Once the major elements on my little felt embroidery project are tacked to a background fabric, it’s time to add decorative stitches. The wiggly bits (the “grass”) are stitched first. These delicate strips are secured to the background with an embroidery stitch usually associated with flowers: the Pistil Stitch. Pistil Stitches not only travel across the strips to trap them into place but, add a little bead of thread to edge. It’s a twofer!
Incidentally, I’m teaching a class called Felt Like Gardening at Quilters’ Affair in Sister OR this coming July. This piece will be an example for the students.
It’s about time I stopped partying and begin working on a new project! Here you see the beginnings of a small garden design using acrylic/wool felt. All the shapes were cut using an Accuquilt die cutter rather than by hand. (I don’t want to leap into real work right away.) See the green “grass” area? That’s a cut-away fabric, the remains of cutting out leaf shapes. You could call it the negative of the positive shape.
After cutting out the shapes, my next step is to arrange them on a background fabric and take a photo of the design. Then I remove smaller shapes that are stacked or can be added later and tack the remaining shapes into place. Now it’s all ready to stitch. Any ideas?
Windy City #1 and Bird by Laura Wasilowski
Need a solution to that design problem that’s been nagging at you? Here’s what to do: Put a Bird on It! Yes, if a quilt just doesn’t sing to you, maybe it needs a bird. A charming bird always saves the day.
Windy City #1 sans bird
Compare this before picture of Windy City #1 to the one above. Note that it only has 2 elements of interest: the house and a tree. But, add a bird and the magic number of 3 is reached. Thus, the reason for putting a bird on it. Try this at home!
Natural Gardening by Laura Wasilowski
We all love to make art work, enjoying the process and results. But what do you do after the piece is complete? I recommend having your favorite pieces framed behind glass.
Garden Flowers by Laura Wasilowski
And I can highly recommend custom framing by Myrna of High Desert Frameworks in Bend OR. Myrna has a great deal of experience in framing textiles from the stitching onto an acid free mat to selecting beautiful mat colors to finding the perfect frame style. If you can’t send your work to her, find a local person who understands the challenges of framing and protecting your textile art.
Here are a few quick tips for framing textile art:
- Stitch the corners of the work to an acid free mat.
- Use a shadow box frame so the glass does not touch the work.
- Seal the back of the frame to keep it dry and free of insects.
Do people ask you how long it takes to make something? I get this often, but never keep track of my time. But I have finally come up with an answer.
To do this much hand embroidery on this little house quilt took about 6 hours. How do I know? Because that’s how much time it takes to drive from Chicago to Akron, OH. So from now on, that’s my answer. You may use it as well.
Many of my quilts are small and light weight and adding a hanging sleeve for a short little slat just doesn’t make sense. (And, as you know, I’m all about common sense.) So I’ve come up with this hanging mechanism for your small quilts: a simple loop added to the back.
Here are the steps:
1. Find the center top of the back of your quilt. Make a mark about 1.5 inches down from the top to mark the center of the quilt. A pin hole in th fabric will do the trick.
2. About .5 inches to the left of that mark, take a stitch with your needle and a size 5 or 8 pearl cotton thread.
3. Take a stitch into the quilt backing fabric and leave an open loop. (Leave the needle on the thread.)
4. Put your fingers into that loop and pull the thread through the loop to make another loop. You are making a chain stitch much like a crochet stitch.
5. Continue to make the chain stitch until the chain extends .5 inches beyond the center mark. The complete chain will be about 1 inch long.
6. To secure the chain, take a stitch into the quilt back. Pass the needle through the final loop and tie off the thread.
7. Snip the thread, hang the quilt on the wall, and enjoy the view.