Colour Streams Christmas Greetings

Christmas greetings to you all. Firstly thank you for your interest and custom in my luscious goodies over the last year. I would like to wish you and your family all the best for Christmas and may 2014 be filled with peace, goodwill and plenty of embroidery & textile exploration. In 2014 I will be running a series of workshops from my home in beautiful northern NSW. I will send out the time table when completed. I would love to meet you and share our love of playing with all those fabricy, felty, jumbly bits and pieces. I’m sure you know what I mean.

We are offering a Christmas Special this year of 10% discount or more on most kits aBoho earrings groupnd a free Boho Earring pattern with every 7mm silk ribbon hangsell purchased. These specials finish on December 20th when we close for 3 weeks. We re-open January 13th, 2014.
To claim your earring pattern write ‘free earring pattern’ in the special instruction box under shipping method at the checkout when buying the 7mm silk ribbon. These earrings are easy & fun to make using silk ribbon, felt balls, sadi thread, beads & sequins with hook earring findings. I make a pair in two hours. Gorgeous to look at and light to wear. You may have many of the ingredients for the earrings in your stash at home. If you haven’t there is a little Boho Earrings kit available for the earrings in five different colours. The ‘Boho Ruby’ earrings are especially groovy for Christmas. These earrings match our famous Bohemian Bauble necklaces.

So friends Merry Christmas to you and your family.  Remember the reason for the season.  cheers Robyn/Colour Streams

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Stitch on Felt

One of the most stable fabrics to embroider or stitch on is felt.  It does not need a hoop to keep it taut and you don’t have to worry about the edges fraying.  Of course there are many kinds and thicknesses of felt.  For me the feel of pure wool felt be it commercially made or hand made (as in my header image) is my favourite.  At Colour Streams we hand dye pure wool felt in a range of 50 variegated colours, a real joy to play with.  I have used it in so many of my designs and especially in the needle cases.  One of the other things I love about the felt is you can hide stitching in the sandwich (thickness) of the felt when travelling a thread to a different area as shown in the beaded edging of this Heart Felt Chatelaine.  Another felt plus is it’s ability to hold structure as shown in the scissor keep & the Tootsie Toes slippers.


Pat Skene has a love of bold colour, playing with stitch and texture and with my felt.  Pat has designed some quirky & playful needlecases.

Felt is brilliant for applique, again no need to worry about fraying edges.  It is easy to pad out to give more dimension by laying smaller pieces of the same shape underneath the top layer.  Continue to layer smaller sizes until you have the mounding dimension required.
I also use a piece of felt to practice my free motion machine embroidery.  Once again there is no need to hoop your work as the felt provides a stable surface for learning how to move in motion on your machine.   Felt is so versatile.  View the full colour range of our pure wool overdyed felt.
I would love some feedback on some things you would like to know or need help with.  I would just love to enjoy the exchange with like minded gals.  cheers Robyn Alexander

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Stitch, Texture, Felt!

One of the joys of making your own felt is creating surface texture with a variety of fibres, yarns and fabrics.  These of course add to the colour play in your felt as wild or as subtle as your desire.   I love to stitch into my handmade felt before wetting down and rolling so the embroidery embeds into the felt.  The embroidery distorts and becomes quite impressionistic.  Now as you can imagine it would be very difficult embroidering into a pile of wool tops with lots of stuff floating on top.  A pre-felt base is the answer to having a stable foundation on which to build your layers of fibres and fabrics. MAKING A PREFELT – You can make your own pre-felt by laying down two fine layers of wool tops on a piece of bubble wrap.  Make the first layer of wool fibres going across the bubble wrap and the next layer vertical.  Place a piece of sheer curtain over the top and wet down with tap water with some liquid soap added.  Roll the bubble wrap and wool around a piece of dowel. Tie each end of the roll with rubber bands or string and roll backwards and forwards for about 50 rolls.  Unwrap it, remove the dowel and turn the bubble wrap 90 degrees.  Roll up again and repeat the 50 rolls.  Undo the parcel and remove the sheer curtain.  Check that the fibres are just hanging together as a sheet.  If they are not re-roll and repeat the action just until they for a sheet.  When done carefully peel the wool off the bubble wrap .  Lay the wool pre-felt on a flat surface to dry.  SOUND TOO HARD? Help is at hand!
You can purchase prefelt ready for you to use.  It comes in many colours and allows you to get started with the fun bit of layering up the fibres, fabrics and cool bits.  Check out the colours, here is the PRE-FELT link .
Phew! What a relief!  Now get down and get dirty adding different coloured wool & silk fibres, fabrics and those funky knitting yarns.  This is just the beginning.  My best TIP to help stabilize the layers enabling you to stitch into the pile is to use a hand needle felting tool or an embellisher machine just to punch all over the layers making them bond together.  With a hand needle felter you need a piece of high density foam under your pre-felt.  Usually I turn the panel upside down after needle felting the front then I needle felt the back.  It should be stable enough to embroider.  I have used silk, wool, chenille and whatever meets the texture and colour I am after to stitch up a storm.  When finished then you really need to felt the panel properly.  I am not going into that but there are many workshops, youtube clips and books to help you. Below are a few images of my work prior to felting and the finished look.  Enjoy!

 

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What a great start to the year, CRUISING.  I was fortunate enough to work as a tutor for Needlework Tours on their cruise to Noumea & Fiji in February.  We had 12 tutors on board and a great range of pre-booked classes.  My students made the Bohemian Baubles

Bountiful Baubles!

Work in progress!

& Heart Felt Chatelaine projects together with Blossom Tassels & Pins & Pansies pin Cushion.  The Heart Felt Chatelaine is now available in the purple felt as well as the mustard. Here is a work in progress.  Great group of ladies in all classes.
Oh so enjoyable sitting with the Pacific Ocean floating by, making wonderful textilie stuff, meeting new friends, meals cooked for you & room serviced.  I’m up for that.  Here are a few happy snaps.  Check out next year’s cruise with 24 tutors.  Needlework Tours  Thanks to all my students, they made my cruise!

Hard at work!

Stitchin’ & Cruisin’!

Not a bad venue!

Tassie girls!

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A bit more of KASHMIR

Here is Mr. Bhat and a closeup of a very fine wool shawl he is embroidering.

Mr Bhat

 

 

 

Single strand ofsilk thread using a simple  whipped stem stitch. Hours of work. The men sit in one room stitching and the women in another.  They come together for meals.  You can see a basket under Mr Bhat’s clothes.  This holds hot coals to keep the cold at bay.  Not a chair to be seen. These two photos show the artistry of another of the weavers. You can see below in the close-up picture the different weaves.  The bottom cream piece is called the birds eye weave like the diamond shape. Beautiful gentle texture.

Colour artistry

Close up of his work

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A sojourn in Kashmir

WE spent 6 days in Kashmir, a real pleasure after hard driving days through the Himalaya foothills.  Ramsan served us each day with hot meals and a wealth of local knowledge.  Lassa guided our boat through the floating gardens & Mr. Butt befriended us with incredible warmth.  I visited the Bhat family where they all play a part in creating beautiful embroideries, blankets, shawls, table cloths.  Mr Bhat still embroidering daily with his son & wife.  Sajad Bhat took me to other artisans work places.  These artisans have been working at their trades for centuries handing their skills down through the generations. In my last blog you saw the printing.  So now here is the weaving of the finest wool & cashmere for blankets and shawls.  More work by these artists in my next blog.  I seem very limited for space.   cheers Robyn

Kashmir blanket weaver

Finest spun cashmere wool

 

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Kashmir Cot Blanket

Kashmir Block Printer

Kashmir Block Printer

Well here we go with my latest learning curve creating this blog. Firstly thank you for taking the time to read it and I hope I may be able to encourage you in your textile adventures. Earlier this year I visited Tibet, Nepal, India & Kashmir. Tibet & Kashmir were the stand out countries as I have been to India a few times and Nepal.

Having read ‘The Kashmir Shawl’ Kashmir was on my hit list. I was privileged to visit some of Kashmir’s fine embroiderers. Traditionally the men and women are in different rooms and all sit on the floor to work. Some were spinning the finest wool yarn which was woven into beautiful summer weight blankets. Some were then embroidered with traditional designs. Hand spun, hand woven & hand embroidered. I brought home some cot size blankets, some embroidered and some plain so you can do your own designs. I bought a king size one for myself as I live where it is warm. To view Cot size baby blankets. Of course I bought the most beautiful Kashmir shawl totally covered with hand embroidery.

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