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Category: Needle Felting

A picture with some metal in it.

A picture with some metal in it.

It’s after the Christmas crazy and I feel all out of sorts. There is nothing I need to be doing.  Nothing to shop for, nothing to bake for. I do have some nice new teas to try but although they are delicious, that is not really doing anything. I want to yell I’m bored, but my mom wouldn’t hear me at her house and what’s the point of that. So, like many of you, I must kick my own butt and just get on with something. Start with housework, if that doesn’t start you thinking of things to do in the studio, nothing will. After several loads of laundry and digging out the corner of the bedroom where we toss things to deal with later, I had had enough and I grabbed a tea and my sketchbook and headed for the studio.

I know you are thinking but what about your hat aren’t you supposed to be sewing the flower into place and making leaves. Yes, I am but I don’t feel like it. I had a poke through some recent sketches I did. I can’t really draw but I can get the idea down and use it to work from.

 

I dug out some felt pieces I did as starter pieces. Picked one and started.

First I defined the house. It was just a roof and walls when I picked it. I forgot to take a picture, sorry. I added some windows and the roofline and the corner of the house.  Then, strangely I started at the front of the picture with some fence posts. Usually, you start in the back and layer to the front.

 

With the magic of felt, I just took a picture and then pulled them off and put them aside.

 

I added some sheep, I bet you didn’t see that coming…..LOL. You can see I decided the house looked more like a barn and changed the windows into a large door. I also by this time decided the blue was water and added a path along the cliff edge.

I defined the sticky out piece of coastline to help with the water effect and check the placement of the fence posts. I decided to keep them straight because the right-hand one is going to be short anyway. I added some different blue to define the sky and some white with a bit of sparkle for waves. There was lots of wool sticking out past the picture edge so I just folded it around the back.

Then it was what to do to finish the fence. This is where the metal comes in.  Originally I was going to use thread to be the wire but then I was chatting with Jan about wire and remembered I had this spool of wire.  It is a very old spool and I don’t know what kind of wire it is or what it was meant for. It is thin but strong and flexible. It is old, as you can see from the wooden spool but there is no rust. It has a 58 stamped into the top but it’s not the gauge.

 

I decided to make a real wire fence. I twisted two lengths together and cut 4 of them to stick out past the ends of the picture.  I folded them around the edges to hold them in place. I then couched them down with 6 strands of grey embroidery floss to be the fence staples.  I think it really works. The whole picture is only 5.5inches (14cm)by 4 inches(10cm).

 

I did think about making at least one strand of my fence barbed wire. I made one barb, to try it but you couldn’t really see it against the wool so wasn’t worth the fiddling.

My New Years’ Resolution is to do more felt pictures and to try to do them a little bigger. Do you have a Fibery New Years’ Resolution?

Looking Ahead to Organizing a Felt Study Group for 2021

Looking Ahead to Organizing a Felt Study Group for 2021

2020 has been odd, scary, frustrating and somewhat productive.  Besides felting and fleece washing, I have spent time working on the guild library, once we were allowed back in the building. We finally got to run the Library survey I have wanted to run since the early 2000’s. After the huge library restructuring of the collection this was an excellent time to run it. the survey had 19 questions divided into sections. The data analysis has be keeping me vary busy and away from doing as much felting as I had wanted.

To keep us together wile we are apart, The Ottawa guild is trying to find ways to connect with its members through zoom meetings, on Face book and is looking for ways to do on line participation starting with study groups. The Meetings have been fun, especially to see everyone, but the learning curve seems a bit steep for those of us who had not zoomed before. But its not all bad really! We have the opportunity to have presentations from people who don’t live near us. We have also had some creative programing with an online bingo game at the last meeting. I was one of the winners and got a lovely little baggy of blue fibers and a button (May the Fleece be with you).  There was some blue/green firestar that is very sparkly which I have segregated to its own baggie.  I may use in one of my Mer’s if I do a colourful tropical fish part.

We have already had a Facebook based Tapestry study group this past summer that was quite active. The socially distanced, masked Flax study group met in small groups all summer and fall. (You heard about that already). We also had interest expressed in a weaving for clothing and a rug weaving study groups. Both of those were put aside to start in the fall or winter.

The next idea for 2021 was to have group studies that would cover weaving, spinning and felting starting possibly in February over Zoom. There were a couple options suggested for topics for spinning and weaving but I was asked if I wanted to lead something on felting. (Ann may get a request for wet felting since I tend to like to stay dry if possible)

So I need to come up with a few options to offer the Guild executive and membership. Since we are all in the same predicament of exploring new ways to connect i thought you may be interested in this. You may have even tried something along this line already with your online friends or local guilds. i hope you may even have better idea than what i have been investing. There are two topics I have started studying on my own and collecting info on which might work as a study topic.  Armatures and armature wire options and sheep breeds focusing on the felt-ability of each breads wool.

Armature wire with samples of gauges and types of wire. (Not all 14 gauge wire has the same flexibility)  I have been acquiring wire for each of the sculptural projects I have been working on.  I also have been keeping samples of each  wire type I have been able to get. I want to sculpt a leg or leg like shape on a piece of each gauge to see the flexibility and structural support each size will provide.  This should suggest what size each gauge will be suited to.  I also have found a lot of wire is not labeled by gauge so having a comparison file would be helpful both for future purchasing and for deciding on which gauge for what size of sculpture.

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 1   14 gauge Steel

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2   14 Gauge aluminum.

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3  Jute Covered wire

The second is a fleece study (Ruth Lane’s Binder is fantastically inspirational!!!) investigating the felt-ability of various breads. I was more interested in the dry felting properties but Ruth has inspired me to possibly include wet felted samples if I have enough fiber for a breed.

4-5   Shropshire I think

6   Shetland

7-8   Scottish Mule and Velusila cross

There are some very good books on different breeds of sheep and the properties of there fleeces. Unfortunately they focus on spinning knitting or weaving properties rather than felting.

  1. The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn by Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson.
  2. The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers by Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson.
  3. The Spinner’s Book of Fleece: A Breed-by-Breed Guide to Choosing and Spinning the Perfect Fiber for Every Purpose by Beth Smith

Another option, which would be very easy to do, is a cookie cutter needle felting base and then explore embellishments on a small scale. Cookie cutters are not too expensive, come in lots of shapes, and don’t take up too much wool.  There are lots of embellishments that could be investigated; beads, embroidery or as Moi MaCay referred to it as stitch marks, ribbons, wire work, and inclusion of silk or other fibers.

9  Embellishments

How it would Work

The concept for all the options would be to do a shared knowledge study with everyone doing sample homework and reporting back to the group each zoom meeting. Participants would have to acquire the supplies or do a group acquisition of materials. Instead of a teacher student relationship, it would be fellow students moving towards a common goal and greater understanding.

From my (guild) librarian perspective, I would hope that study groups that are working towards a binder of information could make a copy for the guild library too. It can’t hurt to ask!

How are your guilds and groups keeping their educational components going while we are waiting for our Covid shots? Have you been part of any study group or felt along online, to keep yourself inspired while we wait until we can get out and see each other again in person? is there one of the ideas that looks appealing or do you have an even better suggestion?

Unless the calendar is incorrect (this year has felt unusually long) this is the last post from me this year. I am hoping the last few days of 2020 will be the best part of this year, and that we all will have a much better 2021! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!

2020, Just a bit Mer to go.

2020, Just a bit Mer to go.

Glenn and I have been travelling as far as Oakville once a month, to take over running errands for his parents and give his eldest brother, who is closest, a break (there are 5 brothers). We are second closest at 5 and a half hours away. The rest live in the US so are on the wrong side of the border to come and visit.

This last trip we checked the hotel was still open, Yes.  Packed up the car; extra grocery cooler bags, suitcases, and fibre related to the Mr. Mer project. One quick look at the garden and off to Oakville!

1-2 Silly lungwort, silly strawberries, it’s not spring, it’s December!!!

After MUCH debating about what kind of fish Mr. Mer actually is. I suddenly realized he was a pike! A Northern Pike! So off to the internet to get reference images! I carefully looked at fin placement, size shape and colouring.

 3 the reference photos

 4 wires were placed for the lower fins.

I pulled out the measured wires (floral wire,22 gauge I think) and started to lay out one side of the fin, mixing tones as I went.

 5 side one of the fin. (wire still to be added)

Added Fibre to the wire and then stuck the ends of the wire back into Mr. Mer just above the tail fin.

6 lower underside fin

7 Getting ready to start upper back fin.  

 8 using 3 of the 42 gauge triangular needles. These are quite nice. I would like to get some in the 333 configuration these are the 222’s.

9 I also used the 38 which suddenly felt aggressive compared to the 42’s!

 10 I started laying in the dorsal colouring. I was hand blending and tearing the fibres into short unorganized sections which I laid on in thin washes.

11-12   I tried attaching only one side of the fin wire for the hip fins.

I had worried all this addition of fins may have been a bit overwhelming for Mr. Mer, but he found a spot to blend into on the couch and started reading a postcard (he seemed interested in the picture from Dubai)

13-14 Mr. Mer refused to wear a mask but he did have a lot of poking with a needle and may have felt that boosted his immunity.  (I did not have a mask that would fit him). I think I will wait for the kind of needle that has the vaccine, fewer barbs in those!)

Parts of Christmas are already in Oakville, they even had more snow than we did! I spotted the mouse angel and the Christmas card from was that just last year?

 15-18 A bit of x-mas has already arrived.

 19 back to work defining fins and covering that butt.

20 the sun finally comes out shortly before it’s time to set.

 21 He had a swim around the computer desk in the hotel room.  Then I had a nice float and some stretching exercises in the hotel pool. Just to prove I don’t actually melt in water, So far…

 22 The mostly empty hotel

 23 The greatest shock of 2020 thus far is I now float,….. in a pool that is saltwater….as long as I hold on to the rope.  I wonder if this new skill will last into 2021?

Have a fabulous week and a nice relaxing X-mas!  I hope you get lots of Fiber, spinning wheels, wonderful inspiring books probably about felting and maybe a loom or two.

Fourth Quarter Challenge 2020 Jan’s Ornament

Fourth Quarter Challenge 2020 Jan’s Ornament

Hummmmmm. I would like to make an ornament, using the cookie cutter needle felting technique. Now, what do I have as options? I have been collecting cookie cutters for over 30 years now. My original Christmas cookie cutters were dinosaurs. (the T-Rex was Santa! and the Triceratops had tricky horns to get out of the cutter.) Eventually, my collection grew and I added more traditional X-mass shapes to my collection.

Unfortunately, most of my 2 boxes of cookie cutters are stored well out of my reach at the moment and Glenn is off at work so can’t extract them for me. I should have remembered they were out of reach and no longer in the bottom drawer. (mumble)

Well, what do I have for options?

1  A bat, vampire teeth, a coffin, a cat, a moose and an Ikea set of snowflakes.  As much fun as the vampire cookie cutters are, I think they don’t say X-mas to most people. So they’re out.

2  As much as I love cats I don’t think I will try a holiday cat this time. (how would I choose between Timothy in Orange and white, Miaka in Black and white or Evil in all black? Someone would be feeling unloved.)

3-4   we are left with two highly festive shapes, snowflakes and moose.   But there was that incident on highway 401 while travelling to Oakville last week.  We were not involved but it looked very gruesome.  No maybe not the moose.

  5  So it’s the “Vinterfest” Snowflakes from Ikea. (They may not be sold out if you check your local store)

As I understand the concept of the cookie cutter, it is to provide a structured shape to contain the wool as you inflicted horrible stabbing upon it. The sides make sure the wool has nowhere to run! (i love needle felting it is such a gentle relaxing pastime! <Grin>)  The nature of the wool compacting as you poke it means extra attention and the addition of more wool is required along all the edges and protuberances.

6    I think that was some of the white Corriedale wool and the needle was a T36 or T38.

7-8  As the wool shrunk below the rim of the cookie cutter I added more fibre to the thinner areas. I also turned it over so I was compacting from both sides. If you wanted a thinner snowflake you would not keep filling it to the top of the cookie cutter. Whether you make a thick or thin shape it would still work best if it is fairly firmly felted.

9  I switched to the pen holder with two T42 needles (I had to look around for it.  I had left it in Mr. Mer’s Glute muscles.) I focused on adding short bits of wool around the perimeter of the cookie cutter. I was amazed at how much more wool it absorbed at this point.

10-11  Once it was very firm to the touch I started to extract the snowflake to see if it would be stable.

12   Ooh, nice solid snowflake.  Better not get hit with this one, you could poke out an eye!

Hum, now it’s looking a bit plain. I got that lovely variegated thread that had been donated to EcoEquitable a few weeks ago (they are a not for profit group that teaches sewing and recycles fabric and sewing supply).  I bet it would make lovely crows-feet and a star.

  13-14   Oh well the variegation is longer than I thought but I still like it. Now, where will I put it?

15 OH NO! Mr. Mer swam through, grabbed it and has run off with it!! That will teach me to store the needle pen in his butt!

Shark-Boy! part 2

Shark-Boy! part 2

When last we chatted, i had consulted with Ann while topping up the butter tart supply.  She suggested looking at the integration zone, yes he is a bit skinny and needs to have a stronger transition blending the join between boy and shark.

I have made a stronger integration zone between shark and human by lengthening the abdominals into the under shark and brought the shark flanks up into the lats. i also added a dorsal line in the lumbar spine and the cervical spine. yes that looks better!

then it was time to add hands.

1-3 Floral wire from Dallerama unlabeled but probably 22 gauge

After adding the fingers.  I tried one of Sara’s tools for the first time, I had been using my mettle ruler and one of my weaving stick-shuttles successfully but this gives a lot of length options in one tool. I could do a similar thing with coroplast (a type of plastic cardboard) but I was interested in trying this out.

4 finger making tool, Stick shuttle and ruler

I used the floral wire from Dollerama (I think its 22 gauge since its unlabeled). I used an extra section of wire to reinforce the wrist. Rapping tiny fingers was a bit fiddly but went reasonably well. I switched to finer needles and started to work on the thenar and hypothenar eminences (those two bumps of at the base of the palm). I spent a long time poking both hands to get the shape to a place I was happy.

5-7 I was very pleased with the expressiveness the hands gave. You can also see more of the transition zone from shark to boy.

Yes, that took a week and it was a time to top up the butter tart inspiration!

 8-10 “those hands look creepy”

Success! Except I understand the hands look creepy. That might improve in the next step, On to Colour!!

By the way, it’s still raining.

I started laying in the base mid-tone grey on the hammerhead body then started playing with skin tones in the boy parts. (sorry I got distracted with adding the colour layer and forgot to go grab the camera)

 11-13 base layer, then adding wisps of colour

Just a sec, Ann just messaged me a tornado warning, got to go move hanging plants, drying wool and the 3 umbrellas!

Well, we made it through with odd-coloured sky and layers of clouds moving in different directions then a huge downpour.

The next morning I was a bit hesitant to check out how the side yard was doing. The studio, plants and wool survived so back to work!

14 Here is the wool that keeps getting extra rinses, this is just the first part of one of the two large rams fleeces I bought a couple of weeks ago. There is still a lot of VM  including burrs to clean-out. Now back to Shark-boy!

  15-18  wool and hanging baskets survived adding detail at the intersection and along the spine.

19 This summer Mrs. Crow and her family supervised me, as I have worked on the Mer family.  Today they all dropped by for a visit.

I started to lay in more thin wisps of colour over the base layers. I started with the human skin tones and the integration of the abdominal/underbelly. I also added a bit of the detailing along the colour change.

20-22 Adding more definition between belly and sides of sharks

I think he is enjoying how it is going and took a quick swim around the table.

23-30

Once I can catch him, I will continue adding colour to his hand and the rest of his body.

Have fun Felting!! Maybe it will stop raining at some point so i can get back to washing and drying the last of the fleeces.

Shark-Boy! part 1

Shark-Boy! part 1

I started this post a few weeks ago but wanted to tell you about the Flax study group first. so while the Flax is off at the spa having hydrotherapy treatments lets look back a bit.

I hope you haven’t become bored in my fishy endeavors this summer. (I am looking forward to starting a less wet oriented project once I have this one in hand)

I have decided the Mer’s need a son. However, I want to have him more strongly on the shark side of the family, hammerhead shark to be specific. So back to my notes to adjust the armature sizes from the original measurements suggested by Sarra in her you tube felt along Mermaid.  I reduced the proportions for the body and then considered the extended length of the hammerhead shark body.

 1   14 gauge aluminum wire armature.

   2 Using a second piece of wire to Stabilizing the arms and third for the body.

For this Mer I went with a much more fishy lower body, basing it on the hammerhead shark.  I again did a thorough search of images to find reference shots. Referring back to the diagrams,  photos, and a bit of research I found out there is a difference in fin alinement between adolescent and adult hammerhead sharks.  I extended the body armature, adding fins in appropriate places for a youthful shark.

  3-4 adding a fishy long shark body

I have tried various starting points while felting the Mer’s, this time I started with the head and worked down.

  5-9 Starting at the top and working down

I added wool, by rapping and adding layers of wool, continuing down the body to the first pair of (Pectoral) fins. I secured fiber to the lower back then worked out and back building up the fins and upper part of the shark body.

 10-11 Pectoral fins

Now on to the first Dorsal fin. I created a flat rectangle and felted the center line which will become the front edge of large fin.

 12-13 Dorsal Fin.

The fin armature was rapped with the white wool then the fin cover was added and felted in.

  14 -19 the Dorsal fin and blocking out the shark body

When working It is good to take pictures, not just to have a record of what you have done but also to get a different perspective on your work.  (It’s like holding a painting up to a mirror to help your brain see it more clearly) He is still looking a bit too skinny, he needs a bit of weight training. I am sure I can do something about that.

Yes it rained again. another extra rinse for the fleece. I am still dry under here, so let’s keep having fun!

   20 more rain, shark-boy starts weight training

I started to play around with the transition section and adding a bit more width to the body of the shark parts.

  21-23 transition between Boy and Fish ( i have to make the transition look integrated not like a shark is eating someone feet first)

  24 checking both photos and diagrams

Now to add the Caudal fin, which has a subterminal notch! And yes it rained again.

25 this is a cool tool, it unscrews by turning the nob. be careful not to get one that requires a screwdriver  to undo it from below (it can be painful if you slip)

Pause in the rain, time for a Tomato brake!

   26-28  Haratige, Low acid yellow pair, Sweet i millions

Yes I am still trying to wash and dry fleece so yes it rained again. I guess it needs more rinsing? OK, back to work!

 29-31

Time to add the two Pelvic fins,

  32-33 shape both fins at the same time before adding them

It was still raining but not leaking in the covered dog area which is now my studio, Shark boy is keeping an eye on the weather while I make his fins.

34 will it ever stop with the intermittent rain?

  35 before adding the pelvic fins I need to add the Anal fin, but first checking the location on the diagrams and photos.

    36-37 make 2 so they will be balanced

Adding the pelvic fins between the pectoral and anal fin. As you can see, shark boy did not inherit the vestigial knees found in the rest of the Mer family.

 38-39

Its time to pack up for the day. Tomorrow is the day to restock on Ann’s Tarts and get her impute in how this project is  going.

40 OK more rain.. time to pack up. tomorrow is Butter tart day!! (Saturday)

  41-43 Ann had her New poncho to show me! It looks grate!

The decision on shark boy was to keep working on the intersection between shark and boy. That will be next week but for now its time for butter tarts!!

A Felt Solution for a Small Problem

A Felt Solution for a Small Problem

Black thumb drive and black thumb drive and black thumb drive? Which Identical looking thumb drive has the file I am looking for? Silly me I saw them on sale and bought them! Now I again have a handful of thumb drives that I have to open each one to find out what it might have on them…. Well, that’s annoying.

thumb drives Yes, I have a lot of black thumb drives!

I had to pass some files over to Ann and need some way to make this little black drive look different from the rest of them and so it won’t get lost with any that she also has.

Sitting here in front of the computer, with a pile of fibre and lots of needles, I wonder…… can you needle felt directly to an attachment point on the drive? These have particularly small attachment spots for a toggle so a ribbon or leather strip won’t fit. But I think I can get a felting needle in there!

I had bought a pink rose and grey batt from Christine which just happens to be sitting here.  What shall I do? What shall I make? I have no clue… No, I don’t think I want a fish. So I grabbed a bit of fibre and started to poke at it, poke, poke, flip, poke, hmmm, no, not a fish. But it is starting to look like it wants to be a mitt. One of those really big winter mitts gripping the end of the thumb drive. Ha! My thumb drive has a thumb attached to it (with the rest of the mitt!)

OOPS, I gave it to Ann before getting a photo of it.

thumb and palmfingers

thanks, Ann!  the top is the thumb holding on to the hole in the drive and the purple is the back of the mitt. it has a big fluffy cuff. I will have to work more on the palm and wrist when I get it back.

Ah, another day of rain, I guess my fleece washing and drying is now getting an extra rinse again. it’s raining too much to even sit out and felt undercover today.

I grabbed some more of the same batt of pinks, rose and grey and started randomly poking at the wool. After a bit I started feeling like footwear, yes that is definitely a short felt boot. I added a bright pink bit of fibre as the sole and started pulling bits of curls and added them along the rim of the boot and extended the backup and attached it to the thumb drive.

1234567     1-7

I got distracted working on the computer and looked up to see MORE RAIN…. The fleece gets another rinse.

The weekend was busy with getting Mom groceries and birthday cupcake (chocolate on chocolate with chocolate!) She is 89 this year!  I had a wonderful visit with friends, with social distancing and then on to the birthday party and belated birthday presents for my Niece for her 16th birthday (we gave her a starter selection of fibre, needles and an instruction book. She had never felted before and made a very nice strawberry between getting the book, eating dinner and before dessert!

For the next thumb drive, I really wanted to make a wire sheep. I had some of the combed blue locks sitting close to hand so blue sheep it would be! I divided the single piece of floral wire into loops for legs, tail and left the rest for the head. My tiny scrolling plyers had disappeared gain so Glenn stopped into Dollerama to pick up more. I don’t know what I would do without that store, it has most of my not originally meant for felting supplies. I had to wait on the plyers until he got back from work so I hand twisted the legs and used the tail loop at the attachment to the thumb drive. I will tighten that up and make hoof loops later.  I decided to make a nice round little body but leave the legs and neck wire. The head I added ears and a couple of tight curls. I think she turned out quite well.

1089   8-10

The attachment is easier to see with the wire rather than with the boot or mitt felting.

111211-12

Since the labelling of the boot’s drive as a Boot drive gives it other meanings in computer vocabulary I will call this the pink slipper drive, and the other will be the blue sheep drive.

That was a fun little project and has successfully made the on sale black identical thumb drives now look different! Have fun and keep felting (but it may be best not to do wet felting with this one!)

13 13

Felting Alfresco (outside! Its Summer!) Pet Two Part 3 She is Naked! We must fix that!!!

Felting Alfresco (outside! Its Summer!) Pet Two Part 3 She is Naked! We must fix that!!!

Felting Alfresco (outside! Its Summer!)

Pet Two Part 3 She is Naked! We must fix that!!!

 

Now it’s time for me to start adding a bit of colour! this is where we left off last time.

1928

this is the understructure of the manta ray next will be laying colour on top of the structure, like a gresi painting.

12 1-2 laying in the T line so she is an oceanic manta

If you have taken art classes, either commercial or fine art, you may have had a teacher that reminded you that paintings with large black spaces are not as effective as deep shadows with suggestions of something within the shadows. So not a solid black but layers of dark blue, green, charcoals and browns with maybe a bit of pure black. I mixed the darkest charcoal with a very dark green and blue. I also started to add some of the lighter greys in thin wisps over top to give that dappled light effect.

 3-5 base layer of simplified pattern and fibres I was working from

 I kept a zip-lock sandwich bag of mixed greys which I could then make lighter or darker as I needed.

676-7 Zip-lock of greys, a bit of mixed colour sitting on her shoulder about to be added in a thin layer over the dark sections.

Distracted by Princess Auto flyer, the snap ring plyers I have and use to bend the ends of the wire are very tiny and not as smooth as I would like. So I will be off to check these out at next weeks’ sale. I will likely also replace my old wooden bench (the one I was stuffing unskirted raw wool into bags on) while I’m there.

 8-9  This is Next week’s Princess Auto flyer! Another great place for fibre related tools, really! It is where I found the Bee combs! (Yes!! We got the Bench!! However, they were out of the cool plyers)

I added the Dorsal fin, I made the basic shape and added it just above the base of the tail. I then build up the sides of the fin to give it more of the correct shape.

1011 10-11 added the Dorsal fin then built up the sides

After checking with the photo reference I brought the darkness around the edge of parts of the wings

1213

12-13 Bringing the colour to the edge and just around.

Next adjusting the angle on the lower part of the white shoulder markings and adding white to cover thin areas where the understructure was showing through. So far she does not have any under spotting but I may revisit before the end of the entire project.

1415 14-15 Final touch-ups on the back of the mantel.

16-19 looking good, but she will need eyes so she can judge that for herself

Time to add eyes!  Hmm, I think we need a bit more extension on the eye orbs or she will not be able to see around her Cephalic fins. I surrounded the pupil then used the super sharp scissors to cut off the excess. (I found these again at Dollarama, for 4.00 Canadian, they have worked very well so I bought a couple more pairs).  I may leave her for a couple of days then re-evaluate the eyes, they are not quite right yet but close!

  20-24 Adding eyes and the nice scissors from Dollerama

I think the heat was getting to her since she started her photoshoot by stealing my glasses and mask!

  25-27 Mantas seem to be curious and playful and maybe a short-sighted

Oddly, the glasses seem to fit her.  Unfortunately, the mask does not quite cover both her mouth and gills.

So on to the photoshoot!!!

2829

28-29 She seemed a little static in her poses, so l let her loose in the garden to have some fun.

     303132       3335343736  30- 37 A quick swim through the front garden (wait till she finds out there is a back garden!)

I took her out to buy butter tarts and to show Ann. It’s good to get out and meet new people but she forgot to wear her mask!! I think she will need to quarantine before she can play with her Mer-People!!!

38-40 Felting is better with Butter tarts

I hope you have enjoyed the creation of my adolescent female Manta Ray. I still have more to do with this set of sculptures so please keep checking in on how it is going. Have fun and Keep felting!!

Felting Alfresco (outside! Its Summer!) Mer-Pet 2  part 2; Parts are missing, She needs her mouth and abdomen!!

Felting Alfresco (outside! Its Summer!) Mer-Pet 2  part 2; Parts are missing, She needs her mouth and abdomen!!

Felting Alfresco (outside! Its Summer!)

Mer-Pet 2  part 2; Parts are missing, She needs her mouth and abdomen!!

Next day it was back to the side yard and I started working on the inside of the mouth

132 1-3  I have to think about this, I have it unfolded. So am I working on the roof or floor of the mouth? I got myself sorted out, wrapped the wire and added the base layer. Let’s look at the details of what the mouth should look like.

   4-7 reference images for mouth

The last 2 manta are swimming upside down. The upper lip looks deeper than the original photos I had viewed.

Consulting the open mouth photos I had found, I added the gill arches and gill rakers.

These poor guys are being caught and killed for the gill rakers which are used as Chinese medicinal products to the point there numbers have dropped significantly. Dive groups are trying to educate governments that live Rays will generate more money through tourism (dives/snorkel tours) rather than what they will get from a corpse.

 8–11 Adding the gill arches and gill rakers

12-13 Glenn holding the parts together.

 

14

14 I added the dark interior to the upper pallet of her mouth.

I also extended the upper lip which seemed to be longer than I had originally thought from other photos I was consulting. This is likely a mistake. I suspect the image I was looking at was falsely labelled as a manta and was a Mobular of unusual sized and colour. (Another option is that this manta has had Lip Injections to make her look sexier to any male manta who is a lip man?) I may be able to decrease the extension a bit.

Now for the outer gill flaps on the underside of the body.

 15-16 making gill pieces

I used pins to hold the folded edge of the gill pieces. They work well to keep my fingers away from the pointy end of the needles and acted like handy extra hands.  I left the wispy side un-felted to improve attaching the gill covers.

By feeling from the underside, I located the first and last gill arch. I used a bit of grey fibre to indicate the position on the outside of the body. I estimated the position for the gills in between.

17-18 adding gills

If you are going to make a manta and want to add gills I would strongly suggest starting with the one farthest away from the mouth and work back towards the mouth.

Now let’s add the lower jaw/ gills smoothing into the body.

  1919 Checking the back after attaching the abdomen/mouth. Looks good.

2021 20-21 Check the attachment on the underside and the alignment of the mouth

The join to the body on the underside is too severe an angle. I will need to add more fibre to smooth the join between the body and wings. I also noticed that the join between the lower jaw and underside of the Cephalic fins needs a bit of work and the jaw angle is off a bit too.

 

Back to the side yard and let’s do the final adjustments to the understructure. It’s a bit warm today but there is a light breeze.

22-23 the side yard studio, it was a bit warm.

242524-25 working on her lip problem. I used the edge of the foam I was holding my needles in.

26272826-28 I started to blend the body with the wings. I also thickened the white fibre on the underside of the wings.

It was good to see one of my Guild Friends drop by on her way to do other errands. I picked the catnip behind the big anvil for her furry kids to enjoy.

 29 -30  if you look very closely the slightly rusty coloured thing under the very large plant of catnip is a large anvil.

Now Glenn can use his hammer and anvil again without attracting all the neighbourhood cats! (aromatic hammered catnip not as good as it sounds)

Then it was time to get back to work, but more on that next week.

 

More sewing shenanigans (but still no waistcoat)

More sewing shenanigans (but still no waistcoat)

If you’ve been following my waistcoat sewing adventures, you’ll know I was fairly optimistic I’d have a finished (or, more advanced) garment to show you by now.

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Here she stands, in a corner, mocking me…

The thing is… I’ve hit a snag. After finding out the shoulder area needed more work, and realising the pattern I’d bought was more or less useless, I got discouraged. The major mental roadblock was finding out I’ll probably need to remove all the tailor interlining I’d hand sewn in order to fix the shoulder problem; also knowing my pattern-making skills are still in their infancy and therefore can’t be trusted, isn’t helping.

Of course, I’m nothing if not a great procrastinator, and therefore do have something new to show you.

In my free time (ok, when I’m stressed) I managed to follow a commercial pattern and make a new rabbit, as well as her garments.

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She’s got a lovely dress as well as some cute boots, plus a very proper-looking jacket!
The jacket was the most complicated make (I also found a couple of tiny instruction mistakes) but the most fun. She looks cozy, doesn’t she?

I had some leftover material and decided to create a smaller version of the bunny. I’m still undecided on gender. This is important as it will define the wardrobe. What do you think, boy rabbit or girl rabbit?

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Made from scraps of felt. I’ll probably change those weird eyes!

I had my bunny family sitting on a shelf in my studio. They looked alright there, but… incomplete.

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My studio library isn’t fibre-centric at all…

Suddenly I remembered I had a pattern for an armchair, part of the rabbit collection. It looked both complicated enough to be entertaining and simple enough to be finished in a short amount of time. I had to make two.

Well… the pattern had a couple of mistakes (this is starting to become a thing with me, isn’t it?) so I did have to take some time away from it after realising I’d cut the fabric too short in some places. After some consideration, a solution presented itself and I managed to finish one armchair.