Merry Christmas

Greetings!

Another holiday season is upon us. We have not had much snow here but today everything is covered in white. It has been a busy and emotional year. Through it all the act of creating has kept me sane!

I had fun using some unusual fabric and pre-fusable Hawaiian applique cutouts. This piece was quilted using my Sashiko Machine. WOW! what a learning experience that was!!

I vended at two new shows this year that was for handmade finished products; Wildwind in Pittsfield, PA and Crary Art Gallery in Warren, PA. Both were alot of fun and got to talk to people from the community where I grew up. I also have a booth at the Titusville Market Square in Titusville, PA. It features my handmade goods. They are open seven days a week.

I stretched myself with my needlefelting and created some Wool Paintings. Yes! They are all made of wool fibers felted together in a dry needling process. One lady had to touch one to make sure it really was made of wool…LOL

I also went back to making gnomes and this year added the elf. What fun to see their individual personalities come to life.

The santa gnomes were a big hit!

I am taking a bit of a break right now. Doing research for new projects for next year. I have myself quite booked with a record number of shows to vend at….6!!! The first one is in March and I will also be teaching 2 classes and demonstrating. It will be an exciting year for sure!

Look for new updates on my etsy store with a brand new name in the new year. I am finally making a committed effort to getting things on the etsy store….YEAH!

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas

Happy Creating!

Anita

The Pineapple

SYMBOL OF HOSPITALITY

The pineapple as a welcoming icon can trace its roots to Christopher Columbus, who brought he succulent fruit back to Europe from its ancestral home in the late 1400s. Believed to have originated in Brazil and Paraguay, Columbus “discovered” the fruit in Guadeloupe in 1493.

Legend has it that captains would mount a pineapple on their gateposts outside their home to signify a safe return home. They were also an invitation to visit, enjoy food and drink and hear tales of the sailors’ adventures.

In colonial America, hostesses would place a fresh pineapple as a centerpiece at the table when entertaining visitors in their homes. Visiting was the primary method of cultural exchange as well as entertainment, so hospitality was central to colonial life. The pineapple symbolized the warmest welcome a hostess could extend to her guests and became the dessert for the meal.

I have loved this image for a long time and always wanted to make it into a project. Here is my interpretation of a pattern I found by Vicki Stratton Designs

I chose to use hand-dyed wool for the stem at the top of the pineapple. Instead of individual leaves I made it in 3 pieces graduating the color from dark to light.

Here is the finished project… a table runner. It still needs quilted but I am excited about the colors. I had enough pineapple material left over so I made a bag with the motif. There is still fabric left to make another pineapple motif and I may just make a pillow too!

Kits will be available soon!

Happy Creating, Anita

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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

woolfelt-group

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

William Morris

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris Signature
William Morris age 53.jpg

Beginning in Britain around 1880, the Arts and Crafts movement was born from the values of people concerned about the effects of industrialization on design and traditional craft. In response, architects, designers, craftsmen, and artists turned to new ways of living and working, pioneering new approaches to create decorative arts.

One of the most influential figures during this time was William Morris, who actively promoted the joy of craftsmanship and the beauty of the nature. Having produced over 50 wallpaper designs throughout his career, Morris became an internationally renowned designer and manufacturer. Other creatives such as architects, painters, sculptors and designers began to take up his ideas. They began a unified art and craft approach to design, which soon spread across Europe and America.

Strawberry Thief 1880 designed by William Morris. One of his most iconic designs.The Arts and Crafts Movement and William Morris

Born in Walthamstow, East London in March 1834, William Morris was a poet, artist, philosopher, typographer, political theorist, and arguably the most celebrated designer of the Arts & Crafts movement. He strived to protect and revive the traditional techniques of handmade production that were being replaced by machines during the Victorian era’s Industrial Revolution.

As a designer, William created many wallpaper designs. Inspired by nature, Morris’ designs feature leaves, vines, and flowers that he observed in his gardens or on walks in the countryside. Rather than life-like illustrations, his drawings are subtly stylized versions.

The Arts and Crafts Movement and William Morris                      The Arts and Crafts Movement and William Morris

My love of William Morris and the arts and crafts movement began when I became an Occupational Therapist. I learned that;

“By the turn of the 20th century, the arts-and-crafts movement’s advocates formed a network which reached across America. Proponents were eager reformers celebrating nature, authentic experience, and honest design. Like their British contemporaries, they displayed a patrician contempt for the system of mass production, which was keyed to lower class tastes. They advocated the use of natural materials and processes and the purchase and use of hand-made items that were straightforward and simple in design. Indeed, for some advocates, the arts-and-crafts movement meant quality of design as much as quality of life.”

There were physicians who argued the whole mind body connection in healing was being overlooked. People suffering from Neurasthenia were not being treated properly and this malady was being linked to the strain of American life. Dr. Herbert Hall started a work cure method for treatment of these type of patients.  This would take the place of the traditional bed rest treatment. He would draw his principles directly from the Arts & Crafts movement philosophies;  …maintained that machines and factory work limited human happiness. He urged a return to simpler ways of life where experience was “more authentic” because less complicated by modern bureaucratic and industrial structures.”

Two other physicians, Adolph Meyer and William Rush Dunton (more on him another time) also joined Hall in his discussion of humanizing treatment of the chronically ill. Others in this time period also came on board and became standard names in my Occupational Therapy history courses.

The Arts-and-Crafts Origins in Occupational Therapy

1950-coal-miner-occupational-therapy-rehab-kp-vallejo2

Early occupational therapy practice combined the therapeutic and medical with the diversional and recreational use of activities. One of the earliest sources of overlap between these applications was the sheltered workshop. Hall and other physicians championed the development of sheltered workshops where patients produced carefully designed, well-made objects such as hand towels, ceramic vases, and cement pots. The craft objects were sold in shops that had three purposes-to employ talented people who could earn a living by making authentic objects, to give spiritual support to craftspeople who pursued crafts as an avocation, and to help employ the mentally and physically handicapped (“Craftsmanship,” 1906; Evans, 1974; Roorbach, 1913; Simkhovitch, 1906).

For 20 years I taught Introduction to Occupational Therapy to my first year students. It was always exciting to revisit this rich history. Then I discovered Michelle Hill. She was a quilter who took inspiration from William Morris and his designs and created her own quilt designs.

William Morris in Applique      More William Morris Applique

UREEKA!! What a way to incorporate my love of the Arts & Crafts movement and applique, especially using my hand-dyed wool!

Now that I am retired I can delve deeper into this art form. Recently I completed a small quilt I hung on my wall using William Morris Christmas fabrics.

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I am continuing to study his work and my next project will have wool applique in it. Who knew my love of crafts would lead me to Occupational therapy and William Morris and back to crafts.  I have come full circle!

Happy Creating! Anita