Monday, 30 July 2012

Handmade Greetings cards Using Handmade Felt

I don't know about you, but I never throw any pieces of felt away, however ugly or small. Even the tiniest slivers cut from the edges of felt get saved up for re-using, usually between the layers of textured felt. I was looking at some of my smaller pieces and wondered if they’d be any use to my mum who makes her own greetings cards, so I asked on the forum if anyone knew the best way to attach felt or fabrics to card. I got some good advice and when Ruth and Lyn both said the easiest way is to sew them on, I thought I’d give it a go myself.

I spent a good few hours cutting, measuring and scoring card, cutting out felt, choosing colours of thread to use…and then my machine wouldn’t work :( I think I must have done something to it when I tried to sew organza, no amount of cleaning and oiling seemed to help, it just kept making grinding noises and chewing the thread. But, a few days later, it was back to normal! It must have needed the oil to soak in or something.

So, I got all my supplies out again and started sewing away. Before long, I had a nice pile of almost finished felt greetings cards. When I was asking on the forum about attaching the felt, Lyn also suggested using cards with a double fold, so that the sewing on the back could be hidden. I do have some of these, but they have an aperture, so weren’t any use.

After lots of measuring and dividing and practising, I worked out a good system for scoring the cards so they folded well. I used standard A4 size card, cut in half, so that I had two long strips. On the back side, I measured 98mm in from the left side, and 99mm in from the right, and scored gently. This left the centre panel where the felt would go, approximately 100mm wide.

After working out where the felt would go, I then sewed it into place. You don’t need a fancy machine, mine is an old electric Singer without power :)

Once all the felt was attached, I turned the card over and added a couple of strips of double sided sticky tape.

Once the flap is folded over to cover the sewing you have a gorgeous, unique greetings card :)

I’ve made a PDF file with more photos and more detailed instructions. If you’d like more info on how to make your own cards, just click the link below

Do you use fabric, felt or fibres for greetings cards? Do you have any photos or tips you’d like to share?

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Rachelle Gardner

Rachelle Gardner is a mixed media artist from the US. At the moment she is focusing on fibers and textiles. Some of her recent work is lace felt which she creates by free motion embroidery on water soluble stabiliser and hand dyed wool which is then lightly felted to produce beautiful pieces in rich colours with intricate designs. On her blog she has examples of some of her recent work and also a post showing the process.

Rachelle is also about to embark on an adventurous project transforming her 2-D lace work into large scale 3-D sculpture.

If you'd like to know more about that, visit her Aspen Project website, there's even the opportunity for you to be involved and help with the costs of the project. Everyone who helps out receives a credit and also a reward of beautiful unique artwork, made individually for each person.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Book Review: Creating Felt Artwork

Creating Felt Artwork: a step by step guide

This is an excellent, information packed, 60 page, full colour e-book by Rosiepink fibre artists Annie and Lyn. Using one of their own pieces, 'The Meadow' as a guide, they show you a step by step process and give you all the information you need to make your own beautiful, unique felt artwork. There are lots of nice, clear photos throughout, and simple but detailed instructions with lots of excellent tips and advice. Before the main part on how to create your felt wall hanging, there is a great section about finding inspiration, how to interpret your ideas into a design and planning your artwork.

The information in the main step by step guide, is excellent. It starts with a detailed equipment list with lots of hints for using inexpensive items you'd find around the house, and advice about preparing your work area. The instructions for how to lay out the wool for your design are very clear and detailed, and there are lots of photographs to illustrate each stage. There's a very detailed explanation of the whole felting process and valuable information about choosing other fabrics and fibres to add to your design.

The next section teaches you how to enhance and embellish your artwork with simple machine embroidery. This part is packed with information and advice too. There's everything you need to know about stabilising your felt artwork and choosing the right colours and types of thread to work best with your design. There's information about techniques to create the effect you want and how to add detail. This section also has advice about adding hand stitching and how to use machine and hand stitching create effects and texture and also about using other fibres for adding extra texture and detail.

Once you've finished your felt art wall hanging, you'll want to display it. There is a great section on how to back and hang your artwork simply and effectively, with clear instructions and photos. But if you'd like to display your artwork a different way, there is also a separate section on alternate ways to display your artwork and how to care for it.

There's information and tips throughout the book for techniques to help you realise your own design and create your own unique artwork. This includes how to make and use prefelt for more control over your design; how to re-use spare felt in the same way; using yarn and small drafted sections of wool for design, and adding other fabrics and needlefelting to enhance your artwork.

So, what if you've followed all the instructions and you're not happy with the way it turned out, or maybe you made a few sample pieces to try out your colour choices and don't know what to do with them? There's even a section for that, with some great ideas on what to do with spare pieces of felt.

And don't worry if you're an absolute beginner and have never tried felting before, or don't really know what all the felting terms mean, there's a glossary at the end with everything you need to know and an appendix with a complete step by step guide to making felt, with lots of clear photos.

This really is excellent value for money. It's an invaluable source of information and advice about creating beautiful feltwork and enhancing it simply with easy tips and techniques. And the great advantages about being an e-book is you can have it instantly and zoom into the photos for even more detail :)

If you'd like to own a copy visit Annie and Lyn's website It's also available on Craftsy