Fourth Quarter Challenge 2015

I’m still feeling a bit direction-less on this challenge, ambling from one idea to the next but I have at least managed to commit to making a couple of pieces of felt this week, both based on the challenge.

The first is a small hanging based on this photo of some cone flowers (rudbekia):

cone flowers

My idea for this picture was to use different tones and shades to visually bring some of the flowers forward while sending others into the background.

Using the ball of ochre coloured wool in the middle of this photo I blended some different tones and shades by adding different quantities of white or black.


And used these batts to make some prefelts:


I confess I cheated a little – the yellow in the middle is not a tone or shade of the ochre colour, the original colour is the square 2nd from right on the bottom row.

These prefelts were cut up and arranged on a square of black commercial prefelt:


After lots of rubbing and a little bit of rolling all the pieces are firmly attached and it is ready for some finer details to be added.


I quite like the jolly, cartoon-like effect but think I can make the flowers look more 3-dimensional with some shading using the left over prefelts and pieces of the batts.

This weekend I also made a start on a hooded jacket, again applying the challenge instruction of using just one colour plus black and white. There’s still some way to go but here is a little taster…

Rummaging through my stash I found some bundles of carded natural merino batts in white and dark brown, I had an idea that using batts would speed up the layout, which it did, but any time I saved in the initial lay-out was lost needle-felting more wool over the thin spots at the prefelt stage. 🙁


I attached a hood to my favourite dress resist. Masking tape is great for making temporary changes to resists. You can see where I have permanently altered this resist to add sleeves using duct tape.


Laying out the wool with some lovely Wensleydale locks for extra texture and some white mulberry silk for a little bit of sheen.


Starting to layout the front sections:

With a little luck I hope to post the finished jacket next time.

Q4 Challenge and Winkworth Arboretum

The final Felting and Fiber Studio Form challenge for this year centres around tone and shade, mixing white and black with a single colour. Although I had a small hand in creating this challenge I know I am going to find it difficult to retrain myself to a single colour. I can’t resist the drama created by placing complimentary colours next to each other.

Last weekend we paid a trip to Winkworth Arboretum, a National Trust property just south of Godalming in Surrey, a beautiful place, especially with all the trees just starting to turn red and gold, and definitely worth the excursion if you are an NT member. These are just a few of the photos I took.

IMG_0104 IMG_0100

IMG_0176 IMG_0172 IMG_0164 IMG_0139 IMG_0112

I am finding myself strangely drawn to the last image, I think it is the feeling that path is inviting the viewer to some unseen destination.

Initially I had an idea to create a triptych wall hanging depicting a woodland scene with one panel each of yellow, orange and crimson but I am already wandering off on another tangent. I might still come back to that idea though as I still think it has “legs”.After having a play with the colour tools in GIMP (a free photo-editing software that is similar to Photoshop), these were the front-runners:

I quite like the last one which is more of a grey-scale with the greens added back in, although the third image down, also has merit, that one is essentially a posterised version of the last image but I am finding it looks like there is snow on the ground while the trees are in leaf. The greens are also showing splashes of blue and yellow rather than just shades and tones.

Challenge Cheat

This quarter’s challenge from the felting and fibre studio was to dye or blend our colours to match samples from a colour pallet generator. I only had an afternoon this weekend for felting so decided to bend the rules a little. I found a photo I liked in Pinterest and plugged it into a colour pallet generator with this result:


Instead of blending / dyeing my own colours, I rummaged through my wool stash for the closest colours I could find to pallet of colours above:

I decided to make something small, a phone case for an iphone I haven’t even bought yet. I know, I’m a little bit mad but when I get an idea in my head I rarely have the patience to be sensible.

Keeping to the flower theme of the original photo, I created a resist based on phone dimensions I found on the web and started laying out my wools and found some scarlet cotton in my scrap bag along with some pieces of hand-dyed prefelt that I thought would work well with this colour pallet (another deviation from the challenge brief).


This is the nearly finished case, I just need to trim the pocket where the phone will sit, but I will wait for the phone to arrive before I do that final step, even I’m not that brave/stupid/reckless (delete as appropriate).

Here it is drying (front and back):

IMG_5496 IMG_5497

I’m already thinking about adding some machine embroidery to the front flap….


It’s been a busy week but my challenge piece is finally finished! 🙂

Since my last post I added some embroidery to sharpen up the edges of the orange prefelts. First I had to choose some threads, I’m a big fan of the Gutterman Sulky threads for machine embroidery, they are reliably strong and have a lovely sheen that looks wonderful next to felt.

I started with the orange stripes in the top left quadrant.

IMG_4755 IMG_4760

I’m really pleased with the colour blending of the threads and the beautiful 3D effect you get from this style of stitching on felt.

Of course, it’s impossible to stop at one small area when you start with free motion embroidery….
IMG_4758 IMG_4763 IMG_4765 IMG_4767

  When I went to bed it looked like this:

When I woke up this morning I looked at it again and took it back to the sewing machine – spot the differences….

I have been planning to hang this piece on stretcher bars from the start. Most of my felt hangings are sturdy enough to stretch directly over the frame but this one is a bit finer, it might be alright but I don’t think it is worth risking it stretching and sagging in the middle so I hand stitched some poplin cotton to the back for extra support.

Before stretching it over the bars ready for hanging:
IMG_4770Finally some close ups from the finished hanging:
IMG_4772 IMG_4773 IMG_4773a IMG_4782 IMG_4798

Q3 Challenge Part 3

Before I went to bed last night I laid out some prefelt shapes made from the carded batts, and not one to waste anything, a few of the discs cut from the silk cocoons too.


I am loving the orange against the blue (I knew I would) but now I am worrying that the colours will all blend together as the piece is fulled. Thinking about it, I have unwittingly managed to include all the primary and secondary colours from the colour wheel except red, I’m quietly praying it doesn’t turn into a muddy brown mess…. 🙁

Starting to fix the design, I rather like how the bubbles and plastic overlay the design underneath, the stark lines are created by the silk cocoon bumps.


Removing the plastic to rearrange some of the prefelts that have moved while rubbing


After lots more rubbing and a bit of throwing I gingerly opened up the cocoons, some of them had rotated so that the holes I had so neatly cut to let the dye in were no longer at the top.
I’m a little bit disappointed the edges to the orange prefelts have gone rather fuzzy (I should have made the prefelt firmer before cutting it up) but I think I can visually sharpen them back up with a bit of machine embroidery.

Some close ups of the felt while it is still drying:

IMG_4745 IMG_4747 IMG_4748 IMG_4749

I love how this cocoon produced a tail of loose silk as I opened it up:

Next time, adding some embroidery and thinking about how to hang / frame it.

1 2 3 4