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Slow Stitch Update and a Celebration

Slow Stitch Update and a Celebration

The last time I showed you my Autumn Nuno slow stitch piece was back in April and it looked like this:

I have been continuing to stitch on this piece for 15-20 minutes per day. I have been concentrating on the bottom left corner and bottom foreground to fill in the vegetation/foliage in those areas.

Here’s a close up of that area which has the first pass of seed stitch and just needs some of the lighter areas filled in a bit more. I also think I need to evaluate the values once I’m happier with the foreground.

And here’s what the full piece currently looks like. You can click on any of the photos to enlarge them. So progress is being made, albeit slowly. I’m still enjoying the daily practice of hand stitching, adds a little zen to my day.

One year ago today, we adopted this little guy from Mission Valley Animal Shelter. His name is Edgar and he was a stray so we don’t know his breed or his age, but he has added so much joy to our lives. I thought you might want to help Edgar celebrate his adoption day and see how he is living his best life.

Back to some winter sheep

Back to some winter sheep

I have been felting and stitching a little picture again. And of course, my favourite sheep will make an appearance.

I did a sketch of the idea I wanted, I don’t think I have the patience for proper drawing. I do a quick general idea. I used a thick piece of “almost felt” and made the blue sky and snow base, wet felting them together. Next, I used Blue Faced Lester lock to make some evergreen trees.

 

I added some paths for the sheep. Sheep like to walk the same path other and over, one after the other, even in a green pasture. Once they are where they generally want to go, they wander off. I have no idea why they like to stand out in a snow covered field, but they do.

I added all my trees and tucked the edges around to make it neater. I added some blobs for the sheep so when I add the stitching they will stand out a little more. I also lightened up the paths a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used french knots to make the woolly coats and some embroidery for the heads and legs.

 

I fiddled with trees a bit and added trails into where the sheep are standing. I tried t add some shadow under the trees but it didn’t look right so I pulled it off. The trees still need some snow. I usually do that last, I am not sure why.

My problem is the bottom right. It seems very bare. I don’t know if I want another sheep or something else. I thought of some little birds on the snow but think as this is a small picture (about 5″x6″, 12×15 cm) they might end up looking like sheep droppings. I don’t want a fence. Does anyone have any ideas? It may end up being another sheep.

 

 

Who could resist , the sequel.

Who could resist , the sequel.

I simply had to develop one of the pieces from my play with multiple resist further. This particular piece intrigued me, and after we spent time together ie me staring at it for a considerable time, I knew where we were going. The centre felt like something had fractured, a cell broken apart. Having recently lost both my parents it felt like a metaphor for my grief and the feeling I was going through, emotions of pain and detachment. These became the red, pain, anger, hurt. The white, detachment, cold, an emptiness. And do our journey began.

To the original felted piece, I added some shaped prefelt which I added with a couching stitch. This gave me the raised effect. I then added beading from the centre of the “cell” out to either side. Throughout the whole piece, I chose a palette of white red black and grey ( there is a little exception to that but I will go further later ).

I wanted to use a material other than felt for the background of the piece and decided on mixed media. As a base, I used calico which I coloured with acrylic paint. As I turned out I needn’t of done this as I covered the whole piece in materials. I knew from the very beginning how the piece was going to turn out but wasn’t sure of the materials I was going to use to achieve the textures I wanted. So I had a play. I got several different materials and heat treated and used my embellishing machine to see the effects I could achieve.

For the red area, I decided upon prefelt with red satin added with the embellisher, heat treated tulle, crocheted wire and beads.

Arranging composition

In the white area, I decided upon prefelt embellished with satin I also heat treated a mixture of materials lutrador, plaid plastic bags and plastic netting (from a cheese sac) doing this gave the texture of ice which is what I wanted to achieve.

Developing the white area

For the other surrounding area, I cut up an old silk dress that had wonderful shades of grey. These were added with the embellisher around the edges. It had many shades of grey going to black so I could shade the composition. It did take the whole dress to complete it.

The base layer was now laid down so next I added the beading As part of the white area I wanted some raised beading so I beaded small clusters of beading on the net and glued the back. When dry I cut them out and arranged them on the piece.

In these little parts, I added only a couple of golden seed beads. My little sign of hope I suppose.

In the red area, I added beading in shades of deep red and dark green also many sequins which reflect light wonderfully. wire crocheted flame-shaped pieces were added radiating out into the grey area. I also embroidered with daisy chain stitch.

And so our journey ended. I have never worked on a piece that felt like a part of me more than this. Because of the lockdown here I am unable to get it framed but it will be. Then it will go on my wall

Fun with Foils

Fun with Foils

Like many of you, I belong to some textile groups that would normally meet in person but this year have needed to find alternative ways to work together. One such group is the Farnborough Embroiderer’s Guild (EG). This EG group is quite unusual in that rather than inviting speakers to talk about their practice, we all take it in turns to teach each other new skills. Three months ago we started meeting via Zoom and I have to confess in some ways I actually prefer it! We aren’t a large group but when we meet in person I often end up only talking to the 2-3 people I am sat nearest to, on Zoom the whole group shares the same conversation which is nice and feels very inclusive. The other advantage is the lack of commute, for me, this means I get to eat before we gather and I can have a glass of wine while we play together 🙂

Last month Sue took us through a technique to create foiled pictures; I don’t know about you but I can’t resist a bit of bling! As we are approaching holiday season it also feels very appropriate to share this with you now, I think it would make some wonderful textile Christmas cards and gifts. I hope you enjoy it and feel inspired to have a go!

Although I have played with foils before it was only as decorative finishing touches never as the basis to create a whole textile picture. Even so, I still managed to make every mistake in the book but was pleased to find foils are remarkably accommodating, if you make a mistake, it can (mostly) be rectified with layering more foil over the top.

Unfortunately it did not occur to me to take photos of the process until I was half way through my picture, I apologise for the lack of photos covering the initial stages of the process. The first few photos are where I went back and reapplied the bondaweb on the beak as my initial application had not transferred completely.

This was the reference photo I used for inspiration:

Some useful tips before you start:

  • set your iron on a low to medium (1 to 2 dots) setting without steam
  • always use a sheet of baking parchment to protect your iron
  • work on an ironing board

1: Cut a piece of medium weight, iron-fusible interfacing / fabric stabiliser slightly smaller than the background fabric and iron it to the back of your fabric. We used black cotton velvet but most non-synthetic fabrics will work (synthetic fabrics are best avoided for this technique as they might melt when heat is applied).

2: Draw out your design with a pencil on the paper side of a sheet of bondaweb. If you aren’t confident drawing freehand, you can trace the design from a printed image. Cut out your design, either as one solid shape or in sections if you plan to create a stained glass effect. For the hummingbird I cut out the whole bird as a single piece.

3: Transfer the bondaweb design onto your backing fabric.

If you are using the stained glass technique you might want to transfer one piece at a time, foil it then apply the next bondaweb shape.

4: Once cooled, carefully peel off the paper backing from the bondaweb.

5: Lay a piece of foil (coloured side facing you) over the exposed bondaweb and cover this with a piece of baking parchment, using the tip or edge of your iron, apply gentle pressure to the areas where you would like that coloured foil to appear.

Allow the piece too cool before peeling back the foil backing.

Tip: you can cut out pieces of baking parchment paper to mask off areas where you do not want that particular colour to appear.

If there are areas where the bondaweb has not transferred so well, or you have already applied several layers foils and want to lay a different colour over the top you can reapply the bondaweb but cutting a shape to match the area, I did this for the edge of breast where I wanted the purple to form a solid line:

If you want a sharp edge in a specific shape, it is also possible to cut the foil to match the shape you desire:

6: Continue adding different coloured foils to your design. If using cotton velvet for the backing it is possible to build up layers of different coloured foils without applying more bondaweb.

Tip: keep the scraps of partially used foils, they can be used to overlay different colours on top of each other very pretty marbled colours.

It is possible to “draw” lines of foil using just the tip or edge of your iron, I used this technique to create the feathers on the wings:

It is not very easy to capture foils in a photo, especially the holographic ones so I shot a short video that I hope shows all the different colours more effectively:

Our group met again last night to add some embroidery to our designs, this is how far I managed to travel in the couple of hours we had together.

…and a little sneak peek of my most recent foiled “painting”.

Have you tried making foiled paintings?

Who could resist

Who could resist

My name is Janet Bayar, I’m 60 years young and live in the lake District Cumbria. 2018 January I attended a day felting course,a Christmas present from me to my daughter, with my daughter and now I am hooked. I have created art all my life but feel that now I have found “the one”. I am excited for the journey ahead. Apart from the day course I am self taught and live by the “what if” mantra.

When taking part in the beginner wet felting day like many I couldn’t get my head around how you could make this fibre and flat felt into a 3 d item. With patient guidance from my daughter , who has a degree in art , I mastered the craft of felt vessels. My mind then went to , well if you can have one resist why not more and thus the journey began.

I am often asked , what do I mean by a resist. A resist is something that stops wool fibres from felting together. In vessels it could be a simple piece of plastic sheet , in shobori it could be a button or marble. Something that stops the fibres of the wool knitting. Recently I began thinking about using the same techniques I have used in vessels but adapting them to 2 d pictures. I first laid down a base of Marino topps then used herdwick in various shades sandwiching between three different sizes of circular plastic. After wet rubbing until I knew the fibres were well felted I cut out the plastic

Shaping the piece was next. I have mainly used the ever forgiving Marino in the past and wasn’t ready for the harsh corse herdwick and must admit ended up skinning the side of my hand rubbing the fibres into shape. In the end I put on disposable gloves and used bubble wrap to creat the shape.

I loved the process so much I then went on to experiment more.

This shows the piece with only one resist cut out. You can see where the other resists are positioned.

I will now develop these. I always treat the felting pieces as the base of my canvas. Sometimes I go into a project with a concept of where I am going it sometimes the piece takes me by the hand and leads.

In this case my sample piece is developing. It’s early stages yet but I know where I am going but will post how it develops to the final outcome.

Some Stitching, Some Felting and Some Growing Babies

Some Stitching, Some Felting and Some Growing Babies

I am slowly adding some stitching to the needle books. I did a small sheep book. It is about 2 x 3 3/4inches or 5 x 9.5 cm closed.

And a larger one,4 1/4 x 4 3/4 inches or 11 x 14 cm closed. I am not sure it’s done. I was thinking it needed another sheep down in front. I was thinking it should be a black sheep but I am not sure.

and I started my second quarter challenge.  I am not going to tell you what it is but you can guess if you want.

And here are the cute little chicks from a couple of weeks ago. They have grown a lot and no longer look alike. The chickens hardly even look at me, maybe they are sad they have reached the ugly stage. In another couple of weeks they will be pretty.

 

And here are the turkey babies. They are very interested. It was hard to get a picture I had to spook them so they ran away so I could get a picture as they came running back with curiosity. Turkeys are very funny.

 

And lastly one of my apple trees has started to bloom.

All in all, a good week. I hope yours was too.

 

Needle Books Next Steps

Needle Books Next Steps

Continuing on from my last post about making felt for needle books, Felt for Needle Books  I started sewing them together. Well,  first I had to iron them all which always takes much longer than you think it will. Everyone forgets to mention this step or they just say iron your pieces like it’s nothing at all. There are no pictures of ironing, as fascinating as that might have been, I didn’t take any pictures.

I also only took one picture when I was sewing them together. There was much swearing, and unpicking that you didn’t need to see.

After sewing them together I had to think about how to decorate them. I went online and looked for line drawings.  You can find them in any theme you like. I looked for sewing. I also used some I had saved from other projects. I traced them onto a nonwoven dissolvable stabilizer.  This is great stuff and it doesn’t take much to dissolve it. You can’t use a marker for tracing, it dissolves the stabilizer. I used a thick pencil to trace my designs.

On to the stitching. The first one is a snail. I picked a variegated embroidery floss. I used all 6 threads because I wanted a heavy line.

You will notice that in the first of the snail pictures the book is sewn together but in the other 2 pictures, it is pinned together. After stitching the snail I realized I stitched it so the inside is upside down and so I have unpicked the thread holding it all together and will sew the inside in the right way.

This one I really didn’t know how to embellish, I have another one almost the same. I decided on a backstitched chain stitch using 2 similar colours. I didn’t need the dissolvable stabilizer for this one. It’s a bit wonky, but there you go.

I also did the smallest book.

Closed the little book is only 2.25  inches (5.7cm) square. That is big enough to hold some needles and a thread saver. This book only has one double, needle page. All the others have two, and they all have 2 pockets. I have one more smallish one and the rest are all bigger. The biggest ones are 4.5 inches (11.3 cm) square so big enough for a small pair of scissors. After I get all of the embroidered I will have to add some buttons and ties or elastics to them. Elastics can look messy if you don’t have layers to hide the ends between. How do you deal with cut ends when adding them to a project?

This is what’s new on the farm this week. These are baby chicks.

And these are baby turkeys. There is not much difference between them as day olds. But only a few days on and the turkeys have grown necks.

Five of them got stepped on by there friends and had isolated themselves away from the heat so they had to come inside and live in a box with a heat lamp, in my sewing room for a few days.

Here they are all better, in a bucket for their trip back to the group. this is the safest way for them to traves without getting hurt or too scared.  You can see how they have grown in just a few days. Not sure why the look so grubby in the picture because they weren’t, just the light I guess.

 

 

 

Stitching sample

Stitching sample

I wanted to try stitching some mountains into a felted background. I did a search online for embroidered mountains but they were either very stylized or very detailed large pieces.  Neither is what I wanted. I always want to do or use something that is not available.  I decided I would find my own way. Part of it was I am working small so you can’t really do to much detail. I picked one of the basic sky and grass picture blanks I made to give it a go.

I forgot to take a picture before starting. I thought I had pictures of the blank but I can’t find it. I found a group shot of the others so this must have been one I did another time.  this gives you an idea of what I did.

The one I am using is about 4 inches long and 3 inches high.

I had a nice dark grey in my embroidery box so I gave it a try. I used 3 strands. I used up what was on the little card and then grab the little skein I thought it was the same colour. It wasn’t, it’s good but this one is more greenish and the first more blueish and darker.

I’m sorry about the change in exposure but it was just the change in the light in the time it took me to stitch the second mountain. I like the way the stitches going in different directions give it a rugged mountain look.

I tried 2 more colours. I think I like the two middle colours best.

I decided to add some of the lightest colour to the first two mountains to see if it worked as highlights.

I think I like it better without light stitches. It looks better on the second mountain where there was less contrast. I think there is enough variation with the stitches and the way the light hits them.

Then I thought the mountains are pretty straight across the bottom so I wanted to hide the bases. Trees were next to try. I thought just some inverted V type stitches would look like trees.

That sort of worked. They look better in person than in the pictures. I used 2 threads instead of the 3 I used for the mountains. I thought they should have less weight. It is hard to make small stitches in felt. The stitches seem to get smaller as you pull through. I think it’s because the felt is thicker and more flexible than the regular cloth they use in embroidery. I think if I add more stuff to the foreground the trees might be better. I may add some lighter and darker stitches.

So that’s my WIP at the moment. I have been cleaning my studio too and found the chairs I put in there so I could sit comfortably. They had become tables and storage units somehow. I hope you are all doing well in your isolation and using it as an excuse to felt or stitch or spin or whatever takes your fancy.

 

 

 

This and that.

This and that.

I haven’t done much this week but I did decide to do some stitching on one of the circles I made earlier for the jewelry challenge. Seeing Antje’s post reminded me I had made a few stitching blanks. this one is just over 2.5 inches/7cm. I don’t think mine is quite as artistic but it was fun to do with the bright threads.

Next, I thought I would like to do something a little more 3D. I have a box of stretched silk hankies and bits of silk hankies left over from other felting.

I stretched out some circles from bits to make the flower bases.

And a bigger blog of pieces for leaves.

I added some wool.

And then some more silk hanky bits.

I rubbed them all and then I decided to roll them up and pop them in the dryer while I made a few small landscape blanks for stitching. I cut out some prefelt and added the sky and grass. They went into the dryer too and then it was time to feed the bottle lambs and head of to work.

Next week is our school break so I am hoping to get some felting time in.

3rd Quarter Challenge Finally Finished (well… close enough)

3rd Quarter Challenge Finally Finished (well… close enough)

I finally finished my 3rd quarter challenge. As you recall it was a cityscape. It was much harder then most of us thought it would be. I wanted to do something different. I thought about doing a scifi city on another world but no matter what I tried adding to it I wasn’t happy. So think again. I did think about doing an insect city. I even looked up some pictures of termite towers. That still wasn’t it. then I saw a picture of a city at night from space picture. I liked that so tried to find my city. No, it seems the capital of Canada is just to small to both taking a picture of as you whiz by in space. so I decided to make a map. I scaled it so I could see all of the city in a 5×7 inch frame.

The last time you saw it it was at this stage.

I have slowly been stitching in the smaller roads with thin crochet cotton. The lines were too small to try needling them in. At this magnification, there are may roads missing.

It was almost done so I took it with me to work on at the show. It was very busy and it took me all of Saturday to do the two left-hand, top parts. I did the red outline of the city on Sunday morning. Sunday morning is always slower. Why is stitching a straight line so hard?

Next, I trimmed it up ready for its bath.

It is quite a lightweight stabiliser. I picked it so I could trace the picture through it for the outline rivers and main roads. I thought I might have to wait time for it to dissolve but it was gone as soon as it got wet.

Although many people recognized it as Ottawa I think I will label it. I might try doing some other cities I really enjoyed doing this one. So where to put the name.

I like the right hand one best. I think partly because I know the north side of the river is a city too. The north side of the river is the province of Quebec. Ottawa is in the province of Ontario. I will needlefelt the name using some yarn.

 

 

 

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