I did finish the felting part of the 3 pieces I started last time.

First the lantern cover. I am not entirely happy with the way it felted. I was hoping it would be more solid. However, there was so much non-wool fibre it ended up very soft and holey.

It will still work for this application but it wouldn’t stand up to being a scarf. It looks cool just not what I planned. Sometimes that is the way it goes.

The first one is just on the vase the second is the lights turned on and the last is with the lights on in the dark.

 

The first picture felted up nicely. I used the thicker mostly felted prefelt I have and it is nice and firm after felting. It shrank a little but I was able to pull it back out to 5×7. I am not sure which way up it should go is it land and sea/stormy sky?

 

Or is it land and sunset sky? what do you think? I haven’t decided on what I will add to the picture now. Maybe some needle felting or some stitching or both.

 

 

The next one that wasn’t wet yet in the last blog also worked out very well. I felted it onto a piece from a fulled, woven wool coat. The fabric didn’t shink but the wool attached pretty well.

The embellishments are attached but look to be floating rather than part of it. I think I may rewet it and felt it some more. The embellishment fibres are not very well attached. I like it though.

 

After writing this I decided the wool was well felted so I would needle felt the embellishments in rather than rewetting it. They lost some of the brightness but I still like it.

 

I have an experiment to show you next time and maybe if I figure it out, some idea of what I will do with these pieces.

Felting with coffee pods experiment +

Hi, It’s me again, out of sync. We had a scheduling problem so I have jumped back in and Ruth will be me later.

A while ago I collected some used coffee pods to try doing some felting with. This was inspired by Judit Pócs. She is an incredible felter and has an amazing imagination. https://pocsjuditstudio.hu/home I believe she used them in a  free, felted ring workshop for people that are members of the International Felt makers Association when they had their online conference. I am not a member. Anyway, there were all over Facebook and I wanted to try them out. This is the first attempt.

These are metal pods for a Nespresso machine. I got them by asking on my local buy/sell/give group on Facebook. People with these machines do not throw the pods out they collect them in a supplied bag and then send them back to the company postage paid for recycling. At least that seems less wasteful.

They are pretty and come in two sizes

 

I had to flatten the pods first. The large domes are much easier to flatten nicely.

I laid out a thickish base and then added to the 2 kinds of pods.

 

Then another double layer of wool on top.

 

I felted in the usual way and then cut holes over the disk. I cut the wrong side first, naturally

 

 

This is where it starts to go downhill. The texture of the disks makes it hard to rub and heal the cuts. I am not the most patient with this step normally so this was frustrating and didn’t work well.

 

As a first experiment, this was a good learning experience.

Next time I will mark the top and put a piece of underlay over the pods to make a smoother surface to work on after I cut the holes. That should make it easier to make a better edge. I also think I needed a thicker layer of wool over the pods to get a nicer deeper edge. Maybe just over the pods and not the whole piece. This piece is a good thickness for bag/pouch. Also, as usual, I need to slow down and be patient.

I also made a piece of felt to try out some stitching with the Solvy water-soluble stabilizer. It’s not very exciting to look at and I will probably iron it a little smoother and flatter. I think I will add some needle felting to part of it before using it so I have the 2 textures to try on.

I like figuring out how things are done. I enjoy making samples/experiments much more than I used to. I think it’s all the covid lockdowns and there being no shows. There is not much point in making 20 hats and scarves if you have nowhere to sell them. Have you successfully figured out how to do something you’ve seen online?

Started but not Finished

At the moment I seem to be really squeezed for time. I have managed to start 3 small things

First I wanted to do another vase cover. I used a bat that was made on a blending board. I pealed a thin layer and then filled in the holes. I like the autumn colours.

 

That is as far as that got.

Next, I wanted a little bigger landscape I could needle felt and stitch on, so cut a 5×7 inch piece of the soft thick prefelt to use.

 

 

I wrapped the wool around the piece so there won’t be grey edges.

And that’s as far as that one got. I have it rolled up with the vase cover so they can be rolled at the same time.

Then, oh my I still have a few min. I had some well-fulled wool fabric a friend gave to me. I think it used to be a coat. I cut out a small piece and brushed up one side with my wire dog brush to see if it will stick together well with wet felting. Then added some fibre

The difference is hard to see. the left is the unbrushed side and the right is the brushed side.

I had intended to just add 2 colours and felt it to use for trying out stitching on the new water-soluble stabilizer I ordered. But before I realized it I had made another landscape. Oh well, that’s ok, I will have to try again to make some practice pieces.

That is as far as I got with that one. I will probably wet it and add it to the other roll and then do them all at once. Maybe next week I will have them felted. With this time of year being very busy for me, it makes it hard to get some felting in. I try to get some in every week so I can share with all our friends and followers.

Some felted lantern covers

A while ago on Facebook someone posted they had made felt covers for lanterns. they had ordered a workshop in a box with everything in it but I like to figure things out myself. They didn’t look too hard to do. I think someone here might have done something similar here too but I don’t remember properly.

I started out thinking I wanted a clear plastic cylinder to use as the base. I couldn’t find anything, except, of course, I could find them with other things inside them. But then I went to the dollar store and found a tall glass vase for only $4. Available trumps ideal every time.

I started out working out the size.

then I made a resist to those numbers and one that was taller.

 

For the tall one, I was going for a landscape feel, grass, sand, water, sky. The layout is very thin so later the light will show well.

 

The second one was my granddaughter, Autumn’s choices of colour and sparkle.

 

The felting was easy and fast as there wasn’t much wool involved.

Here is Autumn’s cover

And with a string of battery-operated LED lights inside.

This is mine. The darker blue of the deeper ocean looks very green now. I think the scrunching of the water area adds some interest for when it doesn’t have the lights on.

 

And with the lights inside

Although they both look interesting with the lit up even in the daytime.

 

There are lots of interesting things you could do by adding a hidden design that only shows up when lit. You could create a scene on the outside and hide things inside that change the scene when lit. I wonder if you could write a message that would show up when lit. that would be a challenge. I would like to try a thicker cover and see how it works with the lights. I may work this into a short workshop. A fun afternoon or evening making lantern covers.

OVWSG Spinning Poker Challenge

Every summer my weavers and spinners guild does a fibre poker challenge. You can choose weaving, spinning or felting. I am doing spinning and felting. This post is about the spinning challenge. I haven’t started my felting one yet.

In these challenges, they make up 4 decks of cards. The cards for spinning are Fiber, Colour, Type of Yarn and General Design. You pick one from each to get your poker hand. You are allowed to return one and draw another.

Mine are

Fibre: surprise us.

Colour: dark rich colours

Type of Yarn: thick and thin

General Design: include locks

I decided I wanted to try spinning some of the silk hankies I have. these looked like dark rich colours. Well, not that dark but not pastel.

I looked up what was the recommended way of prepping them for spinning. It was to poke a hole in the middle and stretch them out. Most of the drafting is done in the stretching out. I did 2 of each colour. They stretch quite far. I am sure I could have stretched them at least twice as long but I didn’t want my yarn that thin.

I also have to do thick and thin. I decided the easiest way to do that was to use the required locks to create the thick parts. I think these are Bluefaced Leicester.

I don’t have a spinning wheel. I like to spin small amounts, so I use a drop spindle I have quite a few.

 

After I finished the 4 silk hankies I made it into a center-pull ball. My original intention was to ply one end against the other.

But then I changed my mind. I spun some purple silk top to use as the other ply.

I made it into a center-pull ball as well. I put one small ball on my thumb and one on a finger. I used a little painter’s tape to keep the outside thread from unravelling as I will be pulling from the center, then I can control how fast it pulls out. I like painter’s tape as it’s just sticky enough to hold but comes off easily without grabbing and pulling the fibres and doesn’t leave any sticky behind. If I was going to store the ball I would tie the two ends together instead.

Somehow I guessed right and had just a little more of the second simple single than the first fancy single.

That’s my laptop lid so as you can see there wasn’t much extra.

I wound it off into a skein. It looks a little wobbly at first but it needs to have a bath to let the spin show what it’s really like. I used the small extra piece to tie the skein in 4 places. I wanted the 4 ties because I am very good at tangling skeins.

 

Here it is after its bath and hang to dry. I didn’t use any weight to try to set the yarn, I wanted it to be its natural self. I am quite happy I managed to get a nice balanced spin. I took to pictures flipping it over so you can see both sides.

I spread it out more and took a close-up. I am really please with how this came out. It was difficult to get the locks in because naturally, the twist wanted to go to the thinnest part.

 

I hope you like it too. It was a bit of a challenge but that’s the point, get you doing something you wouldn’t normally do. I could have wished for some action shots but it’s hard to spin and hold the fibre and hold the camera. It puts me back to wondering why on earth my prehistoric ancestors got rid of the prehensile tail, it would be so handy.

Basket mark 2 finished

This week I finished the basket. All it really needed was to have the handle finished and that would have been fast and easy. But a white basket is not only boring it does not fit with me. I can’t keep anything white clean for long.

So faze to of the basket: dying.

I have a turkey fryer/corn cooker for dying outside. After clearing a spot on the porch for the dye pot and my son cleaning all the bugs and spiders and webs out of the hose and burner I got some water heating. Usually, when you are going to dye wool you wet it first. it gets you a more even take-up of the dye. I didn’t want that in particular so I popped it in dry.

you can see I only put it in partway. Ther is about half the bottom of the basket sticking out. This is limy green. after it had cooked for about 45 min just under a boil the water was clear and I removed it and added a dye from ProChem called Mallard. It’s a blue-green and put the basket into the pot the other way up. I forgot to take a picture of that, sorry.

Once the dye was exhausted I rinsed it and blew the beach ball up in it again, another alien. I am really pleased with the way the colours came out.

Since I had the dye pot hot I dyed some wool too.

My original idea was to use a piece of a tree branch in the handle.

It was ok when I was holding it but as soon as I put it down this happened.

It dropped right to the bottom. So much for the cream buns you just bought. It is much too heavy. Looking back at the pictures I had seen with wood in the handles, they were all small and the wood was mostly driftwood, which is much lighter. Those baskets seemed to be more decorative than useful. I went back to just rolling all the excess wool up into the handle. It makes a nice sized comfortable to hold handle. You can see the colour mixing better now its dry.

when I let go of the handle It still falls to the side but not nearly as much, so the cream buns are safe.

You may have noticed that one side of the basket stretched out more than the other. I think it was from the ball being blown up in it. I should have rewet it and fulled it some more but I didn’t want to. I was thinking of how to fix it or make it a feature rather than a flaw.

I pinched it a couple of different ways and that would have worked but I didn’t really like it. the heck with it, it’s just for me.

The basket part feels a little light even though there is 200grams of fibre in it. It was a bigger resist but I reasoned to myself that there is more wool in 200 grams of Corriedale then there is in the same weight of Fin. I didn’t put any yarn in it, mostly because I forgot. I wanted to prevent the basket lip form stretching out any more. I tend to overfill my baskets and bags. Off to search my handspun for some appropriate yarn. I found a yarn that is predominantly the same colour as the Mallard on the bottom of the pot and did some decorative and structurally helpful stitching. I am pleased with the results. Sorry about the pictures. I was trying to keep my arm out of the way and get far enough back to get the whole basket.

I think there will be more baskets in my future.

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.

 

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.

Dog Hair Felting

This is a throw back post I thought you might enjoy because there have been a few people asking on Facebook about felting with dog hair. Just like sheep there are different kinds of dog hair and even the top coat and undercoat on every dog so you need to do a test piece for every new breed.

Recently I was asked to make something out of dog hair in memory of the dog it came from. Originally the woman asked a friend of mine to spin the dog hair so it could be woven into something. The hair was to short for that so she suggested talking to me. I wasn’t sure about doing it but she was so emotional I said I would give it a try. She had a large bag of hair that was quite short. The problem was she wanted me to use as little wool as possible and not to blend it. From My dog grooming days I knew this kind of curly coated small mixed breed dog felted their hair while wearing it so I was hoping it would do it here too. I laid out a base of wool and then add a thick layer of dog curls to the top. I made a sample that turned out quite well, I showed her and she agreed to me making a pillow and stuffing it with the remaining hair.

Here is one corner as I started to add the dog hair. You can see the blob of hair I am working from.

 

Starting to add dog fur

 

Here is the finished pillow.

and a close up of the texture.

The only problem with this felt is it sheds a lot. With the dog hair being so short, the really short straight dog hair sheds out very easily. Fortunately she will not be using it as a pillow but putting it a way to remember him.