Meeting the challenge & fibre fellowship

Meeting the challenge & fibre fellowship

Our first quarter challenge is to create a piece of jewellery. Unlike some, I do like jewellery and have an eclectic taste from traditional to contemporary….sadly I can’t encash any and make my fortune!!!  These days, I no longer have the need to wear jewellery on a daily basis, so I rarely buy anything; if I do, it has to meet my criteria – does it fit my taste, and pocket, and will I enjoy wearing it many times – however last November I saw a brooch cum necklace and allowed myself a birthday treat.

I have enjoyed wearing this necklace and had an ‘ah ha’ moment – an extension of something I have been undertaking for a while – to explain….

Way back when, I went to our local annual sheep fair and, wanting some grey wool fibres, bought a beautifully coloured fleece ranging from pale silver/dark grey with cream/fawn tips – a Coloured Ryeland. At this point I didn’t have the knowledge I have now (I can hear your cries from here!) but learnt very quickly that this wool is ‘extremely’ hard to wet felt. So over the years I have been using bits of the fleece for various projects, mostly as core wool; the fibres are very course and springy but needlefelt well.

Needing a small portable ‘fiddle’ project for much time spent in waiting rooms, I have been making embroidered felt beads and ‘acorns’ etc for nearly 2 years. I won’t re-invent the wheel, describing the process of embroidering the beads, as Rosiepink has a great tutorial –

I’ve been twisting then needlefelting the Ryeland locks to make a ball then adding Merino wool etc as a top layer (this uses fewer expensive fibres – I’m frugal by nature!) before wet felting several balls/beads at a time – the more the better which I roll under a metal tray.

Some of the many felt balls/acorns awaiting embroidery – definitely a conversation starter in waiting rooms or conferences.

Then the ‘ah ha’ moment came and I repeated the process but as a flat disc. Deciding how thick and the diameter of the core before adding the top layer, has been one of experimentation, but I final got there.

The top layer of wool I have been needle-felting to the core (to ensure firm attachment), before adding any decoration, then wet felting as normal.

Once dry I have had the perfect ‘fiddle’ project, ideal for chilling in front of the TV. I digress here but….when I was about 12, a teacher walking from the back of the class forward, unexpectedly stopped adjacent to me and asked me a question. I replied with the right answer. She never stopped me doodling designs on paper ever again! The decades have definitely elapsed, but I still need to keep my fingers busy!

Work in progress

The delight of embroidering onto felt is that it is easy to hide the thread tails (great for a neatnik) and anything goes so to speak….such as utilising some of my many beads, and threads.

These embroidered discs still need a brooch back attaching to them, then they will be perfect for a pendant necklace, wearing as a brooch or pinning to a scarf etc. I’m now hunting for suitable cords to complete the necklaces for stock.

My fiddle project had a recent trip to Scotland where I met with a fellow Felting and Fiber Studio (I must not say FFS!!!) author Leonor.

Realising that she had moved to within 25 miles of our family destination I made tentative contact. I was delighted with her invite to visit that followed. What I thought would be maybe 2 hours of chatting turned into intense conversation and howls of laughter….that was just us….our menfolk were having an equally absorbing time with art as their topic….5 hours just evaporated as did the generation gap, only further commitments parted us all.

The sharing of ideas and knowledge underpins the FFS (sorry Leonor!) fellowship and promotes friendship across the miles. We definitely will be closing those miles again in the near future, in the meantime we are making do with emails.

BTW I can confirm that the final layout, from Leonor’s post – – was not!

It had evolved again and is a wonderful light filled space of which I’m very envious.

Have you met the first quarter challenge yet? If so please share your work with us on the forum.

15 thoughts on “Meeting the challenge & fibre fellowship

  1. Your embroidered discs are wonderful – so pretty! Your jewellery will certainly attract admiring and perhaps curious looks as people try to figure out how they were made.

    Maybe Leonor would update us with a new photo of her studio? Oh dear, we can see why you found the initialism of our felting forum so funny – we hadn’t noticed it before we read your post!

    1. Thank you Lyn. I’m wanting to make a few of these & hopefully at some point offer them for sale, but that is while away yet.
      Thank you for the challenge.

    2. If you think it interesting, I might show the new layout 🙂 It’s still a work in progress, though… (I suspect it will always be so, until I leave this wonderful flat).
      I must confess I hadn’t noticed the FFS initialism either until Antje said it out loud! 😀

  2. The discs are wonderful and a great way to spend time while waiting. Felt is great to stitch on and I think these are really pretty. I can’t decide which I like best. It is great that you and Leonor were able to get together and that you had so much fun. I always think that if we could all get together, it would be a similar experience. And the abbreviation is F&FS!

  3. Ruth, you’ve cracked it with the ‘&’. Like Lyn above I had not twigged about my abbreviation!
    I’m glad you like my discs, they are a great size project for fitting into a handbag.
    Imagine if we were all to meet….it would be electric. So much shared enthusiasms and knowledge, we wouldn’t need to break the ice, & laughter would be much in abundance I think.

  4. Lovely unique pieces of jewellery, I do hope you go on to make more to sell as I think they’d be very popular. I am particularly interested in the needle and wet felt combo as I’ve recently bought some large wooden brooch ’blanks’ but hadn’t decided whether to go for wet or needle felting as the base for stitching.

    And how nice that you & Leonor met up and had such fun. As for the big F&FS meet up, wouldn’t that be great!

  5. I’m fascinated by you large wooden brooch blanks….do they come with pins already attached? The needle/wet felting combo is something I finally came to if I wanted to use the Coloured Ryeland. That said I’ve done the same combo using scraps from recycling (wadding etc) with good results.

    Yes it would be great if we could all be ‘beamed up by Scottie’, & dip into each of our environments in turn to savour the experiences.

  6. The broaches are wonderful and have reminded me I have some made I was going to do some stitching on. I need to get on with this challenge. We have a break week coming up. I hope I can do something then. What fun to meet up with a felter from far away. It would be fun to have a great big meet up for felting.

  7. I’m glad you approve Ann & yes, see if you can squeeze time to stitch on yours.
    Just think of all the Felting creations we would make as a group….each member could take it in turns to teach a project for a day….lost in creativity….ohh bliss!

  8. It was such a joy to meet you in person, Antje! We really need to meet again soon. Maybe you’ll get distracted enough (I’ll bribe the cats to do something cute) that you won’t notice one of those brooches disappear into my pocket 😀

    Next time we should try to do a Work Day, sharing knowledge! My drum carder shall be waiting if you’d like to bring some wool to use her, too 😉

    1. We could tackle a variation on our usual fiber creations. OOOOOhhh I’m so jealous of your drum carder – unlike a brooch, that certainly wouldn’t fit into my pocket!
      We’ll have to plan a get-together after Covid 19 has run its course….something to look forward to.

    2. YES, a post-apocalyptic meet-up! We’ll squirrel away and bury ourselves under floof and play all day. That’s adulting for you 😀

  9. Thank you.
    With the passing of the decades, I too am finding threading the beading needles difficult….I’m telling myself I need to give in and use a needle threader! You’ve just made me realise it was nearly 2 decades ago that I used to make beaded creations using the tiny delica beads….oh it was so much easier then!

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