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Dyeing curls for felted sheep

Dyeing curls for felted sheep

I am getting ready to teach a group how to make felted sheep, Like these I used for a post, quite a while ago.

The class is this evening( Wednesday) so freshly made cute sheep will be next week. I like to use Blue Faced Leicester sheep curls for this as they are nice small curls. I had a few colours but not enough variety.

I had a couple hundred grams of the white so it was time to dye. My usual dye pot is really big. a stock pot. Much too big for this job. YOu will have to trust me on the next part as I forgot to take pictures. I was doing too many things at once. I have a nice large stew pot that isn’t too deep but I want to use it for stew again so I got a metal bowl that could be sacrificed and created a double boiler.  I placed handfuls of soaked white locks into a medium freezer bag. I made up a small amount of dye poured it on top of the locks and topped it up with water until everything was submerged. I  squeezed most of the are out and popped the bag into the water on the top of the double boiler. I did the next colour the same and popped it in as well. I could do 2 at a time.  I made up 3 more colours. the aim was to have dark purple, lilac, lime green, pink and magenta. this method was great. the top edge of the bag was above the water so I could easily pick it up to see if the water was clear. Once clear I took it out and put it aside to cool. this is also a good idea when you dye. to leave the wool in the dye bath until cool, especially if it refuses to take up all the colour. You will usually find that when cooled it often has taken up the extra dye. I have to admit I seldom do this as I need to get the next batch of wool into the dye pot, reusing the dye water. With the small bags, it was easy to put them aside to cool.

This is the result.

Now, you are probably thinking that there seems to be more than one dark purple. That is because I used way too much lilac in the lilac dye bag.  I ended up with the 2 purples in the middle. the top one in truth is quite vibrant and the bottom one more deep with a little lilac leaning wool on one edge. I had hoped it would split giving me a purple and blue mix. There is even a warning on the Dharma chart saying it can split. No such luck, isn’t that always the way?  They looked so much the same when they were wet I did another batch and although it looks kind of dark here on my screen, it is pretty much lilac. I tried to adjust the colour but then the green started to look kinda funky.

So that’s my prep for the class. This is an easy class for me because everything I need fits in one small bin.

I will show you the results next week.



Finishing up my Visor Mirror Cover

Finishing up my Visor Mirror Cover

It has been a busy few weeks getting everything ready for our Guild Sale. Now that’s done and over and I am sure Jan will show you lots of pictures. For me, I found the time to finish embellishing my visor mirror cover. For those that don’t remember the cover on the mirror of my car visor was broken when we bought it. When you flip the visor down while driving the mirror is there. It’s distracting.  I decided it needed a cover. Nothing so simple as making a plain piece of felt to match the visor. That is much too easy. Here is a link to my last post showing how I created the cover.

I have continued on with my stitching. I wanted to use lots of different open background stitches. I didn’t want to cover up anything. I started working on the flower that looked like a superhero in flight.

I thought I better tackle the head next to stop it from looking like a person. I broke it into 2 areas. I think it worked well

Then I did this interesting stitch in the purple. Make 3 parallel lines and then come up in the middle go around all the threads and back down in the middle. I thought it was effective.

Then when I had just about finished everything else I decided to add 3 dots. I am not sure it looks like a flower but it looks a lot less like a superhero.

Next, it was this leaf. I thought I would do small stitches and go all the way around the middle but after a short distance, I didn’t like how the small stitches looked following the line exactly. I ripped them out.


I decided to use more threads and larger stitches and only follow one side.


And around the outside.


I liked it and I am getting very good at outline stitch. It was still a little plain so I added some colonial knots. Also in between I added some stitching to the small leaves. You can see a few in the picture.


I finished off this leaf and was thinking I was done, but…

My hubby said I needed to do the sheep and give him eyes and a nose. I had been going to leave him minimalist. It took 3 tries to get his eyes in the right place and the same size.

Now for the finished piece.

I had thought of cutting off the wonky outline but decided against it. Here it is installed. I used the hook side of some stick-on velcro dots, to attach it to the visor. It is a bit big but if it had been smaller the velcro dots wouldn’t have had a flat surface to stick to. Anyway, I like it and I will definitely do the wet wool technique again.






Structuring Needle – Forks, lets investigate

Structuring Needle – Forks, lets investigate

Today I wanted to have a chat again about needles. After searching “locally” (ok I looked within a couple hours driving distance) with no luck, I looked online and have got my hands on 5 at 42g needles that are new to me. Before we get into checking them out with fibre, I think we should have a quick review of the two main categories of felting needles as they are used in Industry.

5 felting needles with pastic case and card with gauge by colour list 1) A new needle style to add to my needle collection. (Unlike Pokémon you don’t need to catch them all, but it’s fun to try. I do want to acquire an example of each variation of shape. If I can I may try to track down some of the different barb types and placements to compare.)

Felting needles

From previous posts, I am sure you will remember there are two types of needles. The first group that creates the felt, which is quite reasonably called “Felting needles”.  (This group encompass most of the needles in industry and are the ones we use most.) These needles are set in the needle beds of the felting machines and are repeatedly inserted into the non-woven web of fibre to create the felt. In industry, this is all very fast-moving and noisy, for us it is less noisy and hopefully more carefully considered  insertion of a needle into fibre (ok, stabbing!)   In industry, the different working part shapes, as well as barb type and spacing and even the tip chosen will affect the type of felt produced. Some of the factors that the different needles can affect are the tensile strength, uniformity, low damage to fibre within the web and carrier material (ground fabric as well as longevity of the needles in the machines.  With the variations of gauge, working shape, barb shape and location as well as tip types, the needle manufacturer Groz-Beckert (Germany) says it has thousands of different felting needles to choose from.

Structuring needle

The second type of needles, “structuring needles”, are used after the felt has been made by the “felting needles”. Groz-Beckert describes their purpose as “structuring previously bonded nonwoven fabric”.  This means they will be adding a surface texture (velvety, ribbed or grainy) or pattern (geometric or linear) to the nonwoven fabric (felt).  They do this in a different machine than the one that made the felt. The structure machine usually has a brush conveyer, which holds the fibres in place during the needle insertion process so the velours fabric does not distort the uniform loops. This may be where the concept for the clover brush tool came from. It allows the crown needles to make a loop structure.

diagram of Crown needle in structuring machine. 2) Crown needle interacting with felt on brush conveyor surface creating loops   Watch the video here;

diagram of fork needle in structuring machine. 3) Fork Needle interacting with non-woven fabric   Watch the video here;

There are two Structuring needles in Industry, the Crown and Fork needles. when they are used together they will “produce very dense velour fabrics with a uniform surface quality.” Structuring needles make products for the automotive industry, such as floor coverings, foot mats, rear shelves, door and luggage-compartment panels, and headliners.

Crown Needle

The first I have discussed previously is the Crown needle. It has a triangular working shape and has one barb per side located close to the tip. In industry a bed of crown needles, with their shallow barb placement, creates an even and uniform engagement with the fibre, resulting in a homogeneous surface. They are intended to pierce the felt and push a bit of fibre (loop) to the opposite side the needle entered from,  producing the textural element. This is not the way we usually use them, but may be helpful when pushing a colour from one side of a thin structure to another.  Since we are using the needles by hand we can adjust the angle of penetration (shallow) as well as the depth of insertion (just enough to engage the barbs) to isolate the entanglement (felting and insertion of fibre) to one side of a very thin structure. As an example do you remember the iris flower peddles I made?  I was able to add blue to a white petal. Where I wanted I could keep the blue from showing on the other side.

Ann showing thinness of iris petals before assembly felted Iris in sunlight showing how thin petals are and how colour is different on each side of petal4 -4.1) Iris petal, and finished Iris

This is also helpful if you are making ears that have a different colour on the inside and outside of the ear. (As found on mice and other cool creatures)

Although the Crown needle is considered a structuring needle, it is still useful as a speciality needle and worth having in your collection for the occasional time it will be just right. (Now I am thinking about Porridge!)

Fork Needle

The second type of structuring needle is called a Fork it again is used after the felting needles have created the nonwoven fabric. In this case, Fork needles are used, in industry,  to create what is described as “grainy structure”. Fork needles are manufactured in gauges 17–43(Groz-Beckert), although we tend to use a smaller range of gauges in our felting needles.  Online I was able to find Fork needles in gauges 38 to 42, most were on Etsy but I did also check other spots.  Heidifeathers had the good price when I considered the shipping,  but at the time only had them in the extra fine 42 gauge. I would have liked to have found a course one to photograph so you could see the working end clearly.

Fork needles are not like other felting needles. Let us compare and see what makes them so strange.

diagram comparing a felting needle with a fork needle.5) Comparing a Felting needle with a fork-structuring needle

I am sure you will have noticed 2 changes in the Fork needle. First, the point has been replaced by the fork and second that there are no barbs. The working area is smooth and cylindrical. GB said this would give better strength and less breakage but for hand felting the finer gages should still be used carefully to ensure less breakage. You will probably notice that the fork is directional. It is not the same on all sides.

So far, this doesn’t sound too promising for most needle felters. So who is buying these needles (other than industry)?  There are doll makers who make life-like “Reborn” dolls. They need the needle to make a hole, grab a hair then force it into the vinyl head, (Sounds painful). They are using Crown, Triangle and Fork needles. Some of their resellers have renamed the needles; Crowns are now Ultras, Triangles are Regulars and forks are just forks. (poor things,  not getting a fancy second name.)   Fork needles have a notch in the pointed end and have to be aligned correctly with the hair to grab it. For micro-rooting technique, the forked needle at the correct gauge for the fibre being rooted will tend to grab only one hair per insertion. Different gauges or an increased number of barbs for the crown to triangle needles will determine how many hairs you grab as well as the size of the hair.

Doll makers are using either Human hair ranging from 40 to 80 microns, or Mohair and wool ranging from 18 to 39 microns diameter. As we know from needle felting, the depth of the barb determines what size of fibre a needle can grab. The finer the needle, the smaller the barb depth, so, a fine needle had trouble grabbing a fibre that is larger than the depth of its barb. Remember that feeling of “I’m not getting anywhere with this felting needle”, try going to a larger gauge needle so the barb will also be bigger and can grab the fibre more effectively.

Doer Fork Needle, showing forked tip6) Doer 42g Forked needle. This will be similar to the ones I purchased online.

Here is another view of the working end of the Fork needle from the Doer needle company.


diagram showing forked tip and sizes of various gauges of fork needles.7) more info from the working end of the Fork needle, from the Doer Needle manufacturers

So far, we know that the fork needle is a structuring needle, used to create texture on a non-woven fabric (felt). It is a directional notch at the end of the needle. The doll makers have suggested that it will require a specific orientation of the needle to engage the fibre if the fibres are all running in the same direction, as you would see in combed top (or rooting hair). Fibre engagement due to needle orientation should be a little less important if you are using carded roving or batts due to the disorganized nature of the fibre alignment in a carded format some of which should align with the fork orientation. The gauge and thus size of the fork will determine the number of and the size of the fiber it will hold and then transfer into the felt or for the Doll makers the doll’s head. (see table on the diagram above)

Next week will be very busy (but also fun) leading up to the local Weavers and Spinners Guild Show (OVWSG) so I am not sure if I will get a chance to do the hands-on investigation of the fork needles before the next blog post, but I will try.  I am particularly curious about the descriptions of orientation to engage fibre but also about the security of the embedded fibre.  I hope you will share your experience if you have had a chance to try these odd needles. If, as I suspect I am run off my feet next week, I may give you a quick tour of the sale for those who can’t make it to Ottawa!



A lantern for a door prize

A lantern for a door prize

Hi folks. It seems I am running behind as I didn’t know it was Tuesday already. So lots of pictures and not much text today.

My guild Sale and Exhibition is in a couple of weeks and I promised a door prize of a lantern. In reality, it is a glass vase with a cover and fairy lights inside. They are very pretty. You want them to look interesting when they are not lit as well as when they are lit.

So I started out to make a scene. I used bats to save layout time.





And then wrap it around

and then I decided it was still boring so I should add a little village.

I thought the white was too bright so I went will black. I want a hint of a village in the distance. I did one on each side.

In retrospect, I should have gone with white. There would probably have been enough migration of fibres to dull it down a bit. As was predictable if I had thought about it they disappeared. I will shave it later to see if I can get a hint of where they are and add them back. but it can wait as after felting I decided it was way too thick for a lantern. I am definitely out of practice felting. I do like the scrunched-up water and flared sky though.

Try again. this time I am using a nice blue merino top and some orange and gold silk lap. the silk should be interesting enough on its own.

A nice thin layout

and some lovely silk lap

and done, here they are together, silk never shows as nice as it is in a picture.

The light forme the fairy light shines through nicely even with the light on


Much better than the first one

so that’s my adventure in felting this week. I hope you like it, I hope the winner likes their prize.

Forest Floor Beginnings

Forest Floor Beginnings

I went through some of my sketchbooks/workbooks from my prior classes recently and found a few pieces that were inspiring. It’s nice to revisit old work and see if there is something there that will inspire new work.

Paper collage of landscape of forest floor, white flowers and tree trunks in the distance.

Here’s the forest floor collage that I found. I thought that this would make a nice landscape in fiber/textiles. I can’t seem to find the original photo that I used for inspiration so I’m working from the collage.

Multi colored nuno felt background.

Going through my pieces of already made nuno felt, I thought this piece would work. The top right corner made me think of “forest sky” and mottled light, so that’s a good start. The size is 12.5″ wide and 11″ high. Most of you will probably recognize this nuno felt as I have used it for several projects already. But the fun thing with this type of project, is that the background is just the start and the finished pieces will not look alike but would go together well if paired with one of my other pieces.

Next up was to look through my boxes of felt scraps and see if I could find something that would work for the more distant tree trunks. I started with the felt on the left but once I put it down, the value of the tree trunk to the background was too similar and the grey brown wasn’t very “exciting”. The middle felt trunks are actually the opposite side of the trunks on the right. The values were a bit better and I am leaning towards the ones on the right. I am planning on adding some stitched texture to the bark and can add more darkness into the trunks that way. I luckily have enough of this felt to do some sampling and see what kind of stitching will work best. Also, after I uploaded these photos and saw the tree trunks from a distance (smaller photo size), I noticed that it looked like the light was slanting through the trees. I need to remember to leave that lightness in the foreground to give that effect.

Multi colored nuno background with felt tree trunks placed on background and other felt colors being tried for appropriateness to landscape.

I continued to look through my felt scraps and dyed fabric. I found some nice greens, some “fallen trees” or “rocks” and some cheesecloth that will add texture. I kept looking for felt or fabric that would work for the flowers, I couldn’t really find anything that worked. I could felt some small white flowers but I’m not sure it’s worth that effort. The white flower I am showing is cut from watercolor paper (300 pound) and the center is a bit of yellow green cheesecloth. The paper would be simpler as it doesn’t fray and I noticed the contrasting sheen of the paper compared to the matte of the felt. The paper can also be shaped so it is 3D and coming off the surface of the landscape. As you can see in this photo, I have lost that brightness coming through the trees as I have it covered with green. This is just trying out colors and the final layout and shapes of pieces to applique down has not been decided.

Multi colored nuno felt background folded back to show white felt backing behind.

Because the nuno felt is thin, I decided I needed to back it with something a bit heavier to hold the weight of the heavier felt I will be stitching to the front. So I cut a piece of rayon wool commercial felt blend to the same size as the nuno background.

Multi colored nuno felt basted to white felt backing.

Next up was basting these two pieces of fabric together. I don’t always baste but I have found that in general, it’s better to take the time to baste the backing fabric to the background fabric. The integrity of the piece is always better after basting. It holds everything in place and provides support while stitching the foreground items. This is especially true if you are machine stitching as the machine has a tendency to move the nuno fabric in different directions than the backing fabric. Basting rant is now over.

Next, I will be doing some sampling to see how I want to stitch the tree trunks and previewing the green fabrics. More coming soon!



Bat on a stick…..

Bat on a stick…..

One of the things that I have enjoyed doing over the last few years, is watching and chatting during live YouTube felting tutorials from Sara (Sarafina Fiber Art) and Marie (Living Felt). I have been inspired by projects shown by both felters.

As you probably have noticed, when seeing my adventures with the four-person Mer-family and their Mer-family pets, I don’t always follow the instructions exactly as suggested. In fact, I tend to fall off the rails…., wander off into left field, or was that right field?… ok, I tend to get distracted part way through a tutorial and wind up doing my own possibly completely different thing.  I am not saying that is a bad thing. It can open new options and create something that is vastly different than the original tutorial goal.

For Sara’s Mermaid project (google You Tube “Mermaid Felt Along 1: Armature”, “Mermaid Felt Along 2 – Body Shapes”, “Mermaid 3: Wet Felted Tail” and “Mermaid 4: Finishing” to see what I was supposed to do), I deviated first by wanting to do a merman but felt he needed a family. Instead of using both wet and dry felting, I used only dry felting.  With the change of scale and shape, I needed to augment the armature strength. Lastly, I made them Fish-People (Pike, Koi, Shark, and Arctic Char) rather than the more traditional mermaid shapes Sara was creating. I created some accessories for them and more will be needed. For the Mers themselves, I wandered off into thoughts of what kind of family pets would a Mer family have.  So the addition of family pets was created, Miss Manta and Sharkette. This could continue to spiral outwards from the original tutorial with Mer-Nabours and other yet unthought-of Mer-friends and accessories! Years of enjoyment even for someone who really would rather not get wet.


Two weeks ago Marie, from Living Felt, out of Texas, sent me off on another spiral with her “Needle Felt Simple Animals: Bat, Owl, and Red Panda Forest Friends!”.  This is a very beginner-friendly project, with simplified shapes and lots of explanations of tight wrapping to build up the core understructure. She did examples of blending and layering colours of fibre. All three projects were extremely cute. I am not sure I do cute, especially extreme cute, well not as cute and friendly as Marie can do at least.

Marie started by using a wooden skewer to tightly warp her layers of core wool, creating the basic shape. This got me wondering about other skewer like objects that you could use which I had on hand *actually I looked as far as the shelf beside my desk to find 3 options. I had also purchased at the Almonte Fibre Fest in early September, some short fibre Maori batts, one of which was white and another was charcoal. I had wanted to investigate working with short, somewhat springy, fibre and this seemed to be an excellent opportunity.

1) White Maori Batt, wooden skewer, knitting needle, one mettle chopstick

I decided to try the chopstick. It doesn’t have quite as much grip as the wood, but it’s not quite as slippery as the knitting needle.  I like the slight taper,  it was comfortable in my hand and oddly like the single knitting needle it happened to be sitting in a cup with my pens, markers, small files and metal pick set (that was for cleaning my drum carder, I don’t know why it’s here) by my desk.


one mettle chopstick on white batt of Maori short stale lenght fiber 2) selected a chopstick and Maori batt

using a chopstick to wrap fiber around and build up the core structure.3) using a chopstick to wrap fibre around and build up the core structure.

Adding thin layers of roving, wrapping tightly and tacking down, then poking from the base to further firm core layer.

Tearing off thin strips from the batt then drafting them to a narrow roving. This shows the VM and makes it easy to remove.4) Tearing off thin strips from the batt then drafting them to a narrow roving. This shows the VM and makes it easy to remove.

I found the white short-fibre Maori batt had more bits of VM than most of my spinning fibre. It was not a large problem and easily picked out before wrapping it to the core. It compacted to a firm core shape and was easy to work with.

Looking at Marie’s bat she used commercial felt to make the wings. While extremely cute you can’t pose or position the wings. Ok, I am going off instructions already!  There are a few ways to add an appendage with wire to a body. This time, since I was adding a symmetrical structure, I chose to pierce the body with a floral wire (unlabeled but suspect it is 22g). I centred the body on the wire then folded each wire up at the point it pierced the body on each side. I then folded each half, in half, twisting to create the leading edge of the arm, leaving a loop to add the “fingers” at the end of each wing.

wire piercing body, center body on wire and bend the wires5) wire piercing body, centre body on wire and bend the wires

folding each wing wire in half6)folding each wing wire in half

Next, I needed to add the “fingers”  to the end loops.

wing one armature with fingers added and wire bent ready to add to bats right palm loop.7) wing one armature with fingers added and wire bent ready to add to bat’s right palm loop.

both wings have full arm armatures. note that the fingers have 3 different lengths.8) both wings have full arm armatures. note that the fingers have 3 different lengths.

I often make very thin wings for the little dragons I’ve been making. I usually wind up using a fine fibre combed top laid in thin wisps in various directions. I have also used hand-carded fibre such as on Mrs Mer’s Finns effectively.  I was curious how the short fibre of the Maori batt would work for a top coat as well as for thin wings.

The Charcoal coloured Maori batt beside the small white Maori batt9) The Charcoal coloured Maori batt beside the small white Maori batt

I started with wrapping the body and armature.

wing/ arm armature and body covered in the short staple Maori10) wing/ arm armature and body covered in the short staple Maori

It was a bit fuzzy, but with further poking the surface became smooth and firm.

At this point, I again became quite distracted with another thought. Those scrawny arms are not going to be able to move those wings!!! So I had to add deltoids and bicep muscles, now he could try out his arms as we went to enjoy hamburgers at the butcher shop in Bell Corners (he did not have any since he doesn’t have a mouth or eyes yet it could get messy.)

You Tube Video link  

11) Video: bat on a stick in KIA trying out his muscles before he gets his wing membranes

Ann checks out Bat in progress12) Ann checked how firm he was and laughed at his fabulous physique.  (don’t tell bat!)

I made a couple of attempts with just the Maori but was finding I was not getting as firm and thin as I would like, so added a longer fibre in a thin web to let the Maori attach to it. when I had a thin layer of felt  I carefully attached it to the fibre wrapping the wing armature. I bent the armature and then sculpted the wing membrane further.  Once I had the wings looking more wing-ish, I made quick ears and added them.

I decided I wanted a more three-dimensional face (oh no deviating again!) so added a small nose and eye sockets which I filled with small beads for eyes.

Marie’s Bat only had its stick stuck in while she was creating the core shape. It kept your fingers and the sharp end of the needle well away from each other. She then removed it and added the layers of colour to make her cute bat. I like the bat-on-a-stick look and have kept it so far. Bat on a stick may be a cool Halloween hair ornament or a felting supervisor in a demo basket.

I have not had time to finish off the last bits for Bat on a stick he still needs his teeth, I tried to make them with the Maori white but was not happy with the first attempts. Next, I resorted to wet felting but I was still not happy.  I have a couple more options to try to make tiny teeth. I am also considering feet or legs and feet, so I may be adding another part armature to finish him off.

In the meantime, I have been taking him with me to the OVWSG guild library. I am working through the last few years of donations, sorting ones to keep in the collection and getting the rest ready to sell. Bat has supervised as I wrote the database for the sale books. I am almost finished with the data entry for the books. The magazines that are extra I have sorted by title and year ready for shopping! (it was a big job)

box of magazines sorted by year 13)just a few of the magazines being prepped for sale.

He also watched as I had my last of 4 evenings of nalbinding workshops which has been fabulously fun. I now know I can’t count since I keep losing track of where I am in my increases for my hat. I am off to find a stitch counter so I have a hope of getting the mythical (in my case) flat starting disk to make my hat. For this workshop, I do want to follow the instructions. (I have had a blast wandering off instructions for the felting though)

Felt Bat on a mettle chop stick with articulated wings  14)Thumbs up!  Bat on his chopstick supervising from the shelf above the desk at the OVWSG Library.

Each trip to work on the library bat has accompanied me. He has found a spot on the shelf above the desk where he can sit in a clip on the extending magnet. He is giving me a thumbs-up on all the work! Even without his teeth or feet, he is very supportive.


I hope you too get a chance to watch some of the various online felt-alongs. You may also find inspiration in previous blog posts by all the fibre artists here. You never know what might inspire your next project, maybe you too will find a multi-year project! Or maybe just a quick little bat! (with or without a stick).

On to the stitching

On to the stitching

It is time to do some stitching on my visor cover. Stitching on felt is something I really enjoy. It feels nice to stitch on felt, It has texture even when it is smooth. You can feel the needle pass through the thickness of it.

I had people at my guild comment that the actual piece looked a lot more vibrant than it did on the screen. I fiddled with the colour a bit so I hope it looks a little better this time. It looks very bright on my screen. The crazy thing is it is sitting on the black, top of my laptop. I am getting some serious light bounce off the black.

I picked out some threads I think go with the colours. I need to find a “greener” green something in the middle I think but that requires digging in the mostly unpacked studio so it will have to wait.


I am a slow stitcher. I know I am not alone in this. There’s a whole movement called slow stitch. It suits me, stitching when I have a bit of time but with no deadline in sight.

I started with the turquoise green on the forest green part of the leaf. I thought it looked like a nice contrast even if it was still green. then I forgot to take a picture of just that stitching or rather I was probably intending to take a picture of just the stitching and forgot what I was doing.  So you get to see the contrasting orange I picked for the next part too. It’s a deep orange leaning towards burnt orange.

I did the first part in rice stitch. It’s fun to do but harder than you think to make it look random.

I tried an uneven long stitch for this part and didn’t like it. It was messy but not messy enough to seem like I did it on purpose just unpractised. Of course it was but we don’t want to advertise that too much, so I removed it.

The other nice thing about stitching on felt is when you take out stitches, it doesn’t show like it would on muslin or cotton fabric. I decided to do something else with the dark orange and a lighter orange for the cross stitching. I am not sure it is busy enough. I will leave it for now. I am also not sure it was worth changing oranges either.

Now I am onto wonder woman. I am hoping to stop it from looking like wonder woman and more like a flower with the stitching. However, I started with the “cape”. I am using the lighter orange. I am adding X’s as I liked the way they looked on the leaf. I tried looking online for open background or filler stitches but I am calling it the wrong thing, I think. Everything that Google gave me, were stitches to completely cover a space. I know I have seen them before. Does anyone know the right term?

That’s as far as I am. Well maybe a bit farther as I am writing a bit ahead as I will be busy baking for the Thanksgiving Day farmers market. In Canada, we celebrate earlier than our American friends and this year is earlier than usual on October 9th. with any luck, I will have a little time to do some stitching.

Felted Bird House ( sort of)class

Felted Bird House ( sort of)class

This last weekend I taught a Felted Birdhouse Class. A group of ladies and one daughter.  We were at one of the lady’s houses, working outside and the setting was lovely and the weather was very cooperative.

Here are all the embellishment fibres set up on the deck.

And here they all are working away on laying out the fibres for their birdhouses. although some wanted bird feeders and some thought a plant might go well in one. That is why it is only a sort of birdhouse class. everyone chose a gourd except we morphed one into a teardrop shape.

They had lots of fun deciding on embellishment fibres and adding them to their pieces


This one looks sort of dull but it is the green Merino and multi-coloured tribal nylon mix from the world of wool.

This one was all silk I think.

This one is sari silk waste

This was just the beginning it had lots of stuff on it in the end. You will see it later.

This one had lots of the sparkly triloble nylon.

Then of course there was the rubbing and rolling

And then the scrunching and throwing to get it well filled.

Here everyone is with their finished pieces.  They have balloons inside to help them have a good shape when dry. You will notice one was cut in half to become 2 plant holders but the one half is looking very much like a hat.

I got sent a couple of pictures of what they looked like now they are dry. I was right it did look a lot like a hat. the class was Sunday and today is Tuesday( Wednesday when this goes up)  so not much time for them to get me pictures. If I get more I will edit them in.

It was a fantastic warm September day and a great way to spend it.

Bringing up the colour

Bringing up the colour

It was back to school week so I was busier than usual. re-adjusting times and schedules.

Last time I showed you the finished visor. It had a lot of fulling and it was nice and sturdy. When the piece is well fulled, you often end up with a dull picture. This is caused by the backing fibres migrating through the coloured fibres. Sometimes they end up dull or fuzzy looking.

When I make pictures that will be mounted or framed I fix this by not fully very much as the picture will not be handled much and it will have the matting to help support it. for something that will be handled or used more light felting won’t help so it’s time to break out the the razor and shave it.

I get them at the dollar store. notice I did not pay the pink tax for my razor, I buy the cheapest ones they have regardless of the colour. It’s a pretty simple thing to do and it makes quite a difference. I hope the pictures show it well enough. It is hard to pick up with the camera. I tried to do one half at a time for you.



and lastly, the sheep, I think it shows the difference very well.

I shaved the rest of the piece as well. This is the pile of fluff.

Here are the before and after pictures


Before Shaving


After shaving

I think I still want to add some stitching I am just not sure what. outlining seems redundant. Maybe I will add some leaves scattered about. and I don’t know about eyes for the sheep. Curved lines make it a bit cute and like it is sleeping and round makes it look odd. Sitting here looking at the flower, I can see something else now, how about you?

A cover for my visor mirror part 2

A cover for my visor mirror part 2

On Mondays, we have a social in the guild studio. I think some guilds call it open studio days. Because it is summer I usually go in around noon. I thought this would be a good time to do my visor cover. Jan can take some pictures too and all will be happy and bright. So naturally………

I packed my rolling mat, plastic, bucket, spray ball, rubbing tool, and wool but I forgot to ball of pencil roving. This is essential if I am going to try Ildie’s method of making the design with wet wool.

ball of brown pencil roving
The forgotten ball

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I am not a Mouse or a man so I had a look through the donated yarns and found one that was not too thin or tightly spun

This is as far as I got before I gave up. Yarn is not a good choice. It has too much structure so it doesn’t want to stay where you put it.

Besides learning that yarn is not good for this I also decided I had made the design too small. It will be very fiddly to add the colour.

Now I am back in the studio with all my supplies.  All but one of the colours is Corriedale. One is Merino. the grey bat is unknown. I would say a medium wool and it is a short fiber. I sized my template for 30% shrinkage. you can get 30% out of most fibers. And why do a sample when you can live life dangerously?


The pencil roving was much easier to use to outline the designs. I wet it with soapy water and it stayed where I put it. The yarn had too many ideas of its own. I just did them freehand using the template to keep my design inside the lines.

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Next was adding the colour. I got better as I went along. the first colours that have to be completely within the lines but right up to them is the hardest. When you add a colour next to another colour you can overlap and no one will see it. It will be between the other colour and the backing. Thinking upside down is a hard thing to do. you feel like you should say inside the lines. although I didn’t mess up the design lines I kept smudging the outside line. next time I will add them at the end.

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I added the bat to the back. it was quite thin so I did 2 layers, one in each direction. and made nice straight lines, not that they will stay that way.


I rubbed this side first and then flipped it over. Doesn’t it look pretty all wet and bright under the plastic?  Once I flipped it I was pleasantly surprised the sheep was on the right. Which, if you think about it, makes sense but when I was adding it I was thinking I wish I had left more space for it on the right. So that was a good thing.

I rubbed this longer than I usually do because I wanted the design to set well and stay put. I had no problem with it moving. boarder was another matter. it was constantly moving. I would lift the plastic and fix it. Then rub carefully and then it would move. In the end, I put it back where it should be and thought if it doesn’t stick, I will just needle felt it in place.

It moved a little while rolling but for the most part, it stayed put so I was quite happy. I rolled it a lot to get it to shrink. Whatever the bat is it makes a sturdy felt but does not shrink as much as Corriedale. I rinsed it with hot water and rolled it more, and more and when it wouldn’t budge anymore, I stopped. It got close but not quite there. I am sure it will still work but I haven’t checked yet.

It needs to be shaved to bring the colours back up and ironed to block it. I haven’t decided if I will add any stitching or beads. but I am out of time for now.