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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?

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?

 

Finishing Nuno Landscapes

Finishing Nuno Landscapes

I am feverishly working away trying to finish up some landscapes and get them to the framer. I suddenly realized that it’s November and I needed more work to sell for the holiday season. I have always had good intentions of finishing pieces, getting them sewn to the backing fabric and laced to a board when I complete the piece. But somehow, those good intentions are paving the road to procrastination. Here I am again, finishing all the landscapes at once.

I went to the fabric store and found some fat quarters that worked with the various colors. I then hand stitch the nuno piece down to the fabric and lace it around a piece of matte board. Here is “Twilight” on it’s backing board ready to be framed.

This one I chose black fabric for the matting and laced it on to the matte board with a very minimal edge. I only want a tiny bit of black to show. This one is called “Serviceberry” at the moment unless I come up with a better name.

Believe it or not, I have finally decided that my slow stitch project is complete. I stitched it down to some brown fabric but I haven’t gotten this one laced on to the matte board yet. This one is called Autumn Impressions.

For those of you who wanted to see what the original fabric looked like, here it is.  Definitely a bit of a change!

The last one is the green nuno felt that I showed you recently. I finished stitching and decided it was complete. I have it on a dark green fabric background but haven’t stitched it down yet. Hopefully, I will get these finished up this week and get them to the framers by Friday. That’s the plan, anyways.

And here’s a close up of the bottom so you can see the stitching around the poppies. I still haven’t decided what to call this one yet. Several suggestions were made last time and I decided I had to research whether the plant I was thinking of was really Queen Anne’s Lace or whether it was Hemlock. It could be either. So then I kept thinking of titles such as Lethal Serenity, Poisonous or Peaceful?, Deadly Tranquility etc. So I will keep thinking on what it should be called as I finish stitching it down and lacing it.

Nuno Landscape Design Continues

Nuno Landscape Design Continues

I have been continuing with work on my green nuno landscape and thought you might like to see how I “play” with the design. I put on layers of sheer fabric, take them off, try another piece of fabric and keep working with the various bits of fabric until I get a composition that is effective.

I’m using a variety of fabric including nylon organza, silk organza and cheesecloth.

I put pieces on, take a look and then rearrange or take pieces off. Or move them around, add more pieces and so on, always stepping back and looking in between steps. What works, what doesn’t? You can see how sheer the  nylon organza is, there is a piece on the top left side sticking off the edge on the right photo.

Sometimes it is hard to tell what changes and it’s a slow process but fun to see what happens.

Once I was happy with the composition, then I pinned pieces in place. I really should have taken the time to baste the pieces in place but I was feeling lazy. On the right photo, I have started to stitch the sheer fabric in place at the top. I didn’t want the stitching to really show that much, so there are tiny stitches in similar color/value thread to hold the sheer fabric down.

These last two photos are of the piece hanging on the design wall. This is really helpful for me, to see it hanging and to be able to back away from the piece and view it from a distance. I had stitched in the three orange flowers in the distance but they were really bugging me. The flowers were too big for the distant hills. They were the size of trees. So unstitching occurred and I removed the far flowers. I haven’t decided whether to add them back into the middle ground or not. The photo on the right is the amount of stitching I have completed now. Once I get all the rest stitched down, I will decide if it needs anything else. I also have to think of a better name than Green Nuno Felt Landscape. Any suggestions?

Playing with Nuno Landscape Design

Playing with Nuno Landscape Design

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!

Slow Stitch Update and a Celebration

Slow Stitch Update and a Celebration

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.

Slow Stitch Progress – Filling in Negative Space

Slow Stitch Progress – Filling in Negative Space

Here’s the progress on my slow stitch project. I am still stitching away about 15-30 minutes per day on this piece.

The last time I showed you, it looked like this.

First, I added some more darker values with the deep purple thread in the mid ground area. Then because I thought that I needed a little more contrast in that area, I added some deeper red orange to look like more foliage.

Then on to working on the foreground trees. Here, I was looking at negative spaces and giving some darkness and shadow to delineate the tree trunks. I am continuing to use seed stitch and used a neutralized dark green in between the tree trunks. Since the stitches are so small, this definitely is in the slow stitch category. I am still working on the right hand side. Once that’s finished, I have more tree trunks “to pull out” on the left side.

And here’s how the entire piece looks as of now. I may need to darken up the shadows between the foreground trees and I have to decide what to do on the left hand bottom corner. The foreground trees will get some stitched leaf additions too. Plus the foreground will need work in front of the trees. I am definitely enjoying this project more since I’m not trying to force working on it for longer stretches.

 

 

Autumn Nuno Hand Stitch Update

Autumn Nuno Hand Stitch Update

The last time I updated you on my autumn nuno landscape it looked like this. I have been slowly continuing to add more color into the middle background area with seed stitch. I added a lot of red orange as well as green and even some dark purple.

Here you can see more of the red orange additions and the purple that I used for a shadow color. I decided to use the dark purple instead of brown or black. Black is definitely too stark and I think the cool color in the middle of the red orange gives it more “pop”.

Here is the area where I added more green. You can see on the left that I haven’t finished filling in the green.

And here is the piece as it is at this point. I still need to add some more shadow shapes in the red orange swath and perhaps a bit more definition of the aspen trunks in the distance. Can you see the area that will become the foreground aspen trees? It is finally looking more landscape to me. So I will keep on with my slow stitching and update you on my progress next month.

Up the North Fork

Up the North Fork

Here is the fifth in my series of nuno felted landscapes. It is called Up the North Fork after a portion of the Flathead River here in Montana.

Here is the layout and after wet down and felted slightly.

And here it is after felting. You’ll notice that the foreground has wool on top in browns and orange. I decided to remove that because I wanted it to look more like a river and I think the silk does that better than the wool.

I added fabric trees and fused those in place before machine stitching. This is before I decided to remove the foreground wool. The plan was to shave it off. I tried that but finally decided just to pull it off. Then I shaved the edges a bit at the edge of the “river”.

And here is the finished piece after much stitching of trees and a huge variety of green threads changed in and out of the sewing machine. The photo on the left shows the organic edges and the one on the right is cropped as if matted and framed.

I did talk to a framer about these 6 pieces and he thought I should keep the organic edges. His suggestion is to attach each piece to a matching background fabric, stitch the piece in place and then wrap the background fabric around foam core board. Then I could use a simple black frame and the background fabric will look like the matting. And you can still appreciate the organic edges. So I think I will try that and see how I like it. Only one more piece to finish and I’ll start choosing the background fabrics and get the pieces ready for framing.

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