Browsed by
Tag: needle felt

Needle Felted “THING” first time running this workshop

Needle Felted “THING” first time running this workshop

The local Ottawa Guild had been optimistic in the latter part of 2022 and started to reschedule workshops, unbeknownst to us the evil covid was friends with 2 influenzas and invited them to drop by too. So we wound up with students and instructors out sick by the end of November into December. This was also the month my new workshop had been booked. I had offered to teach a chickadee or a tiny dragon but had been requested to make a Thing since Elizabeth, the workshop coordinator and I had not been able to decide on a definite thing. This is the description that was listed for the workshop.

Description:  Jan is paralyzed with too many possibilities for an item to use to teach needle felted sculpture, thus we announce a workshop in needle felted THING creation.  Jan will probably decide more or less what the THING will be before the workshop but it will be a surprise for students.  You will create your THING using three dimensional needle felting. By the end of the workshop, students will have the skills needed to go home and make a THING of their own choosing.  Previous felting experience is helpful but not necessary. Good eye hand coordination is very helpful (those needles are sharp).”

As soon as it was scheduled, I started to work on organizing a brand new workshop. I quickly figured out this scope is a bit broad, so making a small basket protecting thing would help. I had admired an amigurumi mix-and-match monster making book.  “Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium: Flip the pages to make over a million mix-and-match monsters” by Kerry Lord.  Using the simple shapes from crochet to inspire the students, should give absolute beginners an achievable target and those who have felted before the opportunity to try four different wire gauge hands or wings and a tail.

The notes covered wire and needle gauges, fibre, fibre preparations (carded vs Combed it can make a difference), then wrapping. I had gone through and followed a couple of my projects and showed how I had made and built the armature, as well as a few wire augmentations I have had to do over the years. Most of that last section is actually in the blog posts! I finished off the notes with a list of books they may want to investigate and three online sources of videos.

If the various flues and covid were not enough of a challenge we had our first big winter store about to hit. I think most of the worst went south of us. I wonder, what the states could have done to offend the weather? After some debate with Elizabeth it was decided that since the forecast was to have the storm ending by Saturday morning, we would see how the roads looked closer to the workshop.  The snow had momentarily stopped and the workshop was declared a go.  I had collected the supplies together and then pulled the bags of fibre to go from the basement. Glenn hauled and loaded it all into the car. He and our new neighbour also cleared out the end of the driveway and we made a brake for the Guild Studio on the other side of Ottawa.

Car is being loaded to go to the workshop with fiber and suplys, snow covered car, tree and drive way. the driveway is getting quite icy. Grey Kia hatchback still dusted with snow, with hatch back open showing it is Full of bags of fiber. snow covered branches above car hang low from the weight of the clinging snow. Inside my Gray kea soul. there are bags of fiber and suply filling the back of the car blocking direct vision out the back and getting quite close to the inside of the roof. 1-3 it’s impressive how much wool you can stuff in a Kia Soul!

The side streets were not the greatest, but the highway was fine and the parking lot had been cleared!!!

the snow covered and slippery walkway in front of Heartwood house (the Building the guild is in) snow covers the ground and is clinging to the trees, the front corner of my car is visible on the left of the pictures. Front Gallery just outside the Guild studio, 7 large bags of wool on one side and boxes and bags of suplys on the other side of the hall way. in the distance my walker also carying boxes. the gallary has tropical plants along the windoe and artwork (prints) on the walls. 4-5 Arriving at the Guild and dropping off the stuff

He carried in the bags of wool, the box of armature things and the couple boxes of supplies. Then went and found the missing tables.

4 large plastic folding tables and a smaller white one hold fiber and boxes of suplys for workshop within the OVWSG studio6 Tables found and now I can set up!

He set them up in a C or U pattern so I could sit in a rolling chair in the center and help any student without a lot of standing and bending over.

18 pages of notes, a colourfull foam nealing pad (originaly for gardening), a pice of pool noodle, 3 sizes of small wooden dowls, leather Finger cots, wooden single needle holder all sitting on grey folding table 7  18 pages of Notes, Foam kneeling pad, A piece of pool noodle, 2 sizes of dowels, finger cots, wooden single needle holder. Still to add will be the needles.

I had also had a few needles for them to see what difference a gauge will make. T32,T36,T38,Crown40,Revese40 and 42. all needles are in zip lock bags and in little pieces of pool noodle foam. 8 I also had a few needles for them to see what difference a gauge will make.

a book on comparitive anatomy and one on Anagarumi monsters both listed in the text below picture9 the books just past the needles

You may have spotted I brought a few possibly useful Books; Comparative Anatomy (Animals Vs. Human)  Cyclopedia Anatomicae: More than 1,500 Illustrations of the Human and Animal Figure for the Artist by Gyorgy Feher. I also had a book on Anagarumi to give the students some ideas.  Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium: Flip the pages to make over a million mix-and-match monsters by Kerry Lord. (Kerry Lord also has a book on crocheting sheep! Toft Sheep – 18 Crochet Sheep Patterns (uses UK terms))

a couple of my sculptural felting books. both books are listed in the text below the picture.10 a couple of my sculptural books.

Armature/Sculpture books I brought to show the students; A Masterclass in Needle Felting Dogs by Cindy-Lou Thompson, Needle Felted Kittens: How to Create Cute and Lifelike Cats from Wool by Hinali.

There are now quite a few good books on sculptural felting with or without an armature. I had a list of 14 that they may want to keep an eye out for.

plastic haloween skeliton of a dragon standing on pacagease of smartie candys (candiy coated chocholet)11   I also brought sustenance and plastic inspiration

The Ottawa guild has always wanted to have small class sizes to insure good student-teacher ratios. Most workshops have a maximum of six students. With the first snow dump of the year and 2 types of flu plus covid, I was a bit worried that it may not run. In the end, we had one student driving over an hour to Ottawa and made it safely but one was sick and another with a sick child. So we ran with four students.  Three went for Anagarumi-based Things and one went with a Kraken/Octopus combo. They were a bit bigger than I had envisioned but they all still had their armatures in time to have lunch.

4 images of hands working on bending wire to make there armatures12  Armatures are underway

We had two Things with four arms and a tail, one with two arms a tail and wings, and the octopus creature used pipe cleaners (ok now there called Chanel stems since there are not a lot of pipes to clean anymore) to see how that would help with wrapping later.

After a lunch break, they started to wrap the fibre around their armatures.

wool aplication starts, 3 of the scupltures has the first bit of wool added. 13 wool wrapping begins

I brought a couple of types of fibre preparations. This would let them see the difference between carded (which makes a woollen yarn)  and combed (which makes a Worsted yarn). I am going to talk about this more in a future post.

This thing was being helpful by holding fiber for its creator, even when that was not as helpful as it sounds.14 This thing was being helpful by holding fibre for its creator, even when that was not as helpful as it sounds.

this thing is developing fabulous wings.15 this thing is developing fabulous wings.

Unlike my last octopus this one has 8 arms! The pipe cleaners were found easy to wrap over.16 Unlike my last octopus this one has 8 arms! The pipe cleaners were found easy to wrap over.

A little way into wrapping, the students all realized it takes a bit of time to wrap, so instead of rushing and risking lots of punctured fingers, they decided they would like to add a second half to the workshop and focus on surface work. I did spend part of the time they were wrapping to show them a couple of options for adding fluffy furry surfaces.

two of this things arms were added to increase its head.17 two of these things arms were added to increase its head.

This one still has all four of his arms and is now standing on his own.18 This one still has all four of his arms and is now standing on his own.

By 4 pm we had good shapes developed and no major bloodletting due to rushing.

the octopus is starting to emerge. 2 legs are wrapped in white Top (Combed) and the rest are wrapped in Roving (Carded) wool.19 the octopus is starting to emerge

the thing with 4 arms has now received a head20  the thing with 4 arms has now received a head

the winged thing has temporary eyes and looks like he is looking forward to getting wings.21 the winged thing has temporary eyes and looks like he is looking forward to getting wings.

The class while not quite finished seems to have had fun to this point.  We will get a bit of time scheduled for part two to finish the outer layers in the new year. It’s always hard to estimate on time for a new workshop and the pace the students will progress at. Not pushing for speed, I think is the way to go for this one. Needle felting yourself is not conducive to creating more needle felters!

I hope you will get to take some time over the holidays to do a bit of needle felting. If you are at a loss for what to make you may want to peruse the Anagarumi Monsters for a bit of mix and match inspiration! Happy Hanukkah, Mary Christmas, Happy Solstice and Happy Holidays from the Mer Family, the Scott-Martin Family and the rest of my felted menagerie.

PS is it just my dyslexic brain or is this date really cool 12-22-2022 (if only we had 20 or 22 months it would be perfect! OK, the last few years have felt like years containing more than 12 months) but I hope you can enjoy such a fabulously numbered day! See you Next Year!!

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: