Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wool Gathering

I've been gathering my supplies ready for the felting workshop I'm taking with Ulrieke Benner on Saltspring Island, because I leave for it tomorrow! I have an idea to use some of my natural dyed fabrics - but I'm also taking other fabrics, yarns, threads and beads. I hope to come back with new knowledge and some pieces I like. We have had some beautiful sunny days and it would be great if tomorrow's weather is nice, too.

I dyed some silk rods and made a rose with them:

And I wet felted some wool so that I could dye it with some brilliant red maple leaves. The red sides are facing down in the photos and as you can see, I didn't end up with red anyhow, but brown.

I've added it to my stash headed to Saltspring, and I'm excited!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Purl of Wisdom

I was at Knotty By Nature today to get a few supplies and I learned to cast off my knitting

and how to purl. It feels great to finally know what that is and to be able to do it!

And I'm adding layers to this, now.

Blending Colours

I was noticing the vibrancy of fall's colours, today, so a little dyeing was just the thing to satisfy expressing some of that - after wet felting a white base, first.

And why not do some silk rods, too ?

I've cut some of my prefelts and woven them together, felting them to a fabric base and you can see both sides have a different look.

So much to learn...

Hand Crafted

This velvet devore is nuno felted using merino and silk roving. I will add more colour and texture variety later on. I am really liking manipulating the fibres directly with my hands and how I can feel them change. And I was in the studio wondering where my muse was going to take me next when I suddenly wondered if I could make a wet felted hand - and no, I didn't use my hand as a base - it would have turned into a prune, as the wool took several days to dry! I'm not sure what I will do with it, but it's bound to come in hand-y - maybe for when I could use a hand :)

This began as a dry felting experiment with yarn and fabric bits on roving and commercial felt

and turned into a wet felted one, when I added more roving on the top:

All these random experiments are continuing to teach me how the materials interact and what effects the various processes yield.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Dimension

The textured and raised surface of these layered shingles and the 3D nature of this seaweed on the sand

is what I'm trying to create in felt.

I had pleated the nuno prefelt below using my embellisher machine and then tried unsuccessfully to wet felt additional roving to the undersides of the pleats. So I removed the roving and just completed felting it and ended up with a bit of a ripple effect - and alot smaller piece!

So much to learn and I'm glad I will have the workshop with felt artist Ulrieke Benner to help me out, soon.

Tracking Time

Some leaves are still clinging to their branches, while others are gathering in corners. It felt good to pick up a needle again to add some stitch to the leaf prints on this:

Did you know that the needle is the most ancient tool still in use today in its original form? Although nowadays, of course, it's made from metal. About a month ago I went to see the film 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams', which was a 3D experience of going into France's Chauvet cave to see the world's oldest known existing art. It is mind boggling to think that humans drew on the walls 32 000 years ago. This is based on one of the cave bears :

The experience of stitching this was a little eery - like going deep into the cave of time to follow the hands of unknown ancestors as they drew the images.

I am very excited about this direction and plan to take it further.

Adding Texture

Here's a case of 'losing my marbles'. And nuno felting with a bit of silk gauze I had snow dyed earlier this year when we actually got some snow. Both sides are attractive and the wool and silk roving adhered nicely.

For this one I tried adding some velvet devore strips, silk scraps and sari threads to the wool and silk roving, but I ended up covering the goodies too thickly for them to show much - oops!

And dry felting on some embroidered tulle first, followed by wet felting.

The more I experiment, the more I see how sewing and the various types of felting and materials could work together.

Feeling My Way

I have been exploring further with felting, which is really a whole new medium with all the trial and error learnings along the way. I am working small and just sampling, seeing what's possible for now, with an eye to creating larger and completed pieces in future. For these I carded different colours and types of wool to make some prefelts and tried a lattice. Here is a sliced ball technique I have done before - but wanted to do again. I am building a stash of felt so that at some point I will have enough to draw from to make a finished piece.

A few cord experiments - the bottom one is dry felted with an embellisher machine.

And seeing how yarn might be wet felted to add design.

Impromptu and small as these are, having tried these various techniques, I will remember them as possbilities later when I want to make something specific.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Clearing the Fog

I love fog and the element of mystery it adds to the landscape. A recent foggy morning carried into another wet felting experiment:

And here is the wool after the addition of soap, water and alot of elbow grease!

The white wispy look also reminds me of cobwebs. If I were to do it over, I might put less on, as the leaves are a little too obscured - but I can also use stitch to alter that. Here is the opposite side:

I also was at a day workshop with Sue Nylander about fitting a vest or a jacket and came away with a variety of measurements that I hope are correct, since me and my partner in the workshop kept getting different numbers when we would double check. I don't know if I'll use any of the information since I have hardly ever sewn clothing or worked with a pattern - but at least I have some guidelines, now. The jacket I sewed before the workshop still needs binding and I hope to get to that soon. Oh - and I signed up for a felting workshop with Ulrieke Benner on Saltspring Island at the end of the month. I am wanting to clear my fog about specific textural things and she is very flexible in teaching what her students want to know.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

New to Nuno

Today I tried nuno felting again. Two hours into working to get the fibres to unify with the habotai, I decided to cover the back with wool roving and see if that worked better - a little bit like sandwiching - and it has come together nicely, although after doing some reading, I moved on to using more nuno friendly fabrics. Here is a close up and I do love the texture, which will be a pleasure to stitch.

I decided a tiny experiment was in order - so as to reduce the amount of rolling!

But when the cheesecloth worked well and was far quicker, I had to try silk organza - which really worked well.

As with any new medium and technique, there is a learning curve and I'm glad I kept working at it to see some results. I also am enjoying how I can use old fabrics from experiments that didn't turn out well and they look great with some wool added. I have thought of an exciting idea to try next... And here is a very interesting video with food - or rather fibre - for thought:

Silk and Wool Blends

I started yesterday attempting to nuno felt, but the fibres mostly stuck to each other more than to the silk ground. So I needle punched them later when they had dried, which really took away from their dimension, and I think I would hand stitch things down, next time. Then I began knitting a silk/merino blend - my first time using circular needles and nearly my first time knitting - as I've tried it once as a girl and a few years ago when I began this blog. I only know the basic knitting stitch but I intend to learn more and want to experiment with less traditional knitting and try felting some of it.

And I enjoyed seeing fall's changes at Elk lake.

My made over sweatshirt provided just the right amount of warmth.

I've been continuing to experiment with nuno felting and I will do another post to show my results.

Friday, October 7, 2011


I went into the studio yesterday eager to get back to more felting - except that is not what my muse had planned for me. Sometimes I am caught in a creative whirlwind that I just spin along with, for the ride. A sweatshirt is what caught my eye - one that has sat waiting to be personalized for a long time. I auditioned all manner of fabrics, with candidates from eco printing, chenille, silk shibori, velvets, hand dyes, sunprints, snow dyes - I went through them all. But in the end this little piece dyed by Elin Noble felt right. Since it was too small, I added a strip of purple cotton and extended the design as well.

I mixed handstitch and machine because I wanted to see what each look like on a sweatshirt, side by side. You can see there is quite a difference. I had not expected the spring green of the lines on the far right to show up as much as they do.

Do you see the orb in the upper left corner? I had planned to put a circle of stitch around the fabric square and the orb seems like a confirmation.

And a little playing around from a few days ago - taking the Notan concept into colour and fabric. One of the flowers is missing - I just laid them out roughly to get the idea and satisfy my curiosity before filing it away for some future time. Maybe I will felt today... but I never really know!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pops of Colour

Fall is neutrals... With pops of colour.

I have a little more stitching left to do, here, but I have learned more about felting and wet felting in making this. It takes awhile to get the feel of new materials and I have plenty of ideas I want to explore.

And when I found some unidentified red leaves on the ground, I overdyed this wool with them and a few maple leaves: