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Mostly Naturals

Mostly Naturals

I’d planned to finish off a couple of projects yesterday – a bird pod, probably from last year, and a vessel I started at the well being centre on Monday – but thought that since I was getting all my felting stuff out, I’d do a ‘quick’ sampler piece with lots of different wools to take to the centre because a few members want to order some wools for felting at home. Well, it took a little bit longer than I’d planned, and I only used 15 different wools! This is it with the rows laid out:

I think this photo shows the colours a bit more accurately:

I used a few embellishments, but didn’t pile them on, like I usually do ๐Ÿ™‚ I loosely twisted a silk hankie:

Added some teased apart silk noil:

A little bit of Bamboo staple fibre:

I took a quick photo after felting, before I hung it on the washing line to dry:

I can’t remeber if I ever showed this bird pod, but this is the one I’d planned to finish:

This is the vessel I started on Monday, still damp:

And the other side:

I really intended finishing them later on, but actually got around to felting those pieces of scrim with transfers on, so at least I’ll have those to show next time!.

Recent Work

Recent Work

I mentioned recently that I’m doing a Craft Fair soon. It’s this coming Sunday at Victoria Baths on Hathersage Road in Manchester. They also do guided tours that day, so if you’re interested, have a look at their website.
In my post last time, I showed a faintly plaid felt piece which I’d started to make into a diary cover. Here is the finished cover:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also mentioned a piece of silk I got for ยฃ3 a metre. I did manage to use it on a felt piece, but I haven’t made it into a cover yet. It looked a bit nicer and brighter just before the final fulling, but I wanted to make sure it would stand up to years of handling:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t know if you remember a couple of pictures I posted as part of the Jackson Pollock challenge from a bag I was working on, well, I never did get around to finishing the bag, and when I saw it recently, I thought I could cut it up and turn it into a nice sturdy diary cover. So, I did ๐Ÿ™‚ย  This is the front:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, this is the back:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI always forget just how long it takes to do these covers! Also, because I didn’t have any coloured threads which I thought would be just right, I ‘blended’ my own. I took a strand each of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Violet embroidery floss and made a 6 strand rainbow. I had to do that for each part I stitched, and I was starting to regret it by the end ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the things I wondered after the last fair was whether it was obvious that my stuff was actually handmade felt made from real wool. A lot of my stuff is well felted or nuno felt, so to anyone who doesn’t know felt, it could just be commercial fabric I’ve bought. So I thought I would make some obviously wool natural pieces for book covers. They are made from lots of different breeds of wool and embellished with locks, some mohair boucle from Marilyn, some silk noil, and viscose and bamboo. This one has the most added embellishments:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI did actually use the same size template for these pieces, but with all the different wools and embellishments there was different shrinkage. For this piece, I tried to stick to wools which were more similar: Merino, Bluefaced Leicester, Finn and Corriedale, and there are less embellishments:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf I get chance before the fair, I’ll upload the finished covers to ipernity or the forum.

Kapok Fibre

Kapok Fibre

I bought a new fibre to try out a couple of weeks ago, Kapok fibre. Like cotton, it grows around the seed of the plant, but is much lighter and softer. As much as I like fibre tops, I do like the shorter staple fibres, especially with coarser wools for the way they interact with the wool and produce more ‘natural’ looking effects. They often seem to mimic things you find in nature such as cobwebs, fungus or mould, which look solid but are really soft or fluffy when you look closer. This first panel is natural white 23 Micron Merino. I took a ‘piece’ of the kapok fibres and teased it apart, sames as you would silk noil, and laid it across the wool. It’s hard to see the Kapok at all.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI know a lot of people don’t like curly or coarser wools for felting, especially if they mainly make felt paintings or want a brightly coloured, smooth, firm felt. But I’m the type of person who loves textures and shades and tones as much as colour, and love rocks and tree barks just as much as flowers or minerals.ย  So, if you’re like me, you might like thse next couple of pieces which I made using Shetland and Finnish wools. For this first one, I used grey Shetland tops and added fluffed up, teased apart Kapok fibre:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like the effect the thinner parts of fibre produces:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the areas where the fibre was denser:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made the Finnish piece double sided. I first put some teased apart Kapok fibre on my template, then added the brown Finnish tops. I added a layer of black Finnish tops, then blended some Kapok fibre with black Finnish noil and added that. I added some Kapok fibre on its own in a few spaces and blended a small amount of Kapok With black Finnish top and added that too. This is the brown side:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClose up 1:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the denser areas:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the black Finnish side:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA close up of a dense fibre part:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the Fibre blended with the wool:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo you have a favourite coarse of curly wool? What do you use it for? Do you have a favourite embellishment fibre? You’re welcome to link us to any pics or come and post about it on the forum.

Natural Wools and Embellishment Fibre Panels

Natural Wools and Embellishment Fibre Panels

I was thinking recently that I might have to change my plans a little bit, and make some different sized templates for my felt panels. Quite a few of the wools I’ve got have a very long staple length, much bigger than my current template. And the varying shrinkage rates makes a lot of the panels similar but not quite the same; so I think a variety of squares and rectangles might work out better to piece together in the end. I haven’t really thought too much about how I would actually ‘construct’ the hanging, one idea was the sew the edges of the panels together, kind of like seams on clothes, but visible so they formed little ridges, but I don’t want to lose the cool wavy edges some of the wool breeds like Lincoln create.
This is Brown Finnish wool with a covering of flax:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is another Finn piece, with a diagonal band of hemp, which is quite similar to flax.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClose up:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a felt panel made withย  ‘Humbug’ (stripes of black and white) Jacob, I used black and white viscose tops for this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is more of a straight on shot:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClose up:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis last panel is Black Jacob wool tops and Soy bean staple fibre.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love the effects you can get with the staple fibres.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo you like to try different breeds of wool for felting? Do you have a favourite or ones you think are better suited to particular projects? How about embellishment fibres, do you have any favourites?

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