Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Weekend Projects

I discovered the other day just how much time it can take to list things on etsy. I thought I'd put together a pack of fabric samples from all the fabrics I used in my e-book, thinking it couldn't take that long, but it did :) I enjoyed going through all my fabric though. I think if I list fabric or fibre supplies again though, I will put together a pack while I'm getting together the fibres for a project, get some extras out and build one up. It might work better like that anyway because I often work on a colour theme and get out similar coloured organzas, silks, embellishment fibres and novelty yarns.

It was nice and tidy once I'd put everything away though (and picked up a load of fabric threads!) so I had a good look through my box of felt pieces to make things with. I had quite a large piece I’d made with black merino and strips of coloured cotton gauze (sometimes called cotton scrim). The back was blues and greens with silk embellishments. I thought it’d make a nice purse or wallet, with two sections. I’ve almost finished it, I just need to add the button and button hole.

I almost used the blue side on the outside, but I'm glad I didn't

Trying out a button:

I cut out some pieces to make another one, and this is almost finished now as well.

I also had time to make this notebook cover from a nuno felted piece I made a while ago:

The silk piece had an unusual pattern, and it made a really nice texture when it was felted.

I'm running out of cotton threads now though, so I might have to have a look at the Rainbow Girl's shop for some more gorgeous hand dyed ones. She sells lots of gorgeous threads and fabric and fibres for felting, including dyed cotton scrim.

Thursday, 21 March 2013


I've opened an Etsy shop :)

There isn't much there at the moment, but there are a few silk fibre packs. They are packs of aproximately 20g each of natural silk hankies; silk carrier rods; silk noil and gummed silk throwster's waste. I got a shock when I looked up postage prices! I always wanted to be able to offer reasonably priced fabrics and fibres, but the price of postage has shot up recently. If you're in the UK it might just be cheaper to call round for them :)

Silk carrier rods are odd, ugly looking things! But once they are soaked in water and the layers are separated they make great embellishments for felt or mixed media. Like any silk fibres, they can be dyed too. They look like coloured foil to me. I've even carded them and felted the 'fluff'.

Silk Throwster's waste really doesn't look much at first, stiff and nylony, like tangled dolls hair! But once it has been degummed it is soft, fluffy, shiny and crimped.

 It's easy to dye too, and looks gorgeous once it's felted. It spins well too.

Silk noil has great texture. Soft but with nubby bits that feel a bit like oats :) It smells nice and even has a nice sound when it's separated. You can use it to create subtle interest and texture or use it more densely and it will have the appearance of a fabric.

Silk hankies are one of the most popular silk fibres for using with felting. They can be used whole as a single layer:

Or more than one layer for more  texture:

 Or you can draft them into roving and use smaller pieces for different effects:


Thursday, 14 March 2013

Threads and Yarns

Around this time last year I was still doing the Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge. I struggled with it, and didn't always enjoy it, but I did like what I produced when I used some felt offcuts from a piece I'd made with natural wools for placemats and coasters. I used my own handspun thread to sew the stitches. This is one I made using chain stitch, and this is one using cretan stitch. I hadn't used my threads in a while, but recently I've been inspired by my flickr-friend, Marchi Wierson, a sculptural fibre artist who uses a variety of techniques in her work, such as wet felting and crochet, and loves working with natural wools and fibres. Her recent vessel commission and some gorgeous natural fibre yarns had me rummaging through my wools and fibres and getting my spindles out to spin more thread and yarn. I decided to use three shades of Shetland Wool.

I pulled off some of the tops from each shade:

Then I looked through my embellishment fibres for some I thought would make a nice match. I chose Soybean top, viscose top and flax.

I added some of each fibre to the Shetland tops:

Then I blended them by hand:

I got a couple of my spindles out, this is one I made and painted a few years ago:

I made a small amount of thread, though even a small amount of wool and fibres goes a long way when spinning thread. This is it wound around the spindle.

Then I blended up some more Shetland and fibres and spun a thicker yarn. I will probably use the yarn in a wet felting project, though I have used them for needlefelting before.

Do have a look at Marchi's photostream if you have time, her work is amazing and inspiring :)

Sunday, 10 March 2013

A Guide To The Felting And Fiber Studio Site

We’ve had a lot of new visitors to the Studio site recently, and lots of new members on the forum, so I thought it might be time to do a reminder about everything we have to offer here on the Studio site. Before we started the blog just over a year ago, the four of us spent about 6 weeks working on the site, filling it with as much info as we could. We wanted to build the site into a valuable ‘One-Stop’ resource for anyone interested in felting and fibre. The ‘About Us’ page tells you a little bit about why we started the Studio site, and there are sub pages for each of us with some info about ourselves and our interests.

In the Felting section there’s a short introduction about the many different kinds of felting. The main pages for Machine, Needle, Nuno and Wet felting all have more in-depth information, and each has a gallery page with many different examples of that particular type of felting.

Mixed media simply means artwork that is made with more than one medium, but for the purpose of the site we use it to mean artwork made mainly with felt or fabric combined with other materials. This section features pages about Beads and Beading, Hand Stitching, Machine Stitching and Surface Design. Each page’s gallery features many examples of artwork.

 The Fibers section is packed full of information about wool and other animal fibres. The main Fibers page explains some of the different terms that are used to describe wool in its various stages of processing. The Wool and Other Animal Fibers page has a lot of information about wool, animal fibres from animals such as Alpaca, Angora goat, Llama and Camel. There is also an explanation of the Micron and Bradford Count systems of measuring a fibre’s fineness or coarseness; and a PDF guide to the most common sheep breeds and their Bradford and Micron numbers. The gallery page features photos of different animal fibres. Preparing Fibers has a guide to processing your own wool, from washing a raw fleece to carding it into fluffy batts ready for felting or spinning. There is a photo set and detailed description.

The Other Fibers section has lots of information about the non animal fibres we commonly use in felting, such as silk and organza fabrics; fibre prepared into tops like bamboo, banana, viscose, and the more unusual fibres like crimped nylon, plastic and Angelina fibres.

The Silk page shows the many different silk products available, for example, silk carrier rods, silk hankies and silk throwster’s waste and the gallery page features many uses of these. The Man-made fibers page and its gallery have examples of fibres and their uses including commercial art yarns and  some nuno felt examples with synthetic fabrics. The Plant Based Fibers page has many examples of these gorgeous luxurious fibres and felted pieces using them.

The Tutorials section is another area with a wealth of information. There are free Dyeing, Felting, Fiber preparation and Mixed media tutorials all written by one of us, including a video on how to make your own roving using a diz, PDFs on Degumming silk and dyeing it; Stitching on felt, making mixed media wall art, using a sander for wet-felting, a beginners guide to using a drop spindle and dyeing with food colouring.

And if you can’t find what you want there, there are also links to outside sites in the Links/Resources section, including rosiepink’s free felting tutorials and their fantastic e-book showing how to make amazing felt artwork and Ruth’s book The Complete Photo Guide To Felting.

We've been working on upgrading the site over the last week or so, and have added new photos to the different pages and to the galleries. We also added a new Fabrics page. This is in the 'Other Fibers' section and also has its own gallery.

So, make yourself comfortable and come over and have a look around the site.  We’re always happy to read comments and listen to suggestions for adding more to the site, or to requests for articles or tutorials. Maybe you are a fibre artist with an interesting skill that would make a great feature or you’d like us to link to a tutorial, if you have anything felt or fibre related you want to tell us about, we’d love to hear about it :)

Monday, 4 March 2013

Giveaway Winner

The Beyond Nuno Giveaway winner has been announced on the Studio site http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2013/03/04/beyond-nuno-giveaway-winner-and-about-the-studio-site/

There is also a guide to the features of the studio site. I noticed that we had a lot of comments from new visitors, so I thought I would post about everything the site has to offer.

Thanks to everyone who entered the Giveaway :)