This last Saturday I taught a slipper class to 6 lovely ladies. I gave them a choice of templates, so there were different types of slippers being made at the same time. We used the one that looks like bunny ears, the one with little pointy the ears on the sides, boots and some pointy ones. They used Corriedale wool for the slippers. I prefer something like Fin wool but it is hard to get it in colours and everyone wants colours. So Corriedale is a good compromise. After everyone made templates it was onto laying out the wool.
Then on to rubbing rolling
Once everything was hanging together well, it was time to take the resists out. You might remember Christine made one of the pixie hats in the hat workshop a few weeks ago. Hat Class. Hat Class She is planning for curly toes.
And on to fulling. There is scrunching and throwing of course and we had a washboard and a car mat to help with the shrinking. Sorry I have no pictures of that.
You can custom fit your slipper right on your food of course. You can really see how much it has changed compared to the one that hasn’t been fulled yet.
This one was almost done.
Judy’s are the only ones managed to get a picture of at the end of class. She put a little of all the embellishment fibers on them to see how they felted. She still wants to a just the top at the opening. She is going to make insoles and add a leather sole.
I am adding this in. Judy had some felt insoles and she needled some special supports for her feet onto it and fit them into her new slippers.
I’ve still been in the mood to explore the Edo Period. I remembered when my oldest son was in high school and brought home a Japanese exchange student who gave us a little kitty statute to bring prosperity to our home.
Of course, when I looked for it I couldn’t find it, but found plenty of pictures on the Internet. It is technically called Maneki-neko which means “beckoning cat.” Of course, there are many stories behind the cat. You can read a few of them here:
There are also different meanings and results for different colored cats. I chose black since it helps with good health (or getting rid of evil spirits). Different writings have different meanings. I did see one for green for good health, but I just wasn’t ready for a green cat.
Normally the traditional white cat brings wealth and prosperity and is seen in Asian restaurants and shops. There is also confusion as to whether it is Japanese or Chinese. It was the Japanese in the Edo period who developed this character.
I knew it was going to be a bit more complex than just making a resist for a pod. Since I didn’t have a particular size in mind, I just made a resist I felt I could get enough detail on and manage.
I used prefelts for the first layer and merino wisps for the sides. I also added needle felted noses, cheeks and prefelt and cotton batting for the one arm. Then added three layers of corriedale putting the eyes under the last two and prefelt for the ears. On the back I also made a small tail using needle felted Jacob wool. Not much of it is visible on the wet cat.
Then I added some silk with throwsters waste to add a little bling.
Then I fulled it and stuffed it with bubblewrap to give it some shape. I did forget to open the eyes.
I rewet it and opened the eyes. So, next I will have to add all the details needed to finish.
Since we’ve been traveling a lot this winter, I wanted a small project to work on. I’ve had a frame for a small coin purse sitting around for a while. So, I decided to try that.
Unfortunately, the first one I made was too thick. I had used three layers, the middle layer corriedale. I set it aside and when I returned I tried again.
I like the idea of using silk inside. I had some yardage from a shop in Florida I purchased last year. It was close enough to the turquoise batt I had on hand from another project.
The first one was also a bit larger than I wanted. I’m always looking to lighten my handbag. So, I had adjusted the resist to be a little smaller and used two layers. I also cut the silk to overlap so there wouldn’t be any gaps with the silk. Of course, there is no guarantee it won’t shift during felting.
I used mulberry silk to embellish it.
When I finished felting, I carefully cut the sides to match the curve of the frame.
Then came the challenge — getting the felt into the frame and staying long enough to sew it on. I tried Gorilla glue, but that made a mess and didn’t work. I ended up using a blanket stitch around the edges then a nail file to push it into the frame.
The frame had holes on one side and a longer solid piece on the backside. In order to get the needle through to the back, I had to run it on an angle while making sure the felt stayed in place. Very fiddly!
Doing the second side was more of a challenge because the felt kept slipping out. I did manage to finish it without throwing it to the ground or out. It seems to be fairly sturdy despite using a single cotton thread.
I’m pleased with it, but it was a lot more work than I had anticipated. I have trouble with working small in tight spaces. My hands were not happy. We’ll see how well it wears. But I can guarantee there are no more coin purses in my future unless I design my own without a frame.
Have you made these? Is there a trick I was missing?
My favorite physician is retiring this month and I wanted to give him a special parting gift. So, what better than a good bottle of wine with a handmade cozy?
I had made a wine cozy/gift bag a while back, but the resist was just a bit off. I took Lyn’s advice and straightened the lines and rounded the bottom slightly.
I made some Nuno prefelt for the leaves and rolled a variety of grapes in preparation.
I didn’t want to replicate the whole first design, so I decided to have the grapes hanging from an old worn fence. Of course, I forgot to take pictures after I laid out the background and began adding the design elements. My bad.
Unlike the first one I did using corriedale as the base, I used black prefelt. Then added some light gray batts from my scarflette, a little mulberry silk and a darker gray for texture in the fence. Then I added the grapes, leaves and vines and began rubbing.
Some of the vines and grapes were stubborn so I had to do a little needlefelting to fix them after the fulling. Also I think because of the prefelt, there wasn’t as much shrinkage, so I had to keep fulling to get a good fit.
For the turnover top I used a little green batt on the inside and attached the leaf and vine. I made a few holes and wove the vines through the top to tighten it slightly.
Again for the bottom, I took Lyn’s advice and bashed the heck out of the bottom to get the rounded shape I needed. Thanks Lyn!
I decided to dye some Icelandic roving with the three primary yellow oranges in the Adobe picture. The colors at each end and in the middle. Let the mixing begin!
Using a printout of the Adobe pic, I used my acid dyes which were already prepared and mixed each color using what I thought would come closest. It’s really hard to tell from the color of the mix so I used coffee filters to write my formula and drop a sample at each stage. It still wasn’t showing a huge difference. I had already prepared the fiber, soaking it in vinegar water so I was ready to dye and hoped it worked.
I started with the middle color which the generator marked as base, then the color on the right, then the left.
Since I only have an induction stovetop in my work area, I wanted to do all the dyeing at once. So, I used zip bags and steamed them together in a large pot.
After steaming them for 30 minutes, I left the bags overnight to cool. The next morning I opened each one and was surprised that the roving was mottled.
Once the roving was rinsed and dried, I ran each through the drum carder.
The blended batts weren’t exactly the colors I had wanted, so I took it once step further and started blending the batts with more roving to try to get the colors I needed.
You can see the blended colors were closer to the samples I had made with the dye. Go figure. I guess the white filter paper may have lightened them up.
Here is the progression:
Number 1 (in the center) the formula was one tablespoon each red and orange, one drop blue and 2 drops black in one cup water.
Number 2 (on the right) –3 tablespoons red, 1 yellow, 1 drop black and 15 drops blue.
Number 3 (on the left) 3 tablespoons yellow, 1 red.
When I carded them I added white , black or blue to lighten or darken or mute the color. I just adding until I thought the color was close enough. There is no contest here, just satisfy yourself the color is close enough.
I really liked the purple and gray in the PaletteX picture. I had some merino close to the colors so I carded the purple with white to lighten and black to darken and yellow to mute. Then I had some steel gray merino that matched the gray.
Now, what to make? After a lot of thought, I decided to make an Ipad cover. I didn’t want to replicate the picture just use these colors to to give the impression of a sunset.
I made the resist using a 30% shrinkage rate, then covered the resist with hand dyed silk habatoi added a later of gold merino I had dyed a couple of weeks ago. The next layer was white Corriedale.
The final layer was the design using the colors I had just dyed and carded.
The inside ruched nicely and even mirrored the design on the outside.
Then in went the Ipad.
It is slightly larger than the Ipad. When I calculated the shrinkage, I based it on Merino shrinkage not Icelandic. But its okay since I can put in a pen and stylus.
So, for the challenge you can pick a picture and decide which colors you’d like to use, then dye/and or blend roving to get your colors. There is no set number. I just got carried away. Then use them in a project of your choice – wet felting, needle felting, spinning, etc. Whatever, you’re comfortable doing.
This was challenging for me, but I learned about color mixing and blending and just what the eye sees. Of course, the printed version and screen version may also be different. Just have fun with it!
I look forward to seeing your challenge pieces on the forum.
As you may be aware my daughter in law Mari is due to have a baby girl any day. While we wait for the “phone call,” I decided to make her mother a small cosmetic case/clutch. This is her first grandchild and she has traveled from Japan to be with her daughter and my son for the big event.
I made a template allowing for a 30% shrinkage rate. I had planned to use some prefelt and merino, but I realized I was almost out of black merino. So, I substituted some black Corriedale for a middle layer. The bottom half of the resist was 9″ x 11″ (23 cm x 28 cm).
The inside layer was a turquoise merino.
The second layer was the Corriedale batt and the last layer was a black prefelt. Then I laid out the embellishments. As usual, I was so engrossed in the process I forgot to take pictures. The embellishments were 100% Peruvian thick and thin hand dyed wool yarn, a turquoise and metallic silver mohair yarn, silk hankies and green and turquoise throwsters waste. The template for the flap was not used as a resist, but as a pattern for the shape and size of the flap.
Once I was finished felting and fulling, I shaped the bottom and sides using an ice cream scoop. The shrinkage was less than I expected. But it was well fulled so I was satisfied. The finished size was 8″ x 7″ high (20 cm x 18 cm)
I used the yarn to put on her initials — ST on the flap and embellished it with a silver button and will either use a velcro or magnetic closure.
I was pleased with the outcome. It is sturdy, yet not heavy or bulky.