Saturday, 27 August 2016

More critters.. meet Mr. Fox

I'm well behind on my blogging again (as any of my Facebook followers will know when they read this).

My critter collection has grown!  Earlier in the year I made my first Mr. Fox doorstopper - There simply HAD to be a Mr. Fox, we get foxes visiting the field next to our home regularly and enjoy watching them mooching about, litters of cubs playing, and gangle legged youngsters messing around in the way all adolescent canines do :)

Laying a base layer of Finn wool.. used lots of dark brown
- I wanted them to migrate through the colour layers.  I wanted his face
lighter so used white there.

Another natural Finn layer.. throwing a lighter brown into the mix

Now FOX coloured layers :)

His ears were formed from extra resists taped on to the main resist 
- carefully enfolded with the layers of fibre with bits of bubble
wrap positioned to keep them away from his head.

I got carried away with the felting after this point a totally 
forgot to take any more photos..

Until I got to this stage :)
He was still wet on this one.. think it was before I rinsed him :)

Next time a finished Fox!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Stash Busting Icelandic Rug #3

And the final rug post :) 

Wow.. I'm on a roll.. a rug making roll!

Even after felting two pretty good sized rugs I had a big box of Icelandic fibre left, but didn't think I particularly needed another rug right now.  So decided I'd reduced that particular stash enough not to worry about the rest.

WELL, a week or so later, while looking closely at the 'sheep friendly sheepskin' rug at the bottom of my bed, I noted that it had become quite shabby.  It has always been a little shabby :) and I liked that about it, it was after all the first of this sort of felting I'd ever done (link to when I blogged it above, just checked the post date - 6 years ago.. wow)!  In one particular area it had gone really thin..  this is a spot where I got a toe caught in a loop of locks one night as I was blundering about in the dark, ripping the locks loose as I tripped!  Where they wrenched free of the felt it must of weakened it, and over time the passage of our feet has worn it down.  

SO.. a third rug was needed :)  A narrower rug this time (the one it's replacing was way too big really). More bright colours.. but a different design this time.

4 blocks of coloured Icelandic laid over a white Jacobs background

Adding a coloured 'ribbon' to wind across

And red fibre balls with outlines

Part way through..
I really enjoyed the design on this one

I have found my palm wash board to be 
absolutely brilliant while working on my rugs!  It really 
works the felt well and eases out potential crinkles that 
can try to form from rolling.

Masses of rubbing and rolling again.. each of these rugs has taken at least two days.. the big one took two and a half.  I felt like I'd found my stride, and learned a couple things about rug making at this point :) 

Also worth mentioning that I rinsed them in the washing machine on cool.. they are so very big and bulky they'd of needed to be done in the bath otherwise, and I just couldn't face the backache that would bring.

Back side / front side flip..
see how well the coloured design migrated through the white
This is my favourite of the three :)
Measurements 66" x 20"
It lives on MY side of the bed and makes me happy every time I see it :)
I just LOVE being able to walk all the way around our bed, feeling my felt rugs underfoot all the way!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Stash Busting Icelandic Rug #2

Most of this post was typed in April, from the finished rug photos is new :)

After finishing the first rug I was surprised at how much Icelandic fibre I still had.. so decided to make a second, BIGGER, rug for the sitting room.  In the same style as the first; simple brightly coloured blocks, this time with black Icelandic fibre at the back.. so as I felt and the fibres creep through it will darken the colours slightly, as well as bringing them together aesthetically.

I decided to throw in a few circles cut from batt fibre :)

Coloured edges folded over the black backing fibre

I always find this a satisfying moment.. 
when you first spot the migration of colours from one side to the other..
you know you're getting somewhere then :)

Felting finished, flipped to show front and back.
I love the back.. seeing the colours through the black.. just yummy

It's funny how much more noticeable the colours coming through the black are, than the black coming through the colour.  I know they're there, I can see a change in the colour values.. it's just a subtle, darkening and softening.

This one is quite a bit bigger.. and took quite a lot longer to make.  After making these two rugs within a 6 day period I am shattered :) and my poor forearms are covered in rub rash / friction burn from all the rolling!  So glad I've made them though :)

This one hasn't been used yet.. it's been folded up for 3 months so I had
to iron creases out of it before photographing.

We shall be redecorating our living room and dining room soon..
that's when I plan to start using it :)
Measurements: 77" x 30" / 196cm x 76cm
quite a bit bigger than the first one
The photos were taken on a very strong sunshiney day.. the
colours look deeper in life than they do on the photos

Friday, 22 July 2016

OUTdoor soles on the dyed Finn Boots

I finally got these boots finished!  I mentioned ages ago that the outdoor soles I had purchased in my shoe size were waaay too big for the boots made to fit my feet.. SO I ordered a pair of soles one size smaller than I take in shoes.  

They fitted pretty well to the bottoms of the boots.  I used my leather punch to make four holes around the sewing lip on each sole, and with my twist pins secured them in place (with cellulose board 'boot prints' sandwiched in between the rubber sole and felt).  Then I hand stitched them on using my Silver Creek Speedy Stitcher and strong waxed thread. 

I'm really happy with how they look.. unfortunately I can't wear them!  The smaller size shoe soles are the perfect length for me but they are too narrow. The raised ridges along the sides stick up under the balls of my feet :(  SO, I shall be taking them along when I visit a friend of mine with smaller feet .. hopefully she can be my guinea pig and report back how well they wear..

The search is still on for outdoor soles that I like.. and that actually FIT.  The ones I currently like the look of are a little confusing to purchase :/  

Stash Busting Icelandic Rug #1

There's been a lot going on in my personal life recently.. I haven't done much felting, and as you know I've been very inactive online.  I am determined to try and get my life back on track, part of that is blogging again.  I typed this post ages ago (3 months ago today in fact)!  But didn't have photo's of this finished article so held off posting it.  Well, I took photos - finally - yesterday :) 


As I mentioned a few weeks back (ahem back in April), I'm determined to reduce the amount of 'stuff' stored in my house.. some serious de-stashing is in order!  I have 3 big plastic boxes full of lovely colourfully dyed Icelandic batts from Alafoss in Iceland.  This is my slipper/boot making stash - Icelandic is easy to work with and once thoroughly felted is very hard wearing.  I have decided not to make boots / slippers to sell anymore (happy to teach instead).  SO it's time to use up as much as possible :)

This is not a hardship :)  For the last 18 months I have been intending to felt a rug for my side of the bed.. just never finding the time.  Plus we will be replacing my HUGE work table with a smaller dining table soon.. and I want to get my rug made while I have a big workspace!

Simple design.. lots of brightly coloured blocks.  

To make it a little less jarring to the eye I laid down a base of white fibre first (used white English 56's from World of Wool, since I had no Icelandic white left).  This should migrate through and soften the colours a little.

Edges folded over..

Putting my new palm washer board to good use working out wrinkles..

After LOTS and LOTS of rubbing and rolling, using boiling water in the final stages..

Using my ridged stick on front and back. 
I always feel the ridged rolling stick helps to 
tighten thick, hard felt up and flatten it out :)

The finished rug
Measurements 66" x 22" / 168cm x 56cm
Photographed after 3 months use next to our bed 
- where there just isn't room for a nice photo unfortunately :)

Friday, 22 April 2016

Fibre and Thread Sketching - In The Forest

Week 10

Again I wanted a quick fix.  I enjoyed using the prefelts for the koi and decided to do similar this week.

I sketched a barn owl onto prefelt using a fine liner pen.. then cut him out

This time I wanted to try and get a 'carved' appearance.. almost like a wood cut effect.  So I cut the face out, then cut holes for the eyes and beak.  Also cut along the wing line and his legs are separate pieces.

Laid out of a dark background..  with a super simple branch and mawata silk moon

I placed a net over before starting rubbing to keep the design in place

While felting I had to keep opening up the holes and cut lines that I wanted to keep

I'm quite pleased with him, 
the slightly fuzzy features work for me - it is night after all..
and everythings fuzzy at night :)

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Stash Busting - Knitting some Homespun

This year I am GOING to claim back parts of my house that have been taken over (utterly swamped) by supplies etc.  SO there's going to be lots of stash busting going on :)

First off I wanted to use up some yarn I spun years ago (?5/6 years ago).  I dyed the fibre and spun it thick and thin then plied it with a decorative thread.

This is the skein I started with.. I don't knit much so had no idea how far it would go.  

I've had this set of 'odd pins' for aaages, never used them, never heard of anyone using odd pins tbh but they were a packaged pair so I knew it must be a 'thing'..  I googled for tips before starting out and apparently it's called CONDO knitting!  The only tip I found really was to cast on and off using the smaller pin and another of the same size.. then start using the fat pin with just one thin pin.

The first skein didn't really go very far.. 
but it was looking pretty so I pulled these out to use too

Made myself a nice wide long scarf that really soft and snuggly 

The decorative thread plied into the blue yarn is a sparkly metalic.. I love the way it twinkles :)  It's nice to have something to wear and see from these yarns instead of just admiring them in my handspun yarn box.  I'm pleased with the quirky stitch too - and it was soooo easy, just garter stitch! :)

Friday, 8 April 2016

Fibre and Thread Sketching - WATER

Oh dear.. I'm getting very behind posting these on here.. and time to actually join in is also in short supply - for the last 3 weeks I haven't 'sketched'. 

From week 9

Time was short and I really wanted a quick little project..  so many possibilities for ‘water’ would of demanded a lot of time.  I wanted to keep it simple, the inspiration for this was the ‘big fella’ in our koi pond :) although I simplified his colour/patterning a little.

I drew the outline onto commercial prefelt and cut out..

Here he is swimming across the cover of my Koi book.
I used the photos in here to get the right shape - our fish are never still long enough for my slow eyes :)

Background of dark green prefelt with blue and green silk-caps and bits of silk chiffon fabric

The prefelts melted in like butter!

Finished.. quick and simple koi :)
Gary was pleased.. this is his favourite fish!

Monday, 21 March 2016

Fibre and Thread Sketching - week 8


So many possibilities with green; first I thought of doing a green man, but knowing me I would of spent way longer than I wanted to on him :).  So I decided to go off on a literal tangent and do a golf green..  I will confess I pretty much copied the design from clip art.  
Just a quick note here.. I don't agree with copying and don't do it (not counting ancient rock art / historic designs which I am irresistibly drawn to incorporating into my work.. and when I asked an artist friend if I could do a felt version of one of her beautiful paintings). So even though it's from clip art, freely available for anyone's use.. I'm still not entirely comfortable about this piece.  But I don't plan to sell it, it was made just as an exercise in play.

First I copied it in pencil..
Cutting out the elements to use as templates.. 
for cutting felt to shape
Using pins and a felting needle to temporarily fix the trees in place ..
Trees are then free machine stitched to the background.
All the pieces are attached in the same way.

Final touch is a FM embroidered flag and hole,
and I've 'healed' the wavy edges on the white felt

measures 6" x 6"