Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I've been exploring wool and dyeing along with needle felted appliques these past 8 months.   I started with white wool fabric and dyeing it with instructions in some dyeing books.  A little knowledge and a lot of experimental got me some dyed fabric that doesn't look like batik (which looks like everybody else's).  I was trying to find  the colors for a background that I could embellish with hand embroidery and felting as in these examples:



I was thinking these strips would become borders for the Newest Flock of Sheep...one that has more open space to quilt.  However I found that they are too busy in design for that felted applique quilt. 

The next quilt project is a reworking of the Alphabet quilt that I designed in 1996 in cotton.














This is the new wool version:
All the wool fabrics, rovings and pearl cotton threads have been hand dyed by me. The Quail and the Rat are still appliques, and will get needle felted tomorrow.  Currently they are just felted in place (using my new Embellisher, Babylock's felting machine).  I figured out this summer that fusible is not required to hold the appliques in place.  I still have to figure out how to incorporate the Z, which probably will go on the next line.
The P is a Praying Mantis that I promised someone I would include on the quilt and in the pattern.  Sounds simple enough, but there are so many legs.  It is a complicated critter.  I left a large space for him, but the background is green and so are the insects (although they get beige-y brown as they age).  That is going to be the most challenging critter so far.
This Praying Mantis was hanging around my back door for a couple of weeks.  He actually got inside and was on his way to the basement when I removed  him from the house.











Inspiration

I saw this plant, called Crocosmia, several years ago on a gardening show, Gardening by the Yard, and I had to have one.  So I bought one at the local nursery in August when it was in bloom,  I planted it and it died during the winter.  I found some corms at the grocery (Wegman's carries an interesting assortment of things in addition to foodstuff).  I bought the box of corms and planted them.  They apparently grew because now I have two plants with flower buds and I am so excited.  I have never seen a flowering plant that I was so drawn to.  It is as graceful as a dancer.  I love curved lines.  I have been drawing this plant on some of my felted blocks, without knowing that there are more groups of flowers on the same stem.  This makes the flower more complex.  Complex design is very enticing to me.
Here is what I drew in thread after observing the crocosmia.  The flowers on the right are new stitches and the ones on the left are what I thought crocosmia looked like...one stalk of red flowers.