Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Trees

This my 100th blog.

I would never have imagined that was possible when I started on my felting journey. Thanks to Els for getting me started and Kate at ArtyBird who has taught me such a lot over the last two years. Thanks also to everyone who reads my ramblings. If you could leave me a comment I'd be delighted!

I have been felting Christmas brooches.

My first two have become part of my Christmas wreath.

The one I will be wearing on Christmas day.

Happy Christmas to you all. :)


Sunday, 15 December 2013


Still working with the theme of lattices, I decided to try and make a vessel.

I kept with the brown , orange, grey and green theme that I had used for my flat pieces and used a resist previously used to make some small vases. I incorporated some synthetic chiffon into the piece trapped between prefelt and fibres.

Here is the the starting point.

It was really hard to get this lattice to meld together and I really should have thought to keep all joins and ends away from the edges of the resist. The shape got a bit out of control , during the felting process and was only tamed by first drying the piece around a glass jar and a then couple of discrete stitches.

Looking at the finished piece I thought it was missing something, so I decided to make some cords and weave them through the lattice. The final effect is quite bizarre but I like the idea that I have used one resist to make such constrasting pieces.

The original vases


The crazy lattice version

The versatility of felt .





Sunday, 8 December 2013


I have this week been making lattices based loosely,very loosely on my drawings.
I have been experimenting with felting by hand , and also in my washing machine and tumble drier.
I am quite pleased with my first experiments.
Felted by hand
Felted in the washing machine.
Felted in the tumble drier.
I then went on to try incorporating some fabric, synthetic chiffon and a piece of sari silk , and also prefelt to make this piece, which just cried out for a small bead to finish it off

Sunday, 1 December 2013


The start of year 2 of my Artybird course has a lot of drawing assignments. This is doubly challenging for me as I am a beginner in drawing and as my theme is river edges, they are not very transportable. While approaching these challenges I started with the warm up to music exercises. Charcoal in hand blindfold on music blaring I scribbled away . My two choices of music Hallelujah sung by KD Land and You overtake me by The flaming lips. If you know these tunes you will be able , I hope to identify the drawing which goes with which music.

Next more music , eyes open , draw what you hear in white wax . This is of course virtually invisible so overall you are nearly as blind as before. I did learn from my first attempts that less is probably more , as if you scribble in time to fast music for 4 minutes there is no white space left.

Next wash with diluted ink to reveal the masterpiece and then add lines to bring it all together. So far so good. I was quite please with my piece so far.


Finally used diluted bleach to remove lines in the wash and ink as a final layer of detail. Well ok , I give it a try , still playing the same piece of music by the way , nothing happens. Can bleach stop bleaching , age and stop working????? I don't think so. Then it came to me, permanent ink . I had used permanent ink . I had not really thought about it just used a bottle of black ink. Totally impervious to fading naturally or with bleach. So it's back to the drawing board and the music.


Sunday, 24 November 2013


I have to admit to be totally distracted from starting the second year of my intermediate felt course with ArtyBird by playing with my new sewing machine. I started with the idea of getting a new a machine , thanks to Els , when my old one , which was second hand from my mother and about 25 years old , went from only having the one speed of very fast to not going at all. I did mange to get this fixed but my then I was pretty taken with the idea of a new machine.
So my new beauty is electronic , with lots of nifty features. I have discovered A needle threader , the ability to wind a bobbin without un threading the machine , eyelets , button holes, and all kind of fancy stitches, needle up and down buttons , memories , basting "
So first I played just randomly stitching and testing.
Then I have made some Christmas table mats using this lovely cheery fabric. They still need some gold stitching to finish them .

Then I did a bit of uneven stitching on some felt. This needs to get better !

One of the things I love about living in the Netherlands is all the wonderful , fabric , " stoffen" you can easily buy. Next weekend the big stoffen market comes to town , so that should provide me with some more opportunities to be distracted.
Seroiusly I have received my first second year assignments , and I am sharpening my pencils ready for some drawing.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

End of another year

Well all of my wonderful felted bags , sculptures and hats , along with my jewellery and vases are packed up and sent off to Kate for final assessment. What I lot of stuff I have made when I put it all together. So that is the end of my first year intermediate course with Artybird and my second year with Artybird. I have to say I have loved my second year just as much as the first year.

It's quite hard to pick my favorite part. Maybe it's hats !

Maybe it's sculpture ?


All I know is I have learned a lot , laughed a lot , really enjoyed talking and sharing thoughts , ideas and progress with my virtual classmate, Paula, and I have made things I am really proud of . So I don't think I can ask for more.

Next year promises to be just as exciting and challenging , with experimental pieces , thread and much more. I can't wait to get started.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Final year 1 assignment : Grey skies

After all the testing it was time to make my final year one assignment a handbag.

To recap it had to be a beautiful but also practical for every day use handbag. I intended to incorporate textured silk and stitching and two handles. It will have a smartphone pocket. After so much testing it becomes increasingly difficult to actually did the real thing for me , which is a bit bizarre.

Getting ready to start , fibre for all layers weighed out!

The pocket

Placing the silk

Attaching the silk

All the cutting for the handles and flap

Finished and thinking about stitching.


Close up of stitching just before finishing

Final finished bag


Friday, 1 November 2013

Gotland part 2

Whilst we were away at the wedding having a lot of fun as this photos shows.


My big bag was drying beautifully into a lovely shape and a nice mottled effect. It really beautiful the way three distinct layers and colours if fibre meld together in this way.

The question was how to finish off the handle. My plan was to hand stitch and give a kind of top stitch effect on both sides, this was quite difficult to do I found , as trying to get the two sides well stitched together and a reasonably straight top stitch on both sides was very hard. In the end I first did a line of small stitches which were to hold in all together , and then a more decorative top stitch on both sides.


I am please with the final result. It will be good for holding knitting , shopping and taking my miniatures felts to a gallery ..... One day .


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Gotland part 1

Last Friday I intended to make my end of year 1 intermediate course final project , a handbag . But my fibre had not arrived so my thoughts turned to some beautiful Gotland fibre I got at Woolfest. It was bought  from Eden Gotland sheep. It was earmarked for a bag , but more of a shopper type bag , robust and hard wearing, than a handbag. So I decided to make this instead and use it as another bag handles practice exercise.
I like Gotland sheep and fibre, the sheep are nice looking and the fibre is long a lustrous and comes in shades of grey with a lovely sheepy smell. As it felts you get a beautiful mottled effect.
My bag is quite big , the resist is 70 cm by 60 cm , and the extra prefelt for the handles was cut horizontally from the top of the resist
Here you can see it being pined in place , also visible are the lighter fibres on the outside of the bag.
I laid a felted core I had made in the middle of the handle .
Then roughly sewed it together. It quite amazing how this rough sewing becomes completly invisible when felted. Hardly any scar.!
The bag is now drying waiting for its final stitching.
More next time , after a short break for a wedding !

Friday, 11 October 2013

Below the surface

This piece was inspirered by the felt united theme of water and the ideas conjured up by the word drift. Many things floated into my head when I was contemplating what to make and I do not know why this idea came to the top

I wanted to imagine the water lily pads which look so beautiful and peaceful with their quiet regular overlapping shapes, from the underneath. I had seen a beautiful pool in the Netherlands in spring of this year.

But I was also reminded of something I saw many years ago where a swimmer was picking beautiful water lily flowers , by swimming in the pond and holding the blooms in his teeth.

I also thought it would be a way of trying out the technique of felting I learned from Miriam Verbeek at Feltfull 2013. Here you needle felt the fibres into your fabric, making a new feltable fabric that can be cut into complex shapes, which in turn can be joined together. Perfect for water lily pads.

Here's my sketched idea and a sample , alongside by needle felted felt fabric made from some home dyed cotton lawn and merino fibres , ready for cutting.

Having made all the individual lily pads I felted it into a single piece . It is about 1 metre long.langamL

After felting I stitched some small beads for the bubbles that I think must be there? As usual I had not really at the start decided how I would display when I started, but I knew it needed to to free, drifting. I choose in the end to back it with a clear blue sky mounted on canvas stretcher bars.

The finished piece will be on display as part of the drift exhibition organized by Lagom Felt Studio in Crieff Scotland.