Add a Mirror to Your Studio Space to Reduce Shoulder Tension

Add a Mirror to Your Studio Space to Reduce Shoulder Tension

Happy 2021! 

Since more of us were staying at home last year, some of us have overindulged our enjoyment of fibre to keep us happy during confinement. Whether you are wet felting, dry felting, damp felting, spinning or weaving, if you continue having fun too long without breaks, someone will get annoyed with you. Sometimes it’s your neck or your hands and wrists or your back. Sometimes you catch yourself slouching or sometimes you hear about it from your body later.

There was a question online about muscle pain from needle felting. It got me thinking about work.  I do miss work.  I was an RMT. I spent many happy years chatting with grumpy muscles and they’re usually less grumpy owners. Most of those 25 years were with people who worked in high tech. There were lots of shoulder, neck, back, arms and some low back complaints. Felters and other fibres artists often have the same areas yelling at them. After having a thorough chat with their muscles (a therapeutic massage), I would send them back to work with homework.  I gave stretches for specific muscle groups and often suggestions to help with spatial or time awareness. (Your RMT or PT can tell you which stretches to focus on from what they find during your assessment)

Pain is the body trying to get your attention. it’s trying to tell you something; often to request you stop doing what you were enjoying doing. If you read one of my textbooks (the red one, by Kessler, Management of Common Musculoskeletal Disorders. another of my memorable textbooks was called Myofascial pain and Dysfunction by Travel.) Dr. Kessler has some interesting insight into pain. He suggests you can suspect if it is a nerve pain or a muscle pain by the way a patient describes it. Each has its own vocabulary. Nerves tend to be; “sharp,” “stabbing,”  “lancing,” “searing”, but can also be “numbing”, “freezing”, “burning”, “chilling”. While muscle vocabulary tends towards; “aches,” “stiff,” “tight,” “hard,” “weak”.

 

Here is the cover of Kessler’s Textbook, In case you are really curious and want to read about this too.

While this seems to be a large vocabulary, it is not nearly as helpful as the body hopes. You get the message quite clearly but the interpretation of what exactly is the problem and sometimes finding out who sent it can be a challenge. With some pain, the spot you are feeling it, may not be the muscle that started the yelling. You may be feeling levator scapula yelling but it may have been the upper trapezius that started it or the other way around!

I have an odd way of looking at physiology but patients seem to have understood the analogy.

The brain is very good at ignoring the daily mumbles and complaints of the body. You spent years at school sitting and taking notes to practice ignoring your muscles.  The brain will often tell the muscle “I’m busy, call back later”. The muscle can be put off for a bit, eventually to get their complaint heard by the brain, will have to increase the volume or scope of their complaint and keep calling back. The brain will eventually answer and be surprised to hear the muscles are so angry!  If you can catch the muscle annoyance (tension) before it wants revenge, adjust your posture and maybe take a quick stretch break, you will be able to keep doing what you were enjoying for longer!

Unfortunately, when Levator scapula and Upper traps particularly are involved, it can be hard to be aware that they are misbehaving before you get yelled or screamed at. One way to catch them is to use a Mirror. Position The Mirror so you can clearly see how you are sitting or standing to work and the distance between your shoulders and your ears. (while you work, shoulders will often try to drift up and foreword.)  

(Mr. Mer, has been trying to build up his Quads and hasn’t notice his shoulders are elevated.)

Ask your shoulders, “shoulders are you being good?”

They will answer, “Yes of course we are!”

Do not believe them and check the mirror. Drat! They’re gossiping with the ears again!! When the muscles have been annoyed for an extended period of time telling the shoulders to go down directly often is unsuccessful.

The Shoulders says, “You put me here, so this must be the right spot!” and refuse to go any lower.

If it is true that they have grievously lied to you and they are up visiting the ears again… tell them to go up, just a bit, to get their attention.  Hold that position for a moment, then tell them to drop. (relax them as much as is comfortable)

Mr Mer’s shoulder are up towards his missing ears and refuse to go down when asked.
Mr Mer pushes his shoulders up just enough to get there attention and holds them for a few seconds
Mr Mer relaxes his shoulders and lets them fall lower than they were when he was working.

Shoulders will be shocked and apologetic!

Exclaiming, “We are sorry and will never do it again!”  

Be patient with them, realizing they have severe short-term memory issues and will likely be gossiping with the ears again soon.  (you don’t have Alzheimer’s, just your shoulders)

Finally, tell them to slowly roll backwards in as large a circle as is comfortable. (You do not have to practice rolling forward since most of what we do is in front of us). You can roll one shoulder at a time or both together. Whichever feels comfortable. 

Rolling his shoulders backwards was hard for Mr Mer since he was balancing on his tail and finn

 Since they tend to be less than trustworthy when asked directly if they are visiting the ears, check on them visually in the mirror regularly.  If you spot them drifting up or forward try another shoulder lift and drop, then backwards roll to remind them to behave.

As the shoulders drift up and forward (elevation and protraction) you can have compression of the nerves in the front of the shoulders. This can produce symptoms of numbness, tingling, weakness, and decreased Range of Motion in the shoulder arm and hand (depending on what part of the nerve bundle is getting squished). So check your posture and position occasionally while felting/spinning/weaving using your mirror.  

Door mirrors usually go on sale in August and September for students going off to school. They are inexpensive and can be propped up against a wall or if the wall isn’t in a convenient spot a chair will do. As long as you can see yourself, while you work, felting, spinning or weaving, the mirror is in the correct spot. By glancing over occasionally, you can check up on your position and adjust yourself.

Also, watch for the height of your work surface, which can add to muscle irritability if it is too high or too low.

Time:  Another factor is how long you are working. If your project allows you to stop and start it will be easier on your body.  I used to suggest a cassette tape recorder and a half-hour cassette of your favourite music to work to. When you hear the loud click at the end of the side or realize there is no music it’s time to get up and go flip over the tape.  Another trick for remembering to take breaks was drinking liquids (not too much coffee or you will be awake all night!) the Brain is very good at ignoring muscles until they are extremely displeased but it will always answer the phone if the bladder calls! Personally, ice tea is very effective.  Sometimes you don’t even have to drink it, just look at it and the bladder gets nervous.

Mirrors can also be used to look at your work and give yourself a different perspective on your piece. If you are debating a composition or are not quite sure it’s right, It allows you to check your proportions when the image is reversed.

Last thing to think about; the smaller the muscle group used the quicker it will fatigue. So try to avoid tiny finger movements if you can use your hand, arm or shoulder. Sometimes fine motor detail is all that will work but try to do little micro-breaks to keep them from fatiguing or intersperse them with larger muscles working.

I hope this will give you a tool to help reduce tension and let you keep having fun longer so we can have a fabulous new year!

Mr. Mer gets back to work with his shoulders much more relaxed.
A picture with some metal in it.

A picture with some metal in it.

It’s after the Christmas crazy and I feel all out of sorts. There is nothing I need to be doing.  Nothing to shop for, nothing to bake for. I do have some nice new teas to try but although they are delicious, that is not really doing anything. I want to yell I’m bored, but my mom wouldn’t hear me at her house and what’s the point of that. So, like many of you, I must kick my own butt and just get on with something. Start with housework, if that doesn’t start you thinking of things to do in the studio, nothing will. After several loads of laundry and digging out the corner of the bedroom where we toss things to deal with later, I had had enough and I grabbed a tea and my sketchbook and headed for the studio.

I know you are thinking but what about your hat aren’t you supposed to be sewing the flower into place and making leaves. Yes, I am but I don’t feel like it. I had a poke through some recent sketches I did. I can’t really draw but I can get the idea down and use it to work from.

 

I dug out some felt pieces I did as starter pieces. Picked one and started.

First I defined the house. It was just a roof and walls when I picked it. I forgot to take a picture, sorry. I added some windows and the roofline and the corner of the house.  Then, strangely I started at the front of the picture with some fence posts. Usually, you start in the back and layer to the front.

 

With the magic of felt, I just took a picture and then pulled them off and put them aside.

 

I added some sheep, I bet you didn’t see that coming…..LOL. You can see I decided the house looked more like a barn and changed the windows into a large door. I also by this time decided the blue was water and added a path along the cliff edge.

I defined the sticky out piece of coastline to help with the water effect and check the placement of the fence posts. I decided to keep them straight because the right-hand one is going to be short anyway. I added some different blue to define the sky and some white with a bit of sparkle for waves. There was lots of wool sticking out past the picture edge so I just folded it around the back.

Then it was what to do to finish the fence. This is where the metal comes in.  Originally I was going to use thread to be the wire but then I was chatting with Jan about wire and remembered I had this spool of wire.  It is a very old spool and I don’t know what kind of wire it is or what it was meant for. It is thin but strong and flexible. It is old, as you can see from the wooden spool but there is no rust. It has a 58 stamped into the top but it’s not the gauge.

 

I decided to make a real wire fence. I twisted two lengths together and cut 4 of them to stick out past the ends of the picture.  I folded them around the edges to hold them in place. I then couched them down with 6 strands of grey embroidery floss to be the fence staples.  I think it really works. The whole picture is only 5.5inches (14cm)by 4 inches(10cm).

 

I did think about making at least one strand of my fence barbed wire. I made one barb, to try it but you couldn’t really see it against the wool so wasn’t worth the fiddling.

My New Years’ Resolution is to do more felt pictures and to try to do them a little bigger. Do you have a Fibery New Years’ Resolution?

Learn Something New in 2021

Learn Something New in 2021

Teri’s online classes are open for registration now. The classes will begin on January 6th so you will need to register quickly to participate. Teri teaches two great classes, one on how to felt concertina style hats and the other one on how to create felt bags. Both of these classes will teach you methods of improving your felting techniques so if you have felted around a resist before such as to make a felt pod, you should consider taking the next step on your felting journey.

For more information and to register for the felt hat class, click here. 

Have you taken a look at other student’s hats that have taken Teri’s class? There are some really fun hats and the variations are quite creative. Take a look at the student hat gallery here.

Teri’s felt bag class is an excellent way to learn how to create a variety of shapes of bags, as well as features such as straps, multiple compartments and pockets. You can find more information and register here.

And the student gallery for felted bags is here.

So what are you waiting for? Jump in and learn some new felting techniques in 2021.

Or if you’re just starting out and want to learn the basics, try our Wet Felting for Beginners class. This class can be taken at any time with unlimited access. For more information and registration, click here. 

We will be offering more online classes in the spring and will make the announcement here when registration opens.

2021 First Quarter Challenge

2021 First Quarter Challenge

We’ve chosen 4 decades from the 20th century upon which to base the challenges for 2021, and the first challenge to all felters, spinners, weavers, stitchers, knitters, crocheters and mixed media fibre artists is …

… to make something inspired by the decade 1900 – 1909.

At the beginning of the 20th century the Wright brothers achieved the first powered flight;  Australia became a Commonwealth;  the first silent movie was made; Marconi made the first trans-Atlantic wireless transmission; Einstein proposed his Theory of Relativity; the Suffragette Movement became strong and the North Pole was discovered!

We hope the public domain photos below will help to kick-start your imagination.

Alexander Graham Bell (better known for his work on the telephone) developed many tetrahedral kites of varying designs (1903-1909) – here are two of them.

In Australia someone had an unusual pet!  Photo dated 1900.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wilson Bentley photographed raindrops and snowflakes most of his life   This photo of a snow crystal was taken in 1905.  Below it are more of his photos but they are undated.

 

A First Nation Group near Lethbridge, Alberta, 1909.

Arthur Smith’s photos were featured in a book “Nature through Microscope and Camera” 1909 – here are just a few of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beckett and Hadfield took these Lantern slides in Norway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr Julius Neubronner developed a miniature pigeon camera to photograph the earth from above.  The patent for his invention was granted in 1908.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The images were processed and sold as postcards at expositions in Dresden and Paris 1909-11.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a lot of inspiration to be had from the art world.

“Vetheuil” by Monet, 1901

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Anenomes” by Renoir, 1907

 

“La jetee a L’Estaque” by Derain, 1906

Buildings and statues can be inspiring too.

The Flatiron Building – an iconic skyscraper  in New York –  completed in 1902.

 

Statue – a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s ‘David’, Buffalo in the USA, 1903.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handmade cards were popular.  This valentine card was made in 1900 (maker unknown).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wealthy ladies had some impressive clothing !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope you feel inspired to take part in this challenge.  It looks like there was a lot of really interesting things going on back then offering all sorts of exciting ideas for fibre projects.  Please post your photos in the Studio Challenges section on The Felting and Fiber Forum, we’d love to see them.

Ending this weird year with some dyeing

Ending this weird year with some dyeing

So, who’s ready for 2020 to go away? I sure am (although I’m not expecting things to be much different in the first half of 2021… thank goodness for crafting!)

On my last post, I wrote about dyeing a cardigan after knitting it. This time I decided to do the same with a triangular shawl.
It’s a simple pattern, one I use mostly when I feel like doing some very mindless knitting and still end up with something useful to wear.

For the past few months, I’ve been craving the colour green. For those who know me and my 95% black-and-gray wardrobe, this is definitely a weird and unusual occurrence, which I’m blaming on Pandemic Brain. I don’t own a single piece of green clothing, so this shawl seemed like a good way to remedy that.

The wool I had bought for this a project so many months (years?) ago was, no surprise there, gray. The lighter areas are almost white and I felt this would make the colour absorption more interesting.

I chose a mixture of two dyes, one green and the other one more teal blue. I find the two colours together gave me the right amount of hue depth.
Pro tip: sometimes dyes look “flat” on the fibre if used alone; for added depth, add around 25% of a lighter hue (so your dye stock is 75/25) and you should see it “pop” a bit more.

I know the photo shows it as more blue than green, but that’s just my camera.

This dye bath wasn’t very acidic, to allow the fibre more time to absorb the pigment. I also added the dye to the pan before the shawl, and made sure to start with cool water that I then heated slowly (this wool wasn’t superwash treated, so I had to be extra careful).

Once the water was warm enough and the dye had enough time to penetrate the fibre, I added more citric acid and let the whole thing simmer for 15 more minutes, until the water was clear.

As usual, I let the water cool down completely before removing the shawl. Can you see how the darker base colour of the fibre allowed for variegation of the project? I really like that.

And here is the somewhat finished shawl (I haven’t woven in the ends yet). Do we like?

Allow me to finish this year’s last blog post with a little furry homage. Here is Squish, my first ever pet, who lived to be 19. He passed away this March after leading a very full and spoiled life, and I’m very happy I had him in my life! Wasn’t he the most handsome boy?

Happy holidays, whatever/if you celebrate, and let’s all hope 2021 is less weird! Wishing you all creativity, love, and joy. See you next year 🙂

Looking Ahead to Organizing a Felt Study Group for 2021

Looking Ahead to Organizing a Felt Study Group for 2021

2020 has been odd, scary, frustrating and somewhat productive.  Besides felting and fleece washing, I have spent time working on the guild library, once we were allowed back in the building. We finally got to run the Library survey I have wanted to run since the early 2000’s. After the huge library restructuring of the collection this was an excellent time to run it. the survey had 19 questions divided into sections. The data analysis has be keeping me vary busy and away from doing as much felting as I had wanted.

To keep us together wile we are apart, The Ottawa guild is trying to find ways to connect with its members through zoom meetings, on Face book and is looking for ways to do on line participation starting with study groups. The Meetings have been fun, especially to see everyone, but the learning curve seems a bit steep for those of us who had not zoomed before. But its not all bad really! We have the opportunity to have presentations from people who don’t live near us. We have also had some creative programing with an online bingo game at the last meeting. I was one of the winners and got a lovely little baggy of blue fibers and a button (May the Fleece be with you).  There was some blue/green firestar that is very sparkly which I have segregated to its own baggie.  I may use in one of my Mer’s if I do a colourful tropical fish part.

We have already had a Facebook based Tapestry study group this past summer that was quite active. The socially distanced, masked Flax study group met in small groups all summer and fall. (You heard about that already). We also had interest expressed in a weaving for clothing and a rug weaving study groups. Both of those were put aside to start in the fall or winter.

The next idea for 2021 was to have group studies that would cover weaving, spinning and felting starting possibly in February over Zoom. There were a couple options suggested for topics for spinning and weaving but I was asked if I wanted to lead something on felting. (Ann may get a request for wet felting since I tend to like to stay dry if possible)

So I need to come up with a few options to offer the Guild executive and membership. Since we are all in the same predicament of exploring new ways to connect i thought you may be interested in this. You may have even tried something along this line already with your online friends or local guilds. i hope you may even have better idea than what i have been investing. There are two topics I have started studying on my own and collecting info on which might work as a study topic.  Armatures and armature wire options and sheep breeds focusing on the felt-ability of each breads wool.

Armature wire with samples of gauges and types of wire. (Not all 14 gauge wire has the same flexibility)  I have been acquiring wire for each of the sculptural projects I have been working on.  I also have been keeping samples of each  wire type I have been able to get. I want to sculpt a leg or leg like shape on a piece of each gauge to see the flexibility and structural support each size will provide.  This should suggest what size each gauge will be suited to.  I also have found a lot of wire is not labeled by gauge so having a comparison file would be helpful both for future purchasing and for deciding on which gauge for what size of sculpture.

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 1   14 gauge Steel

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2   14 Gauge aluminum.

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3  Jute Covered wire

The second is a fleece study (Ruth Lane’s Binder is fantastically inspirational!!!) investigating the felt-ability of various breads. I was more interested in the dry felting properties but Ruth has inspired me to possibly include wet felted samples if I have enough fiber for a breed.

4-5   Shropshire I think

6   Shetland

7-8   Scottish Mule and Velusila cross

There are some very good books on different breeds of sheep and the properties of there fleeces. Unfortunately they focus on spinning knitting or weaving properties rather than felting.

  1. The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn by Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson.
  2. The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers by Carol Ekarius and Deborah Robson.
  3. The Spinner’s Book of Fleece: A Breed-by-Breed Guide to Choosing and Spinning the Perfect Fiber for Every Purpose by Beth Smith

Another option, which would be very easy to do, is a cookie cutter needle felting base and then explore embellishments on a small scale. Cookie cutters are not too expensive, come in lots of shapes, and don’t take up too much wool.  There are lots of embellishments that could be investigated; beads, embroidery or as Moi MaCay referred to it as stitch marks, ribbons, wire work, and inclusion of silk or other fibers.

9  Embellishments

How it would Work

The concept for all the options would be to do a shared knowledge study with everyone doing sample homework and reporting back to the group each zoom meeting. Participants would have to acquire the supplies or do a group acquisition of materials. Instead of a teacher student relationship, it would be fellow students moving towards a common goal and greater understanding.

From my (guild) librarian perspective, I would hope that study groups that are working towards a binder of information could make a copy for the guild library too. It can’t hurt to ask!

How are your guilds and groups keeping their educational components going while we are waiting for our Covid shots? Have you been part of any study group or felt along online, to keep yourself inspired while we wait until we can get out and see each other again in person? is there one of the ideas that looks appealing or do you have an even better suggestion?

Unless the calendar is incorrect (this year has felt unusually long) this is the last post from me this year. I am hoping the last few days of 2020 will be the best part of this year, and that we all will have a much better 2021! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!

Finished the Hat

Finished the Hat

I got my ha finished…Yay…  So naturally, it is raining. Oh well, I know the cold will come.

Rub, rub, roll, roll. You know the drill. once it shrank enough I popped it onto a hat form to see how it was doing size-wise. It is very hard to photograph because it is so dark and the silk by and large disappears once it is wet.

Top view, it looks a bit raggy around the brim but it isn’t. It has silk wrapped around it and it has shrunk up making wrinkles.  Except for one spot at about 11:00. I will have to sew or needle it down.

Side-ish view, You can just see the silk colour.

It is on my high dome block. It is much too tall but I like the slope of the crown on this one better. the height I want is the block in the back but it is much flatter on top. It is loose on the block too. So more rolling. It didn’t take much rolling to get the right size around but quite a bit to get it short enough.

and then it was time to roll the flower

I pinned it in place so it will dry rolled up nicely.

…..two days later and it’s dry. I am taking pictures quickly because I need my table to wrap presents. I have tried to brighten them on the computer so you can see them better.

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It looks good but trying it on it’s a bit tight. Then I realize why, my high dome is a 22 and my other one is a 23. I need the 23 to allow for my braid. So I turned on the steamer and got it hot and stretched it out to 23 using the right size block. Now it fits properly.

here’s the inside or underside however you look at it. again the dark colour is hard to see but I think you can see the texture of the silk with the Nuno felt.

the felting is finished but I think I will shave it to see if I can bring up the colour of the silk more.  I still need to make a couple of leaves out of this felt and sew the flower so it stays rolled up.

I hope that for the next post I will have something else to show you but also the hat with the leaves and maybe even on my head.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday. It has been great to be able to stay connected to you all through the internet. It has really helped keep me sane through this stressful year of the pandemic.   I will see you in the New Year.

Ann

 

 

 

 

Alex’s Christmas Stocking

Alex’s Christmas Stocking

About welshfelters

Hello, my name is Lisa, and this is my son Alex, who has Down’s Syndrome. We live in Swansea, South Wales in the UK. We started learning to Wet Felt when Alex moved back home during the Covid 19 pandemic.

We were thinking about what to make for our first post, and decided (as it’s Christmas) we would have a go at making a Christmas stocking. Alex and I are really new to felting. We got into our new hobby quite literally because of the Covid 19 lockdown! Alex usually lives with a group of other young people, who have additional learning needs like himself, but because he has a lot of complex health issues, everyone decided it would be safer for him if he moved back home to live with his Mum. Since March 2020 when he returned home to live, we have tried lots of new activities, including gardening, art and felting! Alex really enjoys his new felting hobby, as it is something he can do on an equal footing to everyone else. It is giving him such a lot of pleasure, because he gains such a sense of achievement, and we have discovered that felting is something that is fun and it’s also something we can do together! The first thing we made was a sample! Not quite knowing how it would turn out, we decided just to play and have fun. That 12″ square of felt turned out pretty well and we were eager to try making something we could use. Alex loves colouring, and has amassed huge quantities of felt pens and other ‘tools’, so our next project was a pencil case. That turned out really well but it was large…larger than we planned! So it is now being used to hold his many small tubs of modelling dough instead! Having tried a few more projects, we have reached Christmas time! So, here is our latest project – Alex’s Christmas Stocking!

The resist…

First, we drew a template of a Christmas Stocking, which we then cut out to form the resist. I have drawn the dimensions of the template on the resist for you to see both in inches and cm.

The resist was quite large! I think Alex is very hopeful that Santa will fill it to the brim!!

The next stage was to start laying down some wool batt. We chose red and white wool for our project, as red is one of Alex’s favourite colours! I can’t tell you how much wool we used, because Alex likes to do things his own way! So we just went with the flow!!

Laying the first layer of wool!

We started to apply our wool, firstly around the edges and then filling in the middle…

That’s one side laid out!

We layered the wool vertically on the first layer and horizontally on the second layer. As you can see, we made a novice’s error here. We took the wool right up to the top of the resist!! We found that we had to insert another piece of resist in the top once we started felting, to make it longer and to ensure we didn’t end up felting the back of the stocking to the front! But Ho! Ho!; we’re only learning!!!

After we had finished layering our wool, we placed netting on top and applied our soapy water using a sponge. Then we gently rubbed the wool with our hands for while, gently agitating the fibres until they had started to felt together. Alex loves this part and gets really enthusiastic! Then, we turned the boot over to start the other side…

Time to start laying the wool on side 2

We repeated the layering, and after applying some net, we got started on the felting of side two.

Now we’re starting to get somewhere!

Alex can’t wait to start working with his palm sander, which was a beautiful gift to him from Robbin Firth at Heartfelt Silks https://heartfeltsilks.com/shop/
Alex loves to get stuck in!

Alex really enjoys this part of the activity because he can see things are starting to take shape!

Now the workout gets going!

I have to say, this is truly Alex’s favourite part of wet felting. He gets really stuck in with the rolling, and smiles like a Cheshire cat as he’s counting the number of rolls he does! He also knows we are nearly at the end, and he gets quite excited to see the finished project!

And after rolling, then fulling, this is how we ended up! We decided to decorate the stocking with a needle felted Snowman. Alex had his first go at needle felting, and he made the snowman and I did the fiddly bits!

Alex’s first attempt at needle felting!

And now, to see the final project! Alex is really pleased with his ‘oversized’ Christmas Stocking!!  I think there’s a definite bonus to the large Christmas stocking – it holds so much more!!!!!  We hope you like it as much as he does! And here it is on the fireplace, all ready for Santa to arrive!!!!! ‘Nadolig Llawen bawb’, Merry Christmas everyone, love from Alex and Lisa

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Annie (rosiepink)

For the 4th quarter challenge I made a few different things because once I started thinking about it I came up with lots of ideas and I couldn’t decide which to make!  I ended up making:

a stars themed table mat

a Christmas pudding decoration

some stars on sticks to poke into my houseplant pots

and a wreath of holly & stars

I needed a mat for the side table in my hallway because people always put keys etc on there and it gets scratched.  I was going to make one in the summer but didn’t get round to it and now that it’s winter I went for a theme of dark inky blue sky with white stars for a festive feel. I had a disaster with it when it wouldn’t felt, but that turned into a triumph when I rescued it with the embellisher because the mat not only felted but also became reversible where the pattern migrated through to the back 🙂

There is more detail about it over on our blog if you are interested: https://rosiepink.typepad.co.uk/rosiepink/2020/12/starry-night-hand-felted-table-runner.html

When trying the mat on the table I saw my simple felt “flower” on a stick that is poked into one of my flower pots, and it gave me another idea.  I thought some stars on sticks would look nice and festive scattered in my plant pots. The flower is just a circle sample of felt from the odds box that I stuck on a wire one day and pushed into the soil.  A friend commented that she really liked it so I left it there.  Also, I had promised my plants I would make them some name tags this year and I didn’t, so they can have a star each instead 🙂

Since making the Christmas Podding a few years back …

https://rosiepink.typepad.co.uk/rosiepink/2014/12/christmas-podding-and-the-chocolate-thief.html

… I kept thinking I’d like to make some more wired twisty holly leaves, possibly made into a wreath.  After some experimentation I made 3 sheets of colourful felt to cut the leaves from…

…but then decided it would take too much time to make all the leaves, so I decided to make a flat Christmas Pudding instead that could stand as a decoration and then I’d only need to make a few leaves!  The pudding is stood on a plate but leaning against a hidden glass jar.

To make the holly leaves I pinned some fabric to the back of the felt for stiffness then free motion stitched a few holly leaf shapes round 3 times in black thread and twice with white.  I also used some old felt to make some other leaves to mix up the colours.

To make the pudding I raided the scraps box. From scrap felt I cut out two main shapes – a 20cm diameter circle for the pudding and a wavy “topping” for the custard. I backed both pieces with fabric then stitched them together.

I cut some little “raisins” from orange felt and stitched them on then free motion stitched a pattern around them on the main pudding.

I attached the holly leaves and added some felt balls for berries. I had already made these a long time ago but they were perfect for this project.  Lastly I added a few little yellow stars for extra sparkle.

I had originally planned on making holly leaves using a base of green fibres plus a lot of other unusual colours to make it a bit quirky. I made a big sheet of felt to cut them from, but found I had used too many dark greens and not enough of the other colours so it wasn’t quite right. I decided I wanted to go more colourful, resulting in the felt I made above.  However, it is a lovely piece of felt and has some interesting passages in it.  For example, I can see lots of little landscapes in it and I will revisit it at some point because I think it has potential.  For now it’s one for my pile of “Ideas & Projects in Progress”.   Again, there is more detail on our blog about this if you are interested because this post is way too long as it is!

https://rosiepink.typepad.co.uk/rosiepink/2020/12/from-felted-holly-leaves-to-landscapes.html

Then in a sudden swirl of enthusiasm I decided to make a big bunch of holly leaves after all to see if I could cobble together a wreath of sorts.  Here are some in progress photos:

After making lots of holly leaves (but sadly no wire, no time!) I hit a problem in that I couldn’t get the leaves to attach nicely to the metal wreath ring I had. I didn’t want to glue gun it in case I want to take it apart and repurpose the bits at some point.  What to do? I had a look around and rediscovered a narrow felted “scarf” that I had made in the summer.  I had been far to impatient when making the scarf and it turned out nothing like I had hoped (basically lovely colours but a complete disaster!). I kept it in the hope that it would come in handy one day, and it did.  I wrapped the ring in the scarf which gave me something to stitch the leaves to:

I mixed in some felted stars and some yellow glass beads as berries (yellow, red, who cares?!)  The stitching is appalling as it was done in record time, but it’s on the back so it won’t be seen.  My patience has limits especially on something fiddly like this when I’m running out of time!  But I think the overall appearance is fun and a bit different and if I ever make another wreath I have learnt a lot along the way for next time!

Here is everything together on the table in the hallway:

 

2020, Just a bit Mer to go.

2020, Just a bit Mer to go.

Glenn and I have been travelling as far as Oakville once a month, to take over running errands for his parents and give his eldest brother, who is closest, a break (there are 5 brothers). We are second closest at 5 and a half hours away. The rest live in the US so are on the wrong side of the border to come and visit.

This last trip we checked the hotel was still open, Yes.  Packed up the car; extra grocery cooler bags, suitcases, and fibre related to the Mr. Mer project. One quick look at the garden and off to Oakville!

1-2 Silly lungwort, silly strawberries, it’s not spring, it’s December!!!

After MUCH debating about what kind of fish Mr. Mer actually is. I suddenly realized he was a pike! A Northern Pike! So off to the internet to get reference images! I carefully looked at fin placement, size shape and colouring.

 3 the reference photos

 4 wires were placed for the lower fins.

I pulled out the measured wires (floral wire,22 gauge I think) and started to lay out one side of the fin, mixing tones as I went.

 5 side one of the fin. (wire still to be added)

Added Fibre to the wire and then stuck the ends of the wire back into Mr. Mer just above the tail fin.

6 lower underside fin

7 Getting ready to start upper back fin.  

 8 using 3 of the 42 gauge triangular needles. These are quite nice. I would like to get some in the 333 configuration these are the 222’s.

9 I also used the 38 which suddenly felt aggressive compared to the 42’s!

 10 I started laying in the dorsal colouring. I was hand blending and tearing the fibres into short unorganized sections which I laid on in thin washes.

11-12   I tried attaching only one side of the fin wire for the hip fins.

I had worried all this addition of fins may have been a bit overwhelming for Mr. Mer, but he found a spot to blend into on the couch and started reading a postcard (he seemed interested in the picture from Dubai)

13-14 Mr. Mer refused to wear a mask but he did have a lot of poking with a needle and may have felt that boosted his immunity.  (I did not have a mask that would fit him). I think I will wait for the kind of needle that has the vaccine, fewer barbs in those!)

Parts of Christmas are already in Oakville, they even had more snow than we did! I spotted the mouse angel and the Christmas card from was that just last year?

 15-18 A bit of x-mas has already arrived.

 19 back to work defining fins and covering that butt.

20 the sun finally comes out shortly before it’s time to set.

 21 He had a swim around the computer desk in the hotel room.  Then I had a nice float and some stretching exercises in the hotel pool. Just to prove I don’t actually melt in water, So far…

 22 The mostly empty hotel

 23 The greatest shock of 2020 thus far is I now float,….. in a pool that is saltwater….as long as I hold on to the rope.  I wonder if this new skill will last into 2021?

Have a fabulous week and a nice relaxing X-mas!  I hope you get lots of Fiber, spinning wheels, wonderful inspiring books probably about felting and maybe a loom or two.

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