Friday, 15 June 2018

"Burning Out Doing Way Too Much"

... But Having Nothing To Show For It.


I planned so many things for the blog this year, but abandoning it for 6 months was never meant to be one of them. I love making felt, but sometimes having to take into consideration whether what you make will sell or not and whether or not making it might be a 'waste of time' that could have been spent more 'productively' takes a lot of the fun out of it. And adds a ridiculous amount of anxiety. Which is really pointless considering very little of what I actually do make to sell ever gets sold.
Which then makes me think I should be spending more time doing things which are a bit more succesful in selling, like tutorials and e-books, but every time I start, I soon get overwhelmed by how massively I've underestimated the work involved. Which sucks the life out of me and any bit of enjoyment I was having :(

And often the pressure of having to produce something to blog about and then finding the time and energy to do it, can feel like a huge task, and never knowing if anyone's even ever going to read it or if I did it all for the benefit of that bot or the spammer who earns thousands of pounds working from home, can often make it feel like a pointless as well as huge task.

I'm sure I'm not the only person who's ever felt like this, and I won't be the last! And sometimes when I least expect it, I'll do something which reminds me why and how much I love making felt. Like a couple of weeks ago, making notes for nuno samples of different thicknesses and asking myself questions for things to look out for, like shrinkage  comparisons, and being pleased with myself for accurately predicting outcomes. Or like this week, making a piece of felt just for fun to give to a friend, and really enjoying the whole process.

So, if anyone does still read this blog, apologies for being slack. And if you have any advice, or your own tales of getting bogged down by obligations spoling the fun, feel free to share and have a moan! And, so this isn't just a boring wall of text, here's a few photos of the piece I made this week :)


 Merino, with mostly dyed Nylon fibre, silk throwster's waste and various cellulose fibres.


Felted:


 My favourite part:


Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Scarves Part Two

Do you remember the scarf samples I posted about in October? One of them was an irregular shape with lots of different pieces and sizes of cotton scrim for a base, I wanted to make a full sized scarf based on that idea. I didn't want to make the overall shape of the scarf quite as irregular as the sample though, just more 'uneven'. I got out lots of pieces of hand dyed scrim in variegated shades of blues, greens and greys,  and ironed them-apparently those big plastic craft tables bend from heat more easily than I thought! I laid the pieces out on the template, and overlapped them in places for a bit more texture. Then I chose some 18.5 mic Merino in similar colours and matched the wool layout to the scrim.


It was interesting to just follow the colours of the scrim instead of planning the colour layout, it was a lot more random:



I really like the scrim side, it is so texturey and reminds me of lots of different landscapes:


This next one is a grey marl Merino on hand dyed cotton gauze. I blended up 4 shades of 18.5 mic Merino, 2 greys, a duck egg and black. It wasn't very easy to get photos, they kept turning out blue!:



Those were the last of the scarves, but I did make a few samples to test out some other fabrics. I used some scraps of stranded scarves with a couple of offcuts and some 18.5 mic Merino:


I laid the wool out very finely, cobweb thin really:


The fabric offcut rippled into a nice texture:


I used just two fabrics for this one, strips from a green viscose scarf and strips from a very pale green/beige/ blue charity shop dress which I was convinced was silk until I did a burn test, very realistic imitation!


I laid the 18.5 mic Merino wool tops thicker on this piece, though they were still quite fine. I also didn't go right upto the edges of the fabric:


The ripple textures were interesting, the viscose seemed to ripple more vertically, and the imitation silk more horizontally:


This sample is a fabric which might look familiar as I bought 3 scarves with the same design in different colours.  I think this is the first time I tried it with 18.5 mic Merino:


Well, that's it for this year! I hope you've all had a great year, and enjoyed reading the posts. And if you've got a bit of spare time over the holidays, don't forget I have lots of free tutorials which are all  felt, fibre and fabric related: https://feltbyzed.blogspot.co.uk/p/free-tutorials.html

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Scarves Part One

I've been into making scarves lately, though I probably carded more wool and ironed more scrim and gauze than I used for making scarves, but I have finished quite a few. This is a white one I made a few weeks ago:


I used 18.5 mic Merino, and Rose fibre for embellishing:


I cut the scarf wider than my template, and scrunch gathered it to size before adding the wool, so it'd have some texture on the back:


I also made a short, wide scarf/wrap similar to the white scarf, using natural cotton scrim and 18.5 mic Merino:


It's about 3 times as wide as the scarf, and I didn't scrunch the scrim first:


I used 3 different cellulose fibres for embellishing this: Viscose, Rose and Tencel, this is the Viscose:


Another scarf I made recently is this bright, colourful one. I always prefer the side where the wispy ends of the wool tops overlap (or underlap since they're laid first) the next colour:


This is the other side where the colours are in blocks:


An 'arty' shot to shop how soft it is :)


I think the multi one is the only scarf I made recently which isn't nuno-felt. This next one was made with 18.5 mic Merino and hand dyed cotton scrim. I embellished this with hand dyed bamboo top:



I cut a strip of subtley variegated lemon/yellow scrim to size, then cut the strip into roughly even pieces and re-arranged them before adding the Merino on top:



I've got a few more scarves to show, so check back before the end of the year to see part two :)



Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Nuno Felt Scarf Samples

We're making scarves at the well-being centre. To practise, we're using strips of scrim and some fine 18.5 mic Merino. I made some scarf samples with the scrim and wool. These are the ones I made:


The top one has a fine, narrow strip of wool all the way around; some random narrow strips and a few 'blobs' of blue:



The second one down has a simple grid pattern made from fine, narrow strips:


The middle piece has two fine layers (1 horizontal, 1 vertical) of wool tops:


The fourth one down had resist strips placed along the scrim, then two fine layers of wool, and embellished with some very shiny cellulose fibre I got in a bag of Botany lap waste-it's different to any others I've got, so from what World of Wool sold at the time, and the fact it is most like viscose, I'm guessing it is Tencel:


The bottom piece has a fine, narrow strip of wool all around and through the centre, and has wool in the same position on the back of the piece. It's the only one which does. I also fulled the middle more than the outside, so the edges waved:


The last orange one at the side has flowers in the middle made from the same 18.5 mic Merino, and leaves at each corner, it also has leaves on the back at each corner:



And for something a bit different, I made a demo scarf using dyed, irregular pieces of scrim as a base This is the scrim side:



And the wool side, also using 18.5 mic Merino, and embellished with viscose:


If you're interested in learning more about Nuno Felting and why how, and where you position your wool affects the outcome, so you can get the results you want, have a look at the info page for my e-book, Beyond Nuno: http://feltbyzed.blogspot.co.uk/p/e-books.html



Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Testing the Limits of Fibres

I was tidying away some felt recently and remembered that I'd planned to make some felt pieces like the textured nuno pieces I made, but with different fibres instead of fabric. I've tried 'piling on' embellishment fibres in the hope of getting a fluffy effect or loosely attached/3D look a few times, but apart from a really slippy/slinky feeling acrylic fibre, and some weird fibre/wool combos (Suffolk wool and banana fibre springs to mind) they've all just stayed put and attached well. Since I mostly use Merino for 'everyday' pieces, I wanted to see how a couple of layers of different fibres attached, and also what effect I'd get from some hard fulling.

I laid out a couple of pieces the same way, but different sizes. I laid out two layers of dyed viscose fibre, then 4 fine layers of 23 mic Merino. I felted and fulled the first piece, then got my bead board out to full it more. I fulled until it was quite firm, but not stiff/rigid:



I got the texture I expected:


I didn't expect so much migration, probably because the soft/fine pieces I've fulled really hard with fibres before were using white 18.5mic Merino, and I used less fibre, I thought it'd be less obvious this time:


I changed my plans when I got to the felted stage of the first piece, it looked and felt so nice. So, I decided I would just felt the next piece 'normally'. Even if I hadn't already decided that, I don't think I could have 'ruined' this piece by fulling it lots:


The colours and the sheen are just gorgeous, so is the softness and drap, even though it's only a small sample:


Those ridges/crinkles are because I squeezed it in a towel, then hung on the line to dry! If you look at the blue parts you might see a crease along the edge too, it's such a light piece, the pegs weighed it down and bent it. Here's a close up:


You can see the differences in sheen and texture when the pieces are next to each other:


This is the soft piece on the template I used, it started out just a bit bigger than the small box it's on top of:


And the small piece started out the size of the largest outline on the template:


And yep, those are the same template!

I made a few more fibre samples. I thought I'd use the same template for all of them to do comparisons. In the end, I only did a 'normal' sample and a 'fulled hard' sample of Trilobal Nylon for a direct comparison. Though thinking about it, for a 'proper' comparison, I should really have used the same colours! Each sample has two layers of the fibre, and 4 thin layers of 23 mic Merino. This is the Trilobal Nylon sample which I felted and fulled in the way I usually do:


Here's a close up of the ripples/texture:


This is the Trilobal nylon sample I made and fulled hard:


The texture was interesting, especially where I used different colours for each fibre layer:


This next one is Soy top which I dyed, the tops all look nice, shiny, metallic shades, but for some reason, they now look a bit like wet tissue. Maybe two layers dulls the sheen?


The silver end looked quite nice:


My favourite piece out of these was the Nylon Staple sample. It had a really nice, thick texture:


You can see it a bit more on an angle:


At first I was a bit disappointed with all the migration, because it covered some areas:


But, then I noticed there was something quite regular, almost geometric about the migration:


It can always be disguised by using a matching colour, or made a feature of by using a complementary colour. Here is a photo of the nylon and soy pieces next to each other:


And, for reference, the bigger Trilobal Nylon sample on the template I used:


So, you can see, you don't need to cautiously anchor down a few strands of fibre with wisps of wool! I used quite a lot of fibre on each sample. The nylon staple is one which intrigues me the most because I love texture and it has me thinking of ways to use it, but the Viscose top is gorgeous, so vibrant and shiny!

If you're curious about using embellishment fibres in wet felting, but don't know where to start, have a look at the info page for my e-book, The Right Fibre: https://feltbyzed.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-right-fibre.html