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More Natural Wools and Fibres

More Natural Wools and Fibres

I was looking through my flickr account recently for some photos to use on a flyer for the well being centre, and I came across some felt pieces I made with natural fibres and natural wool combinations. I haven’t done a post about ‘naturals’ for a while so I thought you might enjoy this old post from 2012:

Another couple of natural wool and natural fibre combinations I’ve used recently are Oatmeal Bluefaced Leicester with Ingeo top, and Humbug Jacob Tops with black and white Bamboo tops.

Humbug Jacob tops are a stripey blend of black and white Jacob wool tops. Just on its own it produces a nice result, but I thought I’d try using strips of black and white bamboo tops for effect. Both bamboos are really soft, white bamboo looks silky, but black bamboo is fluffy and more like fluffy cat fur. They felt quite differently too, the white keeps its silkiness and shines really nicely, and the black almost fades into the background, staying very matt.

Ingeo is made from corn, it is soft and shiny and smells faintly of caramel 🙂 I decided to cover the whole piece with Ingeo as it has such a lovely sheen. This was another fibre which shone even in dim light. The effect after drying is gorgeous, Ingeo is such a nice silky fibre and went really well with the Oatmeal Bluefaced Leicester. I think this combination would make a lovely soft and shiny scarf.

*The previous post I’d made was also about natural wools and fibres, if you’re interested, you can find it here

Workshop with Vilte Kazlauskaite in Slovenia

Workshop with Vilte Kazlauskaite in Slovenia

Our guest artist/author today is Nada Vukadinovic also know as Halay on the Felting and Fiber Forum.  She has generously offered to share her workshop experience learning a Fiber Inlay Technique.

A few weeks ago I attended a workshop in Maribor, Slovenia, given by internationally renowned textile artist and felter, Vilte Kazlauskaite from Lithuania. Her work is fabulous. You can see her creations here: http://vilte.tumblr.com/

She held three workshops, but I was able to attend only one. It was called Fiber Inlay Technique. Quite intriguing, I had no clue what this could mean and I was very excited to learn about it.  I attended only one afternoon workshop. On  the previous day attendants learned something about  fabric manipulation in nuno felt, and the last day was devoted to the creation of a vest.

We were working with two types of silk: ponge and chiffon and were expected to create a piece of work, either a shawl or something similar, a flat piece anyway. I decided to make a square piece which I will probably use for a cushion.

First we were asked to draw a pattern on a piece of paper in the form of a mosaic that we would like to appear on the finished work, e.g. a bird, or something abstract.

I decided to draw something simple.

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We used different sorts of fiber (mulberry silk, viscose, bamboo, and flax.)

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When we were finished laying out fabric and fibers we began rolling and rolling. When we noticed that the wool has penetrated through all the layers of silk, we started kneading the piece and then rolled the project without the rod. The shrinkage percent was from 40-50%.

This is what we got in the end:

 

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Unfortunately, we were working only with white silk and some blue and white fibers, but I imagine it would be interesting to play with different colours, especially different colour fibers.  The fiber I personally used for the first time was flax and  fell in love with it.   I am already planning  to buy some and dye it.

 

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To put fiber inlay technique in a nutshell, it means lots of silk and different fibers. Here are some more photos showing Vilte’s work: beautiful textures.

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And here is some yummy hand dyed silk.

 

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Vilte uses natural dyes only.

It was nice to learn something new. Here in Slovenia we don’t have many opportunities for learning new felting techniques, but the situation seems to be improving. We are planning to invite another master from Ukraine and are getting quite excited about it.

Thank you Nada for sharing this exciting technique with us!

Naturals and Dyes

Naturals and Dyes

I laid this wall hanging out about a week or so before I got time to felt it, and I think it ended up being ‘upside down’. I wrote down the wools and fibres I used as I laid it out, but I think I forgot a few! Also, I added a few locks to the bottom just before I felted it, but I’m certain that was originally the top:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI added some pieces of hand-spun yarn I’d made mostly from bits left over from carding, I spun them quite thickly, and didn’t do anything with them after wards, just wound them onto card. This one is on the row of white Chubut, a ‘new’ to me wool I got from wollknoll, which felts so nicely and looks really nice too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are some cotton fibres: cotton top, cotton fibre and cotton nepps on carded Portuguese Merino, with some soy staple and carded Gotland.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been dyeing some cellulose fibres recently too for taking to the Makefest at the Science and Industry Museum. I’m getting the hang of it now, but I don’t think my first lot of fibres turned out as nice as I’d like. I did some Viscose fibre recently, and this turned out really nice. These are some of the reds, oranges and yellows:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd some yellows, greens, blues and purples:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t like the way dyeing cellulose fibres wastes so much water with the rinsing, but it is easier for me to do large amounts than it is with acid dyes, not that I had much choice, even mixing up just 500ml each of red, yellow, blue and black was more than enough to dye about 200g of fibre and I had to look for other things to dye so as not to waste it 🙂 I tried dyeing Kapok fibre too, that stuff is practically impossible to wet, it seems to form a ‘skin’ around itself, so dyeing gave some interesting results as it behaved the same way, and when the fibre was separated, the centre wasn’t dyed. This is some rose and lilac coloured kapok:

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More New Wool

More New Wool

I got some wool tops listed as ‘Arctic Fox’, no other info about what the wool breed might be, just that it is 25 micron. It feels really soft, a lot like Bluefaced Leicester, and it felted really nicely too:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThough it’s soft and felts like a fine wool, it does have some wiry bits:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI tried a variety of fibres it, along the top is Soy top, below that is black Bamboo top (L) and Milk Protein (R), then some Hemp fibre, and at the bottom is Viscose top:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInterestingly it made the soy look like hemp or flax, which it only usually does with a coarser or curlier wool:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a closer picture of the Bamboo and Milk:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHemp and Viscose:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother wool I tried was Skudden or Skudde. I couldn’t find any info on it in English, but there’s a Facebook group with cute lambs: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Skudden It isn’t in the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, but apparently it is in the Northern European short-tailed family. I used this straight off the batt without carding it first, so it’s a bit uneven:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt felted immediately, it was like it was felted as soon as it was all wet and soapy. It is weirdly hairy though. I was using new netting and thought frayed fibres had come off and got all over the felt. This photo is actually in focus, but the hairiness makes it look like it isn’t. I used black nylon tops, which are actually very black:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the hairy corner:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClose up of the left side:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFurther up, it looks like diagrams of cell walls:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s different to any other wool  I have, it’s unusual, but I like it.

Batts, Bamboo and more…

Batts, Bamboo and more…

Our Guest Artist/Author today is Cathy Wycliff aka Luvswool

Recently, I received some nifty embellishment fibers from Zed (thanks again!) around the same time my Opulent order of batts was delivered, so I decided to combine two experiments.
One experiment idea was offered by Fiona Duthie on her blog and involved combining batts for color overlap or shadowing. I chose moss, chlorophyll, teal and sand. All were Opulent coopsworth batts except for the teal, which was handmade and provided by Marilyn (Pandagirl). As I recall, the teal was a combo of hand dyed Cheviot, Domestic 56s, merino and mulberry silk. I lifted the edges of each batt and overlapped the next color of batt, then wet-felted to the pre-felt stage.

 

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Next, I added the first set of embellishment fibers, shown up-close in the photo below: bamboo staple, banana, milk fiber and crimped viscose.

 

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I wanted to see which fiber proved to be the shiniest. As I worked the fiber in, I was not paying much attention to the coopsworth batts, which did not provide as much shadowing as I had expected. Could be the unevenness of the batts or unequal distribution of the overlapped batts, or perhaps not enough fulling. All of the embellishments added shine, but I think maybe the crimped viscose turned out best, closely followed by the banana and milk. Although the bamboo staple did not provide much shine, it sparked an idea for a future experiment as an inclusion in nuno-felting.

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I grabbed my next set of Zed’s embellishment fibers, this time using (top to bottom) black bamboo, pale blue acrylic (looks white in photo), black nylon tops and green nylon.

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I placed all of the fibers on Domestic 56’s roving, which I lightly pre-felted. I was pleased with the sample results, especially the grey/black bamboo (top) and the crazy/wild green nylon (bottom).

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I’ll definitely want to use these fibers as embellishments in my upcoming projects!

Thanks Cathy! You had some great discoveries with new fibers!

Very Pink

Very Pink

My sister got me some wool tops for Christmas. Even before I’d seen the colours, I’d decided I’d make her a book cover from whatever she chose, thinking she’d probably choose her favourites. She chose a selection of pinks, not the colours I would have chosen for her, but pinks it is 🙂  I Picked out some shades I already had that I thought would work, I already had a salmon pink, some cerisey purple, reds, maroons and a nice lemon. Then I started to make some batts with my carder.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt first I made up some batts without any other fibres blended in, I’ll use these for the bottom layer which will be inside the book cover. I split them in half lengthways after I’d made them, then rolled them up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is one of the lighter batts before I split it and rolled it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used some soy top, viscose, a small amount of banana fibre, black bamboo and dyed silk tops to blend in to make the batts for the top.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI rolled these ones a bit differently

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI picked some fabrics to embellish the surface with, some silk strips, organza, dyed cotton gauze and some synthetic lacey stuff I bought years ago which looks like it might be meant for tying back net curtains. In the 70’s 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI picked a few more embellishments too. Some silk throwster’s waste, dyed bamboo fibre, commercial art yarns and fibres taken from unpicked yarns.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ll show you more pictures when I’ve started to make it 🙂

2013 Review

2013 Review

How does the time go so fast? It really doesn’t seem like almost another year has passed since we posted about our plans for 2013. Looking back over what I’d hoped to achieve this year, I had the same feeling as last time we did a review: I didn’t expect to have done many of them, though it seems I mostly wanted to be more organised and felt for the fun of it more 🙂
I think I did manage to get a bit more organised, or at least more efficient with time, starting with Ruth’s Daily Dose of Fiber challenge. I also rearranged a couple of my rooms to make my sewing things more accesible, so it’s easier to pick things up for a few minutes here and there, or while watching a film or being read to.
Probably the first big thing of the year was publishing my e-book ‘Beyond Nuno‘. I have received lots of really nice feedback about it, which was all very much appreciated and really made it worth while 🙂

Beyond Nuno 70 perc fits A6Although I didn’t post about them earlier in the year I did have a few things I hoped I’d be able to achieve, such as opening an etsy store, maybe writing another e-book, doing craft fairs. I did open an etsy shop, and have sold a few things. I did start with some samples for a new e-book, but going into spring the light wasn’t really working for photos. My girlfriend convinced me to do a tutorial about Polymer Clay instead, but that soon grew into an e-book! I had fun doing that, though I could have used a few more hands, and better light 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI did finally get a chance to do a craft fair as I blogged about recently, that was a great experience. And I did get chance to make some felt pieces just for fun. One of my favourite pieces was one I made recently when I was exploring sculptural felt and bamboo fibre. It made me smile that most people thought it reminded them of a shell, I didn’t mention it in the post or caption the photo but I’d thought the same thing and had named the photos ‘shell’ though it wasn’t obvious unless you clicked on them 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow did your year pan out? Did you have any definite plans? Did you stick to them or did you have a few surprises?

More Bamboo and a Couple of Diaries

More Bamboo and a Couple of Diaries

It was bright enough yesterday to take some photos of one of the other bamboo pieces I worked on over the last few weeks. This piece was made mostly from English 56’s, the base was two layers, then I added some thick twists to the top to help define the ridges I wanted. I added 2 very fine layers of 18.5 mic merino over the top, then positioned some black bamboo over the raised parts where the twists were. When it was almost felted, I folded it concertina style, secured with sewing thread and finished felting by rubbing, and rolling one end at a time to get a twist in it. It’s about 8 inches long.
This is the back:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the front:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClose up of the texture on the inside of the back:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd close up of the bamboo:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve mostly spent the past week getting ready for the Craft Fair this coming Saturday (it’s at the LGBT Centre on Sidney Street, Manchester if you’re in the area!) I’ve printed tags and business cards and have made and cut out felt for 5 Diary covers. I’ve only got 2 finished so far, but it takes about 8 hours just to position/reposition/double check the closure straps, and then blanket stitch around them and all the edges (I’m up to episode 24 of Prisoner Cell Block H!) This is an orange one that I finished first:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is a green one I finished yesterday:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks for all the tips last week about fairs and markets 🙂

Natural Wools and Bamboo

Natural Wools and Bamboo

I only managed to get photos of two of the things I’ve been working on lately, it’s been really dark again and we don’t have many hours of daylight anyway at this time of year. Both of these pieces were made using natural wools and bamboo fibres as embellishment. This first piece has a base made with a variety of brown and grey scoured wools and natural wool tops that I carded into a batt. On top of that are twists of grey merino with white bamboo top. When it was almost felted, I cut and rolled and folded, then fulled to get the texture and effect I wanted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis next piece was made with brown Finnish wool for the base,  twists of dark brown Corriedale and black bamboo were positioned on top. This was also folded and fulled to get the shape I wanted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been given the chance to do my first craft fair in a couple of weeks. I was wondering if anyone has any advice or tips for doing fairs?

Giveaway-Bits and Pieces

Giveaway-Bits and Pieces

I thought it was time I did another Giveaway 🙂  I’ve gone through my stash of embellishment fabrics, fibres and scraps and put together a package that should give you plenty of choices for adding extras to your felt creations. These are some gorgeous metallic novelty yarns/fancy fibres. There are 5 different ones each about 3 metres long.

There are also some shorter lengths of novelty yarns in all different colours and types.

These gorgeous crinkly fibres are from another novelty yarn that I unravelled. I used a lot of them in this piece here.


There are some pieces and scraps of silk:

Organza

Gratuitous supermacro of organza 🙂

and synthetic fabrics

There is also some Cotton Noil

And some natural fibres and top, Top L-R Egyptian Cotton fibre, Crimped Viscose fibre, Bamboo Fibre. Bottom L-R: Flax, Ramie, Banana top.


If you’d like to win this fabric and fibre giveaway, simply comment on this post. I’ll announce the winner Next Sunday, 21st October. Please can the winner comment on the announcement post within 2 days so I can contact you for your postal address, thanks a lot 🙂

FORUM
Most of our readers know about our Forum, but if you don’t, it’s a community of felting and fibre artists from around the world who get together to chat and ask each other questions about anything felt, fabric or fibre related…or chat about the usual things like the weather 🙂  We love reading the comments here on the blog and visiting the blogs of anyone who posts and has a link to theirs, and it’d be nice to be able to keep in touch more and build more community links. We’re all interested in the fibre arts, so if your interests are felting, mixed media, spinning, weaving, freeform crochet or something else we need to know about, come and join us, share photos of what you’re working on, ask for advice, give help to fellow fibre artists, meet friends and have fun!

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