I finished my felted wool mat today!!! It has taken more than a week to get all the stitching done and the backing stitched on. It is approximately 12" square. Due the the unstable nature of my substrate and the tension of my stitching it has shrunk some since I stitched on all the pieces. You can check it out here. Unfortunately, it is now a bit smaller than the requirements of the swap but not sufficiently to be unacceptable so it will be headed to the swap hostess later today. UPDATE: Mailing is prohibitive so have dropped out of the swap and will be keeping my wool mat for the time being.
It was recommended by the swap hostess to use larger thread due to the loft of the felted wool so I dug through my threads and culled the larger ones into my stitching basket. I also collected my seed and Ebeads boxes along with a bag full of sequins to use as embellishments. Along the way I decided to incorporate a flower and leaf and butterfly die cut as well. I started by adding stitching to all of the butt joints starting by doing the five edges of the center piece and then continuing to follow the sequence in which the pieces were stitched onto the substrate. I wanted to expand my stitch vocabulary so I consulted my stitch book - Stitch - step by step - Maggi Gordon and Ellie Vance regularly. I would pick a colour of thread, find a stitch and do one joint. I just kept going trying new stitches and sometimes inventing some because I did not remember how to do them correctly. This process took several days. Generally, I would remove the basting stitches as I went along. There were only a few sections on the edges where I left the basting because the pieces needed more support.
Once all the joints had been stitched down to the substrate I started adding the decorative stitching and embellishments to the surface. I started by adding french knots in yellow in the center section to create a reasonably level area that could be used to display a decorative object or candle. I then added stitching and embellishments to the surrounding pieces and so on until the whole surface had been decorated. Again, I removed the basting stitches as I went.I took several close up shots of the details of the stitching and little bits I have added. I used seed beads in the center of my sequins to keep them in place and used coordinating thread to keep it as invisible as possible. I created flowers and added several butterflies - a sequin, a die cut and a plastic embellishment. I cut a square of black fabric for the backing, turned over the edges and used the blanket stitch to tie them together. Now, that I take another look, it would seem that I have done that stitch backwards as well. I believe the line should be on the outside of the piece!! It was a totally fun experience and I hope my swap partner will enjoy using this wool mat!! I am looking forward to the one I will receive in return. Therese