Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving...Gobble, Gobble

Some of my friends are celebrating Thanksgiving today (because they live in Canada and didn't have the day off on the actual day).  Yesterday I popped by to visit and to drop off a pie plate to one such friend.  She took part in the felting group last Saturday and loves it!  On Thursday night, I felt inspired to make her a little gift.  Often I feel inspired but don't usually follow through because I think about it so much that a) I run out of time b) I convince myself that it won't be as good as how I envision it because I am a pattern follower.  If there is no pattern...eek! or c) think that they would think it were rather crazy ... hahaha  Thursday, I just went with the inspiration and figured it out as I went pattern (and I lived!).  My friend already has this and has opened it so I can now post the pictures.

This is his coy cute look...If I look cute perhaps they won't eat me!!

Left side profile!  What a poser!

Backside profile...hehehe  Loving the red, white, and blue tail feathers!

Right side profile.  Maybe if I try to look like a buzzard they won't eat me!

Close up!  Loving the camera!

The little turkey ready to go to his new home!  Gobble, Gobble!
PS...received an email this morning.  She LOVED IT!  He will reside on their Thanksgiving Dinner table (not as food)

Needle Felting Tutorial

Last weekend I participated in our church's Super Saturday...see previous post.  I have had a lot of feedback and interest expressed to get together to do some more needlefelting and I love that.  Yesterday, my Peanut was home sick so we did some felting together.  Side note:  I have read a lot online about how needle felting is not a craft for children because the needles are so sharp; I also know that in some Montesorri schools this is taught to young children.  I say to use your best judgement.  I personally feel that my children are responsible enough (they are 7 and 9....I first showed them this in 2007 so they would have been 4 and 6).  I supervise when they are working with the needles, especially early on.  They had been sewing with needles when they were 4 so I guess I just didn't have any qualms about handing them another type of needle.  I do demonstrate for them how the needles should be handled and they know that if they try to poke each other then they are done for the day.  They may have stabbed themselves by accident but never have they aimed at each other.  Okay, that being said, here is Peanut demonstrating for you how we needlefelt our ornaments....

Tools needed:
felting needles (these are special needles with barbs that catch the wool fibres)
foam block (I started on a large sponge but they are hard to find now.  On Saturday, I used blocks cut from Upholstery pads that I purchased at Walmart.)  The block protects your needles and your worksurface.
Fleece to felt:  I love to work with Merino, Polworth, Corriedale

Step 1:

Select a cookie cutter shape to use as a template and place on your foam block.

 Step 2:

Prepare your fleece for felting.  Here she is separating the fibres.  If you find that they don't separate easily then move your hands further apart and try again.  It may be that your fleece has a longer staple (length of the fibre). 

 Step 3:

Place the fibres over the cookie cutter.  To get better coverage, lay the fibres so that they crisscross each other.  You do not need a lot a fibre to work with.  If you find, while you are felting that there are some thin spots you can easily add some more.

 Step 4:

Start felting!  I believe that here Peanut is using a 38 triangle.  Typically, I use a set that is colour coded.  For Merino, I use the cream needle.  When I am working with a cookie cutter template, I start by working around the outside edge and working into the middle.  I find this gives me a nicer edge and a bit of a  puff in the middle.  If I were working on fabric, I would start in the centre and work out to the edge as the felting process causes some shrinkage.  To felt, make stabbing motions with the needle...the needle does not need to disappear completely into the you get more confident you will find that you will be able to stab quicker. 

 Step 5:

When the felted piece starts looking rather smooth, carefully remove your template and then gently remove the felted piece from the block.  You will feel some resistance because you have been essentially felting the piece to your block.

 Step 6:

Flip over your felted piece and stuff it back into your template.  I find it works better to put it into the template before placing it on the pad.  If you just place the cutter over the felted piece, on the pad, then some of the edges don't get felted...they just get squashed and here you might end up with something that looks more like a zucchini rather than a stocking.  You may have to flip your piece a few times before it is fully felted.

 Step 7:  Safety Tip....

Do not look at your mother when she asks you a question while you are felting.  Remember, the needles are sharp and even a little poke can draw blood.  The template is a great way to learn while protecting little fingers but accidents still happen.  Good news:  She lived and is still an active in felting world!

Step 8:

The felted stocking.  To tell if the stocking is finished give it some gentle tugs.  If it is holding together then your piece is felted.  It also depends on how firm you would like the finished piece to be.  If it feels pretty flimsy then felt it some more adding some more fleece if needed.  You can stop here or you can embellish however you would like.  If the edges look a little rough you can go around with your needle.  I usually tuck the flyaways in with my fingers to create a finished edge then gently felt them in.

Step 9:

Peanut decided that she would like a white cuff on her stocking so she has added some white merino to the top to felt.  She is now deciding if she would like to add some beads or sequins to finish her stocking or perhaps do a blanket stitch around the outside.

I will post the finished piece once she decided what she wants to do (and once my camera is home again...right now it is out videotaping Rosie at dance.)

My Mom

Okay, so I am feeling a little frustrated.  I had a great post about my mom.  I had a little technical difficulties so I took it down to fix it and instead lost everything.  Maybe it wasn't meant to be!  So, I am going onto something else but never fear, you will likely hear about my mother, the blog-lurker (sorry mom, you will find no hints about your Christmas present in this post) many times because she pretty much got me started along this path.  Let me quickly introduce her then I am moving on and will come back and finish this post another time.
My mom....we are hiding from the cold winds at Peggy's Cove, Thanksgiving 2010.
Ah...the 70's!  I remember the colours, the curtains, the clothes....
This is me with my mommy.  The only picture that I have of the two of us together.
Mom was a stay-at-home mom.  To help out with the family budget she took in sewing....alterations, creating new outfits, and making beautiful wedding dresses.  She started to teach me how to sew when I was four...on those beautiful wedding dresses.  I would help her cut out the patterns and the fabric pieces then I would sit on her lap and guide the fabric under the needle as she stepped on the pedal.  As I grew up she took me to pioneer villages, craft sales, and for 6 yrs she drove me to Toronto to go to an open house at a Design School (and she doesn't even like driving to Toronto but once a year she did it because she knew that is what I wanted to do....that being said, it didn't happen...long story.  My one regret!)  To be Continued......

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Getting Back Into the Crafting Groove

With the upheaval of the move and trying to pick my way through the basement, my crafting life came to a complete halt until recently.  While trying to find my basement, I have been making the time to "make"...however, my mom has suddenly decided to learn how to use her computer and has found my blog.  This means that I can't write or post any pictures of what I have been doing because I have her name for Christmas and what I have been working on is for her gift!  She even admitted that she searched out my blog to try to get some hint as to what I was making her.  Sorry mom!  You won't find what you are looking for here...because I know you are looking!!!!

So, for now, I am going to pick through my archives of little projects that I have made over the years in hopes of finding more time to perfect rather than just dabble.  Today, we are going back in time to around the year 2007~ish and to when I first learned how to needle felt. 

Bookmouse ~ Needle felted Summer 2007
This is my Bookmouse...let's call him Norman.  Norman is a book mark.  He is the very first project I made and has now become a favourite for my children to give to their teachers for, if you are ever their teacher, there I have just given away what you will get for Christmas.

Needle felted Gnome Summer 2007
I made this little guy right after I finished my mouse.  He sits on my shelf and keeps me company.  I will have to make some friends for him one day.  After I made him, life got busy and I didn't make anything else other than all the Bookmice that have been given as gifts.  It wasn't until I found my needles and made the pumpkins that I realized how much I love to needle felt.  It is soooo relaxing!

Yesterday, I took my fibre addiction to church for our Christmas Super Saturday and taught an unsuspecting group of women how to felt.  I say unsuspecting because when they signed up for the workshop they believed that I was going to supply them with a piece of felt from a craft store and teach them how to make an ornament from that.  Hahahaha....little did they realize that they would be wielding sharp needles to create an ornament from merino fleece.    I wish I had remembered that I had my camera to show all the great work that they did...I did grab a few shots at the end.

Felted Snowman ~ the end result of a "Sure, why not...I'll give it a try".  One of her beautiful daughters popped by and made a wonderful snowflake.  Looking forward to seeing what else this family creates...a couple of blocks and needles went home with them.

One of my awesome friends that I met when I moved here...funny thing though...we actually grew up in the same hometown back in Ontario!

A couple more of my awesome crafty friends popping by to take some of their stress out on fleece.

We used cookie cutters as our templates (great way to save those little fingers especially when teaching young children).  I gave a quick demo and let them at it.  The biggest challenge was figuring out what shape they wanted to use...and what colour...and beads, sequins...Kids in a candy store!  It was a great day and so much fun sharing what I love to do with others.  My one session turned into two sessions as some came back for more and as some of the younger visitors came out to see what was going on.  We had some pretty little snowflakes coming from these young crafters.  I have had quite a few requests to have another felting get together so that means my addiction has been successfully been passed on to others.  Very cool!

When I got home I felt inspired to pick up my needles to try something a little different...inspired by some of the wives of the dental students here.  This is a quick first is too cute.  It needs a bit of work; I think the molar has a cavity!
Needle felted toothbrush with molar
I am going to post again on this topic with a little tutorial, some of my favourite places to order from, etc so drop by again.