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Ocean Sunset

Ocean Sunset

Now hopefully, you’re not sick of them yet, another ocean picture.  I plan on adding a sunset. The sky’s progress looks very similar to the progress of the other ones. I could probably just pick one and use the same picture over and over.  This one is a bit darker as I am thinking it’s starting to get late with the sun going down.

 

For the ocean this time I wanted darker water and not so much sparkle so I peeled the top layer with the sparkle off and used the darker inside and back.

I have a nice pinky batt  I think I can use to add the sunset to the sky and water. I think I am going to do it as the sun already being below the horizon but I am not sure.  But I was back to a baking day so it will have to wait.

Now I’ve pulled the batt out to take a picture for you I am not liking it as much its got a lot of black and some blue in it. I think I need to look at what else I have.

   

That didn’t work well at all. What else do I have, Who knows, It’s all in boxes all stacked at the back of the storage area. so I must make do. I pulled a bit of corral pink and 2 shades of red silk ( probably but shiny anyway) out of the above batt and spread it out to be the sky.

 

I laid it on top and left a little spot for some orange sun.

Now as I said my stash is all in boxes and most of that is at the back. I did reach a small box or multicoloured silks in small bags. I found the right one I pulled a blob( technical fibre term)  of dark purple from it. I don’t need much.

I pulled some fine bits ( another specialized fibre term)out and laid them across the top of the sunset sky.

Now I just need the shiny orange curl I have begged from Bernadette Monday night for the sun and that part should be done…….Except it’s not needled down and so it’s not really stuck. I look at it and it’s so wispy I think that if I try to needle it, it will end up pulling and being a mess.

I think I am going to have to wet felt it. I am planning to dig out some wet felting supplies. I think I can reach enough things for a small piece and some plastic wrap from the kitchen will work fine. That’s tomorrow’s job. Now if this ends here you will know I was unsuccessful at finding my supplies and taking them to the guild social to work on. Or possibly making tourtiere pie filling and waiting for and dealing with the livestock viewer took too long and I just ran out the door to do some spinning with friends. Hopefully, you won’t have to wait until my next post to find out how it goes.

Plain Air wool painting at a the Pinhey’s Point demo

Plain Air wool painting at a the Pinhey’s Point demo

One of our local guilds mandates is education and we fulfill part of that by doing demos for the city of Ottawa at their local Museums. This weekend we were requested by the Pinhey’s Point Historic Site to provide a demo focusing on weaving but including other fibre arts.

Sign for Pinhey's Point

1) Sign for Pinhey’s Point

Pinhey’s Point features a nearly 200-year-old manor house (Horaceville) and surrounding ruins on 88 acres. There is a fabulous view of the Ottawa River overlooking sailboats at anchor in the bay in front of the house.  There are remains of the original old kitchens and a couple of outbuildings visible from where we were located.

2)  Views from Pinhey’s Point

We had been having high temperatures during the week, not as bad as parts of the States, but still hot for what is normal for us. On Saturday morning I checked the weather and was happy to see a lovely (cool) high of 26c but under the tent, on the top of the hill with the breeze, it felt more like 20c and I should have brought a sweater or jacket! (Never complain, because it could always decide to snow!!!)

The staff had set up a number of 10×10′ tents with tables and chairs. It was overcast most of the day but a lovely spot to chat with visitors, some of whom had come up from the sailboats to see what was happening under the tents.

  3) Part of the Demo team showing, Weaving (2 harness, 4 harness, 8 harness looms), Spinning (2 different wheels) and Felting (Just 2-D today)

I was running late and selected a spot for my table overlooking the front lawn and down into the bay with the sailboats. It would be a lovely spot to work.

3) Morning view of the front lawn

I originally had intended to work on the sheep horns that you might have seen me working on at other demos. I may have been watching too many episodes of Landscape artist of the year, since I was inspired by the vista, even in its overcast colours, before me.

4) the not quite 8″x10″ felt base for my picture

I had a piece of felt with me that I could use as a backing, about 8×10 inches so started laying on a white wool base. (the base layer was a bit uneven and seemed a bit kempy.) It was also not quite 8×10 so I had to spend a bit more time adding more width and a bit more height.

5) the not quite 8″x10″ felt base for my picture

 Next, it’s time to draw in the basic shapes using a bit from a micro-batt Bernadette was not pleased with (thank you, Bernadette! It worked perfectly for my use!)

I started to add the murky skies and reflected water.

6) Beginning to add sky and water

There is a small airfield nearby but I am not sure if that was the origin of the float plain we saw circle, then land and take off a number of times over the morning.

7) float plane practice landings on the Ottawa River

As the day progressed, more groups of people arrived with picnic paraphernalia and headed down the path toward the shoreline. More of the sailboat people came up the hill to check out the tents, their occupants and visit the museum. I have worked at this demo 3 or 4 times, this is the busiest I have seen it.

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   8-12) More of the Demo Team

As the afternoon went on I spotted the first bit of Blue sky!

13) the first bit of blue sky (still almost all grey)

Drat, do I have to add that in? I still haven’t got the foreground done!! Sneaky Weather!!

14) I didn’t get as far as I had hoped but I had a lot of fun

It was getting close to 4:30. Where did the time go? I will not win landscape artist of the year if I am this slow!! I will just have to practice more!!

Since it was getting late, I went in to take a peek at the ground-floor exhibits. It’s a fabulous 200-year-old stone house that is very grand for its time.  It has a central grand staircase and a fabulous main door.  The Dining room is at the top of the stairs and very posh when built.

I toured the ground level displays but did not feel inspired to try the stairs (it had been a long day by then).

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 15-21) inside the ground floor at Pinheys Point

By the time I was heading down the hall towards the kitchen, I was behind a woman telling a younger woman about living in the house when she was age 13 to 21 when her grandmother still lived there. It turns out she is one of the Pinhey descendants visiting from BC and had brought some artifacts for the museum from her part of the Pinhey family. She was telling her niece stories about living in the house in winter, flooding, and taking over from her aunt living with her grandmother in the old stone house. (Her parents lived nearby in another house on the property). I asked her about the spinning wheel in the kitchen room but didn’t want to interrupt her touring her old home. She said she remembered a different wheel when she was there.  She explained about the setup of the house when she lived there with her grandmother, who in the winter slept in the room that had been behind the stove in the kitchen (the warmest part of the old stone house). It was fascinating and I felt extremely lucky to hear some of her stories.

22) The Great Wheel in the kitchen

She told me about her Grandmother getting unexpected, uninvited visitors one winter while she had lived there. The hill path down to the side door by the kitchen, which was the house access commonly used, was particularly icy and treacherous that day. Some very well-dressed men arrived to see the house, it was the Governor General of Canada and his entourage. When they entered the house she was sent out to put ash on the ice so they would be able to leave, after her grandmother reluctantly gave them a tour of the historical house.

I returned to my spot but it was time to pack up, the weather was showing signs of improving further. I took a couple of quick reference shots as we packed up.

23-24) A couple of quick shots as the sky started to show more blue areas

It was time to pack up, Bernadette had been combing as well as carding and spinning so there were lovely tufts of fluff floating around the landscape. The staff was sure that there would be some stylish squirrel nest this winter!

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25-26 Bernadette droppings left to improve the homes of the locals

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27-33 a few more shots of the area as we were packing up and heading to the car

We had packed up and were on our way out when we met this guy coming in. He was a bit late for the demo. I don’t know if it was the weaving, spinning, felting or the loose fibre he was looking for.

34- the last visitor was just a bit late for the demo

I love to see auto-mobile-lawn decor. Maybe he/she, or some of the landscapes will inspire a bit of picture felting? Have fun and keep felting!

 

If you are in the Ottawa Ontario Canada area and you would like more info on Pinhey’s Point you can check here;  https://pinheyspoint.ca/

There is more info on the house here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horaceville,_Ottawa

 

PS Today is Mom’s 91st birthday, don’t tell, but there may be some of Ann’s amazing chocolate chip cookies involved in the celebration!

Working on more Ocean

Working on more Ocean

I am still enjoying working with my water-themed bat to create ocean pictures. I finished the one that I was working on last time. I added some birds I mixed light grey and some white with so the seagulls wouldn’t look too bright. the 2 smaller ones looked ok but I tried to add black tips to the larger one’s wing tips and after some fiddling, and then more fiddling it ended up looking like a demented bat ( no picture of it at its worst) so I removed it and tried again.  All the birds are going left. maybe into the wind? I tried to make the larger one go right just to be different but it started going left. I pulled it off and flipped it over and by the time I tacked it down properly, it was going left again. But at least it doesn’t look like a demented batt.

On its way to being a demented bat

And a sailboat. Not the best boat but one of those little dingy boats with only one sale.

It was kind of boring so I added a red flag and 2 stripes for the sale and boat.

Better but I added another strip and I like it much better. I guess the rule of three works.

 

Then I decided I wanted to use some of the sparkly section. and started this one. I started it on my standard needle felting pad a foam kneeling pad. then my tendentious reminded me why I don’t use 6 needles at once and why I don’t do a lot of needle felting. Normally  I would lightly tack these down and wet felt them. Jan gave me a small wool felting pad last Monday and I didn’t have time to try it properly so I tried it here. Wow, what a difference in how jarring the jabbing is. I also took apart my tool and removed 3 of the needles. I’ve ordered one of the 10×10 pads. I have this one to this stage. All well felted down but not sure what to put in the picture to give more visual interest. Maybe some whale tails? Rocks? a bluff and some birds? Sorry to say I didn’t take any in-progress pictures of this. Though adding the blue sky looks pretty much the same on all of them.

I fiddled with this a bit to try to show you how much sparkle there is. I used a flash and then turned down the brightness. Turning down the brightness was counterintuitive.

Now I started another but that’s my next blog post.

 

A SHORT UPDATE ON MR. MER

A SHORT UPDATE ON MR. MER

I was surprised (and pleased) at the interest in the crown needle post I just did. It is a cool little needle unequally suited to shallow detail work. Its low barb number, having only 3 in total all by the tip, does make it a slower needle but it’s not always a good idea to be in a rush.

The “not in a rush” has been impressed upon me again this past week as I shifted from needle review to a photo re-cataloging project for my husband. Nothing big, or heavy like arranging just the correct angle to capture in photographs his collection of Anvils (he is down to 3) or forges (he has 2, both on the back patio)!

What I was working with were Many, Many, Many tiny light objects. Unfortunately, I needed to sort through all of them, then spread pre-specified groups of them out to photograph.  The best spot to work for light was on the bed by the window. This put me in a working position of standing and bending forward. That is precisely the same position that I used to work in, which did not go as well as I had hoped. (Neuropathy is a neve yelling at you. It can scream –searing pain, it can lie to you –give false information, or it can refuse to talk to you –numbness or lack of proper function) the type of nerve and the location of its irritation give the location of where their displeasure is felt.  A nerve once annoyed can hold a grudge =this means if you irritate it then re-irritate it, it usually will take longer to forgive you and heal after each re-irritation.

I got help yesterday and am well over halfway on the first part of the photography project. Unfortunately, my leg is still intermittently lying to me even this morning, so no standing photography or poor ergonomic felting until that stops.

SO my plans for today’s blog are a bit on hold. I can bring you up to date with the project I had started with Mr. Mer. “The Quest for Hair”!  I have reminded Mr. Mer that Twist Fiber Festival in Quebec is only a few weeks away (Aug. 12th to 14th) https://festivaltwist.org/en/twist-fibre-festival/ .  If he would like to accompany me, he would have an even bigger selection of long locks to choose from. (I hope I can find vendors with 9 to 12-inch die or undyed locks that would be fashionable for a modern Mer person.) He seems very smitten with some of the locks from Bernadette’s stash but I think I can persuade him to wait till just after Twist.

Mr. Mer would like to send his thanks to Bernadette who raided her stash to help alieve his follicular challenges.  This is some of the fibre he has sorted through;

long fibers greens yelows long fibers Greens Purples long fibers with ruler1-3 sorting through the fibres from Bernadette

He has collected a small bag of fibre that he hopes goes well with his Northern pike lower half.

Mr. Mer (Merman) holds bag of long fibers in shades of green4 Mr. Mer’s Selection

Once he has a bit more he will have to decide on the hairstyle he wants. I am suggesting long since It would flow wonderfully as he swims. (vary Fabio if you are old enough – think historically inaccurate romance novel covers with beefy guys with long hair).  If he spends a bit of time online, he may find the Drummer Toll Yagami, from the Japanese band called Buck-Tick. He has an extra-long Mohawk hairstyle, it’s terribly impressive! I am not sure the ingredients to keep a Mohawk up would work in water. I may have to investigate if Mr. Mer seems interested. (There may be some Magic Mer hair gel I don’t know about.)

I got up extra early to work on my blog post and look who I found doing research on my computer! (Why does my computer freeze when I use it but he can spend all night browsing?)  I will show you what he was up to.

5 Compilation of research by Mr. Mer

Mr Mer thinks he should keep researching. It is a big decision and he is a bit overwhelmed with all the options! For now, he is on his way back to sitting in his project bag, clutching his bag of fibre, in deep contemplation.

Mr Mer with his bag of fiber ready to go back to his project bag and think

6 Ready to go to his project bag and have a think.

After all his research and contemplation he will likely want eyebrows and ears too! I will keep you updated on his progress.

 

Have fun with fibre and keep felting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Question about Crown felting needles

A Question about Crown felting needles

A couple of days ago I was watching an online demo of Needle Felting Faces done by Marie from living felt out of Texas. She was using one of the new firmer wool felting mats (it looks similar to the ironing felt mats). She was using a 42Triangle (42T) needle. She said she chose this needle because she wanted to “have the fiber sit on top of the picture and not underneath”. I am not sure if she is using a triangle needle with 3 barbs per side (a 42T 333) or only 2 barbs per side (a 42T 222). A T42-333 would be more aggressive at moving fiber than a T42-222.

I asked in the chat; “Since you are focusing on adding the wool mainly to the surface have you tried a 40 or 42 Crown needle? A crown needle has the barbs very close to the tip of the needle so works with little (depth of) poking.” I did not get an answer from Marie but it started a side conversation about Crown needles with a European felter in the chat.

I was surprised that Crown needles were not well known. They have been available for a few years; at fiber festivals, online and if you are lucky at the local fiber arts stores.  I am sure most of you have bumped into them but may not have had the opportunity to try them out.

Let’s look at where they come from, the working parts of the needle, why would you want one and what is it good for?

Where the Crown needle comes from;

One of the manufacturers of felting needles is Groz-Beckert, who classifies crown and fork needles as “Structuring” needles.  A Structuring needle works on “structuring previously bonded nonwoven fabric” in a machine to produce a Velvety or grainy surface texture. They are designed originally to plunge through the felt pulling fibers to the opposite side as can be seen in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWE4tvHF0xU

As felters we tend to look at items not originally intended or designed for felting and turn them into felting tools. Bubble wrap, lids of Tupper wear jugs, pool noodles, garden kneeling pads and we look at the industrial felting needles and go “AH!! I could do this with them instead!”  In this case, instead of pushing fiber to the far side of the felt and through creating a surface texture, we can reduce the depth we work at and secure fibers close to the surface of your work.

Crown Needle diagram1) a close up of the end of a Crown needle.  https://www.groz-beckert.com/mm/media/web/3_felting_1/bilder_14/composings_3/FN_Composing_23.jpg

Parts of a felting needle 2) Parts of a felting needle

How the needle works and the structure of the needle

Let’s review how a felting needle works. As the needle enters the fibers/felt, its barbs (notches in the needle which can vary in number and placement along the working part of the needle) grab some of the fiber and as it is inserted drags the fiber with it into the felt.  Since the barbs are one directional the fiber carried by the barb stays at the depth it was pushed as the needle is removed. This repeated entanglement creates felt. The felt can be a 2D picture, a 3D sculpture or industrially the needles can create the non-woven fabric used to line the trunk or cover the door panels of your car.

With the Crown needle, the bards are located very close to the tip of the needle and are arranged one per each working side (3 working sides in a triangular needle). This means the working depth is the distance from the tip to where the barbs engage and entangle fiber into the web (felt ground). So on my crown needles, it’s about 1/4th of an inch. There are different styles of tips and different lengths of barbs so there can be a bit of variation if you look at the industrial options. But overall, the distance from the first barb to the tip is very close compared to other types of needles.

Where did I find mine?

Ann and I were both curious a few years ago and I bought a box of the Crown 40-111 from Doer out of china. The price for the needles (500 in a box) was good but the shipping cost was a bit painful (but still cheaper than a flight to China and buying them there!). At present, there are listings for 40, 42,43, and 46 gauge Crown needles from Doer. Groz-Beckert’s PDF lists Crown needles in gauges from 25 to 46. Some of the Groz-Beckerts range would likely not be useful to us but is an impressive amount of options!  With both companies, the working part is triangular as you can see in the last picture from the group below.

box of 500 Crown needles3) box of 500 Crown needles

the designations for the 40gauge crown needles I purchased4) the designations for the 40gauge crown needles I purchased

needle are wrapped in bundles within the box5) needle are wrapped in bundles within the box

close up of one of the needles6) close up of one of the needles

For part of the surface decoration on the iris flower, I used crown needles individually and in groups of 2 or 3 held together with a small rubber hair elastic.

using crown needles to add detail to the Iris petals, note the shallow angle I was working at7) using crown needles to add detail to the Iris petals, note the shallow angle I was working at

Why would I want a crown needle and what do they do?

When you want to affect the surface of your felting, you can try the crown needles and/or you can change the angle that you are inserting the needles. A very shallow angle, (almost parallel with the felt surface) will keep the barbs from going through a thin petal or 2d picture.

With a crown needle, there is a reduced distance the needle needs to travel to engage the fiber and secure it into the web.  This reduction in range of movement may reduce some of the strain on the body during the movement of felting, especially if the movement is slower and involved a more careful insertion of the needle. That said you will further reduce your likelihood of muscle fatigue or injury if you also remember to take (Stretch) breaks or let your bladder help remind you to take breaks by drinking liquids like ice tea or water. It’s not a good idea to ignore your bladder when it asks you to stop felting!

Gauge vs fiber size

As the gauge of the needle gets bigger, say a 40 crown vs a 46 crown the fiber diameter/fineness that will be most effective with the needle will change. A 46 crown needle will work better with finer fibers. Conversely, a larger courser fiber may not engage or be grabbed effectively by the finer needles and barbs. Fine needles will also leave less surface distortion than a larger needle. Sometimes if you are getting large dents when using fine needles, it may be more a matter that you just need to keep felting until the entire surface is evenly compacted, all at the level of the original dents. That said a finer needle and/or a shallow angle of insertion will also reduce the dented texture on a surface.

Conclusion

Depending on the project, you will likely have a couple of favourite needles you keep picking up. It may even be the same needles you gravitate to over many projects. So why, if you don’t already have crown needles, mite you want to consider adding another needle type to your collection? Their ability to work at a shallow depth gives them an advantage over other needles whose first barb placement is farther away from the needle tip. Crown needles can be very useful in portraiture, very thin structures like petals or butterfly’s or adding detail to your wet felted vessels, hats or garments. Basically any time you don’t want fiber added to one side to show on the other. (This may also require a very shallow angle of insertion.)

A Crown needle may not be the needle you reach for the most in your needle felting but when you want to work superficially, it is an excellent option to consider adding to your choices of tools.

 

If you are still curious and want to know more about other needles that are available in the industry you may enjoy looking through this PDF from Groz-Beckert.

https://www.groz-beckert.com/mm/media/en/web/pdf/Felting_and_structuring_needles.pdf

 

possibly for my next post; Mr. Mer has been digging through the fiber Bernadette brought in to a library day to see if I could find some acceptable (to Mr. Mer), Mer hair.

5 by 7 Needle Felted Ocean Picture

5 by 7 Needle Felted Ocean Picture

I seem to have been obsessed with water pictures for a while now. And today is no exception. I’ve been doing a lot of tiny images, so I moved up to 5×7 inches for this one. I have to pat myself on the back for actually measuring my piece of felt instead of randomly cutting a piece and then not having a frame that will easily work. Yay Me.

The felt I am using is from The Olive Sparrow. Monica has great service and great products. I think I might be able to felt this a bit more if I tried but not much. It is pretty solid and has the right density. It will hold its shape but isn’t hard to needle into.

I started with a nice blue sky. This is merino from World of Wool.

Then I added some wool from a wonderful art batt I got at the little fibre sale Jan and I went to, in April I think. I thought Jan did a post about it but I can’t find it. Anyway, I bought it because it made me think of the ocean. I love the name of their business.

I just used a small corner of this batt. I think I will make another using the sparkly stuff near the top.

 

I have it about half needled down, it’s fairly well stuck but I can still reposition it.

thin I just tucked the loose edges around the back to get a better look at it. I am not sure I shouldn’t straighten up the thicker white line. but I kinda like it not straight too. the ocean isn’t always in straight lines. I am not sure.

 

That’s as far as I have managed to get. It needs some clouds or birds or something to break up the sky, to make it more visually interesting. I think maybe a small sail in the water in that lighter blue on the left maybe. Not sure how big, a boat or a sailboarder? Maybe I should make a few sizes and try them out.

Felted Iris Flowers Part 3

Felted Iris Flowers Part 3

Felted Iris Flowers Part 2.1

Preamble:

When last we chatted about the needle felted Iris flower that I am working on, I had just dodged most of the destruction from the May 21st huge storm that swept across most of Ontario. I had no power for just under a week. So had discovered you can felt in the driver’s seat of the car if you are desperate to hear the news and charge your audiobook.

Even over a month later some of the destruction is still weighting to be cleaned up, with broken limbs and broken trees still occasionally spotted. One of the smaller (yes this is considered small and low on the city’s priority) hanging limbs is on my neighbour’s tree. It is hanging dangerously close to where my front yard garden benches are and where I have planting to do in the garden.

1 – the Linden tree that is threatening the hedge and my benches in the front garden. (It can take out the hedge if it likes! It would give me a couple more feet of garden!)

Good News! the freeze/ thaw/ freeze again spring followed by killer storm seems to have decimated the caterpillar problem that kept me out of my front garden last year. Who wants to sit and have caterpillars fall on you or worse caterpillar droppings fall on you (YUK!) I have spotted two tiny tent caterpillars so far who did not survive the spotting! (I am not prejudiced against all caterpillars, just the ones trying to eat my tree. I don’t like the ones eating my gooseberry bush either.)

I finally have the side yard set up mostly to my liking. I am having ongoing “conversations” with the local bunny, squirrels and those evil chipmunks! Someone dug into the planters of carrots and maybe the same or a different someone has been eating the big yellow flowers carefully off each of my 3 zucchini plants. We have continued to try to explain the term “Share the garden” does not mean eat or destroy all of it. (I did not get any of the strawberries again this year!)

2  – Who keeps eating my zucchini plant flowers? They’re in a 24-inch diameter pot, that puts the plants about 2 feet above the driveway!!!

By now it is time to set up the skirting table, and organized the fleece washing buckets……hum. I have to move stuff first. Ok, better pot the pulled raspberry canes soaking in a smaller bucket where the skirting table gets set up, then plant out the end-of-season half-of-half-price garden plants sitting on the table in my outside studio… there are more on the back patio too it was an excellent price!

3 – side yard studio still full of plants (I will explain the white bag on the bench in another post)

let’s just leave that for a bit longer and get back to telling you about flower felting (I Am Even On theme for the CHALLENGE!!)

 

ON to the Felting part:

As you saw, I had been working on the leaves and got them to the basic shape I wanted and am pleased with their thickness (thinness). I still want to adjust the colour a bit but that will be thin wisps of fibre laid over to modify the under colour, a bit like the layers of washes in a watercolour painting. There was a stretch of gray days, followed by library work and then all the impending gardening that I should be doing too.  So, I put the leaves aside to fix before I add them to the final assembly of the flower.

I had finished the basic petal shapes at the chilly Demo in Manotick. I did a bit more finishing touches on the colour blending at my desk while listening to audiobooks ( I think it was more ware-wolf or vampire romance novels that don’t need a lot of attention).

4 – I am working the wool at a very shallow needle angle and making sure there is a bit of the blue working up from the tip along the center of the petal.

5 – I again pulled on the edge of the petal to give them the ripples.

Next was to add the beard to the lower petals. It is time to take a wander through my stash of fibres. Originally I had thought to make the beard yellow. Looking at the yellow colour beside the white and blue petals, I found it too contrasting and distracted from the subtle colour changes in the petals. Ok, it’s defiantly a white fibre I will need.

As you know, fibre comes in lots of different types, long or short staple length, softer or stiffer, lustrous or dull also crimpy or more hair-like. A sheep fleece that is fabulous for doing one job may be inappropriate if used in a different job. Who wants to mend the holes in the heels of 100% merino socks or make a high-traffic carpet out of it? Choosing the right fleece for the right job can make felting, spinning or weaving a joy instead of a fight to get it to do what it is not suited to due.

As much as I make snide comments about it, Merino is wonderfully soft. It’s fun to spin. It absorbs light rather than reflecting it when used in a picture (so it can make deep shadows) and can look flat. It comes in fabulous colours and blends easily with itself or other fibres, but it is much too soft to work as an iris beard.

Bluefaced Leicester was fabulous for my polar bear picture and sculpture, it has a bit of stiffness to the fibre but is still soft, it is smooth and lustrous, and it also has a good light reflection. But, it’s not quite the right stiffness. I am getting closer.

Don’t I have a clear plastic XL shoe box labelled “Mohair/Angora” in the basement? Yes! The fibre is stiff, has a bit of wave, but not really any crimp to it, is very light reflective (lustrous) and it’s filthy with bits of VM (Veggie-matter). I selected a small handful of the least dirty and brought it upstairs to the bathroom sink to wash.

6-7 – I used a little plastic storage basket with holes as the washing container and drying rack. It’s not perfectly clean, but it’s a lot better than the before picture I forgot to take.

8 – Photo Reference OH No what is that center part?!!

While that was drying at the edge of the sink I went back to look at the Iris reference pictures. Petals; three upper (check), Three lower (check), what are those things in the center sticking up between the upright petals? They are not in the paper iris pattern pieces!! They’re right behind the beards, I looked at more reference photos and found some were very prominent indeed! https://www.walking-p-bar.com/shopsite/media/graphicp/Stitch-Witch.jpg & https://www.americanmeadows.com/media/catalog/product/i/r/irishemstitched_2.jpg?quality=80&bg-color=255,255,255&fit=bounds&height=&width=

So while I wait for the mohair to dry,  I start making the shape I think I am seeing.

9 – (Those of you with delicate sensibilities may want to avert your eyes to the next couple of pictures, which show the knotty bits of the iris flower!)

10-11 – Can you see the sneaky way I held together the three parts as I assembles this delicate bit?

12-13 Adding wire to the central part of the flower

I started to adhere the sections together, then added a wire with a short turn back in the center of the core and finished felting the center.

By now, the Mohair was close to dry and it was time to affix it to the lower petals. I checked the reference photos and promised no ZZ Top Beards this time.

The goal is to have that bristle brush look at the end that I wanted. I considered pile weaving, loops of weft area fixed to the ground fabric then cut to produce a pile or velvet-like surface. I bet I can do that with wool! (ok, goat)

 14 – adding the beard

I started with a thin strand of mohair fibres. I started at one end of the lock and focused on tacking down loops of the mohair. I worked with the needle at an almost horizontal angle and from various directions, to keep the Beard fibres from showing on the other side. (the needle in the picture is just holding the fibre in place for the photo) if you find that the mohair is resisting entanglement in the felt try adding a bit of the base petal wool between the loops like a staple to help tack it down. It will only take a little wool to do the tacking and you may not need it. Most of my needle insertion is working across the mohair, and the petal, first from one direction, then from the opposite. Once secure I would create a loop in which I used the same technique to tack down.  I made all the loops a bit taller than what I thought I would like so I could trim them to the height I wanted.

15 – I checked the photos online to get the average positioning of the beard.

I worked from near the throat of the petal (the narrow end with the wire) to the point just after where the upper and lower petals separate in the flower.

16 –  what a messy-looking beard!

When I had the Mohair loops to the height and density I thought I wanted, it was time to find one of the fine pairs of scissors. I wound up using both the strait and curved scissors to open the loops, then trim them to the shape and height I required.

17-18 – Beard added to lower petals and trimmed

Now I have three upper petals, three lower petals with beards and the core sexy bits. Shall we put them together?

19 – Again, using photo reference I checked the positioning between the petals, as I positioned the upper petals to the core

20-21 – Adding the next petal I blended the base into the center core. One more top petal to go then recheck the poisoning.

22- The first lower petal is attached and about to add the second

The lower petal falls between the two upper petals and the beard is center to the innermost bit. Above, I am about to position the second lower peddle the first lower petal is to the right and can be seen just above the blue fake clover tool.

23 – Positioning the final lower petal

I started to add the wool over the under flower and stem getting the base layer and some of the colour on in time to take it with me to the market to show Ann and get feedback on how it was coming.

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24-27 – Ann checking out the flower

The next step will be adding the final colour layer to the stem and finishing the colour layer on the leaves. But first, the Blackberries are almost ready and the Raspberries need picking! So we will finish off the Iris in another post. Have fun Keep Felting and Don’t forget to check your raspberries!!!

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28-30 Red Raspberry and Black Berries (and under-ripe blackberries with clematis flowers)

 

A small night picture.

A small night picture.

 

I told you there would be another small picture. I wanted to do a night scene with water and a moon reflection.

I searched up lots of moon on water pictures. I won’t share them because even though I put public domain pictures in the search,  I am sure they are not all in the public domain. Once I had done that, Pinterest sent me some more, some in weaving and other textiles.

I had this small offcut. I put my fingers in the shot so you can see the size.

 

I knew I had a nice really dark purple merino to make the sky but I had to ask Jan for some navy blue. She had some nice dark BFL, so it had a nice shine, perfect for water. This is the best picture I got of it. I had to fiddle with it because my camera on my phone wants the purple to be red and it’s more blue. Jan got some pictures for me too but her computer has died so I am afraid you’re stuck with my pictures.

I divided the picture into 1/3 sky and 2/3 water. I tried to keep the navy fibre running across the picture to give it a better water feel, like tiny ripples on the water. the hardest part was making the horizon straight and level.

For the moon, I made a disk separately and then added it. I think it makes it seem separate from the sky and closer than the sky. I then added the thin glow around it.  the glow looks more transparent in person. I thought I had a picture of just the moon but I accidentally took a movie of it and I can’t figure out how to save one frame.

For the reflection in the water, I used silk. I tried throwster’s waste, some fluffy silk ( I think from silk hankies) and some top, it was a little yellow.

The throwster’s waste was too stringy

The fluffy stuff was too hard to work with. It wouldn’t stay put.

The top worked wet. and even though looked yellow as a blog of silk once it was spread out a bit it was good.

I laid it all across then needled the pattern I wanted and trimmed it then needled some more.

 

I like it, it’s ok but not great.

I tried adding some grey for clouds and some silk at the edge for reflection. I just tacked them down, I am not sure. It may be the silk reflections on the clouds that I don’t like. Maybe white wool would be better.

so I asked my son. He is more artistic than me but also observant. He said well the moons to big. So I showed him my examples and with the slightest glance says well they’re all photoshopped, to make the moon more magical.  So much for that. I guess once I did it, my brain knew it was wrong. I will try thinning the glow and shrinking the moon and the reflectins and see how I like it. the trying may mess it up beyond repair and it will have to become dryer ball innards. I will let you know how it goes.

Post Script

I managed to fiddle with the picture last night. First I pulled up the edges of the reflection and tried it back then I pulled the moon haze off and made it smaller and more transparent. I think it is better. not great but it will do.

A while ago I bought some fine mica. the kind they use in cosmetics. I got this set and a blue set. I wanted to try adding a little blue to water in a picture just to see what it looks like. This water was far darker than the blues I bought but I thought the moon could use a little shine. You can see how fine it is. I left my fingerprint in it, from just a light touch.

I took a close-up of the moon. I think the camera picked up some of the sparkle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Felted Iris Flowers Part 2.1

Felted Iris Flowers Part 2.1

(Felting in adversity)

My plans for this post were to tell you about making the leaves, touching up the upper petals and adding the beard to the lower ones then maybe even showing you the final assembly of the iris flower.

Well, that plan went out the window with the arrival of the GIANT storm that hit Ottawa. We had the sky turn black, high winds and hail followed by a sudden lack of power. The storm was not too long in duration but the aftermath was impressive. We were fine but around us there were trees down and one even smote a bus!! (What rude thing did the bus say to the storm?  Only the driver was on the bus and was not hurt.)

1-2 Three houses away is the transit-way where the bus and tree had an altercation.

3

This was the cherry tree across the street and 3 house down. A lot of its small branches were in my driveway.

4 (5 houses away) two houses down the side street from the cherry tree this huge tree twisted and dropped on the house.

After the storm we had no power for 6 days. The house seemed quite dark even in daylight. I tried to work at my computer desk for the few hours in the afternoon that it had direct sunlight. This did not give a long window for felting so I focused on garden spring cleanup and setting up the outside studio!

5-6  Afternoon felting at the woefully dead computer(no power is no fun for electronics)

I lay down the base and added the wire and highlight greens for the Iris leaves.

I had two ways to check for thin spots, the first was by feel (Palpation) and the second was by looking through the leaf toward the window. Both worked well to give a more consistent thickness to the leaf.

7 Looking for thin spots by using the window light

After a couple of days of no power, I had finished 3 audio books and my iPod was almost out of power!  There was an electronic charging station not too far away but parts of the roads were still closed some from fallen trees and some from construction. So plan B was lets listen to the news in the car and charge the iPod and my (again dead) phone at the same time. Humm…. I wonder if I can felt in the car….

8 My KIA Soul survived the storm with only a few new decorative leaves stuck to it. (We were very lucky!)

9-11 that would be a yes to felting on the steering wheel (No I was not driving! Just sitting in the driveway).

I don’t think this will catch on as a great felting location, at least not on the driver’s side of the car. I also learned, from the radio, that the power company expected to have most of the houses without power back on within 2 to 4 days and a few more days for difficult locations (with fingers crossed I whispered “please don’t be a difficult house!!”).

I quickly discovered another problem in this lack of power. All my reference photos were on the computer!! No problem, go check the peach iris in the backyard……oh there is bud damage and there still in bud! (no flowers to look at as reference!) OK, no problem keep working on the leaves!

12 Iris with dub damage.

On the positive side the lilac are in full bloom and smell heavenly!

13 pink Japanese lilac

The next day is gray, overcast and Rain, lots of rain (no! I do not want to do wet felting!) so I have to wet-poof my outside studio. 3 clear plastic table cloths, 1 pack of blue plastic close pegs, a pair of scissors and the broken umbrella I hoped we mite be able to fix and I had a reasonably drip poof work area! (no wet felting for me today),not that there is anything wrong with wet felting I just was enjoying dry felting and was trying to prolong the enjoyment.

14 Outside studio partly wet proof, I found another drip and added the third sheet of plastic.

15 third piece of plastic did the trick and the drip is averted!

16 Yes, it’s still raining but I am working on Iris leaves in drip-proof happiness.

17 making thin firm felt by needle felting in not fast but I am vary happy with the Thin aspect of the leaves!

I got this far and it was time to go pull books for the guilds next library day (which will be the day this is posted.)

18 the OVWSG studio where the guilds library is. (Ruth’s Book is one of the ones that will be going out this month! It’s a fabulous resource thanks Ruth!!!) all the requested books have been pulled and the library is ready for Sunday.

I am just back and have been busy at our first Guild demo since covid hit. But I will tell you about that and hopefully finishing this Iris project next week. Have fun and keep felting.

 

Small picture finished up

Small picture finished up

This week  I managed to finish the small picture I started in the last post,  ……well……last night, actually. Nothing like a deadline to get you moving. here’s the other post if you’re interested:  https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2022/05/24/another-small-picture/

If you remember, I was debating removing the trees and last week, I was going to rip them off.  This week, looking at it again, I decided to leave them.  The foreground is going to be flowers. I started with some green Bluefaced Leicester curls. I love Bluefaced Leicester curls, they are small tight curls with lots of shine.  I stretched them out so they would look more grass-like.

 

After adding a few of these, I started using pink, blue, and purple curls to make flowers. I just needled a blob down and cut it off.

 

I wasn’t very happy at this point. It was ok but not great.

 

I decided to follow the advice Ruth gave me when stitching my mixed media experimental piece a while back; add more, just keep going. So I did more leaves and more flowers.  Now it’s a pretty little picture( 3.5 x2.5 inches or 9×6.5 cm). And the trees look good in the far distance I think.

 

I like it much more now. I think I will like it more later. I always seem to lake them more in a week or so. How about you? Do you like your work better when it’s first done or a little( or a lot ) later?

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