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Monday, July 20, 2009


Finally, thanks to my daughter, Andrea, I'm going to have an Etsy store! To begin with I'll be selling colorful packs of wool curls/locks - every time I teach an embellisher class, people fall in love with these and want more. I'm planning to add Fancy Batts and "one of a kind" packs of my hand dyed colorways in a few weeks!

These two little pictures are examples of how locks can be used and were put together scraps from my stash and curly locks. The flower picture has orange wool roving needle felted onto silk chiffon with orange locks needle felted on top before being wet felted. The flowers are needle felted using my Embellisher and then stitched using free motion. The green "leaves" are more curly locks.

This has a very different look but was great fun - again just using scraps and locks. I like to begin using a monochromatic colorway and then play with colors to see what will give it a "punch" - wouldn't you like to visit that tiny cottage nestled in the hills?

Gathering silks

I'm VERY excited to be taking a class in Glens Falls, NY, next weekend at Luckeystone Studio with Myfanwy Stirling so I've been gathering a variety of fabrics for inspiration and I plan to use a deep mossy green for the wool with a pink and red fabrics in different weights (all suitable for felting). There are a variety of prints and solids and some velvets and ribbons too. This is one of the things I love about quilting - the process of "gathering." The greens are deeper than shown here.

Dyeing Weekend!

As usual, I forget about the sequence of postings and this should be way down the page as this was Sunday's batch - and the picture was taken in bright sunlight and is a deeper coral red than is shown here.

I was all inspired on Friday when I visited my friend, Christine, who is into natural dyeing - the colors were gorgeous so that is on my list of things to learn about. In the meantime, I have to use up what I have.

This is the result of Saturday's work; I had planned on it being more green but made a mistake because I wanted to dye another batch in red and removed this colorway and left it to cool in a bucket; the lovely soft green with splashes of red leached out into the bottom of the bucket and toned down the clear green. I was worried before it dried that it would be too muddy but it is just much more muted salmon and green. I can't use it for the project I'd planned but I'm sure I'll find something to do with it!

This is the green I was hoping for.

The canning jars worked really nicely as I was able to write on the lid with a Sharpie to identify the color and brand; the jars even come with a great box for storage. You can see the bamboo sticks I used for stirring the initial paste before I added more water, made sure the lid was tight before I shook (just realized that is a funny word!).

I read that some of these dyes will work better than others after being pre-mixed but I'm willing to give it try. I really liked just adding the powdered dye the way I did for Pansies and Hydrangea but some dyes don't dissolve that easily and the pink left a few unwanted specs.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Felt Experiment

For some time I've wanted to find out how some fabric would felt so before incorporating them into a large piece and learning afterward that I didn't like the effects, I made a small "sampler."

The fabrics in question were: a piece of my recent shibori dyed chiffon (red), a piece of polyester chiffon(brown) and a bunch of hand dyed silk ribbons. The background wool for felting was a deep mixed purple in merino - very soft.

What I love - the shibori piece is fabulous! even though the beginning ribbon/fabric colors were quite diverse, the end result of the wool migrating through the fibers blends it all together and tones them all down very nicely. In fact, I would use these again to make a great belt. What I would change - variegated colors really worked best and I would cover any "cut" edges; I loved the part of the ribbon that is right along the bottom edge - you can see how nicely it puckered up alongside the brown polyester although it did take a lot of work to felt it in. I have a ton of the thinner silk ribbon in soft flower pastels (for silk ribbon embroidery), so I'll overdye it and use it more in my felting. I can see myself making fabrics for a really fabulous jacket!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Felt Belt

Yesterday was so wonderful and relaxing and I spent most of it felting in my "new" studio just gleefully rolling and rubbing away listening to classical music and later sipping a glass wine in the shade on our deck reading a book that I didn't get a chance to finish on our recent beach trip.

On Saturday, we had a birthday bash for our son, Ian, and the weather cooperated for our cookout - the children (6 of them ranging in age from 5 to 12) had a great time.

The belt is finished and now I just need to add a closure - I haven't decided what as yet. I used black merino which really makes the jewel colors of the mosaic fabrics really "pop."
You can get a better look at the texture here - a mixture of burnout velvets and silk and a little black and white silk chiffon print - I love how it tones everything else down and it really adds some interest. Once it was felted very, very well I stretched it into the shape I wanted.

Friday, July 10, 2009

First Felt - Stay Tuned!

I couldn't contain myself any longer - HAVE to have a felting fix (the bag's finishing touches will have to wait a little longer since I had an idea that needed to spring loose) - I love the idea of bright colors with a little black and white thrown in. Silk burnout, silk velvet burnout and silk chiffon all placed mosaic style with enough space in between to allow for the black wool that will show to calm things down.

It's our son's birthday party this weekend so I won't have any time until Sunday except for 30 minutes here and there but it's amazing how much you can get done when everything is just waiting for you. What a joy to have so much space to work in!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Studio Move Over!!!

Oh, well, I wanted this picture to be near the end but somehow it got "lost" the first time. Here are the magical baskets from "The Container Store." These hold an amazing amount and are wonderful for storing things and are attached to the wall making the closet a lot more functional. There is a roomy drawer just for embroidery hoops, and stabilizers - these are usually very hard to store and others are for some silks, velvets, felting supplies, glues and gadgets and there is room for more! Next to it is a table that holds bolts of fabric with my organizer for embroidery thread and computer disks container on top.
It's taken over two weeks every weekend with my husband moving all the furniture firs and me moving and organizing everything else but it was well worth it because now I'm well acquainted with every ribbon, piece of silk fabric and bag of wool and silk fiber, quilting fabric, bead, stamp, and gadget and everything in between! I went from a small but cozy (only to me, I'm sure) and cramped and crowded room to a much larger roomy and spacious studio! The only regret is that I have a carpet floor; however, since we plan on moving relatively soon (year or two) I can't see changing it - I'll just cover it with plastic when felting larger pieces or move it to the kitchen.

This restful place is to the right of the entrance and a place to do hand work or read and take a break.
The only remaining item is a book shelf from Ikea that will be placed on the left entrance wall but it have to wait until I get there; in the meantime all the quilt fabrics have been organized and are waiting in there colorful piles to be placed on the shelves.

This is the "incidental corner" with containers one of which is full of embroidery threads sorted by color; the other has paints, beads, stamps, glitter (oh so much glitter) and other things that I "need" (at least to look at!). My drum carder also has a handy perch.

Here is the machine line-up; from left to right: Ellegante, Imagine serger, Embellisher 7-needle (the 12-needle sits ready under the table) yes I'm a Babylock fan!), one of my faves, my Pfaff 1475, and my Brother PQ1500 which also has a Feltscape attachment on the end.

Here's my computer corner where I am sitting right now - I can listen to my music or when I need a change watch tv/dvd/vidio right across the room.

Just some of the sorting that went on - of course I love this sort of "playing."

My new valance made of rolls of silk ribbon as well as some hand dyed by me - may as well enjoy the color and it doesn't hide the lovely, leafy view from the window.

There is also a large walk in closet - (difficult to take pictures in there). This is the upper shelf on the right with some more ribbons for flower work and specialy threads for hand work. You can see some of the wool organized over the top.

The three baskets stored under the green bag contain my trunk show samples. I also was able to store my rolls of silk for dyeing!

Here is what the back of the closet looks like with wool curls, balls of yarn, silk fiber and fabric, prefelts.
This closet also has room for the samples for the recent book.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Felting progress

A tiny nuno corsage made from scraps of silk gauze and ribbon, silk fiber and wool with shibori flowers. I may use this as an embellishment for the bag.

This is the front of the bag that is still a work in progress. Materials used were wool/mohair layer with added layers of the Finn wool, wool curls and silk hankies dyed a few weeks ago and silk velvet flower the center circle was felted in with lots of rubbing to incorporate it and the extra leaves were felted onto prefelt separately then stitched on by hand - I love the "crinkly" effect. Mohair is hairy when felted; however, this isn't too bad used here since it is buried beneath the Finn wool and it can always be shaved!

This the other side of the bag - more velvet circles and silk hankies were used for the flower petals.

I still need to come up with some ideas to enhance each side and of course add a handle. I'm also searching for a sturdy, fun fabric to use as a lining.

Silk velvet used for the petals prior to cutting and felting - lovely variegated shades of grape.