making old new // stitching with paint
When it comes to my making and blogging here on Wild Olive, my big theme for this year is "Making Old New." I've already mentioned a few ways I'm exploring that idea, and here's another: working with vintage or vintage-style supplies.
While flipping through a copy of McCall's Needlework and Crafts from the 1960s, I spotted an ad. I've seen this ad plenty of times before (apparently I've even shared photos of it here on two previous occasions), but it jumped out at me differently this time.
Tri-Chem Liquid Embroidery is a fabric paint that comes in tubes, and it's designed so you can, essentially, draw the stitches. I remember that my grandma had some and I used it a bit as a child. When I saw the ad, I also remembered seeing the Aunt Martha's version at JoAnn.
It seemed a little strange that they even still make a product like this. Are people still using it much? I'm not sure, but I decided that it might be fun to try something old, and picked up a tube.
To start, you want to hoop your fabric so that the wrong side can lay against your work surface. Aunt Martha's makes a hoop designed for this, which is solid in the center, but it isn't necessary.
The pattern I chose is from a Japanese embroidery book, and I thought it would work well in the brown I bought.
The instructions tell you to place a blotter under your work, and in this case, a folded piece of paper worked perfectly.
To use the paint, you just hold the tube upright and press down as you trace the pattern. You do have to press down fairly hard as you do it. And it's best to test it on a scrap area of your fabric first...to get it started and to get a feel for it.
It feels a bit like tracing with a marker, but with more effort. Because it's paint, it doesn't bleed like a marker would. But again, because it's paint and a ballpoint tip, it doesn't just flow along.
Here's what we have after making the first few lines. Mmmhmm...
And after adding the rest of the details.
As you can see, this is not something from which you should expect perfection. I'm not sure if I'm disappointed or not surprised. Or both? The lines are thick and clunky, and they didn't even come out even. By the way, this is after I went back over a few spots where the paint dropped out.
It's hard to imagine anyone suggesting that this was meant to replicate embroidery in any way other than that you can use embroidery patterns. I could see it as a good way to fill or tint areas in your embroidery, as it is permanent and washable.
But here's the thing. The more I look at the little design on my hoop, the more it grows on me. I sort of go back and forth between "I never want to touch this stuff ever again!" and "what incredible things might this work out to be?"
Now that I've tried it once, maybe I'll find a way to make the old new...in a new way.
Have you ever used this type of product? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences!