This one is a bit twisty but I promise I will get to the felting bit. About 2 weeks ago Ann said to me “you know you have the Halloween blog post?…….”
Oh, how did Ruth know how much I enjoy Halloween? Had she heard rumours that my eldest furry son was named Evil (the good relatively speaking) and his brother was named Barraccus (not Barrabus who is the person that people who read the bible a lot mistake him for. They’re different guys not at all alike. The former, Barraccus, is ether a Greco-Egyptian alchemist or sub general under Hannibal. The latter, Barrabus, was a murderer).
I miss Evil he was such a good guy he loved asparagus (cooked) and Chives (Raw) and wearing t-shirts but only in the winter. The only potato chip he didn’t like was salt and vinegar (yes he ate the ketchup ones…ick) He supervised my weaving, claimed the 60inch loom was his but he would let me use it occasionally and was seriously suspicious of my first spinning wheel for years. As a teen cat, he went out to both our neighbours in the townhouses dressed in his dress black floral print puff sleeves, smocked chest, bow and buttons at the back for Halloween but wanted back in as soon as he saw the kids in costume! He looked fabulous and he knew it.
Even Mr. B has been dressed appropriately for his Halloween walks. Tall, long-legged, long-necked, lab head, sight hound like body and looked absolutely fabulous as a monarch butterfly. (not as the small child that came screaming up to him then yell at him “look he is a ballerina too!!” and turned to show us her wings. (I was unaware that wings indicated a ballerina outfit). Mr. B also went for Christmas eve walks with a collar of sleigh bells the big ones (he was almost waist high so he could pull the look off) he sounded like a team of reindeer when he walked.
Personally, I have a lovely collection of Thor’s hammers to go with my Icelandic Viking outfits. I often wear them without the Viking outfit (but I do remember to wear other clothes. It would be drafty and over educational to only wear Thor’s hammer)
So what should I blog about? This is such a spectacularly wonderful time of the year! It is religious to many people, it’s a time of seasonal change (we had to wear snowsuits over or under our costumes when I was a child quite a few years). It’s a time that you can be whatever you want no matter how unlikely in real life. Hum, maybe I will take up my first job offer after university and become a pre-press text proofreader!! (I didn’t take the job. I liked the company and realized they didn’t read my resume… Dyslexic, severely dyslexic! all spelling looks just fine to me!)
Think, Think, Think, Think…
Whimsy, mirth, surprise, happy, joy, Halloween! Ok, kids in costume, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, sexy vampires.. hunky werewolves.. no, maybe the wrong direction? there, back up, redirect… Kids, rubber boots, ghosts, wire, dry felting, a piece of blackberry root I was saving, yes got an idea!
The blackberry is from the plant I brought from the townhouse to the little house I bought, it was in a pot (the plant not the house) and the next summer escaped into the space between the patio blocks. It was there for about 10 years spreading into the space beside the fence. Eventually, it grew into the neighbours’ barbeque but that is another story. The original root finally died out and I was able to extract it. It has been sitting in one of the portable forest pots for years now waiting for The Project it would be perfect for. I think this is it.
I see boots in my head, held with wire, then arms outstretched, possibly with another ghost on a wire. Possibly a bag for candy… ok let’s make boots and I have some black floral wire. It doesn’t have a gauge on it but is mildly stiff enough to support the felting. If I run in to trouble I will double it up and that should work. Boots I need one wire to go through the boot and into the root to hold the figure. Hmm, what to use for fibre. I need something with shades of white and cream. Ok the understructure will be the combed waste from the Shetland fleece I had been doing. I have a few good handfuls of that and a few more bags still to comb. (This is the fleece that keeps on giving!)
I started by making a loose tube with the floral wire sticking out of it. Then made the front of the boot and left the back of that piece very loose so I could attach it to the leg. (note to self – the wire keeps slipping out of the boot, maybe I should have put a bend in it just under the boot so I didn’t have to keep reinserting it). I used a coarse and medium needle to ruff in the bootish shape then started to solidify it. (The wire stopped trying to escape by then.)
I rolled the other end of the wire into a small loop. Then folded the one booted wire in half, bent the knee and added the other boot. I measured from the top of the body to about the knees to get arm length. ( I know that’s a bit long but I have to put in shoulder width and fold over the hands, so with that should shorten it closer to right.) The cut piece was bent into a loop with a twisted tail to become the head shape. Then I lay down some of the combing waste under where the chest and upper shoulders would be laying in the Arms/shoulders and head/ neck on top.
I added another layer of comb waste and started to felt (coarse needle) quickly getting the general body shape. I built up adding more wool to build up the underbody shape adding the head/neck. I also wrapped the arms and lightly felted into place.
Next I turned to her accoutrements. I had first envisioned one ghost on a string (wire) floating above her. I bent the wire over leaving a space between the parallel portions. Wrapped the fibre around then folded over the top. Then focused on the area between the parallel sections of the wire. I working towards a ghost head-like shape while keeping the tips of the locks as the trailing wisps of the ghost. As much as I had liked my vision with one ghost I thought it looked lonely and needed friends so I made 2 more.
Now on to the basket. This, I created flat.
It looked like the shape of an “H” until I joined the ends and used the uprights of the H to make the basket handle. Sorry I was getting very distractedly into the felting and was forgetting to take pictures!
Next, I added another wrapping to the arms and tried out the basket. Behind her on the foam is the beginnings of her skirt. I lightly felted some of the teased apart locks to make the back underlayer of her costume. The locks did a great job of being ghostly-wispy.
As I added the beginning of her costume I realized I needed to cover her legs a bit. I had originally envisioned her showing the wire in her legs but I thought bloomers would be the better option. I teased out the locks pre lightly felted them and then used them to hide the wire leaving the tips loose at the top of the boots.
I continued to add layers as I went around her body with the bottom of her costume.
Next, I added teased apart locks lightly felted into a mildly triangular shape over the shoulders as a capelet, covering the arms. I worked out the width I needed to make a hood and fitted it to slide over the head. I firmed up the face edge and did a bit more fitting at the back of the head again leaving the tips of the locks loose. This blended visually with the pieces of shoulder cape to look like one garment.
OH NO I attached her to the blackberry root but she immediately tipped over…… oh yeah, I wasn’t going to add quite so much wool….change of plan! Add more wire to the front leg to give extra support I was able to move the pantaloons out of the way and then back over the added wire. I balanced her on her balloon wires but she was still a bit precarious.
Problem she was still pretty unstable on only 2 points of contact. I took her back boot and a pin and repositioned her with a pin through her boot. This gave her less etherealness but also less likely to fall over.
I have to find a new idea for a base but the garden kneeling pad foam is working at the moment. I just don’t like her walking on water so I may make a cover for a piece of foam that looks more like land. In the meantime I’m pleased and am already thinking of other faceless ghost kids or maybe vampires or werewolves….
I hope you will all enjoy your all hallows eve and that many of your pumpkins are felted (but not your Candy!)!