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Carding and Blending

Carding and Blending

Over the break at New Year, I thought it’d be a good time to tidy up our supplies from the Well Being Centre. I mentioned at the beginning of the year I’d made a start on the fabrics tub. I also cleared out the equipment tub. Which inevitably led to clearing out the main wool tub! Not surprisingly we end up with lots of scrap bits of wool tops from the classes, from wisps left over from projects, to strips which have got clumped or matted from being in the bottom of the box or shoved around during searches. I thought it was easiest to just bring home all the wool to do a stock check. I sorted it all into piles, starting with single colours which had just become matted, or pulled all to bits:

Then I made piles of all the small left over bits, and grouped them according to colour. Reds, oranges and yellows Merino:

Red, orange and yellow textured tops (made from a previous scrap tidy up, some of these are probably 5th generation now!)

There were purples, blues and turquoise Merino shades:


And lots of Merino greens:

I started with carding the single colours which just needed refreshing or neatening up, then moved onto blending. We had a few other supplies I could add in, and plenty of my own to add a bit of brightness or contrast here and there. I tried not to overblend them so they had good shows of colour rather than just making a new shade. It’s not that easy to see with the blues though! This is one of the batts made from the mid blues:

The mid to dark blue one with a few flashes of purple refused to be photographed as a batt, but rolled up is fairly accurate:

I forgot to photograph one of the green ones, but this mid-greens looks nice:

The orange textured batt looked much the same as it did before, but is now useable again!

And the Red, orange and yellow batts always look good:

I think the blue blends I took in have already been used and half each of the reds/greens ūüôā

Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends

This past weekend, my husband and I drove up to Wisconsin for a weekend away.¬† I had hoped we’d see plenty of fabulous fall colors I could share.¬† Unfortunately, Wisconsin is suffering from the same drought we have here in Illinois and we arrived a week earlier than the peak.¬† Many of their trees have lost their leaves already, like ours here. But here is one fallish pic entering Wisconsin.

I haven’t been too productive this week.¬† But I do have a few projects I have put finishing touches on and haven’t shared.

I signed up for Ruth’s Printing and Stenciling on Felt class, so I managed to make a couple of handmade prefelts to play with.¬† I have plenty of commercial.¬† The purple was some unknown fiber batt. I decided to use a silk hankie to give it a little sparkle, but it didn’t.

The turquoise is commercial prefelt with some throwsters waste which isn’t very evident.

I think I will be able to use both sides just to experiment. I like the sides without the silk better.

I also made a thicker light blue batt with some mulberry silk.

I have no idea what I’ll be printing on any of these and have gathered a bunch of samples and other UFOs to experiment on.

Here is a failed coaster that had gold fabric felted in that I did a little free motion practice on.

A while back I had felted a bunch of samples from scarves.¬† I couldn’t find the post with the original scarves. One of them had dots which I wasn’t crazy about. I had done both sides and didn’t care for the inside either.¬† However, after felting the dots weren’t obvious, they looked more like flowers.¬† I made it into a little case and did a little embroidery on with with some silver floss for a little bling.

  The back:

The front has a little bit of black organic edging.

Nothing exciting this week, but I got to re-purpose a few things.

 

The Hummingbird and the Tiger Lily

The Hummingbird and the Tiger Lily

I know a lot of people are experiencing different seasons around the world.  Here in the U.S. summer has finally arrived.  One of the things I always look forward to is seeing the hummingbirds fluttering around my flowers.

While the hummingbirds haven’t been seen yet, I decided to make my own.¬† I started with making a base with Domestic 56 batts, then I added a thin layer of batts and silk hankies as a background felting it slightly and letting it dry.

I decided to make the bird and flower in three dimension.  I shaped the bird first by doing some needle felting and putting it in place then covering it with handmade prefelt and silk hankies. I did a little needle felting on the wings to get the detail of the wings.  The beak was made like a spike and attached before the final wet felting.

The Tiger Lily petals and stamens and stem were made from prefelt and again the stamens were added right before the final wet felting. I used little resists under the petals and needle felted the stamens to stay in place.

A little plastic wrap around the stamens  and beak to keep them from felting to the petals or background.

The felting was slow and I tried not to get it too hard. I wanted a soft look.

I added more needle felting for detail.

Here are several different angles to see the dimension.

Looking at it from above it doesn’t show the dimension.¬† I may have it framed in a shadow box.¬† What do you think?

Easing into the Third Quarter Challenge

Easing into the Third Quarter Challenge

I’m working on some projects for the Third Quarter Challenge, but had completed this project earlier which also falls into the Second Quarter Challenge.

While going through some old craft boxes, I found a piece of crochet I did many, many moons ago as a young woman.¬† I set it aside with my felting supplies.¬† Every once in a while I’d pick it up and set it on some roving or prefelt, unsure what I wanted to do with it.

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It was definitely acrylic, so I used a small tail on a prefelt when I was making samples and it felt in very nicely.¬† However, because it has such great dimension I didn’t want to lose that either.¬† Finally, I made some gray batts with merino and corriedale and decided that’s what I’d do and use a resist under the center so I wouldn’t lose that nice dimension.

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I purposely left the center open so that would be firmly attached.

Here is the result:

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I don’t know why this one looks orange.¬† Lighting I guess.¬† But you can see where some of the gray migrated up through crochet piece.20160609_123520_001

My next dilemna was what to do with it.¬† I tried it over a small pillow, but didn’t like the way it pushed the design up.¬† Then I tried a couple of pre-made square frames.¬† But I didn’t like them either.¬† The frames were either too wide, the wrong color or not big enough.

There was something lacking.¬† I just couldn’t put my finger on it.¬† Then I tried stitching a design around it.¬† That gave it a little balance, but I’m still not sure.

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I may take it to a professional framer and have something like this done.¬† I tried a new program — Ribbet to super impose a frame.¬† I know the top and bottom are¬† cut off a little but it was just to see if I liked it.

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Or this?

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What do you think?

At least now I have a piece of my crafting history preserved and not stuck away in a box.

More experiments with UFOs

More experiments with UFOs

A couple of years ago, I was making silk paper just for practice.¬† I decided to try to cover a bowl and make some ruffle edges.¬† But it was a disaster. I used an acrylic medium to help give it substance, but all that did was make it stiff and unmanageable.¬† I tried soaking it in soapy water for a couple of days, but that didn’t do anything either.¬† So it went into the “pile.”¬† I’ve picked it up a couple of times thinking I could use it for something, but nothing came to mind. Sorry about the fuzzy picture.

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Recently, with the Second Quarter challenge to revisit our UFO stash, I pulled it out again. This time as I thought about it I started pulling it apart, peeling off layers.  I wondered if it would still felt, so I looked through my stash and found some yellow batts with unknown fibers.

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It felted just fine, some parts are still stiff, but most of the thinner areas still had the silk shine. This piece will probably be made into a coin purse.

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But what to do with the rest?

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Another UFO was a piece of prefelt I had cut for “lace” in Fiona Duthie’s Surface Design class.¬† I put a piece of habatoi silk under it and felted them together.¬† I’m not sure what I’ll do with it.¬† But I like the bubbly effect of the silk through the holes.

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Then I found a frame for the cityscape.

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While I haven’t made a big dent in the scraps and UFO pile, I feel good about trying some new things.

Ginkgo Anyone?

Ginkgo Anyone?

A while back I dyed some silk and wool experimenting with making browns with acid dyes.

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I wasn’t sure what I’d use it for, but I fell in love with the coppery silk habatoi.¬† I made batts with the wool.

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I had purchased some alpaca yarn this summer and wasn’t sure what I would do with it.¬† For some reason it called to me even though it’s not my typical color way. But putting it next to the cooper silk, I had to come up with something to do with it.

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I made felt base and placed the silk over it to nuno felt.¬† I still wasn’t sure how I would attach the yarn.¬† But then Ruth posted a blog about couching. Bingo!

 

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I decided to make gingko leaves using the couching method of attaching the yarn.

It was a long process. I first had to outline the shape with stitching ( I tried white pencil and other pens, but this worked best.)

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Then I pinned the yarn to the shape and began the couching process.  Because the yarn was variegated it created some interesting color contrasts along with the variegated nuno background.

20160109_161041Then used straight stitching for the veins.

20160113_122100The yarn was two ply and I thought that the veins for the secondary leaves should be less obvious so I separated them to make the veins¬† ( long process). Here is the progress –

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Why gingko?  I like the shape and also have a metal vase in my bedroom water closet that has the gingko leaves embossed on it.  I thought this would  tie the picture together with the vase.

20160124_125700The wall color is a purple haze which I thought would be a nice contrast.¬† while the leaves aren’t perfect, I’m pleased with the result.

What new fun projects are you working on?

 

 

 

My turn for a Giveaway

My turn for a Giveaway

I am going to give away some fiber. The winner will get approximately 100gr of one of these¬†multicoloured¬†Merino batts.¬†¬†I couldn’t decide which one to give away so the winner will get to pick the one they want. All but the last¬†are textured. They are good for felting or spinning.

Brown
Brown/orange
orange
Orange/yellow
pale green
Pastel greens
pink
Pink/purple
purple
Purple/pink

I will announce  the winner on January 24th. To enter just leave a comment on this blog post.  Good luck.

Silk Nuno Samples

Silk Nuno Samples

I bought some silk fabric from a seller on ebay quite a while ago. It was listed as Silk Organza and it felt ‘stiff’ like some of the thicker synthetic organzas can, but was even stiffer. It kind of ‘bent’ rather than folded! I mentioned it on the forum and after suggestions decided the best thing to do was wash it and see how it turned out. I don’t have any photos of it as it comes, I remember trying, but it was acting like patterned shirts do on the telly. This is how it looked after a wash:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt started to crumple up and look like foil, and didn’t want to uncrumple. In some places it started to fall to bits:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI googled, and came up with a couple of sites talking about vintage fabrics, and especially how delicate silk taffeta is with its metallic threads and something about how taffeta is prone to disintegration because of the metal salts used to give an opalescent sheen. So, I’m fairly certain it is taffeta and not organza. I did a sample using a piece before washing, at the top, and a piece I’d washed, at the bottom:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe unwashed piece kept its shape better than I thought. Actually, so did the washed piece, I wouldn’t have been surprised if it just fell to bits. I did a similar sized sample with just one piece unwashed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe taffeta still feels stiff after felting, but it does look nice. Angled:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can really see the sheen and texture on this close up:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few weeks ago, I made some more drum carded blended batts. I used 18.5 mic primary yellow Merino blended with hand dyed Milk, Silk and Soy fibres; and 18.5 mic Merino blended with black bamboo and hand dyed Milk, Silk and Soy fibres; then I blended them together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few people pointed out they fit in well with the first quarter colour challenge, making a shade. I’m hoping I get chance to felt a little sample of them soon, I’m curious how the fibres will show through.

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Batts, Bamboo and more…

Batts, Bamboo and more…

Our Guest Artist/Author today is Cathy Wycliff aka Luvswool

Recently, I received some nifty embellishment fibers from Zed (thanks again!) around the same time my Opulent order of batts was delivered, so I decided to combine two experiments.
One experiment idea was offered by Fiona Duthie on her blog and involved combining batts for color overlap or shadowing. I chose moss, chlorophyll, teal and sand. All were Opulent coopsworth batts except for the teal, which was handmade and provided by Marilyn (Pandagirl). As I recall, the teal was a combo of hand dyed Cheviot, Domestic 56s, merino and mulberry silk. I lifted the edges of each batt and overlapped the next color of batt, then wet-felted to the pre-felt stage.

 

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Next, I added the first set of embellishment fibers, shown up-close in the photo below: bamboo staple, banana, milk fiber and crimped viscose.

 

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I wanted to see which fiber proved to be the shiniest. As I worked the fiber in, I was not paying much attention to the coopsworth batts, which did not provide as much shadowing as I had expected. Could be the unevenness of the batts or unequal distribution of the overlapped batts, or perhaps not enough fulling. All of the embellishments added shine, but I think maybe the crimped viscose turned out best, closely followed by the banana and milk. Although the bamboo staple did not provide much shine, it sparked an idea for a future experiment as an inclusion in nuno-felting.

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I grabbed my next set of Zed’s embellishment fibers, this time using (top to bottom) black bamboo, pale blue acrylic (looks white in photo), black nylon tops and green nylon.

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I placed all of the fibers on Domestic 56’s roving, which I lightly pre-felted. I was pleased with the sample results, especially the grey/black bamboo (top) and the crazy/wild green nylon (bottom).

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I’ll definitely want to use these fibers as embellishments in my upcoming projects!

Thanks Cathy! You had some great discoveries with new fibers!

Monet Challenge

Monet Challenge

I’ve always been a fan of Monet.¬† I don’t think there are too many of his works I don’t like, but I particularly like his irises, bridges, weeping willows and water lilies.¬† But I decided for this challenge I would step out of my comfort zone and try something different. So, I chose his “The Seine Near Vetheuil – Stormy Weather” for my challenge.

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Since I have a new drum carder, I decided to make a batt for the base from the domestic 56s I have. I used merino, pieces of unknown wool batts I had purchased to paint the picture and some mulberry silk and throwsters waste for accents. It was harder than I thought to simulate the brush strokes and capture the color subtleties and layers in this piece.  I could have stopped here and put it under glass, but I kept going.

before felting

When it dried I noticed the coarser domestic 56 wool had migrated thru and made the piece very hairy.¬† It definitely needed a good shave. I wondered if I had wet felted the base first if I would have had as much migration.¬† Next time I’ll try that.

before shaving

After shaving it, particularly in the darker areas, I felt it still needed something.

after shaving

So, I put it on the floor and looked at it for awhile to decide where I could needle felt some of the areas to give it more definition.  I added some wool to some of the tree lines and needled around others.

Seine final

Since its my impression of this work, I’m satisfied with the outcome.¬† There are a few places I would have done things differently when laying out, but they weren’t obvious during that stage as they were after the felting.

Have you found your Monet challenge yet?

 

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