What Does Your Calling Card Look Like?

In a few weeks, Cathy (Luvswool) and I are going to attend the Midwest Fiber Fair in Grayslake, IL.  I started thinking about what a great opportunity it might be to introduce some people to the Felting and Fiber Forum/Studio.  But I didn’t have any business cards.

So, while working on one of my felt projects I decided that if I’m representing a fiber collaborative I should have business cards that reflect that concept.

I pulled out a bunch of prefelt pieces leftover from other projects and piled up a stack of embellishments and went to work. Of course, I forgot to take a picture before I felted them.  I used just one layer of prefelt so that it wouldn’t be too thick and proceeded to play with the embellishments using yarn, silk, silk habatoi, silk hankies,  sari threads, throwsters waste, silk gauze with sequins and ribbons.

When I finished felting/fulling the pieces, I cut out a business card size plastic piece and cut out the cards while the felt was still wet and soapy.  Then I worked the edges some more before rinsing and drying.

biz cards wool side

After they dried, I steamed and shaped them a little more. Some of them shrank while drying so I did a bit of pulling and stretching.

I didn’t want to sew them on, so I used three different types of glue (Elmers Clear, Sobo and Tacky Glue) to see which would work best, but all worked nicely and didn’t leave any residue.  I applied it using a wooden stick so it was evenly covered. The nice thing about the glue was that while it was wet I was able to stretch and manipulate the felt to cover the card.  To make sure they stayed put I piled a couple of heavy books on them to let them dry and flatten.  I left the organic edges because I like that look.

2014-06-27 13.10

I’m not sure how people will react to wool business cards, but I think it sends the right message.  I’m definitely a fiber enthusiast.

2014-06-27 13.09

The next time I make more cards I will stick to silk and embellishments that are flatter.  While the yarn and ribbon are nice and very textured, it is a bit more bulky.  What do you think?

 

Posted in Marketing | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Using Black and White Viscose together

I think most of the natural wool and fibre panels I’ve posted about have used one breed of wool and one fibre. I did post about Humbug (black and white striped) Jacob about a month ago, and I’d used both black and white viscose top with that. This first piece is light grey Swaledale, it’s mostly a creamy white with light and dark grey flecks which give it the light grey appearance. I blended some black and viscose tops by hand and laid them on top of the Swaledale:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe overall appearance of the blend is a dark grey, with white streaks:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe separate colours are a bit more obvious close up, I like the way the fibres appear to sit just on the surface, lightly tangled with the Swaledale fibre.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a bit closer and slightly at an angle, showing where the fibre is a little bit thicker, I like the twists and waves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis next piece is one of my favourites, it’s English 56s with Angora locks. I don’t know if there’s a proper name for older goat locks, I’ve heard ‘yearling’ used, but I don’t know how old the goat was these are from. They are a lot thicker and generally less soft and more wavy than curly kid mohair. I loosely combed the locks through a handcarder with either black or white viscose, to blend with the locks. I laid them out loosely alternating each row: black, white; white, black etc.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn angled shot:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA close up where the locks were felted in more:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd a supermacro of course:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo you prefer combinations of wool and fibres which have lots of character and texture or do your prefer the more softer effects of fibres closely felted to the surface of a smoother wool?

Posted in natural wools, Other Fibers, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

Making a Felt Hat with T-pins

A little while ago I received some T-pins. I had never used them before. I haven’t mad and hats with folds for some time as they are difficult to get the folds where you want them. As you try to put the second fold in the first one can easily get pulled out and so on. with the T-pins it was much easier. I could put a fold in and then pin it and then work on the next one.

hat with pins

 

The hat block is a hard foam raffia hat block. the only place I know that sells them is Franks, http://www.franksupply.com/raffia/hatmaking-supplies.html  I left all the pins in while it dried. Here it is after is is dry. It is merino wool with silk lap on accents

hat1 hat 2 hat 4 hat 3

 

I am quite pleased with it. I haven’t yet decided if I want to leave the organic edge or if I want to trim it smooth and even.

Posted in Design, Experiments, Felted Hats, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Ten Ideas for Increasing Your Felting Creativity

Do you generally work in the same way every time you create a piece? Do you feel like you’re in a rut and need to change up your routine? Here’s a list of 10 ways that might get you jump started and moving creatively in a different direction. Put on your experimenting hat and try something new. These suggestions are geared towards felting but you can adapt these ideas to almost any type of art. I have used a variety of photos from our library and not all the photos are of my work.

4 batts together

  1. Switch up your color palette. Do you use the same color palette frequently? Why not try changing one of the colors that you normally use. Perhaps you always use bright, jewel toned colors, why not try a more muted color? For example, if your color scheme included a spring green with bright yellow and turquoise, what would happen if you changed the spring green to a dark olive green? Wool Snakes in the Bathroom
  2. Try a different breed of wool. If you always use the same type of wool, such as merino, why not try a different breed? See how that breed felts differently than the one that you normally use. Take a look at a few of Zed’s posts to get inspired :)comp of raw wool
  3. Use a new technique. Have you seen a technique that you haven’t tried before? There are lots of free tutorials online so take a few minutes to browse online if you need instructions and then make a few samples using this new technique. Once you’ve got the method down, plan a piece around using that new technique.Texture of Newspaper
  4. Switch the blend of fibers that you use. Do you usually add your embellishments on top of the wool after layout? Try blending the embellishments into the wool before layout. How does that affect the felting process? How much embellishment fiber can you add to the wool and have it still felt?

    Third time through the carder

    Third time through the carder

  5. Work inside out. When you are using a resist, do you usually add the embellishments to the outside and then felt? Try adding the embellishments to the resist first and then the wool, felt as usual and then when you open the felt to remove the resist, turn the piece inside out so your embellishments are now on the outside. Or perhaps you could make your piece reversible and have embellishments on both the inside and the outside?Resist Shapes
  6. Cut up an old piece. Do you have any UFO’s (unfinished pieces) that are just lying around taking up space? Try cutting the piece up and putting it back together in a different configuration. Or use the cut up pieces to make greeting cards by stitching the felt down on to the paper card. Or if you have several UFO’s, cut them all up and put them all back together into one new piece.ufo's
  7. Hand mix your colors. Do you always use solid colored roving that you’ve purchased commercially? If so, why not try mixing several of those colors together by hand to achieve a variegated color instead of one solid color? You could use hand carders or you can do this in small amounts just using your fingers to mix the different colors of wool together. What color do you get if you mix complementary colors (colors on opposite sides of the color wheel) together?

    Food Color dying

    Food Color dying

  8. Try using only prefelts. Do you normally mainly use wool roving when making a felt project? If so, try making some prefelts (don’t full, just leave the felt soft or buy them commercially) and use only prefelts in your next project. How many different ways can you think of using prefelt?dreamspin prefelt
  9. Add in a different media. Try going to the bookstore and finding a book on a type of craft that you haven’t tried before. Look through the book to get some ideas of how you could add that media to your felting. It might be as simple as finding a stained glass design that you want to replicate in felt or it might be more complex by actually adding that media to your felt in some way.

    Beads, Buttons, Stitch

    Beads, Buttons, Stitch

  10. Take your studio outside. This might not be too practical in the winter time but if you can, try doing part of your process outdoors. Be inspired by your surroundings. Just moving where you normally create can change your thinking and give you new ideas for further creations.IMG_2673

Most of all, play around, experiment and just have fun!

Posted in Inspiration | Tagged | 16 Comments

Craft Fair

As most of you know, I did my first ‘proper’ craft fair on Sunday just gone. It was at the gorgeous old building of Victoria Baths just a mile or so from Manchester city centre. I didn’t sell much ( a piece of rainbow felt, 3 bookmarks, a credit card holder, a felted soap, a coin pouch and a heart shaped ring pouch) but I did pay for the cost of the stall, and I did meet a lot of nice people. A wet/needlefelt artist had a stall in the row behind mine, she had lots of nice pieces, but I didn’t get her details. Maggie was upstairs, she had a lot of nice felt pieces and had been felting for a long time, and she sold me some dyed flax for a bargain price! This is Maggie’s stall:

She had some gorgeous woven and cobweb scarves:

Opposite the end of my row was Jude. She does pretty much everything! From washing raw fleece, to dyeing it mostly with natural dyes, spinning it up into gorgeous yarns and then knitting it into amazing shawls and hats. She also felts and does workshops teaching her many skills. This was Jude’s stall, unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of her spinning wheel.

These are some of her yarns. I think she said her dad turned the bowls himself. Just disappearing to the right are some needlefelted sheep with hand dyed locks:

My stall was a lot neater when I first set it out, but I only took photos nearer the end. This is most of it:

And this is the other end:

If anyone has been put off doing a craft fair because of lack of transport, I thought I’d show you how I took my things. You might remember my ‘granny’ trolley from a post last year, that is what I used to take everything to the fair in. I used a large ‘document’ box, and a couple of shoe boxes. This is the smallest shoe box I used:

In this, I had 7 pieces of felt.

This is the second shoe box I used:

In this I had all my greetings cards, handmade felted soap, a receipt book, some business cards, a couple of mirror cases, a glasses case, ring pouch, coaster and lots of bookmarks.

The document box, which came flat and cost 70p from Ikea, measures 10 inches high, 10 inches deep and is 13 inches wide.

In this I managed to fit: 3 large gadget sleeves; 22 phone/camera sized cases; 2 glasses cases; 13 credit card and coin pouches; 5 purses; 3 slim gadget cases; 6 A5 notebooks and 8 A6 notebooks. I think I had even more in it on the way there!

I did have a small shopping bag with the table cloth cover, some paper bags and my woolly vessel in, but almost everything else was in the trolley.

Posted in Fairs and Shows | Tagged , , | 25 Comments

Suffolk, Banana, Masham and Bamboo

I’ve used banana fibre tops with Suffolk wool tops before, so I know they look really interesting together. I fluffed up some of the banana fibre, and added it to the top of the Suffolk. Though I used lessl of the banana fibre than I have previously, I wasn’t disappointed by the results.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis angled picture shows the texture more:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the centre part

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is a supermacro of the wool and fibre texture

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the middle along the right edge is an area where the fibres are a little thicker. In the top photos it looks quite dense, but a supermacro close up shows the tangle of wool and banana fibres.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd from this angle you can see the pattern even better

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother combination of wool and fibres I found really interesting is Grey Masham and Bamboo top. I’m not sure if Masham is classed as a coarse breed, I think its Micron count is between 29 and 34. It’s certainly more ‘wiry’ than fine wools, but is still quite soft to the touch. The contrast of the wool and sheen of the bamboo was quite striking, yet at the same time, the wool seemed to ‘absorb’ the fibre. This is the whole piece from an angle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is slightly closer and from above, there’s an area in the centre with barely any fibre on it:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the dense patch just to the right, it’s interesting to see how the fibres are still affected by the characteristics of the wool even when they are thicker.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the area just left of centre at the top of the piece, showing dense and sparse patches.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hope you’re not getting bored of these because I have about 30 other breeds of wool and about 15 natural fibres, I’m not going to do the maths, but that’s quite a variety of combinations I can come up with!

Posted in natural wools, Other Fibers, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Cochineal and Indigo Dyeing

Yesterday my friend Linda and I did some natural dying with cochineal and indigo.  She had purchased a kit with several kinds of natural dye stuffs and instructions. We decided on cochineal and indigo so we could get fuchsia, blue and purple. cochineal is easy enough to prepare you boil it strain it and then reboil what’s left  and strain 4 times to get you dye solution. It was a lovely deep pink. you have to mordant your things to use cochineal. For cotton you have to first soaking in  tannin and in then in alum. For wool you just use alum.

mordenting for dyeing

Here are a couple of the pieces after they came out of the cochineal

cochineal dyed stuff.

The indigo is a little more involved to get ready and it stinks. first you make up a concentrate using the powder and chemicals. Indigo is used in an alkaline solution. You stir it together and then have to let the purple solution turn yellow/green.

indgo solution Then you have to carefully, under the alkaline water in your bucket, pour the solution in. You do not want to add any oxygen to the dye bath. Then you have to wait another 1/2 hour or so for it all to goes completely yellow again.

IMG_1456

When you add your wet articles to dye you have to carefully lower them into the bucket so as not to add any oxygen to the solution.

putin bundles in indigo The magic happens when you take things out of the indigo. Even after just a couple of min in the bucket things will start to go blue when pulled out.

start to change when you take them out after 30 to 40 min you get much better colour. Here is some cotton that was tied in knots so parts would resist the dye.

out of the indigo untieing the clothThe pieces that were in the cochineal where a disappointment. when we added them to the indigo all the red disappeared and only the blue took.  We discovered after doing some research that we were supposed to used the mordent for 24 hours. That would be  2 days of soaking for cotton and one for wool before you can start to dye.  a couple of the cotton gauze pieces did keep a little pink

cotton gauze here are the rest

dryingThese have all been in the indigo once

and these twice. The very dark ones are a natural dark gray Norwegian wool.

multiple dippings

The other thing I tried was my hair it has gotten long enough that it is becoming hard to handle so I am going to get it trimmed soon. So I thought why not have some fun with it first. I stuck it in the cochineal and then in the indigo.

and in cochiniel ann in the indigo

Unfortunately the cochineal washed right out in the indigo and the indigo did not take at all. In the end Linda had some stuff called panic manic that she used to give me the purple I was looking for.

hair dye anns hair

This was a fun day but I think I will go back to my acid and fiber reactive dyes, so much simpler to use and predictable results. If anyone knows why the indigo didn’t work on my hair I would like to know. I though with hair being a protein fiber it should work.

Posted in Dyeing, Experiments, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 24 Comments