I have moved forward a little on my tree limb. I decided to go with a grey sky as a background so that I had more choice with colour.
I added a branch in brown It isn’t as flat a brown as it looks in the picture but I think I need to add a different brown to it. I will work on that.
Then I sketched the branch to think about colours. I decided on an orange central vein. That is probably not the right name for it but it is what I can think of to call it. Then a purple fuzzy haze with flowers in it. and some idea of budding leaves.
So far people here like the pink ones. I am not sure. Which ones do you like?
After searching my stash for another brown to go with my branch I had nothing. So it was good timing that there was a fibre event near me called For the Love Of Fibre. This is its second year. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167963160700589
I was looking for brown but it seems I turned the wrong way went in and ended up in Top of the Whorl Spindles https://www.facebook.com/katspindles She had no brown wool but she had these amazing sample boxes that are just the right size for me.
I wandered around and stopped at the Black Lamb https://theblacklamb.ca/ They have lots of wool but not the right brown so I got a piece of Black Felt (it’s more than prefelt but less than felt) It is thicker than the prefelt or felt you typically see. In the picture, it looks like there are lots of white hairs in it but that is just what it picked up in the stack of prefelt. I think if I run the lint roll over it, it will be good. They also gave me a size 40 spiral needle to try out.
Then after doing a full circuit of the room just to the right of the entrance, there was Farfelu Fibreworks https://farfelufibreworks.ca/ and she had the perfect brown. It is a little darker than it appears in the picture but lighter than the pencil roving in the picture with it.
It is Finnish wool so I was surprised at how soft it was. I asked her later and it is a lamb fleece. I asked people at the guild social to guess what it was I got superfine merino, alpaca and angora as guesses. I will have to see how it wet felts as well as needle felting. I think I will be wanting more so naturally she lives on the other side of the province. Oh well, maybe we can get her to come for our guild Sale and Exhibition in November.
I have been thinking about my spring tree for the 2nd quarter challenge. I have decided I will not try to make my tree a real tree but an imagined one. That will give me more scope to play. I did some thinking and the best way to show flowers will be to do a close-up of a branch. I did some sketching on my pad for that. I am not a very good drawer but I think it’s not a bad branch.
I’ve decided I want some long, hanging flowers.
Next, it was off to the internet to look at long, hanging flowers. I think I know how I want to do them.
Then I had to have a good rummage to find the felt I used last time. How do things become lost so quickly? Well, I know really, I don’t put things away. 🙂 I did find it, and some felt I had forgotten about. I will try not to lose it again. It is just a white rectangle at the moment. I am trying to decide if I leave it that way or if I felt it light blue for the sky. I am not sure.
That’s as far as I am at the moment. We are working on clearing things that don’t belong out of my studio. I need to rearrange in the house, to get another piece out. Another job for the list.
After some final fiddling with the width of the trunk and shadow and adding a little red bird for interest, I decided I am done with the winter tree.
Next is spring so I have to figure out what kind of tree I made. I wasn’t thinking of a particular tree when I started the experiment in making a tree. Here is the original tree experiment post. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2023/02/22/an-experiment-thinking-about-the-year-long-challenge/ After doing some picture searches I think it is most like an Oak tree. The other option was a Maple but the bark on a Maple is quite grey and Oaks have much more brown and textured bark. Naturally, neither of these makes the kind of flowers that pop into your head when you say tree in bloom. They make droopy green (sometimes red) tassels. Maples make maple keys and Oaks make acorns. What kind of tree do you think it is? I may decide it is a fantasy tree so I can make blossoms anyway. What do you think?
The other exciting thing Jan told you about too. I got my Package from Georgia (Russian Federation whether they like it or not).
Here are some unboxing pictures.
I was surprised it was all assembled. Jan had some assembly required with hers. The other fun thing is it is purple and has a cute little bee. It has 4 what look to be size 36 felting needles in it. It holds 4 of them.
Purple and a bee are all very well but how does it work? It took a little experimenting on how where to hold the machine in relation to the felt surface to get the best felting. It worked well but it is hard to engage all the barbs on such a long course needle. We decided to switch out my big needles for one of the smaller crown needles. This also helps with a comparison of Jan’s machine to mine as hers only holds one. I like it. It is bigger than Jan’s and I like hers too. I like the Chinese one the least. A lot of that is the way you hold it. It is a much slower machine and we all know that patience is not one of my stronger qualities. One thing I would recommend is that you get an awl or sewing stiletto or something similar to use to hold new fibres down so you are not getting your finger so close to the machine. Unless you have long talons like Jan for doing such things.
In this last picture, you can see how much ( the white fibres) gets punched through when you fully engage all the barbs of the large 36 triangle needles and how big the holes are even when you only engage the first barbs( yellow fibres).
You will get to hear about the rest of the testing later. Jan is making a chart and doing some analyzing of data. Better her than me. 🙂
I picked a piece or felt I had and added the sky and snow backgrounds. I used 3 shades of natural white wool for the snow so that it wasn’t so flat. I used Merino, Corriedale and something strong and shiny. the shiny wool may have been BFL or even Mohair.
Then I started working on the tree. I worked on a separate surface so as not to disturb the background too much as it is only lightly needle felted. I decided to work in two layers for the tree so this is the darker back layer. I started by just fluffing it up and then using a knitting needle to move fibres around to get a better tree shape. then gave it a dry felting ( just flattening and wiggling it a bit so the fibres stick together) to move it onto the background.
I picked a redder brown for the second layer. I forgot to take a picture of it when it was separate. I must have been in the felting zone. I put the tree slightly off-center. I tried it in the middle and I didn’t like it.
Here’s a close-up so you can see the 2 layers
I poked the tree all over to tack it in place and started fiddling with the roots, so it won’t fall over in the wind.
and some more snow
And that was as far as I am right now. I will probably fiddle with it more before wet felting it and then fiddling more, of course. I am thinking of adding a shadow but not sure how to tackle it. I am not sure where the sun is. I may have to go out to the field and look at shadows.
Have you started your tree challenge or maybe you’re going with making something useful or both?
We would all like to see photos of challenge pieces and if you are unable to upload photos directly onto The Felting and Fiber Forum ‘studio challenges’ thread, then please use the link below.
One of this year’s challenges is divided into the 4 seasons. A tree in each of the four seasons. Now I like evergreens so I could have cheated and made the same identical evergreen 4 times but thought that was a bit too easy. I had seen online someone say they had been shown how to do a tree by Andrea Hunter, Creating Felt Picturesblackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/ It’s a great little book. What I saw was just a picture of the finished layout. I thought I can figure that out. That was months ago. On Monday I finally gave it a try.
Monday was a Holiday here, so I gathered up my supplies and headed into the guild to meet Jan. We were going to do our felting machine comparison so she could blog about it and I wanted to try making the tree.
I brought a new rolling mat I had just picked up because it had a nice little lip to help me keep things dry. I was not going to need a lot of water. I used some prefelt for the background and some black merino for the tree.
I decided to do the first one quickly and without any fiddling around. I just held the trunk portion firmly and fluffed out the rest. Part of what I wondered was: would the rolling cause movement that would make some thicker branches?
I think it would have been better if I had taken out the two blobs in the branches but I was quite pleased and if I would going to lay some green over it to make a summer tree it would have been fine.
Next, I tried wetting the prefelt and the black wool to see if it would spread out any better but it was so terrible I just pulled it off and tossed it before I even started. It would make a good start for a flower.
I squeezed most of the water out of the prefelt and got some new black. I also grabbed a knitting needle to manipulate the wool. the wool picked up moisture from the wet prefelt and that made it easier to have the wool stay where I wanted it.
This is much better I fiddled around with making bigger branches and trying to make it look less like a small child drew it. I was quite happy with it and decided to add a little mixed brown wool for some texture and Jan suggested adding a thin haze of green to give it a spring haze look like just before the trees get their leaves.
I am quite happy with how it turned out. I like the way the thicker trunk area kept some of its 3dness( I am sure that’s not a real word) You know, they stick up a bit. The trunk needs work but I think this will work well for the challenge. Now I need to go shopping for some brown wool or I need to get on with some dying. I have almost nothing in the way of brown wool.
Oh, and since Jan is always posting pictures of me I thought I would share one of her in her octopus hat at the Chesterville Spin-In a few weeks ago.
I have finally finished my stitching. I think it is definitely slow stitching. last time I had done a practice branch to see how it would go. /2023/01/13/stitching-some-trees/
I wanted to add some snow but felting onto the cotton wasn’t good. and yarn didn’t look right. So I thought, why not make it on some felt and then you can needle on some snow. The branch worked out really well. I do love stitching on felt.
Then I tried to add snow. Nope, it looked terrible. Sorry, no picture and no snow. I was a bit discouraged and was going to give it up as a bad job and then I thought I’d come this far, I should finish the piece.
And here is the finished piece. I used an app that takes out the real background and then you can add a nicer background.
All in all not a bad project with no real purpose other than to slow stitch. I had thought I was doing part of the first quarter challenge but on re-reading it I see I should do the same tree in each season and using an evergreen seems a bit like cheating. I have another idea. I saw a picture of making a tree that looked like it would work well so I am planning to give it a try. so hopefully soon I can show you.
And one last thing as it is valentines day in a couple of days I made a heart.
I am continuing with my slow(very slow) stitching. I have accidentally done part of the first-quarter challenge. Last time I showed you my tree trunk. Next, I got some of my handspun to make the evergreen part.
I pulled a lighter green first. it was much too light. I switched to t a much darker green that works much better. it is a thicker yarn too, which I think works better.
The practice one worked out well so onto the good ones.
The trunk on this one ended up a bit fat but I don’t mind
And the third one
And this is how it looks now
I like it so far but I am not sure what to put in the blank corner. I thought maybe a branch so I did a test one. I may try to add some cones or snow. I am not sure what kind of tree it looks like. What do you think? what would you put there?
A wonderful 4-week holiday in Australia, Christmas markets and hosting lots of family visitors mean I’ve done very little news-worthy felt-making since my last Felting & Fiber Studio blog. ‘Production felting’ is my own term for making lots of similar things for shops and markets. I did a fair bit of this in November and December: mostly printed tea light holders, printed wool ‘pebbles’ and Christmas cards. These were my 2022 cards: handmade felt with hand-printing. I extracted the tree from a larger, royalty-free, public-domain image and added the heart before printing onto fine flat felt.
I sold these through various outlets and sent a small number myself.
I’ve enjoyed making felt ‘pebbles’ for some years. Since learning to print on felt from Lindsey Tyson, I’ve been able to adapt photos of some of my Mum’s watercolour paintings to print onto the pebbles.
Alas, I left the base alone for a long time during a pandemic lockdown and it was attacked by moths. In a way, being eaten by moths was rather fitting: lifecycles in real life, but the moth holes meant I ended up cutting it up to make bookmarks (after some very hot washing). I did, however, recently sell the tree stump on its own and it now lives in Canada.
Pondering future projects for the tree challenge: I have a very tall, beautifully coloured ‘silver dollar’ eucalyptus tree in my garden.
The eucalyptus tree has potential for lot of other projects, including maybe using the leaves for eco printing onto felt. Eco printing is something I’d like to try, though whether I will get round to it remains to be seen. I don’t recommend any breath-holding for this.
Contemplating Caterina’s quarter-one challenge of making something practical that you can’t buy: one of my favourites is this case I made for my iPad mini. Nuno-felted with sections of recycled sheer silk scarf.
I know you can buy iPad cases but I like that this one is unique and fits perfectly without any fasteners. Because it’s an exact fit, the iPad stays put until you need it, then slides out easily. It’s getting rather battered now as I carry it around all the time so maybe it’s time to make a new one.
Felted vases and plant pots are also both unique and practical. Here are a few. I like that you can co-ordinate them to your décor, or to a specific plant or flower, or just go for colours and patterns you like.
And finally, here’s something that meets both last year’s challenge to complete some UFOs (un-finished objects) and this quarter’s challenge to make something that you can’t buy.
Here’s a pair of earrings that I started making a while ago using hand-dyed 14.5 micron Merino wool. I incorporated the earring post into the felt and some black sequin fabric inside using resists. These were inspired by the work of Aniko Boros and Judit Pocs.
As you can see, I got quite a long way along, but while I finished fulling the one on the left, I stopped with the right-hand one in the pre-felt stage. I’m not completely sure why: probably it wasn’t quite what I had in mind. But it surely can’t take more than about an hour to finish that one, so I’m promising myself here that I will complete that second earring. The world will be minus one small UFO.
I hope I’ve given you a few ideas about different ways of taking on the challenges. How are people getting on with them? If you make something in response to these or any of our previous challenges, please do post your photos on the forum. We all love to see and be inspired by what other people are making.
It’s that time of the year when I look back over the last year and think, “Whoa where did the time go and what have I gotten done this year?” While I was thinking about writing a round up post of what I had created this year, I remembered our new Community Gallery page. I thought it would be great to feature work from our readers and authors who have submitted photos for our community page. Anyone is welcome to submit a photo and tell us about their work. We will be creating a new page for each year from now on. So I thought if you hadn’t taken a look, you would like to see what others have created this year. If you want to read about how the pieces were made or get further information, you can find it here on our 2022 Challenges Gallery page. Just scroll down to see all the entries.
Caterina P. shared her colorful necklace/neck warmer that she made from items in her stash. She has found it quite warm to wear during the colder months.
This adorable gnome was created and shared by Jessika O. He brings a smile to my face and is perfect for the holidays.
I would like to extend my gratitude to all of our readers and everyone who submitted photos this year. I hope that all of you will consider submitting photos of your work and participating in our quarterly challenges. We love to see what you are creating.
Have a Happy New Year and here’s wishing you a creative 2023!
My local art group doesn’t meet over the summer but we decided to do a collage challenge. The challenge was to create a collage every day using at most 3 pieces of paper and to only take 12 minutes to create the collage. I started the challenge on May 24th and reached my goal of 100 days on September 5th. The hardest issue I had with the challenge was the time restraint. Even with choosing my paper in advance, I had a hard time completing a collage in 12 minutes. So I ignored the time limit but tried to keep it under 30 minutes. No waffling around on how it went together.
Today, I’m showing you some of my favorite collages. There were some that turned out good and others, not so good. But it was a great way to work on color studies, composition and to do something creative to start out my day. If you would like to see all 100 collages, you can check them out on my Instagram account here:
In case you’re wondering, I have a huge plastic tub filled with paper that has been gelli printed, screen printed, hand painted, printed with block prints and whatever other techniques I have done in the past. So I have a wonderful source of papers to use for collage. If you are thinking of trying this challenge, you can use whatever paper sources you have. Many artists use magazine photos, open source online photos, wrapping papers, or whatever they have on hand.
So here are a few of my favorites. You can click on the photos to enlarge if you’d like to see them closer. I had a great time searching through my papers and creating a different collage every day.
Have you tried this type of daily challenge? We’d love to see your results and hear about the challenge. Let me know if you’d like to write a post about a challenge you have participated in.
And speaking of challenges, our third quarter challenge using botanicals as a theme is over at the end of this month. I think a few of my collages meet the guidelines! If you have something botanical to share for the challenge, please submit your photo here.