Monday, February 28, 2011

A "Tote Tale"- Final Tote Project (For Now)

Inside-out layout.


Cutting out the handle after felting and drying.


Finished bag with stitched handle.


The reverse side.


After the debacle of my last tote bag...

...I decided to take it a little easy this time, and eschewed the lace.

Since this is a gift for a green-loving friend of mine...

...I did, however, choose to stay in the same color family.

Like the tote which became the cat bed...

...I built this one from the inside-out.

It's especially important when 'working blind' like this... mark the place where you'll make a cut to remove the resist.

(Notice the red wool spot in the first photo?)

It's also important that you think through the placement and orientation of the initials...

...or you can easily find yourself with a reversed image and a ruined project.

I cut the handle wider this time... order to make it a bit sturdier.

I folded the edges to the center...underneath...and handstitched it...

...flattening and minimizing the seam for comfortable use.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tote Bag Failure Becomes "Happy Cat" Bed

Wool roving pulled through cotton lace.


Bag layout.


"It's all mine, now! Mwahahahahaha"...Chloe.


Erykah gets a turn, too!


This was the first project that I attempted after my lovely week away...

...and boy, did it come out badly. :(

I was trying to integrate some of the new techniques/equipment that I used in Michigan...

...and in my hurry, I also made the layers of wool way too thick!

One other 'issue' is my continuing struggle with getting lace to felt in...

...a feat which my friend, Kim, claims is easy!! Kim, help!! Giggle.

I spent a good deal of time sewing tufts of roving through squares of silk- and cotton- lace...

...a technique that I thought would guarantee their felting in.

Unfortunately, even after felting, the squares kind of 'flap around in the wind'...

...and it's obvious that I haven't yet 'cracked the code' on working with lace!! :)

When I realized (early on) that this bag was doomed...

...I also knew exactly what to do with it.

I stitched up the slit that I made while removing the resist...

...and cut a large hole in the center of the 'felt balloon'.

It now makes a nice spot for my feline daughters to rest...

...and, since then, I've redeemed myself a little by making the bag I'd originally intended...with revisions! (Next time.)

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Friday, February 25, 2011

A "Tote Tale"- Bag Number Two

Laying out the raw locks.


Fulling the bag after felting.


The finished tote.


A peek inside.


After making a quite feminine and demure tote bag for my friend, Dawn... was time to let my 'freak flag fly', and make one for me!! Giggle.

I don't know about you...

...but, lately, nothing seems wilder, or more fun than using raw locks!

(Love them!!!!)

And, of course, the bag had to be orange...

...good guess, Kelly!! Har.

Working with raw wool locks can be a bit challenging...

...but I've found that a quick dip in concentrated soap solution helps them to attach a bit more firmly to the roving.

I love the way the Black Romney fleece knotted up during felting...

...and you might notice that the bag came out a bit smaller than tote #1

(I think I must have used fewer layers of wool this time).

Next time, I'll show you a tote that I made the other day that was a huge failure...

...and how I re-purposed it for functional use!! :)

P.S. Even though it looks like I didn't cover the entire circular resist this time, I assure you that I did...

...there is white roving alongside the 'orange handle' section...'s just difficult to see in the photograph! :)

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A "Tote Tale"- The First of Several

Layout with pre-felt flower.


Felted, but not trimmed, yet.


After trimming.


Hand embroidery outlining the flower and bag edges.


I have a large, flat-bottomed canvas tote that I use for nearly everything...

...groceries, potluck desserts...lemon drops and my GPS on a long car trip.

So I wanted to fashion a similar carry-all tote, in felt... a hostess gift for my friend, Dawn.

With all of the 'fiddling around' with purse resist shapes and sizes that I've been doing lately...

...I figured that a large, circular resist might just produce the desired shape.

I used foam floor underlayment for the resist and covered it with several layers of wool roving...

...making the bottom and top thirds purple.

I cut pre-felt petals in the shape of a flower...

...and centered them on the white area of the bag.

Keeping in mind the exact spot where I'd need to make a cut later (a dot of colored roving helps here)...

...I felted the piece until it was quite hard and pebbly.

I used sharp shears to cut out the centered handle...

...using the purple section as a guide-line while making my cuts.

To produce a flat bottom...

...stuffing the tote, and steaming it with a hot iron was essential.

When it had fully dried...

...I hand embroidered along the bag openings and around the flower to make it 'pop out' a bit.

I think that this tote shape has loads of possibilities...

...just wait until you see the one I made for myself, next!! :)

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Monday, February 21, 2011

"Inquiring Minds" Wanted To Know...

Close-up of hat with orange spirals.


Inside the hat.



My beautiful eldest daughter, S, modeling the set.


Since more than a few of you thought I was a bit skimpy with the photographs of the 'Dawn-style' hat, yesterday...

...and even more of you wanted to see a photograph of the hat being worn...

...I enlisted the help of my eldest daughter as hat (and scarf) model.

I think it looks beautiful on her...

...but I have to admit that I always think she looks beautiful! :)

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"Dawn-Style" Hat

The layout with variegated wool roving.


Wetting out the piece...notice my spirals showing through as 'bumps'?


After first time using an open resist.


Finished hat with its matching scarf (from my last post).


If you are a regular reader of this blog... probably know that I'm not much of a hat maker (or wearer)!

I think this is only the fifth hat that I've ever tried...

...but I really enjoyed making it, and may try another one before too long!

My friend Dawn has a special knack for making felted hats...

...and it was a thrill to watch the ease with which she completed each step in the process!

I laid out spirals of bright orange roving...

...then covered them with variegated wool roving, leaving the brim edge open.

I'd never used a resist without completely enclosing it before... this was a new technique for me, complete with its own set of challenges!

Once felted, I placed the hat upon a hat block...

...and pinched folds into it, starting from the pointy top.

A little judicious steaming, and a little time to dry...

...and voila...a finished hat!

I love its scrunchy, compact look...

...and it might even be a hat that I will actually wear! Giggle.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

My Felting Trip To "Balmy" Michigan!

Our Clasheen-style scarves.


Felting friends forever!!


Dawn-style scarf layout.


My finished scarf.


I spent much of last week in the lovely (and chilly) state of Michigan...

...visiting a dear friend of mine, Dawn.

It was our very own 'chase-the-February-blues-away felting retreat'...

...and we had a positively giddy time!

Now, even though we had planned to make tons of felt projects...

...we were having too much fun eating out, checking out the Princess Diana exhibit...

...and attending a vocal jazz/pop concert, to do as much as we had originally intended.

I was also lucky enough to get to meet a sweet blog friend of mine in person for the first time...

...the sparkling and delightful alpaca farmer and 'fiber artist extraordinaire', Andrea!

The first scarves that we made are a longer-petaled version of my Nicola scarf...

...made with four long stitched-together rectangles of pre-felt and lots of elbow grease!

The second scarf that we made is a specialty of Dawn's...

...involving swirls of variegated wool roving in an open-weave pattern.

We made a very cool hat, as well...

...but I'll save those photos for next time!!

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Baby and Big Sister Gifts- Part 2

Finished baby booties (bottoms) with plastic resist.


Felted booties (tops).


Finished gift with (tightly) sewn on felt balls.


Infant crown and booties plus big sister crown.


The infant crown came out a bit large after felting... I trimmed it and sewed it back together to make the proper size.

The big girl crown tips were still a little floppy after felting (too few layers!)... I folded up each point, and sewed a large "X" on each with embroidery thread.

For the booties, I used a resist pattern from "Felting for Baby" by Saori Yamazaki...

...using blue pre-felt to delineate the bootie bottoms.

I'm still a bit uncertain about the safety of using felted balls as a decoration...

...even though I followed the directions in this book.

I'm going to suggest to the Mama that she should snip them off when the baby gets a bit 'grabbier'...

...just to be certain that she doesn't manage to pry one off and choke on it.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Baby and Big Sister Gifts- Part 1

Cutting the pre-felt for crown #1.


Adding pre-felt decorations.


Crown #2 with two layers of pre-felt and pencil roving.


Connecting the ends to make a seamless crown.


I have another work friend who is expecting a baby daughter...

...and with an older daughter already at home, I had some crowns to make! :)

I cut pre-felt into the proper shapes...

...and embellished them with wool roving, pieces of pre-felt, and pencil roving.

I overlapped the ends to make a seamless piece...

...and felted them, using bubble wrap to keep the sides apart.

Next time...

...the finished crowns and some baby boot!! Har.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Journal cover layout with silk sari waste and a white crocheted heart.


Close-up of bead embellishment.


Notice how the red dye from the silk waste turned the cotton heart pink?


The reverse side with an opening cut out for the composition book.


I made this journal cover for my daughters 'budget book'...

...figuring that pretty supplies always make onerous jobs a bit more fun! :)

I laid out silk waste from sari making...

...and a hand-crocheted, cotton heart that I found in our church thrift store.

I covered the whole shebang with white roving...

...and finished felting it.

Remember that if you work inside-out like this, you can get confused... don't forget to felt a dot of color on the last layout layer of the 'cut me' side!

I embellished the heart with multi-colored glass beads when it was done...

...both for extra sparkle, and also to hold down a couple of not-quite-felted-in spots on the doily heart.

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