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A Few Recent Things

A Few Recent Things

I know I said I’d decided not to make anything specific for the craft fair, but I was thinking about the comments I get and questions I usually get asked, and one thing which people often say is that they’d love to have a go at felting if they had the time. When I made the practice felting videos recently, even though I was being conscious of going slow to demo properly, both the layout and felting only took about 15 mins each, so I thought this might be a good ‘selling point’. So I put together a few small fibre packs, spent some time editing the videos to speed them up, copied them onto my phone and thought I’d take my tablet with some tutorials and do a special offer to go with the packs. I did get some interest, but even though it was a really cloudy day, you could barely see anything on my tablet or phone from the glare! Best laid plans and all that!
If you remember, the camera battery had run out before the end on both videos. I redid the wet felting process one, and took the piece from the video with me. I don’t know why, but it looks like it has been scrunched in a box in these photos! Maybe it got creased on the washing line.

I do like the light turquoisey blue nylon fibres, especially on the pink:

Close up:

I took some sari silk to the well being centre a few weeks ago. I’d cut the pieces to take a while ago, so I’m not sure if this green piece is from a sari I’d already used. They have a few different areas of pattern and I’ve not had the whole pieces out for a while. It actually looked like quite a plain pattern, but the texture makes it look a lot busier:

It rippled quite ‘deeply’:

Close up:

A while ago (so long I can’t remember when!) Tracey sent me a beautiful piece of silk. I only got around to trying that out recently too. I only managed to get one decent photo of it:

I love the way it felted, and I think I’ll try a piece with some gooseberry or lichen wool to match the green parts, see how different it looks. Thanks for the silk, Tracey, it’s gorgeous 🙂

Finished Bookcovers, Unfinished Purses

Finished Bookcovers, Unfinished Purses

I actually finished a couple of notebook covers this week. The first one is the landscape piece I showed cut out ready for sewing. This is the front:

And this is the back:

I think every time I use ‘scene’ type pieces for book covers, I tell myself to make the top and bottom ‘sections’ bigger next time, because I always have to compromise over what gets cut off. I always forget! But, then I can use those nice pieces for something else, like part of a collage book cover! I tried to make this next one nice and bright, you might remember me choosing some of the pieces back in February:

And I did make a start on it in March, and then put it away for a while. I realised last week that I was going to be hot, sweaty and miserable no matter what, so I may as well just try to be a bit productive and get my sewing machine out and finish the cover:

Other side:

This is the inside, with some hand dyed cotton fabric as lining:

Front and back opened out:

I bet a hat made like this would look great! I still haven’t manged to get any further on some purses I cut out, but I did get a photo of them:

2nd Quarter Challenge Piece Finished

2nd Quarter Challenge Piece Finished

I finished off the natural vessel I showed felted, but not shaped or fulled, a couple of weeks ago:

It’s made with various wools, I took a range of naturals to the well being centre and I think the first two (inside) layers are Portuguese Merino from a batt, and the next two are brown Finnish. I took lots of locks in too, mostly Swedish breeds/crossbreeds from Zara in lots of shades, but I might have used a few BFL locks too:

If you saw my post last week, you might be interested to know how the thing which looked a bit like a pizza base turned out. This is my entry for Ann’s 2nd Quarter Challenge, which is “using fabric as a surface design instead of a base”, but Ann then added “As an extra challenge to you it can’t be a sample and it can’t be a book cover” 🙂 Luckily, I’d already had an idea which would fit the challenge, since we’d been doing ‘extreme nuno’ and vessels at the well being centre, I’d planned to combine the two at some point, and Ann’ challenge gave me the push to do it.

I cut out a template, sort of bowl shaped, but not for any reason, I just wanted something big and not square. Then I started adding strips of white fabrics to it: synthetic chiffon, muslin, scrim and cotton gauze. I then added fine layers of Rambouillet. The photo I showed last week was where I’d wet it all down and had started to felt it. This photo is of the piece felted, you can see the resist starting to curl from the shrinkage:

As soon as I started to full it on the bubble-wrap it really puffed up!

I removed the resist and carried on fulling, I turned it the right side out, and realised I’d accidentally made a felted cow stomach!

Close up:

I did a bit more fulling and tried it on a balloon to shape and removed it see if it was fulled enough:

It wasn’t, so I did a bit more fulling, , this isn’t the best photo, but you can see the shrinkage, it started out the full height of the netting:

I rinsed it and left on a balloon to shape and dry. This is how it looked finished:

Another side:

This is some nice ruffley chiffon on the bottom, between some Cotton Gauze and cotton scrim:

The chiffon ruffles up so nicely:

This is an area where I overlapped different fabrics:

And, since the thought behind the idea was that it’d make an interesting lampshade, here it is on a lightbulb (btw, if you tell someone to look at how cool something looks on a lightbulb, warn them when you’re going to take it off, apparently some of us forget and ‘blind people for hours’!)

Close up:

Different angle:

So, did I fulfill the criteria, Ann? 🙂

First Quarter Challenge 2018

First Quarter Challenge 2018

A few weeks ago I showed some printed fabric transfers I’d applied to muslin. Or tried to apply-I lost the instructions so they didn’t all turn out very well! I trimmed them down and nuno felted them recently for the First Quarter Challenge. The first one was a small image of a face, I used some Skudden wool for this sample:

It attached well, and evenly:

It wasn’t a great photo to use, and got distorted with the shrinkage, but I think other designs or images would work well. On this close up you can see the difference between the plain muslin and where the design is, and how you can still see the weave at least in the blue part. It shows how much the Skuden migrated too:

The other transfer I tried was one which had printing mistakes on, and also I tried to remove the transfer paper too soon, so the coating was left on in most parts. I used Rambouillet top for this sample (first time I’d used it and I love it!) This is the whole piece:

I think there were only tiny corners of letters which came out properly, so it was just varying degrees of coating left on. I think this is one of the thinner patches, the space between the letters is wide enough to see the coating and where it ends on the fabric:

There was lots of the coating left on here:

From this angle you can see how the part with the most coating on didn’t attach at all, like most people predicted:

This is a photo of the back, which also makes it obvious where it attached, and didn’t:

And just because I loved it so much, here’s a close up of the tiny crimpy texture of the Rambouillet felt!:

And finally, no, this isn’t a pizza base I was making, it’s actually part way through making a piece for Ann’s Second Quarter Challenge, which I’ll show you finished next time 🙂

Guest Blog Post – The Bird And His Breakfast

Guest Blog Post – The Bird And His Breakfast

This is a guest post by Lyn of Rosiepink. She created a wonderful piece for the Second Quarter Challenge. Thanks Lyn!

The second quarter challenge is to use fabric as a surface design instead of a base, so
out came my boxes of fabric! Spring has come to my garden and it’s a welcome sight after the winter, so what better place to find inspiration for my challenge piece – the bird and his breakfast.

First I drew a bird. It’s not accurate, anatomically speaking, but I like its quirkiness.

After a lengthy rummage through my fabric stash – and finding lovely pieces I’d
forgotten all about – I chose two very open weave fabrics for the background and the
bird so that the nuno felt would end up flat rather than ruched…

…then I made two pieces of nuno felt using four fine layers of white merino wool under
each piece of fabric.

The brightly coloured fabric was a triangle, so I cut it in half and placed the two pieces
together to make a square to make the felting easier – you can see the cut in the photo
above.

Both pieces of nuno felt needed a light shave to remove the superfluous white fluff from
the surface to reveal the bright colours. You can see the white fluff obscuring the colours in this angled shot…

…and here’s a close up of pre and post shave – quite a
difference.

The bird has 12 distinct shapes within its form, so I used the drawing as a pattern to cut
12 shapes from the brightly coloured felt when it was dry.

Using the side of a dark blue ‘Sharpie’ pen point, I touched along the edges of every
shape to give a little definition. I coloured in the eye, using the same pen, then added
three small white stitches for the eye-glint.

I needle felted the pieces into place – it was a bit like doing a jig-saw! I didn’t go too
close to the edges of the nuno felt shapes because I thought it might disturb the surface
too much. I needle felted gently so that the shapes adhered to the background but didn’t flatten, so the bird is in relief.

The worm is wool yarn needle felted into place. The piece of worm going from the
ground to the beak is thin compared to the bit hanging from the bird’s beak to show how
stretchy worms can be!

Great post, thanks Lyn!

Nuno Felting Party

Nuno Felting Party

My local art group just happened to plan on nuno felting with this month’s meeting which coordinated wonderfully with Ann’s 2nd Quarter challenge of using fabric and nuno felting as a surface design.

Paula had everything set up for us and we were ready to start nuno felting.

Louise was doing a combination of string, alpaca and cobweb style felt. Her second piece had a piece of fabric in it but I didn’t get a photo of that.

Paula used a fabric that was sold as “Halloween” fabric and applied wool on both sides.

Paula also made a second piece with cheese cloth.

Sally used a variety of different fabrics on her green piece.

Sally created a second piece too.

A bit of rolling action happened in the middle of the pieces above.

Here are my pieces. I forgot to take a photo of the layout but the left hand photo is laid out and wet down with the finished pieces on the right. I am planning on adding stitch to these. I actually made a total of 6 pieces by going back to Paula’s the next day. So  loads of felting is finished.

I will show you more when the stitching is added.

Latest Makes

Latest Makes

I got a really cool embroidered cushion cover years ago (probably over 15, thinking about it) and the back kept splitting at the seams. I mended it a few times, but it was past repair so when I went to the fabric shop recently I had a look for some fabric to replace it. I found a really nice abstract plant/paint splash design, though that’s not so obvious from the small cushion back:

It doesn’t exactly match the front, but now I have a reversible cover! This is the front:

We had a ‘play day’ at the well being centre the week before easter. I’m sure I work better the less thought I put into something! I just grabbed a couple of colours of Merino and a few wool ‘kebab’ tubes from the bag someone else had got out. I honestly don’t think I could have made a nicer piece if I’d planned it!

This week most of us did some form of nuno felting. A couple of us did a bit of ‘extreme nuno’, laying out various fabrics, then 4 really fine layers of Merino, and bingo-wing-busting amounts of rubbing until our pieces are roughly a quarter of the starting size! I need to stop using so much blue, it is a nightmare to photograph, but this is my finished piece:

I loved the ripples on this red fabric:

I can never resist using a bit of scrim and synthetic chiffon for these pieces:

This was from some fabric donated by Judith or maybe Terri, a nice shiny piece of viscose:

I’m not sure what this fabric is, one of our members brings us lots of offcuts to use. I like the way it just crumpled:

And this is the back, there was quite a bit of texture, but I liked how there was a lot of definition from a piece of organza which had kind of bent out of shape:

If you missed it, Ann’s 2nd Quarter Surface Design Challenge is Nuno Felting, so have a look here and join in 🙂

Nuno Felting

Nuno Felting

When I read this week that the second quarter challenge is to be Nuno Felting I thought I would share the first of the few Nuno projects I have done so far.  I say “few” because although I trawl the charity shops for silk and chiffon scarves on a regular basis most of them still reside in the plastic box under my table!  I’ve actually done very little with them so this next challenge should see some of these lovely fabrics being put to good use!

My introduction to Nuno Felting was in 2016 when I attended a workshop at Artvango with a lovely feltmaker called Clare Bullock.  Rather than taking the easy route (silk, muslin etc) we had been encouraged to try a wide variety of fabrics, some of which were going to need a lot of coaxing to get the fibres to migrate through.  Clare kept a watchful eye on us to ensure we weren’t taking any shortcuts which meant everyone’s samples were successful.  By the end of the workshop I took home five pieces of work incorporating a variety of fabrics including fine cottons, viscose, silks, wool and polyester.

Fabrics prior to fulling
Fulling complete

 

It seemed a lot of work at the time but there was something magical about seeing the textures emerging as the wool shrinks and I just loved the texture from the green woollen shawl…pity I didn’t get a “before” picture of the green/blue fabrics.

I came across the orange and the green/blue samples again when I was having a tidy up last year and decided, rather than putting them back in the drawer, to add some very simple stitching and frame them as landscapes.

Since then I’ve made several Nuno scarves but not really taken the time to be experimental with Nuno……this next challenge should provide the inspiration I need to have a play!

Collage And A Case

Collage And A Case

When I’d had a tidy up over new year, and made enough space to get out all my offcuts, I chose some pieces for a new collage book cover. I made a start on attaching the pieces to some thin fabric, which I think is some kind of interfacing.

When the pieces are such irregular shapes, or at unusual angles it’s really hard to position the pieces so there isn’t one of the same or similar colour touching! I think I have enough bright colours to finish the piece, but wondered if some added texture might work too. Luckily, I have the nuno strips sampler from a few weeks ago, and another I made recently:

Even though I love this texturey scarf, I don’t think it’s suitable for a book cover:

I’m in two minds about this one, it’s not as ‘loose’, but still has potential to catch on something:

Last week at the well being centre, we were doing simple resists again, for our newest member. I was going to do the ‘usual’ simple case one which is about 22 – 30cm x 8cm (depending on whether a flap is wanted or not). But, since we both like drums, and she’s a really fast learner, I thought we’d be a bit adventurous and use a 61 x 6.5cm template to make drumstick cases. They both turned out really great, this is mine:

The drumsticks fitted snuggly and securely. They’re perfect … for new sticks, but after I used my sticks for only the second time this week, they looked like this:

Wool and fibres don’t make me cringe, but the sound of rough drumsticks dragging on felt is not pleasant! Luckily, because the cases weren’t very wide, we ended up with uneven shrinkage, and they shrunk less along the length of the case, and I cut a few inches off the end of mine. And it works just like the cardboard sleeve the sticks came in:

And I can slide it off the smooth end, no scratchy wool noises!

Recent Things

Recent Things

We’ve had some new members join our wet felting group at the Well Being centre this year, so I’ve been making ‘beginners’ pieces with them the past few weeks. One I always enjoy doing is a Nuno strip sample piece. I try to pick some fabrics I’ve not used before and like to pick an unusual one which looks like it’d never work, but I know from previous samples that it does. It’s usually one of the weird scarves I’ve picked up at a charity shop, and I chose my favourite ruffled loopy one this time.

The fabric I hadn’t used before was a piece of lacy fabric which I think was previously a blouse. It’s not that obvious it was lacy, but you can tell a bit better from this close up:

I usually start off absolute beginners with a soft wispy piece because it helps to learn to control pulling off the wool tops, but one of our new members joined while I was sorting out supplies so didn’t have them all at the centre. We had a practice run of pulling off the tops, and she did it well so we made a simple landscape which we usually do on week 2. I usually stick to a simple design for this to make sure it gets done, has a good outcome, and I don’t have to answer a million different questions: 2 layers, green for grass, blue for sky, add some embellishments for clouds and flowers, then felt. But there were only a few of us, and I could work 1 on 1, so I went with her ideas and just showed her how to realise the ideas, so we each made a kind of farmer’s field picture:


I usually end up with odd random things on mine, because I use it as a demo piece if someone isn’t sure, which is why it looks like I have discarded kids’ toys lying about (viscose nepps) and some half dug out potatoes (cotton nepps)! We used some pencil roving waste too, we both used a length of natural brown to make a ‘wall’, and I added some variegated green to see how it’d work for a hedge. I’m not sure it looks very hedge-like, but it did get a nice ripple to it, you can see the brown piece a bit clearer on the close up and see that the blend we used just above is actually made up of yellow and purple:

Our new member’s landscape piece turned out so well that we moved onto using resists the next week, some other members mentioned before New Year that it’d be good to do vessels again and maybe more resist work, so for new members to build up to and give a refresher to others, we made a simple piece with resist strips. Some of us put fibres or fabrics under or on top of our resists for extra effect, and embellishments on the top. I used the lacy fabric from the nuno sample piece, and a nice pink wool lock:

You can see more of the laciness on this piece:

Some of the fibres from under one of my strips:

Those nuno sample pieces always come in handy for when I’m planning a collaged felt project:

Because we all know the first rule of tidying up has to be getting everything out to make a mess again!

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