Wine Anyone?

I wanted to try making a gift bag for wine in felt.  I first made a resist using the wine bottle as a model.  But I wasn’t sure about shaping the bottom.

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The base layer was black corriedale.  Then I used a layer of merino.  And finally I made a batt using forest green, a heather purple, sage and black bamboo for the last layer.

2015-04-15 16.09.08

For embellishments and design I made leaves from a nuno prefelt and used 100% Peruvian wool thick and thin yarn, locks and needle felted grapes.

I finished fulling the bag on the bottle, but because of the narrowing of the design it’s not an easy in and out for the bottle.

2015-04-21 11.19.22 2015-04-21 11.18.57

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2015-04-21 11.18.16

After it was semi dry, I cut holes at the top to thread some yarn through to tighten it around the neck.  Then I turned down the top and sewed extra leaves on and wound the excess yarn from the  closure around a small dowel to emulate the ringlet vines on a grape wine.

Also, the bottom ended up having “wings” so I tucked them under and sewed them to  the bottom. There was a hollow in the bottom of the bottle so it worked out well.

side finish front finish

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back finish

It was a little hairy so I shaved it.   Next time, I would only use two layers and redesign the shape.

Even with some problems, I think it will make a nice display on a bar.

Have you made anything similar?  Do you think it needs anything else?

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

New Samples

I’m going to do workshops at Manchester Museum of Science and Industry MakeFest in August, so I wanted to make a couple of felt samples to get an idea of how much wool I need to order for supplies. I made a 10 x 10 inch sample, using pinks, since I didn’t want to waste my nicer colours :) It actually turned out alright!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe other one I made is kind of double sided. I wanted to try out some multi-coloured Merino I got from wollknoll. So one side is just ‘plain':

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd I thought I’d make the other side colourful and full of  extra bright fibres and sparkle to take with me as one of my example pieces, some people seem to be drawn to that:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are some shiny synthetic threads I saved from a piece of fabric, which I think was synthetic habotai:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd some neon green crimped Nylon:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also made a small sample using some Stone Sheep I bought and carded. I used some of my dyed Soy tops with it:


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Moving Studio Space.

I am moving my studio over one room. The space is exactly the same size. You would think no problem, easy peasy. Not so. You still have to empty all the shelves and pack up everything. I did get a new old set of shelves that holds my wool better.

I moved the carder and my felting table in to one end.

table end

The door will disappear and the table will move out form the corner once the other room is empty. I have my bins for shows under the table and the one set of storage bins under the end.

The other end has my book case, wool and other fiber storage.

storage end overallThe clothes wrack is on wheels I got it at the Target going out business sale.

storage end 1 storage end 2

I should have enough room to do some teaching. I have room to put up a couple of 6 foot tables.  I like the way it’s set up it’s not crowded and feels more inviting than the old set up. I am really looking forward to getting back to work in it.

Did you feel the but coming? The problem is the stuff that’s left behind. I want most of it but what to do with it. For the moment and I hope short term it will be packed up and be stored. the sewing machine will go into the nest room along that eventually will be mine but it needs to be renovated and the plumbing fixed so I have sinks. Then I will have no excuse for not washing the fleeces I have.

left overs 1 left overs 2

You never know how much stuff you have until you have to move it. :O)


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Blueprints on Fabric – A Quick How To

My local surface design group met a week ago and we tried a new technique that none of us had tried before. Blueprints on Fabric which we ordered from Dharma Trading. We got the 8 1/2″ squares. You can also purchase the fabric by the yard if you want to make something larger such as clothing.


We decided that we wanted to use Bunny’s Yudu for exposing the fabric. The Yudu is designed to make screen prints but works well as an alternative light source if you want to do sun printing on a rainy day. We also did some of them outside even though it wasn’t particularly sunny. It is simple to do them in the sun and this is an easy project even for children.

blueprints on fabric

All you have to do is have something flat to put over the fabric and then expose it to light.  We got a mixed packet of fabrics so there was more than one color and more than just blue and white.

Transparency on Yudu

In the Yudu, you place the transparency first. This is a lovely floral piece of fabric that we scanned into the computer and then printed on to a transparency. They make transparencies that are meant to be printed on and you just have to follow the directions and get the right side up in your printer.

Readying Yudu for Printing

Then you put the blue print fabric on top of the transparency, close the Yudu and turn it on for 15 minutes of light.


Once the 15 minutes is up, take the fabric out of the Yudu and rinse it thoroughly.

Ironing after Rinsing

Roll it in a towel to get most of the water out and then iron it.

Floral Design

This is one of the pieces of fabric that was done using the floral transparency.

Here is how you do it outside. Place the fabric on something flat, cover with a transparency or something flat and then cover with a piece of glass or clear plastic. Leave outside for 20 minutes or so depending on the sunshine. Even with clouds, it only took about 20 minutes to work. Then do the rinsing, drying and ironing as above.

Batik Transparency

Here’s an example of another transparency we used. You just need a black and white photo to make these transparencies and gray-scale photos will work too.

And here’s more of the results. Most used transparencies but there is one that I used budding twigs, actual pieces of bark and one that Paula used two felt birds and some lace. Then we decided we wanted to try to take a photo, change it to black and white and see how that would work.


We found a poppy photo, erased the background and turned it to black and white in Photoshop. We printed it on a transparency and this is the result. It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? I love how the softer edges disappear into the background.

I’m not sure what I am going to do with my 6 pieces of fabric but I will come up with something! You can get the chemicals to make your own blueprint fabrics but you have to be able to do the process without much light as you don’t want to expose the fabric in advance. I think buying the pieces all ready to go is definitely a more simple process.



Posted in Mixed Media | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Shearing Sheep in Sweden

Our guest author/artist today is Zara Tuulikki Rooke.  She shared with me the fact that April was time for shearing her sheep.  So, I invited her to write about it so that we can all experience it since most of us don’t have the opportunity to see it first hand.

Winter is finally giving way to spring, also in the north of Sweden. Or at least, we hope so. Yesterday all the snow almost melted away, and today it has snowed heavily all day… It´s what we call typical April-weather. In any case, the lambs are expected in about four weeks, which means it´s time for shearing. Apart from getting rid of the thick winter fleece before summer, it´s good to shear the sheep before the lambing starts. It makes it a lot easier to see what condition the sheep are in and to follow the lambing in case there are any complications. It is also more hygienic and easier for the lambs to suckle. We only have one ram and four ewes, of which three are expecting lambs and one was born here last spring (you can see the family resemblance between mother and daughter below). But we synchronize our shearing with a neighbour and bring in a professional shearer (Carina Jälkentalo). And that is what this post is about.

Photo 1

In Sweden it´s common to use what is called a “shearing stool.” It´s a platform that can be easily raised with a contraption where the sheep´s head is secured. First you shear the head and neck, then the front and shoulders, and then along the back of the sheep. After that, the platform is raised (to a better working-level), and you continue shearing each side, and finally the belly and legs. The model below is Citronella, the most social of my ewes, and she just calmly stood there during the whole process.

Photo 2

Citronella even got a kiss on her muzzle for being such a good sheep. That´s what I really like about Carina – she always takes the time to talk to and interact with the animals, which is reassuring for both sheep and sheep-owners. And after the shearing they also get a manicure (hoof-clipping), which is often needed after spending much of the winter on a soft straw bed. Citronella´s daughter Stjärna (which means Star) does not like being separated from her mother, but was given some extra attention by one of my daughters.

And who wouldn’t give a little bleat if you got your private parts sheared…?!

Photo 3

Next up was Brittis, my shy sheep with shiny, white locks. All my ewes are cross-breeds, and the three older ones are half-sisters by the same Gotland ram. Citronella looks like a typical Gotland, white Brittis got her looks from her cross-breed mother. This year she managed to stay quite clean until shearing – I guess there are some benefits to having more snow than bare ground and mud in their outdoor enclosure.

Photo 4

The last of my ewes is Lisen, once black but now turning grey. In the photos below you can see the difference in the fleece from the different parts of the animal. The neck and front often has nice locks, but is also where they collect a lot of scraps of hay during winter. The top of their backs can be matted from snow and rain, while the sides are usually nicer on a winter fleece. Lower down on the sides and on the belly, the fleece is often too dirty and matted or even felted to use for anything sensible.

Photo 5

Finally, we sheared our ram Teddy. He seemed really pleased with all the attention, and considering what a mess his fleece was (it felts really easily) I am sure he was glad to get rid of it. But I did save it, with plans to lay it out in my vegetable garden. That should provide some nutrients, keep the soil moist and weeds at bay, and I have heard that slugs don´t like crawling over wool. On the other hand, I have also heard that slugs thrive under wool. Hmmm. I´ll just have to try and see. In any case, I now have a ram that looks like a small mountain goat.

Photo 6

All the sheep got a little extra attention (and pellets) after the shearing. Their appetite increases when you shear their wool, which is beneficial also for the lambs they are carrying. Now we are ready for warmer weather and lambing next month.

Photo 7

Next in turn was our neighbour, or rather, our neighbour´s sheep. Their ewes are mostly white cross-breeds, also including meat-breeds, and most of them are much larger than ours. Their grey ram Edwin is of an old breed called Åsen, the same as our ram. One of the younger ewes was black with a small white patch on one side, but you can clearly see how the fleece has turned grey half way. So from underneath all that black wool, a little grey sheep came out.

Photo 8

The winter fleece is generally of lower quality than the summer fleece. But even with bits of hay in it I couldn’t resist the temptation of accepting my neighbours offer to take care of some of it. The thick winter fleece holds together and does not fall apart into separate locks like the summer fleece. This makes it suitable for felting entire fleeces. As my neighbour doesn’t use the wool herself, I ended up packing the best parts of 9 fleeces in my car. Needless to say, my stash of raw wool is getting quite large, and I am hoping for a warm summer with plenty of time for large, outdoor felting projects.

Photo 9


Thanks Zara for letting us come along on the shearing process.  Stay tuned for lambing! And let us know how the fleece works to keep the slugs away!

Posted in Sheep Farming | Tagged , , , , , | 30 Comments

2nd Quarter Colour Challenge

I thought I would play around with a digital painting of mine, for Ann’s 2nd Quarter Colour Challenge.

A Digital Painting SMALLI started off using Photoshop. The first filter I used was Median, I wanted to get a simplified version of the painting:

B medianI then used some other filters to get more defined areas of colour. This one was Mosaic, I set the cell size to 50:

c mosaic 50And this was Mosaic with the cell size set to 200:

d mosaic 200I used the Crystalise filter set to 200 for the cell size on this one, the colours are similar to the 200 Mosaic one, but because it follows the shape of the original more and isn’t square, there is  more colour variation:

e 200 crystaliseThe last version I did using Photoshop was using the Gaussian Blur filter. I selected 5cm x 5cm squares, then blurred that section to one colour:

e averageI uploaded the image to a site Ann recommended, Color Palette FX, and this was the result:

F colour palette fxI also used one which had been tried on the forum, Moda Palette Builder. This was a bit different, it didn’t reduce the picture to a few equalised colours, but you  choose which areas of the picture you want to pick out colours from to create a palette:

G modaI always enjoy messing around with colour and on Photoshop, so this was fun.

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Small Bags

I have been listening to audio books on my phone. It’s a great way to “read” a book and still get some work done. The problem was that I am moving around. In and out of the kitchen or one end to the other of the studio and kept moving in and out of hearing range. I decided I needed a little bag so I could pop my phone in it plug in my ear phones and no more problem.

I made 3 little bags . Sorry I took no pictures of them being made.

This one I used oval shaped beads with and orange stripe for the petals of the flower. When I cut the holes to reveal the beads I cut one of them to large. The bead was staying in but only just. So I got out some orang embroidery thread and put some stitches all around to secure it. I did the rest so it looks like I did it on purpose.

green bag web greenbag stitching web

This one I want to embroider but haven’t decided how yet.  Maybe a couple of rows of yarn stitched along the edge of the spiral. The pin is just holding the flap shut for the picture

purple bag web

This last one I plan to either needle felt or embroider on some sheep.

sheep bag web

It will make a nice match for my name tag and my business card holder. The strap on the card holder is some of the first silk I ever spun. It whole bag is looking a little worn. It has been living in my purse for most of 10 years so I shouldn’t complain.

name tag web biz card holder web

I haven’t figured out what to do about straps for the bags yet. Felt ropes or some sort of webbing or woven strap. I don’t want it to cut into my neck when I am wearing it. What do you suggest?

Posted in Design, Felt bags, Needle Felting, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments