Monday, August 31, 2009

More experiments in texture and needle VS wet felting

I have been working on a needle felted scarf the past two nights and this is the backside after about 12 hours of felting . I am still debating water felting it to blend the colors more but then am afraid I will loss all the softness . I really look forward to feeling some wet felting to see what it is "supposed" to feel like . This needle felting is about 1/2" thick and feels super soft but is spongy and has no drape but easily bends around the neck . My only concern is how long will it last ?

The method I use for this is very different then wet felting and I use much thicker layers of wool.

First , I lay down about 6 rows of black roving (east to west), only spreading it out a little to over lap. I then lay much thinner layer of yellow going north to south and another medium thick layer going east to west again . After I needle that for about 6 hours on both sides, I lay down another thick layer of orange on top of yellow...very simple design, as this was an experiment . and needle felted this down for about an hour . At this point, I had done as much as I could with the 8 needle tool and switched to an individual needle .

The whole time I am doing this I am thinking....wouldn't it be faster to wet felt this...but wanted to see if I could retain the softness and achieve the durability on an item this large . I needle felted another 5 hours with the individual needle trying to tighten up any areas missed by the 8 needle tool .

This is the front side and if you click on it , you can see a bit better that there are no "lose wool hairs"...but...will it eventually pill up if rubbed against someones winter coat collar while they are moving about ?
This is a scarf made in a similar fashion , needle felted about 12 hours but I then threw it in a hot water washing machine cycle . This is very durable and probably is closer in texture to body armor then a scarf . It's merino, so it is not rough and scratchy like the crappy wool I wore as a kid but it has lost the fluffy texture of the needle felted scarf . It actually looks better then when I first took it out of the drier . I used an old razor and shaved off some of the black that had migrated over the colors and they are much brighter now .

" To wet felt or not to wet felt...that is the question.Wither tiss better to bear the hours of poking and blood loss or to bear the messy water and suds and outragious rolling ?"

Below is another gorgious fiber package from "Fat Cat Knits" on Etsy . I am in love with her tencil/merino blends . Magical colors and soft as silk , can't wait to start felting it .

...and my kitty seems to think the litter containers I have been collecting and cleaning out for storage belong to him !

Monday, August 24, 2009

Alien fruit and Sleestak crysalis..experiment in texture

Above are two pineapple sized "alien fruit" . My main objective with this experiment was to see how different fibers reacted to different times/amount of needle felting . I wanted to explain how I did this but am finding it difficult to explain . I think I will have to do a picture tutorial on my next week off . Regaurdless, I did learn something myself about how different the end result texture of the 100% Merino and the Merino and Tencil blends reacted to felting . (Tencil is on the left and has much more texture of individuals "hair" , while the merino appears to puff up and looks more like human skin) . It might help to click on the above pictures to see the difference better . I think it gives me a better idea of different alien skins I want to work on .

The three pictures above, while not very "attractive", are just large Sleestak crysalis, (from theLand of the Lost) . The next in the series will be a baby Sleestak . Might eventually get around to doing the whole life span if I dont get bored or to ADD before then .

Monday, August 17, 2009

How firm should you needle felt...when is needle felt "done" ?

The above is exactly why I have not yet listed items on Etsy....yes, it is my "Photo and crafting" room and has been in this disheveled condition for several about 12. The cat litter containers are cleaned out and waiting to become storage for some of the thriftstore nick-nacks and antiques I used to have in this room and I have slowly been packing up to make room for my crafting supplies . My supplies are currently in every room of the apartment, including two over flowing walk in closets, but I am hoping to get most of them into the drawers in this room . I wish the people from the new "Obsessions" show on A&E would find my blog and send me some help .

Below are a few of the projects I have been working on this week . They represent several different styles of felting that I have been experimenting with and tie into the topic for today....

How felted is felted ?

This has always been in my thoughts but has recently. A friend had mentioned that they had bought several felted items on Etsy that did not appear to be felted enough to be durable . The last thing I want is for someone to purchase something from me and be disappointed in it, so I began to look though my own items . Most of my sculptures are very firmly felted and take 8-15 hours of poking . But I did go back and find some of the wool sweater bags that I had needle felted designs of my first projects, were not holding up well . The designs were lifting from the wool .

What I think I have learned from then to now is that the sculptures, jewelry and bags that I needle felted from 100% lose wool appear much more durable then the few sweater bags I needled roving into . I still don't know enough about the process to understand why...I did spend hours poking the designs using what I thought to be Romney but.... might it have been some type of "superwash" fiber that I was sent by mistake or did I just lay down to thin of a layer of roving ? So I did an experiment on one of the bags . I covered the original design...(The wool bag with the sunset and purple mountains with snow) with thicker merino roving (sunset and green valley) . Although the deign is very simple, the poking took about 8 hours to feel it firm up enough and I am still contemplating doing a wet felt to firm it even more .

So what was the problem ? One thing could be that the bag that I bought, thinking it was wool, was actually a blend of synthetic fiber....(I did the burn test) . But I have felted designs onto synthetic fleece scarves and they are still crisp and firmly felted...and have gotten a lot of use . So, answer is I am not sure but I think that the thicker roving and more time has helped .

Above is one of the wool and tincel bracelets that I made for myself . I have a lot of allergies, metal being one of the worst ones, I wear very little jewelry due to resulting rashes but found this to be a nice alternative for me . Slips on and off easily and unlike some of the wools I was allergic to as a kid, the Merino has given me no problems...yea! .

Another "proto-type" of something I hope to sell in the shop (but also needed for myself) are these "agatish" coasters . No more water marks on my table . They only took a few hours to get very firm and have stood the test of a week of use with no problems .
Getting ahead of myself....I found several doll parts while cleaning the craft room...(I used to use the arms and legs attached to wood planks as coat hangers for my wall.yeah, creepy, I know )
I actually tried a new technique for this....needle felting a bowl shape and then placing it over the skull and needle felting it to firm it up . Once it felt pretty snug, I followed with a basic wet felting on and off the skull, then took it off to dry, slip it back on once dry and finished snugging it up with needle felting . A lot of hours for something that probably only I like but I figure it was interesting to see what the wet and needle felting did together .

Back side of a guy I call...."Socrates"
I think I captured the contemplative look of a philosopher...or someone trying to decide between Captain Crunch or Chocolate rice crispies .
Below are some of the needle felted "alien pods" that I plan on using for an alien tree some time next week . I will try and do a tutorial on these as I think they are a demonstration of an interesting texture you can get with the needle . Even if you don't care for the alien pods themselves, might lead someone to other texturing ideas .
Also included are some free form hearts and an experiment in covering a rock that I found on Lake superior . I have a lot of rocks that I want to experiment with this technique .
A close up to show something that is "lightly felted" . This will eventually be my largest "alien pod" which I am entering in the Handmade MN contest called "Purple Rain" . The core of this pineapple size "pod" is Romney, then I layered down black Merino over the whole thing and felted it together, then added several layers of different colored Merino and tincel blends . I like the effect and it can be handled without loosening the wool but might eventually start getting to "fuzzy" if over handled . It feels like a ball of silk at this point but the more I needle felt it, the firmer it becomes but loses some of the softness and the texture of the individual hairs . I will try and show the "after" tomorrow .

Above is the "fake wool" purse covered in the Merino and firmly felted down and below is the first attempt with Romney and if you click on each picture, you can see better what happens when you haven't felted the fibers down enough...(or used superwash or to thin of roving...?), the fibers begin to migrate out of the purse and leave a furry halo that will eventually pill up .

Monday, August 3, 2009

When it rains it pours...a busy month of felting cuffs and bags

A sample of some of the brass I will be using to decorate my cuffs and bags . Thought some of them would make nice closures .

Some of the stones I plan on adding to the cuffs and bags, a bit of pressed amber, turqoise and lots of different types of Jasper..I love earthy jasper .

I still haven't finished "bunny girl" .Three full nights of felting on her outfit and adding paws and bunny hiney . She didn't turn out as planned but I think with ears, someone still might want to give her a home .


Related Posts with Thumbnails