Hi there, just to let you know mum has been a busy bee and has updated our free tutorial on "How to make a wet felted pod". It is a very popular tutorial so we thought a little revamp with improved instructions and clearer pictures was in order! Old links to the old version will still work, but there is a new button in the sidebar for the shiny new version. Here is a picture of the star of the updated tutorial pictured on mum's very own private beach.....
...although the pod kind of takes up most of the beach given that it's only about a two foot square and in a tray, but hey ho! You gotta have a dream :-)
I decided to treat myself to using some of those beautiful silk threads that my Nan-In-Law gave me. I started to make a card to say a bigger "Thank You" (better later than never) but it got slightly too large and is now more of a mini wall hanging!
To make the butterfly I cut up some felt I made a while ago for a large wall hanging that failed to meet the ideas in my head! It was one I made, then cut up into strips, then played with, edged on the machine, couldn't decide what to do with it, then put away for later! I do love the colours in it though and can see many new uses for it now. That's the great thing about felt - over the years you build up a stash of leftover bits and bobs and the odd 'failed' projects that you can use again. It's disappointing when a project goes wrong but great when it means you get to add some pretty handmade felt to your stash.
This is the felt from the discarded wallhanging:
I was a bit stingy with the threads on this piece because they are so beautiful I only used them for a tiny bit of hand stitching - the silk feels absolutely wonderful in your hands as you sew - I hope they last forever. I promise I will make Nan a pretty smaller picture for her thank you card and make sure that I use enough thread so she can actually see it! I both love and hate to use my favourite things - in equal measures. It's like wearing your favourite pair of shoes - proud to wear them and show them off but you don't want to scuff them or wear out the heels!
Am I mad? Or do you have favourite craft supplies you can't quite bring yourself to use up? I've got plenty - there's a piece of pink silk chiffon scarf that I'm nearly at the end of that I am treasuring, I have various beautiful wool yarns and scraps of fabric that are almost small bits of art in themselves - so I just look at them then put them away!
Perhaps what I should do is make a fabulous "scrapbook" picture of all of these special pieces - sort of like an artwork shrine to the most beautiful things so I can use them without having to let them go!
I hope you understand :-)
I like to continually try new things because I find that's the best way to learn - embracing all successes and disasters as learning opportunities and then using that in future projects. I won't pretend I don't get upset when things go wrong though! I can throw a good wobbly when the need arises!
Anyway, I hadn't made a pod in a while so thought that would be a refreshing felty project to do. But I wanted a new twist to play with - so despite having safely made many many pods using resists - I realised I hadn't seen fabric set in as a 'loose' component before, only ever nuno'ed on as decoration - so thought I'd give it a go.
I started off with great zest as I envisaged a lovely flowery frilly pod - however it didn't quite turn out as I had envisaged in my mind's eye - but technically it was great. It worked perfectly with a number of resists used throughout the felt.
I started chopping in through the layers and found them all nicely separated as I had wanted. The only thing is that I think I made the inner hole too big to start with.
As it was a bit of an experiment I couldn't resist (excuse the pun!) taking the scissors to it quite severely to see how the layers had taken deeper down - the fabric had attached in all the right places so I was pleased with that. The photo of the layers looks really pretty but the pod will now have to be placed in the "bits n pieces" felty recycling box to be used in another project as I completely killed it as a pod!
Given the cold and gloomy weather recently I decided to make a wintery inspired project. I love the cosiness of tealights and remembering a previous piece of machine embroidery I had done that looked twinkly when held up to the light I thought that would be a good place to start for inspiration.
So I made a small piece of felt then machine embroidered it in much the same way as before.
But what I forgot was that the light wouldn't be as strong from a tealight as an electric light so the tiny holes in the sewing don't show up as clearly as before so it's not quite as pretty in the same way by candlelight, but I think the felt still makes lovely cosy tealights and will endeavour to make a good selection of these for when winter comes round again (although it hasn't really left us yet has it!). Apologies for the slightly grainy photos - I haven't quite worked out how to take effective candle photos in the dark yet!
Talking of cold - Am off to Yorkshire tomorrow morning - we had planned to do a few days walking. But given the weather it might end up being 3 days sat in a selection of nice warm bars and restaurants! Hey ho, it's a hard life! :-)
When a room becomes jaded, it needs decorating.....or does it?
I've realised that I can delay the dreaded decorating by having a quick re-arrange of some of the furniture and introducing new pretty things! Then the room has a new, albeit temporary, lease of life.
So instead of fiddling with sandpaper and dust-sheets, I've been felting some vessels to brighten up niches and shelves.
This cobweb pot gave me a headache.
The cobweb felt was very thin so I decided to rub some CMC paste into the fibres while they were wet and sitting on the mould of the upturned glass vase. Then I set the whole thing aside to dry.
I figured that when the felt was dry it would just slide off the glass.
How wrong can you be?
It was stuck fast!
With the aid of filleting knife and a fistful of pennies for the swear-box, I eventually parted the felt from the glass.
This terracotta pot looks great on my white shelf on a white wall.
It stands 20cm tall and is decorated with yarn felted in.
I made it over a resist and shaped it using my hands and some balled-up bubble wrap.
I just love using yarn to decorate pots!
I like the white merino background because it shows off the pretty variegated wool - but the dye bled from the yarn into the white in places. However, I think it just adds to the charm and I'll tell everyone that it's a design feature.
I made this one on a resist but fulled it over a square sweetie jar.
The inside top edge has silk noil detail.
This sculptural piece is hiding a damaged vase and it stands 39cm tall.
I made the vessel on a resist then moulded it on the vase during fulling. I was able to make the felt lightweight because the vase is inside and serves as a weight.
The merino wool is a lime/lemon colour and I nuno felted some fabric onto it. I love the texture of the fabric now that the wool has drawn it up.
Ah well, I can't hang around chatting too long - I need to make some more stuff to brighten up another room before anyone notices that it too needs decorating!
Hi Mum, I just finished making you this card for Mother's Day. It's all stitched and painted. Hope you like it! In my usual style it's going to be a teeny bit late getting to you...but better late than never!
Can I swap it for some homemade chips when I visit next week...? :-)
Happy Mother's Day! xx
Whether you're new to nuno felting or have experience of it, this e-book will help you to achieve more control over the outcome of your nuno felting; achieve the effects you desire, and provide a basis for your continued experimentation instead of feeling that nuno felting is all just 'guess-work'.
The text is clear and easy to understand and is supported by 190 full-colour, high quality photos. They are superb! And all the photos can be enlarged up to 300% for even more detail without losing any quality.
This e-book explores the use of fabrics in the art of making wool felt by the traditional wet-felting method. It features the fabrics most commonly used in felting - silk, organza and the open-weave cottons scrim, cheesecloth and muslin. There are also additional sections on synthetic fabrics and other lightweight cottons. Zed shows how these fabrics work with wool to create certain effects and how they can be used effectively and manipulated with different techniques.
Pop over to Zed's blog to have a look. The e-book can be purchased directly from her blog by instant download. Felt by Zed
Hi there. So how often do you take photos for inspiration for your artwork only to never look at them again?!
I seem to do it quite a lot! I've been looking back through some of my photos this week and realised I've taken many over the years with the thought of making a picture from them 'one day'! Time to take action!
So I randomly picked a couple of a lady waiting for a fishing boat, with her dog by the shore, and roughly sketched it on the sewing machine without too much thought, just to get it down 'on paper'.
I'm trying to machine sketch as often as possible, although my idea of doing it daily may have been a little over ambitious! But I think this sketch only took about 15 or so minutes including dabbing a bit of acrylic paint on top, so it should be quite easy to fit in!
It felt good to follow up, even if it's just a quick sketch (that photo was taken about 5 years ago!). Have now put some more photos in a dedicated folder on my laptop so I can pick one whenever I feel like it. I really like this image so it's one I'd like to have a go at again, with a little more thought to perhaps make into something for the wall.
I also pulled a few random ideas out of my imagination for a couple of other sketches. I have incorporated our handmade felt, along with a bit of acrylic paint and hand embroidery for variety. I started with this simple image of a heart cut from handmade felt and free machine stitched around it. A man holding it like a kite popped into my head so that's what I stitched!
Then a few cheery flowers and a simple funny bird to follow.
I was running quite low on calico so I popped to my local shop to re-stock and discovered some much heavier weight canvas (almost like the stuff stretched canvases are made from) in both cream and in white. It seems to take the stitching really well and the white makes a change from the usual cream colour. The bottom 2 pieces are on the thicker canvas.
I think this will be good as I am currently experimenting with different ways to display small textiles works - has anyone had any success with mounting textile work on wood blocks? I really like the way that it looks when people paint wood blocks and the edge of the work is flush with the block. The only simple way that springs to mind is glue - but glue isn't good for textiles is it?!
I've got several ideas such as lashing the felt / fabric round the block with threads or drilling holes in the block to stitch through. Will have to have a think and a play. Small textile work can get a bit a lost on a wall - and I don't really like framing felt and textiles work - I like it just to sit as it is.
As for the big flowers picture I laid out recently - well I felted it, started to stitch it and then decided I didn't like it! So I'm going to take the scissors to it and make a few smaller pieces from it. I haven't quite worked out which bits to chop yet but I'm playing with an old
mount (cut at each end so it's adjustable in your hands) to try and pick bits out. Small pieces of it look quite pretty and will transform into a new theme when cropped and stitched - maybe the seashore or a harbour. Or just a couple of small flowers. They could be used for small pieces for the wall, or for cards or tiny colourful pieces for brooches. That's the great thing about felt, it's never wasted, it can easily be chopped and re-used!
Here are some of the bits I'm thinking of cropping out...
My other project for this weekend has been a bit of a chore though - painting my work table. A few weeks ago I finally bought a giant bit of MDF and attached some Ikea legs to make a table and I've been using it unfinished but it keeps getting wet and MDF doesn't like water! So to seal it I've been painting it. So far have done 3 layers of emulsion to prime it. Then a layer of gloss. But I've got to do one more layer cos I came down this morning to discover it had gone all patchy. Argh! Yuck - I hate glossing! But hopefully it will be worth it when I have a nice big waterproof table to work on :-)
If you don't fancy resist work but you want to make 3D felt - you can.
Flat felt can be shaped simply by stitching - just like any kind of fabric. For example, if you put running stitches around a circle of fabric then draw the thread up, you have a 3D shape.
Or you can cut shapes from a piece of flat felt then stitch them together, either by hand or by machine, to make 3D felt.
When you know what shape you want to make, test out your idea, before you take the scissors to the piece of flat felt, by making up your design using paper and sticky tape.
If you like making felt vessels over a resist, then you already know how satisfying it is, and during the final stages of shaping, when your soapy hands rub around the emerging form, it almost feels like making a clay pot. But instead of putting it into a kiln, you put it into an airing cupboard!
The inspiration for this ornamental felt vessel was a ceramic essential oil burner. The main pot was made on a top open resist and the eyelets were added after the felt dried. The little blue inner pot was also made on an open top resist and is suspended by a thin brass rod with beaded decoration. It stands 16.5cms tall and could be displayed with a battery powered tealight in its base.
There aren't many creative people who just stick to one thing. We've tried so many arts/crafts - and enjoyed them all - but we're realistic enough to know that there are just not enough hours in the day to make everything we'd like to.
But even just dabbling in other arts/crafts is a way to relax and expand your ability with your favourite pursuit.
With this month's issue of Make and Craft magazine was a free canvas tote bag. It was literally a 'blank canvas' that begged for decoration.
A little dabbling with applique quite appealed.
The fabric for the flowers was pulled from our stash and the petals were just rough cut. The stitching was easy on the top two flowers, but a bit fiddly on the bottom one. More than once a few pennies were dropped into the swear box as the back of the bag got caught in the stitching!
Hello, have just got back from visiting my in-laws. Had a lovely time and got spoiled rotten :-)
Not only did I return home with an extra inch on my waist, and a hamper packed full of Waitrose goodies for my anniversary present, my nanny-in-law gave me these beautiful art silk machine embroidery threads. I will have to find a special little project for these, they're so beautiful - the photo really doesn't do the thread's colour and shine any justice. I will just have to make sure I don't let my hoarding "they're too lovely to use" instinct kick in!
I've also started this picture of some big moony flowers which I've tried to make look sort of drawn by a child's hand. Some simple embroidery after felting should be just the ticket. But it's about 70cm x 70cm so its going to take a bit of elbow grease to felt. For me that's sometimes a laborious bit of making a picture because its the slowest and least sparkliest part! I absolutely love the laying out of the fibres and the twinkly bits at the start of the process, and the embroidery and finishing at the end, but the bit in the middle can be a little bit boring on a bigger piece. Had a great idea though - not sure why I've not thought of it before. I've just been to the library to borrow some audio books to help pass the time during the felting process. They're only 20p per day to borrow from my library, which is good cos I can (hopefully) see me getting through a lot this year!
I picked Mike Gayle's The To-Do List because it sounds just like me! Maeve Binchy's Nights of Rain and Stars mainly because it is set in Greece. And M C Beaton's Agatha Raisin and the Curious Curate for a bit of light hearted murder mystery (it's also narrated by Penelope Keith so a nice voice to listen to!). So nothing that should require too much concentration just a little light entertainment for while I'm rubbing, rolling, rubbing, rolling!
We'd all be a lot happier if creativity featured in our daily lives, but do you think your life is far too complicated or busy for that to happen? Ruth Lane shows how easy it is to achieve daily creativity in her post a daily dose of fiber challenge.
I'm using my lovely felt-covered diary, pictured in the last post, as a focusing tool. Every day I decide what I'd like to achieve and I write it in the diary. It then sits open on my desk, quietly nagging at me, and encouraging me to focus on my goal instead of faffing around. When my day doesn't go as planned (which is more often than I'd like), I don't panic, I just fit in what I can, even if it's just thinking about my project, then re-assess things the following day.
I've always been fascinated by cobweb felt and I wanted to make a vessel solid enough to stand on its own, topped with a delicate cobweb collar.
I blended turquoise, white, blue, lilac, mauve and yellow merino wool, with a little yellow throwsters waste, and wet felted around a top open resist. It was a bit of a struggle to work with two different kinds of felt, one at each end of the resist, and the cobweb felt tried very hard to snuggle down with the regular felt, but here it is finished and standing 27cm tall.
I had a little blended wool left over and I couldn't resist making this decorative bowl that measures 18 cms across the top. It's standing up well, even though it's delicate felt, but if it starts to droop, I'll either wet it and dunk it in a weak solution of CMC paste before putting it upside down over a bowl to set, or I'll firm it up with machine stitching.
So, what are your creative plans for this week and how are you going to make them happen?
Another Christmas and I've overdone the eating and sitting around yet again......but I enjoyed every minute!
Annie loves to sketch and make notes so she was delighted to receive one of Aileen Clark's pretty notebooks for Christmas. The front cover is one of Aileen's felted seascapes and inside there are plain and lined pages - ideal for jotting down ideas before they escape.
I'm looking forward to 2013 and my head is full of ideas and plans and I have just the diary to help me to keep track of things. The cover was made by Zed and it's a pretty patchwork of felt that feels so good to hold in my hand.
Best wishes for 2013 from both of us.