Sunday, March 31, 2013

Final Daily Dose of Fiber

I can hardly believe it but it's the end of the first quarter and the final day of my Daily Dose of Fiber Challenge. I have really enjoyed the challenge and learned that I need to work on a reliable method of posting while I'm traveling. I guess I'm just not a mobile kind of girl. But I did get a lot accomplished this first quarter. You can see my post about it on the Felting and Fiber Studio.

 Today I laced the print to stitch lichen piece around a card.
And then mounted it to matte board. I probably won't get a frame for this one as it is quite small, only 3 1/4" x 4 1/2". It was a little tougher to lace this one because it had a couple of layers of batting under it so there was a lot of extra layers especially at the corners.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Prep Work for Lacing Around a Card

I was volunteering at Brewfest all day today so I didn't have much time for fiber. But I did manage to get one of my small pieces ready to lace around a card for presentation. I will lace it up tomorrow and then mount it onto matt board.

 Here's the front, all pinned and ready to go.
And this is the back. I"ll use the strings to attach the piece to matt board.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Matted Kantha Bird

I spent most of the morning trying to figure out why the computer at the store won't load our new store website. Still haven't gotten it worked out. This afternoon, I met with Paula at Camas Creek Yarn and we figured out the supplies that need to be packaged up for our felting classes in June. The supplies are going to be included in the class fee but we had designated $15 for supply packs. Luckily that gets you quite a bit of fiber in various forms. Once we got that worked out, I went to Budget Framing to get a piece of matte board for my Kantha bird. They were so nice there and actually just gave me the matte board since it was a small piece.

 And here he is, attached to his matte board and looking happy. Now all I need to do is find a 10"x 10" square frame. Hopefully, I can find a plain black one in that size. Tomorrow, I'm off to work at Brewfest up on Big Mountain which is a fund raiser for the SNOW Bus. If you're in the area, it's a really fun event and you get to drink lots of microbrews from Montana. I never drink any beer but I still have fun.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


I stitched and stitched on the machine cut back applique piece. Now I have to decide if it is finished. I still think it needs something else but I'm going to leave it for a few days and see what I think then.

I used several different more shades of orange and a few that were pink. Looking at the photo now, it needs more dark lines I think.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Italian Buttonhole Insertion Stitch Revisited

I decided to try another book cover with the Italian insertion stitch binding. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry this morning and forgot to fold over the edges of the binding so I just decided to try it without the folded edge. It actually works fine except now I'm not sure how I will attach pages inside. But I'll work something out.

Do you ever think that after learning a new stitch, "that was easy, I'll remember that one"? That was what I thought about Italian insertion stitch but the beginning still looks crappy. Once I got started, it was fine except for a little tension issue where I kept pulling a little tighter and tighter but that's not really noticeable once it is off the card. But I still always need to look back at instructions to remember how to start a stitch that I haven't done for a while or that is relatively new to me.

Here's a closer view once I got going. You can see to the left that the stitches are getting pulled a little tighter because the space between the pages is getting smaller. I just have to remember this next time I do this stitch, that would be good if I had much of a memory left!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Complete Yurt Handbook

I ordered The Complete Yurt Handbook by Paul King and it came today. I've only read a couple of chapters but it has tons of useful information in it. The first section of the book is about the history of yurts or ger and the different types. The second section is complete instructions on making one. So this book will come in really handy over the summer when we build our yurt.

Each of the chapters starts off with a poem about yurts. Here is one of the shorter ones:

In a charming field
Covered with multi-colored flowers,
In the spacious Khanghai land
Rich in green green grass
Floats a fast river
Flooding its banks
And those thousand herds
Graze in their pleasant pasture
There stand silver-white gers
Like pearly hail
Beautifying our Mongol country
As though a shining crystal ray.

Purevyn Khorloo (in Modern Mongolian Poetry 1989)

I am enjoying the book so far and I'll soon start working on what size pieces of felt I need to make for the walls. I did stitch more on my applique piece but thought you might like a little break as it isn't progressing very quickly.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Stitching Away

I'm still adding stitching to the machine applique piece. I added more burnt orange and dark purple. It looks a little better but still not as I had envisioned it.

Perhaps I need to add some cable stitch to give a thicker line? What do you think?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Little More Stitching

Today, I spent most of the day working on a slide show presentation for a class I will be teaching in June. It is a beginning felting class that will be held at Flathead Valley Community College. I will let you know more as the details are available. I did get in a little more stitching on my cut back applique. I think I will end up with the entire piece covered by stitching. I did add some Stitch-N-Tear to the back to give it a bit more support for all that stitching.

 Here's the entire piece. I added a burnt orange thread today.
Can you see it in there?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Few Stitch Lines Added

I didn't have much time today due to errands and running around, plus we have a birthday dinner this evening for a friend. So I just got a few lines stitched on my applique piece. And it still is very unimpressive.

This photo is much more true to the color of the piece though. It certainly needs a lot more stitching to integrate those shapes together.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Another Machine Cut Back Applique

I started the last piece I need to complete for my stitch homework. It is another machine applique that is based on an inspiration. I found an interesting photo in Tafoni, a book that has the coolest photos in it. I loosely based my design on the photo and chose some fabric. I tried to get fabric that had a variety of values so when I cut back around the machine stitching, that there would be a noticeable difference.

Here is my stack of fabric. The top piece has much more yellow in it than this photo shows. I started by basting all three layers together.

Here you can see the different colors of fabric that I chose. That middle deep purple fabric is from my friend Vicki, she dyes beautiful fabric.

Here's the book about tafoni. These are the holes that are worn into rocks by weather etc. I never knew this is what those holes were called but I've always loved them.

Here is the photo from Tafoni that I loosely based my design on. It actually will probably look nothing like this when I get done.

Here is what I've done so far. I am going to add more stitching as I really want to get the feel of the horizontal lines going through the rock in the photo. Somehow, the back fabric doesn't really thrill me. That is the one on the top. But perhaps with more stitching, I'll like it better.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Practicing New Hand Stitches

At my last stitch class, my friend Patti generously gave me a new stitch dictionary. She gave one to each of us in the class and had them bound with spiral binding so the book lies flat when you use it. This is perfect for learning a stitch as I have to keep referring back to the book when I'm trying out a new stitch.

 Here is the stitch dictionary by Mary Thomas. This book was originally published in 1934 and has been reprinted numerous times.This is a revised full color edition.
Here is the binding that Patti had done. It does almost cut off the edges of some of the pages but you can still see the printing.
Having it lie flat is well worth losing a bit of the margin.

I worked on 8 different stitches today. (You can click on any of the photos to see the stitches more closely.) I wanted to try a few of the stitches that I hadn't done before and see if any would be useful to me. For a stitch to be useful, it needs to be fairly straight forward and not take an age to work. The first stitch I tried was heavy chain stitch. Once I got going, it was an easy stitch. The most important part was to start with a long enough stitch so that you could thread the loop of the chain back through easily. I got off a little at the start but soon figured it out. It curves easily as well.
The next stitch I tried was knotted chain and there are two rows of that because the first row I was being silly and didn't understand how big I was supposed to leave the loop. After I looked back at the stitched sample, I realized that my loops were way too big. Duh... So I did a second row. It wasn't bad working the stitch once I got that part and it stitches fairly quickly. The next thing I tried was cable stitch. I like the look of this stitch and it was fairly simple. I got a bit messed up on the curving part though. The last stitch on this piece is the double knot stitch. Once I figured out the sequence of the knot, this stitch went quickly. But it doesn't look much different than coral stitch which I've tried before.
Next stitch up was pearl stitch. This took forever to stitch, was hard to keep even and just wasn't worth it for me. It essentially looks like a narrow satin stitch done vertically. It really isn't because there is a twist of the thread but not worth the effort for me. I followed that with the Basque Knot stitch. It took a few tries to get the method down, but then it went along fairly quickly. I like the look of this one and think it might be useful. The next one down is called the petal stitch and is a combination of detached chain and stem stitches worked at the same time. This was an easy one, probably because I already know both of those stitches well. But it makes a nice "leafy" looking border. The last one I tried today was the braid stitch. It wasn't that hard to work once I figured out which way to loop the thread but it isn't really very functional as the loops will pull loose if snagged. It is also hard to get it even with same size loops/stitches each time. I even marked the felt on this one and it still looks pretty wonky.

So the stitches I would do again are heavy chain, cable, basque knot and petal stitch. I used #5 hand dyed perle cotton to stitch on painted polyester felt. I just used what I had on hand with me although I should have used a different color to show up better. If you're thinking about getting the Mary Thomas book, I would recommend it if you know the basics about hand stitching. It is a bit hard to follow the instructions and the pictures/diagrams are not always easy to understand. It would be frustrating for a beginner.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cut Back Applique Complete

I finished the cut back applique. It still isn't all that exciting but looks a little better with all the stitching and cutting away complete. Advance planning is best with this type of work so you can figure out value changes and color schemes before you start. The organza overlays don't give a lot of value differences.

Here's the finished piece. I like the organic lines on the left but that really dark line down the middle bothers me. Oh well. It's finished!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cutting Away

I did a little more stitching on the machine cut back applique this morning before work. Then when I had a few minutes, I cut back the layers of organza.

Here is the piece after I cut back on the right side around the organic shapes I had sewn. It's pretty dull and those really light blue lines bother me. The look white and they stick out. I thought perhaps the dark stitching would knock them back a bit but that just didn't do it.

So I added some Inktense pencil and marker. It still isn't doing much for me but the white stitching lines are gone. The colors are a little more exciting. I need to add some more dark blue. I guess I'll do that on that unstitched part on the left. I still have another one of these to do and I think I'm going to go into an entirely different direction with that one.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cut Back Machine Applique

I'm still working on my stitch homework. This is a piece I started in class and I had a few minutes this morning to add some more stitching.

I added the dark blue stitching this morning. I'm not sure it adds much but I need to keep adding to this one.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Machine Stitched Book

I stitched my book together today. It was a little fiddly getting the edges together and it would have been better if I had made the binding pieces a bit wider.

 This is the book from the front. It seems a bit weird and wonky to me. I'm not sure that the orange really fits in with the other pages that don't have orange but "it's just a sample".

Here's the second page. It is cut shorter than the rest of the pages.
 Here's the third page. Now that I look at it, I was planning on it being the other way around. Oh well.
 Here's the fourth page and I do like the fairly dark page behind showing through the holes.
 And the last page.
 Here's how it looks from the top. The pages are really pretty stiff due to all the stitching.
And here's the binding. As you can see, it's a bit wonky as well. That's a big part of my stitch homework completed!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wool Gathering

Today we drove to Florence which is about 3 hours from us to buy 200 pounds of wool for the yurt project. Once we got the wool on the trailer, we then took off for Hall, Montana to drop the wool off at the fiber mill. I'm just going to do a quick post tonight but I'll do a more extensive post over on the Felting and Fiber Studio site next week.

 Here we are pulled up to Suzanne's house in Florence to pick up the wool. It was all stored inside that white trailer.
 Here is one of her sheep. I've forgotten his name but most of the wool that I got for the yurt is that lovely brown color. I think he is a Targee. Suzanne informed me that this is Raven and he is a black welsh mountain sheep! Thanks Suzanne.
 Here I am in front of the wool mill with all the wool piled up in the back of the trailer. It was windy and cold but we got it all loaded inside and weighed. They are going to wash it and card it into 4" batts for me.
This is the mill that I took the wool to in Hall, MT. Ed and Sue were very nice and Ed took the time to show me the big carding machine and a felting machine that he made himself. I'll post about those soon. Dennis even took another video of the carding machine running. It took us 12 hours from when we left home until we got back again. We should be able to go back and pick up the carded batts by mid May. I can hardly wait to get them back.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Two More Machine Stitched Book Pages

Today I worked on my last two pages of my machine stitched book and started on the binding. I also picked up some wool from my friend Paula that she is donating for the yurt project. I will take it with me tomorrow with the rest of the wool to the mill to be processed.
Here is the page that I showed you yesterday with all the drizzle stitch completed.
 You can see that the zigzag stitch draws the felt up quite a bit. That is one of the reasons that I did the stitches in the vertical direction. I knew I was going to add satin stitch in the other direction and I hoped the two would counteract the forces of the stitching to prevent too much buckling.
 Here is the finished page after I added satin stitch lines. The edge definitely got a little stretched with satin stitch. The felt is just not quite stiff enough to hold up to that type of edging.
 Here is the second page I worked on. I decided to cut this one down a bit as all the pages are different sizes in the book. This one is mainly cable stitch done with automatic stitches. I really like the bold line of the cable stitch.
 I got a little off on one of my rows and decided I didn't like it. So I cut it out of the middle and rejoined the two pieces by butting them up together and stitching with a joining stitch. Now I have a folding page! This started all kinds of possibilities roaming in my brain.
Here are the beginnings of the binding pieces.
 I got one "decorated" but still have the others to finish.
 When I went to take some photos by the window, this is what I found. A lovely shadow from the lace curtains. I might have to use this in Photoshop as a background layer for something.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Starting Drizzle Stitch on the Next Machine Stitched Page

I had a little time this morning to start on my next machine stitched page. I decided to cover the background with drizzle stitch and then do some organic satin stitch lines in the opposite direction. If you haven't heard of drizzle stitch, it is simply zigzag stitch done in various widths and stitch lengths over top of each other.

 I've started here using a Madeira metallic thread. I will mix in some other shades of blue until the entire page is covered.
I did stiffen the felt with a bit of nylon organza fused to the back. I am working on finishing the edge of the last page but didn't think you would want to be bored by another photo :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

More Tiny Stitches

I haven't been able to get much done today but I did do a little more detached buttonhole stitching along the edge of my machine stitched page. I'm getting close to finishing the bottom edge.