Dyeing with Avocado Skins Part 2

My next step was to use the avocado skins for dyeing.  Again, the instructions varied.  Some said to tear the skins, others use whole.  I went with using the whole skins.

I used approximately the same amount of wool, thick and thin yarn, silk habatoi, silk gauze and cotton voile.  What I did differently this time was to put everything in before it was heated.  I felt this would save some time waiting to put in the wool after cooling. I’m not sure this changed the outcome.

I let the pot come to a boil,  left it to simmer for almost an hour.  Then let it sit overnight to cool.

The results were interesting and different from the pits.  The color was like a latte for the wool and silk.  The cotton was a very pale pink.

20160123_114840 20160123_115531 20160124_115819 But I couldn’t stop there.  I had saved the dye pot from  the pits and used half and half with the skins and pits.  I also presoaked the wool, silk and cotton in an alum mordant for several hours.


Again, I added the fabrics and wool before heating, heated to boiling then simmered for almost an hour and left it all sit overnight.  I wondered if the colors would be brighter and more intense with the addition of the alum.

Here are the results:


The result a little more coppery except for the cotton.

Now here they are next to each other.  From left to right – pits, skins, pits and skins with alum.

20160125_113312I thought it was interesting that the silk gauze was the deepest color in the mixed batch.

They are all lovely colors. Now to figure what to do with them.  And yes, I’ll continue to save my avocados.

Posted in Dyeing | Tagged , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Vessel and Pod

I don’t think I’ve ever used a flat resist for a vessel like this before. The idea was to make it as an example of using resists to take to the felting class at the well-being centre, but before I’d even finished the layout, I knew it’d be too much for us to do in a couple of hours. I used lots of the Gotland locks from Zara, and decided to work inside out, so I laid these on the resist first. I used a couple of layers of Gotland fleece, then some cheaper ‘Scottish Grey’ I’d bought from wollknoll.  Between the Gotland and Scottish fleece I added some more Gotland locks around the top. There is a bit of a ridge inside, but I thought it turned out really well:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a couple of close ups of the locks around the top:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used lots of different ones:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA closer look at the bottom, the locks felted in really nicely but still kept lots of character:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we did use resists at the well being centre, they didn’t quite turn out as planned. Because I had ‘vessels’ in mind and got out all the natural wools, I wasn’t thinking properly, so I cut a resist for a glasses case based on using Merino like I usually do, so when thick layers of English 56s, Finnish and Corriedale were used, it barely shrunk and turned into a small sturdy bag! I was running out of time, so only did 3 layers on my bird pod, so it ended up shrinking a lot more widthways and became very tall and narrow! One of the members in the group liked it though so hopefully the blue tits in her garden do, too :)


Posted in sculptural felt, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Cat Cave Class Part 2

Some more from the cat cave class. Eventually everyone got all their wool used up and got to wet everything down. With such big projects everyone was working at their own pace.

getting wet

Then there was the decorating

Cynthias cave with silk Garry decorating with yarn

The one on the left has merino and silk hanky decorations and the one on the right is yarn.

Then there was much rubbing and then rolling and throwing.

E rolling throwing

Cynthia checked to see if she could use it as a hat if her cats didn’t like it.

Cynthia wearing her cat cave.but it turns out her cats do like it. Both will fit in it at once.

cynthias cats in cave 2 cynthias cats in cave 1

Her husbands log is still in progress. The cats liked it once he made some holes in it (ant holes in a log) to let light in but it also needs some more fulling. Sorry no picture of that.

Elizabeth got her pebble done and discovered that perhaps the hole needs to be bigger.  and maybe it needs to be a little bigger all over. She is planning another one.

E'cat to smallE's othe cat showing how to make it work

Beth had trouble. She was the only one that had a different wool. a Polwarth/Romney cross. I have felted Romney and I know people that felt with Polwarth so we thought it would be fine. She worked very hard on it. She came to my house the next day and we worked at it some more.  It would not come together or shrink. So we tossed it aside and started again with some Fin wool I had. she made a very nice basket that her cats likes but decided to flatten.

Beths secong try

Beths cat bets cats

Garry hasn’t finished hers yet, she has the one with yarn decorations. Jan and the giant fish are done but that will be it’s own blog post next week.

Posted in Classes, Design, Teaching, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Another Take on Using a Book Resist by Frances T.

This is a guest post by forum member Frances T. whose blog is here. Frances has a wonderful way of combining her passions of flower gardening and felting. She used a book resist for the first time in response to the First Quarter Challenge to make a rose pod and because she cuts the resist open differently, she gets a totally different result. There is a link to a PDF at the end if you would like to download the tutorial in PDF format.

1. Cut two (2) circles of the same size out of a pliable plastic. For this demonstration a 10 1/2-inch dinner plate was used as a guide.

2. Place the circles one on top of the other and sew a seam down the middle. This makes the book.

open book

3. On side 1 place roving overlapping the right edge slightly and very thinly.

laid out #1

4. On side 2, place roving overlapping the left edge slightly and very thinly.

laid out #2

more layout

5. Cover the roving on side 1 with mesh to hold it in place and wet with warm soapy water and rub gently.

mesh to wet down

6. Repeat step 5 on side 2.

7. Place roving on side 3 overlapping slightly and very thinly on the edges.

#3 after wet

8. Cover the roving on side 3 with mesh to hold it in place and wet with warm soapy water and rub gently.wet

9. Turn the piece over – side 4 – and gently pull the roving that was left overhanging onto the resist which will cover the edges of the circle. Then place roving on side 4.


10. Cover the roving on side 4 with mesh to hold it in place and wet with warm soapy water and rub gently.

11. Turn back over to side 3 and pull any stray roving around the edges up over side 3; smoothing towards the center to avoid thicker roving at the edges that will create a “seam” line.

12. Cover with bubble wrap and rub vigorously with a felting tool. Flip and rub the other side and continue flipping and rubbing until felt is holding together well.

13. Place felt on a bamboo mat and roll. Unroll and place felt in the opposite direction and roll. Roll 10 to 15 times in one direction and then change to keep the round shape. Felt shrinks in the direction it is rolled. Do this about 10 to 20 times.

laid out and wet down complete

14. Cut a small slit off the edge and remove the resist.

16. The rose bud can now be shaped and hardened the way any other vessel is completed. One method is using a balloon.

Using a Balloon to Shape and Finish a Vessel

1. Place a balloon in your vessel and then inflate it until the vessel fits slightly loose around (about ¼ inch space between the balloon and vessel). Place the vessel with balloon inside of it into a mesh bag and run under hot water and then put in the dryer on heat setting for about 15 minutes or until the vessel has shrunk to the size of the balloon. Use plastic inserted between layers to hold petals

on balloon

in mesh bag

2. Remove from dryer deflate the balloon. Repeat step one until the desired shape and firmness are achieved.

3. Finish by air drying.

pink rose

A white one was made first and the difference in how the two came out when shaping is obvious. It is difficult to make exact duplicate vessels.

2 finished roses

Thanks Frances for showing us your take on using a book resist. Not all of Frances photos are shown in the tutorial above so click on the link of the PDF to see extra photos with the explanation.

Book resist tutorial by Frances





Posted in Challenges, Guest Writer, Wet Felting | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Dyeing with Avocado Pits Part 1

I don’t know where I ran across the blog on dyeing with avocado, but I eat a good amount of it and always feel guilty throwing it out.  My Son Brad and his wife Mari compost, but we don’t maintain a big enough garden to justify a compost heap.   So, when I read the blog and did some further research, I started freezing the pits and skins.

When I had about ten or eleven of them, I started my dyeing project.  There were several posts on how to dye with the pits.  One said to use the whole pit, another said to cut them.  I had started cutting them so I went with that.


I prepared some merino (76 gm, thick and thin yarn 4-8 gm, silk habatoi -1/4 yard, silk gauze 1/4 yd and cotton voile 1/8 yd) by washing with synthropol and rinsing then soaking.

I put the pits in about 2 gallons of water and brought it to a boil, added the fabrics, then simmered for an hour. I let it cool down then added the wool and let it sit overnight.


Here is what the liquid looked like.


After rinsing and letting it dry, here were the results:

20160122_110441Close ups:

20160122_110547 20160122_110538 The silks were a pinkish coppery color and the wools a lighter version.  The cotton voile was a brighter pink.

Have you ever tried this?

Next up is the avocado skins.  Stay tuned until next week…

Posted in Dyeing | Tagged , , , , , , | 28 Comments

First Quarter Challenge and Giveaway Winner

I actually got an early start on this quarter’s challenge for a change! In case you missed it, here’s Ruth’s original post: http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2016/01/02/first-quarter-challenge-2016/  I’ve used flat resists before, mostly for surface design, simple cases, and a few bags. I have made a few 3D items with flat resists: some bird pods, a few hats, and even a supposed seed pod which looked like the rib cage of a dead animal, but I think I’ve only tried a vessel once and it was a bit flimsy. So, I thought I’d try a vessel again. I decided on a flower shape, I can’t find the actual resist, but it was basically a flower shape:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used some 27 mic coloured Merino batt I bought from wollknoll and used some silk hankies over the top. This is how it looked from above:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow the underneath looks:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd a kind of side view:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is where the silk hankie was thicker:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd where it was fine:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is a close up of the batt texture:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf I did it again, I would make the shape more curvy, where the petal shapes met, it was a sharp V shape and the vessel is too thin there, and in some places little holes. This is looking through the vessel opening at a thin patch:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, thanks everybody who entered the fibre giveaway, and thanks for the nice comments, I did read them all! The winner is: Jennifer Ralph! Congratulations, Jennifer. I will email you for your address to send the fibres. Please reply as soon as you can, if I don’t hear from you by Friday night, I’ll re-draw.

Posted in Challenges, Giveaways | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Cat Cave Class Part 1

Last year a friend who is the workshop coordinator for the guild try’s to think of a class she would like to take  and arrange to have it on or near her birthday in January. A birthday present to her self. She wanted a cat cave class. Well, we tried to coordinate, her, me and enough students to make it a go. The next thing you know it’s this year.  We found a date we found people we ordered wool . One person dropped out and two more joined and the  drop out could come so now I have 6.  We had to find a big enough place to hold it. Our guild space is to small. Everyone would need Two six foot tables. I booked a nice little hall near my house.  I tell you all this just to let you know what people go through sometimes to offer , take or teach a workshop. No need for violins. It is usually more strait forward.

This is the hall. It is small but a great place for workshops.

Carsonby Hall and all set up. I am standing on the small stage.

hall ready for class

Everyone was warned they were guineypigs as this was the first time I was doing this class. I chose Finnish wool for this. It makes a nice firm felt that will stand up well.  We made a special order from World of Wool for the class. What I learned was we needed more time. It is a really big project.

Here they are laying out their wool

laying out wool laying out wool 2 laying our a log

dry felting Here Elizabeth is dry felting one side of her rock to get the fibers aquanted so she can move it without it falling apart

laying out a giant fish

Here is Jan she is working on the second side of her Coelacanth, a prehistoric fish. You can see it is quite large. after she adds the tale to the end of the resist it just fits the double table corner to corner.

fish getting bigger IMG_3551


More on the class and the cat caves next time. Like the class I am out of time.


Posted in Challenges, Classes, Design, Experiments, Wet Felting | Tagged , , | 16 Comments