etsy mini

Monday, 30 June 2014

free machine stitching on felt.

Over the years my felt pictures have slowly developed and I have been adding more and more stitching to them. I wondered what would happen if I completely cvered one with stitching and this is what happened.

First I made a very simple felt picture. I wanted to be able to concentrate on the stitching and not a complicated design. This is the felt
Next I covered the felt with a layer of zig zag stitch in colours to match the felt.
I continued by adding layers of straight stitch . I overlapped some of the colours to blend everything together. When there were just tiny bits of felt visible I stopped stitching. The end result was a more crisp and defined image and I preferred it to the original.
The drawbacks are it uses a LOT of thread, takes a lot of time and the stitching distorts the felt fabric. This picture started out in a landscape format and ended up as portrait.
As you can see as well as changing shape the stitching had cause rippling at the edges. After careful pressing on the back I got rid of the ripples but how should it be finished and presented? I scoured my reference books and the internet which all gave different advise. I looked at images of stitched pictures and saw that some had been edged with yarn. After rummaging through my stash I found some novelty yarn in black, grey and white which I thought would bring out the colours in the rock. It was very thin so I made a cord with it which thickens the yarn x 4. I trimmed the edges of the felt and stitched the cord on to it. It  worked.
I was going to put this in my textile sample book but my husband liked it so much he wanted it displayed so I mounted on to black card and put it in a box frame. I like the way it seems to 'float', It now lives in our lounge. 
I will be exploring this further and hope to have some in my etsy shop soon.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Textile book

When browsing through Pinterest I came across a book made from fabric. I had a light bulb moment and decided that a textile artist should have a textile book. It makes sense because I can stitch my samples and trial pieces in it for further reference.
If you want to make one here is what I did.
I made the pages from muslin. Mine took 3 metres but yours may take more or less depending on the book size and thickness.
Cut muslin in to manageable sizes and paint with a runny PVA and water mix. I think Modge Podge would also work. This will stiffen the muslin and make it easier to handle. Lay it out on greaseproof paper to dry overnight.
Decide on the size of your book and make a cover to size. My book is 10 inches square. I decided to make my cover from felt but also needle felted other fabrics in to it with my embellishing machine. I added some hand dyed muslin, silk carrier rods, silk fibres, yarn and some scraps of chiffon. Next I added some hand stitching in concentric circles to give it texture. I made my cover 11 inches square but underestimated how much smaller it would become after stitching. If you intend to add lots of stitching I would recommend an extra 2 inches instead of one.
I decided to use the coptic method of binding but other methods would work as well. 
Your pages are made from the stiffened muslin. Do remember to cut each piece twice the size of each page when making your signatures. For a book 10 inches square the muslin should be cut 10 x 20 inches. Instead of folding with a bone folder I ironed the fabric. I found it much harder to stitch the pages together than it is with paper because even when stiffened the muslin moves around more.
Instead of using tapes or ribbon for the coptic binding I decided to get strips of muslin and twist them in to a cord. This worked quite well.
I have started to use my book to keep track of experiments that I've tried. It's always useful to keep them even if you feel that they haven't worked. Sometimes when looking back at a 'failure' it will spark off a new idea. My first page was a 'failure'. It started life as a hare, somehow turned in to a kangaroo but then my face book followers voted it to be a Jack Rabbit!
The second page is more promising. I have layered lots of fabrics, added machine stitching, blasted with a heat gun and then added hand stitching. The design started off inspired by tiles but now reminds me of little jewellery boxes or maybe a stained glass window. I think I will explore this technique some more.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

layered felt technique

We've had some beautiful sunny weather recently and I wanted to make something summery. I decided on a stitched flower garden with a hazy felt background and thought I would share this technique with you.
This actually has six layers to it.
First I started with a prefelt as a base. Next I added areas of different coloured merino. I started with pale colours at the top and worked down to stronger colours to give the bottom half a feeling of weight. Next I carefully arranged silk fibres over the merino making sure that the silk overlapped the joins in colour of the layer below. Then more merino. This time the fibres were pulled in to a cobweb thin film so that the underneath layers were still visible. I used the same colours as before but overlapped the colours slightly. The 5th layer was a sprinkling of wool neps at the bottom of the picture. This gives the impression of distant flowers.
The whole picture was then wet felted. I did not needle felt first because I wanted the layers to blend together more than usual. The final layer was the embroidery.
Working like this gives a real sense of depth to a piece and the way the colours blend together reminds me of a watercolour.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Felt art in monochrome !

I thought I would share this challenge with you (and it WAS a challenge). I belong to an art team on etsy who are setting monthly challenges. This month was to create a piece in monochrome. As you know this means using variations on only one colour. Anyone who is familiar with my work will realise how hard this was for me.
The obvious choice is black, white and grey but that would be too gloomy for me so I settled on orange. Here is my colour palette
I sketched a simple landscape for my design and needle felted the fibres loosely in to place. I found it tricky getting enough contrast for different elements to be clear so added silk fibres to help.
The next stage was to wet felt which ,of course, tends to blend colours together so did not help with making a clear image. Happily the final stage of adding stitching did help to define things and this is the finished piece.
I must admit I did miss being able to use black thread in the stitching and am almost certain that I won't be repeating the exercise. I probably did learn something about use of different tones though. Why not try it for yourself?