish !!

Rose in the Rain

Acrylics and stitching with cotton floss on mulbery paper.
Size: 28*40 cm

So i finally managed to finish something, or at least think so. I always find it hard to know where to stop with free embroidery, but I do think I am done on this one. I’m not yet sure if I should present this behind glass or glue it onto a box canvas and seal it. Suggestions? Probably this will be decided when/if I ever get round to having a show.

Stitching on paper was a new experience, but a fun one. I think I’ll be doing this again, but next time I’ll probably glue the paper on muslin for stability or go for proper fabric paper in the first place. It got rather soft from handling by the time I was done. I did take in progress shots, posts about the process will follow.

I designed this and started work last winter, when I had bad neck pain and headaches for months. I think it shows, and I’m not sure I like that. What do you think?

Stich Explorer: Stitching with Gesso and Molding Paste

Wow. doing these two modern samples took me all weekend. They are about postcard sized, give or take half a cm. They were don using gesso, molding paste, acrylic paints, Tyvek (thin acricultural fleece) linen fabric and embroidery threads. That’s it for my grandiose sampler plans, I know I won’t get it done.

Even these two would need a lot more intense handstitching to turn them into something more than courious samples. But it was fun and I learned a lot. For now, I’m calling them done and this month’s challenge fullfilled. Kudos go to Lynda Monk, the techniques came from her book.



Coincidences and Stitch Explorer

One day last week, I was so incredibly sick of work, so I decided to leave on time (which I can’t do often these days) and go do something nice for myself. I thought oh well, this book from Lynda Monk, Stitching the Textured Surface, would make a good present for myself. Let’s go see if the quilt shop has it. Indeed they did. When I paid the Lady told me she had put it onto the shelf only 15 mins ago.

This weeks stitch explorer challenge is to use something for embroidery we wouldn’t normally use. I have already stitched on all kinds of weird backgrounds, but never molding paste of all things, so it fits.

Today I started experimenting. I have a good selection of acrylic gels and molding pastes, so I applied them to little scraps of tyvek. I’m planning to colour and distress them and then sew them onto a sampler. I’m not going to be too verbose about the process because it is Lynda’s invention, and I sure don’t want to infringe her moral or legal rights.

The first two pics show all the scraps I did, the last one is a closeup of an especially sandy molding paste.




November Days

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.


Jet another melting experiment

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.

Before heatgunning:

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.

Last Weekend’s Melting Project

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.


This week’s heat gunning experiment

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.

Heatgunning Lutradur

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.

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