Friday, July 23, 2010

Progress on the felted purse and the kiln gods are aglow

It turns out needle felting can be done safely in a moving car as long as you are not riding on a bumpy dirt road. Erik and I took a little drive and I decided to take the purse with me and use the time riding shotgun as an opportunity to complete my project from the previous post. I was able to correct my wet felting mistakes quite easily and I must say, sturdily, by needle felting the seams as well as needle felting decorative edges using super-soft white bamboo fibers I bought at Earth Guild in the felting section.
The purse project turned out okay but now I have to figure out what to do for a closure. I suppose I could sew a snap closure. But I would really prefer to make either a polymer clay button or perhaps a porcelain or stoneware button. I might play around with some ideas and come back to this at another time.

The kiln gods are aglow...

and will exit their sanctuary tomorrow!
Out of all my crafts and hobbies, I have been doing ceramics the longest. Every glaze firing is an exciting surprise! I am considering selling my wares at one of the local Saturday Tailgate Markets but I have not made any commitments yet.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Felting Magic

I have been interested in learning how to felt for a while now. I would say that the first time I realized I had an interest in actually learning how to make felt and felted objects was when I saw them at a holiday craft bazaar held every year at Owen Middle School in Black Mountain, NC. Mostly it was pot holders and trivets and the like. But I love visual texture, so I think that is what pulled me in. I am always learning something new, so felting was in the back of my mind for awhile. At the time, I was still taking ceramics classes at Black Mountain Center for the Arts Clay Studio, in addition to working full time and taking night classes through Appalachian State University two nights per week. What can I say, I'm a busy woman!

I took the leap this weekend and bought some dyed wool batt and roving as well as felting needles from two of my favorite craft shops in Asheville, Earth Guild and Asheville Home Crafts. I have been reading books on felting, both wet and needle felting. I browsed several stores before deciding that these two were the best for my needs. Earth Guild sells batting in bulk prices and they also have a buy 6 or more discount system. Asheville Home Crafts tends to specialize in locally provided and artisan goods. They are a little more expensive on some things than Earth Guild but the quality is well worth it. I like Asheville Home Crafts not only for their fine products but also because if I get stumped on anything while felting or knitting, all I have to do is call or stop by and there is someone knowledgeable enough to help me because they specialize in what they sell. Earth Guild has friendly knowledgeable staff as well, but every single person there can't possibly know about every craft they cater to, because of their variety, that would just be impossible. I have found if they don't know the answer or they don't have what you need they often will send you in the right direction.

So... I was going to start small by needle felting catnip filled toys, which I still plan to do and possibly list for sale on my Etsy shop, TotallyToTheT. But the resist wet felting techniques for making bags and pillows described in Christine White's "Uniquely Felt" caught my eye. Pictures of my first wet felting attempt to follow. It did not turn out perfect on my first attempt and I am going to have to try to reinforce the seams and cord attachment by needle felting, which I will be doing today. I went back and reread the instructions and figured out that in order for the seams to felt, I should have left some tufted border on the prefelt sheet instead of folding this over and trying to make it look perfect prior to the construction of the bag. Trying to wet felt two prefelted sheets together simply does not work. There is nothing for the sheets of felt to grab onto if there are no rough edges. So lesson learned I think. I will experiment again this weekend or next and post again. In the meantime, hopefully this post can help someone else who is trying to learn wet felting avoid the same mistake.

Also, the next crafting blitz will probably involve me trying to make this bag, which looks like it would be better for a beginner like myself.

I have learned a lot by reading the blogs of other crafters and continue to do so. I hope that my blog can be a place for sharing, learning and meeting like-minded crafty critters!

Happy Crafting!

-Tonya McDonel