Something is comforting about having wool or felt in your hands. They are both soft and easy to stitch but they also have body, something sturdy to grip while stitching.
I also like the matte texture of felt and wool. They are cozy, comforting fabrics. So why not combine the two fabrics when doing free-form embroidery?
Today’s Stitch Tip: Combine Wool and Felt
The sheep, birdhouse, and backing in A Friend’s House from Playful Free-Form Embroidery are made with felt. Felt consists of fibers that are compressed or felted together. Felt made with at least 20% wool content works best. I get my felt from Commonwealth Felt.
The cloud and background fabrics are hand-dyed wool from Tracy Trevethan. She dyes woven wool fabrics in intense clear colors in a weight that is perfect for stitching. Another joy when stitching wool and felt? Neither fabric frays. Try a felt and wool combination today!
When you work small you end up with a lot of scrap fabric that is too wonderful to throw away. During the month of September, I gave away a bag of felt scraps like these with each order placed in the Artfabrik Store. Then I challenged myself to create something from one of those scrap bags.
I’m not a big fan of using brown in my work but this brown fabric was the largest piece of fabric in the scrap bag. So it served as a background or canvas for the work. Slowly the warm brown color won me over.
With the central design complete I’ve cut away the surrounding brown felt leaving about 1/4″ of fabric around the edge. I like how this outline of brown creates an organic border that embraces the design.
To complete the piece, I’ve stitched it to a wonderful green batik. It measures about 6″ x 6″ and is named for the Bridgehouse Museum in Chicago.
Making this piece has taught me a few things. First, challenge your use of color and appreciate those colors you usually shun. Second, give yourself permission to improvise. It stimulates and entertains the brain. And finally, a small piece of artwork can give as much joy as a gigantic wall piece.
Don’t you love how hand embroidery defines shapes and adds detail? Take the house above for example. Without the hand stitching, you’d never know that the residents love a blue door and a tile roof. The roof, by the way, is stitched with Fly Stitches joined together to make the tile shapes.
And then there is the stitching that turns the surrounding felt shapes into a tree and shrubbery. A few stabs of the needle and a plant is born! The tree shape is embellished with Back Stitches for the trunk and Couching for the branches. The jovial shrubs are made with Stem Stitches and lots of Lazy Daisy Stitches for leaves. Finer threads like size 12 pearl cotton work best for this detailed work.
I’m not sure what the next steps will be for this improvisational piece. But it gives me something to think about as I mix dye and hand dye even more thread this week. A stitcher’s work is never done!
Subscribe here to receive notification of new blog posts by Laura. Click on Profile.