Monday, December 29, 2008

December TIFC

I have not been good about keeping up with the monthly Take It Further Challenge. However, after shoveling a bunch of snow yesterday, I decided to treat myself to an afternoon of hand sewing on a project designed to fulfill December's theme of generosity. It just happens to also match the alternate color scheme: 2 reds, 2 greens and a gold - Christmas colors. I've been wanting to work with felted wool and recently ran across these two patterns I'd pulled from Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting magazine, especially designed for felt. Seeing those patterns again reminded me I'd intended to use the poinsettia one for this December challenge. Better get with it!

In the picture above, the pattern on the right is the older of the two, a little needlecase. My muddled mind remembered the poinsettia on the left decorating it, not that star. The poinsettia pattern is for covering the top of a round box or for applying to homespun to make into a pillow. I decided to let my muddled mind have its way since it was the needlecase I wanted to make, not a box or pillow cover, with a poinsettia, not a star adorning it. Both directions suggested making freezer paper templates - you can see I've traced the applique pieces onto scraps of freezer paper. The needlecase pieces I could cut with a ruler without templates. The 4 pieces of felted wool were a gift; the roll of felt behind them is some I just recently bought so I'd have the second shades of red and green for the project.

Freezer paper really sticks well to this wool which surprised me. I tried tracing around the template with a Sharpie pen but then found it hard to cut out the shape eliminating all the black ink. So the rest of the applique got cut out with the freezer paper still on. This really pointed out how uptight I am and prone to working to exacting methods. I needed that reminder that in applique one does not have to be so perfect. I guess I was afraid the freezer paper would pop off as I cut (it didn't) or that I'd accidentally cut into the template (since it didn't have to match anything I could stay away from the template edge). The entire poinsettia design was a little big for the needlecase, so again, I had to loosen up and experiment with placement until I found something pleasing that fit.

Glue stick worked like a charm to hold the applique pieces in place. I found sequin pins easier to use for holding the curve of the stems in place. I expected all the applique to be done with a buttonhole stitch (more muddled memory), but instead, I was instructed to whipstitch with matching embroidery floss; the other pattern suggested using pearl cotton. I have no pearl cotton on hand and in spite of having what I thought was a lot of embroidery floss, the only matching color I had was gold. So I used my YLI Heirloom 100 silk thread which DID match.

The lining piece has a separate rectangle whipstitched in the center - it holds the needles. Here you can see the matching embroidery thread. Sew a snap on either end to hold the case closed.

The handles are just a strip folded in half and whipstitched together. They are pinned in between the lining and the outside once all the applique is done & french knots added to the center of the flower (one can also add beads). All is held together with (at last) the buttonhole stitch done with three strands of embroidery floss.

I'm very pleased with how this turned out. These two shots show front and back when the case is folded up.

I definitely want to do more of this, can see how my favorite beader, Mary Stori, was seduced by it, and really need to get her book about beading on wool. I'd be interested to know how others approach working with wool felt, too. I'm particularly curious about whether I should worry about how badly the dye runs in all the pieces I have, and if so, how to make it colorfast.

You may be wondering how this all fits into the theme of generosity. The challenge said, "I want to ask what is the idea of generosity to you...think about what it is to give..." It's the wool itself that makes me think of generosity, for it was a most generous gift from a friend who took note of my stopping at a vendor's booth to finger the wonderful stuff, remembered me saying how I'd like to try working with it some day. Of course, for me someday was going to be when I got around to felting some of the wool yardage I have left over form my garment sewing days. I think she knew that would likely not happen soon. Her generosity, her gift has allowed me to stretch myself and in turn make something that I will give away. Generosity begets generosity and a gift ask nothing in return. The pleasure is in the giving and true generosity considers the needs of the recipient, not the giver.



That's really fab - I love it! I think the dark green wool has worked really well and it looks as it if would be lovely to handle.

I think we should all be more generous. Prefereably to me.

The Idaho Beauty said...

It IS lovely to handle. And are you implying I should send it along to you? VBG


SNORT!!! Far too nice to give away - but I will remind you when it's my birthday! x