Browsed by
Tag: needle felt

A Felt Solution for a Small Problem

A Felt Solution for a Small Problem

Black thumb drive and black thumb drive and black thumb drive? Which Identical looking thumb drive has the file I am looking for? Silly me I saw them on sale and bought them! Now I again have a handful of thumb drives that I have to open each one to find out what it might have on them…. Well, that’s annoying.

thumb drives Yes, I have a lot of black thumb drives!

I had to pass some files over to Ann and need some way to make this little black drive look different from the rest of them and so it won’t get lost with any that she also has.

Sitting here in front of the computer, with a pile of fibre and lots of needles, I wonder…… can you needle felt directly to an attachment point on the drive? These have particularly small attachment spots for a toggle so a ribbon or leather strip won’t fit. But I think I can get a felting needle in there!

I had bought a pink rose and grey batt from Christine which just happens to be sitting here.  What shall I do? What shall I make? I have no clue… No, I don’t think I want a fish. So I grabbed a bit of fibre and started to poke at it, poke, poke, flip, poke, hmmm, no, not a fish. But it is starting to look like it wants to be a mitt. One of those really big winter mitts gripping the end of the thumb drive. Ha! My thumb drive has a thumb attached to it (with the rest of the mitt!)

OOPS, I gave it to Ann before getting a photo of it.

thumb and palmfingers

thanks, Ann!  the top is the thumb holding on to the hole in the drive and the purple is the back of the mitt. it has a big fluffy cuff. I will have to work more on the palm and wrist when I get it back.

Ah, another day of rain, I guess my fleece washing and drying is now getting an extra rinse again. it’s raining too much to even sit out and felt undercover today.

I grabbed some more of the same batt of pinks, rose and grey and started randomly poking at the wool. After a bit I started feeling like footwear, yes that is definitely a short felt boot. I added a bright pink bit of fibre as the sole and started pulling bits of curls and added them along the rim of the boot and extended the backup and attached it to the thumb drive.

1234567     1-7

I got distracted working on the computer and looked up to see MORE RAIN…. The fleece gets another rinse.

The weekend was busy with getting Mom groceries and birthday cupcake (chocolate on chocolate with chocolate!) She is 89 this year!  I had a wonderful visit with friends, with social distancing and then on to the birthday party and belated birthday presents for my Niece for her 16th birthday (we gave her a starter selection of fibre, needles and an instruction book. She had never felted before and made a very nice strawberry between getting the book, eating dinner and before dessert!

For the next thumb drive, I really wanted to make a wire sheep. I had some of the combed blue locks sitting close to hand so blue sheep it would be! I divided the single piece of floral wire into loops for legs, tail and left the rest for the head. My tiny scrolling plyers had disappeared gain so Glenn stopped into Dollerama to pick up more. I don’t know what I would do without that store, it has most of my not originally meant for felting supplies. I had to wait on the plyers until he got back from work so I hand twisted the legs and used the tail loop at the attachment to the thumb drive. I will tighten that up and make hoof loops later.  I decided to make a nice round little body but leave the legs and neck wire. The head I added ears and a couple of tight curls. I think she turned out quite well.

1089   8-10

The attachment is easier to see with the wire rather than with the boot or mitt felting.

111211-12

Since the labelling of the boot’s drive as a Boot drive gives it other meanings in computer vocabulary I will call this the pink slipper drive, and the other will be the blue sheep drive.

That was a fun little project and has successfully made the on sale black identical thumb drives now look different! Have fun and keep felting (but it may be best not to do wet felting with this one!)

13 13

Dyeing some yarn

Dyeing some yarn

A year ago a friend who also owns a small fibre business asked me to dye her some Autumn-inspired rainbow yarn for her to knit with for her own client. I was happy to oblige, and very pleased with the end results. This is the picture of the leg warmers she made. Her name is The Crimson Rabbit on Ravelry and here is her profile.

_DSC2239_medium2

 

Now, repeating a colourway when you have no written data on how you accomplished it the first time can be a bit tricky, but not impossible. If you’re used to the same dyes you sort of develop an eye to recognise them, and this is more or less what happened in this instance.

You can see the yarn starts out a very light yellow and progresses to a slightly more orange-toned one. I mixed some dyes up, eyeballing the colours and dipping a corner of kitchen roll tissue in the liquid to determine when I was happy with the mixture. I did the same for each colour. I was lucky I recognised the yellow-brown dye at the end or I’d be in a lot of trouble to reproduce that particular one.

IMG_4107

This is what the skeins look after they’d been steam-set and dry. I think it looks quite similar from the original one, don’t you? Winding these two skeins back to functioning yarn took me (I kid you not) around two hours. I had divided and tied up each section previously by weight, and boy it’s a lot more work to put it all back together…

Now, since I know my post is a little late (sorry about that) and a bit on the thin side, allow me to share a couple of images of the park near me when the cold arrived. Our friends over in North America will no doubt think this type of cold is cute, but I sure felt it in my bones…

IMG_7399

IMG_7405

Finally, another exciting commission: a raven! I was asked to make this and it had to specifically be a raven, not a crow. Not sure exactly how to tell the difference between the two, I did some internet research and, a few documentaries and image searches later, I think I’m a bona fide corvid geek now…

IMG_4100

What exciting stuff have you been up to in the fibre world? Share away, I’d love to hear it.

 

Painting with wool

Painting with wool

For today’s blog post, I am sharing with you a workshop I went to, where Dani Ives was teaching how to paint with wool. If you haven’t heard of Dani’s work, I highly recommend you check out her website.

Dani+Ives_Luna+Portrait
Portrait of Luna, copyright Dani Ives (taken with permission from the author)

Before we get started, what exactly is “painting with wool?” It is a 2D needle felting process whereby you pick a theme, copy the design onto flat wool sheets or another type of fabric, and then proceed to “paint” it with different colour wools using felting needles.
This term was coined by Dani Ives when she realised she was essentially using wool the same way painters use paint to represent an object.

IMG_3267
My “classmates” before we started

I was asked to bring an image to reproduce. My main goal with this workshop was to learn how to do 2D pet portraits, so I decided to be ambitious and chose a photo of my cat Marshmallow.

Marshmallow png
I’m being ambitious but not overly so – her eyes are closed

After transferring the image onto the felt fabric with an ordinary pen, it was time to pick the appropriate colours to use. I confess this is the part I have the most trouble with, because you have to think of the colour not only “as is” but also have a little sense of how it will look after it’s been blended with the others around it.

IMG_3268

We then proceeded to apply the wool onto the surface and needle felting it in place. You need to keep the reference photo at hand and look at it often, as it’s very easy to get carried away and start using artistic licence – you don’t want to do that when you’re going for a faithful reproduction!

IMG_3273
There’s more hours put into this than I want to admit

This is a slow, laborious process. Obviously you will get quicker as you become better but I sure took long to reach the above phase.

IMG_3315

This is my current progress. It’s slowly coming together. I can’t wait to see this finished.

Finally, I had to share my fangirl moment, a picture of me with Dani Ives herself!

IMG_3270

Have you ever done any 2D needle felting? Let me know how it went for you in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

Chico the needle felted dog

Chico the needle felted dog

Hello, Leonor here. My guest post for today is going to be a simple “show and tell” as the weather here in London is too warm for complicated thoughts!

Some of you might be aware that I am a fibre artist by trade. Anything wool and I love it. I got into this business a little by accident, and making custom needle felted dogs was even more unexpected – basically, a friend asked me for a mini of his whippet, I took the challenge, and the rest is history!

I’ve now been playing with wool professionally for around 5 years, and I must confess there was one hurdle I was yet to conquer in my work – creating an open mouth. I’d tried once and it didn’t come out right, so I more or less gave up on it. That is, until I made Chico!

DSC_1102

At first I was going to make his tongue out of polymer clay (the idea of finishing it off with a nice layer of glossy varnish to mimic moisture was very attractive to me) but then I decided not to. I liked the idea of a 100% fibre sculpture better.

DSC_1106

I made the lower jaw separately, making sure the upper section was thin enough to accommodate both parts without looking weird. I added a layer of black around the edge to make it more realistic, and then a little white on the back for teeth. The tongue was made using two shades of purplish pink blended together. I made two mini tongues and chose the one that fit best.

DSC_1110

I received a few reference photos to make this little guy, my favourite was one where he was sitting with his leg to the side and smiling. I just had to make him this way.

DSC_1115

I love the detail of paw pads, the feet immediately look real. You can’t really tell from this picture, but Chico is er… anatomically correct. I like a realistic sculpture!

DSC_1114

Below is a picture of the original Chico. The mini version is off to a Spanish island as a surprise for the whole human family. I hope they like it!

unnamed

Have you ever created a needle felted animal? What wool did you use and how did you like your experience? Let me know in the comments section.
Questions? Happy to help, just leave a comment!

Tidying up Treasure.

Tidying up Treasure.

In an attempt to find more storage I had to clear out some junk that should never been stored in the first place. I am sure everyone has some of this. While I was rummaging I found my old tiny needle felting machine. Its a small converted sewing machine. I had forgotten I even had it.

I used to have a larger one but I sold it when I moved more into wet felting hats and scarves.   Instead of having a sponge pad for the needles to poke down into it had a plate with a hole for each needle. I really didn’t enjoy using it. You could hear the needles hitting the edges of the holes as you tried to move the fabric around.  You need to move the fibers and base around slowly while needling to cover an area. I was always sure the needles were going to break and either jam the machine or fly. I didn’t want to have to wear safety glasses as I worked.

I have the big cityscape I made with the little machine framed and for sale.  It has almost sold several times.  With someone trying to decide between it and another piece and the other always went instead. One day it will find the right home. Today I would do more wet felting and less needle felting but all the little machine would probably still be the easiest way to place with the little windows. Not the best shot of it  but I have no place to hang it or even lean it properly to take its picture. framed it is about 36 inches by 24 inches.

 

Anyway I am glad I found it . I think it will be useful for tacking things down and adding smaller pieces that tend to move around to much in the wet felting process. Of course part of that problem is me being impatient. I think I am going to see if I can make a better guard.  I wonder if anyone I know works with clear plastic and I could maybe commission a clear guard attachment.

Felted Sheep Class

Felted Sheep Class

This last weekend I was teaching a needle felted sheep class. I had 5 ladies in the class and as usual I forgot to take as many pictures as I should. I should hire a photographer I am always to busy.

I showed them how to make the legs by needle felting and then showed them how to make a wet felted snake you can make legs faster and easier if you want to make a small flock.

snakes-for-legs

They did really well, with very little finger poking. After needling all the parts together in to naked sheep, they all picked their colours form the containers of Blue Faced Lester curls I brought so their sheep could get their wool.

bfl-curls

img_4833 img_4834 img_4835 img_4836 sheep-4

Four were completely done at the end of class. I love theses little sheep they all have their own personalities.

img_4839 img_4838 img_4840

One was not quite done and will be finished at home. For the moment we decided he was staggering  home from a drunken bust up at the local pub.

finished-sheep-5

This is probably the last time I will teach this class and the 5 ladies made it a fun class to finish with. I few other talented ladies are going to take over the needle felting classes at the guild.  This suits me as I don’t needle felt much anymore and prefer wet felting.

Meet The Artist

Meet The Artist

Today we have a Meet the Artist post, with Leonor from Felt Buddies answering our questions.

Fibre 3,2,1
Q-3 Three types of fibre you can’t live without?
My first obvious choice would have to be sheep’s wool! It’s a lovely fibre to work with and oh so versatile – from felting to knitting, it’s wonderful for just about anything in my world. Although merino is a staple, I find coarser fibres are great for needle felting and love using them.
The second fibre would have to be alpaca hair, because the brown is just perfect for some animals I make, like horses. It’s just the perfect shade, but I have a confession to make: I don’t love working with it, it’s so fine it makes it hard to needle felt!

FB 7Q-2 Two tools you use all the time?
Can’t needle felt without felting needles, and I use aluminium wire a lot in my projects as well.
Q-1 One fibre art technique you love the most?
Can I say spinning wool? I know it’s not what I do for a living, but it is fibre-related and all things fibre just fascinate me.

felt buddies (6)
General Questions
What is your business?
I own a handmade business (of mostly) needle felted sculptures called Felt Buddies and Co. I specialise in making people’s pets, particularly dogs.

felt buddies (5)bWhat kind of items do you sell?
My bestsellers are definitely my pet commissions, although I also make other things in felt: dryer balls, toadstools… I’d like to increase my ready mades in the future.

felt buddies (4)What do you think makes your business different from similar ones?
I can’t speak for other businesses, but I truly love what I do and care about the quality of items I produce, and that my customers are happy with my work. I try to create a more personalised relationship with them, because that’s what handmade small businesses should be about. I have also made friends along the way, so I’d say it’s a win-win situation.
I am also constantly trying to improve my technique and come up with fun things to make besides bespoke pets, which keeps my brain occupied for most of the day.

felt buddies (1)bWhere are you located?
I am in London, UK. I was born in Portugal and grew up in China.
Where can we find you on the internet?
You can find me here:
Shop – www.feltbuddies.net
Facebook – www.facebook.com/feltbuddies
Instagram – @feltbuddies
Blog – www.feltbuddies.co.uk

felt buddies (3)How did you get into fibre arts?
One day I was perusing a medieval fair in Portugal and happened to come across a stand that sold felting supplies. I was immediately drawn to the many colours displayed, and the items she had on display (3D fun looking animals). I just had to give it a go! It was an absolute disaster, as I didn’t quite get the hang of wet felting. I gave up.
It was when I switched to needle felting that things really started flourishing. I could picture the end result in my head, and my hands just had to follow my brain’s schematics – and the more I did it, the more I enjoyed the process.

Did you study art at college?
I did not. I have a college degree in Psychology because for some reason I got the notion it would be more “sensible” of me to pursue that than arts, but then I just went back to my lifelong passion, making things with my hands. Even my hobbies reflect that: knitting, spinning…

felt buddies (2)bWhat are you working on at the moment?
Right now I’m between pet commissions and enjoying the hiatus by making notebooks with felted covers. I’m also in the process of working on a tutorial for needle felting, so here’s hoping that happens quite soon.

FB 9What do you like to do when you aren’t creating art?
I think my brain melted a little with that question. Can time be spent without having my hands in fibre?
Seriously, though: I love reading and can lose myself in a good book very easily. However, if you read my first reaction, this will come as no surprise – I have been trying to master the art of reading and knitting at the same time. I also love baking bread and am enjoying coming up with different types of dough each time.
My final goal is to be able to read, cook and knit at the same time. I’m joking! Or am I?

FB 8Many thanks to Leonor for taking the time to answer our questions. Don’t forget to check out Leonor’s work on her sites and etsy 🙂

%d bloggers like this: