Blog giveaway, last 12 hours to enter!

Well there are only 12 hours left to enter my first ever blog giveaway. If you would like to win one of the new felt pouch/wallet kits (including the tutorial) that I am offering from my Etsy shop please just hop on over here and follow the instructions to enter, there are 3 kits up for grabs! The winners can let me know if they want a kit especially made up in warm or cool colours, winners announced on Tuesday.

Each kit contains enough materials to make two pouches this size!
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Felt flower tutorial at last!!!

Orange and yellow felt flower

SIMPLE FELT FLOWERS

Materials list 

  • Approx 2 to 3g (.07 to .105oz) merino or Icelandic wool (batts or roving) in complimentary or contrasting colours, a spot of clashing colour often works well!
  • A little silk fibre, tencel, firestar or linen to add embellishment if desired.
  • Two pieces of bubble wrap no smaller than 12” square or one larger rectangle.
  • Warm water and soap.  An unscented soap with a high fat content is the best for your hands, most soap does work but I prefer olive oil soap or goat’s milk soap.
  • A small towel and a bottle for the soapy water, an old plastic mineral or milk container with small holes pierced in the lid makes a good cheap sprinkler!

Method

  • Place your towel on the table with one piece of the bubble wrap on top, bubbles up.
  • Lay out an even but light circle of wool approx 4” to 5” in diameter and lay a second layer on top of the first.  Overlapping the complimentary or contrasting colours works well as does laying out a darker splodge of colour in the centre of your flower.
  • Place your hand on top of the pile of wool and ‘vibrate’ it slightly to help the fibres stick together, check that there are not any extremely thin areas.
  • Patch if necessary and add then a little of your embellishing fibre around the outer edge if using.  Note, silk, tencel, firestar or linen fibres don’t actually felt themselves, the wool ‘catches’ them so please use sparingly.
  • Sprinkle some warm soapy water evenly on top of the wool, enough to compress the fibre but not enough to cause water to run off the bubble wrap.  You don’t need loads of suds so don’t go wild with the soap!
  • Place the second piece of bubble wrap on top of your flower bubble side down, if using a rectangle of plastic lay out the wool on one end and fold the other over.
  • Gently press down to work the water through the wool and remove any air pockets, lift the bubble wrap up carefully and see if the flower is totally wet through, add a little more water if necessary.  Replace the top layer of bubble wrap.
  • With wet soapy hands carefully rub the flower in a circular motion on top of the plastic for about a minute, turn over and repeat on the other side.
  • Remove the top layer of bubble wrap and gently rub directly on the wool with soapy hands.  Once a ‘skin’ has formed on the flower pick it up and start to shape it into a three dimensional shape with your hands.  I like to place the tip of my index finger in the centre of the flower and work the felt around the outside of my finger.
  • The flower will shrink by about one third to one half the original layout size, when you are happy with the result rinse in warm water, reshape and dry.  Enjoy!

Now for two thumbnails, WordPress is playing silly games today so apologies I can’t seem to upload any more!

Adding firestar around the outside of the flower

Shaping in my hands

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Lovely day yesterday, Borris Market and felt flower tutorial is on the way …..

Alan and I had a lovely day yesterday, thanks for all the best wishes for his birthday!  This morning has been spent making all the last purchases for Christmas (as opposed to last minute purchases!)  and driving into Bagenalstown to hand deliver a present.  Now I have the stove lit, a chicken to go in the oven and some flowers to felt for my mother.  I also need to make a nice piece of flat felt which will then be cut and stitched into a ‘smart phone’ cover as requested by my sister Lizzie.  I am planning to take some pictures of the flowers in progress and then I’ll post my felt flower tutorial as promised, that’s the plan anyway!  As things stand I doubt that I’ll get to any emails or similar today but once tomorrow and the final selling opportunity for my felt is over Saturday is a new day.

Tomorrow morning I will be back in Borris Farmer’s Market with more 3 for E30 specials, please call in and say hi if you are in the area!

Little felt brooch tutorial as promised!

You may remember that I promised to post (especially for Fiona!) a felt brooch tutotial, these were was what all of us in Feltmakers Ireland were teaching during the ‘Learning Curve’ sessions at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Dublin last week.  Thanks Holly for giving me permission to share your instructions,  here they are in my own words as an abbriviated list, I am assuming that everyone knows how to lay out the fibre but if not please refer to my basic flat felt instructions over on the tutorial page.  For these brooches we worked between bubble wrap and used beautiful short fibre merino batts, of course you could use tops/roving but the batts are just so quick and easy it’s not funny!  Anyway, don’t be afraid to experiment with the dimensions and fibres/fabric that you use, here is the process …..

  • Lay out a 10cm (4″) square of one colour, wet out with soapy water and fold in the edges to make more even, put aside.
  • Lay out an 8cm (3″) square of a complimentary or contrasting colour, wet out and fold in the edges as above.
  • Place the smaller square on top of the larger and position a round or oval resist on top somewhere making sure to leave some space around the outside to allow you to trap it completely with wool.  For my resists I like laminate floor underlay best but any kind of flexible plastic eg. bubble wrap is fine.
  • Cover the resist totally with a couple of layers of wool, add in blobs of other colours randomly remembering that a clashing colour often provides an interesting point of contrast.
  • Place a piece of fabric on top, we used muslin or scrim, and lightly wet.
  • Roll a few little pieces of merino in your fingers and position them as surface decoration, circles or crosses look good I think.
  • Rub your brooch between the two layers of bubble wrap for 5 minutes on side one, 5 on side two and 5 on side one again.  For the purpose of the workshop I just asked everyone to count out 300 rubs X 3, easy peasy!  Just check once or twice to make sure that it is both soapy and wet.
  • After 300 rubs remove the brooch from the plastic and rub it in your hands.  If you are using the short fibred merino you can get quite aggressive at this stage, it only will take a few minutes to full and finish it.
  • Once it has shrunk by about 1/3 cut a small cross into the top of where you positioned your resist, push and seal the cut edges outwards with your fingers.
  • Remove the resist, rinse and stretch the brooch into shape.
  • Stitch on a brooch back and wear with pride!

On a larger scale and with a different design these pieces make wonderful framed landscapes, pressies anyone???

Little brooch ready to felt

First pictures from CRAFTed project!

Only a few words today because I used most of them up with sixth class this morning!!! 

Having fun adding the surface decoration

 

I was blown away by how creative everyone was.  Each pupil was asked to choose two colours to use as a base, then they could select from all sorts of yarn, fibre and fabric to add to the surface layer.  A lot of the girls had brought in beads, buttons, pipe cleaners and all sorts of glitzy embellishments with them and these will be stitched on next Monday before the felt gets stuck to the front of their journals.  A tip for anyone wanting an easy way to decorate a copy, why not stick velcro to the book and then just press the felt to the barbed side of the velcro???  No sewing, I like that! 

Anyone see a favourite colour combination here???

Some of the pieces were fully felted by the end of the session but others will need a little more fulling at home before they are ready to embellish with stitches, beads and buttons.  It is always interesting to see how different people felt at different speeds, one of the last girls to lay out her wool was in turn one of the only girls who ended up with a fully felted piece at the end of the session!

Metallic mesh fabric, thick and thin merino, little buttons to be stitched on afterwards

There is no right or wrong way to felt either as many ways to end up with a good finished result but I always like to share with pupils what I was shown when I started because I feel it gives a good foundation to build upon.  You can check out my flat felt tutorial if you want to see what we did today.

Special offers and the power of Twitter as my new boutique felt store goes live!

Exciting news, at least for me!  Although it is going to take a couple of weeks hard work felting new summer stock, photographing work already completed and uploading everything to my new exclusive boutique online store CLASHEEN, as of last night the store is live and I have already made my first sale!!!   

After a lot of soul searching and research, I decided like my good fibre friend Chrissie Day that Etsy is not really the market place for my one off designs.  Big Cartel offers a much more boutique shopping experience and if I were quite honest customers who appreciate hand felted designs are the demograph that I am aiming to attract.  To this end, all my felt wearbales and new interior/exterior design range will be exclusive to the new store although I will still be offering a limited selection of supplies from the middle of May on Etsy.  These will include an interesting  nuno felt scarf kit complete with silk/cotton fabric, merino, silk fibres and an instruction video!  For the next week only I have a selection of experimental felt accessories avaiblable at a discount of 40% off their original price as a stock clearing excercise so if you want to snap up a  bargain head over to Etsy now, these items are sold as seen and anything left after Friday 7th May will be de-listed and not offered for sale again.

I also have two nuno felt scarves/wraps on special offer at my new store and look forward to having regular specials and seasonal items as we progress through the year.  It is going to take a little getting used to but the system as operated by Big Cartel appears to use a simpler way of uploading items than Etsy (not complaining about Etsy, it served its purpose for me).   I discovered this afternoon that once an item sells it is still visable to the public although it does say sold out if you click through to the description.  This is something I need to keep an eye on but once I get the hang of things I think that it will be a lot quicker and easier to maintain the store as well as having a much more luxurious and individual look about it although I’ll let you all be the judge of that!

Lastly the power of the internet is a wonderful thing.  When the boutique store finally went live late yesterday afternoon I posted a quick tweet for all of you following me on Twitter, congratulations to Olwyn who is now the proud owner of this gorgeous felt vessel! 

Felt vessel combining C1 and Herdwick

More felt accessories – how to make a stunning felt brooch or pendant

Carmen and I spent a happy and productive afternoon continuing our experimentation with merino and artificial fabric.  Both of us have stiff backs after all our exertions during the complex bag workshop (just wait until you see the pictures when I post about that!) so we decided to stick with small projects today and have some fun together. 

Midnight I brooch prior to beading

 

If you are interested in creating an experimental brooch or pendant like the one pictured on the left here is the process.

  1. Lay out a rough square of merino approx 6″ X 6″
  2. Wet it lightly, soap and flatten to remove the air
  3. Lay a small wad of dry wool in the centre and then place your stone, glass nugget or other found object on top
  4. Cover the insertion with dry wool
  5. Needle lightly through the dry wool into the wet to secure (don’t worry if you don’t have a needle, just leave this stage out)
  6. Lay another layer of wool over the whole front
  7. Cover this with strips or a larger square of artificial fabric, be inventive and try out anything!
  8. Wet out, soap and felt by rubbing directly on top of the front and back of the bundle, you don’t need to roll your work
  9. When fully felted cut a small cross over the insertion and using your finger nails push out the cut edge to expose your glass, stone or found object
  10. Rinse, shape and bead or embellish as required

HAVE FUN!  More pictures of work I created during and after Lyda’s visit are now uploaded to Flickr.