Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Felt Like It!!!

I've been doing a lot of "needle felting" lately. In fact, it's become my new obsession!! Since I distribute a collection of felting fibre - Bhedawool and felted rectangles - TrueFelt, I decided that I needed to know a bit more about needle felting.

I started last year with a small felted flower brooch - a very satisfying one hour project, that whet my appetite for a bigger meal, so to speak. I now needed to find some time to "cook up" something, that was more than just an appetizer.



Eureka!! My husband would be away on business for a few days so I had a window where I didn't actually have to cook a real meal. The kids, now in their twenties, rarely eat with us, anyway. From their odd looks and painful groans you'd think our food was some sort of poison. Well, who wants to die young from a lentil soup, when you can die slowly from poutine :)

Like all meals, for me anyway, it began in a rush. Running out of the door at the end of the day, I suddenly remembered that I needed to start this project and I had better grab a few felt pieces and some fibre before I left. It's a little like - "Oh, yeah, dinner - better pick something up at the "quickie mart" or we'll all starve.

I grabbed whatever was at hand and took it home. After some warmed up chilli, which passed for dinner, I looked at my palette. Alas, I had a choice of hot pink or dark teal as a background and whatever fibre was left over from my flower brooches. My artistic muse may well be Andy Warhol!!

I selected the dark teal, looked at a few felted projects online and decided I could do a streets cape, maybe. There was something about a quilted project with washing on the line that spoke to me. Yes, I know, the laundry baskets, in the corner, were full, sigh!

Finally, after three or four hours of fibre escape, voila! - a small French village on a dark and stormy night, perhaps


All I need now is a glass of wine, some Brie, a small baguette...... feeding the body after feeding the soul. There's a lot to be said for fibre!!

Enjoy!!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Insanity....

....Or the insane things we do to keep from going insane, if that makes sense. I was at a loose end the other day (I have to believe that most people who knit or crochet etc. are forever at loose ends) when I decided to do a little crochet.

I made the decision after ripping back about six inches of circular knitting in sock yarn on a 3.0mm needle - there were 400 stitches on the needle. Why? Well, you guessed it, I had a twist in the cast-on. I won't go into why I hadn't noticed it earlier. Let's just say it was therapy knitting. The therapy worked, but the garment was never going to be a mobius, so out it came.

Crocheted flower motif in DK cotton.

This is when I became my mother, who crocheted more than she knit. Her argument was - in crochet you only have to look after one stitch at a time - certainly easier than 400! I had some yarn hanging around - go figure - so I thought, why not a vest. I had actually just finished a crocheted mobius - more on that later and I had been longing to do some "granny squares". I know some people long for Paris or something exotic, I long for crocheted motifs - a little insane, maybe.

I started by flipping through some crochet books I had, looking for the perfect motif. It didn't exist, in the books I had anyway. Perfection in this world is hard to come by, so I had to make up my own. I am far from perfect, but I am a little obsessive-compulsive (more insanity), so I had to have exactly the shape I had envisioned. At this rate, of course, the vest might never get done.

Front back and back - 3 quarters there.

The long and the short of it is - more short than long, it is a vest after all - I came up with the above motif, which I am sure exists in the book 100 Granny Squares or something like that, but, in the absence of a source, I had to improvise!

With some inventive joining of hexagons - I love the allusion to witchcraft with the "hex", as in "who put the hex in hexagon - I am almost finished. I was originally going to do a lot of beading on the motifs, but since I didn't feel like pre-beading the yarn and I found stopping to pop on a bead slowed me down too much - crochet is fast - I opted for adding a bead on the little tail of yarn at the centre of the motif - Voila.

Front & back with armhole!

Now who said granny squares are dated. I think they're the funkiest!! My magic wand was a 2.75 Amour - love that word - crochet hook from Clover. Try them - they really work wonders!!

Paris here I come!!

Have a magical day!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Oh....Have you got a minute....?

...to sew on this button...or mend this rip....or turn up this hem...... Well, you may have, but you are out in the "wilds" with propane as your power - or not - as the case may be and you have just been asked to work a miracle.

Now, where did I put that wand? Or in this case that little blue box. Voila! You now have -
1. 3 needles - two to lose and 1 to keep!
2. 1 needle threader - you may need it beside a dimly lit lantern.
3. 1 pair of the world's cutest scissors - that's cute not cut - although they are sharp.



4. 1 pair of tweezers - to pick out the itty bitty threads that you can't manage, cleanly, because you've just built a campfire.
5. 4 neutral shades of yarn - who wears fuschia camping?
6. 2 safety pins - 1 big, 1 small - I swear there were times in my life, when I was held together entirely by safety pins!!!



All with their own special place in the tidiest little plastic container you've ever seen. In fact, it's no bigger than a cigarette lighter.



It's from Clover - Compact Sewing Kit - #CL2002 on the Infiknit site. Order your miracle worker today - go camping tomorrow - or something like that.

Have really "neat" day!!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Felted Flowers for Spring



Here is a very easy felted flower accessory made with TrueFelt 100% felted wool fabric and Bhedawool felting fibre. This makes an easy introductory class for needle felting. Once you've done a flower go on to butterflies, small animals, birds etc. You simply have to cut a new stencil for each accessory.  HAVE FUN!!



Felted Flower Accessory


Materials:

  1. 8cm x 8cm (3” x 3”) square of 100% wool felted fabric
  2. A very small quantity of 3 colours of roving
  3. 60cm (24”) of fingering weight yarn, which is mainly wool
  4. One 38 gauge felting needle – Caution this is a very sharp needle.
  5. Sponge or foam (felting mat) to receive needle. Clover felting mats work very well.
  6. Scissors, tapestry needle.
  7. 8cm x 8cm (3” x 3”) square of card stock for stencil

Instructions:

  1. Draw a flower with 4 petals on the square of card stock leaving a border of 1cm (.5”)
  2. Cut out the inside of flower shape to create a stencil.
  3. Place felted fabric on felting mat.
  4. Centre stencil on fabric.
  5. Pull out a small amount of fibre from the bat. Use very little fibre. More maybe added, if needed.
  6. Place fibre about 1cm (.5”) from the edge of the stencil and secure by pushing down on the felting needle perpendicular to the felting mat. Repeat this action until fibre has adhered to the felt square. (You may remove the stencil and reposition it for the other petals.) Add shape to petals with needle, as you secure the fibre.
  7. Reposition stencil and repeat for remaining petals.
  8. Choose another colour of fibre and make smaller petals inside the ones now secured to the fabric.
  9. Without breaking a length of yarn outline small petals in a series of figure “8s”, beginning and ending in the centre of the flower. Secure the yarn with the felting needle. Cut yarn. Repeat for larger petals.
  10. With the third colour of fibre pull off a very small amount and work it into a disc between your fingers. Secure it the centre of the flower to cover yarn ends and create an “eye.”
  11. With sharp scissors cut around the outline of the flower leaving about 1cm (.5”) of the fabric showing.
  12. Flower is now ready to be sewn on as an embellishment to an accessory – hat, scarf, bag etc. A clasp maybe sewn to the back of the flower to create a brooch........Enjoy 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Feel for Felting....

Well summer got in the way of any progress on my felted vest, but I'm back at it with a vengeance, now that Fall is here. This time lapse, however, was not a negative. In fact it was quite a positive. I love the way the creative process works. Sometime between my last post in August and today, I happened to be talking to a shop owner about felting. I mentioned some of the problems I was having in creating the exact look I wanted. She said simply, "Why not use yarn!" Why not in deed?

It's a little like the elephant in the room. Because we are constantly surrounded by yarn, we often fail to look at it in new and engaging ways. Here is a picture of one those somewhat loose, dare I say, diaphanous butterflies from my last post.

Before yarn

Now here is one with yarn accents. I just added some lace weight yarn to define the wings a little more and voila! The addition of the yarn also stabilized the surface of the fibre and made it more durable.


After yarn

I am now working on small templates to use for classes. These small, stand alone, motifs can be used for brooches to pin on hats, coats or bags, suspended for mobiles, or hung as Christmas tree ornaments. They may also be used to decorate packages, make greeting cards, place settings etc.

If you'd like the instructions, just remind me and I'll send them along with your next order. Please note that there is no sewing involved. All the yarn is applied with a felting needle, as is the coloured fibre and.....they are really a lot of fun to do!!!

Have a great day
Carol

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A whole lot of feltin' goin' on ...........

I can't believe that it's been almost a year since I last posted. Well it has been a year of transition. We've discontinued some products, added new ones and basically moved more in the direction of fibre and felting. Yes, I still knit a whole lot and I love, love, love all my needles and Clover accessories. However, there was something about felting that called.



In fact, when Dewitte Engel returned my call, I knew that I was going to have the Crayola equivalent of a colouring marathon. With 46 colours of Bhedawool fibre and 75 shades of 100% felted fabric - TrueFelt, I was a kid again with a new box of crayons and some blank paper - time to create.

It took a while to decide exactly what to felt and since I had never pushed a needle into fibre and fabric before, I was a bit hesitant. I thought of some small projects - cell phone case, tea cozy, diary cover, etc. These are great for gifts and for starters, but I needed something "grand."



I started Monday August 10, with the idea that I was going to create a vest and embellish it. The felt rectangles were easy to shape into a "Jackie O" or "Coco" style boxy vest. I had hoped to avoid sewing by simply felting the shapes together, maybe another time. I really needed my first efforts to adhere, so I used a running stitch and some lace weight yarn to create a saddle stitch accent - voila!!



I drew in the gapping arm hole with some more saddle stitching pulled a little tighter and then I began to design with a felting needle and the smallest amount of Bhedawool fibre. You may never actually see these butterflies in the garden, but I saw them in my mind. That's one of the pleasures of Art. You can make the real, surreal and live in a world of fantasy.

I'm about half done. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Celebrate the Moment

I had one of those moments today - no it wasn't a "blonde" moment, though, at one time in my life I was blonde and yes, I can identify with those silences:) No, it was one of those, "OK, what's happening here" moments. As I was walking to my local Second Cup, (I shop Canadian.) I noticed 3 or 4 teenaged boys charging across the street. They were decently dressed and clearly on a mission.

I got my coffee, bagel and a few empty boxes (my coffee shop keeps boxes for me to reuse) and was headed back to the office, when I noticed several hundred high school students in pairs calmly walking down the street. It must have been all the upper grades of the local high school on a field trip.


Then I saw the ones who had run ahead and were behind now, trying to catch up. They had actually made a bee-line to a little bulk food store, across the street, that probably has the largest selection of candy on the continent!! I smiled. For all their sophistication, they still enjoyed the little things in life.


It made me think of the lovely candy colours of Clover products. Even if we can't or shouldn't indulge in a lot of sweet things, we can still enjoy our Clover craft accessories. Their colours, shapes and function add an extra dimension to the enjoyment of our work, just like the candy was going to add a little sweetness to a school outing.

Enhance the moment with Clover!!

BTW the kids looked great and were very well behaved - we're in good hands:)