Adding a Focal Point to Rebekah’s Collage

In March, when my sister Rebekah visited, we had one of our group art meetings. She and her daughter Lizzie went along to do some ice dyeing and create a paper fabric collage.

This is Rebekah’s collage. She decided to leave it with me and since I didn’t want to have more stuff piling up in my studio, I decided I needed to add a focal point to it. The one I made that day was not to my taste and I gave it to Deb who has since stitched on it. These collages are made with thin paper, thin fabrics, fusible and paint.

I had recently sketched this succulent plant and thought it might be a good addition to the collage. (Marilyn has since told me that this is called a jade plant.) My original plan was to free motion machine stitch the design on to the collage. But after a little trial and error, I thought it would look better with more color than just outlined in thread. So then I decided to applique with fabric and then machine stitch. I had already decided on purple thread so I opened up my box of colored fabric and right on top was an ice dyed purple fabric that worked perfectly. I guess it was meant to be as that fabric was ice dyed the same day the collage was made. The fabric was supposed to turn out grey but was purple instead. Funny how that worked.

Here is the fabric cut out and fused down to the collage. I used the fusible paper to trace the design from my sketch above. I did leave out a few bits but I don’t think it made any difference to the design.

Then I free motion machine stitched around the edges. I did use a piece of heavy interfacing behind the paper fabric collage as it was quite thin. The focal point of the jade plant definitely helped the composition. I have one more of these to do as Lizzie left hers with me as well.

This is the last chance to sign up for my April session of online classes. Classes start tomorrow. The next session won’t be until September.

You can register at the links below:

Nuno Felting with Paper Fabric Lamination

Experimental Screen Printing on Felt

Print, Stencil and Play with Thickened Dye on Felt

Free Motion Machine Stitching on Felt

Posted in free motion embroidery, Mixed Media | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

British Quilt & Stitch Village

Last Saturday I drove over to Uttoxeter to meet up with a felting friend for a visit to the British Quilt & Stitch Village Show. Although this show has been running for 7 years, and has been in my list of places to visit since I started crafting, this was my first time here.

The event is held at Uttoxeter Racecourse and spread over several buildings so, for anyone planning to go next year, I would recommend buying a programme to ensure you don’t miss any of the exhibits.

Most of the traders were geared for quilting and patchwork, naturally, with lots of fabrics and notions and familiar names including Monkey Buttons, Hannah’s Room and The Little Lavender Patch.

There was a good mix of traditional and contemporary quilts on display…..

This is a detail from “Hole Cloth” by Birgitta Scheuller which was overall winner…..

This one, Plastic Ocean by Kathy Unwin, was one of my favourites….

As well as the patchwork and quilting there were several groups of mixed media textile artists exhibiting and it was these ladies we had really gone to see.

This piece was created by Catherine Howard, a member of On The Surface. This garment has been torn seven times and stitched back together in a random, sometimes messy way. It celebrates the imperfections we all have, how life’s struggles leave their scars and shape who we are. On The Surface are a mixed media textile group who support, inspire and encourage each other to develop their own unique styles and preferred ways of working. The group consist of Anna Barrett, Catherine Howard, Deb Day, Jackie Harley, Judith Rowell, Nadine Tabberer, Vicki Townsend-Gee.

The following mixed media work, which we found particularly inspiring, was created by members of the group Un:Hinged…..

There was very little felting on display so it was good to round the corner and get to meet two of the members of Traverse who are feltmakers. Traverse is a group of textile and mixed media artists who came together in March 2017 after studying Experimental Textiles. They began exhibiting in 2018 and the members are Dia Martin, Deb Day, Cath Tyler, Bernice Hopper, Becca Birtles and Vicki Townsend-Gee. unfortunately the light wasn’t wonderful in this part of the building so apologies for the quality of the images…..

We spent a good three hours at the show and met some lovely people so I can certainly recommend it if ever you get the chance.

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Needle Felted Flat Landscape Workshop 2019

Ann told you about the workshop she gave on felted Flowers. So I thot you might like to hear about the last workshop I was teaching. This was the first time I had taught it and I was a bit nervous and excited (inner voice to self, take a deep breath, relax). In December you heard about the panic of making the Catalogue sample for this workshop. (

As you may remember I have a background in both commercial and fine art.  Add to that the sivear dislexia which tends to change my way of approaching a subject or at least the way I tend to interpret it.

Last August the guild started to set up the list and order workshops that would run in 2019. There were a number of felting workshops but we had requests for felted landscapes in 2D. I had signed up to teach Inkle weaving as usual but Our Workshop coordinator was sure I could do the landscape and re-run a felted sheep class I had done over 10 years ago. I said sure and between working on the Catalogue for the workshops, restructuring the Guild library and a few Exhibition and Sale chores I started writing my notes.

I am pretty big on notes.  I want a student to be able to look back on them and remember what to do even if it’s been a year since they took the workshop.  For this one I felt I needed to include a bit on composition, perspective, aspects of different mediums of painting and finally how to deal with the felting itself.  So think small book rather than regular notes.


(picture 1 Name tags and a bit of back ground information )

I was going to teach them a different way to look at felt; treating it more like a water colour than an acrylic and using some of the work principles used in pastels and oil paintings.  Because of the time restraints of only 5 hours to felt I went for a smaller size, working in a 5×7 inch format.


2 (picture 2 the supply,  a stack of notes, a picture chosen and all ready to start )

I prefer workshops where you don’t have to go searching for a long list of supplies to bring.  So I try to have everything that will be needed to start your adventure included in the materials fee. The Introduction to inkle weaving workshop is the same, students even get the integrally important box of smarties. For this workshop smarties were not as important but they did get a 5×7 frame with white mat, a selection of needles, a mat to work on (I took a workshop from Megan Cleland who had used Dollarama Garden kneeling pads as work surfaces which were light and worked very well. The handle even held fibre I was working on!)

I had found some mid-weight felt at Michaels that was longer then needed for the project so we had enough to do  a name tag too. I started everyone off by making a name tag. Firstly, so I would remember their names.  Secondly, it would give them a chance to try the eye-hand coordination required to needle felt. It also let them get a feel for the differences between needles at moving fibre.  They had 2 each of the fine, medium and coarser needles and one spiral in a fine gage.  I had ordered a Multi-needle tool (it’s the flake clover needle holder from china) but it was not expected to arrive in time. it arrived Friday afternoon just before the Saturday workshop.

3(picture 3 transferring image )

We started by discussing different ways to transfer an image to the felt. Megan was teaching a variation on the light box using a window. This will only work well on thin felt. So if you want to work on a heavier ground or a dark colour choosing another method would be preferable. I mentioned the most common methods for scaling and transferring images including using a Lucy or projector, the grid method and the template method. (I also mentioned pouncing as an option, it is used with frescoes) Since I haven’t seen anyone teaching template transfer we went with that.  Its low tech and requires only scissors, permanent marker and an image.

I had selected a number of images ranging from quite simple to more complex since the class was to accommodate beginner and intermediate students. I had a couple students bring their own images too. With a bit of discussion they all chose there images. As they prepped and transferred there images to the felt I did a vary brief overview of perspective, how overlapping objects give the illusion of distance, how colour fades out as it recedes, detail in the foreground and less detail in the background and sky is lighter at the horizon and darkens as you go up. We discussed light and shadows and keeping your light source consistent if you are using more than one photo reference.

I also explained about thinking about using wool as paint.  Using properties from water colour , acrylic and oil techniques.

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(picture 4- 14 Slideshow Work in progress )

By that time they were ready to begin.  There was much poking but I don’t think anyone stabbed themselves. (I did have 3 boxes of bandages just in case) Most of the students had never felted before so were quite amazed as the wool started to turn into a picture. There was some reworking of areas to get the shadows they wanted but it started to come together.

15 (picture 15 Framing there work)

As you have probably found out yourselves if you put a frame on even a simple sketch it gives it importance, focuses the viewer and gives it the feeling of Art. As the students put there finished pieces into their frames it was fun to see them so pleased with their results. Two of the students had to leave early due to impending bad weather and lengthy drives home.I realized afterwords i missed getting a picture of there finished piece.


(picture 16- 19 Finished and Framed )


Posted in Classes, Guest Writer, Teaching, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Felted Flower Class

Wednesday I taught an evening class in flowers at the Ottawa Valley Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild. It is a bit rushed for beginners to get both flowers finished but everyone got it done and we all had a good time.

As usual, I kept forgetting to take pictures but I did get some and Jan was in the class and got some but she was busy too.

First, we did a petunia/morning glory shaped flower this is me explaining how you layout the wool for the flower.

Jan remembered to take a picture of her layout. This is part way through.

Here everyone is diligently felting their flowers


This is Jan’s flower after scrunching and throwing. People usually look skeptical that this will be a flower at this point.

But then Ta Da!

Then there was no time to waist and we were on to Flower 2. Stems and stamens and silk hankies.


There was rubbing and rolling and gentle fulling and no throwing for these.

And lastly Jan to a good picture of her 2 blue flowers.

I think I may make this into a full-length class with a few more flowers. and maybe add some leaves to the stems.





Posted in Classes, Silk, Teaching, Wet Felting | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Old Hand Stitched Projects, What to Do?

In the quest to clean out some of the “stuff” in my studio, I found a couple of old projects that are hanging around either not finished or in the “why did I think this was a good idea” pile. The first is a printed sample from one of my online classes and I added some hand stitching.

I wanted to brighten it up a bit but then I think I might have gone past my comfort zone. I couldn’t decide if I should just keep adding more stitching or if it should be left as it is.

As you can see by the side view it is lumpy, wavy and uneven. The circles stitched on the felt caused the felt to buckle and push outward.

What would you suggest? Would you add more stitching? Just use it as is? Cut it up? Throw it away? What would you make out of it? I’ve love to hear your suggestions.

Here’s a little felt book that I started. I think I was mainly using this to make the binding but then decided I should stitch on the pages. The photo above shows the front cover.

And here’s the second page. I have three more pages that are not finished. I either got bored or couldn’t decide what to do on the last three pages. Perhaps I will look through my floral sketches and find some patterns that might work for those last three pages. The felt on this book is commercial felt in case you were wondering.

And I thought I would show this hand felted hat that I completed with embroidery. I’m not sure I have shown it before and it was hanging out in the studio with no better place to be. What do you do with finished pieces that are taking up space in your studio?


Posted in hand stitching, Stitching | Tagged , | 14 Comments

Second Quarter Challenge 2019 – Seascapes

An old music hall song’s opening line is: “Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside”.  And who doesn’t?

So this quarter the challenge is to make a seascape and it doesn’t have to be just ‘sea’. You might include beaches, yachts, lighthouses, seabirds, piers etc.  The Felting Forum embraces all things fibre and mixed media, so do your favourite thing or have a go at something new!

As in the previous challenge, size doesn’t matter and it doesn’t have to be wall art – your seascape could feature on clothing, a vessel or a mug mat.

Here are some seascapes made with various techniques:

Anne (Penguin) made this wet-felted seascape, added a gull using applique, then made a hanger from driftwood.   Anne wrote about how the picture evolved in this forum post

Anne (Penguin) - seascape with gull

Tracey made this mixed media wet-felted seascape then added sea glass boats and shells.  She gave more details in this thread

Tracey's sea glass boats

Julie (Paintergirl) needle-felted ‘The Boathouse’ then added some stitching…

Julie (Paintergirl) TheBoathouse

…she also needle-felted ‘Ailsa Craig’ shown below.  Julie has a photobucket slideshow here

More of Julie’s work can be seen at  Cloud 9 Gallery

Julie (Paintergirl) AilsaCraig

Lindsay wet-felted ‘Big Wave’ – read more here

Lindsay 'Big Wave'

and ‘Winter Sea’ read more here

Lindsay 'Winter Sea'

Annie (rosiepink) made this sea/sky image with dry wool fibres.  Un-felted fibre pictures can be photographed then the images printed to make wall art.  Or the fibres can be trapped under glass then framed.

Annie (rosipink) sea and sky

Annie (rosiepink) made this nuno seascape with wisps of fibres and open-weave fabrics, then soaked it with CMC paste, scrunched it up a bit then let it dry.  It’s stiff enough to hang on a nail in the wall!

Annie (rosiepink) CMC seascape small image

Here’s a part of it in close-up.

Annie (rosiepink) CMC seascape close up small image

We hope you’ve been inspired to have a go at this challenge!  It would be lovely to see some new seascapes on the forum.


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PechaKucha 20 x 20

I attended a local event yesterday called PechaKucha. I had never heard of it before and thought you might like to hear a little more about it. The idea began in Tokyo in 2003, when architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham devised a format to present creative ideas informally and in a more relaxed setting. The format for presentation is to show 20 images, each for 20 seconds with the images advancing automatically. This gives the presenter 20 seconds to talk about each image or to tell their story with photos.

Please go visit their site to learn more about the PechaKucha movement and see if there is an event near you. 

PechaKucha events have spread to over 1,000 cities throughout the world. The events provide a place for creative people to get together and share what they have been creating, their stories, thoughts or just their holiday/vacation photos. The great thing about these events is that anyone can present. There are no set rules on what can be presented but what works the best is sharing your passion or something you love. It allows people to tell others their story and what is presented is often unexpected, sometimes poignant or humorous, sometimes very personal but always different.

The local event that I attended had nine presenters including a potter, a mixed media artist, a graphic designer, a photographer, a web developer, a textile designer, an iron sculptor, a master boot maker and a travel photographer.

Here are a few photos from the Kalispell event. Sorry about the quality but it’s what I could get with my phone. The recording of the event will be uploaded to the main website in the next several days. The venue was quite small for the number of people who came but we still enjoyed the event. This session was focused on art and design, all of the presenters were from the valley and everyone’s story was very different. I think this would be a wonderful way to spread the word about felt making and fiber art. If I get up the nerve, I may try presenting at a future event.

Looking at the global map on the PechaKucha site, it looks like most people will be able to find an event near where they live. If not, you can visit the site and take a look at some presentations given in the past. 

Or, if you really want to be brave, you could start a PechaKucha event in your town (as long as there isn’t already another one going). You need to hold an event four times a year to qualify and you can get more information here.




Posted in Announcements, Community | Tagged , | 8 Comments