Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sewing and Bargains

I'm doing another Craft Fair at the beginning of November so I wanted to make a few diary covers. This usually involves my desk getting covered with embroidery threads, and the only exception this time was that I decided to tidy them up too. I made cardboard 'bobbins' for some of them and spent ages untangling and winding and then putting duplicate spares in a bag. Then a couple of days later I decided to clear some more drawers and spread the threads out a bit, make them even tideier and easy to choose. These are all the drawers:

One of the pieces I'm using for a book cover is a piece I made years ago. I wanted to see if I could make a subtle plaid design by laying out bold stripes of colours on my two layers, it was more subtle than I thought, but I like it. I've cut to size and sewn the inside pocket edges so far:

You might remember this next piece from when I tried some commercial pre-felt from Heidi Feathers. The silk hadn't attached in a couple of places so I added blanket stitch, then decided to add some more simple stitching in the blocks of colour. I'm still working on this, and have added a bit more since I took the photo:

I went in to Manchester city centre this week, which I don't often do, so made the most of it looking for bargains. I found a couple of elasticated summer dresses for £1 each so got them because I liked the pattern, they were only tiny though, so once I cut the top off, the bottom was a bit bigger than a pillow case, but well worth £1!

In the same shop (Primark) I treated myself to a 'scarf' because I liked the pattern, it's actually the size of a door!

I saw this scarf in a bargain shop and thought I'd see if it nuno felts well:

And, I couldn't go to town without a trip to Abakhan fabric shop, where I got some more braiding:

And probably the best bargain of the day, I found a roll of silk fabric, down from £10 a metre to £3, so I had to get some :)

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Make Textured Textile Art by Stitching Into Nuno Felt

Over on The Felting and Fiber Studio today, we have a guest post by Lyn from rosiepink about stitching onto nuno felt and how she made this gorgeous work of art:

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Felting And Fiber Studio 4th Quarter Challenge

Over on The Felting and Fiber Studio site, we have a challenge every quarter to give us some inspiration and get our creative juices flowing. This year, we have all been choosing artists. So far we have had Jackson Pollock, Stewart Stephenson and Claude Monet. You can see the challenge entries in the 2014 gallery here. It was my turn this quarter and I have chosen 'Land Art'. I was initially going to choose a specific artist for this challenge, but in the end I just couldn't choose just one, the whole 'movement' is so inspiring. In case you haven't heard of it, Land art - according to Wikipedia " is an art movement in which landscape and the work of art are inextricably linked. It is also an art form that is created in nature, using natural materials such as soil, rock (bed rock, boulders, stones), organic media (logs, branches, leaves), and water with introduced materials such as concrete, metal, asphalt, or mineral pigments. Sculptures are not placed in the landscape, rather, the landscape is the means of their creation." (i.e, not Christo)

There are so many inspirational artists, one I really like is Richard Shilling, a flickr search gives you lots of great photos, have a look at this link:  He has inspired others to create land art too, such as Colleen Proppe, who made the Leaf Flag in the photo above. Andy Goldsworthy is another name many people might recognise. Scott Robinson was inspired by him to make this Leaf art:

I discovered the work of Tom Hare while I was looking up land artists and sculptors, he does some gorgeous work. This is his website: This is a photo of one of his willow sculptures, a Horse Chestnut breaking open, taken by Jodie Brodie:

Have a search on google for Land Art and Land Art Artists, I can guarantee you'll be inspired! Feel free to post your work on the forum, whether it's wet felted, needle felted, knitted, crocheted, woven, mixed media etc, as long as it features some kind of felt, fibre, or fabric, post it in the 4th Quarter Challenge thread:  Have fun!

Friday, 26 September 2014


A while ago I bought a weird fluffy, knitted, tubular scarf from Poundland to try felting with. If you ever buy one, make sure you cut it over a bucket or newspaper or something to catch all the bits! I laid out a couple of layers of very wispy pink Merino tops left over from a book cover I made last year, then I added the piece of scarf, and 2 more wispy layers of wool tops. It didn't take long to felt. This is one side of it:

This is the other side of it:

And this is what it looked like holding it up to the sky:

I don't remember how long after, but I decided the scarf sampler might make a nice sculptural piece similar to one I'd made before. I didn't make it in exactly the same way, I concertina'd it and stitched in place, then twisted and felted and fulled more. This is the top:

Close up of the ridges:

Super Close up of the texture:

This is the back:

Close up of the back:

Super close up of the texture:

I have a lot of this scarf left over, I don't know what I'll do with it, maybe a few more sculptural pieces, maybe one big one. What would you do with 8 square feet of purple fluffy knitted stuff?

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Kapok Fibre

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I'd bought a new fibre to try out, Kapok fibre. Like cotton, it grows around the seed of the plant, but is much lighter and softer. As much as I like fibre tops, I do like the shorter staple fibres, especially with coarser wools for the way they interact with the wool and produce more 'natural' looking effects. They often seem to mimic things you find in nature such as cobwebs, fungus or mould, which look solid but are really soft or fluffy when you look closer. This first panel is natural white 23 Micron Merino. I took a 'piece' of the kapok fibres and teased it apart, sames as you would silk noil, and laid it across the wool. It's hard to see the Kapok at all.

I know a lot of people don't like curly or coarser wools for felting, especially if they mainly make felt paintings or want a brightly coloured, smooth, firm felt. But I'm the type of person who loves textures and shades and tones as much as colour, and love rocks and tree barks just as much as flowers or minerals.  So, if you're like me, you might like these next couple of pieces which I made using Shetland and Finnish wools. For this first one, I used grey Shetland tops and added fluffed up, teased apart Kapok fibre:

I like the effect the thinner parts of fibre produces:

One of the areas where the fibre was denser:

I made the Finnish piece double sided. I first put some teased apart Kapok fibre on my template, then added the brown Finnish tops. I added a layer of black Finnish tops, then blended some Kapok fibre with black Finnish noil and added that. I added some Kapok fibre on its own in a few spaces and blended a small amount of Kapok With black Finnish top and added that too. This is the brown side:

Close up 1:

One of the denser areas:

This is the black Finnish side:

A close up of a dense fibre part:

This is a close up of the Fibre blended with the wool:

Do you have a favourite coarse of curly wool? What do you use it for? Do you have a favourite embellishment fibre? You're welcome to link me to any pics or come and post about it on the Felting and Fiber forum.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A Bit Of Colour

I thought I'd do some colourful pieces this week. The last time I ordered from World of Wool, I got some dyed Shetland wool tops, and some dyed 18.5 mic Merino. I used the dyed Shetland tops for this first piece, and a variety of cellulose fibres that I dyed a while ago, using rosiepink's tutorial. I think I used Bamboo, Banana, Ramie, Flax, Hemp and Viscose, and there are a few wisps of soybean top too.

I didn't add the fibres in any particular way, just lay the tops out and added more until the spaces were filled in. Overlapping in some places.

I like this close up, I like the way the fibres appear to be just sitting on top of the wool, which my girlfriend thinks looks like grass.

I wanted to try out some of the 18.5 mic merino, and some crimped nylon before I made a large scarf. I won't be using these colours together, but thought it would help to see them better.

The way the thinner areas of fibre contour the ripples of the felt reminds me of felting with those stringy produce bags that oranges and onions often come in.

I thought this was an unusual contrast, the denser matte nylon around the shiny Merino givess the Merino a synthetic look.

A close up of some of the crimped fibre:

I really liked the way this turned out, I even like the two colours together :)

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Bluefaced Leicester and Crimped Viscose Fibre

A couple of weeks ago, I made some felt panels using Yake fibre with Bamboo Staple Fibre, and Bluefaced Leicester with crimped Viscose fibre. This is the Yak piece with Bamboo:

I posted about it on the Felting and Fiber Studio site a few days ago if you want to read more, and I've been uploading my photos to Ipernity if you want to see better photos in more detail. Although Viscose top is very similar to Bamboo top, crimped Viscose fibre isn't quite so similar to Bamboo fibre. There are some similarities, for example the way the strands of fibre curl. Viscose is whiter in appearance than the creaminess of Bamboo, and bamboo appears shiner, catching the light on its crimp. I teased the viscose apart and laid it on top of the Bluefaced Leicester:

This is a close up of the area in the top left corner. I teased the fibres apart and 'fluffed' them up:

This is the area just to the right, I separated the fibres but tried not to lose the curly charecteristics of the strands too much:

This is the area just below, it is a bit denser, but you can still see the characteristics of the fibre:

Just below that is an area where the fibre is sparser, I separated the fibre, fluffed it up and laid it on quite thinly.

This is the area in the bottom right corner, I added some interesting, longer strands of the viscose fibre:

I took a couple of photos of the two pieces side by side for comparison. The Yak and Bamboo is on the left and the BFL and Viscose is on the right. You can see the differences from this one, the bamboo is 'fluffier',  and shinier, and the viscose is whiter and less 'compact'.

From this photo close up, you can see some of the similarities in the fibres' characteristics:

My new favourite fibre, Kapok:

It is so soft, you can barely feel it. I thought yak felt like a kitten's belly, this is twice as soft as that :)