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.
I’ve decided I want some long, hanging flowers.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve been running a felt study group and I wanted to share one of the more interesting samples I did in the group. I had some white welsh mountain sheep wool. I have no idea where I got it it was raw and I have had it for years because I didn’t know what to do with it.
The Welsh Mountain sheep is usually white with a white face with no wool on forehead or cheeks and white legs with no wool below the joint. Females are polled but rams usually have curved horns, although some are polled. The fleece is thick and moderately long and the tails are not normally docked.
Breeders give a high priority to hardiness, milking ability, mothering quality and lamb survival. (Lambing percentage can be 130%, which rises to 180% under favourable conditions on improved pastures.) It was not always thus; the 18th-century English agriculturist Arthur Young described the Welsh Mountain sheep as “the most despicable of all types” and a judge at an agricultural show in the 1880s described it as “a diminutive ill-shapen animal with its shaggy coat more reminiscent of hair than of wool”
I had a shoebox sized amount. As you can see not the nicest looking stuff, a bit like a horse’s mane.
I washed it in a laundry bag with some dish soap.
It took 2 washes but it came out a lovely white, white horse but white.
The locks average about 10 inches long.
I weighed out 25 grams and divided it into 4 and carded it into little batts. Each batt would be one layer of the sample.
The samples were all laid out 10×10 inches for easy calculation of shrinkage. At this point, I was skeptical that it would felt at all, it is so much like stong, straight hair
The piece was rubbed and rolled to felt and then rolled on a textured mat and scrunched for the fulling. Throwing doesn’t work well with such a small piece.
Much to my surprise, this is the final result. It’s a bit wonky but that’s down to my hand carding
It’s about 40% shrinkage and it is rock solid. The most I got of any of my samples. It is rock solid. I tried to felt it more but it wouldn’t budge. All the samples were made with 25grams of wool. It makes me wonder about people that say they get 50% shrinkage on their felt protects. Are they measuring differently or are they using very thin layouts? I could see this felting more if I used half the amount of wool. so if I made a sample 20inches by 20 inches with the same wool I would get a higher shrinkage rate. What do you think?
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.
This is the last of my contributions to this quarter’s challenge. I am looking forward to finding out what the next quarter’s challenge is.
Last time I showed you my circles of silk and wool to be made into flowers.
First, I rubbed and rolled them until they were well felted. Then I folded them into a cone and started rolling in my hands and pulling on the point. That resulted in this:
Next, I cut some leaves from the flat green piece and needled them onto the flowers.
I thought they need some stamen. I used locks. These are Wensleydale cross locks I bought already dyed. The first few I made, I didn’t like. The stamens were too long and they looked more like some sort of horror movie flower monster that was sticking out their tongues.
I shortened them. I think I need to dye some locks yellow for the rest. I should have time as we are all staying home.
I will add pins, probably safety pins, to these. Then they can go on a hat or coat or anything really.
I haven’t found good broach pins yet. The ones in local stores all seem to fall apart after a few uses. I had a link to a supplier but there was no way to tell which ones were good and which ones were not. I will have to order samples maybe.
I was surprised while editing the flowers on how hairy they look. You don’t really notice them in person. The camera really picks them up. The other interesting thing I discovered was that the lid of my new laptop is great for taking pictures. It is flat black and doesn’t reflect the light.
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.
Wednesday I taught an evening class in flowers at the Ottawa Valley Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild. It is a bit rushed for beginners to get both flowers finished but everyone got it done and we all had a good time.
As usual, I kept forgetting to take pictures but I did get some and Jan was in the class and got some but she was busy too.
First, we did a petunia/morning glory shaped flower this is me explaining how you layout the wool for the flower.
Jan remembered to take a picture of her layout. This is part way through.
Here everyone is diligently felting their flowers
This is Jan’s flower after scrunching and throwing. People usually look skeptical that this will be a flower at this point.
But then Ta Da!
Then there was no time to waist and we were on to Flower 2. Stems and stamens and silk hankies.
There was rubbing and rolling and gentle fulling and no throwing for these.
And lastly Jan to a good picture of her 2 blue flowers.
I think I may make this into a full-length class with a few more flowers. and maybe add some leaves to the stems.
Last week I missed doing my blog post because I had no power or internet. My area was hit by 6 tornados. We were not hit we had no damage. Some areas near us were hit very hard, the large power substation near us was hit and some of the cell phone and internet towers too.
Before all that I did manage to work on my piece for the guild exhibition and sale. I do not think I will get it done in time as it is due in a week. The theme was a 100-mile inspiration. I decided to do a scene with the Parlement buildings. I am using 2 prefelt layers with a piece of cotton gauze in the middle for the background.
First I found a simple outline picture I could use for the outline of the building. I cut that out and tried it on the background.
I pinned it to another piece of prefelt and cut it out.
Then it was time to work ou the clouds.
After I took the picture and looked at it I realized I had made the clouds to symmetrical. Its funny how looking at a picture sometimes shows you more than just looking at it. I tacked all the pieces together with a few jabs of a felting needle
Next was adding fireworks as I am thinking it should be Canada Day.
Then I cropped the picture to see better how it will look.
I wet felted the piece and now I need to do some stitching around the building so it will show better.and my daughter said I should add beads around the fireworks like the sparkles you see with fireworks. I thought maybe some sparkly thread and a bead at the end of each firework. What else would you add to this silhouette picture?