Showing posts with label needle felting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label needle felting. Show all posts

Sunday, January 14, 2018

DIY: A Needle Felted Color Wheel Coat!

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Check this out, y'all: on Thursday, it was a balmy 68 degrees in the Nashville area and they were calling for snow and ice the next day. Our weather-predicting/school DJ/head custodian announced that we'd be out. Now, despite those warm weather conditions, I KNEW we'd be out because our weather-predicting/school DJ/head custodian is NEVER wrong. So y'all better believe I was excited to spend my day off working on this needle felted color wheel coat ida that I'd been kicking around in my head.
Not too long ago, I found myself in Old Navy where I discovered this jacket on the sale rack. I'd already had the idea in my head and this style of jacket was exactly what I was looking for...one with a large flat backside that would serve as a big blank canvas for my color wheel. 
 If you've been hanging around this blog for even a minute, you know that needle felting is one of my favorite things. In fact, early this week I shared my Top Ten Needle Felted Sweaters. I've needle felted every type of fabric: jersey, knit, wool, wool blend, canvas, big ole winter coats, you name it. I've managed to acquire a beautiful assortment of wool over time which is great to have on hand when an idea like this strikes. I created a video of myself working to help explain the process:
The tools I used in the video, the pen tool and the cushion, are both by Clover and they are my favorite. However, I will say that because this jacket is a fleece or something, I totally busted all three needles in my pen tool immediately. The pen tool comes with very fine needles...but I have a stash of the thicker needle felting needles. I replaced them inside my tool and, once I got the hang of the surface, I was fine.
 I simply tacked the roving down with the plan to further felt with my machine. However, if I didn't have a needle felting machine (see video) I would have just had to do it by hand. It probably would have taken twice as long. I rarely bust out that needle felting machine but when I do, I'm always happy I have it!
 Of course I had to take pictures of it in front of all the new colorful areas in my art room. Seriously, my art room is my happy place. There are SO MANY projects I want to do...but I'm glad some are finally coming together. I have a self-appointed deadline for my art room but the date is pretty much pushed back to the end of the year. One of these days, I'll get my life together. Meh, prolly not. You can check out more details of my Mary Blair Mural here
 My pattern painted globe found a home in front of the mural! 
 I decided to pair my coat with my needle felted palette beret...more deets here
When I needed a break from all the stabby-stab, I decided to embroidery-bomb this broken Anthro necklace I'd had sitting in my stash. You can check out this blog post to see just how much I'm loving all things yarn-bomby right now. 
 I needed a little bling to go with the jacket, right? I'm thinking of painting the wooden beads that hang from the necklace...or maybe not. I kinda dig it right now. 
 My jacket tho is pretty much giving me life. I went to grab pizza after working in my art room this morning and dude at the pizza placed thanked me for my jacket. "Thank you for bringing a rainbow in here." I thought that was so sweet! 
 And now for a bunch of picks of my backside. Ahem.
 If you look closely, you'll see that I had to do a little color blending to achieve a complete gradation. You can kinda see it here: check out the purple and pink sections. To blend, I just had to pull and tuft the rooving repeatedly to get it completely blended. 
By the way, this is what the inside of my jacket looks like. Notice how the fibers have been pushed through. 
 I liked the necklace before but I am loving the rainbow makeover! 
And of course I had to take pics of my jacket in front of the rainbow wall and the rainbow treeIf you've not tried your hand at needle felting, I encourage you to do so...then we can be color wheel coat friends! 
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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sweater Weather! Top Ten Fave Needle Felted Sweaters

It's officially Sweater Weather in my neck of the woods and I'm all about it. So much so that this weekend, while I was procrastinating lesson planning, I decided to do a little wardrobe planning instead because #priorities. After rooting thru Mount Sweater (seriously, if you follow me here, you've seen my stories...I have a sweater-hoarding problem, y'all!) I decided I had so many sweaters, I thought I'd go with a theme...and settled on animals. Here's this week's line up:
Boom! Side note: I have enough animals sweaters to last me two weeks, maybe even three. Did I mention Mount Sweater? 

Whilst rooting thru my jumpers, I noticed that a fair amount of them had been created by yours truly. And that's when I thought a blog post of my Top Ten Fave Needle Felted Sweaters was in order (conveniently, I've needle felted EXACTLY 10 sweaters...countless dresses...but 10 sweaters. Exactly.) So here you go. If you are looking for a super fun craft that allows you to take out your frustrations while stabbing something repeatedly AND NOT GET ARRESTED, have I got a craft for you! 
My Very First Needle Felted Sweater! If we are gonna talk needle felting, let's start at the beginning, shall we? I started needle felting in January of 2013 (seems like yesterday!) after a visit to Anthropologie. I'd spotted a BEAUTIFUL sweater that I was determined to buy until I spotted the $98 price tag. Say whut now?! I remember examining the sweater carefully and thinking, "I think this is felt...I think this is needle felted!" That evening, I went home and watched several YouTube videos on needle felting. After stumbling upon a video where a sweet British woman exclaimed, "You can needle felt on ANYTHING!" I decided to get the supplies and give it a go on this thrifted and moth-ridden purple sweater. here's the my preferred needle felting supplies:
This Clover brand needle felting tool can be found on many websites. I like it because it holds three needles, making the job a little easier and it fits comfortably in your hand. Just a side note: when buying replacement needles, purchase the Clover brand ones. They are designed specifically for this tool.
The needle felting tools usually run about $12. If you aren't sure if this is the craft for you but still wanna give it a shot, you might consider inventing in a pack of needle felting needles. They are barbed and razor sharp so if you poke yourself, there will be blood. No sharing needles, okay? Not a craft for the little kiddos, okay? You can purchase a pack of these for half the cost of the needle tool. Why do I need so many, you ask? Well, as a newbie, breaking needles is not uncommon. 
When needle felting, you gotta have a cushion underneath otherwise your needles will break. My cushion of choice is this one, also created by Clover. However, a foam cushion, like that used to reupholster furniture would work as well.

Now, let's talk roving. I'd like to recommend purchasing from a local provider. How do you find that? See if your community has a Fibers Guild. Mine doesn't have much of one...but where my mom in law lives, Birmingham, they do. Reaching out to them will put you in contact with someone who just might produce their own wool. Or you could contact my two favorite ladies: Sue Bunch at Back to Back Fiber and Natasha at Ester's Place. They are GREAT!

Now, back to the sweaters!
Crazy Cat Lady Sweater! After seeing a cat sweater on ModCloth, I decided to make a portrait of my cat on my sweater. So here is Asha! This method of needle felting, I call Paint By Numbers. If you follow the link, you'll see just how easy it was to needle felt. Now, easy does not equal FAST...needle felting is time consuming, FYI.
 Crayola Crayon Sweater! I'm still waiting for my endorsement from these guys. I mean, how much more love do I have to show, I stabbed your logo on my sweater?! If you want an easy sweater, try this one on for size! Flat shapes of color and LOTS of stabbing. 
 Pencil and Line Sweater! Want a fast project? Here you go! By the way, the best place to find sweaters to stab is the thrift store! The sweaters DO NOT have to be wool...remember, you can needle felt ANYTHING. Here's a closer look. 
When it comes to yarn, you can needle felt any kind of yarn, it does not have to be wool! I used yarn on both the zig-zags and the looped lines. Word to the wise: when needle felting yarn, DO NOT CUT IT! It "shrinks" as you felt, meaning it will "felt" and get smaller in size. So only cut it when your project is complete to ensure you've used enough yarn.
 Put a Bird On It Sweater! Remember back in 2013 when we put birds on EVERYTHING? So much so Portlandia did a hilarious skit about it. Well, I'm guilty! I love stabbing birds (ahem) onto stuff...including this sweater. Sadly, I rarely wear this sweater! Whenever I put designs on the back, I always remember that I can only wear them when my long hair is up...otherwise, they go unseen!
 Foxy Stoll Sweater! Here's another short-ish project stabbed upon a thrift store sweater. I'm telling you, once you get in to this craft, you'll either be raiding your own closet or that of the thrift store. The best part is, if you mess up, who cares?! You're only out a coupla bucks!
 Owl-y Sweater! Not even gonna lie, so much of my sweater-inspiration comes from Anthro! I see that cute sweater, get all excited and then I see that price tag...but DIY motivator there ever was. This owl was a direct Anthro-inspo.
 Floral Felted Sweater! As was this one! I love this sweater and practically live in it during the winter months at home. That being said, it took FOREVER to make because of all the small flowers and fruit. But I think it's one of my faves. 
 Van Gogh Sunflowers Sweater! Did you know that you can needle felt fabric?! That's right...if you find yourself without wool roving then hit the thrift store and purchase some 100% wool sweaters. Wash them, dry them and you'll have felted fabric. With that you can cut out shapes and the felted fabric will not unravel. Felted wool is what I used for the flowers and leaves of this sweater and the one below. Just place the felted wool on the sweater and stab as you would wool roving. 
 Calligraphy and Flower Sweater! This sweater involved needle felting wool roving, needle felting felted sweaters and WET felting! I don't talk too much about wet felting on this blog as it's not my most favorite thing ever but...I did it for the yellow centers of the flowers. This whimsical sweater was a blast to make. 
I have shared A LOT of felting and fibers videos on my YouTube channel, so if you are interested in learning more, you might wanna subscribe here. Thanks, y'all! 

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

DIY: Needle Felted Postcards

Ciao! Last Thursday, my mama and I returned from a whirlwind trip to Italy...photo and video heavy blog post to come. Over the past weekend, as I was scrolling through my endless photos of Rome, Florence and Venice, I decided to recreate some of my favorite memories in the form of postcard-sized needle felt. It was super simple to do...although, like all needle felting projects, it is time consuming. However, I love to sit, relax, watch something that doesn't require too much focus (anyone else watching Glow right now and having 80's flashbacks?!) and create. So needle felted postcards it is! 
After sharing these on my IG, I got handful of questions about how these were made. So I filmed the process and slapped it together in this video. I hope it answers your questions...but if not, feel free to drop me a line in the comments!
The hardest part about creating these postcards...was not having a drawing of the image created beforehand. I didn't draw on the felt or work from a sketch, I just went for it. Sometimes this was frustrating as I had to (gently) tear out what I didn't like. For the most part, working without a script, so to speak, was pretty dang freeing. It felt like painting. I think that's why I enjoy felting so much. It takes me back to my painting days...but it is a medium that I find much easier to work with than watercolor or oil paint. 
I asked mom many times what her favorite part of our trip was. We both have had a hard time answering that question! For me, one of my fave days was our bike ride thru Tuscany to visit a couple of vineyards and stop for a traditional Tuscan lunch. It was magical and a day I definitely wanted to capture on a needle felted postcard.
To give the sunflowers a more 3-dimensional look, I didn't needle felt them entirely so they were raised up a pinch. 
One daily question while in Italy was, "Where should we watch the sunset tonight?" The sunset it late, close to 9pm so we usually tried to be somewhere magical every evening to catch a breathtaking view. On our last night in Rome, that meant the top of the Alter of the Fatherland. I loved the silhouette of the statues even more than the view!
For a couple of Euro, we took a glass elevator that was packed with tired tourists toting bottles of wine and cameras. 
With paint, colors tend to mix...with roving, you can layer many colors and it takes on an atmospheric look that I love. 
I have never worked this small with needle felting before...it can be tedious. I have a tendency to over work images (which is what I think I was doing with the image of Venice below) so I always have to take a break, step back and look at what I'm creating from a distance. Anyone else like this?
Gondola man just about did me in. At first I was hesitant to put a gondola in the image as it seemed rather cliche...but there are literally gondolas EVERYWHERE in Venice, it's no exaggeration. And the light between the buildings really is that beautiful. 
Venice has this magical ability to be "postcard ready" everywhere you look. One person I met referred to it as being like Disney. She's right. Except Disney would charge you a small fortune to get on the island and require you to have a magical tracking band to get to the front of the line at St. Mark's Basilica...which is actually a really great idea. But I digress. 
 I've already started on a fourth postcard...I just can't stop. I'll be certain to share those with you when they are complete. 
 Until then, I need to figure out how to display these bad boys. Small frames? Large frame/large mat? A frame that can hold multiple images? 
Until I get that figured out, y'all have a wonderful day and we'll chat real soon!

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

In the Art Room: Fiber Arts for Kids

When I first started teaching, weaving was in our curriculum and I was scared outta my mind. The only knowledge I had of weaving came in the form of the fiber arts class I took in college...where I got a C due to my crappy weaving project. I remember warping one of those giant floor looms for what felt like hours (prob only took 15 minutes but it was dreadfully dull) and skipping a warp strand. "Eh," I thought, "what's one warp strand, the professor will never know." Well, that one strand created a huge runner throughout my weaving and dropped my GPA down...along with the C I also acquired in Karate. Turns out Indiana University takes weaving and martial arts super seriously.

Fast forward to the present and weaving, sewing and all things fiber-artsy is one of my favorite things to teach...and the kid's fave thing to learn! Since I'll be joining in on Trixi Symond's Sew a Softie in July, I thought I'd share this video I created for the Art of Education's online conference. This video is from several conferences ago...but I still use the ideas and methods in my art room. 
Are y'all signed up for this summer's conference? I'll be leading a hands-on clay and printmaking session and I'm so excited! 
My students love fiber arts...and it's a skill that just isn't taught as much any more. All the more reason it is so fascinating to them. You can find a list of my very favorite fiber art projects here. I mentioned a ton of lessons and videos in that clip...you can find them all in that link! You are ALWAYS welcome to use my videos in your art room. I just appreciate a shout out when projects are shared via social media. 

And don't forget to join the fun of Trixi's Sew a Softie in the month of July! 
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