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Next Step for Needle books.

Continuing on from my last post about making felt for needle books, Felt for Needle Books I started sewing them together. Well, first I had to iron them all which always takes much longer than you think it will. Everyone forgets to mention this step or they just say iron your pieces like it’s nothing at all. There are no pictures of ironing, as fascinating as that might have been, I didn’t take any pictures.

I also only took one picture when I was sewing them together. There was much swearing, and unpicking that you didn’t need to see.

After sewing them together I had to think about how to decorate them. I went online and looked for line drawings. You can find them in any theme you like. I looked for sewing. I also used some I had saved from other projects. I traced them onto a nonwoven dissolvable stabilizer. This is great stuff and it doesn’t take much to dissolve it. You can’t use a marker for tracing, it dissolves the stabilizer. I used a thick pencil to trace my designs.

On to the stitching. The first one is a snail. I picked a variegated embroidery floss. I used all 6 threads because I wanted a heavy line.

You will notice that in the first of the snail pictures the book is sewn together but in the other 2 pictures, it is pinned together. After stitching the snail I realized I stitched it so the inside is upside down and so I have unpicked the thread holding it all together and will sew the inside in the right way.

This one I really didn’t know how to embellish, I have another one almost the same. I decided on a backstitched chain stitch using 2 similar colours. I didn’t need the dissolvable stabilizer for this one. It’s a bit wonky, but there you go.

I also did the smallest book.

Closed the little book is only 2.25 inches (5.7cm) square. That is big enough to hold some needles and a thread saver. This book only has one double, needle page. All the others have two, and they all have 2 pockets. I have one more smallish one and the rest are all bigger. The biggest ones are 4.5 inches (11.3 cm) square so big enough for a small pair of scissors. After I get all of the embroidered I will have to add some buttons and ties or elastics to them. Elastics can look messy if you don’t have layers to hide the ends between. How do you deal with cut ends when adding them to a project?

This is what’s new on the farm this week. These are baby chicks.

And these are baby turkeys. There is not much difference between them as day olds. But only a few days on and the turkeys have grown necks.

Five of them got stepped on by there friends and had isolated themselves away from the heat so they had to come inside and live in a box with a heat lamp, in my sewing room for a few days.

Here they are all better, in a bucket for their trip back to the group. this is the safest way for them to traves without getting hurt or too scared. You can see how they have grown in just a few days. Not sure why the look so grubby in the picture because they weren’t, just the light I guess.

Some Needle Book Covers

Not too long ago I saw some nice needle books for sale and thought I would like to make some too. It seemed to be in my and my machine’s sewing ability. They will be fun adding stitching later too. First I had to make some nice felt for the covers.

I started with two layers of white.

and added some colour and pattern

I found an old piece of prefelt

It wasn’t as thick as I wanted so I added a layer of fibres to one side.

and some other bits that were thicker.

Then, because I must be able to embroider sheep, I made a meadow.

Next, I had to cut them to size. I went looking and couldn’t find anything that looked like a standard size, so I cut them to what I thought would be usable sizes. Some larger and some smaller, depending on the piece of felt and what I thought would work.

I cut some middles. Each piece of felt has a needle and pin piece and a pouch piece. When they are sewn in there will be 2 pouches (front and back) and 2 pin pieces ( in the middle). I am wondering If I should add another needle and pin page or something else. What do you wish your needle case had in it?

How to make a Wrapped and Felted Bangle

The other day I made a bangle. I have made them before but it has been a while. So long ago, I can’t find the pictures. I know I have seen them recently while looking for something else. I was not as good at labelling things then as I am now so searching didn’t help much. Anyway, for this one, I wanted to use some of my handspun. I have many little balls of yarn as I never make much of any one thing.

To start you need a piece of cord or yarn. Make it the size you want your finished bangle. It will not shrink in size. I used a scrap of yarn.

You need some wool and some yarn. I am using some very dark purple merino but you won’t see any of it when I am done. The yarns are some of my mostly wool handspun.

Wrap the roving around the string. Wrapping down through the hole and back around until its all covered.

At first, I thought I would wrap the 2 yarns side by side. The larger ball was too hard to poke through the hole all the time. I forgot to take a picture of wrapping the pattern I did but you can see here how snug I did it. It is compressing the roving but not a lot.

This is the wrapped and wet bangle.

At this point, I just wrapped my fingers around it and squshed it like making a playdough bracelet. Move the bangle around and around so it was all getting squished. I did that for a few minutes, not very long as I am impatient. I rolled it up in a rolling mat. It’s a piece of the foamy, rubbery shelf liner. I rolled maybe 10 times and then unrolled rotated and flipped it. I did that maybe 4 or 5 times. I wasn’t thinking about it as a tutorial at that point, so I wasn’t keeping track. When I was done it was flat.

Don’t panic, just pick it up and put one hand into the hole and one on the outside and roll it back and forth in the hands like making a playdough snake. Do that all around the bangle until it is round again and feels firm. You could just squeeze it for longer and then roll it in your hands if you don’t want to roll it in a mat.

It really works, it is round and the yarn has given it texture, as well as colour. The longest part of making the bangle is wrapping the yarn. If you were not as neat as I was, you could do it much faster and would have a more textured bangle.

 

Here it is dry.

You can see it’s a little fuzzy. I wanted more texture and more sparkle. Both Yarns have silk and some Angelina in them. So I got out my trusty dollar store disposable razor and gave it a heavy shave.

There is a lot more texture and you can see some of the minor colours and some shiny and sparkly bits. I had a really hard time trying to capture the sparkle. Most of the little pink dots are sparkle and the orange Bits are silk.

It is too large for me really It would fall off if I would it loose on my wrist. I push it up to my forearm. On a less Rubenesque person or my much younger self, the upper arm would work well. It was fun to do and I should have thought of it for the first quarter challenge.

Pot in a Pot 2

It was 2 days later that I got back to my pot. After some preliminary rolling in the dryer, I rolled it by hand.

It shrank quite a lot. it is very tight around the resist. It is time to do some cutting. I cut in the spaces between the fins.

You can see how much the hole grows as you work the edge. The little blob on the left is the piece I cut out.

I didn’t want to pull the resist out through the hole. It is bulkier and less flexible than usual with the duct tape holding on the fins. I cut an X in the bottom of the outside pot. If I had thought about it I would have done it in the bottom of the inside pot so no one would ever have seen it.

This is how much it has shrunk so far.

Next was a vigorous rub down with a rubbing tool. This is one Jan found in the pet section of our Dollar store. It’s for washing your very dirty dog. I covered the pot with some plastic before rubbing. It is too grabby to use directly on the felt.

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It shrank a little more but now it is al flat and smooth.

Before doing any more I needed to rinse out the soap. It always takes much longer to get all the soap out than I think it should.

I start with hot water and finish with cold. I also want to get more shrinkage during this prosses so I am quite aggressive in getting the water through felt to get the soap out.

This is how much more it shrank. You can see the black lines of where it was before rinsing.

I stuck the yellow inside the red one. It wasn’t too hard because the how where they are joined is not very small. What was harder was getting the ball in so I could blow it up. I wanted to use a ball because I didn’t think a balloon would be strong enough. I did get this one I but ended up taking it out and switching to a smaller 8-inch ball. the ball is a Linsom ball, they are nonslip, sort of sticky on the outside. They are great balls because they come with a removable plug. I took a vessel class with Sharon Costello where we used them. I suppose it helped the first layer of wool to stick. The layout on a ball is very difficult. It was a great class, a lot of fun and we learned a lot but not one I like to use.

and in the dark

I think it turned out fairly well. If I were to do it again I think I would make the inside pot bigger so it would open up the fins. I may, depending on how ambitious I am, wet it down, blow up a ball inside and them stuff plastic bags in to make the outer pot bigger. I may cut the fins off and then so some stretching so you can see more of the inside pot. I am still thinking. What would you do?

An Interesting Post

I am sure if you are on Facebook you have seen the link to Fiona Duthie’s free online tutorial for a vessel within a vessel. https://www.fionaduthie.com/vessel_within_a_vessel/ It is fun to do. I have done it before. It is here if you are interested. They were fairly small pots. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2019/01/06/pots-within-pots/

I thought I would do another one just for fun. I decided it should be bigger this time. For the template, I used a wall clock I had that is to good to get rid of, but I don’t use. I am sure you all have things like that around. To give you an idea of sized it is the typical school or lunchroom clock that is everywhere.

The smaller circle is the one from drawing around the clock. I decided I wanted it a bit bigger so I drew another circle out about 2 inches or 5 cm by hand.

I cut it out leaving a small amount attached to the bigger piece and folded it over to make a second attached circle. I had decided I didn’t want a narrow neck on this one.

Now, you are probably thinking that isn’t very interesting. At least that is what I was thinking. Just to make things more interesting and difficult for myself I decided to add wings in a book resist type of thing. Not satisfied to do that the normal way I decided to make the wings/pages smaller than the rest of the pot. I used the actual size of the clock.

I also separated the pages so the outside edges ended up halfway between the 2 circles on the main resist. I added 2 pages to each side of the resist.

Next was laying out the fibres. About halfway through one side, I was cursing myself for making things so difficult. The problem, of course, was that I hadn’t done a book resist in a long time and had to figure out how best to do it again. You can see I add a piece of silk (I think) scarf to the yellow side that will go inside.

 

The second side when much quicker than the first

That is as far as I got. That was Sunday. My plan is to do the felting tomorrow and maybe the next day depending on how my knees feel about it. I have a tall table which is great for laying out but not as convenient to rub and roll on. I am going to try to use my tall chair to help with that. I will show you how it turns out for better or worse next time it’s my turn to post. That should be next Wednesday. Have you tried a vessel in a vessel? If not go watch the tutorial and give it a try.

The last of the 1st quarter Challenge

This is the last of my contributions to this quarter’s challenge. I am looking forward to finding out what the next quarter’s challenge is.

Last time I showed you my circles of silk and wool to be made into flowers.

First, I rubbed and rolled them until they were well felted. Then I folded them into a cone and started rolling in my hands and pulling on the point. That resulted in this:

Next, I cut some leaves from the flat green piece and needled them onto the flowers.

I thought they need some stamen. I used locks. These are Wensleydale cross locks I bought already dyed. The first few I made, I didn’t like. The stamens were too long and they looked more like some sort of horror movie flower monster that was sticking out their tongues.

I shortened them. I think I need to dye some locks yellow for the rest. I should have time as we are all staying home.

I will add pins, probably safety pins, to these. Then they can go on a hat or coat or anything really.

I haven’t found good broach pins yet. The ones in local stores all seem to fall apart after a few uses. I had a link to a supplier but there was no way to tell which ones were good and which ones were not. I will have to order samples maybe.

I was surprised while editing the flowers on how hairy they look. You don’t really notice them in person. The camera really picks them up. The other interesting thing I discovered was that the lid of my new laptop is great for taking pictures. It is flat black and doesn’t reflect the light.

A zen sculpture and some cuteness

I saw an interesting Zen sculpture on Facebook. Now I can’t find the picture to link to of course. I think it was one of the Russian felters. Anyway, I thought it was an interesting resist and sculpture so I would see if I could do one.

first I made some circles. each one a bit smaller than the last one. then I cut out a bit where I would join them.

Then I used some duct tape to join them.

I forgot to take a picture of the layout before felting but here it is when I was about to cut it open and remove the resist.

Here it is finished. My husband’s and grandson’s first words were that it looked like a snowman, specifically Olof from Frozen. It looks a little better against the colourfull background.

It wasn’t a bad first go. I would make the balls smaller next time. Also, the bowls need to be wider and flatter by comparison to the balls. I would start early to make the bowls flatter and wider. Also, I am not happy with my colour choice. I think a solid colour might be better.

And now for the cuteness

These are the bottle lambs. Some got cold and didn’t go back some had other problems. on of a set of 4 had a strange leg that is now much better and not causing him problems but of course, it’s too late to go back to mom now. The white one my husband is holding is called Prince Ali, named by my granddaughter. The lambs are having a bigger pen made for them as I type.

 

3rd and 4th Quarter Challenge Progress

As you remember I was finished my 3rd quarter challenge except for adding the name. After chatting with others at one of our guild social evenings I decided to put the name on the bottom left. I think it looks right for us because that’s where we see it usually. And that is because usually when you see a map of Ottawa it also shows the 3 cities across the Ottawa river to the north.

It turned out terrible. I need to make the letters bigger and then make them farther apart so the finished word looks right. It actually looks better in the picture here, than in person. I ripped it off and will try again.

I started my 4th quarter challenge. the colours this fall were amazing and I thought about doing a landscape with lots of fall trees but I just wasn’t feeling it. This is what I have done so far. I cut some dark green prefelt to 12×20. this is always harder than it sounds. I do have a proper rotary cutter now and that works way better than the cheap one I had before.

Then I started adding colour. I am not sure why the pieces of fibre look so blurry. When I zoom in, it looks in focus.

Lots of nice fall colours. They are actually dull compared to the leaves this year. the leave glowed even without the sun this year. They looked unreal.

That’s as far as I am. Next time I will show you how it felted up and what I plan to do with it. And hopefully the city name on the cityscape.

First Time Felting, A Book Review

I was recently asked If I would like to review the new book First Time Felting. The Absolute Beginner’s Guild. It is a new book from Quarry Books by Ruth Lane. @QuartoCreates.

This is a great book for those just starting out Needle felting. It is clear and easy to follow with lots of pictures. There is information in equipment and fibres both wool and the extra embellishment fibres. The process of sculpting in 3D using wool is explained using a number of techniques and how to combine them.   I would say two-thirds of the book is dedicated to needle felting and one third to wet and nuno felting. So if you are primarily interested in needle felting but curios about wet felting it is a nice quick introduction to that side of the craft.  Just to wet your curiosity.