Monday, December 13, 2010

Getting Bolder with my Free Lace Scarves

Today is another day for "mindless" stitching.  Working on Free Lace scarves is a good way to spend the Monday after a busy Open Studios weekend.  I can be productive doing the machine stitching without using much brain-power.

Lately I've started incorporating more things into my scarves.  For a while I had been staying pretty basic--just playing with colors and textures in pretty straightforward stripes.  That was fun for a while, but I needed to do more. In my last few, I've been working in other shapes and textures through the use of fabric bits and silk cocoons and carrier rods.

I had stayed away from incorporating fabric bits because I couldn't decide how I would treat the edges to keep them from fraying excessively.  Then when I was digging through a drawer looking for something else, I discovered that we had a rotary cutter with a wavy blade.  I decided to try that on some sheers.  I thought the wavy edge would be interesting and control some of the fraying.

Here's what I came up with.  I cut lots of sheer triangles and then overlaid them with a thin green ribbon and a brown yarn that included a sparkly copper colored thread.  The edges of the sheer fabrics did roughen up some in the rinsing process, but just enough to give the bits a sort of distressed look. I guess it was a successful experiment because it sold within a day or two of putting it in The Loading Dock Gallery.
From there I went on to try adding other shapes and textures using the rods and cocoons.  We get so many questions from our studio visitors as to what the rods and cocoons are and how you use them, that we're always looking for new applications.  I knew that the silk wouldn't be hurt by the water needed to dissolve the stabilizer so I thought these scarves might be a good use for them.  

I figured that even if the process of dissolving the stabilizer dissolved some of the "starch" holding the cocoon and rod pieces together, I'd have enough machine stitching to hold the fibers in place.  I thought I might get some fluffy bits in the scarf, but that was okay with me.  Somewhat to my surprise the pieces I used held together very well and the look didn't change very much at all after the rinsing process.  Here's my first attempt.

I cut flower shapes from the silk cocoons and used the rods in their basic rectangular shape.  With both the cocoons and the rods, I separated them into layers to make them softer and more fabric like.  Separating them into layers also gives you color and texture variations that still blend all together.  Some of the layers are very thin and sheer, while others are thicker and more opaque.

For the next one, I again used the rods in their basic rectangular shape, but I cut the cocoons into spirals.  Pulling the layers apart and flattening them gives some great funky shapes--not spirals really, but more like waves and question marks.

For the one I'm stitching on today, I've again made flowers from the cocoons.  Instead of using the silk rods, I've used wavy bits of silk.  This one is going to be very lacy and soft looking.  I haven't finished the stitching yet, so the stabilizer is still there, but the picture will give you an idea.  
I really like using the Mokuba stabilizer for this work.  Even when they are separated into layers, neither the cocoon shapes or the carrier rods are totally flat.  The clear film included in the Mokuba packages holds them flat enough to make the stitching easy.

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