Continuing on from stitch camp I have started stitching. I like the pieces with a lot of negative space best but thought I should try to do something outside my natural inclination. So I picked one with mostly yellow but a nice distribution of blue too to start with.
I did a bit of stitching but decided it was too soft and floppy to work well. The stitching was distorting the fabric even though it wasn’t pulled too tight. Another thing I could see, that might happen, is the messy stitching on the backside might show through the white fabric. Iron-on interfacing would solve both problems. I know I have some……somewhere. And the Iron, I have one of those too, I am sure I saw it recently.
I found the iron first, but not before a mouse had found it. The mouse (the one we caught in the fall,) had chewed up the cord. Not a nice chew in half or in one spot but all the way along. You can tell how often Iron because the mouse was caught in the fall, late September or early October. Well, I didn’t like that iron anyway it tended to leak. I will have to buy a new one. Sorry, no picture of the chewed-up cord. I tossed it out on garbage day.
I never know what to buy, so I picked the middle price and the one that says it does not leak on the box. I was tempted by the one with the retractable cord but it was digital with little buttons. I don’t think my iron needs electronics.
Then I found my one-sided iron-on interfacing.
I am less thrilled with the pieces than I was so I picked 3 of the double pieces and one of the singles to use and I will see how that goes. If I start liking them better I can do some more.
I have 2 ironing boards. on is under siege in the spare bedroom and the other one, the small one, disappeared into the packed things. so I had to do it the old-fashioned way with a wool blanket on the table. I used a small piece of sheeting for the ironing cloth.
Stitching with the interfacing is better.
When I did this bit of badly done satin stitch, I noticed the distortion starting. Adding the interfacing and ironing seems to have fixed it.
I don’t know what stitching to do. I know it’s all just an exercise but I still want it to look good. I did some seed stitch and that is probably my favourite so far. I thought it was done but looking at it now it needs something else across the join down near the bottom between the woven circle and the yellow seed stitch I think.
Since I started writing this post I started the second piece. One of the more blue ones. I decided to use some green thread as there are some green spots where the blue and yellow paint crossed.
So far so good. I find it hard to decide where to stitch and what to stitch. I am enjoying it and I hope my stitching will improve with the practice. I find it hard to get my needle to go in or come up exactly where |I want it to. I am using a rounded tip needle. Perhaps a sharp one would work better but I didn’t have one with me. Another thing to look for. It is probably stuck in a piece of foam with some felting needles in a project bag or box.
It wasn’t until I started editing the pictures that I noticed this piece has a parrot in it. It is funny how we don’t see things until we take a picture of them. Do you see it too?
Thinking I would share with you something from my past – I went to search for various elements that I knew I had not thrown away and had just seen in the last few months. Suddenly, I was thrown into the midst of a magic trick….pooooof….they had completely vanished!
Much searching and wand waving resulted, some days later, with the completion of the magic trick….the big reveal….of that which was lost.
In deciding to share this ‘something’ from my past, I gave myself a shock….it was from 1997! Although off-piste re wool fibre, I think it might still hold some interest, so please ignore the date and 24 year gap.
To briefly explain the background – I had enjoyed upholstery and soft furnishing as a hobby for many years, then an opportunity presented itself for me to teach these skills. To demonstrate competence, I was ‘very-encouraged’ to get some ‘official’ qualifications, so set about studying upholstery. I managed to complete the two-year course in one year and won a significant award. Following this a few interesting opportunities came my way including an invite to be part of a calendar production, I agreed, and was then commissioned to make an upholstered item.
I was to be ‘April’….you can wipe away all images you might have conjured up of flower bouquets, artists’ palettes, extra-large buns or samples of fabric strategically placed. This was not to be a repeat of the Calendar Girls!
A few ideas floated around, but fairly quickly I had the….Tadaa moment….an upholstered screen!
I then pontificated (this word really does describe the process I went through) over how to represent the month of April in the screen. The big dilemma here, was that I normally used purchased commercial fabrics, so I was in a quandary as to how I could manipulate them.
Much of my early thinking revolved around the months, year and particularly the seasons and the continuum or seasonal cycle. There are four seasons so the screen could have four parts. Colours could blend from spring through summer and autumn to typical wintery colours. This also implied an organic quality. Another factor I had to bear in mind was that once finished with, the screen would be mine to keep, so I also needed to create something that would ‘fit’ into my life.
I then started to think more specifically about April and the first thing that came to mind was the phrase built into our British psyche – ‘April showers’ (in the UK April was always a month dominated by showers although global warming seems to be changing things a bit since). Then came the idea of which flowers bloomed in April – Forget-me-not, viola, wallflower, honesty, iris, primula, grape hyacinth etc. From this list I distilled the colours – yellow, purple, rose and blue. Then of course April is the fourth month….decision made – the screen must definitely have four parts!
So far so good.
Research & idea gathering
More research (there was no Google or Pinterest back in the day!) and thinking (my thinking, even to this day, involves doodles on scraps of paper, lots of them) followed, particularly in terms of how I could translate water/rain into an upholstered work. The only way I was going to achieve any of my ideas was to create my own fabric. So then started another direction of thinking and decision making. Fortunately, I had dabbled previously with painting on silk, so this seemed the natural path forward.
By this time I had also honed my thoughts as to the construction, made complicated by the fact that a screen can be viewed from two sides which meant attaching the fabric would be fiddly. With most of my main thoughts galvanised I produced a detailed drawing (the easiest task as an architect) that I sent off for approval from the relevant calendar committee.
I couldn’t quite get the organic element I wanted then I struck lucky and saw an image in a National Geographic magazine that set the ball rolling for the final layout. Sadly, I cannot find that image today, but from memory it was one showing the broken circular rim of a volcano protruding through an ocean.
I often trace lines from magazine images, but these just didn’t cut the mustard.
A carpenter made 3 sets of frames – the main screen frame which I then dyed to the right colour and finished, the inner mounting frames for the fabrics and the frames for me to stretch and paint the silk.
I had the ironsmith create the post finials (normally found on iron railings) which I kept deliberately removable from the posts so that I would be able to transport the screen without injury either to person or vehicle!
Meanwhile I concentrated on getting the silk panels painted for which I trialled some coloured pencil alternatives. Missing ‘something’ I stamped a golden design over the top to create more texture using carved/scored pizza bases.
The silk was laid onto a strong supporting cotton fabric and bits of masking tape were used to plot where the raindrops should be. After some practice, these were then machine stitched using lustrous shiny threads. This was quite a nerve-wracking point as you can imagine. Realising that from a distance, the raindrops would need more impact against the colour, out came a variety of beads from yet another of my stashes!
Developing the raindrops idea.
The silk panels were combined with the commercial fabric and the screen completed in sufficient time for the photo shoot.
Continuing another side to the story….I’ll make it short!
The venue was set and to take place at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Museum in West Yorkshire. All the equipment was set up and my screen placed in position – complete with a free standing shower head!….April shower anyone? – Someone had some fun-thinking in the planning….all of which took hours as you can imagine.
Organised chaos and smoke screens!
Finally, after they had tested and rehearsed everything including a smoke bomb to represent the steam train, ‘the’ photo was captured.
The published 1998 Calendar photo
Throughout the morning the crew and I had been laughing and joking….then came an unexpected question….would I be prepared to be tied up, and lie on the tracks in front of the train?….WHAT?!?!
Thus far the whole experience had been quite magical, and as I have a reasonably adventurous spirit….I agreed.
I won’t show you the photo where I was asked to ‘pretend’ to scream as if I was about to be run over by the train….I totally and utterly failed….it came out as a very real, loud, blood chilling, scream (definitely not a good photo)!
What I haven’t mentioned is that all this took place on a Saturday and this popular museum was fully open to the general public….you might now be ahead of me….yes, we had built up quite an audience with our general activity behind the barriers….the ‘scream’ was the finale!
I will simply finish by saying – there was so much laughter all around, with folk bent over, much stomach holding and tears just rolling down.
A long distant memory that continues to make me smile as I recount the tale 😊
It took a while but I worked my way through all the stitch families. I did get lazy near the end and I didn’t do all the wrapped stitches. It seems if you wrap another thread around through your stitching it gets a new name. If you weave it through it gets a new name. If you leave loops when you do it another new name.
I discovered that some stitches just didn’t work well with crochet cotton. I am using #8 mercerized and for some stitches it was to slippery and the stitch didn’t lie properly. I think it would have worked better with yarn. Some stitches were to small when pulled tight making it really hard to see the detail of the stitch. Some stitches looked messy when she did them and worse when I did them. Have a look at the top right sample.
These are the 2 pens I have been using to make lines.
and the marks they make
They are both permanent. I like the silver one better. It is a liquid but it stays put and would be fine to use if the line will not show after. The gold one seemed to get wider after a while. I am going to keep an eye out for the washable and air erase pens. One of the books I got said the was a pen that disappeared when heat was applied. I will keep an eye out for that too. Next I think I will try drawing on some water-soluble fabric and I might try some tear away. I think once I have an outline done I could fill it in ok.
And on another topic of my life; we had our first farmers market day of the year last week and it went well. I hope I can get back into the routine of baking (and then cleaning up) for the market so I have some time left for felting.
I hope everyone had a nice holiday and are ready for the New Year.
It’s almost the end of 2016 and looking back on the things I’ve done, there seems to be a few themes.
I did a lot of natural dyeing. Avocado skins, pits and the combo.
Cutch, Rhubarb and Indigo
Under the sea theme
2nd Quarter challenge working with scraps – the former credit card case turned into an ear bud case.
Then the cityscape with scraps.
A scarflette with locks
Crochet piece felted and embellished with stitching
Felting wit my grandsons
Silk scraps into a free motion stitched vase
3rd Quarter challenge adding dimension from Kristy Kun’s class
Ruth’s Paper Lamination class
Teri’s hat class
Mini weaving wall hanging
More work with scraps for a sewing machine case
4th Quarter Challenge with embellishments for a coupon case.
And blue booties for a shower
Of course, there were also plenty of samples during the year including using the needle felting machine to felt some unfeltable fabrics.
A big thank you to Cathy Wycliff for her post on weaving and felting; my sister Carol Olson for sharing her new sheep with us; Nada for sharing her workshop experience in Slovenia; Zara for her posts on Felting on a Trampoline and her Yak, Mongolian, Churro and Zwartables samples; Leonor for her soap tutorial and Terri Simon on sharing her projects from Kristy Kun’s class.
It was a great year for me in terms of learning new things and doing some recycling. How was your 2016 year of fibers?
I managed to get quite a bit of felting done this week. I made a cover for the handle of my teapot so I can stop burning my fingers.
It would have been better if the hole in the centre had been a little bigger but a few stitches and it was good to go.
I discovered my felt background for a picture I am making was in the dryer way to long and was completely felted. I guess I turned it onto a longer time than I thought. Had to redo it. Here is the redone one.
I also made the prefelts for the buildings.
I got the wool laid out on the silk for a shawl. the first picture is the orange and yellow wool down but you can see some of the silk background. then I added several shades of purple. I think it looks like a sunset storm.
And lastly on the felting front I worked on dryer balls. here they are ready to go in the washer.
But most important thing this week my granddaughter was born. Here is Autumn, all 9 lbs 9 oz. of her.
A while back I dyed some silk and wool experimenting with making browns with acid dyes.
I wasn’t sure what I’d use it for, but I fell in love with the coppery silk habatoi. I made batts with the wool.
I had purchased some alpaca yarn this summer and wasn’t sure what I would do with it. For some reason it called to me even though it’s not my typical color way. But putting it next to the cooper silk, I had to come up with something to do with it.
I made felt base and placed the silk over it to nuno felt. I still wasn’t sure how I would attach the yarn. But then Ruth posted a blog about couching. Bingo!
I decided to make gingko leaves using the couching method of attaching the yarn.
It was a long process. I first had to outline the shape with stitching ( I tried white pencil and other pens, but this worked best.)
Then I pinned the yarn to the shape and began the couching process. Because the yarn was variegated it created some interesting color contrasts along with the variegated nuno background.
Then used straight stitching for the veins.
The yarn was two ply and I thought that the veins for the secondary leaves should be less obvious so I separated them to make the veins ( long process). Here is the progress –
Why gingko? I like the shape and also have a metal vase in my bedroom water closet that has the gingko leaves embossed on it. I thought this would tie the picture together with the vase.
The wall color is a purple haze which I thought would be a nice contrast. while the leaves aren’t perfect, I’m pleased with the result.
Drum roll please…… the winner of the December Green dyes and Silk Scarves is Maureen number 28!
Please PM on the forum or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name and mailing address. I will have your prize in the mail asap.
When you have an opportunity to use the dyes and scarves, please share your results with us on the forum or write a blog about it. Just let us know you’d like to do that. We hope you enjoy using them!
Thanks to everyone who participated!
Before I had surgery I felted a couple of small things. The first was using the roving I had dyed for the 3rd Quarter Challenge to make a pod with cuts showing other colors underneath. I had used a lot of coarse fibers and decided I liked the rugged look so I didn’t shave it.
The next was a gift for a friend for her 70th birthday. Another pod, but slightly larger. I made some batts first. I used sparkly yarn as well as silk and milk protein for embellishments.
If you look closely you can see the sparkly yarn inside.
Then to get into the holiday spirit I made a poinsettia flower with the intention of embellishing it later.
I used very thin prefelt, cut out the leaf shapes and used layers of saran wrap to separate them.
While I’ve been recuperating from surgery, I’ve been working on some small projects. I finished the poinsettia by adding beads and adding stitching to the leaves and petals.
It’s now hanging on a wall to add a little holiday cheer to the house.
I have been listening to audio books on my phone. It’s a great way to “read” a book and still get some work done. The problem was that I am moving around. In and out of the kitchen or one end to the other of the studio and kept moving in and out of hearing range. I decided I needed a little bag so I could pop my phone in it plug in my ear phones and no more problem.
I made 3 little bags . Sorry I took no pictures of them being made.
This one I used oval shaped beads with and orange stripe for the petals of the flower. When I cut the holes to reveal the beads I cut one of them to large. The bead was staying in but only just. So I got out some orang embroidery thread and put some stitches all around to secure it. I did the rest so it looks like I did it on purpose.
This one I want to embroider but haven’t decided how yet. Maybe a couple of rows of yarn stitched along the edge of the spiral. The pin is just holding the flap shut for the picture
This last one I plan to either needle felt or embroider on some sheep.
It will make a nice match for my name tag and my business card holder. The strap on the card holder is some of the first silk I ever spun. It whole bag is looking a little worn. It has been living in my purse for most of 10 years so I shouldn’t complain.
I haven’t figured out what to do about straps for the bags yet. Felt ropes or some sort of webbing or woven strap. I don’t want it to cut into my neck when I am wearing it. What do you suggest?
A couple of years ago while thrift store shopping, I came across a cute little wire baby buggy. I set it aside hoping for a reason to use it.
It is 5″H x 5″ L x 2.5″ W (12.7 cm x 12.7 cm x 6.35 cm).
I made a resist with a 30% shrinkage rate added two layers of merino per side which I thought would be a nice thickness to cover the wire.
Her is the outside layer done and stretched over the form to dry.
There seemed to be plenty of extra felt around so I could turn it inside except for the very front of the buggy top.
I made the second layer and inserted it inside.
That was a little tricky since it was a tight fit for my fingers so I used my trusty scoop and crochet hooks to get it in position.
It was a tight fit and there wasn’t enough felt to overlap the front of the buggy top. I had planned to do a blanket stitch to join them but the cluster of wires on the top made it impossible to do that.
I wrapped the front with some roving I rolled into a rope, then basted the stitches together, but I didn’t like the way that looked.
So I glued the layers together both on the top and sides then pulled out the basting. Not a great plan either since I burned my fingers with the glue gun even though I was using a cuticle stick to push into place. If I had more pink roving, I would have made a resist using more over the buggy top and perhaps made a double resist for inside and out in one piece. But I had to work with what I had.
For the inside, I placed a piece of cotton batting on the wire as a mattress. Then I proceeded to wrap the wheels with white yarn and stitch on some lace around the bottom and top of the buggy.
I still have to clean it up a bit then I’ll send it off to my daughter in law for the baby’s room. I thought it would be useful to store qtips or scissors, thermometer, etc. on her dresser.
Happy holidays everyone and to those who celebrate, Merry Christmas!
As we wind down for the year and start planning for next year, I’ve decided to share my final project from Fiona Duthie’s Surface Design class. My intention is to use it as a reminder of incorporating more of these techniques in my felt work going forward.
I didn’t set out to use a specific number of techniques, but let the picture dictate which ones to use. We learned many more than I used here.
I started with making a bridge using the lace technique and decorated it with pencil roving and stitching with yarn on the top to create a handrail on top and matching decoration below.
I added the cracked mud/tile effect to the ends of the bridge.
The water is fabric manipulation using some silk habotoi with some shadowing under the bridge. The hills in the background were prefelt cut outs with silk embellishments for texture. I also used pencil roving to define the shoreline in the distance.
On the beach is a tree trunk made using the shibori and carving techniques then added beads, cotton batting and gems as inclusions under silk gauze. I used silk and locks for the water rushing over the sand and to embellish the sky. There is a 3D water lily on the waters edge.
I also added loops on the back to be able to hang the picture. I debated straightening the edges, but decided I like the organic edges. While its not gallery material, I enjoyed making it and am proud to hang it in my family room.
The class was fun and I learned a lot. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to expand their felting techniques in a classroom setting working at your own pace.
What projects or techniques are on your list to try next year?