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Category: Finishing/Framing

So much time.  So much to do!

So much time.  So much to do!

So much time.  So much to do!

Almost all the exciting things I was going to tell you about today were cancelled. The first was the Drive to Peterborough for the first big fibre festival of the year. Last year, due to unpleasant weather in Ottawa, we seemed to be the only ones from there to make it. Not only does the Peterborough Weavers and Spinners guild put on a good sized fibre festival they also get Spring before we do! So it’s nice to see it may arrive in our area in a couple weeks more.

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1-14  From last year at the Peterborough Fibre festival,  a good mix of fibre, yarn, supplies and finished goods.

We also missed the yearly Demo at the Ottawa Valley Farm Show. In the last 2 years, I have felted at the demo, making the polar bear face and then a cardinal. This year it was cancelled but it is better to be safe than sick.

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15-27  The Farm show demo 2019. this is a demo for excellent questions, talking to hemp growers, and trappers with fur. I am going to miss the sheep shaped car air freshener that one booth was giving away!

Well this stay home/work from home idea may not be all bad (as long as we do not get sick!) So far I have read (yes books with words not available in an audible form), watched felting videos I had not yet watched, also videos on restructuring a Victorian style coat, making a pair of combinations (historical fancy underwear), making an 1887 corset and a video on pad stitching. I also am going through and sorting some of the project boxes I have around the house.

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28-30   This was hiding in a box between the dining room and the living room. I wondered where that had got. Originally it was going to be a 5×7 but quickly turned into an 8×10 as I grew more interested In the branch. I should keep looking and find its frame.

Best of all I found one of my missing pairs of old glasses that are just the right focal depth to read, type and felt easily!!! (Oh, maybe not being able to see the keys was better, I think I need to dust the keyboard more often)

3131  Hmm, maybe it’s time to clean up my desk too.

I have been spending a bit more time in the kitchen making interesting Dinners since Glenn is still working. In addition, I have a Grocery run for my mom. Last week was milk, which is a bit heavy for me. So the trundle box, that has been sitting abandoned in the kitchen had to be emptied so I can put her groceries in it.  When I emptied the trundle box I found my missing Other pictures for the landscape workshop!!! I have to remember to unpack and put things away!

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32-34    These are frames I picked up second hand at Value village. The larger one is a memory box, it has a fold down glass front. The second is a shadow box so it has a deeper space between the glass and the artwork. Both are lined with linen fabric so the felt has been pinned to the backing fabric.

Well, now I will have a bit more time since the Guild is closed and I haven’t been working on the guild library projects. Who knows, if I keep puttering on the house I may find that place where I keep putting things so they will be safe!!! (So safe I cannot find them again!)I have done a bit of online shopping some of which will be shared with Ann when it eventually arrives.  I even have felting projects I want to get started before the fleece washing season is back upon us. I hope you are all healthy and since we are instructed to stick our hands in soapy water frequently, at least the wet felters should have a great chance of avoiding the flu! Maybe I will have to wet felt a few backgrounds to needle felt over later. Have lots of fun and use up lots of soap!

 

Holiday Card

Holiday Card

Now that my partner has finally received her card I can tell you about it.

First I made a background using some prefelt and added some northern lights. I then wet felted it all together. they are not felted hard because it is small and is an art piece.

Next, I added the trees along the far hill and a nice big evergreen and a barn using prefelt again.

I added some snow to the tree and added some definition to the barn. I also added the fence wire using perspective so I could add the posts along the right line.

Then came the fence posts and some shading for the snow-covered ground.

and finally I added the sheep( I bet you are not surprised that I added sheep) and trimmed the northern lights so I could turn it into a card. I always do my card as a postcard so they can easily be framed if someone wants to. I just print off a postcard back from the internet and iron it onto the back with a fusible web. I was in a hurry to get it in the mail at that point and didn’t get a picture.

I made a second one at the same time. I like to have 2 to choose from when sending a card. This one I kept. I will frame it. I haven’t decided if I will keep the northern lights projecting over the mat board or trim them off as I did in the one I sent.

I wish I had a better picture for you but I have put it someplace safe and now I can’t find it. I am sure I will come across it when I am looking for something else.

Halloween for Christmas 2019

Halloween for Christmas 2019

As you may remember, my Halloween Ghost Girl was lonely and I created Werewolf boy to keep her company. I was thinking of my niece and nephew while I was creating them, which may be why they seem to be wearing Kamiks,  a northern boot.  Def- Mukluks or Kamik (Inuktitut: ᑲᒥᒃ [kaˈmik]) (singular: ᑲᒪᒃ kamak, plural: ᑲᒦᑦ kamiit) are a soft boot, traditionally made of reindeer (caribou) skin or sealskin, and worn by Arctic aboriginal people, including the Inuit, Iñupiat, and Yupik.).  Since I had the kids in mind as I made them, I hoped that my sister in law would enjoy them.  I was sure they would have a good home there.

 

1              1 Kamik

 

I had a problem on how to present them.  In this case, lucky for me, I have dyslexia and was unable to do any of the normal jobs my friends had, (since no one is dumb enough to hire me as a secretary or receptionist, although the guild kept electing me as librarian).  Instead, I wound up being a picture framer as my first career. Lots of archival work, French matting,  shadow and plexi boxes. So I know how to present a 2 or 3 dimensional piece.

But a plexi box is not always the solution. Sometimes it’s good to think outside of the box even if you are thinking of a box.

Solution 1 Michael’s Art store carries shadow boxes and plexi display boxes, that would be perfect! So I’m off to Michaels.  No, they don’t carry that size of plexy display box anymore, would I  like the one for basket balls or there is this lovely one that holds base ball cards that lights up?  They did have an “open”  Shadow box (ok, it is just a deep plain molding without glass that hangs on the wall. Only barely deep enough for the figures, and a bit high. …..but that would work for those trees I want to try later, …….. and its on sale …… ok, I cave. On to Ikea which for me is in the same mall.

 

Ikea has a large table top miniature green house that might work and it would keep plants or Halloween figures safe from cats. But it’s a bit too large a foot print for just the two figures. But it would be a good back up plan.  It’s still sitting in the back of the car.

2 2 Ikea; Width: 17 ¾ ” (45 cm) Depth:  8 ¾ ” (22 cm) Height: 13 ¾ ” (35 cm)

 

Over at Walmart I spotted a tall, glass and black metal pillar candle lantern.  The base might be a bit squishy but it’s worth a try. Oh look, no price but it has a bar code. No, scanner is broken at the self-scanning spot…. again…. (Mutter) it’s a bit pricier than I had hoped but it’s worth a try. I got it home and realized the width was not adequate for both figures.  However, the lantern concept was excellent! Just what I sort of envisioned for presentation.

 

33 Walmart; 5″ x 7″ x 19

Back to Ikea for their big white lantern (much cheaper in price than Walmart’s), return the lantern to Walmart and drive over to pick up Glenn from work. Just in time to Drive to Oakville for the weekend. (That was the trip that the last post about the Mouse Angel happened on)

 

44 Ikea; 17 1/4″ (44 cm)

 

Along with Xmas presents and necessary visiting stuff, I had packed Ghost Girl and Werewolf boy, more of the Shetland fleece from last summer (Dark and light sections), the Bee combs and an assortment of needles still stuck in my garden kneeling pad I use as a work surface. I did not pack a ruler. I wanted to do a bit of finishing touches on both figures before they ended up in the candle lantern and off to their new home.

 

I wanted to add a bit more firmness to the Kamik like boots and give Ghost Girl her Mitts (she did not hold her Ghost Balloons quite as well but I bet her fingers are warmer now!)

565-6 Mitts to keep her hands warm

7 7 Boots to keep her toes warm

 

My plan was to use the foam pad to anchor the figures in  then cut the foam to fit the inside of the lantern. (that’s where the missing ruler might have helped) but due to my skills with non-math solutions to measuring I had a piece of yarn and pins to solve this dilemma. Dyscalculia is not all bad really! The foam cut easily and with a tiny bit of trimming fit into the bottom of the lantern.

88 Ikea Solution in Oakville (there are more angels in the background!)

9109- 11 foam base and using the sting to measure and the pins to mark

11

Time to drive back to Ottawa and continue work on the base

 

On Dec 23rd the Guild had a Potluck and Social for those still in town and needing a fibre related escape. I continued with the base. I started with laying out wisps as when wet felting. Then started to use the needles to create adhesion. I layered in a darker path and then added a bit of undulation to the landscape.  I kept to the same colour scheme easily by using the same fleece. This time I deliberately felted into the foam as I worked around the edges to keep the blue from being visible.

  12- 14 Covering the base with felt

 

Yes! that is sort of what I was wanting. I wish the lantern had been just a bit bigger.

Wrapping – I failed utterly at wrapping since I didn’t want to put the lantern on its side and possibly have unwanted movement occur. So basically unwrapped presentation I will just have to focus next year’s attention all on the wrapping and not on the content to make up! (Maybe a spectacularly wrapped but empty box? Dante the cat would like that.  Maybe I will try that for him next year!)

15-17 the delivery My Niece with the ghosts on stings. i will have to make her bigger ghosts!!

(These pictures were off Glenn’s camera.  Sorry, they’re a very grainy.)

1818

1919 The bell jar I used with the Angel Mouse was also from Ikea. It was called a  BEGÅVNING Glass dome with base, 10 ” (26 cm) high.

 

Having the felt figures under glass decreases the need to dust and keeps cats from trying to play with the mouse!  Framing felted pictures is a bit more problematic not for the dust protection which can be excellent. The problem can be the same as photos against glass. If the owner used an excessive amount of glass cleaner, the liquid can wick in behind the glass and affect the photo making it stick to the glass or wetting the felt. The use of a mat or a spacer gives a space between the Glass and the art which will reduce the effects of wicking wetness (the best idea is spray the cloth to light dampness and then wipe the glass so no liquid runs behind the glass) but we can chat about framing some other day.   For now I have glass-less shadow box, an extra BEGÅVNING and a SOCKER Greenhouse to fill……another weasel dragon or maybe a small hippogriff? That’s what I love about felt you can make anything!!!

Recreating a Still Life Failure

Recreating a Still Life Failure

I originally created this still life of a vase of flowers in 2016 for a quarterly challenge. The plan was to create dimensional flowers in a still life but I didn’t pay enough attention to the overall design/composition and the vase didn’t turn out very well.

Here’s the original. The vase was dead center and the surrounding negative space feels the same and uninteresting. The black vase is too stark. I did go ahead and frame the piece and try to sell it but no luck. The piece was really big at 24″ x 30″ so I had plenty of room to cut it down and recreate the piece.

What I did first was to create a different vase. I used some upholstery fabric that I had on hand and cut out a new shape that filled more of the space on the bottom. I then cropped it down with some paper croppers so that I could find the best composition. I had a canvas that I could use so I knew the size that I needed. The new canvas is 16″ x 20″.

I then decided that the vase would look better with some dimension added. So I stuffed it and hand stitched it to the surface. I had to be careful not too over stuff the bottom or left side since they would be stretched around the canvas.

I needed some shadowing on the bottom and left side of the vase. I originally thought I would use black tulle to create the shadows but it was way too dark and had too much contrast. I didn’t have any gray tulle so I decided to use a combination of purple and yellow tulle to give a lighter shadow which tended toward purple. I used matte medium to glue down the tulle to the vase. My original plan was to fuse it down to the vase but when I attempted to iron the upholstery fabric I found that it was some type of polyester and it melted. Oops. I cut out a second vase and used matte medium.

After I stretched the piece around the canvas and stapled it in place. I trimmed off the excess felt. I then decided the piece had “holes” that needed filling. I forgot to take a photo before I started adding other elements. I needed some darker values and luckily had some really dark maroon/purple felt that I was able to fashion into flowers. I hand stitched the flowers together and ended up adding a few more flower buds as well that aren’t shown in these photos. Then I wanted to add some more leaves. I tried some yellow green felt leaves (left photo) but I thought that it needed something darker. I didn’t have any darker green felt so I decided to use some green tulle. The torn tulle gave a different texture too. In the right photo, I was trying the tulle out and just pinned it in place in bunches. I felt the bunches were too over the top so I ended up tearing the tulle into “leaves” and then stitching them down in layers. I also added a few lighter green pieces of tulle under the dark tulle to give a bit more contrast.

I am much happier with the final result compared to the original. The negative spaces (background) are different sizes and give more interest. The center of interest is not right in the dead center of the piece. So the overall composition has definitely been improved.

And the piece has lots of fun texture and dimension. I plan on putting this piece into an exhibition in October. Hopefully, with these changes, it will find a new home. I think that I will just add a backing but not frame it. I like being able to see the colors go around the canvas and the flowers/greenery that reaches off the edge of the piece.

Have you recreated a piece that you weren’t happy with? We would love to hear your story about it over on the forum.

 

No felting this week

No felting this week

This week has not been a felting week or even a thinking about felting week. This week has been finishing and tagging week. I will be at Fibrefest this coming weekend.

The first part of tagging is creating tags. It always takes longer than expected to do. I needed tags for the batts, the scissor pouches and new ones for the little cardholders.

 

I had to weigh the batts and fill in the tags. This one and its twin are already sold and put aside for a friend who can’t make it to the sale.

I had to add the grommets to the scissor cases and tag them with the new tags. I started by adding the grommets to the left side through both layers. It makes it tight for the scissors. So I switched to adding them to the right side through the backside. I think I like this better. I like the way it looks better too.

They are all tagged now.

The other thing I need to do yet is put the spinning kits together.  I have to sand the holes of the whorls because they are to tight and I can’t get them on the dowels. Last year they were to loose and I had to glue them. The wool is in the bags at least. Now I have to print the instructions and finish the drop spindles. I am out of ink and today is a holiday so it will have to wait

Lastly, I need to figure out what I am taking as display items.

 

 

Framing Complete

Framing Complete

I had several requests from readers to show my finished pieces once they were framed. I framed 8 pieces. Three are for an exhibition in September and the rest are for sale in the shop. (If you’re interested in purchasing, let me know in the comments and I will contact you by email.)

Tokyo Sakuru 13″ x 13″

Orthoceras 16.5″ x 13.5″

Lavender Jade 14.25″ x 17.5″

Trail of the Cedars 18.5″ x 15.25″

Sanctuary 16″ x 21″

Evening on the Range 10.25″ x 16.25″

From Tiny Acorns 11.5″ x 18.5″

Overlook 18.25″ x 24.25″

I have my work professionally framed with a simple black wood frame. I do all the prep work of attaching the felt to a background fabric and then stretching and lacing on to a background board. I like to show the organic edges of the felt so this is the best method I have come up with. How do you frame your pieces?

Backgrounds for Felt and Stitched Pieces

Backgrounds for Felt and Stitched Pieces

I have been working on creating backgrounds for my recently finished felt and stitched pieces. In the past, I have dyed the fabric to try to match the pieces. This time I decided to try the fabric store and see if there was some solid fabric that would work.

The background for Sanctuary is the only piece that I dyed. I actually used tea to “stain” this fabric. I wanted a soft tan color and the tea seemed to work. I then stitched the felt piece down to the dyed cotton fabric and laced it to matt board. It’s a lot of work but the pieces seem to hold up well and then I don’t have to cover them with glass.

At the fabric store, I found fat quarters that would work for all my pieces. I can’t say that I think the colors are perfect but they work OK.

So each piece got a different color of fabric and I didn’t have to buy a bunch of extra fabric that I probably won’t use.

This one is a bit too bright, but I don’t think I will change any of them at this point.

These all sit nicely on the stretch cotton fabric and you really can’t see where they are stitched to the background fabric.

This one and the oak tree piece were fused down to the fabric instead of stitching. I tried to stitch the oak tree down but where I had silk screened on to the surface just wasn’t taking the stitches well. So I applied fusible to the back of each of these pieces and then ironed them to the background fabric. It was much quicker than stitching and I might use this method from now on instead of stitching. As long as the piece isn’t too heavy it should work.

Now I need to get these to the framer. I am planning on putting them in an exhibition in August. So I have plenty of time yet.

Finishing and Framing Sanctuary

Finishing and Framing Sanctuary

I have several pieces that need to be finished and framed in some manner. It would be handy if I always followed the same procedure but many times I like to show organic edges but my recent piece Sanctuary wasn’t going to work out well framed that way. I needed to crop it and then frame it. It is very thick as it has several layers of felt appliqued to felt. And I didn’t want it to stretch out of shape while I was sewing the edges.

I marked the edges first trying to keep everything square. You can see faint lines around the edges where I marked the line I was going to machine stitch. By machine stitching, I could hold all the layers together as some of the hand stitched edges were going to end up being cut away.

I stitched with a dark brown thread and followed my line. I stitched over it twice to make sure everything was holding together. To keep it even and straight, I added a heavy interfacing to the back and pinned it all together before stitching.

Once it was stitched around the edge, I trimmed off the excess with a rotary cutter. As you can see, I didn’t quite get the top edge straight. But it will have to do 🙂

Then I zigzag stitched all around the edge a couple of times. There were a few white bits of felt sticking out and I fixed that with the appropriate colored Sharpie marker. Now to mount it on a canvas or in a frame.

I could put it in this frame with a white mat but I feel that the white is a little bit too stark and it would look better with a slightly darker mat board. Or on a lovely piece of fabric that I don’t seem to have. I definitely need to dye some cotton fabric backgrounds for several pieces now.

Machine Stitching Japanese Edo Period UFO

Machine Stitching Japanese Edo Period UFO

I am still busy using stuff up and trying to do something with all the UFO’s (unfinished objects) lying around the studio. This piece was started in September 2017 for one of the Quarterly Challenges. You can see the post here on how I created the piece thus far.  Until I reread my post, I had forgotten what a pain this was when I was making it. I’m sure that’s why it got put away and left for dead.

Here’s the piece before I did anything too it. It’s OK, but I thought it might be improved with some free motion machine stitching. I worked on it in the mornings before work for 10-15 minutes at a time. I have the machine all set up and ready to go so I can sit down and start working for short time periods.

I decided to fill the inside shapes with dense stitching. I used a light lavender thread in Sulky 30 weight cotton. I wanted to have a contrast between the dark design and the thread but still be able to see the color of the silk underneath.

I completed all the stitching inside the design and it really helped the design to pop out from the felt. Then I added a couple of circles around the design. I used a bowl to mark around with a dressmakers pencil so I had a line to follow. The pencil just wiped away after stitching.

Then I cut the circle out around the outside stitched line. I even like the back side too.

Now I have to decide how to finish it and hang it. I have a 12″ x 12″ canvas that I could cover with fabric or paint and then attach the circle. The photo above shows a possible fabric choice. I only have a small piece of it so I would have to dye more. Perhaps slightly darker than this background? If I painted it, I considered making a partial stencil to decorate the corners of the square with a similar design. I guess I could try that and if it didn’t work, I could always cover it up with fabric. What do you think? How would you finish it? Hubby suggested using it as a hot mat but the silk on top wouldn’t hold up very well. Plus I have absolutely no pink in my house so it doesn’t exactly go with anything.

Updating my post to remind everyone that Terri Berry’s online concertina hat making class registration opens on February 7th. Go here for more information.

Sneaky Presents

Sneaky Presents

This year one of my brothers in law decreed we should not give gifts at Xmas.  Oh no! But I love Xmas.  It’s so fun to see if I have guessed right what everyone will like.

So this year I did 5×7 Xmas cards for our Oakville Xmas. That technically isn’t a present it’s a card. I had a plan.

OOPS I took Mom shopping 2 weeks before Xmas and had 3 bags of groceries; one just a bit heavier than the others. Ok, as soon as I lugged it into the house I knew it was too heavy. I lasted long enough to get everything into the fridge and realized I wasn’t doing anything else. I was much better after spending most of a week in bed being very uncomfortable, frustrated and all caught up on Xmas movies.  So I was a week behind on Xmas and sure I had a bit longer until it arrived. (Surprise! It’s still on the 25th!) Drat!

My husband works for the post office so this year was going to be a very short visit. (The Post Office was open on monday Dec 24th.) The original plan was to drive for 5.5 hours arrive late on the 24th or early on the 25th drive back on the 26th so he could work on the 27th.  He had requested to have Monday off so we could leave earlier but had to wait to see who else requested because it would go by seniority and there are a lot of more senior people working at his station. Thursday night he found out that he could have Monday off and we had a mad scramble to drop off Ottawa presents (before the freezing rain arived) and gather everything for the trip.

Friday started out with freezing rain changing to rain. I had collected my portfolio and  a bag of various coloured fiber and a strip of the felted duvet that had been donated to the guild felters.  I think I told you about that a while ago. I finally got to use a bit of mine and it worked very well. So if you acquire a felted wool duvet do not despair take it apart and use it for a base to felt on!

The drive down started with light rain changing to vary heavy rain eventually stopping  and changing to decorative wisps of snow north of Toronto but nothing stayed on the very green ground we found in Oakville. There was an amazing decorated Xmas tree and Glenn’s Parents to greet us.  so Green Xmas isn’t all bad.

1-xmas-2018.jpg
No Snow in Oakville but a spectacular tree!

So Saturday morning I pulled out my bag of fiber and sent Glenn to find a cereal box in the recycling bin in the basement.  I cut out part of one side and made a 5 x 7 window and sent the rest back to recycling. Then took over a corner of the dining room table. (My back still wasn’t very happy and decided that living room furniture was not to be tolerated but dining room chairs were fine – stupid back)

Hum what would my in-laws like on their card? Well we were definitely having a green Xmas and we hadn’t brought any snow with us (what little we had after the rain and freezing rain in Ottawa) ok, a snow scene it would be.

2 xmass 2018
swirly application of fiber

 

3 xmass 2018
adding a tree and a snowy slope
4 xmass 2018
another tree and more swirls to the sky and a winter sun

Again wisps of colour laid down this time in swirls of patterns to the sky, very van Gogh of me! I added bare trees (there is a golf course full of bare trees just across the street) then needed something to balance their weight.  The nephews had created a grisly snowman murder seen the last time they had visited but unfortunately no snow so no snowmen. Hum ok a less grisly snow man with a scarf to blow in the wind.

5 xmass 2018
check with the cereal box frame for balance to the composition
7-xmass-2018.jpg
Ooh a frame makes everything look better! one down 2 more to go

Yes l think that will work.

One down 2 to go!

Next Brian and Alex like birds and there are lots of birds usually here.  But this visit seemed to be all about squirrel wars and retrieving the squirrel proof feeder from where the Raccoons had taken it across the back yard. I hear there is an opossum visiting but I didn’t see it.

9 xmas 2018
Squirrel wars, a momentary pause

Usually there are lots of cardinals and blue jays, sparrows, chickadees, morning doves and never enough crows for me. Ok cardinals it is.

A quick trip to the internet since my camera wasn’t as helpful as it usually is and I had chosen a bird.

12 xmas 2018
cardinal under way

Again background blended with wisps of colour then started adding the detail work. Checking size with the 5×7 window and a lot of poking (but not my fingers!) and I had Xmas card number 2 done.

It was Xmas eve afternoon by the time I started the last one.  Bob and Judy were not expected until about 4pm Xmas day.  So I had to felt my fingers off since I knew we also had turkey dinner, Xmas breakfast and a lot of presents to open!

21 xmas 2018
Christmas Morning! One more to finish!
13 xmas 2018
Glenn’s Christmas morning Blacksmithing hat and lots pajamas
14-xmas-2018.jpg
part of Jan’s Christmas tablet weaving books!

Hummm now what might they like.  I had rectified the lack of snow, did one of the birds that we enjoy here.  Oh yes, the rabbits! We see them mostly in the spring and early summer but they’re very cute.  Bob would like them and make him think of his parents’ home.

So bunny it was. I didn’t have the photos I had taken of this springs bunny visitor but remembered what it looked like so off to the internet for photo reference. Much poking later I had a very painterly interpretation of an Oakville bunny.

18 xmas 2018
Framing of Christmas card #3

You may have noticed I tried a different base to work on. It’s the foam from the dollar store that kids play mats are made of. Mine was about 7 inches square and had a puzzle piece in the center of each square.  The puzzle part in the middle tends to want to pull out but I would suggest not using tape to hold it together since the stickiness would transfer to the needle and make a mess. I found holding down the center worked fine and it wasn’t as annoying as it sounds to work on. When the bigger ones reappear I will get more. I did work 3 layers thick so had no poke through even with the top surface deterioration. If you haven’t tried this as a base you may want to experiment.

22 xmass 2018
Dollar store foam pieces
23 xmas 2018
3 layers worked well

All recipients seemed very pleased and surprised with their “Xmas cards” I had found frames at Dollarama with a white mat so they looked a lot more polished with the frame as presentation.

Now on to class notes for the 2 workshops I’m doing in January! I can see a lot more felting ahead in 2019! I hope you get a chance to try small format felting, its relatively quick, doesn’t take much wool and its lots of fun!

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