Second Quarter Challenge- Mark 1

So we are just starting the 3rd month of the second quarter challenge and I have a finished piece. Everyone, please clap because I actually finished it in May, very early for me who usually finishes the challenge after the next one has started. Here’s the challenge if you need a refresher. 2020-second-quarter-challenge

Last time I teased you with the beginnings. No one could guess what it was. Grey didn’t seem to be a very summery colour. Well, I made a basket. I had seen a few online and thought that’s a good idea. I liked that they looked rustic and functional rather than pretty. Best laid plans of mice and men as they say.

I started with a pattern. I wanted it to be big enough and I thought an oval would be the best shape to start with.

I wanted a sturdy basket so I used 160 grams of Finnish wool. In retrospect, I think another 40 grams would have been better. I thought the handle and where it attaches will take the most strain so I added 5 strands of Briggs and Little sport singles between the second and 3rd of the 4 layers. This sort of thing is always much fiddler than I think it will be.

I added 3 lines of the Briggs and Little to the outside.

After rubbing and rolling and for a while it was time to cut the handles.

I measured to get the handle in the center and made a template but then not thinking I cut the whole piece out. I had intended to only make the horizontal cut. I cut both before remembering that was not what I had intended. Oh well, I can fix that later.

The shrinking went very well. At first, I thought the ends dipping down would be a problem and I tried to stretch them up but after shaping it I realized it was a good thing as the middle shortens as you open it up. I already knew that I just wasn’t thinking it through, probably because I was still mad I cut he 2 side tops off.

When it was dry I pinned the two cut off pieces back onto the handled.

And used the machine to sew them back on.

Next, I wasn’t fussy about the edge of the basket so I used some fleece, double-fold bias tape around the edge. I had some grey in my stash so that worked out.

As I feared the red stripes all but disappeared. This is the best place they showed, not very impressive.

So, I went and got some of the yarn, the red and some yellow and stitched on 3 stripes. You can see the old red stripes more in the picture than you can in real life. I think I would just do the stitching next time. It is much easier really.

For the handle, I rolled up one side flap, then wrapped the other side around it and stitched it in place. It feels sturdy and comfortable in your hand. I used the red and yellow yarn around the handle to make it more visually appealing. If you wanted the stipes to say exactly in place you could catch the underside of the handle as they go round.

Here it is in its entirety.  it is about 14 x 10 inches. I am still not thrilled with it but my daughter really likes it so it is probably just me. It is growing on me. I know what I will do with the next one to make it better, besides paying attention and not cutting off parts that I want to stay on.

 

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.

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.

Seascape Progress

I have worked a little on my seascape so it is progressing. Last time I showed you the beginning 2nd-quarter-challenge-started/

After I felted it, the front wave mostly disappeared and the white for the flowers was gone too. I should have known I would need more. Oh well, onward I go.

I thought the best way to do the boardwalk would be to make some felt and then cut it up. This was the best match I had for the wood. It is not white but it’s not really beige either.

I laid out a small rectangle of the wool and of course that was much to flat so I added the next shade up and some black wisps.

You can see better when it’s wet.

After it was dry I cut it into uneven strips. The pictures above are taken in my studio and these are in the guild studio, much different light. There are fluorescent but also lots of natural light. in the guild studio.

And here they are just lightly attached. I needled them down more after. I may put some black or dark brown between the boards. I haven’t decided yet.

Next, I started adding the greenery. I wanted more texture. The picture had gone very flat and it made the boardwalk look like it was floating.

I will work on the lost wave and add some stitches to help the plants look more vertical and then flowers of course. It should be done before the end of the month. Are you doing the challenge? How is it coming along?

 

Second Quarter Challenge Started

I finally pieced a picture for my second quarter challenge piece. If you remember is it seascape this quarter. this is the picture I chose.

I found it on the internet, where you find everything. It should be ok as I aske for free to use pictures.

I started with a piece of prefelt a little bigger than a piece of paper, with the idea it would shrink to an to be the size of a piece of paper. And for a change I have a piece the right size. It is a mazing what some planning can do for you. You would think I would learn.

Next I layered some more prefelt to make the basic shapes in the picture. the mottled piece at the front was dyed by a friend.

That is v

That looks very boring and flat so now it has to be brought to life. I added some silk hanky scraps to the water to give it some depth and movement.

Then I added the surf using throwsters waste.

And lastly I added some foliage and flowers

Now it is all ready for wetting down, I plan to add the wooden path to the beach later. I am not sure I have the right colour for the wool. what colour is that anyway?

That is as far I am now. more next time.

Pots within Pots

Just lately on Facebook everyone seems to be doing pots within pots so I thought I would give it a try.
The first post I did was just a simple round ball type pot. This is the first side. I didn’t crop the picture because the only picture I have of the second pots resist. It can be seen in the background at the top.

Then this is side 2. The yellow is done and the green about to be done.

The idea is you cut holes in the green one. Then when you are done fulling, you push the yellow one inside the green one and you will see it through the holes. Side 1 has quite small holes and side two has the bigger ones. You need at least one hole big enough to pull the resist out. Sorry for the not so good Pictures. I did take some with my new camera but I am still trying to figure out how to sink it to my phone with Bluetooth so I can get it onto the computer. I should be able to use a USB cord to my computer but I have to buy the cord.

Here they are with light inside. My cheap fake tea light was pathetic in the amount of light it gave off so I popped in a LED flashlight.

I did a second pot that I quite like. I put some silk hanky onto the resist and then added the wool for the inside pot.

And lit up.

The first 2 are a success. The third was not a success. My idea was to make a cone as a night light. I thought to make the inside one smaller so you could have some holes with nothing behind them. It was a disaster. I could see it was not going to work quite early in the process. So I did not really take much care with making nice holes.

It looks like a demented gnome hat. There are 2 main problems. One is that I couldn’t figure out how to block the bigger one without squashing the smaller one. The other problem was that I would making something with a round base but when you do that with a flat resist you make the bottom edge curved so when you open it up it is flat. There was no way to do that with the double resist. I did try to stretch the middle bottom to make it longer but I just deformed other parts. I think next time I will try for a pyramid with a book resist. I have some other interesting ideas to experiment with too. The problem with pots is they do not seem to sell well and I only need so many decorative pots. its not as fun to play if you think you are just going to toss it in a box when your done.

A Scribble Tree

Last week in Ruth’s post Batik Post she had a scribble tree. I have always liked them so Ruth suggested I make some. Ok them what to make. then I remembered these felt pieces I made a long time ago, I think, because I do not remember making them or what they were for.

They seem to be white felt with black silk hanky on them that were make to the prefelt stage, then cut out and put on some black prefelt(maybe) and felted again. I had no idea what to do with these but then thought why not just treat them like pieces of tile and just make a picture on them like painters do.

First I needed some tree green yarn so bot out my carders. It is some sort of curly fiber maybe Blue Faced Lester as that is what I have most of and the curls are small.

I made some rolags to spin. It is full of lumps and nepps so it will be a textured yarn.

I spun up a single, then plied it and made it into a center pull ball ready to use.

I used the yarn to needle felt a scribble tree onto one of the bigger pieces.

I decided it needed a star so used some embroidery thread to add one. I would like to add some hanging Christmas balls but there really isn’t room for them. The piece is only about 4 inches square.

I decided to try it on one of the smaller pieces too about 2×3 inches. The picture on the right is the back. I love how all the little stabs of fiber stick out.

So thats been my weeks worth of daily doses of fiber.

As It is so close to new year I am going to Wish you all a Fibrey New Year full of creativity. I am planning to do more hangable art work, work out an online workshop and an intermediate vessel class for my guild. But also to learn how to use my new camera to make and document my work. See you next Year(8 whole days form now).

Wet Felted Slipper Class

This last Saturday I taught a slipper class to 6 lovely ladies. I gave them a choice of templates, so there were different types of slippers being made at the same time. We used the one that looks like bunny ears, the one with little pointy the ears on the sides, boots and some pointy ones. They used Corriedale wool for the slippers. I prefer something like Fin wool but it is hard to get it in colours and everyone wants colours. So Corriedale is a good compromise. After everyone made templates it was onto laying out the wool.

Then on to rubbing rolling Once everything was hanging together well, it was time to take the resists out. You might remember Christine made one of the pixie hats in the hat workshop a few weeks ago. Hat Class. Hat Class She is planning for curly toes. And on to fulling. There is scrunching and throwing of course and we had a washboard and a car mat to help with the shrinking. Sorry I have no pictures of that.
You can custom fit your slipper right on your foot of course. You can really see how much it has changed compared to the one that hasn’t been fulled yet.
This one was almost done.
Judy’s are the only ones managed to get a picture of at the end of class. She put a little of all the embellishment fibers on them to see how they felted. She still wants to a just the top at the opening.
She is going to make insoles and add a leather sole.
I am adding this in. Judy had some felt insoles and she needled some special supports for her feet onto it and fit them into her new slippers.
And Christine’s curly toes
       

 

A class with Moy MacKay

Last week I had the opportunity to take a 2 day class with Moy MacKay. I went with a couple of friends and we had a great time. We did the wet felting on day one. We had 2 pictures to choose from for the landscape.

I chose the one the left.

Moy demonstrated and explained to us how to work and what to do. We got to ask questions. She told us to take lots of pictures as we went because you see things in the picture that you don’t see in just looking at it. Still I didn’t take enough.

First we laid out the background

Then we added the foreground and details. The house is prefelt and the flowers in the front are chopped up curls

We wet them down and gave them a 2 or 3 min rub and then rolled them for about 3 min one way and then the other for another few min and we were done. They are very lightly felted but that’s ok because they are pictures not hats.

That took the morning. After lunch we did another piece, a still life, flowers. We had a vase of red flowers and babies breath to use for inspiration. We were not to copy it but to use it to see how flowers look. You can see it in the group picture. Moy demonstrated again and explained again and then we only had about an hour to put the picture together and then a short time to get it felted before we had to be out of the room for another group.

We started with the table then the foliage and then the vase and then moves some leaves around. Then we added the flowers. The babies breath is nepps.

I quite like it at this stage. Not as much after it was felted.

On day 2 we started the embellishing. Moy talked about and demonstrated needle felting accents and refining the pictures. Also some machine embroidery and stitching. we could try the machine stitching if we wanted but my picture wasn’t ready for that yet. This is what they are like now. No where near done but works in progress.

This is after I straitened up the house and removed the mangled fence and added a new one.

This is where it is now. I added windows and ivy to the house. I removed the cobwebs from the trees. I added some shading to the trees. I added in some stems for the flowers in front and another fence. I think the field behind the left fence needs to be darker because it’s farther away. It doesn’t show well in the picture but right now it is lighter and more yellow than the front field. It needs a lot more work but I think I know what I want to do to it.

And the flowers. I forgot to take a picture of when it was wet felted but had no embellishments. But here it is so far. I am not as keen on the flowers but they are alright. I may like them better after I work on them some more. The table needs straitening up and lots more texture. And notice the nepps have stuck. We had chopped up some green fibers as part of the foliage and I think the short fibers under them made them stick.

And lastly a picture of everyone’s works at the end of the second day. the flowers we used are beside Moy.

It was a great class. I think it’s given me confidence to try some more. Jan will be doing more posts for us and I hope she will do one about this class too. She will have taken at least a hundred more pictures than me and be able to show you her works in progress too.

Don’t forget to sign up for the holiday card exchange on the forum. Read all about it here: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2018/10/10/time-for-the-holiday-card-exchange-again/