Sunday, October 26, 2008

Textile Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) Tutorial

I'm a member of an online quilting group which began making textile ATCs to swap as a Cheer-Me-Up for those unable to go to our retreat in Perth Western Australia in May 2008. The swap was so successful with some 700 cards traded that we decided to keep the swap group going with mini swaps. We make six cards to a set theme, keep one and send 5 to the other members who signed up to swap within that theme. I have a collection of over 120 cards now in a folder with plastic pockets holding 9 cards to a page, like the ones used for football and YuGiO cards? Here is a little tutorial on my method of making them, with hints taken from lots of different web sites.

My method

1. ATCs must be no larger than 2 1/2 inches x 3 1/2 inches. I made a window template to help in selecting areas from created fabric backgrounds or fabrics, or for seeing if a piece of stitching will fit within the size limit. You could also use template plastic (the kind for making quilt templates which is opaque) if you have it.

2. ATCs are a "sandwich" composed of 3 layers:

a front of fabric which you may create and embellish as liked
a middle layer of stiffening eg. Pellon, Timtex, pelmet Vilene, cardstock
and a backing of fabric, iron on Vilene, paper etc.
These layers are fused together using your preferred fusible product eg. Misty Fuse, Vleisofix, Wonder Under etc. then stitched around the edge to seal

3. First photo shows equipment used, clockwise starting at 12 o'clock they are
Timtex, templates, pellon with baking paper, Misty Fuse, roll of Vleisofix.

4. Next photo shows the front of the card. I fused my cream homespun to Pellon with some Misty Fuse fusible web, then stitched the Redwork flower design within the marked card outline. I like to leave the final trimming to size till all layers are fused together.

5. Since I'm making 6 cards here I cut a piece of my chosen backing fabric. I've used a burgandy printed fabric here fused on the wrong side to the Misty Fuse webbing (following the manufacturers' directions )using baking paper so my iron doesn't stick. Then I place the backing right side down on the baking paper and place the front of the cards right side up, cover with baking paper again and press with a dry iron to fuse in place. Then I turn the whole lot over again and press again on the back.

6. Now I trim to the maximum size of 2 1/2 inches x 3 1/2 inches using my rotary cutter and square ruler. You could scissor cut on the line if needed. Depending on the edging, it may be best to trim off couple more millimeters. A fancy braid or ric-rac for instance can add a little to the size, so best to make the card a little under size. I like to satin stitch around the edge by machine, but you can blanket stitch by machine or hand, zig zag, straight stitch, or bind with fabric, ribbon, or braid. You could also choose to leave the edges raw if it fits your theme.

7. Any beads, sequins, charms, letters etc. are best left until last if you are machine stitching, unless you're confident you won't catch them in the machine. I sometimes use Vilene as my backing layer so I can write with a fabric pen on the back, or sometimes I print a label on heavy paper and glue it on with fabric glue. You should label your work with at least your name, and contact details and the date made. Some groups like you to add the Group swap name, and if you are making multiples you should mark each card with it's number within a set.
e.g. 1 of 6, 2 of 6 etc. on each of a set of 6 cards.
When I make only one card I write "an original ATC" instead of the number on the label.

I have successfully used bubble jet printed silk and cotton pictures on cards as the front and as an embellishment. You can also used mixed media on these little cards, so cardstock, any paper embellishments etc. are usually welcomed as long as the card is mostly textile based. Stitched sample pieces make great ATCs, as do little pieces of lace or felted bits. Painted fabric backgrounds are popular just at the moment too.

I hope this was not too complicated, and that you have as much fun as I have had in making these little works of textile art to swap.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A textile treasure chest !!

Back in August I was fortunate to win a lucky draw conducted by Mary Anne at Magpies Mumblings for some textile goodies. Well the box arrived on Friday, just as I was leaving to go out! Needless to say it was torture not to be able to open it till late on Friday night. My hubbie must have thought I was mad, I kept shreiking and laughing as I pulled each treasure from the box. I thought I'd share some photos of the goodies received.

The first photo shows the box on opening, with a nice handwritten note and some grey Tyvek concealing the hidden treasure, which includes lots of silk pieces, laces, and some beaded pieces. The 2nd photo shows all the goodies spread on my workroom table. I can see a colour theme here, mostly autumnal. The 3rd photo shows the exquisite hand made dolly which was almost hidden at the bottom of the box, and she made me shreik the loudest!! The 4th and final photo shows some gorgeous metal charms sitting on some silk fabrics and laces.

I can't say enough thanks for my parcel, Mary Anne, it really made my day, month and indeed year. Textile people are so lovely, aren't they??

Saturday, October 04, 2008

TIF October

This month Sharon has asked us to think about our textile work space.

So, I picked up the camera and headed into my 8 foot x 6 foot room I call my "sewing room" as I think "studio" would be a bit too grand for this space, LOL. Quite messy at the moment as I'm trying to juggle several projects at once and they all need attention. If I tidy up TOO much I forget where I'm up to, despite all the lists and reminders up on the notice boards.

The first photo show the ironing board and iron (it's purple you'll notice!) which is permanently in its place. Then I have a custom built cutting table/ work table which I have covered in 3 self-healing cutting boards,bought on special many years ago. Underneath are 2 two drawer filing cabinets and lots of large lidded bins of fabric, as well as my boxes of patterns and college note books which are not all that often needed.

To the right of this photo (but not shown) is my industrial Singer 591D straight sewer machine. On the table you might also notice my very efficient storage system (??) of jumbled baskets and boxes, as well as my burgandy Miniatures workbox still sitting on the table from last weekend. My new Bernina 240 Activa machine sits alongside my old workhorse 830 Record as well as my new overlocker. I have one of those plasic office mats under my rolling office chair and behind the door to the room is a 6 shelf bookcase groaning under my collection of magazines and books as well as the smaller plastic bins with all my notions and haberdashry in them. I have hat blocks and cardboard pattern blocks hanging around as well.

Luckily I have a little window which looks out onto a slightly untamed garden area, with flowering shrubs which attract native birds down to feed. I have been known to spend quite a while staring out that window while wattle birds and butcher birds eat berries and insects right in front of me. As you will notice I also have a small TV on a shelf (so as not to miss my favourite daytime soaps) and also not shown a CD player with big speakers on each side of the room.

The second photo shows the left wall above the ironing board with my filing system (!!) on 2 cork notice boards. The left hand one holds some favourite photos of cats, some postcards including one from Susan Lenz of CyberFyber and my first Dotee Doll that I made. Peeking out is Norma H.'s sampler (in progress!) and a packet of chopsticks! Those are for a little challenge my quilting group is doing on 20th October, a folded Japanese 3D miniature kimono for a bag or hanging. My favourite saying is also on the board "Dull women have immaculate homes" (no offence to the great housekeepers out there, I'm just not one of you!)

The second board, well, mostly paperwork here, because when I file things, they STAY filed away, never to be seen again, VBG. It's safer to pin them here so I'm reminded quite often. Periodically I'll sort out and put away, but not while they're still on the to-do list. Another little motivational card above this board, refers to organised chaos. That about sums up my work space !! Really should take some time this October long weekend to tidy it up, I suppose.

Now to think about how I can interpret this theme and Take it Further, or perhaps I'll re-visit Sharon's colour palette this month. Decisions, decisions....

YTFG article in NeedleArts Magazine

Earlier this year my e-friend Margaret H. asked me to consider writing an article for NeedleArts, the magazine of the Embroiderers' Guild of America. I'm a Club leader for the Young Textile and Fibre Group of the Embroiderers' Guild NSW, Australia (YTFG) and Margaret thought the American readers might like to hear about our experience here in New South Wales.

I wrote quite a long article, expecting it to be heavily edited to fit the space allocation, so I was very pleasantly surprised to receive the first draft recently, with almost every word used. Then I was asked to send some photos, and after several follow up emails from America to clarify a few points, the 4 page article with colour photos has been published in the September magazine, Vol 39 No. 3 beginning page 30. Can I add international author to my list of credits do you think, LOL.

Photo shows the YTFG display including the Australian Farm Challenge panels on display at the Rosehill Stitches and Craft Show Aug. 2007.

TIF September finished !

Sharon's theme for September was lists. In a previous post I showed progress on a workshop taken at our Embroiderers' Guild NSW recently, and promised to finish it by the end of September. Well, I ALMOST made it, a few days later than planned, but hey! who's counting ?

This little fairy slipper was inspired by an article in "Stitch" by the Embroiderers' Guild UK. Our version uses Angelina fibres and a red chiffon scarf fused to yellow felt for the uppers, while the sole is fused with purple velvet and gilded. I also painted inside the upper with Lumiere paint in gold, even though you can't see it unless you peer inside. All self-respecting fairies should have a little gold on their slippers, don't you think? This one has a definite Arabian Nights feel to it, probably helped by the wired toe which is slightly kicked up with a little gold beed on the point.

I'm pretty pleased with it and very happy to have completed a project for one more month of the TIF challenge. Let's be truthful here, I haven't been able to show too much actual stitching just lately for various reasons, not the least of which is my ongoing committment to volunteering at historic houses etc.