- 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, but 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 portions 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 with heating and cooling. 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. 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 possible. Here, I cut them to line up along the opening at center front. We don’t have a lot of seam allowance there so we will be just turning it over in a shirt tail hem and we don’t want any extra bulk added from 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’m couching down full six strand floss & working with two needles. One on the floss to pull it through and 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 (Sunday afternoon). 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.
Catching Up & Grumbling
Posted by Mama Cat on March 28, 2011