Thursday, 30 March 2017

Soft Wispy Felt Tutorial

It has taken about 5 times as long as I thought it would, but I have finally finished my 'Learn to Make: Soft Wispy Felt Tutorial'.

I'm sure most of you have seen my pieces of soft, scruffy, felt piled with embellishment fibres:

And also the weird sculptural things I like to make out of them:

They're so enjoyable to make and so bright and 'happy' to look at. They were designed for a well-being class, with the intention that it’s virtually impossible to get a bad result. They're multi-layered, built up of fine layers of Merino and novelty yarns, to produce soft, fine, wispy, cobwebby felt that is pleasantly ‘scruffy’, ‘tassley’ and heavily decorated, so that even if they're wonky, threadbare, thick or holey in places, every one will still be a beautiful decorative piece.

There is lots of info in the tutorial with advice about supplies and equipment, though bubblewrap and margarine tubs is pushing it a bit to be called 'equipment'! :) I think the most expensive thing I use is the Olive Oil soap! Each piece only uses about 15g of wool, about 3 or 4 metres/yards of novelty yarns and a small handful of fibres, so it's great for a beginner's piece, especially for someone who has a generous friend to donate supplies to get them addicted to interested in wet felting! And there is also info on how to turn your flat piece into something even weirder for your friends to ponder 'but what is it for?' All the info is on the Information page, it's available as an 'instant download' (once you've received an email... can't make it too instant or Europeans will get stuck with an extra chunk of VAT!)

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Bright Nuno Felt

Some slightly more 'conventional' nuno felt this week. Well, conventional to me anyway :) I made a piece similar to this first one a while ago and it was really popular and I thought I could improve on it a bit, so I thought I'd make another one:

I'm thinking that next time I make something which is 'double sided', I'm going to flip the layout over when I've finished the first layer, because the top always looks better than the underneath. It looks alright, but was definitely better on the side I worked on:

I love the shiny ripples of silk nuno:

I used a strip torn from a viscose scarf on another piece I made:

I think you can see the ripples a bit better on an angle:

The ripples were so uniform and neat, I couldn't decide which close up to use, so I'm posting 3 :)

Sunday, 26 February 2017

More Textured Felt

One thing I didn't like about the burgundy textured nuno felt piece I showed last time, was the effect of the wool migration. Completely unavoidable obviously, but I thought I'd try white fabrics with white wool to mimimise the visual impact of the migration. I started with a small sample, I used various cotton fabrics, like gauze, scrim and muslin; some silk crepe, and some synthetic chiffon:

Looking at it on an angle, you can see even more texture:

This is some folded cotton gauze:

This is one of the pieces of silk crepe:

I liked all the textures, but the synthetic chiffon really ruffled up:

The ruffles it created could be used to recreate effects for lots of different projects, here's a close up:

I used most of the same fabrics on a larger piece:

Here's a close up off the left side:

And a close up of the right side:

I thought this was the kind of technique which would work really well with synthetic organza, it comes in different weights and finishes, so even though it has similarities, there are differences too. I used dyed Merino for this:

Looking at an angle shows the many different textures:

 This was a soft yellow organza, it 'folded' in columns:

You can see these organzas had a more crumpled texture. You can see the migration too, and though it affected the look of the finished piece and 'changed' the colours of the organza pieces, it was more subtle than with the large piece I made last time:

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Textured Nuno Felt

This first piece uses a variety of fabric strips, roughly the same size. I laid out the fabric strips first, then added 4 very fine layers of Merino, which probably added up to being finer than 1 'standard' layer of Merino (the average amount that gets pulled off from standard commercial wool tops, laid out you can't see through it), and not as even. This is the whole piece after felting:

This is the back, you can see that in some places there is hardly any wool at all:

I really liked the texture that was created on the crepey silk fabric strip at the top:

I liked the results of that piece, so I made a much larger one. The finished fulled piece was probably a quarter of the size it was when it was felted, I fulled it on bubblewrap first then on my bead board:

I tried fabric pieces I'd used before, both which I knew felted well, and some which I knew didn't attach well or stayed loose on the edges (a lot of synthetics tend to roll at the edges when torn). I also used pieces I hadn't tried before. I'm not completely sure what some of them are after felting! This is a closer look at the left side, on an angle:

And the right side:

I think this was a piece from a charity shop dress, it was really softly rippled and pillowy:

This is a scarf from a charity shop scarf I love using. You've seen it lots of times, it was goldeny pink open weave, some parts were doubled and some had starnds of golden fibre loose between the layers:

This is one of the synthetics which rolls on the edges (I probaly should have put it in the middle). The outside edge is very loose, but the inside edge was firmly attached:

Looking along the surface, you can see better how high some of the ruffles are:

That photo also shows how much migration there was. It's more apparent depending on the angle you look at it. This shows really clearly just how much there was:

Looking slightly higher you can see more texture on the fabric:

Overall, I liked the piece, especially the texture, though I did think using just one colour of wool  along with the migration dulled it quite a lot, and looking at it on an angle, it does look like it's been under a dusty bed for a few years!

Friday, 20 January 2017


After a few attempts, I managed to get a photograph of an orange piece I'd planned to blog about last week:

I made the piece to sew into a purse/wallet for my friend, but I was concerned some of the fabric wasn't attached as well as I'd like for something which would get lots of handling, so I made another piece:

I even managed to get a closer pic of this one too:

And this is some of the synthetic embellishments I used:

Inbetween the two large pieces, I made a medium sized piece with the same colour theme, I used less fabric on this piece and more embellishent fibres, especially silk throwster's waste and silk hankies:

Of course, today is the first bright, sunny day for ages, and I could probably get much better photos now!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Dyeing Silk

Since the house was tidy for Christmas I used the opportunity to do some dyeing. I mostly did fibres, but I also wanted to dye some silk. I have lots of patterned silk scarves, but wanted some more 'plain'. This first pieces is some silk my friend Karen sent me from Australia years ago. It's labelled 'tissue silk', is similar to silk chiffon, but different more like crepe. I dipped it in darker blue first, then lighter blues at the other end.

These pieces are silk habotai. The photo doesn't do them justice, they have such a gorgeous shine. I'm kicking myself I didn't buy lots of silk from wollknoll when the exchange rate was in our favour!

These are some pieces of silk chiffon, there's less colour variation in these than in the tissue silk and habotai pieces. They came out really nice though:

These strips are from a piece of silk I got in a charity shop, it was a green to white blended piece, so I tore it where the green was palest, and dyed strips from those parts with blues and greens, and the whitest part burgundy with some purple shades.

I also overdyed some printed silk I had. I can't find any photos of it here, but I used it on a couple of notebook covers. It was nice in an unusual kind of way, but not so nice I didn't mind completely changing it! This first piece was overdyed with blues and greens, it doesn't look massively different, but it toned down the yellows:

And this isn't the best photo, but the over-dyeing turned out better than I expected using oranges and reds over greens/blues:

And here's a rolled up batt I made from multi scraps a while ago:

If you're looking to treat yourself after Christmas, I have a few e-books and tutorials you might be interested in. Beyond Nuno is a guide to using fabrics in wet felting, it's not a project book, but more of a 'how and why' book so you can get the outcome you want when nuno felting. If you adore embellishmnet fibres but shy away from buying them because you're not sure how to use them, whether they're versatile or worth the money, which ones might suit you better etc, then The Right Fibre can help you out there. I can't guarantee you won't just buy all the fibres still  :)  but at least you'll have back up visual evidence as to why you need all the fibres! And if there's any space left which isn't covered in wool, fabric or fibres for felting, you might be able to squeeze in a new hobby and make yourself a few polymer clay buttons to go on your felt creations or maybe even a diz for making roving, in which case you might like Polymer Clay, Simply Made, a guide to making really nice, even polymer clay pieces with loads of tips for using everyday items instead of expensive equipment (I can't be held responsible for any missing eyeshadow!). Happy New Year!