Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Yet more cards

I wanted to make some more cards, and try out a new method! 

These were made after a trip to the beautiful White Peak area of Derbyshire, and are slightly inspired by the distinctive stone walls there. 

I made the felt, which is very fine and delicate in a new (to me) way, suggested in Sheila Smith's book "Embellish, Stitch, Felt"  I laid out a piece of water soluble fabric, and then built up overlapping but very fine layers of merino wool, bits of organza, dyed scrim, sari silk, coloured silk. I then put another piece of water soluble fabric on top to make a sandwich, and pinned it all together to hold it. I then used the embellisher machine to needle felt it all over. 
I then washed away the fabric, lightly squeezing the felt to wet- felt it just a little. 
After drying, I pinned another layer of w-s fabric on top, on which I drew out the design I wanted to free motion machine stitch - wall shapes, clouds, grasses. After completing that, I disolved the w-s fabric away again, and, once dry,  was left with this:

I then cut sections off, on an irregular manner, and teased out the edges a bit with a needle to soften the cut edge. Then I added a few french knots and stuck them onto blank cards. 

The felt is very fine - transparent in places. Here's a closeup:

Update a week later...

After making two cards with this piece, I decided not to cut off more strips for cards, but to mount the rest onto a small canvas. 

I painted the top and bottom of the canvas with acrylic paint mixed with pva glue, and pushed some muslin into the paint mixture to add some texture. The felt was wrapped round the canvas and glued. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

An Easter Project

This year I lead a small women's Lent study group in our village, and we were asked by our Vicar to create a reflective piece on one of the Stations of the Cross, which would be displayed over the Easter weekend. Other groups in the community also contributed. We were given the subject of Tears, thinking of when Jesus met the weeping women of Jerusalem. 


I made some cream merino felt, decorated on both sides with vertical trails of silk, and some bamboo. You can see the picture I used as inspiration, which was from a booklet called "One Friday" illustrated by Jenny Hawke. 
I cut out tear drop shaped from this felt. 
Each member of the group took a tear, and embellished it very simply with something significant to them - maybe just a few running stitches. While doing this they thought about what has brought them to tears. 

This tear has thorns stitched to it. 

And this one has some nails. 

The tears were suspended by fine silver threads from branches of curly hazel, representing a tree. They fell towards a "stream" of blue fabric and organza, with pebbles (some felted) and glass stones. In the stream was a text - see below for explanation. This was made with free motion machine stitching in black and silver thread on blue ribbon. 

I sandwiched the ribbon between water soluble fabric while doing the stitching to hold it firmly. 

I felt it was meaningful to involve each woman in our group by pesonalising  the tears in their own way. 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Poinsettia Christmas Wreath

I wanted to make a large Christmas wreath for our front door. I had a twisted twig circle which I have used as a base in previous years to wire fresh holly to, lacerating my fingers in the process. I gave it a spray of sparkly varnish. 
I found a great and easy tutorial from Ruth at Permutations in Fiber . Using green and red merino, and some wisps of silk, that worked very well. I used metallic red thread on the red petals (bracts?).   I had no yellow beads, so I needle felted a splodge of yellow in the centres, and added silver beads which gives it a zing. 

I glue-gunned them onto the twig base, and then gave the flowers a spray with waterproofing protector, as they will be outside. 


Sunday, 30 October 2016

A few more quick cards....

 I used the embellisher machine to make some colourful, rather moody backgrounds, using mainly merino wool, with some silk and a little sparkly fibre.

Using black thread, I machine sketched some seed heads, without trying to be too exact.

I added a few small beads as stars, for just a touch more textural interest.
Then I used the glue gun to stick them on to the cards. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A fancy bag

I made this bag from some old rather matted merino dyed in shades of pink/lavender/blue. The decoration was bits of an old indian silk scarf, some dyed scrim, and a few curly locks. I laid the decoration on the resist first, and built up the bag inside out, in the manner of the wonderful Heather Woollove. Here is a detail:

 I will definitely use this method again! Partly because you forget about the design once it's hidden, and it is so exciting to rediscover it when you finally cut out the resist. 

Here is the  back, which I possibly prefer - (note to self - less is more!)

Inside the bag I incorporated two pockets using more silk and wool, These were added on the outside as I was making it. 

In some ways this is not really my style - too fussy, but I enjoyed making it and learned something. One for my present drawer! 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Couple of cushions

 My husband wanted a cushion for a new leather and tweed armchair. I didn't want it to be too feminine, so I chose a large plaid design, to echo the plaid tweed  on the back of the chair. I simply but some pale grey and green shading on the surface of the cream wool, and them lay on some strands of mohair wool to create the lines, before wet felting.

I had made a piece if experimental felt, using circular resists with holes in the middle, between the brown layers  of wool and the top pale yellow shade. Snipping around the outer line of the circles created fluted raised flower like shapes, revealing the brown layer underneath. I needle felted some circles of dark reddish wool into the centres to create the look. 
The piece wasn't really big enough for a cushion, so I stitched it onto some dark red faux suede fabric. 

Friday, 8 July 2016

A new toy...

I cannot resist gadgets. I have treated myself to an embellisher machine. (It's the Janome 725.) For those who haven't a clue what this is, it is a machine which looks a bit like a sewing machine, but uses no thread. It punches the fabrics that you put under it with barbed needles, and meshes the fibres together. You can use felt, and lots of other fabrics and threads.
Now I have to learn how to use it!

First I played around needling some coloured wool onto a white prefelt background. Also bits of silk, and organza, and scrim. 

Some interesting effects, but it is hard to control exactly where the fabric you are adding goes, as the machine tends to pull it in tight as you needle it. I need to practice. 

Then I had a go using shapes cut from leftover scraps of felt I had made. 

This was easier, as the felt pieces already have an integrity and can hold their own under the needles. 

It does give a slightly different effect to wet felting, and you can build a design up bit by bit, layer by layer. 

The gadget queen is happy!