Finished Bookcovers, Unfinished Purses

I actually finished a couple of notebook covers this week. The first one is the landscape piece I showed cut out ready for sewing. This is the front:

And this is the back:

I think every time I use ‘scene’ type pieces for book covers, I tell myself to make the top and bottom ‘sections’ bigger next time, because I always have to compromise over what gets cut off. I always forget! But, then I can use those nice pieces for something else, like part of a collage book cover! I tried to make this next one nice and bright, you might remember me choosing some of the pieces back in February:

And I did make a start on it in March, and then put it away for a while. I realised last week that I was going to be hot, sweaty and miserable no matter what, so I may as well just try to be a bit productive and get my sewing machine out and finish the cover:

Other side:

This is the inside, with some hand dyed cotton fabric as lining:

Front and back opened out:

I bet a hat made like this would look great! I still haven’t manged to get any further on some purses I cut out, but I did get a photo of them:

Posted in Made From Felt | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Making Felted Sheep

Another flash back post. some needle felted sheep. I hope you like them.

With the start of show season gets closer I realise I only had a few sheep left. Time to make sheep parts.

sheep body 1 sheep head 1

I have to make bodies and heads. I roll them up and give them a few pokes. I use 2 needles held together with a hair elastic. It makes them comfortable to hold.

needles

There will be white sheep too

sheep head 2

Once they are rolled and poked they get put in to the legs of some nylons.

sheep parts ready fo the wash

These will go into the washer and dryer with a regular load of laundry.

I also make wet felted snakes to be cut for legs and a flat sheet of felt to cut ears out of.

sheep parts

I can’t find my bag of black spare parts.  may need to make more.

This is what the finished sheep will look like.

sheep small

They all get a safety pin on one side so you can wear them.

Posted in Design, Needle Felting, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Preparing Nuno Landscapes for Framing

I have been working on getting my nuno landscapes prepared for framing. I have to say this is not my favorite part of the process. But I want these to look professional for the upcoming exhibition so I am trying not to procrastinate too much in completing these.

I hand dyed all the backing fabric. I had to add a bit of fabric paint to four of them to make them darker. I always have a hard time getting the exact color I want with dye. I never take the time to figure out a “recipe” for certain colors. Then I hand stitched all the nuno landscapes to the backing fabric. I used a hand applique type stitch and it is barely visible.

I got all of the foam core backing cut to size by the framer.  Each foam core backing is 2″ bigger on all four sides of the landscape. Thin cotton quilting batting was cut to the size of the foam core and then all three layers are put in place and pinned.

Once the landscape is pinned in place, lacing can begin.

Lacing is not hard but does take a lot of time and the thread does have a tendency to get all tangled up while working. Plus the tension needs to be correct so that the fabric is stretched evenly over the foam core board.

Here are four of the pieces on their backings. I have two more to complete and then they are off to the framers. Once they are framed, I will show them to you again.

 

Posted in Finishing/Framing | Tagged , | 20 Comments

Chico the needle felted dog

Hello, Leonor here. My guest post for today is going to be a simple “show and tell” as the weather here in London is too warm for complicated thoughts!

Some of you might be aware that I am a fibre artist by trade. Anything wool and I love it. I got into this business a little by accident, and making custom needle felted dogs was even more unexpected – basically, a friend asked me for a mini of his whippet, I took the challenge, and the rest is history!

I’ve now been playing with wool professionally for around 5 years, and I must confess there was one hurdle I was yet to conquer in my work – creating an open mouth. I’d tried once and it didn’t come out right, so I more or less gave up on it. That is, until I made Chico!

DSC_1102

At first I was going to make his tongue out of polymer clay (the idea of finishing it off with a nice layer of glossy varnish to mimic moisture was very attractive to me) but then I decided not to. I liked the idea of a 100% fibre sculpture better.

DSC_1106

I made the lower jaw separately, making sure the upper section was thin enough to accommodate both parts without looking weird. I added a layer of black around the edge to make it more realistic, and then a little white on the back for teeth. The tongue was made using two shades of purplish pink blended together. I made two mini tongues and chose the one that fit best.

DSC_1110

I received a few reference photos to make this little guy, my favourite was one where he was sitting with his leg to the side and smiling. I just had to make him this way.

DSC_1115

I love the detail of paw pads, the feet immediately look real. You can’t really tell from this picture, but Chico is er… anatomically correct. I like a realistic sculpture!

DSC_1114

Below is a picture of the original Chico. The mini version is off to a Spanish island as a surprise for the whole human family. I hope they like it!

unnamed

Have you ever created a needle felted animal? What wool did you use and how did you like your experience? Let me know in the comments section.
Questions? Happy to help, just leave a comment!

Posted in 3D, Guest Artists, Guest Writer, Made From Felt, natural wools, Needle Felting, sculptural felt, Wool | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Trying To Be Productive

I’ve got a craft fair in a couple of weeks, so I’ve been trying to make some new things to take with me. I can never predict what might be popular or sell, so I’ve given up trying to 2nd guess, it just leads to a lot of stock piling up and a lot of disappointment. Instead I decided to concentrate on things I enjoy … with the exception of felted soaps, I’m going to give in and make some, they’re guaranteed to generate interest! Sounds like a plan, ay? Except we’ve been having the most ridiculous heatwave here, so I’ve managed to do very little, unless you count sweating and eating ice cream as being productive 🙂 I did manage to make one new piece of felt though, a ‘seascape’:

And I even managed to turn it into an A5 book cover. This is the front:

And the back:

I had a look through my already made felt pieces and found one from a challenge which I thought would make a nice cover, so I cut that out:

I’ve got both ends sewn so far, so I’ll show it all sewn up next time. I also got as far as choosing some pieces to cut up for piecing together, probably also for book covers, though maybe bags since I bought a load of zips with that intention. I just hate sewing zips!

Any tips for secure closures which doesn’t involve zips or magnets? I’m leaning towards lobster clasps and D rings at the moment. I like delrin clips but making the felt straps is so time consuming.

Posted in Made From Felt | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Felting Tools Part 2

Here is part 2 of Jan Scott’s felting tool post. It was much prettier in the word doc format but I don’t seem to be able to transfer that to the blog.

I have a large selection (24 years of collecting) of Massage related implements that may have potential for Felting.   One of which are the I.T. Band rollers. They were once veryexpensive and rather limited to acquire. A few weeks ago I found a number of variations of surfaces on rollers at Dollerama for 4.00 each.

So I got a few and gave one to Ann. She tried it out at the Felt in using a pool noodle to mimic a rolling pin (a really big Rolling pin!)

Another massage tool you might like to consider would be the Bar, it is used on large muscles to work out knots.
It is similar to a rolling pin but has groves.

There are also foot rollers and trigger point balls. Not only are they excellent for getting tension out of Levator scapula or the plantar arch, they also work quite nicely to felt with.  They come in various stiffness’s for the knobby bits. There are similar balls with knobby bits at the dollerama for much less money. Check the pet toys and the kid’s toys. The tall purple cylindrical roller was from Walmart in the exercise section and was still cheaper than the massage supply stores.

If you find a theraband roller in a second hand store you might want to grab it. Not only is it wonderful for treating both Golfers and tennis elbow (a common felter’s complaint) it also is a cylinder with grooves so again good for felting. They come in different firmness in case you were wanting to use it to stretch your medial or lateral Epicondilitis.

I have been keeping an eye out for Fondant rollers with groves and patterns, they are a Kitchen implement which may also be useful in felting. I have also seen pictures of a regular wooden rolling pin with a bamboo place mat elasticed to it. It looks like it would work too.

Ann has been tracking down wooden facial massagers and foot rollers from Ali express out of china. It’s a very interesting site but be very attentive to the size of items some look much bigger in the picture than what they are when they arrive. They are good for getting into small corners but some of them have a bit of a squeak when rolling.

For needle felting too there are tools not originally designed for felting. I only started to try Cookie cutters for needle felting templates recently. I am not sure if I will investigate further since I really have enjoyed the sculptural aspect of felting but for a production felter it may be helpful to start with a standardized base shape.

I have a number of different sizes of dowels, Meet skewers and wooden scraper for rapping wool around. Most were acquired at the Dollar store in the art or cooking sections.

I have been wanting to try wax on felt to crate claw tips, beaks and noses. I have a suspicion that melted crayons may work. If I need more stiffness I can add paraffin wax.  If I need more flexibility I can add more Bees wax. To melt the crayons, I have been cruising the second hand stores looking for a melting device.  This is what I have found and am looking forward to trying it out.  I will let you know how it goes!

I have found the Extra-large Zipper Bags at Dollerama to be extremely helpful. The Foam pad I used for making the 3D pictures fits in it perfectly. The Foam is a chair pad I bot at Walmart. The 3” thickness I found to be safer than the smaller 12×12 by 2” deep pad I have also been using. I have been leaving the thin plastic over the foam, finding it gave me good separation from the wool and the foam.  As I continue to work in one aria the plastic eventually will deteriorate. I have just kept moving to a new section but eventually will add another layer of plastic over the foam.   The Foam I chose has no memory foam content. (I have heard rumors of needle felting and memory foam are not compatible.)

Have you noticed at Dollerama, the test tubes with screw tops? They have decretive erasers in them, but you can empty them out, add a bit of wool at the bottom and then they hold felting needles very nicely.  I have been keeping the needles I’m working with stuck in the side of my foam but the test tubes are grate to store extra needles. I have labeled each tube with the needle type size and source. I will add a label to the lid once I find a good storage box for all 16 reasonably available needle types. I am still tracking down spirals in a coarser size.

Now that I have most of the needles that are available it will be easier to determine what the Chinese supplier are labeling as small medium and large, or fine medium and coarse.

There is one last thing I think would be important to any art and craft person which is a comfortable table height. I was lucky to find a small adjustable table at Walmart. The top is 30”x19” so hold a table loom or all my needle felting stuff. It adjusts from 21 to 28 inches so has worked well for seated work.

16.jpgI also have a printer table that was not the height I had hoped for. So added leg extensions of PVC piping to raze it up.  I think Ann is using the same technique on her table to make it a good height to stand and work at. With a bit of height adjustment, you can have the table slope just enough to drip water off one corner and into a bucket or drain.

Ergonomics, in body position, comfort of tools and working height is important if you want to keep doing what you are enjoy for your entire lifetime.

I hope that I found something that was new to you and that you will share some of your best finds with me!

Posted in Guest Artists, Guest Writer, Needle Felting, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Third Quarter Challenge – Beneath the Surface

This year’s challenge theme is all about surface design. So you would think that most surface design is just that, the top layer of embellishments added to the surface. But wool is such an interesting fiber. You can add things underneath the top layer of wool that will affect the surface design. So that is this quarter’s challenge. To add something underneath the top layer of wool that will change the surface after felting. I am using photos from our library here on the website so not all of these photos are of my work. But these are to give you some ideas.

One of the things that you can put beneath the surface are inclusions such as marbles. Here Ann has made some felt cuffs where the marbles definitely change the surface design. You can leave them in, take them out or cut them partially open to have the marble or inclusion partially exposed.

Here are a few more pieces that have inclusions in the felt. I have used yarn, a felt bead, marbles, and a glass color sample. I have also created craters with a different color wool underneath to create a complementary color scheme.

You could also use resists under the top layer of wool to create a design. By having a different color underneath, you will expose the contrasting underneath color when the resist is cut out and removed. The piece on the right is cut back applique where three layers of felt were stitched together and portions were cut back to reveal the design.

Another method of changing the surface from beneath is to have two or more layers of wool in different colors, these can be stitched as in the photo above to create ridges and then cut back. Or you could try this with felt beads with layers of color and then cut them to use on a surface. Or if you created a vessel with thick walls with multiple color layers, you could carve parts of the vessel back to show the different colors. There are many options with this technique.

Using a coarser wool under a finer wool will change the surface design as well. In the photo above, Terri Berry used a Gotland wool underneath the top surface teal merino. She used a plastic resist to create the pattern under the merino. The Gotland migrates through the merino and the only teal merino left is where the plastic pattern blocked the migration. You can read her entire post about it here.

You can use different wool underneath to achieve a different texture on the surface. These two samples were created by Zed with two layers in each sample. The sample on the left is Mixed 56’s on the bottom covered by 18.5 mic Merino. The sample on the right is two layers of 18.5 mic Merino. The coarser wool underneath gives a different texture than the two layers of Merino. (Thanks Zed!)

One very simple way to change the surface is to use a different color underneath the top layer. As you can see in the photo above, the red on the black wool looks different from the red on the white wool.

There are many more ways I have seen that people have created different surface designs by what they put underneath that top layer of wool. These are just a few examples to get you started. What can you create by changing the surface design from beneath the surface? I hope you’ll give it a try. And if you create something for the challenge, please show us over on the forum. 

 

 

 

Posted in Challenges | Tagged , , | 10 Comments