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Rare Earth Magnet on sale! Just add wool for more fun!!

Rare Earth Magnet on sale! Just add wool for more fun!!

A couple of weeks ago the latest princess auto flyer booklet arrived. It is always fun to look through and see what is on sale! Princess Auto is an interesting store that has a vast variety of things, hunting, camping, farm supplies, a bit of blacksmithing, welding, tool boxes, electric bikes, and lots of stuff I am not sure what it’s for but it looks interesting. I sat down to see what exciting things might be included this time. There may be more Bee Decapping combs (which make very cheap emergency wool combs! However, I have a couple of sets so maybe I don’t need to get another pair?) Aha! There is a metal bench on sale, circle that! Is there anything else? YES!! Magnets! (This is the link, they will go back on sale again sometime) https://www.princessauto.com/en/48-pc-rare-earth-magnet-and-dispenser-set/product/PA0008996993 ) 1) 48-piece Rare Earth Magnet and Dispenser Set

Glenn had a couple of things circled in the flyer too so stopped in after work the first day of the sale. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with them but I knew it would be fun and I bet there will be wool involved. These are very strong yet very tiny magnets.

 2) Tiny, tiny Enthusiastic Magnets sticking to a felting needle to show you how tiny they are

I had a question a few weeks ago about making a sheep head, if I make a tiny sheep’s head I bet I can make a broach. Where did I put the wool with the tiny crimp I had purchased from Ginger at Farm Sol at the Wakefield Farmers Market? And more important, can I get more?

The mark 1 prototype I used unlabeled white wool roving, I am hoping it’s Corriedale but I’m not sure. It seemed less enthusiastic to felt than I usually find in Corriedale. So after more stabbing than I would have liked, I did get a basic head/nose shape.

3) This may not be the Corriedale you were looking for (spooky Jedi background music)

4) Eventually there was a head-like shape, sort of

Now that isn’t as sheepish as I would like. (This is why reference photos are really helpful) I know what’s missing,  I will need to add ears!!

5) Ears added to the slightly sheepish head

Now that is a bit better. Next to add the first magnet.

6) Magnet balancing precariously on superior aspect of sheep neck

The magnets were tiny and behaved in a slippery manner determined to fling themselves to their death on the floor!! Alas for the magnet, I used another previous Princess Auto Sales item to find them and pick them up!! (Without bending or crawling around on the floor under the computer desk, even better!!)((I am suggesting anyone doing Dry Needle felting should consider this marvellous invention to retrieve errant needles, and magnets from the horror of nether regions that the floor has become.))

7-8) Extending magnetic picker-upper of things mettle, with built-in light (it Is dark under the table)

The version that is brought in for sales with the light doesn’t seem to be on their website but here is the link for the lightless one. You can likely find something similar at any hardware store, this one says it will pick up 3lbs (that would be one big needle!!) https://www.princessauto.com/en/3-lb-magnetic-pickup-tool/product/PA0008716615

I wound up trying 3 ways of affixing the magnet into the back of the sheep head.

9-10) First I tried lightly felting a bit of wool, then attaching it to the back of the head. This was not totally successful since the magnet migrated lower than where I had been trying to hold it. I also found the needle was very attracted to the magnet when I tried to poke adjacent to it. Interesting.

This did let me find out that the magnet is strong and once embedded in the wool stuck to bulldog clips (some people call them binder clips) with enthusiasm and required gentle prying to get them to let go.

11) Sheep head sticking to bulldog clip

Next, I tried a divot in the superior aspect of the neck or back of the skull depending on your perspective. I placed the magnet in the dent and then added a backing that I had felted flat.

12) Magnet sitting in a bit of a divot and leaving the rest of the loose wool to work over the top of the magnet once it was in position.

13) The magnet was attracted again to the needle so this may not be quite the best solution

14) It was a bit more challenging to keep the magnet where I wanted it but the divot did help.

15) Success! But this took more time but kept the magnet location where I had wanted it.

(16) The third option is “this picture is unavailable” which was a combination of making a dent to seat the magnet and then making a felt backing for covering the magnet. I could have used a commercial felt but it’s so easy to just make a bit more of the wool you are using and you are sure it will match the head if you use the same wool.

17) Now let’s talk about ears.

It is time to use those C40-111’s again, Crown Needles!!! For the first two sheep heads, I attached white ears and then added the wisp of pinkishness to the attached ear. For the third prototype, I build a base layer of the white, then lay in wisps of pink to make the inner ear. Using the crown needle at an angle close to parallel allows the addition of colour to one side without affecting the other. The working depth of the crown needles is much shallower than regular needles. Once the ear was constructed I attached it to the head. This was a bit easier than adding the pink to the ear after it was attached.

18) Time to add the second Magnet and check it sticks through cloths. Yep!

This sheep is still rather naked and needs curls. Remember that trip I took to Wakefield a few posts ago? Well, we are about to find out what happened to those fabulous little locks.

19) The tiny crimpy locks from Ferme Sol Farm in Wakefield Quebec http://www.fermesol.ca/

The locks worked perfectly. The tight and tiny crimp was perfect for this scale of sheep. Her sheep are Icelandic/ Frisian/ Gotland/ Finn and Shetland crosses. These were really fabulous fibre blends.

20-21) Front and back view of the sheep broach with a second magnet to go inside your shirt. This is less damaging to fabric than a pin broach back would be.

22) Here is the sheep with both the curls and ear details added.

23) A bit of online shopping arrived and I have added the two new boxes to the tools I used for this project (you don’t need quite this many needles I actually only used 3needles, which were each different, to make the sheep)

I had ordered two more needle boxes, this time a T-38G-333 and T-42G-222.  The T is the shape Triangle, the first number is the gauge, the G is the tip or point specification, and there is another letter designating the barb specifications which I have ignored and the last digits are the number of barbs per side. So I will leave you with a shot of the new needle boxes (yes there are 500 needles in the new ones a bit less in the older boxes) and the other tools and pieces I used for this project.

Next week I have a choice of things to tell you about, Mr. and Mrs. Mer’s trip to the Carp fair (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) or the mini-workshop I gave on a card stock 7- strand kumihimo-like braid (Monday). There is also going to be another trip up to Wakefield this coming Saturday, to purchase more little locks and hopefully get some good pictures.  It has been a VERY busy four days in a row!! Now it is time to find the Robax-platinum and crawl back into bed for a day or so.

Have fun and keep felting (even if you are wearing gloves – you will hear about that when we chat about the Carp fair!)

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 2

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 2

It is time for Hair!

16 When we last saw Mr. Mer he was distracted and playing with his Jellyfish little friends.

17-18  I wanted to add hair down the spinal ridge I had created for him.

I had built up an extra amount of muscle above the upper traps attaching to the suboccipital bone so he would have an easier time looking up to see where he was swimming. Likely this muscle might be called the suprasuperior trapezius or maybe the superficial Inferior occipital muscle?

I considered and decided I would like to add hair along the spinal ridge of the new mer-muscle, (it will give more options in hair styling!!).

19 working in the spinal ridge and long hair

I started at about the level of the scapula and layered in thin locks. I focused on building up the area over the cervical spine, affixing one end securely in a narrow band and leaving the other end long and loose down his back.

(at this point I got very focused and put the camera down behind me… safe but out of sight!!!) SORRY!!!

While Mr. Mer patently admired his jellyfish friends, I moved to the occipital ridge (the bony bit at the back and base of the skull). For this area, I worked with the locks in the opposite direction to how I wanted them to hang and securely worked in the last half inch of the locks, I am not worried this will not hold since I am using enthusiastic needles (T36-333) and I will have more fibre layered over top. I worked with the darker shades of green then as I added fibre this time in the direction I wanted it to lie I added a few of the accent locks of gold/green and green/grey blue. I worked from the base of the skull up the back and sides. I added some shorter locks towards the temples and set aside some to use across the forehead. I added, like shingles –overlapping the butt ends of the locks and leaving the length and tips loose. When I got to the crown (top) of the head I had a few very long locks that I laid in side to side (ear towards ear) then let them fall back and to the sides. This filled in his potential bald spot (I don’t think it would work to try and comb over a merman’s hair!)

20 Mr. Mer helpfully held up his hair so you could see the long locks originating from the neck and upper traps area.

I then started to look at styling, I don’t have hair accessories of the correct size! He has decided on a loose ponytail for now but may look into other options if I can find Hair combs in his size.

21-23 Mr. Mer admiring his new locks.

I think he likes the colour! And his new eyebrows.

He seems a bit overwhelmed with all the new hair!

I think he could consider some beads to go in his hair (for special occasions). I have a couple of boxes of beads to look through and some fine wire to thread the beads on.

24 Mr. Mer lost in thought inspecting his new hair

25 In fact he seemed quite contemplative and took off for a quick swim around the office before returning to his project bag for a rest.

Now that he has hair I took a look if I could find hair accessories in his required size. No luck, so I decided to make a few options in different sizes of wire and beads.

26-28 beads strung on wire (20ga, 24ga, 26ga) to go in his hair.

On Saturday of the long weekend, we had a Cookie run to the Log Farm Farmers market and a fibre quest at the Wakefield Farmers Market in Quebec. Mr. Mer joined Glenn and me for the drive and to show off his fancy new hair to Ann.

29 Ann checked his new hair, Ross seemed quite impressed with him and took his picture!

30 Glenn Cookie shopping with Ann and Ross

We of course remembered to get the cookies! Now off to Wakefield!  We had a lovely drive north of Ottawa into Quebec up highway 5 through the Gatineau hills. There are great rock cuttings, Lakes, small rivers and lots of trees to admire on the way.

By the time we got there, it was very busy and hard to find a parking spot In the main parking area, we were going to go around for a second look when the Gods of Parking smiled upon us and we saw not only a parking spot but it was adjacent to the back of a booth with hanging sheep skin rugs!!  It must be Ginger from Ferme Sol and the booth we were looking for!  (if you would like to see some pictures of her sheep you could check out her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Ferme-Sol-105585311548965/)

31 Fabulous parking spot and the back of the booth we were looking for

32 the front of her booth with fibre, yarn, sheep skin rugs and the freezer. (my little grey Kea Soul is hiding in the back)

33 Her fibre and yarn for sale

I got 3 bags of locks with very tiny crimp, in natural black, grey and white. I also selected a part of a ram’s fleece in natural black and white, which will be lots of fun to spin or felt with. Her flock of sheep are a mix of Finn, Gotland and Icelandic, which are fabulous for both spinning and felting.

Ginger asked about Mr. Mer so we brought him out of the car for a visit. She liked his new hair and said it was very soft.

34 I think Mr. Mer may be a flirt and I will need to finish up Mrs. Mer soon so she can keep an eye on him!!

Mr. Mer dose seem quite pleased with his hair and his lovely jellyfish. I may do a little adjusting once i have the complete family finished, but he is basically done.

I am sure he will reduce his flirting and behave himself, since i suspect he notice i took Mrs. Mer on her first outing to the Ottawa Guild social on the holiday Monday to start her (Butterfly) Koi body tail.  (Overall its was a very fishy and fibery holiday weekend.)

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35-37 Mr Mer wanted to say “Hi! and thank you for following his progress so far,” before he returned to his project bag for a nap (photo shoots seem to be quite tiring).

I am not sure that Sara, who started the Mermaid-felt-along on YouTube, intended quite this scope of project but it has be lots of fun. i hope others will give making a family of Mers a try!

Whatever you wind up working on, I hope you have fun and keep felting!

How to Make a Tiny Jellyfish

How to Make a Tiny Jellyfish

After seeing Mr. Mers pet jellyfish I decided he needed another one, a felted one in his creator’s favourite colours. I am sure you saw him playing with his new pet in Jan’s post. mr-mer-gets-a-new-little-friend-part-1/

First, you need to make a small needle felted disk.

Then peel it off. You can see how thick it is. It is fairly thick for the size but it could be thinner but doesn’t need to be.

Now what you want to do is turn the disk into a bowl shape. You do this by holding your needle almost flat against the felt and poking around and around the rim of the disk.

Soon it will start to form a shallow bowl.

Keep at it

And you will end up with a nice bowl. The perfect shape for a Jellyfish bell.

 

I forgot to take a picture of myself needling 6 small Blue Faced Leicester locks into the bowl so they would hang down the outside edge of the bowl. 4 would have worked but more than 6 I think would have been too much. After I poked them in I trimmed the outside of the bowl to get rid of the fuzzy bits they created.  It seemed a bit plain so I added the 2 blue lines around the outside to create a Blue Ringed Jellyfish.

 

I added a String through the top to act as a leash. Don’t worry it doesn’t hurt the Jellyfish.

 

 

 

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 1

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 1

It has been another busy week full of multiple projects for the Ottawa Guild along with a sort and prep for photos project for Glenn. So Mr. Mer has been very patent and supervised me while he sits contemplating his options in his project bag (I did get him a bigger project bag).

On Monday evening the Ottawa Guild is usually back to an in-person social. There is still a zoom social for those who can’t travel. Unfortunately, last Monday coincided with a department heads/exec meeting so not as social as usual but it was good to see a lot of faces I had only seen over zoom the last 2 years!

Ann was there and had brought a present for Mr. Mer (I will defiantly need to get more hair if he gets a swollen head from all the attention!) Her Jellyfish is sooooo Cute!!!!! It is such a pretty blue and so delicate. I wonder how she made it?

1 – You saw his new Jellyfish from Twist.

 

2- This is his new Jellyfish from Ann

I set up my desk for a photo shoot and hung up the little guy.  Mr. Mer seemed happy to get out of his project bag and was immediately interested in the little blue jellyfish. It’s so delicate!

3-6 Hunting and catching Jellyfish

I have discovered the correct way of hunting jellyfish! You pick them up very carefully by their head strings!! (Not the lower strings, which might kill you. This is a special Mer skill and should only be tried on fibre-based jellyfish that have obvious head strings. Not the squishy ones found in water or stranded on beaches.)

7- 8-  He seemed mesmerized admiring both jellyfish.

While he was distracted, I went through his shopping bag to see what lengths and colours he had collected. Most of what he had collected was too short but in very nice colours. I am sure we can use them for other projects

9- 10- Sorting through the longer locks while Mr. Mer is distracted

The locks that look like they will be best are mostly the ones from Bernadette, who had purchased them from Adele’s locks of love.

11 looking at the best locks

I think I will have enough for him to have respectable hair.  He was still quite captivated by his jellyfish, having them chase each other. so I snuck his hair option into a bag and put the rest back into a bag of locks for other projects.

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12-14 Jellyfish racing!!!

Now I am distracted too! A Majacraft Suzie Pro spinning wheel has come up for sale, with a lot of accessories…. I am sure there must be room for one more wheel? it’s small! As I contemplate and consider a test drive/spin, Mr. Mer has tried to swim off with his little friends. Sneaky!!

15- ran off with his jellyfish

He wasn’t fast enough! I cot him and brought him back to the desk. I got his little friends to distract him as I got out a T-36-333 (I do have more aggressive needles but this should be perfect.)

16- ah good, he is not paying any attention to me!

Jellyfish seem to work as well as antithetic!!! We are set and He will shortly have hair! But that will be for next week in part 2!

Thanks, Ann!!! (your jellyfish is so cute and tiny I will have to inquire how you made him so tiny and so cute!! I hope there are pictures!!)

 

Learning to print on (wet) felt

Learning to print on (wet) felt

I’m learning to print onto felt so I thought I’d show you some work in progress.  I’m following Lindsey Tyson’s course ‘Transfer Printing onto Felt and other Fabrics’ so I’m focusing here on what I’ve made rather than how. Lindsey’s been printing on felt for some years and has developed her own techniques. She’s now moving away from felt-making and printing to focus on painting so has produced a comprehensive course to share her expertise. I first saw her work a few years ago and have been really intrigued ever since to know how she produces such lovely images on felt.

I do quite a lot of sales and exhibitions in my local area. I’ve long thought I’d like to develop some smaller decorative items I can make relatively quickly and so sell at a lower price than some of my other work (because it’s more time-consuming).  I thought printing might provide an opportunity to do this.

I hummed and hawed for some time before signing up as it involves quite a big investment – not only in the course itself but also in equipment, software, space (for the equipment) and time.  I’ve just had a milestone birthday and as my mother wanted to give me a milestone gift, I decided that this was it.  I do love learning new skills and developing ideas so I was pretty sure I’d love the course.  Thank you Mum!

My first venture was to source some free online images (this is covered in the course) and, along with a little oyster shell sketch I drew, prepare them for printing and print some samples onto scraps of felt.

Small test pieces

I was pretty pleased with the results. However, some of the prints had a rather plastic feel and very visible edge.

Lindsey was very helpful with her suggestions on how to improve – including highlighting that I’d overlooked one of the steps when using the paper I’d chosen, doh! That is now largely resolved though I’m still wrestling with myself about whether I should buy a new printer as I have an inkjet and apparently laser prints work better.

I made a little tea light holder cover using some commercial prefelt. I’ve never used bought prefelt before (I’ve always made my own) and although it produced a very lovely fine felt, I also managed to create a line in the cover where the sheet of prefelt joined that I wasn’t happy with.

I now know (from the course) that there’s a way round this but I’ve decided for the time being to stick with making my own felt from scratch rather than introducing new variables.

The course covers, in a lot of detail, how to design and manipulate images. It includes tutorials on using free software as well as paid-for software like Photoshop. I decided to buy Photoshop Elements ( a basic form of Photoshop with a one-off purchase rather than a monthly subscription). I have to admit I have not taken to it like a duck to water! Some of that is doubtless me (remember that milestone birthday!) but I’ve seen lots of reviews that agree that it’s not very intuitive and so not particularly easy to learn to use. Fate intervened with (as far as I know) my first dose of Covid-19 during which I confined myself entirely to staying at home for 5 days (as per our current guidance) and until I tested negative. After the first couple of days I started to feel better so decided this was my time to make Photoshop Elements work for me.  In spite of sometimes getting very frustrated, I actually quite enjoyed the learning and have to be impressed with the things I can now do with it (however slowly) let alone all the things it can do that I can’t yet.  There are some really good free YouTube tutorials too, which helped, and I have certainly put in the hours. Many, many hours.

Back to the felt-making.  I made two more little tea light covers – one from 2 fine layers and one from 4 fine layers of 21 micron natural (undyed) merino. I wanted to see how they’d look with a lit tealight inside. Surprisingly they were both OK.

By then I’d thought of using my own felted bird images which I expertly (!) extracted from their backgrounds. I like the redshank and curlew as they both have feet.  Often my felt pictures have birds (like the avocet) whose feet are in water or behind pebbles – both because that’s how I saw the wild birds they’re based on and because I find felting bird feet quite hard!

I then tried out 18.5 mic undyed merino and decided this was what I’d use as it has a lovely smooth surface, light colour and a fine translucent appearance. Perfect both for printing and for tea lights.

I started to dig into my vast collection of charity-shop-bought silk scarves and added silk strips to the lower part of the designs. This was partly because lit tea lights’ metal cases cast a shadow at the base of the cover (see the lit one above), partly because it adds to the decoration and partly because it can ‘ground’ the images – i.e. give those birds’ feet something to walk on.  Oh, it also eases my conscience about quite how many second-hand silk scarves I own.

Redshank with recycled grey silk scarf strip

And so here are some more of the results.  I’ve printed a design on the front and the back (apart from the one with a flock of birds – that goes all the way round). They also look nice as plant holders, ‘thought they’re not quite the right proportions for most plant pots so I have to add some small pebbles to the bottom of the glass container if I want to show them as plant holders.

Herons

Some of them are free images I’ve found on the internet; some are from my own large felted pictures and one (the honesty seed pods) is from photos I’ve taken of the seed pods and worked on in Photoshop Elements to create a composite picture.

And here are the first 6 I put in the gallery shop at Creek Creative in Faversham (it’s a gallery, café, shop and studios where I rent my studio), just over a week ago. Inside each there are comprehensive warnings about lit tea lights, some felt care instructions and the name of the image.

First shop display at Creek Creative

The redshank on the left sold within a few days – I don’t know about the others yet.

I’ve also made some cards – initially to use up all the little test prints….

Square cards made using test samples

…..and then some I made specifically to become cards

Long cards

And finally a couple of bigger purpose-made plant pots with metal pots inside, using 21 mic merino in green and white.

Next steps? I’m looking forward to a couple of in-person sales / exhibitions I have coming up so I can gauge people’s reactions. I will keep building a stock of tealight holders, plant pots and cards and developing new images so I have plenty of both stock and variety.  I will keep extending my knowledge and skills in both printing on felt and using Photoshop.  And I will definitely keep working through Lindsey’s excellent course and drawing on her extensive and generous one-to-one and group support to help me on my way.

Here’s a link to a promotional video for Lindsey’s course, in case you want to check it out.

Felted Iris Flowers Part 3

Felted Iris Flowers Part 3

Felted Iris Flowers Part 2.1

Preamble:

When last we chatted about the needle felted Iris flower that I am working on, I had just dodged most of the destruction from the May 21st huge storm that swept across most of Ontario. I had no power for just under a week. So had discovered you can felt in the driver’s seat of the car if you are desperate to hear the news and charge your audiobook.

Even over a month later some of the destruction is still weighting to be cleaned up, with broken limbs and broken trees still occasionally spotted. One of the smaller (yes this is considered small and low on the city’s priority) hanging limbs is on my neighbour’s tree. It is hanging dangerously close to where my front yard garden benches are and where I have planting to do in the garden.

1 – the Linden tree that is threatening the hedge and my benches in the front garden. (It can take out the hedge if it likes! It would give me a couple more feet of garden!)

Good News! the freeze/ thaw/ freeze again spring followed by killer storm seems to have decimated the caterpillar problem that kept me out of my front garden last year. Who wants to sit and have caterpillars fall on you or worse caterpillar droppings fall on you (YUK!) I have spotted two tiny tent caterpillars so far who did not survive the spotting! (I am not prejudiced against all caterpillars, just the ones trying to eat my tree. I don’t like the ones eating my gooseberry bush either.)

I finally have the side yard set up mostly to my liking. I am having ongoing “conversations” with the local bunny, squirrels and those evil chipmunks! Someone dug into the planters of carrots and maybe the same or a different someone has been eating the big yellow flowers carefully off each of my 3 zucchini plants. We have continued to try to explain the term “Share the garden” does not mean eat or destroy all of it. (I did not get any of the strawberries again this year!)

2  – Who keeps eating my zucchini plant flowers? They’re in a 24-inch diameter pot, that puts the plants about 2 feet above the driveway!!!

By now it is time to set up the skirting table, and organized the fleece washing buckets……hum. I have to move stuff first. Ok, better pot the pulled raspberry canes soaking in a smaller bucket where the skirting table gets set up, then plant out the end-of-season half-of-half-price garden plants sitting on the table in my outside studio… there are more on the back patio too it was an excellent price!

3 – side yard studio still full of plants (I will explain the white bag on the bench in another post)

let’s just leave that for a bit longer and get back to telling you about flower felting (I Am Even On theme for the CHALLENGE!!)

 

ON to the Felting part:

As you saw, I had been working on the leaves and got them to the basic shape I wanted and am pleased with their thickness (thinness). I still want to adjust the colour a bit but that will be thin wisps of fibre laid over to modify the under colour, a bit like the layers of washes in a watercolour painting. There was a stretch of gray days, followed by library work and then all the impending gardening that I should be doing too.  So, I put the leaves aside to fix before I add them to the final assembly of the flower.

I had finished the basic petal shapes at the chilly Demo in Manotick. I did a bit more finishing touches on the colour blending at my desk while listening to audiobooks ( I think it was more ware-wolf or vampire romance novels that don’t need a lot of attention).

4 – I am working the wool at a very shallow needle angle and making sure there is a bit of the blue working up from the tip along the center of the petal.

5 – I again pulled on the edge of the petal to give them the ripples.

Next was to add the beard to the lower petals. It is time to take a wander through my stash of fibres. Originally I had thought to make the beard yellow. Looking at the yellow colour beside the white and blue petals, I found it too contrasting and distracted from the subtle colour changes in the petals. Ok, it’s defiantly a white fibre I will need.

As you know, fibre comes in lots of different types, long or short staple length, softer or stiffer, lustrous or dull also crimpy or more hair-like. A sheep fleece that is fabulous for doing one job may be inappropriate if used in a different job. Who wants to mend the holes in the heels of 100% merino socks or make a high-traffic carpet out of it? Choosing the right fleece for the right job can make felting, spinning or weaving a joy instead of a fight to get it to do what it is not suited to due.

As much as I make snide comments about it, Merino is wonderfully soft. It’s fun to spin. It absorbs light rather than reflecting it when used in a picture (so it can make deep shadows) and can look flat. It comes in fabulous colours and blends easily with itself or other fibres, but it is much too soft to work as an iris beard.

Bluefaced Leicester was fabulous for my polar bear picture and sculpture, it has a bit of stiffness to the fibre but is still soft, it is smooth and lustrous, and it also has a good light reflection. But, it’s not quite the right stiffness. I am getting closer.

Don’t I have a clear plastic XL shoe box labelled “Mohair/Angora” in the basement? Yes! The fibre is stiff, has a bit of wave, but not really any crimp to it, is very light reflective (lustrous) and it’s filthy with bits of VM (Veggie-matter). I selected a small handful of the least dirty and brought it upstairs to the bathroom sink to wash.

6-7 – I used a little plastic storage basket with holes as the washing container and drying rack. It’s not perfectly clean, but it’s a lot better than the before picture I forgot to take.

8 – Photo Reference OH No what is that center part?!!

While that was drying at the edge of the sink I went back to look at the Iris reference pictures. Petals; three upper (check), Three lower (check), what are those things in the center sticking up between the upright petals? They are not in the paper iris pattern pieces!! They’re right behind the beards, I looked at more reference photos and found some were very prominent indeed! https://www.walking-p-bar.com/shopsite/media/graphicp/Stitch-Witch.jpg & https://www.americanmeadows.com/media/catalog/product/i/r/irishemstitched_2.jpg?quality=80&bg-color=255,255,255&fit=bounds&height=&width=

So while I wait for the mohair to dry,  I start making the shape I think I am seeing.

9 – (Those of you with delicate sensibilities may want to avert your eyes to the next couple of pictures, which show the knotty bits of the iris flower!)

10-11 – Can you see the sneaky way I held together the three parts as I assembles this delicate bit?

12-13 Adding wire to the central part of the flower

I started to adhere the sections together, then added a wire with a short turn back in the center of the core and finished felting the center.

By now, the Mohair was close to dry and it was time to affix it to the lower petals. I checked the reference photos and promised no ZZ Top Beards this time.

The goal is to have that bristle brush look at the end that I wanted. I considered pile weaving, loops of weft area fixed to the ground fabric then cut to produce a pile or velvet-like surface. I bet I can do that with wool! (ok, goat)

 14 – adding the beard

I started with a thin strand of mohair fibres. I started at one end of the lock and focused on tacking down loops of the mohair. I worked with the needle at an almost horizontal angle and from various directions, to keep the Beard fibres from showing on the other side. (the needle in the picture is just holding the fibre in place for the photo) if you find that the mohair is resisting entanglement in the felt try adding a bit of the base petal wool between the loops like a staple to help tack it down. It will only take a little wool to do the tacking and you may not need it. Most of my needle insertion is working across the mohair, and the petal, first from one direction, then from the opposite. Once secure I would create a loop in which I used the same technique to tack down.  I made all the loops a bit taller than what I thought I would like so I could trim them to the height I wanted.

15 – I checked the photos online to get the average positioning of the beard.

I worked from near the throat of the petal (the narrow end with the wire) to the point just after where the upper and lower petals separate in the flower.

16 –  what a messy-looking beard!

When I had the Mohair loops to the height and density I thought I wanted, it was time to find one of the fine pairs of scissors. I wound up using both the strait and curved scissors to open the loops, then trim them to the shape and height I required.

17-18 – Beard added to lower petals and trimmed

Now I have three upper petals, three lower petals with beards and the core sexy bits. Shall we put them together?

19 – Again, using photo reference I checked the positioning between the petals, as I positioned the upper petals to the core

20-21 – Adding the next petal I blended the base into the center core. One more top petal to go then recheck the poisoning.

22- The first lower petal is attached and about to add the second

The lower petal falls between the two upper petals and the beard is center to the innermost bit. Above, I am about to position the second lower peddle the first lower petal is to the right and can be seen just above the blue fake clover tool.

23 – Positioning the final lower petal

I started to add the wool over the under flower and stem getting the base layer and some of the colour on in time to take it with me to the market to show Ann and get feedback on how it was coming.

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24-27 – Ann checking out the flower

The next step will be adding the final colour layer to the stem and finishing the colour layer on the leaves. But first, the Blackberries are almost ready and the Raspberries need picking! So we will finish off the Iris in another post. Have fun Keep Felting and Don’t forget to check your raspberries!!!

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28-30 Red Raspberry and Black Berries (and under-ripe blackberries with clematis flowers)

 

Felted Iris Flowers Part 2.1

Felted Iris Flowers Part 2.1

(Felting in adversity)

My plans for this post were to tell you about making the leaves, touching up the upper petals and adding the beard to the lower ones then maybe even showing you the final assembly of the iris flower.

Well, that plan went out the window with the arrival of the GIANT storm that hit Ottawa. We had the sky turn black, high winds and hail followed by a sudden lack of power. The storm was not too long in duration but the aftermath was impressive. We were fine but around us there were trees down and one even smote a bus!! (What rude thing did the bus say to the storm?  Only the driver was on the bus and was not hurt.)

1-2 Three houses away is the transit-way where the bus and tree had an altercation.

3

This was the cherry tree across the street and 3 house down. A lot of its small branches were in my driveway.

4 (5 houses away) two houses down the side street from the cherry tree this huge tree twisted and dropped on the house.

After the storm we had no power for 6 days. The house seemed quite dark even in daylight. I tried to work at my computer desk for the few hours in the afternoon that it had direct sunlight. This did not give a long window for felting so I focused on garden spring cleanup and setting up the outside studio!

5-6  Afternoon felting at the woefully dead computer(no power is no fun for electronics)

I lay down the base and added the wire and highlight greens for the Iris leaves.

I had two ways to check for thin spots, the first was by feel (Palpation) and the second was by looking through the leaf toward the window. Both worked well to give a more consistent thickness to the leaf.

7 Looking for thin spots by using the window light

After a couple of days of no power, I had finished 3 audio books and my iPod was almost out of power!  There was an electronic charging station not too far away but parts of the roads were still closed some from fallen trees and some from construction. So plan B was lets listen to the news in the car and charge the iPod and my (again dead) phone at the same time. Humm…. I wonder if I can felt in the car….

8 My KIA Soul survived the storm with only a few new decorative leaves stuck to it. (We were very lucky!)

9-11 that would be a yes to felting on the steering wheel (No I was not driving! Just sitting in the driveway).

I don’t think this will catch on as a great felting location, at least not on the driver’s side of the car. I also learned, from the radio, that the power company expected to have most of the houses without power back on within 2 to 4 days and a few more days for difficult locations (with fingers crossed I whispered “please don’t be a difficult house!!”).

I quickly discovered another problem in this lack of power. All my reference photos were on the computer!! No problem, go check the peach iris in the backyard……oh there is bud damage and there still in bud! (no flowers to look at as reference!) OK, no problem keep working on the leaves!

12 Iris with dub damage.

On the positive side the lilac are in full bloom and smell heavenly!

13 pink Japanese lilac

The next day is gray, overcast and Rain, lots of rain (no! I do not want to do wet felting!) so I have to wet-poof my outside studio. 3 clear plastic table cloths, 1 pack of blue plastic close pegs, a pair of scissors and the broken umbrella I hoped we mite be able to fix and I had a reasonably drip poof work area! (no wet felting for me today),not that there is anything wrong with wet felting I just was enjoying dry felting and was trying to prolong the enjoyment.

14 Outside studio partly wet proof, I found another drip and added the third sheet of plastic.

15 third piece of plastic did the trick and the drip is averted!

16 Yes, it’s still raining but I am working on Iris leaves in drip-proof happiness.

17 making thin firm felt by needle felting in not fast but I am vary happy with the Thin aspect of the leaves!

I got this far and it was time to go pull books for the guilds next library day (which will be the day this is posted.)

18 the OVWSG studio where the guilds library is. (Ruth’s Book is one of the ones that will be going out this month! It’s a fabulous resource thanks Ruth!!!) all the requested books have been pulled and the library is ready for Sunday.

I am just back and have been busy at our first Guild demo since covid hit. But I will tell you about that and hopefully finishing this Iris project next week. Have fun and keep felting.

 

Community Art Installation

Community Art Installation

I was asked by my local community arts centre to run a felting workshop to contribute ‘something’ to a community art installation to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s forthcoming platinum jubilee.  The wonderful Horsebridge Community Arts Centre in Whitstable is creating a ‘tea party with a twist’: everything will be hand-made and not necessarily from the usual materials.  Think papier mâché teacups and crocheted sandwiches.  The Horsebridge received a grant from Arts Council England to create their installation which meant participation was free but I would get paid to run the workshop – a win-win!

I mulled over what the ‘something’ might be and decided to run a workshop making wet felted flowers as table centre pieces.

I decided early on to take my colour inspiration from the Commonwealth flag – royal blue and golden yellow. This would reduce the choices people would have to make (which often take a long time!) and would be a change from the red, white and blue of our national flag.

I’ve not made flowers before so set about designing something that was as simple as possible to make. The creators were unlikely to have any felting experience and we were going to do this in 2½ hours – both demonstrate and make.

By now my friend Sue (a ceramicist) had agreed to run another workshop making slab pot vases for the flowers to sit in, so they needed to stand in a vase. I took some wool away on a trip with me and started trying out designs.

Prototype One: a loopy sort of flower made by laying out 5 separate petal shapes of wool (herring-bone style layout) then felting them together with a little wool in the middle.

I thought it was OK but getting the petals even was a little challenging and we’d have to use wire for the stems. I wasn’t sure they’d sit very well in vases and I generally thought I could do better, so moved on to my second design.

Prototype Two: I liked this a little better. It was laid out in a flat circle and the petals were cut part-way though fulling. It seemed pleasingly tulip-shaped. I wasn’t content to settle quite yet, though, as I had a few other ideas to try out.

Prototype Three: a more complex design laying out one larger circle of wool then covering it with a circular resist with a hole in the middle and laying out a smaller circle of wool on top of the resist, ensuring the two layers joined together through the hole.  Not surprisingly, I realised that this was going to be way too complicated to create in the time available. The fulling took a long time. I did like the blue edging on the petals though so carried this through to the next sample.

Prototype Four: I wanted to try adding a felt rope stem so it would sit nicely in a vase without using wire so needed a fairly simple flower shape if there was going to be time to add the stem to the design.  I made a felt rope in blue, keeping one end dry and fluffy to attach to the flower head.  The head was laid out in a single yellow layer, radiating out from the centre, in a similar way to prototype 2. I joined the stem as I wetted down the wool and covered it with a piece of bubble wrap with a hole in the middle for the stem to poke through.  This would prevent the body of the stem felting to the flower.

Once the flower and stem were at prefelt stage and the stem was securely attached, I picked up the flower by the stem and rolled it closed, mostly between my palms, to shape it into a 3D rather than flat flower.

Yes, this seemed just about do-able within the time and was reasonably simple for inexperienced felters to make.  If anyone ran out of time they could skip the petal-cutting stage and make a cone-shape flower so they wouldn’t have to heal all the edges and shape every individual petal.

By the time I got back to my studio the right coloured wool had arrived, along with some yellow tussah silk.  I already had blue and yellow nepps so I could set about refining my prototype.  A few design changes: I decided we’d run a second layer of wool just around the outside of the flower head circle as this would give the petals a bit more body.  Second, I’d add add nepps to the centre and a few strands of silk to the petals. Here’s the new layout.

And here’s the finished flower: advanced prototype 4!

Yes, I was pleased with the improvements and fairly confident the flowers would sit comfortably in their vases. I parcelled out the wool, nepps and silk and gathered together all the equipment ready for the workshop. It took a while!

Normally I teach a maximum of 8 people at a time but as this was a small make I rather recklessly committed to 16 – thinking I could have 2 people per table. Not a problem until I started to seek out 16 towels and 16 mats…..but it seems my hoarding tendencies came good! Cutting out 32 pieces of bubble wrap (16 of which needed a hole cutting in the middle) and 16 pieces of net started to feel like I was on a production line. Happily, though, I got everything together just in time for the day of the workshop.

Here’s the teaching room at the Horsebridge with everyone setting to work – a lovely light, airy and spacious room with people well spaced-out.

A couple of work in progress shots

And lots of happy felters with their beautiful creations.

The workshop seemed to go well and we produced plenty of flowers to add to the installation. I made sure people took photos of their own flowers as they can collect them after the event, if they want to.

Here’s most of them gathered at the end of the workshop.

Lessons: we needed more time! It’s hard to estimate how long it will take to demonstrate something and for people then to make it.  I’d opted for 2½ hours but with hindsight should have gone for 3.  I’ve left myself quite a lot of ‘finishing off’ to do – to make sure stems are firm enough for example – before the flowers go into the installation in early June. I could wrap the floppier stems in florists wire but I’d prefer them to be fully felted. It also took me way longer than I’d realised both to develop the prototypes and prep all the materials. Happily I was able to put the time in and I’m now fully ready for any future flower felting opportunities!

The installation is from 2 June and I’m really excited to see how it all comes together and how the flowers fit in. I took part in a couple of the other workshops: making slab pot vases and monoprint doilies. There’s something really joyous for me in taking part in a community art project and the Horsebridge have done a wonderful job in involving lots of people in the installation. As well as a series of workshops, they’ve sent out lots of making kits for people who can’t get to the centre to make things and worked really hard to involve lots of different members of the community. If you’re interested in the end result I’m sure the Horsebridge Arts Centre will post photos so here’s a link to their website. https://thehorsebridge.org.uk/ and a big thanks too to Arts Council England for providing the project funding. https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/.

Felted Iris Flowers Part 2

Felted Iris Flowers Part 2

Last week we got the petals to the point they were firm and reasonably thin. As I promised let’s look at the new equipment I am about to use.

I ordered a felting pad for ironing. it is a little firmer than the white felting mat I was just trying out. I also ordered the clover craft iron II (with accessories). I spotted it on at a lower price than I had seen it in previous weeks so ordered it. Checking on the day it arrived it was up in price over 10.00, while today the price is back down to 2.00 more than I got it for! Prices are acting very strangely lately.

Let’s look at the Felt Ironing Mat first.

23 Wool ironing mat “14″x14″ Wool Pressing Mat for Quilting”

Yesterday I found out some felters are using these ironing pads as felting mats. Ironing mats, (about .5 inch thick) are thinner than the 1 to 1.2 inch felting mats. The ironing pad is a bit firmer than the white felting mat. It arrived folded, with instructions that include “do not fold”. If I use it as a chair pad I will likely flatten it quickly, but I tried it in its present state. It is about half an inch thick. I measured the white wool mat at about an inch thick. The grey wool mat was about an inch and a quarter. (See Photo below)

24 comparing thicknesses

25 (Ironing mat, White wool mat, Grey wool mat)

I did a brief test with the bad sheep picture. This would let me check the end feel of the needle entering the ironing pad, which is quite resistant but does work.

26 needle test of the ironing felt mat

I suspect using the ironing mat may increase the strain on the arm/wrist/finger muscles with prolonged enthusiastic (stabbing) use for felting. I do not like ironing except for before sewing projects, so I am unlikely to injure myself using this as an ironing pad. This thought may come back to haunt me……

The Clover mini iron II and accessories came with a lot of instructions and diagrams. i read them over when they arrived then put everything away in a nice little box.

27  Clover Mini Iron II

28  I found a plastic box at Dollerama to keep the Iron and its attachment options in.

The iron is usually used with appliqué by quilters. The various attachments will get into small corners and the ball attachment will accentuate dishing shapes. The Iron is designed to flatten and smooth the surface of the felt, more like the commercial hot press felts.  It may be interesting to try starches or misting with this too. (oh no a distracting thought escaped!)

There are other similar-looking devices which are used for Auto body repair and another for taking wrinkles out of leather goods (shoes, bags etc.). Check the temperature range on each type, you don’t want to scorch your felt.

One last thing to remember about the mini iron, from what I have read online, it is very important to keep the iron rest, (the plastic and wire thing that supports the iron tip), somewhere you will not lose it. I read many warnings that this part can mysterious disappearance and happens frequently.

Tiny Craft iron time!

Ok, now I am ready for the next step that I skipped with the prototype.

 29 I plugged in the iron and waited for the iron to heat up

After a couple of minutes, I tried it on the prototype. Hum it doesn’t seem to be hot yet. The wool is not warm? I wonder if it’s working? Did I get a broken one? Let me check…Ooops! OWW! No, it’s hot now.

30  I guess this means the Iron is not broken. Owwww.

I carefully ironed each petal, first the prototype then the new petals I had made. There was a bit of thinning visible. I will have to try pressing a bit harder but i didn’t want to scorch the wool. Next flower I will try to get a wire that is closer to the petal colour since the black and green floral wires are still slightly visible, at least in the photos.

31 Carefully ironing the petals

I took them in to show Ann on Library day. It was not as busy as we had hoped so Ann got her dry felting experiment done and I showed her skinny petals.

32-33 Ann inspects the thinness. She said she had not anticipated them to be so firm.

There was one more step I had skipped in the instructions for making a rose from Tjarda’s Workshop.  She had very carefully trimmed any fluffy, flyaway edgings on her petals. I recently purchased a few more variations on curved bladed scissors. I selected one with a short curve to the blade that seemed to fit the petal and started trimming. I think I was a bit more enthusiastic than Tjarda but did get all the fluff removed and smoothed the curves.

34 trimming the edge fluff

35 close up of scissor blade curvature

36 Here is a before (R) and after (L) petal.

After trimming, I tugged gently on the edge of the petal to give a bit of the frill. The tugging is along the length of the edge.

The next step will be adding the last details to the iris petals and then assembly! But that will be another time, I have a bit more library work to do. So, while I am off doing that I hope you are enjoying spring and getting a chance to have fun felting.

Update; we seem to have had a week of mid-summer weather (not so good for the spring flowers). This weekend we made a trip to the first biggish Fiber Festival which was only a 3-hour drive away in Peterborough Ont!  It was so good to be able to feel fibre in person! if you are interested I took a few pictures (121 actually) but promise I won’t inflict them all on you! I am sorry I did not get a picture of the beaver we saw sitting in the grass beside the highway (i was driving) I thought it was only a groundhog as we approached but saw the distinctive tail as we passed. What a fun Saturday! I hope you are enjoying your weekend too!

Felted Iris Flowers Part 1

Felted Iris Flowers Part 1

This week, I am back to working on felted flowers between Library work. I have the last bit of data I needed for my year-end report (so I had better take a moment to fill that in and send it off to the guild executive). Now that is done I can get back to Felting.

A few weeks ago, I watched a workshop given by Tjarda van der Dussen. She made rose petals that were wonderfully thin. Next, she used a tiny craft iron to flatten them further. Then finally, she assembled them, adding leaves to the stems, into a life-like Rose.

I made a prototype of iris petals (https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2022/04/14/inspired-to-felt-an-iris-prototype/) but did not yet have a tiny iron to try that part of her instructions. The prototype iris proved that the pattern I had found online made a reasonably accurate bearded iris.  I gave it a ZZ top beard, not a respectable Gotee but I was having fun and it was a prototype.

1 Prototype iris testing the pattern

I am very fond of irises, I think they may be my favourite flowers. (if only they flowered longer!)  I have had different colours, but most are of the large bearded variety.  The frilly peach one in the backyard, came with us from the townhouse we rented before I bot this little house.  (My house is a semidetached bungalow, so I guess technically it is only half a house.) The location was good, and the yard was about twice as big as a townhouse with more room for plants, so I bought it. The house came with a dieing red maple tree, which I could put my hands around.  The first spring I added a garden to the front yard with the unhappy tree. Unfortunately when I watered the front garden the mostly dead red maple grew and over the next few years became a heavy shade-producing tree, thus all the sun-loving plants I had planted were not impressed. My back yard will likely have the same fate since there is now a rapidly growing red maple in the yard behind me, which will eventually shade a lot of my yard too. (Don’t tell my plants!!)

So let’s look at a few Iris from my garden over the years. I hope they will inspire you too.

2 Bronz and White iris

The bronze Iris is quite hardy but is not as flashy as some of the blues, or as delicate as the frill-edged peach. The white is also quite delicate in looks and does not flower every year.

3-4 Frill-edged Peach Iris

The frill-edge Peach is particularly showy but has been known to face plant since the flower is large and the stem is long. I have to remember to tie it up before it falls over this year.

5 I have two of the smaller varieties of iris,  this smaller variety, and an early dwarf spring clump that is an even darker blue dark.

I have had several iris in the front yard that have slowly died back and disappeared as both my tree and the neighbour’s Linden tree continued to grow and make shade. Some have been quite spectacular and I am sorry they did not last.

6 Fancy Iris

My backyard iris have fared better but were threatened with shade from an over-enthusiastic grapevine last year. (There will be a discussion of boundaries involving sheers shortly with said vine.)

7 backyard iris

I have even grown some, through the summer, in pots to good effect.

8 Iris in pots

On to the next (felt) iris.

I tried World of Wool core wool with the bit of kemp on the first petal. Laying out the general shape then adding a bit of the mixed blue merino braid I had used before for edging colour.

9 laying out the fibre

10 adding the blue edging

I used the T-36 to tack it in the general area, leaving some hanging off the edge of the petal to add to the underside when I flipped the petal.  I switched to the fake clover tool to imbed the blue fibre into the white. I realized I had forgotten to add the wire to pose the petal so added it now then back to poking.  I flipped frequently and found that if I worked a bit deeper I would transfer some of the blues to the other side giving a better mottle.

I worked one side and then the other side until the petal was the correct shape but not as thin as I wanted.

11 switching to the fake clover tool

I left the first petal at this point and started a second, this time using a small batt I had purchased from Wabi Sabi in Ottawa. It was a Rambouillet/ Merino mix batt, that had a nice crimp but was not quite as lustrous as the core wool.

12 Batt of Merino- Rambouillet

I did the same layout of fibre poking at a low angle along the edge of the pattern piece to get the shape required.

13 when I had the fibre holding together (not good felt but it was not falling apart) I added the wire.

14 adding wire through the center

After making more petals I may role the tip end as well as make a long role back just so it won’t poke up into the flower petal. Again, I added the blue to the edge and wrapped it over the edge of the petal, taking down the fibres with the 36T and then using the fake clover tool with the 40t’s.

15 adding the blue edging

Comparing the two petals, I decided to continue with the small batt of Rambouillet /merino.

16 comparing the two types of wool in the petals

  17  I suspect that this type of foam mat may be demoted back to a garden kneeling pad.

A couple of days earlier Ann had spotted another wool felting mat on Amazon. It was white and similar in size to the grey one I purchased and reviewed recently. This one was described as; “KEO ST. Needle Felting Pad – 100% New Zealand Wool Mat for Precision Felting. Natural Cream Color, 10” x 8” x 1” – Complete with 2 Handmade Leather Finger Guards”. (that was a mouthful lets just call it the white wool mat.

I also ordered a “14″x14″ Wool Pressing Mat for Quilting” so I would be ready to use the “Clover Mini Iron II-The Adapter Set” which I had ordered when it went on sale earlier. (It’s back up to an exorbitant price again.)

18 the new white felting pad (it came with more finger cots!)

19 let’s try it out

So let’s try this one out. It is much firmer felt than the gray wool with kemp felting mat. It is still softer to work into than the firm red foam. It does not leave little bits of red foam in the felt. Unlike the softer grey wool with kemp mat, it had no aroma. Both seem to be made in layers that are commercially needle felted together. The needle end-feel on the white is firmer than the grey but still less than the red kneeling foam. I did find I had some fibre transfer but I was trying to move the blue colour from one side of the petal to the other. The fibre transfer to the mat would have been less if I had not wanted to work so deeply. (a reverse needle would have been able to pull fibre from one side to the other too.)

I have recently seen the use of a thinner piece of firm felt placed over a mat to protect the mat from getting fibre transfer. Sort of like putting a mattress topper on top of a mattress to make it more comfortable and longer waring.  (not the type of mattress that has a built-in top since you cant flip them only rotate them they tend not to last as long as the un-pillow-toped mattresses. Sorry got distracted. Back to felt!) I may try to track down a light and a dark piece of firmer felt about a ¼ inch thick to try as a cover for my felt pads. I could see it extending the life of the mat, whether or not it works to keep fibre colour transfer from your work.

As long as you are lifting frequently and flipping the petal I found both the white (stiffer end feel) and the Grey (softer end feel) wool pads comfortable to work on.  They would be comfortable to work a picture on (again lifting frequently) or to use as a working surface for a sculpture.

I worked on the larger lower petals and then worked on the smaller upper petals.

20-21  using the needle at a low angle and moving the tinning fibre towards the center of the petal

My focus was to work as thin as I could while still creating a firm felt. I found that working around the edge with the multi-tool tended to spread the shape while it thinned the felt. I would alternate multi-tool to flatten then switch to a single needle working more horizontally towards the center to counter the spread. The pattern piece was helpful to check the size and get it back into the correct shape.

The other technical detail to consider is about the wire within the petal. I have quite a bit of experience felting with armatures. Very occasionally working needles through the wool and around wire I will brake one. It is usually when I start to try to work too quickly or I am distracted (trying to watch YouTube rather than listen to an audiobook).  Working with such thin felt defiantly requires more care and less speed. In the center of the petals where the wire is located, I found I had problems with the fake clover multi-tool and broken needles. I eventually shifted to focusing the multi-tool to thin the edges and the single needles to work near the wire and reshape the petals. This improved the longevity of my needles.

I worked the petals in stages. First holding together enough to insert the wire, then to the point it was the correct size and shape but not firm enough, then finally going back over each petal until it was the firmness I wanted and about the correct shape.

22 comparing thinness

The petal on the right is the basic petal shape which has been worked long enough to hold its shape.  For the petal on the left, I have continued to work with both the multi-tool and the single needle to the point of being quite a firm felt. If the felt was this dense but thicker (more of it) the light gauge of wire I am using would not be strong enough to hold a shape against the strength of the wool. I tried floral wire gauge 20 and an undesignated floral wire that I think maybe 24gauge.  I continued working with the other petals until all seemed to be as thin as I could get them.

Next week we will look at the new equipment that has arrived so i can continue working on these petals.

 

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