Monday, 1 July 2019

FINISHING FELT, with stitching...

I recently held a ‘Finishing’Felt’ workshop with some of my experienced feltmakers…
 It was a very relaxed day, sharing ideas and solving problems… 
We learned so much from each other, with plenty of tea and cake 
to help the day along!

We all put so much energy and creativity into our feltwork but sometimes 
it just doesn’t work out as planned, so what to do…? 
Maybe it needs further finishing and embellishment, stitching and beading, 
or rethinking an area that hasn’t felted properly. 
Sometimes we’re just not sure what to do and promising pieces of work are put away, 
and forgotten for the sake of a few finishing touches…
Hopefully this workshop helped to rescue a few of them!

I get asked all the time about stitching onto felt and how to get started, 
even by the most skilled feltmakers…
 I made a sample book of different stitch types, worked on felt.and took it along 
to the 'Finishing Felt' day hoping it might encourage 
the most reluctant stitchers to get going
It’s a simple idea and having a end purpose for stitch samples is good motivation—
inspiring you to try out more and more examples to fill up the pages. 

It's also a perfect way to use up those precious felt scraps.

The leaf shape is a great favourite, I use it all the time in my work, 
and as in nature, no two leaves are ever the same…

Presenting them in a book keeps them altogether and creates a useful 
reference that’s easy to look back on and to add to...

As with most things—it’s best to keep it simple… 
You only need a few choice threads—the bolder the better as fine 
threads do get lost amongst felt fibres

Choose strong colours, thicker threads, a large needle and bold stitches… 
It’s difficult at first if you have a fine touch but it comes down to practice, 
and that’s where small samples are an ideal way to get started.

I love variegated threads as the colours have already been carefully selected or 
better still hand-dyed. I prefer the perles which come in different thicknesses..

My absolute favourite stitch is running stitch, sometimes whipped through 
with a contrasting thread… 

and feather stitch, which is perfect for creating feathery textures on birds 
and seaweedy growth on pebbles

. It’s easy to vary the stitch size and direction and the stitches soon take on an 
organic quality… They can be adapted to whatever scale you're working, 
from a tiny felted pebble to a larger picture...

The next step is to add small beads and buttons. The right choice of colour
 and size can compliment stitching and highlight aspects of the design. 
I like using tiny round beads but you need a very fine beading needle 
and thread for these. Larger buttons and beads with flat shapes are easier to sew 
into a felt surface, they don't sit too proud and don't snag!

The great advantage with creating felt is the relatively small step from working in 
2-dimensions to 3-D, and these forms can be enhanced, stitched and 
beaded in exactly the same way, with endless possibilities! 

 I’ve recently discovered 21st Century Yarns, a supplier of wonderful hand-dyed threads, including some amazing variegated silks in different thicknesses - 

just perfect for felt embroidery and a pleasure to use 

This is just a small selection,  there’s plenty more online at 

If you would like to see more examples of 
stitching on Small 3-D projects try this link...

to see my embellished Autumn Bag click here 

and you can click on any photo to see more detail.

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