Make Textured Textile Art by Stitching Into Nuno Felt

Today we have a guest post from Lyn

Last Sandcastle of Summer

Last Sandcastle of Summer

The inspiration for ‘Last Sandcastle of Summer’ came from a recent day-trip to Sandbanks in Dorset.

Day trip to SandbanksWe’ve enjoyed weeks of glorious weather and I love wriggling my toes in the warm sand and watching the sun sparkle on the sea, but the weather’s broken now and I’m not looking forward to the cold of winter. When I got home I looked through my old photos and found some of my grand-daughter playing in the sand.

making sandcastlesI wanted to capture the last of the summer in a picture so I started to lay out merino fibres to make the background beach, sea and sky. I didn’t want to add details such as boats or other people so to add interest I placed three strips of fabric across the wool fibres.

The pieces of fabric were cut from loose-woven scarves that I’d found in charity shops. The blue/white scarf shown on the right has been my favourite for making skies and I only have a couple of inches left – I’m desperately trying to find another!

fabrics sand sea skyThis is the resulting piece of nuno felt, after drying, finished size approx 36cm square – I didn’t worry about the edges because I knew it would be trimmed and placed behind a white mount before framing.

nuno felted backgroundI made a paper template of the shape of the child then tacked it, with large hand stitches, in place on the nuno felt. I also pinned a piece of lightweight interfacing onto the back of the felt – it helps with stitching and with moving the felt around on the sewing machine table. With the feed-dogs down on the sewing machine and a darning foot fitted, I used black thread to make a quick outline of the child.

I removed the template then I cut scraps of organza into small rough triangles and attached them to the nuno felt using fine fusible web. The shadow was formed with dark grey organza and the skin areas were covered with a few pieces of very pale grey.  The hat and clothes have layers of organza – bright on the bottom and darker on the top – in autumnal colours to signal the end of summer.

Tip: unless you like cleaning the sole plate of your iron, use plenty of baking paper under and over the felt during ironing!  Also, the felt needs to cool down before moving it as the fusible web will be stronger after a rest.

Then it was back to the stitching.  It’s all very quick and ‘rough’ – except for the face because the profile needs to be sharp – and the eye was stitched by hand.

To add textural and colour interest, I gently abraded the top layer of organza, on the hat and dress, with the tip of a craft knife.
The lovely ‘quilty’ texture is achieved by the machine stitching on the nuno felt.

close up abraded organza
The finished picture has been mounted with white board and the size of felt that is on show within the mount is 31cm x 22cm.

If you have any stitching on felt pictures that you’d like to share, please leave a link in the comments – we’d love to see them!

Posted in Mixed Media, Nuno Felting, Stitching, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

Carding Batts

This last weekend I did some carding. I was making Monet batts.

First my daughter and I pulled apart small bits of wool and mixed it up.

mixing colours

Then onto the table and spread out ready for a trip through the carder.

ready to card

This is after the first pass through the carder. I split the batt into layers and put it through again.

first time through

This after the second pass through

second time through

I made 3 mixed colour merino batts



I recarded some over dyed brown and white Romney wool I had .

Batts2 batts1


And one mixed colour Romney batt

mixed batt

They are fun to do and great for felting or spinning textured yarn. I was thinking I didn’t do anything for Felt United Day, October 4, but I guess I did. Did you do anything?

Posted in Design, Dyeing, Fiber Preparation, Inspiration, Wool | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

My First Attempt at Land Art – 4th Quarter Challenge

I was planning on posting an update about my appliqued caricatures but then Zed posted her 4th quarter challenge. I have always been inspired by nature and have done a few rock cairns but nothing very exciting. So I was excited by the challenge and my mind was full of ideas. But then when I was walking the dogs, I noticed the ever present Tamarack pine needles that appear on our driveway in the autumn. Perhaps  I could use those as a basis for land art. Then, since it was a nice day, I needed to finish up filling the cracks in the driveway. To do this, I needed to blow all the pine needles off the driveway. So I donned the backpack blower and started.


As I was blowing off one driveway, I started pushing the pine needles together and then started shaping it into a tree shape. Once I got as far as the photo above, I turned off the blower and got a small whisk broom.


And I made this tree. I stood on top of the picnic table to get the photo. The tree is about 25 feet tall. I wish I could have gotten up on the roof to take a better shot but I don’t do heights and I would have fallen off and landed in the hospital or something.


It was fun shaping the tree and drawing with the pine needles.


It didn’t take me very long and since I knew I was just going to blow it off the driveway, I didn’t stress about how it looked.


As you can see, there are still pine needles on the ground in between branches and I didn’t worry about getting them all aligned.


So, this is my first attempt at land art. It has now been blown off the driveway and is only in digital form at this point. If it was just me, I would have left it on the driveway for a while and taken photos of it as it disintegrated. But hubby was having none of that! I know this has little to do with fiber unless you count pine needles as fiber. But it was fun and I really enjoyed my first foray into land art. Thanks for the challenge Zed!

Posted in Challenges | Tagged , | 20 Comments


Last week, I traveled to Cathy (Luvswool’s) home to have a “podfest.”

Cathy wanted to try making a small vessel   So, since l have been making pods  on and off for months for family I offered to work with her using the method I use from Rosiepink’s Tutorial for Felt Pods

I had selected fibers I had dyed from my 4 day dye experiment – Cheviot, merino, domestic 56 and brought some silk, throwsters waste, locks and hankies in a similar colorway. I also brought the tools I usually use for fulling for both of us to use and for Cathy to try to see which ones she favored. The soup ladle was the winner!

Cathy had some mystery fibers she wanted to try that she hadn’t used and used some of my embellishment stash.

Of course, we were anxious to get started and forgot to take a picture of the first side.  Here is our first turn.  Mine is the turquoise, Cathy’s is purple and gray.

marilyn side 2 Cathy flip side

Here is our final layer before wetting and embellishing.  We both used throwsters waste and silk.  I added some locks.

Cathy layers Marilyn final layer

Rinsed and ready to dry.

After rinsing

At that point, I packed up for my trip home and Cathy set her pod out to dry on a bamboo mat.

Cathy pod drying Cathy pod 2 drying

We were both happy with our pods after drying.  I could have used more curls, maybe next time.

final M pod final M 2 We had a great time and look forward to our next felting adventure!  What new felt technique have you tried?

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Fourth Quarter Challenge 2014

For this Quarter, I have chosen ‘Land Art‘. I was initially going to choose a specific artist for this challenge, but in the end I just couldn’t choose just one, the whole ‘movement’ is so inspiring. In case you haven’t heard of it, Land Art – according to Wikipedia ” is an art movement in which landscape and the work of art are inextricably linked. It is also an art form that is created in nature, using natural materials such as soil, rock (bed rock, boulders, stones), organic media (logs, branches, leaves), and water with introduced materials such as concrete, metal, asphalt, or mineral pigments. Sculptures are not placed in the landscape, rather, the landscape is the means of their creation.” (i.e, not Christo)

colleen proppeThere are so many inspirational artists, one I really like is Richard Shilling, a flickr search gives you lots of great photos, have a look at this link:  He has inspired others to create land art too, such as Colleen Proppe, who made the Leaf Flag in the photo above. Andy Goldsworthy is another name many people might recognise. Scott Robinson was inspired by him to make this Leaf art:

Scott Robinson
I discovered the work of Tom Hare while I was looking up land artists and sculptors, he does some gorgeous work. This is his website: This is a photo of one of his willow sculptures, a Horse Chestnut breaking open, taken by Jodie Brodie:

Tom Hare
Have a search on google for Land Art and Land Art Artists, I can guarantee you’ll be inspired! Feel free to post your work on the forum in the 4th Quarter Challenge thread:  Have fun!

Posted in Challenges | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

Mostly spinning

I have been doing some demos lately. It is much easier to demo spinning than wet felting.  This is at the the Richmond fair.

ann and jan gord and great wheel

Jan(sitting) and I as Jan makes a skein from her spinning. Gord spinning on the Great wheel.

Jan’s Husband was doing a blacksmith demo.


He made us some great hooks for our wheels.


On the second day this is what it looked like.


We gave up. we packed up early and went down to the sheep barn where our friend Mary who was doing a demo there.

mary in the sheep barn

We got to watch some of the seep show.

tunis sheep sheep

The red one is a Tunis sheep. I am not sure what the group is.

I must say that most of these pictures are Jan’s. I forgot to take many and they were not great.

Posted in Demo, Spinning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

More Caricatures in Stitch

I wrote a post about stitching some caricatures back at the beginning of June. The sketches are all done by my friend Nanci Williams.  We are still working out the details but the plans so far for these are to have an exhibition of work by different artists using Nanci’s sketches as inspirations and to make a book of all of the people. We are thinking of calling it “Whitefish Fashion Plates”. The two previous stitched people who I did were the same size as Nanci’s sketch. This time, I decided I wanted to enlarge them considerably. I chose a sketch that had four women pictured who were all dressed very much alike.

Pattern Enlarged

I copied the original sketch and then enlarged each person on my copy machine by 200%. I then taped them all back together again. I gave them names as well!

Choosing Fabric

I then hunted down fabric that would work for them. All of them were wearing pastel shirts, all had grey hair and wore a visor and carried similar handbags. I had a hard time finding pastel fabrics in my stash as I don’t seem to have a lot of these colors in solids. The skin tone fabric I had was dyed with tea.

Fabric Ironed and Ready to Fuse

Once I found all the fabric, I had to iron all the pieces so they would be flat and ready to put fusible web on to the back of the fabric.

Trace Pattern on to Fusible

I started with Becky Sue, the one on the right hand side of the sketch. When I traced the different body parts, I had to remember that the paper on the fusible web is on the back side so I had to turn the sketch over and trace from behind. That way when I fused the pattern on to the back of the fabric and cut it out, the figure would be facing the proper direction.

Iron Fusible to Backside of Fabric

I then ironed all my fusible web with the patterns on to the back of the fabric I had chosen.

Becky Sue

I cut them all out and here is Becky Sue ready to be fused down to the background. I haven’t chosen a background fabric yet. I only have one piece of fabric that is the correct size and it seems a bit too “tie-dyed” for a background. I have been just using fairly plain green backgrounds. All of the details will be added with stitching once all of the figures have been fused to the background.

What Color Stripes?

All of the ladies shirts were plain except for Becky Sue. Her shirt is supposed to be striped. I didn’t have any striped fabric so I decided I would add stripes with a permanent marker. I made a sample piece to see which color stripes I like. Which color stripes do you prefer?

Deb's Mosaic People

These mosaic people are by my friend Deb Stika. This isn’t a very good photo but these are approximately 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall and all done in mosaics. The resemblance to Nanci’s sketches are amazing. These will be included in the future show and book too. I will keep you posted on my progress on the four ladies.

Posted in Stitching | Tagged , | 18 Comments