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Pandagirl’s Year End Round Up 2017

Pandagirl’s Year End Round Up 2017

I’m always amazed at what I accomplished at the end of year. This year I took a few classes in order to expand my creativity in addition to experimenting on  my own. I also tried to use up more materials and finish some UFOs.

Here is a bedside case for odds and ends made with some merino inside and unknown fiber batt with silk embellishment.

Experimenting with different types of yarn to make a table runner.

Our First Quarter Challenge – Fauvism.

Weaving then felting.

A Valentine gift for granddaughter Lisa.


Teri Berry’s Snail hat class.








Finishing and hanging an eco print.                                                  Crochet around wire bowl.








Framing the felted weaving.

I did a lot of experimenting with crochet stitches.
















Practicing for Ruth’s Free Motion Embroidery class.

Crochet hats for my granddaughter and her new premature brother Ken.

A dimensional potholder.

Learning more crochet stitches.

Making a crochet hook case from a crochet sample.

A bowl for the Second quarter Challenge – Celtic

Using yarn on a resist for a vase cover.

Adding dimension to the hummingbird/tiger lily picture.

Crocheting scrubbies.

Felt and crochet earrings.








Crochet beaded bowl with stiffener.

A Pumpkin for Ken.

The Third Quarter Challenge – Edo Period; felt and hand embroidery Sakura.

Ribbon embroidery and framing.








Playing with thickened dye for Ruth’s class on felt.


Finishing  a case from UFO pile and FME Butterfly








Maneki-Neko for Third Quarter Challenge Edo Period.

Framing the Rooster.

More stencil play with acrylic and thickened dye.

The Fourth Quarter Challenge — Suprematist

Penguin’s Poinsettia Holiday card.

A couple of scarves for my daughter in laws parents in Japan where it’s as cold as Chicago.








I want to let everyone know I am taking a leave of absence to focus on my health and family.  I will be around just not posting weekly.  We have a lot of talented artists that will be filling in starting with Tracey Thompson next week.

I want to thank everyone for helping out to give me this time.   If you or someone you know has something to share — it doesn’t have to be felt but anything fiber related including paper, please contact me or one of the other moderators on the forum and we’ll get you on the schedule.

I hope everyone has a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!  Happy Creating in 2018!

Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends

This past weekend, my husband and I drove up to Wisconsin for a weekend away.  I had hoped we’d see plenty of fabulous fall colors I could share.  Unfortunately, Wisconsin is suffering from the same drought we have here in Illinois and we arrived a week earlier than the peak.  Many of their trees have lost their leaves already, like ours here. But here is one fallish pic entering Wisconsin.

I haven’t been too productive this week.  But I do have a few projects I have put finishing touches on and haven’t shared.

I signed up for Ruth’s Printing and Stenciling on Felt class, so I managed to make a couple of handmade prefelts to play with.  I have plenty of commercial.  The purple was some unknown fiber batt. I decided to use a silk hankie to give it a little sparkle, but it didn’t.

The turquoise is commercial prefelt with some throwsters waste which isn’t very evident.

I think I will be able to use both sides just to experiment. I like the sides without the silk better.

I also made a thicker light blue batt with some mulberry silk.

I have no idea what I’ll be printing on any of these and have gathered a bunch of samples and other UFOs to experiment on.

Here is a failed coaster that had gold fabric felted in that I did a little free motion practice on.

A while back I had felted a bunch of samples from scarves.  I couldn’t find the post with the original scarves. One of them had dots which I wasn’t crazy about. I had done both sides and didn’t care for the inside either.  However, after felting the dots weren’t obvious, they looked more like flowers.  I made it into a little case and did a little embroidery on with with some silver floss for a little bling.

  The back:

The front has a little bit of black organic edging.

Nothing exciting this week, but I got to re-purpose a few things.


Felt Landscape Picture

Felt Landscape Picture

Today we have the second in a series of guest post from Forum member Tracey:

I approached a gallery recently to ask if they would be interested in stocking my felt cards.  I took along four cards, three flower and one cottage picture.  I was thrilled when they bought all four! I only have pictures of two of them:

When I was next in the gallery the owner said ‘ We like your little house, can you make a larger picture’, Oh yes I said, whilst inwardly thinking – PANIC!

So here is my attempt.  Firstly I laid out white Merino wool for the sky and added blended blues, white silk caps and blue and white silk throwsters waste.  I then started on the bottom sections laying out green Merino, I didn’t blend the colours but pulled them into sections of wool, as I wanted a rolling hill feeling.

In the  next picture, I guess you will be wondering why the grey thick band, well I am planning to build my first wall! I blended greys with a little charcoal colour and added little bits of white here and there.

I then continued to build the picture adding my little house, this was cut from prefelts.  Prefelt is the stage between soft wool fibres and fully fulled felt, you can make your own or it can be bought commercially. You can use it to cut shapes, lay it on your work and it will felt into your piece. A few trees and wool nepps (little wool balls) by the house, and as the hills had emerged into a dip shape, I couldn’t resist adding a bit of sunshine!

So here is my picture after felting.

Then it is time for a little FME (Free Motion Embroidery).  Some (not all) sewing machines allow you to do this. If you can drop the feed dogs (the little ‘teeth’ that guide the fabric) you will be able to do this.  In effect you are then ‘drawing’ using the needle on your machine, the needle is your pencil!  Because the feed dogs are dropped, it is then down to you to guide the fabric, whilst the needle is drawing. The skill to master is controlling the speed of the machine in conjunction with moving the fabric. I really enjoy it.  Initially I drew the stones in with a magic fabric marker to follow, but then I grew more confident and went freestyle!

For the rest of the picture, I didn’t want to define much of the ‘distance’ with FME, as I wanted it to look exactly that – distant.  I did a little on the tree trunks though.
I then concentrated more on my wall, needle felting some dark sections, especially where the stones had ended up quite a strange shape!, good how you can cover and change your mistakes…..

So here is the completed  piece. I added a few FME grasses and French knot flowers by the wall. Apologies to any dry stone wallers out there!

2nd Quarter Challenge Part 2

2nd Quarter Challenge Part 2

It seems as if everyone is anxious to reduce their UFO stash.  While I haven’t put a dent in mine, it does feel good to create something new out of scraps.

Sifting thru my scraps, I was having a hard time coming up with ideas.  But then one evening while watching the local news it hit me.  I grew up in Chicago and now live about 50 miles west of it in the middle of corn country.  I always loved seeing the city scape either driving in or flying over.

I didn’t want to copy a picture, but compile my own city scape made up of buildings I thought were unique.

My first attempt I used a purple for a sky color. And a teal for the water.  It was too dark and didn’t let the buildings pop.


Not having enough blue scraps for the sky I felted a piece of prefelt.  Then added some fluffy wool clouds for dimension.

20160515_16514020160523_142336 20160523_142313

Of course a lot of buildings are gray or black, but as you can see I chose to use more of my wallet material for my centerpiece building — The Willis Tower (formerly known ans will always be The Sears Tower to me.) In reality it is black.

The red building on the right was a left over piece of a business card.  I thought it was just right for a real red CNA (Continental National America) building on the lake shore.

On the left is the Crain Communications building also known as the Diamond  building.

Once the pieces were pinned, I used a combination of hand stitching to keep everything in place, machine stitching for the windows and antennas  on the Willis building and details on the Crain building.

The Willis Tower is not leaning in real life, but we do live in the Windy City and buildings do sway. Actually, the sewing must have shifted it.  I debated pulling it out, but decided against it.

I also used free motion stitching in the foilage area at the lake front.  There was still something missing. What is a lake without boats?  If you look closely, the sails are blowing in the wind, again adding dimension.





I tried a couple of mats, but decided on the black and white one.  I don’t have a frame yet, but probably basic black.


Or I could use a 5 x 7″ frame by itself.  Sorry about the black background. It’s a metallic slate gray frame.


What do you think?

Don’t forget to post your 2nd Quarter Challenge on the forum.




Felt and Stitch Bowl Attempt

Felt and Stitch Bowl Attempt

I needed a liner for a basket for collecting eggs. This is a small basket but I will need a bigger basket before long as we got some new chickens.


I thought I would try sewing around and around a flat piece of felt as I had seen on Lyn’s blog. she sells  an ebook of how to do it. If I had downloaded it and if I had followed it I probably would have had better results. I am much to clever for that, not.  I did it form a vague memory of Lyn mentioning something on the Forum.

So I found a piece of felt  and cut it to what I hope will fit my basket. Nothing beats guessing when its right. 🙂

felt and bowl

Next I started stitching, switching the machine from turtle speed to rabbit speed as neatness doesn’t really count here. I also used up all my part bobbins so now I have some empty ones.

As you can see after the first go round it is still flat felt. I decided there was not enough stitching so loaded up the machine with orange and off I went again around and around.

stitching round 1 stitching round 2

As you can see that didn’t help at all. There was a slight curving on one side but not what I would call a bowl. Still I needed a basket liner and after all this is not a beauty piece but a partial piece I cut it.

cut to fit

and sewed it

re stitched

egg basket with eggsHere it is with some eggs in just to prove it really is an egg basket. I haven’t really used it yet in the barn. Theses are some that where collected this morning that are not in cartons yet.

I think the problem besides not buying the tutorial and following the instructions is that my felt was fairly thick and well fulled. I do know from my few attempt at free motion machine embroidery that the felt does strange things if not backed with something. The other thing that may have done it was I started at the outside. Perhaps if I had started in the middle the felt would have reacted differently.  All in all I ended up with a basket liner and had fun sewing like the wind round and round.



A Little Stich Practice

A Little Stich Practice

I finally put the free motion embroidery foot on my Sewing Machine.  I did a small sample to see what different movements did.  I used contrasting thread so I could see what I had done better. As you can see I did a few things. I tried to sew down some loopy yarn. this was hard. The yarn moves and you can’t really pin it very well. Its to easy to run the machine over the pins.

machine stitch sample

The solid red, with lots of stitching is a piece of silk  carrier rod. I tried moving the felt at different speeds and having the machine sew at different speeds.  Fast machine and slow hands seemed to work best so far. You can see near the end I was getting better at controlling what I was doing and managed to write my name. I like the way the stitching looks on the tree best, well the green part anyway.

Here is a shot at the back side.

machine stitch sample back

The machine stitching looks so different than hand stitching. I think the combination of the two will be great. But for now I need to practice my machine stitching. Anyone have any tips or suggestions about machine stitching?

The Final Pear

The Final Pear

I have been busily machine stitching to finish my class homework. We are supposed to try out various methods and techniques of machine embroidery. On my personal blog, I posted the first two pears. One was done with granite stitch with instructions from a 1945 Singer sewing machine book. The second was done with mossing stitch learned from an article by Ken Smith.


This last pear was done using Carol Shinn’s technique from her book Freestyle  Machine EmbroideryShe usually uses a digital photo printed on fabric and then affixes that to a heavy  canvas. The canvas is cut on the bias to prevent excessive distortion. I decided to paint my pear instead of using a photograph. The photo above shows my painted pear. I used acrylic paint for the pear and Dye-Na-Flow paint for the background.


I haven’t used her technique for a while and I always forget how much the piece shrinks in one direction. Because all the stitches are done in the same direction, the piece shrinks in the direction of the stitching. This is the first layer of stitching that I did. I stitched vertically. You can see that the pear is getting shorter already.


Here’s the finished pear. It hardly even looks like a pear shape it shrunk down so much. I guess I should have stitched horizontally since it was already a bit squatty for a pear. Comparing all three techniques was interesting. Carol Shinn’s technique was actually the shortest stitching time. But obviously you must take the shrinkage factor in to consideration. If you want to see the other two pears, check out my post here.

Guest Artist

Guest Artist

Our Second Guest Artist to be featured on the Studio site is Rachelle Gardner, a mixed media artist originally from Kansas City, Missouri, now living in Mission, Kansas, USA

Felting 3, 2, 1
Q-3 Three types of fibre you can’t live without?

Thread, of any kind, which I don’t know counts as a “fiber,” but it’s hard to make lace without it! I also keep a stash of dyed and natural Shetland wool around at all times, as I never know when I’ll need it. The third is admittedly, a toss-up between angora or silk fiber for use in detailing and accents.

Q-2 Two tools you use all the time?

My sewing machine, a new one that was partially funded by the Arts Council in my area, and water soluble stabilizer. I still feel like I’m just scratching the surface of possibilities with this material. 

Q-1 One fibre art technique you love the most? 

I am amazed at what water does to these materials. Both in wet felting and in working with the water soluble stabilizer, the utter transformation that occurs is symbolic to me. It impresses on me vital nature of water; it’s power to sustain us, it’s power to cleanse. It also reminds me of the concept that individual consciousness is like a drop of water in the ocean of universal consciousness. So, in short, I love working with water!

How did you get into fiber arts?

My path to the fibers arts was long, slow, but I think inevitable. When I was in high school, my parents adopted three Shetland sheep, which I, as a teenager, thought was most “uncool.” Eventually, I recognized my mother’s talents as she picked up every bit of the process of raising the animals, shearing, cleaning, dying, spinning, knitting, designing the patterns, over and over again, until it was finally time to say goodbye to the dear creature that provided so much over the years. And I can’t tell you how much time my father spent on fencing! So I eventually began picking up things here and there, and felting was my first interest and attempt at the fiber arts. While I consider myself a mixed media artist, I often work with felt or wool fiber in some way. 

Did you study art at college?

No! My degree is in interior architecture and my first job out of college was working as an apprentice at a small mom-and-pop wood shop building and designing custom furniture. But soon enough, the call of the fine arts drew me back. 

What you working on at the moment?

Right now I am preparing lace samples in preparation for studying at The Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado. There I will learn how to cast large scale fabric sculpture. I’m interested in creating large scale lace sculpture exhibitions in art centers in my city and cities around me. This has been a project long in the making with support from the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, The Arts Council of Metro Kansas City, and hopefully people who love lace as I’m in the last few days of crowd-sourcing project funds through an online fundraising platform. I’d have to say it’s the most involved project I’ve yet to embark on.

What do you like to do when you aren’t creating art?

Yoga is my other main passion and I am a certified and registered yoga teacher. Between my day job, making art, and teaching yoga, whatever time is left is spent with my boyfriend and our 14-year old rescue kitty, Ellie.

Many thanks to Rachelle for taking the time to answer our questions, and share her work and enthusiasm with us 🙂  If you’d like to see more of Rachelle’s work, please visit her website and her blog .

If you’d like to find out more about Rachelle’s adventurous project turning 2-D lace work into large 3-D sculpture,  visit her Aspen Project website, there’s even the opportunity for you to be involved and help with the costs of the project. Everyone who helps out receives a credit and also a reward of beautiful unique artwork, made individually for each person. But hurry, there’s less than a day left for that.

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