Tag Archives: felt

Foxy Ladies – project 29

Standard
Foxy Ladies – project 29

Remember the days when ladies used to wear little dead creatures, faces, feet and all, draped about their necks?

Yeahmeneither. I am much too young.

Well, I probably remember when old ladies occasionally did it. I definitely recall when such things turned up at garage sales full of vintage clothes. In fact, I, er, bought a little mink back in the days when I was a college student with a wild assortment of vintage, new wave, proto-goth and own-personal-style wearables. It had a little hingey thing so it could bite its own tail to secure it as you wore it.
Even irony can’t carry off dead things for very long, though, so it has been long gone.

At any rate, I’ve noticed foxes are a Thing now. They have possibly become the New Owl. I recently saw a sweater in a catalog which had a knitted-in design that looked like a fox stole, and I thought CUTE! Ironic dead animals without the animal death!

Which got me to thinking about the merino wool sweater I bought many years ago at the Burberry outlet in Vermont. Gorgeous tweedy russet, my first wool without itch. But it was a size that is distant history, plus pullovers are not my speed anymore, since tearing them off at the first sign of a hot flash is not the most discreet move. So I started playing with the notion of making my own wee fox, starting with an amazingly thick felted raglan sleeve, which already had a critter-suggestive shape.

I kept looking around online for a pattern, but most of those were for knitting or a stuffie, neither of which was helpful. After searching and considering and being very nervous about the whole thing, I took it to women’s art night at the local arts center for moral support, where I hacked one of the sleeves free-handed to make a fox-shape. It came out encouragingly well. I got a tail out of the same sleeve, then cut four legs from the sweater body. All of this was eyeballed and then cut freehanded, and at no time did I feel terribly certain about the whole thing. The tail, in fact, I amended a bit when I looked at some fox pictures online to see how much white I should put at the tip. The ones I looked at had a broader tip than I had made, which was rather pointy. I went into my stash for a white felted sweater, and used the sleeve to create that brushy effect, leaving the seam uncut so I could surround the original tail tip. I had some glossy white non-wool roving in my stash, so I needle felted that onto the white part to give it a more dimensional feel, and obscure the hard-lined border between the russet and the white. I dithered about whether to felt in some white around the nose area to give my fox a narrower looking face, and I’m still uncertain whether I love it or not.

And speaking of eyeballing it, I finished it off with the obligatory glassy eyes, which I got from the hobby store. I measured the distance to get them even, which is the first and only thing I measured in this whole project. After that, I sewed on a couple of pointy little ears, and some velcro hooks under the chin — the felt itself provides the loop part.

So…the finished item:

Advertisements

Does cooking/baking count?

Standard

I did both today, making brunch for a friend who came out to visit and catch up on some “Supernatural” episodes she missed getting onto her DVR, so she can mainline the whole season.

I have a terrific, adaptable recipe for a frittata that bakes in the oven, which I made with potatoes and vegetables from a Green Giant variety called something like Backyard Grilled Potatoes or something, which had red and yellow peppers and onions mixed in. It may be the best lazy version of this frittata I’ve ever made. The coffee cake was a mashup of a recipe and 2 variations I found on one of those recipe sites. This time out there was no extra creativity involved; I just followed the recipe I had cobbled up before. Still, cooking is work and it’s beautiful and useful. It counts, right?

Also, this long weekend I threw two sweaters into the wash to felt them, and they both came out beautifully, including one I was very dubious about. One had a long zipper, so I cut that off and am going to finish it up into a zipper bracelet, but I need a lobster claw clasp to do so.

Oh, and this Wednesday I’m going to share some of the stuff I’ve done with bleach pen decorating with the art gals.

Yow, total energy drop. I am going to sign off and curl up.

Aside

Well, besides the time-suck thing.

The trouble is when you find a project you really want to do, then when you click the link you get a warning about how Pinterest is not gonna let you go there because the site has malware, and every other source gets blocked because it has content from a site with malware, and all you’ve got is a series of tiny photographs that someone has made into one big pin. I’m trying to go on with just such a project, because I’ve done plenty of felt creations before, but there are two pictures in the strip that I just can’t quite figure out what’s going on.

SIGH.

And I’ve been very low on energy the last couple of evenings, so I’ve cut out my project, but I haven’t gotten further than that. Please be patient, and I’ll try to get this done and posted soon.

For now, I’m going to grab my Kindle and head for bed.

The trouble with Pinterest…

Can I take an incomplete? Project #13

Standard

I spent a lot of my weekend moving furniture and cleaning the carpet in my living room, or recovering from doing so. And despairing over how the process of cleaning something could create such utter chaos in my house and hoping I could get things somewhat sorted by the time I have company next weekend. But I finally did settle in while waiting for the carpet to dry, and finished a project I’ve been working on for a while.

Well, not quite…

I’m close to finished, but I need another four buttons to finish my cuff bracelet, and some kind of closure that uses them, so I’ll have to hit a fabric store or the dreaded Walmart. (All right, I admit it — I bought the original eight buttons at Walmart. So yes. That is where I will have to go.)

Once more, my fondness for using bits and bobs and irregular leftovers bites me in the butt, but I don’t think I care. I had half a cowlneck sweater in alpaca wool left over from another project (the Occupy tent? Can’t quite remember), so I figured it would make a cool cuff, though it’s not exactly a fit.

When I was in Austin, I bought some silk hankies at a fiber store. They aren’t actual hankies but the silk pod from a cocoon that’s been stretched out over a square frame. The pack I bought was dyed a delicious mixture of purple and blue called Spilled Ink. I thought that would make a great thing to use as an overlay on the alpaca, so I attempted a wet felting, adding some wool into the mix to get fibers of both the silk and wool sticking to the alpaca. Not a great success (or even a medium success), as they just peeled off the alpaca. But I liked where it was going so I pulled out the felting tool and needled away.

Image

The matter of closing the thing is probably the trickiest of this whole project (yes, it’s free-handed). I liked the thought of a row of tiny buttons, very Victorian in that fiddly sort of way. My first thought was that I’d make a loop of elastic on the opposite side and slip them over the buttons, but I don’t think I like the way it looks.

Image
Made the decision to put another row of buttons on the opposite side instead, and I guess I’ll try some kind of lacing system to get the thing to close. I’ll have to report on that when it’s finished, but I think I have a way to get it to work. Maybe a couple of options.

After adding the last bits of roving into the design, I am pretty happy with what I have. I did sew on a couple of wee little beads, remarkable more for the source than anything else. A year or two ago I bought an armload’s worth of wee beaded bracelets on eBay that Eliza Dushku had donated to one of her favorite causes. (I don’t even want to say what I ended up spending because I could not allow defeat.) Some of the stretchy little bracelets are so stretched out they’re just loose strings, more or less, so I had planned to use them in various projects, but this is the first. I put in three, just for a mysterious bit of sparkle, and I might add more later.

Image
Alas, I got nothing done for the art show at Wiscon, which had been one of my major goals this weekend. I have the stash of silk scarves, of course, but I wanted to have a few different types of art up there too. Well, after I have finished moving all the furniture back into place and completely spiffed up the guest room. Ahem.

By the way, the color of the alpaca is truer in the second picture, not the yellowed first or third. My camera’s batteries died and so I had to use my phone.

 

And hey, as of today I’m one-quarter of my way to my goal. WOOOOO!

Mr. Pointy

Standard
Mr. Pointy

I think I may have made up for yesterday’s complete worthlessness.

Today I finished my project, ironed and then washed a dozen silk scarves. No, that’s not out of order. I wanted to use the iron to set the color before washing, which is what the instructions are for the oil paints for fabric that I sometime use. I figured it was good general advice. Ironed a few of them, and have more still drying last time I checked.

I washer-felted 4 sweaters: 3 that I bought at Goodwill in Austin, and one that I’ve had for a very long time. My bathroom now smells like a wet sheep. Did a bit of wet-felting with some wool roving that I had, overlaid with “silk handkerchief,” a very filamenty silk that comes from a cocoon. It doesn’t look like it’ll be sticking to the felt cuff I wanted to make, so I’ll have to pull out the sharp and pointy things again. And last, I got out the seam ripper and removed the sleeves from an Indian ladies’ Kameez that I bought in Austin at the thrift store. gorgeous silk overlayer, which has started to shred a bit. I am not sure what I’ll make of them. Not long enough to sew together to make a scarf. Might make a good back panel overlay for the denim vest I bought, also from a thrift shop.

Oh wait! One other thing: I ironed some designs I’d painted on this pullover hoodie I’m doing an upcycle on, then tossed it in the washer. That one feels like a disappointment in the making, so I haven’t exactly been powering through working on it. I did some stitching at the edges and decided I hate it. I used oil paint crayons to do the designs and wasn’t too careful, so it got all over my hands, so there are smears of color in places where I didn’t intend. I want to try to fix it so I want to wear it, but so far no luck. So it was quite the frenzy of activity once I got moving. Now I am done with the moving, because my legs and feet are in a lot of pain that rest and naproxen aren’t helping at all.

Okay, but enough about all that. Project time!

Back in March I took a 3-hour class that involved some nuno felting techniques, though it wasn’t the standard all-over covering of felt that the term nuno conveys. Our first step was dyeing our white silk scarf blanks. I learned a few goodies about tie-dyeing, using glass pebbles (the kind you use in floral arrangements) inside a twist of rubber band fastened silk, and adding color directly to the bundle with cattle syringes bought at Farm & Fleet (no pointy needles, however). I really liked the effect I got, but I kinda feel like it got lost or hidden during the next phase, the wet felting.

I chose lavender and lilac to go with the glasses frames I had ordered (even before I had my eye exam, I loved them that much). Chose dyed roving in purple, periwinkle and an inky shade of blue. Then we wrapped them up around pool noodles (Obscure fact: I am in an imaginary band called the Pool Noodles with a dancer for NY City Ballet, whom I know only through Twitter.), poured on some sudsy water and rolled. And rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled, in my case. I had accidentally grabbed some mohair. Mohair will not stick to silk as wool will, unless it has some wool to fasten itself to. Well, it’s hard to see what’s working and what’s not when your work is wrapped around a pool noodle, so there was unwrapping, sighing, rewrapping, and rolling, lathering, rinsing, repeating. It was a bit frustrating, but the instructor helped and it improved things, and she also told me I could needle-felt the mohair into the piece.

So the needle felting is the part I did today. I would have preferred the wet felting to work. Needle felting punches the fibers through the silk, so you wind up with a funky whiskery thing happening on the other side of the fabric. The fabric puckers too — not that it’s terrible — the felting of fibers on top of the wool actually makes little creases and folds as it catches during the rolling around process. Another reason it’s not ideal is, the design gets smaller and the funky curly mohairs get punched into submission so you lose that cool look. But punch ’em down I did, and I still like the result a lot, even though there were things I liked that got lost along the way. I finished off the project by ironing the scarf, since I was already ironing a bunch of scarves.

I have a friend who has long said, “If you learn one good thing in a class, you’ve gotten your money’s worth.” I got two. The little glass marble bundle technique of tie dyeing, and something I feel like a complete idiot for never knowing: once you’ve done all your dyeing and abusing of your scarf, a rinse in water with some fabric softener will bring back that deliciously silky feeling to your silk. Seems so obvious, yet it has never occurred to me.

Anyway! Show and tell time!

Hair of mo. You can see how curly it is, as this bit did bond to the silk and wool.

And here's a loose piece I needle felted into the scarf.

Good shot of the whiskery bits that come through the reverse when you needle felt.

Aaand the finished project, after ironing.

Soft and pretty, yes?

I would show how it looks on, with the glasses, but I keep nodding off over the keyboard, so I think that’s a message. I’ll try to remember to snap a quick shot of me wearing the scarf.

Goodnight, y’all!

Doctor, Doctor give me the news

Standard
Doctor, Doctor give me the news

Finished!! In all its hasty, half-assed glory!

With a break for a run for meds and groceries and another for a phone call with my brother, I got the thing done in about 13 hours.

There is an embroidery needle at large somewhere on the sofa, so that adds this week’s danger quotient.

So here are some process pictures and the finished project.

It's sloppier on the inside.

While I like playing around with six strands of embroidery thread, it can get hopelessly knotty on occasion. As it did way early in the embellishment stage. But y’know, this project was meant to have a screen-friendly microfiber partial lining, so I said to heck with teasing the whole thing out. It wasn’t going to budge.

My eye doc recently gave me one of those nice glasses cleaning cloths, which I figured would make a good liner to keep the scratches on the screen to a minimum. Unfortunately, not big enough to line the whole cozy. But microfiber is a bear to push a needle through, so it’s just as well.

Then I had some additional embellishments and the closure to add, and here’s the result. With trademark imperfection, but I rather like it.

Unfortunately the call box sign is a wee bit off kilter, but I am not going to mess with it further. Its imperfection is charming. Isn't it? ISN'T IT??

And here’s a closer view of the closure. The loop is made of elastic, which I had to run out and buy, since the package of elastic I remembered and dug up in my sewing kit had the Woolworth’s label on it. (!) Got some nice multiple-purpose 3/8″ white elastic. I had a brainstorm as I was contemplating how I wanted to attach the elastic loop. I took a set of Sharpies I’d bought some time ago and drew stripes along the elastic.

Remind you of anyone?

Like last week’s project, this was all repurposed stuff, or something from the stash except for the elastic, and I did actually have elastic, but it was a good 12 plus years old — well, five years older than that, because Woolworth’s closed in 1997.

So…very…tired… Am nodding off at the keyboard now, and I have work in the morning, so it’s nighty night for now.

And a moratorium on felt. Next week I’ll see what other types of trouble I can get into.

FELTBOMBS AWAY!!! for AMOK Project #4

Standard
FELTBOMBS AWAY!!! for AMOK Project #4

So March 4th is the day Misha Collins decreed for “a melee of kindness” worldwide (“march forth” — I see what you did there, Misha.) And since we all do his biddings like dittoheads defend Rush, I plotted my outing. I decided why the hell not blend it with the crafts project, but I wasn’t sure what form that would take. And then I saw a link somewhere (wish I could remember where) to Operation Beautiful, which involves posting little messages, usually on bathroom mirrors in public places, but elsewhere as well, to give a lift to those who see them.

So it all came together in an idea to make feltbombs of kindness. I love the whole yarnbombing phenomenon, where knitters fix “graffiti” made of yarn in public areas. I don’t knit (yet) but I have plenty of sweaters, a number of which resist felting, so what do you do with those? I wanted something that would be a pop of color on a gray winter day in the downtown area, so I dug up a pink sweater that had refused to felt, so I cut off the sleeves and needle felted messages on them.

Disarming messages

Most of the messages were felted onto the uncut tube of a sleeve section, with the cuts at the right and left sides, so I could drape them over a small tree branch. One I felted so that the cuts were at the top and bottom to put over a fencepost at the arts center that has meant so much to me. One last one I cut open and made a sort of baby-bib hanger so I could get the whole message on one side.

State Street feltbomb.

I was already going to Madison today to go to a reading by my friend Renee D’Aoust from Idaho, and so I met up for lunch with another friend from Idaho who now lives in Madison. As I told her about AMOK and Dangerous Crafts for Girls, I showed her m little felties, and suddenly I had a confederate! Woo hoo!

We hung one outside of A Room of One’s Own, the bookstore where the reading was, and it was a perfect spot — there are no trees out in front of it, but ugly new parking meters provided a perfect “neck” for the baby bib. And the message was a nice fit, too.

A random act of awesome.

And here are ones we hung on trees:

This one I hung across the street from a fire station.

On State Street, in view of the Capitol.

Renee’s reading from her book of essays, Body of a Dancer, was terrific — she performs as much as reads, and there were a lot of knowing laughs from people who came who were or are in the dance world, especially in response to her voices of people she studied with. And there was a raffle! And I won it! I got a $20 gift certificate to the bookstore, so while Renee met up with people she’d arranged to spend a few hours with, J and I wandered the bookstore and I found three books, which meant I spent a chunk of money beyond the certificate — which I consider a random act of kindness for an indie bookseller on top of the RAOK of the gift cert.

My last feltbombing was for the arts center. It was the last bit of twilight as I drove up the street and skulked onto the grounds to deliver my little prezzie.

I added a feltie to the already arty painted fence.

All in all an excellent day of kindness and reconnecting with friends and craftiness.

So do you think I should send the remainder of this sweater to Rick Santorum?

No way sweater vests are coming back.