Browsed by
Category: Design

Getting organized and the 2nd quarter challenge

Getting organized and the 2nd quarter challenge

This last week I decided the scarf I use to line my basket needed a wash and my basket could use a hose down. It is quite an old apple and is pretty dry. The basket masters say either dunk it in a bucket of water or hose it down every once and a while.  It is an old apple picking basket and I love it for taking it everywhere with my stuff in it.

 

And this is all the stuff that was in it and will go back in it plus the 3 more spindles. It’s like a purse or backpack you just keep adding more stuff until you have to clean it out.  The bag of yarn may go to the studio and a new one started.

There was more in it, that is just what is going back in it. You can see why I need it more organized. I thought I would make a roll-up pouch, like an artist uses for brushes. This also gives me an opportunity to do the 2nd quarter challenge. Art deco was often a repeating simple pattern. So I can do that on this piece and maybe be the first to complete the challenge. (insert maniacal laughter here)

I had to figure out how big I wanted the finished piece. the blue roller mat is 12×18 inches so I tried folding it like the finished piece. This is too short but  think the length is good

Here is the layout.  this layer is on the bottom but will end up inside the pouch. Some Bambino wool from World of wool. It is quite shiny. I can’t figure out which one. The picture of the mixed bag is pretty accurate but I can’t match it to the individual pictures.

The blue background seems to have turned it orange.

I then added 2 layers of white merino and a final layer of this lovely blue-green merino called Malard, for the outside.

 

I wet this down and cut out some prefelt pieces for the decorations but that’s it for today because it’s time to take the puppy out, feed the lambs again and make some raspberry scones. More to come. I hope I can get more done tomorrow morning. I will show you more next time.

 

Felt Painting – Glorious Devon by Ann B.

Felt Painting – Glorious Devon by Ann B.

This is a guest post by Ann B, one of our fabulous readers and forum members. She is planning on updating us as she makes progress on her project.

 

Having decided that I needed (and I do mean needed) to make another picture, I hunted through my design source photographs and fell in love (again) with the picture I took of a horse grazing on a hill in Devon. This was typical Devon, lots of hills and trees and (best of all in my mind) no people or buildings in sight. This is the original picture above. What appears to be sky at the top is in fact distant hills. There is no sky at all in the photograph. I was a little disappointed as I love using silk fibres and neps to produce a realistic sky, but the distant hills would be a good challenge in colour blending and matching. I also felt that the photo was a little dull, there having been plenty of clouds about on the day that I took the picture, so I decided to “photoshop” it a bit to brighten it up.

This is the result. There isn’t a whole lot of difference – I still wanted it to look natural – but you can now
see the fields on the hill right at the back, and in fact I think that there is a building on
the hill on the right. Next I decided that I needed to work on the composition a little. The horse isn’t quite in the best position for either a “Golden Ratio” or a Fibonacci spiral composition. So I took the dimensions of the picture – I would do an approximate A4 size – and I worked out the Golden Ratio figures. I had (I can’t find it now) a book on art which showed how to do this and I made myself an
Excel Spreadsheet with the formulae and formatting which would work out the proportions for me once I had input the height and width measurements.

That would be measurements A-B and A-D on the diagram above. This diagram is not to scale, it merely serves to show where the measurements that the spreadsheet throws up will be. Below is the Fibonacci spiral which largely reproduces the Golden Ratio on one side of the page only. A second, flipped, image imposed on it would produce the Golden Ratio. The Golden Ratio calculations make it easier to get
the right proportions for a non standard shaped “canvas”.

The measurements of my picture are approx. A-B 26.5 cm A-D 20cm so not far off a square. The Golden Ratio figures would then be: A-G 9.9cm; G3-G4 6.1cm; G4-B 10.5cm, across the top and A-G1 6.9cm; G1-G2 5.5cm; G2-D 7.6cm down the side (I usually work in “old money” but it is easier for this purpose to use metric).

In fact I sub-divided the left hand and right hand sections again, drew out the lines on a piece of A4 paper and then sketched in how I wanted to lay out the various parts of the picture. I moved the horse further to the right; I placed the stream on one of the vertical lines; I placed the trunks of the trees on the left onto two of the vertical lines and various other changes of level and subject on or near to intersections of the lines. (This is the composition technique used by Constable in his paintings.) Here is the sketch.

Just to see what would happen I put a tracing of a single Fibonacci spiral on top of the sketch and found that it worked too. The horse was right where the centre of interest should be. The sheets moved a bit when I tried to scan them together but I think you can see what I mean from this:

So now I will sort out my backing felt and start to lay out the picture on it. I had tried to lay out the background colours on some white commercial prefelt and wet felt it but I had overlooked the fact that the prefelt would not shrink as much as fibres from tops, so that was a failure because the size was not right for my measurements. I have therefore cut out a correctly sized backing felt, again made from white prefelt, but of a much larger size so that I’ve got some left over for the next picture(s). I have made a tracing of the sketch and will use that as a template to mark out the placement of the main features by stitching through the tracing. Then I will need to blend some colours and start “painting”. (Click on any of the photos to enlarge.)

Online Learning: the new and the unexpected

Online Learning: the new and the unexpected

The last time I posted here (in January) I described my plan to take various online felting classes. With all my sales and exhibitions cancelled or on hold I thought this would be a good way to keep me focused and motivated during our 3rd pandemic lockdown. Here’s the link in case you want to look back to January’s post.

https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2021/01/21/finding-focus/

This time I’m talking about my online learning since then, including how it has led me in some unexpected directions.

I was part-way through Teri Berry’s bag making class, which was great. I made my third bag, a backpack, and am very pleased with it. I’d definitely recommend Teri’s class. The instructions were clear and comprehensive and Teri was very responsive to my many questions, thoughts and comments. I learned a lot about bag making techniques, which is exactly what I was looking for.

Corriedale Backpack with Canvas Straps

Because two of the bags I made are large, relatively thick, and have to be fulled very hard, I admit bag-making was rather harder work than I’d anticipated. I rent a studio in an old industrial building that is largely unheated so maybe mid-winter isn’t the best time to be working so much heavy, cold, wet wool, but it’s a minor point. I had to use plastic gloves for the first time as my hands became so shredded and I often went home with sleeves wet to the armpit!

I’d planned to take 3 classes over January to March but was irresistibly drawn to a 4th: a 2-session live international felt-along by Aniko Boros (Baribon.Hu) learning to make her beautiful felted tulip pendant with pebble inclusions. Having signed up I realised it was going to be difficult to find the colourful 14 micron merino wool I needed. I only had white. I’ve never dyed my own wool before but I thought, why not have a go?

I already had some acid dyes so I started off with some 21 micron merino before going on to the finer and more expensive 14 micron. Then I tried silk hankies, Corriedale tops, mohair tops, silk fabric, alpaca & nylon …. nothing was safe. I had a blast. I had no idea how much fun dying would be.

Then it snowed and I thought ‘ooh, I could try snow dying’. That turned out to be great fun too. On the right are just a few of the snow dyed fabrics.

I had several colour choices of dyed 14 micron merino by the time Aniko’s workshop came around. The workshop itself was really interesting. A clear and detailed PDF was sent in advance and turned out to be very helpful on the first day when the sound or picture dropped out occasionally. It meant I could see what I needed to do next so was able to keep up. I’m pleased with my pendant (although I still have to add a fastener) including how the dyed wool worked, and feel I’ve learned techniques I will be able to use to make my own designs. Also, it led me into the entirely unexpected joy of dyeing.

Hand dyed 14 micron merino pendant with pebbles: Aniko Boros’ workshop

In the meantime I’d started Fiona Duthie’s online class Ink + Cloth. We practiced adding ink at various stages of feltmaking with loads of potential for using these techniques in future projects.

Above are samples of adding dye / ink before felting (on silk fabric) and on prefelt

These are samples of ink added in different ways to finished nuno felt with cotton and two types of silk. I’d found an image in the V&A museum online catalogue (a fantastic resource) of an early 20th century furnishing fabric with this style of lollipop trees that I was thinking of using for the 1st quarter challenge …but that’s a story for another time.

At the end of this I decided to combine various things I’d learned: to dye my own Corriedale wool tops for a bag and maybe to decorate it with inked or dyed pieces. This is still work in progress as I am not completely happy with it. I decided to let it dry and have a think before doing the last bit of fulling. After I’d laid out the wool I dithered over whether to add silk and prefelt pieces or not as I quite liked the wool as it was. At the last minute I added all sorts of bits and pieces without properly thinking through the design. I fear it betrays its history. A colleague who saw me rinsing it at the studio casually commented it was very ‘hippie, trippy summer-of-love’ which is absolutely not the look I was going for! I will come back to it soon. I included the strap in the photo to give an idea of what it will look like finished.

Now I’m part way through another class with Fiona Duthie: Fibre + Paper. It’s a fascinating process of combining specialist paper with wool. We started by making lots of samples: paper and felt, paper relief, extreme paper relief and paper with prefelt.

Above are samples showing different amounts of paper felted into 21 micron merino wool and bottom right combines prefelt and paper. They feel lovely and there seems to be so much potential to use paper with felt in different ways.

This week I made a vessel with paper embedded into the surface. It’s not perfect: I got a bit over-confident near the end and tore some of the surface (you can just see it bottom left, between the two ribs). I’ve been interested in shell shapes for a couple of years so I shall enjoy making more 3D paper & felt shell-inspired objects.

Paper felt shell-inspired vessel

In the coming week I will be trying out adding colour and surface designs with ink and paint plus making samples with some different papers. Fiona’s classes have been really enjoyable with excellent PDFs, photos and videos and lots of class interaction.

All the online classes I’ve taken have been great fun and very inspiring. They have given me lots of new skills and techniques that I will be able to use in my work. And they have definitely achieved my other objective: they have been really helpful in keeping me learning, focussed and motivated during what could otherwise have been quite a bleak time.

Back to some winter sheep

Back to some winter sheep

I have been felting and stitching a little picture again. And of course, my favourite sheep will make an appearance.

I did a sketch of the idea I wanted, I don’t think I have the patience for proper drawing. I do a quick general idea. I used a thick piece of “almost felt” and made the blue sky and snow base, wet felting them together. Next, I used Blue Faced Lester lock to make some evergreen trees.

 

I added some paths for the sheep. Sheep like to walk the same path other and over, one after the other, even in a green pasture. Once they are where they generally want to go, they wander off. I have no idea why they like to stand out in a snow covered field, but they do.

I added all my trees and tucked the edges around to make it neater. I added some blobs for the sheep so when I add the stitching they will stand out a little more. I also lightened up the paths a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used french knots to make the woolly coats and some embroidery for the heads and legs.

 

I fiddled with trees a bit and added trails into where the sheep are standing. I tried t add some shadow under the trees but it didn’t look right so I pulled it off. The trees still need some snow. I usually do that last, I am not sure why.

My problem is the bottom right. It seems very bare. I don’t know if I want another sheep or something else. I thought of some little birds on the snow but think as this is a small picture (about 5″x6″, 12×15 cm) they might end up looking like sheep droppings. I don’t want a fence. Does anyone have any ideas? It may end up being another sheep.

 

 

Alisa’s First Quarter Challenge

Alisa’s First Quarter Challenge

I have a guest post for you today. Alisa McClain is a pretty new felter, she is in my local Facebook group. When she posted her piece for the first quarter challenge I asked her to do a post about it and she stepped right up. Thank You, Alisa

 

Hello!  I started felting in the early pandemic, and I’ve fallen hardcore in love.  It’s blooming and it keeps me grounded and joyous, and I am slowly developing more skills that allow me greater control, too.  I’m an experiential learner, for the most part, so I just keep doing and figuring things out.  I make art playfully, usually without a plan.

When I first saw these blogs about a first-quarter challenge, I didn’t intend to participate.  You see, my brain is pretty much an open browser with 1,000 tabs open at all times, and I always have a plethora of ideas vying for my attention and screaming, “Pick me!  Pick me!”

And, then one day I took a look at all the photos suggested in the original challenge blog from the decade.  The suffragette posters caught my eye.  Maybe I should make something feminist in petticoats?  That old Disney song starts up in my head:  We’re clearly soldiers in petticoats and dauntless crusaders for women’s votes.  But, I haven’t done human forms and probably can’t pull that off.  That skill is in the not yet pile.

The next time I looked through the photos, I thought about finding an aerial view of the area I live in and got lost in the history of my little corner of suburbia.  No aerial view though from 1900ish though.

And, then the third time I looked through the photos, I thought about nature through a microscope.  In the lounge of the ski hill I frequented in the before-pandemic times, there was an entire heavy book full of breathtaking pictures in a microscope.  Sometimes the wonder of nature just awes me anew.  While I was still thinking of those micro photos, I walked by this piece of art in my home by Wendy Feldberg that I had purchased the previous summer.

https://www.wendyfeldberg.ca/galleries.html

 

Wendy told me that she’d been quite intrigued by the history of the Ottawa River and that many of the labourers had died of malaria versus physical accidents that occurred on the river.  She had done a series of fibre arts featuring the cells of malaria; this one was malaria cells in a placenta.

Overall, I give the pandemic a solid thumbs down, but there has been beauty within it.  The blooming of my felt, yes, but also there has been a cementing of several of my friendships into a deeper, lifelong kind of bond.  I’ve had more time with my children.  I have had a chance (and been forced to, at times) to slow down and think through things.  There is a kind of beauty in this moment, in the midst of the horrors.  I thought about people that I’ve loved that have developed serious medical issues and how, sometimes, those issues forced them to consider what mattered in life, to prioritize, and also to notice a community of love and support around them.

So maybe that’s my theme:  disease and the beauty within it.  I wondered what was happening in the 1900s in the way of endemics or pandemics, and Google brought me to microscopic pictures of typhoid fever (apparently on the rise in Texas, an antibiotic resistant strain?  Enough already this weird time!)

So here are a few pics of the jellyfish-like bacteria responsible for typhoid fever.  I’ve made a jellyfish before that I like and feel proud of so I was pretty confident I could do it.

 

Of course, along with having a thousand tabs open at all times, I also sometimes fall down rabbit holes in which I refuse to sleep and, instead, decide to read extensively about subjects that will be pretty much superfluous to any conversational moment.  Did you know that Typhoid Mary was pretty much the original superspreader and that she was quarantined for over two decades after she ignored public health advice?  I mean, they did tell her not to cook but failed to provide any kind of alternative income stream for her, a woman in a time where women weren’t supposed to financially support themselves so maybe there is a structural issue with the collective safety net there.   I digress.  Moral of the story:  I guess wearing my mask really isn’t so bad.

I also got lost in the world of microphotography.  See, I already had ideas in my head, but now I feel like I need to felt a few of these, too.  There will be more noisy arguments between ideas about whose turn it is.  But, also, what a great problem to have!

https://www.nikonsmallworld.com/galleries/2020-photomicrography-competition (the above and below from those galleries)

 

But what did I make?

Oh yes, my typhus.  It hits the decade both on the microphotography front as well as a time when typhus was raging.  When it was almost done, I posted a picture for my friends and said that if they could guess what it was, I’d send it to them.  They guessed (before the legs) that it was a paddleboard, a kayak, a UFO and a comet.  Someone guessed it was a jellyfish, and that was the closest someone came.

 

And, now, I pretty much HAVE to felt covid, don’t I?  As I said, there is a certain kind of beauty in this moment…  if we can’t escape this pandemic or fast forward through to the end of it, we might as well look hard for the beauty that is blooming here.  Neighbours helping neighbours.  Pods looking out for each other.  The recognition that working from home can be a good option for many workers.  I know it’s not universal and I don’t mean to silver line the devastation that is occurring.  If I focus on the kindness, I get through this moment just a bit easier.  That said, you best believe I will be hugging the crap out of my friends just as soon as this over…  the kind of hug you just melt into.  I look forward to locking arms together instead of fibres on a way more regular basis, but for now…  I guess it’s time to pick the next loud-mouth idea.

https://www.news18.com/photogallery/world/covid-19-photos-up-close-with-the-deadly-coronavirus-2532875-2.html

Thanks, Alicia, microphotography is a really great place to be inspired. Has anyone else been working on the first quarter challenge? you can share it on the forum or if you would like to be a guest blogger just contact us.  we love guests.

 

A new picture: A lighthouse

A new picture: A lighthouse

I seem to be in picture mode. I wanted to do something with water but not necessarily as the main feature. I thought about a beach and that was my intention as I started but as was looking for pictures and some of the cliff-top pictures really took my eye.

I used a nice thick piece of wool prefelt that I bought at the Almont Fiberfest a few years ago. It is 4inches by 6 inches, 10cm by15cm  I think it is wet felted on a flatbed machine. It is course wool and more solid (felted) than the thin needle felted prefelt we usually get. It is much closer to being felt.  I would love to get some more but don’t know where to find it.  If you know let me know.

I start with what is farthest away, sky and water. When I do sky, it’s always cloudy and I have to do a google search to remember if the sky is darker or lighter near the horizon. The wool I used for the water has a few bits of sparkle in it. I think that’s what is making the white dots in the picture.

 

Then some land and the rocks. I used a mix of 3 grays so the rock wouldn’t be flat.

Added the lighthouse and the path

 

Then I used throwers waist to make the white water around the rocks and some whitecaps. At this point I gave it a light felting mostly to sink the silk into the felt so it didn’t look so much on the surface. . There was still more needling to do though. I added the top of the lighthouse and started the stitching.

 

And as usual when you start stitching you start unstitching. The grass stitches here were much too small. The path needed changing as well as being far too straight it was much too wide.  you can see how all the extra stabbing pulled the piece in even though I was poking up and down and not sidewise.  I stretched it out.

Back to stitching. I am using 4 colours for the grass, 2 shades of gold and 2 of green.

 

I added some small blue dots for flowers.

 

Then the foreground grass

 

Then some french knots for more flowers. I used a couple of shades darker blue for the foreground.

 

 

This is a close up of the stitching.

 

That’s a lot of pictures but I hope you enjoyed seeing the progression.  Stitching really helps a picture pop. And as I promised picture without Sheep. I can do it. LOL

So a week has gone by since I wrote up this post ready for the 4th of February. After a comment from a friend, and looking at it after a break from working on it,  I decided to fiddle with it more.  First I ripped off the path it was far too white, I remade it with some light gray. I did want it to be distinct but not a lightning bolt from Zeus. I added a tiny little dock, not easy but that’s what I get for working small.  And the sky was too much open space so I added some birds, again very fiddley. I did add some slight shading to the lighthouse but it doesn’t really show in the picture the wight really reflects.

so here it finished again. I hope you like it.

 

 

 

Who could resist , the sequel.

Who could resist , the sequel.

I simply had to develop one of the pieces from my play with multiple resist further. This particular piece intrigued me, and after we spent time together ie me staring at it for a considerable time, I knew where we were going. The centre felt like something had fractured, a cell broken apart. Having recently lost both my parents it felt like a metaphor for my grief and the feeling I was going through, emotions of pain and detachment. These became the red, pain, anger, hurt. The white, detachment, cold, an emptiness. And do our journey began.

To the original felted piece, I added some shaped prefelt which I added with a couching stitch. This gave me the raised effect. I then added beading from the centre of the “cell” out to either side. Throughout the whole piece, I chose a palette of white red black and grey ( there is a little exception to that but I will go further later ).

I wanted to use a material other than felt for the background of the piece and decided on mixed media. As a base, I used calico which I coloured with acrylic paint. As I turned out I needn’t of done this as I covered the whole piece in materials. I knew from the very beginning how the piece was going to turn out but wasn’t sure of the materials I was going to use to achieve the textures I wanted. So I had a play. I got several different materials and heat treated and used my embellishing machine to see the effects I could achieve.

For the red area, I decided upon prefelt with red satin added with the embellisher, heat treated tulle, crocheted wire and beads.

Arranging composition

In the white area, I decided upon prefelt embellished with satin I also heat treated a mixture of materials lutrador, plaid plastic bags and plastic netting (from a cheese sac) doing this gave the texture of ice which is what I wanted to achieve.

Developing the white area

For the other surrounding area, I cut up an old silk dress that had wonderful shades of grey. These were added with the embellisher around the edges. It had many shades of grey going to black so I could shade the composition. It did take the whole dress to complete it.

The base layer was now laid down so next I added the beading As part of the white area I wanted some raised beading so I beaded small clusters of beading on the net and glued the back. When dry I cut them out and arranged them on the piece.

In these little parts, I added only a couple of golden seed beads. My little sign of hope I suppose.

In the red area, I added beading in shades of deep red and dark green also many sequins which reflect light wonderfully. wire crocheted flame-shaped pieces were added radiating out into the grey area. I also embroidered with daisy chain stitch.

And so our journey ended. I have never worked on a piece that felt like a part of me more than this. Because of the lockdown here I am unable to get it framed but it will be. Then it will go on my wall

First Quarter Challenge

First Quarter Challenge

Lyn and Annie have set us a challenge for this quarter to make something inspired by the decade 1900 – 1909. The challenge is here If you would like to see it and maybe you could join in. first-quarter-challenge

They gave us examples of what was going on and what caught my eye was the aerial photography.  It made me think of some wonderful works by the fibre artist Chris Cullen of As theCrow Flies. https://www.facebook.com/cbdasthecrowflies/.  She uses mostly recycled knits and yarn in her amazing pieces. she sells mostly through galleries but does commissions through her Facebook page. for sale at https://www.facebook.com/Blue-Bramble-Gallery- in St Ives, and https://www.facebook.com/a2gallery.wells Also from Spring, Baxters Gallery in Dartmouth.

These are 2 of Chris’s recent pieces

 

I have in the past thought about doing a piece inspired by her amazing work. Lyn and Annie have given me the push I need. I thought I could do something similar in felt for my own farm. First a prototype. This is a flat piece and not of my farm but just a farm. I used an old sweater that I ran through the washer then dismantled and ran through a couple more times. I wanted a nice sturdy base.

I did this picture by needle felting into a square cut out of the sweater.  I have one of the little 6 needle holders that I used for most of it. Then switched to a single needle to put in the details. It is done in a very minimalist way with

The sweater piece.

The background and the road and the start of a field.

Added the fields and the house and barn.

Then some sheep of course.

I folded all the wool

Lastly used some green curls to make the trees.

It was a lot of stabbing, too much stabbing.  I think I will try to do all the main features like roads and the fields by lightly needling them into place and then wet felting them. Just adding the detail and features with needle felting. The next one will be more 3D. I have some ideas for the house and barns. Have you started thinking about his challenge? We would love to hear about it on the felting and Fiber studio Forum. Here’s the link to the place to post pictures. https://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/thread/4247/2021-first-quarter-challenge. or use the Forum button on the left to get there.

Finding Focus

Finding Focus

It’s the new year and here we are in England with what I’m calling the ‘new abnormal’: all non-essential shops closed; travel only if necessary; people working from home wherever possible and, for many of us, very limited direct contact with people outside our household.

If you’d asked me a year ago if I’d have liked a long stretch of time with few commitments that I could dedicate to felt-making, I’d have jumped at the chance.  Be careful what you wish for. 

Towards the end of 2020 I had several events to aim for so was able to focus on making things for those. Here are a few of my favourites: a succulent holder, nuno felt vase (with glass interior) and needle felted mince pie.

I have plenty of sales and exhibitions booked throughout 2021 but no way of knowing whether and when they will take place. I have notebooks full of ideas but feel I need to find some focus to direct my efforts and get the creative energy flowing. 

I really enjoy learning new skills and developing my felt-making in different directions. So, I decided at the turn of the year to sign up for some online workshops. I’m mostly self-taught as a felt maker but now I’m asking myself ‘why do I want to reinvent so many wheels?’.  I’ve long wanted to take Fiona Duthie’s workshop ‘Fibre + Paper’ so when I saw she was running the workshop in March 2021, I eagerly signed up.  I then find myself tapping my toes impatiently and thinking ‘I don’t want to wait ‘till March!’.

Fortunately, in February Fiona is offering another class I’d like to take ‘Ink on Cloth’.  Yep, I’m in for that too.  Still the toe-tapping: ‘what about January?’. 

The Felting and Fiber Studio to the rescue: Teri Berry was offering her bag making class starting 7 January.  Perfect! I’m in for another class.  Well, you can’t say I lack enthusiasm!

While I’m waiting for the class to begin (yep, still with the toe-tapping) I decide now is the time to retire an old friend.  One of the first things I felted for myself about 9 years ago is an iPad cover. I carry my iPad mini with me everywhere and the cover is worn out.  It has done a great job – it even outlasted the first iPad – but the corners have rubbed away and it’s looking very shabby.

I may have mentioned before (more than once) that I’m an avid charity / thrift / op shop enthusiast and have built up an impressive collection of second-hand fabric, mostly scarves and mostly silk. I have a dig around and fish out a very fine small silk chiffon scarf with leaf prints. Left – front, right – back, middle – action shot! I’ve carefully controlled the shrinkage so it fits snugly: it slides out when I want it to and not when I don’t.

I enjoyed working with the silk so decide to make some more samples.  One issue with fabric of unknown origin (and often even with fabric of know origin) is that you can’t be sure how it will felt. Here’s the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of each sample.

Some kind of velvet devore?

A woven cotton or linen?

A silk and cotton mix – I assume the background is silk and the slub lines are cotton

Definitely 100% silk (it still had the label in)

All are interesting. I chose a similar wool colour to the background silk colour as I want to focus on texture and print.  I particularly like the leaf print one and will definitely use that at some point. 

Next, my patience (!) has been rewarded and the bag class is starting.  First is an animal theme phone or glasses case.  I consult the interweb for animals that have big tongues and decide on a gecko.  I’m rather fond of geckos, though I’m not sure I’ve ever met one. 

I’m pleased with the result, although admit it looks rather more like a frog or an alien.  I was going to trim the tongue but decided to leave it as it is. I’ve taken to calling it my alien frog bag.  I made it to fit my phone but it’s actually a bit big so I’ve now added a thin green leather strap with some Chicago screws. Next time I’m invited to a ‘BYO alien frog bag’ event, I will be all prepared. 

On to the next, bigger bag, with integrated straps and internal pockets.  I have a fair quantity of nice natural grey Corriedale top and decide I’ll use that for the outside.  I’m on a roll with recycling the silk scarves so select a few with similar colours.  I’m not sure grey will be the best background so, in an unusual fit of sensibleness, decide to make some samples. 

I prefer the lighter colour behind them. The bag will be fulled very hard and I think I may completely lose the silk.  Little lightbulb moment: why not prefelt the silks with a light colour wool to help preserve some of their colour?

I prefelted some pieces of silk.  I even got a bit jazzy with the one with large spots, with fawn Corriedale and charcoal Merino.

On the left: the bag laid out with (nearly) all the surface decoration ready for wetting down. I did move things around a little afterwards but forgot to take a photo. On the right: the flap detail of the final bag

Finished bag

It’s not perfect (eg I put 2 pockets inside but they are on the front wall of the bag instead of the back and it’s a bit wider than I intended) but I do like it and will enjoy using it.

So, what next? The third bag is a backpack.  I’m wrestling with myself over whether to use wool I already have or wait for some I’ve ordered to arrive.  I have a studio full of wool but want to use a medium or coarse wool for durability and don’t have much of any colour or breed in sufficient quantity.  I made a sample yesterday of potential wool candidates but am a bit underwhelmed. There’s a black dyed Perendale batt, grey/brown Finnish top, light grey Swaledale top and natural white batt (can’t remember the breed) but I’d have to mix them and that’s a lot to have going on.

I decided too to make a paper template of the finished bag to help me work out the resist and stop making bags bigger than I intend. Ha, ha, I do hope I don’t start calling this my toilet seat backpack.  And that brings me right up to date.

All being well, I will have the backpack done to show you in my next blog spot in March, along with some makes from the Ink on Cloth workshop.

I’m enjoying the learning and Teri’s class is excellent.  The instructions are clear and detailed. She has been positive and encouraging and very quick and generous in responding to my extensive questions about clasps, straps, bag design, wool breeds….

Are you struggling to find focus, or maybe finding new ways to learn and different things to try?  I hope you’re able to do a little fibre work and I wish everyone a peaceful, happy and creative 2021.

Interesting New to Me Scarf Type

Interesting New to Me Scarf Type

These last couple of weeks in the Wet Felt Makers group on Facebook people have been making in interesting and new to me type of scarf. It’s called a french scarf.

Arlene Toth shared it with the group and shared the youtube video.  It is part of a video from a fibre festival a year ago. The teacher is Elena Nayemova. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho5B-bOHKwE The instructions start at 28:58 in the video. It is in Rusian. You can probably figure it out by just watching her make it but If you want to and you are on a computer not using the Youtube app you can use a translation future on Youtube. It’s nowhere near perfect but it helps. I will explain that at the bottom.

The scarf in the video is very lacy and mostly yarn, very decorative. I wanted something warmer so used much more wool. After seeing how small the ones using the dimensions from the video were turning out  I sorted out my own sizing that I thought would work and had a go. If you are petite then the smaller dimensions would probably work for you but I am Rubenesque so that isn’t going to work for me. I picked purple and orange, my go-to colours. I used orange and gold silk lap bits on one side and some yarns for decoration on the other.

You can wear it in different ways.

 

The part that goes behind the neck is a bit short I think and maybe the rectangular part too. I added some to both parts and had another go in red this time, using silk hankies and silk top

 

For this one, I used silk hankies on one side and silk top on the other. I like this one better. I pulled the piece through farther so it hangs down to wear it out. I am not much for big bows. If you want to fold it into a triangle and poke the corner though I wouldn’t add the extra length to the rectangle part. Here are different ways to wear it

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The other thing I realized while taking pictures is that you can give the large piece a twist in the loop so you have both sides showing

 I wanted a winter scarf inside my coat. It worked wonderfully even though it’s not really cold here yet. I hope you give it a try.

Translation on Youtube.  You have to be watching Youtube in a browser and not on the app for this to work. Rather than write it all out, I will give you the link to Pat Spark’s blog post about it, as she explained it very well. https://sparkfiberarts.blogspot.com/2020/05/blog-post.html

%d bloggers like this: