I was updating my flickr page and had a look back over some old pieces when I found a photo of some textured felt I made a long time ago:
I think I made this piece in response to a World of Wool post asking for photos of pieces made from just their products. I used loads of different wools and fibres: Natural Merino tops, carded lambswool, English 56s, White Devon tops, washed Wensleydale, Washed BFL, washed Falkland, wool nepps, silk noil, silk hankie, silk carrier rods, natural bamboo tops, washed lambswool, Oatmeal BFL, grey and brown Merino, black jacob, grey Gotland, Grey Masham, Scoured grey/black lambswool. I made it using a felting technique of adding fabric and fibre scraps between layers of wool and sewing up the piece between sheer fabric and felting in a washing machine. One of the first pieces I made was this blue piece:
I used lots of fabrics and fibres on the piece including synthetic organza, silk fabric, silk noil, Bluefaced Leicester and Wensleydale locks, and dyed Icelandic wool and dyed carded lambswool. Here’s an angled close up which really shows the texture:
On this close up you can see the wool migration through some green synthetic organza:
The blue parts on this close up are dyed Icelandic wool, and the white parts are silk noil:
This is one of my favourite textured felt pieces, I had in mind a sunset over the sea:
I made a couple of bags with the technique, this is one of them:
I added a strap:
And this is another bag:
I can’t find any photos of it with a strap. I don’t do much self promotion, but what the heck, I like to eat now and again 😉 I just listed a quick guide on etsy for how to make the textured felt. It’s basically a slightly expanded version of the free tutorial on flickr, but in a handy PDF format. I thought I might make some more pieces using this technique so I’ll let you know how that goes!
A couple of felt pieces I chose to make into things for etsy recently were both made using nylon fibres. This first piece has crimped nylon fibre which I dyed myself, blended with merino tops. The felt had a really nice feel to it, thick and kind of spongy but still light, and the nylon gave it a nice texture and sheen, a kind of wet look.
It was the perfect length for making into a notebook cover, and I got to keep the natural edges again too.
I decided to use the orangey yellow side as the front cover:
The other piece was one I made a while ago with trilobal nylon. It comes as rainbow tops and I carefully separated out some of the colours and blended them with merino. The result was hard to capture on camera but it gives a nice texture and shine to it, and when the light catches it, it really sparkles. The piece was big enough to make two camera or gadget cases out of. I’m just finishing a slightly larger one than this, but this is the first one I made:
I hadn’t realised how small my new camera was until I used some props for demonstrating the size of the cases, apparently mine is about the size of a pack of cards, it makes the new iPods look huge 🙂 I used a standard sized camera to test the ‘fit’ here:
I was really pleased with the way the flowery camera cases came out. These were made from a piece of nuno felt I made with a polyester scarf on the top and muslin underneath.
And because I keep moving all my sewing stuff from upstairs to downstairs and back in a shoe box, I thought I’d make myself a little case to keep my glasses safe. It was made from a piece of felt I made ‘just for fun’ last year and has as many different fabrics and embellishment fibres on there as I could find room for!
I mentioned recently that I had a look through my box of felt pieces to make things with. I think I put as many pieces back as I kept out (I think anyone who makes felt knows how hard it is to cut pieces up to make things!) so I went through it again telling myself it’s a waste to keep them all packed away in a box 🙂 I had quite a lot of pieces this time. I started looking at some of the bigger pieces to see how many notebook covers I could make. Some of you might recognise this flowery piece from my e-book, I’m trying to convince it it’s big enough to make a notebook cover from! In the end I decided to make a couple of camera cases from it as it had a base layer of muslin.
I cut out a placemat and two coasters from a thick felt piece I made just before Christmas and found some pieces perfect for making into glasses cases and coin pouches. I added some stitching to these to make the felt stiffer. I tried to find the perfect embroidery thread to blanket stitch them, but I wasn’t happy with what I had, so waited for the threads I ordered from Rainbow Girl on etsy. They are just like DMC coton perle but with more colour variations. I also finished sewing together my other cotton gauze purse, but haven’t sewn the button holes yet.
Quite a few of the pieces I had were perfect for gadget cases (camera, phone, iPods) so I ended up with a huge pile of cut out felt pieces waiting to be sewn up with the machine. I finished them by Monday, though I think half that time was spent trying to thread the needle, just as I thought I was about to get the thread through, my eyes would flicker and I’d miss 🙂
Machine stitching might make me feel like the cases are secure, but I never feel anything is finished properly until I blanket stitch it, so out came the threads again.
One thing I did manage to get finished this week was a notebook cover. This piece of felt really was hard to cut up!
When I made a pot pouri case last year, I kept the natural edge of the felt for the flap, I really liked the uneven edges. I liked them so much that I try to use the natural edges as much as possible now instead of cutting, and luckily this piece of felt was the exact width I needed for a book cover and I left both the inside flap edges natural and just finished them with blanket stitch. When I’ve managed to work out postage prices and convert to US $, I’ll add this to etsy.
Talking of etsy, I’m trying to add a variety of different things to my shop there and this last week I added some more collage sheets. They are all A4 sheets with 9 ATC size (3.5 x 2.5 inch) images. There are a couple featuring English census returns images and I’m working on a series of sheets featuring altered versions of my original artwork… oils, pastels acrylics and gouache.
Our UK readers probably know that postage prices have gone up again, and not only that but the weight categories have widened too, so the prices/weights jump quite steeply. The new price list is available online now, but it seems they’ve tried to make it as complicated and as clumsy as possible. I went through it and made myself a couple of charts to simplify it. I think I copied all the info correctly, so if it helps, here’s a PDF of prices for letters and small packages.
I decided to take the plunge and open an Etsy shop. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean I’m going to start making sticks with feathers and crystals stuck to them or adding ironic moustaches to all my notebooks 😉 Lyn was telling me that etsy have started doing instant downloads, but it appears to be in the trial stage at the moment. I added a digital download to my shop and applied to join their ‘team’ in the hope I can try it too, but I’m still waiting to hear.
I don’t have much in there at the moment, mostly some silk fibre packs and a felted notebook cover. But on Friday I was having a rummage through my fabric and with 3 large boxes and 5 shoe boxes open and contents all over, I thought it might be nice to put together a fabric sample pack of the different fabrics I used in my e-book. How long could it take? About 20 minutes or so? Ha! 2 hours later I was still cutting and measuring, taking photos, making piles on the floor, standing on the tape measure and almost slicing my neck open, getting sidetracked with a pile of fabric perfect for this, that or the other! And then I had to edit the photos and do the listing. I don’t know how people find the time! Of course, I’m pretty sure my fabric supply is dangerously low now, so I’ll probably have to re-stock 🙂
Yesterday I found a bit of time to go through my box of felt pieces to make things with. I had quite a large piece I’d made with black merino and strips of coloured cotton gauze. The back was blues and greens with silk embellishments. I thought it’d make a nice purse or wallet, with two sections. I’ve almost finished it, I just need to add the button and button hole.
Trying a button:
I still had quite a big piece of the felt left, so I cut the pieces out for another one:
The other project I found time for was sewing a notebook cover. I made a piece of nuno felt a while back from a patterned pink, green and blue silk scarf. I had always intended to make a notebook cover out of it but really liked it and didn’t want to cut it up! I think time has made it a little easier though 🙂
The texture is really nice:
I had a few ideas for making things with some of the natural white felt pieces I have spare. I started to cut them up, but you’ll have to wait and see what I make from these 🙂
Have you had time for making anything lately or is everyone battling the weather, it seems like half of us are under feet of snow. I’m glad it’s cooled off a bit down under though, only about 32C now in Victoria, Kaz has probably got her woolly jumpers out and the fire on 😉
Since starting the website a couple of months ago, we’ve had lots of great comments and interesting feedback. Some of the things we’ve noticed since starting the site, and more recently, the forum, is that more people would experiment with different fibres if they were more easily available and not quite so expensive.
So, we’ve opened an etsy store 🙂 The four of us have all been felting for quite a few years now and all have our favourite fibre suppliers, both locally and internationally. It’s not our aim to make a profit from selling fibres, but to use that knowledge, along with our own skills to source fibres and felting supplies and make them more accessible and affordable, especially to beginners who would like to try sample sizes without having to pay extra for them.
We’ve started with a silk fibre sample pack. This has 20g each of silk hankies, silk noil, silk carrier rods and silk throwsters waste. We’ll be adding more items as they become available. We’ve already had lots of feedback on the forum about the kinds of things people are interested in: samples of plastic, nylon, viscose and cotton fibres; handmade yarn samples; a sample pack of different silk fabrics; buttons and beads, and sewing threads; and embellishment fibres.
We’ll be keeping our eyes out for bargains or offers that we can then pass on through etsy but we’d love to hear from you if you have any ideas for things you’d like to see. There’s a button on the sidebar to take you to etsy or just click the link below. Feel free to contact us on etsy if you have any specific requests 🙂