Thursday, 14 May 2009

Felt Cases

The May challenge on the felting forum is 'Practical Felting- Create something with a useful purpose'. My new camera needs a case, so I thought I'd have a go at making one.
After another fruitless search of the internet for a tutorial, I decided to work it out for myself (apparently, maths can be used for other things besides working out how much fibre I need to order and how much it'll cost!)
So, after lots of measuring, re-measuring, dividing and multiplying, I ended up with.... 2 foam rectangles as resists for a camera case and ipod case.
I won't pretend I ended up with 2 perfect cases after my first try, but they turned out okay and I found they are easy to adapt.

I re-did the camera case a couple of days later with 4 thin layers, and got the size and thickness I wanted.

If you'd like to try making a case with a flat resist, I made a picture set on flickr, here
And if anyone has any tips for making cases- I'd love to hear about them.

I also made a very simple camera case by sewing 3 pieces of felt together yesterday, and made a photo set for this on flickr, too

I must say thankyou to Linda from craft gossip who did a really nice article about me and my felted vessel tutorial :)

And if anyone has any helpful how to's or tutorials they'd like to share, please leave a link in the comments, I'd love to see them :)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Book Review

I'm fairly new to wet felting and don't really know much beyond laying wool tops in opposite directions and incorporating other fibres into the top layer, so I thought I'd treat myself to a book. I had a look on amazon and decided to get 'Complete Feltmaking by Gillian Harris'. It promised to carefully explain each feltmaking technique in detail with step by step instructions so that no matter how inexperienced you are, it is difficult to go wrong. It covers needlefelting, wet felting, knitting and fulling, and advanced felting techniques. Sounded perfect.

I don't know anything about knitting so don't feel qualified to judge that section's instructions, but I've looked through all the wet felting and needle felting projects, and there are some major problems with this book.
The first wet felting instructions are explained quite well, but after that, instructions are vague... 'make a circle, add a spot, make a polka dot, bunch up some fleece into a round pouch shape' etc, and it doesn't tell you 'how'.
Also, the photos are practically useless, instead of a few photos clearly illustrating the instructions, they give a whole page to a photo of the finished item, then use a cropped version again on almost a whole page, where they could have fit another 4-6 photos. The photos they do have accompanying the stages are 'arty' and blurred and contribute practically nothing.

A typical 4 page layout for a project:

Another thing I found strange, was there was no order to the projects, they went from 'intermediate' to 'beginner' to 'advanced' then back again, randomly. The needle felt section starts with an 'advanced' project.
The oddest thing was incomplete instructions for how to make a bag, which were then repeated 10 pages on, this time without the blurry photos but with one additional step-'make a handle using the instructions from a few pages earlier'. This one extra detail took 4 pages.

After reading this book, I'm non the wiser than I was before reading it, and many of the tips go against other things I've read, like leaving felt on resists/lasts to dry (didn't the felt shrink too much for that?)
It's a shame, because the project ideas look really good.