Copyright© 2009 All images and text in all categories are copyright of Mary A. Ritter (aka M'Unique) and may not be reproduced without express permission. · Fiber Arts

Merry Christmas to All!

For our annual Christmas trip, our family is taking a few days to enjoy the historic city of Wilmington, NC.  After getting settled in our hotel suite on Friday, we made our way to the historic downtown area to enjoy a cup of clam chowder and a panini on the River Walk.   Friday evening we enjoyed a meal at Michael’s Seafood after finding our way out to Carolina Beach.  We will have to return again because Carolina Beach has many interesting sights to see, not to mention all of the restaurants we didn’t get a chance to sample.

Yesterday, Christmas Eve morning, we drove to Oak Island and relaxed at Fishy Fishywhile having a light lunch.

Later in the day, we toured the USS North Carolina.  If you have never toured a battleship, or even if you have, don’t miss this one when you are here.  Being below the decks and seeing how the sailors lived during their tour in the Pacific arena during WWII was an eye-opener.  The historic mansions, some of which are now inns and bed and breakfast places, are decorated beautifully.  Driving by while the trees glow from the inside is a beautiful sight.  The countless historic churches have beautiful stained glass windows that glow from the lights within.

Today, we are busy with Christmas activities in our suite preparing and eating our Christmas meal.

Later in the day – we left the suite and took a drive to Wrightsville Beach, a few miles to the east.  Darkness was coming, but we were able to enjoy the lights along the way.  These snapshots are quick ones, but they show the different street light decorations here along the beach… every now and then we see a snowman, but mostly we see sand dollars, star fish, dolphin and sea creatures done up in lights.

They all say the same thing…. Merry Christmas!

Copyright© 2009 All images and text in all categories are copyright of Mary A. Ritter (aka M'Unique) and may not be reproduced without express permission. · Fiber Arts

Christmas Project – Needle Felted Wreath

Earlier this week I decided to work on the felted wool Christmas wreath that has been bouncing around in my head since last Christmas.  My only rule was that I must try to use supplies that were already in my stash.  I selected some remnants of upholstery fabric that I purchased about five years ago in Black Duck, MN, “way up north”, as they say.  Then I disassembled a wreath made at the SAFF gathering in October.  It was  made from tufts of wool fibers which were tied around a metal ring.  It was cute, but I wanted to re-purpose the wool to create this wreath.  I set up my felting machine.  It looks like  sewing machine, but the needle doesn’t use thread or a bobbin, and the needle assembly has 5 to 10 barbed hooks, similar to fishing hook tips.  The needle assembly has a plastic box around it to protect the needles from mashing a finger – very important protection.


Once I had the wool fibers felted into the fabric sufficiently, I cut several free hand leaves in the shape of  magnolia leaves.  These are about 4 inches wide and 7 inches long.  I found, in my stash, some yarn which consisted of 3 strands – one a variegated beige, the other a glittery gold, and the third a gray/purple.  I twisted and couched these using the double buttonhole stitch found on my Janome 6600 sewing machine.  Then I added gold beads at the tip.  The lower part of the leaf will be covered with other leaf layers, so I made most of the embellishments on the upper 1/3 of the leaf.


Rules are made to be broken, right?  I needed either a foam or a straw wreath for a base, and I did not have one of those in my stash… off to the store.  I decided on a straw wreath and left the plastic wrap on it because when you take it off, it immediately starts to flake and make a mess.  It won’t show anyway.  I did have the purple ribbon which I am auditioning here as a possible base decoration.  We’ll see.
Well, I ran out of gold beads, and I didn’t wanted to keep my rule about using my stash, so I finished the remaining leaves with a variegated grouping of beads that add some additional hues.
This is the shape of the second layer of leaves.  Using purple quilting thread and the buttonhole stitch, I outlined and secured the edges.  Then I used a glittery copper thread to stitch veins and an outline.  Coppery glass beads along with some amber glass beads were added for emphasis to catch the light.
Here is an audition of the first two layers.  Now I need to needle felt the third layer of leaves and embellish them.  Once the last layer of leaves is completed, I will begin to assemble the wreath.  I do not want to use glue, so I think I will hand stitch all the layers to the wreath.  It probably will not be completed until after Christmas…. but it is my Christmas project, so that is OK.  
Our small family of four will take time off for a short escape and some travel over Christmas weekend, so I’ll probably finish it for New Year’s 2011-2012.  More photos will follow as the work continues.  Thanks for coming along on my felted wreath journey. I hope you will make Christmas meaningful in your own way.  And…. Merry Christmas! Fa – la – la – la!

Copyright© 2009 All images and text in all categories are copyright of Mary A. Ritter (aka M'Unique) and may not be reproduced without express permission. · Fiber Arts

Pretty new hand-knitted shawl…

Isn’t this shawl beautiful.  I’ve been watching it on the needles of my daughter, and now it is mine!  I can’t wait to wear it, and this Christmas season should be a good time to do that.  Now I need to get busy and make her the tuffet I have promised her.

Copyright© 2009 All images and text in all categories are copyright of Mary A. Ritter (aka M'Unique) and may not be reproduced without express permission. · Fiber Arts

Inspirational Creativity

So… I have these wooden thread spools that I have saved since I was a teenager (since the dark ages and all of that).  It would seem I should have more of them, but I have enough to wonder how I should use them.  Kelli Nina Perkin’s web site (Ephemeral Alchemy) just oozes creativity.  Lo…. a great activity for putting those wooden spools to use.  Check out her Whimsical Winter Tutorial for a garland using wooden spools. I don’t think they would have to be wooden spools, but the wooden spools are so special now that we don’t find them anymore.

Another creative use for wooden thread spools is totally without utility, except that it makes your artistic soul soar!  Susan Lenz has created beautiful objet d’art – what a great way to fill one of those cloth covered clothesline baskets, or a piece of pottery, or a glass jar.  I have selfishly written this blog so I can return to it and find this activity when I am ready to get to work on it.   I’m thinking this activity could be adapted to wine corks also!  Enjoy!