Big Giveaway

We’ve had another Bank Holiday Monday here recently, it’s the day I usually go to the well being centre, so yet again, I don’t have a new make to blog about. I thought about doing a bit of free-wheeling self promotion, but then I thought it would be nice to giveaway one of my e-books.  I didn’t know how to choose one and it still be fair to those who’ve already bought one or two, so I’ve put some bundles together, and the winner can choose which set they want.

Set A: Beyond Nuno and Wet Felting – A Step by Step Introduction

coverSet B: Making a Wet Felted Vessel using a 3D Resist and Beyond Nuno

vesselSet C: Handmade Felt Book-Cover Project and Polymer Clay: Simply Made

Final Coverand Set D: Polymer Clay: Simply Made; Making a Wet Felted Vessel using a 3D Resist and Wet Felting – A Step by Step Introduction

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust click the names of the e-books to find out more about them. All you need to do to win is leave a comment on this post. You don’t have to choose which set you want just yet! I’ll draw the winner on the (UK) morning of the 9th June and announce them on my blog post that day. Good Luck!

The Giveaway is now closed. Thanks a lot to everyone who entered, the nice comments are really appreciated!

Posted in Giveaways | Tagged , , , , | 42 Comments

Keeping my hands busy

This is just a little something to keep my hands busy, like knitting which I don’t do.  I was playing games on my phone too much, to fill time and all that does is waste time and give me a crick in my neck. I would felt or spin but that is not always practical to do so I started making some shoelaces on a homemade kumihimo marudai disk.

Mine is made out of a piece of a cardboard box.  It is 4 inches across and has 8 slots to do a 7 strand braid.

This is the simplest one to do so is a good place to start. Count 3 stings left from the empty slot and move that strand into the empty slot. Turn the disk and count again moving the 3rd strand down into the empty slot. That’s it, you just keep moving and turning.

I started this before I thought about blogging about it so I am using black mercerized cotton for shoelaces for my husband.  Not the best to photograph. I will leave it large so you can see it better.

I tied up the long ends with small hair elastics so they are easier to handle. Each strand has to be about twice as long as you want the finished braid so they get in the way and get tangled even more than when they are tied up.

This is one Jan was making with nicer yarns so you can see the round braid easier. She is using a bulldog clip to weight her braid so she doesn’t have to pull on it like I do. It’s hanging down the bunnies neck.

 

You can buy foam disks with more slots so you can do more complicated patterns or if you are cheap like me, just cut more slots in your cardboard disk.

If you really enjoy doing it you can get a proper Marudai.

there are other kinds and shapes depending on what you are doing but you can do round or flat braids on this and make some really nice patterns.

At our guild show this year we will have these on our make and take table. Jan made up some nicer ones (like in the bunny picture) with the instructions printed on them ( there are french instructions on the other side too)  for us to use on the make and take table. I see a night of cutting and prepping braids in many colours in my future.

 

 

Posted in Design, Experiments, Tutorials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Influencing Shape with Prefelt

I’m continuing on with some experimentation on how three-dimensional shape in felt is influenced by different factors. This time, I am using a resist with a layer of prefelt which is cut in a certain manner and then added to a thin layer of laid wool over the same resist. The differential shrinkage of the two layers creates the shape. I learned of this technique from several discussions on the forum that we had about creating sea shell shapes.  One of our members suggested that we look at this blog: www.parallelfunk.de/ She has a series of photos of the steps that I will go through below. Scroll down on her blog to find the relevant blog posts.

I decided to try a seed pod type of shape instead of a shell. The first step is to make a fairly thick prefelt. I decided to use a green batt that I had made some time ago.

The batt was actually really thick so I pulled it apart into two layers. I ended up using only one layer so I have enough to try a different shape. I used a small circle of floor under layment for the resist.

I covered the resist with pulled apart batt in a radial fashion. I wanted the embellishments to run the correct way on the finished pod. You will see how this works when I cut the prefelt off the resist. I wet down the wool, flipped it over to the other side and folded the ends in. Then I covered the other side with wool in the same way. I used two layers of wool on both sides of the resist.

Here is the covered resist ready to felt. I felted in my usual fashion by rubbing with soapy hands. I generally don’t cover the felt with anything except when I wet down I use a sheer nylon curtain just to hold everything in place. We do get quite a few questions of how to avoid a ridge at the edge of the resist. I avoid this by not rolling. I also carefully rub the felt so it pulls the felt inward against the edge of the resist and doesn’t felt against itself. Wool has a tendency to spread out when wet down. This causes the edges not to be pulled tight against the resist. I counteract that with rubbing in towards the center of the circle and making sure that the ridge never forms at all.

Here’s the prefelt after I finished rubbing. It is just barely starting to shrink on the resist and it is holding together well. Now it’s time to cut it open. Depending on what shape you want to create is how you decide how to cut the prefelt.

I cut the circle in half on both sides of the resist. You can see that the silk embellishments will be following the shape of the “pie pieces” when I get them all cut.

I then cut one side into six “pie pieces”. I just eyeballed it since I wanted to end up with an organic form, I wasn’t worried about exact symmetry. Then I flipped the prefelt over and pulled out the edges of the flaps so I could see where to cut on the back side. The photo on the right shows the pieces completely cut with a few flapped open.

The inside of the prefelt needed to be roughed up so that there were lots of loose fibers. So I used  a felt brush that I had to roughen it up. I did also try using a fingernail brush which worked just as well.

I then covered the same resist that I used for the green prefelt with black wool. I used only one layer and it was pretty thing. Just thick enough so I wouldn’t end up with holes.

The next step was to reapply the prefelt over top of the resist that was covered with the thin layer of black wool. Then to wet down and begin gently felting.

I used cold, soapy water and worked slowly and gently. I rubbed a lot along the edges of the prefelt and along the edge of the resist where the black wool needed to attach to the green edge. I gently placed my  hands over the entire piece and made a rocking motion back and forth with increasing pressure downwards on to the ridged rubber mat. I continued to alternate rubbing and gentle downward rocking. I gradually increased the pressure and rubbing friction until the entire piece was holding together and the green prefelt was adhering to the black wool.

The piece was beginning to shrink and you can see that there was an almost floral shape emerging instead of just a circle.

I picked which side I wanted to be the open top end of the pod and cut a very small hole in the black felt. I removed the resist and began fulling and shaping. I have a problem taking photos during fulling as I am using both hands and get absorbed in the process. I did most of the fulling by pulling the pod from open end to closed bottom end and then rolling it over the ridged mat. I added hot water and rolled it in between my hands as well. I did a bit of holding my finger inside and rubbing the green felt lengthwise but not much. The shape actually nearly created itself. Hopefully, when I try the next one, I will get more fulling photos.

The pod can actually be at least two different shapes. This is more rounded and looks more like a bell pepper or perhaps a sea urchin.

I actually like it stretched out more like a seed pod as shown in the photos above. So I dried it in this shape. I fulled the felt hard and it holds its form easily. The reason this works so well is that the thicker prefelt doesn’t shrink in the same way as the thin layer of black wool. Therefore you get the curved pieces of the green creating the organic pod shape.

I am going to try another one cutting the outside prefelt into a different shape and I will show you that soon.

 

Posted in 3D, Prefelt, resists, Wet Felting | 32 Comments

Laid Fibre Paintings

Quite a while ago now I posted a picture of a wonderful wool painting.  I found out via the artist that is wasn’t a needle felted picture or a wet felted picture but a laid fibre picture.  I admired the picture so much that I contacted the artist to ask more about this technique.  This was the picture, you may remember it.  It is called ‘Elements‘.

Elements

‘Laid fibre’ is exactly what is says, basically.  The picture is totally created by laying the fibres onto the board and creating a picture.  Then you simply place glass on top to hold it all in place.  It may sound quite easy, but in theory it does have a drawback.  When I and others create a wool picture, we may go on to free motion or hand sew it, or add all sorts of embellishments such as beads etc.  The laid fibre technique makes you think a little further, you have to create the picture as a whole, as it cannot be added to in this way, as it essentially, loose fibres.  I find it a very satisfying way to work, it feels very ‘calming’.

I have stayed in touch with Penny the fibre artist who inspired me and I am pleased to say we are now great friends.  She lives in a rugged part of North of Scotland, Thurso.  I am sure we will meet one day.  She has been very generous with her tips to get me to this point of my creativity.  If you would like to see more of her work, find it here:

https://pennyirvinefibreartist.co.uk/

I have created a few laid fibre pictures and I am thrilled to say I have sold three of these, the sheep has found a home in the USA.
SHEEP

Tuscan Sunflowers

SUNFLOWER LANDSCAPE - SOLD

Sunflowers and Tulips

SUNFLOWERS AND TULIPS - SOLD

Tuscan Poppies

DSCN1240

Wildflower Meadow

DSCN1194

If you would like to see more of my work you can find me on fb at Tracey Thompson Textiles. Thank you.

https://www.facebook.com/traceythompsontextiles/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Posted in Uncategorized | 20 Comments

Silk Threads Road Map

I’ve been taking the same two pieces of silk to the well being centre for months with the intention of using them. Last week, I took them out and started tidying them up by pulling off the loose threads. Once they were neat enough to use, I decided I’d rather use the threads! I laid out a couple of layers of Yellow Merino, then started adding the threads. They were similar shades of greeny blue, so it felt like it needed something else. Luckily, I had a bag of red silk threads with me that I bought years ago, and they really made a difference once I added them:

It reminds me of a road map. I always like to take a photo on an angle, often it shows the sheen or texture better:

The threads have an interesting texture from where they were woven:

I don’t know what the red threads were waste from, they look like sewing threads, but are all short lengths between 6 and 12 inches.

One of the silk pieces had areas of a deeper blue, and even though they’re darker, they added patches or flashes of brightness:

I usually use black as the base for projects like this, but we’d run out, I chose yellow mainly because it’s one of the colours that shows well on camera, but I think it worked out well.

Posted in Silk | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

2nd quarter challenge started

I finally pieced a picture for my second quarter challenge piece. If you remember is it seascape this quarter. this is the picture I chose.

I found it on the internet, where you find everything. It should be ok as I aske for free to use pictures.

I started with a piece of prefelt a little bigger than a piece of paper, with the idea it would shrink to an to be the size of a piece of paper. And for a change I have a piece the right size.  It is a mazing what some planning can do for you. You would think I would learn.

Next I layered some more prefelt to make the basic shapes  in the picture. the mottled piece at the front was dyed by a friend.

That is v

That looks very boring and flat so now it has to be brought to life. I added some silk hanky scraps to the water to give it some depth and movement.

Then I added the surf using throwsters waste.

And lastly I added some foliage and flowers

Now it is all ready for wetting down, I plan to add the wooden path to the beach later. I am not sure I have the right colour for the wool. what colour is that anyway?

That is as far I am now. more next time.

Posted in Challenges, Design, felt art, Prefelt, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Influencing Shape with Fiber Layout – Part 3

I have already shown two felt shapes I created with fiber layout and differential shrinkage. The last one is what I’m calling a “bonnet” shape.

I started again with the same circle template and Blue Face Leicester wool. The center is laid out radially but a smaller circumference was used. Then a circle of wool was added at the ends of the radial wool. Then another layer of radial wool was laid out. I used two layers of wool laid out in this manner. This one reminds me of making a ruffled scarf except it’s a circle.

Here is the wool after it is wet down. This one was felted in the same manner as the “bowl” that I showed you last week. I forgot to take the photos of the felting and fulling process. But I always worked along the length of the fibers to shrink the felt in the direction that the fiber was laid out.

Here is the “bonnet” after it’s finished. The photo on the right shows how I used a rubber band to hold the edge in place while it was drying.

And here are all three pieces. These are made with the same type and amount of wool, felted and fulled in the same way but because of the directional fiber layout and differential shrinkage, different shapes were achieved. I can see how these techniques would be very effective when you are creating felt where you want shrinkage to occur differently and you don’t want even shrinkage.

I’m not sure why I never really thought about this before but it makes perfect sense. I hope it helps some of you when you are trying to create a specific shape with felt.

Posted in 3D, Wet Felting | Tagged , , | 13 Comments