Fabric and Needlework

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Aging fabric: What you need to do is think of the look you are after and DO test. Tea will often give an orange undertone while Coffee will be, as Linda mentioned, more umber. Take a look at the colour of things as they age. Unless there is a high level of iron in the water of the area, things age a brownish tone, not orange.

These are things to remember though.

- - tea will be lighter than coffee and range in tones
- - strong mixtures in HOT water are are must
- - what colour it looks wet? It WILL dry darker.
- - wet the fabric in plain water before dipping in solution so your dye job is even and not splotchy.

Debi in Quesnel

Aging fabric: I had an idea about aging fabric or any other absorbent material. How about dissolving, (boil) some old leather to get the tannins into the water. If you have Oak trees near by you can use the leaves. (heavy in tannins). (Acorns also) After you get the color tint you desire, soak the fabric or other absorbent material in the solution. It should pick up the color in the solution.

DrBob...Delray Beach, FL.

Aging Fabrics: I have had great success with the use of Rit Taupe Dye. Sprinkle a few grains in a container of hot hot water. Wet your fabric thoroughly and flatten out as much as possible. Dip into the dye water and swish around. Remove and rinse in cold water. Instant age!

Barbara Cooper

Fading/aging fabric: I'm going to cut small sample pieces of fabric and then try each of the suggestions given to me. I'm then going to make a "sample board" of sorts and label each technique used with each piece of fabric. I'll photograph it and post it to my picture trail site when I have it completed. Then anyone can go and use it as a reference if they would like. I'll let you know when it's complete.

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to email me or post to SS. I sure do appreciate all of your help!!!!!

Tammy Fischer

Help with fabric stiffener: If you go to Aileene's site, you can find some information on spray fabric stiffener:


Information on stiffening fabrics in general:

There is also a liquid (Stiffy fabric stiffener) that I used for kid's Halloween projects
http://www.frightnights.com/howto/ghost.htm. It was wonderful stuff for making 'stiff' ghosts out of thin white cotton and Origami projects

For more information, check out Carol Duvall's huge repository of craft projects here:
http://www.hgtv.com/ I've seen a couple of her shows where she has used fabric stiffener. To purchase, check Http://www.joann.com


Fabric stiffener : if you can't find fabric stiffener, you can use regular fabric starch (although that will "wilt" eventually) or dilute tacky glue with water to a more liquid consistency. Soak the fabric completely, squeeze out most of the liquid, and then form on the object you're covering, leave alone till dried in place. My mom used diluted glue on crochet projects before they marketed commercial stiffener, and she's convinced it's nothing but dilute tacky anyway.


Eyestrain: I just purchased a GE reveal light bulb. All I could find was a food light with a medium base. I got a 50 watt for the small clamp light I have that shines light over my left shoulder. It is clamped onto my wing chair (not a decorator's choice, but it works). Boy, does this make a difference. The light is not yellow, it seems to be whiter more like natural light. I have always found it easier to work on a sunny day but not in direct sunlight. This light feels like I am sitting in strong natural light with out being directly in the sun.

I should explain that I do mini crochet with fine threads and .4, .5, and .6 mm hooks. I need good light just to be able to see my work let alone deal with eye strain. I have been using this new light bulb for two days now and I really like it. I am working longer and faster. Also, the work suddenly seems easier. But I still have to work out how to see the "holes" working with super fine silk.

Lee Ann

Magnification: Eons ago when I took my first piece of petitpoint with me for my annual eye exam, the doctor recommended a magnifying lamp with the light underneath the magnifier to light up the work. He said the light was equally, if not more important than the magnification because you could see much better with proper light. So I did that.

Next visit I brought in a piece I had worked on 72 count and told him that after a few hours my eyes bothered me a bit with this. He said to wear reading glasses from the drug store and get whatever strength was necessary to easily see (with the magnifying lamp) without straining.

Also he said, stitching while "watching" television was good because the looking up, refocusing, looking down, refocusing, was good exercise for your eyes. The amazing thing was that stitching several hours a day for many years, under the proper conditions, IMPROVED my eyesight and my prescription (nearsighted) had to be lessened 3 or 4 times over a period of years. In the 6 years that I didn't stitch at all, my prescription had to be made stronger. Moral: Use whatever it takes to see without strain, BUT be sure your work surface has the proper light!


dressing miniature dolls: it's easy and fun to learn to dress dolls, and you can learn a lot by subscribing to the Dainty Doll Newsletter. Each issue has 6-7 costume projects of all kinds, complete with patterns and detailed instructions. Anyone can email me for more information, or check out my web site. http://daintydoll.tripod.com/DaintyDolls/

Paulette Stinson

How to end off when stringing tiny beads...How NOT to end is by tying a knot. It will show. It will come undone. You are better off just running your needle and thread a little farther through several more beads. Add a tiny drop of clear nail polish (NOT super glue, it will cause the thread to become brittle and break) to the thread, then go through a couple more beads. Do this with BOTH ends of thread. I use two gold or silver seed beads to indicate a clasp. I know there is someone who uses wire to fashion tiny hook/eye findings.

Kathy in wisconsin

Casting For Purls - A new Section: http://CastingForPurls.com website.

The new section deals with miniature blankets, coverlets and afghans. How to calculate the size, which yarns/threads to use and a lot of other little things you need to consider. Also there are a couple of patterned stitches included to start you off, and I plan on adding more as time permits. So to see this new section, select the Patterns link, then select Blankets, Coverlets and Afghans.

Joy in Pointe Claire

Draping   fabric.   The best method I've found for draping if I didn't want to go thru the hours of stiffening, pinning, and shaping is to sew or glue fine copper wire into the hem of the fabric. Then shape the wire around a small dowel.   It works best on dust ruffles. It also works to drape bed coverings and keep the corners down.   and I bet if I go to the archives this will already be there....VBG.....    Pillows filled with salt.......I've never tried that either, but the little canisters that are shipped to your pharmacists to keep medication dry, contain tiny crystals of silica gel, and this makes a nice pliable filler for your DH pillows, and keeps the moisture out of the DH too as a bonus.  

Carol Wagner, Joshua Tree Calif

Draping: I made all the curtains for my dollhouse.   I have found that only the softest lace or silk work the best.   It has to be really flimsy material.   Then it hangs.   In my silk curtains in the LR, I didn't hem them.   I guess I could have used the selvage edge but just pulled threads to get a straight edge then trimmed.   The hem causes bulk and then they wouldn't hang right.   I still have to make my cornice or valance.   I think I'm going to do a cornice.   For the little girl's room I used the softest lace I could find.   A lot of times if you wash fabric good and get the sizing out, that helps a lot.

Linda In CT

Tiny Doll clothing Patterns: Look at a real pattern - the instructions. First page. LAYOUT...... The pattern pieces are represented faithfully for the layout... take this to a copier, and enlarge or reduce to fit your doll..... cut them out and use as patterns. Keep track of the percentage it took and use it on other patterns....... (thrift store patterns are about $.10) Mix and match sleeves, legs, arms, skirts, etc. Use glue instead of thread.

I've done this for years for all sizes of dolls. Works fine. For the very very small dolls, you might want to eliminate some of the fine detail on such as Vogue or Pristine but good ole Butterick or McCalls are good. Costume patterns will give you some exotic pattern pieces.

Judie - Daytona Beach. FL

Draping: When trying to get the fabric to behave in the way you want it is essential that you choose the correct type. Don't try to battle with polyester and man made fibers. Use only pure silks and fine cotton fabrics you will find that these can be pressed and moulded into shape and will give a more natural finish. Also if you need to glue it will stick much easier with only a minimum amount of glue. Hope this helps


Draping: For holding the "drape" try spraying with hair spray and while the material is still moist with the hair spray, fold and drape it to your liking.

DrBob...Delray Beach, FL

New Knitting Pattern: I have created a new knitting pattern on the http://CastingForPurls.com/ web site. It is a baby's undershirt, which is very simple to knit, but the results are quite sweet. Select the Patterns link, then select Baby Eric's Undershirt. I hope you get around to knitting it sometime!

Joy in Pointe Claire

Draping   fabric.   It is probably best for circular table cloths on round tables.   I'm sure some of you out there will find a way to use the technique in other ways as well.

Condition some polymer clay in a color that blends well with the main color of the fabric.   I would recommend using only natural fiber fabric, that is no polyester blends.   cut a circle of fabric slightly larger than finished piece.   Put the polymer clay through a pasta machine until you get a smooth, thin sheet.   Lay your fabric over the clay and run the whole works through the pasta machine again. Carefully cut the clay/fabric to the finished size.   Drape this over an oven proof form such as a small glass jar or wood haps and bake as usual. I saw this idea in one of the dozens of books I've read on polymer clay.

Kathy in Wisconsin

Sampler Kits: My good friend, Annelle Ferguson, recently launched her web site which is chock-a-block full of wonderful needlepoint Sampler Kits. Enjoy!!!



Draping   fabric.   To get your fabrics to drape well, I work on foam board with a gazillion straight pins and when it is exactly the way I want it, I spray it with a thin starch - several times.   For that really elegant look and drapeability, use silk - nothing beats it for doing exactly what you want, and no need to spray anything on after.   I also make round tablecloths with ease, by inverting the cloth and table into a teacup, and arranging the folds.

Dawn-Moree in Welcome, MD

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