Sewing and Bargains

I’m doing another Craft Fair at the beginning of November so I wanted to make a few diary covers. This usually involves my desk getting covered with embroidery threads, and the only exception this time was that I decided to tidy them up too. I made cardboard ‘bobbins’ for some of them and spent ages untangling and winding and then putting duplicate spares in a bag. Then a couple of days later I decided to clear some more drawers and spread the threads out a bit, make them even tidier and easy to choose. These are all the drawers:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the pieces I’m using for a book cover is a piece I made years ago. I wanted to see if I could make a subtle plaid design by laying out bold stripes of colours on my two layers, it was more subtle than I thought, but I like it. I’ve cut to size and sewn the inside pocket edges so far:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou might remember this next piece from when I tried some commercial pre-felt from Heidi Feathers. The silk hadn’t attached in a couple of places so I added blanket stitch, then decided to add some more simple stitching in the blocks of colour. I’m still working on this, and have added a bit more since I took the photo:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI went in to the city centre this week, which I don’t often do, so made the most of it looking for bargains. I found a couple of elasticated summer dresses for £1 each so got them because I liked the pattern, they were only tiny though, so once I cut the top off, the bottom was a bit bigger than a pillow case, but well worth £1!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the same shop I treated myself to a ‘scarf’ because I liked the pattern, it’s actually the size of a door!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI saw this scarf in a bargain shop and thought I’d see if it nuno felts well:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, I couldn’t go to town without a trip to Abakhan fabric shop, where I got some more braiding (I took a photo of the back for you, Ann!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd probably the best bargain of the day, I found a roll of silk fabric, down from £10 a metre to £3, so I had to get some :)

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Posted in Prefelt, Scarves, Stitching | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Christmas Balls

This last week I bought some empty Christmas ball to fill for an upcoming sale. I am always looking for something a bit different. They are plastic. They are very clear. I had planed on getting glass but theses where so clear  I though it would eliminate the breakage problem.  I was going to get a different shape as well but for some reason a flat circle cost twice as much.

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First you pop of the top and then add what every you like.

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You can add anything that fits through the hole. This is silk throwsters waist fluffed up.

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When it’s full you pop the top back one and your  done.

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I used Blue Faced Leister Curls, some mohair curls, silk hankies fluffed up and some throwsters waste. in a few I added some sparkly angelina.

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Posted in Mixed Media, Tutorials, Uncategorized, Wool | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Felt So Good, Author Q&A, Review and Give Away

We were contacted about reviewing this book and doing a give away. I thought our readers would appreciate a chance to win this new book Felt So Good by Tone Rørseth, published by Sellers Publishing, Inc in September. Tone is a well known for her design both in jewelry and accessories as well as being a photo stylist for interior design magazines.

Tone Rorseth

Tone Rørseth

Felting 3, 2, 1
Q-3 Three types of fibre you can’t live without?

Three types of fiber I can’t live without: I like the very soft merino wool. A contrast to that one is the natural wool coming straight from the sheep. I also use the 3 mm thick Nepal wool.

Q-2 Two tools you use all the time?

Two tools I use all the time: My different felting needles. I use very thin, medium and thick needles for different types of work/art. I also use soap and water for wet felting!

Q-1 One fibre art technique you love the most? 

Favorite technique: I love the needle technique the most, to me it´s a little similar to painting and drawing.

Felt So Good Cover

Now to Tone’s new book that just came out in September. Here’s what the publisher has to say about the book:

“Felt So Good is all about wool. A wonderfully versatile material, wool is a simple and satisfying fiber to work with, and that makes these projects very accessible for crafters of all levels.

Norwegian designer Tone Rørseth has put together a delightful collection of projects for clothing, accessories, and items for the home. She guides the reader through the different types of wool felt to buy and shows how to upcycle all of your slightly worn, slightly damaged, or out-of-style wool sweaters into fabulous new items for your wardrobe and your home. Readers learn how to choose, cut, restitch, felt, and embellish old sweater fabric, transforming it into beautiful handbags, mittens, scarves, hats, skirts, jewelry, soft toys, pillows, and more!

Rørseth’s designs are whimsical and fun, and most can be made in an evening or a weekend. She has even included a section dedicated to holiday decorations, such as garlands, tree ornaments, and table decor.”

Felt So Good Acorn Wreath

Felt So Good is 144 page long paperback book that is project based. There is one page about materials and techniques with a paragraph about needle felting, wet felting and “felting” (fulling) wool clothing in the washing machine. This book isn’t going to teach you how to felt but it is great for those of you who like to upcycle wool clothing and sweaters. There are many cute projects including accessories, wearables, home decor and holiday ideas.

The book is laid out with lots of photos of finished projects and basic written instructions. There are patterns at the end of the book for any of the more complex projects. There are not any step by step photos and the book assumes you know basic embroidery stitches and how to use a sewing machine.

Felt So Good Sleeves

And now for the give away. I have one copy of the book from the publishers to give away to our readers. So that anyone can be eligible to win the book, I will be shipping it to you instead of from the publisher. If you would like a chance to win, please leave a comment below and I will need to have your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win. The deadline for making a comment is October 22, 2014 and I will announce the winner of Felt So Good on October 23, 2014.

Felt So Good Woven Containers

If you’d like to check out the blog tour for this book, here’s the schedule:

10-16 Blacksheep’s Bit of the Web
10-17 I Hook Design
10-21 Funk and Weber Designs
10-22 Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival
10-23 The Funky Felter
10-24 KarenWhooley.com
10-27 Poetry in Yarn
10-28 Funk and Weber Designs
10-29 Moogly
10-30 Monkey Mayhem
10-31 Mama O Knits/CraftLit
Posted in Book Review, Giveaways, Guest Artists | 17 Comments

A Weekend of Felting in Quebec

Our guest artist/author is Cathy Wycliff sharing her experience of
felting at Meech Lake, Quebec, with Fiona Duthie, October 3-5, 2014.

When I heard about the opportunity to felt with Fiona amidst the Fall splendor of Quebec province, I did not hesitate to sign up for this class! There were eight female students and Fiona, and the weekend was informative, fun and felt-a-licious! Not too many photos taken, and no long walks as previously imagined, simply because we were too busy felting.

The country cottage where we stayed was just outside of the Galatin National Forest, a beautiful area just twenty minutes from Ottawa. In the first photo, you may see a small boathouse in the background, which was just by the side of Meech Lake. It was a bit chilly for a swim, and besides, we were too busy felting!

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I took a minute the first afternoon to shoot these photos, and I was playing around with capturing the hanging bird chimes on top of the tree.

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A quick photo of the planter, and then onto felting.

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We learned how to make two different projects:  a nuno tunic (choice of white or black) and  a lampshade (varied sizes and wool choices).

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The lampshade is not totally finished.  It needs to be ironed and steamed, then a final shaping. It was made to be a pendulum light, hanging from the ceiling. For blog purposes only, the lampshade is sitting atop one of the posters on my 4-poster bed.

With 8 different women felting, you would think there would be some uniformity in what we chose to make, but I can tell you that each project was different, and each was amazingly beautiful and well-crafted. There were white tunics and black tunics, tall lampshades and wide lampshades. Embellishments were as varied as the attendees.

Most of our meals were at the cottage and we all pitched in to make it work. Some cooked, some loaded dishes and others provided scintillating conversation over mugs of coffee and tea (and at times, glasses of wine). One lovely lady who did not stay at the cottage brought fresh croissants and scones one morning. We and several local ladies celebrated Felt United on Oct. 4th at the cottage by making a very large piece of “Peace” felt.

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On the last eve, some of us took Fiona out to dinner at a marvelous nearby fish restaurant. If you ever have an opportunity to take a class from Fiona Duthie, I highly recommend her–not only as an instructor par excellence–but as a wonderful human being.

Posted in Guest Artists | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Make Textured Textile Art by Stitching Into Nuno Felt

Today we have a guest post from Lyn

Last Sandcastle of Summer

Last Sandcastle of Summer

The inspiration for ‘Last Sandcastle of Summer’ came from a recent day-trip to Sandbanks in Dorset.

Day trip to SandbanksWe’ve enjoyed weeks of glorious weather and I love wriggling my toes in the warm sand and watching the sun sparkle on the sea, but the weather’s broken now and I’m not looking forward to the cold of winter. When I got home I looked through my old photos and found some of my grand-daughter playing in the sand.

making sandcastlesI wanted to capture the last of the summer in a picture so I started to lay out merino fibres to make the background beach, sea and sky. I didn’t want to add details such as boats or other people so to add interest I placed three strips of fabric across the wool fibres.

The pieces of fabric were cut from loose-woven scarves that I’d found in charity shops. The blue/white scarf shown on the right has been my favourite for making skies and I only have a couple of inches left – I’m desperately trying to find another!

fabrics sand sea skyThis is the resulting piece of nuno felt, after drying, finished size approx 36cm square – I didn’t worry about the edges because I knew it would be trimmed and placed behind a white mount before framing.

nuno felted backgroundI made a paper template of the shape of the child then tacked it, with large hand stitches, in place on the nuno felt. I also pinned a piece of lightweight interfacing onto the back of the felt – it helps with stitching and with moving the felt around on the sewing machine table. With the feed-dogs down on the sewing machine and a darning foot fitted, I used black thread to make a quick outline of the child.

I removed the template then I cut scraps of organza into small rough triangles and attached them to the nuno felt using fine fusible web. The shadow was formed with dark grey organza and the skin areas were covered with a few pieces of very pale grey.  The hat and clothes have layers of organza – bright on the bottom and darker on the top – in autumnal colours to signal the end of summer.

Tip: unless you like cleaning the sole plate of your iron, use plenty of baking paper under and over the felt during ironing!  Also, the felt needs to cool down before moving it as the fusible web will be stronger after a rest.

Then it was back to the stitching.  It’s all very quick and ‘rough’ – except for the face because the profile needs to be sharp – and the eye was stitched by hand.

To add textural and colour interest, I gently abraded the top layer of organza, on the hat and dress, with the tip of a craft knife.
The lovely ‘quilty’ texture is achieved by the machine stitching on the nuno felt.

close up abraded organza
The finished picture has been mounted with white board and the size of felt that is on show within the mount is 31cm x 22cm.

If you have any stitching on felt pictures that you’d like to share, please leave a link in the comments – we’d love to see them!

Posted in Mixed Media, Nuno Felting, Stitching, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

Carding Batts

This last weekend I did some carding. I was making Monet batts.

First my daughter and I pulled apart small bits of wool and mixed it up.

mixing colours

Then onto the table and spread out ready for a trip through the carder.

ready to card

This is after the first pass through the carder. I split the batt into layers and put it through again.

first time through

This after the second pass through

second time through

I made 3 mixed colour merino batts

Batts3

 

I recarded some over dyed brown and white Romney wool I had .

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And one mixed colour Romney batt

mixed batt

They are fun to do and great for felting or spinning textured yarn. I was thinking I didn’t do anything for Felt United Day, October 4, but I guess I did. Did you do anything?

Posted in Design, Dyeing, Fiber Preparation, Inspiration, Wool | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

My First Attempt at Land Art – 4th Quarter Challenge

I was planning on posting an update about my appliqued caricatures but then Zed posted her 4th quarter challenge. I have always been inspired by nature and have done a few rock cairns but nothing very exciting. So I was excited by the challenge and my mind was full of ideas. But then when I was walking the dogs, I noticed the ever present Tamarack pine needles that appear on our driveway in the autumn. Perhaps  I could use those as a basis for land art. Then, since it was a nice day, I needed to finish up filling the cracks in the driveway. To do this, I needed to blow all the pine needles off the driveway. So I donned the backpack blower and started.

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As I was blowing off one driveway, I started pushing the pine needles together and then started shaping it into a tree shape. Once I got as far as the photo above, I turned off the blower and got a small whisk broom.

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And I made this tree. I stood on top of the picnic table to get the photo. The tree is about 25 feet tall. I wish I could have gotten up on the roof to take a better shot but I don’t do heights and I would have fallen off and landed in the hospital or something.

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It was fun shaping the tree and drawing with the pine needles.

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It didn’t take me very long and since I knew I was just going to blow it off the driveway, I didn’t stress about how it looked.

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As you can see, there are still pine needles on the ground in between branches and I didn’t worry about getting them all aligned.

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So, this is my first attempt at land art. It has now been blown off the driveway and is only in digital form at this point. If it was just me, I would have left it on the driveway for a while and taken photos of it as it disintegrated. But hubby was having none of that! I know this has little to do with fiber unless you count pine needles as fiber. But it was fun and I really enjoyed my first foray into land art. Thanks for the challenge Zed!

Posted in Challenges | Tagged , | 20 Comments