Felt Shoulder Bag

A few weeks ago, when I made my Camouflage type hat, I also made a satchel type bag. I used a more brown shades of wool and slightly less rusty/orangey colours. I used some camo print silk from an old scarf, some cotton gauze and also pieces of dyed muslin that Ruth sent me. On the back of the bag, I used a large piece of silk because I thought it would pill/bobble less where it rubbed against clothes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a slightly different angle:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also used a piece of cotton scrim to line the insides

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI attached D rings to the side, for the shoulder strap to attach to. I tried to find webbing the right thickness to make my own strap, but couldn’t get the colour and thickness I wanted, so I’m going to use one from a bag I bought.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI did think about using straps and buckles for closing the bag, but decided that would be a bit fiddly

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, in the end I used magnetic clasps, and folded the bottom flap up about an inch. I don’t like the way the machine stitching turned out though, the clasp distorted it, so I might unpick it and do it again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere it is with the strap attached


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Felting with friends: scarves, dying and more bags.

On our felting week end Maureen decided to do scarves. She wanted to try out some 50/50 merino silk that she had.  She laid out the wool quite thin and rubbed it into prefelt.

maureen felting thin scarf

Once it was prefelt  she spun the water out of it and started cutting it. She made slits that she then stretched out and started fulling.  You stretch and full, stretch and full and end up with great holes.

maureens cut scarf 2

Next was into the dye pot. Although the scarf turned out great, it did not show off the silk. Usually the silk and wool take the dye a little differently, with this blend I was all one. We decided that it was because the it was to well blended.

maureens cut scarf

Maureen did 2 more scarves one in the same style and one solid. Sorry the pictures of them did not turn out.

Diane hasn’t done a lot of dying so Diane and Maureen dyed some silk chiffon.  The silk was twisted and dyed with several colors.

dyed fiber dyed fiber.

On the last afternoon I decided to make a bag for my mothers birthday.

moms bag startThe inside of the bag will have a red stripe. I used a combination of commercial prefelt and top. I also added some Blue Faced Lester wool to add some strength and stiffen it.

moms bag ready to felt  This is the outside. There is black next to the resist and the white on top. I wanted the black to migrate through the white and make a light gray. This is the finished bag. its reversible.

gray felt bag gray felt bag reversed

Diane decided she wanted a new shopping bag. She started out huge and did many layers of prefelt and wool.

dianes giant bag

Here she is fulling it

dianes giant bag fulling dianes giant bag fulling more

You can see it did shrink but just after this she gave up and said she will put it in the washer at home to see if she can shrink it more. At this point it is a large sturdy basket.

This is our group shot. We were very busy. You can see Maureen’s two scarves on the left.

fruits of our labour

The one on the right was one Maureen had made recently, added just the balance the picture. And finally that was the end of the weekend. We needed to go home and rest.




Posted in Design, Dyeing, Experiments, Prefelt, Scarves, Uncategorized, Wool | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Breakdown Screen Printing Party

Breakdown screen printing has been around in the surface design world for a while now. I have discussed it on my personal blog but thought everyone here might be interested in the process too. My local group got together yesterday for another session of breakdown screen printing.

Print Paste Powder

What you need to start is some print paste. Essentially, you use this to thicken fiber reactive dyes and you screen print with the thickened dyes. It only takes about a quarter cup of print paste powder to add to 2 cups of water. We used 4 cups of print paste for our “party”.

Making Print Paste

You can just stir the print paste into the water but it works really well if you use a blender because otherwise it gets lumpy. As Lyn told me, you don’t want to use the same blender that you make milkshakes in – use a blender that is just used for the studio.

Black Dye Added to Print Paste

Then you add dye powder to the print paste. This one has black dye in it. Then you squeegee some thickened dye on to the screen while you have the screen on something textured. You can use things like bubble wrap, texture plates or anything relatively flat that will press against the screen and give it different textures.

Screen with Dried Black Print Paste

This is one of the screens where I used the black dye over texture plates. The textured part that sticks up a bit, keeps the thickened dye from filling that part of the screen.

Close Up Dye Texture

So you get a textured screen that looks like this. Then you let the screen dry completely. I always do this step about a week ahead of time.

Carole and Louise

Here is Carole and Louise getting ready to print a screen. You can use clear print paste (with soda ash added) or you can use a colored print paste where you have added dye. The dried dye in the screen starts breaking down as you apply the print paste and you never know how it will turn out.

Screening with Print Paste

Louise is adding clear print paste and a little bit of blue print paste. She is using a squeegee to force it through the screen.

Louise's Screen

Using the fiber reactive dyes, you can print on cotton fabric or silk. The added soda ash causes the dye to set in the fabric. This screen that Louise is using is one she made using strips of Pellon Vinyl Fuse Matte. She fused the strips to the organza and then added green print paste to the screen.

Louise's Screen on Paper

This is one of my sketchbook pages that I printed with Louise’s screen.

Black Dyed Screen with Circles

Here is another screen that has black dye.

Circles Breakdown Screened

And the resulting print on yellow fabric. Each print is different from the next one as the dried print paste continues to break down. Bunny printed this one.

Breakdown Print on Paper


Here’s a sketchbook page printed from the same screen.



Embroidery Hoop with Organza

This is a screen that I made from a 6″ embroidery hoop, nylon organza and duct tape.

Circle Breakdowns

This is the print from the circle screen above. I used a fabric that was already dyed and clear print paste with this one.

Black and Green Dyed Screen

Here’s another screen that I mixed black and green dye and let it dry.

Breakdown Screen Printed Fabric

This isn’t a very good photo but here’s a portion of the printed cloth from the screen above.

Green Dyed Screen

This is another screen that I used green print paste and let it dry. The squiggly bits are just stains from a previous experiment with blue glue.

Orange Breakdown PrintThis is the resultant 4-5 prints from the green screen above. The green barely shows at all and just mixed in with the orange print paste. Most of my fabrics already had prior printing on them from previous experiments. Most were quite ugly so I thought I would try to improve them.

Another Breakdown Print on Paper

This is another sketchbook page from a screen that was mostly broken down. I did several of these and they reminded me of photo negatives.

Screening with Paper Scraps

This piece of fabric was printed over paper scraps out of a paper shredder. You just sprinkle the shredded paper over the fabric and then use a blank screen and screen colored print paste through it. You keep moving the screen and some of the paper bits move with the screen. These always look different after being washed out because there are still bits of paper stuck all over it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a photo of the finished fabric but it belongs to Carole so if I remember…

I have printed on wool before with this technique. You just need to use acid dyes and vinegar in place of the fiber reactive dyes and soda ash. You do have to steam the pieces afterwards but the process works well. Once I get these fabric and papers rinsed, I will post them on the forum. You do lose some color but they are always one of a kind prints. Breakdown screen printing is a fun process, messy but fun!


Edit: See final results here.



Posted in Dyeing, Mixed Media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Easter Baskets

With Easter around the corner, I decided to make Easter baskets for my grandsons this year.

Since I didn’t have a container the size or shape I wanted, I chose to make a resist using Rosiepink’s “How to Make Vessels with a Resist” ebook.

I wanted to put a different design on each side, but have both the same. A bunny on one side and a chick on the other.  Then I made a resist design on paper and cut a template from plastic flooring material.  After sketching out a design, I made some prefelts in colors I didn’t have because I decided it would be easier to control the small design pieces.


I cut out the designs from the prefelt and needle felted them together using yarn to decorate the eggs.  I used an extra white layer underneath the bunnies because I didn’t want the background colors coming through after fulling.  I also used another layer under the bottom of the eggs to level them out.  Before laying out on the resist:

chick and bunny

At the last minute I changed the position of the eggs making them vertical instead of horizontal.  When I put the designs on the resist they were too tall!  Back to the drawing board to make a bigger resist.  I added another two inches in height to accommodate the height and shrinkage.

Since they are baskets, I wanted to make them look like it.   So, I alternated background colors on the first layer.  It got tricky on the second layer because the roving was laid out perpendicular and the colors didn’t match because of the staple length.  I found the sparse spots and filled in those colors first then proceeded with the second layer design careful to alternate the side colors as well. I used four layers total one side at a time.

First layer

First layer


After I finished felting, fulling and shaping, I noticed my bunny and chick designs were too low.  I’m sure the kids won’t care, but I’ll know better next time.  I was very pleased with the final result.  Although, the bunnies need some whiskers. Any suggestions?

easter baskets 2

To finish it off, I made basket handles by braiding roving, then felting and fulling them.  I also used Zed’s “Polymer  Clay Simply Made” ebook to make “egg” buttons. That was fun, too.  I still have to put them together.  The handles are soft which was intentional so that we could easily pack them and use the buttons to remove the handles.

What spring or Easter projects are you working on?

Thanks to Lyn and Zed for creating such easy to follow tutorials!

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Another Hat

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my first felt hat. I had a think about how I could improve on the design and resist and thought I’d give it another go. I also thought more about shaping it and blocking it to get a better shape. This time I used an upturned glass bowl with a couple of microfibre towels and bubble wrap on to finish the felting/fulling. Last time I said I’d used mt head and for some reason most people had a vision of me with soggy soapy roving wrapped around my head frantically rubbing for hours! :) What I really meant was for pulling the hat into shape and the final fulling stage, I used my head. This was the finished hat:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs it dried, I removed the bubble-wrap and added the lid from a storage tub, this gave the top a flatter shape. I kept checking the size, and removed another towel and let it dry with just one towel and the lid over the bowl. This is the flatter top.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI increased the size of the resist slightly, but this time only used 2 layers of wool, I thought this would keep it softer, and not shrink so much. The idea worked in theory, but the amount of fulling I had to do to get the correct shrinkage caused a lot of wool migration which makes the hat look very fuzzy and the colours are dulled. This is the wool migrating through and over silk:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYellow and red wool migrating through blue:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWool over silk and cotton gauze:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI might shave it carefully to remove some of the fuzz. You can see the shape a bit better from underneath, and I had the narrow sides again, where the edges of the resist were, I’m working on ideas to prevent that for next time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI mentioned in my bag post last week that I’d been looking at eyelet kits, but couldn’t decide. I’m glad I couldn’t, because while I was out on Friday I had a good look around a ‘bargain’ shop and found myself a kit for £2.50. I also found a pack of 2 rainbow luggage straps, which I’m hoping will be perfect for the drawstring channel of my Pollock bag. If not, they will be perfect for something else! I also found some woven cord too, which will be ideal for drawstrings. I got a couple of different colours of this.


Posted in Experiments, Felted Hats, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Second Quarter Challenge: Stewart Stephenson

As you probably know we have decided to pick a different artists for our quarterly challenges this year. This quarter I have chosen Stewart Stephenson http://www.stewartstephenson.com/home He is a Canadian artist that has a large body of work in a variety of mediums and styles. I think there is something for everyone here.

He has a gallery in Vancouver British Columbia Canada

gallery-img1 stevenson 1 stevenson 3 stevenson 5 stevenson 2stevenson 4

It says he did some sculptures but I couldn’t find any pictures. I even sent them an email asking about them but got no response. If you find some please share them with us. Have fun with this.

Don’t forget there will be a post over on the felting and fiber forum where you can ask questions, discuss and post pictures of what you where inspired to make.


Posted in Challenges, Design, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

A Little Stitching

Time is flying by, isn’t it? I can’t believe it is April already. I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing much lately. But I’ll show you a little stitching I have been working on.

Needle Felting

I started working on this 5″ x 7″ felted landscape a couple of weeks ago. I needle felted first and then machine needle felted.

Machine Stitched

Then I free motion stitched the background mountains. The foreground will be hand stitched so I thought the smaller machine stitching in the background would be less prominent.

Closer View Stitching

Here’s a little closer view. I used really dark grey, medium grey and white threads.

Ready to Stitch

And then I picked out my threads for hand stitching. That’s as far as I have gotten. I haven’t been motivated to pick it up and start the hand stitching since then. The plan is to use distorted cross stitch on the tree area.

Quilting Complete

I decided that I should start using some of the fabric that I have “decorated” with my local group. So I took out my soy wax batik fabrics and decided to make book covers. I thought they might be good to sell in the store so I found some inexpensive sketch books to cover. I stitched several fabrics together and backed it with batting and quilted it.

Straight Line QuiltingOn the grid pattern, I just used a straight stitch.

Stitched Pebbles

I did free motion stitching around the leaves and the “pebbles”.

Smaller Notebook Cover

Then I followed Lyric Kinard’s tutorial for making a book cover. She does give a general idea of how to measure but that somehow didn’t work for me. The first one above, was too small and the book wouldn’t fit in.

Back of Smaller Cover

Here’s the back. Now I need to find a book that fits it. It is about 5″ x 8″.

Larger Notebook Cover

Then I decided I would make the next one bigger. And of course it was too big for the books I had purchased. It did however fit the sketchbook that I carry all the time. So I guess I’ll just have to keep this one.

Back of Larger Cover

Here’s the back. The only problem is that I sewed the inside fabric upside down.

Inside Cover

The fabric is right side up here but the book is upside down. Of course I could use the back as the front but I like the leaves better than the grid. So I just won’t worry about all that upside down writing. I think it’s in French so I can’t read it anyway!

Fabric on Batting with Notebooks

So on to making some more that fit. You can see the pile of notebooks in the upper right corner of the photo. I am using a piece of break down screen printed fabric this time. I have laid it out on a piece of batting.

Safety Pins in Place

I safety pinned it to the batting to get ready to do some free motion quilting.

Free Motion Stitching

And off I go.

More Free Motion Stitching

I am using a blue-green cotton thread and I really like how the outline looks. I considered using a red thread but thought it might be a bit much on the contrast.

Free Motion Stitching

I still have a way to go on the quilting for this one. Hopefully, I’ll do a better job on getting the size correct this time. Three times a charm, right?



Posted in Stitching | Tagged , | 24 Comments