Unexpected Results

I thought I’d make a big piece of nuno felt, with plans to make it into a book cover. I recently got a big bag of Botany Lap waste from World of Wool with some nice blues and purples slightly different to the ones I already had, so I thought a patchwork of colours with a collage of silk pieces would work great. I noticed quite early on it didn’t seem to be felting the ‘usual’ way, but put it down to wetting down on the back, which I don’t usually do, but had wanted to make sure there were no thin edges, so I’d flipped it over. And I wondered if I’d overwet it a bit too. Then some bits of silk came right off, which did seem very odd, as I’ve been using bits of these same silk scarves for years. I thought that one of the ‘waste’ wool tops I’d used mustn’t have been Merino, it did feel a bit ‘rougher’, but sometimes they can do if they’re a bit old or some colours seem a bit drier too. It wasn’t vastly different so I guessed it might be Corriedale. When it came to fulling, it all got really weird. I know different wool breeds and wool amounts, and using fabrics etc affects shrinkage, so when I make patchy and/or nuno pieces, I don’t expect it to be as neat and ‘square’ as simpler pieces, but this was all over the place. This is the finished piece now it’s dry:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I’d flipped it over during the fulling, when the distortion became more pronounced, I suddenly went ‘Aaah!’ as I realised. This is the back:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt seemed obvious then that not only was one of the ‘waste’ wool tops possibly not Merino (the mid blue), but the turquoisey one was probably not 100% Merino, either. It felt soft, but then some colours do seem softer, and it wasn’t obvious looking at it that it was blended with anything. I did a burn test and it burnt the same as some Merino, but some of the close up photos I took made it look quite synthetic. It reminded me of the fake Angora fibre I have.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I looked at the places where the silk hadn’t attached fully and where it had come off altogther, it was where I’d used the soft lap waste tops both on top and underneath. This is one piece which really tried to hang on :

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhere I’d used the two different types together, I did get an interesting texture on the Silk. This is the vertical purple/lilac strip on the right hand side:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd you can see in the photo of the whole piece how that silk strip changes about a quarter of the way down, with different wools. I think I’ll keep all these together so I know to expect unusual results, maybe use them for experiments. The only real problem they caused was where the softer tops, possibly blends, were in two layers, and the silk had come off, the felt was cobwebby in those places. (not a great photo, but you get the idea!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne piece which did turn out how I expected was a new coaster I made using some woven pencil roving waste which had been gathering dust for months (I flipped it over, just in case). I did almost use some Botany Lap Waste tops, but changed my mind at the last minute:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think the colours and rippling give the illusion it’s bumpier than it is. You can feel texture on the surface, but it’s subtler than it looks:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you had any unexpected results or surprises using unknown wools or fibres?

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Makers Faire

Last weekend we did a demo at the makers fair.  It was the busiest dem I have ever done.  Next year we will take more people. Almost 6000 adult ticket were sold. Children were free. My voice was almost gone by the end of the first day. I wondered if I would be able to talk on Sunday. But years of practice talking too much paid off and I was good to go in the morning and lasted all day.


Jan is on the left for weaving, Elizabeth in the middle doing spinning and weaving and then my place is on the right were I had people making wet felted felt beads.

And a little closer, the elephant was made by Elizabeth on a ridged  heddle loom.


This is my how to make a had display


These are the guild sample books. One for sheep, one for other animal fibers and cullies fibers, and one to other fibers. the black at the front is Kevlar.


First Jan dressed her loom, and then started a sample piece for a Viking blanket. She has found information on several way these were done so now she is figuring out what will work best for her.

jan-dressing-her-loom jan-weaving

And this was me most of both days. Jan had a hard time getting a picture of me as I was always surrounded by not just children but also adults wanting a turn.


One of the Leaders form this group came and made a bead so she could use it as a spacer in one of the machines that had some had some metal parts hitting each other.


There was lots of variety. There must have been a doz 3D printers. But some low tech stuff too.

Posted in Community, Demo, Fairs and Shows | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Deconstructed Screen Printing

My local group met last week and we did more deconstructed screen printing. We all enjoy this process so we usually end up at least one of our sessions per year doing screen printing. I did write a post to show the screens before they were printed here. We used thickened fiber reactive dyes that print on cotton and silk.


We were a small group this time so we got lots of prints. I don’t have any photos of Louise’s silk but I will try to get some photos at our next meeting. I printed on cotton and paper. I have a large stash of printed fabric and paper and I just keep adding to it. So before you ask, I don’t know what I will do with these yet.

The photos above (plus the first photo) are all printed on cotton. All of the screens already had dried dye in them and then we added further colors when printing. I tried some different techniques including brushing on the thickened dye with a dry brush and adding two layers of dye and letting them dry in between applications.

These are all printed on paper. I just love the random, serendipitous prints that you get from this process. You are never sure how they will turn out but I generally end up liking them all.

You can screen print on felt. I have an online class that teaches you how to screen print on wool and if you’re interested in taking the class in 2017, just leave me a note (including what class you are interested in) on our contact us form.

Posted in Surface Design | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Hat Classwork

In September, I took Teri Berry’s first Concertina Hat Class online.  Unfortunately, I didn’t finish on time due to taking another class and travel.  But I’ve completed the first two hats.

Here is the Concertina hat with some silk embellishment:

20161012_152056 20161012_152121 20161012_152109 20161012_152103

I probably could have added a couple more folds, but I kind of like it the way it is.  Of course, my favorite colors.

The next hat was the Snail Hat which was a bit more complicated, but fun to make.

Drying on the hat block:

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Finally dry and shaved.

20161014_115005 20161012_151814 20161012_151800 20161012_151736 20161012_151728 20161014_115150-1 I haven’t started the third hat, but will show it here when I do.

Teri is offering the class again November 4.  I highly recommend it.  There was a lot of creativity, sharing of ideas and fun.  For more information or to register:


Here are some of the other hats made by the students:


As you can see no two hats were alike.  Sign up and have some fun!

Posted in Felted Hats | Tagged , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Old Pieces and New Pieces

About 7 years ago, I made this piece of nuno felt:

3466795176_8ec2f85e3b_oIt seemed like the perfect piece for making into a money purse, so that’s what I did:

4586142539_44ff9a91e4_oI made a section with a zip for coins and a section behind that for my Supermarket ‘loyalty cards’:

open-purse-newWhen I was writing a blog post not so long ago about liking to use nuno felt for coin purses because they’re hard wearing and don’t pill/bobble much, I thought I should photograph my purse one day to show how it has held up. So, I did! This sits in the bottom of my bag and has done for at least 6 years since I made it, and the only noticeable difference (to me, anyway) is the curve on the flap where it closes, and on the bottom from the weight of coins, so it doesn’t lie flat when opened anymore:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI forgot to take a photo of the front with it closed, but this is a photo of the back, not bad for 6 years old, is it?!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA couple of years ago I stitched together some felt offcuts, then put the piece through the washing machine. I’m sure I blogged about it, but I can’t find it to show the original piece, sorry. Anyway, the last time I had the sewing machine out, I made a pouch from the felt piece. I used a woven wristband cut in half for the closure:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe only recent things I’ve managed to make are some more of those scruffy/tassley pieces I’ve shown before. I wanted a couple more samples in neutral/less ‘delicate’ colour schemes, so made a black and red piece:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, a black and white piece:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd because I love supermacros, a close up of some visoce texture:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEdit: How to Make a coin purse with a zip tutorial: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zedster01/albums/72157626049445520

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Felting soap and a Hat Class

With the arrival of fall I don’t seem to have much time to felt. Today I have to make some felted Soap for the museum store. I thought I would show you how I do it. I do it  little differently then Leonor Calaca  showed you in September. felting-soap Please remember there is no one right way so you will probably find other ways to do it on line too.  They are all good.  

Here everything is ready to start. these are my bins of small amounts.


I wrap wool around the sides and then around the whole thing. The green was a small piece of a batt I had and the red is combed top.

wrap-one-way wrap-the-other-waywrap-the-other-way-2

Than I wrap either a thin piece of wool top or a piece of silk hanky

wrap-the-other-way wrap-some-thin-roving wrap-some-thin-roving-2

Then into a piece on nylon to hold it all together. I make up a bunch and then take them to the living room so I can watch TV while doing the felting.

place-in-nylon soap-pile


Once its felted I put it on a cake drying wrack to dry. I am afraid I only gat as far as the pile above and then my grandchildren showed up for an unexpected visit. So here is a picture of some I did another time, drying.

felted soap

The other thing I wanted to do was remind everyone , especially the people that missed the last one that Terry Berry is doing another Concertina hat class on November 4. Everyone in the last class had a great time. Here is the link to the class. Felted-concertina-hat-with-teri-berry and her is the link to some of the hats people made in class. felted-concertina-hat-gallery

Felted Concertina Hat by Teri Berry


Posted in Uncategorized, Tutorials, Wet Felting, Demo, Classes | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Composition and Design – Color

I seemed to have missed the Composition and Design post for September but I will just move on to the next element of design, color. I have discussed color many times here especially the year that we had color as the focus of our quarterly challenges. But it’s always good for a review and to think about how you use color in your compositions.

Mixing Color - Color Wheel

Color occurs when light in different wavelengths strikes our eyes. Objects have no color of their own, only the ability to reflect a certain wavelength of light back to our eyes. As you know, color can vary in differing circumstances. For example, grass can appear gray in the morning or evening or bright green at noon. Colors appear different depending on whether you view them under incandescent, fluorescent or natural sunlight. Colors also change according to their surroundings.

There are three properties of color which are hue, value and intensity. Hue refers to the color itself. Each different hue is a different reflected wavelength of light. White light broken in a prism has seven hues: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Remember Roy G. Biv? White light occurs when all the wavelengths are reflected back to your eye, and black light occurs when no light is reflected to your eye. This is the physics of light.

Contemporary Designs by Deb Stika

Color value refers to the lightness or darkness of the hue. Adding white to a hue produces a high-value color, often called a tint. Adding black to a hue produces a low-value color, often called a shade. Value can be used for emphasis. Variations in value are used to create a focal point for the design of a piece.

Intensity, also called chroma or saturation, refers to the brightness of a color. A color is at full intensity when not mixed with black or white – a pure hue. You can change the intensity of a color, making it duller or more neutral by adding gray to the color. You can also change the intensity of a color by adding its complement (this is the color found directly opposite on the traditional color wheel). When changing colors this way, the color produced is called a tone.

Certain colors have an advancing or receding quality, based on how our eye has to adjust to see them. Warm colors such as red, orange or yellow seem to come forward while cool colors such as blue and green seem to recede slightly. In the atmosphere, distant objects appear bluish and the further away an object appears, the less colorful and distinct it becomes. You can use this tendency to give an illusion of depth, by using more neutral and grayish colors in the background.

Various color schemes can be used in your work. A monochromatic color scheme involves the use of only one hue. The hue can vary in value, and black or white may be added to create various shades or tints.

Leaves Printed in Multi Colors

An analogous color scheme involves the use of colors that are located adjacent on the color wheel. The hues may vary in value.

Hand Stitch Sample Book

A complementary color scheme involves the use of colors that are located opposite on the color wheel such as red and green, yellow and purple, or orange and blue. Complementary colors produce a very exciting, dynamic pattern.

textured felt for cutting close.

Or how about triadic? (Thanks to Ann for the photo above.) This color scheme involves the use of colors that are equally spaced on the color wheel. The primary colors of yellow, red and blue could be used together in a color scheme to produce a lively result.


What’s your favorite color scheme? Do you push outside of your comfort zone occasionally and try colors you normally wouldn’t use?

Water Lily

How can you use color to evoke different emotions? Do you connect certain emotions to certain colors?

form barette

What does using a monochromatic color scheme do to your composition? Complementary? Analogous? Or Triadic?

Online Course Embellishing Felt with Surface Design Techniques - A Mixed Media Approach by Ruth Lane

How do you choose your color scheme? Is it affected by the subject of your composition? The mood you want to achieve? What is the impact of choosing a color scheme that is the opposite of your normal choice?

Chemo Curtains

What would your composition look like with all the same values? How can you use value changes to improve your focal point?

I’d love to hear about how you use color and whether you think about it in advance or just jump in with your favorite colors.


Posted in Design | Tagged , | 13 Comments