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Author: shepherdessann

Using My Prefelt

Using My Prefelt

Having made the prefelt without needles or water it was time to try using it. here’s the post about doing that: trying-out-a-new-way-of-making-prefelt/ I cut a small square ( 2.25 by 3.75 inches)  and added some cut bits to the top.

Even though as a whole piece, it had been very sturdy, The cut pieces seemed fragile. I wondered if it was because they were small. I decided to try a bigger piece( 3.5 x4 inches). I folded a smaller piece to cut a flower shape and popped it onto the prefelt square

I thought I should try it on a loose wool layout.  I laid out 2 good layers of wool and added some prefelt to the top (4.5×7.5 inches).

I put them on some plastic on a rubbery rolling mat. I did some rubbing but not a lot as I prefer rolling. I had started to wet it when I remembered to take a picture.

This is after one set of rolls, you can see they already look integrated. the small piece looks like the shapes have really blurred.

 

I rolled it twice more, no more than 50 rolled back and forth each time.

I don’t think it looks very different. The prefelt defiantly incorporated into the prefelt backing and loose wool backing.

Here are the prefelt on prefelt samples after drying

 

the small pieces lost all semblance of shape. I think they were just too small. the bigger piece faired much better. There was almost no visible migration of fibres on these, even on the back.

The loos wool worked well the shapes stayed better even the smaller ones. They are visibly thicker, a little puffy. I don’t see any migration of the background up through prefelt.

On the back, you can see the outlines of the shapes. the shorter cut fibres of the edge migrating. I have noticed this with regular needled or wet felted prefelt too.

None of these pieces were properly fulled. They have just begun to shrink. The migration may have been more on both sides and with both backgrounds if they were properly fulled but I ran out of time to do that if they were going to be dry for final pictures.

All in all, I would say it’s a faster and easier way to make prefelt than needling or wet felting. I don’t think it would work for cutting intricate designs but they just maybe my bad cutting. I don’t think the commercial stuff works well for intricate things either.

I did try peeling the layers like you can with the thicker prefelt.  It worked ok in the thicker parts but wouldn’t come apart at the thinner edge. A more consistent layout might solve that problem.

Trying out a new way of making prefelt

Trying out a new way of making prefelt

I recently heard about a no water, no needle way of making prefelt. I thought I would give it a try and see how it works. It’s fairly simple. You layout your wool on a mat or plastic and roll it dry. When I teach resist felting I usually dry felt the layout by just pressing and wiggling to make it stick together well enough to pick up and move, so we can make the second side. I am sure we have all found that ball of roving in the bottom of a bag that is well on its way to bing a solid felt blob. Taking this idea further just makes sense.

On Sunday it was Library day at the guild and I knew it would be a fairly quiet one so I took my supplies with me. Here is my try at dry non-needled prefelt.

I am using a rubbery placemat and a plastic grocery bag. The Grocery bag is because I put the little piece of plastic in my coat pocket and then didn’t wear my coat. I picked 2 colours so I can see how much migration there is if any. I did jiggle the felt to stick it together, the same way I do when I want to move a layout.

 

 

I rolled it 100 rolls in each direction flipping it between as well. It came out very flat and has started to shrink.

 

 

I rolled it some more. I had intended to do another 100 rolls in each direction but we were chatting so I am sure it got much more than that, especially on the last set of rolls. It definitely shrunk in both directions but not a lot.

 

 

I cut it to see what it looked like. the edges are thicker and flatter than the middle but it’s still pretty solid.

Jan took a movie of it with her camera. It shows how sturdy the prefelt is.

I rolled it again to see how the edges would fair. There were wisps that migrated out in the direction of the rolling. I think it would have been better to just finger rub the edges. There was really no migration to the surface by the opposite layer.

 

All in all, I think it worked well with very little fuss. Next, I am going to try cutting out some shapes and felting them on their own, to prefelt and on a fresh layout. Have you ever tried this method? how did it go?

 

 

Some inspiration for the second quarter challenge.

Some inspiration for the second quarter challenge.

As most everything I have for felting is packed in boxes at the moment, I thought I would share some of the pictures I’ve taken around the farm for inspiration for the second quarter challenge. Usually, I take landscape-type pictures, most often with sheep in them or pictures of flowers, fungus or moss. I tried to be less organic this time.

These are parts of a rusty trailer. the first three are the fenders and the next ones are the decking. I particularly like the rusty bits.

These are some chairs we have the plastic ones had blown over in the wind and the undersides were quite interesting and dirty. How do they get so dirty underneath?

 

This is a stack of metal chairs waiting for warm weather.

Here are a few more metal bits I found around on a walk with the dog.

The bottom of my daughter’s canoe was good for a couple of pictures, an old label and scratched-up paint.

Many years ago we had a fenced yard. There is one small bit left that is slowly going back to nature.

 

A fence post in the field

 

And I couldn’t resist some moss and a cool rotting log.

Hopefully, I have inspired you to take some different pictures and not made you nod off. You can use one of these for inspiration if one catches your eye. We would love to see it. you can share your inspiration and your finished work in our gallery by using this form. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/community-photo-submissions/

 

Update on the small picture and the studio

Update on the small picture and the studio

Where did the time go? I looked at the posting schedule and thought I have lots of time to get my post ready but here I am down to the wire,….. again.

I did manage this week to make some progress on my small picture. I started by adding some grass/stems/leaves/. Starting with a very Christmas green.

Then adding other shades

It looks ok but it’s way too short. What am I going to do with the other 2/3 of the picture? So, remembering Ruth’s advice on the last stitch project when I wasn’t very happy with it, she said  “just keep adding more”,  I decided I was not taking the stitches out. I would just keep going. The next batch of grass was longer.

At this point, I notice the bottom edge was starting to curl a little. This is because I was stitching into the bottom edge. I didn’t want the bottom of the stitches to show entry points on the top side of the bottom edge. I noticed some of the threads were a little loose too. To remedy this I ironed it with steam. I think it helped.

The next step is the flowers. I was originally thinking stitched flowers, then thought maybe seed needs would be good. I asked opinions at my guild social and everyone seemed to think I should do both. I probably will.

And now the Studio Progress.

The walls and floor have been painted. The place that hasn’t been painted is where the ductwork will go for the heating. It will then get drywall put over it and it will be painted. Notice one of my favourite things about this space. It has a center floor drain. The electrical box will get a cupboard built to hide it.

 

Yes, the floor is covered in blue speckles, for non-slip and to hide the floor repairs.

Next are the sinks, the ductwork, painting my selves, bookcase and small table. They will be boring white, once the books and wool are on them they will be colourful enough. The table gets the microwave so it will not be seen much either.

That’s it for now. I plan on doing the flowers for the next post but I am not sure what else. I am sure I will find something to keep me busy and out of too much trouble.

 

Small felt

Small felt

As some of you know I am moving my studio. I am not moving far, just from one end of the building to the other. I will gain some storage space, another room and a direct entrance. And importantly I will be closer to the bathroom.

I have packed 90% of my studio into boxes and they are piled up in the extra room. Consequently, I do not have a lot to work with. I did make a box with a blob of each colour of merino I have. and collected a bag of prefelts etc.

So there I was on Monday, wondering what on earth I would post about today. I was looking at my inspiration file and going through e bags of prefelt and I found this small odd-shaped one.

This is the back of it because I forgot to take a picture before adding wool to the front.

 

I added some sky

A blue sky is pretty much one colour. light at the bottom but not a mix of colours. The grass on the other hand is not one colour. so I mixed some up using my dog brushes.

 

 

this is the finished background. the needle is to give you an idea of the size. Jan thought it looked knife-shaped I thought it looked like a bullet train.

 

 

I want to add some flowers along the bottom. I wasn’t sure what thread to use. I hat unpicking so I grabbed a piece of fulled sweater off cut and covered it in green to try out some different threads.

 

the dark pink is Filtex. these are very old spools they are shiny rayon, like fake silk.  the orange is 1,2 and 3 strands of embroidery thread., the blue is an embroidery cord and the green is a different kind of silk or fake silk embroidery yarn.

 

Here’s a picture of the back. You can see what each thread looks like a little better.

Next is doing the stitching. I think I will use the green to add a few bigger leaf shapes. the orange and blue worked well. I will try using 2 and 3 threads of the pink to see if they show up better. stitching on felt is odd. you have to make your stitch about twice as long as you want it to get it to show up the size you want. It must be because of how soft the surface is. Does anyone else also find this to be true?

 

An interesting felt sample

An interesting felt sample

I’ve been running a felt study group and I wanted to share one of the more interesting samples I did in the group.  I had some white welsh mountain sheep wool. I have no idea where I got it it was raw and I have had it for years because I didn’t know what to do with it.

By Vertigogen – woolly sheep, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4875408

This is the description from Wikipedia with them giving credit to Morris, Jan (2014). Wales: Epic Views of a Small Country. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 53–57. ISBN 978-0-241-97024-9.

The Welsh Mountain sheep is usually white with a white face with no wool on forehead or cheeks and white legs with no wool below the joint. Females are polled but rams usually have curved horns, although some are polled. The fleece is thick and moderately long and the tails are not normally docked.

Breeders give a high priority to hardiness, milking ability, mothering quality and lamb survival. (Lambing percentage can be 130%, which rises to 180% under favourable conditions on improved pastures.[2]) It was not always thus; the 18th-century English agriculturist Arthur Young described the Welsh Mountain sheep as “the most despicable of all types” and a judge at an agricultural show in the 1880s described it as “a diminutive ill-shapen animal with its shaggy coat more reminiscent of hair than of wool”

I had a shoebox sized amount. As you can see not the nicest looking stuff, a bit like a horse’s mane.

I washed it in a laundry bag with some dish soap.

It took 2 washes but it came out a lovely white, white horse but white.

The locks average about 10 inches long.

 

I weighed out 25 grams and divided it into 4 and carded it into little batts. Each batt would be one layer of the sample.

The samples were all laid out 10×10 inches for easy calculation of shrinkage. At this point, I was skeptical that it would felt at all, it is so much like stong, straight hair

The piece was rubbed and rolled to felt and then rolled on a textured mat and scrunched for the fulling. Throwing doesn’t work well with such a small piece.

Much to my surprise, this is the final result. It’s a bit wonky but that’s down to my hand carding

It’s about 40% shrinkage and it is rock solid.  The most I got of any of my samples. It is rock solid. I tried to felt it more but it wouldn’t budge.  All the samples were made with 25grams of wool. It makes me wonder about people that say they get 50% shrinkage on their felt protects. Are they measuring differently or are they using very thin layouts?  I could see this felting more if I used half the amount of wool. so if I made a sample 20inches by 20 inches with the same wool I would get a higher shrinkage rate. What do you think?

Felt on a ball class fun

Felt on a ball class fun

A couple of weeks ago I finally got to teach my December Felting on a Ball Class. My guild had a group of ladies that wanted to try felting a pot on a ball. We scheduled the class for December, then we got locked down again for Covid, so we moved it to January and had a big freezing rain event so we moved it to February.

We used Corriedale wool. It is easily available in lots of colours. to make things more different than the regular felting on a flat resist and blowing a balloon up in it, routine, we made them with 3 different colour layers and we made them thick so they could be cut.

The first step was to make a small sample so cutting could be practiced later before cutting the pot.

With this method, you work inside out. So your embellishments go on first.

 

Then we moved on to the task of getting your wool onto the ball. the gerti balls are nice because they are a bit sticky. If you use a kid’s beach ball putting soap on it helps the first layer stick. The first layer is not too hard the second layer is harder and the third layer is harder still as it gets bulkier and bulkier.

 

Adding the pantyhose tops is fun. If like me you use the legs of pantyhose for making felt balls this is a good use for the top part that is left over.

After that the is lots of rubbing and bouncing and rubbing and bouncing until they are felted enough to remove the pantyhose and deflate the ball.

Then there is rolling and rubbing and some throwing if you like. sorry, no pictures of that part. I forget when I am talking.

 

The next day student cut their samples and started to cut their pots. Some cut more than others.

 

Carlene decided she wanted hers covered in locks so added more where they had shifted in the felting process.

Nicole needle felted her cutouts back onto the outside of her pot.

Christine did some cutting

Diane did lots of cutting and then added lots of beads.

 

Some strange silk.

Some strange silk.

You saw Jan’s post about the group silk order our guild did after we had a presentation about silk at a meeting. If not or you need reminding it is here: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2022/02/05/group-order-of-sanjo-silk/  I have not seen her silk yet. I hope I get to see it the next time we are together. Perhaps she is hiding it from me, afraid I will try to make off with it after seeing what I got.

I have lots of nice silk so I decided to go the other way, I bought the strange stuff. It will be interesting to have at demos.

I got these Tussa silk cocoons. They aren’t like the regular ones you see. These are from wild silkworms and are much bigger than regular ones.  I have never seen them for sale before. This is what the site says about them:

If you think Bombyx cocoons are fascinating, then you’ll be gobsmacked by these. The Tussah silkworm is wild, which means it eats in the wild. The cocoons are harvested from the forests where they feed. They’re huge compared to Bombyx cocoons; each one is about 1 1/2″ (almost 4 cm) long, not including the pedencal stem. This stem, with the ring at the end, is what the silkworm attaches itself to the tree branch with. Each of the cocoons has been cut, and the pupa removed.

tussa silk cocoons tussa silk cocoons

I also got some of this, Kibiso. It might be interesting to use. I am not sure how but we will see. It feels very much like skinny carrier rods if you have seen those or paper.  The website says:

100% Silk Kibiso, which is the outer part of the bombyx cocoon, the less refined part.  It’s a bit like Excelsior, which is the woody fibre used in Easter baskets, but this is 100% Silk. It’s a nest of fibre, unprocessed, stiff, and lofty. It takes dye spectacularly,

 

Kibiso Kibiso Kibiso

 

Last is strangest. they’re 2 thicknesses of the same I am not sure why I got both. The excitement of the moment perhaps.

The finer stuff it says:

This yarn is 100% Silk – Tussah, which has been cajoled into this wonderful yarn. It’s stiff, quirky, and will add lots of texture and personality to your creative pieces. It can be woven and knitted – think about 3-dimensional pieces. Use it along the edge of a knitted piece. Incorporate it into your weaving to add body and texture.

strange silk yarn strange silk yarn strange silk yarn close up

 

And the thicker one says:

This is the yarn that gets the most attention when seen in person. In a whole display of beautiful, luscious silk yarns, people will zoom in on this one and say, “Wow, what is THIS???” It’s 100% Silk. We call it dreadlocks because that’s exactly what it looks like. It’s thick and glorious. It’s quite firm when you get it, but it softens a bit when soaked in warm water. This is a yarn that requires imagination. Think about 3 dimensions when using this yarn – it’s thick, has loads of body, and has the most intriguing texture. Make baskets with it. Wall hangings. Sculptural pieces. It’s truly magnificent.

super thick strange silk yarn

comarison of thin and thsuper thick strange silk yarn

super thick strange silk yarn close up

“Yarn”., I put that in quotes because it is technically yarn but would not say it was spun. Looking at it I would say someone rolled some wet gummy scrap fibre in some mud or a barnyard and called it done. Calling them dreadlocks is an insult to dreadlocks and calling it glorious or magnificent, is just wrong. Interesting, intriguing, sure but glorious, no. I can’t help feeling like there is someone somewhere havering a great laugh at my expense. I can’t say I blame them. LOL

At some point, I will soak some in hot water and some with hot water and soda ash to see what happens to them. What would you do with them?

 

 

 

 

I am running behind so…..

I am running behind so…..

I declare throwback Tuesday. I seem to have run out of time this week so I thought you might like to see this post from 2017. Jan posted some pictures in our guild group and it reminded me and I thought it was worth another look. I hope it and the links to the other 2 posts about it will give you lots of inspiration for your own work.

Ann

 

This is the 3rd and final set of pictures from this exhibit. http://mvtm.ca/?exhibition=colour-unboxed the first is here: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2017/01/18/colour-unboxed-by-out-of-the-box/ and the second here: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2017/01/26/out-of-the-box-part-2/ Again I apologize for some of the odd angles as it was very crowded with people enjoying the exhibit. In the last picture, you may find it hard to see but there is a very long weaving draped across the ceiling.

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A little more stitching

A little more stitching

Continuing on from stitch camp I have started stitching. I like the pieces with a lot of negative space best but thought I should try to do something outside my natural inclination. So I picked one with mostly yellow but a nice distribution of blue too to start with.

I did a bit of stitching but decided it was too soft and floppy to work well. The stitching was distorting the fabric even though it wasn’t pulled too tight.   Another thing I could see, that might happen, is the messy stitching on the backside might show through the white fabric. Iron-on interfacing would solve both problems.  I know I have some……somewhere. And the Iron, I have one of those too, I am sure I saw it recently.

I found the iron first, but not before a mouse had found it. The mouse (the one we caught in the fall,) had chewed up the cord. Not a nice chew in half or in one spot but all the way along. You can tell how often Iron because the mouse was caught in the fall, late September or early October. Well, I didn’t like that iron anyway it tended to leak. I will have to buy a new one. Sorry, no picture of the chewed-up cord. I tossed it out on garbage day.

 

I never know what to buy, so I picked the middle price and the one that says it does not leak on the box. I was tempted by the one with the retractable cord but it was digital with little buttons. I don’t think my iron needs electronics.

Then I found my one-sided iron-on interfacing.

                                          

 

I am less thrilled with the pieces than I was so I picked 3 of the double pieces and one of the singles to use and I will see how that goes. If I start liking them better I can do some more.

 

I have 2 ironing boards. on is under siege in the spare bedroom and the other one, the small one,  disappeared into the packed things. so I had to do it the old-fashioned way with a wool blanket on the table. I used a small piece of sheeting for the ironing cloth.

 

Stitching with the interfacing is better.

 

 

    

When I did this bit of badly done satin stitch, I noticed the distortion starting. Adding the interfacing and ironing seems to have fixed it.

I don’t know what stitching to do. I know it’s all just an exercise but I still want it to look good. I did some seed stitch and that is probably my favourite so far. I thought it was done but looking at it now it needs something else across the join down near the bottom between the woven circle and the yellow seed stitch I think.

 

 

Since I started writing this post I started the second piece. One of the more blue ones. I decided to use some green thread as there are some green spots where the blue and yellow paint crossed.

 

 

 

 

So far so good.  I find it hard to decide where to stitch and what to stitch. I am enjoying it and I hope my stitching will improve with the practice. I find it hard to get my needle to go in or come up exactly where |I want it to. I am using a rounded tip needle. Perhaps a sharp one would work better but I didn’t have one with me. Another thing to look for. It is probably stuck in a piece of foam with some felting needles in a project bag or box.

It wasn’t until I started editing the pictures that I noticed this piece has a parrot in it. It is funny how we don’t see things until we take a picture of them. Do you see it too?

 

 

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