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OVWSG Fibre Poker Felting Challenge

OVWSG Fibre Poker Felting Challenge

You’ve seen the piece I was working on for this.

I still have not decided what I what to do. It was suggested that using some stabilizer on top might help keep the stitches on the surface and not have them sink in and look quilted. so I thought I would make a new background and give the stabilizer a try.

I picked some colours and carded up a little bat to use to felt a new background.

When it was finished I thought it looked like the water in Monet’s pond. I decided to add a waterlily. I looked up some google and traced the outline onto some was away stabilizer.

For thread, I decided to use some maybe real and maybe artificial silk. some of it says silk on it and some Artsyl rope. I got this thread in a barely started embroidery kit at a garage sale. I don’t know how old it is but the company that made it stopped manufacturing silk in 1911. It does seem to have continued to sell thread and ribbon but I don’t know if they also sold artificial silk. I haven’t burn tested it.  I don’t mind if it’s artificial, it’s pretty.

 

The thread is “2 ply” in appearance but each ply is made up of 5 individual threads. I used one ply for the outline and 3 of the smaller threads for leaf definition.

Onto the petals

As you can see my stabilizer started to fall apart. I am sure it’s because the underlying piece is so soft and squishy, it tears. I had the reference picture so it all worked out.  I pulled most of the tattered bits away. the last thing was the yellow center.

 

And after washing away the rest of the stabilizer. Not too bad if you don’t look too close. that should be just about the actual size of the piece.

I was happy with it even if it was a little plane. than after sowing it to some friends on Zoom, they suggested a dragonfly or some bead water drops. I didn’t feel like making a dragonfly so I decided on fish.

I added 3 koi fish around the lily. I think it worked well. I decided against the water drops because it’s an outline. Seeing it as a picture I can see I need to rub out the needle marks.

 

I enjoyed making this piece and the stabilizer did help keep the stitches on the surface so that was a good idea. I want to try the other kind of stabilizer. The stuff that looks more like plastic wrap. After chatting with a friend we think perhaps a layer of the plastic stuff and a layer of my stuff might work best. Now I just have to find some of the plastic stuff.

Second life

Second life

Anyone who tell you they don’t have a box, draw or even cupboard of failures or “ not going how I wanted to” is either in denial or hasn’t done enough yet. My tale is about one such piece. I don’t even have a full original photo to show you so dissatisfied was I. The picture below is the starting block. To explain the original context of the piece it was two logs of wood at the forefront with a tree and mountain scene as the back drop. The second picture is of the top of the piece. I am sure you can visualise them before the chop.

I already had in my minds eye where the piece was going ,as previously having done a rock pool scene ,I wanted to achieve something similar on a woodland setting.

Although in my minds eye I could see the finished piece getting there was unknown. The piece was a wet felt project using dyed silk to create the logs and silk and fibres to create the moss and ground. I then needle felted to create depth and texture.

After studying it for awhile I decided if I established the proportion in the top left hand corner the rest would flow from there. I knew I wanted it to be multi dimensional but wasn’t sure if it would work. I stand here honestly admitting I am not the best embroiderer in the world but best foot forward added grasses in wool yarn and stalk and leaves in silk yarn to the existing blue flowers which I added at the wet felting stage with nepps. Still at this point I wasn’t happy as it still felt “ flat”. I decided to see if I could have a play and make dandelions which I could sew on top separate thus creating the second dimension I wanted.

But how? Out came my trusty stash of bits and bobs where I found some green and yellow prefelt I had made. With my embellishing machine I added further wool in differing shades of green. I then made a template of a dandelion leaf and cut them out. A final run over with the machine to strengthen them and a trim up and they were ready. I did the same with strips of yellow which I sniped and rolled. Sewing the base tightly together made a very pleasing dandelion shape , well in my eyes at least. After positioning them on the piece I was happy and created the stem with string and couching stitch.

I was happy it was now taking shape. The only area I was unhappy with was the blue flower in the foreground was knocking the whole piece out of proportion. After a tentative test decided to remove part of it completely. With this area removed ( the area between the two logs) it made more sense.

I made more leaves on my embellishing machine in different shades of brown and green and along with stones ,which I had needle felted, I added to creat the woodland base. I also embroidered some clover with bullion knots ( don’t look to closely, I have already explained about my lack of skill and this was my first attempt at this stitch).

And so to the foreground. More leaves were made and added to the blue flower. I’m afraid this flower is not a true but made up flower but at least I had free reign to create. I added french knots to the nepps to add depth.

I must admit the piece is not yet complete as I am now adding french knots to create the moss and will be adding more stones and maybe another clover ( if I can master bullion stitch that is).

All in all I am quite pleased with the piece

My point is never give up on a piece. I find some times just moving a mount around a piece of work completely changes you appreciation of it and can send it off in a completely new and pleasing direction.

If anybody would like to see the finished piece I will give a quick update when next I post.

My 2nd Quarter Challenge is Progressing

My 2nd Quarter Challenge is Progressing

I’ve been working on the stitching for my basket organizer.  The first part I did was the waves. I liked them but I didn’t like how the edges were fuzzy.

 

I went looking in my stash for the right size yarn to edge it. I found my stash of Briggs and Little Sport singles. I picked up several colours cheap from a weaver who had finished a project.  I picked black to outline the waves.

 

I used the outline stitch. I used the tutorial in this great stitch dictionary. https://www.embroidery.rocksea.org/stitch/stem-stitch/outline-stitch/

You can see how the wool yarn is raised adding texture as well as definition. I enjoyed following the curves with my stitching. more fun than straight lines. I only

And finished. I like it much better the black outline really makes the waves pop.

Next was the rectangles on the flap at the front bottom.  I used some red this time.

At first, I thought I would do a Fly stitch up the middle of each one.  My stitching was really uneven. I didn’t like it, so out it came.

I decided to put two lines up the rectangle. the stitching isn’t fabulous because I had no line to follow. the only thing I had to mark it was chalk. I did try it to see how it would brush out and it was really hard to get off the felt it wanted to move further into the felt rather than come off.

And after I cut off all the tails.

So far so good. I have a plan for the last part of the decorating. It will need lines for me to follow so I will have to wait for the heat erase marking pens I ordered. After that is the really hard part……….. the finishing.

Who could resist , the sequel.

Who could resist , the sequel.

I simply had to develop one of the pieces from my play with multiple resist further. This particular piece intrigued me, and after we spent time together ie me staring at it for a considerable time, I knew where we were going. The centre felt like something had fractured, a cell broken apart. Having recently lost both my parents it felt like a metaphor for my grief and the feeling I was going through, emotions of pain and detachment. These became the red, pain, anger, hurt. The white, detachment, cold, an emptiness. And do our journey began.

To the original felted piece, I added some shaped prefelt which I added with a couching stitch. This gave me the raised effect. I then added beading from the centre of the “cell” out to either side. Throughout the whole piece, I chose a palette of white red black and grey ( there is a little exception to that but I will go further later ).

I wanted to use a material other than felt for the background of the piece and decided on mixed media. As a base, I used calico which I coloured with acrylic paint. As I turned out I needn’t of done this as I covered the whole piece in materials. I knew from the very beginning how the piece was going to turn out but wasn’t sure of the materials I was going to use to achieve the textures I wanted. So I had a play. I got several different materials and heat treated and used my embellishing machine to see the effects I could achieve.

For the red area, I decided upon prefelt with red satin added with the embellisher, heat treated tulle, crocheted wire and beads.

Arranging composition

In the white area, I decided upon prefelt embellished with satin I also heat treated a mixture of materials lutrador, plaid plastic bags and plastic netting (from a cheese sac) doing this gave the texture of ice which is what I wanted to achieve.

Developing the white area

For the other surrounding area, I cut up an old silk dress that had wonderful shades of grey. These were added with the embellisher around the edges. It had many shades of grey going to black so I could shade the composition. It did take the whole dress to complete it.

The base layer was now laid down so next I added the beading As part of the white area I wanted some raised beading so I beaded small clusters of beading on the net and glued the back. When dry I cut them out and arranged them on the piece.

In these little parts, I added only a couple of golden seed beads. My little sign of hope I suppose.

In the red area, I added beading in shades of deep red and dark green also many sequins which reflect light wonderfully. wire crocheted flame-shaped pieces were added radiating out into the grey area. I also embroidered with daisy chain stitch.

And so our journey ended. I have never worked on a piece that felt like a part of me more than this. Because of the lockdown here I am unable to get it framed but it will be. Then it will go on my wall

Some Stitching, Some Felting and Some Growing Babies

Some Stitching, Some Felting and Some Growing Babies

I am slowly adding some stitching to the needle books. I did a small sheep book. It is about 2 x 3 3/4inches or 5 x 9.5 cm closed.

And a larger one,4 1/4 x 4 3/4 inches or 11 x 14 cm closed. I am not sure it’s done. I was thinking it needed another sheep down in front. I was thinking it should be a black sheep but I am not sure.

and I started my second quarter challenge.  I am not going to tell you what it is but you can guess if you want.

And here are the cute little chicks from a couple of weeks ago. They have grown a lot and no longer look alike. The chickens hardly even look at me, maybe they are sad they have reached the ugly stage. In another couple of weeks they will be pretty.

 

And here are the turkey babies. They are very interested. It was hard to get a picture I had to spook them so they ran away so I could get a picture as they came running back with curiosity. Turkeys are very funny.

 

And lastly one of my apple trees has started to bloom.

All in all, a good week. I hope yours was too.

 

Needle Books Next Steps

Needle Books Next Steps

Continuing on from my last post about making felt for needle books, Felt for Needle Books  I started sewing them together. Well,  first I had to iron them all which always takes much longer than you think it will. Everyone forgets to mention this step or they just say iron your pieces like it’s nothing at all. There are no pictures of ironing, as fascinating as that might have been, I didn’t take any pictures.

I also only took one picture when I was sewing them together. There was much swearing, and unpicking that you didn’t need to see.

After sewing them together I had to think about how to decorate them. I went online and looked for line drawings.  You can find them in any theme you like. I looked for sewing. I also used some I had saved from other projects. I traced them onto a nonwoven dissolvable stabilizer.  This is great stuff and it doesn’t take much to dissolve it. You can’t use a marker for tracing, it dissolves the stabilizer. I used a thick pencil to trace my designs.

On to the stitching. The first one is a snail. I picked a variegated embroidery floss. I used all 6 threads because I wanted a heavy line.

You will notice that in the first of the snail pictures the book is sewn together but in the other 2 pictures, it is pinned together. After stitching the snail I realized I stitched it so the inside is upside down and so I have unpicked the thread holding it all together and will sew the inside in the right way.

This one I really didn’t know how to embellish, I have another one almost the same. I decided on a backstitched chain stitch using 2 similar colours. I didn’t need the dissolvable stabilizer for this one. It’s a bit wonky, but there you go.

I also did the smallest book.

Closed the little book is only 2.25  inches (5.7cm) square. That is big enough to hold some needles and a thread saver. This book only has one double, needle page. All the others have two, and they all have 2 pockets. I have one more smallish one and the rest are all bigger. The biggest ones are 4.5 inches (11.3 cm) square so big enough for a small pair of scissors. After I get all of the embroidered I will have to add some buttons and ties or elastics to them. Elastics can look messy if you don’t have layers to hide the ends between. How do you deal with cut ends when adding them to a project?

This is what’s new on the farm this week. These are baby chicks.

And these are baby turkeys. There is not much difference between them as day olds. But only a few days on and the turkeys have grown necks.

Five of them got stepped on by there friends and had isolated themselves away from the heat so they had to come inside and live in a box with a heat lamp, in my sewing room for a few days.

Here they are all better, in a bucket for their trip back to the group. this is the safest way for them to traves without getting hurt or too scared.  You can see how they have grown in just a few days. Not sure why the look so grubby in the picture because they weren’t, just the light I guess.

 

 

 

Stitching sample

Stitching sample

I wanted to try stitching some mountains into a felted background. I did a search online for embroidered mountains but they were either very stylized or very detailed large pieces.  Neither is what I wanted. I always want to do or use something that is not available.  I decided I would find my own way. Part of it was I am working small so you can’t really do to much detail. I picked one of the basic sky and grass picture blanks I made to give it a go.

I forgot to take a picture before starting. I thought I had pictures of the blank but I can’t find it. I found a group shot of the others so this must have been one I did another time.  this gives you an idea of what I did.

The one I am using is about 4 inches long and 3 inches high.

I had a nice dark grey in my embroidery box so I gave it a try. I used 3 strands. I used up what was on the little card and then grab the little skein I thought it was the same colour. It wasn’t, it’s good but this one is more greenish and the first more blueish and darker.

I’m sorry about the change in exposure but it was just the change in the light in the time it took me to stitch the second mountain. I like the way the stitches going in different directions give it a rugged mountain look.

I tried 2 more colours. I think I like the two middle colours best.

I decided to add some of the lightest colour to the first two mountains to see if it worked as highlights.

I think I like it better without light stitches. It looks better on the second mountain where there was less contrast. I think there is enough variation with the stitches and the way the light hits them.

Then I thought the mountains are pretty straight across the bottom so I wanted to hide the bases. Trees were next to try. I thought just some inverted V type stitches would look like trees.

That sort of worked. They look better in person than in the pictures. I used 2 threads instead of the 3 I used for the mountains. I thought they should have less weight. It is hard to make small stitches in felt. The stitches seem to get smaller as you pull through. I think it’s because the felt is thicker and more flexible than the regular cloth they use in embroidery. I think if I add more stuff to the foreground the trees might be better. I may add some lighter and darker stitches.

So that’s my WIP at the moment. I have been cleaning my studio too and found the chairs I put in there so I could sit comfortably. They had become tables and storage units somehow. I hope you are all doing well in your isolation and using it as an excuse to felt or stitch or spin or whatever takes your fancy.

 

 

 

A very small amount of progress.

A very small amount of progress.

I am afraid it has been a busy week and I have mostly been working on getting my Christmas card done for the exchange. I will do a nice post about that after my partner has received it. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

So really the only thing I have done is finish making the background for my 4th quarter piece.

Next, I downloaded some outline drawings of leaves and copied them randomly onto a piece of wash-away stabilizer. they are are all close-ups. The leaves didn’t show on the overall shot.

I wasn’t sure what sort of thread I would use to stitch these, but the other day I stopped into a craft store and they had what I hope will be just the right thread. Of course, it has gone missing so I can’t take a picture of it. Here’s a picture from the web. It’s the one in the front, red and orange and a bit of green. Surprise…. its called autumn.

Next time I hope to show you some stitching done.

3rd Quarter Challenge Finally Finished (well… close enough)

3rd Quarter Challenge Finally Finished (well… close enough)

I finally finished my 3rd quarter challenge. As you recall it was a cityscape. It was much harder then most of us thought it would be. I wanted to do something different. I thought about doing a scifi city on another world but no matter what I tried adding to it I wasn’t happy. So think again. I did think about doing an insect city. I even looked up some pictures of termite towers. That still wasn’t it. then I saw a picture of a city at night from space picture. I liked that so tried to find my city. No, it seems the capital of Canada is just to small to both taking a picture of as you whiz by in space. so I decided to make a map. I scaled it so I could see all of the city in a 5×7 inch frame.

The last time you saw it it was at this stage.

I have slowly been stitching in the smaller roads with thin crochet cotton. The lines were too small to try needling them in. At this magnification, there are may roads missing.

It was almost done so I took it with me to work on at the show. It was very busy and it took me all of Saturday to do the two left-hand, top parts. I did the red outline of the city on Sunday morning. Sunday morning is always slower. Why is stitching a straight line so hard?

Next, I trimmed it up ready for its bath.

It is quite a lightweight stabiliser. I picked it so I could trace the picture through it for the outline rivers and main roads. I thought I might have to wait time for it to dissolve but it was gone as soon as it got wet.

Although many people recognized it as Ottawa I think I will label it. I might try doing some other cities I really enjoyed doing this one. So where to put the name.

I like the right hand one best. I think partly because I know the north side of the river is a city too. The north side of the river is the province of Quebec. Ottawa is in the province of Ontario. I will needlefelt the name using some yarn.

 

 

 

New bags finshed , old bags stitched.

New bags finshed , old bags stitched.

I finally finished felting the new little bags and they are ready to be stitched. Here they are drying along with a book cover.

 

Here they are all dry

I couldn’t get a good shot of the nuno inside. Either my fingers or shadow or something made it not work. So this is the best of a bad lot. You can just see the nuno inside.

This one I turned inside out.

and the other side

A close up of the silk ball cut open. I did cut the wool hole to large in the felt and it has shrunk away to much so I will need to do somthing to make sure it stays in place. The other thing that happened was the silk blead. The only one it really effected was the pink one. The yellow effected the colour making it orangey around the silk ball and down one side.

This is what they look like closed, I will iron them in the closed position so they stay flatter.

Here are the last batch with thier stitching done.

I am adding a magnet as a closure.

I practiced the shisa stitch and the variations with some cardboard circles.

The two black ones I think the thread was to fine so it looked odd. I went to thicker thread and that was better.

I am going to have to redo the pink one as it stitches were not tight enough. My friend Carleen suggested I use a metal button on the opposite side as it would be easier than the magnet and stitching. I am going to look at what I have. I plan to add grommets on one side but I have misplace them somewhere. I will have to buy new ones to find them.

I am quite pleased with how they turned out. I hope you like them too.

Ann

 

 

 

 

 

 

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