Monday, March 31, 2008

Three-Dimensional Mini-Handbags

Well, I mulled it over and finally signed up for Lisa Klakulak's Felting Three-Dimensional Mini-Handbags class at the Midwest Felting Symposium. I did want to take Leslie Sampson's courses, too, so I'll just have to hope she teaches next year. Lisa's website is She has some pretty amazing work pictured there.

Here is the description of the mini-handbag class:
Focusing on the element of form, participants will use an individually designed two-dimensional canvas resist to create a unique three-dimensional handbag incorporating a solid felt cord handle. Color theory will be discussed and a variety of surface design possibilities will be explored incorporating threads and using partial felting techniques for defined shapes and images. Suggestions for bag closures will be presented accompanied by a group brainstorming to bring forth innovative ideas! These visually delicate mini handbags will be structurally durable as a result of numerous, thin and consistent layers fulled tightly to achieve a surface with no hint of individual fiber striations.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lovely weekend at Crossings

The Clearing House went well. I met several artists from around the area who work in various, clay, jewelry, painting and drawing. It was good to chat with them and hear of their experiences. Some said the weekend was slow compared to other years, but there seemed to be a decent stream of traffic through the gallery most of the time. I sold several things. Yay.
Now it's time to get creative and make some new things.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Artists' Clearing House This Weekend

4th Annual Artists' Clearing House
TWO DAYS ONLY! Saturday, March 29: 9am - 5pm
Sunday, March 30: Noon - 4pm

Crossings is located at 320 East AveZumbrota, MN 55992 in a former Carnegie Library building in Zumbrota, Minnesota. For more specific directions, please visit this link:Directions to Crossings:

Artists from all over southeastern Minnesota come together for one weekendto offer an exclusive selection of original art, prints, notecards, sculptures, jewelry, textiles and more! It's an indoor art fair!
This is a great opportunity for both you AND the artists, as they "clear out" their inventory, heavily discounting their original, one of a kind artworks.
Don’t miss the chance to decorate your home or stock up on one-of-a-kind gifts. Browse prints, notecards, pottery, sculptures, jewelry, textiles, wearable art and more – all at bargain prices.
Artists will be on hand to answer questions and describe the inspiration behind each piece.
Participating Artists:

  • Amy Giannini: astonishing hand crafted beaded silver jewelry, with fiber and artglass elements;handcrafted note cards
  • Beth Karon: polymer figurines and vases; beaded necklaces and bracelets; handcrafted greeting cards
  • Jan Huffman: Casepastel paintings
  • Karin Neuvirth: sterling silver jewelry embellished with gold wire and polymer or fused glass beads; gemstones, pearls and crystals
  • Leisa Luis Grill: acrylic paintings and drawings;handcrafted paper jewelry;wall textiles
  • Loretta Verbout: distinctive photography
  • Renee Nation: traditional wet felting and fulled knitting vessel sculptures embellished with beading,needle felting, or other fibers
  • Riki K├Âlbl Nelson: acrylic and watercolor paintings

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A New Family Tradition

On Easter, they felted the eggs, and it was very good.
The eggs came out as individual as the children who made them, and they are all beautiful. Child #1 had plans to needle a tiki design on his, but never got around to it. Child #2 made four plain colored eggs. Child #3 needled intricate designs on hers and didn't want to wet felt them afterward. Child #4 loved wrapping the yarn around some of them, but for her last egg, she needled eyes and a beak to make a little chick. Child #5 likes purple and rainbows and her eggs are decorated accordingly. I got to make a couple eggs as well, and I experimented with a little of this and that in between assisting the other artists. Best of all, we could leave them out on the table where we could enjoy them without letting them spoil. Blessed Easter to you all. Christ is alive! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Half-cooked Easter Eggs

The children and I made felted Easter eggs today. We used a mixture of wet felting and needle felting depending on the child. These are some that are ready for wet felting. I'll post the "finished" pictures when they come out of the dryer. The kids really loved doing this. My son even said we should do it every was better than dying real eggs.
And now it occurs to me that I should be felting a basket to put the eggs in. Why didn't I think of that before?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Flights of Fancy

Just another postcard size needle felted piece. It has a canvas base, decorated with merino wool with a bit of Angellina. It was fun to do. I used the rainbow merino roving, again, from The Fiber Studio.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Embellished Scarves

I purchased some plain wool scarves a while back. Today, I finally took some of the rainbow colored merino roving from The Fiber Studio and machine embellished the scarves using my Janome Xpression. It seems to take a lot of punching to get the merino to bond with the scarves. I wanted the fiber to migrate through to the other side very well. I wonder if the coarse needles in the Janome just don't grab the fine merino fibers well. I'll have to needle felt with some finer guage needles by hand to see if there is a difference. If that is the case, then I'll have to get the Clear Foot, Changeable Needle Unit from Janome and some finer guage needles from Fiberella. My wish list is getting a bit long.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Scratchboard felt

I made some postcards on my Janome Xpression this week. They may end up being coasters instead because I think they are thicker than the post office allows. But here is how I did it:

  • I chose a piece of canvas fabric for a base, about 12" x 20" roughly (I didn't measure it)

  • Using my Janome Xpression, I punched on random blocks of color using Harrisville fleece, filling the whole surface of the canvas

  • When there were no holes or thin places, I took thin layers of black wool batt and punched over the top until the colored layer couldn't be seen and the surface looked totally black.

  • With a rotary cutter, I cut the piece into 4"x6" pieces (I ended up with enough for 5 of them).

  • With the Janome Xpression, I punched the designs onto the cards from the back. This pushed the colored wool up through the black wool. If I was unsure of myself, I sketched my lines onto the back of the canvas with a Sharpie permanent pen first. I checked the front of the card often to make sure that I liked how it was looking.

  • With a steam iron, I pressed the cards flat.

  • I plan to iron on a backing.

They came out a little more muted than I'd like, but they are still pretty. I'd definitely recommend BRIGHT colors only, because the black mixes with the colored fleece a little and dulls it. Pressing with the iron is optional, depending on how the pieces will be used. They were much more fluffy looking before pressing. If I were going to do a wall hanging, I might not press it when I finished, to keep the texture. But I don't think it would wear well that way for a coaster or postcard. I also had bits of the canvas come up through to the top when I punched the designs. Maybe a water soluble stabilizer would work better, or a denser fabric for the base.

I am trying to get ready for the Artists' Clearing House at Crossings. It's only 2 weeks away.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ore Vessel

This vessel is constructed using the wet felting technique with merino wool batts and Felbi prefelts. After shaping, I cut out a small spot from each colored shape and sewed on a sparkling bead. Around the edge of each shape I needle felted gold metallic fiber harvested from a second-hand metallic sweater. This vessel stands about 9 1/2 inches tall. I titled it "Ore" because the colored shapes seemed like gems to me, waiting to be mined. I plan to bring it to Crossings for the Artists' Clearing House on March 29th-30th. This is what the vessel looked like before fulling:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Midwest Felting Symposium

I checked this morning and the symposium schedule has been posted at The Midwest Felting Symposium site. Since I will be teaching that week at Textile Camp at Crossings in Zumbrota, I can only attend on Saturday and Sunday.
Leslie Samson teaches the two classes I am interested in. The first is Botanical Felt in which she teaches how to make botanically accurate, recognizable, firmly felted flowers. I think these would be great on vessels or 3d embellishments on flat felts.
The second class is Felted Jewelry. I am especially interested in learning how to make felted bezels for setting cabochon stones (or other embellishments). Earlier in the week she is teaching Vessels: Felt Smithing, in which she also teaches how to set elements into felt. I won't be able to take that class, but it sounds like the technique will be essentially the same. It will be a busy week between teaching and attending classes.
Be sure to check out the other classes and vendors who will be at the symposium in July.
Next post: I'll post some pictures of my lastest WIP (works in progress).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Painting with Wool

I mentioned I took a class at The Fiber Studio with teacher Judy McDowell. The class was called Paint a Picture with Wool. This is my piece from the class. It is a bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup (in case you can't daughter thought it was a bowl of yarn!). I used corriedale roving, a little silk roving mixed in the tabletop and a brown wool/silk yarn from Kristen's Knits for the chocolate syrup. Judy was a great teacher and we learned how to make better edges, how to make prefelts, and how to apply yarns and ribbons with better control. The pieces were felted using the rolling method.

While I was at The Fiber Studio, I picked up some Angellina fiber, and some rainbow dyed merino roving, and some silk roving. It was really hard to control myself because Pam stocks a wonderful variety of merino, corriedale, and silk, a great selection of beads and other findings, books, some yarns, and even some mixed fiber batts that she dyes and cards herself. One of her new items was sheets of needled prefelt. I think they came in 9" x 9" sheets in a variety of colors. It was a great day.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Beauty and the Beast---Wolf Masks

Here is my daughter modeling one of the wolf masks I made for Beauty and the Beast. I constructed it out of "Better Fur" from Mills End Fabrics. I shaved the hair away from the eyes, and also from underneath the snout and ears, so I could sew the pieces on with less bulk. The snout is shaped into a nose with 2 short seams at the front. It is attached to the mask with just a straight seam under the eyes. The tongue is needle felted wool with a chenille stem imbedded in it. I used silver glitter glue to make drool on the tongue, to make the teeth shiney, to outline the ears, and to make eyebrows. The teeth are made of white craft foam. There is also a floral wire duct taped inside the snout to make it stand up straighter. It is kept on the wearer by a shoelace cord with a toggle. My son, who plays a wolf, says the masks are awesome. That made the hours worth it.
Next post...I took a felting class at The Fiber Studio in Minneapolis. Judy McDowell of Misty Meadow Icelandics was the teacher. My piece was a still life "painting" of a bowl of ice cream. Stay tuned.