Monday, 22 April 2013

Earth Day

I know that Earth Day is about being green and striving to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in all aspects of your life, but I just "attended" my first online webinar hosted by Michelle Brown from Mixed Media Art in Australia and Earth Day became something more global for me.

How much more part of Earth Day can you be when someone from "down under" can talk and interact with you from a time zone, far, far away on a topic of great interest to you?

Michelle's free, online tutorial Creating Layers was a great primer on the techniques and supplies needed and the fun you can have when creating layers in mixed media.

I especially appreciated her use of found objects and we share a passion for thrift when it comes to making use of items that you already have in your stash. This is surely in keeping with the spirit of Earth Day.     Thanks Michelle!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Fools & Their Tools

Since the last posting about our excellent adventure with the needle felting machine, we have each bought ourselves a new tool for our fibre arts arsenal. 

Jan did the initial test drive and found the Pfaff Smart 350P to be a quiet little machine with lots of potential. It is referred to on the box, not as an embellisher or needle felter, but a punching machine.

Pfaff Smart 350P
I got mine out of the box today to give it a test run and broke one needle within minutes. The key is to take your foot off the foot pedal and let the needle mechanism raise to its highest point before you try to remove your piece.

The good news is that the needles are very easy to replace, the bad news is that they are about $3.75 each.

So Jan and I are ready to roll with the punches and we've promised each other that we need to use this new tool frequently in our fibre arts projects. I'm sure that the potential is limitless. Stay tuned...

Monday, 15 April 2013

Embellishing / Needle Felting Machines

Following our introduction to 3-D needle felting in March we decided to continue with that theme and do some form of flat felting in April. For those of you who are not aware, (and I was one of them) there is a machine, similar to a sewing machine, called an Embellishing Machine (Needle Felting Machine,) that makes life a whole lot easier to do needle felting over a large area. Many companies make them and the main difference between models seems to be the number of needles they use – some have 5 needles and others have 12. They use no thread, have no bobbin and have about the same amount of space inside the arm of machine. You can see in this picture of Jan at the machine what it looks like.

Diane has a HuskyStar by Husqvarna Viking and she brought hers along to FOG on Tuesday for us to try. After having used it I can’t imagine doing this by hand, even as small as a piece of felt.

Using a backing piece of felt or other fabric, you design your piece by lying down and overlapping almost any items that you can think of – as long as the needles can penetrate the item. We used yarns, paper napkins, silk flower petals, wool roving, thread waste, ribbon, lace and all types of fabrics. Once your design is completed you overlay the entire piece with organza, tulle, netting – something that you can still see your items through, but will enhance the piece. We used an article by Rebekah Meier from an issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine as a general guideline.

Then you take it to the machine and start to move the piece around under the needles that are moving up and down quite quickly. For those of you who free motion quilt, the process is about the same. We found that with some of the overlays that it was helpful to lay down wisps of wool roving to help the needles penetrate and hold all the layers together.

Now that our base pieces are completed we will spend time doing some hand stitching and embellishing with thread, beads, sequins and other items. As our pieces are completed we'll post them on the blog.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Arts Club at the Library

What do you get when you mix a group of women with a morning away from home, kids and chores, a gray day and a bag filled with colourful supplies? You get intense stitching, bursts of laughter and a wonderful floral memory.

Our Fibre Arts Frenzy day at the Central Library in Calgary was to make a Soft Collage using a Fibre Optics Kit consisting of a piece of heat distressed felt, dyed cheesecloth, silk petals and leaves, embroidery thread and some wire to hang the finished project.

Jan and I had made several samples as inspiration for the group, but their own creativity took over and the results were awe-inspiring!

While their projects were nearly finished in the session I’m certain that there will be some additional finishing touches and a few embroidery stitches put into place for final inspection and completion. 

Thanks to the gals and to the library for another great session!                     Jan and Meredith

Monday, 1 April 2013

April Fool's Day Giveaway Winner - No Foolin'

Well, it's April 1 and time to announce the winner of our first "Thrill of the Hunt" giveaway in March.

We had a friend look at the three entries and she chose Phyllis for the variety of uses from her thrifty purchase of a bag of buttons. Phyllis, please send us your snail mail address and we'll put the non stick craft mat into the mail to you.

Thanks for participating and watch for another giveaway soon...