Pandagirl’s Maneki-Neko for 2017 3rd Quarter Challenge Part 1

I’ve still been in the mood to explore the Edo Period.  I remembered when my oldest son was in high school and brought home a Japanese exchange student who gave us a little kitty statute to bring prosperity to our home.

Of course, when I looked for it I couldn’t find it, but found plenty of pictures on the Internet.  It is technically called Maneki-neko which means “beckoning cat.” Of course,  there are many stories behind the cat.  You can read a few of them here:

There are also different meanings and results for different colored cats.  I chose black since it helps with good health (or getting rid of evil spirits).  Different writings have different meanings.  I did see one for green for good health, but I just wasn’t ready for a green cat.

Normally the traditional white cat brings wealth and prosperity and is seen in Asian restaurants and shops.  There is also confusion as to whether it is Japanese or Chinese.  It was the Japanese in the Edo period who developed this character.

I knew it was going to be a bit more complex than just making a resist for a pod.  Since I didn’t have a particular size in mind, I just made a resist I felt I could get enough detail on and manage.

I used prefelts for the first layer and merino wisps for the sides.  I also added needle felted noses, cheeks and prefelt and cotton batting for the one arm. Then added three layers of corriedale putting the eyes under the last two and prefelt for the ears.  On the back I also made a small tail using needle felted Jacob wool.  Not much of it is visible on the wet cat.

Then I added some silk with throwsters waste to add a little bling.

Then I fulled it and stuffed it with bubblewrap to give it some shape.  I did forget to open the eyes.

I rewet it and opened the eyes. So, next I will have to add all the details needed to finish.

Stay tuned!

Posted in 3D, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Tree Trunks in Snow

I thought I’d make some test pieces for making cards for the Winter fair. Basically, I wanted to work out the best wool and/or fibre blends for making wool tubes to look like tree trunks. I did have silver birch in mind for some, but anything which looked good was all I was after for now. The wool I used for the base was something I got in a bag of Botany Lap waste, It looked and felt like Merino, and after felting I’m failry certain it is, but finer than 23 mic.
I quite like this first one, I used various natural grey blends, but also some nylon on the 1st, 3rd and 5th. I think the first one was made with ‘Lightning’, an artifical white Merino, it looks blue-ish in natural light:

I used a natural blend which Leonor sent me for these next ones. I think the last two also had some white nylon because they have a blue-ish look too:

This is one of my favourites, it has tubes made from various natural blends, though the first one could have some artificial white. I also added some strands at the base after googling ‘tree trunks in snow’ 🙂 What isn’t very obvious is I also used a fine layer at the bottom of a Botany Lap blend which had trilobal nylon in it. It looks whiter/brighter if you look hard, but the sparkle isn’t obvious:

I tried a couple of tubes I made around dowelling, I think they were a bit thin and didn’t have enough colour variation:

I tried a new (to me) wool for this next piece: Charollais. It made a spongey felt. It was quite unusual when it came to fulling, as I rubbed from one direction, like top to bottom, it seemed to undo the fulling I’d done from the other, i.e side to side! I got there in the end, though I probably shouldn’t have bothered! The cream/white wool used on the grey tubes matched the base felt, so ‘diasappeared’, and the tube I made from Finn and Merino just had no definition:

Here’s a close up so you can see the felt texture:

I tried something a bit different on these next two, this first one has the same fine Merino base, but I made the trees out of bamboo paper. A layer of black, with a layer of white on top. The black bamboo paper had two layers, it separated when I was adding out the last tree, and I think that one looks better:

Close up:

This last one was made with a base of Svea X Finull which Zara sent me. I am hopeless at laying out anything which isn’t commercial tops, so it’s not the neatest piece! I tried a skeleton leaf on this one:

I really liked this piece 🙂 Here’s a close up of the leaf:

I’ll probably redo the samples with 23 mic Merino and add unblended trilobal on some to see if it looks like icy snow. I’ll save the artificial white wool for other things, I think the natural creamy whites look better.

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Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Spinning some yarn

I haven’t done much other than make meat pies for the farmers market the last week. It seems with cooler weather people want comfort food. So many Steak and Mushroom pies and Tourtiere pies have been made.

I did finish my Guild poker challenge I told you about here: spinning-for-the-guild-challenge/ The beads really were not inserted very well and that showed up more in the plying but here it is finished.

You can see how the locks aren’t in well enough so they are very loose in the ply.

I learned a lot and I think next time I will ply with a thread with beads on it instead or maybe do some sort of core spun yarn with a beaded thread.

I have also been spinning on my spindle. I can do that anywhere.  They are both thick and thin yarns. It will show more after they are plied. I finished this, it’s reds with gold super bright trilobal nylon I dyed. I don’t remember what colour I used to get it, maybe aztec gold. The first picture shows the colour best. The second picture is over exposed, so hopefully you can see how much sparkle is in it.

My current spinning project is also red but it has pink mixed in and white silk and undyed supper bright trylobal nylon.

After this spindle is full I will decide if I want to play them together or keep them separate.  Later they will make their way into some felting. What have made to use later in your felting?

Posted in Beading, Challenges, Spinning, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 10 Comments

I’ve Definitely Been Challenged!

I have written earlier about the Third Quarter Challenge which is based on the Japanese Edo period. Once to show you the design I developed to use and the other to show you the felt I created.  Then I showed you the disaster that included stitching and cutting out of the resist. I wasn’t happy with the results so I decided to start over. What could go wrong?

I decided that I would make a silk screen with matte vinyl fuse. Then I could silk screen the design on to the previously dyed silk and then nuno felt the design. (If you’re interested in learning how to make this type of silk screen, it is included in my online class Experimental Silk Screening.) At our recent art retreat, I made up some really dark violet thickened dye and screened it over the silk. It looked perfect. I used Procion dye and soda ash to set it. Then, once home I washed it out in preparation for felting it.

And every single bit of dye disappeared! Nothing was left at all. Arghh! I have since decided it was due to the fact that this is very thin silk and has been previously dyed and it just wasn’t going to take any more dye. Sigh.

I have to tell you that I was discouraged. I had to go to my Art & Design class I really didn’t have time for this setback. But if nothing else, I have perseverance (AKA stubbornness). So one more try.

I decided I would just screen print with acrylic paint mixed with screen printing medium. So that is what I did. The paint once dry wouldn’t disappear with application of water. So with a little bit of a different color, more maroon this time, I screened the silk.

I laid out some pink Merino that Karen from Big Sky Fiberarts gave me a while ago. I made it fairly thick because I didn’t want a lot of shrinkage and especially with nuno felting, less wool equals more shrinkage and distortion of the silk.

So here’s the wool layout with the silk on top. I proceeded with felting and the design finally did what I wanted it to do. It didn’t disappear and it pretty much kept it’s shape.

Here’s a poor photo of the piece after felting while still wet.

I think if I never saw this design again, I wouldn’t mind. To say the least, this was quite a challenge. I am not sure what I am going to do with this piece of felt yet but for now, I’m just happy it’s finished. I also have found it interesting that many people think this is a Celtic design. I guess that many ancient designs have a similar feel but this one is based on the Japanese Edo period. And I finished before the end of the third quarter, I think it’s a miracle!

Posted in Challenges, Nuno Felting | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Ribbon Embroidery

I recently  bought a book on Silk Ribbon Embroidery.  I saw something on Pinterest and it caught my interest.

I thought I had some silk ribbon but couldn’t find it. If I did, I would have had to dye it anyways.  So, I decided to use regular satin ribbon just to see how well it worked.

I originally wanted to use a  cotton type doily that I had dyed with indigo several years ago.  But no matter what size needle I tried I couldn’t get the ribbon thru the tight weave.

I purchased some cotton/linen material and used that instead.

I was concentrating so much on the technique I forgot to take pics at each step.  It was a bit harder than it looked. No surprise I chose Irises.

I used the Daisy stitch to make the Iris flowers.  The trick is to use the needle to position and fluff out the flowers and leaves.  I used my own design, so I tried to make each flower unique.

The stems were next.  I used some green floss that I positioned pulling it thru at each end, then couched the stem with the same color floss to give a bit of texture.

After I added the leaves, I felt something was missing. Then I added a bit of a bulb under each flower. The final touch was to add a little acrylic yellow paint for the beard on the petals.

The next challenge was to frame it.  Since the ribbon was so brightly colored, I wanted a more subtle mat.  I tried several and settled on a pale green with light specks.  I had to wrap the cloth around a board and secure it with double sided tape before putting the backing on.  That proved to be tricky getting the flowers centered in the mat. The picture colors are not true, the wall is a pale yellow, the mat a pale green.


Here are some closeups:

Then I caught a little sunlight on the couch which gives a different perspective.

In the future, I may make a series of flower pics and try the silk ribbon which I think will be a bit easier to work with.  But I’m pleased with the result even though at times the ribbon was a bit unruly.

Have you tried any new techniques lately?


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Fine Layers and Shrinkage

I took some photos while I was laying out my first Trilobal Nylon sample last week. They aren’t the best – fine layers of Merino and sparkly fibre aren’t the easiest to photograph – so I don’t have photos of every layer. This is the start of the first layer of Trilobal Nylon:

I didn’t overlap the Trilobal nylon partly because the length of the fibre meant 3 columns fit in the template, and trying to take into account the effect of shrinkage. This is the first layer finished:

This is how it looked with the 2nd layer of nylon on top, you can see I used quite a lot:

This is after two fine layers of Merino were added:

And this is when the four fine layers were added, just before I felted it:

It’d be good if there were some large, waterproof scales to use durinng felting, so the weight of layers could be worked out easily!

This is a piece I made last month. I got some fabric from a charity shop a while ago, it has some embroidery paisleys and little ‘gems’ on it. The way they are spaced out meant that I could either cut/tear quite narrow strips between the paisley or wider strips to include them for trying a sample piece. I hate waste, so I had a think what I would use the sample for, I thought it’d make a nice coin purse, but even after shrinkage would be too wide. Oddly for me, I actually came up with a solution before making the sample instead of 6 weeks later! If I used an odd number of layers, with 3 across the width, and two along the length, then I’d get more shrinkage! It worked too! This is the whole piece:

It is a chiffon type fabric, it feels synthetic, but I might have to do a burn test. This is one end closer up:

The paisleys are really shiny so not easy to photograph, they rose up and became even more 3d with shrinkage:

You can see the texture and migration more here:

Have you had any brainwaves and found solutions for problems lately?

Posted in Nuno Felting, Other Fibers, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments


This last weekend was Fiberfest. I was a vendor. Set up was Friday afternoon and the sale was Saturday and Sunday. It was a good sale and I didn’t take a lot of pictures.  Here are the few I took of my booth.

You can see my new table drape with my name. I should have got a better picture of it.  I always forget when I am busy.

Here are some pictures of some of the new scarves in progress. I had planned on taking more pictures especially finished ones but I ended up in a rush to get done and packed.

This is some softsilk.  I got a small bag at another fiber festival. When I looked at it on line it looks like the silk sari threads. I think it may be but it has been shredded finer. It is very soft as the name implies.

After set up I went home to make tarts for the farmers market on Saturday morning, Strawberry and Blueberry.

My husband son and Mom will be going while I am at Fibrefest.

It was a busy but fun weekend


Posted in Fairs and Shows, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 13 Comments