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Gone Fishing…

Gone Fishing…

I don’t know if its spring or summer or something in the creative cosmic atmosphere, but it seems fish have become a theme for art lately.

Cathy (Luvswool) and I got together before she went to her Colorado residency and I went to Florida a few weeks back.  We wanted to do something different together.  We remembered the cool fish Galina ( Felicity) did a while back on  her blog and decided to try that. (Thanks for the inspiration Galina!)

We each made our resists beforehand.  Of course, we were busy chatting while deciding on colors.  It took a bit before we got started.

Cathy chose yellow and blue.  I went with my teal (I have sooo much) and purple.

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We each used three layers (one layer of domestic 56 batt in between) and tried to get the fish mouth like Galina had hers not too successfully.  I guess we need practice. We also used gems for eyes.

I made separate prefelt for fins and tail.

When I got to the prefelt stage on my fish, I cut out and attached the tail and fins. I couldn’t find the resists for my gills when it came time to take the resists out.

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We weren’t trying to make exact fish, but have fun coming up with our own fantasy fish.

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Cathy did get the gill resist out, but it ended up too wide, so she embroidered it to close it up.  She also added some roving around the eye and needlefelted it to get it to stay.

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I decided to work on another fish that week and ended up with two more just experimenting with colors and embellishments. I managed to get gills on the second one. I also added bottom fins by needlefelting them on. The eyes were hard to get even on each side. I got a little better at the eyes, but they’re still not perfect.

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I’m not sure how I’ll display them.  I originally thought I hang them in the bathroom, but I don’t think my husband would approve of flying fish.

Have you done any summer or fish themed projects?



Round and Round I Go

Round and Round I Go

Happy New Year!

One of the things I wanted to do more of this past year was to stitch on felt.  I did one wool painting based on Moy Mackay’s “Anemones”  from her book Art Felt and Stitch that I used free motion embroidery for the first time.

I was a bit intimidated, but Lyn from Rosiepink encouraged me to keep trying.  So, using Rosiepink’s ebook  I chose to try an embroidered bowl.

I gathered up a lot of my swatches and scraps and decided to use some batik fabric samples I cut up, silk scraps of habotai and chiffon, hand dyed locks, cotton scrim, throwsters waste, hand dyed kid mohair, mulberry silk — dyed and undyed .  One batik swatch that I liked had Oriental fish.  I used that idea for the center of the bowl with handmade prefelt and later in the process I embroidered the details.

Following the instructions, I layed put the circle base and carefully decorated it with my prefelts, scraps and other embellishments.  I used hand dyed mulberry silk on the back to give that some color and shine, but didn’t take a picture. Here is the inner side before felting.

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After felting I let it dry then put in the embroidery details before starting the free motion stitching.

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I purchased five different colors of rayon Gutterman thread — grape, cranberry, turquoise, light purple and silver.

After getting organized to sew, I held my breath, said a prayer and round and round I went stitching as instructed happily watching the bowl take shape right before my eyes!

However, my eyes were crossed by the time I finished trying to follow the rows of stitching needed.  But the result was worth it.  The stitching isn’t perfect especially in the center.  I found it challenging to do the tighter small circles.

2014-10-28 12.12 2014-10-28 12.16It was hard to get decent pictures of the sides between the angle and the lightning.  But you can see the colors underneath and the shiny rayon threads.

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Thanks again to Lyn and Annie for such great instructions and your encouragement.  I hope one of these days the free motion will be second hand, but I still need more practice.  Fortunately, there are many more projects in the book to try besides venturing out on my own.

So, one of my resolutions is to continue to challenge myself to try new free motion projects this year.  What fiber resolutions have you made for 2015?



Same Picture, Different Techniques and Outcomes

Same Picture, Different Techniques and Outcomes

A while back, I purchased Moy Mackay’s book Art in Felt and Stitch.  I like her use of bold colors and particularly like her flower and bird pieces.  While chatting with Cathy (Luvswool), I learned she also had Moy’s book and we both liked one particular vase of flowers in the book called Anemones.  We decided to do our own interpretation of that picture below.  (The quality is not great because I took a picture of the picture in the book.)

Moy anemonesCathy —

Moy lays out her fibers from start to finish, with “brushstrokes” of fiber, much as a painter applies paint to the canvas.  When she is finished laying out her merino roving, she then felts the entire picture as one piece.  Later, she needle felts details and then embroiders with machine stitching.

My approach was a bit different, in that I prefer to layout my base first then wet felt it so that I end up with a pre-felted white base on which to paint my picture.  I had previously used this technique in creating other felt painting and so was comfortable with the approach.  After my white domestic 56’s base (2 layers) was completed and dry, I began the process of laying on merino fibers in various colors, not exactly the same as Moy.  I added tussah silk highlights and then wet-felted the entire piece.

After drying, I began to needle-felt details, such as shadowing for the vase, some detailing for the flowers.  I chose not to machine stitch or hand embroider, rather I allowed the needle felting to be my finishing.

Cathys Moy

Newly armed with a stapler gun and some stretcher bars, I backed the 12″ x 12″ piece with blue commercial felt and framed it.


Marilyn —

I chose to follow Moy’s method as mentioned above in Cathy’s description. For me there were a few firsts — I had never “cut” roving, had done free motion machine stitching or embroidered felt.


I made the base from batts I had made using dark colors, then added the lighter accents, the vase, then built the picture from the background forward laying out the background leaves then cut the flowers and laid them out.  I added some silk embellishments, angelina and nepps, then I wet felted the piece.

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After it was dry, I needle felted around the vase and added needle felted shadows on and around the vase and some details in the flowers.  My challenge came when I started the machine embroidery.  The felt around the flowers was thick because of the layering of the background leaves. My machine wasn’t happy about that.  After a couple of broken needles and a lot of frustration, I finally finished.  I added a couple of hand embroidered flower details to finish it.  I enjoyed trying a new technique, but will keep in mind the potential thickness issue when doing anything similar again.

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After cleaning it up a bit, it is now sitting in the “to be framed pile.”




Book Review: Creating Felt Artwork

Book Review: Creating Felt Artwork

Creating Felt Artwork: a step by step guide

This is an excellent, information packed, 60 page, full colour e-book by Rosiepink fibre artists Annie and Lyn. Using one of their own pieces, ‘The Meadow’ as a guide, they show you a step by step process and give you all the information you need to make your own beautiful, unique felt artwork. There are lots of nice, clear photos throughout, and simple but detailed instructions with lots of excellent tips and advice. Before the main part on how to create your felt wall hanging, there is a great section about finding inspiration, how to interpret your ideas into a design and planning your artwork.

The information in the main step by step guide is excellent. It starts with a detailed equipment list with lots of hints for using inexpensive items you’d find around the house, and advice about preparing your work area. The instructions for how to lay out the wool for your design are very clear and detailed, and there are lots of photographs to illustrate each stage. There’s a very detailed explanation of the whole felting process and valuable information about choosing other fabrics and fibres to add to your design.

The next section teaches you how to enhance and embellish your artwork with simple machine embroidery. This part is packed with information and advice too. There’s everything you need to know about stabilising your felt artwork and choosing the right colours and types of thread to work best with your design. There’s information about techniques to create the effect you want and how to add detail. This section also has advice about adding hand stitching and how to use machine and hand stitching to create effects and texture and also about using other fibres for adding extra texture and detail.

Once you’ve finished your felt art wall hanging, you’ll want to display it. There is a great section on how to back and hang your artwork simply and effectively, with clear instructions and photos. But if you’d like to display your artwork a different way, there is also a separate section on alternate ways to display your artwork and how to care for it.

There’s information and tips throughout the book for techniques to help you realise your own design and create your own unique artwork. This includes how to make and use prefelt for more control over your design; how to re-use spare felt in the same way; using yarn and small drafted sections of wool for design, and adding other fabrics and needlefelting to enhance your artwork.

So, what if you’ve followed all the instructions and you’re not happy with the way it turned out, or maybe you made a few sample pieces to try out your colour choices and don’t know what to do with them? There’s even a section for that, with some great ideas on what to do with spare pieces of felt.

And don’t worry if you’re an absolute beginner and have never tried felting before, or don’t really know what all the felting terms mean, there’s a glossary at the end with everything you need to know and an appendix with a complete step by step guide to making felt, with lots of clear photos.

This really is excellent value for money. It’s an invaluable source of information and advice about creating beautiful feltwork and enhancing it simply with easy tips and techniques. And the great advantages about being an e-book is you can have it instantly and zoom into the photos for even more detail 🙂

If you’d like to own a copy, visit Annie and Lyn’s website   It’s also available on Craftsy

Book Review

Book Review

I thought it would be fun to go through my library of fiber art books and do a review of some of my favorites. I don’t have any other books by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn but I have seen some of their other books. I have to say that I would recommend anything written by them. They are a great team and pack a lot of useful information in their books.

If you click on the photo above it will take you to Amazon. I think the book is out of print because the new copies are really pricey but you can buy them used for less. Or look in your local library, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find this book. I love this book. I refer back to it frequently and have read it cover to cover at least three times.

The book has two sections the first is “Design to Embroider” and the second is “Stitched Images”.  The first section is about how to develop designs on paper and mixed media, where to look to find ideas and exploring those ideas. It is a good start to basic design and how to relate it to embroidery. The photos and examples are wonderful and inspiring. They show their own work as well as work of other artists.

Section two of the book is about taking your designs and making them into an embroidery. There is information about fabric paints and various methods of using them, working with applique’, stitch themes, machine embroidery and selecting a theme. This book is not a step by step instruction book. It does give basic information about how to use various fabric paint products but it doesn’t contain any projects to follow. The book is geared towards getting you to think about your own designs and how to develop backgrounds and then add stitch to make a complex experimental stitch piece.

The book talks a bit about using different stitches but it is not a stitch dictionary and limited directions for individual hand or machine stitches. What it does is give you lots of ideas about how to interpret designs and various approaches to use to achieve the desired effects. Every time I read the book, I find something new to consider. If you only do traditional embroidery from a kit and don’t want to learn how to design, this book isn’t for you. If you’d like to take a more experimental approach and learn how to design your work, you’ll love this book. All the reviews on Amazon are 5 stars!

If you have a favorite fiber art book, I’d love to hear about it. Hop on over to the forum and  tell us about your favorite book.

Beading & Felting

Beading & Felting

Beading and Felting

I know there are some spectacular bead artists out there and this week I thought I’d try my hand at some beading, I’ve been following Robin Atkins blog called Bead Lust

 Her work is so beautiful. I’ve never really wanted to learn about beading before but since getting into more of the mixed media side of things it’s made me more interested in the beading process, of course not on the scale of Robins though , just enough to try to work into my pieces.  Robin has been beading for a long time and she has written a couple of books, she has now put out her first book as a free book for anyone to read, so since I was following along I thought I’d take the time to read it.  She explains her methods of beading and basically works free hand with no pre conceived ideas, or nothing set in stone.  So having read that I thought I’d give a small piece a go, mind you I don’t have thousands of beads to choose from so I started this little one with one of Zed’s hand made buttons and went from there.

It definitely helped to read her book as I was under the impression that I should have some sort of design in mind before I started, but I actually found it so much easier not to.  This is only a small piece I know but reading her book  gave me the courage to have a go !!

I’ve also made a couple of small note book covers, inspired by Zed once again, and I wanted to  do something else with my flat pieces of felt and not just wall hangings.  The first cut was the hardest I must admit, spending all that time rubbing and rolling the felt only to cut it up in the end. These 2 covers were made with the one piece and then cut in half so I had the 2 different colours in each cover.

I then embellished with embroidery stitches learned from the TAST 2012, so I used Blanket, Fly & Cretan stitches and then added some beads in too.

I did not have any success with creating skeleton leaves so we’ll leave that for another day lol

I hope everyone’s had a productive week and I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.

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