I hadn’t done much felting lately as I have been trying to get all my Level 3 Art and Design homework completed. So I decided I would make a holiday wreath because I had lots of nice Wensleydale locks that were already dyed green from making my umbrella tree. I thought I had a wreath form so I went out to the garage to get it and lo and behold, no wreath form. Instead I found 9 whiffle balls with jingle bells already inside them that I had used for Christmas ornaments a long time ago. So I decided maybe I could cover them with felt and still make a wreath by attaching them together somehow. I wanted to use things that I already had without buying anything new.
I searched through my wool and found a variety of yellow, yellow-green, green and blue wool. I created three batts on my drum carder. I took photos but none came out so I’m sorry I can’t show you a photo of the batts. I covered the whiffle ball with a portion of batt, tacked it in place with a felting needle and then covered that with Wensleydale locks.
Here’s a photo to show you how much wool is on the outside of the ball before felting. Very squishy!
Next I tied them up into a leg of pantyhose. This is the same way I make cat toys. Then I threw them in the washing machine with a load of wash.
Here they are after felting. I was still thinking that I would make them into a wreath but when I laid them out, I just wasn’t impressed with it.
Here’s a closer look so you can see the locks. So what to do now? I definitely needed to add more color than the green so I went to my studio to see what I had in red. I found burlap ribbon with red threaded through it that I was sent to try several years ago. You can see more about the burlap here. I decided I would make individual ornaments and make them into mistletoe.
So I machine stitched the burlap together around a hanging ring. The rings were actually the only thing I bought for this project. Everything else I already had in my studio. The little snowflake “buttons” were stitched on by hand.
I then cut some mistletoe leaves out of several pieces of hand dyed felt that were left over from making a couple of hand stitch books. These I hand stitched together and added a few clear E beads to represent mistletoe berries. I used beading thread for the stitching and to put all the parts together. It was interesting threading a big long darning needle up through the whiffle ball to connect the burlap ribbon to the top of the ornament but I got the construction all worked out in the end.
And here they are, felt mistletoe ornaments to hang and steal a kiss from your sweetheart. I’m selling them in the shop so we’ll see how they go. I still have no holiday wreath for the door but I did use up some more scraps and supplies languishing in the studio.
This past weekend, my husband and I drove up to Wisconsin for a weekend away. I had hoped we’d see plenty of fabulous fall colors I could share. Unfortunately, Wisconsin is suffering from the same drought we have here in Illinois and we arrived a week earlier than the peak. Many of their trees have lost their leaves already, like ours here. But here is one fallish pic entering Wisconsin.
I haven’t been too productive this week. But I do have a few projects I have put finishing touches on and haven’t shared.
I signed up for Ruth’s Printing and Stenciling on Felt class, so I managed to make a couple of handmade prefelts to play with. I have plenty of commercial. The purple was some unknown fiber batt. I decided to use a silk hankie to give it a little sparkle, but it didn’t.
The turquoise is commercial prefelt with some throwsters waste which isn’t very evident.
I think I will be able to use both sides just to experiment. I like the sides without the silk better.
I also made a thicker light blue batt with some mulberry silk.
I have no idea what I’ll be printing on any of these and have gathered a bunch of samples and other UFOs to experiment on.
Here is a failed coaster that had gold fabric felted in that I did a little free motion practice on.
A while back I had felted a bunch of samples from scarves. I couldn’t find the post with the original scarves. One of them had dots which I wasn’t crazy about. I had done both sides and didn’t care for the inside either. However, after felting the dots weren’t obvious, they looked more like flowers. I made it into a little case and did a little embroidery on with with some silver floss for a little bling.
The front has a little bit of black organic edging.
Nothing exciting this week, but I got to re-purpose a few things.
I’ve been trying some new things to work on that I could do easily and fairly quick. Right, haha.
I had seen some crochet and bead earrings online I wanted to try. I used the same Aunt Lydia’s variegated cotton thread that I used on one of the scrubbies I posted about recently.
It turned out out to be a little fiddly, but I got the hang of it and was pleased with the results. I especially like the variegated thread since it makes it easy to wear with several colors. My favorite ocean like colorway. Here they are lying flat.
But then I thought they would nice hanging. So I scoured my house for something to hang them on.
Can you see the beading?
I keep pulling out my felt scraps and wonder what I can do with them. I had some prefelt leftover from making business cards covered with throwsters waste to add a little bling and just enough to make two earrings. I cut out two squares and played around with how to use them. I like dangling earrings but not too big. Since it was prefelt I didn’t want to add beads on it and weigh it down.
So, I used a head pin put a few beads on it then attached the prefelt around it just sewing it closed in the back. And finally attached the hooks. They aren’t perfect but they are handmade.
I started another round pair with beads, but got frustrated and put it aside for another time.
I still have piles of scraps. I’ll have to play with them some more and figure out what else I can use them for. Unfortunately, many pieces are too small to match and are odd shaped. What have you done with your scraps lately?
Last week I showed you two large panels I made using scraps. Since then I created three more.
One long panel.
Two short ones.
Here they are laid out on the floor.
Here’s the final project.
So, whats underneath?
My Simplicity Needle Felting Machine naked. Sorry about the lighting, this was our first snow and kind of cloudy.
Now you see it.
Now you don’t.
I was amazed that I got the sizes right. I purposely left the edges organic. Its a little lopsided but the top of the machine is narrower than the bottom. Now I can change it around for a different look when the mood strikes.
Did you see that coming?
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I had such a good time using my scraps and embellishments for my coupon case, I decided to do a larger project using panels. And using up more of my scraps.
Here is the first large panel. I started on white prefelt and added bits of leftover batts creating a cloud effect for the background..
Then I added silk selvage, pieces of cheesecloth, silk pieces, scraps of scarves, metallic fabric, yarns and a little of this and that, topped with threads and a bit of wool wisps to secure the threads.
The next panel I forgot to take a pic of the cloud background. But for this one I used silk selvedge, silk scraps, cheesecloth, boucle yarn bits, mohair, prefelt offcuts, and pieces of leftover roving amongst other things including threads.
It was fun just picking out things from bags and literally throwing it on. The textures are great.
I love the way the threads cross over and look like roadmaps.
Here is the first one finished with closeups.
I was surprised the prefelt just grabbed everything. I had to shave each panel to get some of the glittery stuff to shine again.
Like everyone else I have a ton of scraps, threads, cut offs, etc. I finally got around to organizing them somewhat into like piles. As you see I had a lot to choose form. The first pic is a tub full of scraps etc.
I pulled out some and put them on the table to pick from.
I decided I needed a store coupon case to keep in my purse. I recently got a new purse and none of the pockets were sized large enough to hold some of these coupons. I have a separate coupon holder for groceries that I only use when I grocery shop. But I never know when I might pass by a department, fabric or specialty store that calls me in to shop.
I wanted it thin so I only used prefelt on both sides of the resist. With back problems, I don’t carry a big purse and try to keep it as light as possible.
I picked through the scraps and threw a little of this and that until I was satisfied with the look. Then I topped off each side with some wisps of merino to help keep those rayon and cotton threads and silk bits to felt in adding merino over the sides to fold over. The yellow is silk selvedge.
I spent a lot of time rubbing so as to not disturb the little bits and thread.
While still wet:
The purple fringe got a little wadded up in the felting process and the edges of the flap and sides of the holder needed to be straightened a bit.
After drying I still had some wild threads so I needle felted some down and cut others. I also straightened the fringe and needled it down. I think for my use it will be fine. Here is the finished front:
Now I’m ready to shop.
Here’s another piece I started as an experiment. I don’t care for dots or the colors of this scarf, so I decided to cut off a piece and see how it felts because I have two more scarves I do like and didn’t want to experiment with them. I used some silk scraps and angelina on one side and the scarf on the other.
I liked the dot side after felting. It doesn’t look so dotty, but more textured. I may do some stitching on it. The silk side I got carried away with the angelina and don’t care for that. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it it’s fairly small.
It was fun experimenting with the scraps. I’ll probably do more. Have you started your 4th Quarter Challenge?
I’m working on some projects for the Third Quarter Challenge, but had completed this project earlier which also falls into the Second Quarter Challenge.
While going through some old craft boxes, I found a piece of crochet I did many, many moons ago as a young woman. I set it aside with my felting supplies. Every once in a while I’d pick it up and set it on some roving or prefelt, unsure what I wanted to do with it.
It was definitely acrylic, so I used a small tail on a prefelt when I was making samples and it felt in very nicely. However, because it has such great dimension I didn’t want to lose that either. Finally, I made some gray batts with merino and corriedale and decided that’s what I’d do and use a resist under the center so I wouldn’t lose that nice dimension.
I purposely left the center open so that would be firmly attached.
Here is the result:
I don’t know why this one looks orange. Lighting I guess. But you can see where some of the gray migrated up through crochet piece.
My next dilemna was what to do with it. I tried it over a small pillow, but didn’t like the way it pushed the design up. Then I tried a couple of pre-made square frames. But I didn’t like them either. The frames were either too wide, the wrong color or not big enough.
There was something lacking. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I tried stitching a design around it. That gave it a little balance, but I’m still not sure.
I may take it to a professional framer and have something like this done. I tried a new program — Ribbet to super impose a frame. I know the top and bottom are cut off a little but it was just to see if I liked it.
What do you think?
At least now I have a piece of my crafting history preserved and not stuck away in a box.
I was hesitant at first because it required free motion stitching. Something I haven’t mastered. But I needed the practice, so this was a good opportunity to do just that.
The first thing I did was to tear it apart.
Then I laid it out in a round shape.
I could have left it plain, but decided I had some hand dyed yarns that would add some texture and interest and complimented the silk.
I proceeded to cover it on both sides with the Sulky water soluble stabilizer on top before pinning and stitching. I know I should have put down the Sulky before designing, but I’m getting good at flipping projects.
Then came the fun part — stitching it. I had a lot of trouble with the thread breaking, the tension being picky and a lot of stops and starts but I finally got it finished. Although I didn’t use fancy designs, it’s pretty much straight lines up and down and around.
Following Ruth’s directions, I wet down the package leaving it a little sticky and draping it over a jar then adding folds.
It looks a little droopy and sad. I let it dry overnight and was surprised in the morning to find a very pretty textured and dimensional vase.
While it’s not strong enough to hold anything, I could put in a glass or clear plastic to be able to set something inside. I even toyed with getting a small battery type light and making it a little lamp. There are plenty of holes and it’s very thin. It might work. If I can find such a light, I’ll post pictures on the forum.
Thanks Lyn and Ruth! I’m pleased with the results and the fact I was able to reuse the silk. Oh, I have some left but not enough for a vase. I’ll have to find something else to make with it and get more free motion practice.
I have been continuing to think of what I can do with all the scraps of fabric that are crammed into my studio. (Ann has really gotten me going with her 2nd Quarter Challenge.) I have bags of commercial fabric scraps and then tons of fabric that I have dyed, screen printed, stamped, stenciled or thrown color upon in some manner. I need to start using these up before the studio overflows and the fabric starts to take over. (Not that it hasn’t already but…)
So I decided to make some flower pins. I used some of my ugliest screen printed fabric for the centers. I rolled up the fabric and twisted it into a spiral. Then I hand stitched the spiral together. I made a pile of fabric scraps for the petals and leaves and then machine stitched the pile of fabric together.
Then I hand stitched the center on to the petals.
I cut a small circle of felted wool blanket that has been dyed, stamped and a variety of other things which has been in my stash for years. I sewed on a pin backing and hand stitched the circle of felt to the back of the flower.
Here’s another one. As you can see I don’t worry about the scraps being nice and even. It’s nice not to have to worry about if the scrap is flat or ironed and whether the edges are neat. I use the pinking shears on the cotton fabrics.
And here are the two finished pins. You can trim the petals a bit if you like after you finish. So I got two done.
And here’s the studio after I finished. I still have a gazillion fabric scraps, the studio is a mess and I’d need to make hundreds more to use up all these scraps. Perhaps I need to increase the scale of my projects to get rid of more scraps?
A couple of years ago, I was making silk paper just for practice. I decided to try to cover a bowl and make some ruffle edges. But it was a disaster. I used an acrylic medium to help give it substance, but all that did was make it stiff and unmanageable. I tried soaking it in soapy water for a couple of days, but that didn’t do anything either. So it went into the “pile.” I’ve picked it up a couple of times thinking I could use it for something, but nothing came to mind. Sorry about the fuzzy picture.
Recently, with the Second Quarter challenge to revisit our UFO stash, I pulled it out again. This time as I thought about it I started pulling it apart, peeling off layers. I wondered if it would still felt, so I looked through my stash and found some yellow batts with unknown fibers.
It felted just fine, some parts are still stiff, but most of the thinner areas still had the silk shine. This piece will probably be made into a coin purse.
But what to do with the rest?
Another UFO was a piece of prefelt I had cut for “lace” in Fiona Duthie’s Surface Design class. I put a piece of habatoi silk under it and felted them together. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. But I like the bubbly effect of the silk through the holes.
Then I found a frame for the cityscape.
While I haven’t made a big dent in the scraps and UFO pile, I feel good about trying some new things.