The next step was to do a bit of stitch sampling on the tree trunks. I had been making some wrapped cords that I thought might look nice stitched down to give tree trunk texture but they were too large a scale for the size of the trunks as you can see on the left side. Then I started searching for a stitch that I thought would look nice as texture on the bark. After looking at some complex stitches, I suddenly remembered the KISS principle (keep it simple …). So I decided to try running stitch. It is a much better scale and simple to stitch, the winner!
So I stitched on both trunks. The left photo was taking a look at how they were going to be on the background. I decided they still needed more stitching and added a bit more running stitch. I used a lightweight wool thread as I didn’t want to have a contrast from the wool trunk to a shinier thread such as cotton or silk.
Now on to adding more of the foreground elements. Keeping in mind that I want to highlight the streak of “sunshine” from back left to right foreground, I placed three pieces of felt cut into perhaps rock shapes as well as adding some “moss” with cheesecloth. This is how far I have gotten. I think the rocks need some stitching to add a bit more shadow/darker values. That’s the next thing to sample.
I have been working on my winter birch landscape. Here are the posts for part 1 and part 2 if you missed them.
I finished appliqueing the birch trunks and adding the machine stitched branches. I’m happy with the trees, now on to foreground snow.
Most of the comments on my last post thought it would be a good idea to add some snow in the foreground. I found a piece of white prefelt which I tore apart and auditioned in the left photo. The middle photo is with wool locks and the right photo is with wool slubs and nepps. I’m not happy with any of them. The one I like the best is on the left but I don’t have a good way to adhere the wool. I could needle felt it in but I really don’t like to needle felt into the silk of the nuno felt. I am thinking the foreground snow is not happening.
Another suggestion was to add red twig dogwood bushes. That seemed like a good idea to add in a contrasting color. I made a sample here on another piece of the nuno felt background. I used wool thread in dark orange, red and darker red. I first tried two threads, mixing the colors. The branches felt too fat. So I switched to one thread and decided to use the red and dark red threads. I hand stitched the bush using stem stitch.
Next came stitching it on the piece. I do like the addition of the red. Now I am letting it rest for a bit to decide if I want to add the red in one other area of the landscape. I think it might look more balanced if I had a few bushes further in the background. What do you think?
I made more tulle trees in the same manner with dark green and navy blue tulle. In theory, it seemed like a good idea to overlay these over the black tulle trees. But then when I did that, the trees were just a mish mash and you couldn’t really see them. So I decided to just use the black ones.
Here are the black trees with the birch in place before I stitched them down.
I hand stitched them down with a dark variegated thread and used feather stitch. It added a little bit of green but nothing you could see from a distance.
Then I moved on to the birch trees on the left that are in the background. I hand appliqued the silk paper birch trunk in place and then free motion machine stitched the branches. I want the branches to overlap and not appear all on one “level” so that is why I am stitching each trunk and branches separately.
Here is the progression of the stitching on the background birch trees. This always takes longer than I think it should. But I did like alternating between hand and machine stitching.
Here I am auditioning the foreground trees over what I have stitched so far. I think I will probably stitch down the background birches on the right side first but I do like to see how the overlapping trees affects the piece. I am also trying to decide if I should attempt adding more snow to the picture. What do you think?
This is what it looked like on the last post. I had a comment from Ann B. that it lacked shadows. I had hemmed and hawed about adding shadows. I had convinced myself that the marks on the background could serve as shadows as it was a bit abstract. But the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with Ann that it was lacking something. So I decided I would audition shadows with sheer fabric. And once I saw it, I knew the shadows were necessary. How could I call it First Light if I ignored the shadows?
And here it is after adding shadows. What do you think? Better or worse? I would suggest that you don’t rush whether a piece is finished or not. It was a bit of a challenge stitching the shadows down after the piece was already laced to backing board 😉
Now on to this piece. It definitely had beautiful autumn colors, so I decided I would add some silver birch trees with their fall leaf color. You will notice that I turned this around so the darker area was closer to the top of the piece.
I cut out some tree trunks from silk paper that I had made a while ago in preparation for trees. I hand stitched these in place.
Then I added some branches so the leaves would have somewhere to live.
Next up, I needed some background foliage. I didn’t want it to be too dominant but just needed some texture. I decided to use nylon organza and then burn it back with a wood burning tool to give it a leafy feel. Then I stitched it in place. You can click on the photo to enlarge it so you can see the details better.
Next up was to cut out a bunch of leaf shapes in two colors of silk organza. I hand stitched these in place but the leaves were still too transparent and weren’t giving the effect I wanted to achieve.
I looked through my stash and had this bright yellow in silk habotai. That would perfect from a more opaque leaf. Once cut out, these leaves were stitched down. The photos above show the progression from left to right. Then, I put the piece up on the wall and studied it. That leaning tree trunk on the far left was bugging me. I didn’t like that it took your eye off the edge and it matched the same lean as the tree towards the middle. So I did a bit of unstitching and removed it.
So here is The First Leaf. I haven’t found the correct background fabric for it yet so I will have to go shopping for that. But that gives me a bit more time for it to hang in the studio and make sure that it is really finished!
This is the nuno background I showed a while back. Surprise, surprise, I created another landscape!
I started by adding some yellow orange sheer fabric to indicate the sky and then started auditioning trees cut from dyed silk organza. The trees went through many forms as I went along auditioning colors, sizes and placement.
I began making the foreground trees darker and the background trees lighter. It felt like the sun was coming from behind the hill. So I continued to emphasize that light perspective as I went along.
I was getting closer, adding more shadows and light.
Then I decided that the ground felt too light in the foreground. So I auditioned some sheer scarves in this area. These are light nylon scarves, you can see the edge hasn’t been removed here. Once the edge is cut off, the scarf can be easily frayed to blend into the background. Then on to stitching everything down.
Here’s the piece after I finished hand stitching the applique pieces in place for the trees. I also use a very small seed stitch to stitch down the sheer scarf pieces.
I decided I need something more in the foreground. The darker marks in the middle foreground reminded me of these plants. I think these are a type of wild orchid. This is a photo I took on one of my morning walks in the woods.
Here are the foreground plants. They are a combination of torn black tulle, couched yarns and pistol stitch in perle cottons.
I felt that the bottom of the orchids was a missing something so I added in some grasses which were couched down.
Here is the final piece on it’s fabric background. I have decided to call it First Light. The coloring in this last photo is the closest to the original. Now all it needs is framing.
This is the fabric after I nuno felted it to black pre felt for the weeping birch piece. I had some red prefelt of the correct size so I decided to see what the fabric would look like with a red wool base.
Here is the piece after felting. It definitely has a different feel than with the black wool. Now to decide how I should move forward with this piece. What do you see? It’s always so interesting to hear what different people see in the same background.
This is the nuno background that I used for Summer Fireworks. It was felted on to white pre felt. Since I was already using the red prefelt, I decided to back the dyed silk from the same piece of fabric with red pre felt. How different would it look?
Here is the silk fabric nuno felted on to red wool. I see trees and bushes at the top of this with perhaps grasses or flowers at the bottom? Or maybe roots and the underground at the bottom? I will show you my progress as I get further along in the process.
I definitely enjoyed seeing the difference that the pre felt wool color makes in the end nuno felted result. I will have to try out more colors when I get the chance.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.