Four Ravens Gallery in Missoula, MT (USA) is holding a garden themed exhibition in May. I have several pieces that will be included in the show. I decided to make another felted vase cover to fit a glass vase that is 4″ diameter and 6″ tall.
I wanted a mixture of greens but didn’t want to take the time to card a batt. So I laid out different colors of green wool for each layer. Here’s the first layer, so that’s the inside of the vase cover.
Then I added a second layer which is much more neutralized green.
The third layer was a mix of greens that I had hand carded and was left over from another project.
Then comes the fun layer. I added a variety of green wool, yellow silk noil, red mixed wool in tufts and burnt orange locks. There are also a couple of pieces of bright green cheesecloth under there somewhere. Then the felting and fulling process (no photos) happened.
And here’s the vase. The photos show it from different angles. In the center photo, you can just see a small piece of the bright green cheesecloth. It’s a bright and cheery piece and reminds me of spring in the garden. If you’re in the Missoula area, you should check out the gallery as there are some wonderful artists represented there.
I’ve been practicing my spinning skills for a while now, and although I have mastered the technique of spinning finer yarn, I have a true passion for the more bulky, art yarns. I’m not a great knitter, I do occasionally enjoy crochet but I much prefer to weave. When I first took up spinning, like everyone I found that my yarn loosely resembled an ‘art yarn’ more than a fine yarn. It lacked a sense of purpose and it didn’t have that look of “yes, I intended to make this”! So my priority was to be able to spin an art yarn that looked like it was meant to be an art yarn! However, at the same time, having read so many comments about people who can only spin fine yarn or art yarn I didn’t want to reach a point where I was only able to spin one or the other. So I have tried really hard to chop and change my ideas, to try and avoid the pitfalls associated with spinning only one style of yarn. I’ve also tried really hard to make an art yarn that looks like it is meant to be an art yarn. I definitely think I am making some progress on this front. Let me know what you think…
I started with a selection of merino wool top in various colours, including an orange, cerise pink and teal as a base for my art yarn. I then decided to jazz it up with some beautiful turquoise bamboo, which I thought would add some sheen and lustre to the project. Like all good art yarns, I wanted to add in some interest so decided I would use curly locks of various different colours. Finally, to finish the interest side of things, I decided to include some recycled sari silk that was made up of different random colours.
To start off, I began to add the base merino to the carder. Unfortunately, I have broken one of the belts on my carding machine – it’s the one that operates the smaller of the two drums. But for this project, it didn’t really matter as I was not wanting a fully blended batt. So I was able to add all of my fibre direct to the larger drum. I did use my little packing brush to flatten it down as I went along.
In this photo, I’m adding sari silk again to the the mix. It was helpful that it seemed to work using it like a bangle, wrapped around my wrist enabling me to place it where I wanted it. If I hadn’t done it this way, it would have been hanging down and could easily have got caught up in the drum.
Once I’d finished carding a nice thickness of batt, it looked like this…
I was happy with the way in which it turned out as I wanted to keep the definition and not have a muddy blend at the end of it. But before I started making any more, I decided to spin it, just to check I was happy with the way in which the colours turned out.
These are some shots of the spun art yarn on the bobbin but only after I plyed it! Unfortunately, I got slightly carried away because I was enjoying myself so much, I forgot to take any photos! For the main art yarn, I spun this using a fine mohair yarn to core spin around. I made a mixture of thick slubs and thinner spun yarn, so that when I came to plying I could make some nice twirly spirals to add interest. When spinning the core yarn I also added in some random curly locks, which were all sorts of colours, that contrasted with the base colours I’d used in the batts. I also added some extra sari silk into the spin at random points through the yarn when I felt it needed a bit of Va Va Voom!
I was quite pleased with the spin…but as I said, unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of the yarn before I began plying. However, I did take a photo of one of the fat singles in teal. I also spun some in orange but no photo sorry.
As you can see, there was quite a lot of twist in this as I was scared it would all fall apart when I was plying!
This was my first attempt at core spinning, so I was pleased to see it coming together as I intended. I started plying the art core spun yarn with the fat single, and it looked promising…
As you can see, I’m using an Ashford Jumbo Bobbin with my Ashford Traditional wheel.
I then transferred it to my niddy noddy. I didn’t want to soak the yarn in case I damaged the slubby spirals, so decided to set it using a hand held steamer. These are a few photos of the yarn on the niddy noddy.
I tried to take different angles to show the range of effects.
All in all, I made two batts of art fibre, which were about 100g each that I used for the core spin. I didn’t weigh the fat singles but by the end, I had four skeins of art yarn, weighing approximately 300g.
Looking at three of the skeins hanging up together, it looks quite ‘jewel’ like. So pretty, I’m pleased with the colours…
I wanted to use my yarn to make a woven scarf. However, I’m not confident enough in my home spun yarn yet to risk using it as a warp. This was especially true as I was hoping to use this project for the blog. I was mindful that the art yarn was going to be quite chunky. I only had a 7.5 30/10 dent reed for my rigid heddle loom, which would have been much too small for the art yarn. This was another reason I had to choose a different yarn for the warp. Having used mohair in the core spinning, I toyed with the idea of using it as a warp. However, I had read that mohair is very ‘sticky’ when used in weaving, so I did some research first before trying it. I did find some advice that said you can use it, if you utilise a pick-up stick behind the heddle to help clear the shed. The only way to know if it would work was to try it! So, having looked at my reed, I decided that given the thickness of the art yarn I would only use every third reed. That way, I envisaged that I would be able to space the warp out evenly when I when I separated each strand. Also, it would allow more space for the art yarn to show in all its glory.
This is the warp before I started weaving. As you can see, I decided to use three different colours of mohair, just to see what the effect would be…
This photo show how fluffy that mohair really is!
I started to weave with the art yarn, and to my surprise it was far easier to weave with than I had anticipated. The ‘stickyness’ of the mohair really didn’t present any issues for me. I think that because I had only warped every third reed, it didn’t have the impact it could have had, which was good.
I only took these two photos of the actual weaving process. One thing that I discovered when doing this project, was that I don’t actually have the weaving loom that I thought I did. When I first got this loom, as I always intended weaving with art yarn so I also purchased a freedom roller. I didn’t want to have the restriction in length of weave that I would face when using really chunky art yarns. Having never used the freedom roller before, I decided I would fit it onto the loom for this project as I really didn’t know how bulky the final weave was going to be.
However, when I got the freedom roller out and started looking at how it would fit on the loom, I soon realised that there was no way it was going to work! I struggled to understand why, so I took some photographs of the freedom roller and my loom, and sought some advice on a Facebook weaving group. It was only then, I discovered that my rigid heddle loom was in fact a samplet loom!!! I realised that what I thought I had ordered, was not in fact the loom I did order! School boy error on my part, as a complete novice!
In the end, all was good as it turned out, I didn’t need the freedom roller after all (she breathes a sigh of relief!). When the project was finished, I removed it from the loom, and considered what to do with the ends. The mohair was very thin and sparse, so would not make for a good fringe. Having twirled the mohair into little tassels, I then decided to tie some additional curly locks to pad out the effect.
Here, you can see one end completed…
When I tried on the scarf, I realised that I had made it a little too wide to make it into a comfortable scarf. So it was at this point, I decided that rather than using it as a scarf, it would work better as a stole. However, this now presented me with another need…
If I was going to use this as a stole, it would need to have some sort of decorative pin to hold it in place. I didn’t want to have anything too colourful or fussy, as that would be lost in amongst the art yarn. So I decided to make a wet felted butterfly, with wings that were primarily one colour, with some accents of a different shade.
Here is my blue butterfly…who does have an orange body, just to make the body stand out a little…. The wings and body are made from merino and the accents of paler blue, are made of the bamboo, which I fixed with wisps of the merino to felt them into place. I decided to leave the resist inside, just to provide a little more firmness to him.
I did try to add some sequins as way of creating more sparkle, but as they were so small, I found them difficult to sew on (my fingers are not so nimble as they used to be!). I tried gluing them in place, but that didn’t work either! So in the end, I just left him as he was. I do intend making him some antennae, but I haven’t had time to add those in yet. He is attached to a large kilt pin, so he can be used to hold the stole in place.
I’m really happy with my first project, using my own spun yarn, hand woven, and completed with wet felted butterfly pin. I’ve used three different skills in this project, and I’m really pleased with the end result. I was surprised at how dense the weave turned out. Having only used every third reed, I expected it to be much looser than it ended up. Perhaps next time, I will try an even wider warp, using the whole loom and leaving a larger gap between the warp threads. It’s all a learning curve, but for now, I am really pleased with the results. It’s lovely and warm too! I’m almost sad summer is on the way, but I’m sure I’ll get lots of use out of it next winter,
One of the things I’ve noticed from being at felting workshops is how predictable we tend to be when it comes to choosing our colour schemes. Whether we’re making a wearable, a bag, a vessel, etc whatever it is the majority of us will reflect that colour back in what we are wearing or the accessories we carry on that day. Before a class begins we can mostly tell at a glance who will be working with reds, who with greens, who with neutrals, etc, etc.
Personally I’ve always been drawn to neutrals, working with fibres in various shades of grey and beige with a small amount of accent colour, usually yellow or green. Unsurprising then that my wardrobe also tends to be filled with neutral colours. So what happened when the Waltham Windmill group launched their latest theme “Making Waves”? I could have followed the theme while sticking with my neutral pallet but for some reason I found myself wanting to work with blues, and not just as an accent but as the main colour. What I hadn’t realised until this last week is that blue hasn’t just found it’s way in to my studio but, without making the connection, it’s also started appearing in my wardrobe and I really hadn’t seen that coming!
Within the groups theme we have free reign to make whatever we want plus we’ve agreed a number of specific items we will each make, one of them is a jelly fish. Having done a bit of research into the many and varied species of jelly fish I came across the spotted Blue Jellyfish which is native to UK waters. My first thought was to create a “wet look” using Merino fibre covered with lots of viscose which would create a sheen and then I would free motion stitch the spots. That was quickly replaced with the idea of making my fish from sheer fabrics…..I seem to have accumulated lots of sheers and only ever use tiny amounts so this would be a perfect opportunity to use up some of my stash. After rummaging through a huge sack of fabrics, almost losing hope of ever finding the colour I needed, I came across a small piece of blue and another of turquoise, just enough to do the job…..so much for stash busting!!
The remnants of fabric, and the size of my embroidery hoop, determined the size of my jelly fish. I’d got some of the wash away stabiliser left over from a project I did a few years ago so that would be useful for stiffening and shaping the jelly fish.
I had enough blue fabric to cut out two circles plus one slightly larger from the turquoise. I also added a small white circle of fabric underneath thinking it would highlight the spotty area. Next I cut up some scraps of felt for the spots and arranged them on the blue discs before covering with the turquoise sheer. This sandwich was then put in the hoop and I machine stitched around the spots…..or at least that was my intention! Unfortunately I struggled to see where some of the felt was so it’s a bit hit and miss but it was near enough!
After removing it from the hoop I washed out some of the stabiliser retaining a good bit of the glue on the fabric to enable me to shape it over a plastic bowl. I didn’t think to photograph the drying stage so the next image shows it dry with the unattached tentacles cut from tulle and sheers.
The final step was to wet felt a blue “inner”, with additional thin felt tentacles, sew the fabric tentacles inside it and insert into its casing.
I’m quite pleased with the finished result and this particular area of the exhibition should be interesting as we’ve used lots of different styles and techniques between us.
Another piece I’ve made for the theme is a felted sculpture inspired by a spiked shell, I’ve simplified the shell shape, lengthened the spikes and it’s currently hanging on my wall but it doesn’t feel finished. I think it maybe needs more colour variation and possibly a few embroidered barnacles…..what do you think?
Speaking of which, I’ve always had a fascination for Barnacles and can’t resist collecting them when I find them on stones and shells. These marine crustaceans are related to the crab and lobster and tend to live in shallow and tidal waters, typically in erosive settings.
There are around 1,000 different species and, as adults, typical barnacles are covered with calcareous plates and are cemented, head down, to rocks, shells, pilings, ships’ hulls, driftwood, or seaweed, or to the bodies of larger sea creatures, from clams to whales.
They feed by reaching into the water column with eight pairs of thoracic limbs called cirri which are long and feathery. The cirri extend to filter food, such as plankton, from the water and move it towards the mouth as you can see in this video. (Follow the link and scroll down to Ecology)
I’ve always liked this photo of barnacles on a rusty piece of metal which was taken on a visit to Ullapool harbour so I’m experimenting with different fabrics, including cotton and Tyvek, to make a barnacle inspired wall hanging. So far I’m leaning towards the Tyvek fabric.
Something else I think will lend itself to the theme is dendritic printing. I love the vein like patterns, very reminiscent of coral, which can be created by pressing acrylic paint between two sheets of glass or plastic and then printing with it. I’ve been trying this out on different surfaces including paper, Lutradur, chiffon and cotton.
The most surprising result was a the print on felt, I was amazed at the clarity of it and I can see this being developed further with added stitching.
There are so many possibilities within this theme that my mind is working overtime and I’ve a few other projects on the go right now. One of them is this small 20cm dia embroidery being worked on an eco print cotton fabric……note the lack of blue!
Another is a 95cm x 54cm background I made a couple of days ago throwing everything I had to hand in to the mix! There’s Bergschaf, Merino, Viscose, Silk, chiffon, synthetic net, slubs, knitting yarn, etc. I see this being an ongoing project for quite a while….something I can build on, picking up and putting down over time, adding stitch and texture until it feels finished.
At our next meeting, this coming Friday, several of us will be creating wet felted fish which we are all excited about. I will show you how those turned out and give an update on the other projects in my next post. Now………where did I put my blue cardigan?
I’ve recently finished a felted picture – mostly wet felted but with needle felted elements. ‘How long did it take to make that?’ I’m often asked when people see my work. I find it difficult to answer precisely. ‘Quite a long time’ isn’t very helpful so I usually say something like ‘About four days’. I don’t really know if that’s true. It’s my best guess. As the felt-makers among you will know, most people have no idea how much work can go into making felt, so as I was making my latest picture I thought I’d try to document the stages and see how long it all takes. That’s what I’m going to show you here, plus take you on a little visit to the town where I work.
I’ve already decided to make a picture of a turnstone feeding at the water’s edge so I set about making prefelt sheets for the pebbles. I live on the North Kent coast and love watching the local water birds: how they look, move and interact with their environment. It’s mostly pebble beach on the stretch of coast nearest to my home so pebbles are a good place to start.
First a piece of natural grey merino prefelt. Then a piece of mixed browns
It takes a surprisingly long time to cut all the pebble shapes
Here’s the grey cut up and an offcut of nuno prefelt which I’m gong to add into the mix.
And finally a sort of orange / yellow piece.
I use prefelts as they give the pebbles more definition than if I just add blobs of wool. I’d guess all of the above is about a day’s work.
Now I can start the layout. This is going to be quite a big picture so will take up pretty all the space on my standing work desk. Here’s the first layer – natural white merino.
The second layer starts off with pewter for the water. While I’m working on the water section I add some dark blue low lights.
After I complete the second layer with more natural white merino, I lay out different coloured wool on top of the pewter and dark blue. I’ve previously carded pewter wool with a variety of light blues and greens using large hand carders. I haven’t even thought about adding that time to my calculations. I use this for the top layer of the water, mostly covering the dark blue which I want to add depth without being too prominent.
Here you can see that I’ve also added all the cut up pebble shapes to the bottom of the picture, plus some scraps of silk cut from old scarves, leaving a white section where I will add the wave.
For the wave I’ve chosen mohair because it has a slight shine and I hope it will be wiggly when felted. Along with the mohair I add lots of silk hankies and wool locks: I’m trying to get lots of texture into this section.
There’s also a piece of sort of knitted yarn that I picked up in a charity shop a while age. It’s meant to be knitted into a scarf (according to the label) but I lay a line of it under the wave, hoping it will look like the foam from a previous wave. I also pop some offcuts into the wave for more texture. I finish by adding a few locks to the water to look like small cresting waves and I’m at the end of day 2.
A couple of days later I start the wetting down. Because it’s large, I decide to work in three sections, starting with the pebbles. I like to use voile netting over and under the wool – which you can see in this photo.
I spend a couple of hours prefelting the picture, working both sides. Here’s the back. I can see the pebble outlines pushing through the white so can be confident the layers are starting to felt together. At this point I decide to take a break and go for a wander outside.
I work in a small rented studio in the historic town of Faversham, about 8 miles from where I live, in Whitstable. The studio is in a former industrial building (originally a late-Victorian brewery bottling plant) which is now a lovely not-for-profit gallery, café and shop called Creek Creative Studios. It also includes 32 small studios filled with a good variety of busy individuals including painters, jewellers, potters and glass workers on the ground and lower ground floors; writers, illustrators, stringed instrument specialists, web designers and other small businesses on the upper floor.
Faversham is a gorgeous medieval market town so wandering about at lunchtime (and of course checking out the charity shops) is one of my favourite pastimes. It’s a lovely sunny day so I thought I’d share a few photos with you.
Top left is the historic market place with its stilted guildhall. Top right is the Shepherd Neame shop: there’s a long history of brewing here and Shepherd Neame is Britain’s oldest brewery. Some days it does mean the town is rather ‘aromatic’. Second right is the lovely Yarn Dispensary. Originally an apothecary, the building dates back to 1240 and has a beautiful, separately listed wooden apothecary interior. It also sells a delicious selection of yarns. Bottom left is an old pub; next is the old water pump in the marketplace and a couple of the other buildings that surround the market place. There’s still a market here 3 days a week plus regular monthly ‘best of Faversham’ and antiques markets at the weekends.
Back at the studio I spend the rest of the day rubbing and rolling the felt until it’s fairly firm. Because it’s a picture and going behind glass it won’t endure much wear and tear but I still like to ensure it’s properly fulled. End of day 3.
I leave the background to dry and return to it about 6 days later, as I start to think about the turnstone or turnstones. Working from my own photos, I roughly sketch a couple of birds and cut them out so I can see how they might look.
Although I like the 2 birds they are a bit small (the waves round here aren’t that big) so I decide to go for one pecking bird but bigger than the sketched one. First step is to make some prefelt for the feathers.
Here it is as I’m starting to wet it down (left) and as a light prefelt (right – apologies for the poor quality of the second photo)
I cut up the feather prefelt and lay out a general bird shape. At this stage I am leaving the head large and a bit vague. I’ve learned that it’s better to make it too big and cut it to size later rather than trying to get the exact size and shape and risk having to add more wool or felt.
Here’s the bird felted and with a lightly trimmed head. Sorry it’s not a great photo as it’s electric light and I’m casting a shadow but I hope you can see it well enough to get the overall idea.
From layout decisions to the felted bird has taken most of day 4.
The next stage is to needle felt the bird into the background and needle in the eye and legs as well as refining the beak. For the legs I used some of the orange-ish prefelt I made for pebbles, adding strands of wool on top.
Using a broken needle I pick at the wave to raise some of the texture from the silk hankies and wool locks. I’m not sure whether it’s visible in this photo but it does make a difference in the actual picture.
I didn’t take progress shots of the needle felting but I’d say it took a good half day. It’s difficult to know when to stop fiddling around with it and declare it finished.
So, here is the final picture before framing.
And a shot in its frame.
Frame size is 63 x 86 cm (approximately 25 x 34 inches)
I used an adhesive hook tape – like the hook side of Velcro – which I stick to the mount board. The hooks hold the felt in place without impacting the fabric.
So, it looks like my 4 day estimate was a bit low. Next time someone asks how long it took me to make this picture I could say ‘About 4 ½ days, oh, plus the carding, the nuno prefelt and the framing….’ . Maybe I’ll just settle for ‘About 5 days’.
Do you try to work out how long you spend making things or just go with the flow?
A wonderful 4-week holiday in Australia, Christmas markets and hosting lots of family visitors mean I’ve done very little news-worthy felt-making since my last Felting & Fiber Studio blog. ‘Production felting’ is my own term for making lots of similar things for shops and markets. I did a fair bit of this in November and December: mostly printed tea light holders, printed wool ‘pebbles’ and Christmas cards. These were my 2022 cards: handmade felt with hand-printing. I extracted the tree from a larger, royalty-free, public-domain image and added the heart before printing onto fine flat felt.
I sold these through various outlets and sent a small number myself.
I’ve enjoyed making felt ‘pebbles’ for some years. Since learning to print on felt from Lindsey Tyson, I’ve been able to adapt photos of some of my Mum’s watercolour paintings to print onto the pebbles.
Alas, I left the base alone for a long time during a pandemic lockdown and it was attacked by moths. In a way, being eaten by moths was rather fitting: lifecycles in real life, but the moth holes meant I ended up cutting it up to make bookmarks (after some very hot washing). I did, however, recently sell the tree stump on its own and it now lives in Canada.
Pondering future projects for the tree challenge: I have a very tall, beautifully coloured ‘silver dollar’ eucalyptus tree in my garden.
The eucalyptus tree has potential for lot of other projects, including maybe using the leaves for eco printing onto felt. Eco printing is something I’d like to try, though whether I will get round to it remains to be seen. I don’t recommend any breath-holding for this.
Contemplating Caterina’s quarter-one challenge of making something practical that you can’t buy: one of my favourites is this case I made for my iPad mini. Nuno-felted with sections of recycled sheer silk scarf.
I know you can buy iPad cases but I like that this one is unique and fits perfectly without any fasteners. Because it’s an exact fit, the iPad stays put until you need it, then slides out easily. It’s getting rather battered now as I carry it around all the time so maybe it’s time to make a new one.
Felted vases and plant pots are also both unique and practical. Here are a few. I like that you can co-ordinate them to your décor, or to a specific plant or flower, or just go for colours and patterns you like.
And finally, here’s something that meets both last year’s challenge to complete some UFOs (un-finished objects) and this quarter’s challenge to make something that you can’t buy.
Here’s a pair of earrings that I started making a while ago using hand-dyed 14.5 micron Merino wool. I incorporated the earring post into the felt and some black sequin fabric inside using resists. These were inspired by the work of Aniko Boros and Judit Pocs.
As you can see, I got quite a long way along, but while I finished fulling the one on the left, I stopped with the right-hand one in the pre-felt stage. I’m not completely sure why: probably it wasn’t quite what I had in mind. But it surely can’t take more than about an hour to finish that one, so I’m promising myself here that I will complete that second earring. The world will be minus one small UFO.
I hope I’ve given you a few ideas about different ways of taking on the challenges. How are people getting on with them? If you make something in response to these or any of our previous challenges, please do post your photos on the forum. We all love to see and be inspired by what other people are making.
At the Waltham Textile group we have a biennial exhibition with a main theme, supported by any other smaller works we’ve produced during the two year lead up. Our current theme was launched in August and I was really happy to get a thumbs up when I suggested we have a nautical/coastal vibe…..if you know how much I love to create rockpool themed work you will know why I chose it! Within this theme we each get a metre width of wall space for a large hanging or several smaller ones and we’ve agreed a few specific group projects such as we all make a 3D fish, a 3D jelly fish, a decorated box and contribute to creating an Octopuses Garden.
Coming up with a title is always going to be tricky when it’s done by committee and, believe me, we debated many of them! Eventually we settled on “Making Waves” as its catchy, links to the ocean/shoreline but of course it can also be interpreted as rocking the boat or doing something subversive. Strange but no one in the group has mentioned this meaning so far, surely I can’t be the only one who’s planning on being subversive with (at least one of) the group challenges?
The general consensus is that the fish be attractive but my immediate thought was “angler fish“ due to its dramatic and sinister appearance. However a bit of Google research has opened up a whole new world of ugly fish, these are just a few that grabbed my interest. The red lipped batfish is probably the weirdest one of them all, I can’t help thinking it looks like someone’s added a face and four legs to a mushroom! That really is a face that only a mother could love! Collecting images of ugly fish is a whole new rabbit hole opening up so best to get back on track…..
It’s been a busy time recently with shows and workshops, plus playing catch up after being knocked off my feet for a couple of weeks with Covid. This has meant I haven’t made much progress but I have at least started one exhibition piece. If you visit the Felting and Fibre Community Photo page you may already have seen this as it’s made entirely from materials I had to hand and therefore fulfils the criteria set for the last challenge.
My aim was to create a wet felted vessel with a blue/green colour theme, an undulating surface and lots of texture. A student had recently commented on one of my necklaces saying it reminded her of rocks and coral and this passing remark inspired me to use the same technique and materials for my “Making Waves” vessel.
Using differential shrinkage is a great way to manipulate the surface of your felt. Thin areas have the potential to shrink much more than thick areas thereby creating hills and valleys in your work. These can be symmetrical, as in the yellow/grey bowl, or asymmetrical which was my aim for the necklace and this vessel.
The grey and mink fibre used is mostly World of Wool 23 micron Merino although, because I was using up left over short lengths from previous projects (remember the F&F challenge), I think there’s oddments of superfine in there too. The thicker areas are prefelt covered with hand dyed silk fabrics, printed viscose paper towels, sari yarn and wool yarns to create a variety of textures and after felting it measured 36cm x 17cm.
The eagle eyed might spot two pieces of lace which are on the layout but not the finished vessel, these didn’t look right so were pulled of. I’m now looking forward to some spare time next month to complete it with more hand embroidery, beading and shells.
Apologies are given in advance of my post. I had my first bout of Covid 3 weeks ago, and now have this years flu variant, despite all vaccines onboard. There will be many photos, and few words this month, as I can’t wait to get back to my bed.
Felted Flower Update
I think this project was a huge success! The ladies were so proud to show off their tea party fascinators, and I was proud that we all made it happen. I originally approached the activities director, to volunteer my services to teach felting to the residents. She totally blew me off! When the ladies of Memory Care came in wearing their lovely fascinators, and big smiles, she said nothing to me…but approached the unit activities coordinator, to teach the other units how to make them. She handled it perfectly, saying she was willing to share the information, but they would first, have to procure all the supples I donated for free.
My Parent’s TreasureTrove of Love
I am currently writing this post in a hotel room. We have been in Phoenix, Arizona for almost 4 weeks now! I’m selling my mother’s house to cover her monthly expenses in Memory Care. Thanks to trustworthy people and technology, 50% of the contents were donated to worthy charities, before we got here. The remaining 50% was placed in the garage for us to sort through. Ugh! A daunting mess, doesn’t even come close, to what we saw before us.
Thank you for taking a trip through time and treasure with me. The holiday season is quickly coming upon us. Please take care of yourselves as you are out and about – there are some nasty viruses out there. Now, I’m going back under my covers for a rest.
I love to felt bags because I think the size, model or colour of the bag is representative of us. My bag is one of my best friends because she is with me all day long. I will show you some pieces, all of them were made for custom orders. After the bag is felted I use leather and embroidery to create something different and beautiful, my style.
For this article, I’m going to take you on an adventure, using your imagination. Sounds mysterious…possibly exciting! However, in reality it was poor planning on my part, and I had to figure out something on the fly. That’s real life for many of us, so let’s move on, and it will all work out.
My mother recently moved to a Senior Living residence, in the Memory Care unit. It’s a difficult transition for anyone, and it was especially tough on my mother. I wanted to do something that would help her, get to know those around her better. A monthly tea party, presented a good opportunity. My mother has always been a lady that loves her tea…the English way, with milk. When Prince William and Kate got married, I bought my mother a fascinator to wear to tea. I went early the day of the tea, and grabbed the fascinator, from my closet.
We arrived for tea, and everyone stopped what they were doing. The residence photographer took her picture, and she was awarded the “best dressed” prize for the day. Everyone was buzzing about the need for hats. I mentioned to the craft coordinator, Cindi, that I could help the Memory Care residents make felt flowers for fascinators! We started discussing our plans immediately.
Needle felting wasn’t a good fit, for the residents, even though I had the protective gear. The coordinator said they let residents put projects together, take a photo, and behind the scenes secure items in place. That would totally work for flowers, cut out from felt, they made themselves. Last Friday was the day we set aside to make the felt. I knew my article was coming due, and thought, this would work out perfectly, but I neglected to think about privacy issues. So this is where your adventure comes in…(I know, you were hoping for a trip, to some far away destination…and maybe an umbrella drink.🍹) This is a recreation, of how we handled this for a group, in a Memory Care setting. I have a photo, with no faces, to show results the residents achieved.
I have to say, this activity was a huge success. I’m hoping by sharing the story, others will volunteer to do a similar activity, in their own communities. We had 8 ladies decide to join us, and I was prepared, if gentlemen decided to join us. I really thought this out ahead of time and had everything ready to go: bamboo placemats, cut bubble wrap, small pieces of clear plastic sheets, 2 water containers, 2 ball brausers, and liquid dish soap. I used my electric drum carder to make, very thin individual batts, for each person. I can’t tell you how pleased I was at that decision: it made everything flow along beautifully. I was told the residents love anything that sparkles, so I knew Angelina and Stelina would be present in each batts composition.
The beauty of using my drum carder, is no need to lay out, and layer the fiber. A definite plus for working with groups. We covered the tables with clean hospital blankets instead of using towels…when in Rome, use what’s convenient. We set up each place with the following (bottom up) 1. bamboo mat, 2. bubble wrap – bubble side up, 3. thin fiber batt, 4. piece of clear plastic off to the side.
The residents did each step the best they could. We had to help a few with rubbing, after a while, but by that point a few aides dropped by. They were curious, when they saw all the people, crowded in the crafting area. Their help allowed us to move on to rolling. Everyone rolled at least a little: good movement exercises. After rolling was finished, we took everything away, except their bamboo placemat. We told them to “wash their windows” and they rubbed a bit on the placemat. The best part came next: after rinsing the first piece out I demonstrated “whopping” the piece on the floor. Big smiles came out of hiding! Many couldn’t manage that, but the aides sure had fun, obliging in the process. There were good times had at the the craft table last Friday. The best part was my Mom beaming, with pride, and telling everyone I was “a pretty good girl,” when someone asked a question. Mom was having a good day, and knew who I was. I will take that memory with me forever…as I break away from typing to shed a couple tears.
I’m looking forward to seeing the flowers, we make with our felt. But mostly, I hope to see a glimpse of the happy faces, that watched me throw that felt at the floor.
Back in June last year, at the end of my 2nd post on this felt painting, having remixed the fibres for my palette and removed the fibres I had already needled into the far background of the picture, I redid that bit of work and left you with this picture of where I had got to then:
I am pleased to say that I have made considerable progress since then and here I’ll take you along for the ride!
On my next visit to the Hideaway Workshop – my friend’s place where I tend to do most of my work on my pictures – I set to to blend fibres for the palette for the main part of the picture.
I worked on the picture for about 4 – 5 hours once a month, until I was able to take this photo of the results on 26th February 2022.
This was still work in progress and I carried on and in May I was able to take further pictures of details – Red Devon cattle in one of the far off fields; sheep moving on the hill in the middle distance; the beginnings of trees and shrubs in the near distance; and the river in the foot of the valley with woods behind.
By then I had done pretty much all I was going to do for the landscape until the final details just at the end, and I needed to get on with the horse.
Now, I was toying with a new idea about how to do this. For some time I have been considering experimenting with the type of scenery often seen in simple stage sets like our typical panto village scene with shops and other buildings. Almost all of which were flat with one side showing a village shop and the other some other building for a different scene. These would be set about the stage facing square on to the audience so that they could see only the side applicable to the current scene, with further buildings painted on the backdrop. Cast members would appear from behind these and various other scenery flats like rocks, or bushes. I don’t have any suitable photos that would illustrate this, but I do have a couple of photos of children’s toy paper theatres which also demonstrate what I mean.
I thought I might be able to do something along these lines for the horse in my picture. By affixing a fairly stiff piece of felt in the shape of the horse to the picture but leaving it’s head and the top of the body unattached and slightly proud. I was hoping that this would give even more depth to the whole.
Knowing that if I was to needle felt a “flat-ish” horse to the required size, I would actually have to start off with a slightly bigger image – as the more it was needled, the more it would shrink and become out of scale. So using my copier I enlarged the image of the horse by 10% and then made a tracing of the image. As I did with the actual landscape picture, I then stitched the outlines of the horse through the tracing onto a piece of thick white felt. This was a piece of the felt that I used for the background of the landscape, but folded into three. I needled it and then wet felted it so that it was a solid piece of felt which would if necessary stand up on its own.
I blended some fibres to make the palette I would use, having decided that the picture I had taken would be a guide to shape only and I’d have a slightly different coloured horse in my picture.
I had by this time removed all the guide stitches from the landscape picture, except the lower part of the Golden Mean lines to guide me where to place the horse when completed.
Here is the horse, substantially finished, about to be cut out of his background.
And here he is having been cut out.
I have left the top part of the body with the original depth of the backing felt and have shaved down the backs of the legs, the belly and nose so that they will be more part of the picture as opposed to appearing to stand proud of it. I have also added coloured fibres to the sides and the rear edges for the whole horse so that no white background will be visible when the horse is attached to the landscape. The final shape of the legs and neck will be refined at that stage, and more grass added around the muzzle and hooves. I have left the tail and the forelock un-needled to emulate a slight breeze blowing some hairs around. I have also attached some linen threads to the back which I will use to secure the body to the picture. If I don’t do this it is possible that the horse might fall off the picture if he’s only attached by his hooves and his muzzle.
And this is where I have come to a (“shuddering”) halt.
I was hoping that this would be the last post in this series; that I would have finished my picture of the horse on the Devon hillside. However the recent very hot (to us) weather we have been experiencing here in the UK has meant that I’ve had to stop work. So I was getting very behind. In addition, I seem to have acquired an RSI (repetitive strain injury) to the shoulder of my dominant right arm – to be exact “rotator cuff related shoulder pain”. Although I don’t think it was as a result solely of needle felting, I suspect that the action of frequently stabbing fibres for several hours at a time may have contributed to it. It certainly hasn’t helped it. Whatever, it has resulted in my having to put aside my needle felting for the moment. I will post again as soon as I can get back to work and finish this, which has fast become a labour of love. In the meantime this where I have got to.