Fabrications – In Bloom Three (part five)

The technique for creating the flower can be used for individual items or for large areas of thread work, such as thread painting landscapes.

For the flower, choose two shades of embroidery thread any color you like, and place one in the needle and the other in the bobbin. I used cotton embroidery thread.

Next, stabilize a piece of base fabric and secure it in an embroidery hoop. Choose a closed free motion foot so that the thread work does not get caught while you’re working.

Drop your feed dogs and work a zig zag stitch over all the surface.

I set the width at 3.5, but experiment and see what width you like best. Move rather quickly, allowing the stitches to build up on each other. When the surface is almost covered in stitches, tighten the top tension until the bobbin thread shows on top. Work around the surface.

When you’ve covered an area large enough for your flower, dab the circumference with some Fray Block or a similar product before cutting. Once dry, cut out your flower shape.

Remove the free motion foot and attach an open toe foot. Using silk roving or yarn, couch a decorative edge around your flower with a zig zag or buttonhole stitch.

Take another piece of silk roving or yarn and shape a center for your flower. Attach it with your Babylock Embellisher or needle punch machine.

Next, take a little orange or yellow roving and needle punch it in the center of your flower.

For the final embellishment, sew a cluster of beads in the center. Your flower is complete.

In part six, we will thread paint some leaves, make a cord on our sewing machines for the stem, and complete the project.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

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Fabrications – Gilded Gardens (part five)

Our colorful garden is almost finished, but a few remaining embellishments are in order. This is one of those projects that says to us, “The more, the merrier.”

With the heavy thread work behind us, we now turn to filling some of our flowers with felted or couched yarns, adding some yarn to a few of our leaves and to our background, and capping it all off with beads or French knots.

Take a look at your work and decide which flowers you would like to embellish with yarns. For visual interest, select several different colors and audition them until you find just the right ones for your project. I used spun roving, chenille/eyelash mixes, and brushed yarns.

Beginning with any flower other than the center, needle felt as much or as little yarn as you like within its center area. On the flowers that I completely filled, I began by tacking down the end of my yarn in the center and then slowly working in a spiral motion until the yarn reached the edges. You don’t need many stabs of the needles to do this. The goal is to secure your yarns but not to completely felt them with the background.

Felted Flower

Spiral Felted Flower

On other flowers, needle felt smaller amount of yarn and leave some of your flower background showing. On still others, mix your yarns so that the flower is multicolored.

Before working the center flower, needle felt some spun roving (or other fiber) in a radiating design out from the edges. If your center flower has leaves, needle felt or couch a special decorative fiber down the center vein. I used wrapped silk cords.

Wrapped Silk Cords

Wrapped Silk Cords

Then fill your flower with various yarns. With a contrasting color, needle felt a colorful center.

Center Flower

Center Flower Motif

Now take some green furry yarn and felt or couch it along the edges of your leaves just as you did with the heavy thread in part four, working past the leaf tip and meandering here and there.

Couched Yarn

Look at your work and see whether there are areas that need to be filled. For the look of tiny flower buds, I took small pieces of roving, twisted them into a tight little ball, and needle felted them in place. I also meandered spun roving and needle felted it in place.

For the final embellishment, do some bead work down the center vein of a leaf or two, at the center of some of your flowers, and any place else you would like some bling. As an alternative or an additional embellishment, work some French knots in the center of flowers.

Bead Work

Bead Work

Congratulations! Your garden is now complete. I hope you loved doing this project as much as I did.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured

Fabrications – Gilded Gardens

Gilded Gardens

Spring has arrived in the Blue Ridge Mountains and spotted the landscape with majestic purple crocuses, golden yellow daffodils, and soft white cherry blossoms. All of this beauty followed me into the studio, so out came the threads, fibers, yarns, and colorful fabrics.

This multi-layered project is not for the faint of heart. However, if you hang in there, you will be rewarded with a beautiful piece of art that is worthy of your signature and a frame. Mine is actually destined to be a pillow, but you could use the following techniques for a quilt, a handbag, or any number of other items.

Additionally, you could break the project down into smaller parts and use a few flowers and leaves rather than the large number that I’ve included. I also found that each stage of work looked complete in and of itself, so you could stop at any point you desired.

For this fiber play, you will need some flannel and several background fabrics that are hand dyed, hand painted, or have the same look as these do. You will also need embroidery weight threads, perle cottons, roving, yarns, and embroidery floss (silk or cotton).

Perle Cottons

Perle Cottons

Yarns

Assorted Yarns

I used silk cords and beads as well, but these are optional. You may have some other wonderful fibers on hand that you would like to use in this project.

Silk Cords

Silk Cords

The first stage of construction involves building your background. After deciding on the size you would like your finished project to be, cut a piece of flannel a little larger than your measurements. Then begin cutting pieces of fabric to fill the space. You can back your fabrics with a fusible or with a heavy stabilizer. If you choose a fusible backing, iron your pieces onto the flannel. If you choose a stabilizer, attach your pieces by using a little basting glue or a spray adhesive such as 505.

Fabric Placement

Most everything about this project is free form. Relax and enjoy each stage, setting precision aside for another day. If there are small gaps here and there, don’t worry about it. These will be covered with a flower, a leaf, or some other decoration.

When all of your background fabrics are in place, you might like to add one more layer of interfacing/stabilizer to the back. I used a light weight stabilizer that I applied to the flannel with a basting spray. The purpose of the flannel and stabilizers is to provide stability for all the stitching that will cover the surface. Also, if you decide to hand or machine felt some of your pieces (a later stage of this project), both of these backings give the fibers something with which to mesh.

In part two, we will fill the background with flowers and leaves and begin the next stage: thread work.

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N. Rene West
Time Treasured