‘Seeing’ – Nature

‘Seeing’ – Nature

In a previous post (A yarn & preparation experiments https://wordpress.com/post/feltingandfiberstudio.com/34915) I told you of painstakingly unpicking 2 items of commercial knitwear in a bid to gain some interesting sequin yarn. Strangely I haven’t yet used that yarn but rather the waste!

Somehow, I couldn’t face throwing away the manmade yarn and, as shown in the previous post, I had crocheted some waste into large ‘mats’ (also, as yet unused), the remaining yarn languished in bags until I had a vague idea. I wound the various lengths 10 times around two fingers to make little 2-3cm bundles….hundreds of them, or so it seemed. I spent many, many, evenings making them.

Using two bundles together I crocheted through the middles to make 2 large mats (yes, more mats!) approx. 45 and 50 cm diameters.


I’ve mentioned before that I have a Coloured Ryeland fleece, bought years ago in naivety, having been seduced by its colour. Not wanting to throw it out, I have found it is useful as a ‘stuffing’ wool. I have to say here that I’m not a needle felter, so I just use one type of basic needle to prod and poke the fibres as required.

For the 2nd quarter challenge I had thought to make a cushion (possibly, a purpose made cushion to fit my mother’s wheelchair to give her a soft seat?), so my vague idea was to use the waste yarn and Ryeland to create the internal pad – prod them together, throw into the washing machine and taadaa!

I hand carded batches of the fleece then set to needle felting these to the ‘mats’. The mats were then sandwiched together with 3 layers of wool between – laid concentric, radiating and concentric.

I laid radiating batches to the outside to which I’m now adding a concentric layer. You are up to date!

As I write this post it now has 6 ⅞ wool layers and is about 2cm squishy firm (if that is not an oxymoron). This is an evening activity which seems to take up an inordinate amount of space on my sofa, more so because surprisingly the ‘pad’ is increasing in size and is now 55cm (22 in) and firm right to the edge.

But now comes a dilemma….I actually like the pad and my thoughts are drifting….more later!

Over recent weeks I have been working, when time permits, on our textile group’s challenge for 2020 – to use a plain paper book to practice our drawing, sketching, creating etc to produce a journal. I’ve chosen to title mine ‘nature’ and have thus far been exploring flora which I love. Fortunately, parts of my garden (and my neighbour’s) offers some wonderful opportunities.

An update – I am gradually resurrecting my garden when time and weather permit.

Recently though, living in the countryside at harvest time, I have been plagued by the thrips (or thunder flies – 2mm long and about the thickness of a hair!). They tend to fly within 3m of the ground and 1m into an open doorway, particularly if it is sunny. They get everywhere – unscrew a container and they are actually in the thread and even into supposedly sealed boxes! Having very sensitive skin, I can feel each and every one and for a week/10 days end up running around the garden like a mad woman, as if my hair is on fire under my hat – they use my blond hair as a landing strip and keep taxi-ing!!!

But I digress….

Rather than concentrating on simply sketching I’ve been exploring patterns. I always doodled in school and can remember one time being asked an unexpected question from the teacher who had come up behind me – as I got the answer right I was never stopped from doodling again. Zentangling is however new to me (some ideas I have borrowed from the internet) so I’ve had a play.

All of this has led me to do more detailed studies, thus far on poppies and sunflowers (having enjoyed my vase of sunflowers, bought by my EPH, I couldn’t just throw the spent flowers away!) – so I’ve been pulling them apart, hammering them or slicing them up, recording my findings along the way.

One of our members has been doing basketry….so Kim, my discovery is for you – the stem, emerging after only a week in the vase, revealed very strong fibres!

The results have been very interesting, offering a wealth of pattern opportunities.

Back to my dilemma….

I’m now seeing an oversized sunflower to complement my oversized felted seeds that are all in shades of grey!    Mmmm!  🤔 Possibilities!   Sorry mum, you’ll have to continue with the other cushion!

12 thoughts on “‘Seeing’ – Nature

  1. It is good to know that am not the only one who starts out making one thing and wants to turn it into something else. Your sketches are very good. the sunflower parts are very interesting, so many textures. I really like the pounded petal print.

  2. Thanks Ann. Maybe we both have ‘fluid’ minds!
    The next thing now is to translate the sunflower prints into pen & ink drawings With embellishment ideas in mind.
    I’m still playing with the thought of a 3D Sunflower – Using locks for the petals Comes to mind.

  3. It’s always interesting to see other people’s sketch books and I’m loving your deconstructed sunflower pages! Lots of source material there. I’m definitely seeing that large sunflower in your cushion too!

    1. Thanks Karen. I enjoy seeing other’s journals too – it usually inspires me in a different direction.
      If ever our get together day arrives in Snape you might bear witness to the results!

  4. The seat cushion/sunflower is really coming along. I would love to see what happens if you now wet felted the whole thing. I was wondering about the resultant texture achieved. But probably not in your plans. Your sketchbook is lovely and it’s such fun to see. Your zentangles are magnificent. I’ve always been a poor doodler. I look forward to seeing the sunflower when it’s finished.

    1. Thus far it seems I’ve carried everyone’s thoughts with me on the sunflower….quite encouraging. I will put my mind to it some more.
      Fortunately as I write this more sunflowers are Now studying me from their vase!

  5. Living in the city might not be such a bad thing after all – I’ve never been troubled by those nasty little thrips.

    Poor mum – the seat cushion is a great idea – it wouldn’t get all sweaty and uncomfortable like the plastic covered foam ones.
    However I do understand the way the mind sees other possibilities when you’re working on something.

    Love your sketch book and the experiment on the sunflower! Fascinating.

  6. I moved deep into the agricultural countryside 20years ago & every year do my mad woman dance….Had I known it would be an annual display I should have sold tickets & maybe made my fortune!
    Happily I can report I’m a free agent cushion wise – mum is not in the wheelchair until leaving the house, and has other great cushions!
    With all the encouragement I’m excited now to see how my sketches & cushion develop.

  7. Great sketchbook work Antje! And like everyone else I can’t help seeing the connection between your mum’s cushion and the sunflower sketches. I’m interested to see how it evolves now that your mum doesn’t need a cushion. 🙂

    And thank you for reporting your discovery about sunflower stems – I’ll have to grow some next year!

    Are thrips those tiny flies that hover round the fruit bowl during the summer? If so, we also get loads in the city!

    1. Thank you Kim, I’ll have to come up with a plan for the Now to be sunflower.

      Re Sunflower stems….they retted unbelievably quickly. I can image they could be woven like flax (Producing a Very stiff coarse ‘fabric’) or corded for more substantial basket work.

      Fruit flies are totally different to thrips. The later are zillions in number and much much tinier. I’ve just opened a container of wax varnish (stored near the utility entrance) it takes 5 turns to open….what did I find….thrips on the inside top!!!

  8. Thank you Marilyn. Things have been on hold for a while so I need to get back to it. Mum has enough cushions just not one made by me!

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