A fun pot making class

Not long ago I taught a fun pot class. To make it a little different than an upsidedown hat class I taught them how to make it a different colour inside and out.

Heres the laying out and assembling the 2 colour pots.

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After the layers are assembled it’s time to add some embellishments.

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And after much rubbing, rolling and throwing you get to blow up a balloon inside to let it dry. Here is everyone together, and you will notice one of the pots somehow turned into a hat. The close-ups are below. All in all a fun day playing with wool and making felt.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Thank You from Zed and the Holiday Card Exchange

Zed wanted me to include her thanks to all of you for your generous support. Here’s what she had to say:

Ruth,
Please could you pass on my sincere gratitude to everyone who made a donation or bought an e-book or tutorial to support me at this difficult time. I was absolutely blown away by the kindness and generosity of so many people.

I’ve had very little motivation to felt or be creative at all for many months, and whenever I did try, it felt ‘forced’ so wasn’t really enjoyable. As well as the generous donations, I also received many comments and messages which have made me feel very appreciated and cared for. In fact, they made such an impact that I felt like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. I’ve been feeling so much more positive. And although I haven’t had chance to do any felting yet, (but who has over the holidays!?) I feel like I have a renewed love for it, and have had lots of ideas for things to make and write about. I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays, and I hope the new year brings great things for everyone. Thank you so much 🙂

Now on to my regularly scheduled post!

Every year on the forum, we do a holiday card exchange where members make fiber art cards to send to their assigned partner. It’s a lot of fun and you get a great small artwork from another member of your “tribe”. It’s always fun to see what everyone creates and the cards are always so different. You can see some of them here. You have to scroll down and go through all the pages to see all the cards that have been posted so far.

My partner this year was Antje. She is one of our regular contributors here and I correspond with her frequently so it was fun to send each other a card. Since I was working on the concept of using stuff up, I searched in my studio for felt that would work for a holiday card. I found some screen printed red and green felt.

The red pieces had almost berry like shapes and the green had pine needle shapes. Perfect! I just had small pieces so I cut and stitched them into strips and then sewed them all together. I butted up the edges and zigzag stitched them together. They were a bit wonky but I didn’t need perfection. Once I had a post card shaped red and green felt, I needed to add an element. So how about a tree? I found a piece of white felt and cut a fairly wonky tree shape.

Here’s the card after stitching around the edge of the tree to attach it to the background. I then found some star sequins and did a little French knot to hold each one down. I then fused the felt down to a regular white card blank.

Then I found a nice font on the computer, printed it in “matching” color and added a holiday greeting. I did add a little surprise inside but forgot to take a photo of that before I sent it off to Antje. It was a bit nerve racking because it took over three weeks to arrive. I sent a package of wool to Lyn on the same day and that was received in less than a week. But a card in a standard envelope took what seemed like forever. Just when I was thinking I would need to make another card to send, Antje received it. Yay!

Then, just after Christmas, I received a package from Antje, much bigger than a standard card. What could be in there?

She did send this lovely card which is gorgeous. Such an innovative way to depict a tree.

But then, I also got these three items. The birch bark piece on the left is wonderful and since I love trees, it is going to find a prominent place in my home. I love everything that Antje sent me and it was such fun finding these extra surprises. Thank you Antje!

We would love to have you join us next year with our holiday card exchange. Join our free forum so you’ll know when to sign up.

 

 

Posted in Community, Holiday exchange, Made From Felt, Mixed Felting Techniques | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

2020 First Quarter Challenge

The theme for this year’s challenges is ‘Personal Items’.

So here’s the first challenge for felters, spinners, weavers, stitchers, knitters, crocheters and mixed media fibre artists …

…make a piece of jewellery!

We might associate jewellery with metal and glass, but jewellery is just ‘personal adornment’ usually in the shape of a necklace, ring, bracelet, brooch/pin or earrings and they can be made from anything.

This isn’t a competition – there’s no judging and there are no prizes – you just challenge yourself no matter what your skill level and we’d love it if you could post a photo of your jewellery on the forum.

Here are just a few examples of textile jewellery – hopefully they will inspire you to get designing and making!

Pebble necklace, felt, made by Karen (Lincs in Stitches)

1. pebble necklace by Karen Lane - Lincs in Stitches. Forum member

 

Flower pins, organza, silk, etc made by Judith (koffipot)

2. flower pins made by Judith (koffipot) forum member

 

Butterfly pin, felt and beads, made by Pam (Pamd)

3. butterfly pin by Pam (Pamd) - forum member

Close up of bubble bracelet, felt, by Ann (Shepherdess)

4. bubble-bracelet-close

Flower pin, needle-felt and beads by Annie (rosiepink)

5. red needle felt brooch

Cuff, felt & stitch by Annie (rosiepink)

6. JewelCuff

Choker, embroidered felt beads by Lyn (rosiepink)

7. felt beads on a metal choker

8. close up of beads

 

We’re looking forward to seeing lots of pieces of jewellery posted on the forum!

Posted in Challenges | 7 Comments

Halloween for Christmas 2019

As you may remember, my Halloween Ghost Girl was lonely and I created Werewolf boy to keep her company. I was thinking of my niece and nephew while I was creating them, which may be why they seem to be wearing Kamiks,  a northern boot.  Def- Mukluks or Kamik (Inuktitut: ᑲᒥᒃ [kaˈmik]) (singular: ᑲᒪᒃ kamak, plural: ᑲᒦᑦ kamiit) are a soft boot, traditionally made of reindeer (caribou) skin or sealskin, and worn by Arctic aboriginal people, including the Inuit, Iñupiat, and Yupik.).  Since I had the kids in mind as I made them, I hoped that my sister in law would enjoy them.  I was sure they would have a good home there.

 

1              1 Kamik

 

I had a problem on how to present them.  In this case, lucky for me, I have dyslexia and was unable to do any of the normal jobs my friends had, (since no one is dumb enough to hire me as a secretary or receptionist, although the guild kept electing me as librarian).  Instead, I wound up being a picture framer as my first career. Lots of archival work, French matting,  shadow and plexi boxes. So I know how to present a 2 or 3 dimensional piece.

But a plexi box is not always the solution. Sometimes it’s good to think outside of the box even if you are thinking of a box.

Solution 1 Michael’s Art store carries shadow boxes and plexi display boxes, that would be perfect! So I’m off to Michaels.  No, they don’t carry that size of plexy display box anymore, would I  like the one for basket balls or there is this lovely one that holds base ball cards that lights up?  They did have an “open”  Shadow box (ok, it is just a deep plain molding without glass that hangs on the wall. Only barely deep enough for the figures, and a bit high. …..but that would work for those trees I want to try later, …….. and its on sale …… ok, I cave. On to Ikea which for me is in the same mall.

 

Ikea has a large table top miniature green house that might work and it would keep plants or Halloween figures safe from cats. But it’s a bit too large a foot print for just the two figures. But it would be a good back up plan.  It’s still sitting in the back of the car.

2 2 Ikea; Width: 17 ¾ ” (45 cm) Depth:  8 ¾ ” (22 cm) Height: 13 ¾ ” (35 cm)

 

Over at Walmart I spotted a tall, glass and black metal pillar candle lantern.  The base might be a bit squishy but it’s worth a try. Oh look, no price but it has a bar code. No, scanner is broken at the self-scanning spot…. again…. (Mutter) it’s a bit pricier than I had hoped but it’s worth a try. I got it home and realized the width was not adequate for both figures.  However, the lantern concept was excellent! Just what I sort of envisioned for presentation.

 

33 Walmart; 5″ x 7″ x 19

Back to Ikea for their big white lantern (much cheaper in price than Walmart’s), return the lantern to Walmart and drive over to pick up Glenn from work. Just in time to Drive to Oakville for the weekend. (That was the trip that the last post about the Mouse Angel happened on)

 

44 Ikea; 17 1/4″ (44 cm)

 

Along with Xmas presents and necessary visiting stuff, I had packed Ghost Girl and Werewolf boy, more of the Shetland fleece from last summer (Dark and light sections), the Bee combs and an assortment of needles still stuck in my garden kneeling pad I use as a work surface. I did not pack a ruler. I wanted to do a bit of finishing touches on both figures before they ended up in the candle lantern and off to their new home.

 

I wanted to add a bit more firmness to the Kamik like boots and give Ghost Girl her Mitts (she did not hold her Ghost Balloons quite as well but I bet her fingers are warmer now!)

565-6 Mitts to keep her hands warm

7 7 Boots to keep her toes warm

 

My plan was to use the foam pad to anchor the figures in  then cut the foam to fit the inside of the lantern. (that’s where the missing ruler might have helped) but due to my skills with non-math solutions to measuring I had a piece of yarn and pins to solve this dilemma. Dyscalculia is not all bad really! The foam cut easily and with a tiny bit of trimming fit into the bottom of the lantern.

88 Ikea Solution in Oakville (there are more angels in the background!)

9109- 11 foam base and using the sting to measure and the pins to mark

11

Time to drive back to Ottawa and continue work on the base

 

On Dec 23rd the Guild had a Potluck and Social for those still in town and needing a fibre related escape. I continued with the base. I started with laying out wisps as when wet felting. Then started to use the needles to create adhesion. I layered in a darker path and then added a bit of undulation to the landscape.  I kept to the same colour scheme easily by using the same fleece. This time I deliberately felted into the foam as I worked around the edges to keep the blue from being visible.

  12- 14 Covering the base with felt

 

Yes! that is sort of what I was wanting. I wish the lantern had been just a bit bigger.

Wrapping – I failed utterly at wrapping since I didn’t want to put the lantern on its side and possibly have unwanted movement occur. So basically unwrapped presentation I will just have to focus next year’s attention all on the wrapping and not on the content to make up! (Maybe a spectacularly wrapped but empty box? Dante the cat would like that.  Maybe I will try that for him next year!)

15-17 the delivery My Niece with the ghosts on stings. i will have to make her bigger ghosts!!

(These pictures were off Glenn’s camera.  Sorry, they’re a very grainy.)

1818

1919 The bell jar I used with the Angel Mouse was also from Ikea. It was called a  BEGÅVNING Glass dome with base, 10 ” (26 cm) high.

 

Having the felt figures under glass decreases the need to dust and keeps cats from trying to play with the mouse!  Framing felted pictures is a bit more problematic not for the dust protection which can be excellent. The problem can be the same as photos against glass. If the owner used an excessive amount of glass cleaner, the liquid can wick in behind the glass and affect the photo making it stick to the glass or wetting the felt. The use of a mat or a spacer gives a space between the Glass and the art which will reduce the effects of wicking wetness (the best idea is spray the cloth to light dampness and then wipe the glass so no liquid runs behind the glass) but we can chat about framing some other day.   For now I have glass-less shadow box, an extra BEGÅVNING and a SOCKER Greenhouse to fill……another weasel dragon or maybe a small hippogriff? That’s what I love about felt you can make anything!!!

Posted in 3D, Finishing/Framing, Needle Felting, Repurpose, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Happy New Year

Happy New Year Everyone.

I hope you had a great time ringing in the new year and are enjoying the first day of a new decade.

Time to think back to what I have done and what I want to do.

Last year I did some experimenting with pots.

Did some more artwork

Took a few classes

And taught a few classes.

I took on organizing my guilds annual sale and exhibition with the help of an amazing group of people.

Next year, I am not really sure. I am chair of the sale and exhibition again this year.  I know I am doing more teaching (LINK) and I need to update and sort out my website.

Plans early this year are to get the pictures done for an online class. Jan is going to help with this so I have to get felting to have different stages so we can film more in one day. I am sure Ruth has lost hope of me ever getting it done.

I want to do more artwork with hand stitching. I really do enjoy sitting and stitching. It looks so nice on the felt. To that end, I made a few picture blanks between Christmas and new year. Sorry Its not a great picture I just did it quick while writing this.

Beyond that, I really haven’t planned much. Do you have plans for the year, big or small we would love to hear what they are? We would also love you to share pictures and chat about what you are doing over on the Forum. (LINK)

 

Posted in The Year Ahead, Uncategorized, Year End Round Up | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Year End Round Up and A Big Thank You

Each year towards the end of the year, I like to go back and review what I have created throughout the year. That is one reason that I like blogging. It helps keep track of what I have done and many times, by the end of the year, I have totally forgotten some of the things that happened at the beginning of the year. Does that happen to anyone else?

One of my themes this past year has been to “use stuff up”. My studio room is filled to overflowing and I need to get some of that stuff out of there. So many pieces were made to work on that goal.

These are some of the pieces that I created in the first quarter and used stuff up each time.

I completed my Level 3 Art & Design class with Gail Harker Creative Studies Center and we had our graduation in March. I really enjoyed this class, a lot of work, but fun!

I had two sessions of my online classes this past year and want to thank all my students for such a great job. It’s always fun to see what others create from online classes.

Another thing I experimented with this year was differential shrinkage with fiber layout and prefelt.

These were great fun and I plan on continuing with these experiments and perhaps adding some free motion machine stitching into the mix.

I did an experiment with Sulk Sticky Fabri-Solvy with machine stitching wool pieces together. I have also tried it as a pattern transfer with hand stitching and found it to be way too sticky to use with hand stitching. It makes me want to never hand stitch again! So I will stick to machine stitching with it.

This fall, my publisher reworked my original felting book into a new book called First Time Felting.

I reworked this still life into a new piece as I wasn’t happy with the original. This was part of the using stuff up movement 🙂

This past fall, I was ‘poked’ by one of Antje’s post to create a fabric collage landscape. This was inspired by a lake in Glacier National Park and I really liked the result even though it took quite a while to complete. I will probably do more of these types of collages as I have tons of dyed fabric to use up. So the theme of using stuff up will continue into 2020.

I thoroughly enjoyed Lyn and Annie’s quarterly challenges this year. Thanks for the challenges and I look forward to next year’s challenges.

And just to make things exciting, I started a new two year course with Gail Harker, Level 3 Stitch. I have been doing tons of color studies. You can see those on my personal blog Permutations in Fiber.

I would like to thank all of our contributors this year for all of your wonderful posts. We will be continuing with guest contributors in 2020 and if you have something to contribute, just let me know. You can also join our free forum to share your work. We love to see and hear about what all you felt and fiber artists are creating.

I would also like to thank everyone who gave to the “Zed Needs Your Help” campaign. We raised over $1,500.00 US and I am so grateful to all of you who helped out either by a donation or by purchasing an item from Felt by Zed. It was heartwarming to read all of your comments and to feel the love from our fiber community. Zed was overwhelmed by the response and will be writing a thank you to everyone soon.

Here’s wishing you a happy and creative year in 2020.

 

 

Posted in Year End Round Up | 12 Comments

Plaited felt vessel

This is a guest post by Kim Winter of Flextiles.

In September I started a two-year part -time basketry course at City Lit, which is an adult education institute in London. Although it’s only one day a week in college, there’s at least another day’s worth of homework, so it’s quite intense. But I am enjoying it immensely.

Plaited paper vessel

In the first half of the term we focused on plaiting, mainly with strips of watercolour paper. In the second half of the term we moved on to willow, which was much harder on the hands! You can read more about either of these subjects on my blog if you’re interested.

Stiff paper or card is ideal for plaiting, as you can get nice sharp edges and the structure retains its shape. But I like messing about with different materials, so I wondered what would happen if I plaited strips of prefelt and then felted them afterwards. How would shrinkage affect the overall shape and pattern?

If you don’t know how to make a bias weave plaited basket, there are some good instructions here. I don’t usually twine around the base as shown here – I just use pegs! – but otherwise the method is the same.

I used commercial prefelt for this experiment, in two colours. The white prefelt was merino wool, while the grey prefelt was Gotland. Gotland has a sturdier finish than the merino, but in my experience they have slightly different shrinkage rates, so that was another thing to throw into the mix! 🙂

I cut six strips of each colour and then wove them together to make a squarish 6 x 6 base. I pinned them together as I went along, and when all 12 strips were in place I then stitched horizontally and vertically. I did a couple of back stitches at the beginning and end to secure the threads but left the ends long so I could use them to continue stitching up the sides.

Prefelt strips woven and pinned together

Prefelt strips stitched together

(Apologies for the quality of some of these photos, but they were taken in artificial light, as the days are so short at this time of year!)

Once the base was stitched, I started weaving the sides by overlapping the central two strips on each side and then continuing to weave under and over the adjacent strips. I pinned and stitched as I went along.

Weaving and stitching the sides

This is what the piece looked like after I had woven the sides and cut off the excess felt.

Normally with plaited baskets you have to make a border by tucking the ends in or stitching a band around the edge. The advantage of felt, of course, is that it is self-sealing as the fibres mesh together, so I planned to finish just by trimming the edge after felting.

Once the weaving was complete, the felting could begin. I wetted the piece down, rubbed with soap, and started gently rubbing it all over, turning it inside out to make sure that both sides were felted.

I had to keep opening it up and turning it around during the rubbing phase to make sure the sides didn’t stick together (I could have used a plastic resist but didn’t bother, as I never rubbed for too long in one position).

The prefelt strips felted together fairly quickly, but despite the care I took when rubbing, holes started to appear at some of the intersections. So when the piece was partially felted I did some more stitching to ensure that there were no holes. I’m afraid I didn’t take any photos of this as it was quite dark by this stage!

This is what the piece looked like after felting and fulling.

I was tempted to leave the felted ends on, as they gave quite an organic feel, but in the end I trimmed them off, and rolled the piece some more to seal the cuts.

I also initially thought I might leave the stitching in, as I liked the marks and texture it added. But when I took out the stitching on one side for comparison, I felt that it distracted from the subtlety of the pattern, so I ended up taking it all out!

The inside and the outside have different patterns due to the weaving, but during felting some of the fibres have migrated through, so you can get an idea of what colour is on the other side.

Scaled up and turned upside down, I also thought this could make a good flowerpot hat – I can see Audrey Hepburn wearing something like this, can’t you? 🙂

So it is possible to plait with felt, though it is rather fiddly and time consuming. The forms are softer and more rounded, and you get a subtle idea of the pattern on the other side.

Thank you for reading, and I wish you all a very happy and creative 2020!

Posted in Guest Artists, Guest Writer, Prefelt, sculptural felt, Weaving | 21 Comments