Silver Linings - When You Think You've Screwed Up


For several weeks now I've been planning on doing a felt journal page using one of my favorite sayings: "Every cloud has a silver lining." Oddly, none of the pages I prepared seem to fit right. Something different always seemed to work better, for the color combinations or the feeling of it. It's kind of hard to explain, but when I work on these pages, there's a lot of mental preparations, emotions, other things that come into play. It's actually far less haphazard than it seems. Some ideas spend weeks, even months brewing in my head before they become realized. I knew the day would come though that I'd finally get the right felt background for the page. 

Then the last two weeks have been spent on processing raw fleeces. I researched, watched youtube videos, went about it as carefully as possible and yet, the qualities of fine wools that make them amazing for wet felting happened to also be the reason why some of the alpaca I washed ended up getting a bit felted. Luckily not all of it, far more of it was okay than not, but there was enough to use for a felt journal background. Even more interesting was the fact that it miraculously had felted mostly into a sheet almost the exact size I needed for my felt journal. I mean, it wasn't perfect, but when I pulled it out of the mesh bag I knew exactly what it meant to be. There were a few other felted bits that I collected, laid them all out flat and felted into a sheet, but still. I was somewhat disappointed that some of the fleece felted, and yet... not. It turns out, I needed a happy accident to create my silver linings page, because nothing I'd been trying to plan out was working.

And it all just seemed so perfect. I'd never thought of felting a whole sheet of locks before. Usually you layer them in these nice shingles, back and fourth, which makes for a wonderfully, mostly smooth surface, but when you felt uncarded locks together, essentially what happens if you accidentally felt the fleece you're washing, they look like clouds. Maybe that's why none of the prior pages felt right. Even the one I made the other week, also featuring clouds, was not quite as "cloudy" as I would've liked (though I was still happy with it overall). 

I'd also picked up, a few weeks ago, a number of different remnants at the fabric store, including a metallic silver fabric. I knew I'd wanted to use that for this idea, but when I tried to felt with it, it didn't stick like the felt did. Well, the sheet that I felted from the alpaca ended up being a bit holey, so I decided to attach the fabric to the back of it so the silver peeked through, thus becoming the silver linings in my alpaca clouds. I trimmed the fabric to size and took it to my sewing machine, free machine stitching the two layers together and then the phrase at the top.

Another thing I wanted to incorporate into this page was Kantha embroidery. I fell in love with Kantha embroidery ever since the first time I saw some Kantha quilts at a local flea market a few years ago. I even picked up some sari silks to make my own (even though I believe it's typically made from cotton saris and not silk ones, but a silk quilt sounds so dreamy doesn't it), which I plan to make sometime this summer. I've seen some Kantha embroidery that is a bit more intricate, either following the patterns on the fabric or creating their own, and I've seen just plain Kantha quilts with a running stitch going up and down the entirety of the piece. Both give it this wonderful texture. So I thought I'd try to do some Kantha embroidery on my silver linings page, with whimsical clouds. I debated with using my metallic silver embroidery floss, but I thought between the background silver and the embroidery floss, it would've been to much. I ended up using a silk embroidery floss that has been begging for a purpose.

This felt page really emphasizes that, when you think you might've screwed up, or if things aren't turning out as planned - just breathe and try to look at it from a different perspective. Sometimes you might find that the result of your "mistake" is exactly what you've been looking for. Your mistake could very well be your silver lining. 

I do realize the page ended up not being my usual bright bold whimsical style, but sometimes the whimsy is in the stitching. I'm actually really happy with the understated look of the page. I think anything else would've taken away from the cloudy texture of the felt. It wouldn't feel as airy. In fact, I love the way this page came out so much, I keep going back and forth on whether or not I want to include it in the final felt journal book or if I might frame it and hang it up. Unfortunately it's really hard to capture the fluffy texture of the felt with the camera, but hopefully you can see it. What do you think?