Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Autumn felted and embroidered journal cover...

So as promised, here are some photos of the 'Autumn' themed journal cover.

Here is all the fibre laid out, pre-felting.  You can't see how deep it is from this angle - it's about 4cm!
There's a whole mixture of fibres, including many from a wonderful mixed pack from a recent discovery: Stone Creek Silk. All in all there's merino roving, silk throwsters waste, silk tops, silk noil, flax fibre, bamboo fibre, soy silk, angelina and wool locks.

After the felting I added some couched threads on the front cover side, and some embroidery on the back cover side.

On the back cover I used cast-on stitch to represent falling leaves (in lovely space-dyed threads from Stef Francis)

And on the front cover I couched on silk boucle thread in a classic Japanese 'gust of wind' design.  I also added a wonderful handmade burr wood button (courtesy of  Julie and her husband of Roseland Bags), and again I made two different kumihimo braids as pagemarker and for closure.

I lined the very inside with plain green cotton, and for the cover holders I used another piece of antique kimono fabric from Kyoto.

Here's the front laid out:

...and a detail of the button closure:

All in all I was pleased with how these two journal covers turned out - although they're quite substantial, and not really delicate, I love the colours, and they feel wonderful to hold.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Felted and embroidered journal covers...

Two big projects I was working on in the run up to Christmas were a couple of felted and embroidered journal covers, made to cover Moleskine large note/sketchbooks.  The colour themes were 'Sea' and 'Autumn'.  These were by far the biggest felting projects I have undertaken using my embellisher machine, and it certainly felt the strain of felting mixed fibres over about a 30cm x 20cm area - lots of broken needles!

For 'Sea', I used organza ribbon and fabric, wool locks, merino roving, silk fibre, silk noil, silk throwsters waste, angelina fibre, silk/metal organza fabric, net fabric, silk fabric and bamboo fibre.  I felted this onto cotton batting, and then masked off the journal cover area and added lots of hand embroidery stitches: feather, colonial knot, bullion, seed, whipped spider, cast-on, double cast-on and fly stitches.

I also added a beautiful big carved mother-of-pearl button (it had been lying in wait in my stash for years, waiting for the perfect project!).

To make the lining of the cover, I used pieces of antique Japanese kimono fabric samples - I bought many of these at the most amazing temple book market in Kyoto on our last trip in 2007:

I also made two different kumihimo braids, one for a page-marker and one for closure.  Here's what the inside looks like, with the cover on the journal:

And here's the final journal cover, inside and outside:

...and a closeup of the button, and a texture closeup:

Phew!  That's a lot of photos... !  I think I'll show 'Autumn' in a separate post :D

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Works in progress...

So various presents have all been finished (more details to follow once they have been unwrapped!), which gives me time to get back to my old favourite - more felted, beaded and embroidered jewellery.

Here are the three pieces I'm working on at the moment - at this point I have made the felt, and added the beads and embroidery, and have just added backing felt to the pieces using Vilene with an additional piece of Tyvek for the brooch:

One of my favourite parts is choosing names for my pieces.  Sometimes they are obvious and I know what they are called straight away, and other times it takes longer to learn their names.  For these three, 'Droplet' (top right) was chosen almost before I had decided on the shape, whereas 'Prairie' (top left) and 'Ember' (bottom) were slightly more elusive.

The next stage is choosing what shade of embroidery floss to use to whip-stitch around the edges of the piece - I find this decision one of the hardest parts, as the colour choice can make all the difference.  I often narrow it down to 2 or 3 colours and then sleep on it, and the choice is easier the next day.

'Prairie' and 'Droplet' will become brooches, and 'Ember' will be a necklace - I add the findings last of all, and then comes the Flickr/Etsy photo session (still so hard!).

My favourite shots are always the texture closeups:

Sunday, 13 December 2009


Tastykaeru has passed the 100 sales mark... very exciting!!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Adding beads...

I've been experimenting a wee bit with adding extra beads to my necklaces and earrings...  what do you think?

Not sure what I think yet.... need to mull the idea over for a while!

I've also been working on some secret projects...

more on these at a later date!

Friday, 13 November 2009

A sneak peek...

Lots and lots of projects on the go at the moment... thought I would just post up a wee sneak peek of what I'm making for my niece Mathilde's birthday - a joint project with my sister who is making her a very fun nature-themed 'fuzzy felt' board - what a great idea!

Bodies and antennae next!

Monday, 9 November 2009

New prototype earrings...

Well, I've been out of commission for a while being a bit under the weather, but I'm on the mend now :).  One good thing about my crafting is that it can be done with minimal expenditure of physical energy (...not including eyesight!).  

I've been working on some earring prototypes after being given a new idea (thanks Mum!).  I found some lovely vintaj patina metal blanks and earwires on Etsy, here, and have been seeing what I can turn them into.  Here are the results so far!


Nous sommes du soleil





I've been playing around with the idea of adding beads, as you can see with the 'Gamboge' pair.  I have some lovely findings from PatinaQueen and some fabulous beads from CaladoniaMarch  on the way - so once they arrive I will be able to try out a few more ideas.  I've been thinking about possibly adding a very few beads to my necklaces also - we'll see!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

October giveaway winner~!

The cats weren't interested in helping me with selecting the winner this time...

don't think you can trick us again... we know it's not food this time!!

so instead I turned to random.org.

*drum roll*

and the winner of my October giveaway is commenter no.2   ...

*~*    Jude      *~*


To everyone else, thank you so much for entering, and keep your eyes peeled for more giveaways in the future!

Monday, 19 October 2009

October giveaway~!

Inspired by the wonderful autumn foliage that is adorning Edinburgh at the moment, up for grabs in my October giveaway is a kumihimo braided bracelet in rich shades of lime, copper and amber.

A close-up of the braid texture:

The bracelet is made from a 16-tama braid, made on my marudai.

At the moment she measures 21.5cm long - but I will happily alter her length for the lucky winner :)

If you would like to enter the giveaway, just leave me a comment on this post, and I will put your name into the draw in a week's time~!

Good luck!

Friday, 16 October 2009


In August I finally finished my first solo music project - called 'Human'.

I have made all of the tracks freely available to download on my website, here.

Music is the other way I love to spend my 'free' time, and although it's wonderfully rewarding and fulfilling, it is fantastically hard work: mentally, physically and emotionally.  'Human' took me three years to make; I learned so much about the process during that time, but still have so much to learn too.

Two months on, I'm beginning to have glimmers of new ideas... .

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Colour Chart Poster

Colour Chart Poster, originally uploaded by Tate Gallery.

As promised, here is a picture of the 'Colour Chart' poster that I mentioned in a previous post - Tate Liverpool very kindly sent me two copies, and my name's on them and everything! :D

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Works in progress - October....

I've been finishing up a lot of bits and pieces recently, and last weekend I had a chance to start some new projects too... .

One of the things I've been working on is the swap package for my Clasheen Crafty Swap autumn swap (Organized by the wonderful Nicola). This is my second crafty swap - the idea is you are paired up with a fellow crafter, given a general theme, and then you swap away with all sorts of handmade goodies and little extras.  This time I've been paired with the very talented Julie, (all the way over in Arizona!) so I'm very excited to receive my package!  I'll post some photos when both of our packages have safely arrived :D.  

Oh ok then, here's a wee preview of one of the pieces I made for Julie:

I finally got around to listing some kumihimo rings and earrings on my Etsy shop - the rings look lovely when worn, but it's a bit difficult to describe the sizing as the nature of the braid makes them very flexible:

Seashore ring:

'Rust' ring - showing the way I have made the braid into a ring:

Here are a pair of the kumihimo earrings - these ones made with my 'Hibiscus' braid:

I was able to get my embellisher out last weekend and have a play, making some felted pieces as the precursor to several different projects.  My Grandma has sent me some great patterns for felted mitts, so I'm going to give them a go.  I was trying to explain to her how the embellisher works, but it's a bit difficult to grasp if you've never seen one, so I thought I could try illustrating it with some photos:

So first of all I prepare my fibres - I always use a real mixture.  In this pile is merino roving, silk fabric, silk fibre and throwsters waste, silk noil and wool locks.  It's not normally necessary, but I like to use some sort of backing material to felt onto because I usually need the finished felt to be very stiff.

Next, I zoom all over the fibres with the embellisher, to felt them together.  The embellisher machine looks like a sewing machine, but instead of one eyed needle, mine has seven barbed felting needles (with no eyes) - so you don't use any thread.  Instead the needles move up and down (just as in a sewing machine) and this action agitates the fibres and felts them together.  It's a lot of fun, and the results are always slightly unpredictable which adds an interesting element of surprise!

So after all that, you end up with a piece of 'material' like this:

Depending on how much texture/flatness you want, you can spend less or more time with it under the embellisher needles.  I'm going to use this particular piece for making an iPhone pouch for a friend.

Apart from that, I'm working on another brooch prototype idea:

...and I finally got around to sorting out my embroidery threads:


October giveaway to follow soon...~!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

My favourite supplies... Part 1!

I've been thinking for a while now about how lucky I am to have access to all the wonderful sellers who produce the various supplies that I use in my work, and wanting to acknowledge that in some way.  The internet, and especially Etsy, have really enabled me to 'make' in the way I do.  When I bought my embellisher, I really had no 'formal' idea of what to do or how to use it 'properly'- but I was able to find shops on eBay and then Etsy that stocked things I had never even heard of, much less though of using, to try out - and what's more shops run by helpful and friendly sellers (which makes such a difference!). It is because of these sellers that I am able to enjoy crafting as much as I do - so as a 'thank you' I have decided to post occasionally about my favourite suppliers.  Hopefully you will see something that will inspire a new project!


My first favourite supplier is Sarah, of therainbowgirl, on Etsy.  Sarah is a fellow UK Etsian (always great as it means the goodies arrive faster!!) who sells really beautiful hand-dyed threads, fabrics and fibre.  

Sarah has a wonderful eye for colour, and puts together many marvellous selections of different hand-dyed fabric like this:

I've used pieces of Sarah's fabric for smocking (the variegation of colour looks great), embroidery and also in my fibre art cards.  Here's some more beautiful examples, which you can find here:

Unfortunately I'm no quilter (but it's on my list...!) - but I can imagine a gorgeous, sunny quilt made using these lovely pieces.

Sarah also puts together fantastic mixed thread selections, which I love to use for embroidery, couching and my kumihimo jewellery. This beautiful sandy and green selection available here:

Another great idea is her fabric and thread kits in co-ordinating colours, like this one:

And then there's these beauties:

- a 'mixed bag' containing cotton and muslin fabrics, lace, trim and threads, again all hand-dyed in such pretty colours.  I have found these packs so useful for using with my embellisher and as the basis for fibre art pieces.

These are delicious silk-carrier rods which give wonderful texture to felted pieces:

-and there are plenty more wonderful delights in a tempting rainbow of colours to browse in the shop.  If you ever buy supplies (and come on, I know you do :P) I urge you to check it out!

I am a regular customer of Sarah's (she knows my address off by heart!) and using her wonderful threads and fabrics in my work is a real pleasure.  However, Sarah is not only a supplier - she is also a very talented embroiderer and artist - check out her new blog for some wonderful work and inspiration.

Thank you, Sarah!