I have just realised that this blog reached its one year anniversary on Tuesday. I can’t believe how the time has flown.

I had a look back through my old posts expecting to find my style or felting techniques to have changed over the year but I’m not sure they really have. Certainly I have learned some better ways of making felt but for the most part I am still using the same basic techniques such as nuno felting and using resists and inclusions in my felt. The only obvious change is my choice of fibres, a year ago I was almost exclusively using merino but lately have been using more Corriedale and BFL. Have you noticed any changes in your felt-making over the last year or so?

Here are a couple of pieces I have been working on this week.

The finished pumpkin bag:

And a couple of pods:

I have also been working on a second lichen-inspired wall hanging which is currently drying with various pins holding the lichen folds in place. I will post a photo in a day or two when the pins come out.

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

A Productive Week

Not sure what happened to me this week but it’s like someone put amphetamines in my coffee. Last week I could barely motivate myself to cook for myself and only managed to produce one piece of felt. This week I have turned into a felting whirling dervish… Here are a few of the things I have started / finished so far this week:

I dyed the lacy scarf I made on Sunday but after looking at it for a couple of days decided I wasn’t that happy with it so put it back in the dye bath.

Much better!
It now makes me think of autumnal leaves falling into a river.

Some felt cuffs using a similar technique to the scarf, there is an adult and 2 child sizes, I think you can just see where I have cut some slits in the adult one, I hope the cuts will open up to make a lacy effect with a little felting persuasion.

A little felt pod made using an adaptation of the lacy felt technique to create the loops you can see in the second picture.

A felt vase made from some shibori dyed prefelt, this is still very much a WIP but I hope the top will look like a 5-petal flower when it’s finished.

A Halloween-inspired bag, still quite a long way to go on this one but I think you can make out that it will be a pumpkin… one day!

I started this “coral” piece before I went on my hols but it takes so long to needle-felt each strip into place that I only just got as far as wet felting it this week. It is currently drying and waiting to be fixed to some stretcher bars.

These 2 pieces were started at Dagmar Binder’s class in September. The pale blue piece was an uninspiring, flat multi-layered disc that I have been looking at for weeks trying to decide what to do with it. I finally picked it up and started playing with it this week, folding it this way and that and this shape was born. An hour of stitching later and it is now drying in it’s new form. Given that I was ready to throw it on the reject / recycling pile a few days ago I’m rather pleased with how it turned out.

The dark blue piece below is a sewer’s bowl, the raised ring around the outside is a perfect pin cushion, while the bowl will prevent your reels of thread, beads etc. from rolling away. It was inspired by photos of a coral polyps:

A nuno felt scarf (would you believe, dyed the silk, felted and finished this week, including a rolled hem).

I also felted this cotton scrim and embroidered bowl, even after using CMC to stiffen it I wasn’t that happy that it would keep its shape so opted to felt it.

And finally another piece from Fiona Duthie’s surface design class. I think this might be come a book cover…

As if all this wasn’t enough I have also scoured and dyed a Shetland fleece, all the beautiful colours are busy drying over my bathtub. More on those in another post.

I think I have earned myself a glass of wine 🙂 Hope you are having lots of fun in your felting adventures too 🙂

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Fiona Duthie Surface Design Workshop

I signed up for Fiona Duthie’s online suface design workshop a few weeks and it started last week and I have to say I am loving it! Although many of the techniques we have covered so far are already familiar to me, Fiona has some quirky suggestions for how to use the techniques that I am finding very refreshing and stimulating. It looks like we will be covering 2 or 3 techniques each week and coming to the end of week 2 I am loving combining the different techniques in new ways.

While I don’t feel it would be fair to Fiona to share the actual techniques here I think it is ok to show some of the results….

I plan to add some stitching to this piece to highlight the setting sun on the left and make the foreground look more like a beach.

I still need to do quite a lot of needle-felting details onto the turtle’s head and legs and I will add more texture to the “rock” with some stitching but am pleased with how this piece is coming along.

Sculpting with Wool from Different Breeds

During the workshop by Yvonne Habbe we almost exclusively used the wool batts that she provided, they were Swedish Fine Wool, not a breed / type of wool I had encountered before and it appears not one that is widely available either. It was lovely to work with but given it’s apparent scarcity I have been experimenting with different breeds to find a suitable alternative for small sculptures. The list below is by no means exhaustive, it just represents what I had in my wool stash (even I was surprised by the range of what I found when I pulled all the bags out!).

As a point of interest all of the pieces below were made from the same resist, I think it shows how versatile this technique is, the only limit to the shapes that can be formed is my imagination….

Swedish Fine Wool
This was my control against which all the other breeds were compared.
It felted easily, making a firm felt with nice sharp folds.

Overall assessment – very good

This piece was dyed after sculpting.

Felted quickly and firmly holding 3D forms very well but not so easy to make sharp folds.

Overall assessment – moderate to good

This breed was a disaster. I was using raw fleece, it was incredibly difficult to lay out (I really should have scoured and carded it first) and I could not persuade it to felt. I gave up in the end. I think this wool will be nice blended with another breed but I don’t hold out any hope for 3D felt sculptures.

Overall assessment – poor

Blue Faced Leicester (BFL)
Felted easily, holding 3D shapes well and formed reasonably sharp folds

Overall assessment – good to very good

Red dye was added to the finished piece

Felted easily and made a firm felt that held the 3D shapes well but did not form sharp folds (I may have laid it out too thickly).

Overall assessment – poor to moderate

This was a lovely wool to work with, it felted very easily and had a softness I would normally associate with fine merino. It holds 3D shapes reasonably well but is a bit too flexible / soft for structural pieces, it formed nice sharp folds though.

Overall assessment – Good for small pieces

Moderately easy to felt, folds well but not as sharply as BFL (possibly due to needing to full further to get it to hold a 3D shape).

Overall assessment – Moderate to good

Red and yellow dyes were used to add some colour and dark blue merino was needle felted from the centre to provide tonal balance

Gotland Lambswool
Little bit slow to felt, made a firm felt that held 3D forms very well and could make reasonably sharp folds. I think this wool could be used for larger structures.

These are the lovely locks before I carded them

Overall assessment – good to very good

Blue and red acid fast dyes were used to add some colour

Felted easily, made nice firm shapes and reasonably sharp folds.

Overall assessment – good to excellent for larger sculptures

Green and red details were needle felted onto the finished piece.

Felted well and formed tight folds but not as firm / structurally strong as some of the others. Fine for smaller pieces.

Overall assessment – moderate

South American
Slow to felt, holds 3D shapes well but difficult to make sharp folds.

Overall assessment – poor to moderate

This piece was dyed after sculpting

This wool has quite coarse fibres that were difficult to mould around the small resist, made a prefelt quite quickly but took a while to full. The finished felt is quite hairy and was difficult to form sharp folds

Overall assessment – poor

For small sculptures I think BFL is the winner with Gotland lambswool a close second. Finnish is my favourite for larger sculptures. I think special mention is due to Polwarth, this is the first time I have felted with this and it was lovely to work with, so soft and felted easily, it would be lovely for felt pieces worn next to the skin.

Obviously this is just how these wools behaved in my hands and everyone felts differently but I hope this will be a helpful reference for anyone thinking of embarking on a sculptural felt adventure 🙂

Finished Pieces

I finally managed to finish a few more pieces this week, here are the results.

 Added some beads to this brooch

 This starfish brooch is rather large but very striking, I added some orange felt balls for contrast and stitched ridges along the top of each arm.
I think this piece looks a lot like seeds nestling in their husk

This is the first of 3 bags I have been working on over the last few weeks, this has been almost finished for at least 3 weeks but I finally found time this week to put a zip across the main compartment and add a little hand embroidery. I call it the “peekaboo” bag because you can see through it 🙂

Inside the bag, showing the 2 large internal pockets, there’s also a couple of pen pockets but you can’t see those as easily in this photo.
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