Rock Inspiration

Needle felted wool and silk fibers and silk organza fabric dyed with indigo and natural dyes.  Agate type rock for inspiration.

The rock is mostly purples, red violets, golds and cobalt blues, though you'd never know it from this photo.

Since this is the last piece of my machine needle felted constructed cloth I thought I'd do something special with the piece, lots of hand stitching and knots.

I just need to decide which side I want to use, it's about six by seven inches in size.

Stitching Rust - One Option

Stablized rusted fabric, two layers (I know hard to believe) wool quilt batting, black cotton commercial backing fabric.

The quilt to the left was orginally as thick as the quilt sandwich to the right, heavy stitching reduced the piece to a very thin piece.

Already you can see how the heavy stitching will decrease the thickness of this piece.

I'm stitching the outer areas first with a dark rust colored thread, will come back in and fill the strata layers with two other colors of rust and ocher threads and finally will begin stitching the heavily rusted area in the center.  The reason for this approach is I don't want to have to change my needle, as the heavily rusted areas will dull the needle quickly, in order to finish stitching the outer areas once the center is finished.

I will fill the hole in the center, where the fabric rusted through, with decorative hand stitches and maybe some beads. 

Sewing Rusted Fabrics - Supplies

Supplies for stitching rusted fabrics with left to right: Mistyfuse TM fusible interfacing, sewing machine needles with large eyes, rusted fabrics, heavy cotton threads, pearl cotton, hand sewing needles with large eye, nymo thread. Other items needed are scissors, iron, ironing board, teflon pressing sheet, pins.

Hole that where the rust went completely through the fabric.

Nymo beading thread, fireline may also be used, basically any beading thread that is designed to be used with sharp and/or metal beads will work well with rusted fabrics.

Crewel or tapestry needle with large eye.

Pearl Cotton for those areas that your machine needle, and threads, absolutely refuses to play nice with, sometimes you  just have to think outside of the box!

I prefer Schmetz needles, I typcially use the largest leather needles I can find for my machine.

Aurifil 12 wt cotton thread, hasn't failed me yet but then again neither has the 50 wt cotton thread!  For those super rusted sections I simply used other threads to sew the area with and work more with embellishments.

Sewing Rusted Fabrics Tutorial

Sewing rusted fabrics is no different that stitching any other fabric except, and that's a big EXCEPT, when the fabrics are heavily rusted!  Then there are all sorts of problems that arise. 

For moderately rusted fabrics as seen in the above photo, a heavy cotton thread and a sewing machine needle with a large eye, like a leather needle, work well. 

But what does one do when the fabric itself or the thread shreds during the stitching process??? 

This tutorial will help you stitch those fabrics and get the look you are wanting.  I highly recommend having some extra rusted samples on hand and taking good notes on which processes worked for each sample, BEFORE you start the large commission piece.  Doing so will guarantee fewer headaches in the future ;-)

Materials Needed:
Rusted fabrics
iron on interfacing of some sort I use Mistyfuse TM
Sewer's Aid TM (Dritz) - liquid
Fray Check TM (Dritz) - liquid
Needles with large eye such as a leather needle
Heavy cotton or poly blend threads, rayon and silk thread will only shred to pieces in this process.
Nymo or Fireline for heavily rusted areas that you don't/didn't want to discharge.

Hand work

My shoulder has been bothering me, too much lawn care, so instead of wrestling large pieces in the sewing machine I've been doing a bit of hand work.

I started this piece tonight by needle felting various fibers using the Janome Expression, and now I've plans to do a bunch of stitching to the surface. This pic is the inspiration a red velvet spider mite on some moss. I took this photo last Sunday when we were out looking for morels in the woods.

Needle Felted Pumpkins

I'll have to take more photos tomorrow, the class went really well today. I ended up with only one student which was fine as she left with a really lovely pumpkin, I made one with her to show her the techniques. I'm thinking of video taping this and putting it on as there are some important tips to know about needle felting a 3D pumpkin, like keeping your fingers out of the way! Sounds easy enough but in reality it can be really problematic, I'm thinking of getting a bunch of tongue depressors for the next class, amongst other things. Luckily it was me that got stuck with the needle, twice I might add.

Looks like I won't be able to add photos until later the photo launcher is apparently broken!

Well I'm off to make some constructed cloth bags for the next class, later.

Felted Bag

Here's the felted bag I mentioned, I need to sew the sides together and make the strap yet, it was needlefelted using the Janome Expression. The dealer down the street, from my shop, lent me the machine and if I wasn't in so much pain I'd make samples for them as well. Maybe next week sometime??? I have another bag done already and it's at the shop in the window display with a bunch of other felted items that is announcing our needlefelting workshop the end of October.

Bottom to Top: Front view with the flap open, the back and the front views, and the front view with flap closed. The views are clipped a little bit but that's because I'm in so much pain I'm not able to stretch up enough to get a better view. I'm taking muscle relaxers and pain pills but it doesn't even tough the pain - which tells me it's in the bone not the muscles cause those muscle relaxers they gave me can drop a horse and I'm not whinnining yet!

The background fabric is wool that has been dyed with natural dyes, and the wool on top is a combination of natural dyed and synthetically dyed fibers. Note that it is nigh impossible to match natural dyed fibers to synthetically dyed ones.