Learn a New Felting Skill! Or Develop Your Art and Design Knowledge!

Learn a New Felting Skill! Or Develop Your Art and Design Knowledge!

Teri Berry has two online classes that start in a couple of weeks. Registration opens today so you can sign up now. Choose between learning how to make a felted concertina hat or a more complex felt bag.

The Felted Concertina Hat class teaches you the basic skills of making a concertina type felt hat. Then the course progresses into further variations of creating felt hats and Teri helps your ideas transform into hats that fit well and develop your own style. Read more about the class and register here. 

Here are just a few of the hats created by students in Teri’s class. You can see more here.

Felted Bags online class will teach you how to use multiple resists, introduction of nuno felting into bag making, and learn how to make a closure entirely from wool. You will progress on to how to add internal pockets, a magnetic clasp, adjustable shoulder straps and take shaping the bag to the next level so the bag has a flat bottom and stands up on its own. Again, Teri will assist you in designing your own bag style and moving your skill level forward in felt making. Register now for the Felted Bags online class.

As always, our Wet Felting for Beginners online class is available. For more information about this class, click here. Learn the basics of wet felting, how to use embellishments, all about shrinkage and even how to blend wool by hand. So if you’re curious about wet felting, this is the course to get you started.

© Ruth Lane

Whenever I post or talk to people about Gail Harker’s classes that I have taken, I get inquiries about whether or not her classes are available online. In the past, I have replied that most of the classes were not available entirely online. However, that has changed. Many of the classes I have taken are available to people who don’t live close enough to Washington state to attend in person classes. (I receive no remuneration for sharing information about Gail’s courses.)

Online Art and Design (previously known as Level 3) is now being offered in a four module format. Each module has 8 to 12 sessions. The sessions include online lessons as well as individual online tutorials with Gail. The first two modules are now available and classes will start in December. Click here for information about the first module. The second module is also being offered for students who have completed module one.

© Ruth Lane

There is so much information in Gail’s art and design classes. Take a look at the course brochures (links at the end of this post) for a comprehensive explanation of the classes. I never took any art classes in school and was woefully short on art related knowledge when I first dipped my hands into the fiber art world. After taking Level 3 Art & Design, I was much more confident in my design skills and abilities to create my own compositions. I not only learned many techniques to express my creativity but also how to “see” as an artist does and to evaluate different compositions to understand what made the design more interesting, what needed to be edited and what additions a composition needed.

I can remember many times when if someone asked me if I could draw, I would say “No, I can’t draw, I’m not very creative.” Since taking Gail’s classes, I don’t hesitate to draw or paint or sketch or just try a new technique. I do something creative nearly every day and I am delighted to be taking Level 4 classes.

If you are interested in developing your own art and design skills, I would definitely recommend these classes. They are well worth the investment in yourself and in your growth as a creative person.

 

Course Brochure: Level 1 Art & Design

Course Brochure: Level 2 Art & Design

 

A little bit of knitting here and there

A little bit of knitting here and there

There’s been a bit of knitting going on lately around here. After months of no mojo, I was suddenly struck by the need to make all the things.

In my last blog post, I shared a link to my own blog (thank you to all those who went and left me a comment!) There was a photo of my cat Marshmallow sat on top of a yellow knitted work-in-progress in that post. I’m happy to say I’ve finished that jumper well before the colder weather hit! I finished it, in fact, in July.

I’m a weirdo who enjoys knitting things out of season, it seems.

Mohair Gallant Sweater, a yellow mohair and silk jumper on a mannequin.
Mohair Gallant Sweater

Next, I was smitten by a very goth-y jumper. It had little bird skulls all around it, and that was enough motivation for me to tackle stranded knit work.

I didn’t make a good start, though. I’m not used to reading charts and left a lot of stitches behind. It was too small, something I found out soon after taking this photo below. And look, the poor birds look like pineapples with eyes.

Dead of Night jumper beginning knitting on Eleanor's neck

My second attempt was much more successful… but it’s too big! There is no way I’ll be frogging this and starting over, so I’ll either be able to shrink it in the dryer after blocking, or I’ll have to gift it to a friend and knit another one for myself (gasp!)

Eleanor wears her unfinished Dead of Night jumper and shows how large it is in the body for her.
Dead of Night

Lastly, I knit something I had never tried before – a child sized garment! A friend of mine commented she had so much knitting to get done before Christmas and was a little worried she might not finish in time, so I offered to help. This is the First Leaf Jacket and it was an easy enough pattern to follow, albeit a little annoying in the purl rows.

I’ve since found out my friend has knitted the jumper version of this – she gave me jacket pattern because it was the one with the most purling, the rascal! I shall have to take revenge… maybe in the form of keeping the leftover yarn for myself.

First Leaf Jacket unfinished, as a flat lay, with the pattern and the gauge swatch next to it

First Leaf Jacket, pattern by Drops, not blocked, on mannequin

The ends still need weaving in, the buttons sewed on and it has to be blocked, but on my part it’s finished.

Finally, my favourite knit of last year. It needs to be shared because it’s too cute! I’ll confess I’m not 100% sure it hasn’t been shared by me already in the past, but Mason deserves the spotlight. Just look at that face.

My Dear Bear Mason, a knitted teddy bear, face detail

My Dear Bear Mason, a knitted bear, wearing yellow overalls and a neckerchief

That’s it from me in the realm of knitting. In the realm of blog posts however, I’m happy to tell you I’ve written a new one on dryer balls and why they are amazing. If you’d honour me with a read, I’d be deeply grateful.

Let me know in the comments what your favourite make of the year is so far, I’d love to know!

Let’s Make Jeans!

Let’s Make Jeans!

Earlier this year an opportunity came up to sign up for a jeans making retreat at a location close to my home. There is a local fabric store that has been selling wearables fabric online called Style Maker Fabrics  https://stylemakerfabrics.com/. Since the pandemic has let up a little bit, they are starting their retreats again as well as opening their store to visitors. You must email them prior to coming to shop but it’s nice to know that one can go in and touch the fabrics prior to purchasing! The retreat portion of the business allows for 10 people https://makershideaway.com/. It is a lovely location; the food was wonderful, and they catered to all our dietary needs. I sincerely hope their business prospers. It is a nice respite since most of the fabric stores have disappeared.

The jeans class was offered in June or September. Since September 8th is my birthday, I thought this retreat would be a wonderful birthday present to myself, so I signed up for the September date! With only room for 10, spots go quickly. I promptly emailed my sister and since her birthday is September 29th, she decided to give herself a birthday present as well! Both of us had making a pair of jeans and attending a retreat at this location on our bucket lists. So, scratch off two bucket list items!

The jeans class was taught by a gal out of Nashville, Tennessee, Lauren Taylor aka Lladybird on Instagram. https://lladybird.com/about/ She is an expert on constructing the Ginger Skinny Jeans pattern made by Closet Core Patterns. She is quite a character and quite a task master. She had us moving right along, with no time to dally, and no time to visit with my sister! We were even too tired after dinner to do much chatting!

 

She taught us how to make the one on the left. Obviously, the pattern called for stretch denim. Life just wouldn’t be the same without stretch denim, in my world at least!

I was kind of skeptical when I saw all the different body shapes of the students and Lauren commented the first night that this was not a fitting class, rather it was a construction class. Eeek! She brought completed sizes for us to try on so we could figure out what pattern size fit us best, then we got to cutting out our patterns. She did help make a few fitting type tweaks to our patterns but not many.

At the end of the first full day, we had the fronts completed except for the buttonhole. At the end of the second day, we had the backs completed, sewn to the fronts, then we tried them on and made small adjustments, then sewed the waist band on. The waist band was quite challenging, especially sewing the topstitching on. We did all the topstitching as we went along, constantly changing our threads. I was able to bring my own sewing machine, but several students that had flown in from other states had to figure out how to use the provided machines. Several melt downs occurred!

On the third day, we finished making the buttonhole and attached the rivets and the button. Everyone looked really good in their jeans. I was amazed. I need to wash mine a couple more times and then I can hem them.

 

It was a fun time, although kind of stressful to get so much completed in our 2 ½ day class.

If you are wondering…I did buy enough fabric and hardware to make two more pair! (I will not be making them in 2 ½ days though.)

Next up on my list is to follow Maiwa’s Natural Dye Workshop. Here are some of my fabrics drying after they were mordanted. Fun stuff ahead!

Happy creating!
Tesi

2022 Fourth Quarter Challenge

2022 Fourth Quarter Challenge

There are three challenges in the last quarter of this year.  Ann (frabjous fabrica) kindly thought up the first two and we added a third.

So pick one … or do all three!

  1. Finish one or more UFO’s. Wouldn’t it be lovely to start the new year without unfinished projects clamouring for your attention.
  2. Make something only from bits you already have in your stash.
  3. Make something seasonal – perhaps to celebrate autumn and winter, or perhaps to celebrate an occasion such as Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night, Remembrance Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Here are some of our ‘blasts from the past’.

FINISHED UFO: Annie laid out the wool fibres for this piece in June 2019 but only got around to felting it in April 2021!

MADE ONLY FROM STASH: A felted winter hat and a stitched Rudolph picture.

SEASONAL: Felted winter scene with hand and free motion stitching.

Felted ‘Christmas Podding’ with free motion stitching.

   

We’re looking forward to seeing what you make for this challenge and there is now an easy way to post your photos: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/community-photo-submissions/

WHOOSH and now it’s Fall

WHOOSH and now it’s Fall

This summer started out with a lovely leisurely saunter to it, and now that sonic boom I just heard is Fall clambering for attention.  Our guild has participated in at least five demonstrations throughout the region, some lasting for several days.  Some were at historical sites, some were at agricultural events or country fairs, but all were a load of fun.  And a load of work.  So now, we are preparing for our own event.  Our guild will be having our Sale and Exhibition in early November.  I’ll be a vendor so I need to get going on sorting through inventory and (sigh) start labelling and pricing items.

I’ll be having braids, batts, and spun yarn

And being terribly disappointed in how the photos turn out in this horrible lighting.  These colours are not at all grey and sad looking in sunlight, but this is how they will probably look during winter, so I should take that into consideration when I make colours.  Indoor lighting will have an emotional effect on how people view their decisions.

Anyway, you get the idea that there will be a huge variety of different items available at our guild Sale and Ex.  I am partnering with another guild member who weaves.  She took her degree in Fiber Arts from a University in Nova Scotia and does superlative work. Jan will get some of those for you later I’m sure.

Finally, something cheerful!  Well colourful in a Fall sort of way at least.  I’ve ordered labelling cards which should arrive this week, so I can at least get a jump on things by cracking out the scale and start weighing stuff.  Here’s hoping everyone has a great Fall (my favourite time of year, busy though it is) an abundant harvest and lovely fibre to work with.

 

Rare Earth Magnet on sale! Just add wool for more fun!!

Rare Earth Magnet on sale! Just add wool for more fun!!

A couple of weeks ago the latest princess auto flyer booklet arrived. It is always fun to look through and see what is on sale! Princess Auto is an interesting store that has a vast variety of things, hunting, camping, farm supplies, a bit of blacksmithing, welding, tool boxes, electric bikes, and lots of stuff I am not sure what it’s for but it looks interesting. I sat down to see what exciting things might be included this time. There may be more Bee Decapping combs (which make very cheap emergency wool combs! However, I have a couple of sets so maybe I don’t need to get another pair?) Aha! There is a metal bench on sale, circle that! Is there anything else? YES!! Magnets! (This is the link, they will go back on sale again sometime) https://www.princessauto.com/en/48-pc-rare-earth-magnet-and-dispenser-set/product/PA0008996993 ) 1) 48-piece Rare Earth Magnet and Dispenser Set

Glenn had a couple of things circled in the flyer too so stopped in after work the first day of the sale. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with them but I knew it would be fun and I bet there will be wool involved. These are very strong yet very tiny magnets.

 2) Tiny, tiny Enthusiastic Magnets sticking to a felting needle to show you how tiny they are

I had a question a few weeks ago about making a sheep head, if I make a tiny sheep’s head I bet I can make a broach. Where did I put the wool with the tiny crimp I had purchased from Ginger at Farm Sol at the Wakefield Farmers Market? And more important, can I get more?

The mark 1 prototype I used unlabeled white wool roving, I am hoping it’s Corriedale but I’m not sure. It seemed less enthusiastic to felt than I usually find in Corriedale. So after more stabbing than I would have liked, I did get a basic head/nose shape.

3) This may not be the Corriedale you were looking for (spooky Jedi background music)

4) Eventually there was a head-like shape, sort of

Now that isn’t as sheepish as I would like. (This is why reference photos are really helpful) I know what’s missing,  I will need to add ears!!

5) Ears added to the slightly sheepish head

Now that is a bit better. Next to add the first magnet.

6) Magnet balancing precariously on superior aspect of sheep neck

The magnets were tiny and behaved in a slippery manner determined to fling themselves to their death on the floor!! Alas for the magnet, I used another previous Princess Auto Sales item to find them and pick them up!! (Without bending or crawling around on the floor under the computer desk, even better!!)((I am suggesting anyone doing Dry Needle felting should consider this marvellous invention to retrieve errant needles, and magnets from the horror of nether regions that the floor has become.))

7-8) Extending magnetic picker-upper of things mettle, with built-in light (it Is dark under the table)

The version that is brought in for sales with the light doesn’t seem to be on their website but here is the link for the lightless one. You can likely find something similar at any hardware store, this one says it will pick up 3lbs (that would be one big needle!!) https://www.princessauto.com/en/3-lb-magnetic-pickup-tool/product/PA0008716615

I wound up trying 3 ways of affixing the magnet into the back of the sheep head.

9-10) First I tried lightly felting a bit of wool, then attaching it to the back of the head. This was not totally successful since the magnet migrated lower than where I had been trying to hold it. I also found the needle was very attracted to the magnet when I tried to poke adjacent to it. Interesting.

This did let me find out that the magnet is strong and once embedded in the wool stuck to bulldog clips (some people call them binder clips) with enthusiasm and required gentle prying to get them to let go.

11) Sheep head sticking to bulldog clip

Next, I tried a divot in the superior aspect of the neck or back of the skull depending on your perspective. I placed the magnet in the dent and then added a backing that I had felted flat.

12) Magnet sitting in a bit of a divot and leaving the rest of the loose wool to work over the top of the magnet once it was in position.

13) The magnet was attracted again to the needle so this may not be quite the best solution

14) It was a bit more challenging to keep the magnet where I wanted it but the divot did help.

15) Success! But this took more time but kept the magnet location where I had wanted it.

(16) The third option is “this picture is unavailable” which was a combination of making a dent to seat the magnet and then making a felt backing for covering the magnet. I could have used a commercial felt but it’s so easy to just make a bit more of the wool you are using and you are sure it will match the head if you use the same wool.

17) Now let’s talk about ears.

It is time to use those C40-111’s again, Crown Needles!!! For the first two sheep heads, I attached white ears and then added the wisp of pinkishness to the attached ear. For the third prototype, I build a base layer of the white, then lay in wisps of pink to make the inner ear. Using the crown needle at an angle close to parallel allows the addition of colour to one side without affecting the other. The working depth of the crown needles is much shallower than regular needles. Once the ear was constructed I attached it to the head. This was a bit easier than adding the pink to the ear after it was attached.

18) Time to add the second Magnet and check it sticks through cloths. Yep!

This sheep is still rather naked and needs curls. Remember that trip I took to Wakefield a few posts ago? Well, we are about to find out what happened to those fabulous little locks.

19) The tiny crimpy locks from Ferme Sol Farm in Wakefield Quebec http://www.fermesol.ca/

The locks worked perfectly. The tight and tiny crimp was perfect for this scale of sheep. Her sheep are Icelandic/ Frisian/ Gotland/ Finn and Shetland crosses. These were really fabulous fibre blends.

20-21) Front and back view of the sheep broach with a second magnet to go inside your shirt. This is less damaging to fabric than a pin broach back would be.

22) Here is the sheep with both the curls and ear details added.

23) A bit of online shopping arrived and I have added the two new boxes to the tools I used for this project (you don’t need quite this many needles I actually only used 3needles, which were each different, to make the sheep)

I had ordered two more needle boxes, this time a T-38G-333 and T-42G-222.  The T is the shape Triangle, the first number is the gauge, the G is the tip or point specification, and there is another letter designating the barb specifications which I have ignored and the last digits are the number of barbs per side. So I will leave you with a shot of the new needle boxes (yes there are 500 needles in the new ones a bit less in the older boxes) and the other tools and pieces I used for this project.

Next week I have a choice of things to tell you about, Mr. and Mrs. Mer’s trip to the Carp fair (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) or the mini-workshop I gave on a card stock 7- strand kumihimo-like braid (Monday). There is also going to be another trip up to Wakefield this coming Saturday, to purchase more little locks and hopefully get some good pictures.  It has been a VERY busy four days in a row!! Now it is time to find the Robax-platinum and crawl back into bed for a day or so.

Have fun and keep felting (even if you are wearing gloves – you will hear about that when we chat about the Carp fair!)

Future felt

Future felt

So what would future felt be? Can you guess?

 

Here is a clue

 

Did that help?

 

how about this

 

I bet you know now.

 

 

 

Meet Pete also known as Handsome Pete. He is our new Blue Faced Leicester Ram.

 

He arrived on Wednesday. He is settling in well. he can see the sheep when they come in and he can smell them are girls. He is handsome and calm. He likes his back scratched. He is not sure about Ava. She is a dog after all but I am sure the others will let him know that although she is black and white, she is no border collie.

This very handsome and alert shot is also looking at Ava who is paying no attention at all.

 

 

Late Bloomers Finished?

Late Bloomers Finished?

I had showed you this background a couple of post ago and was planning on free motion machine stitching a meadow scene.

I started with some background grasses in a couple of rows. If I do this again, I think I would stitch only one row and make the grasses longer.

Then I began couching down some different yarns with machine stitching.

I decided I should go ahead and stitch in the main focal flowers now so I wouldn’t fill up their space with grass. I couched down the green yarn for stems and then stitched heavily over a piece of purple felt for the flowers.

I decided the piece needed some more skinnier lines and some darker values. So I stitched the weedy bits in dark brown. These would have been easier if they were stitched before the larger grasses.

I then added some dark green weedy bits to the left hand side and couched some lighter green yarn down across the foreground. As you can see, I started looking at the piece in a “frame” since that was how it would be presented. What else did I need?

I decided the flowers needed some leaves so I used more of the same green yarn and pulled it apart a bit to get more width for the leaves. Was it finished? There was something bothering me on the right hand side. Do you see the brown grasses forming an ellipse? It seemed to draw my eye too much. So a bit of unstitching was necessary.

Now here it is after a bit of grass removal. Is it finished? I will leave it hanging on my design board for a few days to decide. I think I will add a bit of darkness to a couple of stems just right of center. Probably with a marker or a bit of paint.

What do you think? Is it finished?

Making Unexpected Memories

Making Unexpected Memories

For this article, I’m going to take you on an adventure, using your imagination. Sounds mysterious…possibly exciting! However, in reality it was poor planning on my part, and I had to figure out something on the fly. That’s real life for many of us, so let’s move on, and it will all work out.

My mother recently moved to a Senior Living residence, in the Memory Care unit. It’s a difficult transition for anyone, and it was especially tough on my mother. I wanted to do something that would help her, get to know those around her better. A monthly tea party, presented a good opportunity. My mother has always been a lady that loves her tea…the English way, with milk. When Prince William and Kate got married, I bought my mother a fascinator to wear to tea. I went early the day of the tea, and grabbed the fascinator, from my closet.

Marsha dressed up for tea

We arrived for tea, and everyone stopped what they were doing. The residence photographer took her picture, and she was awarded the “best dressed” prize for the day. Everyone was buzzing about the need for hats. I mentioned to the craft coordinator, Cindi, that I could help the Memory Care residents make felt flowers for fascinators! We started discussing our plans immediately.

Needle felting wasn’t a good fit, for the residents, even though I had the protective gear. The coordinator said they let residents put projects together, take a photo, and behind the scenes secure items in place. That would totally work for flowers, cut out from felt, they made themselves. Last Friday was the day we set aside to make the felt. I knew my article was coming due, and thought, this would work out perfectly, but I neglected to think about privacy issues. So this is where your adventure comes in…(I know, you were hoping for a trip, to some far away destination…and maybe an umbrella drink.🍹) This is a recreation, of how we handled this for a group, in a Memory Care setting. I have a photo, with no faces, to show results the residents achieved.

I have to say, this activity was a huge success. I’m hoping by sharing the story, others will volunteer to do a similar activity, in their own communities. We had 8 ladies decide to join us, and I was prepared, if gentlemen decided to join us. I really thought this out ahead of time and had everything ready to go: bamboo placemats, cut bubble wrap, small pieces of clear plastic sheets, 2 water containers, 2 ball brausers, and liquid dish soap. I used my electric drum carder to make, very thin individual batts, for each person. I can’t tell you how pleased I was at that decision: it made everything flow along beautifully. I was told the residents love anything that sparkles, so I knew Angelina and Stelina would be present in each batts composition.

Merino, and Blended, Rovings … with Sparkles!
I made a thin sandwich of Merino, the Sparkly blend, and Merino on top. That keeps my drum carder lickerin cleaner, and requires less stopping. I repeated this process until my batt was as thick as needed.
Thin batt ready to remove from the carder. I’m hoping this blending of colors will resemble a sparkling rose petal, when it’s felted.
Just before finishing, I carefully add additional blended fiber directly to the drum for added interest to top of the felt.
This is the batt, once removed from the carder. Pretty petals on the ready!

The beauty of using my drum carder, is no need to lay out, and layer the fiber. A definite plus for working with groups. We covered the tables with clean hospital blankets instead of using towels…when in Rome, use what’s convenient. We set up each place with the following (bottom up) 1. bamboo mat, 2. bubble wrap – bubble side up, 3. thin fiber batt, 4. piece of clear plastic off to the side.

Starting from bottom left (moving clockwise) photo shows thinness of batt about 1/2 inch – batt laid out, ready to go – covered with plastic, wet down, air pressed out, and light circular rubbing.

The residents did each step the best they could. We had to help a few with rubbing, after a while, but by that point a few aides dropped by. They were curious, when they saw all the people, crowded in the crafting area. Their help allowed us to move on to rolling. Everyone rolled at least a little: good movement exercises. After rolling was finished, we took everything away, except their bamboo placemat. We told them to “wash their windows” and they rubbed a bit on the placemat. The best part came next: after rinsing the first piece out I demonstrated “whopping” the piece on the floor. Big smiles came out of hiding! Many couldn’t manage that, but the aides sure had fun, obliging in the process. There were good times had at the the craft table last Friday. The best part was my Mom beaming, with pride, and telling everyone I was “a pretty good girl,” when someone asked a question. Mom was having a good day, and knew who I was. I will take that memory with me forever…as I break away from typing to shed a couple tears.

These are the real photos of felt made by the residents. We will begin making flowers tomorrow, after this article is published.
This is the felt I made for this article. It’s absolutely gorgeous in person.

I’m looking forward to seeing the flowers, we make with our felt. But mostly, I hope to see a glimpse of the happy faces, that watched me throw that felt at the floor.

Coastal Felted Pictures

Coastal Felted Pictures

I had a few weeks of sales / exhibitions coming up and was rather low on felt pictures so I decided to go on a little picture-making binge.

First an oystercatcher. I’m particularly keen on square pictures but I know some people prefer rectangles, so last time I had a batch of box frames made for me by my friendly local framer, I ordered four large rectangular frames – two finished in oak & two white wood. (Frame size 84 x 64cm / 33 x 25”)

I’m afraid I didn’t take many ‘in progress’ shots of the oystercatcher.  I’d wet felted the bird’s body a little while ago. I then wet felted the background to fit the frame using a variety of pebble-coloured prefelts for the foreground, some incorporating bits of recycled silk scarves. The waves are merino wool with lots of small locks and some sort of tube of knitted yarn designed for scarf-making that I’d picked up in a charity shop.  The patches of sea foam are bits of cobweb prefelt and I also included some blue cobweb prefelt to suggest light reflected from the sky. These were added to two base layers of pewter-coloured merino with additions in green and mink.

I needle felted the bird into place then needle felted in the eye, beak and legs, using orange prefelt and hand-dyed fine merino wool.

I wasn’t sure what I’d put on the right-hand side of the picture.  I’d considered a second oystercatcher with its back to the sea but there wasn’t really enough room.  I live in Whitstable, in south east England – a town famous since Roman Empire times for its oysters – so thought oyster shells might work well for an oystercatcher.  I wet felted a pair of 3D oyster shells using bits of different recycled wool and silk yarn on the outside and some pearl fibre from World of Wool on the inside.  I like the pearl fibre as it adds a sheen and is presumably made from the insides of shells (i.e. mother-of-pearl) so it seemed appropriate.

I thought it needed another shell so cast about in my stock and found a wet felted mussel shell to add to the collection.  I messed around with the composition a little then needle felted them into place before framing. I now use sticky backed hook strips (like the hook half of Velcro) when framing felt – the hook strip attaches to the mount board and the felt is held in place by the little hooks. The felt can easily be removed without damage or residue if I need to move it or someone decides to reframe it.

Next up I made a very lightly felted cobweb prefelt to use in the next three pictures.

When making cobweb felt I tease out a piece of wool roving rather than laying out separate tufts of wool in a single direction. This is part way through the teasing-out process. I prefelt it very lightly – in fact it’s scarcely more than wet wool – so I can stretch it out as I apply it to a picture.

I then started on Summer Sea. Again a pewter-coloured merino base but with lots of other colours applied in wisps on the surface.

Then a layer of blue cobweb prefelt topped with some white cobweb.

Here’s the final picture ready for framing. I’m happy with this, even though the wisps of colour aren’t quite as visible as I’d have liked.  (64cm / 25” square)

Next picture is a single wave. I start with 4 layers of pewter merino for the sea area and two layers of natural white for the wave and beach.  In the past I’ve forgotten to take into account how much extra material goes onto the wave and beach. If I have 2 layers for the whole of the base, the sea part shrinks a lot more than the rest.

First I added some lighter grey/blue merino on the sea alongside some strips of darker blue cobweb prefelt. Then some cobweb prefelt in front of the wave to suggest water from a previous wave. Next I layered on broken baby alpaca top, mohair, silk hankies, wool locks and wool burrs to create the wave itself. I’ve also put a few strands of silk on top of some of the background waves and the wet-look front area to create sea foam.

Here it is from the side so you can see how high that wave is piled!

And here is the final picture.  I spent a while when it was dry picking up some of the wave elements with a broken felting needle to enhance the 3 dimensionality of the wave before framing it. (64cm / 25” square.)

4th and final picture was a smaller one (framed size 43cm / 17” square) called ‘Choppy Sea’.  Base layout is pewter with highlights in green and mink, with sections of blue cobweb prefelt and silk hankies for wave tops.

Here it’s felted and dry, sitting on top of its frame waiting to go in.

Again, I’ve used a broken felting needle to tease up the silk hankies that make the wave edges to enhance the depth.  And here is a view from a low angle to show the 3D.

So, that’s how I’ve been keeping myself busy recently.

To end with, a few shots of these pictures in situ in a gallery.

These pieces didn’t sell in this week-long exhibition but some older work did – which is a great result for me. I like to live a while with the new pictures so we get to know each other but prefer older things not to hang around for too long! However, the last week and a half I’ve been in the beach hut gallery in my local harbour and yesterday both the oystercatcher and the single wave found new homes, which made me do a couple of very happy ‘shop small’ dances.

If you sell your work do you also get that ‘I’m not ready to let it go’ versus – ‘ok, you need to find somewhere else to live’ feeling?

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