A class with Moy MacKay

Last week I had the opportunity to take a 2 day class with Moy MacKay. I went with a couple of friends and we had a great time.  We did the wet felting on day one. We had 2 pictures to choose from for the landscape.

I chose the one the left.

Moy demonstrated and explained to us how to work and what to do. We got to ask questions. She told us to take lots of pictures as we went because you see things in the picture that  you don’t see in just looking at it. Still I didn’t take enough.

First we laid out the background

Then we added the foreground and details. The house is prefelt and the flowers in the front are chopped up curls

We wet them down and gave them a 2 or 3 min rub and then rolled them for about 3 min one way and then the other for another few min and we were done. They are very lightly felted but that’s ok because they are pictures not hats.

That took the morning. After lunch we did another piece, a still life, flowers. We had a vase of red flowers and babies breath to use for inspiration. We were not to copy it but to use it to see how flowers look. You can see it in the group picture. Moy demonstrated again and explained again and then we only had about an hour to put the picture together and then a short time to get it felted before we had to be out of the room for another group.

We started with the table then the foliage and then the vase and then moves some leaves around. Then we added the flowers. The babies breath is nepps.

I quite like it at this stage. Not as much after it was felted.

On day 2 we started the embellishing. Moy talked about and demonstrated needle felting accents and refining the pictures. Also some machine embroidery and stitching.  we could try the machine stitching if we wanted but my picture wasn’t ready for that yet.   This is what they are like now. No where near done but works in progress.

This is after I straitened up the house and removed the mangled fence and added a new one.

This is where it is now.  I added windows and ivy to the house. I removed the cobwebs from the trees. I added some shading to the trees. I added in some stems for the flowers in front and another fence. I think the field behind the left fence needs to be darker because it’s farther away. It doesn’t show well in the picture but right now it is lighter and more yellow than the front field.  It needs a lot more work but I think I know what I want to do to it.

And the flowers. I forgot to take a picture of when it was wet felted but had no embellishments.  But here it is so far. I am not as keen on the flowers but they are alright. I may like them better after I work on them some more. The table needs straitening up and lots more texture. And notice the nepps have stuck. We had chopped up some green fibers as part of the foliage and I think the short fibers under them made them stick.

And lastly a picture of everyone’s works at the end of the second day. the flowers we used are beside Moy.

It was a great class. I think it’s given me confidence to try some more. Jan will be doing more posts for us and I hope she will do one about this class too. She will have taken at least a hundred more pictures than me and be able to show you her works in progress too.

Don’t forget to sign up for the holiday card exchange on the forum. Read all about it here: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2018/10/10/time-for-the-holiday-card-exchange-again/

 

Posted in Classes, Demo, Design, Inspiration, Needle Felting, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Stitching Fossils Piece

The last time I posted, I showed you my piece that I started for the 4th Quarter Challenge that included twists, tubes and hand spun yarn.

Here’s what it looked like after felting. I started hand stitching and used some very simple stitches including stem stitch and straight stitches.

Here’s the piece after adding the dark stem stitch around the tubes. I also added some “white” marks across the “fossils”. The white is really a light almost peach color that is on the bottom right side of the photo. These are the various wool threads that I am using to embellish the piece.

Here’s a few more views, you click on the photos to see a larger version. I decided that the yellow-orange seemed a bit too much so I wanted to tone it down just a bit. I added blue-green stitching over the yellow-orange and added some of the yellow-orange to the background to move the color around in other places.

So here it is again after adding the yellow-orange and blue-green. I am now adding more colors into the background to give a mixture of the colors into the background. I enjoy hand stitching into felt and this has been a relaxing project. Do you like to hand stitch on felt? If so, what are your favorite stitches to add?

Posted in Challenges, Stitching | Tagged , | 12 Comments

A brief glimpse into the Knitting & Stitching Show in London

This weekend the biggest fibre and fabric-related event in Europe happened right here in London. Every year I volunteer for my spinning guild and, in return, I get a free pass for all days.

Although the Knitting & Stitching Show is mostly about the sales, there’s always a section dedicated to textile arts. Established artists as well as art school finalists exhibit their work every year, so that’s what I’m sharing with you today.

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Let’s admire this larger-than-life crocheted cow by TOFT. They also had a giant lobster and other animals. How many hours went into each?

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The artist Jenni Dutton had an exhibit about her Mother, called Dementia Darnings. You can imagine by the title how poignant each portrait was – we see this woman depicted from a young age to her final, frail days. I was very moved by it.
Look closely – can you tell how each work was created?

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It’s yarn. You can see it hanging down on the portrait above. Isn’t it wonderful? All this hard work, you can tell the artist loved her mother very much. I felt like hugging her for this dedication.

Next, quilts. I’m not a particular fan of the “traditional” ones but when this technique is applied to create something unusual, you have my full attention.

I’m afraid the pictures don’t do these works justice. Both artists are American I think you can feel a lovely sort of vintage US vibe to these images.

Finally, something that made me smile, by Libby Vale.

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Ironing is definitely not on my list of priorities, so I connected perfectly with the sentiments depicted in this board!

There was a lot more to show, but I’ll leave that to my next blog post. I hope you enjoyed my choice of art. Have you ever been to the Knitting & Stitching Show, or a similar event where textile art is shown? Let me know all about it in the comments section.

Posted in embroidery, Free Motion Stitching, Guest Artists, Guest Writer, Inspiration, Mixed Media, natural wools, Other Fibers, Shows, Stitching | Tagged , | 16 Comments

4th Quarter Challenge Sample

I thought I’d try an idea out for the 4th Quarter Challenge. The basic idea was to use wool tubes with fabric, some under, and some over. Because they are quite thin and hollow, I thought they probably wouldn’t have much effect on the fabric, other than visual. I did use a couple of wool twists too. This is the finished piece:

When I’d rinsed it and squeezed the water out, I didn’t roll it in a towel or try to flatten/smooth it, like I usually do, I wanted to keep the texture. You can see it from this angle:

And this one:

This is a strip of cotton gauze:

This is some synthetic chiffon. I’m guessing I used twists under this piece because there seems to be more of an effect:

The close up photos of the silk strip didn’t turn out, but here’s where silk, cotton gauze and silk taffeta all meet:

This is a close up of the Silk Taffeta, I used twists over and under this:

I used some heavier synthetic chiffon. I know this fabric doesn’t attach very firmly, but I like to use it because it does ripple nicely and looks good:

I love my camera! I can see inside the ripple here:

It’s given me a better idea of what I might do on a bigger piece. How are your ideas coming?

Posted in Challenges | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Time for the Holiday Exchange Again.

Hi readers, it’s that time of year again where we start to think of the holiday season. We like to do an annual holiday exchange over at the forum.  We will be doing a felt card or postcard. It doesn’t matter what you celebrate you can participate. Maybe you don’t celebrate anything , you can still participate. The idea is to have some fun and exchange with a fellow felt lover.
Heres the way it works:

You sign up over on the Forum by November 4th: holiday-exchange-2018 

On November 5 you will be given your  partners name. You contact each other through the private messaging system on the forum to exchange addresses.

You have until November 30 to  work on your card  and then mail it on or before Dec 1 so that it will arrive at your partners before the holidays start.

Once you have your card post a picture of it in the exchange thread on the forum. holiday-exchange-2018

 

If you would like to see more of the pieces from other years here are some links:

holiday-exchange-2017

holiday-exchange-2016

Posted in Design, Inspiration, Needle Felting, Nuno Felting, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , | 9 Comments

4th Quarter Challenge – Twists

When Zed announced the 4th quarter challenge, I immediately thought of a bit of wool yarn that I spun by hand with a drop spindle ages ago. It has been sitting in my studio for years now and I have never done anything with it. So I hunted around for it, finally finding it on a shelf with some other yarn.

Then I made up some twists using my hand carders and a skewer. I found a batt of natural fiber that I had lying about and was able to make something for the challenge with very little preparation. I’m going by that motto “use stuff up”.

Here’s the layout. There are 5 twists which are fairly fat and the rest is hand spun yarn. My spinning skills are minimal so the yarn is very thick/thin.

And here it is after felting. I think that the twists kind of look like orthoceras fossils. So I am considering adding either hand or machine stitching or both to bring out the fossil appearance more. What would you add to it?

Once I have done some stitching, I will show it to you again.

Posted in Challenges, Spinning, Wet Felting | Tagged , | 8 Comments

HOW TO MAKE PRE-FELT

Pre-felt is quick and easy to make.  It’s used to make definite shapes in a layout – a shape that’s cut from pre-felt is called an ‘inlay’.  Pre-felt is firm enough to cut but loose enough to felt into other fibres.

Pre-felt can be bought ready-made, but if you make your own you can have the exact colour, plain or blended, that you want.  You can also add other fibres on top as embellishment.

We’ve used merino wool tops but any wool fibres can be used.  Shown below: merino wool tops blended colours and plain.

merino wool

To make a small piece of pre-felt you will need: merino wool fibres, a round-stick sushi mat, small-bubble bubble-wrap, net, 2 rubber bands, soapy water in a mister/spray bottle, a bar of soap, and an old towel.

Spread an old towel onto your work surface then put a round-stick sushi mat on it.  Place a piece of bubble wrap – bubbles down so they will not be against the wool fibres – onto the sushi mat.

Place a tuft of wool fibres, with the fibres running horizontally, onto the bubble wrap, shown below left, then add a second tuft of fibres slightly overlapping the first. Continue laying tufts of wool until you have completed a row, shown below right.

first tufts and first row

Then add more rows, each row slightly overlapping the one above it, until you have completed the first layer.

first layer complete

Start a second layer by placing a tuft of wool fibres, with the fibres running vertically (i.e. at right angles to the first layer of fibres),  on the top left corner of the first layer, shown below left, then continue laying tufts  until you have completed a row.  Then lay more rows until you have completed the second layer, shown below right.

second layer

Cover the wool fibres with a piece of net, then spray warm soapy water over until the fibres are saturated (but not swimming away!)

apply warm soapy water to the fibres

We prefer to use Olive Oil soap flakes dissolved in water because it’s low-sud, but you can use any soap flakes or dish-wash liquid.

Push down gently on the wool, with flat hands, to encourage the wool to take up the water and to eliminate air pockets.

flatten the fibres

Hold the net with one hand then carefully draw a bar of soap all over the net.  We prefer to use a bar of Olive Oil soap but any soap will work.

draw bar of soap across fibres through the net

Slowly peel the net off…

carefully peel away the net

…then cover the wool fibres with a second piece of bubble wrap, bubbles up so that they are not against the wool.  Gently press down all over to flatten the bubble wrap onto the fibres.

flatten the bubble wrap against the fibres

Roll it all up snugly in the sushi mat…

rolling up the fibres in the mat

…then drain off any excess water.

draining excess water

Put 2 rubber bands around the sushi mat to prevent it unrolling.

rubber bands to hold sushi mat tight

Using light pressure, roll the mat 100 times.

rolling the sushi mat

We count 1 roll on the sushi mat as going from fingertips through to wrist then back again.

Unroll the mat, smooth and flatten the bubble wrap and fibres, turn it through 90°, as shown below, then roll it up again in the mat and replace the rubber bands.

turn the pre-felt through 90 degrees

Using light pressure, roll the mat 100 times. Unroll the mat, smooth and flatten the bubble wrap and fibres, turn it through 90°, then roll it up again in the mat and replace the rubber bands.

Repeat twice more so that the pre-felt has been rolled 400 times (100 times in 4 different directions).

Remove both pieces of bubble wrap then place the wool fibres directly onto the sushi mat.  Roll it up, then using light pressure roll it 50 times.

Unroll the mat, turn the wool fibres through 90°, roll the mat up then roll again 50 times.

Repeat twice more so that the fibres have been rolled 200 times (50 times in 4 different directions).

Don’t worry about neatening the edges during felting – they end up looking lacey/cobwebby and can make interesting inlays.

lacey edges

This amount of rolling should result in a soft pre-felt that can be cut, wet or dry, into the shapes you want.  It will give you a solid block of colour but the edges will blur into the background fibres.

To achieve a firmer pre-felt, roll it more.

Two pieces of rectangular, turquoise merino pre-felt (inlays) were felted into yellow merino wool fibres, shown below.  The top one is a soft pre-felt and you can see how the edges have blurred during felting, whereas the other, shown below it, is a firm pre-felt and the edges are distinct.

differences in pre-felt

If you are going to use the pre-felt straight away there’s no need to rinse the soap out, but if you want to keep it for longer, it’s advisable to rinse the soap out.

The pre-felt is delicate, so take care when rinsing it.  The easiest way is to rinse it through the sushi mat until the water runs clear.

rinsing the pre-felt

Keep the pre-felt rolled in the mat, place it on an old towel then roll it a few times to remove most of the water.  Place the pre-felt on a rack to dry.

Tips:

If you want to make a lot of pre-felts, save rolling time by using a large bamboo mat with several lots of fibres.  You can keep them apart or lay them close together then you will get some interesting pre-felt from the joins.

multiple pre-felts

If you’re making a lot of pre-felts for your stash you won’t know whether you will need soft or firm pre-felt for future projects, so make all your pre-felts up to the soft stage then rinse and dry them.  When you want to use them you can then choose to leave them soft or wet them to re-work to the firmness you need.

Posted in Community, Guest Writer, Tutorials, Wet Felting | Tagged | 14 Comments