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1  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / wet felted angler fish on: August 13, 2014 04:27:00 PM
I made this one for a swap:

She is wet felted from natural colored Finn, with dyed prefelts for the tail and fins. The mouth and lure are wired for shape, and the teeth are shell spike beads. This was felted around a resist, with the tongue and teeth added later.

I included two insulated wires in the lure, and attached an led to the end with the battery inside of the mouth.

2  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / lidded bowls on: July 21, 2013 07:04:10 PM
These are made with a simple circular resist for the bowls. The lids are made separately.

Pumpkin bowl:

Grey bowl:

brown bowl:
3  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / fun with resists on: June 24, 2013 09:31:03 PM

Square resist:

(merino, mohairy yarn, shower curtain liner resist, shaped on hat form with clothespins)

Circle resist:

(masham dyed with turmeric, craft foam resist, shaped with plastic bags)

mutant lozenge resist:

(black gotland and dyed romney, merino-prefelt wrapped button mini-resists, shaped with plastic bags)

cat-shaped resist:

(mystery rovings, prefelt eyes, needlefelted details, polyfil stuffing, resewn opening at bottom)

I prefer plastic resists. Craft foam makes a nice, pliable, durable resist for smaller pieces. Plastic sheeting is ok for bigger projects, preferably heavier weight if there is a lot of manipulation. I store the plastic resists wrapped onto cardboard tubes and held with rubber bands - it is easy to store lots of resists this way and they don't get creased.

For more rigid vessels, fast felting stiff fibers like gotland and masham are fantastic. Using an underlayer or two of these wools will also help make upper layers of less cooperative fibers behave.
4  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / lazy scarf on: June 23, 2013 01:01:25 PM

This is based on a project in the "Uniquely Felt" book (which I highly recommend). It is good for anyone feeling too lazy to actually lay out fibers, and would probably work well for a beginner.

Pull off one long continuous section of merino roving, longer than you want the finished scarf to be. Carefully spread the roving fibers out like this

Do this to the whole piece of roving and lay it out in your felting area

Add design elements (I used some muga silk) and make "holes" in areas that are thin.

Wet it out and felt it as you like, being sure to work the intentional holes so that they have nice edges. The result looks like this

This is a nice use of rovings in colorways that don't lend themselves to wet felting (lots of hand dyed rovings for knitters just don't look nice when wet felted because the colors get blended unpleasantly). It is not a good use for superwash (the fiber in the second photo was some mystery merino that turned out to be superwash, bleh).
5  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / raw felting, BFL version on: June 05, 2013 04:11:23 PM
I bought a blue-faced Leicester cross raw fleece at Maryland sheep & wool and have been making small test pieces raw felting the locks.

This is what the raw (ie unwashed, straight from the sheep) fleece looks like:

The locks are placed on a regular backing of fibers, laid out as normal for wet felting. For this sample, I used three fine layers of merino roving and added the locks along the edges. The cut end of the locks should attach to the backing felt.

Wet it out with cool soapy water. Gently pat and rub, using extra soap on the cut ends to integrate the locks. With the fast-felting merino, there was no need for aggressive felting methods. Yes, the water will be filthy and vile.

Gently pull the locks to make sure they don't felt together in a lump. Do not despair even if it just looks like a drowned poodle.

Once the locks are adhered and the backing is stable, you can start to add hot soapy water. These locks quickly cleaned up in my apartment's super hot tap water. Be careful still not to felt the locks into a blob. If it is still dirty after felting sufficiently, you can soak it in a few vats of hot soapy water until all the dirt and lanolin are out.

When it is dry it will be clean and fluffy! Yay!

These have a bit of discoloration, so I will overdye it, as the discolored areas take dye very well.
6  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Plain Spoken on: April 14, 2013 06:20:38 PM
This is Plain Spoken from Modern Quilt Workshop (Ringle and Kerr). I don't generally quilt because I strongly prefer garment sewing.

There are about 20 solid colors - two of the oranges that I ordered were too bright and I left them out:

I don't have enough space to lay out the whole quilt in my apartment, sorry. Here is the whole thing, sort of:

It has wool batting and is entirely hand quilted (although not very well)

The quilting took four months. Not planning on doing that again!
7  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Magic roving ball swap on: March 19, 2013 10:29:57 AM
...why should yarn have all the fun?

It is basically just the same as Magic Yarn Ball, but with roving instead of yarn.

There was a round of Magic Roving Ball swap some years ago: www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=172337.0
The previous round used a minimum of 4 oz, which does sound about right for the amount needed to bind together a ball of goodies. An option for large quantities would also be good.

Any interest?
8  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Wacky hats (wet felted) on: March 11, 2013 09:14:36 PM

Last fall, I took a hat class with Hillevi Huse on making wet-felted hats using resists in various forms. These hats are made from merino (mostly), with only two thin layers of fiber and a large shrinkage rate (probably around 50%).

I made this hat in class, it has a rosette on one side and a twisted horn on the other:

(merino, silk, and banana fibers)

This hat was also from class, it is merino with wensleydale locks, shaped sort of like an hourglass with the top (with lock) inverted over the bottom (no locks).

This one was me playing around with a resist at home, simple with just one rosette:

And another resist test (this resist needs some work), pixie hat with banana fibers. The resist is too long in back, among other things, although it looks a lot weirder on the hat form than on an actual person.

The last one I did using a glass washboard - very efficient for working all that shrinkage, but I need to find a better way to use it that doesn't result in painful welts on my palms....
9  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / spanish shawl sea slug on: January 05, 2013 11:27:35 AM
A few months ago I took a class at felt camp (Creative Felt Gathering) from Andrea Graham on sculptural felting techniques using a combination of wet and needle felting. This spanish shawl sea slug (Flabellina iodinea) was made using the same methods, it is about a foot long and made from short fiber merino over a coarser core wool.

I had some weird issues with the orange dye that caused some slight discoloration of the purple fibers, you can't really tell from these photos because the camera flash causes its own weirdness. I am debating whether or not to enter him in the sculptural felting category at the MDSW skein & garment competition, even though he has a few issues, just to add something less conventional.

10  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / wet felted one-piece bag (lots of pictures) on: December 24, 2012 02:14:10 PM
This is how to make a one-piece bag using a flat resist. This style has the handle felted as part of the bag, rather than pre-felted and attached, like so:

First, I made samples of different fibers to find out how much shrinkage there was and to decide which combination of fibers I liked best. These samples were originally 8x8", and shrank to 6x6" after felting.

A large work surface is needed. I don't have a work table, so I used a large plastic cutting mat on the floor with an old towel on top.

Also necessary: fiber. I chose a Finnish humbug roving and some locks of washed border leicester.

The resist was cut out of an old shower curtain liner. I measured the size of the desired finished bag, added a few inches to account for depth of the bag, and then multiplied by 4/3 to get the resist size.

To start laying out the bag, I put the resist under a layer of sheer polyester and started laying out the fiber along the edges of the resist.

The first layer is placed all in one direction.

Now the locks that will be on the outer layer are placed on top. The locks extend a slight amount beyond the bottom of the resist.

I only wanted the locks on the body of the bag and not the handle, so only the bottom of the resist was covered with locks.

The resist is carefully slid out from under the polyester sheer. The first layer is wetted out in the center, and the resist is placed on top and smoothed down.

Rub a wetted bar of soap over the entire top of the resist, to help the fibers stick. The fibers along the top of the bag can be wrapped over and wetting down, but not along the lower portion of the bag. Then start laying down a layer of locks to match the placement of the other side.

Once the locks are in place, the remaining edge fibers from the other side can be wrapped around similar to along the top. Smooth and wet these down as closely as possible for the best results. Now a layer of fiber can be placed in the same direction as on the first side, again overhanging the edge. Then wet out this side and cover with a second piece of sheer fabric.

Flip the resist carefully, wrap over the overhanging fibers, then lay out fiber in the perpendicular direction, again overhanging the edges. Wet out and flip again. Repeat this until three layers of fibers have been placed on each side, each layer perpendicular to the one below. The handle portion of the bag should have a fourth layer of fiber placed.

After all of the fiber is placed and wetted, add more soap and start working the felt. I worked this one by hand, but it can also be rolled or whatever method you prefer. Particularly work the edges of the resist so that a ridge does not form.

Once the fibers have felted so that the bag can be moved about without damage, make a small cut in the upper area and remove the resist. Now soap can be added directly to the inside of the bag. Massage the bag from the inside, working out any ridges along the edges of the resist.

Continue felting more vigorously as the felt begins to shrink. Continue fulling as you like until the bag has shrunk to about the size that you want.

Now cut out panels to form handles for the bag. Immediately after cutting, put more soap on the cut edges and rub gently perpendicular to the cut. This helps to "heal" the cut edge. Some fibers will heal edges well (like merino), others do not heal well (long coarse fibers in general).  Try not to move the bag around too much until the edges are healed. Then you can finish up the fulling process, rinse, and soak in a bath with some vinegar to reset the pH.

After soaking, I stuff the bag with some plastic bags to hold a shape and then put it on the heating vent to dry.

This is the finished bag, the opposite side from the first picture.

The area with locks is textured like this. If you want something that looks more like a fluffy fleece, use raw unwashed locks instead. The cut edges of the locks felts easily into the backing, the tips tend not to felt in as easily.

I actually made a test bag first using a different set of fibers. These locks were longer and the tips tended to remain free of the felt.

This shows the shrinkage of the bag compared to the original resist. Shrinkage amounts depend on the type of fiber, how thickly the fiber is laid out, how many layers are used, and how much you full the bag.

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