Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Learning by failing...

 I finally finished my moving leg critter...(the big guy on the right ). I'm glad I didn't bother doing a tutorial as the legs move but he is to wobbly to stand and looks better sitting . Still, as Einstein said, (sort of), "It's not a bad experiment if it shows you what not to do next time" and gives you some clues about what part worked and what didn't . So, not giving up but will need to hit Menards to look for more hardware options . I did fall in love with the white mohair I got from World of Wool . It is incredibly soft and I will need to get some more soon to use m new dyes on . Spring is here, right ?
 The little guy on his lap is made for a friend and I'm naming him Mike .
I may not be felting as much if the weather truly stays nice this weekend . I really need to get out and smell some dirt, plant some seeds and pick through some rocks . I've got spring fever pretty bad this year and may even try and fix my bike tires .

Happy spring and Happy felting !

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Works in Progress, Dreads and needle felt with moving legs

This funny looking fellow is a "work in progress" . I decided to try and conquer the problem of adding movable limbs to needle felt . I wanted something I thought would be more practical then using a wire frame . That just doesn't seem very useful with my larger animals . This is my basic idea but instead of going to Menards and actually looking for something that might work , I just dug through my hardware box and tried to "make do".

What I had to work with was a 4 inch screw thread, (the ones that come in those ceiling hook thingies that has no head on either side). I had no nuts to fit the ends so used this little plastic "thingies" that I have seen used to hold mirrors flush to the idea what they are called . I felted around the screw thread and placed that bit in the lower portion of the body and felted all together .

My original plan involved using nuts so will try and show a more detailed tutorial if I ever get to Menards to get the right hardware . As it is, I think this will work as the screw thread turns in-side without any problem so should be able to get this guy to sit or stand . My attachment plan involves using some super glue and leather pads on the inner thigh of his legs . I will try and show the result when I get him all finished....still need to make his arms which will just be needle felted to his body as usual .

These legs are just sort of propped in place right now, not lined up and attached but gives a little idea of end result . Besides the arms, he needs a bit more detailing and smoothing in his snout and ears . Head and body are some new mohair from World of Wool that is incredibly soft > Will be getting more of that as it feels great ! Legs are alpaca .

This guy is also sporting my new hand painted glass eyes . They were a bit of a "miss" as I couldn't get the paint to dry for over 2 weeks but I added superglue and stuck them on anyway and they turned out OK .

I spent several nights last week layering oil paint and different fingernail polish on these eyes but had no idea how long it takes for oil paint to dry . Really was frustrating as some areas of the pupil are still not dry .

These are the oil paints I used because I liked the water clean up but if you try it , make sure that you have a cat free zone to let them dry, mine got bumped and moved several times resulting in some smearing....arrrrggg !

My other project the past two weeks was making some needle felted dreads for a friend . She wanted purple and I had some purple wool for the core but over that base I ordered some purple mohair that has a great shine and softness . This is just a really long version on my needle felted bracelets and I admit it takes forever . I know wet felting would have been faster but I wanted some more hair like texture so gave it a try . The longer ones on screens left-side are left unfelted at ends so I can felt it into a wool band and the smaller ones on right can be braided into hair . I had to watch several utube videos of the process since I had no idea how people wore falls/dreads. I think I may have to make some for myself as I really like the way they turned out . I will try and show the finished project when I get a few more done .

Last but not least, I invested in some more acid dye (tans and browns), from Dharma and several pounds of wool and mohair from World of Wool . The shipping for us US folks is pretty steep but I'm always happy with their quality, fiber prices and relatively fast shipping from England . Most of the box was natural color grey, brown and white medium texture wool for the core of my animals . I plan on dying in the different shade of brown dye so that when I reverse felt, it will add some color depth to the alpaca and mohair I use on top . When you reverse felt, you get some deep core fibers and some top fibers, which can add a lot of natural color to the end result . I think the mix of wool, alpaca and mohair gives and end result that is less likely to mat over time and strong enough to brush when needed .

I also bought one of their "cheap wool ends" bags with some lovely colors for working on some angry bird felties...more on that when I get to it . You never know what they will send but it's always been nice quality and it's kind of fun to get a surprise .

Spring is in the air, (ignoring that snow out-side), and I hope to get some dying done when it warms up a bit . Happy felting !


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