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OVWSG Fibre Poker Felting Challenge

OVWSG Fibre Poker Felting Challenge

You’ve seen the piece I was working on for this.

I still have not decided what I what to do. It was suggested that using some stabilizer on top might help keep the stitches on the surface and not have them sink in and look quilted. so I thought I would make a new background and give the stabilizer a try.

I picked some colours and carded up a little bat to use to felt a new background.

When it was finished I thought it looked like the water in Monet’s pond. I decided to add a waterlily. I looked up some google and traced the outline onto some was away stabilizer.

For thread, I decided to use some maybe real and maybe artificial silk. some of it says silk on it and some Artsyl rope. I got this thread in a barely started embroidery kit at a garage sale. I don’t know how old it is but the company that made it stopped manufacturing silk in 1911. It does seem to have continued to sell thread and ribbon but I don’t know if they also sold artificial silk. I haven’t burn tested it.  I don’t mind if it’s artificial, it’s pretty.

 

The thread is “2 ply” in appearance but each ply is made up of 5 individual threads. I used one ply for the outline and 3 of the smaller threads for leaf definition.

Onto the petals

As you can see my stabilizer started to fall apart. I am sure it’s because the underlying piece is so soft and squishy, it tears. I had the reference picture so it all worked out.  I pulled most of the tattered bits away. the last thing was the yellow center.

 

And after washing away the rest of the stabilizer. Not too bad if you don’t look too close. that should be just about the actual size of the piece.

I was happy with it even if it was a little plane. than after sowing it to some friends on Zoom, they suggested a dragonfly or some bead water drops. I didn’t feel like making a dragonfly so I decided on fish.

I added 3 koi fish around the lily. I think it worked well. I decided against the water drops because it’s an outline. Seeing it as a picture I can see I need to rub out the needle marks.

 

I enjoyed making this piece and the stabilizer did help keep the stitches on the surface so that was a good idea. I want to try the other kind of stabilizer. The stuff that looks more like plastic wrap. After chatting with a friend we think perhaps a layer of the plastic stuff and a layer of my stuff might work best. Now I just have to find some of the plastic stuff.

Not much progress yet

Not much progress yet

It has been a very busy week and I am afraid I do not have much to report.

I added a few rocks to the picture and I built up the bottom edge to be more feeling of depth. it looks a little better in person but not sure if it was worth the effort, but maybe.

I still have to add a thread or fine yarn element. I thought a few dandelions around the rocks would work. I found a nice dark green variegated thread that Jan had picked up for me.

This is a needle felted picture it is squishy, not flat and “solid” like when I wet felt a picture and then add definition or extras with a needle. I think it may make things difficult.  I made a few stitches, making sure to keep them loose because I don’t want the flowers quilted into the picture. As you can see in my mind these are large rocks, good for sitting on and watching the sea.

That did not work. It still looks quilted and I think the thread is too thin. they may have looked better with flower tops but still like they are in the rock rather than beside the rock.  At least they were easy to take out.

Fine yarn is next up. Fine is a relative term, right? Yes, I am sure it is. This doesn’t have a label but I am sure it’s a Briggs and Little sport single.

 

I will try this next but I think it may be too thick. If this doesn’t work I will look for some green embroider floss. I am sure I have some. If that doesn’t work I may try to think of some stumpwork maybe, something else  I could do separately with thread and then attach to the picture or maybe embrace the squishyness and quilt a simple flower or bird outline, large to cover the whole thing. Or maybe add some fabric like Ruth did and stitch on that.

And one more thing, to make Jan and Bernadette jealous.  My mom bought me a basket.

My husband said, “we don’t have a cobra.” I have a feeling he wants it to stay that way. LOL

 

EYE’s Residential Weekend.

EYE’s Residential Weekend.

It’s been a long time coming but last weekend I taught my first face to face workshop of 2021 at Cober Hill near Scarborough. Originally booked for summer 2020, this residential workshop for the East Yorkshire Embroiderers had to be carried over to this year due to the Covid lockdown restrictions.

I did wonder if it was too soon for some and if numbers would be depleted but it turned out the ladies were very keen to get back to normal! Nineteen of the twenty ladies booked for the weekend retreat turned up, sixteen came to do the workshop and three came simply to chill.

Cober Hill was built in 1890 and was purchased by Arnold Rowntree, former Liberal Member of Parliament for York, and nephew of the chocolate manufacturer Joseph Rowntree, in March 1920. Rowntree had a vision for it “to be a place of joy and beauty, …a centre of refreshment and inspiration for many of those engaged in difficult public services… I hope experiments in Weekend Schools, Winter and Summer Schools of various kinds and of longer or shorter duration may also be tried there…” The venue, with its gardens, tennis court, croquet lawn, theatre and numerous other communal spaces, has an annual programme of craft workshops as well as hosting private groups, businesses and schools.

The theme for our weekend was “trees” and the aim was for the students to combine layers of fabric and paint with machine and hand stitching. The finished work could then either be backed as a quilt or mounted in a frame.

After dinner on the Friday evening the group were shown examples of my “tree themed” work and I talked through the techniques I had used to create them. The ladies then started to plan their designs based on images they had brought for inspiration. Not everyone wanted to do trees, one lady chose to use the techniques discussed to do a moon gazing hare while another went completely “off piste” with her abstract take on an owl!

Maggie went her own way with an Owl.
Dorothy and Debra painting their backgrounds.
Ann laying down the background for her tree silhouettes.
Melanie painting her background layer.
Rachel’s background is painted and now she’s working on her foreground layers.
Sandra adding detail to her foreground trees.

With the bulk of the painting completed and dried on Friday evening the ladies could concentrate on layering and stitching their fabrics on the Saturday.

Hilary’s background has been painted and now she is starting to layer fabrics to create her forest.
Rhona’s moon gazing hare is taking shape.
Dorothy’s forest is pinned and ready for stitching.
Evelyn’s work in progress.

I think the surprise of the weekend was Melanie who only came to Cober Hill to keep Ann, her grandma, company. This young lady doesn’t have the use of a sewing machine and had never done any free motion stitching before…..she borrowed Ann’s machine and took to it like a duck to water!

Melanie’s lone tree is starting to take form.
Rachel adding her gate and railings.
Ruth is beginning to add hand embroidery to her tree.
Debra used lots of free motion stitch on her version of a tree canopy.
Using the same image as Debra for inspiration, Carol chose to give her tree canopy autumnal colouring.
Judy’s version of my Walk in the Forest.
Hilary made good use of zig zag free motion stitch for trees in the distance.
Margaret’s version of my Three Tall Trees.
Dorothy added hand embroidery for foreground grasses and flowers.
Melanie’s finished work…..fantastic to think this was her first attempt at machine sewing and hand embroidery!
Rhona’s moon gazing hare…..what this image doesn’t show clearly is the addition of black beads which adds texture and sparkle when you see it close up.
Close up of Sandra’s finished trees.

What I hadn’t realised at the outset was that none of these lady’s had done anything like this before, so for some it had been a steep learning curve! It was great to see everyone throwing themselves into the task of painting, layering and stitching and the results speak for themselves! By the time we left Cober Hill on the Sunday there had been some terrific work created. I hope some of my students will continue to develop these techniques alongside their more traditional skills. At least one of them has since bought herself a soldering iron for doing more of this kind of work which was music to my ears!

I just want to say a huge thank you to the EYE’s group for inviting me back to teach their 2021 residential and for being such willing students and wonderful company. I shall look forward to working with you again at some point in the future.

The EYE’s class of 2021.
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.

 

 

 

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