This last weekend I taught a Felted Birdhouse Class. A group of ladies and one daughter. We were at one of the lady’s houses, working outside and the setting was lovely and the weather was very cooperative.
Here are all the embellishment fibres set up on the deck.
And here they all are working away on laying out the fibres for their birdhouses. although some wanted bird feeders and some thought a plant might go well in one. That is why it is only a sort of birdhouse class. everyone chose a gourd except we morphed one into a teardrop shape.
They had lots of fun deciding on embellishment fibres and adding them to their pieces
This one looks sort of dull but it is the green Merino and multi-coloured tribal nylon mix from the world of wool.
This one was all silk I think.
This one is sari silk waste
This was just the beginning it had lots of stuff on it in the end. You will see it later.
This one had lots of the sparkly triloble nylon.
Then of course there was the rubbing and rolling
And then the scrunching and throwing to get it well filled.
Here everyone is with their finished pieces. They have balloons inside to help them have a good shape when dry. You will notice one was cut in half to become 2 plant holders but the one half is looking very much like a hat.
I got sent a couple of pictures of what they looked like now they are dry. I was right it did look a lot like a hat. the class was Sunday and today is Tuesday( Wednesday when this goes up) so not much time for them to get me pictures. If I get more I will edit them in.
It was a fantastic warm September day and a great way to spend it.
It was back to school week so I was busier than usual. re-adjusting times and schedules.
Last time I showed you the finished visor. It had a lot of fulling and it was nice and sturdy. When the piece is well fulled, you often end up with a dull picture. This is caused by the backing fibres migrating through the coloured fibres. Sometimes they end up dull or fuzzy looking.
When I make pictures that will be mounted or framed I fix this by not fully very much as the picture will not be handled much and it will have the matting to help support it. for something that will be handled or used more light felting won’t help so it’s time to break out the the razor and shave it.
I get them at the dollar store. notice I did not pay the pink tax for my razor, I buy the cheapest ones they have regardless of the colour. It’s a pretty simple thing to do and it makes quite a difference. I hope the pictures show it well enough. It is hard to pick up with the camera. I tried to do one half at a time for you.
and lastly, the sheep, I think it shows the difference very well.
I shaved the rest of the piece as well. This is the pile of fluff.
Here are the before and after pictures
I think I still want to add some stitching I am just not sure what. outlining seems redundant. Maybe I will add some leaves scattered about. and I don’t know about eyes for the sheep. Curved lines make it a bit cute and like it is sleeping and round makes it look odd. Sitting here looking at the flower, I can see something else now, how about you?
On Mondays, we have a social in the guild studio. I think some guilds call it open studio days. Because it is summer I usually go in around noon. I thought this would be a good time to do my visor cover. Jan can take some pictures too and all will be happy and bright. So naturally………
I packed my rolling mat, plastic, bucket, spray ball, rubbing tool, and wool but I forgot to ball of pencil roving. This is essential if I am going to try Ildie’s method of making the design with wet wool.
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I am not a Mouse or a man so I had a look through the donated yarns and found one that was not too thin or tightly spun
This is as far as I got before I gave up. Yarn is not a good choice. It has too much structure so it doesn’t want to stay where you put it.
Besides learning that yarn is not good for this I also decided I had made the design too small. It will be very fiddly to add the colour.
Now I am back in the studio with all my supplies. All but one of the colours is Corriedale. One is Merino. the grey bat is unknown. I would say a medium wool and it is a short fiber. I sized my template for 30% shrinkage. you can get 30% out of most fibers. And why do a sample when you can live life dangerously?
The pencil roving was much easier to use to outline the designs. I wet it with soapy water and it stayed where I put it. The yarn had too many ideas of its own. I just did them freehand using the template to keep my design inside the lines.
Next was adding the colour. I got better as I went along. the first colours that have to be completely within the lines but right up to them is the hardest. When you add a colour next to another colour you can overlap and no one will see it. It will be between the other colour and the backing. Thinking upside down is a hard thing to do. you feel like you should say inside the lines. although I didn’t mess up the design lines I kept smudging the outside line. next time I will add them at the end.
I added the bat to the back. it was quite thin so I did 2 layers, one in each direction. and made nice straight lines, not that they will stay that way.
I rubbed this side first and then flipped it over. Doesn’t it look pretty all wet and bright under the plastic? Once I flipped it I was pleasantly surprised the sheep was on the right. Which, if you think about it, makes sense but when I was adding it I was thinking I wish I had left more space for it on the right. So that was a good thing.
I rubbed this longer than I usually do because I wanted the design to set well and stay put. I had no problem with it moving. boarder was another matter. it was constantly moving. I would lift the plastic and fix it. Then rub carefully and then it would move. In the end, I put it back where it should be and thought if it doesn’t stick, I will just needle felt it in place.
It moved a little while rolling but for the most part, it stayed put so I was quite happy. I rolled it a lot to get it to shrink. Whatever the bat is it makes a sturdy felt but does not shrink as much as Corriedale. I rinsed it with hot water and rolled it more, and more and when it wouldn’t budge anymore, I stopped. It got close but not quite there. I am sure it will still work but I haven’t checked yet.
It needs to be shaved to bring the colours back up and ironed to block it. I haven’t decided if I will add any stitching or beads. but I am out of time for now.
I bought a new to me car. The visor mirror cover was glued shut for some reason. When we tried to unstick it, it just came right off. Maybe it had fallen off so they glued it back on? I don’t know. The result is when I put the visor down I have the mirror. Even though you are not really looking at the mirror, it is distracting while driving. Must be because I am so beautiful I can’t resist looking at myself. LOL It is actually very hard to take a picture of a mirror and not be in the picture.
My thought is to make a felt cover for it and velcro it on to hide the mirror but I could still remove it if I needed the mirror.
I measured the mirror and a small amount around it to get the finished size I will need. I think I will add a little more.
Then I thought why not try Ildi’s method of felting with outlines and wet wool? I have some pencil roving and lots of wool and it’s a good sized to try it out. Here is a link to one of Ildi’s posts so you can see what I am talking about. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2022/06/27/felted-rug/
So far I have measured and done a couple of sketches of possible designs. these are smaller than they need to be but that is the size of the paper. I will have to find one of the larger sketchbooks to do a final design and then try to use the computer and the printer to enlarge it for shrinkage.
Aaaand, that is as far as I am. The plan is to have it for my next blog post, but we all know about the best laid plans of mice and men. I have my fingers crossed. It’s going to be a busy week.
Thankfully I have friends with grey wool. Jan and Bernadette found me some grey in many shades so I could complete my picture. I explained to both that I only needed a little bit, a handful would be more than was needed. I just needed it for a few rocks on my picture
Picture of wool
picture of me taking a picture
I didn’t take any progress pictures of the rocks. I was busy poking and talking.
And finally the finished picture, or so I thought. when you take a picture, you can see so much more sometimes. I really don’t like the roots over the rock. I had tried putting a rock in front of the tree but that looked worse. So, I will take the roots off and continue from there.
I managed to take the roots off and played with the rock some more and now I think it really is done.
The next step to do for my summer tree is to get it some leaves. I decided I wanted some texture so thought I would use some silk fabric to make some needle felted nuno felt.
I found some of my boxes of fabric and had a rummage for some green I found mostly silk and some stuff labelled nylon which is a very good imitation of silk.
The green and brown was my first thought but best to try them all.
I pulled out my sampling tree. The one that looks like a peg having a bad hair day. 😉
I then thought maybe I could put the dark fabric down and then add some other fibre on top. the dark fabric is the nylon. It’s a very loose weave so it pulls threads when you poke it.
I tried adding some loose threads but they just looked messy. I think they would make great vines in a swampy picture
I decided it was a waste of fabric to put the dark green down first It would be too hard to leave some showing properly and it would prevent any of the branches from showing.
On to the real tree, I did fiddled with the branches in the middle and it does look better naked. Not that much of it will show but still, it was good practice.
I tried adding it all as one piece but I couldn’t scrunch it properly. So I pulled it off.
I added the silk in small amounts
and all done, I left a few holes for the sky and a few branches peek through. I left the edged raggy to add to the texture.
And here’s the finished overall look. I like the overall look. I am going to have to fiddle with the roots. Combined with the slant of the land, they are making the tree look like it’s leaning over. I think a little poking in on one side and poking out on the other should fix it. I am going to have a look for the wool I used for the grass portion of the background to maybe put a little over the roots. I will have to do some googling for pictures of roots.
Next, I think I will add some rocks around the roots and maybe a few around the field in the thin spots. Then maybe some tufts of grass with stitching. I may fiddle with the cloud too. I am still thinking.
I was looking through some of the simpler backgrounds I had on hand to jump-start my summer tree. I did this agt our guild social so I was too busy chatting to get you a picture before I started.
I decided to use some more of the pencil roving I have. It is sold as Buffilo roving or Brigs and Little Country Roving. It comes as 5 strands of thin pencil roving wound into a cake. It looks to me like it has been prepared to go through a spinning frame and then be plied into usable yarn. Why else wind 5 strands together? https://briggsandlittle.com/product/country-roving/
This is the brown I am using but not a solid colour so it has more depth. I wound off 2 strands to pop into my felting bag.
When I am not sure of my artistic ability ( most of the time), I tend to go small. If it’s little it is harder to see it’s not very good. However, trying to make a small tree in the distance did not go well. It looks more like some sort of demented scarecrow. You can see it’s quite a nice background though.
So I ripped it off and started a much bigger tree in the foreground. You can see how using the pencil roving makes it easier to make branches as you lay them in for the trunk.
I tidied that up top and bottom and that is as far as I have made it.
I like the way the pencil roving forms the tree but I think I need to add a little lighter ( and maybe darker) colour to help define it more. I am not happy with the blob in the top middle of the trunk. I think I will have to open it into the branches more. I will have to do some searching for pictures of winter trees to see how that part looks. It may not matter once I add the leaves. Isn’t it funny how you know exactly how a tree looks until you come to make one? I also have to work out what I want for the rest of the picture. Maybe some rocks, sheep are always popular, a fence?
The only other thing I did this week was to make some felted balls for my goddaughter, for her cats. Again, too much talking and not enough picture taking. they are small styrofoam balls with a bell pushed into them.
I will start with the third quarter challenge. Onf the challenges is to make something about where you live. I remembered this piece I made. It has a wet felted background, needle felted water and significant roads and stitched secondary roads. It is about 6×6 inches or 15×15 cm. It was a fun piece to make. It just needs framing, like so many pieces.
I made this little bag for my purse. I will add a few snaps. One to keep the flap closed and 2 more in the top pouch part so I can keep something in there without it falling out every time I open it. It is for keeping a power pack and my square point of sale device mostly. I forgot to take pictures during lay out but here it is on the resist to show the shrinkage. I will probably add some stitching at some point. the finished size is 7 1/2 inches x almost 5 inches or 19cm x 12cm
I did take some pictures of the group spinning and showing how the tapestry and 4-shaft table looms work. these are definitely candid shots that I only just remembered to take so I wouldn’t be in hot water with Jan. It was a quiet demo with there being a lot of smoke in the air from the fires in Quebec. You can see in the background the faint outline of some hills. That is about 1/2 a kilometre away across the Ottawa River to Quebec. You couldn’t see that much when we arrived about 10 am to set up. It was nice to spend time with friends and to chat with the few people that dropped by to see what we were doing.
That’s about all I have been up to other than a little spinning on my drop spindle. I will try to get some pictures of my little balls of yarn for next time.
So sliding in on a cloud of dust I have the branch finished just as the quarter runs out. I know we don’t have to get it done in a specific time but it is nice to get it done in the quarter the challenge is posted.
After looking at it and especially seeing it in a photo I decided the larger flowers at the bottom of the flowers should have yellow centres. So I added them. I used mostly french knots with 2 threads. The single french knots are smaller than the colonial knots. The Yellow stands out more in the photo than in real life.
It still looked pretty sparse so I decided leaf buds would help. I looked them up online. It was best to look up flowering trees and look at the buds in the background. It didn’t seem to matter the kind of tree the leaf buds looked pretty much the same. I made all the leaf buds at the same time so I would get them about the same size. It didn’t take long and I only poked myself a few times. That’s the problem of working small.
first I had to make the green I wanted. I had Christmas green, lime green and a very yellow-green. I mixed them with a couple of dog brushes.
I made 2 at a time. Then cut them in half and finished shaping them while holding them. I poked myself working on the pad not in my hand and I know Jan will tell me she just gave me a tool so I wouldn’t do that. But I forgot until after I poked myself, naturally.
I fiddled around placing them. and felted them down…… without poking myself.
I had originally thought I would add a bit of brown near the base of the buds but I didn’t like it and pulled them off.
I am quite pleased with the finished branch. Now I need to steam it a bit, to block it square. The dent on the left is really bugging me.
I have finished my flowers but I don’t think I am finished with the picture.
The last time I had gotten this far
I started adding flowers, thinking that the branch end would be the last to open, I started with a darker colour and fewer threads to make buds. I made smallish french knots.
Next, I went to a lighter shade of pink and a few more strands for the next size-up flower buds
For the next group, I used my final pink colour but added in a few strands of the darker colour. I should have probably used half and half because the darker pink didn’t show up as much as I hoped. I did these at home so you got 4 progress pictures.
Today while I was at the market, I finished, with the lighter pink being for the bigger flowers. I decided to try colonial knots instead of french knots. I am not sure I wrapped them all the right way band I added some extra wraps around the needle to bulk them up a bit.
I liked the way they turned out. I am thinking maybe I should add a little bit of yellow to the middle of the bigger flowers to make them look more open. I also think adding some green flower buds might be a good idea too. So that is next, and hopefully, I will make it before the end of June.
And now just because they are cute, the 2 ducklings that visited our booth this morning. they belong to the Farm and were out for a walk with their youngest.