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Thursday, July 18, 2019

BRANCHING OUT

For the last few days, it's been an adventure creating the felt for the Tree of Life wearable art - still not sure what it will become but having fun with the colors and the details; yes I do get lost in the details.  Its best not to rush it, but wet it down, let it dry and wait until the next day to determine what is needed.  At the same time, I want to get to the cutting and sewing so I have to discipline myself to know when to stop!

Branches connecting and leaves added - the tree is on the right.

This is the second piece and I may do another but will have to wait to see how my pattern will fit!  Butterflies, dragonflies, blossoms and lots of silk; even a sequinned and beaded butterfly - anxious to see how that felts up.  I have done it before and the last piece embedded in the wool and made it look like did all the beading.  Ready to felt!!!




Saturday, July 13, 2019

TREE OF LIFE

The inspiration for the next sample is this gorgeous piece of printed silk chiffon and since I love and appreciate trees so much, I decided that the theme for this garment will be named after this 'tree of life.'   I felted a small sample and dyed some silks but since this is only the beginning, who knows where it will take me.  I always love to work with fabric where I can use the front or the back after felting and cutting it up.  My preference is to always begin with a monochromatic palette and then add punches of color so, in that vein, I overdyed several pieces of silk that I had in my stash in greens and turquoise.



This little guy decided to be my helper while I was dyeing outside!  He kept an eye on me to make sure I wasn't shirking although he made me take longer because I loved watching him!


Oh, the greens and turquoise blues!  signifying the people of the world coming together 

FELTING INSPIRATION

So excited to have been invited by the Scottish Felting School to teach there in August.  My Butterfly wrap was selected for my two days teaching at the school.  I see lots of silk chiffon dyeing in my future - lots of blues and violets!





KLIMT VEST

The week after the Felting School, I will be teaching what I love doing best.  Creating felt, cutting up, then stitching creatively stitching together again.  As always, inspiration comes from a variety of sources, I just have to begin working and then the magic begins.  I had a piece of clothing from a thrift shop (yes, as a 'textile saver') I'm always scouring for interesting pieces of silk or blank linens to dye.   

My inspiration for this vest came from one of Klimt's most favored paintings, 'The Woman in Gold.'  As I studied it, I became very excited about the background; the detail is amazing and provides so many opportunities for inspiration.  I decided to do swirls, 'eyes' and doodads of all sorts and it was such an enjoyable experience.  If it was going in any way to represent Klimt piece in any way, it needed some gold, so out came my trusty old friend - Pfaff 1475 CD (creative designer).  This machine came out before the popular embroidery machines and can perform all sorts of fun functions from inputting your own text, to stitching out fancy delightful stitches, either stand-alone or in a string.  Gold metallic stitches were added for strategic touches and for the finishing touches, a piece of leather that had been dyed with flowers and it was just the perfect color with a silk covered wool ball button.

The most difficult part was the swirls, created from a rolad of silk and wool, gently rolled to the pre-felt stage before being cut.  That wasn't easy as I learned that the roll was way too thick to cut and made it really difficult to slice thinly enough - everything imaginable was tried from heavy duty rotary cutter to shaving with electric hair razor but by that time my fingers were yelling at me!  However, I didn't panic but waited until the vest was finished before using my sharp little applique scissors to shave off the tops and that worked!








Tuesday, April 30, 2019

LEATHER WORK AND BITS AND PIECES

I've wanted to learn to print on leather since I first saw Bahar Bozaci's work late last year - I planned to take her Skype workshop but then I broke my foot and it wasn't possible; however, last week I had the pleasure of learning from Bahar and am thrilled with the results.

Making the prints is one thing but creating something was something else.  I'm not one to just blindly jump in, rather I read and ponder all the possibilities as well as gather recommended supplies.  I was prepared to have to punch holes and do all sorts of maneuvers but this leather is so soft and my Brother Nouvelle 1500 did a superb job of sewing it; I'm just thrilled.  

Some of the supplies you will need are leather needles, plastic clips (you can't pin leather), double sided tape which was a godsend to hold pieces together.  I bought the really thin tape which worked like a charm and of course some doodads to fasten things together - there is a myriad of choices out there so you just need to determine your function.

So I made a bag and lined it with interfacing/bonded Dupioni - I don't think I would use that again, but I had it on hand but not in love with it, I will use something softer next time.  Since it's for me, it's fine!  





 Since I was left with lots of scraps that were too nice to go to waste, I decided to do the same thing that I do with my leftover felt pieces and stitch them all together to make a piece large enough to make a wallet to match my bag!    (Don't know about you, but whenever I get a new bag, I always must have a matching wallet!) There were some holes to cover up and some strange angles.   I wasn't sure how to do the lining since the leather is so thin it needed body; however, I knew that all those cutouts around the front edges would be a problem.  The answer?  why a piece of felt of course - felt doesn't ravel and I was able to cut around it.  I had an indigo botanical printed piece in my stash, not quite the color I would have selected - but it was the correct size and for this purpose, it worked!  I also added pockets inside for my driver's license, credit card, etc.

 Let me tell you, I really winged it as I had no clue how to do it but didn't want to waste those tiny pieces.  The one problem that I had to overcome was that the magnetic closures I had would show on the right side - more scraps to the rescue, I just covered those areas up with another tiny scrap glued on.  Since this is a learning experience, I will find out how the glue holds up and if I have to stitch later, no problem.

Monday, April 01, 2019

HAGUE LINKER

For the past several months, I've continued experimenting with machine knitting and figuring out the most professional way to put the pieces together.  For my recent coat, since the knitted front panels were too narrow, I found just the perfect dyed lace, wool, and silk in my stash that matched the colors perfectly so I Nuno felted to add to the front sections; it turned out really well and I stitched them together using free motion stitching.  I'm in love with it!

However, now that I have a better idea of how wide to knit the pieces next time, since I'm more interested in cut and sew for machine knitting than shaping on the machine, I did some research as to the most professional way to join the knitted pieces.  Hands down, it appeared that the Hague linker is the way to go and I found one on eBay which was shipped from Nevada (they are manufactured in the UK).  The seller has very good ratings and has been very responsive to questions, but something must have gone awry during shipping as it is hit or miss - sometimes the needle will catch the loop but more times than not and it just won't work properly.  The seller even had a new needle sent from the UK to me but it is still not working. I'm really sad about this as I, as well as my husband, have spent countless hours researching and setting and resetting the needle so at this point unless I can get it to work, it will be quite useless to me.  I will be contacting the seller to help come up with a resolution.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Machine Knitting Progress

Sorry, it's been a while I know but October brought an unhappy surprise - a broken foot in a split second while out traipsing after Goldenrod of all things!   So I did a lot of reading and knitting and then developed a trigger thumb from doing too much of that which although a bit painful, I thought was quite funny.  In any event, I viewed those incidents more of an inconvenience since we all have friends/family that are dealing with a lot more than that. But an inconvenience it was because I wasn't able to do a lot of things that involved standing for too long and it was exhausting carrying the weight of that 'moon' boot around.  Liberty feels good and makes me appreciate my good health so much more and makes me sad at the same time for those who can't rid themselves of their misfortune as easily.  Christmas decorating and baking was quite the challenge.

Just about everything in my life besides my most important thing of all - my husband and our family revolve around nature.  Working with wool, leaves, natural dyes, mulberry paper brings me unending joy that I can't see will ever end until I do!  The things that nature provides never cease to amaze - those little seeds; all that color, shape and form hidden in such a tiny space is really quite incredible when you take the time to think about it.  Trees, have roots that follow their canopy and the veins in their leaves follow the shape of their branches - just think about how amazing that is.  I've read studies where they have proven that tears can incorporate joy or pain and that water shows changes under a microscope once it has been blessed.  Oh yes! there is so much more to life than we know and I find that thought very interesting and exciting.  

Since October, there were things I couldn't do without further injuring my foot, so I reverted to learning my knitting machines which is a story all in itself.  I acquired these machines when we lived in Maryland and still working full time so learning a little as time permitted didn't really do them justice - the older grandchildren were young and they enjoyed making their own scarves and also fighting over using the Embellisher - it was like a sweet little sweatshop factory in my studio on Sundays and we all had fun and hopefully they learned something and we made some lasting memories together - my job as a nana as I was so fortunate to have a Nana and Grandma that left some great ones for me.

So back to the knitting machines - I have a Brother 260 and a Compuknit 940 (also a Brother) as well as a Garter carriage that truly knits on its own.  Don't think for a moment though that this comes at all easy; I really don't enjoy or have the ability for technical things - they frustrate me.  I'd much rather be felting or playing with color and texture but I am always up for a challenge!  I really have learned a lot and am coming close to meeting my goal of knitting fabric to cut and sew.

I knitted these panels on my Brother 260 which is a sturdy chunky machine.  Although there are limits as to what yarn can be used, you can, however, use any and all yarns for knit weaving but for these panels, I used a punch card using Berroco Aurora Borealis #8014 and coordinated with Pea Pods cotton green.  This created a really lofty fabric with cotton on the front and the mohair on the back - it will be very cozy.  The fun thing is that because the Berroco is variegated, the little designs are too.  When I began, I just knew I would be knitting panels but just wanted to see how the wool and pattern would knit but had no idea about what wearable design these panels would be.  So, I had one larger long panel, two thinner.  I didn't plan these very well because I would have been better off making two wide panels the same size and another for the sleeves. In any event, I bought up all in that colorway used it all up. Since there was no more of that colorway, I purchased another ball that I thought may be fun to coordinate with it in some manner (you can see the pink here), but they really didn't go well together with the violet/green/aqua hues so I used that for a lovely cozy cowl which is now at the Maye River Gallery.  Hoping some Northern visitor will want it to take home.

I looked at these pieces for a few days before deciding how to best use them and decided on a jacket.

So, I stitched a fine zigzag before cutting the pieces up.  One back panel, one panel cut in two for the fronts, and one panel cut in two for the sleeves.  I did a lot of reading trying to learn the best way to finish the inside of the cut edge and the hong kong seam seemed the way to go; however, after doing an okay job with this at the shoulders because of the high loft and the difficulty of having the silk covering the seam move too much, I ditched that idea and decided to hand stitch.  I can see a linker in my future if I keep on this path but I can't justify the expense at the moment.  The next issue I will have to deal with is the front panels are just to skinny for my liking - even for a small person.  I was just about to order more yarn when I had a bright idea - why not make some felt for the front edges which, if my idea works, will be a lot more interesting and I found the exact shade of merino wool that it needs in my stash - so wish me luck and keep tuned!

FYI and on top of all of that, I have become quite enamored with Fairisle Knitting and have ordered plant dyed wool in light and dark cochineal, logwood, weld and indigo which is coming all the way from the Shetland Isles to quench my thirst and I can't wait to get started.  I have dabbled in it before but didn't have the correct weight.  I have my graph all picked out and rather than practice on a scarf as was my first thought, I am going to make a cushion so that I can enjoy the  results of my labor (and maybe see my mistakes too!)

JUST in time to finish my post these came!


AND speaking of Fairisle, this is a small sample from the Compuknit 940 using Kaffe Fassett's Magic Ball technique - sooo many more possibilities!!!











Monday, September 10, 2018

OCEAN DREAMS

I always have so many projects going on at the same time and already my mind is conjuring up the next - for the past couple of evenings, I have been taking a little break from stitching my AC dress and began working on my 30 x 24 large felt piece 'Ocean Dreams' for an upcoming show at the Digital Corridor in Beaufort, SC, which will run from October through December - you cannot tell from the photographs but there are tiny clear glass beads stitched along the horizon (oh my poor eyes but it is so worth it!)  I plan on adding lots more beads/embroidery and have begun outlining some of the waves too.  I indulged myself by using some of my very special first cut kid mohair curls to add a frothy look.  Perhaps it is the weather forecast, but if I wanted to, I could see a storm brewing out in the Atlantic but I'm sticking to my dreams of willing the storm away as I am so looking forward to teaching at Coastal Art Supply this Friday and Saturday.