Monday, November 29, 2010

Family Fun

The family was at my house for Thanksgiving this year. Well, some of them anyway. We had a lot of fun and one of things we did was try out felting. They were interested in making vessels. For first time projects these turned out pretty good. I think they have an appreciation for the process of creating useful items out of wool fibers and now they know why I am sore and tired after a day of felting.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

... And Now

For one thing, I've learned to take better pictures. I have a space set up in my studio for taking pictures and I have specific props.

This is my latest creation, 3 years later. I have learned a lot in those years. This purse uses silk on the outside which is laminated onto the wool which is inside. I still use a resist so that the purse is made in one piece and I have complicated it a bit to include a double resist so that I have a pocket inside. My handles are more complex for each purse and instead of being sewn on the outside these are sewn inside. Usually I would felt them into the purse but these had to be measured to a particular person so they were added last.
Right now I think a lot about the details of each purse; the inside, the outside, the closure, the flap, the handles, whether the bottom will be flat or rounded. And I use a felt stiffener so that the purse is more durable.
I think it is useful to go back and really document progress. I still like the earlier models and think they are beautiful and unusual. These later models are really not better in the sense that the early ones failed to meet a standard. The later models are merely an increased awareness of the properties of wool and how one can create a complex piece of fabric from the wool.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Then .....

These are 3 of the first purses I created back then in September, 2007. Today, after 3 years of learning and becoming more experienced at manipulating wool, I still think these are pretty good. They have unusual shapes and are a creative use of wool. I like their organic qualities and the flowers that adorn them are pretty and different. I still love using curly locks to add texture and I still like uneven edges that have a lacy quality about them. They utilize wool from Rainbow Fleece Farms in Wisconsin which I still use and they are created using a resist.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Experimenting with Found Objects

I found this teardrop drawer handle one day in my stash of objects. I keep them in my vintage sewing cabinet drawers that I've been collecting for years. The handle is made of metal and looks so beautiful. But to me it looks just like a tassle. So, I added it to this bag. Interesting?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Autumn Table Rug

I've been really working on my process for table rugs - any rugs for that matter. When I first began felting wool I discovered that layering shapes onto dry wool and then trying to wet everything down often just created a mess. The shapes didn't stay where they were supposed to stay was the first big problem. The second really big problem was that I would end up with holes in the wool because I couldn't tell where I needed additional wool.
So, then I began needle felting my shapes so that they stayed together during the wet felting process. I still couldn't tell where my wool was too thin and ended up with thick and thin spots in my rug. Now I needle the whole thing. I can pick it up and hold it toward the light and tell immediately where I need to add wool. I can also "paint" the canvas that is created when one needles the base wool. That is what I discovered when creating this particular table rug. I was having so much fun "painting" with my needle that I got carried away into another world.
The wet felting process goes so much smoother when the whole rug is needled. All the shapes remained clear. The colors of wet felted wool tend to soften as the base wool is worked through. Its really a beautiful thing.

Friday, October 29, 2010

More Felting Table Projects

This beautiful rope scarf is created from merino wool. It is three strands - one blue and two orange. The ceramic bead was created especially by ALDDesigns on Etsy. I have added three felted wool "beads" and enhanced them with glass beads in a deep orange.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Have a little Kahlua with my Jacob fleece

This is "Kahlua" a Jacob sheep from Hillspring Eco-Farm in Wisconsin. I purchase the fleece from this beautiful sheep in September. This morning I received this picture from Linda - the owner - and I am inspired to process the fleece this weekend and move on to create something from the wool.
I've been busy since September. I was getting ready for Cider & Cinnamon (all those wonderful pumpkins had to be needled for that show). So, the fleece has been hanging in my garage since then. I must admit to being a bit intimidated at the prospect of cleaning all the wool. It is my first time at processing a fleece. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained! So, I've got my 5 gallon buckets and my soap and I will give it a go.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Felting Demonstration On Sunday

This Sunday I will be at Rainbow Fleece Farm in New Glarus, WI to conduct a felting demonstration on "Scarves as Jewelry". Thanks to Patty Reedy and Andy Wersal who own this farm.

Here is my latest large Dreadlocks Wrap in all its glory. The colors in this are amazing. Its all done is soft merino wool with grays and blues intertwined. The wrap is approx 70" long and about 28" wide and the dreadlocks add another 35 inches to the ends and 15 inches to the sides.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Arts and Crafts Shows

Here is my booth at Cider & Cinnamon in Rockford last weekend. I had this table of my needle felted pumpkins and they were a hit!

Here is the other side of my booth with my display of felted wool scarves and other things I've created such as my purses, bracelets, penny rugs, and vases. I had many compliments and educated lots of people about hand felted wool.

Monday, September 27, 2010

More from the felting table ...

I love these scarves and so do my customers. I call it a bubble scarf and it is a flat piece of felt into which I set marbles and then boil on the stove for a while. I let it dry completely and then remove all the marbles. The puckers stay put and the effect is wonderful. This is a beautiful emerald green polworth wool that I bought in WI a couple of weeks ago. Not as soft as merino wool but very useful when felted with the marbles as they tend to set up quite well.
The orange scarf is what the bubbles look like when they are dry.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cider & Cinnamon Fair, Rockford, IL

I will be exhibiting felted wool at the Cider & Cinnamon Art Fair in Rockford, IL on October 2 and 3 (Saturday and Sunday).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What's On the Felting Table

This is an almost finished large scarf/wrap. I used this beautiful 70/30 merino/silk roving that I bought in WI a couple of weeks ago at River's Edge Fiber Arts. The colorway is Peacock and it has blues, lights and darks. I added merino wool in teal and navy as well as a significant amount of "carbon" merino wool (it shows up as brown in the picture. The pic is not very well lit as it is taken in my basement felting studio. Since my basement has a concrete floor which can get wet it is very convenient for wet felting. This scarf has beautiful dreadlocks, short and long. I finally have a method for achieving the full and wavy dreads that I most love. There is almost a pound of wool in this wrap. Its very warm and will be beautiful over denim. Love it! I'm just sad 'cuz I checked River's Edge website and I cannot get any more of this wool.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival

I had a wonderful day at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival in Jefferson, WI recently. I picked up quite a lot of lovely wool and visited my friend, Patty Reedy, at her booth. She is co-owner of Rainbow Fleece Farm in New Glarus, WI and has wonderful wool from her sheep. I have visited her farm a couple of times and have used her wool in some of my projects. I just loved her booth with all the beautiful colors of wool.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Felting Satisfaction

Have you ever been totally satisfied with something? I am now. This purse (and the two other purses I made along with it) turned out just beautiful. I have been using resists now for a couple of years and each time I just don't think I calculate the size and shape of the resist in just the right dimensions. So I have kept on working at it, and now, Success!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Felts

Here is my output for today. Two
very different projects. The lariat
is light and pretty in a literal way.
The silk and wool scarf is a little
mysterious and dark. I love it-them.

Silk and Wool

Here is a new way to use silk for those who are sensitive to wool next to their skin. I felted the silk into the wool, which only goes around to the middle of the neck back. The silk can encircle the neck to protect from the wool and secured with a loop through the holes in the piece. The wool used here is cormo and merino which is the softest of all wools. I think this piece looks very formal because of its form. It isn't a full scarf, rather more of a "cravat" which I think looks dressy. It would look really great with a turtleneck sweater to set off the color of the wool, brown with red highlights.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New for Fall

Merino Wool, gray and white Merino Wool, brown and white
Reverse of a large purse, gray wool background with silk waste in blues and greens.
Gorgeous color and new and interesting shapes is what I'm aiming for this season. I shared some of my new items with my good friend, Deb Golden, a very stylish woman, and she told me that it was as if I was creating scarves that would double as jewelry! I thought to myself, "Yes, that's exactly what I was hoping for as my work evolved!" So, the new things for fall and winter are all about scarves as jewelry. Purses too! I've embellished some of my purses with antique drawer hardware as a way to use the beauty of the shapes and the patina of age in a new and exciting way.

Natural linen laminated on brown wool with red wool accents. Antique drawer hardware sewn on as an embellishment over the magnet closure and to add additional weight to the front purse flap. Felted all in one piece over a resist.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm Thinking Spring!!!

The first hint of spring is in the air with days getting up into the 30's and nights a little warmer too. The days are beginning to lengthen, but we keep getting more snow as is the rest of the country. But I am thinking Spring as the eternal optimist I am. So, I'm designing lighter scarves that double as jewelry. Their purpose shifts from keeping your neck warm to adding texture and beauty amid the change of the season.

I worked with my dreads in a different way, thus the "New For Spring Felted Wool Dreads Scarf." These consist of many long pieces of "spaghetti" in wool, wet felted, some with felted beads and I'm adding silk for texture and softness. These are definitely fun to make and can be used in many different configurations so one doesn't get tired of one look. I created an all white piece and added some vintage brooches to the piece. It looks spectacular!

Today I'm working on funky, large felted beads strung on a long strand of black silk. It is designed to compliment a spring dress that is black with white polka dots. I keep trying to achieve an "over the top" minimalist design. An oxymoron, perhaps.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Today's Project

I started creating this dreads scarf a few days ago. My thought in laying out the wool for this one is to create a more random weave rather than the grid. The dreads will hang from all 4 sides. Over the next couple of days I will wet it and begin the felting process. Because of its size it will take a couple of days to roll.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year to All

What a fun year it was in 2009 and I look forward to new challenges in 2010. I made a vest for myself last year that I am especially delighted to wear. It is pictured here. One side is black merino wool and the other is white and where they come together in the back you can see there is a design. The white half has circle cut-outs so that the black shows through. It has a nice drape and length so as to wear with jeans and boots.