Stitching on Felt #3

naturalgardening1eIf you have a pinking blade or pinking shears, you may want to trim your felt fabrics before attaching them to a background fabric. Here you see the light green felt with a pinked edge embellished with festive embroidery. Isn’t that fun! The sequence for stitching these long leaves follows. (See individual stitch directions here.)

  • Stitch Blanket Stitches down the straight edge of each leaf securing it to the background fabric.
  • Stitch Fly Stitches following the pinked edges of the leaves securing the outside edges.
  • Stitch French Knots in the center of each opening between the Fly Stitches.

naturalgardening1fThe sun in my Felt Like Gardening #3 embroidery is a simple round felt shape embroidered with these stitch combinations:

  • Fly Stitches (facing in) around the edge of the sun shape to secure it to the background fabric. French Knots on the tip of each Fly Stitch.
  • Straight Stitches inside each “V” of the Fly Stitch.
  • Chain Stitches around the sun stitched on the background fabric.
  • Fly Stitches (facing out) around the edge of the sun stitched on the background fabric..
  • French Knots on the tip of each Fly Stitch.
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Felt Like Gardening #3 by Laura Wasilowski

I hope you enjoyed seeing how this small embroidery was made. The felt fabric made it easy to stitch and the time doing the embroidery really did give me a feeling of serenity and joy. May you enjoy your stitching to!

Stitching on Felt #2

naturalgardening1dThis detail of my Natural Gardening project shows a favorite way of making artwork. It is a combination of using a pre-cut felt shape with free-form hand embroidery. There is a little bit of structure (using pre-cut shapes on a background fabric) and a whole lot of making-it-up-as-you-go-along stitchery. Improvisational stitchery means making all sorts of arty decisions. Yum!

I recently read an article on NPR which included this quote by Girija Kaimal, professor at Drexel University and researcher in art therapy: “Anything that engages your creative mind — the ability to make connections between unrelated things and imagine new ways to communicate — is good for you.”

Thank heavens art making is good for you cause that diet isn’t working for me.

naturalgardening1cWhat’s engaging my creative mind as I stitch? First, what basic stitch is needed to fasten the shape to the background felt? Then, what’s the best size and color of thread to use. And finally, what stitches will enhance the fabric shape and create a wonderful design?

Here’s the solution to my creative puzzle and the order of stitching the pink flower above to a dark green background:

Stitching on Felt #1 and the Winners of the Give Away

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Felt Like Gardening #3 by Laura Wasilowski

I love stitching with felt fabrics like these from Commonwealth Felt. The colorful, perky fabrics that make up Felt Like Gardening #3 are easy to stitch and never fray.

naturalgardening1aTo begin a design, I suggest placing the felt shapes on a background fabric and stitch tacking them in place. After the embroidery is added, the tacking stitches are removed.

naturalgardening1bThe first step in the hand embroidery for Felt Like Gardening #3 is stitching the ground to the background fabric. It is attached with alternating vertical rows of stitch combinations (visit this Tutorial page to find out how to make the stitches). Here’s the order for stitching the ground.

  • Stem Stitches with a Lazy Daisy on top that is filled in with a French Knot.
  • Fern Stitches with a Lazy Daisy on top filled with a French Knot and French Knots alternating between the spikes of the Fern Stitch.
  • Straight Stitches angling up to the left of each Stem Stitch line.

Thank you to all who participated in the felt shapes give-away. I’m happy to announce the winners: Deborah U. and Veronica.  There is more felt to be given away in the near future. Please stay tuned!

Felt Give Away!

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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.

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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.

feltscrapsSo 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.

Admiring the Bayeux Tapestry

bayeuxtapestry.jpg3Earlier 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.

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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!

bayeuxtapestry.jpg2I 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.

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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.

What’s Stitching? Free-Motion Stitching

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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.

windycity18detailThen 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.

windycity18aTo 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!