Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another stair riser finished!

If you've been with me for awhile, you'll remember my stair risers.  I'm doing each riser in a slightly different technique.  Here's the original post:  http://ragingwool.blogspot.com/2010/03/life-in-old-house.html   So far, I have wool applique, lace knitting, crochet, rug hooking, penny rug, and embroidery.  This is my latest finished riser.  It's an homage to my hometown of Redlands, California.  Redlands has a lot of history including being the former orange capitol of the country.  Beautiful Victorian homes line the streets and mix with Spanish and Craftsman architecture.  It was a great place to grow up.  We had an orange grove in our backyard and, in season, my brothers and sister and I would eat at least 4 navel oranges straight from the tree.

Obviously I wanted an orange tree as the focal point.  I've used this applique technique on a couple of projects lately.  You can create a surprisingly delicate tree even with bulky wool.  The key is to take it slow.

Once you have your base fabric and your motif fabric, you very carefully base them together.
This allows you to sew without the stuff shifting all over.  You work from the back (in this case, the blue fabric) but the accent fabric is really what you're interested in.  My tree will be brown.

Once you've got it basted, draw your motif on the back and then slowly sew each line.  It's very important to use a locking stitch at the end of each line.  After sewing, it looks like this:

This is from the blue side, obviously.  Each line is stitched and locked in place.

Next you get your small, sharp scissors and very carefully, under good light, cut away the excess wool.  This takes forever, especially with a large tree like this.  Do not overdo the wine during this process.  One wrong snip and you have a mess.

For the oranges, I ordered some felt balls from Etsy.  I could have made them myself, but they are really inexpensive to buy and, frankly, I have better things to do.  The leaves are made from some boiled wool.  Actually they came from the sash tie of a boiled wool duster I got at a sale.  I knew I'd never actually tie the coat but couldn't bear to throw away the long strip of beautiful loden green wool.  That was about 5 years ago and I finally used the strip.  Never throw wool away.

I added a little embroidery to the sides just to fill in the space but the tree is really the star.  I only have three more risers to go.  I think I've been working on these for about 5 years.  I wait for inspiration to strike.  Who knows when they'll be done!


  1. what a great addition to your ongoing project!

    HEY! Could you share pictures of your sheep collection someday? I'd love to see them since I collect too!

  2. What a great idea! So beautiful. I have carpet covering stairs that need to be repaired, but someday I would love to do this too.