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Posts Tagged ‘needlefelting’

We had the OFSTED call this week. That acronym might not mean much to anyone who hasn’t been involved in the British education system but OFSTED carry out school inspections. And anyone who has been involved with them will know that they pretty much sow terror, despair and misery in their wake.

I head up our Nurture/Learning Support team and am also the behaviour specialist so it was decided by senior management that the few hard core behaviour problem children we have in school would be taken out of their various classes and corralled in the Nurture Room where instead of lessons they would do something interesting, arty and creative for the duration of the inspection (a day and a half) under my tender care. What I think about this is pretty much unprintable, but as these six boys are often violent and abusive, no one wanted to risk the outcome of the inspection on one of them kicking off.

So I decided that we would felt. First  I showed them some pieces of handmade felt and demonstrated how to pull tufts of fleece and lay them out in layers to form a big piece of flat felt (about 70cm by 70cm) for the base of the design. They used blue and white fleece to create a stream running diagonally from one corner to the other and I showed them how to ‘paint’ with tiny wisps of different coloured fleece to make pebbles in the stream.

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Then they added different greens all around the stream for grass and bushes and started to create the felt. While they took turns in pairs to roll the huge sausage of felt, bubble wrap, net curtain and fleece, I started the rest off rolling fleece around small balls to make flowers. Once the fleece had felted tightly around the balls I cut slits into the top to make petal shapes and they carried on rolling, watching the slits become holes and the felt gradually shrink further and further down the balls until they became little tight cup shapes.

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The next day they made a piece of green felt about 40cm by 30cm and designed some leaf templates. I cut leaves out of the felt while they added stitches and beads to make the centres of the flowers.

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Most of them had never embroidered before so we had to give quite a lot of initial support, but several of the boys really took to it and once all the flowers were done they began to add central veins to the leaves with whipped and threaded running stitch.

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Once each element was finished they told me where they wanted them putting and I needlefelted the flowers and leaves in place, which worked brilliantly and was much quicker than stitching!

The finished piece:

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They are extremely proud of it and I’m just pleased we managed to keep a powder keg dry for the best part of two days.

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Nobby the needlefelted snowman. DSCN0518.JPG

Back in September we were given matchboxes at our Embroiderers’ Guild AGM. These were to be decorated for our Christmas meeting in December. I knew exactly what I wanted to do – knit a miniature stocking but I struggled finding suitable wool and then time ran out on me.  So the night before the meeting I took a piece of crimson silk dupion to a pantomime rehearsal (it’s that time of year for our am-dram group) and embroidered it with snowflakes based on 6-armed back-stitched spiders webs embellished with french knots.

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It was a quick job to cover the matchbox when I got home.

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And then to gather some scraps of fleece and needle felt Nobby. A scrap of roving made his scarf.

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And not only did I just stab myself the once, I also was finished quickly. Nobby snuggled up in the matchbox…

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… and I managed to get to the meeting without frantically stitching at the last minute. Even better, I put him into the competition and he won!

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One of my jobs back in August was to tidy out a cupboard where I keep my creative stuff. One of the first things that came out was a baby blue wool jumper that I had picked up at a jumble sale for 10p earlier in the year. It had obviously been through too hot or too robust a wash and had felted slightly. One of the many things on my list of stuff to try is making things from a felted garment so I decided to put the tidying on one side and see what I could make out of the jumper.

I really liked the idea of making a cushion cover from the main body, with the rib at the back, button holes cut through it and big chunky vintage buttons as closures. I’d also come across some variegated roving which went well with the blue and ideas started to happen…

I cut the body into two rectangles and stitched them together across the middle. Then I cut the roving into smaller lengths, wound them loosely into rings and then needlefelted them to the middle area which I had marked out to be the front of the cushion. These were photographed in the evening and have turned out a bit too blue!

Upcycled felted cushion 1

Stabbing the roving repeatedly with a very sharp needle was very therapeutic!!

Upcycled felted cushion 2

A couple of evenings completed the rings…

Upcycled felted cushion 3

…and I was then able to sew up the sides. This is a much closer idea of the true colour.

Upcycled felted cushion 4

And the back.

Upcycled felted cushion 5

Next job is to trawl my button box for some suitable chunky buttons for the back.

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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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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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