It’s amazing how my slow stitch project is moving along and almost complete. Twenty to thirty minutes of stitching per day definitely works for me and even though I have been working on this project for a long time, it has been a fulfilling project. I have enjoyed seeing the piece slowly fill in with thousands of stitches.
Here’s where I was the last time I showed you the piece in mid June.
I added a lot of foreground stitching. The bit on the top left shown here is still a little pale for me. It jumps forward in front of the foreground bush in my eye. So there will be a little more stitching there.
I added some running stitch in the distant trees with a “grey” thread. It leans very heavily to purple but really works well to give these tree trunks a bit more definition and to move them further into the distance.
Here is where I am now. It’s getting very close to finished. A few more areas of darkness perhaps. Lindsay asked me a while ago how I decide when it’s finished. What I do with a piece like this is to get to the point where I think it might be finished and then I hang it up on the wall in my studio so I can study it. I look at the piece from different distances and different angles. I give it some time to “rest” and then I add what I think is still needed based on the assessment I have done. Or I pronounce that it’s finished. What do you think?
The last time I showed you my Autumn Nuno slow stitch piece was back in April and it looked like this:
I have been continuing to stitch on this piece for 15-20 minutes per day. I have been concentrating on the bottom left corner and bottom foreground to fill in the vegetation/foliage in those areas.
Here’s a close up of that area which has the first pass of seed stitch and just needs some of the lighter areas filled in a bit more. I also think I need to evaluate the values once I’m happier with the foreground.
And here’s what the full piece currently looks like. You can click on any of the photos to enlarge them. So progress is being made, albeit slowly. I’m still enjoying the daily practice of hand stitching, adds a little zen to my day.
One year ago today, we adopted this little guy from Mission Valley Animal Shelter. His name is Edgar and he was a stray so we don’t know his breed or his age, but he has added so much joy to our lives. I thought you might want to help Edgar celebrate his adoption day and see how he is living his best life.
I started working on some nuno felted landscapes in April. It has been stop and start on getting them completed. But I thought I would give you an update on the results so far.
I showed you Flathead Lake at the end of April. I got a few comments on perhaps adding more stitching to the trees. It took a bit of contemplation about whether I should add more stitching. The main reasons I decided to go ahead and add some stitching is to bring the trees more into the foreground and to hide some of the horizontal stitching that I did on the lake area.
I used a #12 variegated cotton thread and free motion stitched the branches. I do like the highlights that it added and it definitely helped cover the horizontal lines of “lake stitching”. Now I need to find a “matte” fabric and get it ready for framing.
This is another background. I decided to hand stitch this one. I’m not sure why since it is the biggest one. It should take me quite a while especially since I have become disenchanted with it. I was working on it steadily but that has gone by the wayside.
Here it is after stitching the distant pine trees.
Then I stitched more foliage and aspen trees. I am using seed stitch and using a variety of colors. I was thinking it was similar to impressionist paintings with little dots of color. I think painting is significantly faster than stitching. So this is definitely a slow stitch piece.
Here’s a closer look at the stitches. I think I got discouraged because I still had so much to fill. I will be adding some different stitches into the foreground but I have to get the further distances completed before I can start on the foreground. What do you do when you get discouraged in the middle of a project? I have been working on other stuff, so it isn’t that I am not doing anything. But this one is not very appealing right now. Any suggestions?
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.
I have started creating some nuno felted landscapes so that when the world returns to “normal”, I will have work that I can take to different galleries to sell. These are created with hand dyed silk (5 mm) and white merino prefelt. Some of the silk I used this time was dyed by my friend Paula Rindal. She gave me her silk when she decided to stop felting. Thanks Paula!
This is one of the pieces of silk from Paula. I see an autumn landscape developing from this piece. I don’t always have a plan in mind until after these are felted. Then I look at the piece from all angles and decide what I “see” in the piece. Then I progress from there. This one I am planning on hand stitching.
This piece was one of my hand dyed pieces of silk. I haven’t quite decided on this one yet but it might be mountains in the distance with Montana wildflowers in the foreground. I might use a combination of machine and hand stitching.
Again, another one of my hand dyed pieces of silk. I think this might be a lake with mountains in the distance, perhaps machine stitched?
This last one I based on a photo I took of the Whitefish river. I laid the pieces out based on the photo and then it will be all machine stitched. You can see I have started by adding background trees. I forgot to take a photo of this one before I started stitching.
So what do you see in these? It’s always interesting to me that people see different things in an abstract background. What would you create out of the top three backgrounds? I will be showing you the progression of each of these as I work through them but I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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?
A couple of people have introduced me to the project 25 Million Stitches. After taking a look at the site and seeing the work being created and the vision behind it, I thought all of our readers might also be interested in the project. The site has a lot of information so make sure to look through all the pages. Take a look at the 25 Million Stitches website.
Here is what the project is about in the words of 25 Million Stitches administrators:
The world is in flight. 25 million people* across the globe have been forced to flee their homelands as a consequence of genocide, war, poverty, natural disasters, targeted violence, and other grave threats. They leave behind everything they’ve known and possessed in order to live; they face immense struggles, misfortunes, and perils on their journey; and, through it all, survival, much less successful resettlement, remains but the slimmest hope.
Please join this project to hand-stitch 25 million stitches: one stitch for each refugee. How does making 25 million stitches help refugees? We believe that this project is a way for us to engage with this global crisis instead of ignoring it. And even though no single stitch can fully represent an individual, the act of stitching and the resulting work will help bring attention to the scale of the crisis. Two objectives of the project are:
To engage as many people as possible to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis and
To amass 25 million stitches to visually represent the sheer volume of this astronomical figure of refugees.
This is a community art installation. We are asking volunteers to hand stitch on fabric panels. We now have over 1,400 participants from 44 states and many countries overseas. However, another 1,000 panels will be needed to be stitched to add up to 25 million stitches. This huge community art project will come together into a single striking fiber arts display. When the panels are returned to us, we will assemble them in a grand installation of everyone’s personal expression of solidarity and support for the refugees. Once woven together with other lovingly contributed panels, each contribution will be a part of a tapestry of profound community support — but we can’t do it without your participation!
Here is a rendition of what the inaugural show might look like. The rendition is by Joe Weber. The first show is planned for June 2020
at the Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento, CA June 5–August 15, 2020
Opening Reception: Friday, June 5, 5–7 pm
I also wanted to share with you the 25 Million Stitches pieces by people that I know. Josie Dakers-Brathwaite, one of our forum members, recently shared on Instagram that she got together with a group of stitchers to work on their pieces.
Here are Josie and some of the group. They look like they were having great fun. This photo was contributed by Lenny Van Eijk, thanks Lenny!
And here are some of the works in progress. The photo on the right was contributed by another of Josie’s friends, Sarah Fader, thanks Sarah! I hope that we’ll get to see the finished pieces as well!
This is a work in progress by Penny Peters. This is just a portion of the design, this is about a third to half of the full panel.
Sally Glutting, in my art group, also created a piece for the cause. The photo above is Sally’s stitched piece that she is contributing to 25 Million Stitches.
I’m not sure that I currently have time to create a piece for this but they are looking for more participants. If you’re interested, check out the information on their website. If you have created a piece for 25 Million Stitches, we would love to see it. Share it with us on the forum.
In the quest to clean out some of the “stuff” in my studio, I found a couple of old projects that are hanging around either not finished or in the “why did I think this was a good idea” pile. The first is a printed sample from one of my online classes and I added some hand stitching.
I wanted to brighten it up a bit but then I think I might have gone past my comfort zone. I couldn’t decide if I should just keep adding more stitching or if it should be left as it is.
As you can see by the side view it is lumpy, wavy and uneven. The circles stitched on the felt caused the felt to buckle and push outward.
What would you suggest? Would you add more stitching? Just use it as is? Cut it up? Throw it away? What would you make out of it? I’ve love to hear your suggestions.
Here’s a little felt book that I started. I think I was mainly using this to make the binding but then decided I should stitch on the pages. The photo above shows the front cover.
And here’s the second page. I have three more pages that are not finished. I either got bored or couldn’t decide what to do on the last three pages. Perhaps I will look through my floral sketches and find some patterns that might work for those last three pages. The felt on this book is commercial felt in case you were wondering.
And I thought I would show this hand felted hat that I completed with embroidery. I’m not sure I have shown it before and it was hanging out in the studio with no better place to be. What do you do with finished pieces that are taking up space in your studio?
This is the landscape (on the left) that I showed you in my last post. I made a few changes including some new felt to indicate mountains in the distance and changing the diagonals in the foreground. I was originally going to machine stitch this in place on its background of white felt but decided to do some “slow” stitching. So I am hand appliqueing all the pieces down. I didn’t want the machine stitch to overpower the simple shapes.
Here you can see the stitches a bit closer. I am using a machine thread and a short sharps needle to stitch each piece in place. Some of the pieces are overlapping and some are butted up against each other.
Most of the sky is stitched down and because I didn’t have a big enough piece of dark blue felt for the sky, I cut up the pieces into irregular triangles. I’m not sure if you can see or not but this is felt that had been printed and then over-dyed so there is some pattern in the sky that along with the triangular pieces is definitely giving some interest that a single, plain blue piece of felt would not display.
I have now started stitching down the blue mountain shapes and as I stitch, some of the felt pieces have shifted a little. I may also add either some more color to some of the mountains as the white is definitely bringing them to far forward and is distracting. But I will work on that once everything is stitched in place.
I do have a piece of silk that is shown in the upper left of this photo that I am considering using as clouds. I would have it in much smaller pieces and I’m not sure I’ll even use it but I might. What do you think? Do you think it needs clouds? Is that fabric too light in value against the really dark sky? I hope you don’t get bored with this piece as it will take me a while since I am stitching by hand.
This is a guest post by one of our forum members Antje Ream.
Many women of a certain age will remember ‘Liberty Bodices’. These were the vests of the day. At the age of 7 or 8 I was not a fashionista, not like so many children today. We had more serious things to do like play doctors and nurses with our dolls or build dens with bed sheets over washing lines etc. All I remember about them was that they kept me warm but more importantly they had EXTREMELY fiddly rubber buttons down the front. Some bodices even had them on the side.
As already mentioned I am of a certain age, but to my surprise one of my bodices resurfaced a couple of years ago when my late father asked if I remembered this ‘cloth’. He had been using it for decades as a shoe polishing cloth. Although badly stained it was still complete and somehow it set my creative juices going….which meant dad had to find ‘another’ cloth! Sadly the rubber buttons totally dissolved when I laundered it.
Above I’ve started stitching, although I didn’t like it. Nearly two years later and the juices had found the right recipe. I’m sure I’m not alone in this regard. I started to stitch around the stains using different colours and types of stitch, but nothing tooooooo complicated. It helped me remember many happy times growing up.
From my avid explorations and research on (read that as addiction to!) Pinterest I gleaned some useful ideas, combined with input from my EPH (Ever Patient Husband – he is a brilliant hobby painter so has a good eye) and others, I finally completed my slow stitch piece. The last few days were not quite ‘slow’ stitch as I wanted to enter it into a village show. Then came the method of presentation problem.
Using a piece of polished driftwood, I roped my neighbour into helping me create the stand – the night before!
I titled the piece….Polished Childhood. I could say more about the colours and continuous line of stitches but I’ll leave that to your imagination. Unable to replace the original buttons I recreated them by making individually patterned ‘Dorset’ buttons and stitching a comment about the rubber ones as a reminder. Dad would have loved the result and we would both have laughed and giggled at all the memories. Writing this has just made me realize the bodice is a tribute to him (and my still active mum)….totally by chance.
EPH and I arrived at the show just at packing up time….WOOHOO……..a red ticket I will certainly treasure!
Thanks for the wonderful post Antje! I am sure it will bring smiles to the faces of those who remember wearing the same type of bodice.