Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How I sometimes felt

This is the head of a mermaid I am needle sculpting. I started this sculpture by measuring my 9 year old daughter. I measured her head diameter, her arms, and the distance from her shoulders to her waist etc.
To make the head I stuffed a pair of woollen tights ( with the legs cut off) with scraps of jumpers and pieces of left over felt. Whilst I was doing this I had a piece of dowel pushed into the head through the bottom to make a space to attach the head to the body.
I then covered the rounded creation with corriedale rolags ( best for needlefelting) and began needlefelting. The lips are a bit much and the eyebrows are extreme. I am not too unhappy with the rest. The hair is temporary until I find something more suitable. As you can see she is still a work in progress. For her body I constructed a wire frame and wrapped that with left over quilt wadding. I always use 100% cotton so that was not an issue.
Wool likes to be felted into natural fibres.
Then, as with the head I wrapped the whole thing with corriedale
wool. The boobs are made from the feet of the same woollen stockings
I used for the head and then stuffed with wool. One is larger than the
other. I will have to fix that, but I suppose it's normal, but a little bit
obvious. She will not have hands as such, I think that will be just a bit too hard. I will put something in her hands so you can't see them. She may be made into a bridal mermaid yet, I am not sure. I am planning on getting a little more extreme, beading, embroidery, etc. Especially the tail.
If anyone has a great idea for a name it would be much appreciated.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Life before Felting

Before I learnt to felt, I quilted amongst other things. When I first started quilting I would look at all the lovely pastel quilts and think I would love to make quilts in those colours. But every quilt I have made has been in vibrant colours. This large quilt was no exception. I started making this without checking the measurements of the finished piece. As you can see it is "HUGE". It's hanging in front of a single car garage door. The quilt pattern was designed by Ami Hillege and Michelle Steele. It was very easy to follow and is machine pieced, machine quilted, I stipple quilted most of it, and hand appliqued the animals using blanket stitch. It's great for using lots of scraps. There is an emu at the top of the tree that you can't see very well, and the borders are filled with smaller animals, along the top there are wombats, down the right side there are geckos, and along the bottom there are numbats.
I have added some better photos as the first one is not very good.
This one is 2 pink galahs and 3 jabirus ( a type of Australian stork).
Oh, the pattern also includes an Aussie version of the song, 12 days of Christmas. The applique templates were great. Not difficult at all. I hadn't done much hand applique when I started this, of course by the time I had finished I never wanted to do anymore. Joking... ....I think.
This quilt has all the most recognisable iconic Australian animals, and some that will not be easily identified by overseas friends.

I love the kookaburras they seriously sit around like this in real life.
They are up in the branches, laughing away, looking for all
the world like they are having a chat and a joke. They like to eat snakes amongst other things.
I once went out to breakfast with some friends on the deck of a resort. We had the amusing company of a large kookaburra, that we all duly admired, whilst he sat on the back of a vacant chair at our table. Let me tell you that up close and personal those beaks are quite intimidating.
We were having a lovely breakfast of eggs, sausages, bacon etc. When the kookaburra must have decided the sausages looked a lot like worms or snakes. He did a little hop into the air and landed square in the middle of my friend's breakfast, expertly speared a sausage and flew off. Needless to say drinks, condiments and plates went everywhere. The moral of this story is don't eat breakfast with kookaburras.

Below are platypuses
(or platypi, whatever takes your fancy)
Very unusual Australian creatures.
The poem is by Australian legend,
A.B Paterson.
This really describes what they are like.


Far from the trouble and toil of town,
Where the reed beds sweep and shiver,
Look at a fragment of velvet brown --
Old Man Platypus drifting down,
Drifting along the river.

And he plays and dives in the river bends
In a style that is most elusive;
With few relations and fewer friends,
For Old Man Platypus descends
From a family most exclusive.

He shares his burrow beneath the bank
With his wife and his son and daughter
At the roots of the reeds and the grasses rank;
And the bubbles show where our hero sank
To its entrance under water.

Safe in their burrow below the falls
They live in a world of wonder,
Where no one visits and no one calls,
They sleep like little brown billiard balls
With their beaks tucked neatly under.

And he talks in a deep unfriendly growl
As he goes on his journey lonely;
For he's no relation to fish nor fowl,
Nor to bird nor beast, nor to horned owl;
In fact, he's the one and only!


Monday, October 15, 2007

Spinning Samples

I have had some advice from experienced spinners, who have told me that once I become better I will find it quite difficult to make the lumpy yarn that I have now created. I do like the lumpy yarn, not sure how fantastic it would be to knit or crochet.
It will be great for adding to my felting or embellishing on to other creations.

An excerpt from "Another Time (a pastoral)"

A walking wheel was stored in the dry room

under the stairs behind the kitchen stove,
the drive wheel had spokes and a bronze bushing

That rotated smoothly on a steel shaft,
a multiplying wheel turned the spindle
at high speed as grandmother pushed the spokes

She stood by the chaise, back to the window,
twisting and spinning the heavy coarse wool
into finely wrought yarn for mitts and socks

Over her shoulder green water glittered
but I was held by the whir of spindle
and eyes that glowed behind the spinning wheel

Red ochre was replaced with rich teak oil
Yet, the old wheel yearns for soft hands to toil.

Joseph Dunphy

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Round, Round wheels,goin' round

Well, the spinning wheel is great fun. It took me a little while to work out what to do with it, but I produced something that actually looks like yarn. It is a lovely Ashford traditional single drive wheel. So far I have produced a lumpy and very uneven blue merino yarn. I also tried spinning a bit of bamboo fibre, not terribly successful, but I made a small amount of bamboo yarn. Then I tried again with a rainbow coloured merino wool I have had for a while. Still uneven, I think I need some lessons, and it has a tendency to spiral into curls when it is unrolled. HHHMMM not sure what to do about that. My dear step father (a woodworker) made me something called a Niddy Noddy, which is used to wind the wool from the bobbin and is a measure. Cool thing that is. See the pictures of the yarn I created above.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Chinese folder.

After having so much making the first folder I had to make another one. This one will have an Asian style cover. I think it might take a while as it is turning out quite intricate, didn't mean for that to happen. Never mind.
I bonded some lovely gold satin to an iron on vilene, similar to peltex. Then I printed a line drawing on to some paper backed organza, called "Extravorganza" (sic). Peeled off the paper and vslieofixed it to the satin. Be careful with the iron, as you can see I scorched it slightly down the bottom. Never mind, I will hide that with embroidery or paint or something.
Then started machine embroidery in gold and red threads. Will continue with the machine embroidery until it becomes too intricate, then will have to hand embroider, or something else. See how adventurous I am becoming.

Monday, October 8, 2007


I am really enjoying the new Fibre & Stitch group. The second challenge was to use a fabric that had been altered using a technique from the first e-zine. I chose to paint some calico I had laying around. First, I bonded it to some stiff vilene, then I painted it using some acrylic paints I had. I love gold and a bit of glitz, so I used gold, purple and blue paints. Then sprinkled it with gold powder, while it was still wet. When it dried I added some silk fusion squares, ( thankyou, for that technique too Sue B.) I machine embroidered the material using purple, blue and gold rayon threads, using various machine patterns. I am still checking out all the patterns my machine has, so that was great fun. Then a bit of raised hand embroidery using some heavy silk thread and a raised cup stitch, and another stitch using a gold thread. I sort of made that stitch up, because what I wanted to do didn't work. Then finished the sewing using the free pattern from Fibre & Stitch, made a large padfolio. It looked pretty good. For the inside I used some curtain material I have had left over from years ago. The best thing about some of these projects is you can use the little left over pieces of various other projects. Then I satin stitched around
the outside as directed in the pattern. I think the next one will have a theme. I am thinking Asian, maybe Chinese, or Australian.
Then maybe a music themed one, as a present for the children's
fabulous piano teacher. You could go on forever. I am looking forward to seeing what the other group members create.

This last photo is a close up of the silk fusion, I added mohair curls when I made this piece of silk fusion. I also rubbed some places with a gold shiva stik. When I completed the book I painted the entire outside surface with a diluted solution of textile medium, just to make sure the mohair didn't lift, and that the gold shiva stayed in place. I love the colours in this piece. But the next one will be golds and browns.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Made an interesting nuno shawl the other day. Most of the time I use silk chiffon, cotton gauze or other natural type fabrics to make nuno shawls, because it is easier to felt. I found this interesting fabric, it is net with solid fabric spots. It is soft, not like tulle and has a loose weave. I figured the wool should be able to move through the net and mesh together.
I made a grid pattern with the white merino on the net and felted for quite a while. It worked quite well. It is an unusual shawl.

Another request. I was asked if I could make a belly dancer's skirt!! Goodness gracious!!. A bit of a challenge. Anyway these belly dancer girls want me to teach them how to make the skirts. So I went home and thought for a while. Once I had an idea in my head of how to proceed, I thought this will be ok. I can do this. So I measured up my waist and laid out the wool accordingly.I prefelted six ties to add at either end, so it would do up at the side. Then I add strips of silk chiffon, for the skirt, and laid more wool over the chiffon, as in nuno felting.
It worked out quite well, the only problem was it shrunk a bit more than I expected.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Don't know about the rest of the creative world, but I am having a hard time separating myself from the computer lately. If anyone has any ideas on how to avoid getting caught at the computer for hours at a time, please feel free to let me know. I love reading other's crafty blogs. People have the most brilliant ideas.
Check this cute little bird, it's some type of South American parrot, with health issues, she is called Tinkerbell. Every time her owner put her on her hand for a photo, she quickly ran straight back up her arm and nibbled her ear. She was so tame and cute.