Saturday, 5 January 2019

Happy New Year!

It's been pretty obvious to the two (three?!) of you who read my blog that I've had difficulty keeping up with it for quite a while now, like I mentioned in a blog post in June. I made a similar post on The Felting and Fiber Studio site in November, and if you read the comments, you'll see that I'm not alone! As I was stressing again this week about how much I've let slide, and worrying about how I'll even 'catch up', let alone stay on top of things, I thought I would start with a look back over the year like we do on the Studio site each year. But instead of making a couple of slide-shows of my work, like I did there, I thought I would pick one project from each month of the past year to share. And this made me realise that if I find it so hard to blog weekly, why don't I blog monthly instead? Seems obvious when you think about it doesn't it!?! I didn't make anything in January, but over the holiday break I tidied up the supplies from the class I do at the Well-Being Centre and in late Jan/early Feb I made lots of batts from all the odds and ends and matted bits of wool tops from the bottoms of boxes:

In March I made a couple of vessels, I used texturey wools on this one and left it to dry without anything inside to shape it and I liked the way it came out:

Having a 'play day' at the well-being centre one day in April, I made this piece using tubes of wool made by wrapping wool wisps around a kebab stick:

In May, I made a nuno felted piece for a challenge on the Studio site. This is one of my favourite photos from while I was making it, I thought it looked like a cow's stomach/tripe!

This is what the finished piece looked like held over a lightbulb:

In June I made a felted painting for a friend. I'd shown him some photos of paintings I'd done and he liked a few in this style:

Originally, I'd planned to do a painting on canvas for him, but the technique I'd used didn't transfer to canvas very well, so instead I thought I'd see how well the idea worked in felt. I have to say, it's one of my favourite pieces I've ever made!

I kind of got hooked on making felt pieces inspired by paintings, I used this painting too for inspiration:

And this is the felt piece I made:

In July, I made a kind of seascape felt piece:

And then used it to make a notebook cover:

In August, I made a few collage pieces for greetings cards, this is one of them:

I did a bit of needlefelting in September, this is a piece I made using various wools dyed with natural dyes:

This is a piece I made in October for another Studio Challenge, I combined wool tubes and twists with nuno felting:

I made a purple and black piece embellished with lots of undyed fibres, in November:

One of the last things I made last year was a case for my best friend's birthday. I made it in one piece over a resist and used silk to line it, I added a button and stitching before I gave it to him, but here it is when it had dried:

I'm grateful for anybody who ever takes the time to read the blog posts and I hope to blog a bit more frequently this year. I hope you have a fibre filled 2019! Happy New Year :)

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Felt Bookcovers

I've made a few new felt book covers, recently. First, I made a large seascape in felt:

Then I made it into an A5 bookcover. This is the front:

And the back:

I had a look through my already made felt pieces and found one from a Felting and Fiber Studio challenge which I thought would make a nice A6 cover, so I cut that out:

There's quite a lot of viscose on the orangey yellow part so it has a nice sheen. This is the front:

Not quite so obvious in the photos is the texture near the bottom with silk noil and some cotton fibres. I think I used some dyed cotton nepps too. This is the back:

I'd been making this next notebook cover since January! I had a big clear up and tidied my offcuts, which led to planning the cover. I then sewed some of it in March, and finally finished it last week. Either can be the front or back, so this is side 1:

And side 2:

I used some hand dyed muslin for a backing/lining:

This is how it looks with the front and back opened out:

I still have my offcuts out and plan to make some collage shoulder bags, next.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Experimental Nuno Vessel

Over on the Felting and Fiber Studio site, we have Quarterly Challenges. The 2nd Quarter Challenge for this year was to use fabric as a surface design, and try a technique that you hadn't tried before. Ann made a point of saying I wasn't allowed to make a sample (I do that a lot?!), so I didn't, but it was more of a 'prototype' :) I wanted to combine using 'extreme nuno' that I'd been playing around with a lot, and vessels, so Ann's challenge gave me the push to try it.

I cut out a template, sort of bowl shaped, but not for any reason, I just wanted something big and not square. Then I started adding strips of white fabrics to it: synthetic chiffon, muslin, scrim and cotton gauze. I then added fine layers of Rambouillet. This photo shows it wet down and it's just started to felt:

Once the resist started to curl and I knew it was properly felted, I started to full it on bubble-wrap. It really puffed up!

I removed the resist and carried on fulling, I turned it the right side out, and realised I’d accidentally made a felted cow stomach!

I tested to see if it was fulled enough by inflating a balloon inside, then carried on fulling until I was happy with it. This isn’t the best photo, but you can see the shrinkage, compare it to the first photo - it started out the full height of the netting:

I rinsed it and left on a balloon to shape and dry. This is how it looked finished:

This is another side:

This is some nice ruffley chiffon on the bottom, between some Cotton Gauze and cotton scrim:

And, since the thought behind the idea was that it’d make an interesting lampshade, here it is on a lightbulb:

Close Up:

 And a different angle:

Even though it's just a prototype, I have used it on my little bedroom torch while I've been listening to music before going to sleep!

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.


 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: