Archive for category needle felting
I’m still enjoying learning the art of 2D needle felting and have had a stab – no pun intended – at doing a portrait of my boy Stan.
This probably wasn’t the best photo to choose to copy as he was much younger then and the light is making his black coat look as if it has purple and blue in it – and that bow tie!!
As I am completely in love with this new activity I thought I’d talk you through what 2D needle felting involves in case you’re interested and you’ve never come across it before.
Firstly, I did a few free online tutorials with felting artist Sophie Wheatley – remember the hamster I did? Sophie felts a picture from beginning to end and you can follow along live or watch later. (a link to her website at the end in case you feel it’s something that would appeal to you).
I immeditely knew I was going to love the craft and, as I love dogs just a bit too, I thought I would join her paid course for the dog portraits which is probably the best money I’ve ever spent on a crafting course of any description.
With Sophie’s method, you don’t have to be able to draw – which is good because I can’t. Instead, you choose a really good, in focus photo where there’s not too much shine or shadow and the features are clear.
Then you transfer the photo on to your background fabric. 100% wool felt sheets are good because they help the felting process begin but you can use whatever fabric you can get a felting needle through. I used linen for Stan’s first portrait.
I don’t use the method Sophie uses to transfer the photo although most of the students seem to. I use a lightbox and trace the outline and as many markings as I can in pencil.
I turn the traced image over and, again using the lightbox to highlight the lines, I go over the drawing with a transferable pen.
Then, I turn the paper over again so that the transferable pen lines are against the backing fabric and iron it, making sure all the lines are transferred.
Then you really look closely at the original photograph on your screen, zooming in on the detail and see what colours you have in there.
Sophie recommends using carded wool batts rather than roving (wool tops) as the batts are already slightly matted and will felt down much quicker.
I have quite a few neutral colours as both my dogs are black with varying degrees of white but I also needed tans and creams and browns. Luckily, you only need small pieces of wool as you don’t actually use much at all.
Felting needles come in different gauges but, basically, they have barbs on the end which you repeatedly poke down into the wool and this is what causes the fibres to come together and become ‘felted’.
Generally, it’s good to start with the eyes because they immediately give the portrait some life and encourage you to move on.
I have a tendency to make the eyes too big and this right eye was removed at a later stage and re-done. This is possible if you don’t felt the wool down too firmly at first. you can always go over it all at the end to firm it up.
I sent a photo of the first finished ‘draft’ to my daughter on WhatsApp and she sent me back a link to ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch.
Everyone’s a critic 🙄
So both eyes came out at that point and got re-done.
Anyway, I’m pleased enough with my finished portrait of Stan to put him in a hoop (for now) but I still have a lot to learn and will do some more practice before I try one of Flo and another one of Stan with the grey hairs he has now.
If you fancy having a go, Sophie has some free tutorials on her site ‘All Things Felt and Beautiful’ which was where I learnt to do the hamster and, just last weekend, this lemur – which I’m quite proud of actually.
I’m glad I started learning this before the current lockdown situation otherwise I might have found it hard to get the materials. It’s been the perfect distraction – the time flies while you’re doing it. I did think the other day that I’d like to try Tunisian crochet but although I could get instructions and patterns on PDF files, I haven’t got any of the special hooks so that will have to wait.
I hope you’ve found this quick run down on 2D needle felting of interest but, I thought, if i’m going to talk about it in future posts, you might want to know what it involves even if you’re not going to try it yourself.
Have you started anything new during the current situation to take your mind off things or have you taken the opportunity to finish current projects or can’t you concentrate on anything at all for long at the moment?
I’ve been very distracted so far this year. I’ve been seriously studying 2D needle felting as I’ve joined a paid online course and want to do well because I’ve got plans to do portraits of both my dogs. I’ve put the 3D needle felted sculptures to one side at the moment although I’ve every intention of getting back to those once I’ve mastered the 2D stuff.
Before the course started I had a go at this snow hare. Room for improvement but doing this sort of got me hooked which is why I signed up for the dog portrait course.
I started practising noses and eyes.
I sent a photo of this one to Mr. TIalys when he was in the U.K. and he thought one of the dogs had done something on the carpet!!💩
I progressed slightly although they look weird as stand alone features don’t they?
Both my dogs are mostly black and, unfortunately, the wrong colour fibre was sent to me so I couldn’t really make a start. I did have lots of brown though so decided to follow the workshop for a Jack Russell even though I don’t have one, never have had one and don’t know anybody who has. All good practice though.
I’m counting this as a partial success as the ‘too big eye’ impacted on the rest of my markings and I made a complete mess of his chest hair but, as it was my first attempt, I’m trying to be kind to myself. I am quite proud of the nose though. Also, it does actually resemble a Jack Russell so it can’t be all bad.
So, I’m going to try to replicate this photo of Stan which was taken before he had any grey hairs but is a favourite of mine
I’ve made a start by transferring the image on to some linen and, now that my 50 shades of grey (and black) have arrived, I will try to immortalise dear Stan in felt. Of course, I didn’t think about ordering any red fibre for the bow tie did I! 🙄
My other main distraction – and reason for lack of blog posts – is the possible, well probable really, relocation back to the U.K. Nothing to do with Brexit I hasten to add. A difficult thing to achieve when our needs are many and varied including displacing multiple animals, a husband who needs commuting facilities, the need to be within a short drive of one of our daughters, the need (well, desire) for workshop space and a largish garden (very difficult to find in the South of the U.K. at a price that is achievable by people other than film stars and Lottery winners) . To say nothing of the time it takes to sell property here in comparison to the U.K. I am so sick of looking at houses on the internet and am dreading the whole thing.
On the brighter side, I’ve been doing some patchwork as the new round of F2F (foot square freestyle)has started which means, I will be making three blocks each month for the next ten months for me and the other nine participants in our chosen colours. The first up is Tracey of It’s a T-Sweets Day and she has chosen Christmas colours – red, green and Christmas pudding brown. I can’t show you the blocks I’ve made for Tracey as they are on their way to her now and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
Hopefully, see you next time I take a break from the felting, foundation paper piecing and freaking out about moving.
I’m continuing down the path of my new obsession – needle felting.
After my idiosyncratic hare which was my first attempt at a beastie……
……..I thought I’d have a go at 2D needle felting. In other words, making a picture using wool tops and a felting needle.
For my first attempt I copied the ouline of an illustration from a card I’d sent to Mr. Tialys at one time on to some linen. Then filled it in with needle felting.
I really like the texture you can achieve.
Then I went back to the 3D sculpture stuff and made a fox.
He has rather a high forehead – probably a very brainy fox – but, overall, I’m quite pleased with my second animal sculpture.
Here he is again resting in some monster-sized faux lavender. I need to learn how to tame unruly whiskers.
I stretched my 2D picture in a hoop just to display on the blog but I’ll be keeping my early (flat) attempts in some sort of portfolio file in order to track my progress.
Although I think this would work quite well, with a little felted heart between them, as a Valentine’s card.
I’m not sure yet, whether I prefer making the 3D needle felted sculptures or the 2D needle felted pictures but it’s early days yet and for the moment I will carry on with both until I make a decision or, more likely, continue with both sorts.
Next, I’m going to have a go at a dog sculpture – I think I could adapt the shape of the fox to represent one of my dogs.
Also, I’m going to try to needle felt a picture of my other dog for which I’m going to follow a live Facebook tutorial.
At this rate, I see felted gifts for friends and rellies in the future – which will make a change from blankets and quilts I suppose.
But, first, we’ll see if I can make anything worth giving.
A new year, a new scrap friendly project – and a very simple one it is too.
If you’ve been reading my recent posts you’ll know I’m trying out needle felting again.
Before the French postal service did away with their economy international tariff, I used to sell French linen of the sort that is used to make tea towels. I still have lots of scraps and offcuts and sometimes use them for various crafting purposes.
Most people seem to use a foam pad underneath their work or even a sort of brush thingy – these protect your work surfaces, support your work in progress and, usually, stop you stabbing yourself with the stiletto like barbed needle that is used for needle felting.
When I was doing my research into needle felting and deciding whether to to take the plunge again after my not too successful efforts a few years ago, I spotted several people using hessian bags filled with rice and, as that seems more eco friendly than foam or a plastic brush, I thought I’d put those pieces of linen into use.
The linen is quite a coarse weave so I think it will work well.
I just cut two squares, approx. 12 x 8 inches, overlocked the edges, leaving a gap to fill with about 1.5kg of the cheapest rice I could find, and sewed up the gap.
Scraphappy Day is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric or yarn. Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.
Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.
Kate (me!), Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline, Sue L
I thought I’d let you know how my needle felting journey is progressing.
I know his ears are super long but it was me putting my own spin on the kit.
A back view to show off his tail.
I really enjoy the way you have to sculpt the wool to get the shape you want.
I like to think I’m making some progress since my first efforts.
Still far from perfection but I’m quite proud of him and there’s enough wool left in the kit to make another one .
As for this needle felting lark – I think I’m probably a goner.
Regular readers will know that I like to say ‘never say never’ about certain things although one ‘never’ that won’t change is that I will never voluntarily go on a sea cruise.
Obviously crafts are a different matter because, having very briefly tried needle felting once, I’m pretty sure I wrote it off as something that didn’t appeal to me and said ‘never again’. I do like some of the things you can create with it – particularly animal sculptures – but I was a bit ‘meh’ about the actual doing of it.
However, when my daughters were over here at Christmas, Mlle. Tialys the Younger said she wanted to try felting. She had done some wet felting at a workshop so she’d bought a kit to make small cat figures which she brought over to France with her so we could do some together. Having wet and soaped and wet and soaped some more, I’m going to stick my neck out and say I’m ‘never’ going down that damp and tedious road again – although I haven’t totally given up the idea of felting a bar of soap because – well, why wouldn’t you want a bar of felted soap?
So, I unearthed my very small supply of needle felting stuff I’d bought to try out that craft several years ago.
One thing that definitely does appeal about this craft is the relatively small amount of tools you need and the small amount of space to practice it. I really don’t need any more bulky supplies around at the moment as I have enough fabric, yarn, sewing machines, etc. to sink a ship as it is. Also, I think it could be fairly eco friendly as you can buy lovely British breed wool tops and I even noticed one shop selling ‘vegetarian’ wool as it comes from a farm where the sheep are kept almost as pets and never, ever sold for meat.
I must admit to not being particularly enthused about the projects available in the book I had so I scoured the internet for beginner videos and more information. I’ve ordered a kit from this U.K. shop which has lots of information and video tutorials on their blog. I am hoping, when the kit arrives, and I have had a bit more practice, to make a little hare.
In the meantime the Younger and I decided to make something round with a couple of features just to get into the swing of things and I show you my first attempts in the sure and certain belief you will not be overly impressed.
After Mlle. T. the Younger returned to the U.K., I followed another video tutorial on YouTube for a mushroom.
I played around with adding features like the spots on the cap and grass growing around the stalk so it was good practice.
I think I might be addicted and things can only improve although it might be some time before I’m being commissioned to replicate people’s dogs and cats in felt like this Japanese artist known as Wakuneko
I think I’ll aim for something a little more achievable for the moment.
Watch this space.
A Happy New Year to all and, in case you were wondering why, on my last post just before Christmas, I broke my usual habit of answering all comments, I apologise and have no excuse apart from the impending visitation of my daughters and the barely contained panic of trying to get last minute presents made before the big day. I promise I won’t do it again – well, I might but will apologise again if I do.
Despite having the most beautiful weather over Christmas with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures, I was really lazy and mostly passed dog walking duties over to Mr. Tialys as he was home and it was nice to have a break from it if I’m honest. Also, Zumba and Pilates classes had stopped over the holidays and I’m far too undisciplined to work out on my own at home. Still, it’s back to normal today and it turns out I haven’t been that lazy because I do seem to have a few makes to show you.
Firstly, I finished the second ‘All Day Shirt’ for Mr. T just in the nick of time for Christmas. I fell behind with it because I wanted to attach the sleeves differently but got in a muddle so ended up doing them the way the pattern said after all. I used Liberty tana lawn again as I had a length of this tiny floral in my stash so that’s used up a bit more ‘excess’ fabric.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of him wearing it on Boxing Day so a close up front of folded shirt (please note the contrast fabric – also Liberty – on collar facing, inside yoke and it’s also inside cuffs) and a back view worn by my antique male mannequin will have to do for the moment. Anyway, you get the drift.
After seeing the Cheyenne Tunic pattern by Hey June on another blog, I thought it would make a nice, relaxed top to wear over leggings or jeans and I had some double gauze with gold spots on which I thought would give a sparkly touch for Christmas.
You can see the gold dots more clearly if you click on the photo and they did make the top a bit more ‘festive’ but it meant the construction was more difficult than it needed to be as pressing the fabric had to be done very carefully in case of gold dot meltage (possibly a made up word). I like the pattern and the only alteration I made was to make the sleeves slightly bell shaped as I didn’t want the turn back sleeves with tabs or the long sleeves with cuffs on this occasion. I was going to gather the ends of the sleeves at the wrist but decided against that in the end (I told you I was lazy). I will make it again in a different fabric as I like the neck and placket closure and the general overall shape.
So, both daughters were home for Christmas and Mlle. Tialys the Elder and I were keen to make ourselves a pair of workout leggings from a new pattern I’d bought – Virginia Leggings by Megan Nielsen – for a bit of mother daughter bonding while we weren’t watching Christmas films, playing board games, scoffing festive food or arguing with our sister (!). Obviously that last one was not me as my sisters weren’t here although, if they had been, I probably would have argued with them.
Unfortunately, this is not me either.
I did make myself some of these too but, trust me, this is probably the photo you would rather see.
The fabric, bought online, came as a bit of a shock – I thought the sharks were going to be tiny and barely recognisable as sharks but, as you can see, that wasn’t the case. However, in a way, it’s better because you don’t get that many full sharks to the leg (a sentence I have probably never said before in my life and probably won’t ever again). Certainly it’s true in my case as I’m short and also I cropped the legs of my pair to mid calf length. We did try to be careful not to get a shark disappearing up front or back crotch piece. Anyway, the fabric was a bargain and I bought it so we could try out the pattern for size and I’m grateful to Mlle. T. the Elder for so thoroughly testing them out for me so that at least I know my seams should contain me during a squat, or worse, a down dog.
I saw, on Anne’s blog, that she had been doing some book folding and, as often happens with me, I was immediately inspired to rush off and try it out. I decided to re-purpose a couple of very old, never looked at books into Christmas trees – one was a cookery book for ice cream dishes (never going to happen in this house) and the other had a lot of very nice vintage style black and white illustrations from which I made the one on the right below and another one as a gift. There was a fourth one too that I made as a last minute present for a friend on Boxing Day – and so I also got to be a dab hand at five pointed origami stars.
Of course I had to investigate further and ended up nearly ruining my hands for all time by folding an old paperback into an angel as one does.
This may have been a step too far as it took me ages and, in a search for a suitable angelic topping, I stumbled across a ball of gold tinsel yarn I bought at some time for who knows what and made a pompom for her head. She sheds little gold sprinkles wherever she goes so I might think about a different head next time I unpack the Christmas decorations. However, that will be the first and the last angel body I’m ever making out of a paperback.
I also did a lot of crochet work on the border of my Nature’s Walk CAL blanket but obviously not enough or I’d be showing it to you now. The deep border seems to be never ending but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be worth it in the end. Lots of the other people who did the CAL enjoyed it so much they started on another one straight away – that is probably (definitely?) not going to happen in my case.
So, not too lazy really and I have also started a new hobby in a fit of madness but mainly in a quest to get Mlle. Tialys the Younger interested in some sort of craft. Progress (or lack of) will be revealed next time.
In the meantime, against all the odds, let’s hope 2020 will prove to be a good one for everybody, everywhere.