Friday, November 27, 2009

Experimenting in fiber nuno and wet felted scarves

Above is some weird netting like fabric that I ordered to make arm warmers but....I kept wondering what it would look like felted . I was under the impression that this kind of fabric wouldn't be felted because (I at least thought), it is synthetic . well, it does felt as you can see below . This has fiber on both sides and the fabric sandwhiched between .
You can see that the ends actually puckered to create a nice scalloped edge .
I also added bits of yarn that I untwisted a bit and laid on top of the roving .
This shows both sides...the back is sort of purple and the front is oranges and blues so you can flip which color works best for you .

A bit of close up of the nuno felted chiffon scarves . This is a blend of merino wool, Tencel and silk cobweb .
This is one of the 2 "extra" scarves I hand dyed months ago for a nuno felting class . The pink is a bit deeper then showing on my monitor but the whole thing screams SPRING .
This shows both sides and the bottom section is a blend of Alpaca and silk dyed in Peacock colors. I really love this stuff even if it does take a little longer to felt then the wool .

This is not nuno felted but wet felted of tencel and merino wool with no fabric under it .
Peaches, purples, yellows and just a dab of blue...large enough to wrap around the head and still keep your neck warm . I made it as a gift for my BF's mom who is traveling north(from Florida) this winter and needed soemthing to keep head warm . I thought it came out rather well but the response from one of my co0workers was...."Is it supposed to have so many colors ?" \I know I tend to be a bit sensitive but that really hurt my feelings and made me question if it was really bad looking . Can I really trust my eyes ?....(I am kind of weird after all ).

The above is a scarf I made for another friend in New Orleans . It doesn't get as cold there but he needs something for motorcycle riding and I thought this bit of armor might be effective . It's a blend of merino, alpaca, tencel and silk cobweb .
The following three are just more of the hand spun yarns that I braided and needle felted . I was originally making ball and hoop closures but I realized that there is enough stretch in these that they can just be pulled over the wrist or head .

Also while experimenting with these, I found out that they work great for keeping long hair out of your face . I usually wear those metal headbands with the teeth, but they get tangled in my hair and hurt when I take them out . Now, I just put one of these over my head like I would wear it for a necklace and then pull it back up and over my ears . I know...simple idea, but I love the way they look and feel . Even if know one buys them..I've found my own new hair accessory .
I know these wont last as long as fabric but I figure I can sell them inexpensively and they are biodegradable . I'm using myself as a Guinea pig to see exactly how long they hold up when worn daily .

Happy Thanksgiving .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New critters and bad photo experiments

Below are some of the braided art yarn necklaces I have been working on to sell with my bamboo pendants and alien seeds .

Most of the yarn was bought from Etsy spinners but some of it is from my friend Eileen who will be selling supplies for spinners soon . I'm working on several different designs...some braided, others with several different knotting styles, some just of fiber and others knotted around a core of thick leather strip . Some have a closure of felted wool and others will need hand made copper closures .
I don't like to add such bad pictures on my blog but I am trying to experiment with different backdrops and lighting and need to see what they look like on here rather then just in my Picasso . These were all taken around 5pm hen there is no natural light coming in the apartment . I am using one natural light bulb over head and two small photo lights . The result is lots of shadow and yellow cast light that is discoloring the natural tones of the wool . Alot of the detail of the sculpting is lost when the light is directly on the object, so I have one angled up and one down but will also try my photo tent soon and see how that works with the lights shinning through the outside .

About the bunny, he is made is a mix of realistic and a cartoon/fantasy style . I have noticed a lt of the artist I really like seem to land in one camp or the other but I am keep straddling both camps . He only took half as long to make as my merino animals because the batt I used was a mix of silk, merino and some slightly coarser wool . I also order some Romney this week because I need a break from fighting with the thinner, softer and harder to felt merino and alpaca . I still plan on using them for all my wet felting, some sculptures and as "accents" but.... 16 hours to make one sculpture is just nuts . I just can't figure out a way to sell something that takes that long to make . If you add the $3-5 an ounce for the wool the price is just going to be out of most peoples budget . (I hate thinking businessy but I need to try and not get myself in to deep a finance hole with this obsession .)
The animal? below is just a quick bit of fun . I started making another needle felt ball since my cats lose them under the couch as fast as I can make them...and started seeing a bit of a face in it so decided to make this guy . I attached the "ball" to a roll of mixed fibers batt and instead of adding the limbs from separate wool shapes, I just sort of "carved" a vague shape out of the batt using the needle as a kind of knife . Not a very detailed critter but it was kind of fun to try something new .

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Suggestions welcome in a felt shop name

I am still hunting for the most appropriate name for a new felting shop . A friend advised that the names that were in the title of my last post were a bit to "silly" to represent the things I make and I agree...I think they represent "ME" more then they do the things I plan on selling .

(Yes, I am a fuzz and fur fetishist who loves wearing fuzzy flannel jammies and touching anything soft and fuzzy). I think that represents the animals and alien landscapes but not the bags and scarves .......and there's the rub...(have no idea hat that means but I have seen it used in a similar context in some Shakespeare play.)

Where was I.......

That is an example of my problem.....constantly wandering off on tangents and to eclectic for one cohesive image. Thus, I spent the last 4 hours searching for name inspiration on the Internet . (I love and hate you mighty Google Images). Seeing as how my ADD?Aspie?brain often becomes a ping pong ball when trying to focus on an abstract problems . I did manage to find some interesting web sites that had little if anything to do with solving the problem of a name .

(The above link has some amazing photos that I plan on incorporating in some way in my felting . Nature is really to cool for words .)

My latest concept for a shop name was something to do with how felting is a form of alchemy turning loose wool into sculpture and wearable art . So I spent a few hours searching through Alchemy symbols...which have always fascinated me and specifically..."Full Metal Alchemist" because I happen to like that show . Found some cool symbols but it sort of bothered me that the process I use most often for felting is a needle...not chemical, so it would be a misnomer to call my felting "alchemy"...yes ?

Then I spent some time on the concept of "morphing sheep"... briefly getting lost searching "electric sheep "...which everyone wonders "Do Androids Dream of" these and pondering briefly choosing "eclectic sheep" which I think reflects my schizoid creativity that seems to prefer wandering different paths with no sense of direction or destination . ...."Lost sheep ?"

So...How fun is my you wish you could crawl into this cranium for a bit of rest<----(compete sarcasm.... which contrary to some Autism "Experts", Aspies not only understand but relish in....... except on the rare occassions when the sarcasm seems possible if not very when I first read Jonathon Swifts "A modest Proposal"

Where was I....

So, While my brain is ping ponging from alchemy to satire to Androids and electric sheep to aspergers...(took a little side trip there to read an aspie blog)....

Only read a few posts but seemed like some useful information .

That site led me to the Discovery web site which bounced me to the Nikon photo web site(already linked above ) computer only crashed once during all these leaps and bounding
before I landed back here to blog about....oh yea...a new name for my shop .

So now I am considering, (and would love any feed back).....

Eclectic Sheep
Androids Dreams of Electric(or Eclectic) Sheep....(acronym not useful for this one)
Wool Morphing
Sheep Morphing<---(which I found out is some computer term) Wool Alchemy (has the nicest sound to me but as I mentioned I'm not really using chemicals) Strange Wool...(OK< class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_11">Grook Lost Sheep Found ???????(insert your brilliant choice here .

Any suggestions would be appreciated as I appear to be going off the rails again . Whatever the name, it needs to capture the diversity of what I like making....fuzzy weird critters, arty scarves and bags, alien items, aspie sensory toys . It also needs to have some sort of image/logo that is not to complicated for making tags .

My friend and mentor Jane mentioned that it should also attract/appeal to the crowd who would be most interested in the things I make but I my mind can not seem to grasp who those weird people might be ....(insert smiley face) .

Anyway....I could have tried to edit the above rambling into some kind of coherence but my brain crashed several hours ago .

One of the main reasons I felt is that it actually allows my brain to focus on one thing and that is so useful in quieting my cluttered cranium .

Before I go.... Below are a few more of the Christmas decorations I have been felting this week . Hang them on a tree, throw them in a bowl, toss them at the kids when they wont be quit, use them as Black Friday post shopping distress balls .....the skies the limit when it comes to felted balls . These are actually needle felted with merino and then I add some hand spun yarn I bought from Hobbledehoy on Etsy . She also has some great wool batts I have my eyes on but I'm trying to save a bit of money for next months rent ...(priorities, oh bother) .

This is another "Whatchamacallits"....I think it is what the original Unicorn looked like before he got a great PR person...but that is just a theory .
He still needs a bit of work on the lower chin and eyes but I'm putting him aside for a bit more Christmas ball making....brain needs respite .

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fur Fetish Felts/Fuzz Frenzy Felts /Lambies jammies ?...

Last week off, I had every intention of listing items on Etsy with a friends assistance . ...and then my brain happened . I decided that I wanted a new store name . "Stars Apon Thars" was meant to reflect my original idea of making items our of recycled materials which is something that I have always done for myself but...then I got hooked on felting and can't seem to keep the needle out of my hand . So...before I can list, I needed to decide on a new name, new logo, new labels .

Now ? You really need to do that now, right before the Christmas listings....are you nuts ? Uhhhm, yep, but I'm also a master at self delusion and avoidance of things that are uncomfortably hard for listing items .

Enough of the psycho babble and on to some felting fun......

Instead of listing items, my friend and I jabbered and she shared some of the newly spun art yarn from a class she took . They were all cool but I loved the one with tons of angelica " (shiny), the best and decided to experiment with using it to make some Christmas decorations . I used some core wool to make a ball and then wrapped and needle felted the yarn over it . I also hope to use some of it to make braided necklaces for some of my bamboo pendants.

The felted jungle grows ....

This was actually another experiment that I have tried before but thought I would give another go at . It's a mouse/hamster....rodent 0f some sort that I made out of alpaca and then covered in several layers of some kind of fuzzy wool yarn which I then needle felted into place . It actually took all night and I wasted a lot of the detail once I added the yarn on top but it does feel soft and fuzzy and would make a good pocket pet .

(Baby got "back")
This is one of my larger sculptures and I worked about 16 hours felting him . I also tried another experiment using some acid free/permanent marker for the lips and nose to try and get a less fuzzy/shinier surface) but it didn't really give the effect I had hoped for and I will have to go over it with some black roving .
This is actually after the second night and before I firmed up the detailing . I never really know when to stop and I actually like that I can go back and make alterations if the mood strikes .
This was a huge gamble in my experimenting . I didn't really think it would work and was concerned about wasting about $16 in materials but I like the end result . I needle felted merino/Tencel and a bit of cobweb silk into some "slinky"(<----google this...really interesting material_, and then wet felted it . If you want a better idea of the texture and detailing you can click on the pictures and once they pop up, click again and it's like they are magnified....I love clicky technology : )
The end result is a highly textured new fabric .
One side is softer and covered by the wool (this is a spiral button I was thinking of adding) .
You can see the silk's a turquoise color and felted really well .
This shows the reverse side where the wool pushed through and puckered the slinky material into a pebbly texture . Once done, I realized that this is not the kind of scarf I would wear, as I prefer really soft, fuzzy and squishy . This has to much structure and texture for me but I do love the way the colors work together . I am considering cutting this up to make two purses and a wrist cuff .
This shows the contrast of the two sides.....woolly and pebbly .

I do think there is some potential here, even if not the one I had originally intended . I think this would a make some really cool reversable bags ....if I can work out the basic design and hand sew it ...... But it sure would be less work if someone would actually like it as a scarf ? (I wish I had abetter grasp of what normal people like . )

As an aside ...I never know if anyone reads this blog or is interested in tutorials but if at least 3 people respond saying they want to know how to make something like this, I promise to share .

Monday, November 9, 2009

Quick link for blog junkies

Because of my own issues with forgetting things ...I am putting this link here for myself and other blog junkies . I found it accidentally and it seems like a good way to find blogs based on what they are about...(why doesn't blogger have a search function at the top of their pages .....maybe I'm missing something . )You can also add your own blog so others can find you .

Anyway, check it out if you like an nice organized way to look for new blogs based on interests . I already found several aspie blogs to follow and hope to look for needle felting ones when I return from the DRs.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kind of a rough week but a bit of felting fun

I started the week battling fatigue and did very little felting and no large projects . I used the time to do more experimenting in mixing colors and textures . I was thinking about offering some Christmas tree decorations for those interested in less traditional shapes and colors . I'm not a big fan of red and green and don't seem to have the same joyful response to snowmen and Santas as some folks . I plan on adding some copper wire hangers to these and perhaps a few beads for sparkle .

Above and below are some of the merino/tencel bangles I've been working on . I like the lightweight feel of these and they can just slide on without struggling with tiny closures .

This is actually a choker, though it's hard to see size perspective without wearing it but I still need a closure on this .I can't seem to decide what kind would be most comfortable . I added some of the flat spiral beads I have been experimenting with as accents on front and side . I imagine these could be sewn on a bit faster and contrasting color thread might be fun but I just spent about 30min needle felting these on . They are very short fibers, so are a bit
resistant to attaching . I can see a lot of potential for these in future projects .

I had a hard time finding directions on making the spiral beads so I just sort of winged it . I lightly needle felted the yellow core, then wrapped several different colored layers around the core . Once I had about 3" wide tube, about a foot long......I needle felted it a few hours then wet felted the whole thing until it felt very solid. I had read that it is easier to cut wet, so I sliced off my sections while still damp but this stuff will dull your knife pretty fast...probably best to use a disposable exacto knife blade unless you know how to sharpen your own knives frequently . I let several of the sections dry flat and took several others and rolled them into round and oblong shapes to see how that would look . I think the round ones might make nice critter eyes if I experiment with the colors (black center) and the spiral ones would look interesting hanging from my alien trees or for necklace beads . Someone suggested freezing the the spiral log while wet to see if we can get thinner slices and I hope to try that soon .

Here is another choker that I did make a fiber closure for . After making the circle, I sliced the thinnest area in half and needled on one of the spiral bead slices . It does take lots of poking from every angle to get it secure . The other side is some merino yarn that I shaped into a circle (several layers) and felted together then wrapped some of the "tail" around the end of the choker and felted this all together . I'm sure there is a faster, easier way to go about this but I had originally planned on making my own copper clasp for this and decided at the last minute I wanted the whole thing to be fiber . Again, I may or may not end up beading this before listing it . I have tons of gorgeous beads I have collected over the past year but some part of me is resistant to doing anything that will take attention away from the color and texture of the fiber...Does that make me a "purest" or just to lazy to bead ? ( I may never know .)
I think this would look good either with the closure in front, as an accent, or in back for a simpler look .
The lighting here isn't great but this gives a bit more size perspective .

Hopefully the DR's visit next week will give me a clue as to why I have been so tired lately and I can get back to some larger projects before Christmas .


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