Saturday, April 18, 2009


I couldn't wait to cut into the samples of National Nonwoven's new Xotic-Felt.....really, my fingers were tingling....

The sample colors are fabulous, yet I'm finding them a bit of a challenge because the majority are brights, one dark, and one medium.  Since the material contains 50% bamboo.....that will be my theme and I'll need to get creative with my color placement.

I wanted to see how this material will hold up to machine's so soft I was somewhat concerned about distortion.  I cut a 17" sq. of the felt to which I basted a piece of lightweight non-fusible stabilizer.  My finished piece will be 16"......I'm working slightly bigger......just in case.

As a guide, I basted a large circle in the center of the fabric square.  Using a 'pencil-type' chalk marking tool....I sketched (with artistic license) bamboo leaves, marking two units at a time before sewing.  With an open toe foot, I've machine stitched with a matching color rayon thread along the lines.  Starting and stopping within the basted 'circle', allows those threads to be hidden, once the next felt motif is positioned.

One down.....many more to go.  Sewing on this felt is effortless......I wondered if the stitches would sink into the loft and not provide an impact since the colors matched.....but they are surprisingly visible and the pressure foot glides easily along the felt.

The basted circle not only helped me to begin and end in areas that will be covered, it also provided a guideline for positioning the felt circle after the stitching was completed.

Marking with soap slivers is my normal routine.....but soap or chalk would easily rub off with all the handling during thread basting was the answer......and really....took only seconds.

The rest of the designing will now begin.......  I know it might seem unusual for the machine background stitching to be done first.......however, because I'm working with felt, the edge finishing needs to be considered.  Our typical quilt binding treatment is not appropriate for these projects due to the thickness of the fabrics, so I prefer to stitch the background first and keep them away from the outside edges.  This will give me more flexibility later when I decide how I'm going to finish the piece.

My fingers are tingling again.......more soon.....

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