Last Blog Post – I’m Moving!

This is my last post on this blog and I want to thank everyone for supporting me on here.  I originally started this blog as a journal when I was doing a writing course with a journalist friend who I knew from dancing Argentine Tango.  I started writing in 2008 just before the crash.  I then started a Tango Blog and ultimately a Travel Blog.  The Tango Blog no longer sees the light of day and the Travel Blog, well, I am a bit slack there too.  Life gets in the way.

However, this is not going to be my last post ever.  I am moving my felting posts over to a new WordPress site.  It will be all about my adventures in felt.  Guess what it is called?  Yup, Adventures in Felt.  You can find it here: https://adventuresinfelt.wordpress.com/

The new blog will ultimately be linked to a new website that my daughter is going to make for me so that I can sell my work from my website.  It will only be about felting.  I am even more hooked on this than painting as I can actually make things that are useful, and pretty!  Function and form is the name of the game.  I don’t know why I didn’t know about this sooner.  So, thanks again for all of your support, and if you are so inclined, please follow me on the new blog!  TTFN!

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When a Cosy Decides to Become a Hat!

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This is the shape that I was going to use for my French Press or cafetière cosy.  I used the felting art batts I made on my new blending board that the hubs made me.  There were 3 in total.

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I must have had a senior moment, because I really wasn’t thinking clearly when I laid this out.  I won’t go into all of the details, but sometimes we can have an off day.  I did use another new toy on my felt and that was a sander!  I know, electricity and water do not mix, but if one is careful and has plenty of plastic (dry) in between the sander and the wet wool, you will be ok.  I have one of those sanders where you clip the paper on the bottom, but instead of sand paper, I have bubble wrap clipped on instead.  We bought it quite cheap from ScrewFix.  The hubs did some research for me.  It was supposed to be used for making layered flower brooches, but I have seen others on YouTube use it, mainly the Russians, on scarves and other things.  I love how they like to save time and their inventive ways!  So, after wetting and folding all of the wool down, I took out the sander and worked on both sides.  It only took about 5-10 minutes before I could roll it, instead of about half an hour or more.  I still worked the sides by hand.

When I took out the resist, I started to full the piece and it started to shrink alarmingly quickly.  This is when I realised that my resist wasn’t wide enough for the cozy.  I need to rework my maths on this one again.  In any event, I placed the piece on my smallest hat form.  It needed a little stretch, but I managed it and thought it should be turned into a hat.  Waste not, want not.  It was fulled enough, but not hard.  Although the batts are nice and fluffy, and there were quite a few layers laid out in different ways, I laid out the wool really thinly.  Some people like to slap the wool on the blending board.  I like to lay it out thin.  Especially for this felting batt, which is different from a spinning batt, where the fibers are all laid out in one direction.  The felting batts also make nice scarves!

Downloads2The hat was still soapy when I squeezed it on the hat form.  The rounded corners lended themselves to being shaped.  The swirly pattern is unusual, but I did play around with the top for awhile to get it how I wanted.  I then took it to the sink and rinsed off all of the soap in hot water while leaving it on the form.  I wanted the top part to shrink a bit more.  Once the soap was all out, I rinsed in cold water.  I then played around with the brim, stretching it outwards.  I haven’t been able to get a decent photo, but the brim does flare out a little bit.  I would have liked to full this hat a bit more, but it is a perfectly good, soft hat.  It is very lightweight and the silk shimmers.  I think there was some silk in the mystery fiber too and that helps to make it strong.  I am quite happy to wear this hat out and about.  Now all I need to do is actually make the French Press cosy!

Rocking The Cloche

So, after making my Boho cloche hat, I thought I would make something a bit more subdued while sticking to the concertina hat theme for the online course I am doing.  I recently ordered a bunch of Merino wool for making hats, but I also have a lot of Corriedale tops and slivers.  The slivers are good for needle felting and it does wet felt quite well, but it is not so good for wet felted paintings as the wool migrates too much and dulls the top colors down, although it is good for topping up a wet felted piece.  I have also learned that it is not great for hat making, as although it felts really well, it is a little bit itchy, even when sandwiched between layers of Merino!  If the hat gets too itchy, I might sew a hat band on the inside.  I have been trying to use up my Corriedale sliver stash as best as I could so this was a learning curve.  Although I have a lot of bright colors in Merino, I don’t have much in the way of natural colors.  Even the black is dyed.

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I wanted a nice sturdy cloche hat with a brim so I was going to make it with six layers.  I used black Merino batt for the first two layers.  I peeled the batt nice and thin, wet it out, and then I added two layers of grey Corriedale slivers.  In hindsight, I should have just used four layers of Merino batt and forgot about the slivers.  For a Merino batt, the black was quite coarse, so I am not sure if I will order it again.  It was the first time I used it and you can only get the batts in 200g minimum.  I will most likely use it up for needle felting or making a different type of vessel, such as a bag, cozy, or slippers.  For the last two layers, I used a bright white Merino top in Lightning.  It is very white and great for beards and clouds.  I was loving the white, but I knew that the wool underneath would migrate and tone it down.  Perhaps if I did the white first and felted it inside out it wouldn’t have gone quite as grey (I might try that next time).  I added white sari silk fiber and Angelina all over the top for some shimmer and sparkle.  You can just about see the Angelina in the close up as well as some other threads that were in the white sari silk.  I shaped the hat on two different hat blocks.  The wig/hat block you see above is my actual head size (it is child sized), but it is not so easy to make a brim on this type of block.  I used my smallest polystyrene hat block to gauge where the brim should be and worked on that for a little while before doing the final shaping on the wig block.  I had to trim off a fair amount off of the brim as I had modified a cloche template for a fold up brim.  I used the trim to make a band around the hat and then I stitched some beads on the center of the rosette and on the hat band.  Although you can’t tell from the photos, this hat is very sparkly, but in a subtle way.  That is one nice thing about Angelina, it catches the light.  Funny that the sari silk didn’t work as well as expected, even though I did cover the whole hat with it.  I think the migration of the Corriedale wiped it out and only left the colored threads.

The weather is too rubbish today to get a decent photo.  Even when the rain stopped, I couldn’t get a clear picture of the hat as it wanted to go white.  Winter is here now, so I am not very hopeful about posting great photos for some time yet!  At least I have a lovely warm and sparkly hat to keep my head toasty!