New items listed in the store!

You can find these listed under wool kits in the store. Thank you for looking 🙂

Fearing Failure!

creativity2

I don’t know about you but I seem to let failure stop me from creating sometimes. I look and look at pinterest or other sites for inspiration. I have a massive collection of books and saves on my computer! But that seems like all I do sometimes is look!

Why do I just look? I think it is because I am a perfectionist when it comes to my art work. I want it perfect the first time 🙂 When it doesn’t come out like I envisioned I usually drop that project and never go back to it. However, all the accomplished artists talk about samples.

In knitting, make a sample swatch…WHAT???…you want me to waste time making a swatch when I could just dive into the project! Painters draw ideas in their sketch book and make many samples using watercolors or colored pencils and markers.

I spoke in my last post about receiving my newest book, The Art of Moy Mackay She is a painter turned felter. She makes absolutely beautiful wool painted landscapes. In this book she goes deeper into her process.

moyMM18_43-HEATHER-VALLEY-GRAZING-220x170

Her process starts with using that sketchbook and making notes and drawings. She also talks about making mini samples in various colors of the picture you want to make before committing to the bigger version.

Making minis! Making samples! Oh My….this will be a hard concept for me to follow but I am going to give it a shot 🙂 After all she is a famous artist and she might know a thing or two about process…LOL

Speaking of process….I recently came across a website written by two brothers Joe and Sam Pitcher They just had a free series of videos about process and their mom Sue Stone

She talks about the power of 5 basic stitches. It is amazing what her art looks like with just a few basic stitches!

sue stone

You can see more of her work on Facebook

So….I have decided to go small and samples before creating a big project. Those felted pieces I talked about finishing last time, well, I am just going for it. Many of them require free motion stitching before the hand stitching. I am good with hand stitching but not free motion. I am not going to worry (well almost…lol) about what I am doing. I am just going to get myself into the Flow 🙂

If you are stuck and afraid, I say, “no more!” as Nike tells us…..JUST DO IT!

Happy creating!

Anita 🙂

Stitching time…

Over the past several months I have done multiple wool paintings. These were wet felted and are in need of being finished. Finishing means putting in some machine stitching, hand stitching, extra needle felting or other embellishments to add extra texture and depth to a painting.

One of my favorite artist in this media is Moy Mackay

Her work is absolutely stunning and so inspirational. moy AFTER-THE-STORM-MM17_48-F88-X88CM-£1995-220x170moyMM18_43-HEATHER-VALLEY-GRAZING-220x170                             moy MM18_17-GRAZING-ON-WASH-DAY-1-220x170

These paintings have all been made using wool and other fibers. She creates such detail and texture in her pieces.

I just received her latest book The Art of Moy Mackay I have her previous 2 books and they were awesome but I am blown away by the detailed information in this book. I can’t wait to get into it and pick up ideas to finish my pieces and create some new ones! 🙂

Happy Creating!

Anita 🙂

spring flowers

flowers

Brrrrrrrrr…..it’s cold outside! Negative numbers the last two days 😦 But, I am turning my thoughts to spring. Currently I am working on a new wall hanging inspired by the picture above; featuring penny flowers 🙂

Background will be a dyed piece of wool with sky and ground. You fill in your garden with wool applique and stitching. It is a great way to explore new stitches or adding beads and other embellishments! I’ve got my pennies and threads ready to go!img_32355b15d

If you are not sure what stitches to try, Creative Stitching by Sue Spargocreativestitching

Now off to dye some wool background pieces and get stitching!

Happy Creating! Anita ❤

New Program in 2019

Can you believe we are almost at the end of January in the new year! One of my goals for 2019 was to be more active in the community.  Barb of Bee Happy Quilting is always telling me people ask for wool. She sends them to my studio (not far away) but they never seem to get here. So we decided I needed bring the wool to them!

Two times a month I will be at Barb’s shop with my hand-dyed wool. There will be samples to view and kits to buy along with various sizes and bundles of wool. I will be featuring something new each month! For February there are two projects of which both have kits.

I have also dyed some pretty pink and red wool colors….YUMMY!

pink and red wool

To keep up on new things happening you can check out Anita’s Homespun on Facebook 🙂

The next event will be February 6th. See you then!

Happy Creating! Anita 🙂

Is it wool felt or felted wool?

Dyeing wool fabric. When done wool is felted.

I get asked this question all the time. People want to know if they are the same or different.

The answer…they are two different things…let me explain!

Felted Wool: This fabric that has been woven on a loom. It needs to be shrunk so the final fabric can be manipulated without fraying. It can be easily cut and used in wool applique projects. The process is fairly easy.

How to felt wool: Whether felting wool fabric or a wool sweater from Goodwill, the process is the same. Felting wool requires three conditions — heat, moisture and friction — which can be provided by your home washing machine and dryer. Here are a few tips for successful felting:

  • Use a hot-water wash, a cold-water rinse, and the usual amount (per load) of whatever laundry soap you have on hand.
  • Set your home washing machine for the load setting that will allow free movement of your goods, but don’t use too much water or they will float at the top and not get enough agitation or friction. If you desire a thicker, more shrunken finish, wash the sweaters in a load with your regular laundry. The weight of jeans and towels agitates the wool and enhances the felting process.
  • Dry the sweaters in the dryer on high heat. This step tightens the felt further, and sometimes makes felt that lacks body become full of it!
  • If, after one cycle of washing and drying, you still haven’t achieved the desired felted texture, try repeating the process one or twice more.
  • After your sweaters have felted enough to hold a crisp edge when cut, remove them promptly from the dryer, smooth them out, and stack them flat to store until you’re ready to use them. This keeps wrinkles at bay and the need for ironing to a minimum. It also allows for maximum visibility of your material palette.

When drying make sure to not dry completely. You don’t want to get wrinkles to set in by drying completely. Now you are ready to cut your material for your project!

wool applique

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Wool Felt:

Wool felt is not a WOVEN product. Felt is a textile material that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing fibers together. Felt can be made of natural fibers such as wool or animal fur, or from synthetic fibers or wood pulp-based rayon.

colored_felt_cloth

YOU DO NOT NEED TO FELT THIS PRODUCT! If you put it through the washer like wool fabric you will end up with a Brillo pad!!!! LOL

You can however create a fleece-like look by getting it wet, squeezing out the water and putting in the dryer on regular setting. Again do not over dry! You can learn more about wool felt at National Nonwovens

Try a free project. free projects

When should I use wool felt or felted wool? It depends! Wool fabric is more expensive then wool felt (unless you are getting sweaters and felting them). If you are just starting out you may want to purchase a kit with wool felt. Some people just love wool and they do not want to use anything else!

Can you use both? Absolutely! There are no rules. I have used wool for the appliques and then attached them to a wool felt background.

Wool applique on wool felt background.

You can also applique either on to cotton fabric and turn it into a quilt. I tend to do this a lot.

All these quilted wall hangings have cotton, wool, and/or wool felt on them.

There you have it! I hope that helps! You can keep up to day on what I am doing in my studio by following me on Facebook

You can also find me on Pinterest

Happy Creating! Anita

Who is your inspiration?

This is my Aunt Harriett. We just called her Auntie. She was such a gentle woman. She would do anything for anyone! She did not have children so my sister and brothers were like hers (our Mom was her sister).

She loved to knit! She could do other crafts as well but knitting was her passion. She made the most beautiful baby sets! Most she gave away. Every year at Christmas we all were eager to open her gift. We knew we would have a new hat, mitten and scarf set!!!! These are the last ones she made me. I never had the heart to wear them.

When I was growing up,  Auntie and Uncle would come to visit every Saturday night and play cards with my mom and dad. She would always have a knitting bag in tow! She’d pull out those needles and her fingers would fly. I could sit for hours and watch her knit.

Eventually, around the 3rd grade, I decided it was time to learn how to knit as well. She had shown me how to crochet but that didn’t seem to click! It was many years later when a woman living in the nursing home I worked at taught me how to crochet and read a pattern.

Anyway! My first knitting needles were plastic. I would take my knitting to school and knit on our breaks. It was there, tragically, one of the needles got broken. Being plastic, I was able to sharpen it in the pencil sharpener. So what if one needle was shorter!!! LOL

My first garment was a sweater for my uncle. It was a pretty shade of royal blue. He was a big man and I was a little girl (grade school)so he seemed overly big. I made the biggest size in the pattern. Needless to say, it was WAYYYYY….too big. I told him I would tear it out and make it smaller. He said NO! He never wore it and when we moved him out of his house several years ago there was that sweater in a drawer ❤

My Auntie is gone now but her inspiration still burns within me. I will always carry her passion for making things!

I ask you….who inspired you? Please comment! I would love to hear your stories!

HAPPY CREATING! ANITA

What to do?

I have been asked many times what is the best way to hold applique pieces in place.  A good question but not just one straight answer.

In the beginning I used fusible web to hold my pieces in place. The problem I had was it did not hold up for the duration of the time I was working on the piece. It became frustrating and I ended up using pins, which I wanted to get away from.

Pins: It is an option but my thread tended to snag and get caught when stitching. There had to be a better way!!!!!

Glue: You can use an water soluable glue stick or I have used Roxanne’s Glue. Again, I never found this really satisfying as the glue sometimes did not stick as well as I wanted and again I was back to the pins!

Staples: Yes! you read that right…lol I came across Leonie Bateman from Australia. She uses a combination of glue and staples. I have adopted this process and had great success!   The wool will self heal those holes and you will never know you used a staple. It will also work with wool felt but I would suggest not putting staples in until you are really ready to sew your piece. While the holes do come out it takes a bit longer.

You can put in as many staples as you need to hold in place. I will put at least 2 more in my bird.

I hope that helps!

Happy Creating! Anita