Posts Tagged ‘Felting’

Next to be used was the yoke of the jumper. I thought about needle cases and then somehow made a leap to the idea of a case to hold stud earrings. For my prototype I cut two rectangles of felted jumper and folded them in half like a simple book. I added a silhouette of a woman’s head out of black felt, stitched it invisibly to the front of one piece and then used some fabulous variegated perle to add a decorative blanket stitch to the edge.

Earring cases 1

An odd earring made the perfect accent and a clue to the use of the case.

Earring cases 2

Once I’d blanket stitched all the way round the edge of the front I machine stitched the second piece in half to make a thick central page…

Earring cases 3

…and then stitched it to the spine with a simple running stitch in the same thread as I’d used for the edging.

Earring cases 4

Earring cases 5

And this is how it works: the studs go easily through the double layer of felted wool, you put the backs on and the soft wool covers protect the front and at the back of the earrings.

Earring cases 6 Earring cases 7

I was really pleased with the way the prototype had turned out and there was enough fabric in the yoke to make another two cases.

Earring cases 8

Earring cases 9  Earring cases 9

I want a closure on each one but I’m not sure what would look best. Any thoughts?

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I was delighted to be tagged to take part in this by the very creative, talented and witty Iz, from Threadnoodle and it was lovely to welcome people who had popped over from her blog. So this week is my turn to talk in a bit more depth about myself and my creative process.

I live in North Lincolnshire in the UK although I’m originally, like Dickens’ David Copperfield, from the little village of Blundeston, in Suffolk. Among other things, I’m a writer, a jeweller and textile artist. But not necessarily in that order.

1. What am I working on?

Erm… everything? I have a second book of short stories and a novel both on the go as well as an article which has been back-burnered for various reasons. There’s a box of partly completed rings,

silver acorn ring

pendants and other odds and ends which need finishing.

Norwich stitch pendant

Journals, books and altered books,

York Minster altered book

kits, summer holiday diary fragments,

holiday diary fragment

the crazy patchwork cushion for my son,

James' cushion strip 1

felted and goldwork brooches,

Goldwork brooch


my hearts commission,

hearts commission

my rusted fragments art quilt…

rusted fragments art quilt

…you get the picture. I long to have a go at everything and greedily want 36 hours in each day to try, test and explore my latest passion to its full extent.

My latest obsession is upcycled jewellery, whether replacing broken/damaged elements with beads like this vintage necklace…


broken vintage wire necklace








upcycled m.o.p and haematite necklace









or adding textile elements – felting and beading…


Felted beads









Uncycled felted bead necklace









… embroidery or patchwork.

Bullion rose upcycled pendant








upcycled patchwork earrings









I love being able to make something from bits that someone else has discarded as worthless. Little things fascinate me too, and each of the projects is so small that I can be almost finished before I start to get bored. I really admire people with the stickability to work on large ongoing projects, but that’s not me. Whatever I do tends to be small, detailed, and precise, whether it’s stitched into fabric, wrought from metal, words on a page or even part of a show in theatre. For me, the devil (and the interest) is in the detail.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

That’s a difficult one. As regards my jewellery, with its mix of metalworking and fine embroidery, I’ve certainly never seen anything quite like it. There are other artists who create  jewellery with textile components, but it seems to fall into two categories – fairly traditional jewellery shapes such as earring drops, pendant and rings set with pieces of textile work, or textile work with metal findings to make it into earrings, pendants, brooches etc. I do both…

Turquoise spiral brooch








Bullion rose upcycled pendant

…but prefer to do neither

Moss mixed media pendant













Indigo book charm














I suppose that everything we do is unique, but at the same time, everything we create is the result of our experiences. I’ve often thought that if we could break down the DNA of a piece, trace its bloodline of influences and inspirations, it would be fascinating to see precisely how it was born from the tiny fragments we draw from so many things we’ve seen, done and experienced.

3. Why do I create what I do?

Every project gives me pleasure to work and it also gives me pleasure to see how it is received by other people but essentially I create because I need to. Like so many creative people, I don’t remember a time when I didn’t create, from wobbly junk models and roughly stitched dolls’ clothes to furnishings for my doll’s house and stories set in imagined worlds.

It’s my way of responding to something of the beauty in the world I see around me, my way of revelling in the power of fashioning something that is mine alone. I bend the media to my will and I say how it turns out – mostly!

4. How does my creative process work?

The first thing to fire it off is usually a single item but it can be anything: a bead, a thread, some fabric, a fragment of something, an image or artefact. The alliums piece below was the response to the challenge, ‘A flower beginning with ‘A’ for an Embroiderer’s Guild competition.

Alliums sketchbook page












Alliums hanging










An idea from a curtain I saw on a course

kantha patches














and an image from a dream…

Dream kantha














It can be a very dangerous process to sort through my stuff – I get sidetracked onto new projects very easily!

In terms of how things then evolve, I let my creative subconscious do a lot of the work. Usually I have clear idea of the starting point and an image of roughly what the end point will look like (I write like this too). Then it’s a case of starting and seeing how and where things go. If I get stuck I just walk away for a while and its unusual for that break not to have straightened things out in my head.  If I’m lucky, things work out as well, or sometimes even better than I’d hoped. If not, then it’s good to learn from your mistakes and chances are, I can always turn it into something else one day…

Phew! I think that’s the wordiest post I’ve ever put up! If you’re still with me, then please go and visit my two nominated bloggers.

Firstly, Debbie at Debbidipity. I met Debbie at our Embroiderers’ Guild when I joined several years ago and we’ve been good friends ever since. In the last 5 years, as a mature student, she’s done ‘A’ levels in Art and Photography and then followed them up with a Fine Art degree at Hull. She likes to experiment with all sorts of media and her inspirations are rooted strongly in the natural world that she loves.

From the local to the other side of the pond and Penny at Art Journey. Penny creates wonderful textile artwork in areas that I don’t tend to dabble in but love to look at – punch-needle, doll-making and beading are some of her latest delights, and I consider myself very lucky to have Valentine, one of her wonderful unique dolls sitting on my shelf watching me as I type.

Penny's Valentine

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the next stage of the bloghop!

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Brooch or hair grip, I’m not sure! This one started off as a little dreadlock that should have gone on the starburst dreads brooch…

Starburst dreads brooch

…but somehow managed to get itself lost. I needle felted a scrap of mohair wool around it,

Small spiral brooch 1

then stitched it up into a spiral and beaded it.

Small spiral brooch 2

Rather like raspberry ripple.

Small spiral brooch 3

The Traditional English Canal Embroidery that I blogged about here has gone from this:

Canal embroidery 1

to this:

Canal Embroidery 1a

I’m not sure now that I want to use the same variegated perle in all the squares.

But what colour to use?

Any ideas?

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Or I might make it into a hair clip. I’ve no memory of making the little dark brown felted dreadlock that forms the basis of this spiral brooch, but I found it in the pile of unfinished things I’ve been working through over half term.

Brown, blue and gold spiral brooch 1

It rolled up easily and neatly and a selection of gold, amber and blue beads worked together very well for the edging.

Brown, blue and gold spiral brooch 2

That was short and sweet. (Wish they were all like that!)


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And one finish.  I finally got round to making up my angelina and goldwork flower into a card.

Angelina goldwork card

I’ve also been finishing off a felt flower piece made with flowers cut from the left over felt I made for ‘Guards! Guards!’ last year…

Last felted flowers 1

…and some odd fused fabric leaves I made so long ago I can’t remember what I used them for…

Last felted flowers 2

…and making progress with the Elizabethan scissors case I started in an Embroiderers’ Guild workshop with Brenda Scarman several months ago.

At the end of the workshop I’d got as far as this:

Scissors case 1

Detached buttonhole stitch petals and chain stitch stems.

I finished the stems and as per the instructions, added trios of fly stitch between the petals and long straight stitches to define the petals. The french knots in the centre would be joined later by beads.

Scissors case 2

Beads added, the chain whipped with gold thread and buttonhole stitch in the same thread round the edge of the petals.

Scissors case 3

Scissors case 4

Then the spangles, which I attached with a central seed bead. I think they’re too densely packed but I don’t dislike the effect enough to unpick them all. I intend to make the seeding less dense by using just beads round the edge and making them more widely spaced.

Scissors case 5

Just the beading to finish before I can make it up.


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I’ve been carrying on with my goal of sorting and rationalising all my ‘stuff’ this year and after a useful amount of space gained by getting rid of books and magazines that I won’t read again, I was onto the corner of the lounge where I tend to store my in progress work. There was an awful lot still in progress, so I decided to get finishing.

First, a new brooch. The brown coiled middle was made as a working example for a workshop session I taught at our Embroiderers’ Guild in the spring and the short fat dreadlocks I made at school at least two years ago. 

Starburst brooch 1

Combined, I liked the effect,  so I stitched the dreads onto the back of the spiral and then found some gold, raspberry pink and milk chocolate coloured beads for the edging.

Starburst brooch 2

The back is simply finished with a circle of felt with the brooch back stitched to it and then blanket stitched onto the reverse of the spiral, hiding all the construction stitches.

I’ve also moved on with my journal cover. First I finished off the hand stitching. French knots (I decided against beads) in the centre of some of the machine patterns, the chain stitch completed and threaded with slubby thread and the threaded running stitch re stitched with smaller stitches and whipped with stranded variegated silk.

Turquoise journal cover 1

Turquoise journal cover 2

On the front, more french knots, both on machine and hand stitched elements and pekinese stitch along a line of machine straight stitching.

Turquoise journal cover 3

Then I stuck the end papers to the reverse of the cover.

Turquoise journal cover 4

As this is going to be my holiday journal this year it’s going to be in and out of bags and well handled so I was a bit concerned about how well the edges would stand up to that sort of treatment. I decided to use some satin ribbon to bind them.

Turquoise journal cover 5

Using my own ancient and  dearly beloved Frister and Rossmann I stitched the ribbon down. The front:

Turquoise journal cover 6

And the back:

Turquoise journal cover 7

I know the cream is a contrast but to tie in with the organza layers I intend to layer it over with silk organza ribbon. Probably hand stitched down – there is only so far I can stay out of my comfort zone!

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Felted pouch

Last November I fell in love with the felted pouch idea from this post by Threadnoodle. I’d bought some hand made crystal runes as a Christmas present for a close friend and had been toying with making some sort of fabric bag to hold them, but this was perfect! And I can post about it now, since Christmas has been and gone.

I started by wrapping a crystal sphere (a child’s ball would be better – not as heavy – but we didn’t have anything the right size) first in a layer of blue fleece which would be the inside of the pod and then in a thick layer of merino and silk  in shades of purple.

The whole parcel was liberally soaked in a solution of olive oil soap flakes and warm water, and then rolled until the fleece felted tightly round the sphere. Then I rinsed it thoroughly and alternately in hot and cold water, to help it felt further before I left it to dry.

Once dry I carefully took the scissors to the top, making five cuts so I could ease the sphere out later. Then I felted it again so the edges of the cuts would felt together and shrink back slightly.

Rune pouch 1

Rune pouch 2

There were some areas I wasn’t too happy with and I also wanted to embellish the surface of the pouch further but wasn’t too sure how I was going to do that, so I put it on one side and let my creative subconscious work on a solution…which came when I was clearing my eldest’s room prior to his return from university.

I bought some needlefelting bits and pieces from eBay a while ago but hadn’t got round to using them. However, my middle one recently had a mad fit of crafting including making a needlefelted dog she had seen in my ‘Mollie Makes’ magazine and used her brother’s room as a studio. She’s very good at getting things out but not so keen on putting them away…

As I packed the needle felting kit away, I realised it was time to use it myself and after a very pleasant evening in front of the television with some roving, beads and extra fleece. I ended up with this:

Rune pouch 3

I ‘patched’ the slightly thinner pieces of the main body of the pouch with swirls of extra purple merino/silk mix and needlefelted around the edges of the top flaps to further stabilise them. Then I needlefelted spirals of golden orange roving all over the outside.

Rune pouch 4

Rune pouch 5

For the closure I needlefelted five pieces of roving to the underside of the top flaps and fed them first through a hexagonal doughnut shaped bead of green agate, then through a round doughnut of mother of pearl and finally a cylindrical felt bead made from the same fleece as the outside of the pouch.

Rune pouch 6

It’s only just big enough to take the rune set, which is a bit annoying, but I loved the needlefelting – will have to do some more of that in the near future – and the most important thing is how much my friend liked the gift.

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