Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Fairtrade Christmas Robins

Last year I worked on a community project for a fair trade shop and ran workshops where adults and children made these robins using the fairtrade shape for the body and wings. We used Shetland and Blue Faced Leicester Wool to use as local wool as possible.

The day after I finished the project I did a craft fair at my son's school. I had meant to decorate the robins myself to sell on my stall but just didn't have the time so I packaged them up as a sewing kit for people to do themselves and they sold out! It seemed like they were more popular unfinished so I've decided to make some more to go in my Etsy shop but thought I would experiment with some hand woven material my Uncle has made and has kindly given me.

First I carded some wool for the back of the robins (I didn't need to use hand carded wool but I thought it was a good way to use up bits of wool I had).

I laid this down on some thin plastic and my bamboo mat.

Then I placed brown shetland wool prefelts for the body of the robins on top, as well as cutting out various pieces of my Uncle's material as well. I used a mixture of material and prefelt for the wings  and used handmade and manufactured prefelt for the robin's red breast.

I added some wool yarns to some of the robins to see how that would look too.

Here they are after felting.

And here they are cut out.

And some close ups.

And another.
Most of the material felted in well apart from the yellowish wing which was quite thick. Some of the woven material creased so perhaps I should have pulled the creases out more as I felted it but I was worried about pulling the fabric away from the wool.

 Perhaps you noticed my stocking sneaking in the photo shoot - made a while ago after seeing something similar on 'Kirsty's Handmade Christmas'. So here it is on it's own!
 Think I should have another go at making these - I've got some lovely Christmassy ribbon that would work well. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Past Feltings

Just thought I'd post a few pictures of the different things I've made in the past and decided the easiest way would be to use photos of a few craft fairs I've done.

These three photos are of a Christmas Craft Fair I did at my son's school two Christmas's ago:

 And this was a summer craft fair at a festival that was cancelled! That is, the music was cancelled but the craft stalls went ahead - so a very quiet one!

And lastly getting ready for the craft fair at my son's school last Christmas.

 I didn't really have much to sell but found that the robin kits were very popular.

The shape of the robin is taken from the fairtrade symbol! I used Shetland and Blue Faced Leicester wool for them so they were 100% British! Think it's time I made some ready for this Christmas. I'm hoping to experiment with some hand woven wool my Uncle made and kindly gave me. If successful,
I'll post some pictures.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Will's Picture and Felt Kits

One of the first things I made when I started to learn to felt was a picture with my son - I showed him what to do and he went ahead and did his own thing ( he was seven at the time).

From this I started to develop some kits and tested them on him and his friends. Felt is such a fantastic medium because it doesn't matter how artistic or creative you are good results are always achieved.

So here are three of the kits I made.

A Rocket
 A Bee

A Snake

That was around four years - they've been tested on quite a few volunteers now with positive results so I've put them in my Etsy shop. Within minutes of me posting them they were favourited by someone in The City of Angels, Thailand - sounds very exotic!

And to finish here's Will's ladybird again along with our new dog Pippin who wanted to get in on the act!

She thinks it's great!!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Laminate v Felt Foxglove Pictures

I was recently lucky enough to go to a workshop with the incredibly talented Andrea Hunter. The workshop was in her studio so we spent the day surrounded by her wonderful pieces - it was very inspirational. 
I used a photo of foxgloves above Grasmere as a starting point for my picture.

Here's the picture I made on the day.

I came away feeling very inspired to create some more foxglove pictures and wanted to do one in the style of my lavender picture.

I made some prefelts in foxglove petal shapes.

I wanted to use the laminate technique so used a backing of hand dyed cotton scrim. I laid down a background of oranges and greens on top of this and then added hand dyed prefelt and yarns. Then I cut the petals out of my prefelt and laid them down on top.

I wet the piece and did the usual rubbing and rolling followed by some gentle throwing.

Here is the result.

And a close up.

I like using the laminate technique in my pictures because it means I can make them very thin. However, it does mean that they shrink considerably. Sometimes this can be beneficial since it softens the detail and I particularly like how the prefelts crinkle and the yarns really crunch up.
But since I had some of my prefelt foxglove petals left over I decided to make another picture  - this time with a thin merino backing which I wouldn't shrink down as much and so the detail would be sharper.
My first layer was white (I would have used a natural white but only had World of Wool's 'lightening' so used that instead). For the second layer I did the top in white and the bottom two thirds yellow.
I then laid down a sky, some hills and some brighly coloured grass with merino wool. I added my hand dyed prefelt and yarns again.
I  wet the piece and laid my foxgloves on top - this way when I kept rearranging them I didn't disturb the fibres underneath.
I added more water to the petals, covered with plastic and rubbed to set the design for about 20 minutes. Then rolled until it was quite lightly felted.
The finished piece.
And a close up.
And here they all are together.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Abstract Spagetti Nuno Felt Picture

Inspiration can come from virtually anywhere - for this picture it came from the many shapes you can see in different pastas!
To begin with I enjoyed some very free painting to find the colours and design I wanted.
 I really liked how the colours merged and blended in this one and wanted to try to replicate this in felt.  I decided to use the nuno method of felting, so first of all I hand dyed a piece of silk.
I wet the silk and then layed down my merino wool and yarns on top.
I then carefully wet the piece with a sprinkler, making sure not to  move the wool and covered in thin plastic.
I then rubbed the piece for ten minutes followed by lots of rolling - about 300 rolls from each side.
After which I folded it into a parcel shape and dropped it gently onto the mat until the back had crinkled and it was the size I wanted plus about half a centimetre.
The finished piece:
 And the back:

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

How I made my sunflower picture

I made my sunflower picture in a very different way to the lavender one.
First I bought some sunflowers and painted them until I got a design I liked.

I then made the sunflowers individually shaping merino wool to form the flowers.

I then layed out a background of hand carded blues and reds.

I placed my sunflower prefelts onto the background until I was happy with the composition.

I then wet the piece and very lightly felted it. This creates a chalky effect.

The finished piece!

How I made my Lavender Picture

Thought I would post a few photos showing how my pictures were created.
First up is my Lavender picture.
I used a lovely french lavender plant for inspiration.

After sketching it with chalky pastels I made some prefelts from purple shades of merino for the flowers and shades of green for the leaves and incorporated some cotton/bamboo yarn.

I cut them into lavender shapes and positioned them onto some hand dyed cotton scrim. I cut leaf shapes out of some hand dyed silk and some hand dyed wool prefelt that luckily I had left over from another project and added those along with some cotton/bamboo yarn.

I experimented with positioning before taking them off to lay down a background in shades of orange. I then built the picture up with the prefelts and yarns.

I then rolled and rolled - probably about 300 times every which way before throwing gently to achieve the size I wanted. I pulled it to 40.5 cm square ( it always shrinks slightly as it dries - the final measurement was to be 40cm square) and left it to dry on a towel.

The finished piece!