This week I am working on a few cuffs. These will have bubbles in them so they have to start out really long as when I put the marbles in them to get the bubbles they shrink fast.
These are made with commercial prefelt. Then some silk offcuts from other projects and some throwsters waist
The bottom right picture is the back side of one of these. It is covered in silk throwsters waist. The silk will show up inside the bubbles.
The back ground is prefelt and a green batt cut with my rotary cutter to get the nice neat rectangles. There is throwsters waist and some blue faced leicester curls that I dyed.
Next I wanted to try something different.
The red is a thick piece of prefelt form an other experiment. It wouldn’t stay folded over the curls until after it was wet down but I forgot to take a picture of it. I added some throwsters waist onto the top after I folded it.
Can you tell I was in the mood for throwsters waist? I do love how it shines and goes all curly. The next time it’s my turn to blog I hope to have them done so I can show you how they turned out.
I hadn’t handmade any new felt for a few months until this week. I knew I’d have a spare couple of days for doing layouts and felting, so I went through my supplies and got a few things together. I wanted to make a texturey piece in coppers bronzes and metallic tones, so I chose some commercial art yarns, ribbon, silk tops and silk throwster’s waste in those shades:
I also looked through my organza and found a few different gold shades:
I mainly used a shade of Merino from World of Wool called ‘Rust’, but used a few other shades and blends aswell so it wasn’t too ‘flat’. I really like the way it turned out.
I can’t resist a couple of Supermacro close ups of the texture 🙂
This is one of the organza pieces.
Another piece I felted yesterday was a nuno felted piece for Ann’s challenge. I found a quite gaudy vintage pink synthetic headscarf in my supplies and thought I’d make a piece using that. The weather was great yesterday: storm clouds, lightning, thunder, hailstone, but it kept going too dark to take good photos so here’s a sneaky peek at some close ups and I’ll post the whole piece soon. Ripples:
Has anyone else made anything for Ann’s challenge yet?
A while back I went to a felting friends for a few days fun. She showed me how to make bubbles and cut them open to great effect. Here are the pictures of what I did.
First of course I laid out some wool to felt. But these are samples so plain felt won’t do . I added silk threads and a silk square and some silk roving and other wools to see how it would all go. This is the underside.
This is what the top side looks like
Then of course there was the usual rolling and fulling.
Here they are all finished and ready for the marbles.
The next step is to put marbles in while it is still damp. You pull the felt tightly around the marble and secure it with an elastic and now it is a bubble. We used the elastics they use to put braids in horses tails and manes because they are small, stretchy, strong and cheap. You put in as many as you like and what ever sizes you like. You can also use felt balls. the felt balls are good if you want to leave them uncut. Marbles are to heavy for that.
Here they are all tied up.
Here they are cut. I cut the tops off , I cut x’s and star patterns and some I tuned inside out. if you cut more off you see more of the inside and you can stretch them flatter too.
You can see how the underside becomes the inside of the bubbles. These samples started out about 6×8 inches and the finished pieces are about 1.5 by 2.5 inches. They take up a lot of room. I only have 2 of them left my friends dog ate one. I think I will glue them to some leather and make broaches out of them. They are lots of fun to do. I made some wrist cuffs with this method and I will blog about them next week.
Dyeing some waste. Throwsters waste that is and I suppose it must have been trash at some point or they wouldn’t call it that. Throwing is was they call reeling silk for thread and this is the left over little bits. I have a batch of white and needed some colours for a project. The pictures of wet silk an bags did not turn out but I have some nice pictures of the end.
I dyed small amounts in plastic sandwich bags. First I placed each blob of waste in a bag and added some soapy water to get it wet. I let it sit to soak while I got the dye ready. I used MX dye as it would be the fastest and easiest. I poured of the extra water out then poured in the dye, just enough to get it all wet. I squished it around in the bag to make sure it all got dye. No worries about felting the silk, a nice change from dyeing wool. I did the same for all the colours and let them sit for 10 min. I added a solution of PH up and water. Buying the pool chemical is the cheapest way to buy Sodium Carbonate, especially at the end of the season.
I made a solution and poured in enough to cover the silk. I let it sit for about half an hour then drained and rinsed the silk. Here is what it looks like drying on my front porch.
Not so great looking. I had squeezed all the extra water out of them. However after they were dry I fluffed them up and they look like this.
As you can see fluffed up they barely fit on the same drying rack in 2 batches. My project didn’t work out, the waste I used on the surface sank into the courser wool I was using and disappeared so I have nothing to show you right now. I am planing to use some more on hats so I will do a post with them later.
I feel like I’ve been working on a production line recently, making lots of pieces of felt that will eventually be made into something. Some of the pieces were made with specific things in mind, some were just for the fun of it or to try things out. I never really enjoy making felt during the summer when it’s hot, so around about this time of year I start working through my stacks of felt, working out what I want to use them for, or having an idea and searching through to find the perfect piece. After measuring, cutting, pinning and sewing, I then have a nice pile ready to making a start on stitching and adding buttons etc.
One piece of felt that I found when I was searching through, was a sample I’d made using silk throwster’s waste, rainbow trilobal nylon and nylon fibre that I’d dyed. It wasn’t a pretty piece, but then it was only a sample 🙂 The first piece I started to make out of it is a pouch just the right size for holding a pack of cards, small notepad and a pencil-perfect for train journeys with young kids. There’s silk throwster’s waste on the left and dyed nylon on the right.
The second piece I started to make is a camera case. This has silk fibres at the top and rainbow trilobal nylon at the bottom.
Both the camera case and card pouch are lined with cotton fabrics. The 3rd piece is a pouch for earbuds. The front has trilobal nylon and the back has silk fibres. All 3 of these pieces have a loop of elastic on the top for using with a button to keep them closed.
These next two pieces are a camera case and an ipod case, made from a nuno felted piece using muslin. I added machine stitching in an uneven zig-zag pattern to the felt for the camera case, just for a little extra thickness. I’d made this for my new camera, but I’m torn between this and the one above. These pieces are the only ones I’ve finished with blanket stitches so far.
These last two pieces are coin pouches. I first made one of these a couple of years ago because I was tired of reaching into my back pocket and trying to find coins, but getting a handful of keys instead.
Now all I have to do is find a few films to watch while I get started on blanket stitching the edges of all of these! Do you have a particular way of working? Do you like to streamline your process, work on a few items at once or maybe complete a project before starting another one?
Our first Guest Artist to be featured is Judith from North Yorkshire in England.
This is Nebula 1, one of Judith’s entries for the Twists, Twirls and Spirals Challenge.
It was wet felted with Merino wool and dyed silk throwster’s waste.
You can see more of Judith’s work on her flickr page
Felting 3, 2, 1
Q-3 Three types of fibre you can’t live without?
I can’t live without merino wool, it’s so fine and soft.
Then there’s silk, I just love its rustle its lustre and it takes dyes so well.
I also like bamboo, lustrous and soft.
Q-2 Two tools you use all the time?
The tools I use most are very simple; my fulling roller, made by my son-in-law from an old wooden rolling pin. I use it as a roller with bubble wrap or the bamboo blind for the rolling stage and as a finishing tool at the fulling stage.
My other favourite is the Tupperware star lid – of ‘Shepherdess’ fame. So useful at the rubbing stage, especially if hands have become dry and rough. Just goes to prove that expensive equipment is not a necessity.
Q-1 One fibre art technique you love the most?
It’s difficult to decide which technique I love most, but cobweb felt comes high on my list. I love the challenge of laying out the fibre very finely, resulting in such a delicate fabric. Perhaps it’s just that I’m a bit miserly and hate to waste my beautiful fibre, but I find I have to really try hard to lay it out more thickly for heavier projects! 😉
How did you get into fiber arts?
I’ve always been a ‘crafter’, whether it be sewing, knitting, lace making, batik, patchwork, quilting – this list is not exhaustive!
Some years ago, I saw some amazing felted ‘paintings’ in a local gallery, they were monochrome and mostly of sheep and our local Yorkshire Dales landscape. I decided I’d like to give it a try – although I was well aware that I wouldn’t be able to produce anything approaching the same standard.
The years went by and last Christmas my husband bought me a bag of wool fibre, a mixture of Merino and Corriedale and a couple of books and I was hooked!
Did you study art at college?
The only art study I’ve done are a couple of City and Guilds – Soft furnishing and Decorative Paint Techniques. I particularly enjoyed the design elements of these courses.
What do you like to do when you aren’t creating art?
When I’m not creating art, I like to walk in the Dales, play Bridge, cook, read, join friends for French conversation and spend time with my four small grandchildren. However, spending time with the grandchildren involves a lot of creative play, they just love grandma’s boxes of things to cut, stick, paint etc. The 3 year old tells me I’m just like ‘Mr Maker’ on TV, which I think is meant as a compliment! They also like to felt and the 4 and 5 year olds have made themselves a couple of splendid hats.
I sometimes wonder how I found the time to go to work, then I realise that when I was working I just didn’t have the time to do all the things I enjoy most.
Many thanks to Judith for taking the time to answer our questions and share her work and enthusiasm with us 🙂
Direct dyeing is a method where the dye is applied directly to the fibre. This can be done with very small or fairly large amounts of fibre depending on what utensils are available to you, but it is particularly good for smaller amounts. One advantage is that the fibres don’t move around so there is less tangling or felting. Another advantage is that very small amounts of dye can be made up, reducing the risk of waste.
Dyed Silk Throwster’s waste
I have written a step by step tutorial with lots of photos and a table to help work out very small amounts of dye/solution. I apologise to anyone more familiar with imperial measurements, the quantities used are so small that the tiniest measuring spoons are used and they are metric, so it was easier to stick to one measurement. And also US and UK fluid ounces differ, and even cups have metric, US and Canadian versions 🙂 If anyone needs a converter I find online conversion is excellent for everything.
A few years ago I was given some gorgeous multi-coloured Throwsters waste in a fibre swap. I’ve always used it sparingly, worried it’d run out and I’d have to begrudgingly pay a ridiculous amount of money for a tiny handful. Then a few months ago I was ordering wool and fibres from World of Wool and thought I’d take the plunge and order some gummed throwster’s waste since it cost less for 100g than most people charge for 10g dyed. I had no idea it’d be so stiff and dull! The complete opposite of what I was used to. I had absolutely no idea how to de-gum it either 🙂
A couple of days later after a few hours searching the internet, I was confident I’d pieced together enough info to try de-gumming for myself. I thought I’d probably have to try it a few times before getting it right, but was pleasantly surprised to see it work first time with excellent results 🙂
If you’d like to try it yourself, or are just interested in the process, I’ve made a tutorial with lots of photos and an easy to follow table for working out quantities.