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Inspired by the Northumbrian Countryside

Inspired by the Northumbrian Countryside

Two weeks ago I took advantage of Covid restrictions being lifted for self catering holidays in England and took off for a weeks holiday in one of my favourite UK destinations. Rothbury in Northumberland is a small, picturesque town nestled in the Coquet Valley.

Looking towards the town centre from south of the river
Heading downhill from my apartment into town

Unfortunately the weather forecast was looking bleak but I was going to make the most of it. I set off with my car packed with as much crafting gear as I could fit in i.e. fibre and felting equipment, fabric, sewing machine, etc, etc the plan being to have a relaxing break, do a little walking and create a piece of work inspired by the Northumbrian countryside. I would return home feeling refreshed, fit and with a finished piece of work…..if I only managed two out of those three (and I did) I wouldn’t have guessed which would have fallen by the wayside!

The view from the patio was pretty good.

Although there were occasional (very) heavy showers and lots of cloud the weather turned out be a bit better than I had expected so it made sense to pack a rucksack and walk during the day and leave the creative stuff to do in the evenings.

Rothbury is a great base for anyone who likes walking with beautiful scenery and lots of trails in the surrounding hills, forests and along the riverbank. Plus it’s only a forty-ish minute scenic drive to Beadnell on the coast, another favourite haunt, with almost deserted beach walks to Dunstanburgh castle heading south or Seahouses and Bamburgh Castle heading north.

Climbing the hill behind my accommodation gave stunning views of the Simonside Hills on the opposite side of the valley.
Crossing the river and heading for the Simonside Hills
A terrific downpour has just passed over!
One of my favourite lunch stops on the riverbank
Harbour at Seahouses
Pace Hill is a tiny spit of land jutting out into the sea just to the east of Seahouses Harbour.
After clambering over the rocks I reached the curious stone construction which turned out to be a Grade II listed building dating back to 1886. It was built to store gunpowder used in blasting when the Long Pier and New Harbour were being built. On the horizon to the left you can just make out one of the Farne Islands.
Lunch stop on the Harbour Wall on my way to Bamburgh Castle
Approaching the imposing Bamburgh Castle from the south on an almost deserted beach.
This is one of my favourite images of the castle and will definitely inspire a textile piece. I’m seeing the background and castle painted and the foreground grasses stitched.

I also came home with lots of dry stone wall images…..as if I don’t have enough already!!

Although I had every intention of being productive in the evenings the combination of loads of exercise, beautiful clean air, wine and a well stocked book shelf in my apartment, meant I didn’t get much creative work done at all while I was there! Who cares!! I had a terrific time and came home with a few of what I refer to as my ‘bacon rashers’ (lengths of abstract felted pieces, often with fabric included) in colours and textures inspired by my walks. Plus all the inspiration I needed to produce a large abstract mixed media piece based on the Northumbrian countryside including those beautiful rolling hills.

‘Bacon rashers’ formed from a variety of fibres and silk fabrics drying in the sun
Pinning together with sheer fabrics to try different layouts.

Since getting home the rashers, plus various other slivers of sheers and painted Lutradur, have been assembled onto a background of painted Lutradur measuring 110cm x 60cm and are now being stitched in position.

So far so good but the top left corner needs some thought.
A few extra pieces of felt have been made to fill gaps while a fine tip soldering iron is used to cut the slivers of painted Lutradur.

Now I’m happy with the placement of all the pieces it’s just a matter of adding more free motion stitching until it tells me it’s done. Lastly I will make a wooden framework to mount it on and then it’s ready to include in the ”Final Show” (of the now defunct CCN group) Exhibition at the Sam Scorer Gallery in Lincoln from the 8th June.

It’s still a work in progress but the end is in sight!
Degumming Silk Throwsters Waste

Degumming Silk Throwsters Waste

Today we have a throwback post. It was originally posted by Zed in 2011. Jan is ill and can’t make a post and I thought this would be interesting to everyone.

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.

Degumming Silk Throwsters Waste

I’ll be following up later this week with a tutorial for direct dyeing small amounts of animal fibres with acid dyes, which can be used to dye your degummed throwster’s waste some gorgeous colours 🙂

I have to say Thank You to foragingfibers whose pictures convinced me it was worth trying to degum my own throwster’s waste 🙂

Shibori Shrug Jacket

Shibori Shrug Jacket

Heres another throw back post. I thought if I do not remember doing this maybe you won’t either. I hope you like it.

After seeing Ruth’s jacket it reminded me I had made a small one for one of my daughter’s dolls years ago. I thought I should give it another try but life size this time. I thought about doing it seamless but decided that it would make something that is a simple design into something complicated. Although I am not a great sewer I was sure sewing 2 straight seems on my machine should not be beyond me.

There are quite a few pictures so I have put them in a gallery for ease of viewing. If I could figure out how to post pictures side by side or in groups I would but that is beyond my skill level.

First I made a large piece of nuno felt. I used silk gauze and merino wool. After it was finished I put it in a red dye bath. It came out quite nice. It’s hard to tell from the picture because my camera did not like the red at all. The one you see was the best of a bad lot.

The next thing to do was the shibori. I finger pleated the middle of the piece starting at one short end. I very carefully held it flat and tight while I tied it. The first tie is the hardest one. After that you just pleat it up tying every couple of inches. You don’t want to be too neat about it. If the pleats are to perfect you get straight lines. You want your pleats to be tight so some of the material will resist the dye in the second bath. This type of shibori is supposed to make a bark like pattern. I put the tied up piece in a purple dye bath hopping for a nice red purple to appear on my cloth. It came out black. After it was dry the gauze side had more of a purple look but still very dark.

I sewed up my jacket. I made the material far too wide so the jacket ends up long. The short sides overlapped a lot when folded up. I had to have long “lapels” to make it work. It is not a mistake it’s a design feature, just ask me :O) It is still to long for me. I think it may look good one someone who is tall and thin. Two things I am not.

All in all not a bad try. I’ve made another piece of nuno felt to try again, I made it narrower this time. Now I have to find the time to sew it up.

Die Cutting Felt

Die Cutting Felt

Today I’m pleased to welcome Tracey Thompson as our Guest Artist. Tracey has been an active member on the forum and will be showing us her Die Cutting Machine and her experience cutting felt.

A recent post in the Felt and Fibre Forum led me to comment that I had tried to cut felt using a die cutting machine.  It was given to me free by a friend because she wanted to treat herself to the next model that had more bells and whistles!

Here is the die cutter, it is a Spellbinders Grand Calibur.  It cuts beautiful images in  card stock but how would it cope with felt?

I tried both commercial felt and my own prefelt in this machine.  The results were mixed with both felts, but I think this was largely down to the dies.  The more intricate the die, the more it mashed away at the felt, sometimes obliterating it!

I then remembered that I had a quite simple die in the shape of a snowflake, and as I still have Christmas cards to make, I thought I would have another go.  This next picture is my prefelt with the snowflake die and a Merry Christmas die.  The hole in the middle of the prefelt was where the snowflake came out perfectly, and the mashed up bit at the bottom was where Merry Christmas didn’t!

So I thought I would make a simple card to use the snowflakes on.  I put down two layers of Tanzanite from World of Wool, as I wanted a night time feel as a background.

I also wanted simple decoration, so I just lay a few blue and white mulberry silks on the top.

Here it is after felting.

I then ironed a piece of interfacing onto the back to make the stitching more stable. I had cut out a few snowflakes using a white commercial felt, and I used a double silver metallic thread to attach them to the felted piece.

So here is the finished card, it is a fairly simple one but it’s one to tick off the list!

Tracey, thanks for sharing your experience with us and for helping to fill in on my leave!

Maneki-Neko for 2017 3rd Quarter Challenge Part 2

Maneki-Neko for 2017 3rd Quarter Challenge Part 2

I never dreamed this project would take me almost two weeks to complete.  But it is finished.

If you missed part one, you can read about it here:

https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2017/09/25/pandagirls-maneki-neko-for-2017-3rd-quarter-challenge-part-1/

It would seem adding the details to finish would be easy.  Not!

I needle felted blue roving around the eyes.  The gems underneath are actually blue, but because they were put over black it wasn’t obvious what color they were.

Then I spent time looking for a gold bell, but decided on using a wool ball instead.  When I added the ribbon I made a slit on both sides of the arm to pull it thru.

The nose and mouth are also needle felted.  But at one point, the nose fell off and had to be reattached.

I curled over the raised paw and secured it in order to show the paw and nails.

The nails proved to be a real challenge and after ripping them out at least a half dozen times, trying needle felting, then using floss and finally rayon thread.

I tried needle felting the arm in front and the tail in back to show the dimension, but it was negligible partly because of it being black. So, I stitched around them which helped.

Another challenge was the writing on the coin.  I made a gold prefelt and copied the characters I had translated from an app for Good Health and confirmed with my daughter in law, Mari. I transferred the characters to a stabilizer.

I thought using the satin stitch on my Pfaff machine would work, but its not a straight satin stitch, but the stitches varied.  So I decided to use a triple stitch which was fine until I reached curves.  I ended up finishing by hand. I’m hoping I haven’t butchered the characters too much.  After finishing the coin, I slip stitched it to the kitty.

The final addition were the whiskers.  They are a little funky and I had to use a little GAC to give them a little stiffness.

Now its time to find her place facing East in hopes of bringing Good Heath to my household.

What challenges have you had lately?

 

 

 

Year End Giveaway

Year End Giveaway

This year we’ve talked a lot about embellishments whether they were new fibers or scraps and saw a lot of samples.  A little embellishment goes a long way.  So, I decided to go thru my embellishment stash and choose ten different types that someone may like to try.

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There is approximately 10 grams of each.

Starting with the left hand row from the bottom up:  Ramie, Hemp, Milk Protein and Texas Mohair.

The second row:  Black Tussah, Yak and a multicolored silk Tussah.

The last row is Tencel, Mulberry silk and degummed cocoons.

Please note the Texas Mohair and the cocoons contain some VM.

I’ll mark each bag with the name and weight.

A couple of years ago I made a “sampler” book cover with a bunch of embellishments as a reference.

  https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2014/09/19/two-in-one-felt-project/

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below by December 30.  The winner will be drawn by a random number generator and announced on January 6.

Good luck! Happy Holidays!

Finishing the Panels

Finishing the Panels

Last week I showed you two large panels I made using scraps.  Since then I created three more.

One long panel.

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20161118_122511Two short ones.

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Here they are laid out on the floor.

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Here’s the final project.

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So, whats underneath?

My Simplicity Needle Felting Machine naked.  Sorry about the lighting, this was our first snow and kind of cloudy.

Now you see it.

20161204_142455Now you don’t.

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I was amazed that I got the sizes right.  I purposely left the edges organic.  Its a little lopsided but the top of the machine is narrower than the bottom.  Now I can change it around for a different look when the mood strikes.

Did you see that coming?

We have three spots left for sponsorship to keep our forum ad free, if you’re interested, please visit the forum and leave a response under 2017 Sponsorhips.  Thanks!

Creating Panels for a New Project

Creating Panels for a New Project

I had such a good time using my scraps and embellishments for my coupon case, I decided to do a larger project using panels.  And using up more of my scraps.

Here is the first large panel.  I started on white prefelt and added  bits of leftover batts creating a cloud effect for the background..

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Then I added silk selvage, pieces of cheesecloth, silk pieces,  scraps of scarves, metallic fabric, yarns and a little of this and that, topped with threads  and a bit of wool wisps to secure the threads.

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The next panel I forgot to take a pic of the cloud background.  But for this one I used silk selvedge, silk scraps, cheesecloth, boucle yarn bits, mohair, prefelt offcuts, and pieces of leftover roving amongst other things including threads.

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It was fun just picking out things from bags and literally throwing it on. The textures are great.

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Closeups:

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I love the way the threads cross over and look like roadmaps.

Here is the first one finished with closeups.

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I was surprised the prefelt just grabbed everything.  I had to shave each panel to get some of the glittery stuff to shine again.

Three more panels to go, so stay tuned.

Have you done your 4th Quarter Challenge yet?

 

Dyeing Some Silk for Classes

Dyeing Some Silk for Classes

The first 2 weekends in December I am teaching a nuno felt scarf class. I need dyed scarves for that, so that was Sundays Job.

I buy my silk by the bolt so I measured out 6 feet and then ripped them into 12 inch widths. I did 16 in total. I like to use the low water immersion technique from Paula Burch’s  All About Hand Dying  site.

First I scrunch or twist or fold up the scarves and stuff them into jars as tightly as possible. I did two scarves together in the jars so there will be 2 of everything.  They won’t be exactly the same but fairly close.

jar-1 jar-2 jar-3

Next you add dye. I use 2 colours adding them one after the other.

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4-jars

As usual I forgot to take as many pictures as I intended. After the dye has sat for anywhere form 10 min to an hour I add the PH up that sets the dye and then leave it for at least an hour. I worked on my felt Christmas cards while I was waiting for an hour to pass. I can”t show you that until after they are received.

Next is to tip them out and rinse was and rinse again.

This is the result. They are still wrinkled . I haven’t had time to steam them flat yet.

finished-scarves-1 finished-scarves-2 finished-scarves-3

I think I got a good variety for people to choose form. I have a few left from the last class that I will take too. It’s fun to play with the colour combinations. Even the stir sticks are pretty. What’s your favourite way to dye silk?

dye-sticks

4th Quarter Challenge 2016

4th Quarter Challenge 2016

Like everyone else I have a ton of scraps, threads, cut offs, etc.  I finally got around to organizing them somewhat into like piles.  As you see I had a lot to choose form. The first pic is a tub full of scraps etc.

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I pulled out some and put them on the table to pick from.

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I decided I needed a store coupon case to keep in my purse.  I recently got a new purse and none of the pockets were sized large enough to hold some of these coupons.  I have a separate coupon holder for groceries that I only use when I grocery shop.  But I never know when I might pass by a department, fabric or specialty store that calls me in to shop.

I wanted it thin so I only used prefelt on both sides of the resist. With back problems, I don’t carry a big purse and try to keep it as light as possible.

I picked through the scraps and threw a little of this and that until I was satisfied with the look.  Then I topped off each side with some wisps of merino to help keep those rayon and cotton threads and silk bits to felt in adding merino over the sides to fold over. The yellow is silk selvedge.

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I spent a lot of time rubbing so as to not disturb the little bits and thread.

While still wet:

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The purple fringe got a little wadded up in the felting process and the edges of the flap and sides of the holder needed to be straightened a bit.

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After drying I still had some wild threads so I needle felted some down and cut others.  I also straightened the fringe and needled it down. I think for my use it will be fine.  Here is the finished front:

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Back closed:20161107_163746

Now I’m ready to shop.

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Here’s another piece I started as an experiment.  I don’t care for dots or the colors of this scarf, so I decided to cut off a piece and see how it felts because I have two more scarves I do like and didn’t want to experiment with them.  I used some silk scraps and angelina on one side and the scarf on the other.

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I liked the dot side after felting. It doesn’t look so dotty, but more textured.  I may do some stitching on it. The silk side I got carried away with the angelina and don’t care for that.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with it it’s fairly small.

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It was fun experimenting with the scraps.  I’ll probably do more. Have you started your 4th Quarter Challenge?

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