Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Collage with fabric

 I am still wanting to get better at portraits and want to find the method that I enjoy the most. So far, I have used the 4 or 5 value method that Phyllis Cullen teaches and it is very successful. I used the lightweight fusible web, Misty Fuse to create them. Here is the first one I did of my son, Adam.

4 value portrait

After doing a few of them I tried a collage method using Steam a Seam fusible web as the backing and tulle over the top to control all the fabrics for quilting.

Cat collage

The cat collage was fun to make but all those layers of fabric plus the heavier fusible web made the quilting less enjoyable.

Then, I remembered that Susan Carlson uses a collage method using glue and no fusible web at all. She says that the quilt remains really soft and easy to quilt.

I had actually cut up some fabrics to try the method out many months ago and had never got around to trying it out. At the end of last week I came down with a cold courtesy of my grandchildren. I didn't feel as if I could do anything taxing or creative. I found the fabrics over the weekend and got started on a spiral design.

Spiral beginnings

I drew a very rough spiral on some white fabric and started placing the fabrics.

When the spiral was done, I used blue fabrics for the background.

Finally, I had the spiral finished, it only took an afternoon.

It was a fun and easy thing to do, a perfect project when you are not well. Susan Carlson recommends gluing down the edges with Aleene's tacky glue and I had even bought a bottle of it a while ago.

Putting glue on all the edges is where the fun stopped for me, it was really tedious. I didn't do a very good job really, luckily I have a lot of experience with machine quilting and managed to quilt spirals without lifting the edges.

Here is the spiral quilted.

spiral collage

I used batik fabrics because they are tightly woven and the edges don't fray very much. I remembered why I love batik fabrics, I love the texture and the little bits of other colours in them. Although I made the spiral in yellow and orange fabrics, there are little bits of blue, pink and green that makes it  livelier.

I don't think gluing fabrics down is going to be in my future, even if it is a lovely soft effect.

So, I have decided that my next portrait will be a collage method but with Misty fuse behind the fabrics and I will try hard to keep the layers to a minimum. The test will be how I enjoy quilting it. 

Now I just have to find a photo to use. I will wait until I am over this cold though!

Bye for now,


Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Soy Wax Printing

 I signed up for an on-line class about soy wax printing. Soy wax is supposed to be more eco friendly than normal batik wax printing, so I thought I might as well try it as I like to know ways to achieve texture on fabric.

Here I am melting the soy wax flakes in my old electric frypan.

Melting the soy wax flakes

They don't take very long to melt.

I got out some of my hand dyed fabric and drew some wax lines and shapes on the top and then painted over the top of that with some blue Procion dyes.

Printing with the soy wax

Here are the results.

The top fabric shows the before and the bottom fabric shows what it looked like afterwards. Not really much of a result for the work involved.

Then I tried using freezer paper as a resist. I cut some freezer paper circles and fish shapes and ironed the negative shape onto yellow fabric. Painted wax in the shapes and then over painted with green dye.

I wasn't very impressed by those results either. Soy wax is obviously a very loose technique and you are not supposed to get crisp edges.

I think I can get better texture with sun printing and painting with dyes and paints or even the flour resist that I used last year.

I don't imagine that I will do soy wax resist printing again. At least I gave it a go. Apart from the ordinary results, I hated washing out the wax. Here is a photo of some fabric soaking in very warm water in a bucket.

rinsing out the soy wax.

You are supposed to rinse out in very warm water in a bucket to loosen the wax and then you can wash in a hot cycle in a washing machine. I rinsed out in very hot water and scrubbed the fabric with my hands but I found the wax very hard to remove. No matter how much I wash out that bucket with hot water, I cannot get the wax off the inside of the bucket. There is no way I would want to put that soy wax in my washing machine.

I had some left over blue dye so I dyed some white PFD fabric and got a nice light blue with texture!

It was light though, so I cut it up into 3 pieces and over-dyed one in the same blue and the other piece in Turquoise dye.

Here are the results.

Blue dyed fabrics

I was happy with them and must do some more dyeing while we have a bit of warm weather left.

So, I gave soy wax resist printing a go and can cross that off my list of techniques.

Bye for now,