Sunday, December 9, 2007
Before I move on, I just thought I would show you these. I think they are so cute. I love the out of doors and anything that is representative of the out of doors. I have lots of natural items in my home. Aren't these adorable little birds. They are here in Mom's house, my SIL gave them to her. They are made with branches, leaves, and other natural materials. They are from Foreside which have household decorative items from artisans from all over the world. Even on a gray foggy day like today, they just make me smile.
Thought today I would discuss a little bit about starting my creative journey with my embellisher. I purchased my Babylock Embellisher last year and have not had the opportunity to play with it much; however, as soon as I return home, we are going to get real chummy! I plan to spend a lot of time playing with all kinds of fibers and base fabrics. I want to try some things with those wonderful woven pieces that Allie sent and all kinds of fibers from polyester to silk hankies and roving. I took a day-long class last year from Paula Scaffidi and a short one this year from her. She really expresses her love of colors and textures in her classes and in her work. I had so much fun with the Babylock Embellisher that was provided for our use in class at the Houston Quilt Show, that I just had to have one. Last year there were virtually no books and very few teachers that could help you get started on the felt embellishing adventure. The market has started booming now with books and more needle-felting machines and attachments; so there are more options and there is more help out there for inspiration and technique. My favorite teachers/artists to date in needle-felting and embellishment are: Sue Bleiweiss, Paula Scaffidi and Margo Duke. Their links are on the left under my favorites.
Here is my Babylock Embellisher. They are moderately priced and easy to use....no thread, no bobbin. The Babylock has variable depth position capability of the needle foot...so if you are using thick fibers you can dial it up higher than with thinner fibers. You have seven needles, but have the option of removing needles if you are working on more detailed designs or fibers.
Here you can see the foot raised so that you can see the needles penetrating the piece I am playing with. The needles have barbs at the end of each one and they blend the fibers you are laying down onto the base fiber piece (such as denim, raw silk, wool, etc.). You can even put fibers onto woven interfacing or wash-away stabilizer. Below you see that I have put the foot down. The circular plastic piece is a finger guard and the needles pass through the center of this. The only thing you must be really careful of is breaking needles by going too fast or trying to make sharp turns. I have laid down mostly soy silk roving on the play piece, but you can use so many different things and they all react differently. I love the way, for example, bias dupioni silk strips lay down...they kind of rouch and crinkle and I love the texture. Depending on what you are doing, you have the option of using the top of the piece or the bottom of the piece you are working on. The bottom of the piece will have a softer look and probably not as much color coming through. When I am home and am getting more acquainted with my Babylock, I will be posted some of these examples to show you.
Here are a couple of pix of Connie,the Fiber Goddess and my new friend, and my dear friend, Barbara; and above them are some of the fibers that Connie sells. They are bundles of different fibers in fun color ways. I plan to use these for an upcoming project for Connie. In the bottom picture, Barbara was showing Connie a wall-hanging crazy quilt she was about to back and finish up. Barbara made this cq for her son and it was quite a challenge. He didn't want things to be too frilly, no lace, no silk ribbon. Barbara put pictures on the quilt in sepia tones from Paris that her son provided and then did lots of embroidery in greens, browns, bronzes, etc. to keep it masculine. The main design on the quilt is a tree. The branches of the tree extend to all the blocks and have beautiful Hannah silk leaves on them. The reason she was showing Connie this piece is that she used Connie's Diva Cord Maker to make the tree trunk and branches with lots of fun brown and metallic fibers. This really tickled Connie and she even hung the quilt in her booth while at the Houston Market for everyone to see another way to use her cord maker....(which I also use - it is really unique, fun and very versatile - check out past articles on this in CQMagOnline.)