Posted in collage, embellishing, quilting

Catbird Sings Reveal

In his Guide to Birds, David Sibley describes the gray catbird’s song thusly:

” …a rambling, halting warble with slow tempo…low hoarse notes with high sharp chips and squeaks interspersed….little repetition and little mimicry.”

…..which is, while accurate, a rather dry and technical explanation for what I heard that day:

Catbird Sings

In my final arrangement of this fiber object, I ditched the blue fabric which I was going to use as a framework for the “notes and chips.” Instead, I let the purple satin cord act as a highway for the eye to travel to each vocal outburst. I also unified the color of the lower section by overpainting the batik print using violet.

Close up of bird hidden in purple shrubbery

The free motion stitching wasn’t overly planned. I mostly just followed the clues given by the appliques and the color changes in the background.

Upper section finished with closely spaced stitching and pearlescent paint

I hope you enjoy “seeing” this catbird’s song, as much as I enjoyed listening to it.

Posted in embellishing, hand embroidery, painting

Playing with Fiber Embellishments

Ever since I wove a small tapestry on a hand-made loom, I’ve mused about weaving threads over a water color painting. So today I am playing around with the idea.

I started with this 4 by 6 painting I did last December.

It’s an exercise from Kateri Ewing’s book Watercolor is for Everyone. After drawing two columns of randomly sized rectangles, the artist applies selected colors, reversing the order of application in the second column.

I thought this painting would be a good background for my proposed thread embellishment because of its rectilinear structure. To start, I poked holes at regular intervals along the outside vertical edges. Next I stitched a zigzag pattern across the painting with no. 3 cotton twist thread in a gold color.

Now what, I asked myself. How about creating points along the thread intersections by tying knots? Okay. For this step I chose a dark cool green shade.

To further reinforce the intersections, I painted shapes with a metallic paint.

Not a bad way to spend a quiet afternoon. It was soothing and meditative. It reminded me of those picture stitch cards that I worked as a girl when learning how to sew.

Now I have a brand new perspective on what is possible with paint and thread.

You can learn about Kateri Ewing’s work here:

My Books | Kateri Ewing

Posted in embellishing

Adjusting to the New Normal

So my health insurance company sent me a mask.

I’ve been struggling along with a pathetic homemade mask that I whipped up quickly. This is a very nice one, but I draw the line at being a walking billboard for some company. I decided to make a few modifications.

Applique fused on and embroidered with cotton floss.

That little motif covered the logo nicely. Then I thought, what can I put on the other side of the mask? It came in a flash – why not advertise myself?

This is my new normal.

Posted in embellishing

Fun with Embellishments

This school year I will again be teaching fiber arts to students age seven and up. I’ve organized the sessions into 4-week workshops. One workshop will explore techniques to use in embellishing clothing and other fiber objects. Today I am learning to make pom-poms using these:

It seems like an easy, anyone-can-do-it craft to use up extra yarn, so I’m all for it.

What I learned in my first attempt is that the instructions included with the tool were incomplete. I got lots of bits of yarn falling out of the plastic holder.

After a quick trip to U-Tube – source of every craft technique in the world – I discovered that the yarn needs to be wound until the holder’s center is filled completely. Then, when the holder is closed and the yarn cut, compression keeps the cut bits together long enough until they can be tied up with a piece of yarn.

I made one medium and three small. Here they are decorating a cross body bag.

I’m confident all the students will have a great time making pom-poms. I can’t wait to see how they use them to jazz up their clothes One final note: Don’t lose these little pieces, or your pom-pom makers will be useless.

Posted in embellishing

Easy Peasy Tassel Necklace

I’m back to the Daily Fiber blog, after a pretty long vacation trip. The fatigue of the trip has sapped my creative energy. So I thought it would be best to make an easy fiber object on my first day back.

This little necklace showed up in a women’s clothing catalog I paged through recently. It’s very fetching, but to me, not a good value at $70.00. I’d like to try my hand at my own version.

To make the tassels, you will need one skein of embroidery floss for each tassel, some jewelry jump rings, a few beads, lobster claw fasteners, thread cutters, tapestry needle, and glue.

Here are the first six tassels completed.
  1. With the paper sleeves still on the floss skein, slip a jump ring to the skein’s center, or tie the skein tightly in the middle with a piece of floss. Slip off the paper sleeves.
  2. Fold the skein in half, holding the ring or floss tie at the top. With another piece of floss about 12 inches long (matching or contrasting,) make wraps around the top of the tassel, working down the tassel about an inch or as desired. Tie the two ends together with double overhand knot.
  3. You can hide the knot by threading the ends on a tapestry needle, then push the needle up through the wraps coming out of the top of the tassel. Do this one end at a time.

At this point, you can finish off the tassel by attaching a lobster claw clasp to the ring, or if you used a floss tie instead tie the ends to the clasp. A drop of glue on the knot will keep it from coming loose. Cut the excess thread away. If you want to add beads, they can be threaded on the ties before you attach the clasp.

Trim tassel ends to length desired and you’re done! Here is my finished necklace. I spent less than $10, including the chain.

For this necklace, I made an additional couple of tassels out of yarn.

What a coincidence! This necklace goes very well with my new shirt!