Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Needle felting, nuno felting, and wet felting my first vessel

 Above and below.....(waiting for my BF to entertain them with some guitar rock solos), are my latest needle felt friends . A mix of merino, mohair and alpaca are fast becoming my favorite ofr making animals . The mohair and alpaca add a nice "hair" look to very tightly felted sculptures . They aren't snuggable and fluffy but they are durable , hold the detailing well and are easy to clean so I guess there is always some trade offs in life .
 Below is another of my "I know it's just yarn but they feel and look so cool to me" jewelry obsession . I used a mix of handspun and "fun fur" novelty yarns . All are super soft blends of merino and silk with a dash of synthetic for sparkle . I make them similar to my braided roving bracelets substituting about 20 strands of the yarn for the roving and braiding and needle felting the same way . They are much softer then the roving bracelets, less structured and with even more stretch, so slip on conveniently . Perhaps no one else will dare the fashionestas and wear yarn instead of precious metals and stones, but I love the way these feel against my wrists .
 Below are two very similar cobweb/nuno felt scarves . They are both a base of orange merino tencel with different blends of turquoise, green and a bit of red silk bells . As most felters know, it's almost impossible to capture the detail of the texture and shine of the fibers ....at least using a cheap camera and poor lighting...but if you click on the pictures it will show a bit more of the detail .

 Below is one of the 2 table toppers I worked on last week . They are both a mix of just about everything . I like the different effects you can get mixing wool. alpaca, mohair and silk .
 This is as large a piece as I can make with the limit of my table space . I added several layers os it's far more durable and thicker then the cobwet scarves and I would feel safe throwing it in a warm water wash and 20 min in dryer then air drying for cleaning . The nice thing about felted wool is the one thing you usually worry about....shrinking and felting....have already happened .
 This shows close up of the silk bells over the wool....I love working with silk .
 Not sure why, but the below table topper reminds me of something from the 50's . I had designed this as the "top" with the bits of different colored mohair on top of the greenish-yellow wool base and brown edging.....sounded kind of springy but I'm not thrilled with the result...not my colors for sure .

 I much prefer the "bottom" of peachy-orange colors .That is one advantage to making two different sides....increases the chance that you will like at least one of them . I made this table topper "peanut shaped " and am considering sewing it into a purse....will see .
 Below is my first attempt at a vessel . It certainly is more "free form" then some professional felted vessels I've seen and though it stands OK, it's not as hard felted as I wanted . On the up-side, the softness did allow me to add a needle felt "pod" and I may add a few more and then rewet felt the whole thing . All in all, a good learning experience and I will try and take pictures of the process if I attempt another .
 ....and that is about it as Max says it's time to pay him a bit more attention and stop this incessant felting .

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year of fiber fun

 Christmas is over for most folks but being the defective perfectionist that I am....I still have packages to mail . Why ? Well, my family would say it is because I am forgetful, inconsiderate or irresponsible but they would only be half right . The reality is that I have been thinking of them and Christmas for the past 12 months and made several items with them in mind . The problem for me is that I have these nagging self doubts that inhibit me from just popping the items into the post and knowing they will like them . Instead, I critically look at each completed item and find fault...colors or textures they wont like or will clash with their decorating . Will these items I have struggled to make end up in a thrift store donation ? These thoughts are complicated by the reality that I don't know my family better . The reason for this is to complicated to go into but makes the Holidays a rather unpleasant time for me . Each item I make carries the unrealistic weight of being my only way of saying...."I think of you and care about you ". .....unfortunately, my lateness in posting gifts actually gives them the opposite impression .

This year, I actually made a movie and sent emails asking my family to please pick something they would like for me to send so I could at leat feel that the item had a willing receiver . The only family member who responded was my mother who said that I didn't need to send anything but a card . In my heart I would like to believe that she is just being her usual selfless self and not wanting to take items away that I might eventually sell and make money from . But some part of me just wishes that she could say...."Hey, I love that animal/scarf,etc and would love to have something around to remind me of you and how proud I am of your talent ".

So, to the family of other aspies....I am opening my heart to you to let you know that aspies do have feelings that we are often not able to express or express in ways that seem contrary to your logic .

This is the latest addition to my animals and though not intentional, reminds me of a lion cub . Behind him is a scarf I designed for my mother in law.....I have made her several that I deemed "not good enough" and now wonder if even this one has to dark of colors ....dang .

 Although, I have no torso to pose , it is actually meant as a shoulder shawl .
 It's hard to show here but I felted two separate layers of chiffon here so it has different colors on each side that I hope compliment each other well .
 The turquoise is newly dyed last week using a rust mix to give an earth and water look and she lives in Florida so I wanted to make it as light weight as possible using just the chiffon and tencel merino blend .
 I absolutely love the texture of the merino and tencel together . I also added just small bits of silk fiber on top to add even more shine to the blend .
 Below is how I spent most of last week . I dyes both silk bell/caps(greens) , mohair and wool and tencel and merino and straight merino . This is just a bit of the dying I did...several more pounds in the car yet to be unpacked including some lovely purple merino/tencel .
 Below is a close up of the silk bells but I can't really capture the almost florescent effect but wanted to share how I did it . I actually soaked the bell in sunflower yellow dye before I added the blue and bit of magenta spots . I think this would work as well using any lighter base dye with spot dying complimentary darker colors .
 Below is a bible  bag I made for my sister in law who was recently ordained . This is my first bag using a resist and built in handle . her favorite colors are red and green so I used a base of dark red Shetland for durability and some hand made merino prefelt hearts that laid on top ,(and  look more like leaves then hearts but still interesting contrast) . I think this bag turned out much thicker then I had imagined but certainly will be durable . Now, if I can just except it's imperfections and get it in the mail before next Christmas is here .

 Below is the decadence that will ring in the New Year . We don't normally eat this unhealthy but it these will be accompanied by a nice big salad to help counterbalance .
Wishing you all a Happy New Year full of experiments, treats and love .


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