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4th Quarter Challenge 2018

4th Quarter Challenge 2018

The theme of this year’s challenge has been Surface Design. So far, we’ve had Mixed Media, Nuno Felting, and Beneath the Surface. I was torn between a couple of ideas, but went with the one I had when the 4 of us discussed the theme for this year: something about rolling and twisting fibres. So my challenge is: Twists, Tubes and Yarns. I made a post not too long ago with some pieces I made with wool twists and tubes, and there is a video at the bottom which shows how to make the tubes using a kebab skewer. This is a pile of softly twisted wool I made:

To make the twists, I take small amounts of wool and fibres and while holding one end, roll the fibres across a surface, a piece of bubble-wrap is good. I then hold the other end, and twist again. You can ‘set’ the twist by spraying with a little water too. I made this piece about 10 years ago, it’s still one of my favourites:

You can make blends of wool in different colours, or blend fibres in. This piece is made with twists of wool and plastic fibre:

And, this piece is made with twists made with wool and commercial novelty yarns:

The wool tubes, or ‘kebabs’ are something I love to make, just making a pile of them feels creative and is really relaxing. I first made them accidentally when I realised a kebab skewer was great for poking into my little hand carders to pick up trapped fibres, and they’d come out easily if I rolled it around. I ended up with some funky/random tubes.

Like the wool twists, the wool tubes can be made of just wool, or wool blended with fibres, threads etc. Have a look at this post for some ideas:
This is one of my fave pieces, probably because it had very little planning/thinking involved, I just grabbed a couple of colours of Merino and a handful of already made tubes:

Handmade yarns can be made from anything you can twist (try organza or plastic bags if you haven’t already!) and can be used in many ways. This piece is made with wool and some old threads and unravellings from fabric, from a previous challenge:

This is a wet felted piece I made using some of my earliest attempts at making hand made yarn on a drop spindle:

I tried out some other early yarn that I made on two pieces, one was wet felted:

And the other was needle felted:

It’s great for weaving with:

Or, if you want something a bit more adventurous, how about needling it onto a vessel (scroll down)

So, there’s just a few ideas, if you’ve tried some or all of these before, step out of your comfort zone, try something new, and maybe even use some of this years previous challenges for inspiration or in combination!

Looking Ahead 2015

Looking Ahead 2015

I suppose I should start with my usual plan of trying to be more organised this year  🙂  This usually just means buying more bins and boxes to put supplies in, but I tend to use stuff less if it’s tidied away, so I want ‘being more organised’ to mean having things more accesable this year. That’s not easy when it’s fibres though, I worry about carpet beetle bugs. I discovered a few pieces of fabric I’d bought a while ago that I still haven’t tried out because they were tidied away so I need a compromise.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother thing I say every year is that I plan to work on more tutorials and a new e-book, and how I’ve been working on my ‘other fibres’ project for years and want to work more on that. I did do quite a bit of work on that and really just need to get back into it, it shouldn’t be that hard since I like playing around with wool and fibre combinations so much 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne thing I always look forward to is our studio challenges. If you didn’t see Ruth’s post, have a look here. This year we are focusing on colour, not just colour themes though, but learning about colour and playing with it. We’ve already started talking about it on the forum: looking at colour wheels and making our own out of tufts of wool. And Zara was talking about blending different shades and tones by adding white, grey and black to green, you can see her post here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat’s it for plans, I think I’ll just see how things go and try and go with the flow and stress less 🙂

Second Quarter Stephenson Challenge

Second Quarter Stephenson Challenge

I’ve been working on the challenge on and off for a couple of months.  My first impulse was to chose his Blue Vertigo. 

blue vertigoI made some batts and used them to make the circular design. I pulled strips off the batt and laid them out.  Then added bits of colors as needed.

batts design of purple





StephensonThis piece worked out well, but I wanted to try another of his watercolor like pieces.  So, the next one was based on his Purple Rooftop. 

purple rooftop

I used some black pencil roving in the middle, a black background underneath in the center of the piece to help shadow the reflection in the pond and some mulberry silk for a reflective effect.  Unfortunately, the purple wasn’t as obvious in mine after felting.

Stephenson 1Stephenson’s Green Love reminded me of the carving technique I learned in Fiona’s class, so I wanted to try that, too.


The background is black prefelt and with a white center of merino over cotton batting and some of the radiating lines with different colored roving.  The carvings weren’t as wide, but I like the effect.

Stephenson 3a Stephenson 3








I enjoyed the challenge and the variety of techniques I was able to use to achieve the different effects.  Have you done the challenge yet?






Second Quarter Challenge Finally Done.

Second Quarter Challenge Finally Done.

That’s right I have it done and with days to spare. 12 whole days at that! Here are the details of the challenge if you missed them.  Challenge

I have know what I was going to do for ages I just hadn’t done it. I like Stephenson’s mirror pieces but I also liked the flower pieces so I decided to combine them.

stevenson 1  stevenson 2

I used a thin piece of black prefelt I had and doubled it up for the back ground. I then used my own handspun for the stems. I added silk throwers waste for the flowers and then more hand spun for the spirals. I wasn’t sure how everything would stick. There was not a lot of fuzzy about any of it. It worked out fine though.

I forgot to take a picture of it before felting but here it is finished. I like it a lot more than I thought I was going to.

stepnenson picture

I found this frame on my front porch ( have no idea why it was there) and laid it over the picture and I like it even more.

stepnenson picture frame

If you haven’t done a piece, go ahead and give it a try, you still have time.

Don’t for get to visit the Forum to see how others have interpreted the theme.  Challenge

Nuno Challenge Experiment One

Nuno Challenge Experiment One

The second quarter challenge over on the is mine but I have yet to start. Today I started. Months ago I made a shrug jacket and then died it blue. It would not stop bleeding. I rinsed it for days. Changing the water several times a day. I reheated it in vinegar water and still it bleeds, so I gave up. with all the work  it has great texture.

blue experriment 2 blue experriment

To get the great texture it shrank a lot. It will no longer fit anyone.

blue experriment 3

Next I unpicked the sewing. Not an easy task. The stitching was really sunk into the felt. Next it was into the washer. I have a front loader. I hope it works well it isn’t as aggressive as at top loader. I have shrunk a sweater down from an extra-large to a child’s small in it so I had high hopes.

Here is the finished twice washed piece. The red piece is the original finished sized before all the rinsing and  washing. The coke can is for size reference.

blue experriment 4

Here are the close-ups. The texture is much tighter and the piece is much stiffer.

blue experriment 5 blue experriment 6

The biggest surprise was that there are definite lines of wool on the silk side. I am imagine it’s where each rows of wool overlapped. I only laid the wool in one direction for this piece.



Giveaway Winner

Giveaway Winner

Thanks a lot to everyone who entered the Bits and Pieces Giveaway this week, it was really nice to see all the great comments 🙂  The lucky winner is …..

Congratulations, Isabell 🙂  Please can you leave a comment on this post so I can contact you for your postal address, thanks a lot 🙂

I’ve been having a clear out lately and have spent a lot of time going through smelly dusty bags and boxes from the loft. Most of them contain 20 years of birthday and Christmas cards, clothes I’ll never wear again but can’t bear to part with or cassette tapes from around 1983-1987 🙂  But I got a really nice surprise when I opened one of the bags and discovered 5 huge silk scarves, each about 43 inches square! I think I’ll be doing some nuno felting fairly soon!

I’ve been thinking about Karen’s 4th Quarter Studio Challenge about the Weather recently which isn’t hard being British, apart from tea it’s what we think about most 🙂  I saw this cloud this morning and thought I’d take a photo to add to my collection.

I haven’t quite decided what I’ll do yet, but we often have 4 seasons in a day here, so I’m spoilt for choice 🙂

2012 First Quarter Studio Challenge

2012 First Quarter Studio Challenge

I love texture, especially natural textures such as lichen, bark, fungus, moss… I could go on and on. I have tons of photographs of these types of surfaces and I’m always inspired by looking closely at them. So my challenge for the first quarter is related to surface texture. I want you to go exploring and find an interesting texture that inspires you. You don’t have to limit yourself to the natural world. Perhaps you are inspired by a rusting piece of old machinery, multiple layers of posters stuck to a wall, peeling paint on the side of a boat or whatever captures your fancy.

Once you’ve found the texture you’d like to develop into a work of fiber art, take photos. I’d love to see your working process with this challenge. Since you have three months, take your time and see where the original inspiration takes you. Perhaps you just jump right in and just start laying out fibers to felt or whatever it is you do. Or maybe you draw some sketches and paint some pages in your journal, make some samples and then begin your final challenge piece. Show me your working process and how you got from the photo to your finished piece.

All four of us here will be posting periodically through the next three months for the challenge. If you’d like to join in, please join our Flickr group and post your photos there with a tag of surface texture challenge. Or if you have your own blog, post about the challenge and then come back here and leave us a comment with a link so we can go check out your surface texture piece or process. We’ll put all the links into one of our Felting Around the Web posts so that everyone can see.

What surface texture inspires you? Please do tell! I know I’m not the only one who is taking photos of odd things while everyone else is taking photos of the scenery. 🙂

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