Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Felting, a Gathering and a Tutorial

 Hooray for another gathering at Cheri Sheridan's studio,
Once In A Blue Moon Art Barn!
Our focus was mostly wet felting, 
but a little needle felting snuck in to the mix, too.
I had the pleasure of sharing with Cheri, Carol and Erika 
the basic steps for creating a jellyroll of fibers 
to be wet felted and then cut 
into discs or other configurations. 

 Below, I'm sharing a tutorial so you can join in the fun, too! 

Back to the Art Barn:
Above, you can see Cheri's layers of fibers getting a
cheery dose of brightly dyed curly locks. 
Curly locks work really well with this technique because 
they only condense more during felting, exposing bright  
spots of color once the roll is sliced into (see pics below). 
Carol Boyer builds her jellyroll layers.
Visit her blog - it's full of inspiration, creativity and information. 
Carol lives in the Syracuse area, so seeing her at these 
workshops is a definite treat!
 Erika is rolling her jellyroll, which has been wrapped in 
a layer of tulle. To see the wide range of color palettes these 
three women used was absolutely amazing, not to mention 
the bounty of fiber they've amassed!
 Cheri, our Hostess with the Mostess!
Carol's wrapping her jellyroll in tulle, 
preparing it for the wetting stage and then rolling, rolling 
and more rolling.
 Finally, the rolls are felted to the right firmness
and it's time to reveal the magic within!
Erika's roll swirled with rich, jewel-like colors,
reminiscent of VanGogh's Starry Night
 Carol's roll showed exquisite colors and contrast.
What a beauty.
 On what was a very chilly Fall morning,
Cheri's roll seemed to invoke all the rites of Spring. 
She thought these might make excellent buttons. 
These are some left over slices from a trivet I made.
Trivets can take the form of a circle, diamond or square.
If you choose to make a trivet, be careful to slice 
at an even thickness so your trivet is fairly level.
Then just sew through each disc always from the side, 
going all the way through and into the next disc, 
and so on. For strength and stability, back track often.
Pull your thread firmly as you go. Try to begin and end your
knots facing the inside of the trivet so they're invisible.

Now for the jellyroll tutorial.  :)
 Have a blast felting jellyrolls at your house!
 Round up a variety of high contrast colors of 
(preferably merino) batting and/or roving.
Approximately 2 oz. of each color per jellyroll.
You'll also need: 
a piece of tulle, approximately 16"x12"
two pieces of string
bamboo mat and a towel
hot soapy water in a sink or basin
 Steps 1-5 create the interior bullseye.
Step 1, spread a thin layer of color 1 with 
fibers running left to right. (Photo 1, above.)

Step 2, place a thin layer of color 2 with 
fibers oriented top to bottom.
(Photo 2, above.)

 Step 3, repeat step 1 using color 3.
(Photo 3, above.)
Step 4, repeat step 2 using color 4.
(Photo 4, above.)

TIP: Try to avoid layering two similar colors 
in a row. 
 Step 5, starting at a short end, tightly roll the 
stack of fibers. The tighter you roll now, 
the less rolling you'll do later.
 Set your bullseye roll aside.
 Similar to the previous method, lay out 
a thin layer of one color. 
Aim for contrast so the layers really look sharp
once they're cut into discs.
Place your bullseye roll on this layer of fiber 
and from the short end, roll tightly. (Photos 1 and 2)
Repeat this process for at least one more color, 
(photo 3)
but if you can manage more colors, do so.
The end result will be worth it!
As seen in the final pic above, if you have 
curly locks, sprinkle them on any layer for added fun!

Ready for the felting stage:
 Wrap your jellyroll in the piece of tulle, 
securely tying each end. 
(Photo 1, above, and photos of Carol and Erika, above.)

Fill a sink or plastic bin with a few inches of 
hot soapy water.
Blue Dawn, olive oil soap or glycerin soap  
all work well.

Quickly dip your roll into the hot soapy water, and
gently squeeze the water to the core of the jellyroll. 
Take care not to submerge too long or you could 
lose definition of the beautiful swirls and layers 
you've worked to create. 

On your bamboo mat, 
which I like to place on a towel for stability,
gingerly begin rolling your wetted jellyroll.

This first stage is just to get it to hold together - 
you're not using a lot of pressure yet.
(Photo 1, above.)

Roll it until you feel a skin forming and the roll 
beginning to hold it's shape, then remove the tulle.
(Photo 2, above.)

Now the work of rolling with pressure begins. 
Dip in the hot soapy water as often as you feel necessary. 
You're not going to hurt anything at this point. 
Just keep rolling until your jellyroll is dense. 
Very dense. 
(Photo 3, above)
Using a serrated knife or an electric knife,
cut your jellyroll straight down, like coins, 
or on an angle, pictured above.
Experiment and see what you come up with.

Notice the bullseye in the center surrounded by 
a few rounds of solid colors.

I hope you have a blast not only felting jellyrolls,
but finding great ways to use the resulting discs.
I've made trivets, and our group thought that buttons, 
jewelry and mobiles would be fun, too.
Pinterest is loaded with ideas, so see what you can find.
Let me know what you come up with. I'd love to hear!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Find Me Here!

In stores now!
In my little handmade universe, the release of 
Quilting Arts Holiday Gifts Magazine
officially signals the approach of my favorite time of year,
Christmas time.

I have a project inside. Did I tell you?
You can click here to order your copy of this fabulous magazine, 
or head out to your local JoAnn Fabrics, etc.. 
and pick one up today. 
The talented magazine staff made my 
silk and batik book cover look just amazing.
(sorry, my photo above.) 

The instructions and template for my book cover are 
in the magazine so you can whip up a bunch for yourself and
 friends right away! I included ideas for personalizing, too.
I had a blast designing and making these book covers.
Silk makes them sparkle, but any fun combination of fabrics 
would be a hit. Did someone say scrap buster? Indeed!

The magazine has an updated layout with plenty of 
full page color photos, 
as well as a ton of mouth-watering holiday cookie recipes.
I've studied each and every project, and easily added
a dozen new items to my holiday gift giving list, yay!
If you make holiday gifts (not limited to Christmas) 
go now. Pick up a copy. You'll be glad you did.

Soft Denim Slouch Bags
 To celebrate the arrival of my two new bag styles 
now available in the shop,
Mini-Messenger Bags
receive 10% off all bags only, 
(excludes PDF sewing patterns)
today through Sunday, September14th!

Just use code FALLBAGS14 at checkout.