Monday, 25 August 2014

Norwegian, Devon, Cotton and Bamboo

This first piece I made is grey Norwegian wool tops with Egyptian Cotton. For the top two thirds, I used Egyptian cotton tops. The staple length is very short, so I started pulling off short wispy bits from the end as you would wool tops, and laid those on the right hand side. I also pulled off a longer length, then carefully teased it out and laid parts of it down the left. The bottom is Egyptian cotton fibre, it comes as thicker, shorter lengths. I teased some out, fluffed some up a little, then laid them on the wool.


This is a close up of some of the wispy parts:


This is an area of denser wispy cotton:


This is a close up of the longer lengths of cotton:


And this is a close up of the cotton fibre:


 I've probably mentioned more than once or twice how much I love curly wools :)  For this next piece I used Devon Wool tops and Black Bamboo tops. The top part has the bamboo laid on the surface, the bottom is a blend of Devon and Bamboo.

 The black bamboo is more of a matte charcoal grey than black, and seems to be 'fluffier' than white bamboo tops.


Close up:


It looks a lot paler when blended with the wool tops:


It doesn't completely disappear when blended in, though.


And just because I love curly wools, the back:


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Needle Felting and Milk Fibre

My last needle felted piece that I recently made is based on a photo I took at Sefton Park in Aigburth, Liverpool. It's such a great park and has a really famous Palm House, and a gorgeous lake. I simplified the photo:


I wet felted a simple piece for the background:


I used a mixture of texturey and curly wools like Icelandic, Devon, Bluefaced Leicester, mixed with softer wool and animal fibres like Merino, Alpaca and Angora rabbit, to get the different textures.


On the Felting and Fiber Forum recently, Judy was asking about Milk Protein Fibre. I'd recently made a felted piece with Milk protein fibre and also Ingeo, so I thought I'd share a few photos of the milk part. The wool I used is a dark grey Icelandic, I laid a strip of milk top across the wool.


I like using milk, it responds well to the characteristics of the wool it's used with and looks good whether it is used with a soft wool or a more coarser one:


This is a close up of one of the thicker areas:


We've been updating the 2014 Challenge Gallery on The Felting and Fiber Studio site, if you'd like a look at all the contributions. If you made a piece for any of the challenges and you'd like yours added to the gallery, let one of us know. You can use the Contact Us form if you like.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Needle Felting

My latest needle felted piece is based on a photo I took a few years ago near Hightown, Merseyside. It's where the River Alt estuary meets the sea along the Sefton coast. I played around with the photo a little:


I started out making a wet felted background to work on:


Then needle felted it with Merino mixed with texturey wools like Icelandic. I used a bit of silk and bamboo on the river and cotton fibre for the clouds.


Friday, 8 August 2014

Teeswater and Needle Felting

I know the last post I did about natural wools and fibres featured Viscose as well, but after Ruth's post about Wensleydale on the Felting and Fiber Studio, I thought I'd show a piece that I'd made using 'curly' wool too, though this is Teeswater. I do have some raw Teeswater locks that I bought from Sara's Texture Crafts, but for this I just used commercial Teeswater tops. Tops can be quite deceiving as it isn't always obvious what the characteristics of the wool are, and they often all look quite similar. Until they're felted that is. You don't get quite the same results as using washed and combed or carded wool, but a lot of the features do 'come back' once the wool has been wet. By hand,  I blended some black viscose in with the Teeswater tops for the top layer.


Where the wool and fibre are blended well it has a greyish look to it.


And some parts are a bit more defined.


This is the back of the piece, I just love the look of felt like this :)


Doing a needle felted piece for Marilyn's Monet Challenge got me in the mood for doing some more. So far I've wet felted the backgrounds for 3 pieces, and finished one of them. I played around with a photo I took a few years ago at the beach in Crosby, not far from Liverpool:


Then I needlefelted a piece based on it:



Thursday, 31 July 2014

Monet Challenge

I didn't get a chance to do any felting for a while until this week because we had a ridiculous heatwave here. I did manage to make a few batts for the Felting and Fiber Studio's Monet challenge though. After choosing some of my favourite paintings, or ones which I thought I might be able to use as inspiration, I made a simple montage:


I then messed about with it in Photoshop:


Using this for inspiration I made a couple of green batts; a purpley one; a purple and yellow blended one which looks kind of mustardy/mossy, and a mixed blue one. Looking at Monet's style he mostly had a straight/dashy style, but some paintings or certain areas of paintings had a softer swirly style. For the first piece I made using the batts I laid out areas of different colours then added softer wispier swirls of wool and fibres:


I made this piece using the batts too. Neither of these first pieces copy Monet, they are just inspired by the colours.


I wasn't very confident I could do an actual 'copy' of a Monet painting, but I thought I'd have a go of at least doing an impression of a Monet piece :) I chose Morning On The Seine In The Rain.


I was actually quite surprised when this started to dry and it actually looked like something! I don't know if it's because I've stared at the original so much that I can see the similarity and that it's meant to be it, but I'm pleased with how it turned out.


When I was fluffing up the fibres for the swirly piece, I thought I might have a go at needlefelting a piece too. Since I had all the colours out, and had really started to like it, I thought I'd do another based on Morning On The Seine In The Rain. I used a piece of thick commercial Merino prefelt as a base, and blended some texturey wools like Icelandic, carded lambswool and Devon longwool with Merino to get the colours and texture I wanted. I like the way this turned out too :)


If you want to join in the challenge, you can comment on any of our Challenge posts on the Studio site and link to your piece or post it on the forum in the thread we have there: http://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/thread/1587/third-quarter-challenge

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wall Hanging/Raggy Table Rug

A few weeks ago, my mum was talking about getting her bedroom redecorated. I'd been struggling to think of what to get her for her birthday, so this gave me an opportunity. I casually asked about the colours and she said she wasn't sure because she wanted to match the paint to the wallpaper she was having on one wall, luckily, she knew what the wallpaper was called, so after she left, I looked it up:


My first thought was to try to convince her to have the nice blue and brown version! But, I resisted and downloaded the picture. Then I opened it in Photoshop and tried to pick out all the colours and made an image with a few stripes in the various shades:


Then I printed out the sample and stripes and started to plan a wall hanging for her new room. I wanted something soft, texturey, not too neat. 'Raggy' is the best word to describe what I was after, I think. I spent a couple of days making blended batts in the shades I wanted. Then I spent a few days making twists of wool and fibres and also spun some 'arty' yarns for the piece. Unfortunately none of the photos I took came out :(  but when I'd finished making them there were at least 150 lengths of wool, commercial art yarns and fibres twisted or spun together. I laid out a couple of layers of wool tops, then carefully added all the twists where I wanted them. I had to take my table outside to felt it because it was so big and I knew I'd make a mess.


This is a close up of it with the netting on:


And a peek under the netting:


It didn't take as long as I thought it might for it to felt, probably because it took so long to make sure it was all thoroughly wetted! This is when it was all wet down and starting to felt.


And this is the finished piece:


I knew as soon as it was dried that my mum would want it as some kind of rug/mat and the first thing she said was 'Oh, this is going on top of my drawers, it'll be perfect.' Some of the yarns I made were by plying handspun merino with commercial yarns, but mostly I just plied half thick, half thin merino together. Closer view of the middle:


Here are some commercial boucle yarns, one twisted in on the left and the one I laid on top is mohair from Marilyn, I think. There are a couple of my yarns in there too:


I'd forgotten I used some organza and cotton gauze in the twists too, you can just see a bit of organza here:


Yarny Texture:


 I thought a bit of colour might make a change from all the natural wools and fibres this week :)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Using Black and White Viscose Together

I think most of the natural wool and fibre panels I've posted about have used one breed of wool and one fibre. I did post about Humbug (black and white striped) Jacob about a month ago, and I'd used both black and white viscose top with that. This first piece is light grey Swaledale, it's mostly a creamy white with light and dark grey flecks which give it the light grey appearance. I blended some black and viscose tops by hand and laid them on top of the Swaledale:


 The overall appearance of the blend is a dark grey, with white streaks:


The separate colours are a bit more obvious close up, I like the way the fibres appear to sit just on the surface, lightly tangled with the Swaledale fibre.


This is a bit closer and slightly at an angle, showing where the fibre is a little bit thicker, I like the twists and waves.


This next piece is one of my favourites, it's English 56s with Angora locks. I don't know if there's a proper name for older goat locks, I've heard 'yearling' used, but I don't know how old the goat was these are from. They are a lot thicker and generally less soft and more wavy than curly  kid mohair. I loosely combed the locks through a handcarder with either black or white viscose, to blend with the locks. I laid them out loosely alternating each row: black, white; white, black etc.


An angled shot:


A close up where the locks were felted in more:


And a supermacro of course:


Do you prefer combinations of wool and fibres which have lots of character and texture or do your prefer the more softer effects of fibres closely felted to the surface of a smoother wool?