Monday, 16 February 2015

Ingeo Fibre

I haven't had chance to get my felting stuff out for ages, so I've been working on my epic 'Other fibres project', which originally was going to be a simple e-book guide to embellishment fibres, but has turned into something of a 7 year journey to try every fibre with every breed of wool and animal fibre I can get my hands on as it constantly gets shoved aside for other things. Looking through some of my samples, I found a couple of pieces using Ingeo. I like Ingeo fibre. All embellishment fibres have something which sets them apart from others, and for Ingeo, I think it's the way it looks soft and fluffy, and slightly matte. Although it isn't particularly shiny, but it does have a sheen.  This first piece is natural grey Merino.


You can see on this closer pic how it pulls together where it's laid out thicker:


Getting in closer, you can see the Merino migration through the Ingeo, and though the Ingeo is thick, it is still smooth:


This close up of the bottom shows what it looks like when it is sparser:


When I used Ingeo on this piece with dark grey Icelandic, I didn't lay it so thickly:


 I like the way it looks so different with the Icelandic, where it's sparse it even looks a different colour.


 There's a lot more migration with the coarser Icelandic:


 You can see on this close up where the Ingeo is quite dense, it pulls together in a similar way to on the Merino, but isn't quite as smooth:


 Do you have a favourite embellishment fibre or animal fibre and embellishment fibre combination?

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Exciting News and a Giveaway

We've been working on a new venture for The Felting and Fiber Studio ... Workshops and Classes!  The first class we're offering is "Wet Felting Workshop for Beginners". The first one starts on Sunday 1st March 2015. It's a 3 week course developed to give absolute beginners a good foundation on which to develop their wet felting skills. Not only are there the expected 'How to Felt' instructions, but there are also simple exercises designed to show what happens when wool felts under different conditions so you can control the outcome. There is also lots of info on using different types of wool and animal fibres, tips for inexpensive tools, alternate techniques etc. For more info on the course, have a look here: http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/wet-felting-for-beginners/

We have lots of ideas in the pipeline and some classes are in development, keep an eye out on our Classes page for further info. We are also hoping other fibre artists will 'hire' the Studio site and the Class support forum as an online venue to teach their own classes from. We haven't figured out the details for this yet, it's still early days, but it won't be expensive, we just want to cover hosting costs and media storage expenses; our aim has always been to support the community,  not make our fortunes :) Feel free to contact us if you're interested.


So, to celebrate the launch of the Workshop, we're giving away 4 free class places. The giveaway is for the 3 week course, you just need the supplies and felting equipment listed on the information page. All you have to do to win is leave a comment in reply to the Giveaway post on The Felting and Fiber Studio site. We would really appreciate it if you would blog about it or share the info on Facebook or other social media. We'll announce the winners on February 6th and contact you with the details. If you'd like to sign up for the course, please use the Contact Form at the bottom of the Class Info page. Good Luck!

Friday, 23 January 2015

Silk Nuno Sample

I bought some silk fabric from a seller on ebay quite a while ago. It was listed as Silk Organza and it felt 'stiff' like some of the thicker synthetic organzas can, but was even stiffer. It kind of 'bent' rather than folded! I mentioned it on the Felting and Fiber forum and after suggestions decided the best thing to do was wash it and see how it turned out. I don't have any photos of it as it comes, I remember trying, but it was acting like patterned shirts do on the telly. This is how it looked after a wash:


It started to crumple up and look like foil, and didn't want to uncrumple. In some places it started to fall to bits:


I googled, and came up with a couple of sites talking about vintage fabrics, and especially how delicate silk taffeta is with its metallic threads and something about how taffeta is prone to disintegration because of the metal salts used to give an opalescent sheen. So, I'm fairly certain it is taffeta and not organza. I did a sample using a piece before washing, at the top, and a piece I'd washed, at the bottom:


The unwashed piece kept its shape better than I thought. Actually, so did the washed piece, I wouldn't have been surprised if it just fell to bits. I did a similar sized sample with just one piece unwashed.


The taffeta still feels stiff after felting, but it does look nice. Angled:


You can really see the sheen and texture on this close up:


A few weeks ago, I made some more drum carded blended batts. I used 18.5 mic primary yellow Merino blended with hand dyed Milk, Silk and Soy fibres; and 18.5 mic Merino blended with black bamboo and hand dyed Milk, Silk and Soy fibres; then I blended them together.


A few people pointed out they fit in well with the Felting and Fiber Studio first quarter colour challenge, making a shade. I'm hoping I get chance to felt a little sample of them soon, I'm curious how the fibres will show through.


Thursday, 15 January 2015

Scarves

Just before the end of last year, I made a few scarves that I didn't get chance to post about. The first one was a present for my sister's birthday. I took the inspiration for the colours from a previous scarf I made, which was blue and purple. I blended up equal amounts of blue, purple and green 18.5 mic Merino on my drum carder. I can't remember now how many times I put the batts through, I think it was only once because I wanted random variegation. This is the back of the scarf:


I added some silk top to the front:


And I just like the way this photo looks :)


I used what was left of the batts and added some more blue, purple and green, with a lot more green so I could make a scarf for my dad. You might remember the batt. I used some to make a nuno sample (which is now my nuno collar which I wear when I go out, though it looks more like a foppish cravat). When I weighed it, there wasn't enough for a scarf, so I had to blend up some more Merino. Even though I only needed about 10grams to be on the safe side, I had to recreate the stages of the other one to get a similar blend. I think it's my favourite one so far:


Here's a close up:


One thing I noticed while carding the batts, was that the more the wool/batts were carded, or re-carded, the more I got soft little nepps appearing. I did pick a few out, but it wasn't easy so I left them, hoping they wouldn't be a problem since they were so soft. It might be my imagination because I certainly can't feel them, but there definitely seems to be more texture on this scarf. I think the light here caught it just right:


I liked the way this photos looks too, I'd just casually dropped the scarf on the table nd it folded like this:


Thursday, 1 January 2015

EU VAT Rule Change

Just a quick note to EU customers: I won't be adding VAT to any of my e-books, so please just follow the standard payment/download process. If your PayPal details indicate that you reside in an EU country, I will email an additional PDF to you to comply with VAT exemption rules.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask :)

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Dyed Wool and Fibres

A few weeks ago, I decided to dye some wool and fibres. I used up quite a lot of my dyed texturey wools when making batts recently, so I wanted to to restock those and thought I'd do a few fibres while i was making a mess. I ended up having to do it over three days, and it made a right mess, but it was worth it in the end :) I bought some white Kent Romney lambswool to try for adding texture, I had a little bit of scoured Falkland fleece left over too so added that:


I've bought commercially dyed silk noil before, but it really isn't good compared to the small amount I dyed once, so I thought I'd give that another go:


I also dyed some Tussah Silk tops - a good tip for anyone wanting to dye small amounts of fibre tops is to separate the amount you want to dye while the tops are dry, and soak them separately, it isn't easy when they're wet!


I used the same shades to dye some Soy top as I had on the Silk, and though they look similar, they soy definitely looks a lot shinier:


Neither of them come close to the colours and shine of the Milk though, but I did do these on a separate day and they weren't the same lot of dyes:


At the last minute I decided I wanted to dye some Gotland, Teeswater and Wensleydale locks. These were all raw, unwashed, so the night before my last lot of dyeing I gave some locks a shampoo and rinse. This is the Gotland:


I do have some more stuff waiting to be photographed, some Bluefaced Leicester wool and locks, soy staple fibre and carded lambswool, I'll add those to my 'supplies' album on flickr when I get good enough light. The last one I've got for now is Trilobal Nylon (sometimes labelled as 'Firestar' and sold at exorbitant prices) cheap nylon tops. The photo hasn't really picked it up, but it has a lot of sparkle and these dyed really well:


 If anyone is interested in dyeing smallish amounts of fibres, I did a small tutorial on it a while ago: http://feltingandfiberstudio.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/direct-dyeing1.pdf  luckily this time, I had my fold out table for a larger work area!  I used acid dyes which are good for protein fibres (animal fibres, soy, milk, silk, and nylon too as it is a synthetic version of silk). I have tried it on bamboo before too and got some nice, pale results, so it's worth trying a sample or two :)   

I did a 'Year End Round Up' post on the Felting and Fiber Studio today, having a look back over things I've made this past year. What did you enjoy making this year? Come and add to our discussion on the forum.



Monday, 22 December 2014

4th Quarter Studio Challenge - Land Art

Every quarter we have a challenge on the Felting and Fiber Studio site. As December is coming to an end, I didn't think I'd ever find time to do the 4th Quarter Challenge. When I chose Land Art, I thought it had a really good scope for some interesting felt sculptures. I really liked the work of artists using twigs and branches, whether they were abstract, patterns, designed by colour, or like Tom Hare's work in willow, sculptures of plants, leaves, seeds, or even a sliced apple. I really liked this lotus seed head: http://www.tomhare.net/files/cache/6241679806767b541ec85e7977677c16_f44.jpg

I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. Something sculptural based on the things I'd seen with holes and stems and curves. I even thought I might do a series. Well, time was running out and I hadn't started, and I was thinking about what I could do to take part that wouldn't take as much time. For a few weeks I've had a piece of felt with a balloon inside, hanging in my living room doorway, it was the result of me thinking I'd try felting a winter woolly hat, and it ended up looking more like the start of a balaclava or fetish mask! So, I thought I'd improvise and use that. It wasn't far off the shape I'd pictured, and though I would have preferred to work with wet felt not fulled, I thought it was worth a try. So, I started cutting, wetting and shaping, and I was happy to see it was starting to look interesting! I rinsed it and put another balloon in to keep its shape while it dried. I thought it looked really good, it was nice and firm and kept it's shape without the balloon. I attached some string to get a photo, and this is what I saw when it spun around:


A ribcage! My fancy felt sculpture was meant to look plant-like, but it looked like a carcass! I took the string off and put it on the table, but it sunk a bit and that didn't look less dead either!:


I reshaped it, the way it was meant to be, and that looked much better! I know it doesn't look like any plant or seed in particular, I wasn't copying anything, I just had a vague idea of shape, lines and holes:


Different angle:


It does look much better hung up, less flat and more round. While I was messing around taking photos, I stood it upside down and squashed it, and that looked really interesting!: