Saturday, February 28, 2009

Deer in the Snow and Other Beasties

We shoveled snow this morning after another big snow storm. And on the driveway I found these icy deer prints. They looked really cool and I had to take a photo of them. They're all melted away now.
Here's a few other beasties out in the snow.
Here's the back of the house.

Towards the front - you can see our collapsed tent in the upper right side. It holds the boat and collapsed due to the weight of the snow. Ooops! Forgot to shovel it off.
And here's the front of the house - at least the sun is shining but it isn't spring yet. No fiber in this post but will have more to show you soon.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Cut Back Applique Homework

Here are the two pieces that I did for my first homework assignment, cut back applique.

These were inspired by the concrete walls next to the freeway in Everett, WA. I took photos of them when we were there in October. I thought they might make nice stencils. I have to say that I should have stuck with the stencil idea as these were a bit too complex for my skill level and this technique

Here's a photo of the inspiration. I chose the colors to represent salmon. I'm not sure that the concrete wall fish are supposed to be salmon but it reminded me of our trip and visit to the salmon festival.

The sea weed portion was really a pain to cut out and a pain to zig zag the edges. And parts of the fish were not much better.

I sketched the design first in my studio journal and thought that the first one needed another to go with it. So foolishly, I went ahead and did a second sketch, ending up with two pieces which are 6"x 9" to complete.

I've been working on these all week. I finished with four hours of zig zag stitching today. I've decided that I really don't like doing cut back applique that much.

You can see in the close ups how I had a bit of trouble with the intricate design. So in the future, I hope to remember the KISS principal: Keep it simple, stupid!

Friday, February 20, 2009

More Stitch Samples

We arrived home safely from our trip to Virginia and Philadelphia. It was almost warm there. The first day we arrived it was 60 degrees which really felt like spring. I even saw some early daffodils. With at least 3 feet of snow still on top of my daffodils, I don't think they are blooming any time soon. I visited with Vicki while I was in Virginia and she gave me some of her lovely hand dyed cotton fabrics. I have to say that they are truly scrumptious! Thanks Vicki!

This is the Valentine I made for hubby. The background is angelina that was ironed over a rubber stamp. The heart is made from mixed breed wool and wensleydale locks that I felted and then stitched. I used the drizzle stitch that I learned recently. You can't see much of the stitching in this photo but there is another sample below.

Here is the felt with drizzle stitch.

And a close up. I used stitch and tear on the back to prevent distortion and it is quite flat.

I worked today on more samples for my homework for my experimental machine stitch class. These are all of samples that we did in class that I wasn't too happy with the first try. This is using an automatic stitch and varying the width and length of the stitch to get different looks of the stitch. I used cotton muslin with an iron on stabilizer. It didn't stabilize much. I got lots of distortion of the fabric.

Here's a close up. I actually liked the way this stitch turned out as it doesn't look like most of the automatic stitches that are available on my machine. It is much more organic looking.

This is cable stitch using an automatic stitch. This is the same stitch that I used on the green piece above.

Here's a close up. I am really happy with being able to change my bobbin tension as this is so much better that what I was able to do in class.

Here is cable stitch again only using it free motion. On all the cable stitch samples, I used some of the hand dyed threads that Sharon sent me when I guessed correctly how long her sampler was. It works really great in the bobbin. This is design I am practicing as I have some ideas to take it further. But since this is just supposed to be a cable stitch sampler, I didn't add any other stitching. I want to try filling in the amoebic like shapes with either granite stitch or mossing.

Here's a close up. I used a variegated thread in the bobbin and for the top thread. I've got three more home work pieces to complete and then I'm going to start experimenting with the stitches I have learned on felt. More to come!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fiber Exchange and Level I Experimental Machine Stitch

The felting forum had a fiber exchange and so I sent off a "baggie" of various fibers. This is what I got from Jessica in return. Not exactly a baggie is it? But all wonderful fibers and lots that I haven't tried, so I'll have to experiment. Thanks Jessica!

She also sent me this little felted piece with one of her bird's feathers. Beautiful colors!

These are all my samples from the class I took. It was wonderful, we went over all the basics (most of which I needed) and I learned a lot about different threads, needles etc. which will be a big help since I just was guessing before. The first day we painted all of our fabrics with Dye-na-Flow paints and then we started stitching. The sample above is drizzling stitch.

This sample is automatic zig zag and satin stitches.

This is working on getting a perfect satin stitch.

This is taking an automatic stitch and changing the stitch length and width to make patterns.


Quilting with applique


Free running stitch

Free zig zag stitch

Free running stitch using a hoop

Continuous stitch on a grid

Automatic cable stitch - I had a bit of a problem with this as my bobbin case for my machine had been sabotaged at the factory. Brother decided that it didn't think people should be able to change their bobbin tension so they put plastic stuff over the screw on the bobbin case. I couldn't get it off while at the class. But since I got home, I scraped it all off with a scalpel and now I can change my bobbin tension.

Free cable stitch (without changing bobbin tension)

Free machine lace

This piece I did today. It was part of the course but we didn't have time to complete it while we were there. It is a combination of cut back and on lay applique with free running stitch and cable stitch.

Here's a close up of the cable stitch. I am so happy I got it to work. Now just need to practice a bit.

Cut back applique sample - I didn't have contrasting enough fabrics so I colored the darker ones in with a Sharpie.

I really enjoyed this class and so want to continue on to the Level II. That class lasts for a total of 18 months and you go back every 3 months or so and have 5 days of instruction with work at home in between. The next level II starts this March and there is no way with my work load that I can do it. But I am going to work towards doing it in another year to year and a half. These used to be City and Guilds classes but she has stopped getting the certification for these. But they are bases on the same concepts. The plan right now is to practice these techniques over the next three months and take them further into using my hand made felt for base as well as silk paper and other techniques. So you'll be seeing more machine embroidery on future work. Stay tuned!