Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Wonders of Felt

I’m not certain when or who began making felt into yardage or squares, but it seems to be a craft item that has never gone out of style. Every church bazaar from the 50’s and 60’s had a variety of items made from felt. I’ve been going through a pile of Better Homes and Gardens magazines from that era and there are many items made from felt within their pages. I know that I’ll be dating myself when I say that I still have my first Christmas stocking, over a half-century old, hand crafted from wool felt and won by my mom at a church bazaar. And who doesn’t remember  the felt boards at school with all the felt shapes and letters? (OK if you are a 30 something or younger you may not remember).

Felt is a very inexpensive and forgiving product to work with. It doesn’t ravel and can easily be cut and sewn by hand. If you have pinking shears you can cut decorative edges and it can be glued to join pieces together. If you have one of the cutting systems that are now available (Sizzix, Spellbinders etc.) that come with shaped cutting dies, you can also die cut felt shapes for your crafting projects.

In response to a blog reader question about the dry needle felted flowers in the previous posting, I felt (no pun intended) that making multiple flowers from commercial felt would be a better way to go. I tried out a few of the many styles of flowers made from this humble crafting item. Here are my results.

What turned out to be my favourite one is the Scalloped Spiral.
In the photos I used a 5” square of commercial acrylic felt.
  • Fold your square into quarters and trim to a circle shape.
  • Cut a very loose spiral from the circle, starting narrow and ending wider towards the middle. Don’t make too many rounds.
  • Cut a scalloped edge on one side as shown.
  • Starting with the narrow end line up the non scalloped edge and wind the cut spiral around the centre core. Continue until the entire spiral, except the very inner circle, is wound.
  • Place a dab of hot glue at the final round to secure.
  • Glue the flat bottom of the flower and use the remaining felt to cover the base.

 Variations of the Spiral Flower can be made with larger or smaller circles, using pinking shears to cut the spiral or leave the edges unscalloped, as in the two cream coloured blooms with the green felt leaves.

Directions for the other style of flower I tested may be found at this site.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Because we FELT like it :)

Tuesday was FOG day and Jill, our talented needle-felting member, first gave us a demo of the types of wool, yarns, tools and tricks of the trade used in needle felting. Jill normally works in 3D so started us off with making a ball that turned into a rather frightening little monster. I can see that these would be a favourite with kids.

As we would not likely use these monsters in a fibre arts piece, we also tried our hand at making a 3D flower.

We spent the rest of the time experimenting with needle felting a variety of fabrics and fibres into other background fabrics. Diane was most creative with her butterfly. She had been making a pair of socks and didn’t like the toe so cut it off and needle felted into some wool fabric.

We enjoyed the day so much and could certainly see the potential for our fibre arts projects so we have decided to take a trip to the Carstairs Woolen Mills to buy more wool roving and dedicate part of our April FOG day to working with this medium again.  It might be advised to update your tetanus shot as the potential for sticking yourself with the felting needles is quite high. Ask us how we know!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Thrill of the Hunt

I don’t know about the rest of you, but grocery shopping became less interesting to me when they started to use barcodes instead of price stickers. No longer could I scrounge around on the bottom shelf for the jar of peanut butter that was priced less than the ones at eye level.

I still enjoy “the thrill of the hunt” and starting today, Jan, my cohort in all things “cheap and cheerful” (to quote the Brits) and I will be sharing with our blog followers some of the escapades that we go on in search of interesting and frugal fibre arts and mixed media arts and craft supplies and where they may be found in Calgary and area.

With today’s frugal find we are also doing our first giveaway, a non-stick silicone baking sheet, a $2 find that is virtually identical to the non-stick craft mats sold by a number of companies for $15 - $25 dollars.

Our $2 find is a tad smaller than the others, but works just as well as the more expensive brands. This frugal find was purchased in Calgary at Bianca Amour Liquidation

In order to win today’s giveaway, post your favourite "crafty" frugal find in the comments area. We will have a third party pick the winning entry on April 1st and contact the winner for their mailing address.                       Cheers, Jan and Meredith