Embellishing fiber art

As promised I’ll take you through the embellishments I have added to my small improv pieced quilt.

Felted balls, drying overnight

Felted balls, drying overnight

I will take you through making a wool ball but so far, I’m not very good at this so search the internet for tutorials. I used two types of wool roving. The first does not felt well for me and the second works better. Note the yellow roving has longer fibers – pull the fibers rather than cutting them.

Pulling strands of wool roving

Pulling strands of wool roving

The green roving is more wooly.

Wool roving

Wool roving

The only other thing you need is hot, soapy water. Basically, you form a loose ball, wet it, gently roll it between your palms until a ball forms and then start applying pressure until the ball becomes dense. My ball looks like brains instead of a smooth ball so I will tell you how I fixed it, somewhat.

Anchoring felted ball

Anchoring felted ball

Anchor the ball to a pincushion. The barbed needle is really sharp and you don’t want to jab your hand with it.

Single barbed needle for felting

Single barbed needle for felting

First I worked the barbed needle into the crevices so that the ball would not fall apart. Then I added some dry roving to make it look smoother. After loosely working roving into the ball, I then used a tool which has five barbed needles.

Adding wool roving

Adding wool roving

Five barbed needle holder

Five barbed needle holder

This helped but I didn’t really like it so I added sequins. I will go back and glue the pins in–otherwise they might work their way out. I think I forgot to mention this little piece of cheesecloth I added yesterday. When I dye fabrics, I add a piece of cheesecloth to the container at the end and get a matching pastel.

Sequined wool ball

Sequined wool ball

Moving on, I added some beading in four different places. First, I stacked three beads on top of each other. Bring the needle up through three beads, skip the top bead and go back down through the bottom two beads.

Stacked beads

Stacked beads

Next, I beaded the little starter/ender using bugle beads with seed beads on either end. You can bead with bugle beads alone but they tend to be sharp on the ends so adding a seed bead to each end helps protect the thread. I made a knot on the reverse after each 3-bead unit.

Bugle and seed beads

Bugle and seed beads

Next I added a small bead with a seed bead. I like to add odd or one of a kind beads from my stash to my projects.

Teardrop and seed bead

Teardrop and seed bead

Lastly, I added some beaded fringe. I took some of the same yarn I had couched down previously, tied a small piece to the middle of a longer piece and tied some large beads on. I attached this unit by sewing through the yarn knot and adding another bead. I generally use Superior Bottom Line thread for beading. Make a rather large knot and when you bury it, tug on it to make sure it is anchored before you start beading. Additionally, I take a few stitches before I start adding beads. Be sure to knot your thread after every three beads if you are adding a lot of beads. That way, if your thread breaks, you’ll only lose three beads and not a whole afternoon’s work.

Beaded fringe

Beaded fringe

These are just some larger, rather ugly beads that worked well for this project.

Next, I made a fabric bead–one of my favorite embellishments. Here is yesterday’s fabric bead, dupioni scraps and copper metallic floss.

Fabric button added

Fabric button added

I learned this technique in Fabric Embellishing, The basics and beyond by Ruth Chandler, Liz Kettle, Heather Thomas and Lauren Vlcek. Look for this book at your library or here:

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=fabric+embellishing&tag=mh0b-20&index=stripbooks&hvadid=1695110846&hvqmt=p&hvbmt=bp&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_41u30grn4n_p

You need three fabric scraps, decorative thread, a glue stick and a dowel (1/4-inch).

Fabric 1: 2 x 6 inches

Fabric 2: 1 x 5 inches

Fabric 3: 1/4 x 4 inches

Pieces for fabric bead

Pieces for fabric bead

Dowel and glue stick

Dowel and glue stick

Wrap fabric 1 around the dowel once and put a pin in the fabric.

Mark to start glueing

Mark to start gluing

Glue all of the fabric above the pin on the wrong side. Roll the fabric evenly around the dowel and make sure you have enough glue to secure the ending edge of the fabric. Move the fabric down the dowel just to make sure you haven’t glued it in place.

Glue the entire piece of Fabric 2 on the wrong side, center it and wrap it evenly around. (Sorry I forgot to take pictures–and my hands were full of glue.)

Glue the entire piece of fabric 3 on the wrong side (I used a scrap piece of ribbon here); glue and wrap. (In the first ribbon, I cut Fabric 3 1/2-inch wide).

Now wrap thread around the center and place the bead and dowel in a container to dry overnight. I used organza ribbon instead of thread for this bead. Remove the bead from the dowel and glue to your project. You can wrap wire around your bead, bead it, add micro-beads to the edges or let the edges fray. Make larger or smaller beads by cutting smaller fabrics and using a smaller dowel or a straw.

Finished bead, drying overnight

Finished bead, drying overnight

My project is almost done. I feel like I need to add some hand embroidery and then finish the edges and think of a decorative way to hang it. Now I’m going to spend the rest of the day cleaning my studio because it is one big mess. May all your messes be happy! Till next time–

Almost finished

Almost finished

About icandyet.com

Hi—I’m Candy P. I live in beautiful Northwest Arkansas and write this blog about quilting. I love the entire process of quilting from design to piecing and appliqué, to free-motion quilting on my Janome. I have been sewing since I was five and started quilting in 1991 with a group in NE Minnesota. We used cardboard templates and scissors and did everything by hand. I have since made traditional quilts, donation quilts and Quilts of Valor; I’ve done paper piecing and foundation quilting but now really enjoy improvisational piecing using scraps from my stash or my hand dyed fabrics and making art quilts. I am also currently trying to finish any and all unfinished projects. I am so far behind I can never die. I have always been a maker, a sewist and needleworker, running the gamut from hand embroidery to macramé, knitting, crocheting, crafts, book binding and mixed media projects. I have taught a lot of handicraft classes including fabric painting, origami, and calligraphy, Dancercise (who remembers that) and my own exercise classes. When I’m not in the garage dyeing fabric or in my studio, I’m at Zumba or walking on local trails and photographing art or whatever catches my eye. I currently belong to Crystal Bridges, AQS, The Quilt Show, NWA Modern Quilt Guild and the Van Go-Go Girls (a local art quilt group). I occasionally make it to the piano and the golf course and enjoy cooking with my husband and generally wreaking some kind of havoc with my daughter. You can read my previous blog at Kandykwilts.blogspot.com but you cannot read my blog as northwind at The Quilt Show, apparently lost forever. I write about my current projects, mistakes and all, and often tell you what products I use (with no compensation). I am open to suggestions about blog posts and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about my projects or posts. Comment or email me. Feedback is most welcome—just be kind.

Posted on August 4, 2016, in Embellishments and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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