Sunday, 11 July 2010

Spirograph III - damp stretching

The fabric is now off the frame, and as always happens when the tension is relaxed, it immediately looks a wrinkled mess.  Spirograph I went straight into a cupboard at this stage as I didn't have a board big enough to stretch it on, but I've now got one, so Spirograph III can get stretched properly, with Spirograph I to follow.

The board is too big to fit on the table in my workroom, so operations have temporarily been moved to the dining room.

I started with the long edges, beginning in the centre and working out.  Here it is right at the start, with just a couple of map pins top and bottom:

That's not smoothed out at all and so makes it look worse than it really is, but even so, you should be able to see some puckering around the spirals, especially the largest one.  Once it's stretched, that should disappear!

I pin out from the centre to the edges, and added a couple of pins at the top edge then move round to the bottom and add a couple there, and so on.  This is to keep the tension even - pinning all of one edge and then pinning the second one is easier but doesn't give as good a finish.

Here's both short edges pinned:

This is better, but still needs the long edges pinning.  And here it is with them done:

All creases, bumps and wrinkles have now been pulled out, but to make sure they don't come back, I dampened the entire fabric with a plant mister, and have left it to dry over night.  When I take the pins out I should be left with a beautifully flat finish.

As an aside, I should run a competition to guess the number of map pins used, apart from I can't be bothered to count them all.  You can see here that they're very close together, almost touching:

I've measured the perimeter, which is a total of 416cm.  If I estimate 2 pins per centimetre, that's around 800 of them.  No wonder I have a bruise on the end of my thumb from pushing them in!


  1. Thanks for showing this. What kind of a board do you use?

  2. It's a cork notice board, from an office supplies store. This one is pretty big - 1m x 1.5m - but I also have a much smaller one that's fine for most things.