Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Finishing my 'Slider' Hat

I have finally finished today! Yay :)  As this is my salute to Marc Bolan's Mad Hatter on the cover of The Slider album (which was a stitched together leather hat pictured a few posts back):

I added decorative stitching to echo the functional stitches..
up the back
And around the inside of the crown -
and a little daisy flower .. just because :)
I cut the hat band from a lovely slate blue leather and paired it with
some nickel black stud rivets (screw back)
I love the studs :)
We were just about to have a heavy rainstorm when I took this so the light was weird,
the washed out look to the colours reminds me of how old colour photos look.

If you think I look worried here I was a bit :) the wind kept buffeting my kindle as
I tried to take a photo.. it was strong enough to almost blow it out of my hand!
In the song he says:
'and when I'm sad
I slide'

I did toy with the idea of embroidering the lyric on the hat.. what do you think? Lyric or no?  It's 'Slider' enough without anything that obvious isn't it?  I think I may crumple the crown a little.. see how that looks.

This is a happy hat :)  Short version to follow soon hopefully.

Fibre and Thread Sketching - week 3


I must admit I’m not fond of studying insects up close and personal :)  so this wasn't really a favourite subject for me.   After a couple days thinking about it though I remembered the illustrations in an old Winnie the Pook picture book I used to read with the children when they were little.  Unfortunately I don’t have the book anymore.. but one picture was quite vivid in my memory.. Pooh climbing up a tree looking for honey, with really cute bees flying around him.  SO.. bees.  I started searching the internet looking at bees and a lot of the honey bees looked a bit too waspish for my liking :)- I decided to go for a bumble bee – you can’t not love bumble bees they’re lovely! (apart from when one’s climbing through an air vent next to you.. you can hear the droning buzz and see him wiggling his big legs at you as he clambers through.. ugh - 22 years ago and I still remember how it made me shudder and run lol).
So I sketched him (right).. then traced on to tissue paper.
Onto a piece of black felt I placed pieces of patterned yellow cotton fabric under the 
yellow areas on the tracing and pinned (left).
Using the darning foot on my machine I free motion embroidered around 
the outline, and around the yellow areas securing the fabric there. 
Oh I put some white fabric under the wing area too.
After tearing the tissue paper away I needed to trim the excess fabric away as close 
to the stitching as possible.  I actually forgot to going round the bumble’s ‘beak’ -
didn’t notice this mistake until after I’d cut away the excess black felt.. 
too late to put it right I had to cobble together a solution!
After cutting around the outline of the bumble I had a nice sturdy bee – 
which I forgot to take a photo of unattached!  After stitching some simple 
flowers in the corner I FM stitched the bee in place.. 
It was at this point that I realised my bee had a yellow head.. it should of been black!  
I totally forgot to stitch round the outline of his ‘beak’.  All I could do now 
was reduce the yellow area and give him a smaller head.
Finishing touches were  FM embroidered on.. legs, veins in the wings 
(I used invisible thread for the veins.. never used that in the machine before – I'm really pleased with the effect!)

Measures: 4" x 3"

Sunday, 24 January 2016

A custom built hat :)

This is the other planned hat project I mentioned :)  A custom topper for regular customer / pen-pal Kyle - owner of 2 of my wizard hats.  

This time he wanted a Top Hat.. similar to the Fin wool and Wensleydale locks one - but in GREEN.

I used my 'traditional' resist with the flange at the top
for this one
Layers of natural black, brown and white Fin wool 
(the diagonal band is just sunlight)
With lovely Wensleydale curls in white, grey and brown
Well on it's way to being felted.. throwing it.
You can see how the flat top is forming really well here
'healing' the edges
Checking the shape and size
I was really liking how it looked at this point.. so the next step was a bit scary :) .. I had to take a deep breath before plunging it..

In to the dye pot
It took 2 dye baths to get the colour this deep
First time I struggled to dye it in my smaller pot (pictured) and it just didn't have the room to brew properly.  So second time round I dug my HUGE cauldron out from the garage..  which seemed to work better :)

Colour comparison with sample
This made to measure hat is 1 1/4" bigger than my head
size so I had to keep my head tilted to stop it dropping
down over my eyes :)

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Fibre and Thread Sketching - week 2

I'm going to blog about my Sketch a Day group.. but as mine aren't really sketches per se I shall call the blog posts Fibre and Thread - after all that's what I plan to use for them :)

Week 2 - In the Sea

For the last week or 2 I've been fancying doing some fishy picture panels.. a whale (inspired by Hundertwasser's bathroom whale).. some mackerel, starfish, maybe an octopus.  SO I started off with the whale..
Laying out
Finished.. unless I decide to add some F M machine embroidery
Then I ended up getting sidetracked :)  Looking through whale images I found loads of gorgeous whale tail images.. and a lovely video on youtube - 'how to draw a whales tail' ..  I kind of followed it:

using free motion machine embroidery..
and a felting needle and fibre
instead of a sharpie..
3"x 3" stitch on felt 'sketch'
I was really having fun now!  And decided to do an alternative whale tail doodle :)

silk sari appliqué with F M machine embroidery
I always like seeing the back on machine embroidery.
It's a give away that I forgot to put the lever down when doing her 'whale tail'.. it's all loopy :)

I enjoyed playing with this :)  Think this is going to be good for me!

Monday, 18 January 2016

In with the new..

Last time I made a mad hatter top hat I had a thought for a new resist shape.. Since I have a couple of upcoming hat projects I decided to try out my idea on this first experiment.  I was going to use white merino for my trial run, but decided to use my scraps batts instead :)

This should be fun!  No knowing what will happen with all the crazy colours.. will they go muddy? Or make my heart sing?  

My 3 wildly colourful batts..
Mostly red toned batt for the inner layer
Mostly purple toned batt for the 2nd layer
The 3rd and outer layer is the middle batt in the top photo
Turned inside out; rubbing the top of the hat to strengthen and shape it
Drying out :)
I added a little weight to the brim to keep it flat
I LOVE how the colours are looking!  It is somewhat taller than I had envisioned though :)  Going to have to wait a little while to be finished off properly, I am looking for the perfect (to me) band.. I'll post about it again when I finish off.

My old hat on the right shows the height I expected to get :)
For my new resist I used the same height in between the brim and where I thought the top began.. and just generally tinkered with the shape.  Turns out more of the height must of been drawn over to make the wide top than I realised with the old resist.  Next step is to make another new resist.. but shorter :)  I do love the shape and look of the hat I made.. but it's too tall for a slider, and too similar to others that are already out there!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Out with the old..

Collecting scrap fibre from my 'compost bin' and sorting all the compacted tops from my stash..

Looks quite small in the photo but it was a good pile :)
after the first pass through the carder..
on the drum..
off the drum..
3 distinctly different batts
3 nice fat happy batts
I LOVE working like this.. just grabbing whichever colour comes to hand next and adding it in.. I end up putting colours together that I just wouldn't of done otherwise.  It's an exhilarating way to work!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Inspiration.. no knowing where it will strike

My lovely son (who is 19 today!)  absolutely spoiled me rotten for my birthday and Christmas..  First of all he brought me a gorgeous retro record player in a small GREEN leather case :) for my birthday.. with a Lynard Skynyrd LP (LOVE them both!)  

And then for Christmas he gave me a T-Rex LP!  I have a soft spot for T-Rex.. after all I was named after one of their hits :)  Deborah.  I think it must of Marc Bolan's performance and charm rather than the lyrics that appealed to my mom :)  I'll have to dig out the 1968 vinyl single at mom and dads.. Matt will get a kick out of seeing / hearing that.

He was a handsome man..
But what do you think REALLY caught me eye? :)
This hat is SOoooo coooool!

I just have to felt some SLIDER hats :)  Well.. inspired by it anyway, mine will be actually be seamless.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Something new for 2016

Last year as you know there were times when I was really down and struggled for inspiration.. I often found myself staring at my fibres and wondering what on earth to do with them.  I know this is because I've been struggling against depression.. I have a strong feeling 2016 is going to be another hard year.  

SO..  what to do?  I've joined Ruthie Redden's 'Sketch a Day' group on Facebook.. but my 'sketches' are going to be felt or stitch on felt - I know I shan't have time to join in for each subject but look forward to the ones I do.  I think that little nudge.. the suggestion of a random topic leading to a couple of hours of light hearted 'play' will be good for me.

Week one's subject: ROUNDS

I had a local Jacobs batt left over from my knit/felt vest
.. added some prefelt cut outs
I like it's simplicity like this,
but think I may go back and stitch it when I have time

I enjoyed playing :)

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Under the Beech Tree - A year in photos

I thought it would be nice to finish this off with a post showing our lovely beech tree month by month through 2015..  For years we have watched it change through the seasons, wondering over how much later it is to leaf and shed than the other trees in the woods - it feels good to of recorded a turning year this way.
MARCH 2015
APRIL 2015
MAY 2015
JUNE 2015
JULY 2015