Continuing on the Cane Dragon

Continuing on the Cane Dragon

After I had written my last blog, I headed back to Oakville to help with my Mother-in-Law who has not been well. It was very busy with lots of appointments and I tried to work on a bit of felting in moments of quiet.

When you last saw the little dragon, I had augmented the wire on the legs, arms, hands and feet. Then started from the tail to add the under colour.

1,  the tail from the last post

I was using a small amount of black, a bit of dark grey and larger amounts of Indigo. Since you don’t usually see solid colours in nature, I did not blend to a uniform new colour but left bits of each tone visible.

My goal was to give me a general base colour to work from and lay in the spinal fringe. I think I will be augmenting that with some silk but after I have created the wings.

2-3, adding the base layer of colour standing on my old laptop.

As I would go off to help with something then come back intermittently to work on the little guy, I discovered that blue cane dragons have an odd interest in Orange dark chocolate.  He had obviously spotted it in the glass dish. I had used the box holding the delicious chocolate as a ruler while making partitions in lists. I just put it in the glass dish so it would not be lost in all the papers with notes on the table.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

4 -9, the great Chocolate heist

His obvious joy at running off with the chocolate was quickly thwarted with the realization that I had not made fingers appropriate for extracting the chocolate out of the box!!

10 Not having teeth is also an issue.

11, so close but yet so far

I continued to work on the face adding an upper lip, background for the eye area and nostrils.

12, adding more detail to the face

My husband and I took a quick run to a couple of the local computer stores to look for a new laptop since I was to stay for a bit longer and he would be heading home. We found one and brought it back.

13-14, the new laptop

15, the new laptop has problems

Here he is checking out my new laptop. It was fabulous for about 4 days then developed strange pixelation problems in the screen…. It was such a nice clicky keyboard too!! Back to felting, You can see I am starting to add the colour in the mouth, but still no teeth. it may be safer if he doesn’t have teeth.

16 – 17, mouth colour added as well as fringe

You may have noticed the fringe, at the ankle and wrist/forearm, has been added. The next step was to start the wisps of grey in a tone similar to the mandible for the front of the neck, belly and under the tail.

18, adding the grey wisps

By this time one of my Brothers-in-law had arrived and it was time for me to head home for a bit. I will be focusing next on the wing membranes since I suspect that will determine some of the body highlights. However, that will be another post, since we will be heading back to southern Ontario Soon.

Is it October? It feels like the end of August in Southern Ontario.  A couple of quick shots for you to enjoy and hopefully inspire new colour pallets, felt pictures, or sculptures.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

19 – 22,  End of August weather in October?  A few shots from Oakville.

I hope you are also enjoying strangely nice weather for what the calendar clearly says is October. If you are having our normal October, it’s OK, you can keep it, we really don’t want it back!! Maybe I should try to quickly wash one more fleece before we wake up to snow?

Happy Felting!!

 

 

 

 

Registration Open for Hanging Felted Spiral by Helene Dooley

Registration Open for Hanging Felted Spiral by Helene Dooley

We are happy to announce that we are now offering an online class with Helene Dooley. The class is all about learning to felt a hanging spiral and will begin on October 29th. There are only 30 spaces available so register now to reserve a space. Register here by filling out the contact form at the bottom of the page. 

Helene has developed a method to create the felted spiral shown in the photo above. You will learn with Helene’s excellent videos and downloadable PDF’s. She will also be available on the class website for questions, sharing of your spirals and to encourage you to experiment with the knowledge gained in the class.

If you’d like to learn how to create a felt spiral, now’s your chance! To register for the class, fill out the form on the information page. 

Please note that Helene’s class is aimed at felt makers who have already developed their technical felting skills.  It is not suitable for felt makers who are at the start of their felting journey. A knowledge of book resists is preferable, though not essential.  Previous experience working in three dimensions is essential.  Also required is a basic knowledge of needle felting and sewing.

 

If you are a beginner, our online unlimited access Wet Felting for Beginners course, is always available. Please click on this link for further information and to register for the class. 

 

Revisiting the Yurt

Revisiting the Yurt

If you haven’t been a reader here for very long, you might not know that back in 2013, I made a 16 foot diameter yurt (ger) with my husband. I wanted to try “large” felting and decided a yurt would be a good idea. It was a real learning experience and a ton of work but I had a good time and we ended up with a yurt (ger). Click on any of the links in the post to read the original post which goes into the details of how it was made.

The yurt began with buying 200 pounds of wool in March of 2013 and getting it processed. You can read all about it in my post “Wool Gathering”.

Then we moved on to building the frame. “Yurt Beginnings” explains how we handled the lattice walls.

We continued working on the walls with drilling, sanding and figuring out how it all went together in a big lattice puzzle. In my post, “Sanding and Being Confused”, you can read more.  Then another update about the wall is in the post “Wall Success”.

Then in August, I finally started felting. The photo above shows my sample for thickness and shrinkage which you can read about here. 

 

Next we started working on the roof structure which is called a tono.  We were on 51 days and counting for constructing the yurt.  Somehow, I’m getting tired just rereading these posts.

 

Finally, we got into the large format felting. We made our first wall panel and with the help of the tractor, we got it felted and fulled. 

 

Then because it was so much work, I recruited more labor. We had a felting party! And then we had a day of felting in the rain.

Next up was painting the wood structure orange which is a traditional color for Mongolian gers (yurts).

We were feverishly working into October to try and get this enormous task completed. It was getting cold and as you can see, I got a little muddy. But we were getting closer to the end being in sight.

One of my favorite things about building this yurt was the community involvement. I even had a youngster named Kostya who was born in Kazakhstan who came to learn about the process. 

And we did it! Our yurt raising party was held at the end of October and it worked. We had a yurt. It was really satisfying to complete the project and honestly, looking back now, I’m not sure where I got the energy. Of course I was a bit younger then but I guess determination and perseverance can get you anywhere. I hoped you enjoyed the reminiscence with me.

Autumn Pumpkin

Autumn Pumpkin

It’s that time of year again, when the long warm summer nights are fading and the nights are drawing in.  I love all the seasons, but the Autumn season is one of my favourites as I love the colour pallette nature provides, with its hues of amber, yellow, orange, red, brown and every shade in between.  It’s the time when the earth starts going to sleep, sound in the knowledge of new beginnings in the spring.

 

As our blog this time falls a few weeks before that famous holiday date at the end of October, we thought we would make something that people would have time to make before the holiday period arrives.  Hense, we made a pumpkin.   I apologise in advance that this blog is not unique, as others have done this before but our original plan did not seem such a good idea once the pumpkin was made.  I had planned to make one that could be used as a ‘trick or treat’ container.  But once it was made, I just wasn’t sure that it would be strong enough to hold up to my plan to cut a 3/4 circle for the lid and still hold its shape.  The idea was to find out who would be brave enough to slide their hand inside, to find out whether they were dipping into a treat, or a trick.  Although the pumpkin held its shape well, I did not feel it was quite strong enough to fulfil the purpose, so I’m afraid I chickened out because I didn’t have enough time to make a second pumpkin if it all went wrong!! But it’s still something I would like to do in the future, now that I know the strength of this 3 layer pumpkin.  So next time, I’ll make it with 4 layers!

 

I’ve made a small pumpkin before, using the method demonstrated by an American lady, in her weekly tutorials on Living Felt.  That turned out really well so I decided to use this method again, only making the pumpkin much larger.   I searched my house and garden for a circular template, and found a large green planter tray that I use to catch the water underneath some of my bigger pots.  It measured 38cm (15″) in diameter and was perfect for the job.

 

    Here you can just make out the planter tray, holding my palette of wool batts and merino tops.  Also, you can see my first born little pumpkin that I made last year!  He had to make an appearance (can’t have them feeling left out!)

 

I chose a two-colour wool for the outer layer, that was a combination of a yellow and red carded together.  For the inner two layers, I chose a lighter yellowy colour, so that the inside of the pumpkin would be paler than the outside.  (At this point, I was still planning to make the pumpkin trick or treat pot.)   The red and yellow mix for the outer layer weighed 1.3oz  and the yellow wool for the pumpkin flesh weighed 2.4oz, as I would need two layers of this colour.  The merino tops were for decoration and accent colours on the outside of the pumpkin.  I also wanted to add in some additional bits and pieces, to add interest to the surface of the pumpkin, so I collected some silk hankies that I already had in my supplies, and also some orange neeps and curly tops (which in the end I didn’t use in the wet felting process).

I love these colours!!!!!!!!!         

 

I then started making my resist.  Making the circle was the easy part, but I then needed to make eight petal-like protrusions, to form the lobes of the pumpkin.  My partner did look at me rather strangely when he saw me rummaging through the crockery looking for a suitable saucer-like object that would fit nicely for the job.  I eventually found a bowl that was a good fit, and used this as a template to make the lobes around my circular resist…

 

  As usual, Eccles had to get involved!  She is not a problem, but Elliot (her brother) decided to strike while I was looking for the bowl, and pinched three of the merino wool tops off the tray.  By the time I came back, I had three bird’s nests which I then had to card to get them back into some sense of order!  That cat has such a passion for wool, it’s unbelievable!   I don’t have a photo to show, as I forgot to take one but he really made a mess of them!  He also managed to pinch the little pumpkin out of its box where I had safely (or so I thought) hidden it.  I later found it under my dining room table, where he’d left it after playing with it!  I must be mad to have taken in another rescue cat, but she is adorable and I couldn’t resist!  Here is Penny!

I think you can  safely say she’s made herself at home!!!!!                                           

 

Anyway – back to pumpkins!  I then began laying out the fibre.  I started with the yellow wool batt, putting two layers on each side of my resist.  I added soap and water and covered with a mesh before gently agitating the fibres to start them knitting together.  After a little gentle agitation, I flipped the resist before  folding over the edges of the wool each time ready to start the next layer.

          from this…………………………………………………………………………………………………….to that…             

 

After putting two layers of yellow fibre on each side, it was time to put the red and yellow mixed fibre….

  Here you can see I have put one layer and flipped the resist ready to do the other side.  You can see the edges of the reddish fibre curled around the edges of the resist.

And now, the final layer…

I love the effect of the two-tone fiber, which shows well in this photo in contrast to the yellow above….       

 

Now for the fun part!!  Time to start the embellishments.  I used some of the wool top to accentuate the lines in between each lobe, and I wanted to try out some silk hankies to make some sheen on the pumpkin.  Here are the different designs I made on each side.  I wasn’t sure how dark to go with the wool top lines, so chose a brown for one side, and a redder colour for the other.  I went with an olive green for the silk hanky.

 

            I left ‘tails’ at the edges, so I could wrap them around the other side.

 

Now to start felting.  Recently, I purchased a sander because I do suffer a little with my joints.  I hadn’t tried using it yet, but thought I would give it a try on this project.  I would say at this point, that anyone considering the use of a sander in felting, needs to do their research.  I was quite scared at first, as electricity an water (as we know) don’t mix.  Also, some countries don’t have the safety systems built into their domestic electricity supply, so doing your research before embarking on using an electric sander is a must.  But having done my research and purchased my sander, I thought I had better try it out.  I only used it at the beginning of the process, and I was careful not to take the sander up to the edges of the resist, only using it in the middle and in between each lobe.  But it certainly helped considerably, and after I had finished the project, I didn’t feel my usual pain and fatigue, so that’s good!

  I can’t wait to make a scarf next!!!!!

 

After using the sander, I hand-felted the edges of the pumpkin, to make sure it was all nicely knitting together before I started rolling it.  Once I saw the felt was starting to shrink, I removed the  resist from inside  the pumpkin.  Easier said than done!! I didn’t want a large hole left in the pumpkin, but my resist was quite thick and firm, so it took some time to remove it as I also wanted to keep the resist for future use (I know, I’m a skinflint, but I’m also ecologically conscientious).

After the rolling was finished I fulled the pumpkin by throwing it a little until I was satisfied with the shrinkage.  Then it was time to rinse the soap out, give it a quick soak in vinegar water to restore the PH levels and I always like to give a final rinse in water containing a nicely scented essential oil.  I love to hold my small pumpkin and smell the fibre, as it often helps my emotional wellbeing at times when I am stressed.  Is that strange?! But it works for me!

 

After removing the excess water by wrapping it in a towel, I then stuffed it with a shredded bed sheet.  Wow – I was surprised to find I could fit a whole king-sized bed sheet in that pumpkin!

    and then I tied string in between each lobe, so accentuate the shape as it dried

 

Once it had dried, quality control arrived for his weekly Chinese Takeaway!  Alex checked my work and told me that he really liked the pumpkin.

By the look on Alex’s face, I can see I’m going to have to make another one because his sister Lizzy has been patiently awaiting a pumpkin for her new home!!

 

Once it was fully dry, I removed the copious amounts of shredded sheet from inside.  It was at this point, I had cold feet about cutting a lid in the top.  Although it kept its shape well, I was not sure how cutting it open would affect the stability of the structure so I decided at this point, just to stuff it and keep it intact.  I will try this idea another  time though, because I would like to make a felted ‘creepy hand’ to poke out from under the lid.  Seeing people’s reactions would be funny!

 

I decided to make the stalk out of needle-felted wool.  I chose different shades of green, charcoal grey and yellow to felt together to make the stalk.  I also put a pipe cleaner inside, so I could bend the stalk into the shape I wanted.  I also needle felted a leafy-looking base at the bottom of the stalk, just for effect and added some bright green curly tops to look like tendrils.  I did make a pumpkin leaf for it, but in the end I didn’t like it so did not use it.

 

I quite like the yellow accents on the stalk……..           

 

It didn’t take Elliot long to get involved!  But then again, he’s the right colour isn’t he?!!

 

 

And here’s a photo taken in natural light for colour comparison……

 

We hope you like the pumpkin.  Happy Autumn!!

Lisa and Alex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee pod experiment +

Coffee pod experiment +

Hi, It’s me again, out of sync. We had a scheduling problem so I have jumped back in and Ruth will be me later.

A while ago I collected some used coffee pods to try doing some felting with. This was inspired by Judit Pócs. She is an incredible felter and has an amazing imagination. https://pocsjuditstudio.hu/home I believe she used them in a felted ring, free workshop for people that are members of the International Felt makers Association when they had their online conference. I am not a member. Anyway, there were all over Facebook and I wanted to try them out. This is the first attempt.

These are metal pods for a Nespresso machine. I got them by asking on my local buy/sell/give group on Facebook. People with these machines do not throw the pods out they collect them in a supplied bag and then send them back to the company postage paid for recycling. At least that seems less wasteful.

They are pretty and come in two sizes

 

I had to flatten the pods first. The large domes are much easier to flatten nicely.

I laid out a thickish base and then added to the 2 kinds of pods.

 

Then another double layer of wool on top.

 

I felted in the usual way and then cut holes over the disk. I cut the wrong side first, naturally

 

 

This is where it starts to go downhill. The texture of the disks makes it hard to rub and heal the cuts. I am not the most patient with this step normally so this was frustrating and didn’t work well.

 

As a first experiment, this was a good learning experience.

Next time I will mark the top and put a piece of underlay over the pods to make a smoother surface to work on after I cut the holes. That should make it easier to make a better edge. I also think I needed a thicker layer of wool over the pods to get a nicer deeper edge.  Maybe just over the pods and not the whole piece. This piece is a good thickness for bag/pouch. Also, as usual, I need to slow down and be patient.

I also made a piece of felt to try out some stitching with the Solvy water-soluble stabilizer. It’s not very exciting to look at and I will probably iron it a little smoother and flatter. I think I will add some needle felting to part of it before using it so I have the 2 textures to try on.

I like figuring out how things are done. I enjoy making samples/experiments much more than I used to. I think it’s all the covid lockdowns and there being no shows.  There is not much point in making 20 hats and scarves if you have nowhere to sell them. Have you successfully figured out how to do something you’ve seen online?

Finding a Solution to Weak Wire

Finding a Solution to Weak Wire

This may be an unusually short (for me) note.

“Mistakes” can lead to opportunities to try new to you solutions. I am sure all of you have come up with this solution but in case you haven’t made this mistake I thought I should share and show you my solution.

The wire I chose for the toes was a coated steel but only 25ga. (Perfect for chickadees but not for this size of Dragon, but you work with what you have at hand.) Now I am back home and have a bigger selection of wire options.  I need to augment the 25ga since it is not providing the grip I need to hold on to the cane or cling to the basket of the walker. Otherwise, I very much like the little guy.

1 As you last saw him

Do I have to make another armature? Or, can I augment the strength of the wire so it will have a better griping ability? I already have a thin layer of wool to make the skinny long fingers. I guess I could make less skinny toes and fingers if they have better gripping.

2 Inserting a wire across the hips to strengthen legs, (that was not the wire I thought I grabbed).

I pulled out a long black wire, it was in with the green floral wire. I poked it through the hips then found the middle and wound it down the legs on either side. It was a bit short and not as strong as I hoped. So I added a second wire of 20 ga. to the leg and down into the middle tow.

The second wire was inserted and anchored under the top of the finer black wire. I wound tightly over the already wrapped wool. A small change in gauge or type of wire can make a big difference in the stiffness of the wire. It’s best to have wire that is just a bit stronger than the tension created by the wound and felted wool. If the wool is stronger than the wire your figure will not hold a pose. If you are only lightly felting something you can reduce the strength of the wire and it will still hold the fibre/felt. Do you remember the ghosts I made for ghost girl a couple of Halloweens ago? They were lightly felted but I needed the wire to support their weight so that determined the gauge I chose. In the case of the dragon, I likely should have doubled the 20 ga for the legs toes and fingers.

3 Needs a bit more stiffness, adding the 18”, 20ga green floral wire.

4 Much better.

I wound down to the toe and used the plyers to make sure it was tightly secured. Then I wound back up the toe a bit with the extra wire.

5 Both legs done, the little guy feels much stronger already!!

Legs done, I next moved on to the arms and middle fingers. I again poked the wire through, this time at the shoulder joint. I wound the wire down the arm to the middle finger then back up and into the bottom part of the wing.  I left the medial and lateral digits un-augmented.

Next, hide the wire!! I continued with the World of wool Core wool that I had hand carded the last time I was in Oakville. There is a tiny bit of kemp in it but it is working well for both wrapping and sculpting.

6-7 Hiding the wire, the toes don’t look too much bigger.

As I added fibre to cover the extra wire, I made glutes, quads, and gastrocs! I have also added ribs to the wings only 2 this time. I think that is looking better!

8 Time for the beginning of the colour layer!

I have started the first layer of colour but have a trip back to Oakville so I think this is as far as I can go before I have to start packing. (Well Glenn will do a bit of emergency laundry first then I can pack). I have wool and tools pulled and ready to go. I should grab some wire (since I forgot to bring any last time).

I wonder what I have forgotten?

Ok, back to the topic at hand or more accurately on the desk. The augmentation of wire strength by adding wire over the underlayer worked. (it worked much better than the incision, extraction of the broken wire and insertion of a stronger gauge on a skunk project. Poor skunk’s wrist never healed correctly but it’s better than the break was.)

If you don’t mind the toes being a bit larger in diameter than originally planned this may work for you if you find a similar problem. (That problem being, not bringing a selection of wire with you when you spontaneously decide to create a new project!)

Have fun and keep felting!

PS I got out to the Market Ann is selling at and did some promotional photos for her and discovered that pumpkins are shiny when they are wet!! Who knew that? Here are a few shots of a rainy day at the market to enjoy

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

9-16 The Farmers Market at the Barrhaven Log Farm

Moving along a bit.

Moving along a bit.

I did finish the felting part of the 3 pieces I started last time.

First the lantern cover. I am not entirely happy with the way it felted. I was hoping it would be more solid. However, there was so much non-wool fibre it ended up very soft and holey.

It will still work for this application but it wouldn’t stand up to being a scarf.  It looks cool just not what I planned. Sometimes that is the way it goes.

The first one is just on the vase the second is the lights turned on and the last is with the lights on in the dark.

 

The first picture felted up nicely. I used the thicker mostly felted prefelt I have and it is nice and firm after felting. It shrank a little but I was able to pull it back out to 5×7. I am not sure which way up it should go is it land and sea/stormy sky?

 

Or is it land and sunset sky? what do you think? I haven’t decided on what I will add to the picture now. Maybe some needle felting or some stitching or both.

 

 

The next one that wasn’t wet yet in the last blog also worked out very well. I felted it onto a piece from a fulled, woven wool coat. The fabric didn’t shink but the wool attached pretty well.

The embellishments are attached but look to be floating rather than part of it.   I think I may rewet it and felt it some more. The embellishment fibres are not very well attached. I like it though.

 

After writing this I decided the wool was well felted so I would needle felt the embellishments in rather than rewetting it. They lost some of the brightness but I still like it.

 

I have an experiment to show you next time and maybe if I figure it out, some idea of what I will do with these pieces.

 

Playing with Nuno Landscape Design

Playing with Nuno Landscape Design

I have started working/playing with my green nuno felt landscape. When I last posted about it, I showed you an idea that I got from layering a photo over the landscape in Photoshop. I liked the dreamy look of the landscape. Now how to create it in fabric and stitch?

I had stamped some silk organza with a flower design for another project. Perhaps it would work for the landscape? So I started playing with different fabric choices and placement.

 

I added more fabric and then covered with a pale yellow green nylon organza (you can see it on the right edge) to see if it gave it that “misty” feeling. It was OK but not exactly what I wanted.

I took away the overlay and added some white lace for the floral component. That is starting to look better. I think the background behind the upper flowers either needs a grey or blue overlay of sheer fabric to make it seem farther in the distance. I didn’t really see that until I looked at the photo.

Then I wanted to compare using silk paper (flower on the right) for the flowers instead of lace. I am leaning towards the lace.

That’s as far as I have gotten on the planning process. It involves many trials of putting fabric on and off. Taking photos of each trial. Figuring out how I can integrate the applique into the background. Deciding whether I am going to use machine or hand stitching. The process is definitely a journey!

2021 FOURTH QUARTER CHALLENGE

2021 FOURTH QUARTER CHALLENGE

The fourth quarter challenge is to felt, spin, weave, knit, crochet or sew something inspired by the 1960’s – a decade that exploded with colour in art, fashion, homewares and music!

Although ‘pop-art’ originated in the 1950’s it flourished in the 1960’s, and Andy Warhol created many versions of his portrait of Marilyn Monroe …

…and Versace made a gown using Warhol’s prints.

Psychedelic and hippie art was everywhere! On posters, clothes, musical instruments and vehicles.

The world of pop music embraced the wildness of design in the 1960’s. Heinz Edelmann’s illustration style for the Beatles’ animated film ‘Yellow Submarine’ was revolutionary…

… and this album cover must be the most recognisable.  Jann Haworth and Peter Blake designed the cover for The Beatles ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’.

Peter Max was an influential designer.  Below left to right: He painted this design for Capitol Records, this ‘love’ poster and he designed this fabric.

Flowers featured a lot in 60’s fabrics that would be made into clothes, curtains, lampshades and furniture.

Flowers were also popular in many wallpaper designs.

Mary Quant was an influential fashion designer in the 60’s – she did use colour but she’s well-known for her black and white designs.

And who hasn’t heard of ‘Biba’?  This is one of her dresses. Photo courtesy of V&A.

Fashion was very flamboyant.  Look at these ties for men. Photo courtesy of V&A.

And shirts could never be too colourful.

Machine embroidered clothes were very popular.

Jewellery was bold, bright and chunky.  Photos courtesy of V&A.

Perhaps you remember the 1960’s?  Perhaps you’ve only read about them.  But we hope you find something in that decade to inspire your work.  Please post anything you make on to the ‘Studio Challenges’ section on the Felting and Fiber Forum

When things don’t go as planned, improvise

When things don’t go as planned, improvise

Imagine this: you’ve planned that project in your head. You’ve gone through all the steps and know what needs doing. You have all the materials, and you’re getting ready to work on it. It’s going to be epic!

Except… something goes terribly wrong and the end result is nothing like what you expected.

Sound familiar?

Hand dyed yarn by Eleanor Shadow
This hand dyed yarn looks great at first glance, but in reality it’s “muddy” – the colours have somehow blended into each other in a not-so flattering way.

I’m sure we’ve all been there. Craft long enough and, be it due to bad luck or simple statistics, something will go wrong.

The problem: The yarn above is a colourway of mine called Love Heart Meow. At first glance, it looks exactly as it should, except something went wrong during the dyeing process and the end result is “muddy.” You can’t really tell in the photo, but in real life I can definitely see it and it’s driving me mad.

The solution: I’m going to overdye it. I find that when things don’t go as planned, a blue overdye can save things around. Who knows, maybe I’ll create a new colourway?

(Shameless plugin moment: I’m getting back to blogging in my own website and I’ll be sharing the over dyeing process over there very soon! I’ll of course still be working on new content for our lovely blog here.)

 


 

Silk cocoons

 

A while back I was doing an exchange with a dyer friend of mine and decided to send her some hand dyed silk cocoons. Silk comes at a price for the poor silk worm, so I was very keen to “make it count” (yes, I’m the soppy type).

I carefully dyed each cocoon, making it so that the exterior and the interior were slightly different and adding variation in shade/colour. I was rather chuffed with the result.

Of course, I then proceeded to ruin things beautifully. I don’t know what happened in my brain but I decided to set the colours with more acid… by dunking the cocoons in hot water.
If you’ve ever dyed these precious things, you’ll know they need to be steam set if you want them to retain their shape. Hot water is most emphatically not the right thing to do, as I remembered even as I was dunking them in the H2O.

The problem: I had a hot mess in my hands, the cocoons all melted into each other, were soft and (to me, at the time) completely useless.

The temporary solution: Remove from water and back away from the project! Make some tea. Curse out loud. Come back later.

The real solution: After keeping whole thing away from sight a while, I looked at it again. It was a mess, but I could make it into something different. The colours were pretty. Then it hit me…

Fibre wall artwork by Eleanor Shadow

Tah-dah, wall art to the rescue. The colours are actually brighter in real life.

I sewed the Cocoon Combo to some black felt, added some beads and shiny embroidered stars in gold and silver. The shape of the thing was asking for an oval embroidery hoop, so I bought one in a suitable size and Bob’s your uncle.

It looks like something done on purpose, doesn’t it? It’ll be our secret.

 


 

Now, this wouldn’t be a post by yours truly if I didn’t add a little sewing, would it?

While perusing one of my usual fabric supply sites I stumbled upon the most fun cat fabric. As with most things in the crafty brain, I had the “button” sorted but not the “suit,” so to speak. I had to come up with something to create with that fabric!

I decided on the Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated because it looked comfy and, best of all, asked for two complementary fabrics (the cat fabric had a “friend” that I thought made the cats look even cuter. Aaand, I’ll stop using metaphors now.)

Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated, sewn by Eleanor Shadow

I love this dress. It works great on its own or as a top layer, making it good for more seasons. It’s meant to be reversible, but this one isn’t (there are reasons but I shan’t go into them).

One great thing about being short is, I never need as much fabric to make something as the pattern says I do. After careful calculations, I knew exactly how much to buy and order it I did.

The bad thing is, if you don’t have extra and make a mistake… well.
I was on the phone with my other half and got distracted. Instead of cutting the top layer a specific way, I did it wrongly. I immediately noticed the disaster, but it was too late. My soul hurt. I didn’t want to order more fabric because of this!

The problem: No extra fabric and the huge unwillingness to buy more. I was doomed.

The temporary solution: The same as with the cocoons! Back away from the project. Make some tea. Curse out loud. Come back later.

The real solution: I had a little extra of the gingham fabric. Patchwork to the saving.

Detail of Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated as sewn by Eleanor Shadow

I had only made a mistake with one half of the fabric, so that became the back. I cut that piece in two and added a strip of the under layer fabric to the middle. It almost looks like it’s a proper feature, at least to my eyes.

I’ll have to confess I felt rather smug after this. My solution worked, I didn’t have to buy extra fabric and my dress is perfectly wearable.

My smugness was somewhat abated after my mum saw the dress and said it looked like a maid’s apron, but that’s another story…

 


 

That’s it, three examples of things that didn’t go as planned but had a solution. If you let your brain think about it for a while in the background, I bet you’ll come up with alternative endings for your “mistakes.” Like the cliché goes, mistakes can be opportunities to do better later. Beats giving up, right?

 

Finally, the random photo of the day:

Sheep from the Shetland Islands

My lovely osteopath Jane went on holiday to the Shetland Islands and I asked her to send me some sheep pics. She obliged and I thought I’d share them with you.

Enjoy your weekend!

%d bloggers like this: