Wet felted 3D star tutorial.

I was surfing the web the other day and saw a video about making origami stars. Like this one.

I thought, I bet that shape would work with felt too. I can make a pentagon. I did this during our March break. The schools are closed for a week. I was going to do this at home but then thought what the heck it’s a small project and Monday is our socials at the guild. I knew Jan would be there early and so would some others. I packed some wet felting gear, resist and wool into a bag and headed in.

I cut 2 pentagons of different sizes to use for the stars. I am using this blue underlay that I don’t really like. It’s thinner and flimsy and it holds water. I thought it would be good for this project because I wasn’t planning on removing the resist, it would just stay inside bunched up.

I cut out the resist and covered it in wool. I moved the first sides off and did it again. I then flipped it over so I could wet the wool and wrap it around. I don’t know who else does this but I like to lay all the base wool out dry first and then put it back together. If you press and wiggle the dry wool even for something much larger like a hat then you can pick it up to move it and it will all stay stuck together.

I am using Mallard green wool for the base.

Because I was somewhere where I needed to be neat and not splash water all around I used a sponge to get up the extra water from wetting out. I usually don’t bother as my studio floor can get wet without causing a problem so enjoy this rare picture of me being neat.

Then I added some sari silk in the Wildflower colourway. It is mostly yellow with black and red bits. I grabbed a primarily yellow section for the star.

Then it was the usual rubbing and rolling and fulling until it was shrunk and feeling sturdy. I wasn’t expecting a lot of shrinkage because the wool staple was as long as the resist or longer with the small one. I think if you had some short fibre or cut this fibre in half you would get more shrinkage.

After rinsing and squeezing them as dry as possible I reshaped the pentagons and made the star shapes by pinching the corners and adding clothespins for them to dry.

These are the finished stars.

After they were dry, I decided to cut the bigger one and take the resist out. It held its shape of course. That got me thinking about how a larger one would make a good pillow. The other thing a larger version or one with short fibre would do is let you pull the points to make them longer. It wasn’t possible with these as I would be pulling on both ends of the same fibre.

So far I have had several suggestions on what they could be used for. the first I got was to make them thin, then put LED lights in them to make a hanging sting of lit stars. Another was to put cat nip in them ( I will credit Jan, but there were several that suggested this). A teacher suggested that they would make great fidget toys when I leave the resist in, they squish but bounce back.  I’m thinking, they are also silent. I am sure that would be a big plus. This was a great project just for fun.

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February Slow Stitch.

If you recall I did a small slow stitch piece in January. Look here if you missed it:  https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2024/01/26/slow-stitch-on-felt/ I enjoyed it so much that I thought I should do one a month. They are not very big, 4 inches by 5 inches or 10 cm by 13 cm. The base and all the bits and pieces fit in a sandwich bag in my purse.

February has Valentine’s Day so I decided on a heart theme. I rummaged through some offcuts and found this piece with lots of silk embedded in the surface.

Hand made felt with lots of silk on top.

I then had fun going through my threads to pick out my colour palette. Mostly pinks and a contrast. Later I will add a dark blue as a contrast.

many embroider threads for colour pallet.

As you can imagine with this being a slow stitch project and a portable one I didn’t take as many pictures as I should have but I think I have enough to show my progress through the month.

I wasn’t sure where to start so added the month and a felt heart with a simple outline stitch heart to make it pop a little. You can see I was thinking about the second heart when I remembered to take a picture

A felt heart stitched to a background. A paper heart pinned to a background and a stitched FEB

Some were online I saw someone stitching over an object and wanted to try it. I wove some pink floss over it.  I didn’t like the white and did try to carefully cut it out but that did not work at all. The cardboard was much too stiff.

pink weaving over a paper heart

so I did some unstitching and then tried again. this time I took a Ferrero Rocher Chocolate wrapper and after smoothing it out some, covered the heart. and tried again.

Just as an aside I was very disappointed in my Quality Street chocolates this year when I discovered they were in waxed paper. One of my favourite things to do at Christmas as a child and now was to flatten and smooth out the foil and transparent plastic wrapper. I know it’s more environmentally responsible to not use shiny plastic and foil but it is just not the same.

Anyway here is my foil heart.

Pink thread woven over a gold foil heart.

I added more hearts as the month went on.

You can see in the last picture I added some multi-strand multi-coloured colonial knots, here’s a close-up. I didn’t like them they just didn’t seem to have anything to do with the other part of the piece. I was hoping the multi-colours would tie them in but it didn’t.

multi colour colonial knots on a felt background

So out they came. I decided that scattering little X’s around to represent kisses would work better.

Here is the finished piece for February.

I know there are no X’s on the left edge but I did that on purpose, with a view to making them a book later and that would be the bound edge. So now I am on to March, You will have to wait to see what it ends up like.

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My New Wool Paintbox to Go.

I often work on the needle felting part of a project at home or at the guild.  I end up with bags of possible fibres I might need and they usually hang around longer than the project. Every once and a while I have to gather them up and return all the wool to my studio. Then start again for the next thing I am working on. As you know I tend to work smaller, postcard and trading card sort of sizes. That means I don’t need a lot of any one colour. Somehow I always grab way more fiber than I need.

I keep looking at the little boxes of fibre that Ali Express and Amazon sell as part of felting kits. I don’t need the wool or the needles (I have my own local, very knowledgeable, needle dealer- Jan) So I went searching for the boxes. I found them on Ali Express. ali express box for sale I bought 2 Like this.

plastic storage box

plastic storage box from the top

The boxes snap together so I took the lid of one and snapped them together.

front view of 2 stacked storage boxes.

 

Inside there are removable dividers.

top view of storage box deviders

I started adding small amounts of wool, a different colour group in each tray.

And this is what it looks like now. I do still need to add a few more colours but these are the ones I had handy in the house. I left the bottom one empty so I can add tools to it, needles, holders, and scissors to start. I need to sort my needles so I have a few of each in the tray and some of the handles.

storage box full of wool Do you have a good portable storage system for your wool and supplies?

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Stitching on Felt

As January started I found I wanted something unimportant to fiddle with. You know something that didn’t have a deadline, had to be made for a class or show, or have any practical purpose. I had been sorting through all my bits and pieces of felt that accumulate,  the ones that may be good for a picture or are just too good or interesting to get rid of.  I was trying to sort them into possible uses and tidy up my area of the living room. I wasn’t very successful at either of those things but I did manage to get the felt into sizes.

I decided a slow stitch, random sampler sort of thing would be good. I had lots of small pieces to choose from. I chose a quite dark piece with some lumps on it. I have fiddled with the picture to show the colours properly. This is the best I can do. The dark green is darker or maybe deeper. The light areas are not as light as they show. The shine on the silk areas is causing a lot of bounce back and messing with the colours.

I think I used the rest of this strip of felt for a needle book. I marked out the year before I remembered to take a picture.

Next was picking out some threads. I wanted to stay with the same palette. They are different brands but all 6-strand floss

I started with the year. Strangely, the 4 was the hardest number.

 

I thought it might look interesting to make a flower on one of the bumps. I used lazy daisy stitch and colonial knots

 

I added some little leaves under the flower. I did them 4 ways but they are too small to see the stitches properly. They look like leaves so that’s good enough. I wanted to do something else with another bump and did this wheel sort of thing.  I didn’t like it but I lived with it for a few days trying to think of a way to improve it.

 

In the end, I just decided it was just ugly and I cut the the stitches off. I added another lazy daisy with much looser petals and added a contrasting stitch to the middles and I used stem stitch and outline stitch to a…. swirl? ….curly queue? not sure what you call it but I like them.

Next was a bug for one of the bumps. It doesn’t look in but he is nice and round. I added a stem and leaf to the daisy and another swirl thing but in back stitch.

The swirl looks very white, even though it is cream.  It stands out too much so I took it off and changed it to a darker colour. I also did stem or maybe its outline stitch. I can not remember, left stitches are one and right stitches are the other. Both give a much smoother line than back stitch.

I like the light streak of silk on the right and thought it looked like a tall flower so that was the next step. I used colonial knots and French knots for the flowers.

That’s as far as I am. I am going to add some more arms to the swirls but not sure what else. I was thinking I might stitch the month on it and start a new one on Feb 1 and see if I can keep it going all year. Then I will have to figure out how to make it into a book like Ruth does.

Posted in Art, Experiments, felt art, Stitching | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

A Christmas Card for Lindsay +

As you’ve heard, here at the blog we did a Christmas card exchange. Well, not necessarily Christmas but I went with that theme.

I worked out my idea in my sketchbook and didn’t (I was sure I had) take a picture and now that pad has gone AWOL. It was simple trees. OK, I can use my computer to make a triangle by using the draw a shape ting in my wordprocessor program. No, problem. Now just drag it bigger to make the start size……nope triangles do not do that.  I switched to publisher and with much fuss and bother and guidelines, I added the same amount to all sides and made a larger one.

I have already unpacked my stash of prefelt and put it into draws just like I was an organised, neat and tidy person. Well, that will last until I get everything else out of boxes and have to find a place for it all. Anyway, I got out the red and the white. seemed like appropriate colours. the red for the background and the white for the trees.

I wet the prefelt and shrunk it down to the size I wanted. checking against the picture I drew in my sketch pad.

then I cut the 2 sizes of trees the small ones will get needled onto the background and the big ones will be wet felted.

 

No jumping forward, I didn’t like the white trees but again I was sure I had taken some pictures here.  Clearly, I was doing something wrong.  I had my bag from the felted sheep glass handy and started adding curles.  See the messy tendancies do come in handy sometimes. Now they are much better, textured, colourful and happy.

 

Here are the triangles ready for their turn felting

Again wite was do stark so I added some wool to them first. Blue, Green with sparkle and White with silk.

and all done and as shrunk as they can go.

I then added some curls as garland and embroidered some stars at the top so they look more like Christmas trees and not just random triangles. sorry no single picture of the green one.

 

 

 

For these trees, I added some pins and some gold string so they could be pinned or hung.

I thought about adding some baubles but |I thought they looked crowded on the small trees. They finished at about 2 inches I think.

Next, I pinned the trees to the card. I was going to send it this way but the packaging would have been too fat and turned it into a parcel and doubled the shipping.  I took them off and put them into the envelope separately.

Usually, I make my cards postcard by ironing a print of the back of a paper postcard to it using fusible web. But I couldn’t find it. I printed out a card and tried to sew it onto the front of the card. I tried 3 times to do it and then gave up. I stuck some self-stick velcro dots onto the card and pressed the felt to it. No picture of that either as by then it was late and I wanted it in the envelope and ready to take with me to work the next day. It managed to fly over to the UK in record time and arrive safely at Lindsay’s house.

Lindsay kindly sent me a picture of what it looked like on the card.

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Needle Felted Sheep Workshop

Last time you saw all the lovely Bluefaced Leicester curls I dyed. It’s here if you missed it.<a href=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2023/11/23/felted-sheep/”> https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2023/11/23/felted-sheep/ </a> The next step was to take them to class for the students to use.

I had 6 lovely ladies. All but one ad not felted before. This is a short class 7:00-9:00 in the evening. so it moves quickly and I didn’t get a lot of pictures. I often forget to take pictures until someone else takes out their phone to snap a few.  the first thing we talk about is the legs. I show them how to go about needle felting them. then I explain how to wet felt them. Then I showed them the snakes I made so they could all have legs without making them. everyone is thrilled. It is a boring and surprisingly time-consuming job even wet felting them.

sorry no pictures of any of that.

First, they have to make the bodies. We are using corriedale wool. It felts up quicker than merino.

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<a href=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/making-sheep-bodies.jpg”><img class=”aligncenter wp-image-61250 ” src=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/making-sheep-bodies.jpg” alt=”” width=”419″ height=”559″ /></a>

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and then onto the heads

<a href=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/making-heads.jpg”><img class=” wp-image-61249 aligncenter” src=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/making-heads.jpg” alt=”” width=”407″ height=”542″ /></a>

And attaching them

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<a href=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/adding-a-head-1.jpg”><img class=”wp-image-61247 aligncenter” src=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/adding-a-head-1.jpg” alt=”” width=”405″ height=”609″ /></a> <a href=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/adding-a-head-2.jpg”><img class=”wp-image-61248 aligncenter” src=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/adding-a-head-2.jpg” alt=”” width=”404″ height=”356″ /></a>

They added the legs and the ears. Sorry, no pictures of that.

And then they start adding curls. s o this was the end of the class. some finished and some went home with a needle and a handful of curls so they could finish them up later.

<a href=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/sheep1.jpg”><img class=” wp-image-61256 aligncenter” src=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/sheep1.jpg” alt=”” width=”468″ height=”626″ /></a> <a href=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/sheep-6.jpg”><img class=” wp-image-61255 aligncenter” src=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/sheep-6.jpg” alt=”” width=”474″ height=”697″ /></a> <a href=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/sheep-5.jpg”><img class=” wp-image-61254 aligncenter” src=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/sheep-5.jpg” alt=”” width=”478″ height=”787″ /></a> <a href=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/sheep-4.jpg”><img class=” wp-image-61253 aligncenter” src=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/sheep-4.jpg” alt=”” width=”478″ height=”723″ /></a> <a href=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/sheep-2.jpg”><img class=” wp-image-61251 aligncenter” src=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/sheep-2.jpg” alt=”” width=”482″ height=”702″ /></a>

and lastly this cute one with a heart on his hip.

<a href=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/sheep-3.jpg”><img class=” wp-image-61252 aligncenter” src=”https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/sheep-3.jpg” alt=”” width=”478″ height=”598″ /></a>

Everyone seemed to have a good time and I may have a few new addicts.

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Dyeing some BFL locks

I am getting ready to teach a group how to make felted sheep, like these, which I used for a post, quite a while ago.

The class is this evening( Wednesday) so freshly made cute sheep will be next week. I like to use Blue Faced Leicester sheep curls for this as they are nice small curls. I had a few colours but not enough variety.

I had a couple hundred grams of the white so it was time to dye. My usual dye pot is really big. a stock pot. Much too big for this job. YOu will have to trust me on the next part as I forgot to take pictures. I was doing too many things at once. I have a nice large stew pot that isn’t too deep but I want to use it for stew again so I got a metal bowl that could be sacrificed and created a double boiler.  I placed handfuls of soaked white locks into a medium freezer bag. I made up a small amount of dye poured it on top of the locks and topped it up with water until everything was submerged. I  squeezed most of the are out and popped the bag into the water on the top of the double boiler. I did the next colour the same and popped it in as well. I could do 2 at a time.  I made up 3 more colours. the aim was to have dark purple, lilac, lime green, pink and magenta. this method was great. the top edge of the bag was above the water so I could easily pick it up to see if the water was clear. Once clear I took it out and put it aside to cool. this is also a good idea when you dye. to leave the wool in the dye bath until cool, especially if it refuses to take up all the colour. You will usually find that when cooled it often has taken up the extra dye. I have to admit I seldom do this as I need to get the next batch of wool into the dye pot, reusing the dye water. With the small bags, it was easy to put them aside to cool.

This is the result.

Now, you are probably thinking that there seems to be more than one dark purple. That is because I used way too much lilac in the lilac dye bag.  I ended up with the 2 purples in the middle. the top one in truth is quite vibrant and the bottom one more deep with a little lilac leaning wool on one edge. I had hoped it would split giving me a purple and blue mix. There is even a warning on the Dharma chart saying it can split. No such luck, isn’t that always the way?  They looked so much the same when they were wet I did another batch and although it looks kind of dark here on my screen, it is pretty much lilac. I tried to adjust the colour but then the green started to look kinda funky.

So that’s my prep for the class. This is an easy class for me because everything I need fits in one small bin.

I will show you the results next week.

Posted in Art, Dying, Fibre, Needle Felt | Tagged | 2 Comments

Visor Mirror Cover Part 3- Finished

It has been a busy few weeks getting everything ready for our Guild Sale. Now that’s done and over and I am sure Jan will show you lots of pictures. For me, I found the time to finish embellishing my visor mirror cover. For those that don’t remember the cover on the mirror of my car visor was broken when we bought it. When you flip the visor down while driving the mirror is there. It’s distracting.  I decided it needed a cover. Nothing so simple as making a plain piece of felt to match the visor. That is much too easy. Here is a link to my last post showing how I created the cover. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2023/08/31/a-cover-for-my-visor-mirror-part-2/

I have continued on with my stitching. I wanted to use lots of different open background stitches. I didn’t want to cover up anything. I started working on the flower that looked like a superhero in flight.

I thought I better tackle the head next to stop it from looking like a person. I broke it into 2 areas. I think it worked well

Then I did this interesting stitch in the purple. Make 3 parallel lines and then come up in the middle go around all the threads and back down in the middle. I thought it was effective.

Then when I had just about finished everything else I decided to add 3 dots. I am not sure it looks like a flower but it looks a lot less like a superhero.

Next, it was this leaf. I thought I would do small stitches and go all the way around the middle but after a short distance, I didn’t like how the small stitches looked following the line exactly. I ripped them out.

 

I decided to use more threads and larger stitches and only follow one side.

 

And around the outside.

 

I liked it and I am getting very good at outline stitch. It was still a little plain so I added some colonial knots. Also in between I added some stitching to the small leaves. You can see a few in the picture.

 

I finished off this leaf and was thinking I was done, but…

My hubby said I needed to do the sheep and give him eyes and a nose. I had been going to leave him minimalist. It took 3 tries to get his eyes in the right place and the same size.

Now for the finished piece.

I had thought of cutting off the wonky outline but decided against it. Here it is installed. I used the hook side of some stick-on velcro dots, to attach it to the visor. It is a bit big but if it had been smaller the velcro dots wouldn’t have had a flat surface to stick to. Anyway, I like it and I will definitely do the wet wool technique again.

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Making a mirror cover for my visor part 2

On Mondays, we have a social in the guild studio. I think some guilds call it open studio days. Because it is summer I usually go in around noon. I thought this would be a good time to do my visor cover. Jan can take some pictures too and all will be happy and bright. So naturally………

I packed my rolling mat, plastic, bucket, spray ball, rubbing tool, and wool but I forgot to ball of pencil roving. This is essential if I am going to try Ildie’s method of making the design with wet wool.

ball of brown pencil roving

The forgotten ball

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I am not a Mouse or a man so I had a look through the donated yarns and found one that was not too thin or tightly spun

This is as far as I got before I gave up. Yarn is not a good choice. It has too much structure so it doesn’t want to stay where you put it.

Besides learning that yarn is not good for this I also decided I had made the design too small. It will be very fiddly to add the colour.

Now I am back in the studio with all my supplies.  All but one of the colours is Corriedale. One is Merino. the grey bat is unknown. I would say a medium wool and it is a short fiber. I sized my template for 30% shrinkage. you can get 30% out of most fibers. And why do a sample when you can live life dangerously?

     

The pencil roving was much easier to use to outline the designs. I wet it with soapy water and it stayed where I put it. The yarn had too many ideas of its own. I just did them freehand using the template to keep my design inside the lines.

 

Next was adding the colour. I got better as I went along. the first colours that have to be completely within the lines but right up to them is the hardest. When you add a colour next to another colour you can overlap and no one will see it. It will be between the other colour and the backing. Thinking upside down is a hard thing to do. you feel like you should say inside the lines. although I didn’t mess up the design lines I kept smudging the outside line. next time I will add them at the end.

 

I added the bat to the back. it was quite thin so I did 2 layers, one in each direction. and made nice straight lines, not that they will stay that way.

 

I rubbed this side first and then flipped it over. Doesn’t it look pretty all wet and bright under the plastic?  Once I flipped it I was pleasantly surprised the sheep was on the right. Which, if you think about it, makes sense but when I was adding it I was thinking I wish I had left more space for it on the right. So that was a good thing.

I rubbed this longer than I usually do because I wanted the design to set well and stay put. I had no problem with it moving. boarder was another matter. it was constantly moving. I would lift the plastic and fix it. Then rub carefully and then it would move. In the end, I put it back where it should be and thought if it doesn’t stick, I will just needle felt it in place.

It moved a little while rolling but for the most part, it stayed put so I was quite happy. I rolled it a lot to get it to shrink. Whatever the bat is it makes a sturdy felt but does not shrink as much as Corriedale. I rinsed it with hot water and rolled it more, and more and when it wouldn’t budge anymore, I stopped. It got close but not quite there. I am sure it will still work but I haven’t checked yet.

It needs to be shaved to bring the colours back up and ironed to block it. I haven’t decided if I will add any stitching or beads. but I am out of time for now

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A mirror cover for my cars visor.

I bought a new to me car. The visor mirror cover was glued shut for some reason. When we tried to unstick it, it just came right off. Maybe it had fallen off so they glued it back on? I don’t know. The result is when I put the visor down I have the mirror. Even though you are not really looking at the mirror, it is distracting while driving. Must be because I am so beautiful I can’t resist looking at myself. LOL It is actually very hard to take a picture of a mirror and not be in the picture.

My thought is to make a felt cover for it and velcro it on to hide the mirror but I could still remove it if I needed the mirror.

I measured the mirror and a small amount around it to get the finished size I will need. I think I will add a little more.

Then I thought why not try Ildi’s method of felting with outlines and wet wool? I have some pencil roving and lots of wool and it’s a good sized to try it out. Here is a link to one of Ildi’s posts so you can see what I am talking about. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2022/06/27/felted-rug/

So far I have measured and done a couple of sketches of possible designs. these are smaller than they need to be but that is the size of the paper. I will have to find one of the larger sketchbooks to do a final design and then try to use the computer and the printer to enlarge it for shrinkage.

Aaaand, that is as far as I am. The plan is to have it for my next blog post, but we all know about the best laid plans of mice and men. I have my fingers crossed. It’s going to be a busy week.

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