A few years ago, I made some fabric collages. I didn’t do anything with them for a long time, but eventually they all became notebook covers. I had one left, a large blue one:
On a whim, a few days ago I decided to make a cover for a ring-binder out of it. It wasn’t quite big enough, but luckily after a bit of a search, I found some of the backing fabric I’d sewn the collage onto. I used this to make the front sleeve. But first, I used a spare piece of the collage to make a little pen holder.
I used an offcut for the back sleeve
I used some nice braiding I got a while ago for the straps, and hand stitched the edges with regular sewing thread, and little blanket stitches.
The other thing I worked on this week was making a hat template. I had the same one for years, but when I cut my hair, it was too big, I have another, but I’ve worn that in the garden, so I used it to make a template. It was a bit like tracing around a lampshade or coffee cup to make a template, I had to roll it…and then squash it, and bend it 🙂 Eventually I had what looked like my hat. Using Photoshop, I went over the curves with the circular selection tool and drew lines between the edge to where the top curves intersected. Just to make sure it was even, I copied one half, flipped it over and joined the two halves.
Now, all I have to do is find the time to make it 🙂
Before the black Merino and multi fibre notebook cover I made recently, I’d started to make a greeny blue one for a diary. The first batt I was happy with on my drum carder was blues and greens so I used this for the top layer. As well as Merino, I added some texturey Icelandic wool, and locks of Bluefaced Leicester and Wensleydale that I dyed a few years. I added lots of surface embellishments: silk fabric, cotton gauze, organza, silk top, silk throwster’s waste, some synthetic curly fibres and some more of the dyed texturey, curly wools.
It was too large to get a decent clear ‘after felting’ photo, but this is almost all of it:
This notebook took even longer than the black one as it was the first one I’d made like this, using felt off cuts for the straps and hand sewing all around the edges:
I machine stitched the smaller strip onto the wide closure strip
And I machine stitched the two pieces onto the back
But I finished all the edges with blanket stitch
I kept the natural edge of the felt for the inside front flap, I like the little detail of pink and yellow on the silk at the top.
Last year I was talking about sorting my felt and fibre scraps into categories. I sorted my felt offcuts by size ranging from long and wide to short and narrow. This photo shows them. I was trying to work out what to do with the smallest pieces. I wondered how it’d look if I just pushed them close together on top of a piece of fabric and sewed them into place. So, I tried. I started in the centre with some red pieces, and they worked alright, so I added more. I kept to similar colours and added some pieces of fabric too because I liked how the nuno felt pieces looked. I also added some art yarns for a bit more texture. I kept adding and sewing until the red section was done, then I worked on the blue part and did the green part last. When it was finished it looked like this:
I kept turning it around, folding it, measuring it. I made sure the piece of fabric I worked on was big enough for a book cover, but the finsihed piece was too thick for that. I turned it over, folded it again and measured a bit more, then decided I could make a book cover out of it if I cut it and used different felt for the inside flaps. So, more measuring, hunting for felt and sewing of felt to fabric. This is what the inside looked like before I’d quite finished the bottom edge:
And, this is what it looked like once all the edges were finished:
I’m not sure whether I prefer it with the red part on the front:
Or whether I like the blue better:
I had quite a good sized piece left over, and I actually really like the green part the best, so I thought I’d use it for a gadget/camera/phone case. This is one side:
And this is the other:
I don’t feel so odd now for saving all the tiniest bits of felt scraps ‘just in case’ 🙂
I thought it was time I tidied out my felt and wool scraps as the boxes and bags they were in were getting too full. I know it’s really geeky to categorise scraps but whenever I try to find the right size pieces for a project I seem to spend more time sorting and searching than anything else. I never throw anything felt, fabric or fibre away, everything is good for something. This is from my bag of scraps that aren’t usable for anything else, so I save them for using between layers of texture felt.
Often when I’m laying out a project for felting, I end up with a few wisps of wool or fibres here and there, so I put them in a bag and keep adding until it’s full, then card them together. I get some really nice heathery blends, and they always add a lot of interest to felt with such a variety of colours and fibre blends.
Sorting out my box of big spare pieces was fairly easy, I mostly sorted it into thick, regular and cobwebby pieces. The box of smaller spare pieces took a lot longer. In the end I had about 8 or 9 separate piles: thick, regular and cobwebby pieces, and, as shown in this next photo: long wide strips; medium regular strips; thin strips; regular short strips and really thin and short strips.
I bought some water soluble stabiliser a while ago, so hopefully I’ll find time to use the really short thin strips for making a bowl using Ruth’s tutorial. The longish thin strips are great for making into loop fasteners. I wet them with soapy water and roll between my palms until they’re felted and sew them onto my project. If the piece is long enough I can leave the ends dry, fluff them out and the loop can be felted in with the project.
Once I’d finished sorting all my pieces, I chose some to use for my project-a collage book cover. I’d make a similar one a few years ago using felt pieces and ‘invisible’ thread, but I wanted to use my fancy new machine and zig zag stitch to sew strips and pieces.
This is the front of the finished cover:
And this is the back:
What do you do with all your felt and fibrey scraps and offcuts?
A lot of the times when I make a piece of felt, I don’t really have anything specific in mind for it. I just have an idea for a colour scheme, or want to try out new fabric or fibres or see how different things work together. Unless I’m doing a sample to keep, I try to make pieces that will be big enough to be used for something, like a book cover or a purse. I know from discussions we’ve had on the forum that I’m not alone in doing this, others have a ‘felt box’ where finished pieces go until the day we realise they are just ‘perfect’ for what we have in mind 🙂
Recently, I had a look through my box and found a nuno felted piece I made a while ago, it was just the right size for a small book-cover. I usually use three layers of wool when I make pieces that will become book-covers, but when I made this piece, I wanted to keep some of the nuno texture in the silk, so just used two.
This is the front:
And this is the back:
I know most of us stay in touch with friends and family by email today, but I still like to keep an address book, just in case and I do have some odd relatives who don’t have the internet!
Many years ago I bought some small mirrors to use with some mosaic tiles that I had, but they were too thick, so they stayed on a shelf. Then a few years ago I made a case for one and gave it to my mum as a present. I have another couple of boxes for felt off-cuts and looking through one, I found a piece I thought would be perfect for another mirror case, it was an off cut from a piece of felt I’d made for a trivet. I made this one slightly different and cut a hole in the centre of the felt so the mirror could be seen.
I should have wiped the mirror 🙂
Do you have a box or place to store your unused pieces of felt? What do you use your offcuts for?