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Heart Cards

Heart Cards

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you who celebrate it. I have been working on creating some simple heart cards from felt and fabric in my pursuit of “using stuff up”. My stash includes hoards of printed felt and fabric. So I decided to combine the two with a bit of free motion machine stitching to make some Valentine’s Day cards to sell.

I started with a pile of fabric from orange to purple. I thought it would be good to have some contrasting fabric for the hearts.

First I cut out a stack of felt backgrounds that were the right size for my cards. The cards are smaller than I usually make and the pieces of felt were only 3 1/4″ x 5″. The photo on the right shows one of the pieces of felt sitting on the paper note card. Next I chose the fabric to go with the different colors of felt. I then put fusible web on the back of the fabric with the iron to give the fabric a bit of stiffness. I wanted to be able to free motion machine stitch hearts on without using a stabilizer and I hoped that the fusible would give enough stiffness. I ended up leaving the paper backing on, then stitching and then removing the paper backing.

I then free motion machine stitched the cards. I was using white bobbin thread and didn’t have the tension exactly right but it’s good enough for me. The photo in the middle shows the back of the stitched fabric with a portion of the paper backing still in place. I removed all the paper backing and then cut out the hearts. Then I fused the hearts to the felt and fused the felt to the paper card. Fusible web sure does make things easier.

And here are the cards after I finished fusing them all together.

I put them in cellophane sleeves, luckily I had the right size although the envelope was a tight squeeze. Now they are at the store ready to be snapped up by customers (hopefully). Do you make cards for specific holidays? How do they sell for you if you sell them? Or do you just give them to friends and family?

 

4th Quarter Challenge Sample

4th Quarter Challenge Sample

I thought I’d try an idea out for the 4th Quarter Challenge. The basic idea was to use wool tubes with fabric, some under, and some over. Because they are quite thin and hollow, I thought they probably wouldn’t have much effect on the fabric, other than visual. I did use a couple of wool twists too. This is the finished piece:

When I’d rinsed it and squeezed the water out, I didn’t roll it in a towel or try to flatten/smooth it, like I usually do, I wanted to keep the texture. You can see it from this angle:

And this one:

This is a strip of cotton gauze:

This is some synthetic chiffon. I’m guessing I used twists under this piece because there seems to be more of an effect:

The close up photos of the silk strip didn’t turn out, but here’s where silk, cotton gauze and silk taffeta all meet:

This is a close up of the Silk Taffeta, I used twists over and under this:

I used some heavier synthetic chiffon. I know this fabric doesn’t attach very firmly, but I like to use it because it does ripple nicely and looks good:

I love my camera! I can see inside the ripple here:

It’s given me a better idea of what I might do on a bigger piece. How are your ideas coming?

4th Quarter Challenge 2018

4th Quarter Challenge 2018

The theme of this year’s challenge has been Surface Design. So far, we’ve had Mixed Media, Nuno Felting, and Beneath the Surface. I was torn between a couple of ideas, but went with the one I had when the 4 of us discussed the theme for this year: something about rolling and twisting fibres. So my challenge is: Twists, Tubes and Yarns. I made a post not too long ago with some pieces I made with wool twists and tubes, and there is a video at the bottom which shows how to make the tubes using a kebab skewer. This is a pile of softly twisted wool I made:

To make the twists, I take small amounts of wool and fibres and while holding one end, roll the fibres across a surface, a piece of bubble-wrap is good. I then hold the other end, and twist again. You can ‘set’ the twist by spraying with a little water too. I made this piece about 10 years ago, it’s still one of my favourites:

You can make blends of wool in different colours, or blend fibres in. This piece is made with twists of wool and plastic fibre:

And, this piece is made with twists made with wool and commercial novelty yarns:

The wool tubes, or ‘kebabs’ are something I love to make, just making a pile of them feels creative and is really relaxing. I first made them accidentally when I realised a kebab skewer was great for poking into my little hand carders to pick up trapped fibres, and they’d come out easily if I rolled it around. I ended up with some funky/random tubes.

Like the wool twists, the wool tubes can be made of just wool, or wool blended with fibres, threads etc. Have a look at this post for some ideas: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2017/08/14/felted-wool-kebabs/
This is one of my fave pieces, probably because it had very little planning/thinking involved, I just grabbed a couple of colours of Merino and a handful of already made tubes:

Handmade yarns can be made from anything you can twist (try organza or plastic bags if you haven’t already!) and can be used in many ways. This piece is made with wool and some old threads and unravellings from fabric, from a previous challenge:

This is a wet felted piece I made using some of my earliest attempts at making hand made yarn on a drop spindle:

I tried out some other early yarn that I made on two pieces, one was wet felted:

And the other was needle felted:

It’s great for weaving with:

Or, if you want something a bit more adventurous, how about needling it onto a vessel (scroll down) https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2012/12/12/yarny-vessel/

So, there’s just a few ideas, if you’ve tried some or all of these before, step out of your comfort zone, try something new, and maybe even use some of this years previous challenges for inspiration or in combination!

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 🙂

Year End Round Up

Year End Round Up

I hope everyone’s enjoying the Holidays 🙂 I have one more scarf and scarf sample left to show you. This first one is a grey marl Merino on hand dyed cotton gauze. I blended up 4 shades of 18.5 mic Merino, 2 greys, a duck egg and black. It wasn’t very easy to get photos, they kept turning out blue!:

The sample is a fabric which might look familiar as I bought 3 scarves with the same design in different colours. I think this is the first time I tried it with 18.5 mic Merino:

Whenever we do posts looking back over the year, I think I haven’t done much, but then get surprised! I think there was a definite theme of texture and surface design for me this year, so, here’s a slide show of some of the things I’ve enjoyed making this year:

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Thanks for reading over the past year and leaving comments, I hope to see you in the New Year!

Surface Design Elements

Surface Design Elements

I made an accidental landscape picture last week at the well-being centre. I’d taken lots of the wool kebab tubes in for a play around and thought I’d see how laying them in 2 different directions worked out. I put the middle lot of tubes on first, then the diagonal ones at the top, then filled in the gaps at the sides with a couple more on each end. We were talking about the bag of dyed embellishments I’d taken in and I pulled out some cotton and fluffed it up, and noticing some gaps on my layout, thought I’d add it to show how it felted. It looks kind of futuristic, in a non gloomy or dystopian kind of way:

The mix of fibres is more apparent on an angle:

One of the grey angled tubes was made from weird tops I got in a mostly grey bag of Botany lap, it is a soft natural wool blended with something like Angelina. I never thought I’d find a use for it, but wrapped around a skewer it looked kind of industrial, like something with copper wires poking out. I tried to get a good close up:

I thought I’d try making a piece with the tubes kind of crammed on, instead of laying them out neatly next to each other, because they tend to move a bit and leave gaps. I didn’t over do it, just added two or 3 more than if I’d positioned them. I also wanted to see what the tubes looked like if they were stretched, so I pulled some of them from each end until they were the right size to fit accross the layout:

On an angle:

I liked the contrast of the shiny red and yellow bamboo on the Sapphire blue of these:

These next couple of pieces are made with wool and fibre twists. I used quite a lot of the tops from my weird grey/black and white botany lap waste bag for the twists used on this, plus a few blends of my own:

An angled pic of course:

And a sideways close up:

I thought it’d be nice to show twists used simply because not everyone wants to make something which looks ‘real’, I cut the twists in half, and then made some little woolly balls to go in the gaps:

It has a kind of swaying seaweedy feel to it:

**EDIT: I realised it isn’t easy to visualise making the wool tubes with the kebab skewers, so I’ve done a quick video:

Final Project

Final Project

Happy holidays everyone and to those who celebrate,  Merry Christmas!

As we wind down for the year and start planning for next year, I’ve decided to share my final project from Fiona Duthie’s Surface Design class.   My intention is to use it as a reminder of incorporating more of these techniques in my felt work going forward.

I didn’t set out to use a specific number of techniques, but let the picture dictate which ones to use.  We learned many more than I used here.

I started with making a bridge using the lace technique and decorated it with pencil roving and stitching with yarn on the top  to create a handrail on top and matching decoration below.

2014-05-16 13.41

I added the cracked mud/tile effect to the ends of the bridge.

2014-05-20 16.03
Before adding techniques and felting

 

The water is fabric manipulation using some silk habotoi with some shadowing under the bridge.  The hills in the background were prefelt cut outs with silk embellishments for texture.  I also used pencil roving to define the shoreline in the distance.

2014-05-24 16.18

On the beach is a tree trunk made using the shibori and carving techniques then added beads, cotton batting  and gems as inclusions under silk gauze.  I used silk and locks for the water rushing over the sand and to embellish the sky.  There is a 3D water lily on the waters edge.

2014-12-07 12.14b

2014-12-07 12.14

I also added loops on the back to be able to hang the picture.   I debated straightening the edges, but decided I like the organic edges.  While its not gallery material, I enjoyed making it and am proud to hang it in my family room.

The class was fun and I learned a lot.  I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to expand their felting techniques in a classroom setting working at your own pace.

What projects or techniques are on your list to try next year?

 

 

Ingeo, Corriedale and Texture

Ingeo, Corriedale and Texture

I’m doing a craft fair next Sunday, 6th July at Victoria Baths, in Manchester, so I haven’t had chance to do any felting this week yet, so these two pieces are from a couple of weeks ago. This first one is dark brown Corriedale wool tops and Ingeo Fibre. Ingeo is a bit different to other fibres I use, it isn’t shiny as such, but it does have a sheen, and there’s also a soft almost ‘fluffy’ feel to it, without it actually looking fluffy. Lyn found this link for how it is made.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a closer view:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a Supermacro close up:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here’s a supermacro of an area where the fibre were laid more thickly:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA while ago Marilyn sent me some fibres, one of them being some Domestic 56s wool tops, I tried them out on a texturey piece I made, mostly for the base, but also to add some texture between the base and top layer of 18.5 mic Merino. I liked the way they felted, similar to our English 56s.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also used some Bluefaced Leicester Noil between the 2 layers. This is lower across the surface:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of the embellishment fibres I used were soy staple fibre, viscose and flax

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also used milk and bamboo fibres.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Sneak Peak at Surface Design Class Samples

A Sneak Peak at Surface Design Class Samples

I’ve been talking about Fiona Duthie’s Surface Design Online Class for months.  Ruth Lane first announced a class giveaway on February 19 on the Felt and Fiber Studio Forum.  I entered, but didn’t win.  However, I signed up immediately after learning I didn’t win because I was intrigued by what the class had to offer.  The class was a big commitment for me — six weeks long and more than 21 different techniques to learn plus a final project.

Over the following few weeks, I found I wasn’t the only one from the Forum to sign up. Cathy (Luvswool) and a few other members also registered.  Since Cathy and I live in the Chicago area, we started excitedly messaging about our preparations, supplies, resources and after the class started our plans and progress.

Part of the class agreement was not to share Fiona’s techniques because this is how she makes her living, but we are free to share our class work.  So, today Cathy and I are sharing several of our favorite samples.

I had never taken an online course so this was a totally new experience for me.  However, Cathy has taught online, but I think we both agree this was a unique experience.

Here are Cathy’s favorites:

Cathy’s Wool Breed Inclusions

 

Cathy's Pockets and Loops
Cathy’s Pockets and Loops
Cathy's Spikes
Cathy’s Spikes

 

Cathy's Nui Shibori
Cathy’s Nui Shibori

Now a few of my favorite samples:

Marilyn's Carvings
Marilyn’s Carvings
sdo 5 anemones
Marilyn’s Anemones
Marilyn's Tiles
Marilyn’s Tiles
SDO 4 spikes flower
Marilyn’s Spikes and Iris

Since I’m always looking for functionality, I chose to use the spikes above as ring holders in case you’re wondering why there is jewelry hanging around.

These are just some of the wonderful techniques we learned during the class.  It was a great experience doing the assignments then seeing the different interpretations of the techniques by other students on our weekly discussion site.

For more information on Fiona’s workshops check out her website http://www.fionaduthie.com/

Of course, I couldn’t complete the course without including a panda and bamboo in a sample (which are not felted, just the background.)

Marilyn aka Pandagirl's Loops and Pockets
Marilyn aka Pandagirl’s Loops and Pockets

Thanks to Cathy for sharing her work today. Anyone else who is taking the class, please contact me if you’d like to share your samples or post them on the Felt and Fiber Studio Forum.

What new techniques have you learned lately?

 

Surface Design Using Resists

Surface Design Using Resists

Like Ann, I haven’t been very well lately and haven’t had chance to do anything other than tidy up the mess I let accumulate while I was writing my notebook tutorial 🙂
We always seem to be talking about surface design on the forum: stitching, embroidering, embellishment fibres, beading etc. And there have been quite a few projects using resists lately too: Lyn’s pod that she posted about last week, Nada’s resist Slipper tutorial, and Carole from the forum showed us her gorgeous sculptural vessels with lots of surface design and embellishment.  A couple of months ago, Nada reminded me of some projects I’d done using resists to create surface design, so having nothing new to post about, I had a look through my photostream for some examples and hope you don’t mind revisiting some old stuff!
I think this was the very first piece I made using resists to create surface design. I wanted to have a go at trying out lots of different ideas at once, so made a piece using six resists to try out different cuts/shapes.

resist sample (1)I wanted to try out using resists with more contrast between the top layer and what it revealed underneath. This one has green/brown/mossy shades revealing slashes of orangey brown shades of wool with embellishments of silk noil, bamboo, silk hankie and  soya fibre.

orange and green (1)This burgundy piece is cut away to reveal orangey mustard shades with soy bean fibres.

burgundy and orange (2)I think this next piece is probably one of my most adventurous. The resists and cuts were fairly straightforward, but it was quite big, very thick to make it stiff enough to support itself, and I used a flat resist – not somethng I ever have much luck with for a 3d shape!

danglie (2)This last piece is one of my favourite vessels. I love the colours and textures and was really pleased that it came out just how I’d imagined!

vessel (2)If you’re interested in using resists in felting, Ruth wrote a post early on about using flat resists for different hat and vessel shapes. Also, Lyn and her daughter Annie have written a brilliant PDF guide to making 3D vessels using flat resists.

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