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Using Prefelt … Almost

Using Prefelt … Almost

I’ve been meaning to make more of my own prefelt for ages. I have some commercial prefelt, but thought it’d be nice to have some in other colours and even multi colours. I also had the idea I wanted to recreate a band logo or design or something. There was one I had in mind, with only 3 colours, so I thought I’d start small. The first colour I needed was red:

And, I also needed black, not as much, but I wanted to make enough in case of mistakes:

And it’s probably a good thing I did! I’ve only cut simple shapes from prefelt before, all freestyle I think. I might have been a bit too ambitious with my idea … Firstly, all the faffing around with the design, simplifying it to individual colours, then making those just outlines, enlarging, printing, cutting out etc, that all took a couple of hours. Then I couldn’t find anything to trace around the shapes and leave a clear outline. So, for now, I’ll just have to show you the shapes ready for tracing:

Those are the main shapes (flames), there are some smaller ones I’ll need to do too. I don’t think there’s enough black for too many mistakes, so I’ll have to be careful!

One thing I do have finished is a bird pod. Probably better for nesting material, I think.

And the back:

Have you overestimated how ‘simple’ a project should be?

Mostly Naturals

Mostly Naturals

I’d planned to finish off a couple of projects yesterday – a bird pod, probably from last year, and a vessel I started at the well being centre on Monday – but thought that since I was getting all my felting stuff out, I’d do a ‘quick’ sampler piece with lots of different wools to take to the centre because a few members want to order some wools for felting at home. Well, it took a little bit longer than I’d planned, and I only used 15 different wools! This is it with the rows laid out:

I think this photo shows the colours a bit more accurately:

I used a few embellishments, but didn’t pile them on, like I usually do 🙂 I loosely twisted a silk hankie:

Added some teased apart silk noil:

A little bit of Bamboo staple fibre:

I took a quick photo after felting, before I hung it on the washing line to dry:

I can’t remeber if I ever showed this bird pod, but this is the one I’d planned to finish:

This is the vessel I started on Monday, still damp:

And the other side:

I really intended finishing them later on, but actually got around to felting those pieces of scrim with transfers on, so at least I’ll have those to show next time!.

Pods and Cords

Pods and Cords

I’ve mentioned we’ve been exploring resists at the Well Being centre recently, and one of the group said she’d really like to make a round vessel, so I thought we’d follow rosiepink’s vessel tutorial. It turned out there was only 2 of us there early enough to have a go, so we’re doing it again this week, but this is mine:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd the other side:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been looking for ‘smoothing tools’ for vessels for years, like Lyn’s suggestions of a baby’s rattle or laundry liquid dispenser, I keep checking the baby section, and dog toy section, even the kitchen section for a ladel, but still haven’t found one! I did buy some foam for resists though and I thought I’d try it out and make a new birdpod. I remembered those coconut ones, and tried to do a similar shape. I didn’t get it quite right, but using lots of coarse wools did give it a hairy coconut look, though:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI need to make a cord for it to hang it up. Usually, I make cords from offcuts or make some handspun yarn and felt that, but I had an idea for some garden ornaments and thought I’d give it a go using a bamboo mat. I can’t remember which wool I used, I think it was something from Wollknoll labelled just ‘Scottish grey’. I had a hard time getting photos of all my things, it went too dark yesterday, so this morning I took them into the garden and tried them in a few places, when I put the first cord down on the paving stones it camouflaged itself, even the pattern seems to match!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat was just the test piece for the idea I wanted to try. The only trouble was, I needed a larger mat than a placemat. I looked at my living room blinds, just hanging there with a huge roll of unused bamboo sat at the bottom. I unrolled it and there must have been two feet of spare blind, so a few snips and a few tied ends later, I had a shorter window blind and a new rolling mat! This cord hasn’t completely dried yet, but I know I need to make the next one a bit thinner, and I think that will help it be firmer too, but it turned out a lot better than I expected:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs usual, whenever I’m in the garden, I had a visitor, noseying from the background, poor little thing has no feet 🙁

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Vessel and Pod

Vessel and Pod

I don’t think I’ve ever used a flat resist for a vessel like this before. The idea was to make it as an example of using resists to take to the felting class at the well-being centre, but before I’d even finished the layout, I knew it’d be too much for us to do in a couple of hours. I used lots of the Gotland locks from Zara, and decided to work inside out, so I laid these on the resist first. I used a couple of layers of Gotland fleece, then some cheaper ‘Scottish Grey’ I’d bought from wollknoll.  Between the Gotland and Scottish fleece I added some more Gotland locks around the top. There is a bit of a ridge inside, but I thought it turned out really well:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe other side:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a couple of close ups of the locks around the top:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used lots of different ones:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA closer look at the bottom, the locks felted in really nicely but still kept lots of character:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we did use resists at the well being centre, they didn’t quite turn out as planned. Because I had ‘vessels’ in mind and got out all the natural wools, I wasn’t thinking properly, so I cut a resist for a glasses case based on using Merino like I usually do, so when thick layers of English 56s, Finnish and Corriedale were used, it barely shrunk and turned into a small sturdy bag! I was running out of time, so only did 3 layers on my bird pod, so it ended up shrinking a lot more widthways and became very tall and narrow! One of the members in the group liked it though so hopefully the blue tits in her garden do, too 🙂

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Bird House Time

Bird House Time

Spring is on the way and its time to start thinking about birdhouses. I have an Easter show. Not much in the way of felt really sells at this sale, it’s mostly about food. Bird houses are the exception. Here they are ready to put to the decorations on and then be put together for felting.

bird houses ready to decorate

This one has its decorations started

start decorating

That is as far as I made it. they have been sitting there for most of the week waiting for me to get back to them. I have hopes for this weekend and when they are done I will show them to you.

the wool I used I died myself. It is sold as washed gray Romney but it is really brown and white. If you card it without dying it, it does end up looking gray.

Undied ronmney

Here is what it looks like if you dye magenta, purple and chartreuse.

dyed romney 2

I love the way the “gray” wools dyes. all the mixed shades you end up with. A spinner friend says its called depth of colour, so it’s not flat.  I wish I could find other breads of wool that were that varied in colour to dye.

 

2012 Review

2012 Review

It’s hard to believe it’s almost a year since we posted about our plans for 2012! Looking back over what I’d hoped to achieve I didn’t expect to have done many of them, as the year panned out a lot differently than I expected. One thing I really wanted to do was learn some stitches by taking part in Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST). I did try my hardest, but I found the instructions really hard to follow and gave up after about 13 weeks. I never got the chance to explore direct dyeing felt any further, which is probably a good thing, since I’d hoped to combine the results with stitches I learned from TAST 🙂  I did dye some fabrics for using in felting, though. And I did actually get around to trying out a Suri Alpaca sample, but I’d hoped to try a few more ‘controlled’ samples so never had enough to make a post about it.

suri alpacaOne thing I was really looking forward to spending time on in 2012 was working more with other felting fibres and fabrics, and writing some tutorials for the studio site. Early in the year I did make quite a few pieces exploring natural fibres with natural wools, which I really enjoyed. Some of the results were quite interesting, like this Suffolk wool and banana fibre piece, a photo of which ended up being used by a Lecturer at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) for a book.

suffolkI did write a few tutorials for the blog this year, but they weren’t about fibres. It seems like I spent a big portion of my time in 2012 on the phone to various government departments and agencies trying to get onto a scheme to become self-employed. I thought I had all the information I needed until it came to writing my business plan and realised I (along with everyone else, it seems) have no idea whether the scheme lasts 6 months or 12, which is quite a problem if you’re trying to forecast things! But hopefully that will all be sorted out in the new year.

I enjoyed taking part in the Studio Challenges this year, I haven’t done a piece for Karen’s weather challenge yet, but I do have some wool and fibres blended and around 40 photos of storm clouds to work from in the next few days 🙂 Another thing I enjoyed this year was finally learning how to make silk paper. I did intend to try a few more methods, but that was another thing I didn’t get around to, though I did buy a book about it!

silk paperA couple of my favourite things from this past year are the bird pods I made and using the electric sewing machine my mum gave me to make collage notebook and diary covers. I still haven’t mastered the speed pedal on the machine, but I can wind a new bobbin really well 🙂 The bird pods were great to do, I haven’t had much success previously making 3d felt from flat resists, but they all turned out really well. This is my favourite.

bird pod whiteI’m looking forward to 2013, all the challenges and exciting new things yet to come. I hope you’ve had nice holidays and if you’ve done your own 2012 review, post a link in comments, we’d love to read them 🙂

Not quite a pod !

Not quite a pod !

 

Well I thought since everyone else was making those bird pods that I’d have a go to

 Ha,  it didn’t exactly turn out like one so  I thought I’d try something else,  this is what it started out like.

A little bit too pink for a start, I used a fibre batt that I made a while ago that was a merino blended with border leister   and also some sari silk added it. It reminds me of a pink Hogwarts hat lol  , hours of rubbing and rolling I ended up putting it in the dryer for ½ hour or so and I cant quite get all the wrinkles out.  I must be the only one that ends up with crinkly felt lol   it is nice and strong so that’s on the plus side for me but I also realized pretty quickly that I cut the resist out in the wrong shape, I wasn’t really thinking of the bottom, just the top so that’s why, to me, it looks more like a hat than a pod.

 

So as I was wondering  what I could do with it  I made up some flowers and stems ( these are probably my best flowers so far)  I think I’ve finally got the hang of which way to rub while trying to stay in shape.

 I was thinking  I’d just add them in when of course I knew that it needed a door and a little secrecy!

shhhhhhh   you know Fairies don’t like to be seen but for once I was ready and waiting,  your  not quicker than me little fairy, although he almost made it

 but just not quite

 I ended up having some fun with this and I might add some more smaller flowers ,  its been a while since I’ve pick up my felting needles and just making the fingers was great !!

I hope your all having some fun to 🙂

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