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Three Pieces

Three Pieces

We had a couple of new people join the wet felting group at the well being centre the past few weeks, so as usual, I started them off with a ‘beginner’s piece‘, which is my soft, wispy felt. If you’re new or haven’t seen me mention this, basically, it’s a 4 layer piece of felt, which is meant to be soft, and ‘scruffy’ and uneven, and piled with embellishments, and is designed so it’s almost impossible to make a bad piece! This is a red piece I made:

I think most of the fibres I used were Nylon:

This yellow Nylon was less ‘fluffed up’:

Some cotton scrim:

I made a blue piece the next time:

And most of the fibres on this seemed to be soy, and the two best pics were of the soy under cotton gauze. Grey under blue:

And a pinky grey under purple:

On Monday, I was the only one there, so I indulged myself and made a small mat/coaster for my best friend. I used wool tubes (or ‘kebabs’!) and filled in a rectangle on a template, then added Merino. Basically working upside down:

I like looking at these on an angle:

Even closer/more of an angle:

Have you made anything just for you or a friend lately?

Tubes and Mats

Tubes and Mats

I enjoyed playing around with the tubes at the well being centre, so decided to make another piece last week. I think it’s because the tubes are already made, so there are less decisions/choices which makes it even more ‘mindless’ and relaxing! I didn’t even really think about background colours too much, I just knew I didn’t want blues, so grabbed a bag of pinks and oranges. I wasn’t aiming for another challenge piece, I just wanted something simple with a bit of contrast:

The tubes I used had quite a lot of fibres blended in, they’re a bit more obvious from this angle:

And, maybe it’s just me, but the whole piece looks very different depending which way around it is:

A close up I like:

Earlier this year, I made a mat with the intention of taking it out with me for when it’s cold, so I can sit on it at the bus stop! I got the idea when I needed to sit down, but the wall was freezing, so I took off my woollen gloves to sit on. I actually didn’t get a chance to try it, but here it is:

The temperature suddenly dropped here recently, and it reminded me of the mat, so I thought I’d make another:

If this weather continues, I might have to make a blanket for my knees too!

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:
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)

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 πŸ™‚

Tree Trunks in Snow

Tree Trunks in Snow

I thought I’d make some test pieces for making cards for the Winter fair. Basically, I wanted to work out the best wool and/or fibre blends for making wool tubes to look like tree trunks. I did have silver birch in mind for some, but anything which looked good was all I was after for now. The wool I used for the base was something I got in a bag of Botany Lap waste, It looked and felt like Merino, and after felting I’m failry certain it is, but finer than 23 mic.
I quite like this first one, I used various natural grey blends, but also some nylon on the 1st, 3rd and 5th. I think the first one was made with ‘Lightning’, an artifical white Merino, it looks blue-ish in natural light:

I used a natural blend which Leonor sent me for these next ones. I think the last two also had some white nylon because they have a blue-ish look too:

This is one of my favourites, it has tubes made from various natural blends, though the first one could have some artificial white. I also added some strands at the base after googling ‘tree trunks in snow’ πŸ™‚ What isn’t very obvious is I also used a fine layer at the bottom of a Botany Lap blend which had trilobal nylon in it. It looks whiter/brighter if you look hard, but the sparkle isn’t obvious:

I tried a couple of tubes I made around dowelling, I think they were a bit thin and didn’t have enough colour variation:

I tried a new (to me) wool for this next piece: Charollais. It made a spongey felt. It was quite unusual when it came to fulling, as I rubbed from one direction, like top to bottom, it seemed to undo the fulling I’d done from the other, i.e side to side! I got there in the end, though I probably shouldn’t have bothered! The cream/white wool used on the grey tubes matched the base felt, so ‘diasappeared’, and the tube I made from Finn and Merino just had no definition:

Here’s a close up so you can see the felt texture:

I tried something a bit different on these next two, this first one has the same fine Merino base, but I made the trees out of bamboo paper. A layer of black, with a layer of white on top. The black bamboo paper had two layers, it separated when I was adding out the last tree, and I think that one looks better:

Close up:

This last one was made with a base of Svea X Finull which Zara sent me. I am hopeless at laying out anything which isn’t commercial tops, so it’s not the neatest piece! I tried a skeleton leaf on this one:

I really liked this piece πŸ™‚ Here’s a close up of the leaf:

I’ll probably redo the samples with 23 mic Merino and add unblended trilobal on some to see if it looks like icy snow. I’ll save the artificial white wool for other things, I think the natural creamy whites look better.

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Felted Wool Kebabs

Felted Wool Kebabs

There weren’t very many of us at the Well Being centre last week, but the idea of ‘wool kebabs’ went down so well, I think it could become an art form in itself! We’re carrying on this week, so I took the opportunity to make a few wool kebabs and a few felted examples to take in. I mostly made lots of black/white/grey combinations for the kebabs. For the first sample I used black Merino and blend I got from a Botany Lap waste bag. The shiny fibre looks like bamboo or viscose. I just used 5 pieces on this:

From this angle you can just about tell, that they aren’t exactly flush with the surface:

For this sample, I covered the whole pices with wool kebabs, these were mostly quite ‘hairy’ rather than smooth because I used some coraser blends. The neat rectangle really changed shape with the areas of different shrinkage according to how thick/thin it was in places:

I thought I’d used all the ‘same’ type of kebabs, but I think I picked up a couple of different ones next to each other, which made a nice patch of dark/shine contrast:

I think the blend I used for these had a few brownish shades of wool in. These were quite texturey too. I don’t know which wool I used for a base. I think that was from a Botany Lap bag too. I think this is my favourite:

I think another ‘rogue’ kebab got in with these too, one of them has a bit more grey and a definite sheen:

I bought some stripey wool from wollknoll a couple of years ago, and thought this would make some nice wool kebabs. I used them on Black Merino, and they turned out really nice too:

You can see more texture on these, I think:

Even closer:

I got quite addicted to making the wool kebabs, something very soothing about the process: blending, laying out the wisps, rolling, sliding the tube off, repeating, and watching the little pile of similar tubes grow πŸ™‚

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