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Remembrance

Remembrance

I promised after I made a small poppy piece for the first quarter challenge repurposing a piece of nuno felt, that I would make a bigger piece in the same style.

This piece is large, somewhere in the 30″ length and 18-20″ width. This is the layout and I have sprinkled the cut up orange nuno felt over the base layer of green wool. I made sure that the orange bits were roughed up so they would stick down better.

Here is the piece after felting. I have pinned some larger poppies in the foreground made out of painted silk paper. I was distracted by the yellow in the direct center in the sky. I decided to add more yellow so that the one area wouldn’t stick out as much.

I needle felted some yellow across the left portion of the lower sky and a few wisps up higher. I also added some lighter/paler silk paper to the poppies as I felt they were too dark in the first try. Then I added some green locks to the foreground for foliage.

And here it is after finishing and “matting” on green fabric. Now Remembrance is ready to go the framer. Now I just have to find a new gallery to carry my work, easier said than done.

On the Swan

On the Swan

Recently, a local woman asked me to create a river view in felt for her. I created several watercolor sketches she could choose from so that we agreed on what the landscape would look like and what to include. The client lives on the Swan River here in Montana and decided she wanted a view similar to what she has behind her home.

After hand carding and blending colors, I started on the layout. I used a commercial prefelt background and mostly short fiber merino batts. Somehow, I wasn’t thinking correctly on shrinkage as I went with the idea that it would shrink 30%. But I forgot that I don’t normally full my wool paintings very hard as they don’t really need intense fulling.

I continued working down the picture laying out the distant trees, the river with the trees and mountains reflections and then into the foreground grass and lupines. At the same time I was laying out the big piece, I also laid out a smaller sample. That way I could try different options with final details and stitching. This shows the birch trees from silk paper that I was trying to decide upon. Luckily, I had made the birch tree silk paper several months ago at one of our local group meetings.

Here’s the small sample that I made. I tried the left tree trunk in prefelt and then used free motion machine stitching for the dark areas. The right tree trunk used silk paper which was painted for the dark areas. I also tried out some FME for the branches and the lupines. I didn’t feel that the FME was what I wanted for this piece and opted for the silk paper birch trunks. I had also used some brown/tan wool for the distant shoreline which was way too much if included in the original wet felting process. I ended up cutting out a portion of this sample so that the brown wool was showing much less. I then stitched the two pieces of the sample back together to give the feel of what I wanted in the large piece. This sample really saved me from making some big mistakes!

Here is what I had after wet felting. I had to full this piece very hard as the request was for a certain size. I don’t normally worry about size on my wet felted landscapes and I ended up cutting the edges because I had not figured the shrinkage correctly.

Next I started adding in needle felt details. I added more definition to the distant tress, added a shoreline and added some lines in the water to simulate movement.

Then I stitched some grass in the foreground and stitched down the silk paper tree trunks.

I continued on with details. I added some paint to the tree trunks, I couched down branches and added leaf details with needle felting. I added hand stitching in front of the trunks and some leaf details for the lupine.

Here’s a close up so you can see a bit of the detail in the foreground.

Then I found I already had enough green fabric that worked to finish the piece. My client is getting it framed with barn wood, so this is how I delivered the piece. And the wonderful thing is that she loved it. I’m so happy it worked out the way that she wanted.

Update on the small picture and the studio

Update on the small picture and the studio

Where did the time go? I looked at the posting schedule and thought I have lots of time to get my post ready but here I am down to the wire,….. again.

I did manage this week to make some progress on my small picture. I started by adding some grass/stems/leaves/. Starting with a very Christmas green.

Then adding other shades

It looks ok but it’s way too short. What am I going to do with the other 2/3 of the picture? So, remembering Ruth’s advice on the last stitch project when I wasn’t very happy with it, she said  “just keep adding more”,  I decided I was not taking the stitches out. I would just keep going. The next batch of grass was longer.

At this point, I notice the bottom edge was starting to curl a little. This is because I was stitching into the bottom edge. I didn’t want the bottom of the stitches to show entry points on the top side of the bottom edge. I noticed some of the threads were a little loose too. To remedy this I ironed it with steam. I think it helped.

The next step is the flowers. I was originally thinking stitched flowers, then thought maybe seed needs would be good. I asked opinions at my guild social and everyone seemed to think I should do both. I probably will.

And now the Studio Progress.

The walls and floor have been painted. The place that hasn’t been painted is where the ductwork will go for the heating. It will then get drywall put over it and it will be painted. Notice one of my favourite things about this space. It has a center floor drain. The electrical box will get a cupboard built to hide it.

 

Yes, the floor is covered in blue speckles, for non-slip and to hide the floor repairs.

Next are the sinks, the ductwork, painting my selves, bookcase and small table. They will be boring white, once the books and wool are on them they will be colourful enough. The table gets the microwave so it will not be seen much either.

That’s it for now. I plan on doing the flowers for the next post but I am not sure what else. I am sure I will find something to keep me busy and out of too much trouble.

 

Small felt

Small felt

As some of you know I am moving my studio. I am not moving far, just from one end of the building to the other. I will gain some storage space, another room and a direct entrance. And importantly I will be closer to the bathroom.

I have packed 90% of my studio into boxes and they are piled up in the extra room. Consequently, I do not have a lot to work with. I did make a box with a blob of each colour of merino I have. and collected a bag of prefelts etc.

So there I was on Monday, wondering what on earth I would post about today. I was looking at my inspiration file and going through e bags of prefelt and I found this small odd-shaped one.

This is the back of it because I forgot to take a picture before adding wool to the front.

 

I added some sky

A blue sky is pretty much one colour. light at the bottom but not a mix of colours. The grass on the other hand is not one colour. so I mixed some up using my dog brushes.

 

 

this is the finished background. the needle is to give you an idea of the size. Jan thought it looked knife-shaped I thought it looked like a bullet train.

 

 

I want to add some flowers along the bottom. I wasn’t sure what thread to use. I hat unpicking so I grabbed a piece of fulled sweater off cut and covered it in green to try out some different threads.

 

the dark pink is Filtex. these are very old spools they are shiny rayon, like fake silk.  the orange is 1,2 and 3 strands of embroidery thread., the blue is an embroidery cord and the green is a different kind of silk or fake silk embroidery yarn.

 

Here’s a picture of the back. You can see what each thread looks like a little better.

Next is doing the stitching. I think I will use the green to add a few bigger leaf shapes. the orange and blue worked well. I will try using 2 and 3 threads of the pink to see if they show up better. stitching on felt is odd. you have to make your stitch about twice as long as you want it to get it to show up the size you want. It must be because of how soft the surface is. Does anyone else also find this to be true?

 

Completing Montana Sunrise

Completing Montana Sunrise

Here is where I was when I left off in my last post about my latest nuno felted landscape. I decided the next step was to create more evergreen trees to add to the left hillside.

I used some green wool sandwiched between two pieces of water soluble fabric and free motion stitched some trunks/branches. These were then soaked in hot water and gently felted. I started adding them into the foreground. I decided I didn’t have enough so I went back and stitched more several times until I was satisfied with the volume. I also added in a few areas of lighter trees to give a bit of contrast. Once I had those arranged and pinned down, I started looking at the yellow brown area in the middle of the picture, part of the closest mountain. It seemed to have too much contrast and due to being the same color as the foreground, it “moved” that mountain too far forward.

So I added a couple of pieces of sheer nylon scarves, one deep red and one purple over the area. That’s better! I try a lot of different things as I’m working and take quick photos on my phone. I’m not showing all the photos as it is hard to tell the differences in some of them. But I use the photos to see how the piece looks from a distance and find any glaring problems. At some point in here, I added some sheer black fabric behind the foreground mountain as there were bits of black wool that were drawing my attention too much.

After I stitched down the trees with a variety of blue green threads and a bit of feather stitch, I started working on the foreground. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see the details a bit better. The grass is a combination of raffia, burlap and cheesecloth. I also was bothered by the “driveway” of green on the middle right. At some point, I tore some of the wool from the surface so that it wasn’t such a line.

I arranged the grass bits numerous times and then started stitching them down. The photo on the left has the “clumps” stitched but I was trying various pieces of raffia on the very bottom and had them pinned in place. I also decided the raffia was a bit too light so I colored it with a felt tip marker in light browns, greens and dark brown edges. The photo on the right shows the piece after completing the foreground. Next up was the sky.

I wanted to “move” the colors in the sky around a bit with some stitching. But how to do that? I first thought about couching threads to the surface. The photo on the left shows that idea being tested. I wasn’t happy with that but couldn’t decide what to do. So I reached out to Antje (who has authored posts here in the past), and she made several good suggestions. I decided to use running stitch. I used variegated colors and mixed several strands together to not have such a solid color effect. Click on the photo on the right to see the starting of the running stitch. The point of adding the stitching was to soften some of the harder transitions in the sky. Thanks Antje for your help!

Here is the finished Montana Sunrise (16″ x 30″). It definitely has a bit different feel using a mosaic type of nuno felt instead of one piece of dyed silk. I think it is much less abstract than some of my other recent pieces. Now I have to find the right fabric for it’s matting. What color would you use as the matte?

Another Nuno Landscape Completed

Another Nuno Landscape Completed

I have been working away on my nuno felt landscapes this winter. I always sell more work in the summertime, so it’s good to get ahead of the game and get work ready to be framed in the spring. So what to do with this background. I felt like the diagonal lines of color felt too “tie dyed” and needed to break them up. The colors reminded me of summer flowers so that’s where I decided to go with this background.

I played around with a variety of cotton fabric and cheesecloth and laid these out on the nuno background.

I added a small bud to the small, lower right hand flower.

I pinned the pieces in place and added interfacing to the back to provide support for the machine stitching. I could have fused them down but I find that I don’t like the way the fusing flattens the fabric and doesn’t allow “movement” of the fabric with stitching. This is a personal preference and it is easier to stitch if everything is fused in place but I prefer to pin or baste the pieces in place. I also was looking at possibly bringing some of the dark blue up into the area above the flowers. I tested this out by cutting some small bits of #5 perle cotton and laying it down to give the impression of blue flower stalks.

I free motion machine stitched all the green first. I used two different shades of green to give a little depth to the stems and leaves.

I used three different shades of thread in the centers of the flowers and two colors on the petals. I decided to bring a bit of the burnt orange down into the petals to give a look of a bit of shadows near the centers. Last, I added dark brown to the bottom of the centers which definitely helped define the centers.

Lastly, I added blue French knots with #5 perle cotton thread. I then stitched it down to the background “matte” fabric and laced it on to card. So it’s ready to frame. I decided to call this one “Summer Fireworks”. I have run out of nuno felted backgrounds so I guess that will be my next project.

 

A little more stitching

A little more stitching

Continuing on from stitch camp I have started stitching. I like the pieces with a lot of negative space best but thought I should try to do something outside my natural inclination. So I picked one with mostly yellow but a nice distribution of blue too to start with.

I did a bit of stitching but decided it was too soft and floppy to work well. The stitching was distorting the fabric even though it wasn’t pulled too tight.   Another thing I could see, that might happen, is the messy stitching on the backside might show through the white fabric. Iron-on interfacing would solve both problems.  I know I have some……somewhere. And the Iron, I have one of those too, I am sure I saw it recently.

I found the iron first, but not before a mouse had found it. The mouse (the one we caught in the fall,) had chewed up the cord. Not a nice chew in half or in one spot but all the way along. You can tell how often Iron because the mouse was caught in the fall, late September or early October. Well, I didn’t like that iron anyway it tended to leak. I will have to buy a new one. Sorry, no picture of the chewed-up cord. I tossed it out on garbage day.

 

I never know what to buy, so I picked the middle price and the one that says it does not leak on the box. I was tempted by the one with the retractable cord but it was digital with little buttons. I don’t think my iron needs electronics.

Then I found my one-sided iron-on interfacing.

                                          

 

I am less thrilled with the pieces than I was so I picked 3 of the double pieces and one of the singles to use and I will see how that goes. If I start liking them better I can do some more.

 

I have 2 ironing boards. on is under siege in the spare bedroom and the other one, the small one,  disappeared into the packed things. so I had to do it the old-fashioned way with a wool blanket on the table. I used a small piece of sheeting for the ironing cloth.

 

Stitching with the interfacing is better.

 

 

    

When I did this bit of badly done satin stitch, I noticed the distortion starting. Adding the interfacing and ironing seems to have fixed it.

I don’t know what stitching to do. I know it’s all just an exercise but I still want it to look good. I did some seed stitch and that is probably my favourite so far. I thought it was done but looking at it now it needs something else across the join down near the bottom between the woven circle and the yellow seed stitch I think.

 

 

Since I started writing this post I started the second piece. One of the more blue ones. I decided to use some green thread as there are some green spots where the blue and yellow paint crossed.

 

 

 

 

So far so good.  I find it hard to decide where to stitch and what to stitch. I am enjoying it and I hope my stitching will improve with the practice. I find it hard to get my needle to go in or come up exactly where |I want it to. I am using a rounded tip needle. Perhaps a sharp one would work better but I didn’t have one with me. Another thing to look for. It is probably stuck in a piece of foam with some felting needles in a project bag or box.

It wasn’t until I started editing the pictures that I noticed this piece has a parrot in it. It is funny how we don’t see things until we take a picture of them. Do you see it too?

 

 

Still packing up, lambs, stitching and a birthday.

Still packing up, lambs, stitching and a birthday.

I am still slowly packing up the studio. The hard part is deciding what to leave so I can still do some work while we slowly work on the new space. slow is the operative word. It has to fit in around other things that are a more immediate need. It is looking emptier. I am not sure the picture really shows that. The pile to go is different stuff.

We have had several more lambs. I think we are at about 15. So the barn needed reconfiguring to make a group pen and space for lambing pens. they are so cute and of course, they can not wait.

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I signed up for a stitch camp online. It starts tomorrow (17 January). It’s free but I thought it sounded fun. It’s one video a day for 5 days and they are available for a week after that. Seemed like a fun thing to try and maybe get some creative juices going. It’s here if you’re interested.  https://training.textileartist.org/stitchcamp-signup-1/In

In the meantime, while sorting and packing I found some thread I got a long time ago. It is on cardboard, old-style spools. It says FILTEX on the top of some. From what I can find online it is a 40/2 polyester embroidery thread. It is very shiny.  I thought I might use it to stitch on some felt balls just for fun.

 

And I can’t forget that it is Ava’s Birthday on Monday, Jan 17. A big 1 year old.

Weeping Birch Landscape Completed

Weeping Birch Landscape Completed

Back in early December, I showed you the beginnings of weeping birch trees that I created out of nunofelt. At that point, I had just started stitching the smaller branches.

Here’s what it looked like at that point.

I added quite a few more branches with couching in a variety of colors to give the mottled appearance of these type of branches.

I decided not to procrastinate with the finishing work, so I chose a “matte” fabric of medium value gray, stitched the nuno felt to the fabric and laced the fabric around matte board. The piece without a frame is 11″ x 18″ approximately. It’s now ready to take to the framers when I have some other pieces completed to go with it.

Here’s a closer look at the hand stitching. You can click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Next up are two more nuno felted pieces that need embellishing.

I think the one on the left will become free motion machine stitched with tree trunks and perhaps more orange leaves in the upper right corner. I am going to try and keep it fairly simple and not overdo the stitching. I want it to stay fairly abstract as landscapes go. The piece on the right may have cone flowers added to it with applique. I haven’t made any final decisions on that one yet. How would you finish these? I’d love to hear your ideas.

The Winners and a Start to a New Landscape

The Winners and a Start to a New Landscape

We had quite a response to our recent tenth anniversary giveaway post with over 175 comments. We’d love to hear from you more often on our regular posts.

The winners were drawn by random number generator and the choice of prize was given on number generated first through last of the 178 comments.

#1 – Kristina wins an online class of her choice.

 Kristina says:

Thank you for the continuous inspiration and sharing so many skills! I’d love to take the Free Motion Machine Stitching on Felt course.

#2 – Linda Prine wins a sari silk pack.

 linda prine says:

If I win, I choose the sari silk. Thanks, Linda Prine

#3 – Cate Lake Thompson wins an online class of her choice. 

 Cate Lake-Thompson says:

Congrats are due for this 10 year anniversary! Wonderful posts!
I would love to learn free motion stichery on felt.
Cate

#4 – Debbie Loveland wins a sari silk pack.

 Debbie Loveland says:

Happy 10th, FFS! I have been enjoying your posts for the last few years. Thank all of you who share your talent. I wish FFS continued success! I would love to win one of the classes. Print, Stencil and Play with Thickened Dye on Felt looks particularly interesting.

#5 – Shoshana Avramovitz wins a sari silk pack.

 Shoshana Avramovitz says:

Congrats on ten years Ruth!!!
Your posts are always such I highlight for me I so appreciate you 💕
I would love the Sari silk as I have been inspired by your work, to try new things:)
Hope to be here with you for the next ten years
Hugs Shoshana 🤗

Congratulations to all of the winners. We will contact you directly by email to get your information and send your prize.

Now on to what I have been working on. The photo on the left shows one of the nuno backgrounds that I made a while ago that has been waiting for further embellishment. I decided I wanted to use the photo on the right of weeping birch as inspiration. Now to find some fabric that I could applique to the background. I went through my entire stash and found absolutely nothing that would work. What to do? Then I was looking through the silk that I use for nuno felting and realized that I still had a piece of the same fabric. The original background was felted on to black prefelt. What if I used the same fabric and felted it on to white prefelt? That should give me trees that would work with the background but still have enough difference that the trees would stand out. I considered covering a larger piece of prefelt with the silk and then cutting the trees out after felting. But what if I cut the prefelt into tree shapes and then covered with the silk fabric and felted? A new experiment in felting to try!

I cut out the trees free hand, hoping for the best. Isn’t the difference in the background to the original fabric astonishing? The black wool really migrates through and changes the colors and values. The photo on the right shows how I cut the silk to “fit” the tree shapes. I left a border of silk to wrap around to the back side of the prefelt.

I then began felting the silk into the prefelt trees. I did rough up the prefelt a bit with a brush to get good migration of wool through the silk. I did quite a bit of rubbing and minimal fulling. I had given myself a bit of extra room for shrinkage, but not enough for complete fulling. since this is a piece of wall art, I wasn’t worried about the trees not being completely fulled. They just needed to hold together enough for me to stitch them down once dry.

The photo on the left shows the felted trees laying on the background. They have been appliqued down in the right photo. I used a medium value tan thread and the tiny stitches are hardly visible. I have also started adding a couched branch on the right hand tree. This is as far as I have gotten so far.

Here’s a closer look at the stitched branches. There will be more of this type of branch added to the left hand tree as well. I used bullion stitch to make the little seed poddy things at the end of the branches. I will probably add a few more thread colors to the branch.

I haven’t decided yet whether the trees are too much of a contrast from the background. I am considering adding some shading with grey on one side of the tree trunks for shadows most likely done with paint. I am going to add more small branches before I decide. What do you think?

 

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