I am very busy getting ready for the first Farmers market of the season and forgot it was my turn to make a blog post. I thought You might like to see this one from 2012 again.
Last week I sorted out my wool and put all the decent size pieces on the new shelves. this left me with a lot of little bits. I usually keep bins of little bits to use as accents. Now I had way to much of that too. I sorted it all, picked out the stuff I really wanted to keep and put the rest into 4 piles for carding.
I have a large carder, a Patrick Green Cottage Industry Carder.
A friend came over and we carded it into a 4 fun textured batts.
The batts came out really nice and will be great for felting or for spinning textured yarn. I didn’t think I had that much until we fluffed it up to card. It is amazing how much you can compress wool when you’re stuffing it into a little storage box.
I’ve been spending most of my spare time making bootie favors for my nephew Mike and his wife Stephanie’s baby shower. This time they were blue for the little boy they are expecting this spring. This was the first batch.
I made a total of 40. I couldn’t find the same kind of bows I used on the 60 pink ones I made two years ago, but Amazon finally came to my rescue. There was no pearl in the center, but looked more masculine. I thought about cutting off the tails to look like a bow tie, but I ran out of time.
The candy I had inside were little candy coated balls of carob and chocolate. I had to devise a system to fill the netting in a bowl because those little suckers traveled fast and rolled everywhere if I didn’t contain them.
All 40 finished and ready to go.
The shower was held this past Sunday at a restaurant. Of course, it snowed all day Saturday and Sunday. But it was still a big success for those who braved the storm. Here are the booties on one of the tables.
I told the family I hoped it would be a while before there were any more baby showers and booties.
I know many of you have done fairs. Have you done any special projects lately?
Last week I showed you two large panels I made using scraps. Since then I created three more.
One long panel.
Two short ones.
Here they are laid out on the floor.
Here’s the final project.
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.
Now you don’t.
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?
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It seems lately everyone is into weaving. This past summer I was shopping with my daughter in law at Joann’s and this mini loom caught my eye. I actually thought it might be something to do with the grandsons.
The last time I wove anything was on one of those metal looms using loops to make pot holders. Yeah, I’m showing my age.
I forgot about the loom when I got home then when I was gathering all my scraps for the 4th Quarter challenge I found it under a pile. Ok, let’s see how this works and what all the hoopla is about. Looks easy enough.
I have a tubful of yarn so that’s where I started. I thought an autumn theme would be nice. The black acrylic/wool combo also has a little silver bling, the pink ball is mohair and the multi colored yarn is thick and thin with a little blue and white thin threads. I also added some polyester and silk scraps and hand dyed boucle. The ball of yarn under the string is the alpaca I used to make my Ginkgo leaves a while back. Not pictured is hand dyed green pencil roving.
They don’t sell the warp so I decided to just use string. Besides I didn’t want to invest in anything if it was something that I wasn’t going to do a lot of.
I didn’t like using the shuttle, so I just used my fingers. Here it is on the loom:
Here’s a closeup:
The instructions were not helpful so I ended up finding a video online. I used the alpaca as fringe. I wasn’t following a particular pattern just kind of winging it.
Of course, I had to hide the ends which was a lot more fiddly than I like. But I like the overall look. I decided to make it a wall hanging and cut a piece of bamboo to tie it to. You can’t tell from the picture, but it’s hanging on a light gold wall. Sorry about the shadow .
It took me a lot longer than anticipated. But I’m happy with the results. I may try another to felt. But I don’t see myself investing any larger looms. I admire those of you who have the patience to dress a loom and weave away.
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.
I pulled out some and put them on the table to pick from.
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.
I spent a lot of time rubbing so as to not disturb the little bits and thread.
While still wet:
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.
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:
Now I’m ready to shop.
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.
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.
It was fun experimenting with the scraps. I’ll probably do more. Have you started your 4th Quarter Challenge?
Our guest artist today is Leonor Calaca from Felt Buddies shares her method for making felted soaps. You can see more of her work at http://www.FeltBuddies.co.uk
Hello! Today I’ll teach you how to make your very own felted soap.
Before we start however, I’m sure a few of you are wondering, “What on earth is a felted soap?” Good question! Allow me to explain.
A felted soap is, as the name might reveal, a bar of soap that’s surrounded by felted wool. This means you’re basically getting a bar of soap and a washcloth in one product, making the former last longer, while using the latter as an exfoliating agent.
The wool around the soap also makes the soap last longer, and when the inside is all used up you can use the wool as compost material, or keep it as a decorative pebble.
Christmas is fast approaching, and this would make a great gift – it smells nice and it’s useful, what’s not to love? I actually sold out last holiday season!
Let’s get started, shall we?
First, you’ll need the following ingredients: warm soapy water in a clean container, a nice bar of soap with round corners (sharp corners may break through the wool), enough wool to cover the soap with, and some bubble wrap for friction.
A couple of good extra items are a felting needle (I’ll explain why in a moment), and a pair of kitchen gloves.
Begin by carefully wrapping the fibre around the soap. I used a lovely wool top with silk tweed here, but you can use roving or a batt – just make sure you’re using enough to cover the soap, but not so much so that it makes lathering hard!
You’ll need to wrap the fibre in two opposite directions. I like to start by wrapping it horizontally and then vertically because I think the end result looks nicer, but you can do it whichever way you prefer – just as long as you have two opposite layers.
Remember the felting needle I mentioned before? Here is where it can comes in handy: I like to needle felt the ends to make sure nothing comes apart when I’m wet felting. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but I find it keeps things neat.
Once your soap is all wrapped up, it’s time to dunk it in warm water. I highly recommend you go slowly at this stage, as the fibre might fall off the soap or migrate if you haven’t secured it with a felting needle. Squeeze all the air bubbles out carefully in the water and, once you take the soap out of the water, gently squeeze out all the excess liquid and start rubbing the top layer lightly so the fibres start clinging to each other.
Once the fibre is secured, it’s time to help it shrink around the soap. I had a bubble wrap pouch from a mailing bag that I used to help create friction, but regular bubble wrap will work just fine.
Rub the bubble wrap against the soap, checking regularly if your fibre isn’t migrating, you don’t want to end up with bare patches (you can needle felt some extra fibre on those at this stage, and continue wet felting).
Once the fibres start contracting around the soap, you can use your bare hands to continue the felting process. I like to create friction on the ridges of my sink; I sometimes also wear kitchen gloves because the rubber also helps, and I like to alternate hot and cold tap water so the fibre shrinks around the soap faster.
Once the fibre feels compact around the soap, you’re done!
Carefully rise out the lather under the tap, gently squeeze the soap and let it dry; after that, you can add some kraft paper around the soap to make a “belt,” or you can just place it inside an organza bag.
Don’t be surprised if, after gifting this to friends, they come back for more! You can always direct them to this tutorial so they can make their own…
Feel free to ask me questions about this in the comments section. Happy felting!
Thanks Leonor for sharing your method of felting soap. I have a feeling a lot of people will be getting soap for the holidays.
I think I have recovered for selling at Fibrefest. It was a good show for me. Consequently I did not get out of my booth much to take pictures. I did get a few shots of my booth.
This is what the 12 yard skeins ended up looking like. You can see them in the big black basket in the middle of the table. They went over quite will at $5 each, mostly to rug hookers.
I shared my booth with a friend who only has a small amount to sell. She has lovely hand spun wool.
This weekend was the Richmond Fair. Three of us go every year and have a great time.
Here is our display, Bernadette is getting some fiber ready to go through the drum carder and I am getting wool and pencils ready for bead making. Jan’s Inkle loom is front left.
Here Jan is chatting with a lady about our guild and a close up of what she has on the inkle loom she is adding in some fuzzy caterpillars as a supplementary warp as she goes.
Two of the many children that made beads. Everyone seemed to like them. Bernadrett was in charge of putting a short piece of her hand spun through them and making them into bracelets.
Sunday afternoon we had some sheep show to be sheared.
They are Rideau Arcotts except the black faced one that is a Suffolk cross. They were a big hit and Jan got 2 fleeces that she now has soaking to get clean.
Around the farm this week we had a set of twin bull calves born. Twins are unusual in cows. I only have a not so good picture of one of them. Black calves are hard to photograph and mom likes to keep them hidden in the weeds.
This summer has been very hot and dry. None of the squash or beans in the field garden came up and only about 6 potato plants. There are plans to get water to that garden next year. However we did have a volunteer squash plant in the barn yard where the water from the roof lands. It has gone crazy we harvested 17 squash and there are more ripening and more flowers. So apparently we are better accidental gardeners than on purpose gardeners. LOL
Last winter, I buried a couple of raw fleeces in the snow, and let the snow melt “wash” them. Well, it´s not the most thorough way of washing fleeces, but they were slightly whiter in colour, and smelled a little less sheepy when they thawed out in the spring. I have now used two of these fleeces to make a rug, with the assistance of my kids, on a trampoline.
Carding this amount of wool would take quite some time, so I decided to try just whipping the wool instead. As it was slightly windy, and the wool tends to fly around when you do this, I decided to do it on our trampoline, which has a security net around it. Very practical indeed. Beating the wool with sticks is a rather fun way to separate the fibres and, being on a trampoline, it was impossible to resist jumping around in the wool, too.
Now that we had all this wool on the trampoline, I figured we may as well try felting on the trampoline too. We laid out the wool on an old sheet, added a thin layer of carded wool on top, and finally raw locks in different natural colours. We wet it all down with hot water and soap, rolled it up, and then the girls and I (ok, mostly the girls, but I did join in for a bit) bounced around on the trampoline until we ran out of energy.
The next day, we added more hot water and soap and did a bit of rubbing and rolling. Then we rolled it out of the sheet and I let the girls bounce on the rug. An interesting and quite effective way to full a piece of this size.
Apart from being fun, and giving us quite a lot of exercise, there is a practical advantage to felting on a trampoline. All the excess water drains through the woven trampoline, which makes it easy to just keep adding more hot water during the felting process, and to get rid of excess water after rinsing the rug thoroughly with the garden hose.
A rug made with wool equivalent to about three fleeces can hold a lot of water. It took three days to dry. After that, I could add the final embellishments – swirls of black yarn that I needle-felted on the white centre.
It´s a thick and sturdy rug, measuring 115 cm (3.7′) across. It will probably stand for a lot of wear too, as it survived the rather harsh treatment on the trampoline.
Zara,thanks for sharing your family’s adventure with felt on a trampoline this summer. It sure looked like fun with a beautiful result!
I wasn’t able to finish the coursework for Ruth’s Paper Lamination Class within the class time, but have since completed the last two assignments. We had a choice of several different options for the last two weeks. I chose to use one of the lamination pieces on a pillow. It was a piece of silk habatoi that I used a stencil with acrylic paint on a piece of copy paper.
I made a couple of batts with gray, a little green and purple accents over a resist. Then wet felted. Of course, I had to cut a side to get the resist out and the pillow stuffing in. While it was drying, it was a nice square shape. Now its a funky shape. But that’s ok, the colors go perfectly in my bedroom.
It seemed a little plain so I tried adding prefelt leaves, but I felt they overwhelmed the design. I was very pleased with the texture and dimension of the flowers and decided not to do any stitching like I had on the bird project.
So, I decided to stitch around the silk using a cretan stitch. It was an exercise in patience and practice. I used a silver sharpie to put a few dots in the center of the flowers as stamens.
Here’s the back with a subtle marbled effect:
Next I made a wall hanging. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the organza I painted. I call it “paintbrush.” In the closeups you can see the brush strokes if you look hard.
I also got some great dimension:
Here is the back:
Now it is hanging in my kitchen. Yes, the wall is teal.
I’m very pleased with both projects.
Thanks Ruth for offering the class. I really enjoyed it.
I just finished Ruth Lane’s online class. Since I am also papermaker, I was excited to combine the two passions and see the results.
It was a fun experiment using a variety of papers, dyes, paints and fabrics. Some worked, some didn’t, but that’s how we learn.
This first one is a paper napkin from one of my Grandson’s birthday party earlier this year on organza. Since I was experimenting, I used some batts with unknown fibers in two colors, blue and green.
I decided not to further embellish it since the “characters” were nicely defined. I suppose I could add some greenery and clouds. But I wanted to show the results this far.
The next one is also “finished.” I used a tree stencil on organza with unryu paper which is very fibery. Again it is on a batt of unknown fiber.
I embellished around the stencil with silver silk hankies. It felted very nicely.
Since these were experiments, I wasn’t concerned about perfect edges and left them organic.
Here’s a closeup of the center. You can see how those fiber areas look like branches and connect the trees.
I got great texture as you can see from this side view.
The one project I completed was a stenciled bird pic.
I used a couple of paper and fabric types with this stencil, but chose this one to finish even though the colors faded. It was a dyed paper towel on cotton voile. You can’t see it in the pics, but the bumps from the towel can be seen in spots. I used it on a merino batt.
I forgot to cover the edges of the voile, so I used machine stitching to cover the edges.
I decided to hand stitch the rest. There is a lot of dimension in the paper, although it’s not too obvious in these pics.
I wanted to keep it simple. I used double rayon thread with threaded backstitches and some satin stitches to embellish it. The green is a variegated thread. I purposely just outlined because I wanted the birds to be the center of attention. Forgive my poor stitching. Here are some closeups.
Now I have to decide whether to frame it or leave it organic.
Thanks Ruth! It was a unique class. I need more practice. I’m still working on the final projects.