Monday, November 30, 2009

Birthday Pillow





For my friend's birthday, I wanted to make a felted pillow for the couch in her newly redecorated living room.

Working from a brief glimpse of her new furnishings several months ago, I decided to make a gold, red, green and brown pillow cover.

Using batts that I made of the four colors, and pencil roving to delineate the pillow center, I felted the wool.

...when it dried, I realized that it was not the 'true square' I had intended it to be (having planned on using a 16 inch square pillow form)!

So, ever resourceful (har), I took some fabric from a thrifted sheet and made a homemade pillow form by sewing up 3 & 1/2 sides of the fabric.

I packed it full of remnant wool that I had bought somewhere, but which was taking up 'prime real estate' in my plastic storage boxes, and which isn't easily carded or used for felting.

...then, I hand stitched the open edge of the pillow form shut.

Next, I made a green leaf-print fabric backing for the pillow and sewed it to the pillow's front.

...then I 'stuffed the pillow form in'. (Apologies to the Grinch, here!)

Now I'm imagining the possibilities for different sizes and shapes of pillows that could be made from other fabric remnants and clean wool fiber!
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sneak Peek...Swap Gifts


I'm participating in a fiber swap this holiday season.

It's a first for me, and so far, it's been a really fun experience...

...trying to think of things another fiber addict might enjoy receiving.

Here's a glimpse of just a few of the things I've packed up to send.

...some batts...carded on my own little baby, Cardatrice...

...some hand-stamped twill tape...

...and a tea wallet (my swap partner doesn't drink coffee...the horror!!!) :)

(Check out Christy's wonderful tutorial here:

More to share later, after my partner's opened her box!
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

At Long...Last





Definition: last (last, läst)
A block or form shaped like a person's foot, on which shoes are made or repaired
Etymology: ME laste < OE læst, a boot, læste, shoemaker's last < base of last, footstep, track, furrow < same base as last

I've been wanting to try felt slipper-making for some time, now.

...and I've made the lasts.

It was actually quite fun to do, but I did have my felting friend, K, in stitches as I described the last-making process.

Picture it: my feet, each swathed in four 'fuzzy socks' and a baggie...

...grotesquely large and cartoon-puffy...

...being set upon by two scissors- and duct tape-wielding teenagers.

Once each foot was covered with a double layer of tape, the tape 'form' (plus plastic baggie) was removed and filled with small stones (for weight) and polyfill, then taped shut.

I have it on good authority that this is not a 'one-person project' ask your children for help if you try it! (It's quite the family bonding ritual!) :)

Of course, this post is meant ironically, since other than making the lasts, and (finally-yesterday morning), cutting out my resist pattern...

...I have done nothing more about starting these slippers!

Watch this space, though...

I plan to take a stab at them next week.
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Sky and Clouds Scarf



Using a batt that I made on Cardatrice, my drum carder, in various shades of blue...

I made a thin, light and soft scarf with bits of diced-up silk...

...and some beautiful curly locks in shades of teal and aqua.

It makes me yearn for a summer sky...

...with the white silk bits the scudding clouds, blowing in the breeze.
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!


A day for thanks, and, and fellowship.

I wish all of you a day filled with joy and love, laughter and delicious smells and tastes!


Yet another nuno scarf.

I took some black/white roving and applied it to the edge and center of a white silk scarf blank.

I then needle felted on some small dark red drops.

...a little Sleeping Beauty-esque, no??

Or is it more like 'True Blood'?? Hmmmm.

So far, I can't 'decide' who this one belongs to...

...perhaps that means it's meant to stay with me?!?!? :)

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Preparation...and a Cat!




I've told you about the two-legged creatures who reside with me, but I don't think I've mentioned that I have two girl cats as well (sisters).

This is a photo of Chloe, dressed up in her feathery finery.

She and her sister are currently banished to the basement while I cook, since they are 'very bad girls', and will eat anything that they can scrounge.

So far today, in preparation for tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner, H-2 and I have made homemade whole berry cranberry sauce with lemon zest, baked macaroni and cheese (with pepper jack cheese and lots of cayenne pepper and garlic!), and several pans of vegetable tian with white and sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, green squash, tons of mushrooms, italian seasonings and fruity olive oil, topped with buttered crumbs. we baked two store-bought frozen pies...a Marie Callender lattice topped peach, and a Sara Lee pumpkin.

Tomorrow we will make homemade yeast crescent rolls, a salad, cream cheese-stuffed celery and a huge pile of oven-roasted asparagus with freshly ground Parmesan cheese and cracked pepper.

Missing something, you say?!? No-I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years, so I don't make a turkey.

(The side dishes were always my favorite part of Thanksgiving, anyway, while I was growing up!!) :)
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Checkerboard Nuno





I'm figuring out how to best use my new sander.

So I decided to make another nuno scarf...

...this time with some variegated aqua roving, plus pencil roving.

I put some fiber down first, then the silk, and then layered on my wool. I applied checkerboard lines next, and extended them out to also function as fringe, then added some pencil roving circles (which ended up looking more solid than I wanted).

I finished it by 'sanding', rolling, throwing, and felting as usual.

This time, the wool really 'stuck' and the scarf looks very uniform.

Here's a tip:

In my newest felting book, "How We Felt", by Carol Huber Cypher, she tells us that with nuno, even the orientation of the 'throw-down' is important.

Who knew?

Here's the quote, "(It) must hit the surface straight on; if the contents are splayed outward, the wool is pulled out of the fabric." (Italics mine)


(Mutteringly to self..."Must keep this in mind!")

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Needle-Felted Bags for Christmas




Now that zippers and I are friends, I wanted to make a few little gifts for Christmas presents.

I used some thrifted and fulled wool pieces from my stash (these began their useful lives as mens' wool trousers!), and needle-felted designs onto them.

Then, I briefly wet-felted them (just enough to get the design affixed more firmly),...

...and sewed them into these little bags.

The Christmas fabric lining is from my stash, and the cool retro striped fabric is from my pile of 'special fabrics waiting for the right project'.

I think they'll be just right for cosmetics, travel or small purse items.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pencil Roving Scarf...(Failure)


I saw an adorable lattice/lace scarf on Sticky Paws' blog recently.

...and it looked like a good project to try with my new sander.

So I laid out various colors of roving in a wiggly pattern...

and felted it as usual.

What I obviously didn't do was put down enough fiber, close enough together to actually form a scarf.

To me, it looks pretty much like a messy, knotted pile of yarn.


My twin daughters are thrilled, though.

They are taking turns wearing it around the house like they're Norma Desmond.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

WIP Paralysis...


I need your help, fellow felters!

I'm really enamored with felted garments...jackets, jumpers, skirts...and I've been trying to learn enough to begin a clothing project.

...but I'm not the best seamstress in the world.

...and pattern-making or tailoring? Forget it!! I decided to begin by making fabric for a skirt. Not impossible, right??

I had found some wonderful variegated yellow and red rovings at the VA S&W and I nuno felted them onto a piece of pale peach silk in wide 'stripey' sections.

...but my first mistake was trying out my new fold-over elastic (FOE) at the top of the silk prior to felting it.

...believe me, it caused me no small amount of difficulty while laying out my fiber.

Do not try this at home!!

The elastic, being elastic, wanted to pull my fabric into wrinkles when I needed it to lie flat for felting. Sighhhh.

...but ok, I got it felted, and even added some little silk leaf-cutouts that I traced from real leaves in my neighborhood.

Surprise, surprise (or should I say, mistake #2?), they really don't show after felting.

...then, I realized that I no longer knew which side to use as the skirt's 'outside'.

The 'nuno-ed' back-side looked as interesting to me as the striped front-side!

Ok-so here's where you come in...

1) I need to know which side to use as the outside (or do I make it elastic-waisted and reversible somehow?)

2) I also need your help in deciding 'how' to make the skirt. (Since it's nuno, and therefore 'drapey' and clingy, I'm really nervous about the fit.)

Do I make it with an elastic waist?

...or make it A-line and install a zipper?

...or make it a wrap skirt but put in some sort of 'modesty closure'?

(I haven't felt 100% safe in a wrap skirt since the 5th grade when mine blew open at recess!)

Thanks so much!!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

The 'Little Black Dress' of Cake


You know how every Fashionista from Coco Chanel on, has suggested the purchase of a 'little black dress'?

...the unadorned, simple, perfectly tailored 'blank slate' upon which any number of accessories can be piled to various effect?

Well...this is that dress in cake form.

It is subtle, easy, can be made from ingredients most of us already have at home...

...and it's not pie--which we will soon have in abundance.

Serve it with ice cream or fruit...

...make the topping or don't.

Warning: If you ever once make it with the topping, your family will never again let you make it 'without'!! :)

So try this cake sometime when you need a little perfect piece of something sweet to eat with your afternoon tea or coffee.


Little Black Dress of Cake

2 c flour
1 tbsp baking powder (yes!)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1- 1/4 c brown sugar
1 c butter (must be butter, not margarine)
3 eggs
1/2 c milk
1/2 c raisins or craisins

2/3 c butter (must be butter!), softened
1- 1/4 c brown sugar

Mix all cake ingredients (you know the drill--butter and sugar first, then add the remaining ingredients) and bake in a 13 x 9 inch (greased) baking pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or so (check for doneness).

While it is baking, mash together the topping ingredients.

When the cake is done, immediately spread the topping onto the hot cake (carefully--it will melt and become easier to spread as you go).

Then broil until the topping bubbles (about 1 minute) (WATCH carefully--this is not a time to answer the phone or to sign for a package!)

Cool and eat.
Refrigerate the few crumbs that remain. :)

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another new toy!


I read a lot of felting blogs...

...for inspiration, for technical help, and often because felters are just so darned fabulous! I've also read a lot about using a sander for part of the felting--especially with laminated felt(Nuno).

...but I really didn't want to electrocute myself 'in pursuit of my art'! :)

So I kept reading...for safety tips and favorite sanders.

...and then I bought one...and some rubber gloves...a grounded extension cord...and I got out my rubber-soled shoes.

It's amazing!!

My first project was a scarf made with a piece of green silk (not hemmed) and some green roving.

I put foam underlayment on my work surface, layered the silk and wool, and then wetted it all down.

I covered the area that I was 'sanding' with an additional piece of foam underlayment, to keep the water away from the sander.

The vibration of the sander really helps the wool fibers to migrate through the silk!

Then I finished it the 'usual way'---with lots of rolling and rubbing.

I am learning that nuno requires a different kind of handling than 'regular' felting. water, not hot (or else the wool felts to itself, rather than moving through the silk fabric).

...and there was still one area in this piece where this happened.

But I do feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it.

...and my daughters love wearing my 'rejects'!! :)

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Summer Project Redux


In my summer felting class, several of us stayed late in the studio quite a few nights in order to try things that weren't actually 'part of the curriculum'.

One evening, I took a piece of white pre-felt and needle-felted stripes of various colors of wool roving onto it.

After it was wet felted, I wasn't happy with the couple of places where the pre-felt showed through. it was put into a pile with a lot of other 'false starts' from my class.

But I've been practicing putting zippers in (no mean feat---
these babies used to scare me to death!!)

...and I wanted to do something cute with this colorful felt.

So...I cut it in half and I made a cosmetic bag!

...lining it with fabric that I re-purposed from a thrift store sheet set.

Now...what will I do with the other half??

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