First Wet Felting Experience!

My friend Suzie, from Suzie’s Alpacas, kindly sent me some raw wool from her beautiful animals. I have never tried spinning or weaving, but have the needles for needle felting. Whether I have the right needles or because they were cheap, I don’t know, but it was soooo boring, and I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. So I decided to do a bit of wet felting instead. Although it took alot of time too, it didn’t take alot of concentration or bloody fingers!

So, with a bowl of water, a bar of soap, 2 dog brushes, some cling film, bubble wrap and a cats ball.

I made this little purse, with two little felted pompoms as decoration.

So easy to make, I found the tutorial on Youtube. I didn’t have to wash the wool first, and only carded, with the dog brushes, as I needed it. The only slightly akward bit was sewing on the purse clasp. But as you do it whilst the felt is still damp, you can stretch it and as it dries it shrinks back to its original shape.

I will definitely be making some more of these, and embroider cats and things on them to sell in my cattery, along with felted soaps, which are also so easy to make.

I would love, love to be able to make 3d animals etc, with needle felting. Looking on the net there are crafters, true artists, who make beautiful, and so life like animals, I wouldn’t even know where to start. And I definitely don’t have the patience. So I think wet felting will be a new one for me!

 

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My hexie quilt idea

Now that my new cattery57 is up and running, and doing quite well, I needed a crafty project…… the cats only want so much cuddling and play during the day.  I wanted something that I could sit and do whilst being in the cattery with the cats, something that didn’t need a sewing machine, was easy to transport but not boring…………..

I had seen some beautiful hexie quilts, I do enjoy making all the hexies, but sewing them together is too repetative for me, especially for a quilt. Then I saw tiny 1/4 inch hexies, gorgeous but how many millions would I have to make to get a quilt size? So I went for 1/2 inch hexies……..I know, just as bad……………….. after making a few hundred of them I decided I needed to do something a bit more interesting or all of those little hexies would be put into a box and forgotton about. So this is what I came up with.

I needed something with different elements, so I didn’t get bored with the project……………

And here is my first hexie:

It incorporates:

Applique, Embroidery, Quilting, Quilt as you go hexie, more Embroidery and Crochet. The crochet will make them so much quicker to put together to make up the quilt, not as time consuming as sewing the hexies together, also crochet gives, so they don’t need to be that exact.


Having so many things going on in each hexie makes it interesting and each one is different, but the same, if you see what I mean. So to keep me occupied I am going to make a King Size Quilt, I don’t know how long it will take but it will be an heirloom when finished.

I need to be doing something crafty and this has been a lovely project to develop.

My tutorials start here for Tinas Scrappy Vintage Hexie Quilt

 

 

 

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Tina’s Patchwork Workout

I am looking forward now and thinking of my new years resolution………….more patchwork.

I put on weight when I worry, I comfort eat. The last few months of getting the cattery built, along with all of the paperwork and legal stuff and worrying about getting customers has been stressful as well as exciting.  But it has also made me eat, so to help me lose weight I am going to do more patchwork.

My Patchwork Workout is accomplished by having the ironing board as far away as possible from the sewing machine and ironing every little seam as soon as it is done, be it one inch or 3ft!

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One of my cat mats available from my Etsy shop.

This cat mat patchwork panel is made from 2″ x 3.5″ strips and for every seam that I stitched on the sewing machine I got up, walked across the room and ironed the seam flat, then walked back to the machine to do the next seam. I walked across my room 158 times just to do the patchwork panel. The room is approx 9ft long which means I walked 1422 feet (432 meters) as well as the excercise of getting up and sitting down in the chair at the sewing machine. Quite a work out!! With a lovely piece of patchwork to show for all of that excercise! And being busy I didn’t feel like eating. Think of the area I would have to walk to make a king size quilt using these little strips, could end up being miles!!! Goodnesss, just had another thought, how about putting the sewing machine upstairs and keeping the ironing board downstairs, that would give me a doubly brilliant workout. Who would have thought that doing patchwork could lead to a healthy lifestyle?

Round, Rag Quilt Cat Mat

Yesterday I posted about my new cat mats that are in my Etsy Shop. Today I designed and made a new round, rag quilted mat. As with most of my designs I use recycled fabrics and some new cotton fabric for appliques, patchwork etc. dscf4523

I enjoy rag quilting, I used to make alot of tote bags using this technique. It looks good on a cat mat too. Lovely and soft, this mat consists of 4 layers of wadding and 3 layers of cotton fabric, and the raggy bits will get softer after a few washes. The cat in the centre has been hand appliqued by me using the blanket stitch method with a contrasting silk thread.

Measuring approx 18″ these mats are an ideal size to leave anywhere in the home, ready for your little friend to curl up on. Now I have all the measurements etc I can go ahead and make some for the shop, so do visit Etsy and put in the search ‘cattery57’ for the shop.

New Cat Mats

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I am having a lovely week at home, away from the cattery, before the little Christmas guests arrive. My sewing machine is working overtime making cat mats. The ones I made for the cattery have been a great success. The ones at home have too. Dillon and Stalker spend most of their days on my bed, I put two of the mats on the bed and they will only sleep on them now!!!

dscf4490This week I have been rummaging through secondhand shops for fabric and designing, practicing and making lots of cat mats. Some of which will be going into my Etsy shop.

There is a small, soft, kicker toy that can be removed, on one edge of the mat. The ring allows you to attach your own toys. (No catnip has been used).dscf4493

The beauty of them being padded mats is that I can do anything on the top of them. I will be making patchwork ones, appliqued ones and plain ones depending on the fabric I can get hold of. So from fabric that has been thrown out I can make beautiful, practical and cuddly mats for cats.

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One of the cat mats with a pillow my son bought me that has a photo of my two little boys when they were babies……….gorgeous.

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Thoughts on newspaper weaving

As you have probably seen I went through a stage of weaving newspapers. There are some beautiful videos and websites from Russia, where there are brilliant experts at this craft giving tutorials. I spent many hours watching the videos and trying to listen and watch how the paper sounds and reacts. Was it strong, did it sound like wicker or was it just solid. I am a fool to myself, I always want my handmade things to be strong, survive any sort of handling but I also want it to feel natural and handmade.

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One of my newspaper baskets with lid. I make the separate liner and lace decor from recycled fabrics.

These are the things that I noticed when making newspaper woven objects:

The finer and tighter that you can roll your newspaper/magazine sticks, the stronger the feel to your weaving. Also it makes it easier to weave neatly if your sticks are tight.

The only way I got an object to feel and sound like wicker was to varnish the sticks before weaving. This took forever as each stick was varnished individually and had to be dried before I could use it. Then you have to be careful that you don’t weave too tight or the varnish will crack.

I did paint, individually, the sticks with watered down, 50 household matt paint and 50 water. Wove the sticks into a pot, PVA glued then varnished. This didn’t work as well. You have to keep the sticks pliable and damp as the paint really dried them out. Very messy.

I tried all ways, and seeing I don’t speak Russian, and I can’t find the die/varnish in the UK that they die their newspaper sticks with so I went back to basics.

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Recycled fabric liner with lace, ribbon and some beads.

Forget Wicker. You are weaving a paper product. I have sewing machine covers, baskets and pots that have lasted for at least 3 years now, that I have woven from newspapers. I have dusted them, and wiped them down with a damp cloth and they still look like they did when I first made them. My cats have slept in them and on them, I have stored alsorts in them and they haven’t fallen apart, cracked or looked disgusting. They have gone through winters in the shed, hot summers in the house and still do what I wanted them to do.

I personally don’t like the different colours, but I have shown how I painted white baskets in one of my tutorials using PVA glue here. I like my paper weaving to look like wood, which is how the paper started in the first place. Therefore I weave the paper into the basket and then hand it over to my partner who uses the Ronseal Quick Dry Woodstain, silk or satin (I did’t like how the matt finish looked). He painted the projct twice to make sure that all the little bits were covered.

To finish and make them special I like to decorate with beads, lace, ribbons etc and recycled fabric to make a pretty liner.

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I just hot glued the lace and flower onto this little pot.

I love newspaper weaving, and enjoy peoples faces when you tell them what the beautiful basket they are about to buy is made from i.e local rag, free paper or tabloid, the written word can be beautiful, even today!!!!!!!