Thursday, December 31, 2015

Creating a new Pressing Surface

Way back, deep in the closet, a world map was lurking. It once belonged to my boys, it is old and outdated.....figured it really should head to the trash pile.  But wait!...maybe it could be re-purposed.

Once the narrow metal frame was stripped from it, I was left with a strong, flat, very nice sized, 2' x 3'  piece of Masonite.  I gathered my supplies and set out to create my new pressing surface.

I knew that I wanted to have a double thickness of batting  ( I am using Warm and Natural cotton) I also wanted to be sure that once it was all assembled, the two layers of batt would not shift during the pressing process, so I stitched them together. To do this, I marked a grid (with disappearing ink) and and simply straight stitched along the lines.

Now my 2 batts could act as one layer. I trimmed the inner one ( ultimately the top batt) so that it was just a tiny bit larger than my piece of Masonite and the outer one an inch or so bigger to allow it to wrap around the board.

I wanted to be certain the fabric serving as the outer surface would be smooth and taught so I taped it in place before laying the rest of the layers on top

Now, I was ready to begin pulling it all together. I began by folding and stapling at each corner.

Then stapling at the center of each side and working my way around the whole piece gently tugging to keep everything fairly snug. once all the staples were in place, I gave each one a tap with the hammer.

The next step, was to add something on the back to cover the staples and provide a nice clean "backing". A large piece of felt and double sided tape would do nicely for this. The tape was placed just inside the dimensions of the felt measurement (paper still on the top side) I removed the paper at one short end and firmly stuck the felt down. To make sure I would have no problem getting the felt placed onto the rest of sticky tape (you only get one shot at it ) I used a dowel to roll it all up out of the way.

Removed all of the remaining paper from the tape and then easily rolled the felt back down and into place

so now instead of an outdated, rather useless map in the closet (or on its way to the dump) I now have a nice new pressing surface

of course, I wasn't stopping there. I always like to have a clean surface to work on so I made a pillowcase of sorts ( made it very tight fitting so everything remains taught and flat as possible)

The casing can be flipped, washed, or changed out entirely if I need to

Linking up to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Fridays

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Doodled-Painted Hexagons - Tutorial part 2

I tried to cover as much as I could in one post last time....photographically attempting to show you that various steps involved in the process.

Then I thought...gee...could I make a video? I have never tried to make /edit video before but decided to give it a try, so, I am hoping that together with my last post you will know what to do and perhaps be inspired to try it yourself.

This is the Rosette I created from the hexagons I am painting in the video.....and it is this rosette pattern that I am sharing with you. Download, print, and make your very own, I only ask that you link back to me when showing off your creations.  You can get the file here
Note: this rosette and pattern is comprised of 1" Hexagons....print at "actual" size.   If you want to work with a different size you may have to play with printing at the desired percentage

I am not providing instructions for the actual paper piecing can find those all over the Internet as well as some great You Tube videos.  Check out my previous post for part 1 of this tutorial

I did it! very first video, my first time trying to upload to YouTube.....fingers crossed that it works!   The video covers the painting process....hope you find it helpful

I plan to try this technique in a variety of mediums......starting with these.....I have had this lovely set of watercolour pencils sitting in a drawer for years.....will they work?....lets find out

I began by testing the permanency of the colour on fabric. I doodled, laid on colour, activated with the Aloe-Vera Gel, let dry, heat set and then submersed it in water. It worked...the colours stayed put and equally as important, the hand of the fabric remained unchanged

In the image below, the hexagon on the left with just pencil applied....on the right the hexagon after the gel was applied

                                                               here they are left to dry

                                                         and this is the finished rosette

The process for this is just a little different than with paint, I will attempt to make another video soon.

Merry Christmas!  Nina Marie is hosting her "Off  the Wall Fridays" so I am linking up there where lots of creative stuff is happening

Friday, December 18, 2015

Doodled Hexagon Tutorial

For those of you who would like to try this technique, I plan to share a download-able, printable design for you to use soon.
But first I thought I would show the basic steps of the process.  Warning! this is a long post....but don't miss the ending...there is a money saving tip for those of you who are buying lots of pre-cut hexagons in packages

Note....Any time you will be drawing/ painting or inking fabric you always need to begin with one that has been pre-washed.

White, off white or very pale coloured cotton
Freezer paper
Dry Iron
Frixion or other pen with disappearing ink
A light box or some other light source for tracing the design
Masking tape
Permanent marker .....needs to be waterproof for this process
Fabric paint (preferably transparent) or inks or Inktense pencils need to test to make sure whatever you chose will not change the "hand" of your fabric as you don't want anything that will be prohibitive for the hand sewing process  (some paints/mediums leave the fabric with a plasticy feel which you most definitely do not want)
Aloe-Vera Gel   (the clear colour)
Assorted paint brushes
Paper hexagon pieces  (I am using 1".....these measure 1" on each of the 6 sides)
A fabric glue pen or stick

Below, are the steps that will be done to each hexagon.

Step 1:  is to press freezer paper (shiny side down) to the wrong side of the fabric, the freezer paper will stay in place until each hexagon has been acts as a stabilizer for ease of drawing and painting on fabric

Step 2:  Add guidelines......using a Frixion pen ( or any disappearing marker) on the fabric's right side, trace around the outer edge of your hexagon

next add markings indicating roughly 1/4" seam allowance.

Trim close to the seam allowance

you are ready to begin drawing on the hexagon

Step 3:  Using a light-box.....trace the desired design using a permanent, waterproof pen ( I use an ultra fine tipped sharpie marker)  notice that I have used a little bit of masking tape to secure my hexagon in place to prevent slippage

Step 4:   time to add colour.....there are a variety of ways to colour/paint fabric.....for this one I used Seta-Color transparent paint and clear Aloe Vera Gel
I first spread a thin layer of Aloe-Vera gel over the marked design/doodle. The gel makes the application of paint easy without worry of bleeding, running or having to thin the paint first...(use the paint straight from the bottle)

Begin in the center and work outward......I place the hexagon on a small piece of card-stock so I can rotate my work easily without having to handle the hexagon any more than need be

With a paint brush, apply the paint into the still wet aloe vera gel. (the gel has lots of "open" time....meaning that is does not dry quickly)....meaning you don't have to rush

notice that I am brushing the paint over the fold lines. I want to make sure that I have good coverage.

Step 5:   Set aside to let dry completely
Step 6:  Now is the time to remove that freezer paper from the back of your work, place the hexagon face down and place (centering) a precut hexagon paper piece (use the light box if you are having trouble seeing the guidelines)

Step 7:  using a glue stick/pen lay a thin line of glue on the paper along the first edge you will turn Tip: keep it back from the very edge of the paper so that there will not be glue in the area you will later being stitching through   (For those of you who prefer the thread basting know what to do)

begin folding over each edge, one at a time, until the all edges of the hexagon have been folded to the wrong side

The fabric paint is permanent once heat set.....this is done using a hot,dry this point the hexagon is ready to be joined into a rosette.  using the same method, continue to prep, draw, paint, and baste the other hexies that will join in

I always to be certain that the method and supplies I chose to use will all be okay when subjected to water.....I did just that. I heat set this hexie, then simply stitched the hexie onto a piece of wool......which was then submersed it into a dish of water. (here it is underwater...the photo shows that there is no running, bleeding or lifting of colour)

once dry it came out soft pliable and with no loss of colour

I knew that if I want to able create many of these rosettes (like the one at the top of the post) I was going to be in need of lots of paper hexagons. I have purchased some pre-cut hexagons but holy cow...they run anywhere from $6 for 100 pieces to $7 for 50 pieces (depending on the brand) so I figured that had to be a better way

I found this Fiskar's "Squeeze" punch... it is simple to use, I can cut as many perfect hexagons as I like in just minutes.  1 sheet of card stock yields 20 pieces of the 1" size I am currently using. The cost of this cutter was regularly $30 but I had a 50% off coupon so I think it will pay for itself in no time.

just a note about products......for the single hexagon shown in this tutorial, Seta-colour transparent fabric paint was used....for last weeks rosette (shown at the top of the post), I used Jacquard textile paint, and for the one below, I used Inktense pencils...each "colour" product was used with the Aloe-Vera the case of the Inktense pencils....I applied the pencil to the fabric first and then carefully painted the gel over top to "activate" the ink I think I have covered everything....but if you have any questions...leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them.....I will try to have a design ready for us to play with soon.

I am linking up to Nina-Maries Off the Wall Fridays where there is some fabulous inspiration being shared by many outstanding artists.....why not grab your favouite beverage, relax and check them out.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

More Doodled Hexagons

These could very well turn into a new obsession for me.  If you saw my last post, you know I had begun experimenting with doodling and painting hexagons to be used in English Paper Piecing.

I started another, larger rosette. Just one colour added this time. here is what some of the pieces look like before the edges were folded...not a very pretty sight!

ah...but here they are looking much better.

I began this rosette with a specific design planned (made up of a total of 19 hexagons) but suddenly realized that by moving and rotating the bits about, many other designs could be created with those same 19 I did just that to get a visual on the other possibilities before I thread my needle.

So,my rosette is ready to be stitched....but... you will have to wait for my next post to see which one I chose.

I plan to post a detailed tutorial of my process in the near future......if I provide a design....would you like to give it a try?

Copyright Jill Buckley