Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Purse with a Past

I love to have a unique piece of fabric to work with and this purse has been created from a very special piece of linen that was recently given to me . . . let me tell you more . . .

In November I was at the Kamloops Old Courthouse Christmas Fair and one of the visitors to my booth spent some time asking about my work and telling me about vintage linen tea towels that she had inherited from her mother. I believe she said that the tea towels were handwoven in Eastern Europe many years ago, and she wanted them to be used by someone who would appreciate the workmanship.  Before the end of the show, she came back and presented me with several of these beautiful tea towels ... they must have been very lightly used as they were soft from being laundered but showed no wear or stains.

I have been thinking about how I would use these tea towels for some time and have come up with a few ideas but this week I decided to use one to create a purse. I also have some squares of recycled silk kimono fabric that were given to me by another friend and I decided that these brown/green/orange ones would go together in the creation of a purse.

I pieced some of the kimono squares and then appliqued that large "patch" to the linen. I then used more linen for the lining, with quilt batting for a little added structure, and stitched them together. I quilted the kimono blocks and added a few lines of machine quilting to the background as well.

I even added a little pouch to the inside of the purse before adding the cross body strap made of more of the linen ... and a piece of Velcro closure on the flap for added security.

I spent quite some time adding the sashiko hand stitches to the purse.  I used three colours of embroidery floss ... one is variegated warm brownish colours, one is variegated chartreuse colours, and the third is a spring green ... and they are stitched in rows around the kimono block as well as across the purse in a few more areas.

I am very pleased with how this purse turned out and I hope that it will appeal to someone shopping for a unique spring bag.  You can see more views and detail photographs in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Needle Felted Book Cover

Needle felting is so much fun and it creates rather ethereal looks  . . .  just what I love!

I have been working on a book cover that will protect a Bible. The person for whom the book cover is a gift was very taken with my felted flower gardens and asked if I could create one for her Bible. We talked about some of the things that would make this particularly special for her and this is the beginning of the piece . . .
Needle felting distorts the shape of the base during the felting process, so there is always extra felt that will be trimmed back from the edges before the piece is finished.  I have chosen a couple of pieces of my hand dyed and hand painted fabric (in the top corner of this photo) that I will use for the lining and the binding.

I first needle felted the wool rovings that I chose for the sky and field to the base fabric and then started adding the background flowers before moving to the foreground and creating larger, more detailed flowers. I also felted some hand dyed cheesecloth into the foreground to give some added texture.

After all the felting was done, I used some free-motion machine stitching to create flowing lines in the sky and to accentuate some of the flower shapes as well as grasses and leaves. This helps strengthen the felted piece as well as adding details.

The final step was to add some hand embroidery stitches ... some bright yellow dandelions, delightful red strawberries, and even a couple of butterflies and one little ant :)  I added a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing to the back of the felt in order to stabilize it before constructing the cover. Having the fusible interfacing on the back would help keep the embroidery stitches in place if I happened to snip one when I was squaring up the felted piece.

The cover is finished now and you can see in the detail photo above, the way that I bound the edges before hand stitching the cover right onto the Bible. I wanted the cover to fit very tight and this one was just perfect :)

I added some page markers with pretty glass beads in the shape of leaves. My label is sewn into the inside of the binding so it is not visible when the book is opened.