Monday, 13 April 2015

Colour Challenge

On the Felting and Fiber Studio, we have Quarterly Challenges. This year is all about Colour. For the 2nd Quarter Challenge, Ann challenged us to use a photo to generate a colour palette to work with. I chose a digital painting of mine to play around with:

I started off using Photoshop. The first filter I used was Median, I wanted to get a simplified version of the painting:

I then used some other filters to get more defined areas of colour. This one was Mosaic, I set the cell size to 50:

And this was Mosaic with the cell size set to 200:

I used the Crystalise filter set to 200 for the cell size on this one, the colours are similar to the 200 Mosaic one, but because it follows the shape of the original more and isn't square, there is  more colour variation:

The last version I did using Photoshop was using the Gaussian Blur filter. I selected 5cm x 5cm squares, then blurred that section to one colour:

I uploaded the image to a site Ann recommended, Color Palette FX, and this was the result:

I also used one which had been tried on the Felting and Fiber forum, Moda Palette Builder. This was a bit different, it didn't reduce the picture to a few equalised colours, but you  choose which areas of the picture you want to pick out colours from to create a pallette:

I always enjoy messing around with colour and on Photoshop, so this was fun. If you're interested and want to join in the challenge and show us your results, come and join the forum or use the Contact Us form on the Studio Site, we're always interested in anything felt or fibre related and would be happy to do a blog post feature :)

Sunday, 5 April 2015


I was hoping to get some time for felting yesterday, but I had vertigo and felt rotten so I'm posting some pieces I made a few weeks ago. I got two different Karakul batts from wollknoll, one is just Karakul and the other is a Karakul and Merino blend. Just be warned if you google Karakul, you'll probably get some pretty awful photos of dead lambs because their skin is used to make hats and coats because their wool is black and silky soft when they are born, and they don't often make it that far so there's quite a few photos of dead sheep too. This wool is sheared the usual way though. It is double coated and very wiry, it reminds me a lot of a Cairn Terrier my friend had when we were kids:

I used some dyed silvery flax with the Karakul, spreading it thinly across the top and bottom, and laid it  vertically in the centre:

It looked like it was just sitting on the surface:

The contrast of the 'dry' looking Karakul and shiny flax, made the flax look like it was still wet:

The Karakul and Merino looked and felted similarly, though less 'openly' or loosely and was a lighter shade:

Both of the batts had bits of VM in which looked like porridge oats or tiny cornflakes. A few of the batts I got had similar VM:

I used some crimped Viscose fibre with this:

This is some Viscose which wasn't teased apart much:

This is a patch where the Viscose was teased apart a lot and laid on quite thickly:

And this is where the teased out Viscose was laid quite sparsely:

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Dutch and Russian Wool

I got some 'Yellowish Dutch Wool' from wollknoll, 34 mic 'not suitable for felting', it said. It seemed to felt fine for me:

I don't know what breed it is, I'd guess Texel, maybe someone who's bought it knows? Here's a close up of a corner:

I thought I'd try a variety of fibres again, so the top row is a blend of black Viscose tops and Ingeo, the narrow band in the middle is Fake Angora, and the bottom is black Bamboo and White Bamboo blended.

Different angle:

This is a close up of the Viscose and Ingeo:

And close up of the fake Angora (it has a strange feel to it, and looks kind of waxy):

Another vaguely listed wool I bought was 'Russian-Camelhair'. I'm guessing from the way they describe things on wollknoll, that 'Camelhair' is the colour, it's more reddish though. And this is also 34 mic but 'This wool is especially suitable for felting'. Another guess is that this is Romanov wool. It seems to be double coated like a lot of the ones I ordered. I used Ramie fibre with this:

The circular parts are Ramie that I fluffed up then patted down into little discs:

This is a close up of Ramie just fluffed up and added:

The sun came out as I was taking this, I usually try not to take photos in the sun, but I liked this one:

Over on The Felting and Fiber Studio site, our challenges this year are all going to be based around colour. The first quarter challenge had us looking at the colour wheel, tints and shades and blending. I had some 'Hot Pink' Merino wool tops, quite a lot actually, so I used them with white Merino and black Merino to see what blends I would get. You can read the whole post here and see the batt I made.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

More New Wool

I got some wool tops listed as 'Arctic Fox', no other info about what the wool breed might be, just that it is 25 micron. It feels really soft, a lot like Bluefaced Leicester, and it felted really nicely too:

Though it's soft and felts like a fine wool, it does have some wiry bits:

I tried a variety of fibres it, along the top is Soy top, below that is black Bamboo top (L) and Milk Protein (R), then some Hemp fibre, and at the bottom is Viscose top:

Interestingly it made the soy look like hemp or flax, which it only usually does with a coarser or curlier wool:

This is a closer picture of the Bamboo and Milk:

Hemp and Viscose:

Another wool I tried was Skudden or Skudde. Zara found some info on it in English, and there's a Facebook group with cute lambs: It isn't in the Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, but apparently it is in the Northern European short-tailed family. I used this straight off the batt without carding it first, so it's a bit uneven:

It felted immediately, it was like it was felted as soon as it was all wet and soapy. It is weirdly hairy though. I was using new netting and thought frayed fibres had come off and got all over the felt. This photo is actually in focus, but the hairiness makes it look like it isn't. I used black nylon tops, which are actually very black:

This is a close up of the hairy corner:

Close up of the left side:

Further up, it looks like diagrams of cell walls:

It's different to any other wool  I have, it's unusual, but I like it.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Fox Sheep Wool

I ordered a lot of 'new to me' wool from wollknoll recently. I still haven't had chance to open all the bags and look at them, but I did get a chance to look at a few the other day and make some batts. One of them was listed as 'Fox Sheep wool'. I'm guessing it is 'Coburg Fox Sheep'. I ordered this as 'fleece', which comes as pieces of a carded batt. This what mine looked like:

This is a close up:

I ran some through my drum carder and made a neat batt:

I made a sample about 10 x 10" and added some black viscose tops:

On the top half I added fluffed/mussed up viscose in various thicknesses and also laid it criss-cross in a couple of places:

On the bottom half, I fanned out the viscose tops:

This is a close up of the middle on the bottom:

And this is the middle of the top:

Whenever I've used black viscose it reminds me of 'bubble painting' - mixing washing up liquid with kids' ready mix paint and bubbling it up with straws- but these middle parts remind me of seaweed :) This is a close up of a part where I lay the viscose criss cross:

This is what the whole piece looks like on the back:

I suppose a good description of it would be spongey, but it really looks 'frothy' to me!

The staple length was really short and being so springy, it wasn't easy to get a nice even felt with just a couple of layers as you can see when I hold it up to the window:

I think I should add disclaimer that I cannot be held responsible for anyone who might get a bit carried away buying wool or fibres if they click any of my links to suppliers, since Leonor from Felt Buddies accused me of being an 'enabler' ;)  I must admit though, a lot of the recent fleece I bought would be really good for needlefelt sculptures of animals. Hopefully, I'll get to try more soon and post about it.