Cover to Cover

I’ve started working on another challenge piece. This time the theme is books, and the finished show is going to be displayed at the library where I work, pretty cool!


So, because I seem to be pretty literal when it comes to these things, I’m making a book. The story is yet again in the format of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” (like the book in this post), that format seems to work well for me. But this time the whole book is going to be made of fiber using various fiber techniques. I’ve been working on it quite a bit the past couple days, since they’re my days off, and have the words on 2 and a half pages done, and the basic plan for all of them. Now pictures and descriptions!


For the first 2 pages I cut the letters out of different fabric and they’ll be sewn onto the “page”. My original plan was to cut out all the letters for the whole book but it was taking forever and they were definitely too large for the later pages, when the illustrations get larger. So because I’m flexible, and notoriously lazy, I changed the plan and decided to rotate through a few different techniques.

The first page is the one that’s half done cause by the time I got about halfway through it I was pretty tired and kept zoning out while sewing, which is not a good thing when using a machine. Here’s the page and a close-up of the stitching.

I didn’t have any thread that matched either of the fabrics on the page, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to match both with one thread so I decided to use a color of thread that could just become part of the artwork.  I tend to prefer doing that whenever I can anyway because no matter what you do the stitching isn’t invisible, so why not make it part of the piece?


On the third and fourth pages I needle felted the letters. Working on these is when I decided to do each page in a different technique. When I say each page I really mean each set of two pages that face each other, like page 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and so on. The third and fourth pages are actually finished because I needed to use the needle felting machine for them but don’t have space to have both the needle felting machine and the sewing machine set up. And I’m going to be using the sewing machine a lot more than the needle felting machine, so I set the felting machine up first, used it, and then set the sewing machine up.

I started by hand felting the letters in place, because I have more fine control with the single needle. Then I used the machine to felt them down really well, and I had intended to then use the machine to add more fiber and make them darker, but that didn’t work. I discovered that the machine felts hard enough that it pushes most of the roving to the back, and trying to felt from the back to reverse that didn’t work real well. The machine also chews the fabric up pretty quickly, which you can see pretty well in the close-up above. It basically looks like color in the fabric is washed out.


That’s the progress so far, I’ll post more in the next couple weeks as I keep working. It needs to be done by April, I wanna say mid-April, so I’ll be working on it a lot for a while.


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