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Coastal Felted Pictures

Coastal Felted Pictures

I had a few weeks of sales / exhibitions coming up and was rather low on felt pictures so I decided to go on a little picture-making binge.

First an oystercatcher. I’m particularly keen on square pictures but I know some people prefer rectangles, so last time I had a batch of box frames made for me by my friendly local framer, I ordered four large rectangular frames – two finished in oak & two white wood. (Frame size 84 x 64cm / 33 x 25”)

I’m afraid I didn’t take many ‘in progress’ shots of the oystercatcher.  I’d wet felted the bird’s body a little while ago. I then wet felted the background to fit the frame using a variety of pebble-coloured prefelts for the foreground, some incorporating bits of recycled silk scarves. The waves are merino wool with lots of small locks and some sort of tube of knitted yarn designed for scarf-making that I’d picked up in a charity shop.  The patches of sea foam are bits of cobweb prefelt and I also included some blue cobweb prefelt to suggest light reflected from the sky. These were added to two base layers of pewter-coloured merino with additions in green and mink.

I needle felted the bird into place then needle felted in the eye, beak and legs, using orange prefelt and hand-dyed fine merino wool.

I wasn’t sure what I’d put on the right-hand side of the picture.  I’d considered a second oystercatcher with its back to the sea but there wasn’t really enough room.  I live in Whitstable, in south east England – a town famous since Roman Empire times for its oysters – so thought oyster shells might work well for an oystercatcher.  I wet felted a pair of 3D oyster shells using bits of different recycled wool and silk yarn on the outside and some pearl fibre from World of Wool on the inside.  I like the pearl fibre as it adds a sheen and is presumably made from the insides of shells (i.e. mother-of-pearl) so it seemed appropriate.

I thought it needed another shell so cast about in my stock and found a wet felted mussel shell to add to the collection.  I messed around with the composition a little then needle felted them into place before framing. I now use sticky backed hook strips (like the hook half of Velcro) when framing felt – the hook strip attaches to the mount board and the felt is held in place by the little hooks. The felt can easily be removed without damage or residue if I need to move it or someone decides to reframe it.

Next up I made a very lightly felted cobweb prefelt to use in the next three pictures.

When making cobweb felt I tease out a piece of wool roving rather than laying out separate tufts of wool in a single direction. This is part way through the teasing-out process. I prefelt it very lightly – in fact it’s scarcely more than wet wool – so I can stretch it out as I apply it to a picture.

I then started on Summer Sea. Again a pewter-coloured merino base but with lots of other colours applied in wisps on the surface.

Then a layer of blue cobweb prefelt topped with some white cobweb.

Here’s the final picture ready for framing. I’m happy with this, even though the wisps of colour aren’t quite as visible as I’d have liked.  (64cm / 25” square)

Next picture is a single wave. I start with 4 layers of pewter merino for the sea area and two layers of natural white for the wave and beach.  In the past I’ve forgotten to take into account how much extra material goes onto the wave and beach. If I have 2 layers for the whole of the base, the sea part shrinks a lot more than the rest.

First I added some lighter grey/blue merino on the sea alongside some strips of darker blue cobweb prefelt. Then some cobweb prefelt in front of the wave to suggest water from a previous wave. Next I layered on broken baby alpaca top, mohair, silk hankies, wool locks and wool burrs to create the wave itself. I’ve also put a few strands of silk on top of some of the background waves and the wet-look front area to create sea foam.

Here it is from the side so you can see how high that wave is piled!

And here is the final picture.  I spent a while when it was dry picking up some of the wave elements with a broken felting needle to enhance the 3 dimensionality of the wave before framing it. (64cm / 25” square.)

4th and final picture was a smaller one (framed size 43cm / 17” square) called ‘Choppy Sea’.  Base layout is pewter with highlights in green and mink, with sections of blue cobweb prefelt and silk hankies for wave tops.

Here it’s felted and dry, sitting on top of its frame waiting to go in.

Again, I’ve used a broken felting needle to tease up the silk hankies that make the wave edges to enhance the depth.  And here is a view from a low angle to show the 3D.

So, that’s how I’ve been keeping myself busy recently.

To end with, a few shots of these pictures in situ in a gallery.

These pieces didn’t sell in this week-long exhibition but some older work did – which is a great result for me. I like to live a while with the new pictures so we get to know each other but prefer older things not to hang around for too long! However, the last week and a half I’ve been in the beach hut gallery in my local harbour and yesterday both the oystercatcher and the single wave found new homes, which made me do a couple of very happy ‘shop small’ dances.

If you sell your work do you also get that ‘I’m not ready to let it go’ versus – ‘ok, you need to find somewhere else to live’ feeling?

Learning to print on (wet) felt

Learning to print on (wet) felt

I’m learning to print onto felt so I thought I’d show you some work in progress.  I’m following Lindsey Tyson’s course ‘Transfer Printing onto Felt and other Fabrics’ so I’m focusing here on what I’ve made rather than how. Lindsey’s been printing on felt for some years and has developed her own techniques. She’s now moving away from felt-making and printing to focus on painting so has produced a comprehensive course to share her expertise. I first saw her work a few years ago and have been really intrigued ever since to know how she produces such lovely images on felt.

I do quite a lot of sales and exhibitions in my local area. I’ve long thought I’d like to develop some smaller decorative items I can make relatively quickly and so sell at a lower price than some of my other work (because it’s more time-consuming).  I thought printing might provide an opportunity to do this.

I hummed and hawed for some time before signing up as it involves quite a big investment – not only in the course itself but also in equipment, software, space (for the equipment) and time.  I’ve just had a milestone birthday and as my mother wanted to give me a milestone gift, I decided that this was it.  I do love learning new skills and developing ideas so I was pretty sure I’d love the course.  Thank you Mum!

My first venture was to source some free online images (this is covered in the course) and, along with a little oyster shell sketch I drew, prepare them for printing and print some samples onto scraps of felt.

Small test pieces

I was pretty pleased with the results. However, some of the prints had a rather plastic feel and very visible edge.

Lindsey was very helpful with her suggestions on how to improve – including highlighting that I’d overlooked one of the steps when using the paper I’d chosen, doh! That is now largely resolved though I’m still wrestling with myself about whether I should buy a new printer as I have an inkjet and apparently laser prints work better.

I made a little tea light holder cover using some commercial prefelt. I’ve never used bought prefelt before (I’ve always made my own) and although it produced a very lovely fine felt, I also managed to create a line in the cover where the sheet of prefelt joined that I wasn’t happy with.

I now know (from the course) that there’s a way round this but I’ve decided for the time being to stick with making my own felt from scratch rather than introducing new variables.

The course covers, in a lot of detail, how to design and manipulate images. It includes tutorials on using free software as well as paid-for software like Photoshop. I decided to buy Photoshop Elements ( a basic form of Photoshop with a one-off purchase rather than a monthly subscription). I have to admit I have not taken to it like a duck to water! Some of that is doubtless me (remember that milestone birthday!) but I’ve seen lots of reviews that agree that it’s not very intuitive and so not particularly easy to learn to use. Fate intervened with (as far as I know) my first dose of Covid-19 during which I confined myself entirely to staying at home for 5 days (as per our current guidance) and until I tested negative. After the first couple of days I started to feel better so decided this was my time to make Photoshop Elements work for me.  In spite of sometimes getting very frustrated, I actually quite enjoyed the learning and have to be impressed with the things I can now do with it (however slowly) let alone all the things it can do that I can’t yet.  There are some really good free YouTube tutorials too, which helped, and I have certainly put in the hours. Many, many hours.

Back to the felt-making.  I made two more little tea light covers – one from 2 fine layers and one from 4 fine layers of 21 micron natural (undyed) merino. I wanted to see how they’d look with a lit tealight inside. Surprisingly they were both OK.

By then I’d thought of using my own felted bird images which I expertly (!) extracted from their backgrounds. I like the redshank and curlew as they both have feet.  Often my felt pictures have birds (like the avocet) whose feet are in water or behind pebbles – both because that’s how I saw the wild birds they’re based on and because I find felting bird feet quite hard!

I then tried out 18.5 mic undyed merino and decided this was what I’d use as it has a lovely smooth surface, light colour and a fine translucent appearance. Perfect both for printing and for tea lights.

I started to dig into my vast collection of charity-shop-bought silk scarves and added silk strips to the lower part of the designs. This was partly because lit tea lights’ metal cases cast a shadow at the base of the cover (see the lit one above), partly because it adds to the decoration and partly because it can ‘ground’ the images – i.e. give those birds’ feet something to walk on.  Oh, it also eases my conscience about quite how many second-hand silk scarves I own.

Redshank with recycled grey silk scarf strip

And so here are some more of the results.  I’ve printed a design on the front and the back (apart from the one with a flock of birds – that goes all the way round). They also look nice as plant holders, ‘thought they’re not quite the right proportions for most plant pots so I have to add some small pebbles to the bottom of the glass container if I want to show them as plant holders.

Herons

Some of them are free images I’ve found on the internet; some are from my own large felted pictures and one (the honesty seed pods) is from photos I’ve taken of the seed pods and worked on in Photoshop Elements to create a composite picture.

And here are the first 6 I put in the gallery shop at Creek Creative in Faversham (it’s a gallery, café, shop and studios where I rent my studio), just over a week ago. Inside each there are comprehensive warnings about lit tea lights, some felt care instructions and the name of the image.

First shop display at Creek Creative

The redshank on the left sold within a few days – I don’t know about the others yet.

I’ve also made some cards – initially to use up all the little test prints….

Square cards made using test samples

…..and then some I made specifically to become cards

Long cards

And finally a couple of bigger purpose-made plant pots with metal pots inside, using 21 mic merino in green and white.

Next steps? I’m looking forward to a couple of in-person sales / exhibitions I have coming up so I can gauge people’s reactions. I will keep building a stock of tealight holders, plant pots and cards and developing new images so I have plenty of both stock and variety.  I will keep extending my knowledge and skills in both printing on felt and using Photoshop.  And I will definitely keep working through Lindsey’s excellent course and drawing on her extensive and generous one-to-one and group support to help me on my way.

Here’s a link to a promotional video for Lindsey’s course, in case you want to check it out.

Two Nuno Backgrounds

Two Nuno Backgrounds

After putting my work in two different galleries, I felt a moment of panic because I have no more artwork that would be ready to go if anything sold. Better get to work!

I still had more of this dyed silk that I used for the Weeping Birch piece.

This is the fabric after I nuno felted it to black pre felt for the weeping birch piece. I had some red prefelt of the correct size so I decided to see what the fabric would look like with a red wool base.

Here is the piece after felting. It definitely has a different feel than with the black wool. Now to decide how I should move forward with this piece. What do you see? It’s always so interesting to hear what different people see in the same background.

 

This is the nuno background that I used for Summer Fireworks. It was felted on to white pre felt. Since I was already using the red prefelt, I decided to back the dyed silk from the same piece of fabric with red pre felt. How different would it look?

Here is the silk fabric nuno felted on to red wool.  I see trees and bushes at the top of this with perhaps grasses or flowers at the bottom? Or maybe roots and the underground at the bottom? I will show you my progress as I get further along in the process.

I definitely enjoyed seeing the difference that the pre felt wool color makes in the end nuno felted result. I will have to try out more colors when I get the chance.

Creating A Nogai Floral Design Using Sticky Fabri-Solvy

Creating A Nogai Floral Design Using Sticky Fabri-Solvy

As I told you in my last post about our trip to New York City, I visited the Met Museum’s Watson library. I am doing research on ancient felt making patterns in and around Central Asia.

This is one of the books that I found in the library and it had loads of illustrations with different patterns. But, the book was written in Russian. I went ahead and scanned the illustrations and hoped that I would be able to get it translated when I got home. It took me a few days to realize that I knew someone who speaks Russian, Galina! She is a member of The Felting and Fiber Studio Forum and will be teaching another Fantasy Fish online class soon. Galina kindly translated for me and also told me a little bit about the book. The book is about the Nogais, a Turkic ethnic group, who now live in the North Caucasus region. This is “next door” to Central Asia and since these were nomadic people, I think I will include their patterns in my research. The book was written by Fatima Kanokova and her doctoral thesis had a theme of “Decorative Art of the Nogais.” Thanks so much Galina for your help!

I took one of the floral patterns from the book and enlarged it. I then painted it on paper in the colors I was going to use. The colors were limited to what size and color of prefelt I had available. I used a very lightweight commercial prefelt and decided I was going to need at least two layers and then a backing piece of prefelt. I did try and do a little dry felting of the two pieces of prefelt so they would stick together during cutting. This wasn’t very successful. I would highly recommend using a thicker piece of prefelt to begin with and the cutting process would have worked better. Next, I needed to decide how I would transfer the design.

I was thinking of using the freezer paper method like Lyn used with her pigeon/rubber ducky piece but then suddenly remembered that I had some Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy that I had bought for free motion machine embroidery. I did not like using it with the sewing machine  or hand sewing because it gummed the needle up so much. But I hoped it would work with the prefelt.

The Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy has a paper backing on a sticky, water soluble fabric type stabilizer. So I traced the design and cut it out with a craft knife. I cut very carefully, so that I could use both portions of the design for the negative and positive shapes.

Here it is after cutting and you can see the negative and positive shapes that resulted.

Next was to peel the paper backing off and position the pieces on the various colors of prefelt.

Here is the prefelt with the cut shapes of Sticky Fabri-Solvy stuck in place. Now on to cutting them out. I tried cutting them with the craft knife but the two layers of prefelt kept shifting around. So I used a small, sharp scissors to cut out the shapes. Again, I was very careful so that I could use both the positive and negative shapes in the two different colors.

Here are the shapes after cutting. If you look closely, you can see the cutting wasn’t perfect. Again, this would have been easier with one piece of thicker prefelt.

Now to put the pieces together in an inlaid fashion. I used a piece of white prefelt behind the red background. If I had been thinking about it, I should have used a piece of red prefelt. Then you wouldn’t be able to see any movement of the cut shapes if it occurred during felting. But I didn’t have any white prefelt for the brown background piece. I decided to cut the edges of the brown piece and add a red background.

Here’s the brown piece after cutting and adding the red background. I didn’t inlay the brown into the red background, I just laid it on top.

On to felting everything. I covered both sides with a nylon curtain and wet the pieces down. Hopefully, you can see that the Sticky Fabri-Solvy mainly stuck on to the nylon curtain and then peeled off. I washed the remainder of the stickiness out of the nylon curtain and preceded with felting as I normally do. The little bits that were still stuck on the red prefelt dissolved. I’m sure the whole thing would have dissolved without pulling it off with the nylon curtain. But sometimes this type of water soluble fabric leaves a stiff residue and I didn’t want that to happen. So I was happy with it all peeling off easily. I had tried to peel if off before I wet it down but it would have damaged the prefelt. Also, I found that with the stabilizer in place, the pieces fit together easily and held their shape better than the other pieces that didn’t have any stabilizer. It didn’t really matter with the end result anyways.

And here you can see the two pieces after felting. The one on the right had a bit of ruffling edges since the prefelt in the center was thicker than the outer edge. But that didn’t matter because I was planning on trimming the pieces after felting.

Here are the two pieces after trimming. This method worked great and now I have a useful purpose for the roll of Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy that I have.

 

 

Trying out a new way of making prefelt

Trying out a new way of making prefelt

I recently heard about a no water, no needle way of making prefelt. I thought I would give it a try and see how it works. It’s fairly simple. You layout your wool on a mat or plastic and roll it dry. When I teach resist felting I usually dry felt the layout by just pressing and wiggling to make it stick together well enough to pick up and move, so we can make the second side. I am sure we have all found that ball of roving in the bottom of a bag that is well on its way to bing a solid felt blob. Taking this idea further just makes sense.

On Sunday it was Library day at the guild and I knew it would be a fairly quiet one so I took my supplies with me. Here is my try at dry non-needled prefelt.

I am using a rubbery placemat and a plastic grocery bag. The Grocery bag is because I put the little piece of plastic in my coat pocket and then didn’t wear my coat. I picked 2 colours so I can see how much migration there is if any. I did jiggle the felt to stick it together, the same way I do when I want to move a layout.

 

 

I rolled it 100 rolls in each direction flipping it between as well. It came out very flat and has started to shrink.

 

 

I rolled it some more. I had intended to do another 100 rolls in each direction but we were chatting so I am sure it got much more than that, especially on the last set of rolls. It definitely shrunk in both directions but not a lot.

 

 

I cut it to see what it looked like. the edges are thicker and flatter than the middle but it’s still pretty solid.

Jan took a movie of it with her camera. It shows how sturdy the prefelt is.

I rolled it again to see how the edges would fair. There were wisps that migrated out in the direction of the rolling. I think it would have been better to just finger rub the edges. There was really no migration to the surface by the opposite layer.

 

All in all, I think it worked well with very little fuss. Next, I am going to try cutting out some shapes and felting them on their own, to prefelt and on a fresh layout. Have you ever tried this method? how did it go?

 

 

Started but not Finished

Started but not Finished

At the moment I seem to be really squeezed for time. I have managed to start 3 small things

First I wanted to do another vase cover. I used a bat that was made on a blending board. I pealed a thin layer and then filled in the holes. I like the autumn colours.

 

That is as far as that got.

Next, I wanted a little bigger landscape I could needle felt and stitch on, so cut a 5×7 inch piece of the soft thick prefelt to use.

 

 

I wrapped the wool around the piece so there won’t be grey edges.

And that’s as far as that one got. I have it rolled up with the vase cover so they can be rolled at the same time.

Then, oh my I still have a few min. I had some well-fulled wool fabric a friend gave to me. I think it used to be a coat. I cut out a small piece and brushed up one side with my wire dog brush to see if it will stick together well with wet felting.  Then added some fibre

The difference is hard to see. the left is the unbrushed side and the right is the brushed side.

I had intended to just add 2 colours and felt it to use for trying out stitching on the new water-soluble stabilizer I ordered. But before I realized it I had made another landscape. Oh well, that’s ok, I will have to try again to make some practice pieces.

That is as far as I got with that one. I will probably wet it and add it to the other roll and then do them all at once. Maybe next week I will have them felted. With this time of year being very busy for me, it makes it hard to get some felting in. I try to get some in every week so I can share with all our friends and followers.

Theatre Textiles Part 1

Theatre Textiles Part 1

After I had retired from full time work in 2006 I was finally able to join SNADS – our local amateur dramatic society. I live in a small market town in Dorset and SNADS was the main source of entertainment for our area at that time (as it had been since 1930, although newspaper archives indicate that it was around at least as early as 1883). I had seen most of the productions which they had put on since we moved there in 1999 and longed to join in, not only on stage, but behind the scenes. During any one year there are at least 4 productions – Pantomime in February, Spring Play in May, a Variety Show/Revue in the summer and the Autumn play in early October, and as soon as that was over, the round started again with preparations for the following year’s Panto.

We had a fantastic wardrobe mistress, but she needed help with costumes, especially at Panto time as there was so much to do.

My first foray into costume was to make a full head cat mask for the summer review. Two of our members were to sing Rossini’s Cat Duet and the director decided that it would be fun to have a disreputable tom cat watching them from the side-lines. I had recently learned to wet felt 3D items using a resist, so I made the mask from wet felted pieces and needle felted details. I didn’t want the actor’s eyes to show through and anyway, I needed to give the cat it’s proper “slit” irises. So I stitched into the eye holes a piece of doubled yellow organza and just painted the vertical slit. (It is quite possible to see what’s going on through organza if it is held close to your face.) How to give him a proper nose? I needled the correct shaped nose on the mask, then I painted on some artist’s gesso, let it dry and added some more. Gesso is textured so it was necessary to file the nose to make it a bit smoother, also the gesso is white, so I painted the nose with black enamel paint which I nicked from my husband’s paint store (he’s a model maker). After a couple of coats of that, Tom had a shiny(ish) black nose. Add some “bitten” ears and “wonky” whiskers and he was nearly done. The cat’s mouth was open – it allowed the actor to breathe and gave Tom naughty grin. Finally I gave him a pink tongue and white tips to his ears.

Disreputable Tom Cat

The next production that I was involved in was the pantomime Cinderella, written and directed by one of our members. I was asked by the wardrobe mistress if I would dress both the Fairy (“Fairy Nuff”) and Buttons’ dog, Beau. The director wasn’t quite clear about what kind of dog Beau should be, except that he was to be comic. So I did a sort of 3D needle felt sketch of the dog’s head as I saw it – black and white with one ear cocked.

“Sketch” for Buttons’ Dog

However I’d got it wrong – Beau was to be a black poodle. 

After some discussion with the wardrobe mistress, we decided that the actor would wear a black polo necked top, thick black tights and black gloves. I managed to find a piece of curly black faux fur to make a short jacket, with enough left over to make pompon for the top of the head and the end of the tail, the long dangly ears and wrist and ankle rings to simulate the correct style poodle cut. I was to make a full head mask. For this I made a wet felt hood using a resist and a further piece of flat felt incorporating some of the curly faux fur trimmed from the bought fabric. A lot of that moulted out though because it was nylon or polyester and very slippery. Enough was fixed in however to give the right effect.

I made a needle felted muzzle – again with the mouth open to reveal the red tongue and white teeth, and to allow the actor to breathe.  The nose I made in the same way as for the tom cat – shaped with the felting needle, gessoed and painted.  The muzzle was attached to the hood/face with stitching and felting needles.  Some of the flat felt was cut to represent the dog’s lips and attached by stitching and needle felting to the muzzle.  The “Disney-esque” eyes were again painted organza and were stitched on the inside of the mask. 

The ears and head pompon were also stitched on.  I added a piece of brown fabric and a belt buckle around the dog’s throat to simulate a collar and allow the mask to be firmly secured over the actor’s polo necked top.  I have worn this costume myself a couple of times in subsequent Carnival processions – great fun.

Beau

Since the actress cast for the part of Fairy Nuff had a figure which could easily cope with a glamourous costume, for the base I was given a basque that fitted her. She was to appear out of a compost heap at the edge of the stage, so I set to and made lots of autumn coloured leaf shapes – mainly oak – out of different brown bronze and gold metallic organzas. I sandwiched sparkly bits between layers of organza. I machined stitched around the edges and along the veins of each leaf and then cut out the shapes with a soldering iron. This sealed the edges and prevented fraying. Then, with the basque on a dressmaker’s dummy I attached large pieces of bronze organza for the tail, and then added the strategically placed leaves.

The wings were made from two lengths of flat wire (originally from a pop-up fabric laundry container) covered with more organza, this time creamy white but with sparkles and sequins added. These were attached to the back of the costume by stitching the wire to the shoulder straps of the basque and covering the join with some dark bronze/gold chiffon.

The crown was made from bronze Christmas decorations (that year bronze was in fashion over here – UK). I used bronze plastic icicles, some foil stars and some more organza leaves attached to a head band. I can’t remember what the wand tip was made from – possibly a bunch of tinsel.

I actually got a speaking part in this Panto – only a couple of lines but a step up from what I’d had before.
I don’t have a proper photo, this was before my husband had a digital camera, however I’ve managed to extract a clip from the video we had made of the show. It’s a bit fuzzy if enlarged but I think you can get the gist. I’m in the gold dress with my exclusive “Toilet Duck” perfume, and my punchline? “It drives the men Quackers!”

Guests at the Ball with “perfume”!

After this show, we had one final “adult” Revue and then we moved to where we are now based. Try this link it should show you the hall we left, Sturminster Hall, and eventually the Community and Arts building, The Exchange, which is now our home. https://stur-exchange.co.uk/about/
Unfortunately it seems that a second link, on the above page, may not yet be working – this is a new website in the process of being fully set up so here’s the brochure which was produced the year after it opened.

The Exchange Brochure 2008

The staircase balustrade is wrought iron made by a local craftsman and represents the river Stour which runs through our town. All the Rooms in The Exchange are named after rivers and streams running close by, and it is just beginning to open again to live theatre as well as community groups.

We at SNADS started off our return with an Adult Cabaret a couple of weeks ago, for once without a male Balloon Dance or a ladies Fan Dance, but there was a Pole Dance!

More about my exploits with SNADS (including an explanation of the picture of the wicked queen) later. Watch this space.

My Second Poker Challenge: Felting.

My Second Poker Challenge: Felting.

Last time I showed you my spinning poker challenge. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2021/07/26/spinning-poker-challenge/ This time it’s the felting poker challenge

In case you didn’t see it the idea is you pick a card from felting four different category card decks. With felting wool is a given.

My picks are:

Fibre: use thread or fine yarn

Colour: use cool colours

Structure/Technique: needle felting

Other: No Larger Than An Index Card ( 3inches by 5inches, 7.5cm by 12.5 cm)

This one took me a while to figure out. I kept thinking of a cold picture even though I do know cool colours doesn’t mean a cold picture. I don’t usually do needle-felt pictures I usually wet felt and then do a little needling and stitching. I am glad it’s only a small piece.

To start I cut the right size piece of prefelt for the base. I got this to try out From Monica of The Olive Sparrow. I have to say so far it is very nice to use. It’s quite thick and nice to needle into, not too hard and not too soft. Just like baby bears bed.

          

 

Next, I picked my colours for a nice scene. Most of it is merino except the two-tone green. It is corriedale.

 

Laying it out. and tacking it all down. I wanted sky and water and a clifftop.

 

The sky and sea are blending together. I went online and had a look at some sea and sky pictures. There seems to be a definite dark line where they meet but when I added it to the picture, it looked odd. I decided to pop an island in.

That looks better but it looks lonely so I added another one and greyed them out a bit to make them look a little farther away.

That is where it stands now. You will notice there are no threads or fine yarns. That will be next. I will probably add some grasses and flowers to the foreground with stitching and maybe a tiny lighthouse on the rock. I am not sure yet what I want to do.

Giveaway Winner and Another Little Bag

Giveaway Winner and Another Little Bag

 

First, the part everyone wants to know, who won the Custom Fibre Chest. The winner is Karen Cantwell. Congratulations, I am sure you will enjoy your basket of goodies. For everyone else get a Free goody bag if you place an order this month. Just mention you saw it on the Felting and Fiber Studio Blog. 

 

And now the less exciting part,

I decided to make another little bag to keep things in my basket organized. I am going to use some thick prefelt I have. The nice thing about the thick felt is you can split it and cut away a layer so you can overlap the edges and not have a thick seam.

Here’s the layout ready to wrap around. I use a felting needle to keep it all in place before wetting.

I thought it would make it more versatile if it had a little loop so it could be attached to something if I wanted to use it somewhere else, maybe attached to my sketchbook. to add it I used the offcuts from pealing the prefelt and some of the yarn I am using to decorate it. It’s handspun wool and silk. This is the back with the loop wrapped up so it won’t stick down. I needled the ends of the yarn down.

And this is the front. I may embellish it after it’s felted. I will see what it looks like. It looks very blank at the top but I will be cutting that later to make a foldover flap.

 

It felted down really well and you can’t see where the joins were. The join is right down the middle top to bottom.

I added the pen for size and a little piece of white felt so you can see where the opening is. It didn’t show with the black on black. I will probably add a magnetic closure if I have a small enough one. If not I will add a snap.

 

I love the way this yarn worked. This yarn is handspun. it’d shredded sari silk and wool. I don’t remember spinning this but looking at it I think it must be mine. Firstly it is a very small amount and I typically do this. The other is how it’s plyed. It looks like it sat in a center-pull ball or on a spindle a long time before plying. When you do that the yarn sets and when you ply it, it doesn’t really look right until you wet finish it to give the yarn back its spin energy.  I almost never bother to wet finish my yarn because I won’t be knitting with it. Essentially I’m lazy about it, what can I say?

I didn’t look at this too closely before using it, I just liked the colours and thought they would look good on both the black and grey. Now looking at it after felting I suspect ( I would have to go look to be sure) that it was plyed in the wrong direction. I plyed it in the same direction as the spin so added more energy rather than plying in the opposite direction, removing energy and balancing the yarn. If you look at the yarn now you will notice it sometimes looks like two parallel yarns and sometimes one wrap around the other and that seems to be happening in the same direction as the single yarn.  It didn’t just all unravel because I have tacked down at both ends.

It is another fun thing about making your own yarn. You can do some cool stuff on purpose or by accident. It fun, you should try it. It’s all the same supplies you already have. You just need a cheap drop spindle. You can even have lots of them, cheap and expensive and still not be in as deep as one spinning wheel.

 

 

 

3D Felt Landscape

3D Felt Landscape

I sold three of my landscape pieces in March and I need to get more down to the gallery shop soon. So I took five pieces to be framed and I needed to make a few smaller pieces to go in ready made frames. The first one was easy, I made a replica of the holiday exchange card of winter time birch trees. I wrote a post about creating it here.

Here’s the second version. I forgot that I had used two layers of prefelt for the birch trees so they weren’t as white this time. But to me, it just makes it look colder!

Then I needed another idea. I have been watching some artist spotlight videos on the Youtube channel Fibre Arts Take Two and had seen one about the felt maker Kristy Kun. There were several short segments in the video that showed a bit about her process which looked interesting.

Then I walked by this small piece in our living room that I created in Level 3 Art and Design. It’s made with paint, gel medium and cardboard. Perhaps I could recreate this design in felt? And I could attempt some three dimensional felt on the horizon line with a similar method to the video I had just watched.

I first laid out wool in similar colors as the original. I should have noticed at this point that the horizon line was too close to the center vertically but I missed that.

Then I laid out some strips of the dark red and black mixed together in different sizes.

Then I began felting. I only wanted to go to the prefelt stage with both of these elements. The red bits reminded me of bacon the entire time I was felting.

The strips seemed too wide for what I had in mind, so I folded them in half lengthwise and ironed them. Once I figured out what I wanted the arrangement to look like, I began stitching them in place. I used a thread that would blend in so I wouldn’t need to take it out.

Suddenly, I remembered that I was supposed to needle felt these in place before stitching. No worries, I went ahead and needle felted the already stitched pieces and kept going.  Once everything was in place, I felted everything together. I spent a lot of time rubbing the strips in place and making sure that they were holding on to the background felt. I even tried a little underwater felting as I had seen in the video.

Here is the end result. I am happy with how it came out and it is well attached between the strips and the background. It didn’t shrink down as much as I wanted so I will need to find a bit larger frame for it. And I might remove a bit of the bottom to make the horizon line a bit lower. It was a fun experiment and hopefully, someone will love it and take it home.

Post edited to add final photo.

Here is the final photo of the piece in it’s frame. I did trim a bit off the bottom to change the horizon line a little. The frame is 8″ x 10″.

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