Friday, February 25, 2011

Water, Water, Everywhere

You know, the main reason I set up my blog was to keep myself on track.  So I have finally made myself up a routine to follow so I get things done in all the many areas of my interests.  My Friday Focus (forgive my alliterations as I am partial to them) is where I intend to post about new techniques and experiments, be they fabric manipulation, surface techniques, sewing, etc.
This week i am posting about manipulating fabric for texture and depth.  In my Quilt Uni course, this week we are looking at scrunching fabric and I got to thinking about folding and pleating techniques.  I got an idea for pleating a strip pieced fabric to get an impression of water.
In my first experiment, I used three values of  2.5in blue fabric
I strip pieced these and pressed the allowances to the dark, then cut them in half
I joined these together
And then sewed pleats in at the seams
I then tacked the pleats up and down to create waves
Although they do look like waves, they were a little too regular for me, so I untacked it and tacked it differently, alternating the ups and downs on each row
I like this one much better, the curves are more pleasing, but it was still a bit too regular, so I did it again...

This sample was a bit more to my liking, and with a bit of Free motion and some embellishment, would be OK.
However, I still wanted more wavy sort of Textures, so I started again with some thinner 1.25 in strips
This time, I did not strictly pleat, but used a piece of iron on stabiliser smaller than the fabric and ironed random pleats into place on it
I started free motion scribbling on it, but It was too uneven and thick in places, so I sandwiched it between tulle layers and put it in a hoop

It was still difficult to free motion, but I finally got something approaching what I wanted

With a bit more embellishment (and practice)  this would be great for a sea landscape.
The next thing I wanted to make was some water in a  river pool.  My idea was to create curved tucks around a central point, however I got something quite different.
As with my second sample, I used a piece of interfacing smaller than the fabric.  then I used a basting stitch to crumple the fabric into the smaller space.  This is a slight modification of one of the techniques in the Quilt uni Course, but is called furrowing in the art of manipulating fabric by Collette Wolf (Which is my bible for such things).  It is also similar to making twisted roses in Fantastic Fabric Folding by Rebecca Wat or chopkeys in Folded fabric elegance by Rami Kim  and
here is the final sample
I did like the texture better before pressing as it was softer and more fluid.  However after some stitching to stabilise, it could be pouffed up again
I still hadn't worked out how to get my curved pool tucks, but as i was writing this it came to me, so i went and did a quick sample
I cut a wedge shape and gathered along the edges, then rolled the gathers into curves by pushing the gathers to the to and the centre of the tucks to the bottom, and voila!   With a wider wedge and some stitching in between the tucks to define them, it will be just what I want.
I have designed a small quilt/hanging to use some of the techniques in the course and I will try and remember to post it on Sunday, 'cos Sunday is sketchbook day.
Tomorrow is Stitchin' Saturday and I will look at a Free motion stitch in detail.