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Over the past few days my post box has been filled with stuff from the UK – it seems the postal problems they were having over there have now eased and I am in receipt of cards from two swap partners.

This is card number #7 in the Stichin’ Fingers Autumn/Thanksgiving exchange and it comes from Jane – she has cut and fused then hand stitched layers of autumn leaf shapes over an autumn fabric base:

Leafy autumn colours from Jane in UK

Thanks, Jane!

My swap partner in the Stitchin Fingers ATC swap was Lorna who is also in England – her lovely ATC arrived in a week from the posted date!  Lorna’s card has layers of sheers in varying colours some of which appear to have been melted.  These have been FME’d into place with lovely sparkly thread and then crusted over with some seed beads.  Sandwiched in amongst all the fabric is a copper foil leaf.  So much detail!

Copper Leaf ATC from Lorna

These swaps are so inspiring…..there is so much to learn from each piece that arrives.

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This morning the mail box contained another card from the group exchanging fabric postcards based on the Thanksgiving and Autumn theme.  Now that six have arrived, I thought I might share with you the beautiful work I have received from all over the world.

This is such a great way to see different techniques being used – its inspiring and motivating!  Its especially nice to receive something so wonderful in the mail.

My thanks again to Barbara Lockwood in California who initiated this exchange on Stitchin Fingers – this is Barbara’s card:

Autumn Leaves from Barbara

Then there was Dakota who managed to keep us all informed whilst Barbara was away and to provide repeat copies of the mailing list to those whose email programmes swallowed the originals without leaving a trace! Dakota’s embroidered and beaded card:

Embroidered and beaded card from Dakota

Even though similar techniques have been used to create Dakota’s and Gina’s cards, this card from Gina shows how different fabrics can create a truly individual piece.  There are some vintage cotton fabrics here!

Gina's stitched and beaded card

Painting and stencilling my own fabric has been something I have not tried all that often, so it was delightful to have the chance to see close up this painted card from Allyson in South Africa.  The colour subtleties are such that the camera does them no justice….it really has the most beautiful shimmer.  The appliqued leaf has also rendered quite differently in the photo…it has a gold shimmer to it in natural light.

Allyson's hand painted card

Marja’s card was today’s mailbox delight – this is a needlefelted piece that includes some stitching detail.  I had not considered using pieces created using my Babylock embellisher – perhaps this will be the prompt I need to get it out and start playing!

Marja's needlefelted card

The last card in this batch is an embroidered piece from Leslie in the UK.  Having seen some of the other cards Leslie has sent, I am so impressed at the amount of work that has gone into each one…I find this has a Jacobean feel about it….love it, Leslie!  Thank you.

Leslie's embroidered card

Thank you all so much for these wonderful pieces – this has been a great opportunity to share in some great talent.  I can’t wait to see what the final three will look like!

Artist Trading Cards are great fun to make – especially if you like to work small.  This is my second exchange with the Stitchin Fingers group and this card is winging its way to Lorna in England as we speak! (Well, as I type, perhaps?)

Autumn ATC

I made two again… couldn’t help myself!  I have also played with the Magic Foil again using it to represent the leaves.  I have had the Signature thread used to satin stitch the edges for years…it hadn’t suited any other application before this but worked perfectly with these cards.

There have been times I have thought I should show some restraint when it comes to buying threads just for the sake of it…. but if I had  been careful and restrained, I wouldn’t have had the right thread to edge these ATC’s.

Don’t forget to pop over to the Textile Artists Trading Cards blog and check out all the other cards sent around the world for this exchange!

In between all these shows, traveling and office sitting, I have managed to make and send off nine postcards to stitchers taking part in the Thanksgiving swap on Stitching Fingers organised by Barbara Lockwood in California.

Not being in the US and having a Thanksgiving tradition, I opted for creating cards that reflected the season in the northern hemisphere – autumn.  It seemed rather incongruous to be stitching autumn leaves cut from Lutradur in 35 degree heat!

Autumn Swaps

Lined up for their pictures in the spring sunshine

Each card featured a base “Bali” style fabric over which was stitched a red Lutradur leaf.  Laid over that was a layer of “needle lace”.

The needle lace was created from knitting yarns and decorative threads laid between two sheets of wash away embroidery stabiliser.  These were then free motion stitched over using several different variagated threads.  the whole piece was then tossed in the sink and washed until all the stabiliser had dissolved. Once the piece had dried, it was lightly pressed and sliced into postcard sized sections.

The gold Lutradur leaf was then free motion embroidered onto the surface of the card and all the layers held together with a satin stitched edging.

Autumn#4

Whilst in Adelaide at the Craft and Quilt show, I obtained a product called “Magic Foil” and I thought it might add a little special touch to these cards.  It is applied using a special glue which is dabbed or painted over the areas where the foil is required and, when the glue has dried clear, the foil sheet is rubbed over the fabric to apply.

Each of the cards was treated to a sprinkle of copper highlights.  Given appropriate drying times, these foil embellishments are apparently washable and permanent.

I had just about finished my photography when I was distracted by the phone… and it seemed my cards needed to be supervised in my absence…

Helping Hand

Smudge ensuring that cards don't escape!

Apologies to any of the ladies who find stray cat fur on their card, but Smudge couldn’t resist the temptation, it seems.

…. and I signed up for my first fabric ATC swap with the Textile Artists Trading Cards group at Stitchin Fingers.

I was paired to swap with Cobi in The Netherlands.  Cobi also co ordinates a blog entirely devoted to posting pictures of those cards swapped by members of the group – I have signed up as a contributor and recommend that you pop over and have a look at the blog. There are lots of talented artists sharing their work for you to enjoy.

This is the card Cobi sent to me:

Halloween swap from Cobi

Halloween swap from Cobi

……and this is the card I sent to her!

Halloween Swap for Cobi and reverse of second card

Halloween Swap for Cobi and reverse of second card

I made two of the cards – featuring a reproduction 1930’s fabric from a range designed by Judy Rothermill. The reverse fabric was part of a collection by Debbie Mumm. The spare card is offered as a trade to the Stitchin Fingers ladies….

for some reason, I cannot get Dakota’s card to show in the post yet it behaves in the draft format… so I am trying again!!!

Dakota's fabric fusion card!

Dakota's fabric fusion card!

While I was at it, I thought I would add some close up pictures of the embroidery on a couple of the cards as well!

Detail from Dakota's Card

Detail from Dakota's Card

Dakota had posted a picture of the card on Stitchin Fingers….it had a cluster of small orange beads along the top left hand edge.  She noted that she couldn’t remember whether she had taken them off or not before she had posted it….as you can see, no orange beads!

Deatil from Leslie's card

Detail from Leslie's card

This shot is a bit blurry, but you can pick out the fine curls of what I presume to be jewellery wire amongst the cluster of embellishments and stitching.  A lovely touch.

In August, I signed up for a fabric postcard swap organised by Leslie in the UK – the swap group have committed to send each member a fabric postcard to celebrate that member’s birthday.

The first swap took place in September when cards were dispatched from all over the world to Allyson in South Africa.  Allyson’s card can be seen here.

October it was my turn….as well as that of Marja in The Netherlands.  Marja’s card was sent to her from Broken Hill – I hope it makes it safely!!

Hope your birthday is fabulous, Marja!

Hope your birthday is fabulous, Marja!

Whilst I was away, the MATH was clearing my post office box and was being advised by email that the surprises were waiting for me when I got home.  There were more to collect from the box over the ensuing week…. nothing like having your birthday stretched out over a couple of weeks….;)

These are the fabulous cards I have received from the girls in the swap….this is such a great way to build friendships worldwide!

Crazy piecing card from Aida in Canada

Crazy piecing card from Aida in Canada

Marja's brilliant orange mulitmedia piece

Marja's brilliant orange mulitmedia piece

Raw edge fabric weaving with embroidery and embellishment from Leslie in the UK. Leslie even included my birth date!

Raw edge fabric weaving with embroidery and embellishment from Leslie in the UK. Leslie even included my birth date!

Pauline's card was handpainted and stencilled before being embellished - so many delicious layers of colour!

Pauline's card was handpainted and stencilled before being embellished - so many delicious layers of colour!

Bold and striking fabric, cleverly highlighted with beading and thread... a delight to receive from Sheila in Scotland.

Bold and striking fabric, cleverly highlighted with beading and thread... a delight to receive from Sheila in Scotland.

These cards give so much more than just being remembered for your birthday… they are such a fabulous source of information as the techniques used vary so widely.  There is no right or wrong way to make these pieces….just make!

Over the past month there has been a flurry of activity on the Fabric Postcard front – I have dispatched a round of cards to friends taking part in the “Stitch Me A Rainbow” swap and I have also sent off my first “Birthday Swap” for a Stitchin’ Fingers  exchange.

In the mail I have received these cards from Rainbow swappers:

Al things Purple from Penny

All things Purple from Penny

Under the Blue Sea from Kay

Under the Blue Sea from Kay

Both of the above cards were made in a “how to class” – the base fabric was made using strips sewn onto a 13″ lightweight interfacing square and flipped…. then they were covered with a selection of knitting yarns and threads.

A layer of black bridal tulle was pinned over and free form quilting/embroidery using variagated threads then stitched. A layer of heavy weight iron on interfacing was applied to the back of the piece before the stitching was started.  The piece was then cut into six postcard sized and further embellished.  This was the first time either of the girls had made cards and I think both Penny and Kay are hooked!

This picture is the card sent to Peggy in the US –  the technique is similar but instead of capturing  the threads under tulle, I stitched each one in place – sometimes using a decorative stitch and/or sewing thread.  Some yarns were stitched in place while the piece was still 13″ square and others were added once the piece was cut down into individual cards.  Decorative embroidery stitches were added to each card individually.

Traces of Teal sent to Peggy

Traces of Teal sent to Peggy

The first card I was to make for the Birthday Swap needed to be into the post quickly as Allyson’s birthday was September 6 – however she is in South Africa and apparently there is a postal strike (at the time we were notified it had been running for two weeks)

Happy Birthday Allyson!

Happy Birthday Allyson!

This card was made using die cut felt pieces I found at OfficeWorks, believe it or not! Each felt layer has been machine stitched in place after the purple ribbon stem had been stitched down. The quilting is a very fine stipple using a Guterman Sulky variagated thread and the centre button hand stitched in place.  Plain Guterman Purple Sulky thread was used for the satin stitched edging.

In class, we plan to explore some Crazy Patchwork techniques over the next few weeks so our next postcard exchange will feature Crazy Patchwork.  It is planned that this exchange will take place by the end of October if there are any takers to join us for this swap.

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