Category Archives: challenge

Adding Dimension

This quarter, the FFS challenge is to add dimension to our felt, on the face of it I should find this challenge easy, almost everything I make is 3D in nature but that rather seems to defeat the purpose, after all, surely a challenge should be just that! 🙂

Last weekend I had a mini epiphany; I really like the effect of shibori felt like the brooch below but using the “tie in a stone/button/marble technique” is not very practical when you are creating a 3D object over a resist as you need extra felt to stretch over the inclusions and it invariably makes the surrounding felt uneven too. I woke up on Sunday morning and my first thought was to create these cup shapes separately and then attach them to the main piece of felt. Is it really sad that I am now dreaming about felt?

This was the piece made with the separate resists. It was very slow work making these 7 little cups and I’m not sure I will use this method a lot but it was interesting to try and I’m happy with the result.




This box is quite large, just shy of a foot square and 5 inches tall.

I wanted to make a small bowl inspired by this pine cone, it started out as a bowl but I clearly wasn’t concentrating while laying out the flaps and spikes so it became a pod instead… 🙂




Finally, I started working on a new vest top that I have been thinking about since attending a dress-making course with Cristina Pacciani at the beginning of July, it still needs some shaping in the back and around the collar but you can already see all the texture from the silk and felt ropes laid under the silk. Originally I was going to make this in royal blue chiffon but then decided white habouti would better showcase the different textures.





What are you planning for the 3rd quarter challenge?

Illuminated Lion Fish

A few weeks ago I bought a selection of different LED lights to try out in felted lights and this week I made a start with the first of them, making and lion fish night-light.

I posted this picture on Facebook and really didn’t expect anyone to guess what it might turn into bu Judith got it in just 3 guesses!


This is him in the making:


And nearly finished, he just needs a little more fulling to make his spines stand up straight and some shaping around his mouth to give him his smile back:



I have also been working on a bag, that had an unusual beginning; my other half broke an axe handle a few weeks ago and while he saw a piece of firewood, I saw a couple of bag handles! After some sanding and a few coats of varnish I think the wood has come up really nicely. I’m so glad I rescued it from the wood pile 🙂



I’m not sure this is what Ann had in mind when she set the 2nd quarter, stash-busting challenge but I think up-cycling an old axe handle qualifies! 🙂

Second Quarter Challenge, zippered pouches

Today I have been doing a little more stash-busting, working through my piles of nuno felt, left over from various dress making projects and a box of fabric off-cuts. I have been using the nuno felt as a pretty, textured outer with the fabric off-cuts as linings for earbud pouches and a small boxy bag that I plan to use as a pencil case.










Moss on bark hat

Following on from the bark hat I made in response to Fiona’s challenge last week, I thought I would make another, more literal interpretation of the shapes nature had deeply carved into the oak bark. This was the hat from last week for comparison:


And today’s hat, with a little tuft of moss growing out of the crown:




The pinky-brown prefelt that has languished in the bottom of a box for over a year is nearly all gone, just one short strip left…

Two birds with the same stone…

Fiona Duthie recently posted a challenge to the Surface Design Online Facebook group page, asking us to use trees as our inspiration and make a felt piece using one or more of the techniques from the SDO course.

I am very fortunate to have a wood just over the road from my home, I walk through it most days and the tree species are primarily silver birch, oak and pine. The rough texture of the oak bark particularly caught my attention and was my inspiration for this hat.



Because I used up some prefelt I dyed last year, I think this hat also qualifies for the Felting and Fiber Forum 2nd Quarter challenge to do some stash-busting / recycling. This was the rather uninspiring piece of prefelt, I don’t think it takes too much imagination to see why it waited so long before finding a good use…


Two challenges achieved with a single hat 🙂

This is another hat I have been working on for Fiona’s challenge:


And my other half broke an axe a couple of weeks ago, I am currently working on a bag that will use part of the broken handle for the bag handle – another entry for the FFF challenge 🙂 More on that in a future post…

Hats with Judit Pocs

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy… After 9 happy years working for Eli Lilly and Company I handed in my notice, it was a  very difficult decision, the people I work with are so wonderful I am already grieving at the thought of not seeing them every day. I hope we will stay in touch but I know how difficult it is to maintain friendships if you don’t meet up regularly.

Now I am finding that it is very true what they say about job hunting be a full time occupation in itself but at least I am in the fortunate position of being able to be selective about which opportunities I apply for.

Last week was spent in sunny Devon, attending 2, two-day workshops with the very talented Judit Pocs, a felt-maker from Hungary.  The first workshop was in Tiverton, making hats. I have attended a hat making workshop with Judit before and she was so generous with the variety of styles and techniques that she taught in that first workshop, I wasn’t expecting to learn any new techniques, I was approaching this workshop as a fun activity vacation. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

The whole group managed to finish at least one hat in the 2 days, most of us had at least started a second, even if, like mine it wasn’t finished before we had to leave the community centre.


A selection of the hats we made, the white, blue and red one to the right of centre was also a bag!


The texture on this hat was from a beautiful devore silk fabric


Claire’s hat – she and I used a similar technique to create silk ruffles

The next few photos are of the “cat hat” I made first, I’m very happy with how the sequins in the ears and the silk over the felt “bumps” turned out.





In the last couple of hours I made use of one of my screen-printed prefelts to make a “boxy” hat.

This was the prefelt before laying out the hat:IMG_6125

And the (nearly) finished hat, it just needs a couple of stitches to hold the felt ring in place:





As with the other printed prefelts, the finer details of the print, such as the orange circles from the bubble wrap, disappeared but the rest of this print was so bold it has held up well to fulling.

Judit also ran a bag workshop after the hat workshop, more on that soon!

Q1 Challenge for 2016 – Part 2

The Chain Hat is progressing although it has been a little bit argumentative; I have had to resort to stitching more of the links together than I had initially planned.



I started a new hat yesterday that also fits into the resist theme, this one was inspired by the phrase “fiery red-head” and will hopefully look like an inferno on the wearer’s head when it is finished. It is still a work in progress but here it is before cutting in the flame shapes.





Q1 Challenge for 2016 – initial thoughts

The lovely ladies at the Felting and Fiber Studio have just posted the first challenge for 2016. This year the challenges will focus on different techniques, for Q1 the technique is resists…. more info can be found on their site here.

I use resists in almost all of my felt work so making a simple vessel, bag or applying a cracked mud design to a piece feels a bit like cheating, this is meant to be a challenge after all.

I have been an admirer of Australian felt artist, Sue Smorthwaite’s work since I met her on a workshop with Fiona Duthie last year, when thinking about this challenge my thoughts kept returning to this piece in particular.

Sue Smorthwaite – Weighted Untruths

So, interlocking chains were high on my wish list for this piece. I settled on a hat and started sketching ideas and opted for this version (apologies for the scruffy sketch, this was just me jotting down ideas).


Sue appears to have stuffed the links of her chains, while I can do that for the rings that rest on the head, I fear stuffing the dangling rings will make it too heavy so will need to find an alternative solution, either fulling the felt so that it is stiff enough to hold the ring shape or applying some fabric stiffener. I expect I will need a combination of the two.

Cutting out the resists:


Covering with wool and adding some decoration to make the “chains” appear to be rusty:IMG_5774 IMG_5775

This piece is already proving to be a little argumentative, the links that should remain loose and moveable keep trying to felt to each other and the rings that I need to felt together are doing their best to resist felting.

What do you have in mind for your challenge piece?

Productive Weekend

It’s not quite finished but now the sleeves are attached the hooded jacket looks a lot closer to finished.

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It just needs a button and some top stitching down the front and it is finished

Yesterday I made another cat-eating fish, cat cave from some hand-dyed Corriedale.

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Feeling inspired by this pine cone:

I made a bowl:


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And I finally finished these 2 scarves, originally I put a rolled hem on these but did not like the finish so removed the hems, reshaped the scarves and felted the edges to stop them from fraying.

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The silk is still very shiny, the photos really don’t do it justice at all.


What have you been up to?