Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Book Spotlight: Tapestry Weaving

Tapestry Weaving by Kirsten Glasbrook
Tapestry Weaving by Kirsten Glasbrook
 Kirsten Glasbrook's colourful and exciting book 'Tapestry Weaving' will appeal to all lovers of colour and texture.

The various techniques of tapestry weaving are explored through Kirsten's evocative designs and the step-by-step guidance and detailed photographs teach the weaver how to create motifs, borders, and shading, as well as finishing techniques such as tassels and beading.

Weaving a tapestry is like painting with yarn and the inspiring gallery of Kirsten's work shows the versatility of the craft. 

Excerpt from Tapestry Weaving by Kirsten Glasbrook
This excerpt from the book illustrates how a design can be 'traced' onto the warp threads and interpreted with the coloured rug yarn.

If you would like to know more about Tapestry Weaving, you can visit our website to browse the range of Tapestry Weaving equipment, or pop in to the Book Shop to preview other books about weaving techniques.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Jacquard Procion MX dyes

Jacquard Procion MX dyes
The Jacquard MX Procion dyes have been formulated for use on cellulose fabrics such as cotton and linen, although they also produce reasonable colours on silk and wool.  These fibre reactive dyes become locked into the fabric when combined with salt and soda ash, making the dye extremely washfast.

As this is the only dye you can fix without using heat, Procion MX dyes are excellent for Batik work where it is crucial to have a cold dye-bath so as not to melt the wax resist.

The instructions on each pot are simple to follow and the quantity of dye used is determined how dark you require the finished colour to be.  Black (and some darker colours) will require more dye powder as it is notoriously difficult to achieve when dyeing fabrics.

The procion dyes also work well in a washing machine and Jacquard have included instructions for this process on the label (you may have to adapt it slightly as the directions relate to a front loading machine).

A selection of the handy dyers tools
available from www.georgeweil.com/
To tie-dye fabric with the dyes, you can first soak the fabric in a solution of soda ash (approx. 250g soda ash dissolved in 4 litres warm water).  Squeeze out the fabric, and fold and tie it where you want the patterning to appear.  Prepared the dye solution of 2 teaspoons of dye powder dissolved in 250ml tap water and apply to the fabric parcel with a squeezy bottle, dropper or brush.  Cover the parcel in plastic wrap and leave to stand for 12-24 hours.  Rinse out in a little warm water until the water runs clear.

The Fibrecrafts Procion MX dyes can be used in exactly the same way.  Although there are less colours to choose from, the powders can be mixed to produce any colour and as the dye is available in 50g pots, it is more economical to use when working on larger projects.  We recommend note keeping to record the quantities used to create your own colours.

Visit the website to find out more about these Procion MX dyes from our Fact File, or to browse the range of Procion MX dyes available. 

Friday, 19 August 2011

Craft Magazines from George Weil

Our selection of specialist magazines remain very popular with our customers. The magazines are available to buy individually or a part of a subscription, and all prices include free postage and packaging. 

There are 17 titles to choose from covering a variety of crafts including
weaving, knitting, surface decoration and dyeing, spinning, crochet, and polymer clay, and a selection of these outstanding magazines explore the history of textiles and modern innovation. 
Please visit the website if you would like to see the choice of magazines available on subscription or browse the choice of single magazine issues currently available.  Our 'Back Issue Lucky Dip' offers an excellent value way to preview a random selection of 5 of the
magazines for just £5.50. Here we feature our latest issues:

Handwoven magazine
Handwoven magazine, Issue 156, September/October 2011

A special fashion edition featuring 15 weave patterns for garments. There is the prettily textured short sleeved top which incorporates a woven bodice and a knitted 'skirt', the 'Kodachrome Coat' (cover image) woven on a rainbow-painted warp, and a woven shibori dress created using a polyester weft and a gathering thread to make pleats which become permanent when the fabric is heat treated. 

See this issue on our website >


Interweave Knits magazine
Interweave Knits magazine, Fall 2011 - Vol 16, Number 3

Time to dust off your needles and dig out that chunky yarn, this autumn issue of Interweave Knits includes some super warm chunky cable knitting patterns, including the fabulous sweater featured on the cover. There is also a selection of pretty and delicate lace knits, and a selection of mittens, socks and sweaters to knit in rustic colourwork... 

See this issue on our website >


The Journal
The Journal Magazine for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Vol 239, Autumn 2011

Articles in this issue include 'From Student to Professional Weaver: an Interview with Holly Bradley-Gill' who won the Texprint Weave Award in 2010, and 'Weaving a way of life: Kyrgyz Woven Textiles' examines the textiles of Kyrgystan and how they are woven into their homes and industry. We discover the intricate batik work from the Javanese co-op members in 'More Meetings with Remarkable Dyes: Java' and a visit to Gainsborough Silk Mill highlights their unbroken legacy of silk and weaving.

See this issue on our website >


Surface Design Journal
Surface Design Journal "Paper & Books" issue, Summer 2011 Vol 35, No 4

If you're fascinated by paper and handmade books, this issue should not be missed. The article 'Handmade Papermaking in Kumasi' visits a community of paper makers in Ghana and shows how their paper is made. Mixed-media artist Karen Guancione uses paper, fabric and recycled items (inlcuding a bra!) to create one of a kind handmade books, and 'Paper in the Hood' discovers the work of six artists using the medium, and all working within Santa Cruz. 

See this issue on our website >


Quilting Arts Magazine
Quilting Arts magazine, Aug/Sept 2011, issue 52
A great opportunity to experiment with fabrics. There are ideas on how to customise your stash of prints with painted-art additions, the findings of this issue's 'Resists from the Kitchen: Tapioca', and tips on adding foil to your designs. You can learn how to print fabric using moldable foam stamps, create exciting patterns with ice dyeing, and experiment with layered marbling... 

See this issue on our website >

Monday, 15 August 2011

Merino Wool Tops for Felt Making

Felt making is most effective using wool fibres.  The best to use is wool that has been cleaned and combed.  The treated wool is known as wool tops, or wool roving.

Fibre with a Bradford count of 60 or higher (find out more about wool classification), will felt readily when combined with water, heat and alkali, such as soap (plus a degree of elbow grease!).  The Merino sheep produces a super fine wool which can have a Bradford count as high as 110. 

The George Weil range of Merino wool tops have a Bradford count of 64 and are available in 28 colours.  To extend the palette further, it is possible to blend the colours together using a pair of hand carders. 

The different colours are laid evenly across the fine teeth of one carder and the other carder is placed on top.  As the carders pass across each other, the fibres begin to blend.  The process is repeated until you are happy with the integration.

Felting wool fibres together creates a warm, dense fabric.  The wool can be felted on a flat surface, or it can be shaped round a former such as a Hat Shaper.  The former needs to be smooth, non-porous and able to withstand heat and water.  A plastic bag or bubble wrap can be used between layers of fibre to stop it from felting and to create hollow forms.  Linda Chapman's bag, pictured below, was made using this method.

There are numberous techniques for felt making and many of them are covered in the Fact File pages on our website.  Our page Making Felt by Hand will help get you started and our selection of fibres and tools can be found in the Felt Making section.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Book Spotlight: Complete Feltmaking

Complete Feltmaking by Gillian Harris
Author Gillian Harris started out as a graphic designer before pursuing a career in feltmaking. She teaches numerous feltmaking workshops and sells a collection of her felted handbags from her website.

Her first book 'Complete Feltmaking' covers all aspects of feltmaking including making flat felt, creating 3d shapes, felted knits, needle felting and other techniques such as cobweb and nuno felting.

Knitted & felted flower brooch
You will find an overview of the history of feltmaking, information about the different types of wool fibre, and a list of essential equipment, plus a useful Glossary and templates for some of the projects.

Each colourful project is labelled either beginner, intermediate and advanced, making it easier to select what to make while you master the various feltmaking techniques. 

The beautifully photographed projects, using brightly coloured Merino wool tops, and Gillian's clear and easy to follow instructions, will inspire the reader to progress to making their own felted designs.

Felted photo album cover
Please visit the website if you would like to order Complete Feltmaking or browse our selection of other Felt Making Books

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Hand Paper Making

Paper made from cotton
You can make paper out of a number of materials using either a prepared pulp, cotton linters or from recycled papers.  You can also make paper from plant fibres which need first to be soaked in water for up to 24 hours and chopped up before simmering in a solution of 1 tablespoon soda ash in 1 litre of water for 2 hours (a smelly process which should be done outside if possible!).  This process breaks down the cellulose from the plant fibre.  It is the prepared plant fibre that is used for the pulp. 

The pulp can be coloured using pigments or dyes, and silk threads, seeds and other items can be added for extra texture.  There are also a range of additives which can be included in the pulp to help bind coloured pigments to the fibres, whiten the pulp, create a smoother surface and make it less absorbent, or improve its stiffness, find out more about paper making additives.

A good way to learn about the process of paper making is through our Paper Making Explorer Pack.  The pack includes one A4 deckle and frame, couching J-cloths, 250g cotton linters, 15g hand-dyed silk fibres and 5g mill dyed silk waste. It also inludes the simple to follow ‘Papermaking for the Terrified’ booklet written by Kath Russon.

The Paper Making Explorer Pack includes everything you need to get started.
You can order the Paper Making Explorer Pack from our website, or browse our Paper Crafts section to buy your materials and equipment separately.

Friday, 5 August 2011

The Jacquard Tie Dye Kit

The Jacquard Tie Dye Kit has been designed for children, and is especially fun while enjoying the Summer weather (this activity is guaranteed to pry them away from the x-box).

Children over 8 (and adults too) will enjoy making their own tie-dyed t-shirt.  The kit includes 3 colours of Procion MX dye in red, yellow and blue, and the setting agent, soda ash.  There is enough to pattern up to 5 t-shirts (white cotton works best) or you can have a go at dyeing one of our silk scarves which will be equally effective.

The tie dye kit contains 3 colours of dyes, soda ash, 1 pair of gloves,
a bag of rubber bands, and colourful illustrated instructions.
 The instructions show a number of ways to 'tie' the t-shirt to create different patterning.  The tightened rubber band or tied string prevents the dye from reaching the areas which are bound, and when the bindings are removed there is a pattern on the dyed fabric.

The fabric can be re-tied and dyed a number of times to build up different colours and to overlap the patterning.  Combining different colours will result in new colours:

yellow + red = orange
yellow + blue = green
red + blue = purple

Please visit our website if you would like to order the Jacquard Tie Dye kit or to browse our range of silk scarves.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Book Spotlight: Off the Deckle Edge

Neeta Premchand was born in India but spent her adult years living in London and Germany. Her paper making began as a hobby but developed into a passion which she writes about in her book 'Off the Deckle Edge'. This, her first book, follows in the footsteps of Dard Hunter, whose accounts in the 1930's documented the tradition of paper making in India, China, Japan and Europe.

Subtitled A paper-making journey through India, Neeta's book examines this fast disappearing world of hand paper making and discovers that there are villages which know no other craft. Neeta meets the men and women who for generations spent their lives making the looms, weaving the mats and treading the pulp to make the sheets of paper. 

Every eighth page of this fascinating book are sheets of the special handmade paper that Neeta encountered during her journey. The natural colours and tactile textures are there for you to see and feel, giving you a full appreciation of the skills used to create the sheets.

An excerpt from 'Off the Deckle Edge'

If you would like to buy this book, please visit the Book Shop on our website.