4th Quarter Challenge – Land Art

I didn’t think I’d ever find time to do the 4th Quarter Challenge. When I chose Land Art, I thought it had a really good scope for some interesting felt sculptures. I really liked the work of artists using twigs and branches, whether they were abstract, patterns, designed by colour, or like Tom Hare’s work in willow, sculptures of plants, leaves, seeds, or even a sliced apple. I really liked this lotus seed head: http://www.tomhare.net/files/cache/6241679806767b541ec85e7977677c16_f44.jpg

I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. Something sculptural based on the things I’d seen with holes and stems and curves. I even thought I might do a series. Well, time was running out and I hadn’t started, and I was thinking about what I could do to take part that wouldn’t take as much time. For a few weeks I’ve had a piece of felt with a balloon inside, hanging in my living room doorway, it was the result of me thinking I’d try felting a winter woolly hat, and it ended up looking more like the start of a balaclava or fetish mask! So, I thought I’d improvise and use that. It wasn’t far off the shape I’d pictured, and though I would have preferred to work with wet felt not fulled, I thought it was worth a try. So, I started cutting, wetting and shaping, and I was happy to see it was starting to look interesting! I rinsed it and put another balloon in to keep it’s shape while it dried. I thought it looked really good, it was nice and firm and kept its shape without the balloon. I attached some string to get a photo, and this is what I saw when it spun around:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA ribcage! My fancy felt sculpture was meant to look plant-like, but it looked like a carcass! I took the string off and put it on the table, but it sunk a bit and that didn’t look less dead either!:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI reshaped it, the way it was meant to be, and that looked much better! I know it doesn’t look like any plant or seed in particular, I wasn’t copying anything, I just had a vague idea of shape, lines and holes:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADifferent angle:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt does look much better hung up, less flat and more round. While I was messing around taking photos, I stood it upside down and squashed it, and that looked really interesting!:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Posted in Challenges, sculptural felt | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Felt Christmas Tree

We have been trying to decide where we can put our Christmas tree this year. Even if we use only half of it and put it on a table it is still to big to put anywhere. So time to make one that will fit on the small table available.

I carded several greens together

green wool green wool blended

Then I made a template. It is 4 feet tall, the width of the table. I had a really hard time getting a picture of it. I made a smaller one too about 2 feet tall.

tree layout

This is rubbing on the plastic cover.

tree rubbing

Then it was roll and roll and roll some more. I kneaded and dropped and threw and heated it up and did it some more. This is the shrinkage on the smaller one. The tip I made solid out past the tip of template.

small tree shrinkage

While I was making the trees I was trying to figure out what I would use as structure for the inside. The smaller one I was thinking a counter top paper towel holder would work. It was to short but while at the dollar store I saw a tinsel tree on a frame. I bought it and removed the tinsel garland that was wrapped around it. It was a little to tall but a son with some bolt cutters fixed that.

small tree on stand

It looks like a green witches hat. For the large one I ended up using an upside down tomato cage. The tree looks like a Whoville tree. I ran out of light to take a picture of the big one so you will have to wait for may next blog post to see it. It will be decorated by then too. What have you use for a tree?

Happy Holidays’ To Everyone

Whatever You Are Celebrating

Even If It Is Just A Paid Day Off

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments

Holiday Crafting?

Are you making any fun holiday items for gifts or to sell? I usually end up making last minute gifts or ornaments but it appears that this year (knock on wood), I won’t be making any. I thought I’d show a few efforts from prior years and then give you a few links to some good ideas I found online.

finished ornaments

These are some ornaments that I made in 2011. They are made from felt scraps and then stitched together. You can get a little more information about how to make them in this post. If you have the scraps on hand, these are fairly quick except for sewing on the ornaments but you could always glue them on.

Christmas Tree Ornaments

Christmas Tree Ornaments

These are ornaments that I made in 2009. These are wet felted over a large whiffle ball (plastic ball with holes in it) and then the designs are needle felted. I can’t say that these are quick and easy as the needle felted designs take quite a while. You can see a few more photos of these here.

I made these poinsettias in 2010 and there is a tutorial here if you’d like to try some. They can be used as pins/brooches, ornaments or added to other ornaments.

Here’s a combination of the two types of ornaments. Instead of needle felting the white yarn down I couched it down with gold thread. This was an ornament I made for an exchange.

Now to a few gifts I have made in the past. One year I made ‘everyone’ coaster and trivet sets. This is the leaf set that I printed with thickened dye and then stitched.

 

 

These are stitched petroglyphs.

This is the floral set.

And finally the Montana Griz Fan set. I don’t seem to have a good photo but here they are drying.

And then there was the year of the fabric bowls.

I made a few as you can see. These actually take quite a bit of work as you have to fuse the fabric to interfacing on both sides and then zigzag it all together and around the edges.

This year has been a bust for making any gifts or ornaments. I did make one post card for the forum exchange and that has been it. But I would love to see anything that you have made as gifts or ornaments this year or in year’s past. Just join us on the forum and post about what you’ve made.

I have included a few links below for some fiber related ornaments and holiday gifts.

Knitted Christmas Trees (thanks to Leonor for pointing these out on Facebook)

Needle Felted Gnome Ornaments

Wool Ornaments That Could Be Used Year Round

Felted Acorn Garland

Wet Felted Snowmen

Wet Felted Lanterns

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Mixed Felting Techniques | 18 Comments

Wool Experiment

Our Guest Artist/Writer is Leonor Calaca from Felt Buddies

A while back, I saw a blog post written by Marilyn, aka Pandagirl, about how some fibres merged (felted) together by using the wet felting process. You can read that post by clicking here.  https://feltingandfiberstudio.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/sample-fibers/?preview=true&preview_id=7469&preview_nonce=af58dd7ec7&post_format=standard

Being someone who knows only about needle felting (and believes to have much, much more to learn), and who had never before tried some of the fibres mentioned, I was very curious as to how they would perform under the barbed needle. I asked Marilyn about it, and she was generous enough to send me some samples to try myself.

There were nine samples to try, and some of them were fibre blends. I decided to go about this by analysing each sample by touch and sight, then taking a small portion out and needle felting a little ball; a round form would allow me to see whether the fibres would take a 3D format well, and easily (or not).

samples together

I also used The Field Guide to Fleece book, by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius, to help me understand a little more about each fibre. This book referred to some fibres being curly (having ‘crimp’), but all my samples were straight, which has to do with the way they were commercially processed (this is the reason so many of our fibres shrink when wet felted).

Yak_Gotland_Navajo

Yak
This sample was a dream to touch and smell! It is so soft and the colour is absolutely lovely, too. The Yak needle felted very easily, and the resulting ball was springy and so very soft. This might be my new favourite fibre!

Gotland
This sample arrived slightly felted in its bag, which tells me Gotland might be one of those fibres that need careful storage and not too much friction or weight on it. It is a soft, shiny fibre.  My ball was a little fuzzy, with a slightly scratchy finish. It smelt wonderfully sheepy!

Navajo Churro
This sample was also a new-to-me fibre, and I was very curious to see how it would behave. It is much coarser than what I’m used to (merino being my main source), but I find coarse fibres to be much nicer for needle felting.
My first thought when looking at this fibre was that it would make great mock bird nests, it mimics the materials and branches really well!  Navajo Churro needle felted really easily, as expected, and I got a fuzzy ball as a result of the coarse nature of the fibres.

Yak_Gotland_Navajo_balls
Organic Polwarth/Silk
This is a very shiny and, obviously, silky blend. I’d say it’s a 50/50 blend. I’ve yet to work with Polwarth wool alone but this blend made both a very nice combo to the touch.  It felted easily, although it took a little for me to get that ball shape, which I suspect is the silk’s doing, being the slippery fibre that it is.

Merino/Silk
Although Merino is possibly one of the most used fibres in felting, and well known for its softness, this blend isn’t as soft as I’d expect, nor as soft as the Polwarth/silk blend I mentioned above. It is, however, very shiny due to the silk content.
Again, due to its long staple length, it’s harder to make a circular shape. The shine ended up a bit muted because the fibres are randomly pulled together when needle felting – I’d say one would keep the shine best with the wet felting technique.  As you can see, the colours came out rather muted due to this type of blending.

Alpaca/Silk
A very soft and shiny blend, possibly a 50/50, it took a bit to felt and the shine was a bit lost with this technique.

 

Pol_Merino_alpaca_Silkblends

 

Silk_blends_balls
Blue-Faced Leicester
If you like spinning, chances are, you love BFL. This is a very lofty fibre, although this particular sample wasn’t as soft as alpaca or merino. It needle felted very easily and retained its shine very well.

 

POY Corriedale

This blend has a long staple, is very soft and has a lovely sheepy smell. It needle felted very easily and I was able to make a ball very quickly, despite the staple length.
Teeswater
Although it’s a curly fibre, this sample was straight. It’s got a lovely lustre, and is softer than Gotland (which is, incidentally, something my reference book disagrees on). This was, by far, the fibre with the longest staple length I’d ever tried!  The Teeswater doesn’t felt very easily and it took me a while to get it into a ball. Also, because it’s a long staple, it was harder to get a smooth finish on the size I did it in.

Wensleydale
Another curly fibre that was processed to be straight . It’s a longish staple, very soft (but less so than Yak)  Although it felted, it resisted my needle a bit. Some strands wouldn’t blend in with the rest.

 

BFL_PolCorr_Tees_Wens

 

BFL_PolCorr_Tees_Wens_balls

So there you have it, my little experiment. Feel free to ask any questions you might have, and tell me all about your own experiences with different fibres!

Thanks Leonor for this informative experiment with needle felting!

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Dyed Wool and Fibres

Last week I decided to dye some wool and fibres. I used up quite a lot of my dyed texturey wools when making batts recently, so I wanted to to restock those and thought I’d do a few fibres while i was making a mess. I ended up having to do it over three days, and it made a right mess, but it was worth it in the end :) I bought some white Kent Romney lambswool to try for adding texture, I had a little bit of scoured Falkland fleece left over too so added that:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve bought commercially dyed silk noil before, but it really isn’t good compared to the small amount I dyed once, so I thought I’d give that another go:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also dyed some Tussah Silk tops – a good tip for anyone wanting to dye small amounts of fibre tops is to separate the amount you want to dye while the tops are dry, and soak them separately, it isn’t easy when they’re wet!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used the same shades to dye some Soy top as I had on the Silk, and though they look similar, they soy definitely looks a lot shinier:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANeither of them come close to the colours and shine of the Milk though, but I did do these on a separate day and they weren’t the same lot of dyes:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the last minute I decided I wanted to dye some Gotland, Teeswater and Wensleydale locks. These were all raw, unwashed, so the night before my last lot of dyeing I gave some locks a shampoo and rinse. From top to bottom: Gotland, Teeswater and Wensleydale.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Teeswater locks
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI do have some more stuff waiting to be photographed, some Bluefaced Leicester wool and locks, soy staple fibre and carded lambswool, I’ll add those to my ‘supplies’ album on flickr when I get good enough light. The last one I’ve got for now is Trilobal Nylon (sometimes labelled as ‘Firestar’ and sold at exorbitant prices) cheap nylon tops. The photo hasn’t really picked it up, but it has a lot of sparkle and these dyed really well:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf anyone is interested in dyeing smallish amounts of fibres, I did a small tutorial on it a while ago: http://feltingandfiberstudio.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/direct-dyeing1.pdf  luckily this time, I had my fold out table for a larger work area! I used acid dyes which are good for protein fibres (animal fibres, soy, milk, silk, and nylon too as it is a synthetic version of silk).  I have tried it on bamboo before too and got some nice, pale results, so it’s worth trying a sample or two :)

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Felted Knitting Bag

I was asking people on face book what they make to sell in warm weather. One suggestion was a knitting bag.

I used the flat resist method and cut the handle and flap form the top of the resist.

yarn bag

After cutting the handle and flap I blew up a balloon inside it and wrapped it up and let it bounce around the dryer for a while.

yarn bag ready for a tumble

Next I cut the J. Thinking of the bag like a portable knitting bowl. Then another tumble.

yarn bowl J cut yarn bowl another tumble

I wanted to bind the edge. I tried leather but that wouldn’t work at all. Then I tried some bias tape. That worked better but not great. It was ugly but part of that is the bad sewing too.

yarn bowl binding attempt

I took that off and used a blanket stitch. that worked much better.

yarn bowl  finnished

I don’t like the way the jay effects the shape or the way it hangs open. Not bad for a first design. I will make some changes in the next one. I will make the handle longer so I have a bigger flap. I will make a smaller slit for the yarn to come out of the bag.  I realised with the bag having a flap over the top to stop the ball bouncing out I don’t need to make a J at all. I did see a bag with a grommet in the back near the bottom that looked very neat and tidy but if you use a hole you can’t take the yarn out of the bag without breaking the yarn. Ideally a little U shaped metal frame that could be squeezed shut around the felt (similar to when you put snaps onto a bag) would be best but I haven’t found anything like that. Purse frames work like that; you slide the felt into the channel of the frame and squeeze it shut and it grabs the felt or in some cases you sew the frame on. The problem is I just want a small U shaped piece. I always seem to be looking for things that don’t exist

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Design, Experiments, Felt bags, Finishing/Framing, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Fourth Quarter Challenge – Inukshuk

I have wanted to make a felted Inukshuk for a couple of years now. I really want to make a life sized one but I have not been able to do that yet. So for the 4th Quarter Challenge Land Art, I decided to make a small model instead. If you are a forum member, you will remember that Lyn made a diorama with felted stones and she had a wonderful background for photography. I was planning on stealing that idea but didn’t get it done. So you’ll just have to imagine my Inukshuk in the wild.

Wikipedia defines an Inukshuk as “a stone landmark or cairn built by humans, used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. The inukshuk may have been used for navigation, as a point of reference, a marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds, places of veneration, drift fences used in hunting or to mark a food cache. The word inuksuk means ‘something which acts for or performs the function of a person’.”

Carving Foam

I started with blocks of blue insulation foam that you can buy at home improvement stores here in the US. I carved the pieces with a bread knife. I trimmed all the edges off so that they wouldn’t be square and would look more rock like.

Foam Inukshuk

I hadn’t finished carving all the edges when I took this photo.

Felted Inukshuk

I then covered all of my “stones” with grey/brown wool that a friend gave me. I added a few more details with other wool colors. I started the felting in a stocking in the washing machine and then finished felting them all by hand. I was planning on using wire to hold my Inukshuk together but then I started playing with the stones and decided I would keep them as “building blocks”. It’s just fun to play with them and balance them in different formations. I think I might even make some more. I just need to get more foam.

I just noticed a few blue spots that were not covered completely with wool in the photos. Guess I need to do a little needle felting for complete coverage. Thanks for this fun challenge Zed!

 

 

Posted in Challenges | Tagged , | 34 Comments