A bag and a skirt

I’ve got my goddaughter staying with me and we’ve had a really chilled day today. While we were watching wild child I started working on a masa bag with a really chunky Peruvian alpaca wool that is just gorgeous to work with. This is how far I got during the film

I’ve got to add more to the width as it needs to be 1:3 ratio. My plan is to then sew it into the right shape and then try felting it, but I’m not sure if it might be a bit too ‘open’ to felt as I’ve ended up using a slightly bigger hook than I’m supposed to as I didn’t have the right size at home!

Anyone got any ideas on whether it will felt and the best method of going about that? If it won’t felt then I’ll just have to have another go at lining a bag!! šŸ˜‚

Then I made my sister’s second birthday skirt. She decided she would like a skirt in the mouse material even though she likes wearing blue as this will be a nice autumnal colour. Isn’t it super cute?

I was thrilled on the waistband that I was able to join two pieces together and almost completely perfectly pattern match them!

I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out… It’s getting easier to hem the curves each time I make another one (this is my third skirt so far), and I’m sure I’m generally getting quicker at it.

I still love doing my double stitching with the variegated thread too!

Only I forgot which way was up when I was sewing the waistband on so the inside ended up with the variegated thread and the outside got plain burgundy. It still looks cool though… Just maybe not quite as cool as I’d have liked (not that anyone is ever going to look that closely at the stitching!)


Blue tit wall hangingĀ 

This is where my wall hanging started off this evening. I needed to do some more work on it before going back to see sue tomorrow. I’m not sure why i hadn’t  worked on it earlier this week, maybe just because it was a really tiring week in work and i had no energy when i got home. But today, after a relaxing time in a spa this morning i was ready to add finishing touches to my picture, with classic fm as my background music. 

I started by filling in gaps with ivy branches. Initially i was frustrated because i was needle felting them  on to the background and they didn’t look right when i just used the needle down the edges, but then i tried needling down the middle as well and was happier with the overall effect as it looked more textured. 

I’m not sure why i was so focused on this given that  loads of it was going to get covered with leaves, but i guess it was good to work on a non prominent part of the picture first. I was pleased when i got the ivy branches on  the wall to stand  out a bit more by needling more down the edges, and i did the same for the bricks to pull them out from the mortar effect behind. I also cut into the milk bottle lid so it would look like the bird had broken through. 

Then i spent quite a while looking for the nicest parts of my green felt and cutting out more ivy leaves and trying to add these in a non uniform way. 

Again i experimented with different ways of needle felting them on, keeping some  flat, and bulging others out, and leaving some parts of the leaves free from the backing felt, though i thought these looked a bit too artificial and tended to catch most of them in with the needle. After adding veins to some of  the other leaves, and breaking all but three of the needles sue had given me i decided i’d better bite the bullet and actually work on the blue tit. 

I kept referring back to the photo i was using and adding extra bits of colour and detail (though now i realise i ended up using two different photos from this page!). I’m so glad it’s possible to pull felt off if you’re not happy with it…. I did that a few times! It was fun trying to make fluffy bits round his tail and legs. I wasn’t sure about the fact that the more i needle felted on  his face  the more it seemed to flatten, but when i step back from it and look at it as a whole i think it still works. 

Finally i decided i needed to leave well alone and stop fiddling with adding more. So after just over two hours this evening my wall hanging has progressed from this 

To this 

I love how even though the blue tit is a really small part of the picture he really stands our because of his colours and where he is in the picture. He’s not lost amongst the leaves. 

We’ll see what advice Sue  has on finishing it all off tomorrow. 

Felting a blue tit

Before Christmas i went to a couple of felting workshops at Gloucester art and craft centre with the lovely Sue. First she helped me to make a brightly coloured bowl as a present for my sister (over two sessions and about 5 hours) 

I loved the process of taking different colours of unspun wool, pulling them apart and layering them up. I also loved how often the colours appeared more vibrant once felted. 

After the bowl i decided to try making a wall hanging with 3D effects. If seen sue’s creations of bird wall hangings, especially her barn owl one (scroll down about 3 photos on the link to see it).  I knew i couldn’t make anything as amazing as that but I fancied trying a blue tit as  it would be really colourful. I chose to work with an image from my childhood where they used to perch on milk bottles, peck through the silver top and steal the cream from the top. I made the base layer, then made a brown and red piece of felt that i cut into bricks to felt on top. After that i built up layers of felt in decreasing sizes to make the milk bottle and blue tit. Then i brought home a piece of green felt that i cut into ivy leaf shapes and felted on. 

Today i went back to see Sue as i had not got enough green felt to finish off the leaves, and she was going to show me how to needle felt on the hanging to further bring out the 3D parts and add definition. After  an hour i had a piece of green felt to bring home 

And my blue tit was already looking more defined, and had a gorgeous white stripe on his wing. Sue has kindly lent me more needles, a large piece of foam, and some  pieces of different coloured wools to add details to the leaves. So i have lots of work to do on it over the next few days or so, but it was exciting to use the needle to add definition and see just how much that changes the overall effect. 

Next i need to sort his beak, eye and eye-stripe out, sort things out around his tail, and add legs and feet. And i need to work on defining the milk bottle more. 

Also i want to add more definition to the leaves. I already put some insulating material down in between the leaves and the base, so parts would remain free to curl out from the picture, but look at the difference between these leaves once i’d used the needle to create the line down the middle of the leaf

I’m excited about the prospect of bringing this picture to life during the next week or so. I’ll try to take more close up before  and after photos and hope that they show the effects well.