Felty Holiday Bowls

Since I'm still enamored with needle felting, the challenge was on to find a new small gift or ornament to share with co-workers and friends this holiday season. I love the inspiration of working on small, handwork goodies while listening to audiobooks or just relaxing in the evening. If there can be a kitty on my lap at the same time: bonus!

Last year's gifts were felted Lake Superior stones and the year before, fairy sparkle felted acorns nestled in hand-gathered Canadian forest caps. They were all hard to part with. 
Many years ago I saw a tiny felted ring bowl for a wedding gift. It was signed with the couple's initials and a little heart. I never forgot it, and since I have a general bowl/container obsession anyway, I researched how to make needle felted bowls. 

Several people mentioned using styrofoam balls to get the shape started, so that's what I did. Worked like a charm. It's important to keep flipping the roving  as you work it, so it doesn't become permanently attached to the ball. Some of the styrofoam will crumble and attach to your work, but I found that if I kept felting, it fell off or disappeared into the wool. Once the bowl shape was somewhat established, I just worked it in my hand, particularly around the rim.

Near the end I added angelina fibers and embroidery, plus beads to add some bling. The felted bowls are lovely just plain, soft and warm, but I can't help myself.

What will next year's felting bring? There's a new yarn shop in town, so it seems likely that roving will continue to make its way into my supply stash. Hoping 2016 will be the most creative year ever.


Coloring Pages and Urban Sketching

This Fall I had fun trying my hand at some coloring book pages. Cloth Paper Scissors has just released a magazine-version coloring book with some of that artwork, plus an article I contributed. You can find it here. This whole coloring renaissance has been fun to watch, particularly for those of us who find joy in creativity. The world has gone make-happy and that is delightful to see.

Here are some additional pages I enjoyed drawing while having coffee downtown. Feel free to print, color, or share my images. I've included links to pdf versions which should print full page. Cheers!


Felted Lake Superior Stones

There is something mystical about lake stones and I'm drawn to them whenever I find myself on a Great Lakes beach. I had a sizable collection of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan stones and ran out of ways to display them. I was inspired by a Lil Fish Studios tutorial (excellent!) and the gorgeous felted rocks they create. This is my own take on felting stones with hand dyed wool and adding embroidery and beads.

Start by wrapping medium sized, smooth stones with dyed wool roving. Lay out strips of  roving to make a piece wide enough to wrap around the stone. Wrap the stone and use a felting needle to secure the roving. Add enough roving to cover the whole stone with a good layer. Take some strips of contrasting colors and wrap it around the stones to mimic veins in real rock. 
Next, you'll need to felt! There are a couple of ways to accomplish this. You can drop them in hot soapy water and wet felt them the traditional way, by squeezing them gently with a lot of soap until they begin to mat down, then rolling them in mesh or bubble wrap. There are lots of articles online about how to wet felt. 

If you want to make a lot of stones (for gifts), I'd recommend the Lil Fish way, using old stockings and a washing machine. It will speed things up! You can then cut the stockings open and your stones will be ready for use or embellishment. 

These look gorgeous piled together in a bowl, but since I wanted to give mine as gifts, I decided to continue by adding some random embroidery and a little beading. You can try a variety of embroidery stitches and techniques and go wild! When you're done, sit back and appreciate your handiwork. Then make some more!