Felt Fan Fare

Over the summer I collected a number of items at garage sales and thrift stores to try new projects in felt.  One of the things I was intrigued with was a paper fan.

I removed the paper very gently and used it to make the pattern for the felt using a 30% shrinkage factor.



I cut out two sides from prefelts then cut out the rib resists from flooring foam and placed them on the one side of the prefelt then covered it with the second side and decorated it with silk and throwsters waste. The trick of course would be to keep the ribs in place while felting.  I did a lot of rubbing in all directions on both sides until I could see the felt sticking together between the ribs, then did my rolling, rinsing, etc.



Because the actual ribs were thicker than the resists, I placed wooden skewers in the resist slots then creased the fan the way I wanted it to dry and basted the back with thread and tightened.



The real challenge was getting the real ribs into the slots since the fan was held together with a non removable pin with two round heads. I’m sure there is a technical name for this, but I don’t know what it is.

I worked on it for hours trying to get all the ribs started then in and up to the top. I even enlisted my husbands help for an extra set of hands, but that didn’t help.  I was very frustrated and left it for a while then came back fresh and finally got it to work. The first and last ribs are glued on to the wood.

While my husband I were in California in July, we visited the Japanese Gardens in Los Angeles and I had purchased a cute little wooden fan stand.


I had visions of possibly producing fans to sell, but I’m not sure it’s worth the effort unless I can develop an easier way to thread the ribs into the fan.

What projects have you started only to find it was harder than you thought?

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Just before the end of last year, I made a few scarves that I didn’t get chance to post about. The first one was a present for my sister’s birthday. I took the inspiration for the colours from a previous scarf I made, which was blue and purple. I blended up equal amounts of blue, purple and green 18.5 mic Merino on my drum carder. I can’t remember now how many times I put the batts through, I think it was only once because I wanted random variegation. This is the back of the scarf:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI added some silk top to the front:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd I just like the way this photo looks :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used what was left of the batts and added some more blue, purple and green, with a lot more green so I could make a scarf for my dad. You might remember the batt. I used some to make a nuno sample (which is now my nuno collar which I wear when I go out, though it looks more like a foppish cravat!) When I weighed it, there wasn’t enough for a scarf, so I had to blend up some more Merino. Even though I only needed about 10 grams to be on the safe side, I had to recreate the stages of the other one to get a similar blend. I think it’s my favourite one so far:


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne thing I noticed while carding the batts, was that the more the wool/batts were carded, or re-carded, the more I got soft little nepps appearing. I did pick a few out, but it wasn’t easy so I left them, hoping they wouldn’t be a problem since they were so soft. It might be my imagination because I certainly can’t feel them, but there definitely seems to be more texture on this scarf. I think the light here caught it just right:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI liked the way this photos looks too, I’d just casually dropped the scarf on the table and it folded like this:


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Needle felting class and Lambs

Recently I taught a needle felting class were we made little sheep.

Making Bodiesfelting bodies

Adding Legsadding legs

And Earsadding ears

Then its time to give the sheep some wool. These are hand dyed Blue Faced Leicester curls. They are small tight  curls perfect for small work.

adding curls purple sheep adding curls blue sheep green sheep with red heart brown sheep

brown sheep 1 blue sheeep and snowman

All very cute in the end and a snowman for company.

And this morning we had 2 new real lambs arrive. twin lambs 2015 It’s not a great picture but they were very new and not interested in posing for a good shot.



Posted in Classes, Needle Felting, sculptural felt, Sheep Farming, Uncategorized, Wool | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

First Quarter Challenge – Making a Color Wheel

For the first quarter challenge I made a color wheel with colored markers. I also collected some color information from my studio journals of color wheels and scales I had done in the past. There were several comments that I hadn’t covered enough information about color in my first post and I will continue to add information as we go through the quarter. I think it is really hard to digest everything in one sitting so the color theory will be spread out over the quarter. I will be repeating some things of importance but as we have discussed over in the forum, it is easy to forget the terms if you don’t use them on a regular basis. So bear with me and I will try to explain color theory as I know it. One point that I didn’t make before that color mixing with light, paint and dye are all a bit different. So depending on the media you use, the results will not all be the same. Remember that you can click on any of the photos to enlarge them if you want a closer look.

Primary Colors on Color WheelI searched online for a blank color wheel and found this one shown above. It is from the site Color Wheel Artist and it has several free printable mixing wheels available. There are also lots more out there if you search for them. I printed a bunch out so I would have extras. I would suggest that you transfer the outline to a sturdier piece of paper such as watercolor or mixed media paper. All you have to do is put the printed wheel on a sunny window and put your heavier paper on top. You’ll be able to see the wheel underneath and will be able to trace it or just mark the corners. It really doesn’t matter if you stay within the lines, just getting the color on the paper is the important part. I used the computer paper but it got really flimsy when I was trying to mix the colors on the paper.

Primary Colors with Tombow Pens

For this color wheel, I used Tombow Colored Pens that are “blendable”. This set is called the “primary” set so it had the primary and secondary colors. The primary colors are red, blue and yellow. These are the colors that you can’t mix from other colors. So you need to start with the primaries to begin your color wheel. You can then mix from red, yellow and blue to achieve the remaining colors on the wheel. The hardest part here is deciding if you really have a primary yellow or primary red or primary blue. If you are mixing your primary colors and you come up with something different from what you expected, then you might not have a true primary color. When you are selecting your colors, look at what they are called. Most dyes and paints will have colors marked as primary.


As an example, if you take a look at Zed’s color wheel that she made from dyed wool, you will see on the left at least three colors that look “yellow”.  If the colors were viewed in isolation, you would probably label them as “yellow”. But when placed side by side and compared, one is primary yellow, one leans towards orange and one leans towards green. So compare all your yellows and pick which you think is the “primary” one before you start. The same with reds and blues. If you start out with a “primary” that leans to its secondary color, it won’t provide a pure mix of color and your secondary and tertiary colors will be affected.

Adding Secondary Colors to Color Wheel

Next I colored in the secondary colors which are orange, green and violet (purple). My pens had the secondary colors so I didn’t have to mix anything to apply the secondary colors. If you are using paint, you’ll need to start with the lighter color and add small amounts of the darker color such as mixing small amounts of red into yellow to achieve orange.  A mixture of blue into red creates purple and a mixture of blue into yellow creates green.

Primary and Secondary Colors

Depending on what media you are using, sometimes it is equal parts of primary colors that make a secondary color but that isn’t always true with paint pigments. Sometimes an equal amount of red mixed with an equal amount of yellow would not be a middle range orange but instead a red-orange. That is because the red overpowers the yellow in the mixture. So mixing a small amount at a time and testing on paper before applying the mixed secondary color to your wheel is helpful.

Testing Colors on Scrap Sheet of Paper

I used this blank piece of paper to try to mix colors with my pens. I have to say that this is where I ran into some problems. My paper was too flimsy and the pens didn’t really “blend” all that well. But I kept at it until I was able to achieve a fair representation of the tertiary colors.

Mixing Tertiary Colors and Adding to Color Wheel

Here is my final color wheel. The tertiary colors are yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green and yellow-green. It helps if you label what media you used and what the color names were. Then if you want to repeat a color, you will be able to create it again. I would also recommend that you start a color notebook and keep your information all together. I have mine scattered throughout at least 7 different journals and it isn’t easy to find quickly. If you have all your color experiments in one place, you can use that as a resource when you are mixing colors in the future.

A short note about color wheels. I learned that yellow should always be at the top and the blue to the right. But that’s not the way everyone does it. I wouldn’t worry too much about color placement as long as your primary colors form an equilateral triangle in the wheel.

Here are some other color wheels that I have created over the years. The top right is dyed thread color wheel. The other two top photos show the difference in color mixing if you use a yellow that leans more towards orange compared to a primary yellow. The top middle photo is mixed with primary yellow and the top right is mixed with a “golden” yellow. Can you see how it mixes differently? The left bottom photo is a color wheel from cut out magazine colors. I can see now that my primary blue leans towards violet. The other two bottom photos are color wheels from two different textile paints that I use in my work.

Mixing Tints with Dye

I had several questions about colors such as pink and where they fit on the color wheel. A color with white added is called a tint. The photo above shows mixing dyes to achieve tints. Dyes are different from paints in that there is no “white” dye. Instead, the dye is diluted with water to achieve a tint and make a paler color. You could do this same sort of scale with wool. Start with the pure colored wool and add little bits of white at a time to achieve different tints. Tints are not always shown on a basic color wheel. Some of the fancier ones have tints in an outer ring surrounding the basic color wheel.

Mixing Shades with Procion MX Dye

This is a sheet I did about mixing “shades”. Shades are a color mixed with black. The photo shown above is done with dye and painted on to the paper. If you see the number on the left hand side, that is the number of drops of black added each time to achieve the changes shown. Again, shades are not shown on a basic color wheel. Sometimes you will see them in the center of the wheel moving towards black at the very center. This same sort of effect could be achieved by blending colored wool with black wool in incremental amounts.

Neutralizing Yellow with Complementary Violet

Many colors that you see are “neutralized” colors. To achieve neutrals, add in the complementary color. A complementary color is the one on the opposite side of the color wheel. In this examples, yellow and violet are used. Small amounts of the darker color violet is added into the yellow. Again the numbers represent the number of drops added. So to “neutralize” your colors of wool, mix in a small amount of the opposite color on the color wheel.

Color Study with Colored Pencil

Another fun exercise is to use the same colors but mix them in different ways. Here three colors are used: orange, light blue and blue. The top is a greater percentage of blue with a less amount of orange. The middle has black added and the lower has more white paper showing through. This could easily be tried in felt by not thoroughly mixing the fiber colors together and felting them in different proportions or on a white background or black background to see the differences.

primary colours by Lyn

Lyn from RosiePink made a wonderful color wheel out of wool starting from the primary colors above. You can read more about it on her post.

colour wheel by Lyn

The result is wonderful and she did this all by hand carding from the primary wool colors above. Great job Lyn!!

blended greens by Zara

So have you tried making a color wheel? I hope you’ll give it a try. And if you’ve already made a color wheel perhaps you can try mixing some shades, tints or neutralized colors. One of our forum members Zara worked on mixing some shades, tints and tones (mixing in grey) with green wool. You can read about it here. It’s in English at the bottom of the post.

I hope you’ll join in the color fun. If you have any questions, either leave a comment here or join us on the forum in our color discussion. We have been having a lively discussion and I think everyone is learning from the others experiments.

Isosceles Triangle

Next week, I will do a post about using  a color wheel to choose a color scheme. It helps if you have one made on paper so if you haven’t done that yet, give it a try!





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Arm Warmers by Cathy Wycliff


Our guest artist/author today is Cathy Wycliff aka Luvswool who made a variety of arm warmers this Christmas for her family and friends.

Most of my felting this year has focused on wall hangings and scarves. Earlier this year, I went through a nuno-felting craze, followed by designing and felting cobweb and thick, wooly scarves.
But mostly, I focused on wall art, which included entries for the Quarterly Challenges, as well as some portraits, landscapes and seascapes. In November, I decided to experiment with arm warmers, or fingerless gloves and–if they turned out well–I would gift them to my mom and four sisters at Christmas. I looked at many wrist cuffs, arm warmers, gauntlets and fingerless gloves on-line and decided to start out simply with arm warmers–that is, short and long felted cuffs which extend over the fingers but do not include thumb or finger holes.


My first pair would go to my youngest sister, who works in a cool office and wears arm warmers as part of her daily outfit. She mostly wears black, but I asked if I could toss in a color as well, and she chose olive. Using black Gotland and olive Coopworth (torn from a batt), I fashioned a rectangle which would make a pair. My intention was to cut the piece in half and then use buttons to close. Because I like to work on two projects at once, I then chose some grey Navajo churro and some mixed color merino and tussah for the second pair. Felting the wool was as easy as making a piece of flat felt, but choosing the proper buttons and making the buttonholes proved to be problematic.







I have a modest collection of vintage buttons, some of my own from sewing 40 years ago, and some which were given to me by friends and family. But many of those buttons are one or two of a kind, so it was a challenge to find enough buttons for my project. I chose olive ball buttons for the first pair, and teal wavy buttons for the second pair. My mistake was in thinking I could snip small holes into the wool that would serve as buttonholes. I tried needle-felting, hidden binding, and blanket stitching; however, the holes remained loose and too large in some cases. My solution was to use hidden stitches to bind the seam and make a seamless arm piece. And yes, wool felt “gives.” The buttons became a decoration, rather than a functional part of the cuff.



I continued to make enough arm warmers for my female family members, choosing the colors and lengths I knew they would prefer: pink, blue & white merino for my sister-in-law; shorter cuffs in black merino with embellishments for another sis, and finally small white wool cuffs with silk hanky embellishment for my mom. With the rush of the holidays, I never got around to making a pair for myself, but I am jumping on the slipper bandwagon next. My new lasts are ready and waiting!




Thanks Cathy, I’m sure your family and friends will enjoy these lovely gifts to stay warm in the cold Chicago weather.


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Looking Ahead 2015

I suppose I should start with my usual plan of trying to be more organised this year  :)  This usually just means buying more bins and boxes to put supplies in, but I tend to use stuff less if it’s tidied away, so I want ‘being more organised’ to mean having things more accesable this year. That’s not easy when it’s fibres though, I worry about carpet beetle bugs. I discovered a few pieces of fabric I’d bought a while ago that I still haven’t tried out because they were tidied away so I need a compromise.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother thing I say every year is that I plan to work on more tutorials and a new e-book, and how I’ve been working on my ‘other fibres’ project for years and want to work more on that. I did do quite a bit of work on that and really just need to get back into it, it shouldn’t be that hard since I like playing around with wool and fibre combinations so much :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne thing I always look forward to is our studio challenges. If you didn’t see Ruth’s post, have a look here. This year we are focusing on colour, not just colour themes though, but learning about colour and playing with it. We’ve already started talking about it on the forum: looking at colour wheels and making our own out of tufts of wool. And Zara was talking about blending different shades and tones by adding white, grey and black to green, you can see her post here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat’s it for plans, I think I’ll just see how things go and try and go with the flow and stress less :)

Posted in The Year Ahead | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

A New Felting Year

We are starting a new blank calendar.  It’s time to look back and look ahead. As I look back at my year it’s been quite busy. There have been lots of classes and I even took a couple of classes.

Linda finishedalpaca tracks happy hat

I managed to do some art with felt and make a huge curly fleece hat with horns for an exhibition.

pictures hanging picture hanging

Ann with hat (2)


There were not so good things. I didn’t get recalled to work in September so I am unemployed.  On the bright side at least it was a good time. I had shows coming up so I did make some money. I sold some work to a store and got invited to sell work in a local museum store. One of the best things to happen has nothing to do with felt or wool. I found out I will be a grandmother in February. So now I have a reason for all this gray hair, I will be a nana.

My new year will be exiting with the new baby,  hopefully a new part time job and more felt. I am hoping to try  for the 3rd time making  the felt boots I was supposed to try again last year.  I think it will be a good year. I hope your year was good and the new one will even better.



Posted in The Year Ahead, Year End Round Up | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments