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Year End Round Up

Year End Round Up

I suppose my ‘Year end round up’ wouldn’t be complete without me saying I didn’t get half as much done as I’d have liked! Or that I’m surprised I got as much done as I did 🙂
One of the biggest things of this year for the 4 of us was starting our online College of Felt and Fiber Arts with the ‘Wet Felting for Beginners’ course. We got some brilliant feed back for that and so many requests and enquiries about classes that we decided to have it on-going continuously.

aa wet felting FOR BEGINNERS 3 PART COURSEI tried out a lot of ‘new’ wools earlier this year which I’d discovered on the wollknoll site. This is one listed as ‘Arctic Fox’, I never did find out what it actually is, though it was quite soft and similar to Bluefaced Leicester. I tried a variety of fibres with it, along the top is Soy top, below that is black Bamboo top (L) and Milk Protein (R), then some Hemp fibre, and at the bottom is Viscose top:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was ‘Russian Camelhair’, which I guessed was camel coloured Romanov. I used Ramie fibre with it:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn May, I finally finished an e-book I’d first had an idea for and started working on about 8 years ago. ‘The Right Fibre‘ is (like it says on the ‘cover’) a guide to using embellishment fibres in wet felting.

The Right Fibre smallI tried over 20 different embellishment fibres (some didn’t make the final edit) and made lots of control samples and felting techniques to see the kind of things which affect the outcome of how the fibres look. It was hard, playing with wool and fibres, but someone had to do it 😉  Actually that was the fun part, it was having to keep leaving it alone to stew for a while until the ideas of how to organise the sections and how to format it fell into place. Luckily, as with other e-books and tutorials I’ve written, I had lots of help from studio site and forum members and my poor non felting girlfriend who now has an unusually large range of knowledge and understanding of all things wool, felt, fabric and fibre, despite never having felted in her life 🙂

viscose topIn August I did ‘MakeFest’ at the Science and Industry museum, helped by my sister. It was hectic and overwhelming at first until we got some order and organisation. I learned that it’s possible to make a nice piece of felt on your first try at any age, and even the worst lumpy, clumpy layouts will turn out pretty good. We had lots of nice people having a go, this was the layout by Annabelle, who did it all by herself and was only 5:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI got interested in creativity for well-being or ‘Art Therapy’ this year and posted about the first wet felting workshop. This was everyone working away:


And just last week I told you about the Start2 website which has lots of activities designed to get you creating and improve your well-being. I had quite a lot of fibres left over from MakeFest, so I did a fair bit of dyeing last year. This is dyed viscose:

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Some dyed Bamboo staple:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd Silk Carrier rods:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother highlight of the year was getting lots of gorgeous Swedish wool and Gotland Locks from Zara:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI did manage to do some felting this year! This was my favourite piece, inspired by plaid:

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I hope everyone has had a good year with lots of felt and fibres 🙂

Dyed Wool and Fibres

Dyed Wool and Fibres

Last week I decided to dye some wool and fibres. I used up quite a lot of my dyed texturey wools when making batts recently, so I wanted to to restock those and thought I’d do a few fibres while i was making a mess. I ended up having to do it over three days, and it made a right mess, but it was worth it in the end 🙂 I bought some white Kent Romney lambswool to try for adding texture, I had a little bit of scoured Falkland fleece left over too so added that:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve bought commercially dyed silk noil before, but it really isn’t good compared to the small amount I dyed once, so I thought I’d give that another go:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also dyed some Tussah Silk tops – a good tip for anyone wanting to dye small amounts of fibre tops is to separate the amount you want to dye while the tops are dry, and soak them separately, it isn’t easy when they’re wet!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used the same shades to dye some Soy top as I had on the Silk, and though they look similar, they soy definitely looks a lot shinier:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANeither of them come close to the colours and shine of the Milk though, but I did do these on a separate day and they weren’t the same lot of dyes:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the last minute I decided I wanted to dye some Gotland, Teeswater and Wensleydale locks. These were all raw, unwashed, so the night before my last lot of dyeing I gave some locks a shampoo and rinse. From top to bottom: Gotland, Teeswater and Wensleydale.

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Teeswater locks
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI do have some more stuff waiting to be photographed, some Bluefaced Leicester wool and locks, soy staple fibre and carded lambswool, I’ll add those to my ‘supplies’ album on flickr when I get good enough light. The last one I’ve got for now is Trilobal Nylon (sometimes labelled as ‘Firestar’ and sold at exorbitant prices) cheap nylon tops. The photo hasn’t really picked it up, but it has a lot of sparkle and these dyed really well:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf anyone is interested in dyeing smallish amounts of fibres, I did a small tutorial on it a while ago: http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/direct-dyeing1.pdf  luckily this time, I had my fold out table for a larger work area! I used acid dyes which are good for protein fibres (animal fibres, soy, milk, silk, and nylon too as it is a synthetic version of silk).  I have tried it on bamboo before too and got some nice, pale results, so it’s worth trying a sample or two 🙂

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