Saturday, 29 January 2011

An exciting discovery...

Had to share these with you!  While mooching through the haberdashery section in our local Dunelm Mill I came across these amazing pins... they are strong hold Twist Pins.  On the box it states 'for upholstery & matteresses etc' - as soon as I saw them however SOLES came to mind!
Showing the pin twisting in to the felt
I couldnt tell you the number of times I have stabbed my fingers (or leg!) while stitching on a leather sole held in place with straight pins.  Plus its a fiddle keeping them all in place, they really do try to come out.  How PERFECT to be able to twist these little corkscrew pins in 'till they sit flush and stay put. 

Sitting perfectly flush

Securely pinned and ready to stitch
I tried them out a couple of days ago, and they worked brilliantly!  They sit very snuggly against the leather sole & the point didnt even poke through the other side of the felt on my boots!  They made a tedius task easier and faster!  SO, HURRAH for the twist pin!  Im going to buy more when I next visit the shop, incase I cant find them again in future.

Must add these to my leather soles page!

Gary renewed the insulation in our loft last weekend... which meant moving all of the stuff that is stored up there.  Of course this led to rediscovering forgotten & lost things... including this drawing.  I am NO drawer/painter - at least not these days, wasn't too bad when I was a kid.  But this is special to me, I can so vividly remember drawing it... Rachael was 4 weeks old, it was the wee early hours and everybody else in the house was sound asleep.  My gorgeous baby girl was peacefully feeding... it was one of those rare moments when there are no distractions and everything just seems perfect - even though I was bone weary. I can remember wanting to hold on to the moment forever.. Looking to my right were Matthews sugar paper and a wax crayon, so I drew her.. 

This was this first time I had drawn anything in 9 years, and I havent sat down an deliberately tried to draw anything since (12 years).  I'm actually going to put this in a clip frame and hang it on the wall in my craft room... not as a work of art - which it really isnt, but as a memory (though its not too bad I think, for juggling baby at breast + sugar paper & crayon balanced on a story book :).

I spent a lovely day of visiting yesterday... so no felting.  9am had a cuppa and chat with my mom, then over to spend a lovely few hours with my friend Clare who is expecting her first baby in March.  Guess who felt broody by the time she got home?!  Clare sent me on my way with a big bag stuffed full of fibre and other goodies... she is destashing ready for baby's arrival.

A couple of zips arrived in the post today - yay!  So today I shall be able to finish off the bright hip bag..

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

New bag for Spring

I've been working on a new bag design.  I'm really pleased... my first one is complete - and its a keeper :) .  I have another that is almost there, but I have to buy a zipper!  Why, oh why didnt I buy 2 (or even more) while I was at the sewing shop last week?!  The second one is destined for my etsy shop.  So,  pics...


This was felted over a pretty HUGE resist, I made it very long so I could create sections, including a full size zip close compartment.  I used a slightly coarse brown merino fibre, decorating the in and outside with creamy tussah silk and deep rose pink merino flowers.  By the time it was finished it was felted down by at good 50% into a nice solid little bag.  The bottom section was pushed up to create the inner zip section - I stitched across to form the bag bottom half way through fulling. 

The handle on my first one was a little wonky - I think I cut it unevenly.  So I machine stitched a strip of felt to match the flowers to the underside of the handle.. added a few buttons and Im really chuffed with it!  The second handle is much straighter... I like the look of the pink on mine though, shall have to think what to do with the new one...  I love the witch-stitch (or herringbone) holding the zip... takes me ages but I think its worth it.  The double flap is mostly just decorative, it does keep the bag front nice and sturdly & ensures a good fit when the flap is buttoned up.

Last week I treated myself to my first ever rotary cutter!  This was the first time I got to use it (cutting the pink strip) OMG this make cutting long straight lines SO EASY. 

I also finished off the lattice shawl/wrap that I felted last week.  Decided to add 3 little white flowers.  They work quite well as a 'fastner' actually, just pull one through a hole.  My daughter has her eye on this one - though Im not sure she would actually wear it...  Far from being an original idea in any way, this was still quite interesting to work on.  These lattices are covered in the Fabulous Felted Scarves book that I had for Christmas.

Today I am strugging.  Inspiration has run dry..  I cant felt another of my Spring bags until I buy some resist fabric - none of the pieces I have are large enough, and the original resist I made is looking a little sorry for itself, I dont want to wreck it until I have copied it so I'm not using it again.

I cant finish the 2nd Spring bag OR the Hip bag till I have the right zips, had to buy these mail order as I couldnt find a suitable colour here... and I'm still waiting!

Guess I'll go do some boring (yet essential) jobs.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Some finished projects, some just begun

Thought I'd take a moment to put up some pics of the journal cover & slippers now they are finished...

Almost went cross eyed with all these inlays! The cross is a piece of silk velvet felted in - shame it ended up off centre in the circle... think I was concentrating too much on keeping the boat inlays in place (its made up of 7 pieces).  The boat & fish have gone into the felt a littl too much in places, think I really should of wet the fibre before adding the inlays, they might of kept crisper edges then.  Still like it though - hope my mum-in-law does :)  I think my favourite bit is the embroidered fishing net - which you cant really see in the photos..

So far this week I've tinkered with a summery nuno beach wrap/shawl. I need a dressform to display it properly... here it is jumbled up with the head-kerchief I felted last week - I LOVE all these pretty summery colours :)

Green head kerchief, Purple wrap
I've felted a pretty big lattice wrap too, which I'm planning to sew some felt flowers onto.. And I felted a hip bag today in hot colours with loads of sari silk fibre & ribbon... just need to find a zip & embroidery silk that go now to finish it off.

More soon

Sunday, 16 January 2011

A week spent swimming in colourful fibre...

OOooo this week has been a treat!  First week back to felting after 3 weeks off while the family were at home... much as I LOVE family time, its always nice to get the fibre back out :)  I have devoted the week to FUN, things that I have been planning to do but havent had time & pressies that I wanted to make.  I cant share all of my makes with you at the moment... they may get spotted and spoil a suprise.  But heres what I can show..

I have felted a journal cover for my mum-in-laws birthday.  I wanted the design to be `things that matter` to her.  My mum-in-laws big loves (apart from her family) are Cornwall, she was born and raised there and is still very much Cornish even though she has not lived there for many years.  And the church plays a major part in her life.

After a lot of thought I decided to go with sea, sky and a fishing boat for the front cover and a Cornish Celtic cross for the back.  Its finished apart from the embroidery that I want to add - more pics to follow soon :)
All laid out & ready to go... finished pics next time.

I started experimenting with summer headgear, but havent got a photo of this yet. I decided to nunofelt a head kerchief... The style is inspired the scarf-like head wrap (called a head-rail) that I wear at work (I dress up as a Tudor servant and work with schools in a local museum for anybody new who will probably be thinking "WHAT?!" at this point). As I dont have pics yet I shall talk more about it when I do...

And I felted some boots for my sons birthday - he turned 14 yesterday (where has the time gone?!)    I didnt have lasts in his size and didnt get round to making some from socks and duct tape, so I had to borrow his feet for a little while to finish them off :)  Its a bit of a challenge trying to make something `manly`.  I used Norwegian wool in grey and white, adding areas of blue Icelandic wool in the final layer.  Im pleased with how they turned out, the blue in the felt is reflected in the soft blue leather soles... I just need to add a toggle fastner now (as per his request :) think I shall use the leather again for that.

We had a wonderful day out yesterday to celebrate.  Matthew wanted to go to our local zoo, where we spent many happy days when the children were younger.  The weather was pretty good; dry & sunny though very windy.  The highlight of the day was in one of the 'walk through' enclosures, when one of the black & white ruffed lemurs held Matthews hand!  It was on the handrail next to us and just reached out and held on very gently with a hand & foot - stayed there for a good 5 minutes.  Matthew said the lemurs hands were cold so maybe he was warming them up - it was soooo sweet!  Another funny bit was when we came across a flock of cameroon sheep in pets corner.  OMG they were funny... there were 7 or 8 of them in there, most were saying "MAAaaaaaaaaa" but one missed his "M" every time just saying "AAAAaaaaa" I love hearing sheep anyway - always think they are funny... but these they had very funny voices, some were really deep, and they were SO loud.  There were 2 lamas in with them and they made a very tiny little noise, such a contrast to the sheep who were hardly as tall as the llamas knees.  My hubby recorded them on his mobile, now every time I phone he gets a very loud mad MAAAaaaa-ing :) It truly was the most hilarious noise I have ever heard.  All the photos were taken on our phones, so I cant post them unfortunately. 

And the rest of this weeks makes are secret...  but will be revealed in time.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Bringing in the New Year

Hi everyone, hope you have all had an enjoyable Christmas & New Years! We have had a lovely quiet family time. The kids went back to school a couple of days ago, Gary is back at work on Monday & I shall be felting from Monday... my fingers are itching to get back to it!!

We did have a white Christmas, although it didnt snow on the day! The snow was deep and crisp and even. The garden is always heaving with bird activity, throughout the snowy weather especially so; the blue jays have been so quick to gobble up the peanuts that even the squirrels didnt get a look in :) The last of the snow (from our humungous snowman) disapeared this morning. Its lovely to see the blackbirds rooting through the leaf piles & the tits & finches on the trees and plants finding bugs, after so long blanketed in snow. Though it was beautiful to look at we did really worry for the birds.

I took this photo of the sun rising on Christmas morning

I havent posted over the holidays as I ended up with eyestrain of all things! I couldnt focus properly and needed to rest my eyes. However, in bits and dabs I have typed up my page on leather soles! Finally finished and posted it yesterday... let me know what you think (you should find the page tabs at the top of the post). I hope I havent rambled too much, I wanted it to be of use especially for someone who hasn't soled slippers yet, or is finding it difficult. I remember how little information I found when I was starting out. If you want to add anything (inc. links to web pages with good advice, if you know of any) please get in touch, we all have different experiences.. I'm just sharing mine so far. I'm planning to update it as I go along with additional tips etc.

My eyestrain also meant that I couldnt read any of my Christmas books, or the Felt Matters magazine I'd been saving. I have flicked through them reading bit and pieces though & they all look excellent! I shall post more about them in due course.

The Color in Spinning by Deb Menz is choc full of information about colour theory & blending colours specifically relating to colour in FIBRE... veeery interesting!

Uniquely Felt by Christine White looks like just about the best all round felting book I've seen yet. It covers SO much, definately the book I would recommend to someone new to felting. Its got good stuff for experienced felters too, there is a very good section about the feltability of different types of wool. One thing I have decided to do after browsing this; felt samples of all the different wools I use (and some I havent so far). Laying each out to the same size and same number of layers, it will be a good visual record of finished texture, density and shrinkage.
Fabulous Felted Scarves by Chad Alice Hagen & Jorie Johnson looks an interesting read. I was amazed when I looked through this to see a scarf I had been visualising and planning to experiment with in Januray - made up and looking fabulous right there in the book! :) How funny is that?! You think you`ve had a good and original idea and its right there as a project in a famous felters book :) Glad I saw it before I made one - I am still going to make it.
I love reading about felt and how other felters work!
Anyway, sunset is streaking the sky with blues & golden orange.. time to go