Saturday, 30 April 2011

that time of year

It's always the same at this time of year, so many jobs to do, loads of ideas that have collected over the cold winter months, then it seems that time just flies out the window and I end up chasing my tail.... I must get more organised... I do make 'to-do' lists but then other 'more important' jobs , pop-up and then I'm back to square one!!! Help!!
That is one of the reasons I have not posted lately but I've decided that I have to prioritise and my blog is one of the priorities!!
For anyone who has not seen my pictorial needle-felting, I urge you to go to my Etsy shop, so you will have a better idea of what I'm referring to in this post. The link is;-    

The reason for that is, I want to talk about 'setting-out' and 'filling-in' pictorial felted work. There's no magic formula and you'll probably find your own way of doing it anyway but this is just to point you in the right direction and then you can make your own mind- up!
The most difficult part is deciding what you are going to felt!! The 'canvas' always appears very imposing and I liken it to painting, when you have dived -in and made the first marks, it never as bad as it first felt.
For the purpose of this excercise, I would like you to felt a flower onto a fabric backing. Make it a very simple flower with , say five petals and a nice big round middle, let's call it a daisy!!
I want you to draw it with a ball-point pen onto a piece of material.. yes, draw it with pen, because you will be covering all the 'setting out' marks with wool, they will be lost from view... it is most certainly allowed.. trust me, I'm a felter!!
Place the material over (onto) a felting pad or if you don't have one of those yet, just use a piece of foam rubber( from an old cushion or something) that's what I use all the time. Then tighten it up abit and stick a couple of dressmakers pins in the corners, to hold it in place.
I'm making a lot of assumtions here but I'm supposing that because you are reading this blog you already have the basic's...a felting needle, some wool(either roving and/or knitting wool) and the desire to learn!!
Having drawn your flower onto the fabric, you are now going to 'out-line' the flower using knitting-wool, at this stage the colour is totally irellavent. Start at the base of any petal and needle the end of the wool until it 'grabs' the fabric, once you can feel a bit of ressistance, you can now put a small amount of tension into the wool, which will help as you guide it around you petal, needleing as you go. Take your time to get this method right and it will pay huge dividends later.
As you poke the needle into the wool, you are effectively, tearing off fibers and pushing them into the fabric. Now, I would urge you not to poke too far into the foam pad, as all that achieves is, damage to the pad and a messy looking, reverse of the fabric. You only need go in a short distance for the purpose of securing the fiber into the fabric.
Continue to go round the complete petal and carry on with the rest of them until they are all outlined. Then do the same with the middle, using a different colour wool. (a note here about the thickness of the knitting wool- the thicker the wool, the less accurate you can be with the setting -out but the quicker it is achieved, you will be able to make judgements on that at a later stage)
 Now all that's left to do, is in-fill the inside area with the colour of your choice. This can be done with knitting wool, working in an ever decreasing spiral from the edge- in, or you can use roving or un-spun wool.
For those of you that are beyond this level of proficiency, please be patient, we will be looking at more advanced procedures, next time.
Until then, practice, practice, even 'old hands' need to keep up with things, especially if you haven't picked up a needle in a while!! LOOK OUT for your fingers!!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Just pointing you to...

I just thought I'd point you in the direction of this couple... Sam Tsui and Christina Grimmie, .. these guys are absolutly amazing.. if you go to you tube they have loads more vids .. look for Kurt Hugo Schneider... anyway heres the link...
Have fun til next time.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

continuation of 3d

O.K. continuing with making the mushroom/toadstool, as you can see from the previous post' picture, the fungus is sitting on a base, it's a good idea to always 'root' or stabilise your subject, otherwise it tends too 'float' and that takes away from the feeling of solidity.
In this case we have a little mound of woodland on which our fungus is perched, so lets start by making a disc of wadding or wool, make it 1/2 an inch or so thick, when it begins to feel firm, keep adding the medium(wadding or wool) to the top surface only, starting at the outside edge and work in towards the middle and continue adding until you have a firm, cone shape.
Now, continue to needle it until it's firm enough not to 'give' too easily under finger pressure. This is really subjective, 'cos some folk like the really soft feel items and some like them rock hard, use your own judgement on this.
When you are happy with it, make a second one, which can be slightly wider than the first, as this will be the cap of the mushroom.
Then make a 'rod' for the stem, now this is where you get imaginative, because if you 'google' pictures of mushrooms, you will see, that usually, the stem is wider at the base than the top but it's up to you, go for the cartoony type image!!
So now its time to join all the parts together. I find the easiest way is not to use extra fibre but place the parts together, at the points that look right, and just needle all the way through into the other one, WARNING!!! Your fingers are holding it together at this point, so make sure you know where they are and avoid them!! Once you feel that the pieces are held in place then you can move your fingers out of harms way a bit but try not to be too rough.
  When everything is firmly 'knitted' together, it's time to surface decorate using whatever colour combinations you desire, remember, you are the artist and there are no rules, which, when you start to accept this concept, is so enabling.
Just go ahead and have a whale of a time!!
Let me know how you get on and don't forget, if you have any questions on any part of the excercise or anything else related to the blog or felting in general, just ask in comments.
Have fun and if you can take a picture and post it with your comments, I may even have a gallery of work if theres enough participation.

Monday, 4 April 2011

New Racking

Hi all, sorry I havn't been around for a few days or carried on with the last post but I'm expecting some NEW RACKING for the studio and as I.m not able to do any of the lifting and lugging, I have had the help of some friends and family to make room, so that stuff to go on the racking, had to be moved before the racking could be put in, if that makes any sense at all !!!
All very time consuming  and as I'm not the most organised person in the world, I got help there too!
It's supposed to be here tomorrow, so hopefully, by Wednesday, I should be able to continue my post.
In the mean-time, wish me luck for a smooth operation!:-)