Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hurry! Sale Ends New Years Day at 10 PM

Only 2 Days Left for 25 % Off Book and CD.  Sale ends New Years Day at 10 PM. 




I've decided to put my new book on sale for the Holidays.  If you wanted a copy, now's the time to get one at 25% off the original price, only until New Years.  My stock is limited and tends to go fast so get yours now.  To order, go to my website at http://www.fabricartbylinda.com/ and click on the online store.

Following is a complete description:

Holiday Sale until New Years Day, 25% off this book - only $29.95.    You can order through Paypal even if you do not have a Paypal account. 

 This book was featured on the program "Sewing With Nancy TV" and can be viewed at the following link:
http://www.nancyziemantv.com/quilting-videos/make-a-falling-leaves-art-quilt-with-needle-felting/

Finally, a handbook for any needle felting machine owner that needs to learn how to create, maintain, and use their machines to their best advantage.  Learn about fibers, fabrics, yarns, tools, replacement parts, not to mention patterns and directions for your own art work.

Some of the highlights of the book are:
• How to use the Embellisher to create different kinds of artwork
• Fabric substrates that are available and how each produces different effects
• Needle sizes available as well as where to get them and when to use them; how to polish your needles to extend the life of them
• Illustrated directions for changing needles, changing needle heads, using your machine
• In depth description of tools, where to get them and how to use them
• In depth presentation of fibers, such as wool, silk, angora, Angelina, bamboo, nylon, etc., their properties, where to get them and when to use
them in your work
• In depth practice with creating samples to learn all that can be done with this machine before beginning the actual projects
• Incorporating yarn through the yarn port and guides- how and when to use it
• Illustrated directions for preparing or mixing fibers with hand carding combs
• Projects included for beginners as well as seasoned needle felting artists
• How to prepare and enlarge patterns for Needle Felted Impressionistic wool paintings
• Finishing techniques for quilters
• Illustrated wet felting tutorial for smoothing the surface of the finished pieces
• Four pages devoted to trouble shooting and problem solving
• Listings of businesses locally and online that stock the tools and supplies listed in this book
• 150 pages of full color print on glossy heavy stock paper
• Includes a CD with copy-ready patterns and photos for better close-up views for the reader

"If you want to take machine embellishing to the next level, then "The Art of Machine Needle Felting"  is the perfect reference book.  This project based book is loaded with tips, fiber suggestions and notions that will expand your embellishing knowledge.  Linda has embraced this art form and through research and personal experimentation, she has developed some wonderful techniques that she is willing to share.  Follow her step by step instructions to create Monet inspired masterpieces.  She demonstrates the ease of creating landscapes with beautiful foliage and assorted cloud formations and incorporates them into quilted wall hangings.  If you've grown tired of punching wool roving and need some inspiration, I strongly suggest "The Art of Machine Needle Felting."
Diane Aholt, Field Education Manager, Babylock USA

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dallas Cowboy Pillows

While these are not exactly needle felted, they are my accomplishment for last week in my studio.  These are a Christmas  gift for my son who will be deploying to  Afghanistan in Feb. for an entire year.  On his last deployment, he took his Dallas Cowboy quilt (from first grade) with him to Afghanistan and it was already in shreds from being overly loved.  These are made out of fleece and flannel, machine appliqued using fusible stabilizer and couched yarn.  Everything is soft so they can be used as pillows front or back side.  He doesn't know about this blog so he won't see these until Christmas.
Dallas Cowboy Pillos

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Waldorf Wool Stockpile

 I have the extremely good fortune of living near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a fiber artist's Disneyland for supplies.  Yesterday was a stormy day but I spent it down in a Lancaster County woolen mill stocking up on wool for the winter dye sessions starting soon.  Pictured in 3 rolled bundles is the Waldorf Wool.  I called it that myself because it is very different from any other wool I have collected so far in my stash from wool shows and shops.  It is a very fine, short staple wool that I find is essential for creating the fine detail in machine needle felted paintings.  Other commercial wools have longer fibers and smooth finishes, that the spinners and weavers like, but they are often  slippery and awkward to use when detail is required and small spaces, holes or bald spots are needed to be covered with a very fine and crimped shorter wool.  I also found that the finer commercial Merino can be so slick, it doesn't cover well and I end up overworking my piece with the needle felting machine because of it.  I named it Waldorf, because this mill supplies the Association of Waldorf Schools of America with their wool.  Leaning next to the Waldorf Wool is a bump of roving (that's what the tightly twisted ropy looking bundle is called).  This is a longer staple wool made up of various fine sheep breed wools.  It is best used when longer "lines" are needed in a wool painting. It works great for distant tree branches, among other things.   It is comparable to commercial rovings in length except it is also hand-dyed and it's fine crimp enables it to felt more easily than commercial Merino  rovings which can be so smooth they don't cover the surface well.   Pictured immediately below is the mill carding machine itself, from the mid 1800's, still in operation after 6 generations of wool production.  Next are the finished bundles of Waldorf wool along with the roving "bump" I will dye and use in my work.  The last picture shows  the Waldorf Wool after it has been dyed and ready to use in a project.

Carding Machine Front End

Carding Machine Back End
Raw Carded Waldorf Wool Bundles With Roving Bump

Dyed Waldorf Wool Ready to Felt


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cape Cod House Finished

Here is the finished version of the wool painting called, "Cape Cod House."  I used upholstery fabric for the borders because it seems to look very textural and more appropriate to the texture of the painting.  I am giving this one as a gift and will try it again, only larger.  I have some more ideas for using nepps and burrs in the foliage, but I have to dye them first and the scale of the piece needs to be large enough to accomodate them. 


These are the nepps and burrs, which are large and small crumbs of wool that are hand-dyed and mixed in with wool roving when felting trees and bushes in place.  They have to be used sparingly but really add depth, texture and dimension to the finished piece.  I purchase these in bulk and then dye them myself. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wet Felting Wool Paintings

Today is the day that I wet felt some wool paintings.  You may be wondering why wet felting is necessary after machine needle felting but there are several reasons why it needs to be finished this way.  First of all, some of the surface fibers can still be pulled off or form unsightly pills which will ruin the look of the piece over time.   Secondly, wet felting creates a tight web of felted surface fibers so that the piece looks crisp, clean and integrated into a smooth design.  Sometimes, after wet felting the design may appear blurry or a bit distorted from the process.  At this point I can hand felt some fibers to replace some small details and reiterate some lines or edges but I hardly ever have to do that.  If I ever did need to hand felt a lot (which meant I didn't machine needle felt well enough the first time) I would wet felt it again to set the most recent fibers into the web of the surface fibers so they won't pull off over time. 

Here are the directions:

1.     Soak a bar of olive oil soap in a basin of warm water until it begins to melt and feels slippery between your fingers.  You can also use conditioning shampoo for this.

2.     Place a piece of bubble wrap under and over your felted project, with the bubbles facing the project.

3.     Lift back the top layer of bubble wrap, exposing the dry project.




4.     Fill a turkey baster with the soapy water and gently spread soapy water all over the piece until it is thoroughly soaked.  You want to see soap lather when you rub the surface with your fingers.

5.     Turn the project over and thoroughly soak the back side as well with the warm, soapy water.




6.     Place the bubble wrap back over the top of your project and begin rubbing the surface with your fingers in one direction (up and down). 



7.     Begin rolling the piece back and forth 100 times.

8.      Unwrap the project and roll it up widthwise.  Continue rolling in this direction 100 times.



9.     Repeat the above, rolling the project lengthwise, then widthwise for 200 more times each.

10.     Check the surface of the felted piece to see if you can pull any fibers off the surface or if any of the yarns or nepps are moving or flaking off.  If they are, keep rolling.  If they are not, you are finished and can rinse out the piece and hang it to dry.  I use a fan to dry it quickly.
11.  Press gently with a steam iron and trim to the desired size for your project.  You can sew borders on and make it into a wall quilt or mount on an artists frame and display it on the wall that way.


 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cape Cod House

I finally finished another machine needle felted painting.  This time I tried a house and garden scene on Cape Cod.  I followed an oil painting tutorial about underpainting  colors by Lois Griffel and I think it translated well to using wool.
You can see the photo I was following, the pastel painting I did first and then the final wool painting.  I still need to wet felt it and fill in some holes and crisp it up a bit but it's finally where I can show it.  I don't know if I will put it into a quilt with borders or wrap it on an artists frame like the Bottle Study.  Many of the ideas I've had about creating this wool painting medium have worked out the way I thought they would.  I used many different types of fibers from my stash and they truly do create the look I was after when I tried them. For example, the house has an underpainting of yellow wool, then an overlay of a multicolor wool roving.  The front of the house in shadow has a blue underpainting with a darker multicolor roving spread very thin on top.  I use merino wool for its long, thin fibers, and the shorter Waldorf wool I dyed myself as the "working wool" as underpainting, filling holes and wherever I needed fluffy non-linear color.  The star of the show I think is the Peace Fleece.  It creates the foliage instantly and easily and brings everything to life.  I wouldn't be without it and I have many colors in my stash, just for this purpose.  To see more about Peace Fleece, go to http://www.peacefleece.com and click on the retail catalog.  Click on Felting, Spinning, roving, then click on Felting and Wool Crafts and scroll down to the batting. 

                                                        Cape Cod House Wool Painting


                                                      
                                                      Cape Cod House Pastel Painting
    
                 
                                                 
                                                            Cape Cod House Photo

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Learning to Paint with Wool

I have been working through a set of DVDs by Lois Griffel, who is the director of the Cape Cod School of Art. Her work is based on the work of her predecessors, Charles Hawthorne and Henry Hensche, who built upon and enlarged the color principles made famous by Monet.  These lessons are done in oil painting but I chose to use pastel because I am not a painter, as such.  By learning how to paint with pastel, following her lessons, I hope to be able to translate photos into Impressionistic pieces using wool and the Babylock Embellisher machine.  I wrote a book on using the Embellisher this year and am now building upon it.  See sidebar for details or go to my website at www.fabricartbylinda.com.  To see the instructional DVDs by Lois Griffel, go to her website at http://loisgriffel.com/home.shtml.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Color and Light - a Study with Glass Bottles

I have been working creating color and light using glass bottles as models to recreate a still life with needle felted wool.  I first did a pastel drawing of the still life scene, which made it much easier to translate into wool.  Following are the finished results - the photo, the pastel drawing and the wool painting.  My next experiment is with light infusing a landscape instead of just copying a landscape picture.

Original Photo


Pastel Drawing



Wool Painting


Sunday, October 31, 2010

I have been quilting for many years and seemed to gravitate toward surface texture and fabrics other than cotton for quilts.  As a matter of fact I hardly ever shop in a quilt shop anymore.  I started using sheers, satins, unholstery fabrics, etc. in my work and it seemed to work much better for mixed media ideas.  After Halloween was over I would often have wonderful but very cheap fabrics to stock up on in my stash that can't be found any other time of the year.  Those fabrics end up in my mixed media quilts. 
I have been subscribing to Workshop on the Web (an online magazine by Maggie Grey) tutorials for 7 years now and they are a wealth of information for a  quilter who is moving toward more artistic and expressive work.  When I discovered machine needle felting I could see the potential for more realistic and interesting landscapes - especially skyscapes.  I am in the process of adapting pastel painting techniques to needle felted wool art.  I will post the results when they are finished.  I have learned a lot about different types of sheep, wool and other fibers and where they work best in composing a landscape.  More to come on that in the future. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I'm new to blogging but am excited about getting to know other machine needle felters and what they are doing with their art work.