Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Inkjet Printing on Fabric

Bubble Jet Set 2000
Use your inkjet printer to print text or digital images and photographs onto fabric.  The printed fabric can be used to make art quilts and wall hangings or further enhanced with fabric paints or print effects.

Bubble Jet Set 2000 can be used to make 100% cotton and silk fabrics suitable for inkjet printing. The fabric is soaked in the solution and when dry is ironed onto the shiny side of freezer paper, giving it support for feeding through an inkjet printer.  Find out more about Bubble Jet Set 2000 >

Fabrics treated for inkjet printing
We also carry a range of pre-treated fabrics which come with a paper backing ready for feeding into your inkjet printer.  The cotton and silk sheets come in packs of 10, and the organza sheets, which are very effective when layered, come in packs of 5. 
The silk is also sold 'off the roll' in lengths of 43cm x 50cm.

The photograph below shows flowers printed onto the Habotai silk.  Once the print has been allowed to dry for a minimum of 24 hours, the paper backing can be removed and the fabric washed.  Prints are hand washable remain very light fast, retaining the suppleness of the fabric.

Find out more about these inkjet printable fabrics >

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Nuno Felting

Nuno felting is an effective felt making technique where wool fibres are placed on an open weave fabric and then felted until the wool fibres shrink, making the fabric pucker.

The fabric puckers as the wool fibre shrinks

The example above shows undyed Merino wool tops laid perpendicular to each other on Silk Gauze Chiffon (available in white and black).  As the fibres are felted, they become attached to the open weave and shrink, causing this interesting effect.  The resulting fabric is so attractive that it can be made into clothing or accessories.

The silk fibre glistens amongst the wool fibre

Laying the fibres in rows is equally effective, and the example above has been achieved using the Merino Wool / Mulberry Silk Top blend.

Although Nuno felting works best with a wool fibre, blends such as the Merino Wool / Mulberry Silk Top and the Merino Wool / Tussah Silk (pictured below) will still work due to the percentage of wool included in the mix.

Blend of 3 colours of Merino Wool fibre and Tussah silk fibre

Friday, 20 May 2011

Craft Ideas for Half Term

With half-term looming, we'd like to offer you a number of craft ideas for keeping the children occupied and for encouraging their creativity.

Tapestry Weaving

You will need a tapestry frame or an old picture frame (we sell tapestry frame lengths in pairs, so that you can build the frame to your specification), a selection of yarns (these can include strips of fabric, plastic bags or ribbons, our Mixed Bag of Yarns may be of interest), and a small piece of cardboard to wrap the yarn around to use as a shuttle.

Find out more about Tapestry Weaving...

Polymer Clay Bead Necklace

You will 2/3 packs of polymer clay (FIMO Soft may be better for children as it requires little conditioning), a length of leather thong or a shoe lace, a cocktail stick or similar for making the holes, and a baking sheet which should not be used for cooking once it has been in contact with the clay.

Find out more about this bead making project...

Felt Balls

You will need a small bag of Merino Wool Fibres (we have a 100g bag of mixed colours), a spray bottle with diluted washing up liquid and elbow grease!

Find out how the felt caterpillar was made...

Heliographic Sun Printing

You will need 1/2 colours of Pebeo Setacolor Soleil, a mask which will lay close to the fabric such as a cardboard cut-out, keys or leaves, and an old t-shirt or lenght of cotton fabric.

Find out more about printing with the sun...

We hope you have fun with our recommendations and look forward to seeing what you have made!

These crafts will generally need an adults supervision and sensible precautions should be taken when handling materials and equipment.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Decorative woven straps, bands & belts

Tablet weaving is an ancient technique for weaving decorative bands of cloth for use as belts or straps. The equipment takes up only a limited amount of space and provides a surprising diversity in patterning, depending on the technique and the colour and texture of the yarns used.

A band being woven on Tablet Weaving Cards
Shelagh Lewins' page about how to weave bands using tablet weaving cards provides clear illustrations and step-by-step instructions.

There is a selection of braiding and band weaving equipment available from George Weil, and alternatives to tablet weaving cards include inkle looms (the Schacht Inkle loom is pictured above with the Tablet Weaving Cards), Marudai (for creating complex braids using the Kumihimo technique), and the Lucet.

Tablet Weaving Cards made from plastic and leather and the Schacht Inkle Loom
Weaving a band using an inkle loom has the advantage of being able to weave a long length which remains on the loom until completed, the Schacht inkle loom allows up to 2.5m of weaving.

Visit the George Weil Fact File to learn more about Inkle Weaving.

Monday, 16 May 2011

New boy Felix woos George Weil staff

The newest member of our team popped in with Mum on Thursday - much to our delight!

Now Felix, what would you like to do?  Packing room, order processing, buying, website, accounts or warehouse? You're most welcome!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Printing and Painting with Procion MX dyes and Acid dyes

Painting or printing fabric with dyes will leave the fabric with a softer handle than with paints.

Silk and fabric paints contain pigments that settle on the surface of the fibre from which the fabric is woven, along with a fixative to attach the particles.

The basic paint is made from the same insoluble dye particles as used in artists acrylic paints suspended in water and with a higher concentration of fixative. The fixative is set by ironing the back of the fabric for 3-4 minutes.

Paints or printing inks are a quick and relatively mess free option for decorating textiles but dyes are the best option when the colour and handke of the final fabric is important.

When a fabric is coloured using dyes, the dye is absorbed into the fibres and becomes an integral part of the fabric. There is no residue (such as the acrylic binder in paints) and the fabric remains supple. When dyed properly, the colours are more vibrant and remain washfast with care.

We have added two new pages to our Fact File which provide recipes for printing and painting with both Procion MX dyes and Acid dyes. The Procion dyes are best suited for cotton, linen and viscose, while the Acid dyes have been formulated to work best on silk, wool and other protein fibres such as cashmere.

Find out more about Printing with Procion MX dyes >

Find out more about Printing and Painting on Silk using Acid dyes >

Our range of Fibrecrafts Explorer Dye Kits provide the materials and information for learning about the different types of dyes.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Acid Dyes & Steam-fixing

Space dyed wool yarns using acid dyes
The colour from acid dyes will give the most vibrant results on silk, wool and other protein fibres such as soya and hair.  The simple method (find out how) can be adapted to microwave dyeing.   

These wool yarns have been 'space dyed' and the effect can be replicated using our 'Quick Microwave Method for Acid Dyes' >

Discharge black velvet
The Discharge and Illuminating Acid dyes offer experimentation.  Fabric dyed with a dischargeable acid dye can have the colour removed with a discharge paste.  The paste can be printed with with a block, applied with a brush or it can be screen printed.  An illuminating acid dye can be combined with the discharge paste so that the base colour is discharged and replaced with the new colour.  Find out more about Discharge Printing >

Painted silk scarf using Dupont dyes by Katherine Barney
Painting with acid dyes using the Dupont dye range can be a little daunting to artists as these dyes require steam-fixing.  It is the heat from the steam that sets the dye and a simple homemade stove top steamer is adequate for small amounts of steam-setting.  For step-by-step instructions, see our Fact File page 'Steam Fixing Acid Dyes' >

Silk paints offer a good alternative to silk dyes and can be heat set using an iron.  They have been formulated to closely resemble dyes although the colours and handle of the fabric are less satisfying than with the results from silk dyes.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Blending Polymer Clay

Creating a sheet of clay that blends from one colour to another is a basic technique that has dozens of uses when working with polymer clay.  It is most often used in millefiori canes but a blended sheet can also be used to make a background for a relief picture or divided up to create a range of different coloured beads in a graded necklace.

The two colours of polymer clay can be blended together very effectively using a roller and elbow grease but a designated pasta machine will make light work of the process (remember to keep polymer clay tools separate from food preparation). 

Using two contrasting colours, such as the yellow and blue in the image above, will create a new colour where the colours are blended together.  In this case, the colour has resulted in green. 

A blend of yellow and red would make orange, red and blue a purple, black and white a grey, and so on.  More subtle results are achieved from using a light and darker shade of the same colour, such as in the image below.

Visit the Fact File page Blending Polymer Clay to learn how to achieve a blend by following the step-by-step intructions and photographs, and then progress to Polymer Clay Millefiori Cane Flower to see what you can make once you have mastered the technique of blending the clay.