Bench notes: using tiny frames

Frames, laser cut from 1/8″ birch plywood, in various shapes. A different interfacing interfacing – this has no fusible on it, so I will fuse the fabric with Wonder Under.

Cut the interfacing to the size and shape of the interior shape. It works better, ultimately, if the interfacing is juuust slightly smaller than the inner shape.

Interfacing gets fused to the fabric backgrounds.

The interfacing adds a nice layer of padding when the frames are attached, and also works to keep the embroidered image smooth.

I like one more layer of interest on these tiny things, so I add a bead (or several) by hand. Then the work is placed over the interior shape, and the outside frame pressed gently into place. If it isn’t going to fit with minimal persuasion, make certain the fabric is smooth around the edge between the inside shape and the frame. Once it is in place, run a bead of liquid super glue on the back around the place where the fabric comes through from the front. Liquid superglue is important, because it soaks into the fabric between the pieces of frame, and holds everything together. I have done it with the gel super glue but the results are not satisfactory. Cheap superglue works really well.

Once the super glue is hardened, trim off the leftover fabric using whatever is handy. If you can’t find a sharp blade, a brisk application of sandpaper also works.

And behold! tiny scraps of fabric, small amounts of embroidery and some loose beads turned into something magical.

we are sick sick sick

I’m home sick. Not hideously, lie on the couch and moan sick, but stagger about slowly and sit down frequently sick. Which is quite bad enough.

In response to those who asked questions I have some of the following answers:

Transfer paints are simple to use. They work best on man made fabrics, specifically polyester. They also work on cotton and linen, but give much more muted colors. I have experimented with transferring onto polyester satin, crepe, chiffon, velvet and a cotton/poly broadcloth. All worked quite well, with deep color transfer. I tried transferring onto silk chiffon, and the color passed cleanly through and made a gorgeous image on my ironing board cover.

Mine came from Embroidery Adventures, which doesn’t exist any more. I found some available in Canada from the Opulence Textile Art Catalog and the G&S Dye catalog, and in England from Fibrecrafts.com and Berol , ThreadStudio in Australia also has them. I know they are available elsewhere. Workshop on the Web (WoW) advertisers frequently have them, and WoW also has published tutorials and articles about using them.

Use is very simple: paint onto plain paper, let dry, iron onto fabric. The mess is minimal, about the equivalent of poster paints. The color does not change the hand of the fabric at all that I can feel. The colors quite brilliant on polyester, and I’ve had some trouble getting more subdued or delicate colors. Getting full-on black or blue is pretty easy. The colors I have are the CMYK printing primaries (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) and if you have a printed color chart you can find the color you want and mix it using simple percentages. The color on the paper IS NOT what you will get on the fabric, and it takes some trial and error to figure out how to get exactly the color you might want. Unless you are happy with kismet in the color department. Which works too.

There are two books that address transfer paints explicitly. Beaney and Littlejohn wrote Transfer to Transform in 1999, republished in paperback in 2000. Linda Kemshalls also wrote a book called Color Moves, in 2001.

It sounds too simple to be true, as though I am leaving something out, but truly, that is all there is to it. Go get some, see what you can do.