I was recently asked If I would like to review the new book First Time Felting. The Absolute Beginner’s Guild. It is a new book from Quarry Books by Ruth Lane. @QuartoCreates.
This is a great book for those just starting out Needle felting. It is clear and easy to follow with lots of pictures. There is information in equipment and fibres both wool and the extra embellishment fibres. The process of sculpting in 3D using wool is explained using a number of techniques and how to combine them. I would say two-thirds of the book is dedicated to needle felting and one third to wet and nuno felting. So if you are primarily interested in needle felting but curios about wet felting it is a nice quick introduction to that side of the craft. Just to wet your curiosity.
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.
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.
So this week I managed to finished the hat in my last post.
I left you with this picture:
Next I covered it and rubbed it for a while. then rolled it up and into the dryer with no heat for 10 min. while I was waiting for that I started to lay out another hat. After the first tumble I took the hat out flipped and rotated it and rolled it up again. you can see the other hat I am working on under the bundle.
After a few turns in the dryer I cut the hat open and shifted it so I would not be felting in the seam crease.
I continued to roll it in the dryer shifting the hat on the resist each time. Once is had shrunk some, I continued to full it by hand. This is what it looked like still wet and in need of a rinse.
and this is after it has been rinsed reblocked and dry. not really much different. the close up picture is a truer picture colour wise. it is a light silvery grey with pink and grey accents.
I like it, it is simple but interesting. I think I will leave this one the way it is. the next on in this style may be more embellishment after there fact. I need to dye more silk hankies.
This week I decided to try a new style of hat. As it’s the first one and I don’t know if it will work I am making it fairly plain.
To save time I started with a template I already had. I traced around it so I would have the nice round part in the right size all ready to add the new part.
This is the final shape.
Next, I added some silk from silk hankies. The hankies are gray and pink. I stretched the hankies out long so I could wrap them around. They are hard to see, you can see them sticking out the sides.
After I wrapped the first side around, I added another hanky going the other way as well.
Here is how it looks with the first side of wool wrapped around.
And lastly where I had to stop. On the outside of the hat, I added more of the gray and pink hankies. They are very hard to see, on the wet felt they pretty much disappear. I am hoping the pink and gray on the light gray wool will make it shine nicely. It is a very conservative hat but this is a government town so that would work ok.
And here are some of the reasons I haven’t got back to it yet.
The red light is a heat lamp. It has moved to another pen now. They just needed it the first night as it was very cold. These 2 moms and babies are not much trouble but these three below take a lot more work. It is not a great picture but to get a picture of them not moving, standing in front of one another or showing the camera their tails is quite difficult.
I started with a piece of white prefelt to work on. Starting at the back I adding the sky and the mountains. The mountains are prefelt as well.
Next I added the grass, clouds and water. This is where the water isn’t blue comment comes form, on one of my other posts. Mostly at this point everything is just a place marker to be added to after wet felting.
So the first thing to do after wet felting it was to rip the water off. It looks better white than it did blue.
I set about fixing the water using some brown, grey, neppy Romney wool I had. I also added some silk noil to give it more shine and rocks.
I used the same Romney for the Mountains too.
After fiddling with the mountains it was time to add the fence. To get the placement right I used a piece of yarn to mark the path.
And here we are at the present. I added the posts. I need to spin some quit dark grey yarn very thin or possibly I will use some sewing thread. I have not decided yet.
Are you working on a piece for the first quarter challenge?
This week I decided to do some yarn dyeing. I bought some ends of cones someone brought in to the guild. They are perfect for me as I don’t need large amounts of any yarn.
I couldn’t find my niddy noddy so I just wrapped the silk around a plastic box of curls. This is the largest cone I got. There was only one so I guess that’s why no on else wanted it. It is quite fine and it is a single yarn. I liked it because has little nubby bits. The other cones I got were almost empty.
I did 3 kinds of silk or at least I hoping the other two were silk. More on that farther down.
You can see the other tow yarns in this close up; there is one with slubs and one that is super shiny and has little loops.
I planned to use MX or fiber reactive dye for these. I wanted to do them with more than one colour so I soaked them in a soda ash bath. I was surprised at how dirty they were.
Next I made up small amounts of dye and dipped the yarn into them.
I made sure they were wall soaked in the dye then squeezing the excess out with a gloved hand. Then they are places on some plastic wrap them up.
They need to sit a couple of hours before rinsing. Two of the ones with purple on them took a lot more rinsing, one of the silk noil and one of the shiny ones. Not sure why.
This is the silk noil. The grey areas were turquoise. I am assuming it is grey because of the original colour of the yarn. You can also see it got some twist energy back and has little twists now. this is the one from the first picture. The other two were very white.
This is the one with the slubs. I was not sure this was all silk. I think that one of the ply’s is not silk. It must be a cellulose fiber but it did not take the dye quite the same. The fluffy slubs are definitely paler.
This is the last one. I really like the lavender that happened because I forgot to wipe the purple off my gloves before squeezing the excess dye out the turquoise part.
Last night with the help of guild friends I put them all into center pull balls.
All in all a very satisfying dye session. I am sure they will look very nice on some felt. I may use some of the silk noil to ply with something else. I am not sure I will have to see.
As promised here is the finished pot. It did work, as if there was any doubt. All the problems I had were to do with the size of the pot and me.
The first problem is that I cut the whole in the top much to big. I think it would have been better pot if it had curved in at the top. it is much to open making it more up and down. Part of that is the size of the piece. It is only about 2.5 inches tall. Also I should have to cut the holes sooner so I can work on the cut edges, or at the end so the edges would be cleaner.
Here are the silk cocoons I put in. I did not position these well so on is to high and one to low. Again the size of the pot limited my options. The cocoons did work well. They were crushed., but that didn’t really matter. After it was dry I cut open the cocoons and then steamed them to reshape them. It may have been better to do those sooner so m=perhaps the cut holes could have been made smoother. All in all not a great pot but it was a good piece to remind me of all thing I really already new but didn’t think about. I think I will make another one but bigger.
I only made a small one as I didn’t have a lot of time. I made the resist about 4 inches across.
I wanted to make a 3 layer pot. The first layer is red and not wanting to just do a regular pot I added two silk cocoons.
After both sides were covered in red wool I wrapped it in plastic wrap.
After that I wrapped it in black wool more plastic wrap and then white wool. I have no pictures of those as my battery died in the phone. I rubbed it a while and then popped it in my heatless dryer to tumble and went off to work. That was a few days ago and I finally got back to it a bit this morning. I cut open the first layer.
and then the black and red
I left he plastic wrap on the inner layers and blew up a balloon in side it. I wrapped it up in plastic like a Christmas pudding. and popped it back in to the dryer for more tumbling.
Now I have you all exited, I have to say it’s not done. My studio was freezing this morning so I went back to the house to stay warm. I do not like working in the cold with cold wet wool. I will have to finish it this week and show you next week. Enjoy the anticipation. LOL It’s supposed to be the best part, isn’t it? Were you inspired to give a pot in a pot a try after last weeks post? How did it go?
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.