Lutradur leaves…..

Busy making samples ahead of next weekends Forest Floor Workshop at Simply Stitch.  Today’s samples are Lutradur leaves…..

Lutradur is a wonderful fabric to work with as it doesn’t fray or tear but can be easily stitched, coloured (Inktense, Acrylics, watercolours, fabric paints, felt pens etc, etc) cut with scissors or a soldering iron and distressed using a heat tool.  It’s possible to create beautiful, lacy effects when making leaf skeletons.

I had intended to paint this leaf but it has a  ‘frosted’ look about it which I like.  It’s given me the idea of creating a monochrome Winter sample with frosted bark and grasses.

This Autumnal leaf (above) is my favourite so far….and this is the back of it…..

Forest Floor…..

I’m currently working on samples for a heat manipulative mixed media workshop with the theme  “Forest Floor”.  This is the first sample in the series in which I’ve used painted and heat distressed Tyvek and Lutradur, combined with natural tree bark, a leaf and hand embroidery.

The first of the workshops will be held at Simply Stitch, East Keswick on April 7th & 8th.  On day one we will be painting on, and experimenting with, various heat manipulative materials.  Using an iron, soldering iron and heat tool we will be working with Tyvek paper and fabric, various weights of Lutradur and polyester.  There will be the opportunity to include hand and machine stitching in your work.

On day two we will use the samples we have made, or create new ones, adding stitching and found objects to build up a layered, highly textured piece of work inspired by the “Forest Floor”.  For more info or to book a place contact Nicola on 07969 578289 or email

This is a photograph of two autumn leaves and a leaf skeleton I made from Lutradur.

Autumn Leaf skeleton made from Lutradur

On April 25th I will be running a one day “Forest Floor” workshop at All Sewn Up by Debs in Horncastle.  For this session we will be using the iron, soldering iron and heat tool to manipulate Tyvek paper and lightweight Lutradur.  Once they’ve been distressed these materials will be combined with natural tree bark and hand stitching to create our beautiful, layered Forest Floor.  This class is suitable for all abilities and is a great introduction to working with Lutradur and Tyvek.  For more information or to book a place call Debs on 01507 524566.


A Walk in the Forest…..

The latest quilt challenge for members of the Cranwell group is A Walk in the Forest and this is my interpretation.

A Walk in the Forest

A Walk in the Forest

With each challenge we are also given a particular technique to use somewhere within our work, for this particular piece we were asked to include painted Bondaweb.  This could be used over a large area or just included as a tiny piece, it was entirely at our discretion.  Those of you with a keen eye might be wondering where my Bondaweb is…….it’s so insignificant it’s not even worth me pointing it out!

When the subject was given out I immediately had this image in my mind of the trees and forest floor cut out of several pieces of Lutradur and stitched to create the illusion of depth.  I also knew that I wanted a shimmering backdrop to represent the daylight glistening at the edge of the woods.  After auditioning several fabrics, and not being happy with any of them, I decided to go with wallpaper for my background.  I had a sample of paper that was just large enough and created exactly the effect I was seeing in my mind.

The Lutradur trees were coloured from dark to light to suggest that the viewer is walking from inside the forest towards the light at the edge of the woods.  I figured the Bondaweb would be used fairly discretely to create shadow on the forest floor.  Unfortunately, as I had coloured the Lutradur with wax crayons, there was no way that the Bondaweb was going to bond!  Having said that, a tiny piece is clinging on, allowing me to say I have included Bondaweb in my work……..just not a lot of it!

Another 3d vessel…..

Since finishing my Flower Tower (and wondering what on earth I am going to do with it) I’ve been thinking about making another 3d vessel.  If it’s a success it will be destined for the lounge to sit next to a felted bowl I made last year with Jenny Pepper.  I love the grey and lemon colour scheme of the bowl and so I began by wet felting some fibres to match it.

My starting point for the grey/lemon vessel.

My starting point for the grey/lemon vessel.

I didn’t have a shape in mind but they turned out a bit like grey bacon rashers!  I repeated the exercise, this time laying out three lots of very fine fibres and covering each of them with a strip of white organza.  If you click on the photo below to enlarge it you will see the organza more clearly.

The painted Lutradur and pieces of felt ready to be sewn.

The painted Lutradur and pieces of felt ready to be sewn.

The next step was to roughly cut 3 pieces of Lutradur and paint it with Inktense Blocks.  I say “roughly” because I want the finished effect to look organic and distressed so I’m not working to a precise measurement or shape.

The FM embroidery is work in progress.

The FM embroidery is work in progress.

I have several threads of dubious quality (I haven’t a clue what some of them are made of) so I spent a bit of time last night blasting them with my heat gun to confirm which are 100% cotton, as opposed to polyester, and which are Rayon, as opposed to Nylon.  That job done, it was time to start machining with cream, grey, gold and dark olive.   It needs a lot more stitching yet but I will put this piece to one side for now and work on the other two sections.


Lutradur Autumn Leaf…..

This is a photograph of two autumn leaves and a leaf skeleton I made from Lutradur.

Autumn Leaf skeleton made from Lutradur

This is a skeleton leaf which I created in response to the 4th quarter challenge from the Felting and Fibre Studio.  The subject matter was chosen by Zed, who specialises in felt making, and it required participants to create something along the lines of “land art”.

My blue/green handmade leaf stitched with metallic thread and embellished with tiny coloured beads.

Tyvek leaf with metallic thread and beading.

My immediate thought was to create an Autumn Leaf, possibly a leaf skeleton, and photograph it with real fallen leaves. I had previously made a couple of leaves from Tyvek which were embellished with metallic threads and beads, but for this challenge I wanted to make a more natural looking leaf.

A photograph showing my painted leaf having the veins sewn on using my Janome sewing machine

The painted leaf has veins sewn on.

I thought I would try out a new material which I had bought a few months ago but not yet made the time to experiment with. It was a heavy weight Lutradur purchased on-line from Lutradur is one of several Spunbonded textiles which include Tyvek, Evolon and Kunin. These are manmade fibres with strength and flexibility making them ideal for textile art. They can be washed, dyed, painted, printed, stitched, burned, fused, foiled, stenciled, and slashed with ease. You name it, spunbonded textiles can take it.

I began by sketching an outline and coloured the fabric with Inktense blocks. Once the paint was dry I drew the veins, using a Frixion pen. The leaf and the veins were then machine stitched using Gutterman green 100% cotton thread and an open toe embroidery foot. Once the leaf was cut out I used my heat tool to distress it. It was at this stage that I discovered Lutradur doesn’t shrink and distort like Tyvek……it wasn’t reacting as I had thought it would. I had made the leaf larger than it needed to be thinking it would shrivel but it turns out that when you blast Lutradur with heat your work retains its overall shape and size. Having said that, I loved the lacy effect it created and was really pleased with the finished leaf skeleton.

A handmade leaf skeleton with a beautiful lace effect created by heat distressing the fabric.

Distressed Lutradur resulting in a beautiful lace effect.

Three Autumn leaves, two real, the other handmade.

My skeleton leaf created for the Felting and Fibre Studio challenge.