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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Needle Felting - Mermaid Hospital, finale!

She's finished!  This is the final installment in the saga of the little mermaid.  

My next task was to embroider her face. I've kept it simple because I'm not too hot on embroidery!
Then I gave her some hair.  This is raw mohair fleece which is naturally curly.

I've given her two layers of mohair locks and needlefelted some lovely blue/green wool with white silk on top to make a little cap for her.
 I've finished embroidering her tail.  I've used two rows of simple chain stitch in green shades with a straight stitched row in brown in between them.
I've given her a lovely necklace made from freshwater pearls which seem appropriate for a mermaid.
She also has a belt made from tiny pearly seed beads, and I've sewn more of those beads onto her tail and around her cap.

So here she is in all her glory!  I'm delighted with her and she will be going home to my friend very soon.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Needle Felting - Mermaid Hospital, part 2

Yesterday I got back to work on the mermaid, but forgot to take any photos while I was making the green felt, cutting it and applying it to her tail.  I've taken some photos of the beginning of the process for my next piece of felt to show you the machine and give you an idea of how it works.
 The machine, which looks like a sewing machine, has a circle of very sharp barbed needles which work exactly the same way as using a hand held felting needle but of course much more quickly.  

There are 5 needles on this machine (A Pfaff Hobby 350p) which thankfully can be changed one at a time.  I say thankfully because I broke 3 in the first few days of using the machine. 
The clear plastic you can see in front of the needles is a necessary guard which can be raised or lowered a little to  accommodate different thicknesses of felt or fabric.  However it can't be raised far enough to get your fingers underneath.    

As you can see the needles compress the fleece into the base fabric forming felt.  The base fabric I am using is a 'prefelt' which is very soft partly felted wool fleece which can be bought by the yard/metre.  It is possible to make felt directly from fleece without a base fabric but I find it easier to work with prefelt. You can use any fabric as a base and any mix of raw fibre, yarn, lace, fabric etc to embellish.
Here are some progress photos of the little mermaid.  She now has her scales and her tail and I've started to embroider the tail. The needle you can see in the sponge is one of the needles used for hand needle felting.  They are actually the needles used in commercial felt making machines, which are huge flat beds with thousands of needles.

As you can see I've reinforced her bra, and I've given her a top made from white organza fabric.  I also gave her a belt made from red wool, purple silk fabric and some recycled sari silk.
The next stage will be to finish embroidering her tail, embroider her face and give her some hair and some jewellery.  
The final installment, part 3, will be the final one and she will be finished and ready to go back home.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Needle Felting - Mermaid Hospital, part 1

A few years ago I made a needle felted mermaid for a good friend who loves mermaids.  Here she is -
 I was rather proud of her and my friend loved her, she held pride of place in her living room. Unfortunately my friend's house was invaded - by moths.  They were the little brown/grey moths that lay their eggs in anything made of wool - clothes, carpets... and mermaids.  Poor little mermaid got rather damaged and I gave her a revamp.  
Recently my friend informed me that little mermaid was rather motheaten again and maybe beyond hope.  I decided to give her a radical remake!
The first thing I did was to wash her and get rid of the sandy residue that is left behind after a moth invsion. 
After beginning the renovation process on the mermaid's head I decided to blog about the process so started taking photos.

Next I pulled off all the scales and removed her silk belt and her necklace.  They will all be replaced.  I will have to make a flat piece of green felt - using several shades of green.  This will be cut into strips of scales and they will be attached to her body later.  
I will pull out my felting/embellishing machine to make the green felt.  I have some white pre-felt, which is very soft partially made wool felt,  I can use green tops and roving to add a green top layer and firm up the felt to make the scales.  I will take photos of this process when I do it.  I made the mermaid before I had the machine and made the green felt by hand, cutting out single scales and attaching them.  The first time I renovated the mermaid I used the machine to make the felt and again cut out single scales.  this time I plan to cut them in strips to make it easier to attach them.

As you can see from the last three photos I have started to add new wool to the mermaid's body.  I removed the tail completely as the embroidery had come adrift and the tail was coming apart.  I have started a new tail and  since the last photo I've changed the shape and elongated the tail.
More photos to come!  I  will also need to give her a new face and hair, and decide on her jewellery and embellishment.  She won't be quite the same little mermaid that you see in the first photo but I hope my friend will be happy with her. 
Stay tuned for Mermaid Hospital, part 2!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

March Hares!

For the last year a bunch of Folksy sellers have had monthly listing clubs.  The idea is to commit to list an item every day.  Not everyone managed every day, though some made up for it with multiple listings on other days.  Not everyone kept it up every month, but it seems they mostly found it challenging, encouraging and fairly successful from a sales point of view.
I've finally decided to join in this month, though I don't know if I'll manage every day.  
Here are my first two listings for March, and a few of my fellow March Hare's offerings. Click on their shop names to go and see their shops.
This lovely purse is from Pants and Paper.
A very sweet Aceo from Lilipopo at Glass Mountain (don't you just love that name!)
Mug cosies from Tickled Pink Sheep - I posted recently on Facebook that I keep leaving cups of tea to go cold! 
And one of Dottie's Designs lovely albums.
I'm happy to say I sold some earrings today, a very good start to March for me at Folksy, and I sold some earrings on Artfire just the other day.  I think I had better get busy making more earrings!
I'll keep you posted on how I get on with the March Hares.

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