Saturday, January 26, 2008

Textile Camp: Run with Scissors

Here are a few of my smaller bowls. They are examples of what I will teach at Textile Camp this summer at Crossings in Zumbrota. They are made of merino wool (mostly), embellished with yarn and beads, needle felting, and some cutting. They are made using the wet felting method. Textile camp is for kids grade 3-12 the week of July 21-25. Two other teachers will be there, teaching crochet and sewing. I will also spend one day teaching Embellished Jeans. We will use Bleach pens to discharge the dye and make designs.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Needle felted rose

I am working on this one for my sister.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pictorial needle felting

The Fiber Studio in Minneapolis offered a class in Pictorial Needle Felting last Sunday. I had a lot of fun. We all needled a chickadee on a branch using coaster sized or trivet sized felt as a base. Now that I've tried doing a picture in needle felting, I'm encouraged to try again. Mine came out pretty nice, and I can't draw at all.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Work update

I added an additional layer of felt to my two vessels in progress (pictured below). Both of them seemed too thin and weak so I put each one back on the ball, and brushed up the outside (with my hand carder because I can't find my wire brush). I added another layer of batting and wrapped with some contrasting yarn. Then it was back to the pantyhose, hot water, and soap. I threw one vessel in the dryer for awhile to see if that would finish the felting. I folded clothes while the dryer ran. Anyway, it got a good start, but I still worked it by hand before declaring success. The new layer will be on the inside of both of these vessels. I have to say that I am getting better at making vessels, both design-wise and making good felt. My next challenge will be to use resists in my vessels. I've done it once and like the results, but am still nervous about doing it.

Renee's Rules of Felting

I thought I'd make note of some rules of thumb to follow, that have made a difference in the way I make felt. I'll come back and add to this entry occasionally.
Rule Number 1: When you think you're done, you're not. Keep going.
This rule started coming to me when I took Sharon Costello's vessels class. She would go around and check on our progress, and whenever one of us students thought we were done, well, we weren't. "Keep going," she would tell us.
So I've been following that advice. It is easy to think you are done just because you've been at it for a while, or you're getting a little bored, or your wrists are getting tired. To get a really hard felt, that will allow a vessel to stand up straight and stay in the shape you want, it can't be loose and spongy. It also looks better when it's good and hard. Keep going.
I'm starting to be able to feel the difference, too, as I work, between felt that is not quite hard enough and felt that is.
Rule Number 2: This one refers to needle felting. Wisps not wads. When starting a pictoral needle felting project. Start by adding only wisps of fiber to give a general idea of the picture to come. Just start by insinuating the color and shape and position. Little by little add more fiber until the picture is as crisp and color dense as you want it. The credit for this rule goes to Brenda from The Fiber Studio in Minneapolis.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Jellyroll Beads

My first attempt at this worked ok. I'd like to try making a felt geode. I used an electric knife to slice the felt log.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Fiber Studio

I made a discovery yesterday. There is a shop in The Cities called The Fiber Studio. It is located at 4810 Nicollet Ave in Minneapolis MN 55419. I haven't been there yet, but I signed up for 2 felting classes...pictoral needle felting and painting with wool. The second one is a wet felting class. I can't wait.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My tips for using Felbi Prefelts in vessels

I have two vessels in process which use the Felbi prefelts. They look great. The prefelts give nice definition.
My tips for using this product in vessels:

  1. They are very thin! Gossamer thin, in fact. I have always used 4 layers of batts for making vessels. Batts are thicker, even when peeled into layers. If using the Felbi in combination with batts, do not count the Felbi as a layer. I need to figure out how much of the Felbi is equivalent to a typical layer using batts. I think I could lay out a batt as if it were one of my vessel layers, and then weigh it. I could then weigh the Felbi and see how many square feet of Felbi was the same weight as a layer of the batt. Hmm. Anyway, take care to use sufficient fiber to avoid thin spots. I have to add fiber to both vessels to fix some weak spots.
  2. For opaque color that doesn't allow the colors of other layers to show through, double the thickness of Felbi by needlefelting 2 or more layers together before laying them out on the ball. I used this technique on my first vessel: I needled the Felbi into a double thickness before cutting out shapes.

  3. A single layer of Felbi prefelt allows the color of the next layer to show through. If this is the look you want, use single layers of the prefelt. I used this technique on my 2nd vessel. I wrapped yarn around the final layer before felting.
  4. In my second vessel I wanted to layer Felbi behind another layer of Felbi. To keep the second layer from falling off the ball while laying out, I used a glue stick here and there to stick the second layer to the previous layer. The stick glue is water soluble and doesn't seem to have left any residue or other side effects on the piece. I have heard some people recommend "temporary spray adhesive", but I don't have any. It is probably available at craft stores.
It feels great to have my hands in the fiber. I feel like I accomplished a lot this weekend. Thank you, dear husband!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

First Sales of the Year

Crossings sold 5 of my pieces in December during the Fabrications IV: Fibers and Finery show. To see some of my pieces from that show, go to my blog from 2007. It is linked below. What a nice way to start of the year, especially when I need to purchase some wool very soon!
My wonderful husband took several of our children to the National Eagle Center today, so that I could have a "spa" afternoon. That pretty much meant I had the afternoon to do some art, so I played with some of the Felbi Prefelts I bought from Outback Fibers. I really liked working with the prefelts, in combination with some merino batts I got this summer from Suzanne Pufpaff at the Midwest Felting Symposium. I cut shapes from the prefelt for what will become the outside of a vessel, and completely covered the last layer (which will be the inside of the vessel) with strips of the prefelt. The prefelt strips made it much easier to put on the pantihose before felting than when the layer is a wool batt...the batts are fluffy and more easily pushed out of place. This vessel is about 1/2 way felted. I took it off the ball to inspect it and see how the prefelts were working. They look really great and have felted into the merino batt totally. I do have some needling to do to add to the batt where it isn't thick enough. I'll do that before putting it back on the ball to complete the felting process. Right now, I have another vessel wrapped up on the ball ready to be felted. I used the Felbi Prefelts on the 2nd one as well, but in a different manner. I'm excited to see how that one will turn out. I'll post pictures soon.

Friday, January 4, 2008

My Events for 2008

  • Artists Clearing House at Crossings March 29-30, 2008
  • Bluff Country Artist's Studio Tour April 25-27 (I will be there on April 26th)
  • Textile Camp at Crossings July 21-25, 2008 (teaching )
  • Midwest Felting Symposium Madison, WI July 23-27, 2008 (just attending classes!)
  • RAC Artists Morning December 6, 2008
  • Fabrications V at Crossings at Carnegie December 2008

    more to be added later

Getting My Blog Moving

I decided to move my blog from
to here because I am doing much more felting than actual knitting these days. There are no rows in felting. But if you want to see my work from 2007, go there.