Felted Finery – Play It Again

When I was working on the Encased project, I felted several of the floral rounds in assorted colors. Here’s another little project using these versatile flower shapes.

First, you will need to felt a floral round in any color you like. Cut it out of the organza and match it up with some colorful rick rack.

Felted Floral Round

Turn your floral round to the back side, and dab some fabric glue around the edges.

Dab Fabric Glue Around Edge of Back Side

Position the rick rack so that the rounded points form the look of petals.

Glue Rick Rack to Form Petals

Your flower/flowers should look something like this when you are finished.

Completed Flowers

To create leaves, fold some green rick rack at a point as shown.

Step One of Rick Rack Leaves

Now wrap the rick rack back and forth around itself. The inner loops will lock together. Trim off at the length you would like your leaves.

Step Two of Rick Rack Leaves

Cut a piece of fabric whatever size you would like you project to be. The size will depend upon what you are making. Stabilize it with a heavy fusible stabilizer or interfacing. Alternately, you could sandwich it with batting and quilt it.

Cut a piece of the colorful rick rack to form a stem. Dab it in a few places on the back side with some fabric glue, and position it on the front of your project. Dab the raw edges of the leaves with fabric glue and position the ends under the rick rack.

Secure Stem and Leaves

Secure the outer edges of the leaves with beads.

Leaf Beading

Embellish the rick rack stem with seed beads at each point.

Seed Bead Embellishment

Position your flower at the top of the stem. Secure it will a little fabric glue in the center back to keep it from shifting. Embellish the petal points with bugle beads.

Bugle Bead Petals

I’m sure you’ll find all sorts of creative ways to embellish these little felted flower. Have fun!

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Felted Finery – Floral Rounds

My husband gave me a PMP (portable media player) for our wedding anniversary. I love tech toys and this one is no exception. I decided I wanted a special case for it that I could wear as I went about my day. Now I can listen to podcast and music regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. The construction of the case/carrier really falls under more than one category, so I will be dividing this tutorial between Felted Finery and Fabrications.

You can make these little case/carriers any size you like. I think they would make very nice gifts for anyone with an iPod or MP3 player.

For the felted flower, you will need two colors of organza and some wool roving. I purchased a package of organza circles in the wedding section of my local craft store because they are the perfect size for hooping. (Sadly, they are of a lesser quality than organza yardage, but they work okay.)

Organza Yardage; Organza Circles

Hoop a circle of organza in a color that is close to the color of your wool roving. Although it’s not necessary, it helps to mark your small circular flower centers on the organza. Use a color that matches your roving since markings can show on the surface after felting.

Flower Center Markings

Place your hoop under the needles of your felting machine and position a small amount of roving on the outside edge of one of your marked circles. Working in a circular motion, slowly tack the roving down.

First Round of Roving

Pull a little more roving and work around the previous roving circle. When you are happy with the size of your flower, give it a more thorough needle punching.

Second Round of Roving

For the flower center, cut a circle of organza about three times larger than the bare center of your felted flower. Remove the organza base from the hoop and turn it to the wrong side. Place the cut organza circle over the center of your flower and slowly needle punch it, holding the edges of the organza so that it doesn’t bunch up under the needles.

Needle Punched Organza Center (Wrong Side)

Turn your flower to the right side. The needle punched organza should fill the center. If it does not, needle punch it a little more until your center flower is lofty and textural. Turn the piece back to the wrong side and clip off any extra organza. (I felted a few leaves just for the fun of it, but they’re not necessary for this project.)

Trimmed Organza

Completed Flowers

That completes the felting stage of this project.

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Felted Finery – Old is New (part four)

I saved my favorite leaf for last. After free motion stitching a center vein, I worked three loops of outline stitches. I then appliquéd the leaf down with a feather stitch. I think the feather stitch creates a really nice edge finish for the wool pieces.

Feather Stitch

The final section of the circular design consisted of a center bud motif, two petals, and two leaves. Using a dark gold embroidery thread and a decorative seed stitch, I worked a diagonal crosshatch pattern on the surface of the yellow bud, something often seen in crewel work.

Crosshatching

I then finished the edge by couching yellow perle cotton with a blanket stitch.

Couched Perle Cotton

Next, I positioned the red petals in place and secured them with a decorative triple-circle stitch down the center.

Decorative Center Vein

The edges were appliquéd in two stages. First, I worked a reverse blanket stitch in a matching embroidery thread.

Reverse Blanket Stitch

I then switched to a green embroidery thread and couched lime green perle cotton next to the previous round of stitches.

Double Edge Finish

The third and final step of the motif was the leaves. After free motion stitching some veins down the center of each leaf, I raised the feed dogs and couched green perle cotton around the edges.

Free Motion Veins; Couched Perle Cotton

I added a simple scroll design below the bird, which I free motion stitched with dark green embroidery thread.

Free Motion Scroll

As the final embellishment, I beaded the bud motif between the crosshatching. I also added beads to several of the leaves and the scroll below the bird.

Beading

This particular design will eventually become a pillow, but I’m sure I’ll be using the same technique to embellish other items with these fun-to-make felted wool appliqués.

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Rene
Time Treasured

Felted Finery – Old is New (part three)

To define the bird’s wing area, I chose a scallop stitch, which I stitched across the center of the wing and satin stitches to define the lower feathers.

Wing Detail Work

I then satin stitched around the entire wing with a matching gold embroidery thread.

Wing Detail

To give the bird’s neck a little more detail, I chose a decorative stitch.

Neck Detail

The three yellow petals were created the same way as the tail feathers. First, I attached them with a free motion straight stitch.

Next, I finished the edges with a blanket stitch using yellow embroidery thread. Red perle cotton was couched under the stitching. The red and yellow contrast so beautifully with each other in this little motif. I think a full-petaled flower in the same colors would make a wonderful embellishment for another project.

Couched Perle Cotton

Each of the leaves received individual detailing. For the first leaf, I stitched some veins and then gave it a trailing vine. The edges were appliquéd with a decorative stitch.

Leaf Detailing

Using a dark green embroidery thread, I gave the second leaf a center vein and then thread painted a stem base. A lime green perle cotton was then couched down with a dark green blanket stitch around the leaf’s edge and stem.

The third leaf was detailed in gold, beginning with a decorative stitch center vein and an outer border of couched gold perle cotton. For a little more contrast, dark green perle cotton was couched with gold embroidery thread next to the previous couching.

Double Rows of Couching

In part four, this project will receive the finishing touches.

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Rene
Time Treasured

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Felted Finery – Old is New (part two)

As a base for the felted pieces, I choose 100% linen, which I stabilized with a piece of starched craft felt. I attached the craft felt to the linen with a light spray of 505 temporary adhesive.

If you have an embroidery machine, you may have noticed that many commercial digitizing companies use felt as a base for their samples. Felt gives the stitches plenty of substance to wrap around. Several years ago, I experimented with felt as a stabilizer for dense embroidery designs and found that if I starched and ironed it (which makes it thin and crisp), it worked beautifully as a cutaway stabilizer.

Next, I used a standard size dinner plate and chalk marker to draw a circle on the linen. The circle would later serve as a placement guide for the flower and leaf shapes.

Placement Circle

The felted pieces had a little more loft to them than I wanted, so I sprayed them with some distilled water and pressed them with an iron set on the “wool” setting for about six seconds. This resulted in nice flat pieces, perfectly suitable for appliqué. (Lots of potential here!)

After Pressing – Before Pressing

After locating center placement for the bird, I began stitching the tail feathers with orange cotton embroidery thread. First, I free motion stitched each feather in place.

Free Motion Stitched Tail Feathers

I then changed to an open toe foot, raised the feed dogs, chose a blanket stitch on my sewing machine at a 2.8 mm width, and couched a #5 yellow perle cotton around the edges of the tail feathers.

Couching with Blanket Stitch

Next, I positioned the body of the bird and blanket stitched around his head.

I then changed to a dark gold embroidery thread and used a triangular shaped satin stitch to form the bird’s beak.

Satin Stitched Beak

Using the same color thread, I finished the edges of the bird’s body with a perle cotton-filled satin stitch.

In part three, my little bird will get his wings, and I’ll begin filling the chalk circle with some flora.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Felted Finery – Old is New (part one)

Seventeenth-century “fiber artist” used their creative imaginations, wool yarn, and linen to produce wildly popular crewel work designs. Colonial woman carried on the tradition in the eighteenth century. Crewel work continues to have a following today and even shows up in its high tech form via computer digitized embroidery.

I’ve always been drawn to the design elements: the fanciful leaves, flowers, and fauna. The hand thread painting with its beautiful shading gives us much to emulate in our own work.

Although original crewel work used a twisted 2-ply wool yarn, I decided to needle punch some wool roving shapes and see where they led me. I also choose to needle punch on air rather than using a stabilizer. Usually, I have a definite design plan in mind before I begin a project, but that was not the case with Old is New.

First, I pulled a little wool roving and formed it into a lightweight ball by repeatedly pulling the fibers and then compacting them.

Next, I needle punched the ball with the Babylock Embellisher, beginning in the center and then manipulating the fibers into a desired shape. I found a bamboo stick to be quite helpful in the shaping stage.

Here I am forming some yellow petals.

Here is one of the leaves being shaped and felted.

Here is the bird’s head area being formed.

This is the beginning of the bird’s wing, starting in the center and then working outward.

As the pieces slowly accumulated, I positioned them around an imaginary circle until I was happy with the basic design setting.

In part two, I’ll continue sharing how the project evolved.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Felted Finery – Angel Petals (part two)

Angel Petals is a three-layered flower consisting of a felted wool center sandwiched between two layers of Angelina. To create the Angelina layers, pull some fibers from a mix of Angelina “Hot Fix” colors, and place them on a piece of parchment paper or a Teflon pressing sheet. I used Raspberry Sparkle, Cotton Candy, Sugar Plum, and Violette Crystalina. Pull enough fiber to create two flower layers. Better results are usually obtained when colors are mixed well.

Angelina “Hot Fix” Fiber Mix

Place a piece of parchment paper on top of your mixture and press at a “silk” setting for about 3-4 seconds. Let cool and then check to see if all the fibers bonded. You should have a nice piece of flat iridescent fabric.

Angelina Fabric

For the next step, make a new four-petal flower template a little smaller than the template used in step one. Place the template on the Angelina fabric and cut out two flowers. If your piece of Angelina isn’t large enough for two flowers, simply repeat the previous step for the second flower. (Remember to save your scraps for future projects.)

Cut Angelina Petal Layer

Attach the Angelina layers to the top and bottom of your flower center with a tiny dab of fabric glue placed strategically at the outer area of the flower centers. Offset their position so that the petals fall between the felted flower petals. Just a slight touch of glue will do the job since the edges of the cut Angelina will naturally want to adhere to the felted wool. Also, you will be felting the center of the flower, so keep the glue clear of this area.

Sandwiched Flower Layers

Next, cut a small circle of craft felt for the flower backing.

Craft Felt Backing

Attach it to the back of your flower using the method above. Just a touch of glue will do the job since this piece will be secured by the felted center.

For the fluffy center, cut six short strands of yarn in a contrasting color. I used a yellow boucle. Any yarn that can be pulled apart should work well.

Position two strands in the center of your flower front, forming an “X” shape. Lightly felt them in place with you needle punch machine, keeping the flower stationary and only felting the very center.

Felting Yarn Strands

Now take two more strands of yarn and wrap them with a coordinating color of Angelina. A few twists should do the job.

Angelina Wrapped Yarn Strands

Place them in an offset position on top of the previous felted strands of yarn and needle punch them in place. Use the last two strands of yarn to fill inany open areas.

Check the back of your flower to make sure the yarn has felted through to the back. Using your fingers, pull the yarn strands apart until they fluff up and fill the center. You can cut the strands to any length you desire.

Felted Through to the Back

To complete your flower, sew a brooch pin on the back, using a strong polyester thread. I like to place a little glue on the pin before sewing so that it stays in place.

You now have a beautiful little flower to give as a gift or to embellish your summer wardrobe.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Felted Finery – Angel Petals (part one)

Embellishment Village now offers a new crimped “Hot Fix” Angelina in twenty colors. The individual fibers are finely cut and wavy.

New Crimpled “Hot Fix” Angelina

Their website states that the crimped Angelina has a softer texture when bonded and drapes nicely. Additionally, the colors are more intense, adding a little more glitz to your projects. I’m not so sure Angelina really needed more glitz, but someone must have thought more is better at EV.

I received a shipment a few weeks ago and have been excited about using the new product in a project. I believe I ordered all twenty colors!

To make the Angelina felted flower, you will need a few colors of roving (mine drank the Kool-Aid), a few colors of Angelina (regular or crimped), and some yellow yarn, such as boucle.

Angelina and Wool Roving

Begin by drawing a simple four-petaled flower to use as your template. Give it enough of a center to attach other pieces during later stages. Draw around your template on a piece of lightweight stabilizer. I painted my pink so that it would blend with the flower. ( A used dryer sheet would work.)

Template Outline on Light Weight Stabilizer

Pull out a small amount of roving with which to fill in your felted flower. Mix in some Angelina strands, using pulling and folding motions until you have a well mixed ball. Shape the roving mixture to fit within the outline as you needle felt it with your Babylock Embellisher or other needle punch machine.

First Layer of Felting

When you complete the first color, pull roving and Angelina in a second color, mix it as described above, and felt it around the inner part of the petals to add more visual interest.

Second Layer of Inner Petal Felting

Cut your flower out with a sharp pair of craft scissors, removing the outline as your cut.

In part two, we’ll create the Angelina petals and fluffy center.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Felted Finery – Floral Fluff (part three)

The technique that follows is my favorite parts of this project. Adding fluff to the center of the flowers is both easy and quite versatile.

First, mark the center of your organza covered flowers with a chalk marker.


Choose a yarn that will fluff, such as a boucle for the next step. Cut five short strands of the yarn.

Place two strands of the yarn in the center of one flower, making an “X” shape. Using your Babylock Embellisher or needle punch machine, tack the yarn down in the very center. Don’t over do it; just secure the yarns.

Now place the three remaining strands of yarn over the previous strands, filling in the bare areas. Needle punch them in place securely. Check the back of your work to make sure the fibers have come through sufficiently.

Separate the fibers with your fingers until they fluff out nicely. You can give them a haircut if you would like or leave them bushy. You might like to play with this method and take note of the different effects you get when altering the length of the yarn fibers.

For the stems, I used the bottom of a large thread spool to mark curved areas around my flowers.

I then choose a stitch on my machine that has the appearance of couching (#157 on the Bernina Aurora 440). You can use any stitch you like to accomplish the same thing. Simply follow you markings and then end the stitching with a few securing stitches.

To add a little embellishment to the stems, thread a needle with a strong sewing thread and sew a bead at each end.

Another project complete! The little fluffy flowers work well on quilts, decorator pillows, handbags, totes, hats, and other items that are conducive to 3D embellishments.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Felted Finery – Floral Fluff (part two)

With the center motif completed, we now turn to the two red fluffy flowers. You will need some cotton fabric for the base of the flower and some organza in the same color. I used red, but you can choose any color you like for your flowers. You will also need some perle cotton #3 or #5.

You may have noticed a new widget in the sidebar. I’m not so sure I like the color so that may change, but within the box you will see a JPG file. I have uploaded the flower template file (ib1.jpg) for you to download. If you have a graphics program, you can adjust the size to fit your needs.

From time to time I will upload files for you to use with the tutorials. If you see an empty box, it means your browser can’t display the widget. For example, it doesn’t display in Mozilla using a Linux OS. I’m sorry, but I have no control over it. For those who can use it, you are welcome to download any files I place there for your personal use.

Now on to the flowers-

Cut two pieces of red fabric a little larger than the flower template. Back these with a fusible such as Wonder Under. Place the flower template on the paper side of the fusible and draw around it with a pencil. Next, cut the flowers out.

Peel the paper backing off of your fusible and position your flowers wherever you would like them. Press according to manufacturer’s directions.

I wanted my flowers to have a little more glitz, so I topped them with red organza. You can skip the next step if you like.

Cut two pieces of organza a little larger than your flowers. Lightly spray the back of each piece with a spray adhesive such as 505 and place them over the fused flowers.

You can add the perle cotton edging using any of the following methods:

(1) Attach a cording or braiding foot and slowly work your way around the flower, couching the perle cotton.

(2) Attach a free motion couching foot and couch the perle cotton around the flower. When using the Bernina Free Motion Couching Foot, I like to move my needle one position to the right and set the machine on a zig zag stitch at about 0.5 stitch width. Perle cotton #3 works best with this foot.

(3) Sew around the edge of the flower using a regular straight stitch (or free motion stitch around it). Wind your bobbin with perle cotton and work around the flower from the reverse side of your project, using the previous stitching as your guide. Always use a separate bobbin case that you can adjust for specialty bobbin work. Test your bobbin tension before working on your project.

To neatly secure the ends of the perle cotton, attach an open toe foot and set your machine on a zig zag stitch. Clip the beginning tail of perle cotton right where your stitching began. Wrap the ending tail around the back of your needle (from left to right) and pull the perle cotton towards you. Zig zag stitch over a small portion of the tail, take a few securing stitches, and then clip the remaining tail off.

Place your project on a glass surface (or any other heat proof surface) and burn away the outer edges of organza with a stencil cutter or wood burning tool. Do this in a well ventilated area.

In part three, we will give the flowers a nice fluffy center.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Felted Finery – Floral Fluff (part one)

This project includes several embellishing techniques that are fun to play with. You will need a background fabric, two colors of organza, green perle cotton, beads, and yarn.

First, apply a fusible stabilizer to the back of your fabric. I used Decor Bond. Draw seven circles on the stabilizer in a pattern similar to the above graphic. You can place the motif in the center as I did mine or change the setting to one that you like better.

Take one of your organza colors and cut out some large circle shapes. Make sure they are quite a bit larger than your drawn circles since the felting process will pull the organza towards the needles. Working from the back side of your fabric, place an organza circle on top of a drawn circle and slowly needle punch the organza in a circular motion . Hold the edges of the organza as you work so that it doesn’t bunch up. Repeat this process for each circle.

When you’re finished, you should have seven fuzzy circles on the front of your fabric.

To make the stem, cut four long pieces of green perle cotton (or any other fiber you like) and tie them in the center with some thread.

Now double them over so that you have eight strands. Attach a cording foot or open toe foot to your sewing machine and thread the needle with an embroidery thread. Set your machine on a zig zag stitch at about 5.0 mm stitch width.

Position your strands of perle cotton under the foot, holding the tied thread in one hand behind the needle. Zig zag stitch the entire length of cording. You may like to stitch the cord several times, using several shades of green thread.

When you are happy with the look of your cord, place it in the center of your fuzzy circles. You may like to tack it down with a light touch of fabric glue. Next, couch it with a matching thread, attaching beads as you sew.

In part two, I’ll show you how to make the fluffy little flowers.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Felted Finery – Sea Change

Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

The Tempest, Shakespeare

Sea Change

I have no idea why, but I’ve had polka dots on the brain for a few weeks now. I even combed through fabric stores looking for dots that didn’t overlap and were spaced in such a way that I could free motion quilt between them. Well, I never found any. Then, while working on another quilt and rummaging through piles of prospective fabrics from my own stash, low and behold I found just what I was looking for.

For this fiber play, you will need any print that has shapes into which you can felt organza. Owing to the rounded configuration of needles on felting machines, simple shapes without sharp points work best. Of course, on some machines and attachments you can remove needles. You will also need polyester organza that matches or compliments your fabric. I used the additional embellishment of glass beads for the little dots in the star fish.

Fabric and Organza

Cut your fabric to any size you like and back it with a heavy stabilizer or interfacing such as Decor Bond. Next, lay your fabric wrong side up over a light box (or hold it up to a window) and mark the outlines of all shapes you want to felt. Remember that the color you use to mark your shapes could migrate to the front of your project, so choose a matching color or use chalk.

Cut your organza several inches wider than your shapes or hoop your fabric and organza together. Machine needle felting compacts fibers and your organza will shrink rapidly under the needles. Beginning in the center, slowly tack down the organza while securing it with your fingers (if it’s not hooped). Then lightly needle felt the shape. For this project I used the Bernina Needle Punch Attachment, and it didn’t take more than a few seconds to do each circle.

Felted Organza

As you finish your shapes, cut away excess organza with a pair of appliqué scissors or small craft scissors.

Cut Away Excess Organza

I did one more felting around the circumference of the circles after each trim.

Felting Circumference

When all of your shapes are complete, sandwich your top with batting and backing and then free motion quilt between the felted shapes.

Quilting

Felted Circle

I needed an edge trim for my felted piece, so I gave it some thought and decided to cut circles out of organza with a heat tool. I use this method when I embroider on organza, so I assumed it would work just as well on simple shapes.

First, do this in a well ventilated area. Place a Teflon pressing sheet or heat resistant liner on a secure surface (I use a Silpat purchased from a cooking store). Pick out some metal or wood shapes as your patterns. Lay one shape on top of the organza and trace around it with your heat tool. The organza should melt immediately, leaving a non-fraying edge to your shapes.

Heat Tool

There are many decorative things you can do with these organza cutouts. I cut circles in two sizes, layered them, and then attached them to the edge of my project with beads.

I hope you will look through your fabric stash and use this technique to transform a plain print into something eye-catching and unique. Have fun!

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

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