Friday, May 30, 2008
A button for you to enjoy!
Well, my progress on the May TIF has been impacted by teenagers! Last night was Academic Awards, tonight was the High School Band's spring concert and tomorrow night is the senior prom. So I have been making alterations to "the dress" for prom, instead of doing embroidery.
I don't do reality well. (Wouldn't that be a great thing to say to someone when they're busy pointing out your flaws?....Well, yes, officer, I was speeding a little, but you see, I don't do reality well.)
Anyway, when I was thinking about the May TIF and its design, I realized I just don't do realistic that well. Since some representation of "me" was going to be part of the design, I didn't really want to put a real image of me there. And when I've worked on other designs, I've felt the same way. As some of you know, I work part-time at Borders Books. Most of my time there is spent in the Children's section. Every Wednesday night I do Storytime, where I read 5 or 6 books to a small group of kids. Children's books have such whimsy, such silliness, and can evoke such a mood. I want my designs to do the same. I'm certainly no impressionist. Maybe it's the fairy tales I gobbled up in my childhood, but I find I want mermaids, fairies, a man in the moon, animal kings, mysterious things...
I was looking at a how-to book on drawing, and it struck me that I don't want to know how to draw something I'm looking at, I want to know how to draw what's in my head. Of course, that's somewhat nebulous at times....I've tried to think of making a design that represents some momentous thing in my life and it's so difficult. One thing is that momentous things are not always pleasant - a death in the family, menopause, abuse, loss - will I really want to look at a design that reminds me of these things? I like my finished product to be pleasing to look at.... is that a shortcoming? I think it's easier for me to think of representing a moment in time, and probably a fantasy moment, at that.
How do YOU design? I'm curious about the thought process that people go through to come up with a design. Do you have thoughts to share?
Keep on stitchin',
Friday, May 23, 2008
I've been working on my May TIF. I needle felted the background and have been working on the face and bodice. I traced the design onto woven iron-on interfacing and ironed that onto the back. I always like to have the design on the back so that I never have to worry about covering up lines on the front, and so I can make changes as I go, if I want. It's challenging to embroider on felt - there are so many fuzzies! Purple is my favorite color, so of course the dress is purple. Still have to embroider the arms & shoes and the needle I'm riding on! I'm hoping to have the skirt be made of fabric, tacked down in places to be sort of 3D. I started on the needle, but the silver thread I used seems to expand - the needle is twice as thick on the front as it is drawn on the back. I guess I will try another thread. I padded the sleeve that is closest to the viewer, but the purple is so dark I'm not sure you can tell. I'm really having fun with this!
Friday, May 16, 2008
I've been fooling around with various ideas for the May Take it Further Challenge - in a nutshell, how you see yourself. Here I am on a needle - I feel like stitching is a wild ride; I fly with excitement, there are ups and downs and it's a magical journey. Haven't quite figured out what kind of background I'd like to have, have to work on that a little more.
Hmmm, I've been spending lots of time out in the garden - my journey will just HAVE to include flowers!
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Well, I don't have a very big back yard and the climbing rose has taken over!
I recently began playing with needle felting. I was fortunate enough to buy needles, a pad, and a few colors of roving at a quilting and craft show. But when it came time to get more supplies and I went searching the Internet, I came upon many terms I did not understand, so as promised, here is my attempt at an explanation of terms. I’m sure there is much more I don’t know, but these are the terms I came across most often….
Roving is wool that has been sheared from the sheep, washed and carded into long lengths. It’s not just unspun fiber. Since there are many different types of sheep, there are many types of wool roving. Wool from a single sheep can vary, as well. A young sheep will have softer wool than an older sheep. Roving doesn’t have to be wool; there is roving made from corn, silk, bamboo and alpaca. Other fibers include cashmere, camel, angora (rabbit or goat), llama, yak, and mohair (goat). Roving can be spun into yarn, woven or used for needle felting, among other uses. Roving can be sold by the ounce, the pound, grams or a bump. (One ounce is about 28 grams. A bump of carded roving can vary in its weight.) Prices range quite a bit, depending on the fleece type, how it is processed, whether it is mixed with other fibers, whether and how it is dyed and how fine the fiber is.
Raw fleece may have vegetable matter (vm) in it, as well as dirt, grass and insects, which is why the first step in processing wool is cleaning it. Roving may have a small amount of vm in it, but once it’s been cleaned, you shouldn’t encounter much in your fiber. Wool is combed with paddles that look like square ping-pong paddles – they are flat with small bristles sticking out of them. The fibers in roving lie in random directions. Wool and other fibers that have been cleaned and carded can be found for sale in the form of roving, top, batt, and locks. Some roving is comprised of mixed fibers, such as a silk/merino blend or merino/tencel blend. (Tencel is made from the cellulose in wood pulp and is very soft) You can also find roving that has some synthetic sparkle mixed in. (Or make your own by adding Angelina fibers!)
Top is the same as roving except that it has uniform-length fibers and they have been combed to be parallel to each other. Top is of the highest quality.
Batts are like flat roving; the fibers lie in random directions but the shape of a batt is more like a piece of quilt batting. You can easily tear the batt into strips so it is like roving. Sometimes batts are called stuffing wool, and can be used for the inner core of 3D needle felting projects
Locks are soft and curly, and are shorn from different breeds of sheep.
About some fibers:
Merino is very soft, extra fine wool. It is so fine and soft, you could use it to make baby clothes or underwear.
Colonial wool roving comes from Corriedale sheep and makes an excellent felting wool. It is not as fine as Merino and not as coarse as Romney. It wouldn’t be recommended for baby clothes, but makes a fine vest or jacket.
Romney is more coarse than a fine fiber such as Merino. A coarser fiber is less likely to show holes (from needle felting), but is more rustic in appearance. This fiber is used more for rugs, or bags, than for wearables.
Alpaca: Alpaca fiber is stronger than wool. Alpaca is soft and hypoallergenic.