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Holiday Card Exchange for Carlene

Holiday Card Exchange for Carlene

We decided this year to do a “card” exchange amongst our members. Ann M. drew the partner names and I got Carlene’s name. I decided that since Carlene likes to weave, that I wanted to include some needle  weaving on her card.

Blue and white nuno felt background

I wanted a wintery feeling so I chose this piece of nuno felt cut to 4″ x 6″. I can already see birch trees in the background so my go to trees this year were an easy decision for the design.

Nuno felt background with "base" for first birch tree stitched in place

I used a stitch technique that is usually used in cut and drawn thread embroidery. Since my background was felt, I couldn’t cut the surface to get my base threads so I stitched them on the felt base. It’s a very simple stitch as you just take the thread and move over and under each time filling in the “woven bar”.

Nuno felt background with first needle woven tree in place on right hand side.

Here’s the first one completed. I used white perle cotton in different weights for all the trees. If you look closely, you can see that on this first tree, I was catching the wool fibers that were coming through on the silk surface of the nuno felt. I was a bit concerned with this but then when I looked again, the wool just adds in the “spots” on a birch tree.

Nuno felt background with yarn used for planning tree placement.

I used some yarn to work out the tree placement before I went any further. I cut a piece of nuno felt to cover the bases of the background trees which I would stitch down after completing all the trees.

Then to continue on with the weaving. This isn’t a hard stitch but it’s a bit time consuming. I was able to hold the thread away from the surface to prevent catching the wool fibers but it really wasn’t necessary. Now I needed to add in the “spots” on the trees. Nuno felt background with birch trees, added brown ink for "spots" on trees and foreground hill of cut nuno felt.

I could have stitched them on but I decided to use dark brown ink. You can see I cut down the foreground nuno piece a bit and then I stitched that in place.

Nuno Felt Landscape with Needle Woven Trees and French Knot Snow

Now to add some snow. I stitched random French knots over the trees and background.

Finished Nuno Felt Landscape with Birch Trees and Snow on Blue and White Background Surrounded by White Matte

And here it is matted as a “card”. I made it as a small frameable artwork instead of a card. I sent it off to Carlene in Canada and she received it quickly. I’m always hesitant about the mail service these days, but all was well! Happy Holidays Carlene!


Finishing up my Visor Mirror Cover

Finishing up my Visor Mirror Cover

It has been a busy few weeks getting everything ready for our Guild Sale. Now that’s done and over and I am sure Jan will show you lots of pictures. For me, I found the time to finish embellishing my visor mirror cover. For those that don’t remember the cover on the mirror of my car visor was broken when we bought it. When you flip the visor down while driving the mirror is there. It’s distracting.  I decided it needed a cover. Nothing so simple as making a plain piece of felt to match the visor. That is much too easy. Here is a link to my last post showing how I created the cover.

I have continued on with my stitching. I wanted to use lots of different open background stitches. I didn’t want to cover up anything. I started working on the flower that looked like a superhero in flight.

I thought I better tackle the head next to stop it from looking like a person. I broke it into 2 areas. I think it worked well

Then I did this interesting stitch in the purple. Make 3 parallel lines and then come up in the middle go around all the threads and back down in the middle. I thought it was effective.

Then when I had just about finished everything else I decided to add 3 dots. I am not sure it looks like a flower but it looks a lot less like a superhero.

Next, it was this leaf. I thought I would do small stitches and go all the way around the middle but after a short distance, I didn’t like how the small stitches looked following the line exactly. I ripped them out.


I decided to use more threads and larger stitches and only follow one side.


And around the outside.


I liked it and I am getting very good at outline stitch. It was still a little plain so I added some colonial knots. Also in between I added some stitching to the small leaves. You can see a few in the picture.


I finished off this leaf and was thinking I was done, but…

My hubby said I needed to do the sheep and give him eyes and a nose. I had been going to leave him minimalist. It took 3 tries to get his eyes in the right place and the same size.

Now for the finished piece.

I had thought of cutting off the wonky outline but decided against it. Here it is installed. I used the hook side of some stick-on velcro dots, to attach it to the visor. It is a bit big but if it had been smaller the velcro dots wouldn’t have had a flat surface to stick to. Anyway, I like it and I will definitely do the wet wool technique again.






75th Anniversary Moose bag -Needle felting on a ground fabric

75th Anniversary Moose bag -Needle felting on a ground fabric


For the last few years at least, you have occasionally, through the blog posts, been invited along to see what the local weaving and spinning guild is up to.  There are a few of us, on this blog, who are members of the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild.  (The guild goes beyond spinning and weaving, having also a number of felters, dyers, and other fibre arts). The Guild was started in 1949 by a group of local weavers after returning from a conference out of town. By the time I joined, over 30 years ago, the weavers had already been joined by spinners (and changed their name from OVWG to OVWSG).

I am sure you noticed that 2024 will be our 75th Guild Anniversary. There are a number of projects planned to help celebrate this momentous occasion.  (The compiled list of suggestions was quite long and the planning committee narrowed it down to 5 projects, there may be more!) Today I want to show you one of them.

One of the suggestions was a project bag to commemorate the occasion. We wanted a bag that was reasonably sturdy, big enough in size to hold a project and it would need to have a graphic and text element that would allow its use, even after the event.  Bernadette took over the quest for a bag to be printed on. I pulled out a lot of the ideas I had been working on for logo and bag options the last time I was asked to work on ideas.  I also did graphics for a few other ideas from members. One was Glenn’s moose antlers as a skein winder idea. I found a free clip art silhouette of a moose which was a bit pixilated and needed to be redrawn, but it would work as a prototype.   I added the yarn to the antlers and it was added to the other images up for selection.  It was the only funny one.  Although,  the octopus trying to weave spin and do fibre prep was funny too, but it was a bit too cluttered as an image. (I still liked it! maybe for a future bag?)

Glenn’s Moose idea was eventually selected, and suitable bags were found and printed.

2 large 1 small box 1) Three boxes containing the new bags arrived in the studio

The bags arrived mid-week. I found them when I arrived to work on the library and was asked to unbox and take photos of the contents.  So, I took pictures of the unboxing to let the rest of the guild enjoy the anticipation of discovering what was in the boxes.

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2-11) the unboxing

A few close-ups;

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12-14)close up of bag details

Part of the idea of the project bags was for those who purchased them to make them their own, by embellishing them. It could be as simple as sewing on some yarn through the red screen printed yarn on the bag. The weavers may want to make a scarf to add to the moose.  Or it could be more elaborate, adding a background to the image.

I would like to show you what I did. You probably remember how I have trouble keeping 2-D images not wandering into 3-D places.  First, let me mention this is a mid-weight canvas cloth and that I have not tried felting on this type of fabric before. I guessed on gauge and pulled out two T-38 333 needles, in case I broke one. (Which I did not, but I did manage to misplace one of them…. Maybe I should go find some footwear?) Next, where did I put my embroidery frames? I haven’t used them for a while…. Ah in the bedroom? I started with one of the middle-sized ones that fit the head and antlers.

15) Moose on bag set into 7-inch embroidery frame.

16) bag of unknown fibre, labelled with a warning it might be superwash. The (7) boxes of needles are in the background.

Now it is time to add wool. I found a mystery bag of charcoal fibre, which may be super-wash merino wool. Laying over the pre-printed shape I started to add the fiber.

17) starting to add wool to the ground fabric

The angle of the needle is perpendicular to the fabric.  I am felting into a very old block of foam that is 7”x 6” and 3 inches thick.

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18-19) You can see there is good adhesion of the wool to the ground fabric.

Time to add the antlers, The bag said  “Finn sheep, roving – semi wersted”. I got it early this summer and it was 6.00/oz. the antlers I wanted to keep more 2-D so I could augment them with yarn later.

20-21) Inside and outside of the bag, the moose is already starting to turn a bit 3-D

I found it easy to follow the edge of the antlers and moose.  The wool is still adhering well to the ground fabric.

Once I had a base of felt established I started to create a more 3-D element, unfortunately having chosen the black fibre it is not as easy to see the contours.

22) Adding ear

I created an ear (I am pretty sure this is supper wash, it took a while to felt the ear) and added it.

23) 3-D view

I had now reached the edge of the hoop and needed to move it to continue working. I decided I did not want to put the areas I had already worked on under the edge of the hoop. So, I would have to locate the bigger hoop I was sure I had. There is a really big one in the basement near the furnace, but that would be too big to fit the bag… Ah, I found it in a different spot in the bedroom… why are most of my embroidery hoops in the bedroom? I have moved them to the office.

24-25) After some tugging and adjusting I got one side of the bag into the 14” hoop.

26) adding wool to the legs

I had to decide which legs were on which side of the silhouette. You could just leave the back-side legs wool-less. I didn’t investigate the gate of a moose, so hopefully I have selected the correct legs on the correct sides.

I continued to add wool but worked at a more shallow angle now and did not feel the needle entering the ground fabric. I added more wool to the back edge of the mandible, the withers, the back edge of the belly, the shoulder and hip.


I am pleased with the moose and antlers, but I need to add an eye. I wanted a blue eye (I did not research so I don’t know what colour  Moose eyes should be. Yet!)

 28) added eye

It was not as visible as I had hoped. So added a bit of light bage (maori) fibre to the underside of the eye. That helped, I also loosened the thread that held the blue bead and it looks better.

Next, we need to add the yarn to the antler skainwinder. First I added threads for the back of the wrapping. (I did not wrap them but sewed them back and forth between the antler prongs. Sneaky)  Then I added the top of the wrapping. I used two shades of blue to add more interest. The careful application of blue has covered up the red from the original silk screen. If there is gaping I may try couching the strands in place.

29-30) close up of added yarn to the antler

Overall, I am quite pleased and hope this will inspire more moose embellishment! The project bags will go on sale at the Guild sale Nov 4-5th (2023) which is for me tomorrow (for you it would be today!)



Slow Progress on Forest Floor

Slow Progress on Forest Floor

I have made a bit of slow progress on my forest floor piece. If you missed my first post, you can see the beginnings here.

Nuno felt background with small stitch samples of running stitch and wrapped cords.

The next step was to do a bit of stitch sampling on the tree trunks. I had been making some wrapped cords that I thought might look nice stitched down to give tree trunk texture but they were too large a scale for the size of the trunks as you can see on the left side. Then I started searching for a stitch that I thought would look nice as texture on the bark. After looking at some complex stitches, I suddenly remembered the KISS principle (keep it simple …). So I decided to try running stitch. It is a much better scale and simple to stitch, the winner!

So I stitched on both trunks. The left photo was taking a look at how they were going to be on the background. I decided they still needed more stitching and added a bit more running stitch. I used a lightweight wool thread as I didn’t want to have a contrast from the wool trunk to a shinier thread such as cotton or silk.

Nuno felted background with stitched felt stumps, felt rocks and cheesecloth moss.

Now on to adding more of the foreground elements. Keeping in mind that I want to highlight the streak of “sunshine” from back left to right foreground, I placed three pieces of felt cut into perhaps rock shapes as well as adding some “moss” with cheesecloth. This is how far I have gotten. I think the rocks need some stitching to add a bit more shadow/darker values. That’s the next thing to sample.


On to the stitching

On to the stitching

It is time to do some stitching on my visor cover. Stitching on felt is something I really enjoy. It feels nice to stitch on felt, It has texture even when it is smooth. You can feel the needle pass through the thickness of it.

I had people at my guild comment that the actual piece looked a lot more vibrant than it did on the screen. I fiddled with the colour a bit so I hope it looks a little better this time. It looks very bright on my screen. The crazy thing is it is sitting on the black, top of my laptop. I am getting some serious light bounce off the black.

I picked out some threads I think go with the colours. I need to find a “greener” green something in the middle I think but that requires digging in the mostly unpacked studio so it will have to wait.


I am a slow stitcher. I know I am not alone in this. There’s a whole movement called slow stitch. It suits me, stitching when I have a bit of time but with no deadline in sight.

I started with the turquoise green on the forest green part of the leaf. I thought it looked like a nice contrast even if it was still green. then I forgot to take a picture of just that stitching or rather I was probably intending to take a picture of just the stitching and forgot what I was doing.  So you get to see the contrasting orange I picked for the next part too. It’s a deep orange leaning towards burnt orange.

I did the first part in rice stitch. It’s fun to do but harder than you think to make it look random.

I tried an uneven long stitch for this part and didn’t like it. It was messy but not messy enough to seem like I did it on purpose just unpractised. Of course it was but we don’t want to advertise that too much, so I removed it.

The other nice thing about stitching on felt is when you take out stitches, it doesn’t show like it would on muslin or cotton fabric. I decided to do something else with the dark orange and a lighter orange for the cross stitching. I am not sure it is busy enough. I will leave it for now. I am also not sure it was worth changing oranges either.

Now I am onto wonder woman. I am hoping to stop it from looking like wonder woman and more like a flower with the stitching. However, I started with the “cape”. I am using the lighter orange. I am adding X’s as I liked the way they looked on the leaf. I tried looking online for open background or filler stitches but I am calling it the wrong thing, I think. Everything that Google gave me, were stitches to completely cover a space. I know I have seen them before. Does anyone know the right term?

That’s as far as I am. Well maybe a bit farther as I am writing a bit ahead as I will be busy baking for the Thanksgiving Day farmers market. In Canada, we celebrate earlier than our American friends and this year is earlier than usual on October 9th. with any luck, I will have a little time to do some stitching.

Thick with Green

Thick with Green

I have been busy trying to get pieces ready to go to the framers and I also needed to create my tree piece for the 3rd Quarter challenge, summer trees. Here’s the piece I created called Thick with Green. I am sorry about the quality of most of these photos. Somehow, many are blurry but at least the final few photos came out OK, my apologies.

Sketchbook Page with Painted Birch Trees in Summer

I was thinking about a thicket of birch trees from a distance with green leaves. The sketchbook page above was created in one of my art and design classes. I used this as inspiration.

For the background, I used a piece of nuno felt. The silk is on the back this time. I had some white yarn that I decided to couch down to make distant tree trunks.

Then being inspired by the leaves Ann M. used on her summer tree, I decided to try some variegated green cheesecloth. I tore it into pieces and stretched it to give a more organic feel. Then I hand stitched it in place. The stitching disappears into the cheesecloth.

Nuno Felt Green and Blue Background with Birch Tree Trunks.

Then I added more tree trunks. This time I twisted two pieces of the yarn together and couched them in place.

Nuno Felt Green and Blue Background with Birch Tree Trunks and Stitched Pieces of Cheesecloth for Leaves.

More cheesecloth was stitched down on top of these tree trunks. Now what to do with the ground? I feel like I am always saying that about my landscapes. I never seem to plan the ground very well in advance. I don’t do much needle felting but I decided in this case, it would work the best. I felt like stitching would be too detailed since this was supposed to be a more distant landscape.

Nuno Felt Green and Blue Background with Birch Tree Trunks and Stitched Pieces of Cheesecloth for Leaves, Grass Needle Felted at Base of Trees.

Here’s the grass added with a variety of green roving and needle felted in place.

Nuno Felt Landscape with Summer Birch Trees on Green Matte Ready to Frame.

Then I found I already had some green fabric that would work for the “matte”. I stitched the nuno landscape down and laced it around card. This piece ended up to be 8″ x 12″ and it’s ready to frame. Now to take all the pieces to be framed and then send them off to the gallery. Check, another task off my list.

Calling Down from the Branches

Calling Down from the Branches

This is the final installment of my large nuno felted autumn landscape, it is finally finished and I have even stretched it over stretcher bars so it is ready to go the framer next week. It is my entry for the 4th Quarter Challenge  of the year long tree challenge. I’m way ahead this time. Yay!

In my last post, I was trying to determine how to handle the ground and prevent the background trees from “floating”. I decided to try leaf litter on the ground. I used the same fabric and paper that I used for the leaves on the branches. You can see on the left hand photo the first attempt. I had some leaves that were already cut out but these were much too big. It made the ground move forward since the leaves were the same size as the foreground tree leaves. Not the look I wanted. So I cut the leaves into tiny pieces and scattered them about. I didn’t want to bore you with all of the time I took arranging the leaves. You can see the progression from left to right. I had taken over 10 photos of this progression but thought I would show the first, middle and last photos. Perhaps you can tell a difference that way! Once I had the leaves where I wanted them, I glued them down with an archival gel medium. I don’t usually use glue but these pieces were so small, I thought that was the best option.

Next up was to determine the color of the “matte”. This is the fabric that I stitch the nuno felt down on to hold it in place for framing. I decided to go with the darker grey fabric. Then I stitched along the edges of the nuno felt to hold it to the background fabric. Normally, I would then lace the fabric over matte board or foam core but this piece is big and I decided to use stretcher bars instead. The stretcher bar frame is 23″ x 34″. I wrapped the fabric around the stretcher bars and stapled it in place. The hardest part of that process is getting the nuno felt landscape in the right position since you staple from the back side.

Nuno Felted Landscape with Autumn Birch Trees and leaf litter on the ground.

Here’s the piece on the stretcher bars ready to be framed. I will use my usual slim black frame. Did anyone notice anything else that was changed at the very end? Calling Down from the Branches is now ready to go to the framers and then off to the gallery.

Large Autumn Landscape – Adding Leaves

Large Autumn Landscape – Adding Leaves

I have been continuing to make progress with my large autumn landscape.

Autumn colored nuno felted background with silk paper birch trees, stitched branches and set up with thread, scissors, cut out silk leaves and reference photo.

I began by looking for silk fabric in the correct colors. I found a yellow orange and a yellow green. But I needed a lighter mid yellow. I didn’t have that in silk fabric but I remembered some rice paper that I had painted yellow and coated with matte medium. I could use that for leaves too. To prevent the silk leaves from fraying as much, I ironed a light weight fusible to the back side of the fabric. Then I cut out a variety of leaf shapes. The secret to making leaves look more natural is just cut them out freely by hand. The shapes will be all different and the sizes won’t be exactly the same but that is what you want. I found a photo online to give me an idea on how the leaves should look and used that for inspiration.

Autumn colored nuno felted background with silk paper birch trees, stitched branches and silk fabric leaves partially stitched in place.

When I was stitching the leaves down, I wanted some movement and the feeling of the leaves about to fall. Therefore, I only stitched them down with one or two straight stitches. This allowed the fabric leaf to come out from the background and be more three dimensional.

Autumn colored nuno felted background with silk paper birch trees, stitched branches and stitching more silk fabric leaves.

Cutting and stitching individual leaves takes a bit of time but I liked the result.

Autumn colored nuno felted background with silk paper birch trees, stitched branches and silk fabric leaves.

Here’s the piece after adding leaves. I may add a few more in a couple of places but I am evaluating now to see what else the piece might need. I haven’t cut off the bottom edge but I will be doing that shortly. I could add fallen leaves at the base of the background trees. Or I could add a bit of grass here and there. Or I could leave it alone. What’s your vote?

My idea for a name for this one is “Calling Down from the Branches”.

Large Autumn Nunofelt Landscape Continued

Large Autumn Nunofelt Landscape Continued

I have been continuing work on my large autumn landscape. I added the large tree trunk and branches and was planning on adding leaves to complete the piece.

Black machine made cord of yarn and thread on white background.

However, I decided it need darker branches on the larger, foreground tree. I had some black wool yarn that I decided to use for machine cords. I twisted three pieces of black yarn together and then zigzagged over them by machine with a near black thread. Some of the yarn pieces I left apart so that there were narrowing branches of either two or one yarn diameters.

Nunofelt autumn landscape with silk paper birch trees, one foreground machine cord branch couched in place.

Then to start stitching them in place. I didn’t have a specific plan as to where they would go, I was just winging it. I couched the cords in place and in the thicker areas, I used two machined cords couched side by side.

Nunofelt autumn landscape with silk paper birch trees, foreground machine cord branches couched in place.

Here’s the piece after I had couched all the machined cords in place. You might also notice that I have folded the bottom of the piece up to see what it would look like without the bottom four inches or so. I liked the look of it better. It feels like a better scale to me. I haven’t cut it off yet, but I think I will soon.

Nunofelt autumn landscape with silk paper birch trees, foreground machine cord branches couched in place and stem stitch smaller branches added.

Then I decided that I needed thinner branches coming off the thicker foreground branches. So I used the same almost black thread in size 12 (Sulky cotton machine thread) and stem stitched the other branches. Click on the photo to see the branches in more detail.

Next up is leaves for the foreground tree. I will be cutting those out of yellow, yellow orange and yellow green silk. My plan is to add fusible web to the backside of the leaves so that they will not ravel at the edges. Then I will probably add a bit of grassiness at the base of the backgrounds trees and call it good. But you never know, I will evaluate to see if it needs anything else when I get to that point.


Large Autumn Landscape Continued

Large Autumn Landscape Continued

Nuno felt background with birch tree silk paper trunks stitched in place in background.

I have managed to get some stitching completed on my large autumn landscape. The background birch trees were hand stitched down first. I want to do background leafiness before I add the larger birch in the foreground.

To add the distant leafiness, I looked through my stash for fabric that would work. The photo on the left shows painted nylon organza. The photo on the right is dyed silk habotai.

Nuno felt background with birch tree silk paper trunks and nylon organza background leaves stitched in place.

It’s a little hard to see but I have added the nylon organza at the top. First, I used a wood burning tool to burn out areas of the organza to give it a leafy appearance.

Nuno felt background with close up of nylon organza background leaves.

Here you can see the effect better in the close up photo. I hand stitched all the pieces down with very small stitches to hold it in place.

Nuno felt background with birch tree silk paper trunks, nylon organza background leaves and single silk organza leaves stitched in place.

Next I added some single cut leaves from silk organza. I had these left over from The First Leaf. 

The next step is to stitch down the foreground birch trunk and add foreground leaves. At that point, I will decide how many leaves might be on the ground. I don’t want to make it exactly like the smaller piece. What would you suggest adding to the foreground at the base of the large birch?