Winter Birch Update

Winter Birch Update

I have been working on my winter birch landscape. Here are the posts for part 1 and part 2 if you missed them.

I finished appliqueing the birch trunks and adding the machine stitched branches. I’m happy with the trees, now on to foreground snow.

Most of the comments on my last post thought it would be a good idea to add some snow in the foreground. I found a piece of white prefelt which I tore apart and auditioned in the left photo. The middle photo is with wool locks and the right photo is with wool slubs and nepps. I’m not happy with any of them. The one I like the best is on the left but I don’t have a good way to adhere the wool. I could needle felt it in but I really don’t like to needle felt into the silk of the nuno felt. I am thinking the foreground snow is not happening.

Small red twig dogwood bush handstitched on nuno felt for a sample. Sampling different weights and colors of thread for the branches of the bush.

Another suggestion was to add red twig dogwood bushes. That seemed like a good idea to add in a contrasting color. I made a sample here on another piece of the nuno felt background. I used wool thread in dark orange, red and darker red. I first tried two threads, mixing the colors. The branches felt too fat. So I switched to one thread and decided to use the red and dark red threads. I hand stitched the bush using stem stitch.

Next came stitching it on the piece. I do like the addition of the red. Now I am letting it rest for a bit to decide if I want to add the red in one other area of the landscape. I think it might look more balanced if I had a few bushes further in the background. What do you think?


23 thoughts on “Winter Birch Update

  1. Ruth your piece is looking great & the dogwood is adding the contrast element you were seeking.
    More dogwood? = yes….to the left just behind your triple tree trunks.

    Have you tried ironing cloudy ‘wisps’ of fibre (I’ve been successful with viscose staple fibres) with spray starch (between parchment!)? The resulting ‘piece’ would then need only minimal needling into your nuno silk.
    Or….an old fashioned idea has literally just hit me….use a very fine needle (ie beading needle) and a strand of hair to attach it into place….I was taught to repair stockings & tights using hair, whoah, now that is a memory from a very long time ago!!!

    1. Thanks Antje! I will have to audition some thinner twigs to see where they fit best. Thanks for the idea about starch, I have done that with silk. Not sure if I have any viscose. But it’s a good idea. I think I would use 50 weight thread instead of hair!

  2. It’s progressing beautifully Ruth. I agree on your stance on the snow, the little whisps on the left is the best option. It would certainly be worth experimenting with Antje’s suggestion. The dogwood is giving further depth to the picture. I would go for more here. Does it naturally self root? I can’t remember how it propagates but since this is a wilderness scene I think it would work (uneven number of them).
    Looking forward to seeing your further progress.

    1. Thanks Helene, I am definitely going to try out Antje’s suggestion. I’m not sure how dogwood propagates but I think through the roots. Yes, I will add another clump of bushes somewhere, now to determine where is best.

  3. Your Birches look really good – you could almost reach out and peel some of that lovely “paper” bark off them – I used to do that as a child.
    Snow – I think like the locks best but a combination of some of all three types in different places would be good I think. However if you don’t want to needlefelt into the silk – and I get why – perhaps leave it out altogether. Unless you want to add the odd patch in appliqué? I think that would work too.
    Red dogwood – These look perfect. I would perhaps suggest one more on the right hand side, just under half way up the picture. It will add to the perspective. I would also put possibly just the branches of a bush situated slightly forward of the picture in the bottom left hand corner. These would draw the eye to the first of the birches.
    For more snow (if you do put any in) you could add this to the bushes and possibly some of the birch branches with more embroidery.
    Now you’ve got lots of ideas, and will no doubt get lots more – decisions, decisions!
    Here’s to the next post.

    1. Thanks Ann, yes, the birches do feel very papery. I am going to try Antje’s suggestion for the snow to see if that will work. I do think the idea is good, just haven’t found the correct way to do it yet. I will be auditioning the red twigs in other places before I make a decision. I had thought of adding snow to the branches but not sure on that either. And yes, designing is all about those pesky decisions.

  4. Yes to more red somewhere else! It draws the eye and makes for more interesting viewing.

    I’m a bit sad there won’t be snow, I was all for it 🙂

    1. Thanks Leonor. Don’t give up hope for more snow, Antje has a good idea that I will try and it just might work. I just didn’t think the options I tried were the answer.

  5. It’s looking good. Between the left and the right snow addition pictures, it looks like you also added green, mostly on the left side. I was going to suggest some greens and brown to make the snow that already there stand out more. It looks like some of the snow has melted. I agree with another one or more dogwood on the far left halfway up.

    1. Thanks Ann! I hadn’t noticed that extra green in the right photo. It is just the lighting from the photo that caused that. But your idea of the snow melting is a good one. More decisions…

  6. I love your additions of dogwood (and vote yes to a few branches in the background). I reluctantly agree about the snow. I appreciate your methodical approach to trying out additions. I need to be more disciplined this way. This piece is already beautiful (and not just because it combines my favourite elements of Ontario winter). Thank you for sharing your work and techniques so generously. Finally, the superb quality of your birch branches really convinced me to get my machine tuned to machine stitch – I am still struggling to make it work.

    1. Thanks Linda! The dogwood branch additions are a definite. But I will have to find the correct placement. So more auditions and sampling. I didn’t use to be methodical and do samples, but I have found that it saves me time, effort and the outcome is improved when I take my time and sample ideas first.

      I hope you get your machine up and ready for free motion stitching. It’s one of my favorite additions to felted pictures. If you have questions about how to get your machine working this way, please ask.

  7. What lovely work, I love the technique you’ve used. I’ve started to use it myself as I really like nuno felt. I’ve just managed two sample pieces at the moment, moss being my inspiration. I’ve machine and hand stitched into mine but I love the idea of applique and the subject chosen.

    1. Thanks Ladies! More dogwood is a must, have to decide exactly where. I agree that the red definitely adds a nice contrast. I am thinking I might call the piece “Winter Colors” or something in that vein.

  8. I love the blue / green / white colours of this picture. It has a sort of ethereal quality. I’m going to go against the trend and argue that on this occasion, less is more. I do agree that a small amount of dogwood in the background would be a good idea now but I really wouldn’t add anything else. Just goes to prove that you can’t please all the people all the time!

    1. Thanks Lindsay, it’s impossible to please all the people all the time, that’s for sure. I get opinions but I don’t always follow them. I will do a bit more sampling and make my final decisions soon. Thanks for your input!

  9. I vote on more bushes as well! I like very much the whole composition and how it is coming along.

    1. Thanks Caterina, I am in the process of working out how I want to add the background bushes. I will post again when it is complete.

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