Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February and early March Workshops

In February and early March I will be hosting several workshops.  If you are in or near the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, please consider visiting my Felting Studio and learning a new artform.

Slipper  Workshops are available Sunday Feb 12, 1-4:30pm, and Sunday Feb 26, 1-4:30pm.

Hat or Purses (same technique) Saturday Feb 18 and Saturday March 4, both 1-4:30pm

Cost for each workshop is $80 per person (large purse is $100).  Price includes all materials, tools and instructions , and you will have a finished project to take home at the end of the workshop!  Limit of 6 persons per workshop so reserve your spot ASAP ...  Contact me through the link above right.

Images of slippers, hats an purses :

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Huge Felt Art "Poster"

Some of you may wonder how to make a picture out of felt.  This is a mini tutorial on the process of felt artistry.  I have found that prefelt works best, It will hold the shape of the cut without "bleeding" too much into the fibre beside the cut piece.  To that end, here are the three prefelt pieces that I made for this project... A "poster" of Niagara Falls, in a 1950's advertising style.
First is the waterfall itself, with streaky blues and greens.  Prefelt is a piece of felt worked to the point where it is well fused, but not shrunk at all.  You will want to have it join with more wool at the next stage.  I lay the fibre, then wet it with cool soapy water, then roll it for about 15 minutes.  Then open it and smooth it and let it dry.  No need to rinse out the soap, as it will be worked further.
 The next one is red fibre laid with red silk (nuno felt prefelt), to use as the lettering in the "poster"

 The third piece is the rock for the cliff that the falls is falling over.  Black and grey in a streaky pattern.
 As stated above, I rolled each to a flat single prefelt.
 So here is the layout... Very large, I started with cream as the base for the sky and the water, and taupe for the base of the rock and the walkway.
 Here is the rock, cut from the prefelt, laid in place, and the walkway defined by pencil roving and streaky taupe merino.
 Here is the waterfall, Niagara Falls from the Canadian viewing point, closest to the Falls. (Use the underground tunnels to get to this small "balcony" jutting from the rocks).
 Here I added loose fibre of white and blue for the sky, and white silk fabric for the clouds and the mist.  Silk fibre also edges the mist and accents the falls.
 Stylised letters announces the Falls. Cut from the red nuno felt prefelt.  The railing is cut from the black and grey prefelt.
 The tourists are cut from the black prefelt.  A camera will be embroidered into the hands of the standing tourist.  It is Pre-Selfie days!
 Then I rolled and rolled and rolled, then hot and cold baths in my kitchen sink.
Final photos to come!!! The final size is 3 feet by 4 feet!

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Finally, My studio is ready for workshops!  I had the first last week, and this table shows some of the future projects... purses, bags, slippers.  The hats were up on the shelf above.
 Here is the first double table ready for the students, with some of the silk chiffon choices.
 Here is the second table.  We had four students this day, but I ultimately can handle up to six for the scarves, and maybe eight for the slippers and bags (smaller table space required).
 Ready for the water and rolling stages.  (me peeking at you through the mirror!
 One scarf in the wet and covered stage.
 Finished scarf close up of one end
 and the other end.
If you are close enough to the Niagara area, and are interested in workshops, please email me at chrisknits at Hotmail dot com.   (link above right)  and get your name on my workshop newsletter email list.  I love to spread the love of all things felting!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Felted Slippers. Tutorial (of sorts)

The slipper experiment continues, and I got the feeling that the flat resist makes just an OK slipper.  My friends likes the one that I added the knit cuff to, but I thought I could make a better slipper.  Many of the PINTEREST photos showed finishing (or even starting) over a foot mold, either duct tape match of your own foot, or a plastic (and expensive) shoe mold.  The duct tape worries me, as it could only be used in the end to stretch the final product, and as far as that goes, I used my own real foot, covered in a plastic bag, to final stretch the previous ones.  No, I wanted more form.
I decided to try using Crocs, or equivalent off-brand as the mold/resist.  The previous blog entry shows a baby size slipper as the test try, and I was impressed.  So here goes the adult version:

First I bought one size bigger Croc, in a clearance priced colour! One size bigger, and wrapping on the outside of those, allows for enough shrinkage to create a really firm slipper.  The process does not actually damage the shoes in any way, so you could borrow the ones you want to use!
Other materials include, wool batting (you could use only roving, but batting saves some steps and makes it really uniformed.),  roving, and any embellishments you like.  Also plastic and a panty hose leg.

 I start with the batting, and a bit of roving.  I show the roving in grey, so that we can see where it goes.  Extra roving over the toe to make sure it is not too thin there.  The baby sample seemed to shift away from the toe, so I think adding extra will counter this migration.
Wrap the batting evenly around the shoe, covering it completely.  I actually ripped the batting in almost half, wrapping first one way, then the other, to make it evenly covered.
If you are using only roving, make a flat bed of two thin layers of roving crossed in perpendicular directions, to create a strong felt.  Then wrap it around the shoes, followed by another bed of 2 thin layers.  (four thin layers total).   HINT:  whichever way you do this, make sure you lay the batting or the roving out for BOTH shoes at the same time, trying to use the exact same amount of fibre on each shoe!
 Once wrapped, add pencil roving of contrast merino to "tie" it together.  Make sure left and right have mirror details.  I then added some silk and yarn, mostly to the top of the toe area.
 Wet the whole thing really well with cold soapy water.  Gently massage without dislodging too much fibre and squeeze excess water out.  Once it feels completely we thoughout, roll them both into plastic (you could use zip lock bags, just get out most of the air) and try to seal the ends to mostly keep the water in the package.  Slide the plastic wrapped slippers into the leg of a panty hose, tie some acrylic yarn in the space between the shoes, and tie off the end, to make a two link sausage of slippers!
Then the magic!
Wrap the package in a large towel (again rolling sausage style) and tie with stretchy fabric ties.  toss this in the dryer on NO HEAT and tumble for about 20 minutes.
When you unwrap them, you should have firm, but not too puckered, slippers.  The photo below shows what it looked like in the lower slipper.  Carefully cut a two inch hole in the center of the open space of the shoe.  Do not cut too near the heal, as the felt will stretch open even further, and you want some felt on the back of your foot.  Stretch the opening out as in the upper picture.  Best to under cut, and if the stretch does not get large enough, you can cut more.
 Now make a really hot bath of soapy water, and using the bubble wrap, dip in water, massage, squeeze out excess, then rub on the bubble wrap. I rubbed every surface, even flipping them inside out to rub the insides.   Do this over and over until you get the size you need for your foot.  Should only take about 5 minutes.  Hand rub the opening of the slipper to really firm it up.  You can see in the final dry photos how the opening got bigger, but not too big to stay on the foot.
 The shoes continued to mold to my foot after wearing a few days.  Try to know left from right (mine, the rose silk is on the outside of my feet).  I plan to sew some suede to the bottom to have them last much longer.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

hats and slippers

I need to work out a couple of new projects as samples for future workshops....  I was thinking of hats and slippers.  I have made lots of hats, and have that routine down.  Here is a green one that I made up yesterday.  Roving with silk beaded fabric and yarn over a bell shaped resist.
 after working it until sturdy, I used hot and cold water until it stretched nicely over my hat form.  (I covered a wig head with foam and duct tape to make the right size for me.)
 It is drying here.  I will add some more embellishment to finish.
 Here is a first attempt at slippers.  I used a flat resist, and worked it to fit my feet, but I felt the slipper is too flat, and decided to add a knitted cuff to bring it up the ankle for a better fit.
 Not bad.
 And here is another technique.  I thought it may work well to felt over some "crocs".  I found some tiny ones (toddler size 4) at the used clothing shop.  They are tough to find in the winter!  I worked four layers of roving over the shoes, then tossed them until fairly firm.  Hot soapy water made them perfect.  They shrunk to about the size of the original shoes.  Next I will try adult size and see if it works as well.
February and March workshops will feature shoes and hats!