Browsed by
Tag: stitching

Conjuring up a tale from the past

Conjuring up a tale from the past

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!

April….mmmm!

Upholstery……..April….mmmm!

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 photocopied enlarged design. The outline was traced with a clear gutta resist before applying heat-set silk paints

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.

My then seven-year-old son giving me a helping hand.

The silk panels were combined with the commercial fabric and the screen completed in sufficient time for the photo shoot.

Designed to fit into my ‘then’ house (floor to top of iron finial the screen measures 1.65m (5ft 5in)and taller than me!) which had 3m high ceilings. In my ‘now’ house I have just 28cm (11in) clearance above the screen!!!
24 years later!

The flip side

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 final museum photo with a museum railway guard doing the honors – I love how the colours echoed each other.

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)!

Waiting for them setting the camera up – thinking….“Did I really agree to this, it is soooo uncomfortable!”

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.

Caught on camera, ages later, wiping away yet another round of laughter tears!

A long distant memory that continues to make me smile as I recount the tale 😊

More Stitches

More Stitches

I have now worked my way through the stitch dictionary at  http://www.embroidery.rocksea.org/reference/picture-dictionary/

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.

 

Pandagirl’s Year in Review 2016

Pandagirl’s Year in Review 2016

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.

20160125_113312

Cochineal

20160701_155219

Alkanet/Logwood20160701_154915

logwood iron top wo bottom

Osagealkanet with iron

Madder

20160622_123212

Cutch, Rhubarb and Indigo

20160703_115005 20160701_155539 20160907_124311-1

 

Eco printing

img_7161

Resists

20150501_152541

20160301_164851

20160326_121301

20160322_113050

20160506_142241

Under the sea theme20160429_160634a_edited-1 20160526_155222

2nd Quarter challenge working with scraps – the former credit card case turned into an ear bud case.

20160506_122938

Then the cityscape with scraps.

20160523_142107

A scarflette with locks

20160125_111403

Ginkgo stitching

20160123_152812

Crochet piece felted and embellished with stitching

20160823_134235-1

Felting wit my grandsons

20160807_152216_001

Silk scraps into a free motion stitched vase

20160708_142758

3rd Quarter challenge adding dimension from Kristy Kun’s class

20160924_155325-1 20160924_155038-1

Ruth’s Paper Lamination class

20160614_153320 20160720_173749

20160609_122027

Teri’s hat class

20161012_152103 20161012_151800

Mini weaving wall hanging

20161113_151758

More work with scraps for a sewing machine case

20161204_142831

4th Quarter Challenge with embellishments for a coupon case.

20161107_164205

And blue booties for a shower

20161208_165948

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?

Happy New Year and Happy Felting in 2017!

 

 

 

A busy week

A busy week

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.

Teapot 2 web teapot web teapot handle finnished 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.

felt background

I also made the prefelts for the buildings.

prefelt

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.

shawl orange and yellow down Shawl Purple added

And lastly on the felting front I worked on dryer balls. here they are ready to go in the washer.

Dryer balls

But most important thing this week my granddaughter was born. Here is Autumn, all 9 lbs 9 oz. of her.

IMG_4113

 

Ginkgo Anyone?

Ginkgo Anyone?

A while back I dyed some silk and wool experimenting with making browns with acid dyes.

20151212_115844

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.

20151130_152828

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.

20151025_154142

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!

 

20151212_12160520151213_153001

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.)

20160109_155618

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.

20160109_161041Then used straight stitching for the veins.

20160113_122100The 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 –

20160123_152845 20160123_152917 20160123_152812

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.

20160124_125700The 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.

What new fun projects are you working on?

 

 

 

And the Winner is… Plus a Few Small Projects

And the Winner is… Plus a Few Small Projects

Drum roll please…… the winner of the December Green dyes and Silk Scarves is Maureen number 28!

Congratulations Maureen!

Please PM on the forum or send me an email to feltandfiberstudio@gmail.com 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.

20150716_152736 20150716_153335 20150716_152805 20150716_15275520151210_110954

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.

20151003_13023120151007_145056 20151007_145047

If you look closely you can see the sparkly yarn inside.

20151007_145109

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.

20151030_165533 20151112_113028

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.

20151115_130411 20151114_141015_edited-1It’s now hanging on a wall to add a little holiday cheer to the house.

What have you been doing for the holidays?

Small Bags

Small Bags

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.

green bag web greenbag stitching web

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

purple bag web

This last one I plan to either needle felt or embroider on some sheep.

sheep bag web

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.

name tag web biz card holder web

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?

Felt over Wire

Felt over Wire

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.

2015-03-09 15.48.48It 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.

2015-03-09 15.52.54There 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.

2015-03-23 15.02.18That 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. 2015-03-27 15.57.55

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.

top view   front view

side 2side view

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.

Have you ever used a wire structure with felt?

Final Project

Final Project

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.

2014-05-16 13.41

I added the cracked mud/tile effect to the ends of the bridge.

2014-05-20 16.03
Before adding techniques and felting

 

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.

2014-05-24 16.18

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.

2014-12-07 12.14b

2014-12-07 12.14

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?

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: