Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Silk and wool scarves

I found some silk scarves that I had bought cheaply in India, and tried felting in fine wisps of merino wool. They felted really easily, and I love the way the silk crinkles up and develops a great texture as the wool shrinks. Of course the finished length of the scarf is shorter too. Pictures cannot capture the light softness of the silk and wool, and they are delicious to wear. 

Blending with the original scarf colours, I did one in soft cream brown and yellow, for myself, and a more funky bright pinks and purples, with a detachable flower brooch, for my daughter.  


This technique of felting wool into silk is called nuno felting.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Riotous wild flowers


This was inspired by Karen's vibrant flowers, and also Rosiepink's lovely meadow scenes and their helpful ebook on Creating Felt Artwork. For me it acts as a sort of sampler, to try out some machine and hand embroidery to embellish the flowers. 
I am learning from my mistakes! I think the background should be clearer and less streaky. and another time I would not include such an expanse of empty sky. (I filled it with some silk embroidered clouds, but it's not quite right.) Also the mixture of flower colours is a bit random - all pastels, or all brights might work better. 
I might make it into the front of a cushion. 
Here is a detail:


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Helter skelter vase


This felt wrapped vase reminds me of the helter-skelter rides I used to go on at the fair when I was a little girl. I can still feel the excitement of climbing up the dark interior and the prickly coconut mat they gave you at the top before you whooshed down the smooth metal slide.

I felted a thin layer of lilac wool directly onto the bottle, until it just started to hold together, then, still wet,  I wrapped a strip of Sellotape in a spiral around it all.  Over this I layered some white Icelandic wool, and felted it using my hands and bubble wrap.
When it has sufficiently shrunk around the bottle, I could feel where the sellotape resist was, and snipped along it with sharp scissors, and pulled it out. I pushed back the cut edged as it dried to reveal the lilac under felt.
It looked a bit plain, so I decorated with toning beads.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Miniatures

I am back in Belgium after a wonderful August in SW France.
I am thrilled and excited that a few people have started to follow this blog, and leave comments. I am beginning to realise that there is a whole community of felters around the world, many of whom blog, and we can all share and encourage each other.I've also joined http://feltingforum.com
Penny from Fibrefrolics suggested that I make some brooches based on the seedhead cards I did earlier  , so I did. I made some tiny sunset landscapes - about 4cm x 6cm,  

and then decorated them with machine embroidery, using black and metallic thread. 


I have also discovered that you can draw designs on watersoluble vilene, use that as a guide for free machine stitching,  then just dissolve it away - magic.
I think these are fun, and will sew brooch pins on the back. 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Tea time!

I needed a large tea cosy for our house in France, and was really pleased with how this simple, bold poppy scene turned out. 

I used some dyed merino in soft greens and blue-lilacs, and then added some wisps of  silk. The poppies were cut out of lightly prefelted red merino, and the stems were knitting wool. The whole thing was made around a plastic resist cut from a supermarket bag. It seemed huge, but I worked hard rolling it in a bamboo blind until it had fulled and shrunk down to the right size. It's lined with purple cotton. 
Felt is the perfect material for a tea cosy as it insulates so well and I know I am going to get a lot of pleasure from this one. 
Here is the other side - 

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A vase of flowers



I came across this painting by the French artist Odilon Redon (1840-1916) and something about it made me wonder how it might transfer into felt. 

So I lay out a background in blended colours and lightly needlefelted it to hold together. I cut out the vase from a piece of black prefelt and needled that in place. I then "painted" in the flowers and leaves by needling in wisps of coloured wool. I had to blend together colours to get them right. Then I covered the whole thing in gauze and gently wetfelted it between sheets of bubble wrap. 
Now it needs some stitching highlights. 


Et voila!



Thursday, 21 July 2011

A card with love

Well everything seems to have happened last weekend - the marriage of our son, and the birth of a little girl to my godson and his wife. I made this card to welcome her. The machine quilting puffs up the heart in the centre.I was not very creative in thinking of a baby motif, but the softness of the felt makes it seem appropriate.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Bunting!



Happily busy sewing miles of bunting for Adam (my son) and Hilary's wedding, which promises to be very colourful! Sewing a prayer for their happiness into each triangle. 
This is the template I used.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Distressed


 I've been down at La Vieille Bergerie, our special hideaway in la France profonde. My friend Ann showed me how to paint and distress crummy old bits of furniture and make them look great, and I am hooked! This cabinet was a hideous brown and had obviously been used to store paint in a garage. I picked it up for a few euros at a roadside sale. I sanded the worst off, and painted it. Used fine wire wool to distress it, and then rubbed on dark wax to give it a "French" colour. Buffing it up and seeing the lovely patina appear is the best bit.

This was an ugly old cupboard that someone was throwing out. After treating the woodworm I did the same paint and wax job.


But the inside was horrible - until I had the idea of lining it with toile de jouy, which I cut into panels, hemmed and tacked on. Very satisfying to make something from nothing. 

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Poppies again


I needed another card, so made this small piece of felt.To make the poppy red I blended together some red and yellow wool.( I don't actually have carders, so use old dog brushes instead!)   I roughly needlefelted the background, with some red and blue blobs for poppies and cornflowers, then wet felted it gently. When dry, I used free motion machining to add stems, grasses and to define the flowers. 

Cherry blossom



I made this a while ago - my first attempt at a wall hanging. I lightly wet felted the background, then needle felted on the black Japanese-style tree silhouette. The cherry blossom flowers were cut out from a separate piece of wet felt - darker pink on the back side. I attached them with a cluster of seed pearls at the centres.
I am not really happy with the streaky background. 

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Those are pearls ...


I made this watery piece a while ago. I was experimenting with layering strips of plastic resist in the wool before felting, and then cutting along those lines to reveal the middle layers of dark blue wool. I stitched pearls into the cut back sections, inspired by the beautiful poem in the Tempest:

Full fathoms five thy father lies
Of his bones are coral made
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell.

I thought I might hang it from a piece if driftwood I found on the Suffolk coast.

Idea: If that's "water" perhaps make a matching piece, "earth" in hot earthy colours - browns oranges, and make the cut out in a rough spriral shape. Decorate with brownish seed things - star anise etc. 

Imperfect poppies


The composition of this one does not work, so I count it as another learning experience! I'd wet felted in a few red blobs for poppies. Them I added some french knots, and finally some machine stitching. Quite like the wobbly stems to the poppies. Wondering if I could add something else into bring the 2 clumps of flowers together...golden grass stems over it all?


Instant golden cornfield added! A bit better.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Now with French knots

I liked the little card so much, I tried it again.


Here is the little piece of felt ... a bit boring...



...to which I added machine embroidery, and tried out some french knots. I had no idea how to do them, and couldn't follow written instructions, but found a little video which made all clear. They are quite addictive!
Do they look more like dandelion seed heads?

There - I'm on a roll - I've made three now. 

Friday, 13 May 2011

Cow Parsley Card


I wanted to try out "doodling" with free-motion machine embroidery, so started with this very simple outline, to add texture to a small piece of felt (merino, with wisps of silk). The sunset is a bit cliched, but somehow the naive wobbly stitching  seems to add charm.  I highlighted the flowers in silver. It looked a bit dead at the bottom, so I stitched a couple of green grassy clumps. 

I like the way the stitching gives a quilted depth to the texture. I stitched it onto a card, which I think I will send to my sister.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Photophores

Photophore is the word used for marine animals that glow in the dark! It is also what the French call little candle holders that let the light filter through in a pretty way.
I made these little tealight holders to decorate my dining table this Christmas. I wet felted them around a resist and then shaped them around the glass holders. Finished then with a few crystal beads. The felt is quite  fine and I like the way the light flickers through it.

Friday, 14 January 2011

A felted flower to start...


I am fascinated by felt.
Having never made a blog before, this is all rather an experiment, and, just as with felting, I expect I'll learn by trial and error.

This little flower and leaf were wet felted using merino wool and silk
and then I added some free motion machine stitching. And a couple of shell buttons to finish.
Maybe it needs a little felted frog for authenticity.

One of my favourite french words is Nénuphar.

The most beautiful waterlilies I have seen are at Latour Marliac, Le Temple-sur-Lot in France (where I took this picture - spot the frog?). They have the French national waterlily collection, and it's where Monet ordered his plants.

All this has given me a felting idea...
A "raft" of flat water lily leaves - a bit more delicate than this, and paler - just connecting where they touch, with a few flowers and buds, in a paler colour. Could be a table centrepiece, or even a floor piece.