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Learning to Hand Stitch

Learning to Hand Stitch

I really like the way stitching looks on felt. I like machine stitching and took Ruths on line class. Machine stitching class  It was very good. I need to do lots more practice. I am a little busy around home and farm at the moment for that so I thought I would work on expanding my stitching ability with a regular needle . I can take it with me and do it anywhere.

I do know a few stitches. I am quite good at french knots because I like to make sheep.  I did this little bag recently.

On the bottom half I did some flowers. I used french knots and a daisy stitch.

This is what it looks like closed. It still needs ironing to get it flat.

So then I went on to do some practice flowers on a piece of felt I had

and some close ups.

The first leaf, the one at the bottom didn’t work out so well. So for the second one I drew a leaf shape. I used ball point pen because it was what I had in my purse while I was waiting in the van for kids. What do you use that won’t disappear while stitching but will disappear easily after you are done.

At this point I thought I should be more systematic. I thought I would just go back through the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge. We did It on the Forum a few years ago.  unfortunately the links lead you to a new take a stitch Tuesday challenge that started in January. If you are interested follow the link in any of the posts. You can still see all our posts for the challenge we did.

So I went looking for another stitch dictionary to use. I found this one that groups the stitches in to families I like this Idea. stitch dictionary I learn the basic stitch and some interesting variations, so I started. First I drew a wavy pattern and then I clamped it in my new to me embroidery hoop stand and  started stitching. Then I took a picture, at least I hadn’t gotten far before I remembered to take a picture.

This is the finished stitching, it is just simple back stitch. I tried some different stitch lengths.

I had hoped to get further than this for you but life keeps interfering. I haven’t decided if I like the hoop stand. It’s a bit strange to use but it’s nice that I can just stick the needle in and walk away. I haven’t made it very far yet but so far I am enjoying it.

Connected Paths

Connected Paths

I told you in another piece about an art show my guild is having to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday . This is another piece I made for it. It is called connected.

As usual I started with  2 pieces of prefelt with a piece of cheese cloth in the middle for strength without bulk.

Then I added some multi coloured top I had. I didn’t want the path to be a solid colour.

I cut out prefelt pieces to make all the different houses. I tried to get houses from around the world. I didn’t place them in any particular order and every section got an apartment. I tacked all the pieces down using  felting needles. I didn’t want them to move.

Then bushes and trees were added.

I started this project back in December. I spend along time hand stitching ( and unpicking and redoiong) the windows and doors. I tried to use different yarns for every house and apartment. Then I signed up for Ruth’s free motion embroidery class.  I didn’t have much time to practice before I had to do the trees and bushes so it could go to be made ready for the guild show. The stitching is perhaps not the greatest but I think it goes well with the style of the picture.


I did get it in, in time and it has now been catalogued and properly photographed. The Guild art show celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday will be open on May 9, 2017 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Here’s a link to the invitation.

Unfortunately Facebook will not let you create a 3 week event so it only shows as a 2 week event. The actual dates to see all 150 12×12 pieces ( many are for sale)   are May 9-28. We are having a reception on the last day so if you would like to meet some of the artists join us for refreshments on the 28th  between 1:00 and 3:00.


Around the Web

Around the Web

I’ve been a bit busy and haven’t had time to create much. So I thought you might enjoy a few things from around the web. Some of these have been created by or pointed out by forum members, so thanks to those of you who pointed me in the right direction!

fibres around the web

Jane Mercer posted about her recent visit to Woolfest 2016.

Fiber arts video from Peru. (in Spanish)

Felting around the web banner

Russian video about laying wool in specific directions. In Russian but drawings are very helpful.

Karen Lane’s new version of Yellow Poppies.

Shibori felting video with Rae Woolnough.

Teri Berry’s new ram hat and illuminated lion fish.

Nada’s nuno felted blouse.

Lyn and Annie’s (RosiePink) recent pineapple challenge and Lyn’s bird.

Pam de Groot’s Text and Texture exhibition pieces.

Vote for Kim Winter’s proposal to turn the bathroom into a grotto covered in felt shells. (She needs 5 stars!)

dyeing around the web

Cathy’s eco-printing in a pomegranate dye pot.

Terriea Kwong’s recent natural printing.

stitching around the web

Catherine Frere-Smith’s embroidered fabric birds.

mixed media around the web

Mary Beth Shaw of StencilGirl Products has been doing live streaming videos of a variety of stencil techniques on Facebook. Just scroll down to check out the different videos.



Pandagirl’s Year in Review 2015

Pandagirl’s Year in Review 2015

I really challenged myself the beginning of 2015. I was determined to try free motion embroidery and used Rosiepinks (Lyn’s) instructions for making a round bowl. It turned out nice, but it was a little tense going round and round.

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My fan has to be the hardest felt project I’ve done so far.  Getting and keeping all those fan blades in place was maddening.

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Then I began work on making batts and bootie favors for my daughter in law Mari’s baby shower. 60 of them!

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I attempted a felted box.

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A clutch/makeup bag for a new Grandma.

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I gave my drum carder a workout blending colors and making a color wheel for the 1st Quarter Color Challenge.

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Still in baby mode, I felted over a wire baby buggy.

side 2

Cathy and I received our first order from WOW, so the sample making began using wools I hadn’t used before.

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A wine bottle cozy.

back finish

Going back to my roots, I made denim paper, then felted it, and later made a glass case.2015-04-22 15.55.27

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Stepping  out of my comfort zone, I started using neutral colors and some wildly bold combos.

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Some wooly fun with my Grandson Luke.

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For a short period, Cathy and had a fish off.

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For the 3rd Quarter Challenge I used a color generator, dyed, carded some batts using those colors, then made in Ipad cover.

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My sister invited me to her quilt group for a Trunk Show.


To keep my earrings organized while I travel I made a jewelry roll.

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I tried getting my work space organized.


Cathy and I attended the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival.


Dyeing for special projects.  Some yet to be seen.


A nuno wall hanging for my daughter in law Lia.PART951442274018055950914151919

A challenge in combining techniques to make an elephant pic for my Sister.


The 4th Quarter Challenge – monochrome panda with dimension.


Odds and ends.

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Making ornaments with my Grandsons.


I had a lot of help this year and want to thank Cathy Wycliff for posting about making arm warmers, learning to make batts, her artist residency in Breckenridge CO, dyeing with natural plants, and Bengala dyes; Zara Tuulikki Rooke for showing us her process for making batts from raw fleece, shearing sheep, lambing in Sweden,  making a rug from raw fleece and sampling different Swedish wool breeds; Leonor Calaca for giving us a virtual tour of the Knitting and Stitching Show in London; Carol Gascoigne (Craftywoman) for submitting her 3rd Quarter Challenge; Lyn (Rosiepink) for her 3rd Quarter Challenge submission; Mary Stori for her advice on beading; and Jill Chadek for sharing her journey to becoming a felt artist.

Happy New Year!  On to new felting journeys for 2016!




Felting and Stitching

Felting and Stitching

Apart from a couple of pieces for notebooks, and the little flowers, I haven’t made much felt lately. I did stitch some felt notebook covers but it’s been so foggy and dark only one of the photos came out 🙁 It was a cover I made from the stripey piece though, and altough both sies looked great, especially once it was trimmed to size, I went for the stripey side:

book coverI remembered another piece I’ve been adding stitching to slowly over the past year or so. I don’t know if you remember when I tried some prefelt sent to me by Heidi Feathers? Well, the silk I’d used on one of the pieces didn’t attach in a couple of places, so I added some stitching, then a bit more, and a bit more, etc! This is it now:

stitchThis is a fairly recent piece, from within the last few months anyway. I wanted it to look ‘scribbley’, like layers of drawing and scribbles.

scribbleyAnd I know I said I’d show you some of the wet felting class nuno flowers when they were made up, but none of them have been yet, but Jo did bring in one of the dry ones she worked on, so this is it layered up while she hunted for a button for the middle:


Russian Felt Costumes

Russian Felt Costumes

This is a guest post by my friend Penny Peters. Penny is a wonderful stitcher who travels extensively so I have asked her to do a guest post for us. Penny recently visited Russia and saw some interesting uses of felt that I thought you might all be interested in. She did see the Pazyryk burial felt which I have posted about before

During a recent visit to St Petersburg I was fortunate to be able to visit the famous ethnographic collections at the Kunstkamera and the Russian Ethnographic Museums as well as archeological collections at the Hermitage. I was not permitted to photograph any of the items in the Hermitage from the Altai Burial Mounds (Pazyryk Burials) so famous for the ancient, well-preserved felt horse trappings and canopies. Good photographic images of those can easily be found online. You can search under “Pazyryk burial felt”.

I was able to photograph a unique felt wedding cloak on display at the Kunstkamera Museum. Felt cloaks once were a common item of Afghan male clothing, diverse in cut and decoration. They varied from simple cloaks worn by herdsmen to works of art signifying the owner’s social status. The most elaborate is a wedding cloak decorated with delicate embroidery and cutwork. The embroidery is comprised of tiny, uniform back stitch or knotted stitches in bands in natural wool threads. The bridegroom’s costume pictured is completed by a felt hat and luxurious shawl in gold brocade to cover the head or shoulders.

The other two felted wool costumes were located in the Russian Ethnography Museum. Unfortunately the signage was in Russian using the Cyrillic alphabet, and I was unable to understand the documentation. Having said that, both items of male attire are probably from central Russia— a very cold climate region. The coat-like garment is very plain, decorated only with a belt buckle featuring deer or reindeer and patterned knitted mittens at the waist. The short jacket is again decorated with tiny back stitches in natural wool threads.

These 19th century garments are of such classic design they could probably be worn on the street today without attracting much attention, except from us textile enthusiasts. If you have a chance to visit St Petersburg, the Kunstkamera and Russian Ethnography Museums shouldn’t be missed. The Kunstkamera houses a marvelous costume collection from around the world—especially the Northwest Coast and Alaskan indigenous people since Russian explorers were trading in that region long before other Europeans reached it. The Russian Ethnography Museum displays mostly 19th century costumes of the dozens of distinctly different people who inhabit their enormous country.

Thanks Penny! I enjoyed seeing these felt costumes and reading your explanations. Thanks for taking us on a short trip to Russia!

Stitching Pomegranates

Stitching Pomegranates

I posted about this piece on my personal blog a while ago. I have added a bit more hand stitching since then but it is certainly going slowly. Mainly because I haven’t worked on it much. I have gotten out of the habit of hand stitching in my spare moments. I would like to get back to it so this is an effort to get started again.

Wool Blanket Dyed with Pomegranate Stamping

This is an old wool blanket that I used a halved pomegranate to stamp the wool with thickened red dye. I made this eons ago!

First Pomegranate Stitched

This is the first area where I added stitching. I am using seed stitches to emphasize the seeds in the pomegranate. I also added some stem stitch to several of the pomegranate edges. The thread I am using is lace weight wool that I dyed.

Stitching Pomegranate Seeds

Here’s the second pomegranate that I have started on. It still needs more seed stitching.

Closer View of Seed Stitches

Here’s a closer view. The stitches are pretty small. I haven’t decided what to do with this piece but I have some other parts of this wool blanket that coordinate with this one. I thought I might make a book cover but maybe I’ll combine the pieces to make a larger piece. Who knows. Right now I’m just trying to get in the stitching habit again. Do you have a hard time getting back into a technique you haven’t used for a while?

Oh and Happy April Fool’s Day! Hope you don’t have too many pranks played on you 🙂

Make Textured Textile Art by Stitching Into Nuno Felt

Make Textured Textile Art by Stitching Into Nuno Felt

Today we have a guest post from Lyn

Last Sandcastle of Summer
Last Sandcastle of Summer

The inspiration for ‘Last Sandcastle of Summer’ came from a recent day-trip to Sandbanks in Dorset.

Day trip to SandbanksWe’ve enjoyed weeks of glorious weather and I love wriggling my toes in the warm sand and watching the sun sparkle on the sea, but the weather’s broken now and I’m not looking forward to the cold of winter. When I got home I looked through my old photos and found some of my grand-daughter playing in the sand.

making sandcastlesI wanted to capture the last of the summer in a picture so I started to lay out merino fibres to make the background beach, sea and sky. I didn’t want to add details such as boats or other people so to add interest I placed three strips of fabric across the wool fibres.

The pieces of fabric were cut from loose-woven scarves that I’d found in charity shops. The blue/white scarf shown on the right has been my favourite for making skies and I only have a couple of inches left – I’m desperately trying to find another!

fabrics sand sea skyThis is the resulting piece of nuno felt, after drying, finished size approx 36cm square – I didn’t worry about the edges because I knew it would be trimmed and placed behind a white mount before framing.

nuno felted backgroundI made a paper template of the shape of the child then tacked it, with large hand stitches, in place on the nuno felt. I also pinned a piece of lightweight interfacing onto the back of the felt – it helps with stitching and with moving the felt around on the sewing machine table. With the feed-dogs down on the sewing machine and a darning foot fitted, I used black thread to make a quick outline of the child.

I removed the template then I cut scraps of organza into small rough triangles and attached them to the nuno felt using fine fusible web. The shadow was formed with dark grey organza and the skin areas were covered with a few pieces of very pale grey.  The hat and clothes have layers of organza – bright on the bottom and darker on the top – in autumnal colours to signal the end of summer.

Tip: unless you like cleaning the sole plate of your iron, use plenty of baking paper under and over the felt during ironing!  Also, the felt needs to cool down before moving it as the fusible web will be stronger after a rest.

Then it was back to the stitching.  It’s all very quick and ‘rough’ – except for the face because the profile needs to be sharp – and the eye was stitched by hand.

To add textural and colour interest, I gently abraded the top layer of organza, on the hat and dress, with the tip of a craft knife.
The lovely ‘quilty’ texture is achieved by the machine stitching on the nuno felt.

close up abraded organza
The finished picture has been mounted with white board and the size of felt that is on show within the mount is 31cm x 22cm.

If you have any stitching on felt pictures that you’d like to share, please leave a link in the comments – we’d love to see them!

Some Felt Pictures for Summer

Some Felt Pictures for Summer

A while ago I saw some fused glass pictures and was inspired to make some summer beach pictures. I like the simple style of this type if picture. I spent a few evenings drawing and colouring pictures. I always forget how relaxing and fun colouring is.

coloured picture 1 coloured picture 2 coloured picture 3 coloured picture 4 coloured picture 5

I decided to do a seaside picture first as summer has just started. I used

seaside 1 before

I used all prefelt except for a little silk for the waves. I split the prefelt and cut it so it wouldn’t be too thick where they overlap. I tacked everything down lightly with a felting needle.

spliting prefelt

This is how it looked after felting once.

seaside 1 after firs felting

I forgot to take one after it was finished but I all became flat and slightly blurred. I decided to add some stitching

seaside 1 after sewing

It gives it much more definition. you can see how flat and blurred the house and boat edges are. I was thinking of going around the house pieces and the boats. Maybe add some little grass tuffs. and underline the waves in white. What do you think, should I add more stitching?





Third Quarter Challenge – Lyn’s Entry

Third Quarter Challenge – Lyn’s Entry

Today’s post is by Lyn from rosiepink

Yacht Heeling
Yacht Heeling

I enjoy the Studio Challenges because they encourage me to try different things.  Karen’s challenge for this quarter is ‘Mixed Media’  and after spending a day on Lepe Beach during Cowes Week, I just had to do a yacht.

My husband likes painting so I thought a joint project would be fun.  I gave him a rectangle of machine-made white felt  (45cm x 33cm /18″ x 13″) and asked him to paint a sea/sky background using water colours.  I thought water colours would look good on white felt, sort of fuzzy and pretty, and it did look good … but as it dried the paint sunk right down into the felt!

He painted the background again… then we sadly watched it fade as before.

We stared at the felt, and had a think, then decided to try watered down acrylic paints.  It looked lovely but we weren’t going to stand by and nervously watch.  We decided to be proactive.  Out came two hairdryers and we blow-dried the watery paint on the felt as quickly as possible.  Success!

I cut a hull and sails from beautifully textured, shiny dupion silk then laid the pieces onto the painted background.  Yuk.  It didn’t look good.  So I tried other ideas such as using scraps of handmade felt and various fabrics.  Nothing seemed to work so I pushed it to the edge of the table and even considered abandoning the idea.

My room was a real mess because I’d got out so much of my stash searching in vain for just the right thing.  I took a deep breath and started to tidy, and that’s when serendipity happened.  A scrap of lightweight interfacing material somehow landed on the painted sea.  It looked good.  It wasn’t too heavy, as the other fabrics and felt had been, it would be easy to stitch into place and I could colour it.

yacht spinnaker in the water - small imageI cut out the shapes I needed then ran ‘messy’ free stitching over the interfacing until I was happy that it looked like a yacht heeling.  I considered leaving the interfacing unpainted (and I wish I’d taken a photo at that stage) because it had a delicacy about it that I liked, but I’d planned on having a colourful spinnaker so I applied water colours to the interfacing.  I used an almost dry brush because I thought that if I made the colours too solid they would overpower the background.

When I’d finished, my husband added a little more white acrylic paint to the bottom of the spinnaker and the hull of the boat.

I liked working on the joint project but it wasn’t easy on my ears.  My husband sails so he felt obliged to impart his knowledge by frequently pointing out that my stitching of the yacht wasn’t anywhere near technically correct!

Thank you Karen – I’ve benefited a lot from your challenge.

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