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Thank You from Zed and the Holiday Card Exchange

Thank You from Zed and the Holiday Card Exchange

Zed wanted me to include her thanks to all of you for your generous support. Here’s what she had to say:

Ruth,
Please could you pass on my sincere gratitude to everyone who made a donation or bought an e-book or tutorial to support me at this difficult time. I was absolutely blown away by the kindness and generosity of so many people.

I’ve had very little motivation to felt or be creative at all for many months, and whenever I did try, it felt ‘forced’ so wasn’t really enjoyable. As well as the generous donations, I also received many comments and messages which have made me feel very appreciated and cared for. In fact, they made such an impact that I felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I’ve been feeling so much more positive. And although I haven’t had chance to do any felting yet, (but who has over the holidays!?) I feel like I have a renewed love for it, and have had lots of ideas for things to make and write about. I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays, and I hope the new year brings great things for everyone. Thank you so much đŸ™‚

Now on to my regularly scheduled post!

Every year on the forum, we do a holiday card exchange where members make fiber art cards to send to their assigned partner. It’s a lot of fun and you get a great small artwork from another member of your “tribe”. It’s always fun to see what everyone creates and the cards are always so different. You can see some of them here. You have to scroll down and go through all the pages to see all the cards that have been posted so far.

My partner this year was Antje. She is one of our regular contributors here and I correspond with her frequently so it was fun to send each other a card. Since I was working on the concept of using stuff up, I searched in my studio for felt that would work for a holiday card. I found some screen printed red and green felt.

The red pieces had almost berry like shapes and the green had pine needle shapes. Perfect! I just had small pieces so I cut and stitched them into strips and then sewed them all together. I butted up the edges and zigzag stitched them together. They were a bit wonky but I didn’t need perfection. Once I had a post card shaped red and green felt, I needed to add an element. So how about a tree? I found a piece of white felt and cut a fairly wonky tree shape.

Here’s the card after stitching around the edge of the tree to attach it to the background. I then found some star sequins and did a little French knot to hold each one down. I then fused the felt down to a regular white card blank.

Then I found a nice font on the computer, printed it in “matching” color and added a holiday greeting. I did add a little surprise inside but forgot to take a photo of that before I sent it off to Antje. It was a bit nerve racking because it took over three weeks to arrive. I sent a package of wool to Lyn on the same day and that was received in less than a week. But a card in a standard envelope took what seemed like forever. Just when I was thinking I would need to make another card to send, Antje received it. Yay!

Then, just after Christmas, I received a package from Antje, much bigger than a standard card. What could be in there?

She did send this lovely card which is gorgeous. Such an innovative way to depict a tree.

But then, I also got these three items. The birch bark piece on the left is wonderful and since I love trees, it is going to find a prominent place in my home. I love everything that Antje sent me and it was such fun finding these extra surprises. Thank you Antje!

We would love to have you join us next year with our holiday card exchange. Join our free forum so you’ll know when to sign up.

 

 

Heart Cards

Heart Cards

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you who celebrate it. I have been working on creating some simple heart cards from felt and fabric in my pursuit of “using stuff up”. My stash includes hoards of printed felt and fabric. So I decided to combine the two with a bit of free motion machine stitching to make some Valentine’s Day cards to sell.

I started with a pile of fabric from orange to purple. I thought it would be good to have some contrasting fabric for the hearts.

First I cut out a stack of felt backgrounds that were the right size for my cards. The cards are smaller than I usually make and the pieces of felt were only 3 1/4″ x 5″. The photo on the right shows one of the pieces of felt sitting on the paper note card. Next I chose the fabric to go with the different colors of felt. I then put fusible web on the back of the fabric with the iron to give the fabric a bit of stiffness. I wanted to be able to free motion machine stitch hearts on without using a stabilizer and I hoped that the fusible would give enough stiffness. I ended up leaving the paper backing on, then stitching and then removing the paper backing.

I then free motion machine stitched the cards. I was using white bobbin thread and didn’t have the tension exactly right but it’s good enough for me. The photo in the middle shows the back of the stitched fabric with a portion of the paper backing still in place. I removed all the paper backing and then cut out the hearts. Then I fused the hearts to the felt and fused the felt to the paper card. Fusible web sure does make things easier.

And here are the cards after I finished fusing them all together.

I put them in cellophane sleeves, luckily I had the right size although the envelope was a tight squeeze. Now they are at the store ready to be snapped up by customers (hopefully). Do you make cards for specific holidays? How do they sell for you if you sell them? Or do you just give them to friends and family?

 

Machine Stitching Japanese Edo Period UFO

Machine Stitching Japanese Edo Period UFO

I am still busy using stuff up and trying to do something with all the UFO’s (unfinished objects) lying around the studio. This piece was started in September 2017 for one of the Quarterly Challenges. You can see the post here on how I created the piece thus far.  Until I reread my post, I had forgotten what a pain this was when I was making it. I’m sure that’s why it got put away and left for dead.

Here’s the piece before I did anything too it. It’s OK, but I thought it might be improved with some free motion machine stitching. I worked on it in the mornings before work for 10-15 minutes at a time. I have the machine all set up and ready to go so I can sit down and start working for short time periods.

I decided to fill the inside shapes with dense stitching. I used a light lavender thread in Sulky 30 weight cotton. I wanted to have a contrast between the dark design and the thread but still be able to see the color of the silk underneath.

I completed all the stitching inside the design and it really helped the design to pop out from the felt. Then I added a couple of circles around the design. I used a bowl to mark around with a dressmakers pencil so I had a line to follow. The pencil just wiped away after stitching.

Then I cut the circle out around the outside stitched line. I even like the back side too.

Now I have to decide how to finish it and hang it. I have a 12″ x 12″ canvas that I could cover with fabric or paint and then attach the circle. The photo above shows a possible fabric choice. I only have a small piece of it so I would have to dye more. Perhaps slightly darker than this background? If I painted it, I considered making a partial stencil to decorate the corners of the square with a similar design. I guess I could try that and if it didn’t work, I could always cover it up with fabric. What do you think? How would you finish it? Hubby suggested using it as a hot mat but the silk on top wouldn’t hold up very well. Plus I have absolutely no pink in my house so it doesn’t exactly go with anything.

Updating my post to remind everyone that Terri Berry’s online concertina hat making class registration opens on February 7th. Go here for more information.

Slow Stitching

Slow Stitching

 

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.

Annual Art Retreat

Annual Art Retreat

My local art group had our annual art retreat the first weekend of September. We were lucky and had gorgeous weather and no smoke from any forest fires. We get together on Friday afternoon and stay through Sunday mid afternoon. Our two activities were deconstructed screen printing and gelatin plate printing.

Here we are inside doing some gelatin plate printing. The area in the middle is covered with plastic and we lay out all our work to dry. I took the photos from up in the loft. The floor was covered with loads of wonderful color by the end of the day.

Most of the photos that I took at the lodge didn’t come out all that well. The light isn’t good inside the building and it was a bit windy to take photos of papers outside. And I didn’t get any photos of screen printing because I always get so involved in the process that I forget to take photos. The slide shows below show mainly my work because I took photos afterwards but there are a few from other members. Anything on fabric or felt is not mine as I only printed on paper this time.

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These are deconstructed screen printing. Paula brought some paper coasters that we tried printing on too.

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And these are the gelatin plate printed samples. We used a variety of methods including stencils, magazine transfer and alcohol inks.

And here is the pile of printed papers that I can now use for my art and design class. I use them for collages and backgrounds. We had a great time and we’re already looking forward to next year. We have big plans for all our monthly sessions and I will share those as we go along. Do you have a group of people who you create with? We’d love to hear about it over on the free forum. It’s free to join and you can share your work, talk with other felt and fiber makers and ask questions. Come join us!

Free Motion Machine Stitching on Felt

Free Motion Machine Stitching on Felt

I have tons of pieces of screen printed felt that I made as samples for my screen printing class. I decided in the spirit of finishing UFO’s that I wanted to do some free motion machine stitching and use the screen printed felt. I am also working on the next class which includes using a stencil to decorate felt. So I started with a couple of background pieces that had been screen printed with a soy wax screen. I made a stencil of a fish design that I “borrowed” from a brew pub that we visited in NYC a couple of years ago. I then stenciled the fish on to the background felt. Once that dried, I free motion stitched around the outline of the fish. That was a good warm up since I hadn’t used my machine for a while.

The two pieces were about 12″ square and after I stitched the fish, I wrapped each one around a black canvas. The top and the bottom edges were left with a natural felted edge instead of cutting it completely straight.

Close Up of Stitching

Perhaps you can see the stitching in this photo if you click on it to enlarge it.

Finished Stenciled Fish on Felt

Here are the two canvases together. I like how these turned out and may hang them in the guest bathroom. I haven’t decided yet. I won’t sell these since the fish isn’t my own design.

Free Motion Stitching on Felt - Berries

Next I decided to use a few pieces of silk screened felt that I over dyed blue. The over dye was a bit dark so it needed a light thread to show up well.

Free Motion Stitching on Felt - Leaves

Here’s the second one. All of these designs are from work I did in my Level 2 Experimental Stitch class. I thought it would be easier to repeat a design since my free motion skills were a bit rusty.

Free Motion Stitching on Felt - Clematis

The last one I decided to add a bit more dense stitching and “color” in the sketch. I always wonder why I don’t do free motion more often because it’s something I really enjoy. The screen printed felt pieces make nice backgrounds. All of these are 6-8″ or so they don’t take very long to stitch up. I have a lot more so hopefully, I’ll have time to do some more.

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