Stitched Journal Project – April

I don’t know about you, but I find it very hard to choose books at the library. I like to try new authors but it’s so difficult to decide which book to pick. One year I decided that I’d work my way through the alphabet; I stalled on A when I had to read every Kate Atkinson book, did the same with B (Raffaella Barker) and when I couldn’t find anything I wanted to read in C, I abandoned the whole thing. In similar vein, for the Stitched Journal Project, I decided to pick a book from the needlecrafts section of the library and learn a new skill. In a fairly random and hasty selection, I brought home a book about nuno felting, which apparently “combines wool fibres with woven fabrics like chiffon and muslin to produce a material that’s lightweight and flexible”.

April colours

Inspiration was easy as the farm and garden are filled with blossom and flowers. Yellows, greens and mauves are everywhere.The bright yellow flowers of oilseed rape stand out against an azure sky (some days), the colours so strong they almost hurt your eyes while lime green coloured shoots on the Christmas tree branches contrast with the dark green growth from last year. In the garden, there are more flowers on the bay tree than I’ve seen before and the forget-me-nots cut a swathe of blue beneath the apple trees. The decision was made to use nuno felting to recreate the spring colours for my April Stitched Journal Project.

wool and silk combined

After ages spent rubbing carded wool with soap, wrapping it around a plastic tube and then rolling in bubble wrap, adding contrasting wool and then silk, I ended up with a scrap of almost combined wool and silk.  As directed, I set my sewing machine to the free embroidery stitch (after searching half hour for the sewing machine instruction book and the bag of attachments) and sewed aimlessly around to make a pattern.

spring colours nuno felting

The silk was duly snipped off in places to reveal the felted wool below and left in other places to create interest. The result was … a mess. I can’t really see the point of it, even when it works properly and I rather lost enthusiasm for the whole thing half way through. Suffice to say, the book has gone back to the library and I shall not be venturing further along that shelf in May.

On the plus side, for the first time, I used the darning plate on my sewing machine. Who knows, next month I could be sewing portraits like Harriet Riddell. Or not.

 

Linking with Lola Nova for The Stitched Journal Project where all sorts of people make all sorts of things.

38 thoughts on “Stitched Journal Project – April

  1. mandala56 says:

    Well, I thought it was pretty, but that sort of effort would drive me crazy!
    Back to the library though… you might give Tracey Chevalier a try. I’ve never read any of hers that I didn’t enjoy.
    (I work in two libraries, but I gravitate towards kid and young adult books!)

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  2. Lola Nova says:

    I think that you were quite brave to give it a go in the first place. While I don’t think it’s the mess that you do, I do understand your feelings. Sometimes making a “mess” is just as valuable as making something you adore. Do not avoid that shelf at the library, look again sometime, you never know. Also, you can see from the comments that others find it beautiful. So, perhaps you can think of it as a “brave and beautiful mess!” Which is pretty awesome in my book.

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    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      I think I’ll probably just move along the shelf a little! The good thing about the project is that I’m trying things I’d usually just write off as “not me” and some I’ll think are fab and will try again while others really aren’t for me. After all, we can’t like everything.

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  3. Flaming Nora says:

    My students are always coming to me and saying exactly this. And I always say to them that I can see lots of fabulous stuff in it. You should take a break, put it away and look at it again in a couple of months. Think it looked great up until the machine embroidery. Looks a little like a cauliflower now! But a great cauliflower none the less!

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  4. Chris S says:

    You’re far braver than I to try something like this. While you might not be entirely happy with the result, you’ve learned some things that might be useful another time.

    To go back a post or two, when you said you were trying to cut a roll of buns that kept flattening, I thought of my mum. She used to cut “logs” like that with thread. Take a length of thread, slip it under the roll and then draw the ends up and across. It slides through quite nicely and doesn’t flatten. Not sure if it would get through raisins without a bit of work, but might slide past them easier than trying to cut through with a knife. Perhaps that will help another time – and thanks for unknowingly reminding me of my mum.

    Chris S in Canada

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  5. Ellie at Feltabulous says:

    Dear Anne
    I have tried nuno felting but with a layer of silk over which I laid very thin amounts of wool. This was felted and the wool worked through the silk, shrinking, as it does, and causing a very pretty ruched effect in the silk. There is a good book on making scarves using nuno and other methods which might be worth a look if you wanted to have another go: ‘Elegant scarves and wraps’ by Jill Denton. Liz Clay has also written a book about nuno felting too.
    Experimenting is always useful, even if the end result is that you decide that particular craft isn’t for you… (we all do it!!)
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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  6. Josie says:

    It full of gorgeous texture – What’s not to love? I also agree with Nora about taking a step back and returning to it later. I often have to force myself to do this with projects I’m not enjoying as my first reaction is to attack the offending item with my scissors until it is in a thousand tiny pieces. I bet you love it next time you see it x

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  7. Simona says:

    At least you tried, that’s one of the reason of the Journal. If you don’t like it, it’s just a small piece…. I like your words, you made me smile. Looking forward to your next month’s piece. Simona

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  8. knitsofacto says:

    I think of nuno felting as falling into two categories, the pictorial kind, as you have here, and the fabric making kind, as here http://red2white.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/1641/

    Lately I’ve come to realise that it’s textiles in the context of clothing that’s my thing, and not as decoration, which is why I’d love to master the second sort. Lord knows why it’s taken me half a lifetime to come to this conclusion … I guess I’ve struggled to separate clothes from high fashion.

    Not a stitch from me yet this month … but I’m working on getting my stitched journal post up by tomorrow 🙂

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    • Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots says:

      Goodness, that top’s amazing isn’t it? Thanks for the link. I can’t be bothered with the decorative – things need to be practical. My sampler was supposed to be the basis of a scarf, but obviously I won’t be making one. Looking forward to seeing your post.

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  9. Karen says:

    It is hard to keep up an interest in doing something new sometimes. I like how you were influenced by all the wonderful colors of nature…your photos are beautiful.

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