Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Ir-resist-able felted black bag.

Hello my lovelies, yes that's what you are, you are all lovely, lovely, lovely
I like the word lovely, it even looks pleasing to the eye doesn't it?
It has a kind of symmetry to it made a little bit quirky by the the long tailed y at the end. 
No I've not lost my marbles, I'm just feeling in love with life today. No particular reason although your lovely, kind, cheery comments always help heaps. You never fail to make me smile with your kindness and generosity. Take this lovely comment from Dottieven on my last post.

"I sooooo look forward to your blog and today's was especially welcome. Suddenly all my stresses melt and I look forward to finishing a bag I 've been knitting. Thank you - peace reigns!"

Now Dottieven didn't have to leave a commet, she didn't have to tell me that she looked forward to my posts or that she was feeling stressed or even that she was knitting a bag but she did and I'm mighty pleased that she did. She made me smile and feel like I'd made a little bit of difference to somebody elses day. Isn't that wonderful that a total stranger (obviously a lovely stranger) can have that effect. The power of a few tippety- tapped words eh!
So thank you all, you'll never really know the difference you make with each little tippety-tap.
Well here is the new piece I wanted to share with you my friends. It's in the middle of being felted in this picture, still very wet and you can see I've not cut out the handles yet.
This is a first for me. 
This is a felt bag made from one whole piece of felt with no stitching or seams. It's made using a resist which is the white shape you can see beneath the felt. The felt was made around the resist until the felt starts to shrink and then you have to slice it open and remove the resist. As you can see the felt shrinks quite a bit.
Here's a closer look, still damp and waiting for me to perform the scary bit... cutting out the handle shape.
Flip it over, this is the back. We've already discussed on my last post how I can't leave the back blank, lol.
All finished. 
What I neglected to photograph though is the inside of the bag which is bright pink!
And as for the handles... they didn't turn out too bad for a first attempt. 
Anyway it's now residing in the Chapel Gallery so we'll wait and see what the response is. I'm hoping it's good as I've already started on another one!

Till next time
love Fi x

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Paisley and Posies.

 As promised on my last post, this is what I made with the dyed felt I'd been experimenting with.
A couple of pretty handbags. 
Both destined for brand new shop in Dorset but more of that soon.
I had a little play with a different colour-way for me and at first I thought I'd made a terrible mistake but now I've completely fallen in love with it, lol.
Seems I'm not the only one, Pepper was quite interested in my damp piece of felt too. I'd left it on a cooling rack to dry in the sunshine outdoors and she stood and stared at it for quite some time before coming to the conclusion that it wasn't something to eat after all.
All three bags have the floral artwork on both the back and front.
Well you can't skimp on design when you're having sooo much fun can you! I'm obviously not a very good business woman, I know I could have made six bags instead of three if I'd only put the decoration on one side but I just couldn't bring myself to do it! lol. I'll never be rich will I!
This is my current crochet project, I like to have a bit of something on the go on an evening. I've just noticed the similarity in colours in this photo and the one above, I must be having a purple phase. 
As much as I love my felt you can't beat a bit of hooky can you!
Seems I need to promise to show you what I made with these too but that'll have to wait. I have something else I want to share with you first.

Till next time
love Fi x

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Experimenting with 3D felting and dying.

As you all know I make quite a bit of felt but I tend to only make flat pieces of felt and then cut them up and stitch them into the shapes I want, in essence you could say I make felted wool fabric. Recently a lovely friend of mine had a go at felting a bowl. She was a little disappointed as the technique she was using wasn't quite giving her the result she craved. After a bit of discussion and sharing of thoughts I decided the best thing to do was have a little experiment myself as I've only tried 3D felting twice before and both times the results were...shall we say...disappointing. So here are the results of my little play time. 
 This was my first attempt, a little pod. I made it around a flat plastic resist and although I found the process rather tedious, the results are actually very good. The pod is quite sturdy and the felt is very firm, in all it holds its shape perfectly. Bish-bosh-done! I'd completed the task, solved the problems, all done as far as I was concerned. I could report back to my friend with my findings and I didn't need to make another bowl again. But then...
 I had an email request from one of my regular customers asking if I made spectacle cases. I replied saying sorry no I didn't, but then the old cogs started to clunk into gear. If I could make a pod why couldn't I make a specs case. Well as you can see above I managed to make a little case with an opening so that the end would flip closed keeping the contents safe inside. Only...
The felt shrunk a little more than I had anticipated! But as you can see it fitted my phone perfectly, lol.
So I altered my template and tried again. The results were much better this time, as you can see
the specs fit inside perfectly and the end of the case will close over them. Yay! 
I must say, 3D felting hasn't grabbed me as yet, I probably will have another go at some time but it's really not doing it for me at the moment.
Something else I've been experimenting with is dyeing wool. This also is not really through choice but necessity. I use small amounts of dyed needle felt in my work but buying space-dyed (randomly coloured) felt is almost impossible and when I have found some it's has to be purchased in a pack containing colours that I don't want. So I've finally given in and decided to go down the dying it myself route. The piece above was dyed using food dye and came out pretty well I thought. But I wasn't sure whether the food colouring would stand up to all the hot soapy water I use during the felting process and I didn't want to ruin a large piece of work.
 So I took the plunge and purchased a small kit containing 6 bottles of dye powder a pair of latex gloves and some instructions. Look out kitchen here I come!
It looks a little complicated here but really it was quite straight forward if a little time consuming. The dye powders had to be mixed with water (always wear a dust mask at this point) while the wool was soaking in a vinegar solution. Then I laid the wool in a dish, sploshed some dye on, covered the dish with clingfilm and nuked it in the microwave for 5 minutes. You then leave the wool to cool slowly (time consuming part) then once cold, rinse and hang out to dry!
 I also dyed some wool nepps (bobbles). I had to find a way of putting them outside to dry without them blowing out came the netty bags that you used to get with your laundry tablets years ago! I knew they'd come in handy for something one day, teehee!
 Next I dyed some Mulberry silk, only I managed to burn it a little in a couple of places as the fibres weren't wet enough in the microwave.
 So as you can see the wool nepps and the dyed needle felt have turned out okay. It just means my work load has increased a little bit, how can that be? Aren't things supposed to get easier the more experienced you become! 

I'll show you what I made with my felt next time.
till then
love Fi x

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Sylvie's bag.

More felting, are you bored with it yet?
 This felt bag was a birthday gift for my lovely friend Sylvie from her children. 
 She especially requested subdued colours. Here is the wool all laid out before felting with the soapy water.
 You can see how lofty and fluffy the soft Merino wool is before it gets wet.
 Here it is after felting and still a bit soggy. The row of flowers across the top will become the handles. A lot of it will be cut off and it sometimes feels like a lot of work just for a couple of inches width to make handles but hey-ho that's the way it is.
 Once the felt has dried, I set about embroidering it first on the sewing machine and then by hand.
 Here is the finished piece of embroidered felt. I love the colour graduation from top to bottom.
 I like the fact that I can produce a piece of fabric to my own design with my own colour choices.
 Snip, snip, snip all cut up into the pattern pieces ready to make...
 a pretty, light weight hand bag,
 and the reverse. 
Smiley face from me,
and there was a big smiley face and a kiss from Sylvie. 

Till next time
Love Fi x

Sunday, 2 June 2013

To the pub and back!

It's a beautiful day here in Wensleydale so I wondered if you fancied a walk to the pub for Sunday lunch?
You do?
Lets get going
 This is where we will start our walk, just across the road from our house. We have four splendid pubs here in our village but today we're popping over the river to Hardraw for our lunch.
 We're heading down under the old railway bridge.
 We'll be heading right, along the river to the 'troll bridge' (well that's what we call it)
 Past a little bit of sandy beach, not bad considering how far inland we are, lol.
 Look at the little clump of flowers growing in the middle of this tree.
 Hmmm...something big and hairy sleeping in the middle of the path. Maybe that's the troll?
 No it was this little chaps mum.
 The troll bridge, we've not seen goats crossing it but there are often sheep trit-trotting across!
 Everywhere you look here in the Dales there are pretty little streams.
 Up the steps everyone. Last one close the gate please.

 We peeped over the stone wall to look through the bluebells back towards Hawes.
 There we are, you can see it better here. Our little village.
 Not far now, the village of Hardraw is just around the corner to the right.

 Hoorah! Our destination the Green Dragon. The Green Dragon boasts having the highest single drop waterfall in England, famous for being the place where Kevin Costner bathed in the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.  We didn't visit it today but you can see pictures of it here.
 Come on in to the bar, what will you have?
We found ourselves a little table in the the back room...
next to the window.
 After lunch and little drink outside in the sunshine we wandered over the road and sat by the river while Sneaky dog had a paddle.
 Time to head back home.
Had to pop this one in. A line of much loved sheepdogs laid to rest along this dry stone wall.
 It's not as far as it looks really. Only a 50 minute stroll.
 Aaaaw, we've passed lots of little lambs.
Across the road, the obligatory village cricket match.
 There we go I told you it wouldn't take long, we're back in Hawes having a sneaky drink outside the Fountain pub. It's nearly time for the Appleby horse fair so we see quite a few of these caravans travelling through the village at this time each year.
Another thing we see a lot of pretty much all year round....bikers! They love our long sweeping country roads.  
I hope you enjoyed our little bimble to the pub and back.

Till next time
love Fi x