Thursday, April 25, 2013

screening mad

I'm thrilled to bits to be doing a screen printing workshop at Harvest Textiles next weekend. The Harvest Workroom is where all the action is and I hope to learn the ropes in one big session.

I'm so excited I'm literally incapable of looking at the paints and implements I bought online to have a play with.  I thought I might do some colour tests and some drawings to see what shapes I like. Nup! Nothing hapening! So I will go to my class like an open book, ready to be  inspired by the lovely folk at Harvest.
I have bought some  linen fabrics to print my design onto. I hope to make some tea towels out of it.

I have also got more linen like fabric to print on and if that works out I will make cushions out of it. You can never have too many cushions - Right?
I've been scouting around the internet for images of animals to draw in silhouette. I'd like to make a screen print over another print - the oh so lovely chevron. Can't beat a good chevron.
I can see a zebra head or a deer superimposed over the chevron.
mmm I can see I'm going to be a blithering wreck by the time I do this class. I hope the instructors take me firmly by the hand and tell me to focus!

A few other random shapes to draw -definitely the pineapple, antlers, cockatoo...

There's just something about the good old cocky that says go ahead, make my day. So I think a tote bag with this outline and the cocky comb printed in an unlikely colour could work. 
 I'm going to stop now.
The End

Monday, April 8, 2013

recycled sweaters blanket tutorial

Re purposing old sweaters into something else has been a theme of mine for a while now. And I have shifted my focus to making cushions and blankets out of felted wool squares. Here's a snapback to my first quilt. My softies are also made from recycled sweaters.

Look away now if you are absolutely bored to tears with this type of malarkey.

Here are some easy steps to follow if you want to make a cosy blanket to snuggle under for a snooze on the couch.

✽ Collect 8 or 9 wool jumpers from friends, the opp shop or your own wardrobe. Choose jumpers that are pure wool for felting. You can use an 80/20 blend but it won't felt as well. I've made a blanket without felting at all - you just need to back it with a suitable fabric.

✽ Wash the jumpers on a hot wash using  soap flakes or your usual powder. Check how much felting has happened by seeing if the stitches are still visible. Don't over felt the wool because it gets a bit board like. If you want more felting you can pop the knits into the dryer. 

✽ Cut a template for your squares from some tracing paper or flexible acetate. I used a 20cm X 20cm square. Or you could go freelance and use all different sizes of rectangles and squares. The final look can vary from bohemian to polished contemporary, whatever look you are after.

✽ Cut the jumpers up the side seam all the way to the underarm and then down the arm seam on both sides to open up the jumper. Place your template on the jumper in the most efficient way you can to get the most squares. You can use the rib bands but be warned they can pull the square out of shape as you stitch them together unless stretch the seam to match for size as you sew. You can also cut squares that include the arm seam in an arc across it - it adds to the charm of the blanket and is a more efficient use of the sweater.

✽ Arrange the squares in a pleasing colour combination on your largest table or if you are fit and able - on the floor. I had 6 rows across and 8 rows down.

✽ Zig zag the edges together in a 6mm seam to form the 6 strips. Then sew the strips together along the long edge.

I chose not to back this blanket because I love the light feel of it, so even though the felting minimizes fraying I wanted to finish off the raw edges so I blanket stitched them by hand.  
A good tutorial for the  half crossed blanket stitch is here

✽ For the cushion - I stitched 4 squares together for the front and another 4 for the back. I used an invisible zip as I am a thrill seeker. To refresh my memory on this holy grail of sewing I used this tutorial on YouTube. Inserting an invisible zip.

✽ Put the zip in first, then open it half way. Sew the other 3 edges together, being careful to line up the squares to a perfect intersection. It is easy to do this if you stretch the fabric well ahead of the intersection so that it lines up. That way you have evenly stretched the work rather than stretched the last few cms only as that leads to warped seams.
Turn your cushion right side out through the opening that you made in the zip. Pop the cushion insert in, do up the zip and admire your work!

 My finished recycled sweater blanket is ready for the first Autumn chill.