Felt Like Gardening #5 by Laura Wasilowski
Thanks to the students in my Felt Like Gardening class in Houston last year, I have diminished my piles. Piles of felt cut-aways that is.
Felt Like Gardening #1
You see, many years ago I purchased stacks of colorful wool felt from Commonwealth Felt. The rich colors and ease of stitching the felt by hand seduced me. But alas, I work small with few of my felt creations exceeding 12″ x 12″. Soon I realized I’d never use all the felt I had in my stash.
So I taught a class with the felt and gave away stacks of felt cut-aways, the parts left over from cutting shapes for the class. But there are more cut-aways to be rid of! That’s why I’m giving away a set of felt cut-aways to 2 lucky winners. Just leave a comment and we will randomly pick the lucky recipients. And thank you for helping me with my piles.
Earlier this month it was my good fortune to travel to France. This gift from my sweet husband fulfilled the number one item on my bucket list: seeing the Bayeux Tapestry.
Photos of the work are not allowed (this is a photo from a book).
The Bayeux Tapestry is hand embroidered on linen with wool thread. It illustrates the story of William the Conqueror, Harold, Earl of Wessex, and the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Using the stem stitch and “Bayeux Stitch”, it was embroidered in the 1070’s and measures about 70 meters long and 50 centimeters high.
It is amazing!
I spent a thrilling hour viewing the tapestry. And later attended an evening event in the Bayeux Cathedral. In a vivid light show, moving images of the work were projected on the columns and balustrades of the cathedral while a narrator told the story of William the Conqueror.
Entrance to the Bayeux Tapestry Museum
What a thrill to see this historic piece of artwork first hand! To know that it was preserved for centuries and is a treasured piece of textile work overwhelms me. It reinforces my belief that telling stories through hand work has great value not only to the viewer but to the maker as well.
Windy City #18 by Laura Wasilowski
Yippee! Now that the hand embroidery on Windy City #18 is complete, it is bound and machine quilted. For this little fused art quilt (14″ x 9.5″) I’ve used a pillowcase binding method.
Then the quilt is machine quilted using a titanium or chrome coated embroidery needle and free-motion stitching. To add free-motion stitching, drop the feed dogs on the machine and guide the needle around all the organic shapes in the design while moving the quilt.
To compare, here is the quilt before stitching. See what a difference a stitch makes? The hand embroidery and machine stitchery bring the quilt to life. This is what sets quilting aside from other art forms: the joining of surfaces with a stitch. It’s all about the stitch!
As I stitch around the sun in my little Windy City quilt, I meditate on the amazing variations of the Fly Stitch. The Fly Stitch is an open looping stitch that is easy to make and has lots of stitch possibilities. Here’s a few you can try:
- Extend the center thread of the Fly Stitch to make a Y shape like branches in a tree,
- Use the Fly Stitch with a pinked fabric and the thread follows the pointy edges and tacks down fabric shapes at the same time,
- Add a French Knot between lines of Fly Stitches (like those on a pinked fabric edge) to build pattern and add hits of color,
- Stack Fly Stitches to make leaf like shapes, or
- Use a French Knot to hold the center of the stitch in place. This is also known by those of us who are fast food connoisseurs as the French Fly.
And finally, surround a group of French Knots with Fly Stitches to make a flower. Ah, the Fly Stitch, so much talent in such a tiny stitch.
There is still time to see a terrific exhibit at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts in Melbourne FL. I recently visited this gem of a gallery on the Florida Tech campus and really enjoyed their latest exhibit Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America. You’ll see the history of American basketry from early indigenous pieces to contemporary fine art like this extraordinary vessel by Lois Russell called Magic Bus (2012).
Better get there soon. The exhibit ends December 14. But I see there is a bead work exhibit coming up. Wish I could see that one too!
The embroidery on my little Windy City quilt continues with a favorite stitch, the Fly Stitch, around the light green fabric. Use the Fly Stitch with a pinked fabric like this and the thread follows the pointy edges and tacks down fabric shapes at the same time,
Can you guess why I’m using an Orange size 8 pearl cotton thread? The size 8 is larger than the size 12 threads used on the other parts of the design so it gives a nice bold edge to the fabric shape. The color orange is also in strong contrast to the surrounding fabrics and repeats the orange color found in the design. Two great reasons to use it on this pinked edge.