Keeping Summer Alive

This past spring, I had a real surprise when I noticed a little garden of violas growing in the cracks of our patio.

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They flourished throughout the summer, but when the colder weather started to hit I knew I’d be sad to see them gone.  I had purchased a picture frame at a garage sale over the summer with nothing special in mind, but then decided to keep the memory of my patio pretties alive thru a three dimensional felt representation.

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I needle felted the flower, leaves and stems separately.  Then I placed a plastic resist around some of the petals so that they could be manipulated into a shape while drying.

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I used a white prefelt with just a hint of color in the background and placed the flowers,  leaves and stems into position, gently needle felting them into place. Then I placed another resist under part of the leaf I want to raise before felting and fulling.

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Here are several angles of the felted flower and leaf.

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Taking a picture straight on after framing it doesn’t do it justice because it’s hard to see the dimension.

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Now I can enjoy my viola all winter long.

How do you keep your summer memories alive during the colder months?

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Batts, a Rainbow and a Scarf

Firstly, I’d just like to say thanks to everyone who took the time to comment and offer their suggestions on my last post, they were all really appreciated and have given me lots of ideas for the future.  After a lot of thought about Social Media, especially after Leonor‘s comment and advice, I caved in and made a Facebook page   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Felt-by-Zed/867287306648868  There’s nothing there yet, I’m still trying to work out how to follow people etc, so if you have any tips, helpful hints etc, they are very welcome. Also, what’s the ‘etiquette’ on groups, can you just ‘join’ ones you like, or follow or whatever it is, or should you be invited?

I wanted something soothing and relaxing which didn’t require much looking after doing lots of sewing, so I thought I’d make some batts. I made them all a bit different, some with just different shades of Merino and some matching fibres, some had a lot of texturey wools blended in and I made a couple with lots of different fibres , shades and textures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also made some single colour textured batts to use on rainbow pieces, these didn’t photograph very well because there wasn’t much colour difference and it’s been really dark here the last couple of days. I did use them on this piece though, I’m going to add a little more green to where the yellow blends into the green, I don’t think the band is quite so defined in real life, but it does look like it needs more green on this photo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI finally got around to making a scarf yesterday. It took all week to ‘prepare’ for it as I had to do it on the hall floor, so cleaning the hall floor, working out shrinkage, drawing out the template, etc. When I did get around to it, I was regretting it an hour in. 2 hours in I was regretting ordering 4 more packs of 18mic Merino last week thinking I’d get into scarves for a bit. 3 hours in I just wanted to curl up on the pillow I was using for my knees and have a nap. Today, every time I look over at my scarf and think ‘Ooh, it was worth it though’ every muscle in my body disagrees :)  I do like it though. I couldn’t get a very good photo, I’m afraid. Like I said, it’s really dark here, and the blue and purple are quite dark, and my camera seemed dazzled by the shininess of the silk. So, this will have to do for now:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI started with a template 25 cm wide and 200cm long (roughly 10 x 79 inches). I did alternate sections of purple and blue for the first layer, then the opposite colours on top for the second layer. I then added some matching colours of silk to the top, then contrasting colours:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt finished up being  19 x 176cm or 7.5 x 69 inches.

Posted in Scarves, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Guild Exhibition and Sale

Last weekend was the Ottawa Valley Weaver’s and Spinners Guild annual exhibition and sale. it was a good weekend all round.

There were demos of both weaving and spinning.

demo 2 demo

There were other felters there, primarily needle felters. These are Nancy’s owls and mixed media birds.

nancy birds nancy owls

These are rides Puppets and a huge Abraham Lincoln.

ride puppets ride lincon

The only things new for me really were Christmas balls, and some hand turned wood plying/knitting bowls I was selling for a friend. I sold 4 of the 5.

bowls christmas balls

It was a fun weekend. I got to chat with lots of new people about felt and it was great to see repeat customers and hear how they have enjoyed there previous purchase’s.  Its great to meet people year after year and know they have enjoyed something you made enough to come back and tell you about it and perhaps purchase more things.

Have you enjoyed any shows this fall?

 

Posted in Demo, Fairs and Shows, Needle Felting, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

No Snow Required – Tea Light Snowman

This is a guest post by Frances T who is a member of the forum and wanted to share a quick tutorial on how to make a snowman figure for the upcoming holidays. This tutorial assumes you know how to do basic wet felting including using a resist to make a three-dimensional felt object and basic sewing techniques.

Battery operated tea lights are very popular in the US and I have seen several photos of them made into Snowmen heads. I expanded on the idea and made a body out of felt.

Supplies Needed:
Pattern for body 4.5 inches x 2.5 inches – straight at top curved at bottom
Battery Operated Tea Light (2 for $1 at Dollar Tree) (amber light is best)
Pom Poms (Package of 90 $1 at Dollar Tree)
Cotton Balls (Package of 100 $1 at Dollar Tree)
White Embroidery Floss & needle
Wool roving (White, Red, Green)
Rice
Tacky Glue and Glue Gun
Permanent Marker (Black)
Rubber band

Frances Snowman Supplies

Instructions –

Hat: Make a felt circle and then shape into a hat (I shaped mine over a cork) and let dry.

Scarf: Felt a piece or pieces of roving into a strip and let dry

Body: Using the pattern as a resist felt the body. (The pattern is shown in the photo above to the far left.) When dry cut a small opening in the top (straight edge) and remove the resist. Let the body dry.

Face: Use the black marker to draw the eyes and mouth.

Frances Snowman Unlit

Assembly

Put about ¼ cup of dry uncooked rice in the body (this is for weight so the snow man will stand up) and then add cotton balls to finish filling the body. Divide the body in a little more than half and tie off the body with a piece of white embroidery floss (You can first use a rubber band and then tie on the floss and cut the rubber band away if it is easier for you) This is the bottom of the snowman.

Draw the top portion of the felt up and form the middle section of the body. Use embroidery floss to sew the opening together.

Glue the hat on the tea light with hot glue. There is a small switch on the back of the light – do not cover with the hat. Glue the tea light onto the top of the body with hot glue. Tie the scarf around the neck and glue if necessary. Glue the Pom Poms on the body (I used tacky glue).

Frances Snowman Lighted

PLEASE NOTE THIS SNOWMAN IS A DECORATION AND NOT A TOY. IF MAKING FOR A CHILD OR TO BE SOLD BE SURE THE GLUE USED IS SUFFICIENT TO KEEP A CHILD FROM PULLING THE SNOWMAN APART.

Thanks Frances! I think you could make all sorts of fun snowmen starting with this idea. If you don’t have any tea lights, you could just make the resist longer and make a felt head by doing three divisions instead of two. The details of the face could be added by needle felting. You could also add twig arms by poking a hole in each side of the middle section and threading a twig through. You could use buttons instead of pompoms for a different look. If you wanted to hang your snowmen on the tree, you could add a loop of yarn to the back of the hat or head and use wool or cotton to fill the body instead of rice. Be sure to show us your photos of your snowmen if you make some. We’d love to see them on the forum

Posted in Community, Guest Writer | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Introduction to Wet Felting at The Fold

A couple of months ago while shopping at The Fold in Marengo, IL, owner Toni Neil asked me if I’d be interested in teaching a wet felting class.  Many of the people who shop there are knitters, crocheters and spinners and she said they were curious about the felting. I agreed and we settled on November 1, class size and I provided her with a class description and supply list along with a list of the items I would be supplying.

I always think when taking a beginners class it’s nice to come home with something you can either use or show people, so I chose to make a place mat.  In preparation, I made a couple as examples and gathered some other samples to show how embellishments can be used.  I also brought along, yarns, prefelt, and some silk for embellishments.

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I provided a pool noodle, bubble wrap, a template, a piece of polyester curtain fabric for each student and gathered up my samples and other tools to discuss as we worked. In addition, I printed out flyers for the forum, a resource list and a general step by step guide to basic wet felting for future reference.

preparation

The class was held in Toni’s kitchen at The Fold which was comfortable for four people. Unfortunately, they had to turn away a fifth, but I don’t know where we would have put another body.

I was surprised to learn that a couple of the ladies had come from as far away as Beloit, WI and Highland Park, IL which is an hour and half away.  The other two lived closer to me.

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The kitchen was nice and bright.  So sunny, pictures were a little hard to get.

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The one thing I learned is that they would have preferred to not have choices as to design.   However, I’m never one to squash the creativity of a group and as it turned out they helped each other and while they followed basic designs they added their own creative touches.

Toni M (not the owner) finished first and was pleased with her first project and decided she liked her organic edges.

Toni

Dana brought some beautiful Churro yarn she’d purchased from New Mexico and made her mat a bit more abstract with a lovely turquoise background.

Dana

Carolynne purchased her roving and yarn to match at The Fold with the intention making an additional five mats of the same design which featured the stripes and abstract yarn design.

Carolynne

Since Candace had just purchased all the merino sheep from The Fold, she chose to feature a sheep on her design that she cut out from prefelt and used yarn for a fence, silk for clouds and some roving for grass.

Candace and sheep

They were all pleased with their place mats.  We worked hard, but had a good time.  Now these knitters, crocheters, spinner and weaver have a new tool in their fiber kits!  I hope they will continue to experiment and join us on the forum.  For more information on The Fold check out their website http://www.thefoldatmc.net

I haven’t taught a class in a long time.  I was tired, but a good tired and had fun meeting new people and sharing my passion with them.

 

 

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Advice Wanted and Some New Items

I did my 2nd proper craft fair on Sunday, and I don’t know if my expectations have been too high, but this one didn’t go very well either. I was lucky enough to cover the cost of the stall by selling quite a few greetings cards and felted soap, but apart from some nice comments and a lot of people stroking my felt pieces, there wasn’t much real interest.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter the last fair I talked it over with my girlfriend and with others on the forum, and came to the conclusion that my stuff isn’t instantly recognisable as handmade felt or even made from wool to the average person, and also that people need encouragement to see the versatility of items. In preparation, I made some felt using lots of natural wools with locks and texture to make into Diary covers, and lots of display cards with info about all the items and ideas for uses.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m kind of stuck now knowing what to do. I’ve spent the last few years trying to find a way to possibly eke out a living  and establish a business from felting/fibre art. I do have limited opportunities because of health problems; I don’t have the time or energy to promote/market myself on Facebook or other social media and do all the ‘networking’ needed, either online or in real life, and can’t get out and about. Even all the work involved in listing for etsy and having to go out to post any potential sales (not that experience has shown there would be many) seems like a lot of wasted time and effort for little return. Also, because of not being financially secure, I can’t just take risks and keep wasting time, energy and money on trying new things which ultimately fail. It’s really quite demoralising too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne thing I have learnt is that when people are looking to treat themselves or others, they don’t want ‘practical’, they want silly, frivolous or a bit of luxury. So, novelty items, gimmicks, things that are trendy at the moment (moustaches, owls, 50′s whimsy) or at a push, felt scarves, seem to win over well made and affordable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, now I’m stuck with a load of diaries which will soon be out of date – I could always put notebooks in, but notebooks are even more practical; lots of camera cases, which are useless because everyone has a smartphone with a camera on; and lots of pieces of felt which everyone agrees ‘would look great on the wall’ but can’t think of anyone whose wall they could buy it for :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, does anyone have any suggestions where to go from here? Is anyone the owner of a gift shop selling artisan gifts who wants to pay me a living wage for well made items? Or maybe I should cut up my phone cases and make lots of greetings cards or just start felting cosies and covers for everything I own and stop inflicting my tat on the world? :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll suggestions gratefully welcome, especially humorous ones!

Posted in Fairs and Shows, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , | 51 Comments

Bubble Hat

Last time I showed you a bubble hat I was making http://wp.me/p1WEqk-2za after it was felted it looked like this

purple before bubbles

and the inside like this

purple before bubbles inside

Next I added the bubbles using felt balls for the ones that stay in and marbles for the one I will cut.

IMG_1981bubbles inside

Then I cut the bubbles and you can leave them but I stretched them to so more of the colour inside the bubbles.

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I didn’t get a picture of it finished . I thought I had but it was one when 2 hats had the bubbles but where not cut. It will give you an idea.

hats with bubbles

If I can I will take a picture of them at the show today and edit it in. They may already be sold, I can’t remember.  I know I sold some of the bubble hats.

I did just manage to get a picture of the hat. is sold about 1/2 hour later.

finnished hat 2 finnished hat

 

Posted in Felted Hats, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , | 24 Comments