New Look

April 25, 2011

Dyeing on Easter

I've been quiet as I've had lots of stuff going on in the background.  Spring is one of my favorite times of the year.  After the cold and quiet time of winter I start to get anxious to be outside.  Yesterday was a glorious day of warm temps and light.  
I managed to clean part of the studio after some construction.  I now have a Dye Station.  
It's not quite organized yet but doable.  Those 3 crockpots had onion skins, eucalyptus and acorn baths left from last Fall.  Under the mold scum was some delicious looking broth.  I dipped some silk in, turned them on and simmered.  In the morning I got these:
Pleased with my success, and goaded by the lovely weather I declined the usual Sunday ride with my DH and instead set up the Turkey Cooker....AKA  The *BIG* Dye Pot. 
I had a delightful supervisor.
With his excellent assistance we came up with this:
I now have enough silk yardage to continue with the Felted Flower Quilt edges.  
Hope everyone enjoyed their Sunday as much as I did.  The windows of the house were open and the renewal of Spring was invited in.  
I started one side of the quilt skirt....but that is for the next post.

March 27, 2011


I decided on beads.  Lots of beads for the little red dots that are on the manuscript.  
I also decided I didn't really like to true yellow in the hair of the man.  It needed to be "knocked back" as they say.  I had no other yellow in the piece and it drew too much attention.  
So here it goes. 
He his also surrounded by gold, rose and blue beads.  Different than the little red ones. 
They, the red ones, added more than the pictures show, they sparkle but only a bit. 
All in all, I'm OK with the finished product. 
Now on to the next project.  
I've been playing with beasts and quilting for now.  
I've signed up for Jude's  
cloth whispering and I hope to work on my felt quilt as well as an embroidered quilt. 

March 21, 2011

Two Weeks ketchup

As it gets closer to *real* Spring weather I do more and more outside.  The swamp is changing and showing signs (sooner than my yard) and one of the first are these. 

Blending colors of winter and spring they are the harbingers of the change to me.  I love looking for Skunk Cabbage.  They hide in plain sight and are everywhere, but you have to look to find them. 
The Swamp itself has changed, the ice and snow are gone and it's waters begin to reflect and enhance what lies above the tall skies. 
And the little stream begins to move faster and saturates the ground around it. 
I didn't spend every day walking in the swampy woods.  I was the awkward assistant to my friend Diane as she taught a felted landscape class to some first time wet felters.  She has enormous patience and such a gentle way with people.  A fantastic teacher.  She moves people with kindness and praise toward their best work, not her ideas but only her technique to express their ideas. 
I also added more stitch to my creation piece.  
It is getting closer to Fini
I think all I need to add now is the red dots.  Beads or thread?  Or both?  

March 4, 2011

Quick Peek

I'm off to visit my friend, Diane, this weekend.  She is teaching a class and has kindly asked me to assist.  So before I go, since I didn't post last weekend, a short picture show of new elements before I started the embroidery.  I didn't make the due date for the pictures, I'm not finished.  I just ponder so much over the process I have a hard time with deadlines.  
It is all about the process.  I know for sure it is. 
Next.... the embroidery. 

February 21, 2011


Is not my favorite, but I was concerned that the elements wouldn't stay and rather than cause myself lots of frustration I needled.  I've made a fair amount of progress because I had four days set aside to walk the dogs and work on felt.  
I'm not finished.....but I am getting closer.  This element was added.
And this language
And so it moves a bit forward.  Not ready for the 28th for pictures....but closer.
I made circles with Celtic designs today but they are not attached yet.  
I really needed some time outside and so when it quit snowing I took the dogs for a walk.  
This is the swamp....mostly frozen but for this
A lovely weekend and much accomplished. 

February 13, 2011

Several Steps

forward and a couple steps back.  I have re-arranged parts of the piece again.  I made some elements and then decided I didn't like them.  And then looked again at this
decided it needed more curves and knots and movement. 
So I worked on this
It added more of the flavor I wanted.  But looking at the original again I went for animals and came up with this
So once I added them together I was happier. 
But still.... I want the script on the bottom and part of illuminated manuscripts theme is the ornate first letters.  This needs to be IN.  So I again went back to the original and came up with this.
I feel like I am back on track now.  Lots of ideas of hand embroidery and beads are floating around in my head whispering whispering....
try me...try me. 

February 7, 2011


I made several elements for the Illuminated work this weekend, besides another piece of felt.  
I played with silk versus wool side up and made little color/idea elements, as I call them. 
This is nuno needle felted to nuno with some machine embroidery.  It was the final 'idea element' and several will appear on the left side. 
This is now the working layout.  Not sure about the knot on the right.  I may decide on another element that I haven't tried yet. 
This is two different color threads and a patched piece of nuno.  Don't think I like the swirly bits in this....yet it needs tiny detail to carry the theme. 
The elements that have made the cut, so far.  The only stitching is the decorative marks on the little squares. Not much progress for all the time spent in the studio, but lots of rehearsals and decisions.
Weather Report:
The drive way is glazed with ice and makes traveling from the studio to the house where my sewing machine is a bit treacherous but the temps got to the low 40F.  I think there is more snow in store for us before the weeks end.

January 30, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I did little felting this weekend.  I think the snow has started to put me into hibernation. 

I read quite a bit and did lots of household chores.  But after my test, that DH states looks like a slab of bacon, I decided white was not the background color.
I needed to go for the gold with greens, oranges and a punch of red.  So I made the background and some smaller pieces for the designs. 
A red, more maroon, for some of the circles. 
The deep indigo, this one I wasn't sure at first because it was so dark with the black wool. 
And a green.  I've been having trouble with yellow washing out of green so thought I would use gold with lots of yellow in the wool. 
This is probably the 'parchment' or the main body of the page.  A bit more red than I really wanted, but they seem to work together. 
The red in the center is much richer.  So from here I will probably make a few more bits of color then start putting it together.  All of these are only partially felted.  Very soft.  I hoping to felt them as a total piece....but we shall see.

January 23, 2011

Testing Testing

So much figuring out and testing before the actual felting on nuno pieces.  Because I actually want it to look like something, I draw out an idea.
Then I work an actual true to size "pattern"
Not sure about the b in verbum.  I've tried 3 different ways.  Still looking at Celtic and other fonts.  This is one I've done myself and I think it will work.  
Then I tried a paint program to see what kind of colors I liked.  This was a Big Waste of Time for me.  I'm not well versed in the paint program and the time it took for me to chose colors was way to much of a learning curve this weekend.  
I then decided to just try for the background.
The one of the left is a 'parchment color with colored silks.  The left is more hopeful.  Five strips of silk with four different mixed of wool behind.  I am much happier with this.  Sorry the picture is so awful.  It was taken in unnatural light.  
Sure doesn't look like I did much this weekend!  HA!  
Next weekend I may make more satisfying progress.

January 17, 2011

In The Beginning

Yesterday was spent doing lots of research.  Our Guild is doing a show with the theme Creation Stories or Myths.  I have always wanted to do a piece of illuminated manuscript. The Book of Kells is one of the most beautiful examples of this.  So I have been immersing myself in the pictures and stories of this book.  It is said to be so wondrous that it must have been created by Angels. There are Celtic Knots that have 158 turns within a single square inch.  I don't plan or aspire to that kind of detail.  But only wish to give that impression. 
Here is my first idea.  
The page is from the Gospel of John and literally says (in Latin) 
In principio erat verbum
So after the sketch I did some dyeing.  Rust, eucalyptus and iron w/ oak galls.  I was looking for the yellowed vellum color and a rich but muted gold. 
I think I have found it. 
Today I am off to the studio for sample making.  Silk, wool, locks, thread and although the Book of Kells has no actual gold or metallics, I am tempted.  It is my interpretation after all.

January 9, 2011

A Weekend of Felt

I was off  this weekend to Diane's for some serious fun and felt.  I got my usual room at the D&D B&B.  
(I just *love* this bedroom)
It is a lovely old ranch house that offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for invited guests only.  There is a fabulous felting table and my most wonderful friend who is an excellent felter that lives there. 
I have been hankering over doing some landscape felting with Diane's Art Expertise to help me understand the magic of light she manages in her work.  
I started with a picture of the swamp behind my house. 
Diane talked about ways to look a picture that I've never thought about before.  Lights and darks foreground and background were discussed.  Then she tempted me with tubs of color....Oh My!  How do you choose?
But I chose neutrals and greens.  Lots of greens and some blues actually.  

 And on it went for a whole day.  Until I had this:
But the swamp is twiggy...with lots of branches....and more darks.
This is after wet felting and before the final touches. 
More shadows and dark on the water were added after this.  Then after 2 nights of wine and staying up until after midnight I had to head home.  
Thanks Diane.  I had the most wonderful time and came home with a gorgeous piece to hang in my living room.  I learned wonderful things that will help me look at scenery a whole new way.