A little about me. I am from Ireland, but I have lived in the UK since mid 1970s. I trained as a Registered Nurse in Yorkshire, moved to Herefordshire in the 1990s, continuing to work in the NHS, and eventually qualified as a Nurse Practitioner. I really enjoyed this change and challenge in my working life. I retired from work 6 years ago, and decided to teach myself a bit more about sewing, and making things. A friend told me about a felt class about 3 years ago, and I was keen to learn about this magic of wool, water and soap. The class was provided by our local council, it was fairly informal, but we did have a ‘topic’ to focus on for each term. This cushion was my project for our ‘layered fabrics’ topic last January, although I did not know it would turn into a cushion at that time! This was to be our last term due to the funding for the class being withdrawn. The classes for most of 2020 were very ad-hoc due to COVID, and Zoom meetings were eventually introduced, and that was the only way to continue.
The inspiration for this piece of felt started last Christmas 2020. It was a very cold and frosty morning and I saw a frozen spider’s web on my washing line. It looked almost perfect, there was a few broken links, but still it was a thing of beauty on such a crisp cold morning. I took a photo of it.
After Christmas, we entered our third ‘lockdown’, and with so much information and misinformation in the media around COVID, my feeling was that I wanted to convey something of this with my piece of felt.
I made a piece of flat felt in white, with some strands of differing colours of yarn felted in on the surface. I wanted these floating pieces of yarn to appear as broken pieces of the web. To make the web, I used several strips of silk and organza fabric radiating from the centre, to form the spokes, and around the edge, and then stitched these down. I found some shiny white embroidery floss from a previous project, and used this to sew a chain stitch between the spokes. The chain stitch does not reach or attach to all of the spokes, again to illustrate damage to the web.
I had to think what to do to the centre of the web, and that there should be a spider present as well. I had a piece of very floaty fabric with pink roses on it. I cut out a rose and stitched it to the centre. I googled for an image of a spider and traced a suitable one onto the rose. I stitched the rose down, and then very gingerly I stitched over the spider, trying not to make a mess of it.
Now, I needed a phrase that referenced the spider, but that also had meaning for me, and these dark times that we were all going through. Google again, and I found the phrase that I needed. I had a little (child’s) alphabet stamp set, and stamped my phrase onto a piece of fabric, and stitched it in place on my felt.
I did not want to put my ‘masterpiece’ in the cupboard, so I thought I would make a cushion cover. I stitched the felt onto a piece of calico, and then found a lovely piece of fabric to make the backing.
I am really pleased and happy with the outcome.
Reference for quote:
“In the spider web of facts, many a truth is strangled” BrainyQuote.com. Brainy media Inc. 2021, accessed on 4/11/2021.
Paul Eldridge 1888 – 1982. Educator, poet, novelist.