In order to avoid doing any work on my uni summer project (and because I like sewing) I recently made a patchwork pincushion for a friend’s birthday. I got the idea and pattern from Very Berry Handmade, and my first attempt went terribly wrong when I tried make the cushion bigger than the pattern dictates but somehow grossly miscalculated things (probably to do with my terrible grasp of both numbers and logic, and for whatever reason sewing with a seam allowance two times too wide).
Anyway, I’m happy to say that attempt #2 went well (considering I’ve never really done patchwork before), and I was kind of sad to give it away. But I did. Selfless.
If you’re very interested, there are two more pictures on Flickr – one of the back, which is plain but embroidered with an “A”, and one of the ladder stitching I did to sew the cushion up at the end; it’s not perfect, but I’m happy with it! I hope she liked it.
I also “made” the pins as well. It’s the simplest thing in the world, and quite cute (I think) – I have a rather large collection of Swarovski crystal beads from back in my jewellery-makin’ days, and all I did was break out the superglue and glue the beads up against the pin head. It takes a while for the glue to dry, but if you’ve just made a pincushion it’s not as if you haven’t got anywhere to put them while it does!
It’s mixed media week! This means that I’m mostly concentrating on fabric and embellishment. Our brief is based on repetition, and I’ve mostly been looking at stripes after choosing a couple of sketchbook pages (here and here) where I used a lot of simple lines in my drawings. The whole point of this week is to keep things as simple as possible, and there’s not much simpler than lines!
The most exciting new thing I’ve tried is embossing fabric using a heat press. It’s pretty cool. I raided the college shop for anything that might make a nice line, and came away with some paper straws, matchsticks, and corrugated card, and I also liberated some paper yarns from the yarn store.
I laid out my fabric (in this case some rather expensive blanket wool – £22 per metre!) and placed my corrugated card shapes and a couple of matchsticks on top to form some stripes.
I set the heat press to sit at 180 degrees for 30 seconds. Unfortunately I don’t have a decent picture of the embossed fabric – it’s surprisingly difficult to photograph because the texture can be very subtle. Hopefully once the week is over I can photograph my finished samples and show them off.
Rather than waste my flattened-by-the-heat-press paper straws, I decided to use them in a sample, and I really liked the effect that I got from stitching them to felt.
Today, I embarked on a bit of a dyeing adventure. I wanted to dye some of my blanket wool orange, because of the sketchbook page I mentioned earlier, so I mixed up a bath of acid dye using a mixture of “Golden Yellow” and “Bright Blood Red”. On a bit of a whim I decided to throw in a couple of scraps of cotton, and a small piece of viscose felt tied up with fishing line in a vague attempt at shibori. I knew the cottons and felt wouldn’t take the dye well because acid dye is the wrong type for those fibres, but I kind of just wanted to see what would happen. I’m glad I threw them in, because now I understand better how acid dye works on a selection of fibres (not well at all unless it’s wool or silk).
I felt much more comfortable mixing dye today than I did on Monday. There was the initial mind blank when faced with having to calculate percentages and things, but I think I got all my numbers correct. Well, my dye started out looking very wishy-washy, so I measured out more of each dye colour and threw it in, and my blanket wool turned out almost exactly the shade I wanted, which sounds close enough to success for me!
And the week isn’t even over yet!