This piece is large, somewhere in the 30″ length and 18-20″ width. This is the layout and I have sprinkled the cut up orange nuno felt over the base layer of green wool. I made sure that the orange bits were roughed up so they would stick down better.
Here is the piece after felting. I have pinned some larger poppies in the foreground made out of painted silk paper. I was distracted by the yellow in the direct center in the sky. I decided to add more yellow so that the one area wouldn’t stick out as much.
I needle felted some yellow across the left portion of the lower sky and a few wisps up higher. I also added some lighter/paler silk paper to the poppies as I felt they were too dark in the first try. Then I added some green locks to the foreground for foliage.
And here it is after finishing and “matting” on green fabric. Now Remembrance is ready to go the framer. Now I just have to find a new gallery to carry my work, easier said than done.
Recently, a local woman asked me to create a river view in felt for her. I created several watercolor sketches she could choose from so that we agreed on what the landscape would look like and what to include. The client lives on the Swan River here in Montana and decided she wanted a view similar to what she has behind her home.
After hand carding and blending colors, I started on the layout. I used a commercial prefelt background and mostly short fiber merino batts. Somehow, I wasn’t thinking correctly on shrinkage as I went with the idea that it would shrink 30%. But I forgot that I don’t normally full my wool paintings very hard as they don’t really need intense fulling.
I continued working down the picture laying out the distant trees, the river with the trees and mountains reflections and then into the foreground grass and lupines. At the same time I was laying out the big piece, I also laid out a smaller sample. That way I could try different options with final details and stitching. This shows the birch trees from silk paper that I was trying to decide upon. Luckily, I had made the birch tree silk paper several months ago at one of our local group meetings.
Here’s the small sample that I made. I tried the left tree trunk in prefelt and then used free motion machine stitching for the dark areas. The right tree trunk used silk paper which was painted for the dark areas. I also tried out some FME for the branches and the lupines. I didn’t feel that the FME was what I wanted for this piece and opted for the silk paper birch trunks. I had also used some brown/tan wool for the distant shoreline which was way too much if included in the original wet felting process. I ended up cutting out a portion of this sample so that the brown wool was showing much less. I then stitched the two pieces of the sample back together to give the feel of what I wanted in the large piece. This sample really saved me from making some big mistakes!
Here is what I had after wet felting. I had to full this piece very hard as the request was for a certain size. I don’t normally worry about size on my wet felted landscapes and I ended up cutting the edges because I had not figured the shrinkage correctly.
Next I started adding in needle felt details. I added more definition to the distant tress, added a shoreline and added some lines in the water to simulate movement.
Then I stitched some grass in the foreground and stitched down the silk paper tree trunks.
I continued on with details. I added some paint to the tree trunks, I couched down branches and added leaf details with needle felting. I added hand stitching in front of the trunks and some leaf details for the lupine.
Here’s a close up so you can see a bit of the detail in the foreground.
Then I found I already had enough green fabric that worked to finish the piece. My client is getting it framed with barn wood, so this is how I delivered the piece. And the wonderful thing is that she loved it. I’m so happy it worked out the way that she wanted.
Here’s the silk paper. It was made with natural silk color and you can see the silk still had some vegetable matter in it. No worries, I had plans to make it more spotty!
I found the green background fabric and here is the felt on top of the fabric. I like that there is some of the orange color in the green background to tie it together. I then decided to cut the grey edge away from the felt and just have the silk showing on top.
I sketched a tree on to tracing paper and made sure that it was the right size for the piece. I wanted the tree to overlap the leaf piece. Sorry about the quality of the photos but tracing paper doesn’t like to have its picture taken.
I then painted the silk paper with acrylic paint and let it dry.
Then I hand stitched the felt down to the background fabric. You can see how it looks here with the edge of the felt cut away.
Then I cut out the tree and glued the branches on that needed to be glued down. So the tree is in one piece but hasn’t been attached yet. I am trying to decide how to attach the tree. I am leaning toward gluing it on at the moment. I think stitching it will be difficult but I could hand stitch it down. What do you think? How would you attach the tree? I could fuse it down with fusible too but if I was going to do that I should have already added the fusible before cutting the tree out. Hmmmmm….
The original idea for this post was to create something for the 3rd Quarter Challenge. I also wanted to use up some silk paper I had made ages ago. We had been talking about using silk paper in felting on the forum a while ago and I thought it would be a good surface design.
Here’s the silk paper. I made it with leaves and stretched silk hankies. These were then glued together with fabric medium. The leaves have held up amazingly well since this is 3-4 years old at least.
A friend gave me some merino batt that was cut up into a variety of pieces. I placed them all together to make the wool base.
It was pretty thick which didn’t bode well for the “Beneath the Surface” part of the challenge.
Here’s the silk paper on the wool before felting.
I then added some coarse wool underneath the batt thinking it would migrate through and show on the surface. I don’t remember the breed but it’s coarser locks.
I then carefully felted the piece. Trying to avoid crushing the leaves but getting everything to attach. The merino was surprisingly hard to felt. I’m not sure why that was but it took a while. The coarse wool on the back didn’t migrate through hardly at all. So much for “beneath the surface”.
Here’s the end result. The silk paper felted in nicely and the leaves are entirely intact. They didn’t break or crack at all.
Here’s a closer look and you can see the surface texture here too. Now what to do with it? It’s about notebook cover size but I’m afraid that would be too hard wearing on the leaves. I took it back to my studio room and ended laying it on top of one of the canvases that I am working on for a different project.
It looks pretty good. Hmmm….. I think it would look good if I trimmed off the felt edges and then added some either stitched, tyvek or lutradur leaves. Perhaps a few viney bits too. As you can probably tell, I haven’t quite decide what to do with this yet. And I need to do something else for the third quarter challenge.
I hope everyone had a nice holiday and are ready for the New Year.
It’s almost the end of 2016 and looking back on the things I’ve done, there seems to be a few themes.
I did a lot of natural dyeing. Avocado skins, pits and the combo.
Cutch, Rhubarb and Indigo
Under the sea theme
2nd Quarter challenge working with scraps – the former credit card case turned into an ear bud case.
Then the cityscape with scraps.
A scarflette with locks
Crochet piece felted and embellished with stitching
Felting wit my grandsons
Silk scraps into a free motion stitched vase
3rd Quarter challenge adding dimension from Kristy Kun’s class
Ruth’s Paper Lamination class
Teri’s hat class
Mini weaving wall hanging
More work with scraps for a sewing machine case
4th Quarter Challenge with embellishments for a coupon case.
And blue booties for a shower
Of course, there were also plenty of samples during the year including using the needle felting machine to felt some unfeltable fabrics.
A big thank you to Cathy Wycliff for her post on weaving and felting; my sister Carol Olson for sharing her new sheep with us; Nada for sharing her workshop experience in Slovenia; Zara for her posts on Felting on a Trampoline and her Yak, Mongolian, Churro and Zwartables samples; Leonor for her soap tutorial and Terri Simon on sharing her projects from Kristy Kun’s class.
It was a great year for me in terms of learning new things and doing some recycling. How was your 2016 year of fibers?
I was hesitant at first because it required free motion stitching. Something I haven’t mastered. But I needed the practice, so this was a good opportunity to do just that.
The first thing I did was to tear it apart.
Then I laid it out in a round shape.
I could have left it plain, but decided I had some hand dyed yarns that would add some texture and interest and complimented the silk.
I proceeded to cover it on both sides with the Sulky water soluble stabilizer on top before pinning and stitching. I know I should have put down the Sulky before designing, but I’m getting good at flipping projects.
Then came the fun part — stitching it. I had a lot of trouble with the thread breaking, the tension being picky and a lot of stops and starts but I finally got it finished. Although I didn’t use fancy designs, it’s pretty much straight lines up and down and around.
Following Ruth’s directions, I wet down the package leaving it a little sticky and draping it over a jar then adding folds.
It looks a little droopy and sad. I let it dry overnight and was surprised in the morning to find a very pretty textured and dimensional vase.
While it’s not strong enough to hold anything, I could put in a glass or clear plastic to be able to set something inside. I even toyed with getting a small battery type light and making it a little lamp. There are plenty of holes and it’s very thin. It might work. If I can find such a light, I’ll post pictures on the forum.
Thanks Lyn and Ruth! I’m pleased with the results and the fact I was able to reuse the silk. Oh, I have some left but not enough for a vase. I’ll have to find something else to make with it and get more free motion practice.
A couple of years ago, I was making silk paper just for practice. I decided to try to cover a bowl and make some ruffle edges. But it was a disaster. I used an acrylic medium to help give it substance, but all that did was make it stiff and unmanageable. I tried soaking it in soapy water for a couple of days, but that didn’t do anything either. So it went into the “pile.” I’ve picked it up a couple of times thinking I could use it for something, but nothing came to mind. Sorry about the fuzzy picture.
Recently, with the Second Quarter challenge to revisit our UFO stash, I pulled it out again. This time as I thought about it I started pulling it apart, peeling off layers. I wondered if it would still felt, so I looked through my stash and found some yellow batts with unknown fibers.
It felted just fine, some parts are still stiff, but most of the thinner areas still had the silk shine. This piece will probably be made into a coin purse.
But what to do with the rest?
Another UFO was a piece of prefelt I had cut for “lace” in Fiona Duthie’s Surface Design class. I put a piece of habatoi silk under it and felted them together. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. But I like the bubbly effect of the silk through the holes.
Then I found a frame for the cityscape.
While I haven’t made a big dent in the scraps and UFO pile, I feel good about trying some new things.
I’m still going through some unfinished projects at the moment, mostly blanket stitching, hand-sewing buttonholes and fighting with my machine 🙂 I used one of the pieces of felt I’d made for the Australia Challenge to make a glasses case. I lined it with some orange cotton fabric and stitched around the edge with the machine before blanket stitching. Side one:
Earlier this year, when I made my coppery bronze felt, I had some pieces of commercial art yarn left over. I made a couple of small pieces of felt to use the pieces up. One of them just had pieces as embellishment just below the top layer of merino and they extended out of the sides. For texture on the top of the other piece, I made twists of merino and yarn. The felt pieces didn’t look big enough or thick enough to make anything practical out of them, they weren’t even the same size, so I thought it wouldn’t be a waste to sew them together to make a funky camera case. It turned out better than I expected really 🙂
I used the piece made with twists as the back as it was smaller.
I did manage to finish off another small coin purse that I started a while ago, another one made from felt and silk paper. I kept the natural edges for the front flap:
I was glad the felt piece was big enough to use the same felt for the inside pockets, I know only a little part of the back one is seen, but I think it’d look wrong with a plain piece.
In case you haven’t noticed, we now have a ‘Community‘ section to the website. If you hover over the tab, you can see from the drop down menu that we have pages for the Studio Challenges where you can find links to the original challenges, and also gallery sub pages to see all the art work created for the challenges from everyone who took part. If we’ve missed you off, we do apologise, there were quite a lot of posts here and on the forum to go through to find them. Send us a message via the Contact Us page if you want us to add your entry. There are also pages for finding links to interviews with guest artists and suppliers and also articles by guest writers. We have a really great article coming up this week from Terriea Kwong showing us how she gets her excellent results using plants for eco printing.
It’s hard to believe it’s almost a year since we posted about our plans for 2012! Looking back over what I’d hoped to achieve I didn’t expect to have done many of them, as the year panned out a lot differently than I expected. One thing I really wanted to do was learn some stitches by taking part in Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST). I did try my hardest, but I found the instructions really hard to follow and gave up after about 13 weeks. I never got the chance to explore direct dyeing felt any further, which is probably a good thing, since I’d hoped to combine the results with stitches I learned from TAST 🙂 I did dye some fabrics for using in felting, though. And I did actually get around to trying out a Suri Alpaca sample, but I’d hoped to try a few more ‘controlled’ samples so never had enough to make a post about it.
One thing I was really looking forward to spending time on in 2012 was working more with other felting fibres and fabrics, and writing some tutorials for the studio site. Early in the year I did make quite a few pieces exploring natural fibres with natural wools, which I really enjoyed. Some of the results were quite interesting, like this Suffolk wool and banana fibre piece, a photo of which ended up being used by a Lecturer at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) for a book.
I did write a few tutorials for the blog this year, but they weren’t about fibres. It seems like I spent a big portion of my time in 2012 on the phone to various government departments and agencies trying to get onto a scheme to become self-employed. I thought I had all the information I needed until it came to writing my business plan and realised I (along with everyone else, it seems) have no idea whether the scheme lasts 6 months or 12, which is quite a problem if you’re trying to forecast things! But hopefully that will all be sorted out in the new year.
I enjoyed taking part in the Studio Challenges this year, I haven’t done a piece for Karen’s weather challenge yet, but I do have some wool and fibres blended and around 40 photos of storm clouds to work from in the next few days 🙂 Another thing I enjoyed this year was finally learning how to make silk paper. I did intend to try a few more methods, but that was another thing I didn’t get around to, though I did buy a book about it!
A couple of my favourite things from this past year are the bird pods I made and using the electric sewing machine my mum gave me to make collage notebook and diary covers. I still haven’t mastered the speed pedal on the machine, but I can wind a new bobbin really well 🙂 The bird pods were great to do, I haven’t had much success previously making 3d felt from flat resists, but they all turned out really well. This is my favourite.
I’m looking forward to 2013, all the challenges and exciting new things yet to come. I hope you’ve had nice holidays and if you’ve done your own 2012 review, post a link in comments, we’d love to read them 🙂
Once all the hard work had been done 😉 I thought I’d give it a go too. I decided to just jump in and try it with spray starch. I’d read a few years ago that it was possible to make silk paper by spraying a layer of silk fibres with laundry starch, adding another layer of silk fibres and spraying that, then covering with baking parchment and ironing until it was dried. Well, it’s almost that easy. It’s hard to get the spray from the can of starch onto the fibres without blowing them away, so it takes a bit of practice to get the spray to ‘drizzle’. I found it helpful to spray first, so after a few trials, I got an old piece of cotton cloth and layed it onto brown parcel paper, sprayed the cloth with starch, added a layer of silk, drizzled then sprayed starch onto that, then added more silk, more starch, then covered with another layer of cloth, another piece of parcel paper and ironed it on both sides until it was dry.
The results were mostly really good. A few times, the layers wanted to separate, but then I had two layers of finer silk paper. I used one of these thinner layers to test out the silk paper before I made more. You can see a photo of before felting here, and after felting here. These are some of the silk papers I made, they are mostly dyed mulberry and tussah silk.
I did a small trial piece of felt using the tufty bits from around the edges of the silk paper. From this, I realised I needed to use bolder colours for the background so the silk paper could stand out more for the result I wanted. For this second piece, I started off with a layout approximately 34.5 x 34.5 cm
It shrank a lot from top to bottom, and finished up roughly 22 x 33 cm. I didn’t particularly position the silk paper pieces so that the fibres were running top to bottom, and a lot were two layers, so I’m not really sure why there was so much uneven shrinkage, but I’d noticed it on the trial piece too. Both pieces had two even layers of merino tops.
There were a few pieces of the silk paper which were thicker or had a lot of starch on, which took a little more work to felt in, but as you can see from this angle, the silk paper felts in well to the surface.
Lyn from rosiepink recommended the book ‘Handmade Silk Paper’ by Kath Russon, so I’m hoping to have a read through that soon and try the wallpaper paste method of making silk paper. Have you made silk paper or paper from any other fibres? Do you use it in felting or something else? I’d love to hear about it or see photos if you have 🙂