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Steampunk Check CreatiFrame Project

This CreatiFrame piece was originally intended as the demo on the Create & Craft tv launch show. As often happens, showing different aspects of the range means that there isn't quite enough time to take something through from start to finish. So, here's the how-to.

Use as a free standing work, or perhaps as a unique greeting by adding your own message to the backing card. Try changing the colour scheme for a completly different look.

You will need:

  • 1 x MDF CreatiFrame 001A-L-O*
  • 1 x MDF CreatiFrame 001A-S-O*
  • 1 x MDF CreatiFrame 015A-M-O
  • Tapestry weight wool in two colours*
     used here - DMC Tapestry wool, black and beige (#7141)
  • Beeswax
  • Gilding Wax in two colours
    used here - Creative Expressions Metallic Gilding wax - Golden Lilac & Spring Green
  • Copper jewellery wire 
    used here - .025 gauge
  • Cog embellishments* finished with copper coloured embossing powder
  • Black paper or card for backing
  • Scissors, needles, shed stick*, heat gun, polishing/buffing cloth, pva glue, wire cutters.

* Available in the CreatiFrame Weaving Kit

Decorating the frames:

Begin by first waxing the front of each CreatiFrame. With the heat gun, melt the wax so that it sinks into the wood, then buff and add more. Build up the wax to seal the surface prior to adding the gilding wax. 

When you are satified with the level of beeswax, add the gilding wax and either buff to a shine, or melt slightly with a heat gun, leave to cool and then buff slightly. Melting it enables some of the wax to sink into the wood a little, creating a sparkly effect. For this example the large and small CreatiFrames were buffed with the green wax, and the medium with the lilac. 

Check weaving

The warp:

Remember: Do not wrap too tightly or you may distort your frame.

Wrap the beige wool around the slots on the small CreatiFrame to creat a warp. Begin at the bottom left, and leave a long length to knot later. (You may wish to tape this to the back of the frame while you work). 

Lay one warp thread, skip two slots, lay another two, skip two slots, lay another two, skip two slots and lay one. (see photos for clarification). 

Now work back, placing another warp thread in each of the slots that currently has a thread, ignoring the first and last thread - we'll leave this as a single thread.

Knot the two ends together at the back. It is a good idea not to trim the ends until you have finished weaving, unless you are sure that your knots will hold.

Repeat the process with the black wool, working first from left to right then back, so that each empty slot carries two black threads. Tie the ends together at the back.

Begin the weaving:

Using the shed stick, pick up every other thread.  Gently turn the stick on its edge to open the shed (the space between the threads). Thread a large eye needle with beige wool, and pass it underneath the upper threads. Leave a long starting thread to knot later.

At the end of the row, turn, taking the wool behind the tab and back to the front, the across the frame, underneath the SAME warp threads as the previous row.

Skip two slots, and lay another thread, under the same warp threads
Work back in the next slot, again under the same warp threads

Skip two slots, lay another under the same threads and work back in the next slot to lay the last beige row under the same warp threads. You will need to move the shed stick down for the last rows.

You should now have 6 beige threads across the frame, underneath the top rows of the warp. 

Repeat the process with the black wool - each time taking the thread under the same top threads of the warp.

Remove the shed stick, and begin the weaving -

Work from top to bottom, weaving inbetween the threads already laid down by picking up the thread on the bottom layer. Place the first row - with black thread - in between the two black threads already placed. Take the thread around the tab each time.

The second row, in black, should be placed ABOVE the initial pair, to even out the pattern.

From this point on weave each row inbetween each of those threads already laid, so that there are four threads of each colour in a group, and two in each slot. This will form the check pattern. Rows of different colours can 'hook' around the previous at the back if needed to hold into place.

This process is essentially the same as that of the dense plain weave

Alternative: If you find a dense plain weave difficult to understand, simply warp the CreatiFrame in the same way and then weave back and forth with a needle, changing the colours as required. You'll need to work four rows in one colour, then four in the next.

When complete, knot the ends at the back - trying to keep the knots small and close to the frame to reduce any bulk. You may wish to add a little bit of glue to each knot to esure that they don't work loose.

Putting it all together:

Place the medium frame inside of the large frame, and connect two opposite corners with wire. Try to ensure that the medium frame is more or less central, but don't worry too much. Any excess wire can be taken over and under the edge tabs to add a bit of interest, or trimmed away.

Now wrap black wool at either side (one towards the top, the other towards the bottom), working through the edge slots of the outer frame and the long slot of the medium frame to form 'stitches'. Tie the two ends at the reverse, trim and add glue to the knot if required.

The small CreatiFrame is now wired into place at an angle. Use the corner holes of the small frame, and the holes of the medium frame, taking the wire around the edges of the medium frame as well. You may wish to add a little bit of glue to the back of the small frame, but this isn't necessary. Place the small frame where you wish. 

Now add the cog embellishments - use either glue or wire or both. 

Add a little bit of the gilding wax to the woven fabric, and to the wool 'stitches'. With a heat gun, carefully melt the wax to lessen the intensity of colour and enable it to sink into the wool fibres. (Pure wool is fire resistant, and will withstand gentle heat from the heat gun, but do take care, and do not use a direct flame!)

Now, cut a piece of black paper or card to place at the back. Simply trace around the large frame and cut slightly smaller than this line. Rub a little gilding wax in one or both colours on one side of the card, to show through the gaps between the nested group. Then glue into place at the back. You may need to use clips to hold the card into place while the glue dries if your weaving or wire has added a bit of bulk at the back (or if there is any wax residue at the back).

You may wish to add a tag or handwritten noet to the back of the card for a personalised touch.

Last but not least:

Finish your stand with gilding wax in the same way as you did the frames. For a permanent stand, glue together prior to gilding. 

Display your work of art!

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About Us

Gina-B Silkworks designs and produces a variety of craft kits, books, DVDs and other items with an emphasis on handwork & passementerie (textile trimmings). We also stock a range of tools & materials for these crafts. Gina also makes bespoke items to commission. See About us for more