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!!

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