I am very busy getting ready for the first Farmers market of the season and forgot it was my turn to make a blog post. I thought You might like to see this one from 2012 again.
Last week I sorted out my wool and put all the decent size pieces on the new shelves. this left me with a lot of little bits. I usually keep bins of little bits to use as accents. Now I had way to much of that too. I sorted it all, picked out the stuff I really wanted to keep and put the rest into 4 piles for carding.
I have a large carder, a Patrick Green Cottage Industry Carder.
A friend came over and we carded it into a 4 fun textured batts.
The batts came out really nice and will be great for felting or for spinning textured yarn. I didn’t think I had that much until we fluffed it up to card. It is amazing how much you can compress wool when you’re stuffing it into a little storage box.
I scoured the museum sites and Pinterest. I’ve been to Japan during Sakura (Cherry Blossom) season and particularly love the trees and flowers so it wasn’t too hard to narrow it down.
Since the scrolls seemed to be pale yellow, I made a batt backing then made another light batt using the Osage hand dyed merino and corriedale as a background. I added some darker fibers randomly to give the effect of lines in a scroll.
I had some left over merino/silk scraps from a scarf I had made for my son years ago. They were supposed to be tassels, but I didn’t like them and cut them off and saved them. But they make perfect tree branches. Here is my first layout.
But something was off. It didn’t feel right to me. So, I rearranged the branches.
Next was to make white prefelt for the flowers (commercial wasn’t white enough) and cutting out the shapes in several sizes. This was not an easy process. Here it is a wet look. The neat thing about the layout is that the branch can be down or up.
I didn’t want to felt it too hard. But I may have to steam it before or after I add either hand or machine embroidery for details.
Actually the photo shows more texture than with the naked eye.
I had a hard time deciding what to do and looked through a lot of photos and pictures for inspiration. Finally, I came across an old postcard from Hawaii of a ship on the sea under dark skies that intrigued me.
I decided I would concentrate on bold colors and simplified forms. Here is my layout:
I used prefelts I had previously made and batts I had on hand. Please ignore my messy work table. It’s hard to tell from the monitor, but the sail next to the green one is a teal color. Here it looks blue. Also the dark blue boom above the body of the boat got lost because of the blue water. I didn’t notice that when I laid it out.
I probably should have stopped fulling sooner. I had used a Domestic 56 base so it needed shaving. I couched some yarn for the masts and used yellow thread for the halyards (I believe that is the correct for the ropes connected.)
I decided to frame it. I had an old frame I had used for papermaking and it fit perfectly.
I’m not sure if this is in true Fauvist style, but I was pleased with the result. Have you started the challenge yet?
I had such a good time using my scraps and embellishments for my coupon case, I decided to do a larger project using panels. And using up more of my scraps.
Here is the first large panel. I started on white prefelt and added bits of leftover batts creating a cloud effect for the background..
Then I added silk selvage, pieces of cheesecloth, silk pieces, scraps of scarves, metallic fabric, yarns and a little of this and that, topped with threads and a bit of wool wisps to secure the threads.
The next panel I forgot to take a pic of the cloud background. But for this one I used silk selvedge, silk scraps, cheesecloth, boucle yarn bits, mohair, prefelt offcuts, and pieces of leftover roving amongst other things including threads.
It was fun just picking out things from bags and literally throwing it on. The textures are great.
I love the way the threads cross over and look like roadmaps.
Here is the first one finished with closeups.
I was surprised the prefelt just grabbed everything. I had to shave each panel to get some of the glittery stuff to shine again.
Our guest artist today is Leonor Calaca from Felt Buddies shares her method for making felted soaps. You can see more of her work at http://www.FeltBuddies.co.uk
Hello! Today I’ll teach you how to make your very own felted soap.
Before we start however, I’m sure a few of you are wondering, “What on earth is a felted soap?” Good question! Allow me to explain.
A felted soap is, as the name might reveal, a bar of soap that’s surrounded by felted wool. This means you’re basically getting a bar of soap and a washcloth in one product, making the former last longer, while using the latter as an exfoliating agent.
The wool around the soap also makes the soap last longer, and when the inside is all used up you can use the wool as compost material, or keep it as a decorative pebble.
Christmas is fast approaching, and this would make a great gift – it smells nice and it’s useful, what’s not to love? I actually sold out last holiday season!
Let’s get started, shall we?
First, you’ll need the following ingredients: warm soapy water in a clean container, a nice bar of soap with round corners (sharp corners may break through the wool), enough wool to cover the soap with, and some bubble wrap for friction.
A couple of good extra items are a felting needle (I’ll explain why in a moment), and a pair of kitchen gloves.
Begin by carefully wrapping the fibre around the soap. I used a lovely wool top with silk tweed here, but you can use roving or a batt – just make sure you’re using enough to cover the soap, but not so much so that it makes lathering hard!
You’ll need to wrap the fibre in two opposite directions. I like to start by wrapping it horizontally and then vertically because I think the end result looks nicer, but you can do it whichever way you prefer – just as long as you have two opposite layers.
Remember the felting needle I mentioned before? Here is where it can comes in handy: I like to needle felt the ends to make sure nothing comes apart when I’m wet felting. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but I find it keeps things neat.
Once your soap is all wrapped up, it’s time to dunk it in warm water. I highly recommend you go slowly at this stage, as the fibre might fall off the soap or migrate if you haven’t secured it with a felting needle. Squeeze all the air bubbles out carefully in the water and, once you take the soap out of the water, gently squeeze out all the excess liquid and start rubbing the top layer lightly so the fibres start clinging to each other.
Once the fibre is secured, it’s time to help it shrink around the soap. I had a bubble wrap pouch from a mailing bag that I used to help create friction, but regular bubble wrap will work just fine.
Rub the bubble wrap against the soap, checking regularly if your fibre isn’t migrating, you don’t want to end up with bare patches (you can needle felt some extra fibre on those at this stage, and continue wet felting).
Once the fibres start contracting around the soap, you can use your bare hands to continue the felting process. I like to create friction on the ridges of my sink; I sometimes also wear kitchen gloves because the rubber also helps, and I like to alternate hot and cold tap water so the fibre shrinks around the soap faster.
Once the fibre feels compact around the soap, you’re done!
Carefully rise out the lather under the tap, gently squeeze the soap and let it dry; after that, you can add some kraft paper around the soap to make a “belt,” or you can just place it inside an organza bag.
Don’t be surprised if, after gifting this to friends, they come back for more! You can always direct them to this tutorial so they can make their own…
Feel free to ask me questions about this in the comments section. Happy felting!
Thanks Leonor for sharing your method of felting soap. I have a feeling a lot of people will be getting soap for the holidays.
I just finished Ruth Lane’s online class. Since I am also papermaker, I was excited to combine the two passions and see the results.
It was a fun experiment using a variety of papers, dyes, paints and fabrics. Some worked, some didn’t, but that’s how we learn.
This first one is a paper napkin from one of my Grandson’s birthday party earlier this year on organza. Since I was experimenting, I used some batts with unknown fibers in two colors, blue and green.
I decided not to further embellish it since the “characters” were nicely defined. I suppose I could add some greenery and clouds. But I wanted to show the results this far.
The next one is also “finished.” I used a tree stencil on organza with unryu paper which is very fibery. Again it is on a batt of unknown fiber.
I embellished around the stencil with silver silk hankies. It felted very nicely.
Since these were experiments, I wasn’t concerned about perfect edges and left them organic.
Here’s a closeup of the center. You can see how those fiber areas look like branches and connect the trees.
I got great texture as you can see from this side view.
The one project I completed was a stenciled bird pic.
I used a couple of paper and fabric types with this stencil, but chose this one to finish even though the colors faded. It was a dyed paper towel on cotton voile. You can’t see it in the pics, but the bumps from the towel can be seen in spots. I used it on a merino batt.
I forgot to cover the edges of the voile, so I used machine stitching to cover the edges.
I decided to hand stitch the rest. There is a lot of dimension in the paper, although it’s not too obvious in these pics.
I wanted to keep it simple. I used double rayon thread with threaded backstitches and some satin stitches to embellish it. The green is a variegated thread. I purposely just outlined because I wanted the birds to be the center of attention. Forgive my poor stitching. Here are some closeups.
Now I have to decide whether to frame it or leave it organic.
Thanks Ruth! It was a unique class. I need more practice. I’m still working on the final projects.
The last time I did a World of Wool order, I got some Botany Lap Waste. If you’ve not heard of this it’s basically a huge bin they have at WoW, where they put the left over tops from the ends of carding runs, and when you order some they grab 500g out of the bin and you get what you’re given, but it is cheaper than Merino or blends and sometimes you get a lot of the luxury fibre like yak, alpaca etc. This time it seemed I got the ends of someone’s bizarre order of various greys, including what looked like natural grey Merino blended with trilobal nylon (why?!) I don’t know why they can’t have a ‘neutrals’ choice for browns, greys etc. The rest of my bag was a kind of dyed steel grey Merino, some green Merino which looked like it was their Gooseberry shade, and some pinky pale lilac I didn’t recognise. I carded them all up into batts then put them through again with other Merino to make some blends. I put the lilac through with various shades of purple and a few blues. Then I used a diz (a brass picture hook with 3 holes) to make roving:
I made another batt with the same colours, but added some orange, pinks, yellow, red, and some brighter blues:
This is what the roving looks like unwound:
I put the gooseberry batt through with some green shades and light/bright blues. I meant to make roving, but forgot, so I might put it through the carder again. One side:
The other side:
I put half and half gooseberry and grey through the carder, and made roving:
When I was putting the batts and blends away in my Workshops Supplies tubs, I discovered some other odds and ends from when I did MakeFest last year. I might blend some of these greens with half the gooseberry batt I forgot to card:
I found some gorgeous (even if I do say so myself!) texturey batts I’d forgoten I’d made too. I might have to save these for when I get a spinning wheel to make some texturey yarn!:
We’ve talked a lot lately on the forum about projects not turning out as planned. Sometimes we have happy accidents like my scarflette that turned out better than I had planned. However, that’s not always the case. That’s why we all have UFOs.
Last year I decided to design a credit card wallet. I spent a lot of time measuring and making resists and batts, cutting prefelt and designing a master pattern complete with shrinkage built in. I wanted it to be functional enough to be able to put most of the things I use in one place.
I didn’t have a wallet to use as a model, so I winged it. I used the prefelt as the base and began adding resists then the batts on the inside. To keep track of where my folds and placements were I used pieces of threads to help keep everything in line.
On the inside I wanted three long pockets, then eight credit card slots. There is one resist under the red batt.
Then I added the second lower pocket offset about a half inch, and began putting the credit card slot resists in.
Once I finished adding the slots, I turned it over and added resists on the front. I wanted a license holder and a pocket.
Then after covering in black merino and decorating with some red silk throwsters waste, I began the felting and fulling process.
The hardest part and one of my big mistakes was cutting out the resists. I decided to use an Exacto knife to cut the top large opening. Guess what? Yes, that’s a pen sticking thru. I couldn’t figure out how to take a pic with my finger thru it.
The lower hole is where I wanted the pic ID to be. Unfortunately, it wasn’t large enough to put in the whole ID and cut out a window to view it.
The pocket on the front was also too small an opening to put anything in there that wouldn’t fall out.
On the inside the larger pockets were functional, but I made a mistake with the credit card pocket by making each row a little deeper. Duh, what was I thinking? All credit cards are the same size!
There was room for cash and a checkbook and coupons, if need be. However, the credit cards were a disaster. I couldn’t reliably put them in there and think they’d stay put.
Folded over it doesn’t look bad on the front.
The back is a different story.
I had considered trying to save it, but I don’t believe it would be worth the time since many of the proportions are off and there a gaping holes. However, I did learn a lot from the experience.
Try not to make the project too complicated
Use a model for size proportions
Never use an Exacto knife to cut out a resist
I hope this may help others when they are planning a big project in the future. 🙂
For many years I have been a lover of textiles, but I never wanted to knit or weave. Too fiddly….knit, purl, knit, purl. Or weave to a pattern but first figure out the sett, the epi. No, not me.
And then last year, I saw Meta vd Knijff’s small homespun weavings on felt on Flickr. Meta also uses natural dyes and paints and takes cool photographs as well. Meta is an artist in the Netherlands who I discovered on Flickr. So, back to the weavings on felt. I thought, hmmmm, if I could do that with weavings, then maybe I would like to weave. Then I discovered Saori weaving quite by accident, somewhere on the world wide web and subsequently took instruction.
I discovered that weaving doesn’t have to have patterns, that weaving can be creative and free, and what’s more–I could combine it with felt.
Over the period of a week or two, I made a bunch of small sample weaves, no plan in mind whatsoever. Then I grabbed some pre-felt I had in my stash, some homemade and some commercial. I fooled around placing the small weavings on pre-felt.
Most of the weaving samples are cotton and/or wool, and all are woven on black thin cotton warp. There may be the odd novelty yarn thrown in there, since when I was weaving samples, I was not thinking about combining them with felt. I chose 3 samples to felt with: the largest is multi-colored, all cotton warp with all cotton weft. I chose a large bright turquoise commercial pre-felt batts called “Maori” from Opulent Fibers, which I recall being Corriedale. I used small pieces of the same prefect batt to cover parts of the all-cotton weaving.
The second largest piece was a weaving I made with mostly wool and some cotton weft. I used as pre-felt a piece I had cobbled together with my naturally dyed wool, half madder and half logwood. I did not use any wool wisps to cover parts of this weaving.
The last and smallest piece was a small sample weaving I made using partial wool, cotton and nylon weft on cotton warp. I placed the weave onto cider merino ( handmade by me) pre-felt–again no wool wisps to cover.
I felted all of them in the usual way but not rolling as long as normal because I had used pre-felt as the base. Besides, I was impatient to see how they turned out! All of them successfully felted, although I did use a bit of needle-felting to secure some areas, mostly with the largest all-cotton weaving. I think that will make a nice wall-hanging for someone who likes a lot of brightness in their decor. Unsure about the medium-sized one, perhaps a small wall-hanging or pillow-cover? And the third piece I have fashioned into a cuff with vintage buttons. The inside is soft as merino should be!
Any weavers out there? You really don’t need a floor loom if you would like to get started weaving. You can even use a table loom, a pin-loom, or just hammer some nails into an old wooden photo frame, and you’ll be ready to weave and felt!
Thanks Cathy for yet another fiber technique to try!
I am going to give away some fiber. The winner will get approximately 100gr of one of these multicoloured Merino batts. I couldn’t decide which one to give away so the winner will get to pick the one they want. All but the last are textured. They are good for felting or spinning.
I will announce the winner on January 24th. To enter just leave a comment on this blog post. Good luck.