This blog is a place to archive project processes and techniques from Painted Threads with descriptions of how work was produced. I am including comments that contain questions and answers pertaining to the work from many of the original blog posts.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Felted Wool Eggs



Well over the weekend I took the plunge and created a Pinterest account since so many of my friends are on there and see what I've been missing.

While I was poking around I saw quite a few pretty dyed eggs and although this seems a little early, I thought it might be fun to make some felted eggs.


After all they aren't going to spoil between now and Easter :-)

It might be fun to also add some decorative stitching with embroidery floss and adding some cut out wool felt shapes.

If you'd like to make some too, you can follow this tutorial, just roll your yarn balls into oval egg shapes.


This is a great way to use up leftover wool yarn. Rolling golf ball size yarn balls as a base for the ball. Wind yarn into oblong shapes to get a berry shaped ball. I usually use wool yarn for the center because I know it will felt better, but in a pinch I have used other yarns too. My favorite place to order roving is from Outback Fibers, the colors are gorgeous and the prices are very reasonable.Unwind a length of roving, while holding it in one hand, grasp the end portion with the other hand and gently pull off "tufts" roughly 5-6 inches in length. Spread the fibers into a thin flat layer with all the strands going in one direction. Pull off another tuft of roving and layer it on top of the first at a 90 degree angle. Repeat this process several more times, criss-crossing 4-6 thin layers.
When lifting the blanket of roving there should not be thin spots or holes. Changing the colors of yarn in the layers will create a heathered multicolored wool ball.

Wrap the roving blanket you have created around a yarn ball, making sure there is full coverage of fluffy roving with no bare or thin spots.

Close the roving covered yarn ball in your hand and bring it to the foot of a knee hi panty hose. (buy cheap ones at the dollar store, or use those ancient ones in the back of your hosiery drawer that you never wear anymore) Gently remove your hand from around the ball pulling the hose tightly around the roving ball then tie a small piece of yarn to secure the ball in place.

When all the balls have been wrapped in the hose, place them in the washing machine, set the water to lowest level and hottest setting. Add a small amount of detergent, about a tablespoon, the exact measurement is not crucial but soap is important in the felting process. I usually run it on a long cycle, the more agitation the better the felting. Good old fashion top loading washers have the most success with felting.

When you take the chain of balls out of the machine, you will see little fibers have come though the mesh of the hose. Snip the tied yarn between the balls, gently peel away the hose removing the ball and roll the ball in your hands to smooth the fibers.

Click here to watch a video tutorial to make felted pumpkins which start with a basic felted ball.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Cream Heart Cakes




Zucchini Chocolate Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda           
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate baking chips
1 cup salad oil
4 large eggs

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in zucchini, and chocolate chips. In a small bowl, beat oil to mix with eggs; add to dry mixture and stir to moisten well.
Line two large jelly roll pans with parchment paper, crease corners to fit and spread half the batter in each pan. Bake in a 325° oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes.
While cake is cooling make peppermint cream filling.

Peppermint Cream
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1  1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
red food coloring

Cream the butter with a mixer on medium speed until soft about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the milk, the flour, and the vanilla extract, and whisk until there are no lumps. Over medium heat, slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup milk, whisking constantly, and cook until the mixture comes to a low boil. Then reduce the heat to low and keep whisking for a few more minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken.

Immediately remove the pan from the heat, but keep stirring and cool to room temperature. If necessary, place the pan over a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and allow the mixture to cool.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the milk mixture into the butter-sugar mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add peppermint to combine.


After cake has cooled use a heart shaped cookie cutter and cut out cake hearts and place on a clean piece of parchment. One pan had thicker hearts so I made those the bottoms and the thinner hearts the tops.

Place peppermint cream in a large ziplock bag, snip corner and squeeze out cream onto half the hearts and place a second heart on top.


Now you could stop here or you could keep going by cutting some heart stencils and and dusting the hearts with powdered sugar.

 What can I say, Indigo and I were doing this together, lol
Indigo perfected the dusting process by finding if you brush the remaining powder sugar off the stencil before lifting it you get a cleaner design.



Here's some of the stencils we made






 Enjoy!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Folk Art Inspired Ornament



What you're going to need


4" square Walnut Hollow aluminum and cardboard from package
embossing tool
ribbon for hanging
red paint
paint brush
decorative craft scissors
paper scissors
hole punch
E-6000 glue or similar adhesive
Adirondack alcohol inks and blending solution (optional)

Click on the heart image to open a full size jpg on another web page. Drag image onto your desktop and print heart design so that it fits on a  4" square (on point, measure on the diagonal).  Trace outline onto the 4" cardboard square that came in the aluminum package. Cut it out and paint it red on both sides. Punch a small hole for the hanging ribbon in the top.



Center line drawing over the 4" metal square and trace the small heart, this will lightly emboss the heart on the metal.


Using decorative edge craft scissors cut just outside the embossed line.


Glue metal heart to cardboard with E-6000 or similar strong multipurpose adhesive, it may need 24 hours to dry completely. Then emboss decorative designs on the metal, I prefer using a nylon tipped tool for this.


Draw the design of your choice on the paper heart, place over the metal and trace the design so that it transfers to the metal.


Go over the lines with the embossing tool to add more depth to the design and add more decorative details.


You could stop here with a silver embossed design or add color with Adirondack Alcohol inks.

Use Alcohol blending solution instead of water to lighten colors, rehydrate the inks on your palette (because they dry very quickly) and clean your brush between colors.



Thread ribbon through the hole and tie it for hanging.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Creating The Look of Rusty, Old, Stained Fabric


A white piece of fabric can be so intimidating to work on, that's one of the reasons I like to start with fabric that has a little color and texture when I plan on collaging and painting it.


I like to create a variety of warm and cool browns.


I mix watery solutions of textile paint, this is a great way to use up the remainders of paint left in the jar. One of my favorite colors is made by combining Setacolor's buttercup yellow and purple, it makes a gorgeous warm ochre brown.


I crumple pieces of dry white pfd cotton fabric and dunk it in the paint solution.

Maybe you might want to use gloves, lol, for some reason I never think of doing things like that.

 Then I squeeze out the fabric


and lay it on the table, partially crumpled, to dry. As it dries the pigment in the paint is drawn to the creases in the fabric.


After it has dried, I iron the fabric to reveal all the beautiful texture.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

DIY Ombre Skirt



I've had this jean skirt for a couple years and have hardly ever worn it, the first reason is the length was not flattering being right at the knee, as you can see here in this photo from quilt festival with my friend  Jane LaFazio and one of my students, Nasreen. It makes my long legs look stumpy and it was just kind of boring.

So I cut off 3 inches and left a raw edge. I'm a 70's girl at heart, I always liked that raw edge on cut offs. Then I set to work bleaching the bottom edge.
Here it is after, much improved, I think.

This is how I did it:
I used bleach, unfortunately with denim there aren't really any other good options for removing the dye, and a bucket.

First I saturated the skirt in water so the bleach wouldn't make a sharp line when I first dipped it. I put about an inch of bleach in a bucket and dipped the skirt in.

Then I poured hot water down the skirt and into the bucket, so there would be more bleach in the bucket but it would be diluted. I slowly dipped the skirt in a little deeper so the diluted bleach went up higher on the skirt. I repeated dipping and pulling the skirt out of the bleach until I got the bottom edge very light and had a nice gradation.

I ran the skirt through a long wash wash cycle to get all the bleach out and put it in the drier on hot to get the bottom nice and frayed.

Now back to work prepping for all my classes at International Quilt Festival next week.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How can you resist such a simple technique


One fun little technique I found works great with acrylic inks (this would also work with Tsukineko inks) is to draw on fabric with a colored pencil or china marker and paint over it like a simple resist. Kind of like in grammar school when you colored with crayons and painted india ink over the top.

So why pencil versus china marker? Simply, pencil will give you a thinner defined line and the china marker a thicker heavier line.

In this case brand does matter. The first sample, if you can see it, was written with a Blick store brand white colored pencil and the second was a Berol Prismacolor white pencil. The Blick pencil was not as creamy and waxy and did not create a very good resist, the ink painted right over it.

If you are unfamiliar with china markers, they are a pencil that can write on a non-porous surface, like plastic, glass or metal and then can be wiped of with a firm rub with a dry cloth.
You don't sharpen them, instead you peel back the paper wrap covering by grasping that little string and pulling it back to the first perforated row
 grab the paper, unwind it
 then draw.
This is a sample I worked on in the acrylic inks class, layering up multiple different techniques.
The thick white lines are textile paint, the thinner flower vine pattern in the center of the paisley is china marker.
The little pale blue crosses in the background were also drawn with white china marker and then painted over with blue ink. I like how they show up really well and have a hint of blue.
I painted over the center of the paisley with red ink.
The pencil does not penetrate the fibers like a gutta resist, so if you have a lot of ink on your brush and the fabric gets really wet it will bleed beyond the pencil lines, but the white lines of the drawn imagery will show through, which to me is the effect I really like.
I painted inside the flowers and leaves with red-violet ink to make them stand out more. The benefit of the china marker was that I could quickly add color without being too fussy and neat because it kept the ink fairly contained.

Voila!
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