Winner of Free Class Spot and Announcing the Next Session of Concertina Hat Class

Fish 1

The registration for the Felting Fantasy Fish online course is closed but we do have one lucky winner of the free spot in the class. Using a random number generator to choose of from the comments left on the class announcement post, the winner is:

Robin G.

Congratulations Robin, I will contact you shortly with details about the class.

And the other great news is that Teri Berry is going to have another session of Felting Concertina Hats which will begin November 3rd. You can see more information about the class and sign up here. Also take a look at the hats created by her first class of students here. 

This four-week, hat making course will initially guide you through the different options for hat blocks (from DIY to the extravagant!) and choosing one to fit. Although this module is technically week 1, I will send it out on receipt of payment so you have as much time as possible to make or buy a hat block if you don’t already have one.

Week 2 will focus on making a stylish or quirky concertina hat and will include guidance on how to create a resist for your head size, how to add a felted “pig tail”, creating a brim and forming sharp folds that remain in place. I will also describe how I blend colours and make the “silk stripes” used on some of my hats.

In week 3 we will make a super-cute snail hat. This tutorial is a must for anyone who hates rolling! I will provide my template for you to enlarge to your hat size (I will provide a useful technique that can be used to enlarge items of clothing that you would like to make in felt but need to allow for the shrinkage). I will then go on to explain how to make the eyes on stalks and securely attach them to the hat as well as well as how to create the shell and shape snail’s foot to form a brim for your hat.

Week 4 will be an opportunity to catch up or make another hat, I will provide examples of other hats and their template designs that used the concertina method which you are welcome to copy or, if you prefer, I am very happy to help you design your own hat using this method. The possibilities are almost endless!

Sign up for the November 3rd session here. 

 

Posted in Announcements, Online Classes | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Felting Soap with Guest Artist Leonor Calaca

Our guest artist today is Leonor Calaca from Felt Buddies shares her method for making felted soaps.  You can see more of her work at http://www.FeltBuddies.co.uk

Hello! Today I’ll teach you how to make your very own felted soap.

Before we start however, I’m sure a few of you are wondering, “What on earth is a felted soap?” Good question! Allow me to explain.

A felted soap is, as the name might reveal, a bar of soap that’s surrounded by felted wool. This means you’re basically getting a bar of soap and a washcloth in one product, making the former last longer, while using the latter as an exfoliating agent.

The wool around the soap also makes the soap last longer, and when the inside is all used up you can use the wool as compost material, or keep it as a decorative pebble.

Christmas is fast approaching, and this would make a great gift – it smells nice and it’s useful, what’s not to love? I actually sold out last holiday season!

Let’s get started, shall we?

1

First, you’ll need the following ingredients: warm soapy water in a clean container, a nice bar of soap with round corners (sharp corners may break through the wool), enough wool to cover the soap with, and some bubble wrap for friction.

A couple of good extra items are a felting needle (I’ll explain why in a moment), and a pair of kitchen gloves.

2

Begin by carefully wrapping the fibre around the soap. I used a lovely wool top with silk tweed here, but you can use roving or a batt – just make sure you’re using enough to cover the soap, but not so much so that it makes lathering hard!

You’ll need to wrap the fibre in two opposite directions. I like to start by wrapping it horizontally and then vertically because I think the end result looks nicer, but you can do it whichever way you prefer – just as long as you have two opposite layers.

3

Remember the felting needle I mentioned before? Here is where it can comes in handy: I like to needle felt the ends to make sure nothing comes apart when I’m wet felting. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but I find it keeps things neat.

4

Once your soap is all wrapped up, it’s time to dunk it in warm water.  I highly recommend you go slowly at this stage, as the fibre might fall off the soap or migrate if you haven’t secured it with a felting needle. Squeeze all the air bubbles out carefully in the water and, once you take the soap out of the water, gently squeeze out all the excess liquid and start rubbing the top layer lightly so the fibres start clinging to each other.

5

Once the fibre is secured, it’s time to help it shrink around the soap. I had a bubble wrap pouch from a mailing bag that I used to help create friction, but regular bubble wrap will work just fine.

Rub the bubble wrap against the soap, checking regularly if your fibre isn’t migrating, you don’t want to end up with bare patches (you can needle felt some extra fibre on those at this stage, and continue wet felting).

6

Once the fibres start contracting around the soap, you can use your bare hands to continue the felting process.  I like to create friction on the ridges of my sink; I sometimes also wear kitchen gloves because the rubber also helps, and I like to alternate hot and cold tap water so the fibre shrinks around the soap faster.

7

Once the fibre feels compact around the soap, you’re done!

Carefully rise out the lather under the tap, gently squeeze the soap and let it dry; after that, you can add some kraft paper around the soap to make a “belt,” or you can just place it inside an organza bag.

8

Don’t be surprised if, after gifting this to friends, they come back for more! You can always direct them to this tutorial so they can make their own…

Feel free to ask me questions about this in the comments section. Happy felting!

Thanks Leonor for sharing your method of felting soap.  I have a feeling a lot of people will be getting soap for the holidays.

 

Posted in Guest Artists | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Textures

Do you remember my green thing from the other week? Well, I finally got around to finishing it off. It started off as a fine, wispy, flat piece with lots of commercial art yarns through the layers. I gathered it and stitched through to secure then re-wet and finished fulling it. I usually work them on bubblewrap and my felting board at this stage, but I just put it in the washing machine with a quick wash, and it came out pretty much the same. I did finish off the top between my hands though:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI thought it’d make a nice hanging decoration. This is a closer look:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love all the textures on these pieces with the yarns emerging through the wool and the surface embellishments:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can see the ripples better from this angle:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe back looks good too:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATalking about textures and emerging, this is a piece Cath made at the Well Being centre. She didn’t have anything particular planned, just wanted to make a piece without too much thought for the fun of it. Felt is great for that, it’s like a whole load of therapies rolled into one and great to lose yourself in for a while. She used some grey Merino, tassley yarn and some fabric strips:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA slightly closer look:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe fabric strips look different depending on their angle:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore texture:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI did finally have a go on my spinning wheel last week, hopefully I’ll get a chance to spin some more and take some photos for next time🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Fibrefest, some Demoing at the Fair and a Little Farm Life

I think I have recovered for selling at Fibrefest. It was a good show for me. Consequently I did not get out of my booth much to take pictures. I did get a few shots of my booth.

boothshot-1 boothshot-4 boothshot-2 boothshot-3

This is what the 12 yard skeins ended up looking like. You can see them in the big black basket in the middle of the table. They went over quite will at $5 each, mostly to rug hookers.

skiens

I shared my booth with a friend who only has a small amount to sell. She has lovely hand spun wool.

brenadetts-table

This weekend was the Richmond Fair. Three of us go every year and have a great time.

Here is our display, Bernadette is getting some fiber ready to go through the drum carder and I am getting  wool and pencils ready for bead making. Jan’s Inkle loom is front left.

richmond-display

Here Jan is chatting with a lady about our guild and a close up of what she has on the inkle loom she is adding in some fuzzy caterpillars as a supplementary warp as she goes.

jan-chatting-at-fair jans-weaving

Two of the many children that made beads. Everyone seemed to like them. Bernadrett was in charge of putting a short piece of her hand spun through them and making them into bracelets.

making-beads

Sunday afternoon we had some sheep show to be sheared.

sheep-at-the-fair shearing

They are Rideau Arcotts except the black faced one that is a Suffolk cross. They were a big hit and Jan got 2 fleeces that she now has soaking to get clean.

Around the farm this week we had a set of twin bull calves born. Twins are unusual in cows. I only have a not so good picture of one of them. Black calves are hard to photograph and mom likes to keep them hidden in the weeds.

calf

This summer has been very hot and dry. None of the squash or beans in the field garden came up and only about 6 potato plants. There are plans to get water to that garden next year. However we did have a volunteer squash plant in the barn yard where the water from the roof lands. It has gone crazy we harvested 17 squash and there are more ripening and more flowers. So apparently we are better accidental gardeners than on purpose gardeners. LOL

squash

 

 

 

 

Posted in Demo, Design, Fairs and Shows, Sheep Farming, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Art Retreat

Last weekend my surface design group went on an art retreat. We stayed at the Kiwanis Lodge in Marion, Montana which is right on a lake. The weather had been rainy and cold and I thought it would continue into the weekend. But a small miracle occurred and we had beautiful weather all weekend. We did eco printing most of the weekend but a couple of us did some gelatin plate printing as well.

The Lodge

Here’s a few of us getting ready to start on Friday afternoon. We had all collected a lot of leaves so we had two full tables covered with leaves.

A Variety of LeavesHere’s just a small selection of what we used. Some worked great and others not as much. But almost everything we tried printed on paper.

Cards from the Florist

Louise got some leaves from a local florist and they gave us little cards with different sayings on them. This was mine.

We soaked our papers in alum water and then applied the leaves that had been dipped in iron water. Some of used plastic in between to resist the leaves printing where we didn’t want them. Then we put ceramic tiles on both sides of the paper leaf sandwiches and tied them up.

We had several steaming stations and pretty much kept them going all weekend. There was also an onion skin bath that some of the items were boiled in.

After steaming for an hour, the fun part of opening the packages began.

We got some beautiful results. The bright blue is from blue carrots.

Some of us also did eco printing on fabric and larger paper. I didn’t manage to get any photos of the fabric that was printed. But I will try to get some photos at our next meeting to show you.

We also played with gelatin plate printing again which was fun and colorful.

Sunset at Kiwanis Lodge

And I’ll leave you with this photo I took of the gorgeous sunset. It was a gorgeous weekend and we had a great time. It’s always so nice to allow yourself dedicated time to “play” with like-minded friends.

Posted in Dyeing, Surface Design | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Guest Artist Terri Simon on Dimensional Felt

Our Guest Artist today is Terri Simon aka Meterrilee on the forum.

Hello fellow fiber enthusiasts!    I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan but moved to Oregon in 2014. I have been felting for about six years, both needle felting and vessels, but my real love is painting with felt and exploring different textures.

Marilyn and I both recently participated in an online class from Opulent Fibers — Kristy Kun’s Texture Techniques with Needled Wool.  Marilyn asked me to  show my work and I am happy to do this.  In addition to telling you a bit about this class, which was excellent, I would like to generate a little discussion about inspiration and the artist equivalent of plagiarism.  First the class…

Kristy’s class centered on three sample projects; each project building on the techniques learned in the prior project.  The class fee included all materials for the class, instructions and videos demonstrating certain techniques.  Kristy set up chatrooms that allowed students to ask questions, post pictures of progress, comment on each other’s creations and get expert guidance, suggestions and commentary from Kristy.  You can check out the classes Kristy offers at her website, Opulent Fibers, here:  http://www.opulentfibers.com

Here is a link to her newest class:

http://www.opulentfibers.com/heavily-textured-felting-techniques-home-online-workshop/#.V9qWJa268e1

Kristy creates the most gorgeous 3D wall hangings (among other beautiful things) and I was so excited to learn how she fabricates them in this online class.  To see some of Kristy’s work, look here (just wonderful!): http://www.kristykun.com/gallery/   Now you understand why I wanted to learn this technique!

Below are the three sample projects I created in this class.  It’s a very interesting technique to attach pieces of heavy weight prefelt fabric to each other.  There is a lot of labor involved to ensure everything is tightly attached and felted to a very hard finish.   But well worth it! Our samples were a 12” square and each one took several hours to prepare before even before using water.  Many students were active in posting pictures of their creations and providing encouragement and feedback to others.  Overall, a very enjoyable and educational experience.

terri-1

Project one: learning to attach the prefelt vertically to a square of prefelt.  It’s a weird looking, but the purpose was to learn the technique.  J

terri-2

Project two: learning to attach prefelt vertically and to each other onto a square prefelt.  This was definitely much trickier.

terri-3

Project three: The flower.  This was the reason I took the class!  If you looked at Kristy’s gallery, you can see all the many possibilities for this technique.

Which leads me to the issue for which I hope to generate some discussion: artistic plagiarism.

I follow a few fiber artists’ blogs and have great admiration for many fiber artists; the moderators of this forum included.  To mention a few others that I greatly admire: Moy Mackay, Nicola Brown, Kim Winters, Lyn and Annie at RosiePink, Fiona Duthie, Sara Renzulli, and Andrea Noesk-Porada.  I love to look at the works by these artists and I’m so inspired by them.  I want to make everything they make!  There is a fine line here, however, and I’m mindful of trying not to cross it.  When I make something that is very similar (with felt, it is never EXACTLY identical), I certainly would give credit to the original artist if I were to do anything with that piece.

I’ve never sold anything yet—I give nearly everything I make away.  But, I hope to sell pieces soon.  Anything I intend to sell is going to be, hopefully, solely my creation, (not ones I’ve attempted to copy to learn a technique or just because I loved the item and wanted to duplicate it).

How do you address this?  I can needle felt a chipmunk or make a felt painting of a highland cow in the manner of Sara Renzulli and Moy Mackay, respectively.  They aren’t going to be identical to something either one of these artists produced, but I was inspired by them in the creation of my item.

Now that I know how to make lovely 3D wall hangings, taught by Kristy Kun, I intend to make larger pieces; similar of course due to material and technique, but they won’t be identical to Kristy’s work.  In fact, I will work hard to make sure they DON’T look like her work…but the idea was hers.

Do you mention the artist who inspired the work, when relevant, on items you sell?  Do you feel that since no piece is identical in size, shape, color, and texture, that items you sell are your creation and there is no need for mentioning the artist who inspired you?  This is a really important issue for me.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Thanks!

Thank you Terri for sharing your class work and invoking this discussion.

Posted in 3D, Guest Artists | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Natural Wools For a Pod and Weaving

I made another bird pod last week, this time using various natural grey wools. The pictures aren’t the best because when I went to take photos yesterday afternoon, it suddenly went really dark, then we had the most epic hour long storm with non-stop thunder, lightning, wind and torrential rain (basically the whole  city shut down for hours because of it). So, I had to redo the photos this morning, and they’re a bit flat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI mentioned in my last post I was getting a spinning wheel, and it came last week (yay!) but I’ve not been upto having a go yet, so I did a bit of spindle spinning and then weaving. I thought it’d be nice for fairs or the well being classes to show how hand woven yarn can be used. This first one was made with fairly neat (by my standards, anyway) yarn, just single ply, and I didn’t wet and set the twist or anything, just wound it onto an old broom handle from the spindle. I wove it on a little kids loom I bought:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA closer look:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was doing some of the weaving at night watching Parks and Recreation and thought I was using all naturals, but it was obvious in daylight I’d used some yarn I made ages ago from hand dyed Merino (green over orange, I think), but I think it matches alright.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince not everyone has a loom handy, I thought I’d make a few pieces with cardboard looms, so I cut some rectangles and then marked out sections and cut notches in the bottom. I also used some yarn I’d made from my carding scraps – the really wiry, scruffy, short and matted bits – and some coarser wools like Herdick (the bits I used looked like unpicked Brillo pads) and a couple I got from Wollknoll which look like shredded wheat, to show that yarn, and weaving, can still look good even if you don’t make smooth, even yarn. This is a tall one I made:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat’s a dried pepper keeping it flat, I’ll probably have to wet and block some of these becasue they want to curl! Close up:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACloser:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a really small one I made:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA close up:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the larger of the cardboard looms I made:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is a photo of the loom above with a smaller cardboard loom (it already has the warp thread wound on it) and how they compare to the kids’ loom I have. That is probably smaller than A4/printer paper:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo you remember the inside of my bag from last time? Well, I was watching Neighbours last week (an Aussie soap, for those who don’t know) and a character was wearing a jacket, just like my bag flap!

jacket-2jacket-3

Posted in natural wools | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments