Yarn Bomb Update and more…

Yarn Bomb Update and more…

In my last post I introduced you to the amazing creative community that is the Cosby Yarn Bombers who reside in the village of Cosby, just south of Leicester. When I was down there two months ago they were working flat out to pull together this years Summer Yarn Bomb with the theme ‘Make a Splash’. I promised an update so here are images of just a small fraction of the wonderful installations that were put up around the village….enjoy!

I just love that the bather has removed one of her cucumber eye patches so she can read her iPad! The detail that goes in to this work is fantastic.

My friend Pat made an enormous wet felted Loch Ness Monster which found a new home in her garden hedge!

Having been told that a lot of the work is reused and remodelled each year I’m sure I spotted Madge (minus her crown) laying on a sun lounger eating an ice cream with the corgis close by!

Another very visual event that I can’t resist is the annual Asylum Steam Punk Festival that’s held in Lincoln over the three days of the August Bank Holiday. It’s advertised as the largest Steam Punk event of its kind and attracts enthusiasts from far and wide.

The term Steampunk was first coined in 1987 by K. W. Jeter, the author of the novel Morlock Night. He used the term to describe a genre of speculative fiction in which steam, not electricity, drove technological advancements. Since then it has been used to describe an artistic and cultural movement.

Every year I tell myself I’m going to create a costume and take part but every year it sneaks up on me and, you guessed it, I’ve no costume ready! Maybe I will join in fully next year but for 2022 I was there once again as a spectator, still having a fabulous time, taking photos and chatting to folk and generally soaking up the atmosphere.

The setting for the gathering is Lincolns Cathedral Quarter and the old Asylum which provide the perfect backdrop. There are lots of stalls selling costumes and accessories as well as a programme of activities each day throughout the weekend culminating in hundreds of folk taking part in the grand parade which is a quite a spectacle!

The green man jacket was made out of old curtains by the lady wearing it and the face was her first attempt at needle felting which I thought was pretty impressive!

While I was in Lincoln that weekend I also took the opportunity to visit a textile exhibition in the Cathedrals Chapter House. This was by a local group called Lincolnshire Textiles. It’s title, Sapphire & Steel, was a reference to the main exhibit, a beautiful, huge wheel of fabric covered shards.

This group project had been created using a variety of materials and methods including wet felting, free motion stitch, cross stitch, hand embroidery, beading, heat manipulation with tyvek, etc, etc. One of the shards is actually made from steel which has been decorated with threads and sealed with resin….unfortunately when I looked through the photos I’d taken I’d missed that one!

Another collaborative project involved each member being given a small image to reproduce in whatever materials and techniques they wanted to use. Once finished they were assembled to reveal two famous paintings. Some had been working on a Monet, others on a Klimt.

The Chapter House is a stunning piece of architecture but a nightmare when it comes to hanging display items, the ladies certainly had their work cut out!

These are just a few of the other pieces that were on display.

The whole weekend had been a visual extravaganza and I couldn’t help but come away from it feeling inspired. Who knows, I might even have a Steam Punk costume to show you next time…..just don’t hold your breath!

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 2

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 2

It is time for Hair!

16 When we last saw Mr. Mer he was distracted and playing with his Jellyfish little friends.

17-18  I wanted to add hair down the spinal ridge I had created for him.

I had built up an extra amount of muscle above the upper traps attaching to the suboccipital bone so he would have an easier time looking up to see where he was swimming. Likely this muscle might be called the suprasuperior trapezius or maybe the superficial Inferior occipital muscle?

I considered and decided I would like to add hair along the spinal ridge of the new mer-muscle, (it will give more options in hair styling!!).

19 working in the spinal ridge and long hair

I started at about the level of the scapula and layered in thin locks. I focused on building up the area over the cervical spine, affixing one end securely in a narrow band and leaving the other end long and loose down his back.

(at this point I got very focused and put the camera down behind me… safe but out of sight!!!) SORRY!!!

While Mr. Mer patently admired his jellyfish friends, I moved to the occipital ridge (the bony bit at the back and base of the skull). For this area, I worked with the locks in the opposite direction to how I wanted them to hang and securely worked in the last half inch of the locks, I am not worried this will not hold since I am using enthusiastic needles (T36-333) and I will have more fibre layered over top. I worked with the darker shades of green then as I added fibre this time in the direction I wanted it to lie I added a few of the accent locks of gold/green and green/grey blue. I worked from the base of the skull up the back and sides. I added some shorter locks towards the temples and set aside some to use across the forehead. I added, like shingles –overlapping the butt ends of the locks and leaving the length and tips loose. When I got to the crown (top) of the head I had a few very long locks that I laid in side to side (ear towards ear) then let them fall back and to the sides. This filled in his potential bald spot (I don’t think it would work to try and comb over a merman’s hair!)

20 Mr. Mer helpfully held up his hair so you could see the long locks originating from the neck and upper traps area.

I then started to look at styling, I don’t have hair accessories of the correct size! He has decided on a loose ponytail for now but may look into other options if I can find Hair combs in his size.

21-23 Mr. Mer admiring his new locks.

I think he likes the colour! And his new eyebrows.

He seems a bit overwhelmed with all the new hair!

I think he could consider some beads to go in his hair (for special occasions). I have a couple of boxes of beads to look through and some fine wire to thread the beads on.

24 Mr. Mer lost in thought inspecting his new hair

25 In fact he seemed quite contemplative and took off for a quick swim around the office before returning to his project bag for a rest.

Now that he has hair I took a look if I could find hair accessories in his required size. No luck, so I decided to make a few options in different sizes of wire and beads.

26-28 beads strung on wire (20ga, 24ga, 26ga) to go in his hair.

On Saturday of the long weekend, we had a Cookie run to the Log Farm Farmers market and a fibre quest at the Wakefield Farmers Market in Quebec. Mr. Mer joined Glenn and me for the drive and to show off his fancy new hair to Ann.

29 Ann checked his new hair, Ross seemed quite impressed with him and took his picture!

30 Glenn Cookie shopping with Ann and Ross

We of course remembered to get the cookies! Now off to Wakefield!  We had a lovely drive north of Ottawa into Quebec up highway 5 through the Gatineau hills. There are great rock cuttings, Lakes, small rivers and lots of trees to admire on the way.

By the time we got there, it was very busy and hard to find a parking spot In the main parking area, we were going to go around for a second look when the Gods of Parking smiled upon us and we saw not only a parking spot but it was adjacent to the back of a booth with hanging sheep skin rugs!!  It must be Ginger from Ferme Sol and the booth we were looking for!  (if you would like to see some pictures of her sheep you could check out her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Ferme-Sol-105585311548965/)

31 Fabulous parking spot and the back of the booth we were looking for

32 the front of her booth with fibre, yarn, sheep skin rugs and the freezer. (my little grey Kea Soul is hiding in the back)

33 Her fibre and yarn for sale

I got 3 bags of locks with very tiny crimp, in natural black, grey and white. I also selected a part of a ram’s fleece in natural black and white, which will be lots of fun to spin or felt with. Her flock of sheep are a mix of Finn, Gotland and Icelandic, which are fabulous for both spinning and felting.

Ginger asked about Mr. Mer so we brought him out of the car for a visit. She liked his new hair and said it was very soft.

34 I think Mr. Mer may be a flirt and I will need to finish up Mrs. Mer soon so she can keep an eye on him!!

Mr. Mer dose seem quite pleased with his hair and his lovely jellyfish. I may do a little adjusting once i have the complete family finished, but he is basically done.

I am sure he will reduce his flirting and behave himself, since i suspect he notice i took Mrs. Mer on her first outing to the Ottawa Guild social on the holiday Monday to start her (Butterfly) Koi body tail.  (Overall its was a very fishy and fibery holiday weekend.)

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35-37 Mr Mer wanted to say “Hi! and thank you for following his progress so far,” before he returned to his project bag for a nap (photo shoots seem to be quite tiring).

I am not sure that Sara, who started the Mermaid-felt-along on YouTube, intended quite this scope of project but it has be lots of fun. i hope others will give making a family of Mers a try!

Whatever you wind up working on, I hope you have fun and keep felting!

How to Make a Tiny Jellyfish

How to Make a Tiny Jellyfish

After seeing Mr. Mers pet jellyfish I decided he needed another one, a felted one in his creator’s favourite colours. I am sure you saw him playing with his new pet in Jan’s post. mr-mer-gets-a-new-little-friend-part-1/

First, you need to make a small needle felted disk.

Then peel it off. You can see how thick it is. It is fairly thick for the size but it could be thinner but doesn’t need to be.

Now what you want to do is turn the disk into a bowl shape. You do this by holding your needle almost flat against the felt and poking around and around the rim of the disk.

Soon it will start to form a shallow bowl.

Keep at it

And you will end up with a nice bowl. The perfect shape for a Jellyfish bell.

 

I forgot to take a picture of myself needling 6 small Blue Faced Leicester locks into the bowl so they would hang down the outside edge of the bowl. 4 would have worked but more than 6 I think would have been too much. After I poked them in I trimmed the outside of the bowl to get rid of the fuzzy bits they created.  It seemed a bit plain so I added the 2 blue lines around the outside to create a Blue Ringed Jellyfish.

 

I added a String through the top to act as a leash. Don’t worry it doesn’t hurt the Jellyfish.

 

 

 

Small Autumn Meadow Piece

Small Autumn Meadow Piece

I have been thinking about creating a meadow themed landscape for a while so I decided to do a smaller piece (about 8″ x 10″) to try out some different ideas.

I found a nice background from my stash, that is nuno felted and has an upper plain felt portion. The only problem was it wasn’t 8″ wide. I want to be able to frame this piece with a standard frame so that it doesn’t have to have a custom frame. Looking through my boxes of felt pieces, I found the upper darker blue piece that would add enough to the total to get to 8″ in height. I think it is a screen printed piece but I really can’t remember. Some of the stuff in my stash is really old and needs to be used up.

Now to connect them together. The simplest plan was to needle felt them together. I made the light blue felt uneven by cutting it as I didn’t want to see a straight line working it’s way through. Then I needle felted the two together and this is the result.

Next, I looked through my many boxes of yarn bits. These are the ones that I decided to try. I want the scene to look like autumn grasses and seed heads. Some of the choices didn’t get used but now I needed to sample them and see how I wanted the stitching to look.

Luckily, I have more of the nuno background to use as a sample. This piece is about 3″ x 6″ as I only wanted to try out the different colors and practice a little free motion machine embroidery before I started on the main piece. I did put a thin interfacing on the back to stabilize the felt. I like most of these ideas for grasses and seed heads except for the one that looks almost white. I think I will skip using that one. The purple one on the far end is a small piece of purple felt that I stitched down with a lighter thread color. I’m only going to have a few flowers that are still blooming in this piece. The tentative name at this point is “Late Bloomers”. Hopefully, I will finish this before my next post.

Floral Challenge

Floral Challenge

Lyn

My ‘floral challenge’ is an homage to this piece of Annie’s free motion embroidery – black thread on white handmade felt.

I started with four layers of white merino wool fibres, wetted and soaped, to make the background.

Then I sifted through my scraps box to find some colourful pre-felt leftovers.

I cut out some flower shapes from the pre-felt, then placed them onto the wet, white wool fibres.  I misted the pre-felt down with soapy water then I outlined the flower …

… and added a stem with thin, black yarn.

I made the rest of the flowers in the same way.

I tried to mimic the pointy grass in Annie’s version, but the yarn wasn’t having any of it!  It stubbornly refused to do ‘pointy’. You have to choose your battles wisely so I surrendered and just used cut pieces of yarn.

I didn’t roll this picture.  I gently agitated the front with scrunched up bubble wrap to set the pre-felt and yarn in place, then I rubbed it, mostly from the back.

White merino fibres always look so dull when wet but they do dry to a warm, delicate off-white.

The picture turned out as a smooth piece of felt, but to make it even smoother, I ironed it when it was dry.

The finished picture (below) is approximately 53 x 25cm (21”x10”)

I couldn’t stop there with the floral challenge so I found a ‘youtube’ crochet tutorial ‘Ditsy Daisy Bunting’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Jevq6zGLEo

My bunting flags aren’t as neat and triangular as Catherine’s but I had fun making them!

This would be a great make for yarn bombers wouldn’t it?

If you make something for the floral challenge, there is now an easy way to post your photos onto the Felting and Fiber Forum: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/community-photo-submissions/

Travelling and Textiles – a perfect mix!

Travelling and Textiles – a perfect mix!

It’s summer time here in Ireland and the living is, well, slightly more laid back than the norm.  Having decided to metaphorically kick off the shoes for the month of July, I thought it might be nice just to “see and share ” rather than “do” and this forms the basis of my post.

Before I start on the main focus of this post (my holiday in Italy),   I just have to show you a beautiful piece that totally blew me away.  Before heading off, I visited Dublin’s Botanical Gardens.  Founded in 1795, it is an oasis of calm for any visitor and I would highly recommend a visit if you happen to be in the neighbourhood.  While there, I noticed that there was a patchwork exhibition happening in one of their exhibition spaces.  This piece just caught me, so I want to share it with you.  The artist is Ethelda Ellis and the piece is called ‘Aoife’s View’.  The curator told me that Ethelda is a medical doctor by profession.  If you would like to see more of Ethelda’s beautiful creations check out her blog: http://ethelda.blogspot.com/

Now, to the Italian holiday.  We headed to Como mid-July and, in spite of the heatwave, spent our time sightseeing and eating!  Our base was Como which is to the north of Italy, right beside Switzerland.  Lake Como is totally dwarfed by the Alps – a really beautiful place.

We called into the Cathedral, the Duomo which was magnificent internally and externally.  I reckon that to appreciate all its beauty would take months observing 24/7!  I want to share with you a small area of a tapestry which was made in 1610 and which underwent restoration in 1990.  It was impossible to get a good photo of the entire masterpiece as so much detail would have been lost.  So I settled for a little!

One of our tours took us to the tiny picturesque village of Orta which is situated on Lake Orta.  It was recommended that we visit the interior of the local church which was situated at the top of a steep street.

My journey was interrupted by the sound of a piano recital and when I investigated I discovered a rather special textile exhibition happening in the same building.  The works exhibited were by Sergio Cerini.  The artist merges his early experiences in the Italian high fashion industry with his current artworks, producing beautiful pieces which are in essence a mix of paper mache and textiles.  The description does not do justice to his widely exhibited pieces and he was reluctant to allow me to photograph his work.  He did, however pose in front of one of the pieces and others can be viewed on his Instagram page @sergiocerini

Since the 1800s, the city of Como was historically the main producer of Italian silk.  When ultimately production was outsourced to China, the area was in danger of losing connection with its cultural heritage.  The large factory was bought by the Hilton hotel chain.  These photos show early paintings of the factory, what it became at the height of the industry and where it is now (apologies for the reflection on the glass):

 

Rather than allow the old machinery to be lost to history, a wise decision was taken about 10 years ago to set up an Educational Silk Museum to preserve these beautiful machines.  Along with displaying the machinery, some of which dates back to the nineteenth century, the museum offers interactive videos and exhibits of high fashion clothing.  Unfortunately this section was not open during my visit but I thought it might be fun to show you some of the many machines featured.  So please, grab a cuppa, sit back and I hope you enjoy the show.  I have included captions for ease of reference.

 

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 1

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 1

It has been another busy week full of multiple projects for the Ottawa Guild along with a sort and prep for photos project for Glenn. So Mr. Mer has been very patent and supervised me while he sits contemplating his options in his project bag (I did get him a bigger project bag).

On Monday evening the Ottawa Guild is usually back to an in-person social. There is still a zoom social for those who can’t travel. Unfortunately, last Monday coincided with a department heads/exec meeting so not as social as usual but it was good to see a lot of faces I had only seen over zoom the last 2 years!

Ann was there and had brought a present for Mr. Mer (I will defiantly need to get more hair if he gets a swollen head from all the attention!) Her Jellyfish is sooooo Cute!!!!! It is such a pretty blue and so delicate. I wonder how she made it?

1 – You saw his new Jellyfish from Twist.

 

2- This is his new Jellyfish from Ann

I set up my desk for a photo shoot and hung up the little guy.  Mr. Mer seemed happy to get out of his project bag and was immediately interested in the little blue jellyfish. It’s so delicate!

3-6 Hunting and catching Jellyfish

I have discovered the correct way of hunting jellyfish! You pick them up very carefully by their head strings!! (Not the lower strings, which might kill you. This is a special Mer skill and should only be tried on fibre-based jellyfish that have obvious head strings. Not the squishy ones found in water or stranded on beaches.)

7- 8-  He seemed mesmerized admiring both jellyfish.

While he was distracted, I went through his shopping bag to see what lengths and colours he had collected. Most of what he had collected was too short but in very nice colours. I am sure we can use them for other projects

9- 10- Sorting through the longer locks while Mr. Mer is distracted

The locks that look like they will be best are mostly the ones from Bernadette, who had purchased them from Adele’s locks of love.

11 looking at the best locks

I think I will have enough for him to have respectable hair.  He was still quite captivated by his jellyfish, having them chase each other. so I snuck his hair option into a bag and put the rest back into a bag of locks for other projects.

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12-14 Jellyfish racing!!!

Now I am distracted too! A Majacraft Suzie Pro spinning wheel has come up for sale, with a lot of accessories…. I am sure there must be room for one more wheel? it’s small! As I contemplate and consider a test drive/spin, Mr. Mer has tried to swim off with his little friends. Sneaky!!

15- ran off with his jellyfish

He wasn’t fast enough! I cot him and brought him back to the desk. I got his little friends to distract him as I got out a T-36-333 (I do have more aggressive needles but this should be perfect.)

16- ah good, he is not paying any attention to me!

Jellyfish seem to work as well as antithetic!!! We are set and He will shortly have hair! But that will be for next week in part 2!

Thanks, Ann!!! (your jellyfish is so cute and tiny I will have to inquire how you made him so tiny and so cute!! I hope there are pictures!!)

 

Ocean sunset continued

Ocean sunset continued

More work on the ocean sunset. I got a few orange locks from Bernadette. I believe they are mohair, but she can correct me in the comments if I am wrong. They were nice and shiny so they went with the silk well

The next thing to do was to wet felt it. I popped it into a large freezer bag and added a little water. I have never done this method before. Well, a little is relative, right? After getting it all wet I drained out the water so it wasn’t swimming. Then I pressed it and it was still floating so I squished more water out and drained it.

The silk kept moving, no matter how gentle I was, so it ended up a bit stringy and not all in the right place. I still like it but it needs some fiddling.

I got out a fine felting needle and started lifting and moving the silk and flattening the horizon. Horizons are not wavy except in high seas.

This is how far it is now.

I was thinking of a boat silhouette but I may go with a whale tail this time. maybe a bird floating nearby. I am not sure. It also needs some colours reflected in the water. I may add bits of silk or maybe some of the coloured sparkle powder. I may not wait for them. I am wondering if I should spray the picture with something if I use the powder. Maybe a spritz of hair spray? Has anyone done anything similar?

More waiting now. I did do another small fast project I will tell you about next time to give you a break and build suspense.

The First Leaf – Nuno Felt Landscape

The First Leaf – Nuno Felt Landscape

Before I get started on my new nuno felted landscape, I wanted to share the changes that I made to First Light, which I posted about several weeks ago.

This is what it looked like on the last post. I had a comment from Ann B. that it lacked shadows. I had hemmed and hawed about adding shadows. I had convinced myself that the marks on the background could serve as shadows as it was a bit abstract. But the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with Ann that it was lacking something. So I decided I would audition shadows with sheer fabric. And once I saw it, I knew the shadows were necessary. How could I call it First Light if I ignored the shadows?

And here it is after adding shadows. What do you think? Better or worse? I would suggest that you don’t rush whether a piece is finished or not. It was a bit of a challenge stitching the shadows down after the piece was already laced to backing board 😉

Now on to this piece. It definitely had beautiful autumn colors, so I decided I would add some silver birch trees with their fall leaf color. You will notice that I turned this around so the darker area was closer to the top of the piece.

I cut out some tree trunks from silk paper that I had made a while ago in preparation for trees. I hand stitched these in place.

Then I added some branches so the leaves would have somewhere to live.

Next up, I needed some background foliage. I didn’t want it to be too dominant but just needed some texture. I decided to use nylon organza and then burn it back with a wood burning tool to give it a leafy feel. Then I stitched it in place. You can click on the photo to enlarge it so you can see the details better.

Next up was to cut out a bunch of leaf shapes in two colors of silk organza. I hand stitched these in place but the leaves were still too transparent and weren’t giving the effect I wanted to achieve.

I looked through my stash and had this bright yellow in silk habotai. That would perfect from a more opaque leaf. Once cut out, these leaves were stitched down. The photos above show the progression from left to right. Then, I put the piece up on the wall and studied it. That leaning tree trunk on the far left was bugging me. I didn’t like that it took your eye off the edge and it matched the same lean as the tree towards the middle. So I did a bit of unstitching and removed it.

So here is The First Leaf. I haven’t found the correct background fabric for it yet so I will have to go shopping for that. But that gives me a bit more time for it to hang in the studio and make sure that it is really finished!

 

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