I was lucky enough to be accepted into a lovely gallery last year and they told me they were taking new work in, so could I submit more.
I am drawn to a vase of flowers as a subject for felting. Maybe this is because you could create something calm and understated such as a few sweet peas in a jar, or go all out and produce a bouquet in a vase. I created a piece depicting anemones and lilacs and I wanted to share the process of it coming to life with FME (Free Motion Embroidery), and a little hand stitching.
Here is the piece felted. It is backed with iron on interfacing as this helps to stabilise the stitching, and also helps it to glide better on your machine plate.
I use a metal open toed darning foot to do my stitching, for some machines you can get a see through plastic foot for better visibility. On the whole I like it, but it has one annoying drawback, it can certainly snag! Mine will often scoop up some of the thicker felt, and it definitely has a liking to errant nepps, and a total love affair with curly locks! So you have to keep an eye that nothing has caught whilst stitching. There are different types of darning feet, it totally depends on your machine. A closed toe darning foot is available to purchase (I couldn’t for my machine), but maybe the visibility of the stitches would be diminished. I have to work with what I have, quirks and all!
So now it is ready to bring to life. I really enjoy this part of creating a piece. Out of habit I seem to start stitching any leaves first. Leaves can have just an outline, or you can put a middle line down the length of the leaf , or add a few veins, the interpretation is down to you.
Here is a stitched leaf and an unstitched leaf, can you see what a difference it makes?
If any part of the piece has become wavy and lost it’s definition during the felting process, you can needle felt it into shape.
I decided to machine stitch the sides of the vase to give a little more definition too. Be cautious about stitching absolutely everything, some parts look better as a suggestion, blending into the background.
I then turned my attention to the final part of the piece for machine decoration, the flowers. I stitched around them and into the centre, using purple and off white threads. There’s those nepps to watch out for! It would make life easier to just not use them, but they are far too gorgeous not to.
Lastly I added a few French knots around the centre of the flowers to make them pop a little more.
Now that my pictures are hanging in galleries, I have started using a professional framing service. I was lucky enough to be given the whole spectrum of sample coloured corner ‘L’ mounts that they show the public to keep, as they were getting new ones, how lucky was that? So I can decide at my leisure what colour suits the finished piece. I chose the colour ‘Royal Navy’ because it actually has a purplish tinge, not the deep blue you may expect. Here it is finished. I am showing it to you unglazed to cut out any glare.
I hope it catches someone’s eye in the gallery soon!