Sunday, 17 February 2008

a tree grows in balaclava

Quite some time ago, ok, October last year, I showed you the felted jumper tree bag that I was working on. Yes, I'm still working on it. I actually have no knitting project on the needles at the moment, except for the baby ballerina top which has taken on albatross-like proportions and I can't find the last ball of yarn anyway. So I have been hand stitching like a fiend these past few days and making great progress. (Thanks go out to my dear friends who understandingly let me stitch through Friday night dinner, Sunday morning play at the park and Sunday afternoon picnic at Rippon Lea without ever once accusing me of not giving them my complete and utter full attention.)

In the past few days I have stitched each of the leaves and the trunk to the backing and am a little more than half-way through satin stitching around the leaves. Just to recap if you can't be bothered with the link above, the backing is a felted woollen jumper, the trunk is cut out of another woollen jumper and the leaves are cut from the raglan shaping of a cotton jumper, all purchased from the op shop. I have also unravelled a section of the cotton jumper so that the thread around the outside of the leaves matches perfectly. I had thought about machining around these edges but, actually, I have been enjoying the hand stitching so much that I just kept going. There's something that feels very independent about doing it by hand, no unpacking the Janome, no electricity required. I must also admit though that I was concerned that the cotton thread wouldn't fare very well going through the machine.

I've realised during the process of hand stitching, which allows you to really pay attention to what you're working on, that what I like so much about this design is the great use of negative space that is contained within the curves of the branches. I plan to do satin stitching around the outline of the trunk too; this serves to secure the threads of the appliqué shapes. Then I want to add some birds from another felted op shop jumper (orange), more hand stitching, make up the bag, line it and work out a handle arrangement. I'm not sure yet whether I want a single strap or two handles, fabric or leather or bamboo? There's a lot yet to be done on this one so it's pretty ambitious for me to make it one of the two projects that I have to finish before I can cast on for anything else (and I am itching to).


Tamar said...

Looking good Amelia!
I can't wait to see how the tree grows, the birds land and the handle...
Are you thinking against using that belt we found?
It was such a great match!

MildlyCrafty said...

That looks amazing!

Ceels said...

I love the tree, beautiful. I don't often 'see' negative space, but it is worth looking for here.