Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The Silk's Journey, continued.
The finished work (slightly brighter than it actually is due to the flash).
When we left off last time, I had just finished painting it.
Next I used free motion embroidery to sew the silk onto a one metre piece of plain m-cotton. I've been learning to do this on an industrial sewing machine, which has been marginally overwhelming. The thread broke over one hundred times my first afternoon sewing it. I switched from cotton to polyester and back. I changed the needles on the machine. I switched machines. I switched embroidery feet. Finally, a million years and a day later, I discovered that 'tension' was the source my problems. It was simply set too tightly for such fine fabric. (Apparently adjusting the tension on the studio machines is very naughty, but it worked!) This is the back - you can see the knots. Most I was able to snip out later on.
Afterward, I soaked the entire piece in a lye bath for just over a minute. Natural cellulosic fibers shrink when they come into contact with lye (caustic soda and water). Loosely woven cotton and linen have worked best for me. Silk can be safely dipped for short periods of time and will not shrink. Other protein-based fibres, such as wool, dissolve and start breaking. I stitched the silk onto the m-cotton, anticipating that the m-cotton would shrink and cause the silk to pucker and buckle. Because I'm a protein based being, I'm all suited up.
Then I neutralised the fabric and washed it very well.
You can see the puckering effect up close here.
That's the end of the journey for the silk. For me, the journey was about combining different processes and practicing my free motion embroidery. It's given me lots of ideas for future projects.
I'm still knitting my Baudelaires, and in the meantime, I have a book terrific recommendation!
I recently ordered this from Amazon and it's the best book on weaving structure I've ever seen. If you've ever wanted to learn more about weave structures, wondered why satin weave needs five harnesses, been baffled by a cloth diagram, or simply wanted everything to make sense 'in your head' while you are weaving it, buy this. Alderman covers every iota of the warp and weft in great detail. I haven't finished it yet but I'm reading it from cover to cover - I never thought I'd say that about a book on structure.
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