I have finally finished my pouch. Yay! I am not sure how big I want the individual spaces in the bag to be so I have just basted the divisions for now. If they are working fine I will sew them in permanently.
Here it is full of things. and some things that didn’t make it in. As you can see it’s not dedicated to one kind of thing. It’s a way to keep all the smallish stuff from filtering down to the bottom of the basket where they are hard to find.
and all rolled up.
Here is the basket. First I put the liner in. It’s a thick, fairly stiff fake silk scarf. I can’t imagine it was nice to wear which is probably why it was in the secondhand clothing store in the first place. It’s great for this job.
Adding everything into and onto the basket.
There was even room left to add my guild library books when I got back to the house.
I am sure you are all as tired f hearing about the basket organizer as I am so it is now time for something new and more colourful. I have been seeing felted rocks popping up on Facebook a lot. I figured they looked like a pretty obvious and easy thing to make, so I will give it ago. The first one I did use floor underlay resists. I started with a pebble. I covered it completely in wool.
I cut out a resist a bit bigger than the wool covered pebble and then added the top put the resist on the top of the rock and folded the wool around. then I cut a bigger resist and did it again and marked the top. It was a bit awkward. I should have worked the other way up but where’s the challenge in that. LOL.
It fulled down quite fast.
time to start cutting, I rubbed each cut to heal it before doing the next cuts. I don’t think you can see it but the bottom of each layer is fully attached to the one below it.
I sat it on a green lid to dry, looks really striking there.
That worked quite well. Now for a different way.
For this one, I used plastic wrap to keep the layers separate. I cut a small hole in the underside so the layer would be attached to each other.
I wrapped the last layer in plastic I just rubbed it and rolled it around in my hands as if I was making a felt ball. I did it longer to make sure the inside layers were felted as well. While wrapping I lost track of the top and bottom. Naturally, I picked the wrong side to mark. I cut the first hole and it was attached to the one below so I kept cutting down to the pebble. I planned to stretch each layer, but with it being quite small there wasn’t much stretch or even room to get anything in between the layers to try and stretch. so In the end I just fulled it tight around the rock.
Here is how they compared in size before felting
And how they compare with my hand to show the sizes
See Lyn, not felted rocks but felted rocks. Ha Ha Ha :O)
It’s the new year and here we are in England with what I’m calling the ‘new abnormal’: all non-essential shops closed; travel only if necessary; people working from home wherever possible and, for many of us, very limited direct contact with people outside our household.
If you’d asked me a year ago if I’d have liked a long stretch of time with few commitments that I could dedicate to felt-making, I’d have jumped at the chance. Be careful what you wish for.
Towards the end of 2020 I had several events to aim for so was able to focus on making things for those. Here are a few of my favourites: a succulent holder, nuno felt vase (with glass interior) and needle felted mince pie.
I have plenty of sales and exhibitions booked throughout 2021 but no way of knowing whether and when they will take place. I have notebooks full of ideas but feel I need to find some focus to direct my efforts and get the creative energy flowing.
I really enjoy learning new skills and developing my felt-making in different directions. So, I decided at the turn of the year to sign up for some online workshops. I’m mostly self-taught as a felt maker but now I’m asking myself ‘why do I want to reinvent so many wheels?’. I’ve long wanted to take Fiona Duthie’s workshop ‘Fibre + Paper’ so when I saw she was running the workshop in March 2021, I eagerly signed up. I then find myself tapping my toes impatiently and thinking ‘I don’t want to wait ‘till March!’.
Fortunately, in February Fiona is offering another class I’d like to take ‘Ink on Cloth’. Yep, I’m in for that too. Still the toe-tapping: ‘what about January?’.
The Felting and Fiber Studio to the rescue: Teri Berry was offering her bag making class starting 7 January. Perfect! I’m in for another class. Well, you can’t say I lack enthusiasm!
While I’m waiting for the class to begin (yep, still with the toe-tapping) I decide now is the time to retire an old friend. One of the first things I felted for myself about 9 years ago is an iPad cover. I carry my iPad mini with me everywhere and the cover is worn out. It has done a great job – it even outlasted the first iPad – but the corners have rubbed away and it’s looking very shabby.
I may have mentioned before (more than once) that I’m an avid charity / thrift / op shop enthusiast and have built up an impressive collection of second-hand fabric, mostly scarves and mostly silk. I have a dig around and fish out a very fine small silk chiffon scarf with leaf prints. Left – front, right – back, middle – action shot! I’ve carefully controlled the shrinkage so it fits snugly: it slides out when I want it to and not when I don’t.
I enjoyed working with the silk so decide to make some more samples. One issue with fabric of unknown origin (and often even with fabric of know origin) is that you can’t be sure how it will felt. Here’s the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of each sample.
Some kind of velvet devore?
A woven cotton or linen?
A silk and cotton mix – I assume the background is silk and the slub lines are cotton
Definitely 100% silk (it still had the label in)
All are interesting. I chose a similar wool colour to the background silk colour as I want to focus on texture and print. I particularly like the leaf print one and will definitely use that at some point.
Next, my patience (!) has been rewarded and the bag class is starting. First is an animal theme phone or glasses case. I consult the interweb for animals that have big tongues and decide on a gecko. I’m rather fond of geckos, though I’m not sure I’ve ever met one.
I’m pleased with the result, although admit it looks rather more like a frog or an alien. I was going to trim the tongue but decided to leave it as it is. I’ve taken to calling it my alien frog bag. I made it to fit my phone but it’s actually a bit big so I’ve now added a thin green leather strap with some Chicago screws. Next time I’m invited to a ‘BYO alien frog bag’ event, I will be all prepared.
On to the next, bigger bag, with integrated straps and internal pockets. I have a fair quantity of nice natural grey Corriedale top and decide I’ll use that for the outside. I’m on a roll with recycling the silk scarves so select a few with similar colours. I’m not sure grey will be the best background so, in an unusual fit of sensibleness, decide to make some samples.
I prefer the lighter colour behind them. The bag will be fulled very hard and I think I may completely lose the silk. Little lightbulb moment: why not prefelt the silks with a light colour wool to help preserve some of their colour?
I prefelted some pieces of silk. I even got a bit jazzy with the one with large spots, with fawn Corriedale and charcoal Merino.
On the left: the bag laid out with (nearly) all the surface decoration ready for wetting down. I did move things around a little afterwards but forgot to take a photo. On the right: the flap detail of the final bag
It’s not perfect (eg I put 2 pockets inside but they are on the front wall of the bag instead of the back and it’s a bit wider than I intended) but I do like it and will enjoy using it.
So, what next? The third bag is a backpack. I’m wrestling with myself over whether to use wool I already have or wait for some I’ve ordered to arrive. I have a studio full of wool but want to use a medium or coarse wool for durability and don’t have much of any colour or breed in sufficient quantity. I made a sample yesterday of potential wool candidates but am a bit underwhelmed. There’s a black dyed Perendale batt, grey/brown Finnish top, light grey Swaledale top and natural white batt (can’t remember the breed) but I’d have to mix them and that’s a lot to have going on.
I decided too to make a paper template of the finished bag to help me work out the resist and stop making bags bigger than I intend. Ha, ha, I do hope I don’t start calling this my toilet seat backpack. And that brings me right up to date.
All being well, I will have the backpack done to show you in my next blog spot in March, along with some makes from the Ink on Cloth workshop.
I’m enjoying the learning and Teri’s class is excellent. The instructions are clear and detailed. She has been positive and encouraging and very quick and generous in responding to my extensive questions about clasps, straps, bag design, wool breeds….
Are you struggling to find focus, or maybe finding new ways to learn and different things to try? I hope you’re able to do a little fibre work and I wish everyone a peaceful, happy and creative 2021.
The last time I wrote, I talked about dyeing yarn. As an indie dyer, my job is to create colourful yarn that someone else will turn into something beautiful. That’s pretty much the norm.
Now, what if I turned that regular idea around and dyed the finished item instead? What would happen? Let’s find out!
I had some very lovely 4-ply yarn at hand, plus some mohair lace that was just coarse enough to be uncomfortable if used alone. Paired together they would make the perfect DK weight yarn for a cardigan I wanted to knit.
Fast forward 2 or 3 days, and here’s the finished cardigan, minus the buttons.
Let the experiment begin! I wanted a red base. I had to add that to the dye bath first. It looks very much like a murder scene, so let me tone it down by inserting a cute photo of my cat Marshmallow next to it.
Since I wanted the red to be soaked up slowly and evenly, I started with cool water and no acid for binding. This will ensure the colour is seeped up gradually and has time to get to the whole garment. I then added the wet cardigan, turned on the heat to medium-low and kept an eye on it.
After 15 minutes, the water was warm and I could see that the red was all over the cardigan. Time to add citric acid gradually. Then turn up the heat, simmer for 10 more minutes, turn it off and wait for the water to clear up and cool completely.
A good sign that you’ve used the right amount of dye and acid is that the water clears up completely once cooled. This is also a great sign of minimal bleeding in future washes, the bane of any dyer.
(If your water isn’t clear, try adding more acid and simmering for another 15 minutes. Let the water cool completely and see if things aren’t better.)
I really liked this colour, but a rule of thumb is, if it looks perfect under water, it’s too light when dry. I also wanted a bit more dimension to the red, so some dark grey was needed.
I didn’t want this new colour to soak up evenly, so I didn’t remove the cardigan from the bath water as I added the new dye, and I kept the same acidic, fast-absorption water from before.
And here she is afterwards in all her glory!
I know the “scruffy look” might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I love it. It looks like a long-worn cardi, something my nan might have passed on to me. The vintage buttons complete the look.
Now, the important question: is the end result the same as dyeing the yarn in the skein? The answer is a resounding No. Depending on how tight you knit, you might end up with a lot of areas that the dye won’t get to because the stitches act as a resist. You can see lighter areas in the photo below, something I fully expected, even though I’m a fairly lose knitter. I actually like this feature because it’s very different from what you normally see.
I had never done anything like this before, and you might be horrified to know that after this, I’ve knit a shawl and now have a second cardigan on the needles, and both will receive the same after-completion dye treatment…
I wore it for the first time yesterday (at the time of writing) and it kept me warm all afternoon indoors.
I hope you enjoyed this experiment. Let me know if you’ve ever tried anything like this before, and what the outcome was! If not, what dyeing shenanigans have you been up to or would like to try?
First off, I decided to work around a flat resist and use the same kind of wool for the felt rope as the rest of the surface. So I used mixed 56’s that I hand dye. I dry felted a felt rope from the yellow wool. I didn’t add any water at all but just rolled it dry until it was holding together. It wasn’t firm at all. I left the ends loose so that I could make sure the rope was well attached.
I covered the resist with light green wool with a couple of thin layers all running lengthwise to the resist.
I then wrapped the felt rope around the wool covered resist and added a couple more thin layers of wool in the light green. I added a bit of darker green to the ends.
And then I rubbed and felted and began fulling before removing the resist. Here it is after I took the resist out.
And then I fulled it into submission. You can see how much shrinkage there was in comparison to the resist. It is very hard and certainly won’t lose it’s shape.
And here it is after I shaved the surface a bit. It could use a bit more shaving but I haven’t had time to let it dry yet. So once it’s dry, I will shave it again. To me, it looks like a dill pickle or perhaps a small minnow? It is much more in line with what I was thinking when I first tried the experiment. I will have to try it on a larger scale. I’m not sure that the felt rope adds any advantage over prefelt cut in a strip. Perhaps if I have gotten the rope a bit harder, it might have effected the shape more. Next time, I think I will lay the resist wool going around the short side of the resist instead of lengthwise. I would also use less wool on the ends of the rope or just use a cut strip of prefelt.
This is how it compares to the one for the grey basket
I decided to use white Corriedale wool for this one. Corriedale is readily available so it might be a more useful example for people. It’s white because I only 100 grams of dyed Corriedale. I used 200 grams for the basket. I was sure I took a picture of the resist covered in wool but it seems to have disappeared. I am sure you can imagine a big circle covered in white wool.
Ta da, a wave of my magic felting wand and
The finished basket is 19 inches ( 48 cm ) across.
Next, I blew up a beach ball inside the basket and rubbed away some of the wrinkles that showed up when I tried to make it round with the ball.
It is now sitting outside on the table drying. It looks pretty freaky but it will be the right shape when it’s dry. Next week I hope to show it to you finished, and looking pretty and more basket like.
I am slowly adding some stitching to the needle books. I did a small sheep book. It is about 2 x 3 3/4inches or 5 x 9.5 cm closed.
And a larger one,4 1/4 x 4 3/4 inches or 11 x 14 cm closed. I am not sure it’s done. I was thinking it needed another sheep down in front. I was thinking it should be a black sheep but I am not sure.
and I started my second quarter challenge. I am not going to tell you what it is but you can guess if you want.
And here are the cute little chicks from a couple of weeks ago. They have grown a lot and no longer look alike. The chickens hardly even look at me, maybe they are sad they have reached the ugly stage. In another couple of weeks they will be pretty.
And here are the turkey babies. They are very interested. It was hard to get a picture I had to spook them so they ran away so I could get a picture as they came running back with curiosity. Turkeys are very funny.
And lastly one of my apple trees has started to bloom.
It was 2 days later that I got back to my pot. After some preliminary rolling in the dryer, I rolled it by hand.
It shrank quite a lot. it is very tight around the resist. It is time to do some cutting. I cut in the spaces between the fins.
You can see how much the hole grows as you work the edge. The little blob on the left is the piece I cut out.
I didn’t want to pull the resist out through the hole. It is bulkier and less flexible than usual with the duct tape holding on the fins. I cut an X in the bottom of the outside pot. If I had thought about it I would have done it in the bottom of the inside pot so no one would ever have seen it.
This is how much it has shrunk so far.
Next was a vigorous rub down with a rubbing tool. This is one Jan found in the pet section of our Dollar store. It’s for washing your very dirty dog. I covered the pot with some plastic before rubbing. It is too grabby to use directly on the felt.
It shrank a little more but now it is al flat and smooth.
Before doing any more I needed to rinse out the soap. It always takes much longer to get all the soap out than I think it should.
I start with hot water and finish with cold. I also want to get more shrinkage during this prosses so I am quite aggressive in getting the water through felt to get the soap out.
This is how much more it shrank. You can see the black lines of where it was before rinsing.
I stuck the yellow inside the red one. It wasn’t too hard because the how where they are joined is not very small. What was harder was getting the ball in so I could blow it up. I wanted to use a ball because I didn’t think a balloon would be strong enough. I did get this one I but ended up taking it out and switching to a smaller 8-inch ball. the ball is a Linsom ball, they are nonslip, sort of sticky on the outside. They are great balls because they come with a removable plug. I took a vessel class with Sharon Costello where we used them. I suppose it helped the first layer of wool to stick. The layout on a ball is very difficult. It was a great class, a lot of fun and we learned a lot but not one I like to use.
and in the dark
I think it turned out fairly well. If I were to do it again I think I would make the inside pot bigger so it would open up the fins. I may, depending on how ambitious I am, wet it down, blow up a ball inside and them stuff plastic bags in to make the outer pot bigger. I may cut the fins off and then so some stretching so you can see more of the inside pot. I am still thinking. What would you do?
I thought I would do another one just for fun. I decided it should be bigger this time. For the template, I used a wall clock I had that is to good to get rid of, but I don’t use. I am sure you all have things like that around. To give you an idea of sized it is the typical school or lunchroom clock that is everywhere.
The smaller circle is the one from drawing around the clock. I decided I wanted it a bit bigger so I drew another circle out about 2 inches or 5 cm by hand.
I cut it out leaving a small amount attached to the bigger piece and folded it over to make a second attached circle. I had decided I didn’t want a narrow neck on this one.
Now, you are probably thinking that isn’t very interesting. At least that is what I was thinking. Just to make things more interesting and difficult for myself I decided to add wings in a book resist type of thing. Not satisfied to do that the normal way I decided to make the wings/pages smaller than the rest of the pot. I used the actual size of the clock.
I also separated the pages so the outside edges ended up halfway between the 2 circles on the main resist. I added 2 pages to each side of the resist.
Next was laying out the fibres. About halfway through one side, I was cursing myself for making things so difficult. The problem, of course, was that I hadn’t done a book resist in a long time and had to figure out how best to do it again. You can see I add a piece of silk (I think) scarf to the yellow side that will go inside.
The second side when much quicker than the first
That is as far as I got. That was Sunday. My plan is to do the felting tomorrow and maybe the next day depending on how my knees feel about it. I have a tall table which is great for laying out but not as convenient to rub and roll on. I am going to try to use my tall chair to help with that. I will show you how it turns out for better or worse next time it’s my turn to post. That should be next Wednesday. Have you tried a vessel in a vessel? If not go watch the tutorial and give it a try.
Sorry to say I forgot it was my turn to blog today. It has been a hectic week with our last Farmers’ Market on the 12th. We make twice as much on the last day. However, I did manage to get a little felting in earlier in the week.
I use the dryer to do much of the rolling. It is an old gas dryer that is not hooked up to gas. we can’t get gas where we live. but it is great for doing the rolling and it just needs a regular plug and not one of the big ones that electric dryers have.
I started a hat. It looks a little odd at the moment. This is its 3rd time through. I cut out the resist and then rearranged the hat and stuck it back in to make sure the 2 sides wouldn’t stick as it’s not felted enough yet.
When I put the hat in the first time I laid out this red nuno ruffle scarf. That takes longer than the 15 min the hat is rolling but I hate doing nothing while it tumbles around so I start something new and when it’s ready to go in I pull the hat out turn and flip it and roll it back up and both go in.
While that was happening I laid out a white one. I added some curls to one end. I fiddled with the picture a little trying to get the white curs against my white table to show better.
When it was ready I took out the other 2, rearranged them and all 3 went back in.
All that was on Tuesday. Having forgotten it was my day to blog I just ran over to my studio and took some pictures for you. The hat is ready to move onto handwork and shaping. The red scarf will get one more go around and the white one will have 2 more turns in the dryer.
And lastly, Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian readers. I hope you had a great Turkey Day.
I got my dryer balls and my soap done and it is now up at the museum store. the dryer balls have information on how to use them on the back and the tag explains them as well.
A few weeks ago a friend at the guild was selling off left over yarn he bought to do a project that was now finished. I bought these. They are all singles form Brigs and Little. Some are solid and some are heathered.
I decided to use the yellow to make the design on a dark purple hat. I had to partially felt the hat before wrapping the yarn around it. it would have been to difficult to do it sooner.
I am quite happy with how it turned out. the sides dip a bit but I think it looks ok anyway.