Hello! We've just spent a little bit of time making some changes to our pdf 'Creating Felt Artwork'.
It's fundamentally the same but has some expanded text in some sections and some extra photos and ideas throughout.
We've got 3 copies to give away so if you'd like to be in the draw, please leave a comment below (note: comments are moderated so they won't appear immediately).
The draw closes at midnight GMT on Wednesady 20th July 2016 and the winners will be announced on Thursday 21st July.
Find out more about 'Creating Felt Artwork'
Good luck in the draw :) Of course if you buy a copy then win, we'll happily refund you!
Mmmm.....beer! Handmade felt applique on Calico
It's a good job my dad knows me so well - he wasn't totally surprised when I handed him a Work In Progress for his Fathers Day card then took it straight back from him to finish it "at some time soon..." I did however also hand him a nice bottle of whisky so he was more than happy with that.
So two and a half weeks later I have actually finished it. Yay! Life is always so busy and these things always take longer than you think they will - but lots and lots of love (and unpicking and coffee) went into it. So I'm either two and a half weeks late, or you could say 49.5 weeks early! Bottoms up :)
I had quite a bit of scrap felt leftover from my pineapple bowl so I used the largest piece to stitch a bird and he looks great on my white wall!
I started off with black thread to make the outline and main body parts then yellow thread to highlight the eye and beak. I put a couple of white hand stitches to make a glint in the eye (I had to use pliers to pull the needle through as the the black stitching was so dense) then my plan was to introduce different colours on the breast and wings with either hand or machine stitching. But everytime I added more stitching I didn't like it so I took it off.
Less is more. After several hours I was back to the simply stitched bird. Annie wanted me to put a hat on it but I said "No, I'm happy with it as it is!"
We both liked the idea of making a felty pineapple thing, using this picture Annie took as inspiration a few years ago:
I decided to make a wet-felted and stitched bowl...
I like the way the light shines through the gaps at the base...
...and I love the deep golden yellow of the merino wool.
The finished bowl is a million miles away from my original plan, but that's often the case when you're making something for the first time isn't it? The handmade felt was stitched and unpicked dozens of times - but handmade felt is very forgiving as long as you're careful with the stitch-ripper.
The photo below was taken inside the bowl to show a whole pineapple, each one is 22.5cm tall (just under 9"), and the base is a pentagon.
My Dad saw the bowl before I stitched it into shape and he reckoned it might make a nice table centre on a round table. I think it works quite well!
Mum's bowl makes me fancy a nice tropical cocktail! Grandma and grandad used to have a pineapple ice bucket on their drinks cabinet :)
I decided to make a picture of a pineapple - like mum, mine doesn't look anything like what I had in my mind! Although it's not finished yet (par for the course with me!) as I think maybe it needs a bit of snazzing up with some bright stitches. Will have a think.
Here are some pics of the process from start to end:
Lots of mess - standard!
Decided the dark blue background was too dark (not a colour I'd normally choose
but it's good to get out of your comfort zone every now and again isn't it!)
so I lightened it up a bit with some squares of fabric and netting.
Close up of background - the stripes are strands of yellow silk that
I originally planned to make into a wallpaper background.
I had to have a few goes at the greenery - it kept just looking like
an odd plant in an odd vase!
Close-Ups After wet felting
Ta da! My pineapple (or an odd plant in an odd vase - you choose!)
He will go to live on my craft room wall until inspiration strikes and he might get some stitching!
In August of last year I made a textured felt sample, shown below, by sprinkling chopped up bits of fulled felt onto a bed of loose white merino fibres, then felting it all together (blog post).
I liked the result and thought it could be useful in a textured picture, so I chopped up a few more pieces, had a think whilst snipping away, and jotted down a few ideas... but that's as far as I got.
Fast forward eight months and a new challenge from The Felting and Fiber Forum has been announced - to make something using off-cuts from your scrap-box and/or finish a UFO that's been hanging around too long.
My overflowing felt scrap-box (Annie has one too!)
Last August, one idea I'd jotted down was to make a picture of the fingerpost at Lands End, Cornwall, using the chopped up bits of felt to give an impression of the background. I still liked the idea, so after laying out a bed of white merino fibres, I scattered bits of scrap felt, of appropriate colours, on the top of the loose fibres to represent the sky, horizon, sea, hill, beach and flora.
This is how it looked after felting:
I dug around in the scrap-box and found enough white off-cuts to make the fingerpost. I hand-stitched the place names, cut out the shapes, then stitched them to the background.
The finished piece is approx 50cm x 34cm (19.5" x 13.5") and the angled photo below shows the texture well.
We've had so many lovely holidays in Cornwall that working on this piece has me looking forward to the summer!
It's still a work in progress but I've done a little bit on my Lulworth / Arish Mell project. I cut up a couple of the small pieces of handmade felt I made and layered them up along with some dry fibres, yarn and scrim then needle felted it all together to make a new small piece of felt. I stitched a few details on such as some horizontal big stitches to represent the knee-achingly steep steps on the the walk from Lulworth and down to Arish Mell!
It is only small at 15cm x 20cm so I could make a set of 3, or work a bigger piece next.
Below are some of the dry pieces laid out. I quite liked it like that, nice and simple.
Below is the picture cropped in Photoshop. I often find it hard to choose if I like a nice neat straight edge or the natural edge of the felt!
I haven't finished many things recently as I've been so busy, but I have been playing when I do get time and trying lots of little sample ideas out like stitching yarn through scrim then felting it, felting in knitting, needle felting scrim etc. Fun!
I'm off on holiday soon and had to empty my camera and phone as they are full up. I was perusing some of my photos - I take so many of random things! - and I found this rather nice photo of a pineapple. I think he would look rather gorgeous in felt and stitch, perhaps in lots of nice unusual colours. But he'll have to get in the queue behind the pomegranates and peacocks and other odd ideas :)
How do you organise all of your creative ideas? Mine all just seem to be having a big bun fight with no order!
The first quarter challenge on The Felting and Fiber Forum is to make something using a flat resist, and as I wanted to try something that I hadn't done before, I used Elynn's youtube video that shows how to do the cracked mud technique in wet felting.
The photos above show my first effort (left) and my second effort (right).
I made three layers of merino wool then placed my resist, cut from laminate flooring underlay, on top.
I covered the resist and base layers with three layers of a lighter colour merino wool as I wanted the darker colour to show from under the cracks. Then I topped the wool with some trilobal nylon fibres and a little white tussah silk top.
I rubbed the wool until it passed the pinch test, then cut out the resist. It was very fiddly, even with my tongue poking out at the correct angle! But the effort was worth it. It looked good...until I started to full it.
Now we all know how difficult it is to felt together two pieces of felt that have passed the pinch test don't we? Well not this time! I had to keep releasing the shapes from the base layer - it's as though they were determined to become one layer - so the edges of the shapes and the surrounding border became a bit ragged. So much so that I had to resort to a bit of fine trimming. Hence the large gaps instead of tiny cracks. Unfortunately the raggedy border around the shapes was well and truly felted to the background before I could get my little scissors out.
Trimming the shapes was not in the plan, but it has made the dark base show through well, and I quite like it!
So for my second go, I thought I'd use a thinner resist. The laminate flooring underlay is 3mm thick, so it's hard work to felt the cut-out areas because of the depth of the resist. Also, I decided to continue rubbing a long way past the pinch test before cutting the resist out.
I cut a new resist from thick packaging plastic and I rubbed much longer before cutting out the resist, but I still couldn't get the edges of the shapes 'sharp' - there's a little bit of 'raggedy'. However, practice makes perfect and the second go is an improvement on the first.
Subconsciously I must have been thinking of a giraffe when I laid the orange and white down!
During a brief window of sunshine last weekend we took a short walk from Lulworth to Arish Mell and back - we just got back to the pub in time before the rain started. Perfect!
It’s only a short walk (but rather hilly!) and the scenery is beautiful. It got me thinking that I haven’t made a landscape picture recently and when I got home I put my thinking hat on.
I was looking through my felty bits and found the piece of felt pictured above (not sure which way up I like best) that I might use as a starting point for ideas - it is cut from the side of the piece of felt that I made the New Year video from. It’s sort of an “accidental landscape”. I love that about felt - from one big piece you can cut it up and make tiny pictures - sometimes they just present themselves. A bit like the little pieces below - I made one sheet of handmade felt to cut letters from then decided I didn’t really like the shade of pink, but the mini landscapes are rather nice :)
Anyway, on the walk I took a few photographs but mostly kept my hands in my gloves because while it was sunny it was cold! Except for walking up Bindon Hill and back up from Arish Mell - that was hot work!
Even if it had been a glorious day there was no time to sketch anything, my husband always walks at 100mph! I might have to go and do the sloooow version on my own at some point and take in more of the detail. But from what I saw and the photos I did take I thought "From Lulworth to Arish Mell" would be an interesting project to make in handmade felt.
I haven’t really got a plan yet - but I don’t want it to be too literal. And I want to keep it smallish. Just have a play with nice colours and shapes and a hint at what it is. Although that could change. I’ve just started by making several pieces of pre-felt that I can collage together and cut up and stitch and needle into. I’d possibly quite like this picture to end up flattish and more like a painting on a canvas than a highly textured piece of felt. Well, that’s what’s in my mind’s eye, but let’s face it quite often I end up with something else entirely!
I was looking through some old bits of felt for inspiration and rediscovered the nice effect you can get from needle felting scrim through from the back of thin felt - I love the little loops, although the photo below (blue) doesn’t show it that well. It’s a bit like when you’ve played with the tension on the sewing machine. Also the pink piece is dyed scrim (open weave cotton fabric) on yellow felt. I love the colour peeping through and the effect it gives the felt. I’ve made 7 pieces of pre-felt so far for my little landscape. I want to do some more, maybe like the samples below and some almost see through white pieces to layer up.
I'll work on this alongside some other projects and see where it takes me. A couple of weeks ago I did another fabulous Art Taster painting workshop at the Colour Factory in Winchester (which I’ll write about at some point because there is another felt picture waiting to get out from that!). During the workshop I was describing my difficulty in focussing on a single project until it is complete because so many ideas keep coming, and I keep getting distracted, and we decided that for me maybe having multiple projects on the go might work better because it can keep things fresh and keep you interested because you are not dedicating all your spare time to one single idea. Let's see!
Here is the painting I did on the day - Pomegranates! I didn't finish it because I ran out of time, then I decided that I actually really like it unfinished and to do any more work on it would ruin it. So at least I can count that as a finished project :)
Hello and Happy New Year!
We hope you like our little video - this was our first ever go at making a stop motion film (new year, new challenges!) so it involved a lot of guesswork and a lot of laughs - have you ever tried to balance a camera tripod between your knees while sewing? and then realising once you've finished that you forgot to focus the camera anyway?!
It's not perfect but it was fun to do and we hope to play with this some more - lots of ideas start coming along once you start playing don't they!
We hope that everyone has had a lovely holiday :) x