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Final Bark Color Mixing Experiment

Final Bark Color Mixing Experiment

I tried one last experiment with creating bark and color mixing. I showed you last week my attempt with color mixing with a drum carder. And there was another experiments here.  I had part of the mixed batt left over from last week so I decided to combine all of my techniques and see what happened.

First I split my batt in two layers. You can see the felted piece from last week on the right. I then added two layers of green wool over the surface of the bottom batt.

Then I cut up the felt piece from last week and placed it over the green wool. I wanted more green migrating through between the felt pieces.

Then I added the other layer of batt over top of the felt pieces. With everything layered up, I was ready to wet down.

I wet it down and then did a lot of rubbing. I worked carefully between the thick felt pieces in the center of the sandwich so that they would stay in place and there would be a nice indentation between. I also fulled the felt very hard to get lots of green migrating through the top surface.

And here is the finished piece of bark. (Edgar is helping me take photos.) Finally, this is the look that I wanted when I started this experimentation. It has a wonderful texture and the color mixing is what I envisioned. So a combination of carded batt and layered colors with thick felt in between did the trick. Yay! I will have to decide if I am going to add any stitching or other embellishments to this piece or just leave it as is. What do you think?

Color Mixing with Drum Carder

Color Mixing with Drum Carder

Experimenting with color mixing by drum carder was on my list of to do’s and I got around to that this past week. I created a sample with similar colors when color mixing by felting alone in this post.

First off, I had to get the drum carder out and find a space for it on my studio table. The chosen colors were blue green and red orange. I wanted to see how the drum carder mixing differentiated from the felted layers of the same colors. I used the same proportions of colors that I used in the prior sample, which was about 3 to 1 red orange to blue green.

Here is the batt that I created with those colors. The photo on the left is one run through on the drum carder and the photo on the right is two runs through the carder. I then tore the batt in half as I didn’t need that big of a felt sample. So I still have another sample I can make in these colors.

I wanted to try a different way to texture the bark so I used some cut up pieces of heavy interfacing (Pellon). It’s probably about a quarter of an inch thick. I peeled apart a layer of the batt, put the interfacing pieces down and covered with the rest of the batt. After felting, I should have split the batt into two equal pieces, that would have worked better than a thinner layer on the bottom.

The front is shown on the left and the back on the right after felting. As you can see, the interfacing came through the ends as I didn’t have enough wool covering the ends. And the back shows that I had too thin a layer under the interfacing pieces. But it was easier to see the interfacing to stitch around. The interfacing was not thick enough to feel through the wool and didn’t give a good texture. (Doesn’t the photo on the left remind you of a short rib?)

I then added some free motion machine stitching so the texture was more evident from the interfacing pieces. I also trimmed off the ends that were showing and did a little needle felting repair in those areas.

Here are the two pieces side by side. The one on the right does have silk nuno felted on the top too. Which do you think works better? The carded sample is more homogeneous in neutralized red orange but I do like the mottled appearance of the layered color mixing on the right. The carded sample definitely needs more value contrast than what it has now. How do you mix your colors of wool? We’d love to hear about over on the forum.


Playing with Color Mixing in a Bark Sample

Playing with Color Mixing in a Bark Sample

I’m still playing around with Ponderosa pine bark samples. This time I wanted to play with colors and add some nuno felted silk to the top layer. I wanted to see how neutralized the colors would become with fiber migration in the felt. You can see my first bark sample here.

So I started with blue green and red orange, complementary colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel. When you mix these type of colors with paint, you will get a neutralized color leaning towards brown or black. So what would happen with felt with the fiber migration? I didn’t have a true blue green so I used a layer of darker green leaning towards blue and then added turquoise on top of that. Then the red orange on top since the Ponderosa pine bark leans toward more red orange. I used a herringbone style layout.

Then at the last minute, I decided I wanted to add more texture and decided to use the left over pieces of pre felt from my poppy vase I showed you last week. It wasn’t even really felted at all, just laid out and wet down. I put it underneath the layers of laid out wool as you can see in the photo on the right. I should have used harder felt as you will see later.

I then wet it all down. You can see the back in the middle photo. On the right, I added some cut pieces of hand dyed 5mm silk that Paula gave me. (Thanks Paula!) These were cut in the shapes of the bark after it falls off the tree and I just randomly applied them. There are two layers of silk in some places.

Here is the piece after felting. We have been having a discussion over on the forum about rubbing vs rolling and I was thinking about everyone’s replies when I was felting this piece. It seems everyone has different ways of felting. Check out the discussion here. We’d love to have your input too! If you want to know how this piece was felted, I use a ribbed mat underneath and mainly rub, apply pressure and gently vibrate with my hands.

And here’s the piece after fulling. I fulled this piece very hard as I wanted a lot of fiber migration and mixing of colors. I did that by rolling the felt against itself on the ribbed mat, throwing, and scrunching between my hands. I will definitely have to play with mixing colors more this way because I love the end result. I think I will try making some batts with these colors and then felting them to see the difference in color mixing. I didn’t like the end result of the use of prefelt to add more depth to the piece. The prefelt just squashed out and felted into a sort of small hill. The already hardened felt in my first bark sample was much more defined as you would expect.

I am planning on adding some free motion machine stitching to get more definition in the depth. I may also add more fabric applique but haven’t decided yet. What do you think it needs?


Dyeing for Special Projects

Dyeing for Special Projects

On the Felting and Fiber Forum, I had mentioned doing some dyeing for projects and Zed encouraged me to write about it.

I’ve had a couple projects in mind that I needed specific colors in silk and wool and needed to mix colors to get the shades I needed.

The first one was for my daughter in law for a wall hanging.  More about this next week. This one I used a dye bath for silk gauze, silk roving and merino.  I also threw in some Corriedale to have on hand. I washed the silk gauze in synthropol an soaked it and the silk roving overnight in a vinegar bath.  I soaked the wools in a vinegar bath for about a half hour before dyeing.  I didn’t need too mix colors for this job. It was an Idye mix I had made a couple of years ago.  I wasn’t sure if it would still be ok, but it worked well.

I was pleased with the results and got the exact shade I needed.










The second project I wanted to try mixing browns,  greys and a green with acid dyes for another project. Here are a couple of my color tests.  I’m not sure where the rest went I had quite a few formulas I tried.



I used saran wrap, a squirt bottle and a sponge brush to apply the mixed dyes to the pre-soaked silk pieces.

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I used merino pre-soaked in vinegar in baggies and steam for this one.  I thought I had saturated the fibers enough and rubbed the acid dye into the fiber.  However, while it was in the steamer and left overnight the dye settled in spots.  I expected the mottling on the silk which was fine.

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However, all was not lost.  After running the grays through the drum carder the colors were perfect.


Stay tuned for more on this project later.  I ended up only using the gray wools, then making prefelt for the project.  I will have to think of another project to use the silks and the browns.  I did use some of the green wool as well which was fine as it was.

I find it interesting to mix colors to get a specific colors, some times it works well, others not so much.  How has your experience been mixing dye colors?



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