Saturday, February 6, 2016

My First Fiber Fall Chain!

It may not seem like a big deal, but I feel like I've been working towards making this chain in teeny tiny steps forward and it's so nice to finally see it come together!  As you know if you read this blog (anyone out there besides Norma and Vivien?), I started making 5" squares like the one on the bottom - one at a time, and kinda slow, with hand-stitched embellishments.  Then I went to the January FANE meeting and saw some of the techniques some of the other ladies are using (like cutting up a previously made, not-my-favorite-good-for-repurposing quilt) and started thinking about how I could streamline the process of making these small shapes.  

I began painting and stitching an old placemat with the plan to layer it with Timtex, stitch it, and cut it up.  That seemed to take me a month to get done (lost the thread, cleaned my studio, got distracted with the white lace piece yada, yada, yada) but I finally finished that this week and decided to cut them into 3" squares.  They look better than I thought they would, as you can see below.  But it only made about 12 squares and I knew that wouldn't be enough, so I came up with another idea to make 4" squares.

One of the talented women in the group loves to experiment and she had beautiful, delicate results layering dryer sheets and strengthening and coloring them with tinted acrylic gel medium.  I had this very light webby fabric that feels very much like dryer sheets but is already a pale blue, so I decided to try a similar technique.  I made a sandwich with the thin blue web on the outside and put some pieces of lace and angelina fibers on the inside with some bonash powder (a fusible in granular form). 

After fusing, it was stable enough to stitch and also print on, but was still very thin and wispy, so I painted it with a diluted gel medium.  My gel medium is matte and I was a little disappointed with the results, which kind of obscured the shine of the angelina and the detail of the lace.  I debated starting over with the last piece of that blue webbing that I have, but decided to muddle through with this one.  (These things will only hang in the NSQG show for one weekend - they don't need to be perfect!).  I added some more stitching, this time with metallic thread, and then painted on a layer of glossy Mod Podge (over which I sprinkled a little clear glitter).   After it dried, it looked like this:

Still not very exciting, but I decided to go with it and cut them up into 4" squares.

Funny thing, when they're cut up and held up to the light, they look much better!   They really do seem to capture the feeling of Air, which is what I was going for.  All three sizes of squares have the same spiral element tying them together, as well as the common colors and threads.  With the 10 or so pieces I've chained together on the diagonal, they do bring air and wind to mind.  I used pieces of a sheer ribbon stitched to the corners to link them and they turn quite a bit as they hang.  I'm happy with the results and will feel confident to have them hanging amid all the other beautiful work my fellow FANEers have made!  I only need to make two more 5" squares and I'll have enough to make an 8' chain.

(Then I just have to make two more chains...)


Vivien Zepf said...

I like these, Cindy! And you're right; they definitely evoke impressions of air, a gentle breeze, swirling ... Glad you found a way to produce these more quickly.

I didn't know about the powdered fusible. Do you have to heat it to make it bond?

Gail Ellspermann said...

I read your blog sometimes, too! Looks great - sometimes you have to keep pushing through with an experiment to arrive a results you are happy with!

Norma Schlager said...

Ditto what Vivien said. I think they look great!