Thursday, September 28, 2006

Another New Hobby

I am bad...I am so bad. I really should have been concentrating on the sewing I need to do for my column, 12th Night, and promised projects, but I could not resist.

Awhile ago I had seen "silk paper" and thought it was way cool. Then recently I was browsing the Joggles newsletter which finds its way into my inbox on Sundays. They mentioned soy silk fusion materials and a tutorial on how to make soy silk paper. Bought the stuff - soy silk which is made from the fibers of processed soy products into a "roving". It is then dyed. Then you buy a fixative. You spread the roving horizonatally and vertically between netting. Wet the product with a detergent and water and then apply the fixative. The color runs but doesn't seem to affect the piece. You dry the netted piece. Remove the net and heat set the "paper". It was fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Better than finger paints because you can make stuff with the silk paper or even embroider on it. So here is my first attempt.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Things Learned in Stitching Or Nue

In looking at Sharon Boggins blog - In a Minute Ago, she talks about what the "stitching audience" is looking for when blog about our projects. In particular, the focus on the How or Steps in the process of creating the finished product is of interest. So taking that tack here are some of my thoughts on and things that I learned when stitching the Or Nue section of the piece for my column.

I developed a 3 leaf pattern to fill the 1.5" by 2" section of the project. Since my skills in developing such a piece are not advanced, I opted to do the piece as single line couching (versus double). Thus, each color square would be one stitch and only over one line of gold. Drafted a charted pattern using the historic concept of using a dark, medium, and light green and including a small section of uncovered. So far so good. Then came the stitching.

I used gold passing, as it is finer and will pass through the fabric easier. It doesn't have the same glow as jap, but it still presents a nice gold gleam. I plunged each end of the line as I came to them - continuing with one piece of the passing until I came to the end of it; and then starting another.

Each line of the pattern should be stitched as you come to it. This necessitates having 5 needles working at the same time for threads - 2 gold (one at each side to tack the gold in place and to couch down long floats), and then one for each color green. Yes it is a pain as they like to knot into one another (sigh).

The diameter of the silk being used will define the spacing between the lines of gold. As a result looking at the piece close up, I see way to much of the linen behind. Fortunately, if I look at the piece 3' away - the gold and the silk take over and you don't really see the linen behind.

The next "aha" was that since I have trouble following a chart (any chart), it was much easier to work a few lines with only the dark green and then go back and fill in with the other greens. Since there was space between the lines of gold, this was no problem. If I used a finer silk it might have been an issue.

The spacing of the gold also made making the turns tightly a non-issue. With plunging, I can make the turns in less than one thread of the 28 count linen. It was interesting to note that the placement of the gold was different than the placement of the silk - it was a hair higher. This was another "aha" and quite logical when you think that you need to provide a space for the silk. So with #6 gold passing and 1 thread of Needlepoint Inc thread on 28 count linen - it was 1 line of gold with pattern per thread.

As I look at the "finished" section of Or Nue, the neatness bug has me itching. The sides bother me. Even with the linen being lined with a tight muslin and sewing through both, some of the lines on the side pull in a bit. Also, in order to control straightness of the lines, there are stitches on the sides. Although the stitches are in gold silk, I still see them. Historically, the next section just abutted the area and you may see the turns. On some pieces the next section was appliqued on, and the slight overlap would cover the problem. On still some others, a line of gold would cover up the area - this is what I'll do.

Or Nue is lovely to look at (from a few feet away :), challenging to do, and something I will tackle again. Hope you enjoy the final piece which will be in the November/December issue of Needlepoint Now.