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Fourth Quarter Challenge

Fourth Quarter Challenge

Although I don’t normally make a big deal out of Christmas the one thing I’ve always enjoyed, and can’t imagine not doing, is decorating my tree. The bigger the tree the better….in fact if it doesn’t touch the ceiling it isn’t up to the job! At this point I will come clean and admit that, as the trees got bigger and bigger, I made the shift from real trees to an 8 foot artificial one. I can hear the groans from those who wouldn’t dream of buying artificial, that used to be me, but it is what it is!

Most of my tree decorations have been homemade or received as gifts with some of the quirkiest, and most meaningful, coming from my Aunty Das who sadly isn’t with us any more. These lovely wooden decorations were gifted from Das to my partner who’s hobby is flying.

And these are a few I’ve made in the past…..

These rosette paper baubles took hours to make and won’t be repeated! The dark one is 17cm diameter and was made from black and white photos cut from magazines, the other two are 11cm and made from an old book.

With a big tree there’s always room for more baubles and with the fourth quarter challenge being Christmas Decorations it was the perfect excuse to make more. I found some 10cm and 8cm polystyrene balls locally and covered the large ones with four coordinating cream/black fabrics and the small ones with four green/red fabrics.

Some of the balls have been cut into eight segments and others have had extra horizontal cuts to create a patchwork effect.
I’ve found a stash of old baubles in the loft and these are getting a makeover this year, drawing on them with the hot glue gun and then covering them with Matt emulsion.

One of the first wet felting workshops I attended was run by Robyn Smith who taught how to make these gorgeous fairy boots…..I’ve made them as gifts every Christmas since then. With more time on my hands this year, and prompted by the Challenge, I’ve made myself some plus a few extras to sell.

As it’s the season to be jolly, and gnomes have always made me smile, I’ve had a go at making some of those too. The Scandinavian gnome is typically associated with the Winer Solstice and Christmas season so I thought I’d have a go at making my version of a Scandi gnome.

The gnomes came about by accident really. Spurred on by the challenge I’d ordered some 14cm high polystyrene cones online (by this time we were in lockdown) with the intention of making Christmas Tree shaped table decorations. When they arrived every one of the ten cones was damaged.

Rather than send them back, the challenge now was, what could I make with them that didn’t need to be a perfect cone shape? That’s when the gnomes came to mind….the wonky cones would make the perfect base!

Originally I thought about making flat felt for their clothes but then decided to use the same cream/black fabrics I had used for the large baubles, plus a few others. Being in lockdown and wanting to get straight on with them I searched around for something to make the beards out of and found an old cardigan at the back of my wardrobe that had a faux fur collar…..needless to say it doesn’t any more! The first beard I cut didn’t look right. With trial and error I’ve discovered that the way to cut faux fur is by working from the back and only cutting the backing fabric, not the fur itself, using a scalpel blade. That way you get a nice shaggy beard.

The females have Merino wool plaits and both sexes have felted button noses. I’ve machine sewn their outfits but if you were making these with children they could be made just with the glue gun for a quicker finish.

The clothes are simply a triangle for the hat, a semicircle for the jacket and a circle for the dress and/or gents undergarment.

The dress circle is simply hand stitched around the circumference, put on the cone and then pulled tight and the thread knotted. The front of the dress is then pulled up to approx 10cm from the base and hot glued in position.

I decided to use a belt and braces method to attach the nose as I was afraid it might get knocked off (really??) It’s been hand stitched to a strip of white fabric and that in turn is glued onto the cone. Thinking about it now, was this over engineered? Definitely!

The waistcoat was finished with a metal bead and the Merino fibre plaits attached either side of the nose using hot glue. The oversized hat has been glued in several places to create the sloppy look. To finish them off I’ve stood each gnome on a slice of wood.

I’ve had fun making these and I’m keeping a male and female on a shelf in my studio because I can’t look at them without smiling! Besides, a gnome isn’t just for Christmas!

Whatever you get up to over the Christmas period have fun and stay safe!

Holiday Decorations – Fourth Quarter Challenge

Holiday Decorations – Fourth Quarter Challenge

I have been thinking about what holiday decorations that I wanted to make for the Fourth Quarter Challenge. I wanted to do something simple and decided to try creating an ornament with prefelt. I don’t usually use prefelt in creating my designs so I thought I would give it a try. I decided on a snowman design.

I had commercial prefelt in white and black but none in red. So I created a piece of red prefelt as the first step from mixed 56’s hand dyed fiber.

Next I needed a circle of red prefelt from the background. I wanted my finished ornament to be around 5″ diameter so I used this approximately 7″ container to cut around. I used a craft blade and essentially just scored around the container and then finished cutting the circle out with scissors.

I had enough red prefelt for 7 circles. I hadn’t really planned on making multiples but what the heck, I might else well make more, right?

Next I cut out two circles in white prefelt, two black hat shapes and a black circle to go behind the red circle. I decided that my red prefelt wasn’t going to be heavy enough with just one layer. I used black instead of white because I like a deeper red better than I like a pink. I didn’t have enough red prefelt for two layers. Now on to felting.

I had hoped with two layers of white prefelt that I wouldn’t get a lot of fiber migration. No such luck. I did shave a bit off the surface of the white so it wouldn’t look so hairy and that helped. I only felted this one just to see how it would come out. Next time, I think I will cover with a light plastic to try and prevent any movement of red and black fibers into the white. This one was rubbed with my hand so I think that I got a bit of movement of fiber as well as migration through.

Now on to more decoration. I stitched a small piece of sari ribbon on to the hat for a band. The sari ribbon adds a bit of shine. Then I hand stitched the facial features. Now I have to decide if the ornament needs further backing, if it needs an edging treatment and how to hang it. What would you suggest?

Past Holiday Efforts – Fourth Quarter Challenge

Past Holiday Efforts – Fourth Quarter Challenge

Annie and Lyn recently posted the Fourth Quarter Challenge. I thought I would take a look at what holiday decorations and cards I had created in the past. It’s always easy for me to forget about pieces I have created so it’s nice to walk down memory lane and I thought I would share what I found.

Here’s a set of cards that I made in 2017 for the Holiday Card exchange that we have on the forum. I used some samples that I had made for the Nuno Felting with Paper Fabric Lamination online class.

This is the card that I made last year.

And another card made in 2018.



Here’s the 2016 cards that I created.

And these are a few different ornaments that I created over the years.

In 2013, I stitched a bunch of these bowls to give to people filled with candy.

I just found another card from 2016. I’m not sure why I made so many different cards that year.

And just for fun, here I am with Deb and Nanci at Christmas Stroll at The Purple Pomegranate.

We did make some Ukraninan eggs one year (not exactly fiber but still holiday!)

And another just for fun photo of me as a baby by the tree.

Here’s a basket I made as a Christmas gift. I’m not much of a weaver but it turned out OK.

And I thought you might like to see a bit of winter decoration from Mother Nature.

That was a fun trip down memory lane. Now I need to get started on this year’s holiday card. If you would like to join in the forum’s Holiday Card Exchange, sign up here.

Or, if you have some holiday creations that you’d like to share, you can post them here.


Fourth Quarter Challenge

Fourth Quarter Challenge

How did you get on with saving all your bits of threads, yarns and unravellings ready for this Quarter’s Challenge? In case you missed it, I gave a heads up earlier this year that the challenge for this quarter would be to use things people* usually throw away, such as little snippings of sewing or embroidery thread, the last few inches of yarn or those annoying bits of unravelled thread which get everywhere when you tear fabric. (*Not fibre people apparently, I realised pretty much all of us save every little scrap!)

I made a few pieces to help get the ideas flowing, this first piece is some unravelled knitting with some wispy layers of Merino. I’m not sure of the wool content of the yarn, though I think it’s possibly 40% ‘British Wool’. I just put the tangle of yarn down on my netting, then added the wispy layers on top (working upside down/back to front):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis next piece also uses some unravelled knitting. I made some handspun yarn earlier this year, then knitted a little square. It was too small and chunky to do anything with, so I unravelled it. Using the same Merino as above, I laid out two layers, then pulled apart some lengths of the yarn. Where it was extra loose, I teased it apart. Once the top was covered, I felted it:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used the golden tassley fringe of a charity shop scarf for this next piece. I’ve used bits of this scarf before, a weird thin pinky fabric, which had loose soy-like fibre trapped between layers in parts. I’m not exactly sure  what the wool I used with it was, it was from a Botany Lap Waste bag from World of Wool, it feels like fine Merino with a tiny bit of silk in. I laid out the tassel strip, added some wisps of wool, rolled it up and placed on top of a couple of layers of the Merino ‘blend’:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used the same Merino wool blend as the base for this next piece, which is just embellished with lengths of embroidery thread and floss:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis piece is also embellished with emroidery threads and floss. The top part is untwisted strands of cotton perle 5. The multi coloured lengths on the right side are from one multi length of floss. Most of the rest is single strands of floss, but over on the left I used some untwisted thread with the fibres fanned out, and also balled up some little pieces of floss.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used some threads from my tub of ‘mixed threads and unravellings’ for this next piece. I spindle-spun some wool also from the Botanly lap waste, which felt like 23 mic natural Merino, with the threads, just picking up bits, teasing them out a bit and spinning them with the wool. I left it on the spindle overnight, then let it unwind/loosen before using it. I used the finer Merino ‘blend’ as a base, then added lengths of the thread-yarn on to the top and felted:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese next two pieces were made with a wool I hadn’t used before, Charollais. I got the tops from WoW fairly recently then forgot about them. It makes really spongey felt. For this first one, I just got a handful from the same tub of ‘mixed threads and unravellings’  I used on the previous piece, and put them on top of two layers of Charollais:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis next piece was laid out the same, except I used bits from my ‘threadbare scarves and fabric pieces’ tub. I just ‘sprinkled’ them on top, then felted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo now you’ve seen a few simple ways of the scrap pieces being used, get your thinking caps on, get out all your tubs of leftover threads, yarns and unravellings, and come up with some creative ways of using your ‘free’ embellishment fibres!

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