Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Yarny Vessel

A few years ago, I wanted to make a felted vessel for my girlfriend, I had an image in my mind of how I wanted it to be, and I wanted it to be 'perfect', so it took a few attempts, but I was finally happy.

I used two of the practice vessels to make some 'woolly vessels' by needle felting locks onto them. One of them was this white vessel. I needlefelted locks of Angora, Alpaca, Wensleydale, Bluefaced Leicester and Kid Mohair onto it, then put it through the washer to make sure the locks were secure, and because a lot of them were unwashed locks.

Another one I made was this bluey green one, it reminds me of something from under the sea or around the coast. This has dyed locks of Angora, Alpaca, Wensleydale, Devon, Bluefaced Leicester and Kid Mohair. And I used texturey wools like dyed Icelandic and scoured lambswool to secure the locks.

Around the same time, I had the idea for making a really colourful texturey vessel, by needlefelting pieces of handmade yarn and wool twists onto one of my spare practice vessels. I had quite a large stash of handmade yarn and often made wool twists for projects so thought it probably wouldn't take much longer than the other two had. I was wrong! :) It took a lot longer... about 3 years off and on. I probably could have finished it sooner, and I did have phases where I would make up twists and add them, or sit spinning yarn for a few hours then cut it into pieces when it was dry and spend a few hours needling pieces onto the vessel but it never seemed to get any closer to being done! This last weekend, not feeling well enought to tackle my half finished business plan, I decided to try my hardest to finish it. I got out all my left over yarn, stashes of wool blends and a drop spindle and set to work making a big pile of wool twists and a long length of plied yarn to cut up. I also got out my box of very thin felt offcuts and wetted and rubbed some of those to add too. I didn't want to wet the yarn and wait while it hung and dried, so after snipping it into lengths I wet and rubbed one end to 'seal' it and stop it unravelling. After needling all the pieces into the bare parts of the vessel, I finished off around the top, tidying it up and securing the loose fibres. And this is the result:

And then I put it into an old pillow case and put it in the washing machine with a normal load :)  It looked like this:

I unsquashed it and gave it a few shakes and spins, ran my fingers loosely through the twists and yarns (there's a few strips of silk and organza n there too) then sat it on a tub to dry overnight. And this is what it looks like this morning:

I know it's taken me a few years to finish it, but I kind of feel like making another one now! :)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Clasps, Closures and Fasteners

I decided to change the closure on the notebook cover I made from felt offcuts a few weeks ago. As much as I liked the button closure, I wanted something a little more secure. I had a hunt through my craft drawers and found a bag clip I’d salvaged from something I threw away (I recently discovered these are called Delrin Clips) and using some more felt offcuts, attached this instead of the button.


One of my WIPs at the moment is a small shoulder bag, just big enough for a camera and purse. The closure I’ve used on this is a metal magnetic bag clasp. They’re quite easy to use: each half comes in two parts, you need to make a small cut in the fabric, push the metal ‘prongs’ through, then add the little washer and fold the prongs in. I haven’t decided yet whether to cover the top with more felt or maybe a large fimo button.


This got me thinking about all the different kinds of claps, closures and fasteners I have. I have the usual buttons, zips, poppers/snap fasteners, hooks and eyes etc, but I also like to salvage and collect any I find cheap. I have a few sizes and shapes of Delrin clips, either salvaged from old bags or bought cheaply. The small ones in the Top left photo are slightly different than the 'usual' ones, they take a cord type of attachment rather than a flat webbing or ribbon type of fixture. Not so long ago, I saw cheap packs of dog and cat collars and leads in Poundland (like a dollar store) and couldn’t resist buying a pack, which gave me a few Delrin clips and Trigger Hooks (Top Right). I’ve managed to add to my collection of fasteners while I’ve been doing a lot of clearing out and tidying up lately. I salvaged quite a few lobster style trigger hooks, D-rings, split rings and key rings from old or broken or unwanted items (Bottom photos)


Most of the Delrin clips I have do take a flatter attachment though, so I just had to buy some nice braid for attaching them when I went to the fabric shop the other day :)  Aren't they gorgeous?!

Do you have any interesting clasps, closures or attachments? Do you have any tips for salvaging or buying them cheaply? I’d love to hear your ideas :)