If you are ever wondering where my ideas in fabric and needle crafts come from, I can pretty much guarantee Rebecca at Hugs are Fun had a good hand in it, or at least started me down the path. This week is no different, and she even took it a step farther by handing me fabric with adhesive iron on backing already attached. Sometimes, though, my wheels turns slow. I had her fabric in hand for 10 weeks (thanks, Instagram, for keeping track of that for me) before inspiration struck.
Technical aspects first: We used Heatn’Bond as our iron on applique backing, the Ultrahold kind. It’s available for about $3 a yard in fabric or craft stores, or on their website. To prepare the fabric for bonding, you iron on the HeatnBond to the fabric in the size you need. There are a ton of tutorials out there (like this video from Heatn’Bond’s website) but the gist is to iron the rough side of the Heatn’Bond to the backside or wrong side of your fabric. Cut out the shape you need, peel away the shiny side of the adhesive, then iron your applique on the larger project.
On the laser, the Heatn’Bond was great! It stiffened the fabric and made it heavier, which made it much less prone to flying away when the exhaust was on (like in Week 77: Fabric). We used the same settings that we used for paper – fast with a light touch. Singe was minimal to non existent, the edges were perfectly cut and the marriage of lasers with iron on adhesive meant the design could be complicated without hand cutting and hand stitching every little bit!
Rebecca requested a unicorn, and I finally settled on drawing up a whale. This is a family friendly blog, but I have to admit while laying out the designs out for the laser, a little bit of magic happened…
Appliques are traditionally used in sewing projects, which puts me right out – I have no sewing machine. Rebecca does, though, and whipped up this amazing narwhal purse, and the unicorn pouch! She is working up her own post about them, so I’ll make sure to link it here when it’s up.
I chose to use the whale as a base for an embroidery sampler. I knew I wanted to do a baleen-type whale with a bit of decorative finery. After way too much research, I can now tell you the white lines coming down from the mouth are “throat pleats” and that baleen type whales have not one blow hole but TWO. (Check out this baleen two blow hole google image search if you dare. Gross and fascinating at the same time). Other interesting factoids I learned – whales can’t breathe through their mouths, only their blow holes and the stuff that comes out of blowholes is called “blow.” So, uncutely, the spout of blow is not water, but very much the the same as what comes out of your nose – exhaled warm air (which condenses to moisture) and mucus. This make complete and utter sense, but I never had thought about it before…ew.
For those unfamiliar with the “sampler” concept, I used a variety of different stitches to create this piece. For those who are familiar and want to know what is represented, here goes:
Body: Stem stitch (mouth), Back stitch (eyes and outer lines on fin), Split Stitch (throat pleats and swirls), Chain Stitch (center of the fin) and French knots (tail)
Blow: Feather Stitch (red), Laced running stitch (yellow and orange), Chain Stitch (green), Fern stitch (dark blue), Lazy daisy (purple) and French Knot (light blue – I had to put vapor in there somewhere!)
I highly recommend this picture directory of stitches at Sarah’s Hand Embroidery website if you are interested in more stitches. It’s great for people like me who comprehend better seeing it with thread instead of drawings and have zero idea what these stitches are called!