Lynda’s sea monster needed a little needle felting to reinforce the eyestalks so they would stand up properly. Her little dog was not impressed with the cave so It will be Lynda’s companion holding her roving next to her chair.
This is Diane’s beagle pillow. The real beagles seem to be unimpressed. The first picture is half stuffed and the next is all finished.
This is Catherin’s Cave. She let it partially dry before shaping it and stuffing it into the right shape.
And the cat fits but she had other ideas. LOL
And last but not least is Kimberly’s Cave. She wrapped the long spikes around some mini pool noodle like sticks. This was for a friends cat, who loved it. Kimberly is a good friend. It was a lot of work.
I taught a Cat cave class a while back. It was great fun but it very nearly didn’t happen. There was a delay in the wool I had ordered getting here in time. But between my personal stash and our workshop coordinators stash we had enough wool to go ahead, 4 kg of Finnish wool. Here are some of they layout pictures.
A future beagle
Kimberly wanted a curly tail and curly spikes on her cave. these ones are for the top
She made a long fat spike for the tail. Here I am explaining how to attach it.
And then of course after all the wool was laid out and the embellishments added the was a lot of rubbing followed by a lot of rolling.
This is a big project. It took 2 full days to do. I think we made it to the first rolling at the end of day one. More form Day 2 next time.
The is a guest post by my friend Jan Scott. She is my guilds excellent Librarian, a weaver , spinner and a felter, sewer. She is also my fabulous massage therapist. This is the story of her giant fish cat cave.
This is Miaka Scott-Martin
She has informed us for almost 20 years that she is the center of the universe and we must obey. Now!! So to create a cat cave worthy of such an illustrious being was a bit of a challenge. I could not do a rock no matter how gneiss it was (a type of metamorphic rock with a banded or foliated structure, typically coarse-grained and consisting mainly of feldspar, quartz, and mica. Pronounced Nice) so I spent about a month looking for inspiration finally deciding that I should make her the Cat buss from My Naboure Totoro. Then I made the horrible discovery, someone had already done that!!!
Ok rethink, besides her love of cardboard Vehicles, Sports cars (16th birthday), Dune buggy (17th birthday) and Vespa (18th birthday) what does she really like?
She can’t have anything she needs to drive herself since by her 19th birthday she was blind. She can’t have anything she needs to drive herself since by her 19th birthday she was blind. Since she fell off the bed we revoked her licence to drive. Humm… Fish have been a strong theme through her life. Usually fish go into her, I wonder if she would go into a fish? What kind would be worthy of her? It would have to be rare, exotic and large (she was the one who insisted her prestige did not fit in a mere cat carrier she wanted a mid-sized dog carrier. She is actually a small part Siamese cat, at least in bone structure if not colouring.) Off to the internet to look at weird fishes that Miaka might like, so the coelacanth project began. A scale of reference for there size!!!
Ann should have known something was up when I ordered a lot of wool in our group shopping.
Now for the good stuff: Felting commencing now!!
We arrived at Carsonby hall for the workshop. Ann had pre-set up the hall with two 6 foot tables for each of us. Then went around to help each of us create our resist shape. As you know the resist has to be bigger than your finished project because the felt will shrink as it increases cohesion. As befits the center of the universe, I wanted this to be a very big, thick, strong, fish! The resist was almost the length of the table so when the tail was added it just fit diagonally across the 2 6 foot tables.I divided my fibre in half and then divided each pile again from there. I layered out in thin layers working length then width and repeated (many times). This meant I was a bit behind the rest of the class. I had thought about adding the Fins like a book resist but decided it would be faster to add them afterword with needle felting. I had also thot about gills but decided that would have added more time too.So the process was lay out one side apply patient patting and massaging until it started to coalesce and then get help to move that out of the way while I started the second side. Massage side 2, flip wet and position the resist.
Rap edges of side 2 over the resist, position side 1 on top of the resist and side 2, wet, massage, flip. Smooth edges over fish. Reassess. Add more dark to the top (I know I should have added it before the water but it was still only holding together a bit so it was worth the try – and worked!)
Now more massaging, moving from Vibrations to Effleurage and finally starting petrissage! I can’t wait for Tapotement but It will not work if I rush!!! Now it’s time for rolling gently then with more enthusiasm first in one direction then the other; lots of flipping of fish.
My Hubby arrived with my camera just in time to help roll the fish some more. It’s good to have help!!!
Because of the scale of my project, I was not looking at the car mats that Ann had suggested. Instead I found the runner that goes in the center of a van, good knobiness, folds for transport and it was under 20.00 ok just under 20.00 but wow did it work well!
I had also brought some massage implements, acupressure balls and a knobby foot roller. Not usually looked at as potential felting tools but they worked really well too. The balls were grate for working the mouth after I had cut the opening to remove the resist. I had brought an IT band foam roller it’s much bigger in diameter than a pool noodle but didn’t get to try it out for felting.
At the end of the day I had a wet fish with the resist removed but not felted enough yet. I didn’t get to do the tapotement or the flinging it on the table!!
SO off to Ann’s later in the week to continue the rolling. Finally resorting to throwing it into her spinner (which it barely fit into) then on to the dryer with the spiky balls thrown in to help shrink it. To help it hold its shape while it dried we stuffed towels into the back end and then a blow up beach ball.
I was unaware of how important the kiss of life was in felting but Ann did an excellent demonstration! You can see the acupressure balls on the table beside the fish.
This will give you an idea of the shrinkage we achieved.
Now back to home to start working on the fins, there were a lot of fins. After rechecking my photo reference and counting all the fins I started making fins in an extra-large boot tray (it has a lattice pattern so that helped with felting as it restrained the water from escaping. As each Fin was finished it went to the washroom to be thwapped on the sink edge and then hung up to dry on the shower curtain.
I have a vary patient husband, at least it not nylons drying from the shower rod!!
Monday of the guild meeting and all the Fins were done! Finally, I was ready to assemble the grate fish. I was dropped off early (before 7:30am) set up the library and then started work on needle felting the fins into place.
Unfortunately, I realized as I started the 3rd fin I had the spacing wrong, so detached and started again. Luckily I had only lightly put them in place.
Other than putting on the eyes I had the fish done by the time of the meeting.
It was too big a catch to hide!!!
The Great fish was much admired for show and tell. There was some debate as to whether the recipient of the fish would like it or be able to get into it. (Being blind)
Miaka seemed very pleased with her fish and when shown where the entrance was, went right in. she got comfortable but was leaving her tail hanging out of the fish’s mouth.
The next day she spent most of the morning curled up between two of the side Finns. Later that afternoon her heath suddenly took a turn for the worse.
She died peacefully that night. I am very glad she waited until she got to enjoy her fish even if it was just for one day.
Some more from the cat cave class. Eventually everyone got all their wool used up and got to wet everything down. With such big projects everyone was working at their own pace.
Then there was the decorating
The one on the left has merino and silk hanky decorations and the one on the right is yarn.
Then there was much rubbing and then rolling and throwing.
Cynthia checked to see if she could use it as a hat if her cats didn’t like it.
but it turns out her cats do like it. Both will fit in it at once.
Her husbands log is still in progress. The cats liked it once he made some holes in it (ant holes in a log) to let light in but it also needs some more fulling. Sorry no picture of that.
Elizabeth got her pebble done and discovered that perhaps the hole needs to be bigger. and maybe it needs to be a little bigger all over. She is planning another one.
Beth had trouble. She was the only one that had a different wool. a Polwarth/Romney cross. I have felted Romney and I know people that felt with Polwarth so we thought it would be fine. She worked very hard on it. She came to my house the next day and we worked at it some more. It would not come together or shrink. So we tossed it aside and started again with some Fin wool I had. she made a very nice basket that her cats likes but decided to flatten.
Garry hasn’t finished hers yet, she has the one with yarn decorations. Jan and the giant fish are done but that will be it’s own blog post next week.
With all my cat item related posts lately, you’d think I have a cat. But no, two small dogs that don’t like cats. The cat toys I make to sell and I recently made a cat cave to give my sister for Christmas. She has a new cat and requested a cat cave. Her cat is still a kitten but is supposed to get fairly big so I wanted to make a good sized cave. Ann has done a how to post about making cat caves if you’d like further ideas.
I started with a resist made from floor underlayment. That is a Sharpie pen in the middle to give a little bit of scale.
I usually like to work inside out when I use a flat resist. So this is the embellishment layer that will be on the outside when I finish the cave.
The embellishments were mainly nepps and curls in grey and white. I used a variety of fibers including Icelandic, Gotland and Merino.
I then added a couple of layers of black wool which was a mix of merino and mixed 56’s. I wet the black down and then progressed to the white layer that will be the inside of the cave.
Here’s the white layer after it is partially complete. I ended up doing 5 layers in total. The white wool is mixed 56’s.
I then wet the whole thing down, rolled and rubbed like crazy. The felt is starting to come together in this photo.
I used this rolling stick to work it over a bit too. This was originally meant to be a curtain rod and has nice grooves in it to work the felt. I then cut a hole and removed the resist. Fulling in the sink and beating it around quite a bit to stiffen it up. I forgot to take any photos at that point, sorry.
Here’s the cat cave after finishing the fulling process. I put it on top of the original resist so you could see how much it shrunk. After I spun the water out of it, I stuffed it with towels and blankets to dry.
Here’s the finished cat cave. I almost forgot to take photo before I sent it off to my sister’s house.
Now the only question is will the cat fit in this hole? I didn’t want to make the hole really big and I guess she can always enlarge the hole if need be. Have you made any gifts this year? We’d love to see what you’ve made. You can post your photos on Flickr or on the forum.
I should be making more scarves but I wasn’t in the mood so I decide to do a cat cave. I wanted to make one that looked like a pebble. I used some gray I had on hand. I have no idea what it is but it felt like a medium wool. I put a paw print on before covering the bottom with the resist,
I add a spot on the top so I know where to cut the whole later. I rubbed it and rolled it and then into the dryer for a tumble.
You can see how the wool migrates through the cover when it comes out of the dryer. I cut the hole and rolled it up the other way and back in to the dryer. Next I rolled it on a car floor mat. It has nice ridges but they are flexible. I roll it back and forth on the mat. I do not rub it on the ridges. It would got to hard on the surface.
Around this time last year I was still doing the Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge. I struggled with it, and didn’t always enjoy it, but I did like what I produced when I used some felt offcuts from a piece I’d made with natural wools for placemats and coasters. I used my own handspun thread to sew the stitches. This is one I made using chain stitch, and this is one using cretan stitch. I hadn’t used my threads in a while, but recently I’ve been inspired by my flickr-friend, Marchi Wierson, a sculptural fibre artist who uses a variety of techniques in her work, such as wet felting and crochet, and loves working with natural wools and fibres. Her recent vessel commission and some gorgeous natural fibre yarns had me rummaging through my wools and fibres and getting my spindles out to spin more thread and yarn. I decided to use three shades of Shetland Wool.
I pulled off some of the tops from each shade.
Then I looked through my embellishment fibres for some I thought would make a nice match. I chose Soybean top, viscose top and flax.
I added some of each fibre to the Shetland tops.
Then I blended them by hand.
I got a couple of my spindles out, this is one I made and painted a few years ago.
I made a small amount of thread, though even a small amount of wool and fibres goes a long way when spinning thread. This is it wound around the spindle.
Then I blended up some more Shetland and fibres and spun a thicker yarn. I will probably use the yarn in a wet felting project, though I have used them for needlefelting before.
You might have noticed a few changes to the site recently. We’ve been updating it and adding more photos to the galleries. We’ve also added a new page for Fabrics, and Ann’s ever popular Cat Cave ‘how to’ is now listed on the Wet Felting Tutorials page.
The Winner of the Beyond Nuno Giveaway is … Wendy who commented on February 25th. Congratulations, Wendy 🙂 Please will you leave a comment on this post so I can email you with the download details, Thanks 🙂 Thanks a lot for entering and for leaving such nice comments, everyone 🙂
A Guide to The Felting and Fiber Studio Site
We’ve had a lot of new visitors to the Studio site recently, and lots of new members on the forum, so I thought it might be time to do a reminder about everything we have to offer here on the Studio site. Before we started the blog just over a year ago, the four of us spent about 6 weeks working on the site, filling it with as much info as we could. We wanted to build the site into a valuable ‘One-Stop’ resource for anyone interested in felting and fibre.
The ‘About Us’ page tells you a little bit about why we started the Studio site, and there are sub pages for each of us with some info about ourselves and our interests.
In the Felting section there’s a short introduction about the many different kinds of felting. The main pages for Machine, Needle, Nuno and Wet felting all have more in-depth information, and each has a gallery page with many different examples of that particular type of felting.
Mixed media simply means artwork that is made with more than one medium, but for the purpose of the site we use it to mean artwork made mainly with felt or fabric combined with other materials. This section features pages about Beads and Beading, Hand Stitching, Machine Stitching and Surface Design. Each page’s gallery features many examples of artwork.
The Fibers section is packed full of information about wool and other animal fibres. The main Fibers page explains some of the different terms that are used to describe wool in its various stages of processing. The Wool and Other Animal Fibers page has a lot of information about wool, animal fibres from animals such as Alpaca, Angora goat, Llama and Camel. There is also an explanation of the Micron and Bradford Count systems of measuring a fibre’s fineness or coarseness; and a PDF guide to the most common sheep breeds and their Bradford and Micron numbers. The gallery page features photos of different animal fibres. Preparing Fibers has a guide to processing your own wool, from washing a raw fleece to carding it into fluffy batts ready for felting or spinning. There is a photo set and detailed description.
The Other Fibers section has lots of information about the non animal fibres we commonly use in felting, such as silk and organza fabrics; fibre prepared into tops like bamboo, banana, viscose, and the more unusual fibres like crimped nylon, plastic and Angelina fibres.
The Silk page shows the many different silk products available, for example, silk carrier rods, silk hankies and silk throwster’s waste and the gallery page features many uses of these. The Man-made fibers page and its gallery have examples of fibres and their uses including commercial art yarns and some nuno felt examples with synthetic fabrics. The Plant Based Fibers page has many examples of these gorgeous luxurious fibres and felted pieces using them.
The Tutorials section is another area with a wealth of information. There are free Dyeing, Felting, Fiber preparation and Mixed media tutorials all written by one of us, including a video on how to make your own roving using a diz, PDFs on Degumming silk and dyeing it; Stitching on felt, making mixed media wall art, using a sander for wet-felting, a beginners guide to using a drop spindle and dyeing with food colouring.
And if you can’t find what you want there, there are also links to outside sites in the Links/Resources section, including rosiepink’s free felting tutorials and their fantastic e-book showing how to make amazing felt artwork and Ruth’s book The Complete Photo Guide To Felting.
So, make yourself comfortable and come and have a look around the site. We’re always happy to read comments and listen to suggestions for adding more to the site, or to requests for articles or tutorials. Maybe you are a fibre artist with an interesting skill that would make a great feature or you’d like us to link to a tutorial, if you have anything felt or fibre related you want to tell us about, we’d love to hear about it 🙂
I’ve had a lot of really nice comments and support recently since I published my book. One thing I noticed from the comments on the giveaway was how many people are fairly new to felting or in particular nuno felting, and would love to learn more. Buying a book can certainly be a good way, and most of us have probably learned most of what we know through trial and error, but another good way is learning from each other… and other people’s trial and error 🙂
A great place to do this is a forum. A little over a year ago we posted about starting The Felting and Fiber Forum. We said how we really wanted more interaction with like-minded people to share our enthusiasm for felt, fabric and fibres. We hoped we would get a few members and get to see what people are working on and share tips and get advice. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that it is far more than that. The forum is somewhere I really look forward to logging onto each morning, to see what new projects everyone is working on, see if there are new replies to posts asking for advice, reading about what new crafts or techniques have caught someone’s eye, finding out what the weather is like all around the world! (We get a lot of weather!) 🙂 I was going to say that it really has grown into a great community of fibre artists from all over the globe, but we’re not just members, we’re friends.
It’d be really nice if we had even more artists in our community. I’ve been clicking to look at the blogs of recent commentors and there is such a wealth of talent, not just in felting, but all kinds of fibre art, mixed media, stitching and more. I know I’m not the only one who would be interested to know more about a wider range of fabric and fibre arts. And there are lots of members of the forum who would be more than happy to offer help, advice and support to those just starting out on their felting adventures. We even have a 12 step program for fibre addicts (1. Buy more fibre. 2. Buy more fibre 3…. Just kidding!)
The forum is open to everyone, just follow the link at the bottom of this post or click the forum button on the sidebar. Once you’ve registered, we just have to ‘approve’ you… don’t worry, it’s just a measure to keep spammers out 🙂 The forum is free, which means it does get advert banners, but no one likes a forum full of annoying adverts, so…. we have a novel way of dealing with that… for $7 per month we can make the forum ad-free, so we replace the advert banner with one sponsored by our members which also redirects to their site. If you are interested just let us know. You don’t even have to be a member of the forum if you’d just like to support it while promoting your own blog, etsy store, website etc. but we would love it if you’d come over and join us 🙂