Saturday 30 March 2019

Feb/March Review: Unusual Embellishments

I mentioned at the end of my look back at January, that February had been all about unusual embellishments. That carried on into March too, but I'll stick with the theme and show them altogether. Using unusual embellishments isn't really unusual for me, but I think I might have a bit of a surprise near the end :) It started in November when my friend had some shiny hair decorations/extensions that she was removing and throwing away, so I asked if I could 'scav' (scavenge) them out of the bin to try felting with. They originally come straight, but after being plaited/braided, end up wavy/kinked. I decided to try them with a wool blend which came in some Botany Lap Waste from World of Wool. It is really soft, greyish and has the odd bit of Angelina blended in. I couldn't see any in what I used though:

From this angle you can see better how they attached:

Thicker pieces of the fibre kept their shape and were more prominent, and where it was thinner/spread out, they blended in more:

The next time my friend used the extensions, she saved them for me when she removed them. They were really nice colours:

I blended up some Merino to match:

I used the same wool blends twice, and I started by matching the fibres to the blends:

But used different coloured fibres on top at the other end (not great photos)

As soon as I started to wet it down it felt like there were far too many fibres on top. They kind of look/feel like trilobal nylon, but not quite as fine. It took a lot to get it felted, the fibres acted like a barrier between my hands and the wool, I had to rub mostly from the back. I even resorted to rolling the felt in a bamboo mat. This is how it looked when it was dry:

You can see how much of the fibre is loose:

I tugged off lots of loose fibre and this is how it looked afterwards:

It looked like I pulled it all off, but it was more obvious looking on an angle:

And I had to get a supermacro close up!

I used the same hair extensions again. This is how the finished piece looked:

I twisted some of it around some wool twists I'd previously made, spun some with some white pencil roving, fluffed some up and made a kind of 'ball' out of it, blended some with Merino, and used a couple of pieces which were still partly plaited/braided. The two biggest patches on the bottom of this angled photo are, on the left, the loose ball, and in the centre, the blend with wool:

This is a closer angled pic:

This is one of the partly plaited pieces:

I undid the ends of this one, sorry, not the best photo:

This next pic is a small amount spun with pencil roving on a drop spindle. I just twisted it, then used it so it's loose:

I did my last experiment with unusual fibres a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately I didn't get lots of great photos, but this is what I tried out:

And this is one of the locks:

I used 23mic natural white Merino, and this is the finished sample:

This is a close up of the top left where I fluffed up the fibres:

And this is how the migration looked on the back:

 This is one of the felted locks, it is attached at the base, and springs loose:

Sorry there aren't more/better photos, but did you guess what the fibre is? It's my friend's hair who gave me the extensions! I clippered it for her a couple of weeks ago and decided to see how it felted :)
What's the most unusual fibre you've ever tried?

Wednesday 27 February 2019

January Review

January was all about vessels and Textured Felt. At the Well Being centre a few weeks ago, we made coiled pots. Somehow I managed to delete the photos of the process, but you can see it in this blog post. This is how it looked after I finished felting/fulling at home:

You can see from the gap in the pencil roving where the edge of the circular resist was. There's a similar gap on the other side:

Fulling the pot caused migration/fuzziness. It's dulled the silk threads quite a bit, so I'll probably shave it when it's fully dry.

I was looking through my flickr photostream and came across some photos of Textured Felt I made ages ago. I wrote a blog post with some pics on The Felting and Fiber Studio site. And like I say at the end of that post, I also wrote a quick guide on how to make it and listed it on etsy. It's an updated/expanded version of the free tute on flickr, but in a handy PDF. I was inspired by the Textured Felt pics to try the technique for making a vessel.
I used all natural wools, animal fibres and embellishments. For the texture scraps between layers, I used some unravelled wool knitting. I don't know if it's 100% wool. I did two 'regular' thickness layers on each side and two 'half layers', basically 3 layers but split one into 2 for even shrinkage. I didn't put texture between the two 'half' layers. This is the top with a hole cut and the resist taken out:

This is what it looks like when I separate the layers to make it more 3D:

This is how the bottom looks 'flat':

And separated/3D:

I put lots of locks around the edges:

Here are some Bluefaced Leicester locks:

I finished the vessel off on my bead board, fulling it to firm it up. It still isn't quite dry in these photos, it took quite a few days until it was. Here's a photo of it with the balloon still in it:

I couldn't get really good photos of it, it was too bright near the window and the back was in lots of shadow, but here it is without the balloon:

Here's the bottom:

Here are a couple of photos of the side of it.

Fulling the vessel meant that some of the looser locks felted in more, there was also more fuzziness/migration like on the coiled vessel:

I put the vessel around a lightbulb, I like how this one looks

So far, February has been all about trying unusual embellishments, so I'll be blogging about that next time!

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 :)