Usually, I find inspiration in nature or another artists work. But recently I saw an ad in a department store flyer for a bedspread that caught my eye. I kept going back to it until I finally I cut the picture out and laid it on my work table.
It stayed there for a while and I kept asking myself what about it that kept drawing me back to it. I didn’t need a bedspread, but there was something about the colors and design I found intriguing. The design looked as if the colors were painted with a brush and there were uneven lines like paint dripping down the wall.
I was in the process of trying to come up with a design for a book cover and thought I’d use the design elements I liked in the ad for that.
I measured meticulously for the the book cover allowing for fold over sides, shrinkage, straps, etc. With my template finished, I laid out my design. I really wanted to emulate that brush feel, so I even used a comb to separate the fibers. For the paint squiggles, I used mohair yarn I had dyed.
However, once it was done I realized I couldn’t use it for the cover. I would distort the design to cut the straps. So, plan B — a pillow. I had a pillow form that would work just fine. The felted piece was a little too large so I wet it and threw it in the dryer. Perfect. But now I needed a back.
The white wool I used was more of a light cream color, so I didn’t want to make a white back. I had enough dark blue. Again, I wanted to try to recreate that brush stroke. I made a smaller template and proceeded to lay out the second side.
Since the finished piece was the right size, I didn’t have to put it in the dryer. Consequently, it is smoother than the white side which is fine. I sewed the pieces together and now I have a reversible pillow with two different textures and looks!
The brush stroke design wasn’t exactly what I wanted. The felting process tightened up all my careful combing, but I learned a lot and will try again.
I really liked the dark blue color and wanted to dye some new thick and thin yarn I purchased to use on another project.
Of course, even though I have a variety of thick and thin yarns this dark blue wasn’t one of them. I found this new Ashland Bay yarn and just love the texture and novelty of the twist.
The Midnight Blue acid dye on my shelf was just what I wanted. I thought. Next to the dark blue it looks purple. The silk cocoons I threw into the dye pot turned a light purple and the wool batting is a medium purple. It’s a good thing I like purple as well.
Now back to the drawing board!
20 thoughts on “Inspiration, etc.”
The cushion ended up well – I like the design and colours and I bet it’s soft and snuggly.
I’ve often said that it’s a shame to have to felt the laid out fibres because they look good as they are and it’s not always easy to lay out fibres so that they represent exactly what you want them to once they’ve tangled together.
I agree Lyn. The layout is like a beautifully colored soft cloud. Thanks! The blue side is softer because it didn’t get as much fulling since I didn’t throw it in the dryer, but I like having both textures.
I like the way they turned out. it makes a great pillow. I think it would have made a great book cover. You could make a long strip or the same design or just with the yarn to use for the strap. just a thought for next time. If when you are done a piece and you want a smoother finish you can iron it with lots of steam. I like texture sometimes and not others.
Thanks Ann! I like the distinct textures. It’s like having two different pillows. :-). I’ll keep your suggestion in mind when I do a book cover. I like the idea if the yarn as a strap.
Nice pillow, the two sides nicely complement each other.
Marilyn, that’s a terrific pillow! You must have a lot of patience to lay out such an intricate design. I actually think that was a good “accident” Making a pillow makes great use of the complementary designs. Bravo!
One quick question: How do you control the amount of shrinkage when you full wool in a dryer?
Is it hit-or-miss, or do you have a formula? And do you have the heat on or just air dry?
Thanks Cathy! I think felting is probably one of the few things I have some patience for. 🙂
I don’t think you can control the shrinkage. I got lucky. I did have it on air dry and checked it after about 10 minute intervals.
Great pillow Marilyn – I like the design even though it didn’t turn out exactly as planned. The purple yarn looks delicious! 🙂
Thanks Ruth! I do like purple so it won’t go to waste. 🙂
Very nice pillow, and inspirational based on how it came about.
Thanks Josie! I guess you never know where inspiration will strike. 🙂
It turned out really nicely, Marilyn 🙂 The 2 sides look like reverse images of each other.
Thanks Zed! Reverses and textures. 🙂
Yes Marilyn, you are so right. I find myself taking pictures from magazines all the time for the same reason.
I’m glad I’m not alone.
I like this a lot, I’m the same something just jumps out at me and I have to have a go 🙂
Thanks Carole! Sometimes half the fun is figuring out how to achieve the same outcome. 🙂
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