Wool and threads for the Wool Stitch Along
Thanks for joining me for the famous Wool Stitch Along! We need to gather our tools and materials but first I want to mention that the goal of this Stitch Along is to:
- Make something small,
- Not use a pattern,
- Try as many stitches as possible, and,
- Get on with life.
My 100% wool fabric is felted and ready to go. Is yours? (Felting directions are here.) And, because simplicity is my middle name, only 2 colors of Size 8 pearl cotton threads are going to be used. They are variegated hand-dyed threads but anything will do as long as you love the colors with your fabric.
Tools for the Wool Stitch Along
We’ll start the stitching tomorrow. But first gather these tools and be prepared! You’ll need these items to complete the Stitch Along:
- Size 3 or 4 embroidery needles for the size 8 thread
- A thread conditioner like Thread Heaven (recommended but not necessary)
- Small, sharp scissors
- A thimble (mine missed the photo session due to a cold)
- And a chicken pincushion with attitude (also recommended but not necessary)
Like many of you, I learned to sew as a child in the 4-H program. Our first assignment was to put together a set of sewing tools. This is my seam ripper from that first sewing kit. Many a seam has seen this ripper.
I’m about to begin a new free-form embroidery project on wool. The designer label on a jacket from a resale shop stated that it was 100% wool. (Pure wool is ideal for felting.) The ripper and I bonded again over the wool jacket as we ripped it apart for felting and planned the next embroidery project.
Would you care to join me in this Wool Stitch Along? Grab any old 100% wool garment or fabric and give it a good felting. Here’s how to felt the wool:
- Place the fabric in the washing machine with really hot water.
- Set the machine to the fastest agitation setting.
- Wash the wool with a little bit of detergent and a cold water rinse.
- Throw it in the dryer or air dry the fabric.
Now you’re set! Stay tuned for our first stitching assignment: Outlining the Design.
Now that I am happily at home for a few months, I’m ready to sit back and enjoy some free-form embroidery time. My etui (a fancy word for sewing kit) is ready for action and my fingers are itching to hold a needle and thread.
All that is needed is a project… oh, and maybe some inspiration. So let’s start with this easy question first: should I choose a wool, silk, or felt background for the embroidery?
We live in such a beautiful country! Here is a view of the Rockies taken from my airline seat as I returned home from my last flight of the year. I was lucky to end my teaching year with the Clark County Quilters in Vancouver WA. A warm and jovial group, they kept me entertained and happy to be a quilt teacher.
A tiny homes quilt by Linda.
Over the past year I’ve met up with many talented people who attend to my goofy lectures, take my goofy classes, and send me photos of what they have made. Here is a fun little quilt completed by Linda from a class at the Chicago Show in April.
A ‘woodcut’ quilt made by Jill.
And here is beautiful quilt by Jill. She sent this image of her woodcut quilt made in the Creating Graphic Imagery class in Santa Clara, CA in October. She says the berries, apples, and flowers depicted in the piece are all important crops in the Pajaro Valley where she lives.
It’s been a delight traveling the nation and learning so much from my fellow quilters. But I’m taking a few months off now. It’s time to unpack, de-clutter, take a breath, and make some new work.
Recently, I taught a new class called Improvisational Hand Embroidery on Wool. As you can guess, it is a slow paced class. (Hard to race around the classroom with a sharp needle in your hand.) You would also expect it to be a quiet classroom.
A simple design with very lovely hand work.
But I was happily surprised by the amount of chatter. Like an old fashioned quilting bee, students sat, stitched, and visited with each other all day long.
In this class, students make original designs and learn about the joy of hand embroidery on wool. They also meet new people, share stitch ideas, and make artwork at the same time. Seems ideal to me.
And now I must apologize. I did not make note of who made what. So I can’t attribute the designs above to the people who actually made them. It was such at thrill to see them at work, I forgot to make a list of the stitchers and their designs.
Before placing the backing fabric on my color chip collage quilt, I added a little hand embroidery to the leaf in the center. A Size 12 pearl cotton thread and Size 5 hand embroidery needle are used for stitchery. After the hand embroidery is complete, the backing fabric is added and then it’s off to the races with machine quilting!
A color chip quilt has dozens of raw edges. These fabric edges can catch on the prongs of an open presser foot. So I use a closed #29C quilting foot for my BERNINA 750 QE sewing machine. This type of machine foot glides across the fabric surface and keeps those fabric edges flat as you stitch.
Here’s the final color chip quilt all stitched and bound. I feel so tidy and neat now. It was a delightful way to use up all those fused fabric scraps!