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Friday, January 28, 2011

Felting using Water Soluble Stabilizer

As promised, here is some info about using water soluble stabilizer in your work. What is the stuff you might ask? Well it sort of looks like interfacing. Here is a link to one choice at JoAnn's -- there are even some handy instructions here: (and even some new ideas -- I've never heard of dissolving the stuff first the painting it on your piece -- but who knows?) You can usually buy the stabilizer at any quilt store as well.

Anyway, this is how I've used it. I cut out two identical pieces in the shape of the intended final product. The pictures are of a cuff in progress and a finished piece which is a jacket facing or part of a lapel. I love just making these little pieces of wonderful texture to work into a larger collage as well.

I then separate the two pieces of stabilizer and start to cover one of the pieces with different textures. Since you are going to stitch these things in place to form a fabric, you can add anything that your sewing machine needle will go thru. I like to add all kinds of textures -- lots of different silks, some velvet, some metallic fabrics, etc. I love to drizzle a wonderful yarn on top of the piece. I might use the yarn later as a guide for adding beads. I cut my pieces fairly small, but I have seen some beautiful pieces where the fabrics were larger.

If you are going to felt the piece, allow some space between the pieces for the wool to felt in later. Try to keep the overall piece lightweight.

When you are happy with the colors and textures you have added, add the remaining piece of stabilizer on top and pin securely. You don't want to lose anything on the way to the sewing machine! Then sew on top of the piece in all different directions. I usually use a contrasting or metallic thread. Your sewing lines are what bind the fabrics together. (Note -- I tried doing this by hand and it didn't work very well, but I think it was because I didn't add enough lines of stitches. Since the sewing lines are what create the fabric, it is a good idea to add lots of stitching to the piece. The sewn picture above is hand done but needs lots more stitching.) You can also free motion stitch on top of the piece if you are experienced at that.

OK, then you go to the sink and dissolve the stabilizer in hot water. It takes about 1 minute. Allow the fabric to dry and there you are! I later use a piece of prefelt which can also be cut to shape to felt into the piece. You won't get very much shrinkage as the stabilized fabric is pretty heavy, but you get a fun and funky textured piece of fabric.

Feel free to email me with any questions! We will be experimenting with this technique in my class at the John Campbell Center in May of this year. Here is a link to that class:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pictures from Asheville

I am slow to get these posted -- had an incredible trip to Asheville -- if you ever get the chance to go, do it -- it is just the greatest place! I didn't get many pics, but here are a few of the brave felting souls from my classes! (and one of Lisa being silly!) There are many pictures of the retreat on the Friends and Fiberworks site. Lisa and Tracey put on a great event -- there is going to be another one in July 2011!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Asheville next week -- can't wait!

I didn't rest for long -- this time I am preparing for a trip to Asheville, NC and the Winter Retreat, sponsored by Lisa Mackey and Friends and Fiberworks.

I am teaching four classes and it is not too late to sign up! I am dyeing some beautiful fabric for the "Romantic Wraps" class -- we will make a small shawl that you can wrap yourself up in to brace against those winter winds (It is supposed to be 9 degrees when I arrive!).
I am also teaching a cuff class using water soluble stabilizer -- you gets loads of texture with this technique and can felt in things that wouldn't ordinarily felt.
Also teaching the iPhone purse class -- learn to felt in velvets, felt around a resist and make a rope for a handle. We will start by needle felting then wet felt.

And yeah -- I got a scarf made to wear -- did I mention it was going to be 9 degrees?

That's my habotai I call "ocean".

Cheers you guys! Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reflections on Taking Risks

Well, I've been through some interesting months. The "too much going on" led to some much needed down time, then some reflection on why I do what I do. Seems that I work harder and make less than I used to (by several fold!).

The outcome of the reflection is: I will journey on! I am comforted by so many of you who share the self employment struggle -- (it is harder than working for someone else in case you were wondering!). I am also touched by so many of you who love what I do. Thank you all!

The final clarity came today when I was looking through my beloved books and came upon an old favorite called "The Joy Diet" by Martha Beck. (Find her monthly column in the O Magazine). I opened the book right to the chapter about taking risks. Seems that taking risks is task #5 of 10 tasks she prescribes to live a joyful life.

Martha says "The criterion by which you should decide which dangers to face, and which to avoid, is not your chance of succeeding but the depth of your desire. If you pursue only risks that are interwoven with your heartstrings, your life will be what it should be, no matter what the outcome of a given situation."

Wow, those are powerful words. Seems like I have taken way too many risks the past several years, but I am doing what I love. My heart says continue.

Bless you all for being there! Happy New Year!