Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thank You's

I received this lovely felted index card holder from Zed before Christmas. Isn't it gorgeous? She used a variety of fibers and parts of it have a wonderful sheen.

 This is the back side and the colors are so yummy.
 She has used blanket stitch around all the edges. I am using it for keeping all my notes from my hand and stitch course. Perhaps I'll be able to stay more organized now. Thanks Zed, I love it!
 Then I got two skeins of merino yarn from Nanci, my co-worker. The yarn is absolutely gorgeous.
She put on the container, future rock, trees, bark and leaves. She knows what I like! Thanks Nanci!

I got another fiber related gift but I didn't get a photo of it yet, it just arrived last night. So that will have to wait until a later post. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


As the year winds down, I have been reflecting on what I have accomplished in the last year. At the first of the year I had decided my word for the year was "choose" and that I wanted to make decisions with intention. I actually did most of the things that I had planned on doing and then did several more "big" things that I had no idea I would choose to do. It was a pretty exciting year. Here's my round up of the fiber art related things that I completed in 2011.

  • The Design Focus Friday series of blog posts was completed. I really think that writing about design has helped me think about how to design a piece with a better focus on the principles and elements.
  • Continued exploration into surface design including making my own silk screens, screen printing with oatmeal, torn paper and water soluble glue, gelatin printing, Eco printing with leaves and fabric painting.
  • I played with encaustics and even though I probably won't do any more, it was fun.
  • The fabric book page swap came to an end and I fabricated my "tree" book.
  • I did attempt to get my work into another gallery in Missoula and sent entries to two fiber art competitions. None of my work was accepted but that's OK, at least I tried.
  • Completed two rice paper and watercolor collages in my studio journal. 
  • Dyed a variety of scarves and made tons of cat toys to sell in the store.
  • Completed Level I Hand Stitch at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center.
  • Began Level II Hand and Machine Stitch with Gail which will continue until February 2013.
  • Carded half of a fleece of merino wool (still have the other half to finish).
  • Felted three bird houses for Felt United Day.
  • Felted a mobius scarf for the "twisted" challenge.
  • Felted and direct dyed a bag for my husband's new tablet.
  • Made a felt scrap bowl and Christmas tree ornaments with a step by step photo tutorial.
  • Mentored another artist in nuno felting.
  • Wrote the book 'The Complete Photo Guide to Felting' which is being published by Creative Publishing International. This was 6 months out of the year of very hard work. I felted tons of samples and projects for the book but wasn't able to show anyone any of it. The book is still in the editing process and I still have to work with the editor on making sure everything is in the right place and it says what I meant it to say. The publish date will be August 1, 2012. It will be so exciting to see it completed.
  • One of the most fun things I did this year was to get together with a group of three other felters from all over the world and develop our own virtual studio and forum. I have so enjoyed interacting with my felting friends in creating the website and I look forward to our work together over the coming year.
So, for me working a full time job, that's a pretty impressive list. The next time I 'choose' to write a book, I think I will have to quit my other job. Writing a book is a full time job in itself. But there are no plans for another book at this point and the next year and a half, I will be concentrating on my Level II stitch class. I am going to be considering what my word for next year will be and what my other plans will be. Once I've decided, I'll write another post to let you know. What are your plans for the coming year? I'd love to hear what you want to accomplish in the coming year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!

These are a couple of felt scrap ornaments that I made at the last minute. I did add a little loop of ribbon at the top for hanging. They use the same technique as the Felt Scrap Bowl Tutorial that I posted on the Fiber and Felting Studio. Please do check out our new virtual studio and if you'd like to join our forum, just click on the forum button in the sidebar. We welcome anyone interested in any kind of fiber arts as we just aren't limiting members to felting.

Thanks for stopping by my blog this year, I appreciate all your kind comments. I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Color Mixing with Distorted Cross Stitch

 Here's one of the samples that I did for Level 2 Stitch. We started with cut up bits of fabric and then added distorted cross stitch over the fabric. This is the base which was the starting point.
And this is the end result. About halfway through, I thought it looked like a big mess. But I persevered and it did finally look a bit like what I had imagined when I started. The point was to use the stitching to mix the colors and achieve a look of foliage. I need to do another sample for homework and I'm thinking I'll do one based on a garden against a rock wall. I considered doing a winter scene but I don't really have the threads needed for that one. But I am going to dye more so... I'm sure I'll make up my mind soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Level II Hand and Machine Stitch Class and a Surprise

 I started the Level II Hand and Machine Stitch class at Gail Harker's last week. The first two and a half days was spent in the dyeing studio. Gail has just moved recently from Oak Harbor to LaConner, Washington. Her new studio is wonderful and we had a great time. I won't discuss the10 hour drive from Montana to Washington with two Yorkies who both had Giardia. The less said about that the better!
 Here are some other class members hanging up their dyed fabric and threads to dry. It looked like colorful prayer flags all around the room.
 Here are some of the threads I dyed after they were dried. They were waiting to be wound up with a thread winder. Normally, we wind the thread on half of a toilet paper tube but they didn't have many so I only got two in class.
 Here we are at the table discussing something. We worked on hand stitch this session and I have lots of homework to do. We'll be working on Kantha stitch on our next session in February.
 Here are some photos of my dyed fabrics. We will be using these over the entire course of the class. This is silk organza. We used Procion MX dyes. I usually use acid dyes at home but I'll be ordering some Procion MX as it is part of the homework to have another dye session.
 This is cheesecloth - #50 and #90 weights. A lot heavier cheesecloth than the kind you buy in the grocery store around here which is #10.
 This is linen.
 And muslin.
 And then white burlap.
 Here are all the threads I dyed on their cardboard tubes. I finished winding them at home. We used all cotton threads in a variety of weights.
 Don't they look yummy?
 I need to dye some deep purples and perhaps some more greens. So more thread to come!
 When I got home I found a package from the UK. Zed had sent me samples of nylon and plastic fiber to experiment and add to felt. Thanks Zed - it was a wonderful surprise to find this package waiting for me when I got home.
And look at these wonderful buttons she makes out of polymer clay. I can't wait to add them to something.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Playing with Encaustics

 I met with my local fiber group today and we played with beeswax and encaustic techniques. I had never tried this before and it was pretty interesting how the layers of wax and oil paint work together.
 The first step is to paint a layer of beeswax on a board. You can then mark the beeswax and apply oil paint into the marks.
 Once the oil paint works into the cracks, you wipe the surface of the wax with a canola oil on a paper towel.
 It then leaves the paint in the cracks. This is one of Jan's pieces.
 You can then heat the wax again with a heat gun or a blow torch to move the wax and paint around. You keep adding layers of wax and paint. You can also collage in a variety of things such as papers. We used yellow beeswax so the results are on the yellow to orange side.
 These are the ones that I made. I had a hard time getting a good photo. This one has a piece of dyed paper towel on the first layer.
 This one has wool added to the first layer. The wool made the wax very bubbly and dimensional.
 This one has another dyed paper towel as the base.
 I can't remember all the layers on this but it's mainly paint.
This has pieces of "leather" paper I made several years ago with beeswax and paint. It's hard to get the wax to react as you think it should look. I was just experimenting to see what would happen. This isn't something I think I'll do all the time but it was fun trying out the process.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quick and Easy Note Cards

 I cut up my painted fabric into approximately 4"x6" rectangles and I now have a big stack to use to make note cards. I already had the white note cards and since the fabric is so colorful, it's simple to add a bit of machine stitching  and sew it to the card.

I just looked at the piece to find a place to start. The green paint on the left looked like leaves so I thread sketched those in and sketched in longer leaves on the right. I used stitch and tear to stabilize the fabric. I found it worked best if I fused the stitch and tear and the fabric before stitching. I then fused the stitched fabric to the card before sewing around the edge.

For this card, I used automatic machine stitches to make a pattern. I tried using a glue stick to baste this in place before stitching to the card. It didn't hold very well and shifted a bit with stitching.
I saw a butterfly in this piece of painted fabric. He's a bit wonky but still looks like some sort of flying insect. Each card only takes about 10 minutes or so. I'm going to try and stitch a few every day so I have cards to use when I need them.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Carole's Bag

Look what Carole made from the fabric that we all painted. Isn't it gorgeous?
She said she highlighted the designs in the material, quilted and  then painted over the quilted areas. I haven't done anything with my painted fabric yet but this is really inspiring me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another Exciting Announcement!

After six months of hard work, sending off 12 boxes of equipment, samples and felting supplies, there is a cover for my book. The book, published by Creative Publishing int'l, will be available in August of 2012 and it's already listed on Amazon. If you would like an autographed copy, I am making a list so I know approximately how many books I will need to order. There is no obligation to buy, but if you're interested, please e-mail me at info(at)purplepomegranate(dot)com. Include CPG Felting in the subject line of your e-mail.

It is really exciting seeing the book come together. Having never been through the process before, it has been an eye opener. Thanks to everyone who helped out with the book, I really appreciate all your assistance.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Announcements, announcements, announcements...

The Felting and Fiber Studio

Three of my online friends and I have started a new website that is all about felting and fiber. Ann, Karen, Zed and I have begun a new venture together. There is lots of information on the site already and we'll be adding loads more. We'd love to have you check it out and let us know what you think. 

I'll still be posting here but we'll be holding fun challenges and giving away free stuff and having fun fiber parties at The Felting and Fiber Studio so don't miss it! Just click on the button above and it will take you right to the new site. Come join in all the fun :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Felted Bag for New Tablet

 Here's the finished bag that I started with my local fiber art group last Friday. I used Merino and hand dyed silk habotai. I had also put some silk under the flap but pulled it off as I didn't like it. The bag started out white but I had a request to dye it dark green.
 Here's a close up of the silk nuno felted on the front flap. It is more green than this photo shows.
And here's the tablet that's going to be in the bag. We'll just mainly use it for traveling. The others in the group haven't finished their bags yet but I'll show you photos of those next month.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Squirrel Update

I posted earlier about the squirrel attacking my felt bird house. I took the bird house down and finally got around to repairing it. This is what was left of the hanging strap. It was double thickness felt made around a resist and you can see how the squirrel had almost chewed through completely.

I cut off the strap and then sewed a very small loop back to the bird house. Then I hung it back up on a metal hook. It's been up for several days now and it doesn't appear to have been attacked again. Hopefully, it will make it through the winter. I have my doubts that any birds will nest in these but I thought I would give them a try and see what happens. I'll let you know if any birds take up residence.
 We have a forecast for another La Nina winter which means a long, cold, snowy winter is upon us. We have had a few days with a skiff of snow but nothing heavy yet.
It is supposed to snow this weekend with valley accumulations. So we've got the snow shovels ready. I think I need to go visit Karen in Australia :0)

Friday, November 11, 2011

November Felting Party

 We had another felting party today. The photo above is from October's felting party and Paula was making a scarf with pencil roving and winding it around the bubble wrap. She said it took her between 6-8 hours to lay out. She then covered the pencil roving and bubble wrap with plastic and rolled it. Since it was so long, she could only roll one half of it at a time.
 But look at the result! Isn't it gorgeous? I really like the result but I don't think I have the patience to make one. Perhaps a smaller one to add to the front of a bag or notebook cover...
The project we worked on today was an idea I had about making nuno felted flowers. I have made lots of felted flowers before but thought it would be interesting to use the wool to hold numerous layers of silk petals together. I made the bottom left, top center and bottom right ones. Paula made the other two. They are really quite easy to make. We used prefelt cut in small circles layered between the petals of the flowers that include a variety of silks as well as some netting. Now to add a pin back and I'll have several quick and easy nuno felted flower pins.