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.
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.