I have started working/playing with my green nuno felt landscape. When I last posted about it, I showed you an idea that I got from layering a photo over the landscape in Photoshop. I liked the dreamy look of the landscape. Now how to create it in fabric and stitch?
I had stamped some silk organza with a flower design for another project. Perhaps it would work for the landscape? So I started playing with different fabric choices and placement.
I added more fabric and then covered with a pale yellow green nylon organza (you can see it on the right edge) to see if it gave it that “misty” feeling. It was OK but not exactly what I wanted.
I took away the overlay and added some white lace for the floral component. That is starting to look better. I think the background behind the upper flowers either needs a grey or blue overlay of sheer fabric to make it seem farther in the distance. I didn’t really see that until I looked at the photo.
Then I wanted to compare using silk paper (flower on the right) for the flowers instead of lace. I am leaning towards the lace.
That’s as far as I have gotten on the planning process. It involves many trials of putting fabric on and off. Taking photos of each trial. Figuring out how I can integrate the applique into the background. Deciding whether I am going to use machine or hand stitching. The process is definitely a journey!
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.
In my Level 3 Stitch class, we are working on applique this session. After creating an applique using silk organza, I decided I wanted to see if I could combine a nuno felted background with silk organza applique. I thought the texture of the nuno would contrast well with the smoothness of the silk organza.
I created the nuno background with some deconstructed screen printed silk and a piece of white prefelt. I stitched the edges of silk that didn’t adhere down completely on to the back of the felt to give a neater edge (right hand photo). I also shaved and removed any large white pieces of wool on the surface of the silk. This piece immediately made me think of the woods, now on to the applique.
I used the background to help figure out the tree shapes and placement. Here is the silk organza trees laid over the background.
I basted the trees in place and stitched with tiny stitches trying to avoid fraying the silk organza as I went. The photo on the left shows the piece partially stitched with the basting lines still in place on the right side. The right photo is when the trees were completely stitched down. I used a stab stitch and machine weight thread.
Here’s a close up of the tiny stitches. (Click on any photo to see a larger version.)
Next, I started working on the path. I wanted to have a vague path but not something that overpowered the rest of the composition. So I used a variety of green threads with running stitch to create the path. But in the midst of stitching, I kept finding my eye drawn to the black dots over the bottom portion and then in a straight line up into the sky. What to do?
I considered adding stitching to diffuse the black dots but decided in the end to cover them with a paint pen and markers. I have no problem mixing my media, so I used a white paint pen and then covered the white with green marker. I definitely think that helped to take that line of dots away and emphasize the path more. I also added a bit more darkness with black marker so that there wouldn’t be such a straight line of “ground” at the base of the trees.
Next was the decision, leaves or no leaves? I tried a bunch of different types of fabric and ended up using black and green tulle cut into pieces with a layer of green sheer pieces over that. In this photo, the leaves haven’t been stitched down.
Here is the completed piece. It is hard to see the subtleties in a photo but I am pleased with the result. It reminds me of walking in the woods at dusk as the shadows deepen and perhaps you can hear the owls saying good evening.
If you have been following my posts for any length of time, you will know that I am a lover of trees, leaves, bark and anything forest related. For my Level 3 Stitch course, I have been working on a variety of types of applique. So I wanted to try a combination of felt and applique to create a bark piece.
Specifically, Ponderosa pine bark. We have many of these trees on and around our property and I love taking photos of the bark as well as collecting the pieces of bark that this type of tree sheds on a regular basis. The pieces always remind me of puzzle shapes. Lyndsay wrote recently about creating bark and I was inspired by her piece. But I wanted to include applique in my bark. So it was time to try a sample or two.
I laid out black wool as the base. Then I added a cut up strips of felt that were in my box of samples from some of my online classes. I decided to use a variety of thicknesses and colors of felt to see the differences when felted. I then added a brown/tan felt over the top. I just used what I had on hand. I did make a smaller sample later to use for sampling stitch ideas.
Here’s the piece after felting. The variety of thicknesses in the underlying felt pieces actually helped make the piece seem more natural. The variety of colors also worked well.
This photo shows you what the real bark pieces look like. I laid them out on the wool for inspiration. I have a big bag of these bark pieces. It was tempting to either glue or stitch them in place. That would still be applique, right? 😉
One of my original thoughts was to use complementary fabrics or sheers in orange and blue to create a more colorful effect. I tried a variety of these ideas but I wasn’t satisfied with the results. This idea would have worked better if I had included orange and blue in the felt base. So other samples may be forthcoming.
This is my small stitch sample. I used every square inch of it to try out different ideas. You can see that I tried machine stitching down the orange/blue samples but I didn’t like the “pillow” looking result. I tried some raised chain band to hold down the fabric but that didn’t actually hold the sheer fabric well. The fabric kept fraying under the stitches and pulling loose. I then tried some brown and neutral colored silk fabrics using different hand stitches. The assignment was to be a combination of machine and hand stitching. The machine stitching was done between the thicker felt strips in a dark brown. I decided that the final hand stitching would be small straight stitches and a few French knots.
I forgot to take a photo after I completed the machine stitching. This photo shows how it looked after fusing down the pieces of silk. I used a powdered fusible just to get the silk to hold in place. Then on to the hand stitching. I ended up using wool lace weight thread. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any that was dark enough for the darker value needed. So I used a heavier wool yarn for the darkest value.
Here’s the finished piece. Next time, I think I will try nuno felting the silk in place. I’m not sure it will look as “peeling” as the laid on silk does though. But that’s what further experiments are for, right?
Last week I showed you the beginnings of an applique sample. I guess I wasn’t the only one that had never heard of Resht work. Always good to learn something new, isn’t it?
So I started with chain stitching the central flower parts down. I didn’t follow the example exactly but it is similar to the inspiration photo. I had drawn the stitch lines on the background out in advance but didn’t adhere to the drawing exactly. This actually stitches pretty quickly as the chain stitch is easy and stitching through handmade felt is wonderful. I’m not sure why I’m surprised each time I stitch a lot on a piece of felt. It is so nice to hand stitch. I have a tendency to be a bit minimalist so I might have stopped here but the sample was pretty heavily stitched so I decided I would add more.
So on to what I’m calling the drop shadow stitching. I added the dark blue violet chain stitch using a Sulky #12 machine thread. It worked great. Slightly lighter weight than the perle cotton #12. I was really surprised at the impact the dark thread made. Again, I shouldn’t have been surprised because it did need some darker values in the composition. I also added a regular blanket stitch around the leaves with a red violet thread. This pulled the red violet from the central flower out into more of the background.
Then I decided that I needed some yellow orange in the flower. So I added just a little bit of that and decided it was complete. I actually could keep adding more stitching but I didn’t want to overdo it.
I will definitely be cropping off the edges so here’s how it will look cropped. And I thought you’d like to see the surface from a side view. It was a fun piece to try and again reminded me why I like to stitch on felt.
In March, when my sister Rebekah visited, we had one of our group art meetings. She and her daughter Lizzie went along to do some ice dyeing and create a paper fabric collage.
This is Rebekah’s collage. She decided to leave it with me and since I didn’t want to have more stuff piling up in my studio, I decided I needed to add a focal point to it. The one I made that day was not to my taste and I gave it to Deb who has since stitched on it. These collages are made with thin paper, thin fabrics, fusible and paint.
I had recently sketched this succulent plant and thought it might be a good addition to the collage. (Marilyn has since told me that this is called a jade plant.) My original plan was to free motion machine stitch the design on to the collage. But after a little trial and error, I thought it would look better with more color than just outlined in thread. So then I decided to applique with fabric and then machine stitch. I had already decided on purple thread so I opened up my box of colored fabric and right on top was an ice dyed purple fabric that worked perfectly. I guess it was meant to be as that fabric was ice dyed the same day the collage was made. The fabric was supposed to turn out grey but was purple instead. Funny how that worked.
Here is the fabric cut out and fused down to the collage. I used the fusible paper to trace the design from my sketch above. I did leave out a few bits but I don’t think it made any difference to the design.
Then I free motion machine stitched around the edges. I did use a piece of heavy interfacing behind the paper fabric collage as it was quite thin. The focal point of the jade plant definitely helped the composition. I have one more of these to do as Lizzie left hers with me as well.
This is the last chance to sign up for my April session of online classes. Classes start tomorrow. The next session won’t be until September.
A Daily Dose of Fiber challenge is coming to an end. I challenged everyone to take at least five minutes a day and do something creative. I personally had been doing this for a while but I wanted to add increased blogging on my personal blog. So I blogged every day during the challenge and I do have to say it was a challenge especially when I was traveling. I don’t own a “smart” phone and I don’t seem to be very mobile when it comes to online stuff. But I got a lot of creative stuff done and creating every day has been fun. Many times when I didn’t really feel like doing anything, I made myself get started because I had to do my 5 minutes a day. Once I got started, I ended up spending much more than 5 minutes because I quickly became involved in what I was doing.
So what did I accomplish with at least 5 minutes a day? In January, I spent the first half of the month completing my beaded book and making a beaded tassel for it. I also made three felt appliques, two turned edge appliques, two shadow appliques and a felt applique book. I researched broderie perse, the Bronze age, Kyrgyz design and reverse applique. I made a couple of pieces of flat felt, painted some commercial felt and finished the slipper bottoms for my husband’s slippers.
February was my travel month so I wasn’t quite as productive since I had to go to the Buyers Market for the store and attend my last stitch class. But I did manage to frame some of my work for a mini exhibition, do a little machine applique, learn some new types of bindings for books including hand stitching and machine stitching, make a machine stitched book page, felt some cat toys, work in my sketchbook/studio journal, do a little Kantha stitching while traveling, finish up the last of the felt appliques, make a shadow applique card for hubbie for Valentine’s Day, try out a new painting technique, carve some linoleum stamps and make some stitched greeting cards.
In March I have been finishing up the last of my stitch class homework. I have almost completed two machine stitched cut back applique pieces, I practiced some new hand stitches, I completed my 5 page machine stitched book, I went and picked up 200# of wool and took it to the processing mill, I started reading up on yurt building, I did very tiny blanket stitch around one of the book pages mentioned above, had a painting party at my house, learned new insertion stitches for small book bindings, laced my Kantha bird in preparation for mounting, matted several of my print to stitch pieces and made some grey scale croppers.
Last week I went back to my class at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center. For the first part of class, we worked on applique methods. We’re going to make little books out of our samples. All the samples are 4″x4″. I’ve completed the samples but haven’t bound the book yet. I thought you might like to see the pages before the book was bound together.
I took the photos at work so they aren’t the best but hopefully you get the idea. All of the pages have the same background color of felt even though they look like different colors of felt. The felt I used was hand dyed commercial felt but I think these applique techniques will work great with hand-made felt and all those extra felt scraps that Zed is always talking about 🙂