Thursday, 23 October 2014

Autumn Thank You Card

The second of two posts today.

Warning – long post, picture-rich.

A card for the teacher of our felt-making class. She has been so wonderful over the past few weeks – just the right balance of demonstration and instruction, and letting us get on, encouragement and inspiration. As this five-week course came to an end I suggested to the others that I make a card for us all to sign, which would be given to her at the end of the final session last night.

Since the theme of this course was loosely an autumn theme (although we have proved that anything goes!) I thought I would make an autumn card.

Using a palette knife, I applied a thin layer of Polyfilla One Fill (known as joint compound in the USA) through my large leaf stencil onto an A4 sheet I’d created from my backgrounds folder.

03 Polyfilla Through Leaf Stencil

As this was only a thin layer, it didn’t take long to dry, with the help of my heat tool. I then added some Forest Moss distress ink, using an Inkylicious Ink Duster.

04 Forest Moss Distress Ink

Then I applied the Polyfilla through my bricks stencil, this time applying a much thicker layer, fading out the edges.

06 Polyfilla Through Bricks Stencil

I trimmed the card down to size to fit on an A4 folded to A5 card base, and used the stamp set “Real Leaves” from StampAttack to add some leaves to the blank piece.

08 Stamped Leaves

I used the Tim Holtz Dot Fade stencil to apply some Antiqued Bronze Distress Stain over the leaves.

10 Antiqued Bronze Distress Stain Through Dot Fade Stencil

After this I applied some Clear Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint – I have had this for ages and it had got distinctly gloopy! I tried adding some water to thin it down, and gave it a good shake, and hopefully that will do the trick. These products really should have a “use by” date on them, because we all assume they last forever, and they certainly do not. No cracks appeared; only a rather rough, textured shiny surface which I quite liked.

11 Clear Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint

After drying with my heat tool, I added some Walnut Stain distress ink using one of my home-made ink blending tools (a piece of Cut ’n Dry foam stuck onto an old wood block left when I unmounted some stamps).

I decided the leaves needed something extra so I added some Crackle Accents but this was not a success – I forgot that you are supposed to leave this to dry naturally at least until the cracks start to appear, and I launched straight in with my heat tool because I’m too impatient to wait! So no cracks from either product! Never mind, they look nice and shiny at least! I added some Walnut Stain distress ink to darken them a bit.

Time to cut them out. I rather enjoy fussy cutting and find it quite relaxing.

17 Fussy Cut Leaves

Once the Polyfilla through the brick stencil had dried, I coloured it with a mixture of distress stains and distress inks, and used both blending tools and Inkylicious Ink Dusters, using Spiced Marmalade, Rusty Hinge, Brushed Corduroy and finally some Vintage Photo. Using the Ink Duster enabled me to colour the sides of the bricks.

15 Inking Moulding Paste with Vintage Photo

To emphasise the bricks, I painted between them with Black Soot distress ink, swiping the ink pad over my craft sheet and picking it up with a wet brush.

16 Painting Between Bricks with Black Soot

I attached the leaves with hot glue, which proved not to be ideal because one of the leaves popped off just before we gave the card to the teacher. Pinflair would have been better.

18 Fussy Cut Leaves Applied with Hot Glue

At this point I distressed the edges of the sheet a little with some Vintage Photo, and began work on the card base. I ran the Vintage Photo distress stain around the edge to give a darker base, and then repeated the process using the Antiqued Bronze distress stain. It doesn’t look much on the photo, but in real life it has a nice metallic sheen.

19 Card Base Edge Coloured with Distress Stains

Originally I wasn’t going to do anything fancy inside the card, but I found this brilliant tutorial from Jozart, and I thought it would be fun to make the inside more interesting by using her idea. For the pop-up, I used a lighter-weight card, and coloured it by swiping various ink pads across my craft sheet, spritzing them with water and smooshing the card through the ink. However, it all got much too wet, and while the colour was great, the centre tore, so I decided to abandon it and save the card for cutting the sentiments from. You can see the tear in the picture, running from the centre towards the bottom.

20 Abortive Attempt to Ink Pop-Up

I cut another piece for the pop-up, this time from some pale yellow card, and  used the brick stencil to apply distress inks, in Spiced Marmalade, Fired Brick, Rusty Hinge and Vintage Photo, all applied with blending tools. When I did the Vintage Photo, I offset the stencil slightly to create a shadow effect but it ended up lighter than the bricks. I ended up adding shadows using distress ink as a watercolour as before. I did the same with Black Soot between the bricks.

21 Brick Stencilling on Pop-Up

I then had to ink the pop-up background and the back piece. I didn’t smoosh them this time, but used blending tools and Ink Dusters, with Vintage Photo, Spiced Marmalade and Forest Moss.

22 Inking the Pop-Up and Back Piece

The inking on the pop-up and back piece completed.

23 Inking Complete on Pop-Up and Back Piece

For the sentiment, I used my new alphabet set (Darkroom Door Alphabet Medley), stamping onto the rejected background piece with Versamark and then adding Biscotti Perfect Pearls with a soft brush and heat sealing it. I made another sentiment for the front of the card, and I cut these out as little strips with individual words on them. Originally I tried using gold embossing powder, but it didn’t show up enough.

24 Creating the Text with Perfect Pearls

Here is the text attached to the back piece, using Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive.

25 Text Applied to Back Piece


As I had the stencilled brick across the fold of the pop-up, I decided to fussy cut the brick edges to make it look more natural.

26 Fussy Cutting the Pop-Up

Here is the pop-up, scored and folded, and laid on top of the back piece.

27 Pop-Up Scored and Folded

I attached the remaining fussy cut leaves onto the pop-up using hot glue.

28 Fussy Cut Leaves on Pop-Up

It was at this point that I discovered that when the card was folded, the pop-up stuck out beyond the edges of the card… Ooops!! You can see that I have scored a second line on each side, 3/4 inch in from the original score line, which has solved the problem.

When the pop-up is open, it is possible to see down inside at the lower part of the back piece, so I inked it well with Mowed Lawn distress ink and added some leaf stamping (same stamp set) in the same colour, and also added some of the ferns to the sides of the pop-up.

29 Stamping on Pop-Up and Back Piece

After this session I ended up with a fabulous piece of kitchen paper that I’d used to mop up all the gorgeous inks! Once it is dry, it will be used for other projects.

30 Lovely Mopping Up Paper

The fussy cut leaves are quite similar to the background in colour, and I needed something with a bit more impact to finish the layout, and while I was trawling through some Tim Holtz videos on his website recently, I found an excellent one on Glassine paper. He made some leaves coloured with alcohol inks. In the next picture, you can see two sheets of glassine which have had alcohol ink applied, in Sunbright Yellow, Chilli Pepper and Lime Green (Pinata brand) and Adirondack Gold and Copper Mixatives, and some Pinata Clear Extender (the equivalent of Adirondack Alcohol Blending Solution), all applied with the felt blending tool. One sheet has been crumpled

31 Glassine and Alcohol Inks

Not having any dies or punches for leaves, they had to be cut out by hand. I made some leaf templates from scrap card.

32 Sketches for Leaf Templates

33 Leaves Cut from Glassine

The glassine leaves mounted on the card front.

34 Glassine Leaves on Card Front

The pop-up was made from fairly thin card, and I thought it needed reinforcing, so I stuck another piece behind. Then I inked the back in case it showed.

35 Inking the Back of the Pop-Up

The completed pop-up.

36 Completed Pop-Up

I stuck the pop-up inside the card, using my ATG gun. Before sticking it, I swiped the glue tape with a Pritt glue stick so that it was repositionable.

37 Completed Card Inside

The completed front of the card. I attached the sentiment using Pinflair glue.

38 Completed Card Front

Now for some detail shots, first of the outside of the card:

39 Card Front Detail

40 Card Front Detail

41 Card Front Detail

and the inside:

42 Pop-Up Detail

43 Detail of Inside Text

To complete the card, I inked the back, using a combination of distress inks in Spiced Marmalade, Forest Moss, a little Fired Brick and Vintage Photo.

44 Card Back

For the envelope, as this is a standard sized card, I chose a plain white one from my stash and inked it to match the card, adding some inking inside. I stamped a few leaves using Evergreen Bough distress ink, but unfortunately the stamping showed on the reverse – I would probably have done better to make a separate liner for the envelope, but maybe I’m being too perfectionistic here!

45 Decorating the Envelope

The finished card and envelope.

46 Finished Card and Envelope

I think this card has the feel of autumn about it, and hope it is an adequate thank you to a lovely lady who is also an excellent teacher – the felt course has been such fun, and we are grateful for all the time and energy she has put into preparing it, and her enthusiasm and passion for felt-making, which has inspired us all. I have wanted to make felt for a long time, and this course has been a springboard for great things in the future!

WOYWW visitors – please scroll down for this week’s post.

Fifth Felt-Making Class–Nuno Felt

The first of two posts today.

Last night we had the final class in our 5-week course, and we went out with a bang with Nuno felt. Nuno (a Japanese word meaning “cloth”) is a felting technique developed as recently as the 1990s and brings a whole new dimension to felt making. It involves taking a piece of sheer fabric and laying down wool fibres on top, and then wet-felting the piece so that the wool bonds to the fabric. The shrinkage of the wool fibres causes the backing fabric to pucker, and if you leave bare patches, you can get interesting seersucker-like effects. You can cut holes in it, and if you use a fabric with an unfinished edge, you can felt over this and it seals the edge of the fabric and prevents fraying.

Yesterday morning my hubby had a meeting to attend in Bovey Tracey, which is also the location of the headquarters and exhibition centre of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. I always enjoy a visit, and it is a long time since I have been, so he dropped me off while he went to his meeting, and met me there later for lunch. The standard of work is, of course, extremely high, and there is a great variety of genres from ceramics to print making. I was particularly interested to seek out the work of any felt-makers and was not disappointed. This was my first encounter to my knowledge of nuno felt “in the flesh,” and some of the pieces were so fine, delicate and soft, that you could hardly feel them at all!

Asking to see the portfolio of one felt-maker, I was informed that she had taken it home, but was directed to a beautiful book on nuno felt that she had written, and my hubby has bought this for me for Christmas – I have a feeling he may let me have it early, and anyway he allowed me to take it to the class in the evening, and the teacher said that she owns many felt books, but would still like to buy this one!

Nuno Felting by Liz Clay

As soon as the class started, I was “in the zone” to such an extent that I forgot to take any photos at all, until the gathering to discuss the work at the end! Duh. Anyway, I will put some photos at the end of my piece and the yarn and fibres I used for the technique, once it is dried.

Here are the pictures of everyone else’s work, from which much of the technique will be revealed.

This first scarf was interesting because she had added some beautiful curled fleece to the ends. The body of the scarf was nuno-felted in white against a white background which puckered beautifully.

01 Curly Fleece Scarf

Here is the back.

02 Curly Fleece Scarf Back

03 Green Ends on Navy Scarf

04 Daisies Scarf

05 Daisies Scarf Back

06 Blue Scarf

07 Orange and Black Scarf

08 Pink Squares Scarf

09 Pastel Scarf

You can see that there was a great deal of variety.

Last time I went shopping and stormed the charity shops for goodies, I found a soft lavender-coloured synthetic chiffon scarf which I bought for literally pennies, with a view to this class. I laid it out on top of bubble wrap and then began adding pieces of wool roving to create the felt. I am intrigued by the technique of having pieces of felt extending beyond the edges of the scarf, and I created a bit of a fringe using the wool fibres, and also lengths cut from some yarn.

I formed circles with pieces of the yarn, and after making sure I was satisfied with the look, I began felting (using the same process as in Session 1 of the course). It was harder work than ordinary felt because the fibres had to be forced through the fabric, but eventually it felted, and beautifully! Once it was sufficiently felted, and had been rinsed and chucked down hard onto the table a few times, I was ready to cut out the circles. The piece has a rather organic feel to it.

Because of time constraints, and the rapid fatigability of my muscles, I decided to confine my efforts during the class to one end of the scarf. One lady felted the two ends and left the middle section unfelted. I shall finish the other end of mine, and maybe add a different design (same colours) in the middle section.

Photos taken today:

The cheap charity shop chiffon scarf, which I thought would be perfect for practising nuno felt. Eventually I shall prefer to work with silk as it gives a softer and more luxurious result.

10 Chiffon Scarf

Some time ago I bought these beautiful space-dyed pure wool yarns, and I keep them in a German wooden bucket on display in my ARTHaven where I can look at them and stroke them from time to time! I cut short lengths from each skein, choosing lengths coloured orange and purple. Above the skeins you can see the offcuts that weren’t the right colour for this project, which I shall save for something else.

11 Fancy Wool Yarns

Here is a photo of my finished piece of nuno felting. I shall try and make the other end the same, and do something different in the middle. From this picture, you can see how much the felting process has shrunk the piece, compared with the unfelted portion of scarf.

12 Nuno Felting

A detail of the felting, showing the fancy yarn felted in. To ensure that it bonded well with the fabric, I did as instructed by our teacher, and laid a small amount of Merino roving over the top of each one.

13 Detail Showing Yarn and Puckering

Another detail shot. From these photos you can see how the felting has puckered up the chiffon, making attractive wave-like patterns where the scarf is visible through a thinner layer of fibre.

14 Detail Showing Puckering

This is the last bit I felted – a few wisps, but you can see that even with this amount of wool, there is extensive shrinkage.

15 Detail of Final Portion of Felting

A detail showing the yarns, and more puckering.

16 Detail Showing Yarn and Puckering

A detail showing the holes I cut. I made loops with the yarn as I laid it down, and decided to cut out the circles they made. I probably need to trim off the frayed edges a bit more where they are visible.

17 Detail Showing Holes

The fringe, showing how the yarn has been incorporated in the felt. During the felting process, I pulled back the bubble wrap a couple of times to tidy up the fringe and twist the ends to give a good firm result.

18 Detail Showing Yarn in Fringe

Another detail of the fringe, showing how both the yarns and the rovings have been formed into the fringe. You can see how the edge of the chiffon scarf has been frilled by the shrinkage at this point. This is a lovely effect you can get with nuno felt, and which the lady who made the blue scarf in the class was able to achieve to great effect.

19 Detail Showing Yarn in Fringe

This is what the nuno felting looked like on the back. I love how the colour of the wool shows through with a beautiful ghosting effect.

20 Reverse Side

A detail of the back, showing the puckering.

21 Detail of Reverse Side

Having seen the exhibition earlier in the day, and examined some of the projects in the new book, I am keen to try a white-on-white piece, and also to experiment with adding more yarns and fibres.

At the end of the class, the teacher congratulated us all on the work we had produced that night, and throughout the course, and then she presented each of us with a certificate! I’ve got an ology!!

Before everyone left, I presented the teacher with the card I had made for us all to sign – for those who follow my WOYWW posts, this was the “sneak peek” you all saw on my desk yesterday. I couldn’t reveal it before, because the teacher has already been on my blog and she might have seen it.

I have done a separate post about the card – it is very long and picture rich, because there were so many techniques involved in it. The whole project took me three long sessions to complete, but it was worth it, because the lady is such a great teacher and we’ve all been inspired by her class, as well as learning new techniques, and unravelling the great mystery of felt until it became something that we could all aspire to do. I for one have loved every minute of it.

WOYWW readers, please scroll down for this week’s post.