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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Annie (rosiepink)

For the 4th quarter challenge I made a few different things because once I started thinking about it I came up with lots of ideas and I couldn’t decide which to make!  I ended up making:

a stars themed table mat

a Christmas pudding decoration

some stars on sticks to poke into my houseplant pots

and a wreath of holly & stars

I needed a mat for the side table in my hallway because people always put keys etc on there and it gets scratched.  I was going to make one in the summer but didn’t get round to it and now that it’s winter I went for a theme of dark inky blue sky with white stars for a festive feel. I had a disaster with it when it wouldn’t felt, but that turned into a triumph when I rescued it with the embellisher because the mat not only felted but also became reversible where the pattern migrated through to the back 🙂

There is more detail about it over on our blog if you are interested: https://rosiepink.typepad.co.uk/rosiepink/2020/12/starry-night-hand-felted-table-runner.html

When trying the mat on the table I saw my simple felt “flower” on a stick that is poked into one of my flower pots, and it gave me another idea.  I thought some stars on sticks would look nice and festive scattered in my plant pots. The flower is just a circle sample of felt from the odds box that I stuck on a wire one day and pushed into the soil.  A friend commented that she really liked it so I left it there.  Also, I had promised my plants I would make them some name tags this year and I didn’t, so they can have a star each instead 🙂

Since making the Christmas Podding a few years back …

https://rosiepink.typepad.co.uk/rosiepink/2014/12/christmas-podding-and-the-chocolate-thief.html

… I kept thinking I’d like to make some more wired twisty holly leaves, possibly made into a wreath.  After some experimentation I made 3 sheets of colourful felt to cut the leaves from…

…but then decided it would take too much time to make all the leaves, so I decided to make a flat Christmas Pudding instead that could stand as a decoration and then I’d only need to make a few leaves!  The pudding is stood on a plate but leaning against a hidden glass jar.

To make the holly leaves I pinned some fabric to the back of the felt for stiffness then free motion stitched a few holly leaf shapes round 3 times in black thread and twice with white.  I also used some old felt to make some other leaves to mix up the colours.

To make the pudding I raided the scraps box. From scrap felt I cut out two main shapes – a 20cm diameter circle for the pudding and a wavy “topping” for the custard. I backed both pieces with fabric then stitched them together.

I cut some little “raisins” from orange felt and stitched them on then free motion stitched a pattern around them on the main pudding.

I attached the holly leaves and added some felt balls for berries. I had already made these a long time ago but they were perfect for this project.  Lastly I added a few little yellow stars for extra sparkle.

I had originally planned on making holly leaves using a base of green fibres plus a lot of other unusual colours to make it a bit quirky. I made a big sheet of felt to cut them from, but found I had used too many dark greens and not enough of the other colours so it wasn’t quite right. I decided I wanted to go more colourful, resulting in the felt I made above.  However, it is a lovely piece of felt and has some interesting passages in it.  For example, I can see lots of little landscapes in it and I will revisit it at some point because I think it has potential.  For now it’s one for my pile of “Ideas & Projects in Progress”.   Again, there is more detail on our blog about this if you are interested because this post is way too long as it is!

https://rosiepink.typepad.co.uk/rosiepink/2020/12/from-felted-holly-leaves-to-landscapes.html

Then in a sudden swirl of enthusiasm I decided to make a big bunch of holly leaves after all to see if I could cobble together a wreath of sorts.  Here are some in progress photos:

After making lots of holly leaves (but sadly no wire, no time!) I hit a problem in that I couldn’t get the leaves to attach nicely to the metal wreath ring I had. I didn’t want to glue gun it in case I want to take it apart and repurpose the bits at some point.  What to do? I had a look around and rediscovered a narrow felted “scarf” that I had made in the summer.  I had been far to impatient when making the scarf and it turned out nothing like I had hoped (basically lovely colours but a complete disaster!). I kept it in the hope that it would come in handy one day, and it did.  I wrapped the ring in the scarf which gave me something to stitch the leaves to:

I mixed in some felted stars and some yellow glass beads as berries (yellow, red, who cares?!)  The stitching is appalling as it was done in record time, but it’s on the back so it won’t be seen.  My patience has limits especially on something fiddly like this when I’m running out of time!  But I think the overall appearance is fun and a bit different and if I ever make another wreath I have learnt a lot along the way for next time!

Here is everything together on the table in the hallway:

 

Holiday Card Exchange

Holiday Card Exchange

Each year on the forum, we have a holiday card exchange. It’s always lots of fun to see all the different cards created and to receive one in the mail. If you’d like to see other cards, you can see them here. Make sure to scroll down and then look at all the pages in this thread to see the ones posted so far. 

I was getting a bit concerned about the card that I sent to Janet in Canada. I sent it out on November 4th and she didn’t receive it until November 27th. That is one of the reasons that we have people send their cards early so it has more time to arrive safely during the busy holiday season. But at last, she got it! So now I can tell you how I made the card.

Here’s the layout. I used a piece of white prefelt for the background and then added short fiber merino in blue green for the sky. I left patches very thin to make it look more snowy. I used “white” mixed 56’s for the snow but it wasn’t very white so I added a bit of white cashmere fiber that I have been saving. It was very white. Then I added silk noil to create a more snow like effect on the ground and in the sky. Finally over top of this, I added white prefelt tree trunks. I started with only one layer of prefelt but decided to add another layer over the trunks in the sky section as I felt that the blue green was going to bleed through too much.

Here it is after felting. I liked how the tree trunks overlapped on the top so I left them for awhile.

Next up was to add a little free motion machine stitching. I used an off white thread to give a slight shadow and more texture on the trunks. It’s kind of hard to see here but you can click on the photo to enlarge it.

Then I added a dark grey thread to give the characteristic birch tree look. I don’t use black for this because it feels much too stark. I think the grey looks more natural. Then I had to decide whether to crop or leave it as is. I finally decided on the cropping because it was just slightly too big to fit on my 5″ x 7″ card. I trimmed it up with a rotary cutter and attached it to a greeting card to send to Janet.

So here it is. I do think it looks very wintery which was the goal. I am going to have to make some more of these to sell as small art pieces.

And this is the wonderful card that I received from Janet. This is Janet’s first attempt at making a fiber/felt card and didn’t she do an awesome job? Thanks Janet for this beautiful card.

Summer Sunrise – Nuno Felt Landscape

Summer Sunrise – Nuno Felt Landscape

I have been working on a set of nuno felted and stitched landscapes and I have finished another one. This one I am currently calling Summer Sunrise unless I come up with a better name.

Here’s how the piece looked after nuno felting. It reminded me of flowers so I thought I would go in that direction with the landscape. I googled Montana wildflowers at sunrise and found several photos to use as guidance and inspiration.

I started by free motion machine stitching a line of mountains and some tall, skinny pine trees.

I added a few lines of grasses so the trees didn’t feel like they were floating.

Then to add a few mid-ground lupines. I just kept moving down the piece as I created these from background to foreground.

Then the lupines needed a little greenery and leaves. Now on to the main attraction, the foreground flowers.

I created the foreground flowers and leaves with hand dyed silk organza. I fused them together and then fused them to the surface of the nuno felt. Here’s where I forgot to take many photos. I get involved in the process and forget all about taking any photos.

Here’s a midway photo. I used free motion machine stitching to add the details and lines. I kept layering and stitching the flowers and leaves.

After I got the two large leaves applied at the very bottom, I felt that they were too bright green and really drew your eye right to the bottom of the picture. So I decided to darken them up more. I added darker thread but ultimately, they were still too bright. So I used oil pastels to tone down the bright green.  I also used oil pastels in the mountains just to give a little bit more definition of the mountains in the distance. So this one is complete and I’m still working on the slow stitch one. I will have an update on that one next week.

Update on Nuno Felted Landscapes

Update on Nuno Felted Landscapes

I started working on some nuno felted landscapes in April. It has been stop and start on getting them completed. But I thought I would give you an update on the results so far.

I showed you Flathead Lake at the end of April. I got a few comments on perhaps adding more stitching to the trees. It took a bit of contemplation about whether I should add more stitching. The main reasons I decided to go ahead and add some stitching is to bring the trees more into the foreground and to hide some of the horizontal stitching that I did on the lake area.

I used a #12 variegated cotton thread and free motion stitched the branches. I do like the highlights that it added and it definitely helped cover the horizontal lines of “lake stitching”. Now I need to find a “matte” fabric and get it ready for framing.

 

This is another background. I decided to hand stitch this one. I’m not sure why since it is the biggest one. It should take me quite a while especially since I have become disenchanted with it. I was working on it steadily but that has gone by the wayside.

Here it is after stitching the distant pine trees.

Then I stitched more foliage and aspen trees. I am using seed stitch and using a variety of colors. I was thinking it was similar to impressionist paintings with little dots of color. I think painting is significantly faster than stitching. So this is definitely a slow stitch piece.

Here’s a closer look at the stitches. I think I got discouraged because I still had so much to fill. I will be adding some different stitches into the foreground but I have to get the further distances completed before I can start on the foreground. What do you do when you get discouraged in the middle of a project? I have been working on other stuff, so it isn’t that I am not doing anything. But this one is not very appealing right now. Any suggestions?

Nuno Felted Landscape – Flathead Lake

Nuno Felted Landscape – Flathead Lake

After doing lots of machine stitching on the last landscape that I showed you, I decided to try a more minimalist approach.

This is the starting point after nuno felting.

I then machine stitched the distant mountains as well as the lines on the water. I considered stitching heavily again to get the variety of colors in the mountains but thought, why not use paint? I hadn’t tried much painting on nuno felt but I decided to just go for it. I used Dye-Na-Flow paint that I already had. I watered it down a bit as it turns kind of plastic looking when dry used straight out of the bottle.

Here is it after painting. I had to be careful applying the paint as it had a tendency to spread so I carefully brushed it on and didn’t get very close to the edges of the stitching. Now it looks more like mountains and a lake. What to put in the foreground? I searched online for photos of Flathead Lake at sunset and found some that I liked and the photos helped with the foreground choice. Add trees, now why didn’t I think of that?

So I stitched in the outlines of the trees.

Then added the paint. I am still deciding if it is finished. I might add some hand stitching to the trees to give a bit more texture and variation in color. What do you think? Does it need more?

 

 

Whitefish River Landscape

Whitefish River Landscape

I showed you the start for this landscape last week. It’s based on a photo of the trees in winter on the Whitefish river. I really like the way the orange branches look against the sky and in the reflections in the water.

Here’s the photo I took and then the layout of the felt on the right. I used what silk I already had to represent the sky and the water and then added a little wool for the land and for the large tree trunk on the left. The felted piece ended up about 8″ x 11″.

I then started stitching the most distant background features. I forgot to add any support behind the felt at this point but later on added a heavy weight Pellon interfacing to support some of the heavier machine stitching.

Now to add some sheer orange fabric for the trees. I also stitched in dark brown along the edge of the river and the shore.

Then on to adding in the trees along the shoreline. I did baste down the orange sheer fabric to hold it in place while stitching. I added more stitching for the reflections of the trees.

I cut back some of the orange in the trees to show the sky in places and added a second layer of sheer orange over some of the branches. I then stitched more branches in orange thread. I did the same for the reflected trees.

Now on to the large foreground tree. I added some bark details with my darkest brown thread.

And then stitched in the large foreground branches. I started from the top dark branches and moved downward. I added one layer of sheer fabric over the yellow in the bottom left hand corner by the trunk to tone it down just a little. After looking at this for a while, I decided to make a few small changes. The right hand corner was drawing my attention to much with the background trees. There was too much contrast between the white clouds and the dark branches. Also, the shoreline wasn’t quite right.

Lighter brown stitching was added to the background trees and to the shoreline. I used a small amount of oil pastel to make a shoreline reflection in the water. And it was finished. Or at least finished for now. I will need to find a background cotton fabric for it’s matte and then get it framed. On to the next landscape!

For those of you who wanted to see the end result of Penny Peters 25 Million Stitches piece, here it is. You can read more about it here.

We have also started writing a monthly newsletter and already sent the first one out last week. If you’d like to receive the newsletter, click on the link in the prior sentence and scroll down to the end of the newsletter. There is a link to click there to submit your email address. Or you can sign up on the right side bar here. Thanks!

Surface Design and Texture with Machine Lace

Surface Design and Texture with Machine Lace

I took a small break from the differential shrinkage pod pursuits as I wanted to add some surface design and texture. I needed to see what type of free motion machine stitched lace would look the best.

My first attempt looked like this after stitching. I used a variegated brown thread on the top and a black thread in the bobbin.

I then laid it out on a thick layer of the same green wool I have been using for the pods. The photo on the right shows it wet down and already starting to felt.

Here it is after felting. I do like the texture on the surface of the felt but the “pattern” looks too much like a brain and isn’t random enough for me. So another attempt.

This one I tried to be less perfect and had some single lines of stitching running through other lines that were 2-4 stitched lines on top of each other.

Here’s the sample after the machine lace is felted in. I like the randomness of this sample better but I think it needs a little more empty spaces perhaps? Again, I like how the machine lace sits on the surface and gives a rough texture. Then I started thinking about adding some nepps into the mix. What would it look like if I added nepps underneath the machine lace and then felted? Or perhaps some lines of wool yarn to give ridges?

Making samples seems to lead me to making more samples. Perhaps eventually, I will come up with a plan for the final project. Or maybe I’ll just keep enjoying the journey of experimentation and sampling.

How about you? What have you been trying new lately?

Another Colorscape

Another Colorscape

Before I show you my new colorscape, I am excited to announce our three UK prize winners! The winners were drawn by a random number generator. The prize winner are:

AdventuresInFelt says:

Thank you for this lovely giveaway! I would be happy with any of the bundles as I have been doing a lot of wet felting lately. I see a scarf in there somewhere! Or a hat! or handwarmers! 🙂
Arlene

Leonor says:

Lovely giveaway! I’d love to get prize 3, but any would be great – I’d use it to play with 2D needle felting, something I’ve been toying with but haven’t properly started yet 🙂

Best of lucks to everyone!

yarnbelle says:

Rae Bell

I will contact you for a snail mail address by email. Lyn of Rosiepink will be mailing your prize and it will be mailed after Christmas. Congratulations to our winners!

I decided to try another colorscape and went with one of my assignments for color studies in my stitch class. This one is blue-green, yellow, red-orange and violet. I used some short fiber merino that Paula gave me, thanks Paula! I didn’t worry about the edges because I was planning on cropping and trimming the piece at completion.

I then added a layer of Mistyfuse to fuse the top layers of sheer fabric down to the felt. I realize that I could have nunofelted these in place but I wanted a less textured surface.

I then layered some hand dyed silk organza over the top and fiddled around with the small pieces until I like the result. Then I fused it in place with an iron on a cool setting. This isn’t a very good photo but the best I could get.

Then I free motion machine stitched over the silk organza, cropped the edges and cut the organic edges off. You can click on the photo to enlarge it to see the stitching a little better.

For all felt purists out there, I took a photo of the back that is just felt and stitching without being covered up. Perhaps I can make it a reversible piece!

 

 

Fabric Collage Landscape Part 4

Fabric Collage Landscape Part 4

This is the last in the series of posts about the fabric collage landscape that I have been creating. If you have missed the prior posts, just click on the links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. I began working on the foreground by fusing the green fabric to the foreground and creating some rocks.

I used a dark purple fabric for the shadowed parts of the rocks. Then I created some paper patterns for the sunlit areas. I wanted to try and get the perspective and shape of the rocks correct before I cut any fabric. I only had a small amount of the light purple fabric and didn’t want to run out because of poor cutting choices. So I kept refining the paper pieces as I went along.

Once I had the rocks started, I began stitching the trees along the near shore line. I used cut up bits of dark green fabric and then stitched over them. As I said in previous posts, the fabric shifts around and so I wasn’t able to be precious about placement of the fabric. I think this is why it looks more natural because I didn’t have a lot of control over where everything ended up. You can see in the photos above the progression from left to right of the trees and then added a few more moving into the foreground. I actually probably should have done the ground cover first but I didn’t think of it.

So then I added in the ground cover. The part that is further away used a duller color and I used a piece of cheesecloth that had also been rusted. So that gave the rusty color which I think really adds to a more natural look. I kept testing the rocks as I went to see how everything was coming together. I also added a brighter green ground cover in the center foreground where the rocks are sitting. Again, it was a combination of chopped up fabric, thread and yarn.

Next was to create the rocks with fabric. The center photo shows how I added a sheer layer of painted nylon organza to achieve shadows on the rocks. The right photo shows all the rocks completed and fused down. Now on to add stitching details to the rocks.

I started with a dark grey thread in the shadowed areas of the rocks. All of the stitching is done with free motion machine stitching. Then I added black thread as the rocks definitely needed more darkness. The last thread I used was a light purple thread for highlights. I did go back in in several areas and add more grey to get the effect I wanted.

The last step was to add greenery to the rocks on the left. I used chopped up fabric again and carefully stitched it down. This was a bit tedious as the pieces of fabric were jumping around all over the place but I managed to get them all stitched down.

So finally, I have a finished fabric collage landscape. It was a lot of effort and took a long time but I am pleased with the results. I am still contemplating what to call this one. I am planning on framing it with a matte board and black frame. Thanks Antje for giving me the “push” to create this piece. I had a great time working out how to do it and I think I will be doing more of these in the future.

Fabric Collage Landscape Part 2

Fabric Collage Landscape Part 2

Continuing on with the saga of the fabric collage landscape, I am steadily working my way down the piece.

I added texture to the mountains including threads, yarns and bits of cheesecloth.

I then stitched the bits down with free motion machine stitching. The trickiest part here is keeping everything in place but I just didn’t worry if things shifted. I kept going and moved things back as needed and just got it all stitched down.

I decided the grey cheesecloth was a bit much on the central mountain and added more brown cheesecloth on top. Then I stitched that in place.

Then I discovered that I didn’t like how the orange cloud and the distant mountain were so much alike. I tried stitching some darker thread on the mountain first and that helped.

But I thought it still needed a bit more attention in this area, so I added more blue stitching into the sky. I didn’t want to eliminate the orange, I just wanted more distinction between the sky and the mountain.

Next up, the central mountain needed a bit more detail. So I stitched some vertical dark lines in place. The trick is to add enough detail to get the impression you want but not to over do the distant mountains. The detail needs to be less here than in the foreground of the picture. (I just noticed that I must have stitched this part before I stitched the sky but you get the idea, I hope.)

 

Next up, I put the green mid ground in place and worked on the water. The sunset reflection had felt a little dark so I place a piece of light blue fabric in that portion instead of the blue green going all the way across. I then added a blue purple sheer fabric covered with a red sheer fabric. I messed around with the edges to make them look more natural. You can see here on the left if you look closely that there is a straight line going down the right side of the sunset reflection, that is where the blue green fabric butts up against the light blue fabric. I cut that edge in V’s so that wouldn’t catch my eye so much. I also played around with foreground fabric to see how it would eventually look with more green added at the bottom of the picture.

I then stitched the water into place. I wanted the water to have minimal stitching and texture so it would appear flat against the rest of the textured landscape.

Then I added the green mid ground pieces and fused them down with the iron.  You will notice that there is some white in one of the green mid ground pieces. The original photo that I was inspired by had snow in the mountains. In the end, I decided not to have snow in my picture so that will be covered up soon.

Next time I will show you texturing the green mid ground and some changes I ended up making to the water. Luckily, this is a forgiving process so mistakes can be covered up pretty easily.

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