Friday, June 29, 2012

Ready for TAST, Moy Mackay wet felting tutorial, and a few photos

Well, I did it.  I cut out enough fabric to get me through quite a few weeks of TAST.  Now, just to get to the stitching!
 I like the little squares as I have purchased all of Sharon's stitching sheets and these little squares are just the right size to attach to a page in the appropriate space.    They are about 5 inches by 5 inches I think.

If I had thought of dodging the black flies and mosquitoes, I would have taken photos of some of my flower beds that are nicely weeded, which is what I was doing this past week instead of stitching.   But I didn't take any photos of the flower beds..   yet..  so you will have to take my word for it!  LOL

Today, I felt inspired and ready for a challenge and decided to try one of the wet wool felting tutorials in Moy Mackays book, Art in Felt & Stitch.  I hadn't really done too much wet felting so felt I was really learning from scratch.

I decided to try the project in her book with the field and the 3 white sheep.  I don't want to take a photo of the pages of her book, but if you look at her home page, you can see the sheep on the mugs further down the page.  The project in the book is not on the mugs, but you can see from my end result what the colours should be.

There are many steps listed in the book, clearly providing details as to what to do and how to do it, but I will shorten them to the ones that I took photos of.

Step 1 was to make a base with merino wool   My first mistake.  My husband was actually the one who became interested in felted wool a couple of years ago before it became the big rage.  There was very little information available on how to do it and what kind of wool to use.  As such, he bought various types of wool, and unfortunately, alot of it is wool that isn't suitable for wet felting.  Some of the wool he bought is barely suitable for needle felting as it is quite rough.   What is required for wet felting is merino wool.  If you see it and compare it to the "other stuff", you will know merino wool from then on.  It usually comes in long continual hankers, all the fibers usually running one way.  You can easily tear off a piece of wool by taking in your two hands and gently pulling it apart.

Well, for step 1, which was to make a base, I knew I had little merino wool but alot of this odd stuff, so decided to use the odd stuff.  The "odd" stuff is sort of a pinky lilac colour in the photo below.  I layed down the first layer and then started applying the good layer of merino wool   I got half the blue sky just about laid when I realized I hadn't taken a photo.
I looked at this photo and thought it showed the layers well but then looked at the same photo taken with the camera's flash.  You can see the layers much better.  This whole thing was a good inch or two thick.

At this point, as I am laying the sky and then the field, a vague memory starts creeping into my mind.   I was with my husband when he bought his first batches of wool and I remember the ladies at Belfast Mills on the island giving him a large bag of wool and saying that this bag of wool is not suitable for wet felting but will needle felt.  Oh well.   I don't have alot of choice as I don't have alot of Merino wool, so let's just see if the ladies are right!

When I was in London-Wul a few months ago, Heidi was kind enough to tell me that what I was purchasing was various kinds of wool and not just Merino and then explained the difference.  I knew there was a difference in texture in some of the wools I was buying but didn't know why.  She was very helpful and has a great selection so I will have to go back.  I notice she has a few courses coming up that interest me a great deal.  I digress...    lol

So, I continue with my top layer until I am done.  Now this is the completed project before wet felting without using the camera's flash.  It is very similar to the tutorial in the book, except obviously the one made by Moy is perfect! 

I am assuming you can click on the photo and enlarge it.  If you look at the various blues in the sky, you can clearly pick out what is merino wool as it is silky smooth.  On top of the sheep, Moy put these little pieces of a different wool that gave the sheep alot of dimension.  She called it "Silk Noil".  Well, I barely had enough Merino wool to do the project.  I knew I definitely did not have silk noil!  I did add some texture by pulling tiny bits of white wool and rolling them in my wet palms.  It certainly added some texture.

This is the same photo, but taken with flash.  Again, you will see there is more depth to the wool.
The sheep almost look real!

Well, and then the wet felting.  I actually brought my Nikon camera outside so it would be handy to take photos as I wet felted, but things became messy fast and there was no way I could take off my gloves or stop to take photos.  I had suds everywhere!

I did take a plastic mesh and put it over the whole front of the wool piece as instructed in the book.  I got a few pots of very very hot water, and then took the whole thing outside.  I poured soapy hot water all over the plastic mesh and into the felt piece.  When it was thoroughly saturated, I held the mesh down with one hand as I pressed down firmly with the other hand, making small circles all over the piece.  When my arm was tired, I switched hands and did this for about 15 or 20 minutes.

What the instructions said to do next, was to roll up the whole thing in a bamboo placemat or something similar and then roll it for about 100 rolls.  Well, I couldn't roll mine up.  You know if you try to roll something that has something on top of it, then things start going wonky as you roll them up.  And mine went all wonky.  It was at this point already that I could see that the under layer was not felting onto the top layer and though the design stayed somewhat in tact, I had a huge mess and holes everywhere.  I rinsed the whole thing as best as I could and have it out to dry now.  I will try hand felting it together, possibly with a bit of a firm baking to give it some stability. 

This is the finished piece wet felted as much as I could.

 I have no idea if I will be able to salvage this piece but I'm sure I will be able to do something with it.  It just needs a bit of TLC.

I think I am figuring out why people tend to stick to one or two craft/art techniques.  How does one afford to buy EVERYTHING you need to try a project correctly and where on earth do you store it all??!  LOL

Well, I will persist.  I will make a list of the MERINO wools that we have and then buy what colours we need, that we will probably use the most of.


Well, its been a bit of a hot humid day and I'm ready for a bit of relaxation so will end soon.   Not before posting a few photos.

Summer is definitely here and the beaches are ready!   One of the beaches at Cavendish of course!

There is no shortage of kayaks available for rental in North Rustico along the water front!

And potatoes, planted only a few weeks ago, are in various stages of growth.  We have some fields where there is just a touch of green here and there, and then others where the potatoes are well are their way and will bloom in a couple of weeks.  This field is just in between.

I'm off.  But I will remind you that the Sunshine Deli is back with their charming little poems.   You will find their link to the right!   I really like their last post from a few days ago!

Take care and be happy and be at peace.

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