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?

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.

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.

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.

Branch all done.

So sliding in on a cloud of dust I have the branch finished just as the quarter runs out. I know we don’t have to get it done in a specific time but it is nice to get it done in the quarter the challenge is posted.

Last time I had all the flowers made. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2023/06/18/second-quarter-challenge-flowers-finished/

After looking at it and especially seeing it in a photo I decided the larger flowers at the bottom of the flowers should have yellow centres. So I added them. I used mostly french knots with 2 threads. The single french knots are smaller than the colonial knots. The Yellow stands out more in the photo than in real life.

 

 

hanging flowers made of felt and french knots .hanging flowers made of felt and french knots, close up

It still looked pretty sparse so I decided leaf buds would help. I looked them up online. It was best to look up flowering trees and look at the buds in the background. It didn’t seem to matter the kind of tree the leaf buds looked pretty much the same. I made all the leaf buds at the same time so I would get them about the same size. It didn’t take long and I only poked myself a few times. That’s the problem of working small.

first I had to make the green I wanted. I had Christmas green, lime green and a very yellow-green. I mixed them with a couple of dog brushes.

I made 2 at a time. Then cut them in half and finished shaping them while holding them. I poked myself working on the pad not in my hand and I know Jan will tell me she just gave me a tool so I wouldn’t do that. But I forgot until after I poked myself, naturally.

making a needle felt leaf pile of felted leaves

I fiddled around placing them. and felted them down…… without poking myself.

placing felted leaves on the branch

leaves felted down

 

I had originally thought I would add a bit of brown near the base of the buds but I didn’t like it and pulled them off.

adding brown to the base of the leaves.

I am quite pleased with the finished branch. Now I need to steam it a bit, to block it square. The dent on the left is really bugging me.

Second Quarter challenge and shopping

I have moved forward a little on my tree limb. I decided to go with a grey sky as a background so that I had more choice with colour.

                          felted grey background for a picture

I added a branch in brown It isn’t as flat a brown as it looks in the picture but I think I need to add a different brown to it.  I will work on that.

                           felted branch picture

Then I sketched the branch to think about colours. I decided on an orange central vein. That is probably not the right name for it but it is what I can think of to call it. Then a purple fuzzy haze with flowers in it. and some idea of budding leaves.

So far people here like the pink ones. I am not sure. Which ones do you like?

After searching my stash for another brown to go with my branch I had nothing. So it was good timing that there was a fibre event near me called For the Love Of Fibre. This is its second year. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167963160700589

I was looking for brown but it seems I turned the wrong way went in and ended up in Top of the Whorl Spindles https://topofthewhorlspindles.ca/ She had no brown wool but she had these amazing sample boxes that are just the right size for me.

fall coloured rollags in a box         Fall coloured rollags in a box

spring coloured rollags in a box        spring coloured rollags

I wandered around and stopped at the Black Lamb https://theblacklamb.ca/   They have lots of wool but not the right brown so I got a piece of Black Felt (it’s more than prefelt but less than felt) It is thicker than the prefelt or felt you typically see. In the picture, it looks like there are lots of white hairs in it but that is just what it picked up in the stack of prefelt. I think if I run the lint roll over it, it will be good. They also gave me a size 40 spiral needle to try out.

black felt and felting needle

Then after doing a full circuit of the room just to the right of the entrance, there was Farfelu Fibreworks https://farfelufibreworks.ca/ and she had the perfect brown. It is a little darker than it appears in the picture but lighter than the pencil roving in the picture with it.

brown fin wool

It is Finnish wool so I was surprised at how soft it was. I asked her later and it is a lamb fleece.  I asked people at the guild social to guess what it was I got superfine merino, alpaca and angora as guesses. I will have to see how it wet felts as well as needle felting. I think I will be wanting more so naturally she lives on the other side of the province. Oh well, maybe we can get her to come for our guild Sale and Exhibition in November.

Start of the Second quarter challenge at the Felting and Fiber Studio

I have been thinking about my spring tree for the 2nd quarter challenge. I have decided I will not try to make my tree a real tree but an imagined one. That will give me more scope to play. I did some thinking and the best way to show flowers will be to do a close-up of a branch.  I did some sketching on my pad for that. I am not a very good drawer but I think it’s not a bad branch.

sketch ideas for a tree and branch  sketch of a tree branch

I’ve decided I want some long, hanging flowers.

sketch of a tree branch

Next, it was off to the internet to look at long, hanging flowers. I think I know how I want to do them.

 

Then I had to have a good rummage to find the felt I used last time. How do things become lost so quickly? Well, I know really, I don’t put things away. 🙂 I did find it, and some felt I had forgotten about. I will try not to lose it again. It is just a white rectangle at the moment. I am trying to decide if I leave it that way or if I felt it light blue for the sky. I am not sure.

white felt for making a picture

That’s as far as I am at the moment. We are working on clearing things that don’t belong out of my studio. I need to rearrange in the house, to get another piece out. Another job for the list.

First Quarter Tree Challenge well on its way

After doing my tree experiments( here if you missed it Tree Experiment ) and being happy with the results I am moving on to doing the first quarter challenge. If you haven’t seen the challenge it is here: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2023/01/01/2023-first-quarter-challenges/

I picked a piece or felt I had and added the sky and snow backgrounds. I used 3 shades of natural white wool for the snow so that it wasn’t so flat. I used Merino, Corriedale and something strong and shiny. the shiny wool may have been BFL or even Mohair.

 

Then I started working on the tree. I worked on a separate surface so as not to disturb the background too much as it is only lightly needle felted. I decided to work in two layers for the tree so this is the darker back layer. I started by just fluffing it up and then using a knitting needle to move fibres around to get a better tree shape. Then gave it a dry felting ( just flattening and wiggling it a bit so they the fibres stick together) to move it onto the background.

I picked a redder brown for the second layer. I forgot to take a picture of it when it was separate. I must have been in the felting zone. I put the tree slightly off-center. I tried it in the middle and I didn’t like it.

Here’s a close-up so you can see the 2 layers

 

I poked the tree all over to tack it in place and started fiddling with the roots, so it won’t fall over in the wind.

and some more  snow

And that was as far as I am right now.  I will probably fiddle with it more before wet felting it and then fiddling more, of course. I am thinking of adding a shadow but not sure how to tackle it. I am not sure where the sun is.  I may have to go out to the field and look at shadows.

Have you started your tree challenge or maybe you’re going with making something useful or both?

We would all like to see photos of challenge pieces and if you are unable to upload photos directly onto The Felting and Fiber Forum ‘studio challenges’ thread, then please use the link below.

https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/community-photo-submissions/

First Quarter Challenge

Lyn and Annie have set us a challenge for this quarter to make something inspired by the decade 1900 – 1909. The challenge is here If you would like to see it and maybe you could join in. first-quarter-challenge

They gave us examples of what was going on and what caught my eye was the aerial photography. It made me think of some wonderful works by the fibre artist Chris Cullen of As theCrow Flies. https://www.facebook.com/cbdasthecrowflies/. She uses mostly recycled knits and yarn in her amazing pieces. she sells mostly through galleries but does commissions through her Facebook page. for sale at https://www.facebook.com/Blue-Bramble-Gallery- in St Ives, and https://www.facebook.com/a2gallery.wells Also from Spring, Baxters Gallery in Dartmouth.

These are 2 of Chris’s recent pieces

 

I have in the past thought about doing a piece inspired by her amazing work. Lyn and Annie have given me the push I need. I thought I could do something similar in felt for my own farm. First a prototype. This is a flat piece and not of my farm but just a farm. I used an old sweater that I ran through the washer then dismantled and ran through a couple more times. I wanted a nice sturdy base.

I did this picture by needle felting into a square cut out of the sweater. I have one of the little 6 needle holders that I used for most of it. Then switched to a single needle to put in the details. It is done in a very minimalist way with

The sweater piece.

The background and the road and the start of a field.

Added the fields and the house and barn.

Then some sheep of course.

I folded all the wool

Lastly used some green curls to make the trees.

It was a lot of stabbing, too much stabbing. I think I will try to do all the main features like roads and the fields by lightly needling them into place and then wet felting them. Just adding the detail and features with needle felting. The next one will be more 3D. I have some ideas for the house and barns. Have you started thinking about his challenge? We would love to hear about it on the felting and Fiber studio Forum. Here’s the link to the place to post pictures. https://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/thread/4247/2021-first-quarter-challenge. or use the Forum button on the left to get there.

Second Quarter Challenge

I will show you how things have been going with my second quarter challenge piece. If you missed my last instalment it is here. seascape-progress

I finished adding the green for the vegetation.

Next, I worked on the flattened serf

First I tried this,

But no, and then this,

I might have been able to make this work by adding something to the edge of the wave but I didn’t like it

And finally, I went back to silk throwsters waste. I also broke the water edge up into 3.

Next moved on to the foliage. I added green stitching here and there to give it a more vertical look. It doesn’t show much but does add to it. I added some handspun yellow that a friend Bernadette made up for me on the spur of the moment when I was moaning about not having the right yellow.

After this, it was just a matter of adding more stitches. I did add more of the yellow to mingle them more and stop them from being a line across the picture.

This is where I am, stitching away and I still need to add a little dark wool between the planks of the path. I had forgotten about that until seeing the pictures. They are more defined in person.

I was going to just keep going with the stitching. The picture if you recall is quite plain but I was finding it boring, and to uniform in proportion. It needs something else. I wondered about a railing. Not this railing I think, it looks like a Japanese character (badly build temple maybe) or something.

I think I will finish the stitching even if I add something else. Anyone got another idea? I have seven more days to be finished in time.