Monday, March 28, 2011

Felting and Lutradur

Today's project is a mini quilt collage which will be in two parts.  The project will use painted Lutradur or Rainbow spun, wool rovings or tops (these are unspun wool, dyed in a variety of colours, for use in felting and other fibre art), silk scraps and heavy interfacing to create the scene, then the scene will be added to with free motion embroidery and machine beading. The scene will be mounted on a framing fabric and then on a mini quilt.  The project is loosely based on a project in the book Fabulous Fabric art with Lutradur by Lesley Riley, which also has instructions for many other techniques with lutradur, including painting
 The picture above is the one I based the quilt on.
Above you can see a mock up using the photo, of how the quilt will be arranged.
Above is a tracing of the photo, and below are my patterns, which you can download here.
 The top picture is a simplified outline for the main pattern pieces, sky, water, foam and sand.  The coloured diagram below has the rocks marked in red, approximate placement for waves in green, and some grey under the foam, marked in blue.

I started with a piece of interfacing at least 2 inches larger than the pattern all 'round. and marked the dimensions of the scene.
I marked in the horizon line and painted in a blue sky, a little paler to the bottom.

Above I have traced the sand and sea on Rainbow spun (or you could use painted lutradur-technique is in Lesley's book).
Above I have pinned the sand and sea in place (you can use a glue stick for this step, but only a little glue)

Here I have traced the rock shapes and pinned them to scraps of silk.
Then arranged the rocks.  Glue them lightly when you are happy with the arrangement. 
The next step is felting.  I used an embellisher to felt in the horizon with grey wool tops, then filled in around the rocks with white tops and a bit of grey in the centre.  Finally I added some wisps of white for the wave in the midview.
Basically, all you are doing is using barbed needles to push the fibres of the wool into the backing fabric.  The silk pieces will also felt into the backing, so go over them as well.  The rainbow spun will not, so the more the silk and wool overlap the rainbow spun, the more stable you will make the rainbow spun.  I use only tiny bits of wool at a time, and hold it in place where I want it with a bamboo skewer, which I remove once I have lowered the needles into the wool.  I am no expert at felting, so if you need help, you will find some excellent tutorials here.
This is the first stage of our project.  Next time we will be doing some simple free motion embroidery to define the felting, which will look a little blurry at this stage, and some machine beading to further define the sand and rocks.  When the scene is finished, we will do the final mounting on the quilt.
In fibre art, every scrap is the threshold of a new discovery.