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Author: ruthlane

When I discovered felting in 2007, I finally found the creative outlet for which I had been searching. I love that the versatility of fiber allows me to “play” with a wide variety of materials including wool, silk, fabrics, yarns and threads. Creating one of a kind fiber art pieces to share with the world fulfills my creative passion.
Free Video Tutorials!

Free Video Tutorials!

This post is copied from Teri Berry’s blog with her permission. Thanks for the info Teri! https://www.teriberry.com/2021/02/22/free-video-tutorials/

Covid has had a negative impact on so many areas of our lives but the joy of human ingenuity means that the solutions we find to these unwelcome problems can lead to some unanticipated benefits.

Normally the International Feltmakers Association (IFA) holds their AGM as an “in person” meeting in the second quarter of the year. This year I was very much looking forward to spending a few days with lovely, like-minded fibre enthusiasts at Felletin in France, the workshops organised by the IFA are always excellent and you are guaranteed to make new friends at the social events.

Then Covid raised its ugly head and a plan B was needed….

This year, for the first time, the IFA has commissioned a series of free videos, for their members’ exclusive viewing, from four internationally renowned feltmakers. We will have opportunity to “meet” them live during the AGM weekend in advance of the video launch on YouTube.

If you are not already a member I can thoroughly recommend taking out membership, especially if you are based in the UK, as membership includes free Public Liability Insurance among other benefits. This link will take you a page detailing more of the benefits of membership and at the bottom is a button where you can sign up.

Below is an outline of the 4 tutors taking part, their bios and what they plan to share. The AGM will be over the weekend of 27/28th March 2021.

 

Nancy Ballesteros

Nancy lives in Australia and is artistic director and founder of Treetops Colour Harmonies. For over thirty years she has immersed herself in the science and study of wool, felting and colour theory. As an international tutor, she specialises in Nuno felt techniques and her recent focus is applying Fibonacci’s Design principles to feltmaking.

How Fibonaccis Design Principals can help Reconnect your Creativity

There is a Natural Rhythm in things we consider beautiful. Leonardo Fibonacci, a 13th century Mathematician wrote about it, Leonardo Da Vinci used it when he painted Mona Lisa.  The Golden Ratio, Fibonacci’s numbers… how could this help your creativity?

Nancy’s video will explore simple, practical ways to apply this powerful design principle to your felting and no maths is required!

www.treetopscolours.com.au

 

Nicola Brown

Three words describe my textile practice: simple, natural, crafted.

Since my introduction to felt and eco printing I’ve been on an exciting journey of discovery. Over time the sustainability of my work and teaching has deepened leading to new connections online and in person with like-minded individuals. The advent of Covid-19 means that keeping safe, staying local and living in harmony with the environment has never been more important.

For ReConnect I will share a series of 3 videos: where this journey began, an introduction to eco printing and an eco print/natural dye tutorial using locally sourced vegetation.

 

Fiona Duthie 

Fiona Duthie is a Canadian feltmaker recognised for her dynamic, sculptural clothing and artwork. Fiona strives for excellence in design and technique, while furthering the medium of felt through the use of new material combinations.

Creative Sparks looks at reconnecting with simple techniques and familiar materials in a playful and exploratory way. Perfect for uplifting us out of a creative slump, or to refresh our existing design process. We explore sixteen creative prompts while making a beautiful, harmonious set of felt tiles. Each prompt can be taken beyond this project and used to add creative sparks to any felt project.

www.fionaduthie.com

 

Judit Pócs

Spatiality, Material Use, Recycling

I’m a Hungarian felt artist, who experiments a lot to develop felt in 3D and to achieve new, interesting surfaces.

It has always been a challenge for me to see how felt can be transcendent, whether stone-like or metallic. I find it very exciting when a particular substance goes beyond itself. When designing a surface, I usually push these boundaries.

Recycling is also a feature of my work, I often cut old, used clothes and incorporate the pieces into my wall hangings and other creations and more recently I also recycle coffee capsules into my works.

www.pocsjuditstudio.hu

Snow Dyeing

Snow Dyeing

So this happened at my house recently. When it snows, what do you do? Snow dye, of course!

Luckily, I had just gotten a bunch of silk scarves that needed dyeing. I put them in a large plastic tub with grates underneath to keep them above the muck that occurs with this process. The scarves were soaked in soda ash solution before I put them in the tub. I tried several methods of scrunching up the scarves so the dye would be unevenly applied, sort of a cheater’s shibori. This process is very serendipitous and if you want the colors to stay separate, use separate tubs.

Then I scooped up a bunch of snow and put that on top of the scarves.

Next I added fiber reactive dye powder (and a bit of acid dye). Sorry for the bad photo. I tried to keep the colors over where the two scarves were. Of course, it migrates where you aren’t expecting it. From left to right:

cerulean blue, turquoise, sapphire

lemon, black

antique gold, pewter

daffodil, purple haze (acid dye)

scarlet, cabernet, oxblood, fire engine (last three acid dye)

I always get excited to see what I have the next day. The snow melted overnight and I had already removed the scarves on the far right before I remembered to take a photo. You can see the dye in the bottom of the tub is very dark and that is why I use the screens. This process does waste dye powder and I think I over did it this time and used too much. But I don’t like a bunch of white in my scarves and I like deep, rich colors. That’s my excuse 😉

Then the rinsing and washing out of scarves happened. Followed by a lot of ironing. These never look very good until they are completely ironed. Then you can see the color changes, some of which are subtle.

There are two of each main color and I am showing these as they were in the tubs from left to right. I’m calling these two iris.

These are called Monet’s Garden.

These are a bit more golden then they show in the photos and I have named them Dawn Mist.

These two are from a combination of purple acid dye and yellow fiber reactive dye. I wasn’t sure if the acid dye would be strong enough but I really like these two, named Northern Lights.

The last two were mainly acid dye with one fiber reactive. I was a bit disappointed with these two but hubby says that he thinks some people will prefer solid colors. We shall see. I named these two garnet. I will be taking these to Bigfork Arts and Cultural Center to sell in their gift shop.

Which colors do you prefer? Have you tried snow or ice dyeing? Always fun to see the results!

 

 

1st Quarter Challenge – Part Two

1st Quarter Challenge – Part Two

When I posted last time, I showed you the felted portion of my 1st Quarter Challenge piece. The next step was to start free motion machine stitching to add more detail.

First to find some thread that would work with the colors of the felt. I used all of these except for one of the reds.

I started with dark green thread and worked on the stems, leaves and bud. I kept the inspiration photo by my sewing machine so it was easier to see where I needed to add stitching.

Next was the light green thread. I just used it for  a few highlights on the stems, bud and top of the big leaf.

Now on to the poppies. I used a light pink for highlights. Somehow, I always forget how much the machine stitching compacts the felt. It makes the unstitched portions feel very puffy.

Then I add some yellow for the centers of the poppies.

Next is the medium value red. You can’t see it very well because it is the same value as the main poppy color. But perhaps it gives a bit more definition of the edges.

Then on to adding a little more dark value where it was needed. Afterwards, I put it up on the design board and stepped back a little. Looking for anything that didn’t look right or drew the eye too much in one place. The areas that bothered me were the top poppy there seemed to be a straight pink line coming down to the bottom of the flower. And the bottom poppy, I thought the pink at the bottom center was a bit too much.

So I added a bit more burgundy in those two areas to tone down the pink just a little. So it’s complete. You can click on the photo to see it up close. Thanks for the challenge, Lyn and Annie!

 

Hello From Romania

Hello From Romania

This is a guest post from a new contributor to our site. Please welcome Ildi Klozsi!

I’m Ildi Kolozsi from Romania, Europe. I live with my family in a small village in Transylvania. I started working with wool about 18 years ago, and from then on I have had a special connection with this material.

The wool is part of my life, sometimes I dream of my next project or work. I love to try new techniques.

I also teach adults and children, I think that it’s very important (for everyone) to recognize the beauty of this natural material.

The project that I have showed you in this post was made for a custom order, she wanted something with birds, not too much color and inspired from nature.

I love to felt bird designs, maybe because I live close to nature, I’m part of this.

1st Quarter Challenge Part 1

1st Quarter Challenge Part 1

Lyn and Annie posted the 1st Quarter Challenge at the first of the year and I have been considering what I wanted to create with 1900-1909 in mind. Then I remembered the Antique Pattern Library. This is a free online resource that has PDF’s of interesting antique patterns and magazines. There are a lot of different categories to explore. If you haven’t checked it out before, you should take a look. There is loads of inspiration to be found there.

So I put embroidery in the search box and then looked through the options. I found this magazine from 1902-1903, perfect! If you click on the link, you can view the entire PDF. I had decided that I would use one of the patterns in this magazine to create a felt piece and then add free motion machine embroidery for the details.

So I chose the poppies. This was originally intended for silk embroidery in a traditional long and short stitch. I decided to use the photo for inspiration and go from there.

My studio is piled with stuff all over the place as I am working on a large wall hanging for my Level 3 Stitch course and I didn’t want to climb over a bunch of stuff to look through all my wool. So I used what I had already out. I can say I was challenging myself to a limited palette or it could be I was being lazy.

I used prefelt that was left over from Christmas ornaments and some other bits of green that were still out from some of my differential shrinkage projects. Hmmm…. perhaps I should clean up the studio a bit? Here’s the layout. I am planning on adding all the details with stitching after felting. I also decided to leave out the separate stem on the design and just go with two open poppies and a bud.

Here’s how it looks after felting. I didn’t full it heavily since it will end up being framed. I will have to use a stabilizer for free motion machine stitching as it is quite thin. It’s drying now and I will show you the added stitching in my next post.

If you have created something for the 1st Quarter Challenge, we’d love to see and hear about it over on the forum. 

Website Changes

Website Changes

Life has gotten in the way of posting this week. I woke up this morning and realized I had forgotten to write my post for the week. If you are reading this on our website, perhaps you will notice that we have made some changes. Our theme that we were using was out of date and there were issues that kept developing here in the background that needed to be fixed. So Ann took on the challenging task of changing the theme.

 

We have tried to keep everything looking similar to what we have had in the past but we’ve done some editing and pruning in areas that we thought were not getting much use. Have you looked at all the information that is available here? I often notice online that beginners are asking questions about what different fibers look like, what the results of embellishment fibers in felt look like etc. We have tons of photos of different types of fiber. All you have to do is go to the menu at the top and look under Fiber or Other Fibers. There is a drop down menu and sub menus with galleries so you can see samples of a variety of fiber.

We also have free tutorials available under the heading Tutorials on the menu. Again, just look at the top for the menu and there is a drop down list with a variety of topics such as dyeing, fiber preparation, mixed media, needle felting, nuno felting and wet felting.

So I hope you’ll take a few minutes to explore what’s available here on our site. If you find any links that don’t work, we’d appreciate it if you’d let us know so we can fix them. Thank you Ann for taking on this huge task and revamping our site!

 

 

Still Slow Stitching in the New Year

Still Slow Stitching in the New Year

The last time I updated you back in early November about my slow stitching project, this is what it looked like. I had started adding some leaves to the foreground trees.

I have been continuing my slow stitching over the holidays and it has been nice to sit down for 15-20 minutes a day and just do detached chain stitch in different shades of yellow, yellow-orange and orange. Ignoring any drama of the holidays or other issues that arose for a few minutes, calmed my mind.

Here’s how the trees are looking. I think that I will be adding a bit more orange but than I’m going to go back to the yellow shades.

Here’s what the full piece looks like now. It is definitely taking shape as a landscape. As I look at it in a thumbnail format, I can see that it still needs more dark values for shadowed areas but I like the progression. It’s interesting to me how the slow progression makes me look at it more closely and how the different colors affect each other. It’s been an interesting project and I imagine it will continue through most of this year.

What are your thoughts on a slow moving project? Do you get a Zen feeling or perhaps you are impatient and want to move on to a different project?

Learn Something New in 2021

Learn Something New in 2021

Teri’s online classes are open for registration now. The classes will begin on January 6th so you will need to register quickly to participate. Teri teaches two great classes, one on how to felt concertina style hats and the other one on how to create felt bags. Both of these classes will teach you methods of improving your felting techniques so if you have felted around a resist before such as to make a felt pod, you should consider taking the next step on your felting journey.

For more information and to register for the felt hat class, click here. 

Have you taken a look at other student’s hats that have taken Teri’s class? There are some really fun hats and the variations are quite creative. Take a look at the student hat gallery here.

Teri’s felt bag class is an excellent way to learn how to create a variety of shapes of bags, as well as features such as straps, multiple compartments and pockets. You can find more information and register here.

And the student gallery for felted bags is here.

So what are you waiting for? Jump in and learn some new felting techniques in 2021.

Or if you’re just starting out and want to learn the basics, try our Wet Felting for Beginners class. This class can be taken at any time with unlimited access. For more information and registration, click here. 

We will be offering more online classes in the spring and will make the announcement here when registration opens.

Year End Roundup 2020

Year End Roundup 2020

The year 2020 has been a strange one for many of us. For me, I sold The Purple Pomegranate, the craft gallery I have owned for 20+ years, in mid March just before the pandemic hit here in Montana, USA. It has been a bit of an adjustment for retirement, pandemic and continuing my Level 3 Stitch course online. I have learned new ways of communicating with Zoom and GotoMeeting as well as working out the best way to stay on track with my artwork and playing with fiber.

So is it a curse or a blessing? “May you live in interesting times.” I think it’s all in the attitude and I have tried to see the positives in the past year.  One of the positives for me, has been spending much more time in my studio creating. I haven’t shown you my work for my stitch course but I have spent many hours working on homework and I’m currently creating a large wall hanging. I won’t be showing any of that work until after the course is completed but much of my year has been spent enjoying the exploration into design, learning new stitches and creating multiple samples to move forward with my wall hanging.

Each year I like to look back over my posts and remind myself what I created that year. Many times, I have forgotten all the details and it’s good to see the projects and ideas from the year.

Differential shrinkage and wool layout experimentation was a big part of 2020. I had started these experiments in 2019 and continued looking at different methods throughout the year.

Some of these ideas worked better than others but I learned something with each trial or sample.

I also looked at adding texture with machine stitching but never ended up making a pod with this texture.

I took a break from experimenting on shrinkage and created a felt necklace for the first quarter challenge.

Nuno felted landscapes are one of the items that I sell in a gallery in Bigfork, MT and I decided to create more. The first was this Whitefish River landscape.

The next was of Flathead Lake.

Then another idea for differential shrinkage for the second quarter challenge.

Then I got back into another nuno felted landscape. This one turned into a very slow stitch project that is still ongoing. Some people have asked why I don’t use a different technique that is faster than the tiny hand stitches. Of course, it could be done much faster, but for this year, it has been a nice change to spend the first 30 minutes of my day, by adding seed stitch or detached chain stitch to this slow moving landscape.

So here’s the last iteration and there is more to come so you’ll be seeing this slow stitch project going into 2021.

There was one last nuno felted landscape which was based on Montana wildflowers. All of the landscapes are still sitting around because I haven’t done the finishing and framing bit. I have to quit procrastinating and get that done!

I then went back to experimenting with differential shrinkage and using felt rope. This was the first try and a bit of a disaster.

This was the next try that ended up looking like a felt dill pickle.

The next two experiments turned into yard art and finished up the experiments with felt rope and how it affected structure. I decided that I liked using prefelt better than felt rope for structure in creating differential shrinkage.

For the third quarter challenge, I created a hat that included some differential shrinkage that actually didn’t work out all that well. But since I don’t wear hats, it wasn’t a real loss.

Here’s an experiment with a mystery fabric and nuno felting that I created to sample laying the wool only in one direction and how that affected the shape of the scarf.

For the fourth quarter challenge I made a set of snowman ornaments. These made great gifts for friends for the holidays.

This is the card I created for our annual holiday card exchange. More plans for this design in the future!

That concludes my journey back into 2020 and I am looking forward to an exciting 2021 where I might be able to venture out of the house at some point! All the best to you and yours for a wonderful holiday celebration (even if it’s socially distant) and a wonderful new year for more creativity and fiber goodness!

 

 

Felt Samples Notebook

Felt Samples Notebook

Recently, Jan posted about the documentation being done in her guild about weaving. When I commented that I had created a felt sample notebook while writing the book The Complete Photo Guide to Felting, Jan asked that I share the notebook. So here it is!

I want to thank all the people and companies that donated to this effort as I had asked for samples of different breeds of wool, other fiber that felts and different embellishments. That’s how I got a wider selection of fiber. For each sample, I documented the type of fiber, the type of processing (batt, roving, raw wool etc.), how long it took to felt, the amount of shrinkage and any comments about the felt that I thought were good to remember. Each sample started with the same size layout and were all felted in the same way. I guess I should have documented exactly what I did but this was in 2011 and now I can’t remember exactly how they were felted or fulled.

I put all the samples on black construction paper with a small piece of double stick tape and a label beside each piece. These were put into plastic sleeves and stored in a large loose leaf notebook. You can easily slip the pages out of the sleeve to be able to touch the samples and look more closely. Most of the felt samples (without embellishments) are the natural color of the fiber. You can click on any of the photos to get a closer look and be able to read my documentation about each fiber.

Pelsull/C1 Blend and Dorset

Blue Faced Leicester and Corriedale

Falkland and Finn

Gotland and Icelandic

Merino and Norwegian C1

Pelsull and Polwarth

Romney and Wensleydale

Alpaca and Angora Goat

Angora Rabbit (smaller sample due to limited amount of fiber) and Bison Down

Camel and Cashmere

Llama and Yak Down

The second part of the notebook is about embellishments. I used a merino wool and applied the embellishments to the surface. I didn’t do much documentation on these except to state what the embellishment fiber is.

Silk Top and Silk Cap

Silk Throwsters Waste and Silk Hankie

Silk Carrier Rods and Silk Noil

Rainbow Nylon and Angelina Fiber

Fake Cashmere and Tencel (viscose)

Banana Fiber and Sea Cell Fiber

Flax and Wool Nepps

Wool Slubs and Wool Locks (flat on surface)

Wool Locks (ends loose) and Pre Yarn

Specialty/Novelty Yarns and Cotton Fiber

Soy Bean Fiber

I have always been an advocate of doing samples before starting a project. I think it really saves effort, time and money so that you have an idea how something will work before doing a larger project. Do you make samples? Do you document the results? We’d love for you to share your sample process over on the forum.

If you have any questions about the samples above or about using a specific fiber, feel free to ask in the comments below.

 

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