Monday, September 1, 2008

A little felting here and there

I've managed to sandwich some felting in between all the activity of Children #1-5 starting school and Child #6 discovering that crayons can write on just about anything. I'm trying to stay organized, both in the home-management arena, and in the art arena. Specifically, I'm trying to stay organized enough to have time to get some felting done. Oddly, I seem to find time on the weekend when everyone is around. It might have something to do with DH being home to help with child management.
Today, I tried a cobweb scarf using Frabjous merino top in Tango, adding a little silk to it. It has nice blues and greens with a little pink here and there. It came out nicely, and is a smaller size, perhaps to wear with a blouse. I've never been a scarf person myself, but I do like making them. Maybe I'll learn to carry off the style, if I make enough of them. Same for hats.
Another item I tried lately was felted buttons. First I made some prefelts (partial felts), then needle felted them around a large cheap button, then wet felted to finish. Come to think of it, there is picture of the first button I made in a past post with my mini-handbag. It can be attached to an item by sewing through the holes in the button, even though the holes are covered with felt.
I also tried using button forms, the kind you buy at the fabric store, which are intended to be covered with fabric. I made some thin felt (not prefelt), and covered the little metal "blank" with it. It does look nice. There is a shank on the back, rather than holes.
I've seen buttons online that I believe are made entirely out of wool, rather than having a form inside. I might try that, too.
Earlier in the week, I made a pot holder with leaves on it. First, I needle felted the leaves to a soft stage, like a prefelt. Then layed them out with the wool, and wet felted the whole thing together. The leaf shapes shrunk a little too much for my taste. I should have made them bigger to start with. I used a stencil of a leaf to get the shape, and it was not very large. I looked for some large leaf shaped cookie cutters, and stencils to use as templates, but haven't found any I like.
I've started a vessel, which has silk cap on the outside, and Angelina trapped between the cap and the layers of wool. It is very sparkly, but I need to finish shaping it.
I have a list of things I want to complete in the next month or two. I plan to participate in a small show in December, as well as the Fabrications exhibit at Crossings in December. I'd also like to make some bowls to donate to Channel One's Empty Bowls fundraiser next month, and I'm toying with the idea felting over a chair for the Chair Affair fundraiser in February to benefit the Boys and Girls Club. There is also a Pursenality fundraiser to benefit Breast Cancer research that I could make a felt purse for.
If I could manage to be more productive, I'd consider joining SEMVA, which is a co-op for artists. Exhibiting artists pay for their space, so I'd have to justify that expense by making and selling enough items to pay for the space. And since "work" takes a backseat to being chauffeur, nurse, cook, laundress, wife, and mom, I haven't been able to maintain productivity consistently. Having an Etsy shop is another idea I'm toying with.
In the meantime, I am signing up for a nuno scarf class at The Fiber Studio in St. Paul (Minneapolis?) that will be taught by Judy McDowell of Misty Meadow Icelandics. And that reminds me that I also tried to make a nuno shawl using a wrap I bought second hand. It came out OK, but I'm not sure I'm satisfied with it. I've read so many instructions on line and in books on making laminated felt (nuno), but there is nothing like having an instructor to answer questions. How much (little) fiber works best? How long do you roll it (or do you rub it first)? When is it done? Is it fulled enough? I had all those questions PLUS the wrap I used bled black dye like nobody's business, and was too big for the bamboo shade, bubble wrap and muslin I have. The polyester sheeting I ended up using was soooooo slippery!
I promise more pictures and less blathering in my next post.

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