Monday, 20 July 2015

Nuno Weaving

I got the idea to do this woven nuno felt piece after my pencil roving mats. I've done similar things before, you've probably seen them if you have Beyond Nuno, but I think I used a lot more strips on this one. I didn't get as big a variety of 'feltedness' as I thought, most of the strips just felted quite firmly, but I did use two 'regular' thickness layers of Merino, which I actually laid out after I wove the strips.

You can see more texture on this angled photo:

Close up 1:

 Close up 2:

Close up 3:

If you're interested in making your own unique buttons for your feltwork, you might be interested in an e-book I wrote a while ago 'Polymer Clay Simply Made'. It was previously only available from my etsy shop, but since I had to pay for a hosting upgrade, I thought I'd add that too, so you can now buy it from the info page on the blog :)

Saturday, 11 July 2015


I've been dyeing some cellulose fibres recently for taking to the MakeFest at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester. I'm getting the hang of it now, but I don't think my first lot of fibres turned out as nice as I'd like. I did some Viscose fibre recently, and this turned out really nice. These are some of the reds, oranges and yellows:

And some yellows, greens, blues and purples:

I don't like the way dyeing cellulose fibres wastes so much water with the rinsing, but it is easier for me to do large amounts than it is with acid dyes, not that I had much choice, even mixing up just 500ml each of red, yellow, blue and black was more than enough to dye about 200g of fibre and I had to look for other things to dye so as not to waste it :) I tried dyeing Kapok fibre too, that stuff is practically impossible to wet, it seems to form a 'skin' around itself, so dyeing gave some interesting results as it behaved the same way, and when the fibre was separated, the centre wasn't dyed. This is some rose and lilac coloured kapok:

I've mostly stuck to dyeing staple fibres. I also had bamboo staple fibre. These are the greens, blues, purples, silver and black shades I dyed:

And here are the yellows, browns and reds bamboo staple:

I tried out some tops of rose fibre, the photos didn't come out, but the tops dyed well so I dyed some bamboo top:

They came out really nice, so I used up the last of the blue and purple dyes on some viscose top:

And since I'd already made a mess in the kitchen and hadn't got around to putting the table/equipment away, I started dyeing with acid dyes. Only these silk carrier rods were dry enough to photograph:

I'm not going to dye all the fibres I'm taking, I wanted the fibres to be easily recognisable as the same as the samples they have in the Textiles Gallery, showing where fibres come from and the fabric they're made into, but I wanted to show/offer dyed samples too.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Natural Wools and Fibres

I've been re-organising my supplies lately, and one of the things I did was put my dyed silk products into one box, and my natural undyed silk supplies in another. While I was doing this I had an idea to make a silky cocoon type pod. I had a look on google images and liked the look of ones which were more fibrey, 'scruffy' looking. So I started by really piling the silk on to my resist. I added a couple of bunched up silk hankies, a silk hankie I'd drafted into roving, silk throwster's waste, schappe silk from wollknoll, different types of silk noil, some coccon strippings. I can't find my undyed silk carrier rods, but I did find a little bag of 'fluff' I'd carded from silk carrier rod scraps a few years ago, so I put that on too. I did a layer of 18.5 Mic  Merino on top of the silk, then on one side I lay lengths of white pencil roving. I used 23 Mic Merino for the second layer, and then 2 layers of English 56s. I do like the way it turned out, but I didn't expect it to be so 'neat'!

I thought with all the silk I'd piled on it'd be a lot more fibrey, but it does have nice texture and structure and there's a lot of different shades.

This is a closer look at some texture:

And this is some of the throwster's waste:

I wondered if some of the texture and features would show up more with a light inside, so I used a bit of sewing thread to attach it to a ceiling light to see:

You can definitely see more, and here you can see the ridges from the pencil roving better, I think it looks quite creepy with the light inside:

Another piece I've made recently is this wall hanging. I laid it out about a week or so before I got time to felt it, and I think it ended up being 'upside down'. I wrote down the wools and fibres I used as I laid it out, but think I forgot a few as I kept adding locks here and there! Also, I added a few locks to the bottom just before I felted it, but I'm certain that was originally the top:

I added some pieces of handspun yarn I'd made mostly from bits left over from carding, I spun them quite thickly, and didn't do anything with them after wards, just wound them onto card. This one is on the row of white Chubut, a 'new' to me wool I got from wollknoll, which felts so nicely and looks really nice too.

These are some cotton fibres: cotton top, cotton fibre and cotton nepps on carded Portuguese Merino, with some soy staple and carded Gotland.

If you are interested in trying more fibres in wet felting work, I recently wrote an e-book guide to using them. It features 20 commonly available natural fibres. Have a look at the info page :)

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Felting Abstract Art

Before I discovered wet felting, I used to do a lot of painting. This is one of my favourite acrylics from 2007:

I decided to try and do a wet felted version of it. I did a couple of layers of Merino tops in a simplified palette of colours, then used some bamboo skewers to split the painting and felt piece into quarters as a guide for adding more detail for the 3rd layer.

I had pretty much all my colours of Merino out for this.

This is the finished layout:

All the wool put away and 'tidy' :)

I took it outside to felt it:

I had an audience:

I put it on the washing line to dry. I usually stand the painting up on its end (right end), and while I was felting, some of the wool must have gotten nudged and I started to neaten it up, but thought it would look quite cool and like it was dripping if I left the wavy edges. They neatened themselves up a bit while I was fulling though, but still looks pretty good.

Finished piece:


Monday, 8 June 2015

Pencil Roving Mats

I recently got some Pencil Roving when I did a World of Wool order. I liked the look of it, but couldn't decide on which colour, so I decided to get a 500g bag of Pencil Roving waste. I expected more than 4 colours, but it still worked out cheaper. I wanted to see how well it worked layered, so I decided to make a 'woven' mat/coaster type thing. I started off with a 10 x 10 inch template:

Then I cut the pencil roving a bit smaller than the template, 10 strands of each colour:

I laid the strands across the template:

I then held the bottom of the strands down with a ruler and flipped back alternate ones:

I laid the horizontal strands across the columns and then flipped back the other strands:

I used a plastic knife to push the strands in to place.

This is how it looked when it was finished:

I didn't think it looked its best, so I took off a few of the strands at the ends:

I added a couple of layers of Merino tops, then felted it and fulled it quite firmly. It was about 7.5 x 7.5 inches afterwards:

I also made another mat with pencil roving, I used up some of the spare lengths left over from the other mat, and added rows and columns. This one ended up slightly wider as there wasn't as much roving going across as there was top to bottom:

I thought they turned out really well :)

*** If anyone is interested in the 3 week Wet Felting for Beginners Course, there is just over a week left for registration, the last day is Tuesday 16th June, you can find all the info here:

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Giveaway–The Right Fibre PDF e-book

I'm hosting a giveaway of my new e-book 'The Right Fibre' over on The Felting and Fiber Studio site. All you have to do for a chance to win, is leave a comment on the post over there: The giveaway is open all week until I do the draw next Sunday morning and announce the winner. If you want all the blurb on the book have a look at the info page here on this blog. :)

Friday, 15 May 2015

Nuno Samples and Stone Sheep

I can't remember the last time I got a chance to do some felting, but I got chance again the Sunday before last, and I'd had the pieces laid out for at least a week and half. Two of the pieces were nuno samples. I'd bought some scarves and wanted to see how the fabric felted. For both samples, I laid out two layers of Merino tops and laid the fabric on top. The first scarf I tried didn't have a label on it, it felt like a synthetic chiffon, slightly 'rough'. It felted quite nicely, though there were a couple of places along the edges where it didn't attach securely.

The nuno texture was really nice:

The next piece I tried was viscose, it was really soft. It looked like crepe after felting:

A close up:

A supermacro close up, I think I got the colours matched pretty well :)

Another piece I made was with Stone Sheep wool. I first tried this last month, probably the previous time I did some felting. I liked the way it felted and how fast it felted so thought it'd be really good for something I wanted to try out. I laid out a couple of layers of some carded Stone sheep wool, then added a big pile of fake Angora fibre in the centre. I covered it with a circular resist, covered the resist with some 'Silk Schappe' that I got from wollknoll (it seems like carded silk noil), then added another couple of layers of Stone sheep wool. I finished it off with some kapok fibre. When it was felted, I snipped a little hole to take the resist out and worked it until I got it how I wanted.

I thought the fake Angora might be a bit fluffier and looser than this, I mustn't have piled quite enough in!

You can see the Silk schappe from this angle: