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Naturals For A Nature Lover

Naturals For A Nature Lover

I wanted to make a piece of felt for one of my friends as a thank you for helping us out recently, he’s into the environment and nature, so I thought a piece using all natural wools and undyed fibres would be something he’d like. I really enjoyed not having to put too much thought into it apart from trying to use as many different fibres as possible. I can’t remember all the wools and fibres, but I definitely used: English 56s; Gotland tops, scoured fleece and raw locks (from Zara-thank you, again!); Brown Finnish, Grey, Brown and White Merino; scoured Shetland; Bluefaced Leicester locks; hemp; flax; soy tops; cotton nepps; silk noil; silk coccon strippings; Tencel; viscose fibre; bamboo fibre and ramie. Here’s the finished piece:

Close up of the top:

Close up of the bottom:

It’s not as textured as some pieces I make, but you can see how it is looking at it from an angle:

This is a close up of some of the flax:

A really nice, shiny Gotland lock with a gingery tip:

Another Gotland lock with some Soy top above and BFL locks at the bottom.

This is the BFL, I bought a bag of washed locks ages ago and forgot all about them until I went looking for something else!

The Tencel looked really shiny against the darker wools:

This is one of my favourite parts, because it has lots of texture, there are Gotland and Bluefaced Leicester locks, flax and hemp, Tencel, and cotton nepps:

Do you  have a favourite combination of wools and fibres? I didn’t get a photo from this piece, but I really like the silk noils and cocoon stripings on the dark brown wools, you often get little holes which look like a tiny bug made them, and the brown shows through the thin parts giving a ‘rusty’ look to it!

Recent Pieces:

Recent Pieces:

I finally got photos of the piece I showed being laid out a couple of weeks ago. It was dark purple in the middle with black at each end, and I used lots of different natural fibres on it:

I like these photos on an angle:

I think this was tussah silk:

And this is soy fibre:

My friend had some hair ‘decoration’ things that she was throwing away after using, so I thought I would see how they felted 🙂 She had plaited (braided) them into her hair, I forgot to ask if they came wavy or not. I used some wool tops I got in a bag of Botany Lap waste. It’s a natural grey colour, but has the odd bit of Angelina fibre blended in. I couldn’t see any, though:

You can see better from this angle how they attached:

Where it was thinner/spread out it really blended in:

I liked how it looked where it was thicker:

I don’t know what the wool is, it’s really soft, and the colours look like a blend of grey and oatmeal Bluefaced Leicester. This is the back:

But the edges are like a breed with curlier locks:

Have you tried any new or unusual fibres or embellishments lately?

More Natural Wools and Fibres

More Natural Wools and Fibres

I was looking through my flickr account recently for some photos to use on a flyer for the well being centre, and I came across some felt pieces I made with natural fibres and natural wool combinations. I haven’t done a post about ‘naturals’ for a while so I thought you might enjoy this old post from 2012:

Another couple of natural wool and natural fibre combinations I’ve used recently are Oatmeal Bluefaced Leicester with Ingeo top, and Humbug Jacob Tops with black and white Bamboo tops.

Humbug Jacob tops are a stripey blend of black and white Jacob wool tops. Just on its own it produces a nice result, but I thought I’d try using strips of black and white bamboo tops for effect. Both bamboos are really soft, white bamboo looks silky, but black bamboo is fluffy and more like fluffy cat fur. They felt quite differently too, the white keeps its silkiness and shines really nicely, and the black almost fades into the background, staying very matt.

Ingeo is made from corn, it is soft and shiny and smells faintly of caramel 🙂 I decided to cover the whole piece with Ingeo as it has such a lovely sheen. This was another fibre which shone even in dim light. The effect after drying is gorgeous, Ingeo is such a nice silky fibre and went really well with the Oatmeal Bluefaced Leicester. I think this combination would make a lovely soft and shiny scarf.

*The previous post I’d made was also about natural wools and fibres, if you’re interested, you can find it here

Shibori Shrug Jacket

Shibori Shrug Jacket

Heres another throw back post. I thought if I do not remember doing this maybe you won’t either. I hope you like it.

After seeing Ruth’s jacket it reminded me I had made a small one for one of my daughter’s dolls years ago. I thought I should give it another try but life size this time. I thought about doing it seamless but decided that it would make something that is a simple design into something complicated. Although I am not a great sewer I was sure sewing 2 straight seems on my machine should not be beyond me.

There are quite a few pictures so I have put them in a gallery for ease of viewing. If I could figure out how to post pictures side by side or in groups I would but that is beyond my skill level.

First I made a large piece of nuno felt. I used silk gauze and merino wool. After it was finished I put it in a red dye bath. It came out quite nice. It’s hard to tell from the picture because my camera did not like the red at all. The one you see was the best of a bad lot.

The next thing to do was the shibori. I finger pleated the middle of the piece starting at one short end. I very carefully held it flat and tight while I tied it. The first tie is the hardest one. After that you just pleat it up tying every couple of inches. You don’t want to be too neat about it. If the pleats are to perfect you get straight lines. You want your pleats to be tight so some of the material will resist the dye in the second bath. This type of shibori is supposed to make a bark like pattern. I put the tied up piece in a purple dye bath hopping for a nice red purple to appear on my cloth. It came out black. After it was dry the gauze side had more of a purple look but still very dark.

I sewed up my jacket. I made the material far too wide so the jacket ends up long. The short sides overlapped a lot when folded up. I had to have long “lapels” to make it work. It is not a mistake it’s a design feature, just ask me :O) It is still to long for me. I think it may look good one someone who is tall and thin. Two things I am not.

All in all not a bad try. I’ve made another piece of nuno felt to try again, I made it narrower this time. Now I have to find the time to sew it up.

Naturals and Needlefelting

Naturals and Needlefelting

I mentioned that we have tried out lots of different fibres at the well being centre lately, and the other week we tried out lots of different wool breeds too. We’ve used naturals before, but mostly for pods/vessels and lots together for hangings etc, but we made samples to get a better idea of what we could use each type for. Since I have more experience, I thought I’d use Herdwick and Lincoln tops. I used some flax and help tops with the Herdwick sample:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith the Lincoln I used Soy tops and Black viscose tops:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the Soy:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd a close up of the Viscose:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is what the back looked like:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of the others tried Texel, and had a hard time getting it felted. After the Botany laps unfeltable tops I had, I was a bit concerned. I’ve taken some wools from ‘Goody Bags’ and Botany lap waste in before now, so worried there might have been other unfeltables that got mixed up. My sample turned out alright though. I used some Viscose and Bamboo staple fibre on it:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt did get me wondering how much we automatically alter our techniques when using different wool breeds or mixes etc. I always think I felt the same no matter what I use or make, but maybe there’s a slight difference in pressure, or maybe it’s a matter of just felting longer, I honestly don’t know, but I’m going to be more conscious of what I do from now on!
We thought we’d have a go at needle felting before the holidays, so I made a little sample while testing out some fibres:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI didn’t get a photo of anyone else’s, and I don’t often do ‘figurative’ needle felting, it’s usually very abstract, which is why my sheep needs a bit more work! The body is alright though, I used some locks Zara sent me 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd that light green bit is a bush, not a weird tail!

Texture With Natural Wools

Texture With Natural Wools

It was interesting to see Marilyn’s 3rd Quarter Challenge last week about creating/adding dimension to our felt projects, we’d just started exploring dimension and texture at the well being centre’s wet felting and fibre group. The piece I made last week doesn’t really qualify as it’s something I’ve done before, but I thought I’d show it in case it gives a bit of inspiration for someone else.

We started with a couple of ‘regular’ thickness layers of medium coarse wools, like English 56 or Texel. I used a blend I’d made from some Botany lap waste and donated wools. We then added some ‘filling’ to help bulk our pieces out, mostly some scoured Norwegian lambswool and some unravelled aran knitting yarn (80% wool, I think). Then we added a couple of thinner layers of Merino, roughly the equivalent thickness of one coarse layer, we did two finer ones to keep even shrinkage. We topped them off with different silk embellishments like hankies, silk noil, cocoon strippings and ‘schappe silk‘ which I got from wollknoll. We started felting as usual, and once it was felted, we sewed running stitch across in different places, then pushed the felt together to ‘ruche’ it and form ridges. Then we finished felting a bit more and fulled it until it was as firm as we liked. Then we removed the sewing thread. This is how the back of mine looked:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the front:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is it the other way around:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had to take some photos along the surface of course, this is from one end:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is from the other end, it’s funny how it looks different rotated:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday we had a bit of a play-day using the different natural wools and fibres. It’s not the best place for photos, in the basement with unusual lights, and these are all still wet. This is Louise’s piece:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is Ruth’s, she was pointing out the cotton nepps while we were talking about them:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALyn has made a design on her piece so was still working on it, but it’s rude to leave her out!:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd mine, I used some Ryeland which I think Leonor sent, so it’ll be interesting to see how that dries:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the other art/craft groups at the centre is doing something about nature with a local school, and we might join in with that, so our dimension and texture exploration might have a bit of a nature theme over the next few weeks.

Year End Round Up

Year End Round Up

Every year I think I never had much time to do everything I wanted, but at least I did get to do some things which I enjoyed. I always enjoy the challenges we do on the Studio site and seeing everyone’s entries. I think this was my favourite piece from all the challenges, from Ann’s Stewart Stephenson challenge:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI tried a few new things this year, one of them was making a hat for the first time:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also tried commercial prefelt pieces kindly donated by Heidi Feathers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also tried a new embellishment fibre, Kapok:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd some new animal fibres. This is yak, it was the softest fibre I’d ever felt (or felted!):

??????????????????????Until I got some camel fibre, even softer!:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI know a lot of people prefer to make felt with a ‘purpose’, but I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of experimenting and trying combinations of different wool breeds or animal fibres with various embellishment fibres, just for the fun of it. A few of my favourite pieces: Dark Brown Corriedale with Ingeo:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAngora goat with black and white viscose:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother things I love is texture, surface design and sculptural felt, I did a bit of that this year too:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI do like colour too, so had fun dyeing a lot of wools and embellishment fibres recently. The milk protein was especially gorgeous:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks a lot for all the support this past year and all the nice comments an helpful advice, I hope you’ve enjoyed your past year too 🙂

Giveaway Winner and Natural Wools and Fibres

Giveaway Winner and Natural Wools and Fibres

GIVEAWAY WINNER:
The winner of the Complete Wet Felting Kit from Heidi Feathers is … Kirsty Lowde. Congratulations, Kirsty , please can you leave a comment on this post so I can pass your contact info on to Zoe so she can arrange to post it to you (you don’t need to post your email address, I can get that from the Admin panel!)

kirsty Lowde
NATURAL WOOLS AND FIBRES
You might have seen my post on the forum last week about a wall hanging I made using natural coloured wool tops from many different wool breeds and some different embellishment fibres. Someone usually asks, so this time I’ve measured 🙂 It’s 30 inches long and 10 inches wide.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the bottom end, some of the wools and fibres are: Bluefaced Leicester tops and noil, Humbug Jacob, Black Jacob tops and noil, Lincoln, Gotland, flax, hemp, soy top, milk top and viscose:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the soy top and Lincoln tops.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is viscose tops on Zwartble with some Ingeo to the side.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs much as I love colours of dyed Merino or the textures of a nuno felted silk or shiny organza, I really love the variation of colours and textures you get with different combinations of natural wools and embellishment fibres. For as long as I’ve had natural wool tops and embellishment fibres I’ve been making various experimental pieces of felt with them, some just flat wet-felted, some combined with other techniques for a variety of surface designs or sculptural effects. When I got my recent World of Wool order and a few more breeds to try, I thought I’d also start to make a variety of small panels with the intention of maybe combining them into one large wall hanging some day. This is a panel I made using Manx Loaghtan wool tops and Bamboo staple fibre:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is an angled photo of the panel I made with Grey Herdick wool tops and Hemp fibre:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this last piece is something I made alongside the top stripey piece:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks again to Heidi Feathers for the generous giveaway prize and prefelt pieces to try out.

 

Cheese cloth Nuno Felt Experiment.

Cheese cloth Nuno Felt Experiment.

A while back Ruth got some free samples of some cheese cloth  or cotton gauze from Cheese Cloth Fabric.com. She dyed some and sent me some samples. I also had a more open weave cheese cloth that I will use so you can see the difference. I thought if I am going to use my time I should make something that will be salable in the end so decided to make bracelets or cuffs so I could easily compare the cottons.

gauze on black
gauze on black
gauze on white
gauze on white

The pink on the left is the sample sent to Ruth and the purple on the right is the gauze I got at a place called Lens Mill  http://www.lensmill.com/ in Guelph Ontario. You can see the purple is a much more open weave.

first two samples first two samples wool on

Ruth sent to colour samples. Here is before and after adding the wool.

purple gauze ready to felt purple gauze  2 ready to felt

I did one sample of the purple flat and one scrunched up. You can see my template marks behind the right one.

purple gauze finished purple gauze  2 finnished close

I like the way both these tuned out. they are very different than the tighter weave cotton.

green gause finished close orange finnished orange 2 finnished

I did a scrunched up pink one for comparison. I think I like the scrunched up ones the best. I may add some beads in to folds.  They will be for sale later in the summer once I get some buttons and button holes done.

 

 

 

Meet the Supplier: Dreamspin Fibres

Meet the Supplier: Dreamspin Fibres

We would like you to meet one of our sponsors and a friend of mine Maureen Harding of Dreamspin fibres.  We met a few years ago at a fiber conference and became friends. We live far enough apart that we only get together a few times a year but we always have a great time felting and trying new things. She doesn’t mention it here but she has a sale on select fibers at the moment.

m silly


Q-4 Three types of fibre you can’t live without?

Merino, silks, silk fabric but other fibres depending on the project

Q-3 Have you always been a felter?

I’ve been felting for 15 years, before that I was spinning and knitting.

Q-2 Two tools you use all the time?

Pool noodle and plastic window screening. (and ball brause)

Q-1 One fibre art technique you love the most?

I have to say felting. But also enjoy spinning and knitting

store room

What is your business?

We sell wools, prefelts, fabrics for nuno felting, a few felting tools, mostly for felters.

Why and when did you start selling fiber?

It was an outgrowth of my interest in sheep and wools.  Initially I raised sheep, learned to spin, learned to felt, and started buying other fibres wholesale for my own purposes. After a while I started selling fibres at fibreart venues and would make up articles to show what can be done with the fibres. People started asking me if I would teach them how, and this led to doing workshops in felting.

What kind of items do you sell?

As well as fibres for felters, I also sell felted articles such as nuno scarves, felted hats, and felted bags at various shows throughout the year.

dreamspin prefelt


What do you think makes your business different from similar ones?

We pride ourselves on our fast service, orders are made out the same or the next day. We offer free shipping on orders over $100 in North America. And we are always happy to offer assistance and advice over the phone, or email.

Where are you located?

Near Campbellford in Ontario

Where can we find you on the internet

Dreamspinfibres.ca

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