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A new picture: A lighthouse

A new picture: A lighthouse

I seem to be in picture mode. I wanted to do something with water but not necessarily as the main feature. I thought about a beach and that was my intention as I started but as was looking for pictures and some of the cliff-top pictures really took my eye.

I used a nice thick piece of wool prefelt that I bought at the Almont Fiberfest a few years ago. It is 4inches by 6 inches, 10cm by15cm  I think it is wet felted on a flatbed machine. It is course wool and more solid (felted) than the thin needle felted prefelt we usually get. It is much closer to being felt.  I would love to get some more but don’t know where to find it.  If you know let me know.

I start with what is farthest away, sky and water. When I do sky, it’s always cloudy and I have to do a google search to remember if the sky is darker or lighter near the horizon. The wool I used for the water has a few bits of sparkle in it. I think that’s what is making the white dots in the picture.

 

Then some land and the rocks. I used a mix of 3 grays so the rock wouldn’t be flat.

Added the lighthouse and the path

 

Then I used throwers waist to make the white water around the rocks and some whitecaps. At this point I gave it a light felting mostly to sink the silk into the felt so it didn’t look so much on the surface. . There was still more needling to do though. I added the top of the lighthouse and started the stitching.

 

And as usual when you start stitching you start unstitching. The grass stitches here were much too small. The path needed changing as well as being far too straight it was much too wide.  you can see how all the extra stabbing pulled the piece in even though I was poking up and down and not sidewise.  I stretched it out.

Back to stitching. I am using 4 colours for the grass, 2 shades of gold and 2 of green.

 

I added some small blue dots for flowers.

 

Then the foreground grass

 

Then some french knots for more flowers. I used a couple of shades darker blue for the foreground.

 

 

This is a close up of the stitching.

 

That’s a lot of pictures but I hope you enjoyed seeing the progression.  Stitching really helps a picture pop. And as I promised picture without Sheep. I can do it. LOL

So a week has gone by since I wrote up this post ready for the 4th of February. After a comment from a friend, and looking at it after a break from working on it,  I decided to fiddle with it more.  First I ripped off the path it was far too white, I remade it with some light gray. I did want it to be distinct but not a lightning bolt from Zeus. I added a tiny little dock, not easy but that’s what I get for working small.  And the sky was too much open space so I added some birds, again very fiddley. I did add some slight shading to the lighthouse but it doesn’t really show in the picture the wight really reflects.

so here it finished again. I hope you like it.

 

 

 

Still Slow Stitching in the New Year

Still Slow Stitching in the New Year

The last time I updated you back in early November about my slow stitching project, this is what it looked like. I had started adding some leaves to the foreground trees.

I have been continuing my slow stitching over the holidays and it has been nice to sit down for 15-20 minutes a day and just do detached chain stitch in different shades of yellow, yellow-orange and orange. Ignoring any drama of the holidays or other issues that arose for a few minutes, calmed my mind.

Here’s how the trees are looking. I think that I will be adding a bit more orange but than I’m going to go back to the yellow shades.

Here’s what the full piece looks like now. It is definitely taking shape as a landscape. As I look at it in a thumbnail format, I can see that it still needs more dark values for shadowed areas but I like the progression. It’s interesting to me how the slow progression makes me look at it more closely and how the different colors affect each other. It’s been an interesting project and I imagine it will continue through most of this year.

What are your thoughts on a slow moving project? Do you get a Zen feeling or perhaps you are impatient and want to move on to a different project?

Snowman Ornaments Complete

Snowman Ornaments Complete

Thanks for all the suggestions for completing the back of my snowmen ornaments. There were some great ideas which I might have tried except for the fact that this was supposed to be a quick project. I have seven ornaments and I already have thought of more than seven people that I could give them to as holiday gifts. So I really couldn’t do them back to back or I would have had to double my workload. I liked the idea of a cord around the edge or blanket stitch to snazz up the design, but again, that would take much more time than I have allowed myself for this project. So I took the easy way out and fused black craft felt circles to the back of each ornament. Before I did that, I stitched on a hanger with some black shiny cord that I have in my stash.

Here’s the back of one of the ornaments. I didn’t worry too much about an exact circle but just cut them to match the felted circles. You can definitely tell it’s hand crafted!

And here they are all together. I kept thinking I should be naming them like the Seven Dwarves, Happy, Bashful… But they were all fairly happy so I wasn’t sure I could come up with enough names meaning Happy.

I did use plastic over the last set of six while felting to see if there would be less transfer of black and red fiber to the snowman face. It was slightly less and definitely kept the surface of the felt a little smoother. The one on the bottom right is the one I didn’t use plastic on when felting and it is a little darker than the others, maybe.

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And here they all are separately a bit bigger. All the faces were stitched with #5 perle cotton and the hat bands are sari silk ribbon. I don’t usually do “cute” so it was a departure from my usual style but I enjoyed creating the different faces on each one.

Have you created any holiday decorations this year? We’d love to see over on the forum, you can post any photos of your hand crafted holiday creations here (either past or present).

Holiday Decorations – Fourth Quarter Challenge

Holiday Decorations – Fourth Quarter Challenge

I have been thinking about what holiday decorations that I wanted to make for the Fourth Quarter Challenge. I wanted to do something simple and decided to try creating an ornament with prefelt. I don’t usually use prefelt in creating my designs so I thought I would give it a try. I decided on a snowman design.

I had commercial prefelt in white and black but none in red. So I created a piece of red prefelt as the first step from mixed 56’s hand dyed fiber.

Next I needed a circle of red prefelt from the background. I wanted my finished ornament to be around 5″ diameter so I used this approximately 7″ container to cut around. I used a craft blade and essentially just scored around the container and then finished cutting the circle out with scissors.

I had enough red prefelt for 7 circles. I hadn’t really planned on making multiples but what the heck, I might else well make more, right?

Next I cut out two circles in white prefelt, two black hat shapes and a black circle to go behind the red circle. I decided that my red prefelt wasn’t going to be heavy enough with just one layer. I used black instead of white because I like a deeper red better than I like a pink. I didn’t have enough red prefelt for two layers. Now on to felting.

I had hoped with two layers of white prefelt that I wouldn’t get a lot of fiber migration. No such luck. I did shave a bit off the surface of the white so it wouldn’t look so hairy and that helped. I only felted this one just to see how it would come out. Next time, I think I will cover with a light plastic to try and prevent any movement of red and black fibers into the white. This one was rubbed with my hand so I think that I got a bit of movement of fiber as well as migration through.

Now on to more decoration. I stitched a small piece of sari ribbon on to the hat for a band. The sari ribbon adds a bit of shine. Then I hand stitched the facial features. Now I have to decide if the ornament needs further backing, if it needs an edging treatment and how to hang it. What would you suggest?

Slow Stitch Update

Slow Stitch Update

It’s been over a month since I last posted about my Autumn Nuno slow stitch piece. Here is where I was at the end of September.

I kept working on the negative space between the foreground trees. I was using a grey green thread and it definitely needs more darkness in between the tree trunks but I will have to add a darker thread for that. I am still mulling over what will be on the left hand side in the foreground. It’s kind of amorphous at the moment.

Once I finished the negative space between the trees, I decided that I needed to add some of the grey green into the mid ground/background area. It also helped to “cut” the overpowering sense of red and red orange there. Next up was to add “leaves” to the foreground trees. I decided to use a different stitch to highlight them a bit more. I will be adding a great many more of the leaves in a variety of yellows and yellow oranges.

The photo on the left shows where I am as of today. The photo on the right shows the beginning of the leaves being added with detached chain stitch. I still have a long way to go on completing this piece but I am happy with the progression.

 

Slow Stitch Progress – Filling in Negative Space

Slow Stitch Progress – Filling in Negative Space

Here’s the progress on my slow stitch project. I am still stitching away about 15-30 minutes per day on this piece.

The last time I showed you, it looked like this.

First, I added some more darker values with the deep purple thread in the mid ground area. Then because I thought that I needed a little more contrast in that area, I added some deeper red orange to look like more foliage.

Then on to working on the foreground trees. Here, I was looking at negative spaces and giving some darkness and shadow to delineate the tree trunks. I am continuing to use seed stitch and used a neutralized dark green in between the tree trunks. Since the stitches are so small, this definitely is in the slow stitch category. I am still working on the right hand side. Once that’s finished, I have more tree trunks “to pull out” on the left side.

And here’s how the entire piece looks as of now. I may need to darken up the shadows between the foreground trees and I have to decide what to do on the left hand bottom corner. The foreground trees will get some stitched leaf additions too. Plus the foreground will need work in front of the trees. I am definitely enjoying this project more since I’m not trying to force working on it for longer stretches.

 

 

Autumn Nuno Hand Stitch Update

Autumn Nuno Hand Stitch Update

The last time I updated you on my autumn nuno landscape it looked like this. I have been slowly continuing to add more color into the middle background area with seed stitch. I added a lot of red orange as well as green and even some dark purple.

Here you can see more of the red orange additions and the purple that I used for a shadow color. I decided to use the dark purple instead of brown or black. Black is definitely too stark and I think the cool color in the middle of the red orange gives it more “pop”.

Here is the area where I added more green. You can see on the left that I haven’t finished filling in the green.

And here is the piece as it is at this point. I still need to add some more shadow shapes in the red orange swath and perhaps a bit more definition of the aspen trunks in the distance. Can you see the area that will become the foreground aspen trees? It is finally looking more landscape to me. So I will keep on with my slow stitching and update you on my progress next month.

Slow Stitch Update

Slow Stitch Update

Sorry for the short post but I have been busy with my Level 3 Stitch class this past week. We are continuing online and even though I don’t have to travel, it seems to take more time this way. But at least we are able to move forward.

I have still been stitching for 15-20 minutes per day on my autumn nuno felted piece.

 

The last time I showed you it looked like the photo above. I continued to add more dark values in the rows of “aspen” trees and also added more dark green to the distant pine trees. Ann had commented that she didn’t see trees in this piece. Hopefully, the additions I made will make them more “tree like”.

Here it is after those additions of darker value.

And here’s a close up that shows the difference in the distant pine trees before and after adding more thinner thread in dark green. The trees on the left are finished as compared to the ones on the right.

So what do you think? Did adding the darker values help the distant tree lines?

I hope you’re staying well and spending time being creative. Thanks for stopping by!

Autumn Nuno Slow Stitch – Considering Value

Autumn Nuno Slow Stitch – Considering Value

I updated you about my autumn nuno landscape project about one month ago in this post. I had been discouraged with the project and it was languishing. So I asked for suggestions and I appreciate all the support. I decided to go ahead and keep working on it but only doing about 15-20 minutes a day. (Click on any of the photos to enlarge.)

Here’s what it looked like one month ago. I decided to start filling more of the middle ground with a combination of neutralized red and green seed stitching.

Here you can see how much seed stitching can be completed in short spurts. But I was still dissatisfied with the piece. Why was that? After working on it steadily, I took some time to look back at my reference photo and see what I had missed. Then I realized that I didn’t have enough dark values to show the shadowed areas in the landscape. Aha!

I started by adding a more neutralized green in the area between the aspen trees. I used a much thinner thread (1 strand floss) and smaller stitching. It darkened up the area a bit but that wasn’t enough.

So then I started adding a dark brown in the same area. Again, I used one strand of floss and smaller stitches. I am still essentially doing seed stitch but piling it on top of other seed stitches.

So here is how far I have gotten with my slow stitching. I am happy that I figured out what was bothering me about the piece. There are still lots of more shadows to add in to give the impression of lines of trees. I also think that I will add a more neutralized green over the distant pines in places. The more stitching I add, the more it seems to need. But at least I am moving forward.

Can you see the difference when you compare the piece side by side, before adding darker values and after? Do you think about value contrast when you’re working on a composition? Do you have any tricks for seeing value contrast better?

Basket Mark 2 Finished.

Basket Mark 2 Finished.

This week I finished the basket. All it really needed was to have the handle finished and that would have been fast and easy. But a white basket is not only boring it does not fit with me. I can’t keep anything white clean for long.

So faze to of the basket: dying.

I have a turkey fryer/corn cooker for dying outside. After clearing a spot on the porch for the dye pot and my son cleaning all the bugs and spiders and webs out of the hose and burner I got some water heating. Usually, when you are going to dye wool you wet it first. it gets you a more even take-up of the dye. I didn’t want that in particular so I popped it in dry.

you can see I only put it in partway. Ther is about half the bottom of the basket sticking out. This is limy green. after it had cooked for about 45 min just under a boil the water was clear and I removed it and added a dye from ProChem called Mallard. It’s a blue-green and put the basket into the pot the other way up. I forgot to take a picture of that, sorry.

Once the dye was exhausted I rinsed it and blew the beach ball up in it again, another alien.  I am really pleased with the way the colours came out.

Since I had the dye pot hot I dyed some wool too.

My original idea was to use a piece of a tree branch in the handle.

It was ok when I was holding it but as soon as I put it down this happened.

It dropped right to the bottom. So much for the cream buns you just bought. It is much too heavy. Looking back at the pictures I had seen with wood in the handles, they were all small and the wood was mostly driftwood, which is much lighter. Those baskets seemed to be more decorative than useful.  I went back to just rolling all the excess wool up into the handle. It makes a nice sized comfortable to hold handle.  You can see the colour mixing better now its dry.

when I let go of the handle It still falls to the side but not nearly as much, so the cream buns are safe.

You may have noticed that one side of the basket stretched out more than the other. I think it was from the ball being blown up in it. I should have rewet it and fulled it some more but I didn’t want to. I was thinking of how to fix it or make it a feature rather than a flaw.

I pinched it a couple of different ways and that would have worked but I didn’t really like it. the heck with it, it’s just for me.

The basket part feels a little light even though there is 200grams of fibre in it.  It was a bigger resist but I reasoned to myself that there is more wool in 200 grams of Corriedale then there is in the same weight of Fin. I didn’t put any yarn in it, mostly because I forgot. I wanted to prevent the basket lip form stretching out any more. I tend to overfill my baskets and bags. Off to search my handspun for some appropriate yarn. I found a yarn that is predominantly the same colour as the Mallard on the bottom of the pot and did some decorative and structurally helpful stitching. I am pleased with the results.  Sorry about the pictures. I was trying to keep my arm out of the way and get far enough back to get the whole basket.

I think there will be more baskets in my future.

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