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Busyness and Books

Busyness and Books

As it often happens in Ottawa, the transition out of winter into spring can be quite sudden. Some years when it’s quick, we get to experience the river’s quick rise and many homes discover they unexpectedly have indoor swimming pools.

Ottawa geologically was at the bottom of an inland sea, it got up and suddenly left long before I arrived in Ottawa. Its departure left patches of Leda clay (an unstable marine clay) and locally 3 raised beaches where the waterline sat for a while before exiting the Ottawa valley leaving us a river that occasionally wishes to try to reclaim its distant glory of being a sea. I am 1 raised beach above the present flooding area for the Ottawa River and am slightly uphill from the creek down by the transitway, which is moving to a deeper but closer canal so the new train can go in. I understand the train will be wonderful but It seems to have a fear of heights since it is incapable of climbing much of a slope. I hope they asked the train’s thoughts on winter since we have a lot of that as well as a few too steep for the train slopes.

Some years we are lucky and have a slow spring, no flooding and we get to enjoy the tulips. That was this year! I suspect summer got annoyed having to wait and we have now been enjoying August in May with +30c and heavy humidity.  This is providing the plants with a bit of a panic! “Oh no, I am missing my display time! Quick, Flower!!”  It’s a bit confusing at the moment in the front and back garden.

We got word the garden centres would be deemed essential services and be open with restricted numbers and access. I was able to get most of what I was looking for. I have been frantically doing and overdoing the potting out, removing and replanting stray catnip and some of the self-seeded lettuce (have you ever considered Lettuce as a ground cover?)

As I think I told you when the Raccoons were being evicted, we need to replace the roof as well as working on fixing the garage.  Then we found out that the chimneys (I am lucky and have 2!) need to be unbricked then rebuilt. The face of the brick has been falling off and it is in very rough shape. That needs to be done before the new roof. It also explains the mysterious pieces of brick that I find in the garden and on my patio…. I was reasonably sure it was not the birds dropping them on their way to build a nest. On further consideration, that might not be a bad nesting material, good against cats, raccoons, and other birds. They would get a reduced price on nest insurance but would need a strong tree. It would be quite cozy lined with some wool. (I would say my musings are due to sunstroke but it’s cloudy and looks like we are about to get an impressive and windy rainstorm.)

1-2 the newly rebuilt front chimney and the about to be rebuilt back chimney.

3-4 the portable forest, herb and Vegi garden  &  the extra catnip on the old bench

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5-10 the confusion of spring and early summer flowers all trying to get your attention

  11-12 the Japanese lilac is particularly impressive this year!

I wish I could share the aroma coming from my Japanese lilac and the adjacent thicker sweet scent of the flowering Honeysuckle vine. I was going to get a new hummingbird feeder for beneath the vine but with stores closed, I have missed the setup time so I hope the hummingbirds are enjoying the honeysuckle this year. While I was sitting on my (sorry Miaka’s) swinging garden bench, the perfume from the Lilac drifted over in waves on the gusting wind. I wanted to sit there longer but still have a lot to do today. More work on the Guild Library database and the year-end report as well as a blog post to write, but after taking pictures of clematis, bachelor buttons (the fancy ones) and trying to get a shot of the lilac as its flower-filled branches bounced in the wind. I still have raspberry’s to relocate or rehome, topping up the soil, some pruning of the back hedge and the grapevine (I saw more grapes starting than I have ever seen!! But the raccoon doesn’t share, it likely following the example of the chipmunk that eats all my strawberries!)

13-14 Grapes and Strawberries!

So it’s been very busy but not a lot of felting since Mother’s Day. (Ah I have finally got to the felting!)

15 Two of my felting books I wanted to tell you a bit more about

Although I have not found a book solely focused on wire armatures I have found a number of books that have small sections, to a brief mention of how they use armature wire. Recently I have picked up a couple more books that discuss armatures. The most recent was “Adorable Felted Animals: 30 Easy & Incredibly Lifelike Needle Felted Pals” by Gakken Handmade Series. This was originally a Japanese book translated into English in 2015.  80 pages, softcover, I was able to pick up a second-hand copy labelled as a knitting book. There is no knitting but 30 small scale animals to make.

It starts with posed pictures of the finished animal projects giving the name of the maker, the page numbers for the instructions and the size. The size of the pieces are interesting to note, with the largest just over 6 inches long but most are half that or smaller. This means they are excellent travel projects or you can just absorb the techniques and work on a bigger scale. There is a short section on the method used to create the golden retriever with lots of photos. This includes a layering technique for creating the fur look outer coat. The rest of the book is instructions for each figure. They have templates at the finished size to check your felted piece against as well as any special instructions such as a pattern for laying in the fur coat if needed or markings to add. The wire used varies from the full body to just the forelegs or tail.

I suspect a beginner who has never felted could be a bit hesitant to dive in, but if you have done a bit of needle felting and are comfortable with how the needle moved the fibre this may give you some ideas to take the information and use it for your own projects.

If you are interested in creating realistic fur you may want to look at “Needle Felted Kittens: How to Create Cute and Lifelike Cats from Wool” by Hinali.  96 pages, softcover with dust jacket. The author has more in-depth step-by-step instructions on each part of the creation of the cats. Although this book looks like one that an intermediate felter would choose, a newer felter would likely still be able to get a lot from this book because of the excellent photo instructions.

There is information on how to trim the fur to make it even more life-like. (Yes scissors and fibre can be used together much to the horror of the spinner in me!) There are both full and partial armatures used with good descriptions.  The suggestion of using yarn tightly wrapped over the armature to give the fibre something to stick to is interesting too (more experiments to come!). There are excellent examples of naturalistic shading to create a more life-like coat.

16 three more of my felting books I will tell you about

I have bought 3 more books dealing at least partly with armatures

  • Making Needle-Felted Animals: Over 20 Wild, Domestic and Imaginary Creatures by Steffi Stern,  127 pages softcover. this book has a couple of projects which use armatures.  It has a good beginner section of tools and some basic techniques before the project instructions. Pipe cleaners are used in one example as an armature which I would switch to one of the finer aluminum wires to reduce sensitivity to humidity. Scrap wool wrapped in yarn and used as an example for a possible core to felt over. the use of glue over bird’s feet is also shown.
  • A Masterclass in Needle Felting Dogs: Methods and techniques to take your needle felting to the next level by Cindy-Lou Thompson, 128 pages, softcover. (This one I liked immensely for all the extra tools and  techniques she suggests) She shows her starting armatures and thoroughly depicts how the four dogs were made. Many of the techniques I had not run into before.  Make your own Taxidermy like eyes, the uses of added colour; pastels, markers, paint, using mog-pog and clay. This is one I would suggest checking out if it crosses your path!
  • Next Level Felting: Professional needle-felting techniques to take your felted wool creations to the next level by Nancy Wesley. 90 pages, softcover. There is limited use of armatures, but good examples of blending fibres for a more naturalistic looking skin colour. she shows techniques to create a sharp edge when changing skin colours as well as subtle transitions. She has included many felting Tips scattered through the book.  If you have the opportunity to look at this book in person, check out the anatomical detail in her humped back whale.

and I have one I am waiting to order, so I will update you on it shortly.

  • The Natural World of Needle Felting: Learn How to Make More than 20 Adorable Animals by Fi Oberon. 144 pages, hardcover. More details to come on this one, but the preview bits I can see on Amazon.ca have multiple mentions of wire armature so I am quite hopeful and excited.

Have you found books about needle felting that have information on wire armatures that have helped you? Please point me in their direction if you have! If you are interested I can show you the Felted picture books I have collected over the past few years in another post.

 

Happy Mother’s Day 2021

Happy Mother’s Day 2021

Last year I made Mom a felted picture of tulips for Mother’s Day. She is very fond of tulips but not so much taking care of plants. Thus, the felted tulips seemed the best option. I told you about them last year (https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2020/05/10/a-bouquet-for-mothers-day/) so I hoped you might be curious if I gave her another tulip.

This year we have been having a long slow spring. Spring flowers started early and have lasted for weeks! It is a big improvement over some springs. We occasionally go from snowbanks and snow mould to crocuses to 20c+ weather in the space of a couple of days to a week (there is a lot of flooding those years). Ottawa is a wonderful place to experience weather in one year you can live through +40c to -40c. (I am glad there is a lot less of the -40c than when I was a kid)

this year with such a slow spring we got to enjoy the flowers for much longer! While we were working on the sinking garage sort and clear, I snuck out to the front garden to take a few pictures to see what would inspire me for this year’s Mother’s Day Felt picture.

The violets are out as well as the lungwort but mom really does like tulips

1-3 Harratige Violets and Lungwort

It’s still a bit early and there are more daffodils out than tulips in full bloom so let’s see what we have for inspiration options.

 

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4-11 2021 Early Spring Garden

After much deliberation, I chose the lighter of the peachy pink and orange tulips.

 12  The photo was taken May 2nd, 2021. The needle felted picture is based on this tulip and was started the evening of May 6th and then worked on over the next 2 days while Glenn still puttered on the garage clearing.

The base layer is an inexpensive commercial felt in antique white. I have shifted the grey background to a more blue tone. The wool is a combination of superwash merino, Corriedale and a small amount of BFL.  The background was worked with both a single T36 as well as the fake clover tool with T40’s.

13    I used the template method of transfer, although the felt was thin and light so if we had a sunny day I could have done the window or lightbox method. I did not want to use the black permanent black markers and could not remember where I had put the coloured permanent markers so I used coloured pens instead. (the lost markers could have been replaced at Dollerama but are not considered essential!!!)  I measured out the 5×7 box and since my cardboard mat has also disappeared after I cleaned my desk I just kept checking with the ruler to make sure I was staying in the correct size for framing. (It is a lot cheaper to work in a standard size so you don’t need to cut a custom mat later.)

Looking at the picture, I have the Red Maple tree out of focus as the background. This is very gray/brown out of focus bark and is not really as appealing in the felt version. Well, we can fix that, if you need to move a tree, go ahead and move the tree! If the sun is not shining, just turn on the sun In your painting if you would like it to be there! you are God in your creative world! So I used the Magic of Tree-be-gone and switched it out for the amorphous sky and nondescript foliage.

 14-15 I laid in the background first and used both the single needle and fake clover multi-tool to get the background blocked in.

Yes, that is more what I was wanting.

16 Messy desk yet again

Next, let’s look at the colours. I ransacked my wool to find Pinks, purple, navy, greens, yellow, white and a scarlet red I could blend with the pink. The red was from a bit of superwash merino I had bought from the Black lamb and used on last years’ tulips. Unfortunately, I got quite absorbed in the colour blending and layering before I remembered to take another picture.

17-19 thin wisps building up the colour

I had started with the yellows and peach colours at the back part of the flower and worked forward. I found the tulip needed more contrast at the intersection between the edge of the leaf and the background. So working with the fibres generally parallel to the base of the picture  I added wisps of a slightly darker blue to the edge, then folded the fibre back into the blue. In a few spots, I used my fingernail to pull back the tulip so I could work in the blue(if you don’t have scary talons an awl would have worked too).

20-22 getting a stronger contrast along the edge of the tulip

 

I decided after adding the contrast I needed to add bits of lighter wisps to keep the sky from looking too grey. I cut up and blended bits of white and blue. If you are doing a lot of cutting little bits of wool you may want to wear a mask (I know we are still doing a lot of that, but in this case, we are avoiding wool lung, not covid)

 23

I was finally pleased and decided it was time to see what it looked like framed. I had bot extra frames from Dollerama for my felted picture workshop. I use to have Ikea picture frames but they now are using Plexiglass which isn’t as nice with wool pictures. (plexi is not as clear as glass and can get quite a static build-up, not the best if it’s only lightly felted). So I went with the Dollerama black wooden frame, I may get a precut mat upgrade later since the frames now come with a thin paper mat. Unfortunately, we are still in lockdown so no upgraded mat is possible at this time.

24-26

Yes, I think Mom will like that!

When I was done I printed out the info (Happy Mother’s Day 2021 and the photo that inspired the picture.)

 

I also collected the pieces I had used for the template, the reference picture and a bit of the wool I had used. I put them in an extra-large sandwich bag to keep as a reference. I will eventually get around to organizing my work into a binder showing photos and references used on each project.

 27-28

 

I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day and Maybe even received a mother’s day present. (Possibly tulips or some very nice wool? Or the whole sheep?) Even many years after having expired from old age, my furry kids sent me a spectacular felting book; “Landscapes in Wool, the art of needle felting” by Jaana Mattson. I am looking forward to reading more of it. The back part of the book has paintings in felt she has made while the front half has step-by-step instructions on how she has made some of her pieces. I’m always intrigued to see how other felters work and see if there is something they are doing that I could incorporate to improve how I work.

 

It’s going to be 23c today so I guess spring is over and it’s time to get the 2 pails with dahlias out to their planters. After a call to Canadian Tier, I found out the garden center is open and the lines were much shorter in the evening (do not tell anyone, I still have a couple more plants to find).  Glenn came with me. he pushed the cart I pushed the walker and selected plants. I was successful and got most of the herbs and vegetables as well as a purple Raspberry and an exotic-looking honeysuckle! We put all the pots tucked between the planter boxes in the driveway.

29-30 No felting for me until I get most of this planted.

I also checked out the front garden the tulips are trying their best but are not going to like this weather.

  31-33 The later spring garden

 

 34  This is the same tulip I was felting. Now it is almost finished blooming and will soon drop its petals. What an amazing colour change!

I hope you have been inspired by spring. If your own garden has not inspired you this year then I hope you will find inspiration here and borrow mine! (Maybe just ignore the construction sign, though it is colourful!)

 

 

 

First Time Felting

First Time Felting

Quarto Creates, the book publisher for The Complete Photo Guide to Felting, is taking parts of that book and creating a book for first time felt makers.

The book will be out in the fall of 2019 but you can pre-order it on a variety of online book selling sites such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The emphasis in this book is on needle felting but it does have an introduction to wet felting as well. You can check it out here.

When the book comes out, I will do a give away for all of you lucky readers so look for it in the fall. If you already have my first book, then you will already have all the information that is in this book. But if you are a beginner and would like the basics to start with, this is the book for you!

 

And the Winners Are…

And the Winners Are…

It’s time to announce the winners of the two knitting books. Thanks for all of you who commented as I realize that perhaps many of you don’t knit.

The first book Baby & Me Knits goes to:

Baby and Me_Knits_3D

elizabeadan who says that she is a new grandmother so it will be perfect for her!

And the second book Yarn Happy goes to:

Yarn Happy_3D

koffipot who is an experienced knitter so should be able to handle the more complex patterns in this book.

Congratulations to both of you. Please e-mail me your mailing addresses so I can send them to the publisher. E-mail them to laneruthe at gmail

Yarn Happy – Book Review and Giveaway

Yarn Happy – Book Review and Giveaway

Here’s the second book from Seller’s Publishing that we will giveaway to one lucky reader. Yarn Happy is from Norwegian author, Turid Lindeland. We were given the book to review but have no other connection to Seller’s Publishing. Again, since I am not a knitter, my knitting friends, Sally and Paula, helped with the review.

Here’s what the publishers have to say about the book:

Yarn Happy, (978-1-4162-4563-6) offers readers 30 knit and crochet projects that represent the simple and clean design style that Scandinavia is known for. The designs are photographed in the dramatic Northwest region of Norway that inspired them, and include pattern charts and detailed instructions. Projects in the book include modern takes on traditional Norwegian knit designs, including socks, blankets, chair covers, crochet throws, and more. Yarn Happy is designed for both for intermediate and experienced knitters, as well as fans of colorwork. Patterns include both US standard and metric measurements, and alternative yarns are included for each pattern. Turid Lindeland’s inspiration for Yarn Happy came from an old sock she found in a crumbling hotel in Rosendal, Norway. Inspired by that old sock, and the neighboring glaciers called Folgefonna, with their dramatic icy colors and shapes, she has given these classic patterns an updated twist by employing modern color palettes. Some patterns are informed by the cool shades of ice and others by the summertime landscapes with their vibrant colors.

Yarn Happy_3D

From my knitting friends:

Both Sally and Paula agreed that this is not a beginners book and you need familiarity with Norwegian design or similar colorwork. There are no basic directions about Norwegian design, following a chart in general, or a key for the charts. Patterns were not rated for level of difficulty. But the book has absolutely gorgeous photography and if you’re an experienced knitter, it is a great resource for updated Norwegian designs.

YarnHappy-1

Patterns range from a blanket to a small phone case giving the less experienced  knitter a less daunting “first” project. Included in the book is a resource guide for finding comparable yarns that can be found in the US, a yarn weight chart, and a color chart for the Rauma Yarn that is the author’s yarn of choice. There are also crochet patterns included in the book and these are written well and easy to follow.

So if you are looking for a bit more advanced knitting patterns with a clean Scandinavian style, this book is perfect for you. Again, the photography in this book is absolutely gorgeous and it’s a pleasure to look through even for a non-knitter like me.

Leave a comment and you could win a free copy of this wonderful book. The giveaway is open until October 17th. I will be announcing the winners of both of the books on October 18th. Please make sure to have an e-mail attached to your comment. I won’t be able to contact anyone who comments anonymously. Then Sellers Publishing will send the book to you directly anywhere in the world.

Win a New Knitting Book!

Win a New Knitting Book!

We were contacted by Sellers Publishing again to see if we would review a couple of their new books. They generously offered to have a book giveaway without limiting it to a certain area. We have no connection with Sellers Publishing but they have provided a free book for us to review. So if you’d like to win a copy of the book reviewed below, please leave a comment on this post. I would appreciate it if you also shared this post on social media as well.

The first book to review is called Baby & Me Knits by Celeste Young. I will review the second book next week so keep your eyes peeled! Since I am not a knitter, I had a couple of my knitting friends, Sally and Paula, give me some input on the book.

Baby and Me_Knits_3D

Here is what the publisher has to say about the book:

Baby & Me Knits (978-1-4162-4541-4) features 20 hand-knit designs for every season and style. Knitters of all levels will find inspiration in author and new mom Celeste Young’s patterns — simple knit and purl textures that give way to subtle lace, cables, and stranded colorwork, each accompanied by clear instructions and how-to photography. Young’s combination of modern, washable yarns and stitch patterns are sized for newborns through 24 months of age. The blankets, sweaters, and coordinating accessories for baby and mom are perfect for that keepsake knitted gift from a friend or family-member. “The patterns in this book are designed to work individually and in sets, perfect for creating heirlooms for your family or special gifts for an amazing parent and child,” said author Celeste Young. “I have left plenty of room for interpretation in my designs so that you can add your personal flair to them. Choose your own color scheme for the Sweet Berries set, for example, or knit simple or wildly striped socks and fingerless gloves from the Bright Stripe set, or increase your yarn gauge and repeat count on any of the baby blankets to create a full-sized throw. It is my hope that Baby & Me Knits will introduce you to fun, new techniques and empower you to be creative as you make these sweet knitted pieces.”

Baby and Me-1

From my knitting friends:

This book has beautiful photos and appealing patterns and designs. It is primarily for babies 3 to 24 months old with a few coordinating accessories for mom! The difficulty key and needle size information right at the beginning of the book is very helpful and information about interpreting it your own way is great to take the ideas further.

Baby and Me-2

Directions were clearly written and easy to understand. The photos and breakdown of specific techniques and tips was very helpful. Each of the projects had specific technique photos for a certain portion of the project. The book assumes you know the basics of knitting but these additional explanations will certainly help a beginner to progress to more difficult projects. Each of the projects is marked as to how difficult it is. These are fairly simple patterns using cables, stockinette stitch and pattern work. Enlarged charts are a plus! It’s good book for a beginning knitter and new Moms.

Baby and Me-3

There are projects for Mom and Baby and the authors has suggestions for ways to increase the designs to make a standard size throw instead of a baby blanket. All patterns call for Cascade worsted weight yarn but any worsted weight yarn could be used. It would have been helpful to list types of yarn you could use for each project instead of listing a specific yarn. But all in all, we all thought this was a great book. It would be perfect for a knitting mom to be, new moms or grandmothers or even if you knit and want to create a keepsake gift for  a new baby. I took a look at the Amazon listing for this book and it already has four 5 star reviews.

Leave a comment and you could win a free copy of this charming book. The giveaway is open until October 17th. I will be announcing the winners of both of the books on October 18th. Please make sure to have an e-mail attached to your comment. I won’t be able to contact anyone who comments anonymously. Then Sellers Publishing will send the book to you directly anywhere in the world.

Felt So Good, Author Q&A, Review and Give Away

Felt So Good, Author Q&A, Review and Give Away

We were contacted about reviewing this book and doing a give away. I thought our readers would appreciate a chance to win this new book Felt So Good by Tone Rørseth, published by Sellers Publishing, Inc in September. Tone is a well known for her design both in jewelry and accessories as well as being a photo stylist for interior design magazines.

Tone Rorseth
Tone Rørseth

Felting 3, 2, 1
Q-3 Three types of fibre you can’t live without?

Three types of fiber I can’t live without: I like the very soft merino wool. A contrast to that one is the natural wool coming straight from the sheep. I also use the 3 mm thick Nepal wool.

Q-2 Two tools you use all the time?

Two tools I use all the time: My different felting needles. I use very thin, medium and thick needles for different types of work/art. I also use soap and water for wet felting!

Q-1 One fibre art technique you love the most? 

Favorite technique: I love the needle technique the most, to me it´s a little similar to painting and drawing.

Felt So Good Cover

Now to Tone’s new book that just came out in September. Here’s what the publisher has to say about the book:

“Felt So Good is all about wool. A wonderfully versatile material, wool is a simple and satisfying fiber to work with, and that makes these projects very accessible for crafters of all levels.

Norwegian designer Tone Rørseth has put together a delightful collection of projects for clothing, accessories, and items for the home. She guides the reader through the different types of wool felt to buy and shows how to upcycle all of your slightly worn, slightly damaged, or out-of-style wool sweaters into fabulous new items for your wardrobe and your home. Readers learn how to choose, cut, restitch, felt, and embellish old sweater fabric, transforming it into beautiful handbags, mittens, scarves, hats, skirts, jewelry, soft toys, pillows, and more!

Rørseth’s designs are whimsical and fun, and most can be made in an evening or a weekend. She has even included a section dedicated to holiday decorations, such as garlands, tree ornaments, and table decor.”

Felt So Good Acorn Wreath

Felt So Good is 144 page long paperback book that is project based. There is one page about materials and techniques with a paragraph about needle felting, wet felting and “felting” (fulling) wool clothing in the washing machine. This book isn’t going to teach you how to felt but it is great for those of you who like to upcycle wool clothing and sweaters. There are many cute projects including accessories, wearables, home decor and holiday ideas.

The book is laid out with lots of photos of finished projects and basic written instructions. There are patterns at the end of the book for any of the more complex projects. There are not any step by step photos and the book assumes you know basic embroidery stitches and how to use a sewing machine.

Felt So Good Sleeves

And now for the give away. I have one copy of the book from the publishers to give away to our readers. So that anyone can be eligible to win the book, I will be shipping it to you instead of from the publisher. If you would like a chance to win, please leave a comment below and I will need to have your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win. The deadline for making a comment is October 22, 2014 and I will announce the winner of Felt So Good on October 23, 2014.

Felt So Good Woven Containers

If you’d like to check out the blog tour for this book, here’s the schedule:

10-16 Blacksheep’s Bit of the Web
10-17 I Hook Design
10-21 Funk and Weber Designs
10-22 Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival
10-23 The Funky Felter
10-24 KarenWhooley.com
10-27 Poetry in Yarn
10-28 Funk and Weber Designs
10-29 Moogly
10-30 Monkey Mayhem
10-31 Mama O Knits/CraftLit
Creativity is a Verb

Creativity is a Verb

This isn’t a new book, but one that I have enjoyed reading numerous times. Creative is a Verb: If You’re Alive, You’re Creative by Patti Digh was published in 2011.

Creative is a verb cover

 

This is the description that is on Patti Digh’s website about the book: Your life is the work of art. Following up on her successful Life Is a Verb, and in the tradition of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, Patti Digh here presents a book that leads readers by both heart and head to acknowledge, reinforce, and use their own creative spirit. Creative Is a Verb is a book for everyone, whether you say, “I’m not creative” or “I’m just a dabbler” or “I’m an artist.” Original artwork enhances each essay, contributed by artist/followers of the author’s blog, 37 days. Thirty-three related essays are organized around six overarching themes that guide readers beyond the fear of creativity to embrace their inner artist. As the author says, “If you’re alive, you’re creative.” Among the themes: “Be Ordinary,” “See More,” “Get Present,” and “Catch Fire.” Each essay is followed by creative exercises for the reader, allowing her to apply the principles of each story to her own life.

I’m not always one to do all the “exercises” in a book but I was certainly inspired by the essays and the quotes that are scattered throughout the book. I really like the way she tells who the book is for:

“This book is for everyone who courageously creates their life as a work of art, sometimes beautiful, sometimes messy, sometimes painful, sometimes mundane, and always an expression of their unique vision; for everyone who notices the color Chartreuse and crazy clouds wherever they go; for everyone who makes art from stones, from trash, from loss; for everyone who longs to climb back into the marvelous; for everyone who yearns to reclaim their creative spirit, their art spark and for those who want to jump into their yearning and walk toward their obstacles. Yes, I mean you.”

Does that sound like you?

Book Review: Creating Felt Artwork

Book Review: Creating Felt Artwork

Creating Felt Artwork: a step by step guide

This is an excellent, information packed, 60 page, full colour e-book by Rosiepink fibre artists Annie and Lyn. Using one of their own pieces, ‘The Meadow’ as a guide, they show you a step by step process and give you all the information you need to make your own beautiful, unique felt artwork. There are lots of nice, clear photos throughout, and simple but detailed instructions with lots of excellent tips and advice. Before the main part on how to create your felt wall hanging, there is a great section about finding inspiration, how to interpret your ideas into a design and planning your artwork.

The information in the main step by step guide is excellent. It starts with a detailed equipment list with lots of hints for using inexpensive items you’d find around the house, and advice about preparing your work area. The instructions for how to lay out the wool for your design are very clear and detailed, and there are lots of photographs to illustrate each stage. There’s a very detailed explanation of the whole felting process and valuable information about choosing other fabrics and fibres to add to your design.

The next section teaches you how to enhance and embellish your artwork with simple machine embroidery. This part is packed with information and advice too. There’s everything you need to know about stabilising your felt artwork and choosing the right colours and types of thread to work best with your design. There’s information about techniques to create the effect you want and how to add detail. This section also has advice about adding hand stitching and how to use machine and hand stitching to create effects and texture and also about using other fibres for adding extra texture and detail.

Once you’ve finished your felt art wall hanging, you’ll want to display it. There is a great section on how to back and hang your artwork simply and effectively, with clear instructions and photos. But if you’d like to display your artwork a different way, there is also a separate section on alternate ways to display your artwork and how to care for it.

There’s information and tips throughout the book for techniques to help you realise your own design and create your own unique artwork. This includes how to make and use prefelt for more control over your design; how to re-use spare felt in the same way; using yarn and small drafted sections of wool for design, and adding other fabrics and needlefelting to enhance your artwork.

So, what if you’ve followed all the instructions and you’re not happy with the way it turned out, or maybe you made a few sample pieces to try out your colour choices and don’t know what to do with them? There’s even a section for that, with some great ideas on what to do with spare pieces of felt.

And don’t worry if you’re an absolute beginner and have never tried felting before, or don’t really know what all the felting terms mean, there’s a glossary at the end with everything you need to know and an appendix with a complete step by step guide to making felt, with lots of clear photos.

This really is excellent value for money. It’s an invaluable source of information and advice about creating beautiful feltwork and enhancing it simply with easy tips and techniques. And the great advantages about being an e-book is you can have it instantly and zoom into the photos for even more detail 🙂

If you’d like to own a copy, visit Annie and Lyn’s website http://rosiepink.typepad.co.uk/rosiepink/creating-felt-artwork-ebook.html   It’s also available on Craftsy http://www.craftsy.com/project/view/Creating-Felt-Artwork/43696

Book Review

Book Review

Here’s another review of a book I have in my fiber art library. The book is called Freestyle Machine Embroidery by Carol Shinn. (I can’t seem to copy the photo from Amazon so you’ll need to follow the link to see the book.) This book is about machine embroidery and is a combination of specific step by step photos as well as wonderful selections from artists around the world doing free motion machine embroidery.

The piece above is a machine stitched fabric page of an old castle ruin that I did using Carol Shinn’s method of machine embroidery. The book is very informative and has beautiful photos of Carol’s work and work of other artists. The chapters are:

  1. Understanding the Process of Machine Embroidery – This chapter covers all the basics including what “freestyle” means, supplies needed, adjusting thread tension, stitch direction and distortion, caring for your machine and trouble shooting.
  2. Color Mixing – The second chapter includes several different exercises to help you learn about mixing colors with thread including layering thread colors, understanding gradation, and planning and stitching a complete design. Carol shows a variety of samples that really illustrate color mixing well.
  3. My Process for Making an Embroidery – Chapter three shows a step by step process with lots of photos of how Carol stitches her pieces. There is an excellent troubleshooting section at the end that teaches you how to correct any possible errors.
  4. Adding Variety – The fourth chapter reviews all the different types of stitches that can change the look of a machine embroidered piece. Again, there are many close up photos to show the different variations. Carol also talks about combining hand and machine stitching, attaching decorative elements, edge considerations, dissolvable films and fabrics and using different background surfaces. There is also a small section about painting the surface and mixed media techniques.
  5. Freestyle Machine Embroidery as an Artistic Medium – The last chapter is a gallery of other artist’s work and brief description of their working methods. It is amazing the variety of work that can be done on the sewing machine and each has their own style. If you’re interested in machine embroidery, this chapter is very inspiring.
The last part of the book has further information in different appendices including your work space and equipment, basic color information, three ways to re-proportion artwork for embroidery and distortion. I really enjoyed this book and experimented with several pieces using her method. I think the book was the most helpful to me in what I learned about distortion and how to control it when adding dense layers of thread.

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