Friday, 29 August 2014

3D Coral Take 2

In my last post I shared a picture of my latest coral-inspired piece at the pre-felt stage.

I really liked it at this stage and was worried I wouldn't like it as much once felted but prefelt isn't particularly strong so felt it I did...

And I'm really pleased with how it turned out, placing the folds closer together is so much more aesthetically pleasing. It's busy drying at the moment waiting for me to mount it but in the meantime here are some photos from different angles.

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A few more hats

As promised a few more hats to go on sale at Weyfest...

And my second version of the coral piece, this time with the "squiggles" closer together, this is it at the prefelt stage just about to start fulling. It kinda reminds me of the rings when you cut through a tree trunk.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

3D Coral

I came across this photo of coral by Wolfgang Seifarth on pinterest and it got me thinking about a 3D felt piece. It looks like felt already doesn't it?
Color, Pattern and Texture, Wolfgang Seifarth, Photographer, coral

Using a similar technique to the one I used to make my felt cuff for my C&G course I thought I should be able to make a 3D wall hanging. I wanted to dye it so that the folds of the "coral" are visually thrown forward of the background but I thought complementary colours would be too much, maybe a lighter colour on the tips than the background?

I constructed this piece from prefelts stitched together before fulling and then dyeing. I'm afraid I forgot to take a photo in my excitement to dye this piece. Here it is after the first round of dyeing.

It looks OK but I felt was missing something. So it went back into the dye pot...

And after mounting...

I like it but can see ways to improve it, most notably by placing the raised squiggles closer together as they are in the coral photo.

BTW, I got my dates for Weyfest mixed up, it's not until next weekend, so I'm sure to make one or two more hats between now and then! Watch this space :)

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A couple more hats...

I finished a couple more hats today, I think these will be the last for Weyfest as I am out "third manning" with the ambulance service tomorrow as part of community first responder CPD. I plan to do some more felting on Friday but doubt it will be dry in time to take to Weyfest on Saturday.

A bit more conventional than the last batch aren't they?

Thank you all for your suggestions of what animal this hat might be:

Believe it or not I had a fox in mind when I started it, just goes to show I should always refer to photos ;o)

It was interesting that your opinions closely followed the split in my household - I thought it looked like a donkey while Mr TB thought it was a deer. Some of the suggestions for the monster/frog hat were a bit off the wall though - green squirrels?!! :o)

I finally got around to framing a couple of pieces today as well, I'm pleased with how these turned out and I still have another piece of dyed felt so will probably make a third hanging... something else to add to the ever growing to-do list!

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Hats for Weyfest

Next weekend sees the return of our annual local music festival to Farnham, just a few miles down the road from me. I plan to attend this with the West Surrey Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers so have been making a selection of hats that I hope will go down well with the festival goers....

I have come up with names for most of them but wonder if you can help me identify the animal at the bottom of the page. I had an animal in mind when I started making this hat but it doesn't look anything like it. Mr TB and I have different ideas about what species it is now but rather than sway your thoughts by saying what we think I thought I would solicit your ideas first....

The Fire-starter

Larry the Lamb

Am I a monster or a frog?

Purple points

Who / what am I?

Friday, 15 August 2014

Translucent felt

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been doing almost obscene amounts of dyeing this week, one batch was for my C&G course and was predominantly focussed on dyeing different animal fibres in the same dye vat (bag in my case) so you end up with a harmonious blend of colours in a range of materials. I chose to use each pair of primary colours so had 3 "vats" and the these are the results.

Each vat contained, Corriedale top, some alpaca top, silk hankies, ponge 5 silk, a piece of commercial prefelt, some merino pencil roving and a piece of hand spun White Faced Woodland.

For good measure I threw in some of my scoured Jacobs fleece too...

The colours are so lovely I kept finding myself standing in the bathroom literally watching them all dry :) Needless to say I couldn't wait to use them...

Our brief from the course was to create a piece of textured felt using the design work form previous weeks (in my case I had been working with bone micrographs).

I cut out some silk shapes that resembled the holes you see in bone when under the microscope.

And laid resists over the top that were just slightly smaller than the silk.

Then added 2 layers of the corriedale roving, pulling the tufts was lovely as I had different colours with each pull.

I even spun some of the orange/red pencil roving, my spinning is definitely improving but I'm not about to win any prizes for producing beautifully even yarn.

After felting and cutting out the resists.

I'm really pleased with how this piece turned out but it really comes to life when you hold it up to the light:

The corriedale has produced a beautiful crimp and the silks look like stained glass windows. I think this technique would make a stunning lampshade or even curtains.

Here is a closer look at the curly corriedale, this is fast becoming one of my favourite wools to work with:
Now I just need to figure out a way to hang it so it can be hung in front of a window and the frame / hanger does not cast a shadow that would detract from the design....

I also repeated the dyeing a variety of different fibres exercise. Following advice from Ruth I tried some grey and brown too (thanks Ruth). It's still a bit monochromatic but an improvement on the last version :)

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Blending dyes on wool

This week I have been doing quite a lot of dyeing so thought I would share one of my favourite techniques with you. I use this technique to blend colours on wool when I want a gradual change of colour or to mix colours on the felt itself. It involves finger painting so is a lot of fun too :)

For this technique you will need:
Pieces of prefelt or finished felt (the method below was for 100g of felt)
washing up liquid
acid fast dyes
white vinegar or citric acid
measuring jug and scales
cling film
latex or rubber gloves
pots for mixing dyes in (old jam / chutney jars are good)
disposable pipettes or syringes
steamer (or microwave)

  • Soak your prefelt in a sink / bucket of 2L water, 0.5 cup of vinegar or 5g citric acid and, a generous splash of washing up liquid, making sure it is well saturated. If you live in a hard water area you can also add 1g of calgon to this soak.
  • Lay out some cling film, overlapping the pieces if necessary to make it big enough to lay out your felt.
  • Squeeze about half the water out of your felt (it should still feel heavy with water and be dripping but water should not be running out the bottom of the felt)
  • Lay your felt flat on the clingfilm.
  • I mix 1g of dye to 10 ml of water but you could easily use half as much dye if want paler colours. I apply my dyes with those 3 ml disposable pipettes but syringes work well too or you could just pour the dye on in the pattern you desire.
  • You can add a second or third colour now to make colour blending easier but I have applied 1 colour at a time to show how they spread.
  • After applying the first colour use your gloved fingers to spread the dye around (the washing up liquid in your bath will really help with this). If it is difficult to move the dye your felt is probably not wet enough, carefully pour some water from your soaking bath onto the felt and try again.

  • Then add your second colour (I used yellow but it looks very orange in this photo).
  • And blend with your fingers again. Continue adding colours and blending until you are happy with the design.

  • Carefully roll the felt up in the cling film
  •  And twist the ends shut or wrap in another piece of cling film to stop steam getting into your parcel.
  • I like to put mine in a zip lock bag too (very "belts and braces"!)
  • Then steam for 45 min to an hour before rinsing under running water.