1st Quarter Challenge – Fauvism Interpretation

I was attracted to the Fauvism movement due to its simplicity and bright, saturated colors. But when it got down to creating a felt piece, I was a bit stuck. I decided I would use prefelt to keep the simplicity of shapes. I used only the prefelt that I already had so I was a bit limited in my color choices. I decided to do a basic landscape and didn’t use an inspirational photo as I normally would. Sorry, but I forgot to take a photo of the layout.

Felted Fauvism ChallengeHere’s the piece after felting. I used a thick thin yarn for the detail in the foreground. I liked it but I decided it was a bit boring and needed further detail in the foreground.

Adding Tree Shapes

So I added a line of trees. This is felt that I had dyed and used Color Magnet on but it didn’t work out too well. So I cut out the tree shapes and hand appliqued them in place. But it still needed a bit more. I got out my hand dyed wool thread to see what I could add with hand stitching.

Fauvism Mountain Range

I outlined the mountains and added some orange for a nice contrast to the blue moon.

I then added some bright green to accentuate the trees. My husband thought they were leaves before I added the stitching so I wanted to make the stitching look like branches and not veins in leaves.

Completed Fauvism Challenge Piece

I added just a little bit of stitching in the foreground to complete the piece. And I’m happy with the result. It is certainly not something I would have created without this challenge as it definitely is out of “my style”. But it was fun. Have you tried something for the first quarter challenge? It was fun and the colors certainly cheered me up on a grey, snowy day here in Montana.


Posted in Challenges, Wet Felting | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Wild and Crazy Yarns Woven then Felted

I still had a bagful of yarns left over from my Wild Table Runner so I decided to do a little weaving with some odds and ends. It was a mixture of synthetic, wool and wool blends.

I used a black metallic acrylic yarn as the warp.  It was a bit stretchy but I intended to felt it when finished so I wasn’t concerned.

Here it is still on the loom.


I went back and forth on what to use as the background. Finally I decided I wanted to keep the colors from getting lost and chose a white prefelt covered loosely with a white merino batt.


Here it is after felting.  As you can see even the white merino is more beige than the white bamboo.


Its kind of wild, but fun.  There is a lot of dimension since some of the warp and that crazy eyelash yarn  are sticking up.  Most everything else including the wide orange and purple synthetics felted in nicely.

Some closeups:

20170205_135843 20170205_135917 20170205_135907 20170205_135900

From the side:

20170205_135941It was fun to see how the different yarns reacted.  I’m not quite sure of what it reminds me of, or what I’ll do with it. But it was a quick and easy project after traveling.

If you missed my Caribbean Inspiration you can see it here:  https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2017/01/30/some-inspiration-and-fun-from-the-caribbean/


Posted in Weaving, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

More Textured Nuno

I enjoyed making the Nuno piece with lots of different fabrics and very fine layers of Merino, so I thought I’d make a much larger one. I almost completely forgot, but I took photos while I was making it. They’re really not good, but it shows how much the piece was fulled. This was the size of the piece when it was felted:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was how much it shrunk after I fulled it well on the bubblewrap:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is how much it shrank after fulling on my bead board:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is how the finished piece looked when it was dry:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI tried fabric pieces I’d used before, both which I knew felted well, and some which I knew didn’t attach well or stayed loose on the edges (a lot of synthetics tend to roll at the edges when torn). I also used pieces I hadn’t tried before. I’m not completely sure what some of them are after felting! This is a closer look at the left side, on an angle:


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think this was a piece from another charity shop dress, it was really softly rippled and pillowy:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a scarf from a charity shop scarf I love using. You’ve seen it lots of times, it was goldeny pink open weave, some parts were doubled and some had starnds of golden fibre loose between the layers:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is one of the synthetics which rolls on the edges (I probaly should have put it in the middle). The outside edge is very loose, but the inside edge was firmly attached:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooking along the surface, you can see better how high some of the ruffles are:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat photo also shows how much migration there was. It’s more apparent depending on the angle you look at it. This shows really clearly just how much there was:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooking slightly higher you can see more texture on the fabric:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOverall, I liked the piece, especially the texture, though I did think using just one colour of wool along with the migration dulled it quite a lot, and looking at it on an angle, it does look like it’s been under a dusty bed for a few years! Taking those things into consideration, I tried a piece using just white/natural coloured fabrics, and natural white Merino. I really loved how this turned out, this is from above on a slight angle:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd at a sharper angle:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe textures are great and look even better in real life 🙂

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Out of the box Part 3

This is the 3rd and final set of pictures from this exhibit. http://mvtm.ca/?exhibition=colour-unboxed   the first is here:  https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2017/01/18/colour-unboxed-by-out-of-the-box/ and the second here: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2017/01/26/out-of-the-box-part-2/ Again I apologise for some of the odd angles as it was very crowded with people enjoying the exhibit. In the last picture you may find it hard to see but the is a very long weaving draped across  the ceiling.

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Posted in Beading, Dyeing, eco printing, Fairs and Shows, Felting Around the Web, Free Motion Stitching, Inspiration, Made From Felt, Mixed Felting Techniques, Mixed Media, Needle Felting, Nuno Felting, Stitching, Uncategorized, Wet Felting, Wool | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Tenth International Shibori Symposium

This is a guest post by Kim of Flextiles. She recently attended the Tenth International Shibori Symposium and I thought you all might to get a glimpse of what she did and saw there. There will be a second post in February. Thanks Kim!

Last November, I attended the 10th International Shibori Symposium (hereafter referred to as 10iss) in Oaxaca, Mexico. The symposium is organised by the World Shibori Network every few years, and this was the first one I had attended. With six days of workshops, presentations, receptions and exhibitions it was a pretty full-on experience, but great to be in the company of so many other hardcore textile enthusiasts!  

In this post I am going to describe some of the 10iss workshops that I and my Ever Supportive Partner (ESP) attended. ESP has no experience at all of working with textiles or shibori  but was keen to join in anyway. If the alternative was letting him loose in the local mezcal bars for six days, I thought it best to encourage him. 😉

Shibori is a Japanese resist dyeing technique, like tie dye. As well as binding, you can use stitching, wrapping, and folding and clamping to prevent dye from reaching parts of the cloth to create a pattern.

Shibori workshop with Ana Lisa Hedstrom

I’ve long admired the work of Ana Lisa Hedstrom, and I signed up for her workshop mainly because she was covering katano shibori, but I came away with many more ideas and inspiration.


Katano shibori, named after Motohiko Katano, is a process of stitching through several layers of fabric and not pulling the thread up afterwards. Instead, the lines of stitching channel the dye, producing softer marks that look as if they are airbrushed. There is a more detailed explanation of the technique in Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing by Yoshiko Wada, along with some stunning examples. The World Shibori Network sells some sets of Katano postcards. Ana Lisa brought some lovely samples with her.

Here’s the piece of katano I did in the workshop, on silk noil dyed with cochineal and then overdyed with indigo:


All the dyes used in the workshop were natural – the indigo vat was made using limestone and local fruit, so smelled lovely! However, because we had limited time, we were unable to leave the fabric in the dyepots for very long, so some of the colours are paler than we would have wished.


One of the other techniques we explored was machine stitch shibori. As with katano shibori, you stitch through several layers of fabric at the same time before dyeing. Ana Lisa had brought plenty of samples that inspired us, especially where more than one colour was used.

This was one of my attempts on a wool and silk scarf, dyed with cochineal and then indigo.


We also used the sewing machine to stitch pleats in different directions before dyeing – this is the result of mine after unpicking.


Since coming home I have dug out my ancient sewing machine and will be working on developing some of these techniques!

Itajime workshop with Elsa Chartin

Next door to our workshop with Ana Lisa, ESP was experiencing itajime shibori with Elsa Chartin. Itajime or sekka shibori is where the fabric is folded and then clamped between resists, producing geometric designs. I thought this would be a relatively easy introduction to shibori for him, especially as he is not good at stitching or tying knots! ☺

In this workshop they used chemical vat dyes, which, like indigo, require reduction and then exposure to oxygen for the colour to develop. After experimenting with different folding and different shaped resists they moved on to dyeing with more than one colour (moving the resists in between) and also discharging colour from dark fabrics, again using resists. They also overdyed on commercially printed fabric.

ESP enjoyed this very much – the results are quick and can be done on relatively large pieces of fabric. Of course he now considers himself an expert  and in an even better position to criticise my work! 😉

Cochineal dyeing with Michel Garcia

The official title of this workshop with Michel Garcia at 10iss was “Cochineal dyeing in four ways”. It was rather an understatement, as we ended up with 19 different colour swatches from cochineal!

Mexico was an appropriate place to do this workshop, given that cochineal is the most popular dye used there. The cochineal beetle, Dactylopius coccus, lives on Opuntia cactus species. The red colour comes from the carminic acid that makes up around 20% of its body. To make the dye, the dried beetles are ground up in a pestle and mortar and then added to the dye bath.


Michel used three different fabrics – wool, silk and cotton – along with different combinations of mordants and astringents to produce 19 different shades from cochineal, ranging from pink and orange to purple and dark brown. It was an extraordinary demonstration of the variations in colour you can get from one dye.

The different colour variations were achieved by varying the mordant (the ones he used included alum, symplocos, aluminium tartrate, aluminium acetate and ferrous acetate) and sources of tannin (such as pomegranate rind, persimmon and gallnut). For some swatches he used an all-in-one bath; others he premordanted before dyeing in a separate cochineal bath.

The final colour also depended on the type of fabric. Here are pictures of swatches of wool and silk dyed with cochineal.

This is a cotton strip mordanted with various combinations of aluminium acetate and ferrous sulphate, dyed with cochineal and pomegranate rind.


And this cotton strip uses the same mordants as above but is dyed with cochineal and gallnut extract.


Finally, Michel demonstrated his artistic side, using different combinations of mordants to paint an image onto cloth that didn’t appear until it was submerged in the dye pot.kw23

Safflower dyeing with Kazuki Yamakazi

Safflower is an interesting dye because it contains both red and yellow dyes so, depending on the fabric and pH, it produces different colours.

There’s a section on safflower dyeing in Jenny Dean’s book Wild Color, which explains the methodology. ESP and I tried this out last year, using a pack of dried safflower we bought in Malaysia, but it wasn’t very successful. So ESP was dispatched to this workshop to find out how it should be done!

First the safflower petals are soaked overnight, squeezed, strained and removed. This dye turns alum-mordanted fabric yellow (better on silk than on cotton).

The petals are washed to remove the yellow and soaked in an alkaline solution for two hours to extract the red dye. After straining and before adding the fabric, citric acid is added to neutralize the dye bath. Distinctive small bubbles form at this stage. If too much acid is added the red dye will start to precipitate out – sometimes this is done deliberately to extract the dye to use in cosmetics.

Silk added to this dye turns orange, while cotton turns red or dark pink.

The difference in colour is because the red dye also contains a second yellow dye, which is absorbed by silk but not cotton. You can see in the photo below that the silk (top row) is more orange than the red cotton below.


To get pink silk, you need to use cotton as a “dye bank” to absorb just the red dye and then extract it. At around pH4 the dye is locked into the cotton. If you then put the cotton into a bath of pH6-7 the dye is released from the cotton. Squeeze out the cotton and remove it from the dye bath before adding more citric acid. Then add the silk – you get bright pink!

Japanese dyers might repeat the entire process six times to get intense colours into the dye bank.

The process doesn’t work well with wool, despite the fact that it is a protein fibre like silk. This is because wool needs to be heated to more than 30C to open the scales, but the pigment begins to break down at 30C, so you just get a pale pink.



Posted in Community, Dyeing, Guest Writer | Tagged | 18 Comments

Some Inspiration and Fun from the Caribbean

I’ve been traveling, so there has been no felting. However, I think there is plenty of inspiration while traveling.

We left out of Port Canveral, Florida, but before leaving we spent a day at NASA.  It may seem odd not to highlight all the missles, but I really enjoyed this:


First stop Amber Cove Dominican Republic.

Very colorful country, but poor.

The first pic depicts the consolidation of the cultural influences of the country, the Native Taino Indians, Spanish and French influence. Today the Rum and Cigar industry greatly influence the economics of this country besides tourism.

The next stop was St. Thomas. We chose to visit the Coral Reef Ocean Park.  I loved the textures of the corals. My sister and her husband chose the encounter with the turtles.  Galina, the Lionfish is for you!

Next stop Puerto Rico and the El Yunque National Rain Forest.

The last pic is bamboo, my favorite. I took another  pic while moving past and I like this one since it shows the speed of how this grass grows and dies.

We chose a stingray encounter on Grand Turk.

I really like the crackled look of the last two pics with the stingrays.  I wonder if I can recreate that in felt.

Would you believe people kissed the stingrays and had a stingray massage? I’m sorry I didn’t get pics of that. What inspiration have you had recently?

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Nuno Differences

We’re doing Nuno experiments at the well being centre for the next few weeks. The first week we made pieces with strips of fabric on top of two ‘standard’ layers of Merino tops. There are lots of different fabric strips of various fibres which attach differently. I chose a couple of fabrics I’d used previously-a kind of loopy, open weave scarf with 2 or 3 layers, and a piece of cotton gauze-and a couple of pieces I hadn’t which was a strip of viscose scarf and a strip from a charity shop dress. This is the whole piece:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey all attached really well. The open weave loopy fabric always has interesting results:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATop to bottom: Viscose scarf, charity shop dress, cotton gauze. These strips all had similar waves to their edges:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can see on this close up there’s a lot of wool migration, though it’s more visible on the black part of the fabric, and less where the fabric is similar to the wool:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe 2nd piece uses the same sized fabric strips, and a couple are the same: the open weave, loopy scarf, and the purpley viscose scarf. This piece actually started about 50% bigger than the previous one, I laid out the fabric strips first, then added 4 very fine layers of Merino, which probably added up to being finer than 1 ‘standard’ layer of Merino (the average amount that gets pulled off from standard commercial wool tops, laid out you can’t see through it), and not as even. This is the whole piece after felting:


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe fabric at the top is a piece from a charity shop sari (I showed some dyed recently), it feels like springy crepey chiffon! It created great texture:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe 2nd row is some fabric which was donated, it looks and feels like silk. After felting it looked kind of knitted:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe 4th Row was also a viscose scarf piece, I’ve used it before, but only with thicker layers of Merino. There was one patch which hardly rippled at all:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I turned it over to see how the wool was laid out, and there was barely any at all:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve used the pink fabric at the side before too, I don’t know what it is, but it feels very synthetic and looks very 70’s:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt ripples really nicely though:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe red, yellow, green, black silk I used on the opposite side also rippled really nicely:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooking closer you can really see the migration here:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like this photo, with a little bit of the other 2 silk strips showing, and all looking different:


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