Sunday, 24 November 2013

Druid banner - transferring the design and getting set up

So, I have a transfer of the design. Now what? I'll get onto the fabric for the front of the banner in a moment, but right now you need to know that it's going to be lined with a fine linen.  This won't be seen, but acts to support and strengthen the top fabric.  It also comes in very handy as a means of transferring the design without risking getting marks on the top fabric that you don't want.

The transfer is heat activated, and needs to be ironed on.  I stitched it transfer side down to a piece of linen cut to size:

There's always a danger when ironing it that the transfer might shift slightly, which can lead to smudging or double lines.  The larger the design the more likely this is to happen, and the more complex the design the more of a problem this is to work with later.  As this is both large and complex, I was very careful indeed with fastening the tracing paper to the linen, tacking it down in a grid pattern, with lines of stitching roughly 5 cm (2") apart.

If you're paying attention you'll have spotted that as the traced side is face down, the text is now back to front.  Don't worry, it's meant to be like that!

After some very careful ironing, I took out all the tacking stitches and cautiously removed the paper:

Fortunately, it's fine, which was a relief!  It looks rather faint in the photo, and some areas were faint enough for me to go over them with a pencil to make them clearer, but in real life it's going to be fine to work with.

The next step is to attach the linen to the top fabric, the one that'll be seen.  Regulars will know I tend to work with silk, but in this case I didn't think it was appropriate. I want the banner to be robust enough to be used in outdoor events, which in the UK will mean suitable for use in all weathers.  As such, I've chosen a cotton sateen, in jade green. This is still a natural fabric, is hard-wearing, has a nice sheen to it, and as it was often the fabric of choice for miners' banners, traditionally paraded through the streets of mining communities in Northern England, should be able to stand a bit of rain.

This was also cut to size, tacked to the linen, and using an overlocker, the edges were neatened and the two pieces of fabric joined together:

(I cut and joined the fabric for the back of the banner too, but as that's going to be left plain we can ignore that from now on.)

It was then stretched in a frame ready to start sewing.  I have a frame wide enough (just!) for the width of the banner fabric, but it has to be rolled onto the top and bottom bars, leaving an exposed area to stitch on, which will need to be moved as I progress.  As when it's rolled the transfer on the back will be in contact with the fabric on the front and I don't want to risk any rubbing off and marking it, I placed some muslin over the top before I rolled it, so if any of the transfer does rub off, it'll do so onto that.

That's a lot of preparation, but it's all absolutely necessary to do a proper job.  Now it's time to start sewing!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Druid banner - making a transfer

Last time, I told you about my new project, and showed you my design, and now I'm making a start. Regular readers will have seen the process of transferring a design to fabric and getting this set up before, but in case there are any new readers following this project, I'll cover the process in some detail.

The colour designs are good to give an idea of what the finished item should look like, but in order to mark up fabric to stitch, however, it's better to have a black and white version:

I got this printed out full size at a local copy shop; here it is, taped to my dining table, as it's too big for the table in my sewing room:

The first step is to make a transfer from this.  You can buy special transfer pencils, so with a large piece of tracing paper taped over the top, it's just a case of carefully drawing over the lines:

It's a bit hard to tell, but if you look closely, you can see that the central spiral is a bit pink, from the transfer pencil line.

It's even harder to tell here, so you'll just have to take my word for it that I've traced the entire design:

Having the transfer is one thing, but next I need to apply it to the fabric itself.  That's next!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

'An Tigh Geata' - Druid banner

I'm thrilled and excited to be able to tell you that I'm making a new processional banner, this time for the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD).  It's the Order's 50th anniversary next year, and the new banner, replacing one from the 1960s which was lost, will be part of that.

The lost banner incorporated various symbolic elements significant to Druidry, and I was asked to use them too as part of my design.  I'm not knowledgeable enough to explain things properly, but if anyone wants to know more about Druidry then the website has lots of information, or I'm sure the lovely friendly people there would be happy to help.

So, without further ado, here's my design:

The trilithon gateway (the Stonehenge-style standing stones), the rays of light and the Gaelic text were requested by OBOD and had been used in a different way on the old banner; the colours represent the three grades in Druidry (blue for bards, green for ovates and white for druids).

In my design I interpreted these colours as earth (the lower half of the spiral circle), sky (the upper half), and stone (the trilithon itself).  The Celtic spirals are my addition, but I think they work well with the other elements.

It's going to be a similar size to St Cuthbert's banner, and so able to be carried by one person:

It's great to be working on a larger piece again, and I can't wait to get started!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Spiral Abstract I - V

As suggested by regular reader Cynthia of California Stitching, here are all five Spiral Abstract pieces.

Spiral Abstract I

Spiral Abstract II

Spiral Abstract III

Spiral Abstract IV

Spiral Abstract V

I have another series of five related pieces in mind, but they're going to have to wait - next time, I'll tell you why!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Spiral Abstract V

This is the final one of the set of five Spiral Abstract pieces; I intend doing another related set of five, but they're going to have to wait as I'm about to start a really exciting new project instead.  More on that in future posts!

Back to today's though.  As with the others, it's silver chain stitch on a black silk matka background.  The design, transferred onto the linen on the back:

Tacked through to the front:

And stitched:

I'm very pleased with how they've turned out - I think they work well as a series.