Sunday 22 January 2017

Parchment Picot Edge: First Attempt

I won't be able to share any pictures of the whole finished card today, as I am making it to give to a friend of mine; her birthday is not until Friday, so I don't want to spoil the surprise.  However, as this card demonstrates my best attempt at white work up to now, as well as my first attempt at Picot Edge cutting; not a disaster to my surprise, I wanted to show you some sneak peeks of my success.  I will share a detailed step by step next week-end; for today, I'll just share the techniques that worked for me.

As usual, I used a range of Groovi plates from Claritystamp, including one designed by Jayne Nestorenko, who sadly is no longer with us.  Her designs are incredible and she will be sadly missed.  My heart goes out to her family and friends; I did not know her personally, but she will be remembered as a talented lady and an icon in the crafting community. 
The line art came together quite quickly, as once you have decided which images need to be at the front, they can be 'etched' in first using the Groovi plates for help.  I would never have been drawn into the world of parchment without this system to get me started.  Once the line art was complete, it was time to start with the white work.  I used a 5mm ball tool lightly over the trellis, the flowers and sections of the butterfly.  Once the first layer was finished, I laid the work aside for a couple of hours, before repeating with the same 5mm ball tool.  I have been advised over and over again to be patient with white work, and it definitely pays off.  I left the piece overnight and this morning went back over all the white work, gently and only once with a 3mm ball tool.  I may decide to repeat this step, but I am already pleased with the results; soft white work which creates a 3D effect with the trellis.
My first attempt
Once I had coloured the areas that I wished to from the back, the scary decision was made.  Up to now I have always used scissors to cut round the outside of the frame, today I decided to make an attempt at a Picot Edge all round.  For this the Light Wave and the translucent pricking mat by Claritystamp were invaluable.  I used the double needle tool to lightly prick all round the outer edge of the frame.  To keep the distance even, I always put the first needle back into the second hole of the previous step.  I also used a ruler laid across the inside edge of the line, both to hold the parchment flat and to stop me getting any finger marks on the parchment.  I worked from the front and carefully went round the whole frame.  I remembered advice from the Groovi Worldwide Facebook page to go back through the holes a second time, this time pushing the needle tool further in to enlarge the holes.  For this step I used an old thick purple foam stamping mat.  Next, the really scary part; using snips to cut between the holes.  
At this point, I must confess that I do not own a pair of Pergamano scissors or snips; the nearest thing that I had to work with was a pair of fine tipped decoupage snips that I have had for ever - fine points but no curve.  I didn't know whether they would work, but I figured that I could always trim the outer part of the frame away, if I wasn't happy with the finished result.
I used the same purple mat that I had used for the deeper pricking step, laid the points of my snips into the first two holes (working over the waste), angled them flat against the parchment using the mat for support and gently turned blades clockwise until they snipped between the holes.  All I had to do then was keep going until I had made my way around the whole piece.  I found that I got into quite a satisfying rhythm,  but was determined not to rush the process. As you can see from the final photo (along the bottom; start, right hand side; last section), I believe that I did get neater as I progressed.  I am now determined to invest in a proper pair of snips, as I believe that they (and much more practice) will be needed if I am going to master this skill.

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