Getting There
Well, work on the back portion of the cloak is complete. Have I mentioned that I hate couching? All done though. Last bit is the second side of the front motif. I'm running out of black floss and will be just a little short. I will have to get some Saturday along with everything else that is going on.

Raffe and I will make a morning trip out to site to plan and check conditions. The weather is mild and things are drying out  and the water table dropping as is evidenced by the disappearing goose pond across the road. To bad for the geese, but good for Hocktide Emprise.

No more pictures until the whole thing is done.

Back to the Cloak
Well, it's official, work on the Saddle Blanket is side lined. It's okay though because in the end, it will have to be custom fit to the winners horse anyhow. I have a super start on it, with the dags half done (the rest are pinned) and half of the back and one end done on the boarder vine work stuff.

I got the cloak back from Ealhwynne last week at our shire meeting. The camel color lucet cording is down with the woven trim. It's perfect and sets off the trim wonderfully. Using colors from other portions of the cloak for the cording really makes it all "Pop".

The Mustard cording on the front motif brings the mustard color around from the back, while the creamy camel color brings the color from the horse and the front motif to the outer edge and integrates the trim which also has the rich earthy tones of the cloak and the russet backing of the front motif. I guess my painting theory is showing through. It's kind of the same thing, in that it keeps the eye moving back and forth, tying all the elements together.

I finished the embroidery and couching on the mane and tail Sunday.  Have I mentioned lately that I hate doing couching? Don't know why, just do. Started the couching lines on the central motif yesterday. I'm using two needles. One for the heavy floss and a smaller one for the single thread stitching it all down. I have things back on the frame because it's just too much fabric to manage on my lap while working two needles. The ganglion cyst on my thumb finally ruptured and is going away, but the current work is killer on my neck and between my shoulders. My arms keep falling asleep at night when I sleep. That's new, but the price of fabulous cloaks I guess.

I've got the primary lines in the central motif done tonight. Just a few odd bits left, that I thought I would de-emphasize with a different color. Started laying that down, and I'm thinking maybe not. I'll sleep on it tonight. Didn't get very far before I was thinking I didn't like it, so no big deal if I have to take that out and start over. I'm hoping to wrap this all up late tomorrow. Oh, alright! I mean Thursday morning around 2 am at my usual bed time. Have I mentioned I hate couching? Then it's back to Aja for the lining. Bless her heart. They are moving and she is still committed to doing what she can. That will give me a few more days to work on the blanket. Then the cloak is back to me for the buttons and clasp most likely just in time for Hocktide.

It's all coming down to the wire now. I was getting a little panic-y last week especially when the weather turned cold and really wet again, but Raffe helped me by telling me simply, "it will all work out or it won't, and if it doesn't it won't be due to something anyone can do anything about, (like weather) and stressing out won't change a single thing." Hey! That's my advice to other people! How dare he use it on me!

Soutmarch Update

The applique for the cloak is cut out and being stitched to the backing by Myrgjol, Cella is making Lucet Cord to outline the applique.

The 300 site tokens are complete and ready to be handed out at Hocktide.

The Cloak and lining are each sewn together but not to each other until after the applique is attached.


Ekat will be starting on the Caparison Saturday April 9th.

I have 5 necklaces finished and in boxes to be given out as prizes or wherever they are needed.

Long Haul
It's funny, with the cloak the hardest and slowest part of the project was marking and cutting some of the felt bits. With this, the cutting was accomplished with many hands and done in short order. The layout process is actually quite tedious, requiring frequent measurements, pining, remeasuring, repining, trimming...

Here are some of my most important tools. I left out the straight edge ruler and my measuring tape. I'm using a lot of quilting pins as place and measure markers aside from holding things in place. The standard hem ruler with the sliding marker comes in handy making sure that I maintain my spacing as I go. In spite of it all being felt, it still crawls a bit with handling. My small tailor snips are good for cutting those small curving shapes and trimming out tight corners. The old foam padding is a good surface for needle felting. I have to avoid the holes as the felt seems to work in more and wants to pull out another chunk of foam.

Scraps of felting are useful for filling in thin areas or as I have found with the antler shaped cut outs on the dags, the areas where two edges pull away. I will also cut and shred small bits to cover any seams. I'm using 100% cotton floss for tacking everything down. And of course, my original rendering with all the measurements scribbled on it.

I'm finding a very significant difference as I begin to stitch things down from the last project where the tacking was mindless (zen happy place) hand work. One difference being that on the cloak, I was able to work most of the motif applique in smaller, easy to handle and hold on your lap sized pieces. This of course, is all going on to the blanket base. As in Horse sized.

I started by measuring and cutting my dag shapes out of the base material. That's the creamy, sand colored felt. It would be worlds easier to be able to make the individual dags and then attach them. But, that would also build in a serious weakness that would make it too easy for the dags to fall victim to accidents and tear off. Hence, cutting the base material to include the dags. I wanted to cut the mustard yellow to run from the inner red strip all the way out to the dags as re-enforcement, but I was running short of the yellow. I'm thinking I will run a section of muslin under the base as a flat lining instead.

I found that before I could lay down the teal strip, I had to felt the upper edge of the dags because of the pipping I added to the edge of the teal. It was feeling very insubstantial and presenting a rather ragged edge and the pipping solved both problems. But, of course then presented a hindrance to the felting process. It was while I felted the upper edges of the dags that I found the yellow and red wanted to pull away from each other, and started shredding small scraps to use as a filler. Works so well, I find myself wishing I had some of the right colored loose wool to work with. Well, truth be told, I keep finding the commercial felt not up to par. I want it to be thicker, and I find it very inconsistent in quality.

I tacked down the teal on both edges. Since I was unable to run the yellow all the way out, I ended up with different numbers of layers and an area under the red where the yellow didn't meet the teal, causing a ditch of sorts. I again turned to my scrap bag and cut strips of filler to fill the gap and keep things smooth and on the same level. Keeping the long strips even is a bit of a pill and requires constant measuring in spite of the pins. It's a catch 22 of sorts. If I put in enough pins to keep it all from crawling, then I am warping and stretching the felt with all the pins. So, it's pin the basics, and measure and stitch, measure and stitch. It makes it all but impossible to get into a rhythmic swing or zone and just plow through.

Here, I've got close to half the length of the back edge laid out and partially stitched. These are only half the dags. I decided to drop the two on the front edge just because they look too funny to my eye, and of course, that would have been two more to cut out of the base and lining... I'm loving the way it looks, but quite worried about the time line after loosing so much time on the cloak. The artist in me says just keep at it, but the professional (who is a better judge of time) says, there is not enough time at this rate to get it done. Unfortunately, at this stage it's a solo operation.

Nearing the End
Prior to the last work session the "nearing the end" meant something completely different. As in, I was nearing the end of my rope. But thankfully, we had five people show up and got a ton of stuff done. Monique came with most of the lucet cording in hand and we talked about how slow it was all going. She informed or reminded me that she had machine stitched most of the cording down last year. I guess I totally forgot that because I remembered seeing her couching it down by hand at Pear Blossom. It was a real Duh head slap moment. I couldn't believe I didn't even think about sewing it down with a zig zag on the machine! I felt so stooopid. We got out my machine and she kicked major butt getting most of it done.

Click on the pictures and you can see how they really start to pop with the cording outlining the various parts. I still have embroidery details to do. In the mean time, Ealhwynne took the cloak home where she will finish the outline of the central motif in back, and machine couch the cording along each side of the woven trim. Then it's back to me to finish the embroidery, then back to Aja, to put in the lining and finish all our edges. Then back to me for the buttons and clasp attachment and done! I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

It was funny in an ironic sort of way. We had five people but only one working on the cloak. Since Monique was working on the cord outline on the machine, I put Verena, Alys, Sara and Aelfric to work on marking and cutting out the felt bits for the saddle blanket. We ended up working in teams with people marking (using the heavy cardboard templates I had stayed up way to late the night before to make) and others then cutting them out. We managed to get 3/4 of the cut outs done! Can I get a Yee Haw Moo Kitty brutha's and sista's?

As I mentioned, I started work on the saddle blanket the night before, or well, actually a couple of days before. I sent Raffe a PDF of my drawing so he could print me up a full size version for me to base my measurements on. It took a couple of tries. The first one he brought home seemed way too big. Elephant blanket anyone?) I re-measured and found I had missed the measurements of the dags in my formula. Second time was perfect. Here it is draped over my Morris chair. Yea, that's how big it is, and that's only half.

With this, I was able to simply trace the dags and other design elements rather than re-draw them to the right size and take measurements of other parts like the strips. I then made the templates so we could layout and mark multiples of the elements. Usually, I take some food box cardboard and cut a template out of that, but since we were marking multiple repetitions of the shapes I went with the heavier cardboard like you find on the back of a sketch pad. Fortunately, Raffe brings home that kind of stuff from work, otherwise, I wouldn't have any backing on any of my sketch/paper pads.

You can see in these pictures the various stages and results of our work. First we mark the shapes on the felt using the templates and being mindful of minimizing waste and keeping all the sizable scraps. In terms of scrap felt, that's almost all of it since you can use even the smallest bits to fill areas that might be a bit thin.

In all we cut out 27 yellow circles, 130 red florets, 45 vine sections, and 22 dags. Keep in mind the dags all have those little antler shape cut outs in the middle. We all had to take breaks from holding the scissors at some points. The Ganglion cyst on my thumb was sore for two days after. I hurt and was really tired after the intensive activities of the weekend, but I was thrilled that we finally had the work session that the previous three needed to be.

Eahwynne came over on Tuesday to get the cloak, and cut the remaining portions of the felt for the Saddle Blanket. Well all except the last 48 inch strip of the teal color we need. We ran out. I wonder if JoAnns will sell me and Inch and a 1/4 more of the teal felt. Not that any additional will go to waste since we can use it on other projects next year.

Here is a quick layout of the pieces and how they will all fit together. I still have to cut the broader strips of the mustard yellow. I realized the answer to the dag problem was to cut the yellow and the cream backing pieces to include the dags. So the cream ground piece will extend and back the dags, and the yellow will extend from the red strip you  can see in the layout all the way down and back the dags as well. With the denim backing that's three layers extending into the body to support the dags.

I totally love this working with felt, and after a great work session begin to feel renewed and re-invigorated. Next year however, I'm only doing this part. No autocrating for me. I just want to have the fun of slaving away on the prizes and organizing that part.

After this, the entries will be separate about either the cloak (wrap up I hope) or the saddle blanket.

Catching Up & Grumbling
It's official, this cloak is now in the Snot Rag Classification. A Snot Rag is any sewing project that you spend so much time and energy on that it becomes tiresome and frustrating that it's not done and gone. We are there! Or, rather I am there!

I had hoped that this sucker would be done a few weeks ago, but it keeps dragging at a snails pace. Mostly because, additional hands from the shire have repeatedly failed to materialize. We had more people working on individual bits and pieces, but couldn't manage to herd the cats when it came to the felting and other key points where many hands would have made less work. Aine helped me with a good stretch to start the felting and Ealhwynne helped me wrap it up. I had hoped that we could get four (or more) people to a four hour session to do almost all of it. Instead it's taken more more like 16 hrs for me to do all of it in between the starting session and ending. Okay, I'll stop grousing now.

The felting is at last all done. It laid everything down very nicely and the little warping that remains will come out when the backing is ironed on.

You can see in the picture, how the right side is still "puffy" and sitting on top. On the left side there are still a few "puckers from the stitching that will minimize even more after ironing the backing on and when the outline is couched on.

Here is Ealhwynne working on the last of the felting. It didn't work well to drape this portion on the frame (need a bunch of spring clamps) so the upper and lower most of the front motif had to be hand held during the felting. You must be very careful not to felt your hands into the project, Felting needles are very sharp and unforgiving. She nicked herself once, but thank the heavens, didn't bleed all over the fabric. Rule one! Don't bleed on the fabric. Rule two! If you bleed on the fabric, only your own spit has the right enzymes to remove it.

With the felting finished, it was time to iron on the backing. It's a basic iron on Pellon. As it's one of the more expensive materials in the project (the wool is donated), you want to be sure not to waste it. *Note, that the backing can be added before or after the felting. If before, the felt does come through and you do breakdown some of the Pellon with the needles. The idea is to add support and stability to the wool and felt itself  in preparation for embroidery and couching. It makes it easier to work on and stability adds to durability in this case.

As you can see, the backing will have multiple little wrinkles. There is no way to avoid these, as the fabric is ironed on and of course, things expand and contract. I actually cut the backing a little too close to the edges of the work area, even though I thought I had allowed plenty of space. Just one of those things to watch for. The problem would be if we didn't catch some of it in the couching stitches only because, the iron on glue is of questionable durability and could potentially work loose.

The backing is multi purpose as I mentioned. It strengthens and stabilizes, but it also binds the felt fibers that have come through the wool of the garment fabric which of course, is what integrates the many individual parts into a whole. As ever, I like to make the best use of selvage edges as possible. Here, I cut them to line up along the opening at center front. We don't have a lot of seam allowance there and will be just turning it over in a shirt tail hem so we don't want any extra bulk added from running into the backing.

Now the final stretch begins. I got a head start on the couching on the mane and embroidery on the face as you can see on the picture above. Ealhwynne came over and got a lesson in couching and started on the central motif outline. I worked on the mane some more. For some reason it is at just the wrong angle and it killed my back in the process. Something about leaning forward, and reaching out with one hand above and one below. I couching down full six strand floss so I'm working with two needles. One on the floss to pull it up at the start and down for  knotting at the end, and the other with a single strand of thread and a fine needle.

Just about the time Ealhwynne finished outline the central motif, my back was demanding I find something else to do, so I started outlining the front motif. Again, using simple black floss. We aren't sure how far the lucet cording will go, so we want to save the cording for the outline of the horse. The front motif will be outlined over all, with mustard colored cording, so the inner lines need to be finer and the black makes it all crisp and eye popping.

Another work session is scheduled to begin in about 15 minutes from now. With the frame, we could have 3 people working on couching around the frame, and another 2 on the front motif sections hanging off the edge. That would be wonderful and efficient, but not very likely. We will get as much done as possible, then I'm dumping it in Ealhwynne's lap by leaving it with her tomorrow to finish up what she can. After the couching and embroidery, it's a simple matter of Aja adding the lining and button loops, then the buttons and the cloak clasp for the final. Sounds easy enough. We'll see how much reality may disagree.

It's Finally Coming Together

Things have been really busy of late, what with business meetings and last minute stuff for Spring Coronet, it's been a lot of juggling SCA work and not much time to keep up on the journal.

The La Tene cloak is finally starting to really take shape. I picked it up from Aja after she finished machine stitching the large pieces and the woven trim. She was sweating the details of the overall perfection or lack there of. I kept reminding her perfection isn't necessary in this project because it all comes out perfect in the end since the felting and couching fixes everything.

I had a fair bit of hand stitching to get done before we could start felting.  Did I mention, I used to hate hand stitching, but discovered the happy zen part of it and now rather enjoy it? Oh, I did? Well, I keep repeating that because I hope some others may discover how relaxing it can be too.

You can see here where we started to get some stretching and warping,  so Aja machine stitched as much as possible, leaving one side of each leg and the tight turns loose.  I then zipped those down by hand, easing the felt down to minimize the ripples. Felting will take care of that even more, and even the couching will help stiffen and shape.

There were also several detail pieces that had to be cut and tacked down before felting could begin. The head was like last years cloak in terms of sort of like puzzle pieces that had to be cut and fit together.

I was hoping to set up a work session at Alric's office where the conference tables work really well for sewing. I figured once the stitching was done, we could have four people felting at a time and take turns at it and get it done in a single afternoon. He secured us a time slot, but real life being what it is we didn't have enough folks able to make it. I saw no sense in dragging everything somewhere else to work for a few hours and decided to stay home and work.

Aelfric dropped off a loaner quilting frame which works really well for draping the garment over for the felting as well as the embroidery and couching. He and the family were down with the plague so I shooed him home quickly. Aine came over to start the felting process with me. We actually got a good amount done in just a few hours. I still had hand sewing to do so I switched off and she went to town with the felting needle.

In case you didn't know, this is not a traditional use of tools or materials. Felting needles are more often used for making dolls and more 3-dimensional items as well as felting from loose wool. I haven't been able to find any information or similar projects where they are used on pre-made felt to secure applique. Let me know if you see something similar.

Last year, the felting was an afterthought and we had already applied the backing thinking we were going to quilt the applique down. As a result, not as much felt pulled through with the additional layer. As you can see, quite a lot of felt is pulling through creating a fuzzy reverse side. In the second picture you can see that the felting is very much working the felt into the fabric creating more of a micro layer on top of the wool but worked in with thousands of little fiber fingers. If you look at the upper right you can see the area not yet felted and the blue dot within the drawn circle sitting on top while the others are worked in. It will be very interesting to me to see how this holds up. If all goes as planned, the outer portion may puff up a bit when the cloak gets wet, but I expect the underside to compress and re-felt somewhat.

*In retrospect, I believe that an earlier application of the backing last year helped to reduce any stretching and warping of the felt to almost none. This time it is going on just prior to the couching.

I digress somewhat. I spent Monday finishing the hand stitching of all the tiny parts for the head, tail and joint spirals. I really want to get this puppy done. We have Spring Coronet next weekend and I'm hoping it will be done so we can show it off and maybe even start selling raffle tickets. I have selfish motives as well. The sooner this is done, the sooner I can start the saddle blanket, and well, attend to the business end of being an event steward.

Tuesday, I was able to felt the head so I could start the line work embroidery. It's simple stuff, it's just there is a lot of it to do and it's on the tedious side. The overall outline of the image will be done in couched lucet cord. It really makes the whole thing pop. I'm very much hoping that we can get some other folks to do the couching. I love the look and texture, but ooooooh how I hate doing it. Don't know why, just do.

In the first picture you can see that the head pieces and mane are all on. The second shows some of the detail. Not as much as I would like because my camera isn't great. You can barely see the lines in the ear that are just to differentiate from the halter.  I am using a simple chain stitch for most of it, but a running stitch in the ear and around the eye and nostril. What you can't really see at all, is that I doted the halter with little red french knots to carry the color upwards and add texture.

More felting tomorrow. I'm glad the cutting is all done. I have a ganglion cyst that has come up on the outside of my thumb that I'm pretty sure is where my tailor snips ride when cutting out the little curvy bits. It should go away just in time for me to start cutting the blanket out.

Bringing the Parts Together
Wednesday March 2
Aja sent me some great pictures this morning and has been slaving away at the sewing machine to begin stitching the various elements down. The spindly legs and long sinuousness of some of the other parts of our La Tene horse are causing problems with stretching in spite of our careful efforts to avoid this problem. Our only solution at this point is for her to machine stitch what portions she can and then I will hand stitch the rest. Good team effort. She can whip things down with the machine easily and I enjoy hand stitching because it allows me to be in a happy zen mode.

horse and enamal motif
Here, the horse and enamel motif are being set in place. You can see up on the neck where we are starting to have some warping occur. Much of that will flatten out in the felting, but we are also  working to avoid it as much as possible. On the legs the answer seems to be to machine stitch one side and hand stitch the other.

* Special note: It seems that our cats are sending secret love notes back and forth via the felt. When I brought pieces of felt back from Aine's house, my demon spawned cat started rubbing her neck on it like it was made of cat nip. When I brought scraps home from Aja's house, more of the same.

Ealhwynne delivered the inkle woven trim that she has been finishing with fringing and beads. I love her color choices of a subtle blue and earth tones. With the use of a soft chenille yarn, the woven trim with fringe and beads adds another textural dimension to the over all project that compliments the Iron Age motifs very nicely. Some folks might think that Inkle weaving is the sole domain of the Norse cultures, but I quickly found counterparts and cross use of tools and techniques in multiple cultures and time periods. The cloak is not about purity of culture or time period but about creating a uniquely  beautiful community work that utilizes the many skills and talents of our local branch.
woven trim

And now Aja has all the elements to finish this phase of the project.

She will finish machine stitching the applique and trim, then hand the cloak off to me to finish the hand stitching on the applique before we start felting the applique into place. We are aiming for a single work session to needle felt the applique, then the really time consuming work of couching the outlines and embroidering the details begins.

Other Bits of Stuff
The items ordered from the internet, have all arrived. Felting needles, belt buckle from Raymonds Quiet Press, and the bells for the blanket from Ventana.

Bells and Buckle
The pictures are not very good, but it's all I have.

The belt buckle and tip are one of the many super cool prizes we have for this year. It was just too perfect with it's horse heads to pass up.

The bells are for the saddle blanket. I would have preferred to get the acorn shaped ones that were closer to the extant piece it is based on, but these were less expensive and have these great stylized faces and a very pleasant tone.

I keep nudging the other folks working on various projects to take pictures and join in the blog process, but they've been very shy. I think I may have finally won through with a couple and if they won't post stuff, they will send me some pictures of the stuff.

Progress (or not) on Cloak

Wednesday Feb 23

We were supposed to have a big work session at the college, where I optimistically hoped many of the farmed out bits would begin to come together. Que dire weather forecast of huge snow storm moving into the area.  So, most folks didn’t make it.  I myself had a hard time keeping on task as Sir William was there and he and I kept talking horses and swapping stories. It’s all his fault! He showed up with horse hair on his jeans, and all this work on projects for an equestrian event, and the horse fever that had long lain dormant in my blood… Well, we got a little work done, but not near as much as I had hoped. Doggone real life keeps butting in for everyone. I remembered to put the camera in my bag but forgot to use it while work was being done. It seems to take a real effort on my part to attend to such details. Next time around, maybe we can recruit a videographer or something to handle that part.

We did get the general measurements hashed out for the saddle blanket. I hope to get the blow up of the line drawing done soon, so I can start making templates for all the pieces that need to be cut out.

Thursday Feb 24

I spent most of the day trying to recover. I ran around like mad on Wednesday before the work session doing things like stopping by the local tack store to get some help with figuring out some average measurements for the Saddle Blanket, Aside from that, blood draw for lab work, three doctors appointments, then back to pick up Ralph from work, drop him, grab something resembling dinner, pack up a bin of materials for the work session and my ever present chair and pad and headed out in a snow storm for Ashland. No wonder I felt like Road Kill x 2 the next day.

I’m seriously reconsidering the effort to trek out to the college. It’s a bit of a drive for me, and I have to miss my evening swim because I can’t swim, take Ralph home and get to the college all at the same time. Mostly though, I have to stop working, pack stuff to take to work on, drive to the other end of the valley, schlep me, my chair and what ever materials I am hauling, work for two hours, (trying really hard to keep that yakking to a minimum) then pack it all out, drive home, where there is no one to help me get it in the house from the car… It kicks my butt, folks aren’t showing up as hoped, and most frustrating of all, I could stay home and get more done on several other projects during that time with less physical challenge and drain.

Friday Feb 25

Real life strikes again. I spent 4 and a half hours with Ralph in Urgent care. He took a header in the drive on Thursday, and broke stuff in his left hand, and badly chipped his two front teeth, and generally bruised himself up pretty bad. I managed to get out and pick up some of the bits that didn’t make it to the Wednesday night session so I could deliver them all to our new stitcher extraordinaire, Aja. Crystal got sick and now finals are coming up for her and the other students that were hoping to make short work of the sewing part using the industrial machines at the school shop.

Que celestial choir, Aja has a bunch of experience as a stitcher that she has been keeping secret. I’m sure she already regrets letting that particular cat out of the bag.  So, all the bits and pieces that have been farmed out are making their way to Aja’s house, where she will be stitching them down to the cloak shell.

I managed to get the courier work of picking up bits from point A and deliver them to point B, then drive to point C to drop off beads to be worked into the fringe ends of the woven trim, and pick up the buttons that Alric made. Ealhwynne will then deliver the trim from point C to point B. Did I forget to mention that we had on again, off again, snow storms all day and a forecast of hard freeze starting in the late afternoon?

Saturday Feb 26

Murphy’s frigging law is plaguing us! Between bouts of real life hitting everyone, and some mis-communications it seems like everything is one step forward and two steps back. I spent the weekend working on stuff I hadn’t planned on, so I could get it all to by Aja on Monday so she has enough time to get all the pieces stitched down by next weekend when I hope we can schedule a work session and make up some lost time by getting all the felting done in a day. The needles arrived and I got four or five of the same size, in hopes that we can drape it over a frame and have several people felting at once.

It may seem like I’m being a slave driver, but all the work leading up to this point is the easy stuff. The part that will really chew up the time is the embroidery and couching of the cording. Plus we are hosting Spring Coronet, and have several other projects to get done. I want to get this puppy put to bed so we can get on to the other things, and okay, so I can focus my energies on the saddle blanket and the rest of Hocktide.

Monday Feb 28

Delivered the front motif pieces to Aja.

front and back of La Tene front motif

This is a La Tene motif from a scabbard. I made a cardboard template for a single piece of the repetitive shape. I decided we should cut the motif down the middle forming it out of two strips rather than cutting it all out of a single piece, to make it easier to handle. We then traced around the template with a pen. Using ink isn’t a problem as the side with ink gets placed towards the backing and the couched outline will hide any bleed through and really tighten the whole image up to a crisp look.

Aine did one strip before real life got in the way and I finished with the other. I wanted to show the back of the work so you can see how basic the tacking is. I’m using a single thread of cotton floss and figuring that any thread broken in the felting process won’t matter and will work into the felt.

This particular portion had to be handled carefully. The cutting out required quite a bit of handling and turning while cutting with the points of very sharp scissors. The more you handle this thin commercially made felt, the more likely it is to stretch and thin. Care had to be taken while tacking it down to do so very lightly to avoid further thinning or pulling. You can see in the picture that it looks very quilted.  No need to worry as that will all smooth out when felted.

More soon, I hope.


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