Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Creepster Easter Felting

I realize I'm running late on the  Easter posts, but Easter starting it by being late this year.  Truth be told, I still have a few Easter or Creepster projects to finish so don't judge.  Or judge, I don't really care, it's my blog and if I want to do Easter in July, I will.

My first contribution is Bunny Cthulhu, isn't he adorable?  

I really like needle felting, it doesn't take a whole lot to get started, a felting needle, some wool roving, a surface to felt on and the desire to do a lot of stabbing.

They make brush mats for felting or you can use foam. I bought an inexpensive upholstery foam remnant from Joann.  My local store has a bin in the back full of remnants.  The piece I got was big enough to cut into plenty good sized blocks to share when I have friends over.  The three inch thickness is probably overkill, but I like it.  Most blocks sold specifically for felting seem to be 2 inches.

I started out with a single needle a friend gave me.  That's how they get you addicted you know.  It just takes one needle.  And I did a lot with that one needle, but needles dull or break and it is useful to have different sizes and types.  I have a set like this that I really like.

My experience in buying wool roving is limited to local craft stores and farmers markets.  The chain stores all carry the same stuff.  Literally the same exact product, just with their store brand on the packaging.  Yorkshire Rose Farm is a vendor at one our local markets and they always have a wide variety of colors and wools, including curly locks.  The one mistake I've made is accidentally buying Merino wool.  It's very smooth and silky so it's better for welt felting than needle felting, but it can also be used for hair/fur.  There's ton's of info on all the different breeds and how the different wools felt up but I've found Romney seems to be the most readily available for needle felting.

For wet felting all I use is bubble wrap and a dish towel. I don't do a lot of wet felting but it's useful for thin pieces.  Since I just make small embellishments I start with needle felting to set the fibers in place before wet felting.  I believe any type of wool can be wet felted.

The best part of needle felting is all the stabbing.  Occasionally I have friends over for Stabby Night, it's very therapeutic.  Now kids, you shouldn't drink and stab, but we do.  That's also why I keep band aids and Neosporin in my stabby kit.

Unfortunately the worst part of needle felting is also all the stabbing.  There comes a point where all the angst leaves your body and your hand starts to cramp.  It does help to only stab as deep as necessary.  If you stab through your project and push the fibers out the other side, you then have to stab them back in, which is just more work. Only stab with the barbed part of the needle, going deeper doesn't get you anything, except maybe hand cramps.  

I also want to give a shout out to a club that just opened up this year, Crucible.  They host a wide variety of events that you are not going to find at your local sports bar.  Every Sunday afternoon it's Dark Arts & Crafts (and Games).  There's no cover and you can bring projects to work on or play games.  I love that a club supports us crafty folks by offering up their space so we can carry out our craft addictions.  As much as I love hosting Stabby Nights, having a place to meet up with friends is pretty wonderful too and it's because of Dark Arts & Crafts that I got these two projects done.

I would have more felting done, but my friend sidetracked me with Pysanky eggs (that'll be another post).  She got quite a few of us addicted and the Crucible has been very supportive of our large group of egg people and helping us get enough tables to set up.  I can't say enough how awesome they are.

It's hard to take pictures of the felting process, because the urge to just keep stabbing is so great.  My first felting post, and my zombie bunny felting one have a little more info on felting.  The Bunny Cthulhu basics are as follows:

  • two balls one for the head, one for the body
  • two wings,  first needle felted for general shape, then wet felted, then needle felted to polish the edges and add detail
  • two ears, basically the same as wings with less detail work
  • five tentacles that started out as three logs, alternating needle stabbing with rolling them like clay to shape them, cut the logs in half, the sixth piece can be used as an appendage on something else
Attach the head to body by adding some loose wool between the two and stabbing.  Attach the tentacles by layering loose wool, the cut end of the tentacles, and more loose wool onto the face.  Stab the loose wool into a pleasing (or nightmarish) shape around the tentacles to hold in place.  Stab in details with small balls of felt such as black soulless eyes or dark pink beauty marks.

A couple years ago I felted a few creepy eggs, one of which was an eyeball.  I wanted to make another one, just a little bit fancier this time.

See flowers, that's fancy right?  

It's not very egg shaped from the sides because of how I built up the eyelids.  

The vines are made by rolling small amounts of wool roving into tiny strands before felting them on.  You can keep adding more wool overlapping the ends to make the vines as long as you'd like.  I roll the wool down the top of my thigh. I like wearing jeans or pants with a bit of texture for this.  If you want tighter vines get them wet with soapy water and then roll and twist.  Either way, always work in the same direction.  The flowers are little balls, the leaves are little mice turd shaped rolls.  Using a finer felting needle for these details helps a lot.  

Couldn't resist asking my favorite zombie hand to model my new eyeball egg.  

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Woven Palm Creations

A little bit belated Easter, a little bit belated Mother's Day, this post is for my mom.  I gave a bunch of palm weavings to her and she's been passing them on to her friends and they've been asking questions about how they were created.  Hopefully I'll answer those questions.

If you've been following along the last few years you'll know that once a year I take a break from creepy crafts to do some palm weaving.  If you are here for the palm weaving, you might not want to stray too far. This blog is filled with things and some of those things have sharp teeth and tentacles.  You have been warned.

This year I played around with all the things I've learned how to make so far. I'm not really sure what the Catholic Church's stance is on hot glue, but that's what I used for the most part to put things together.

The weaving above consists of a rustic plait base (all that's visible of it are the two ends sticking out the top), also at the top are two rustic plaits with loops, following down are some rosesstar flowers with rose centers, a couple of braids and a decorative sprig (see note at the end of star flower tutorial). 

I made a lot of small roses this year with this technique, using strips of palm that were about 0.5 inch/ 1 cm in width.  Depending on the length of the palm and size of rose, I could make 1-3 roses out of one strip.  If I ended the rose mid-palm, I would cut the palm and wrap the end around the "stem".  Holding it tightly I would fold a piece of painters tape over it.  If the rose used up the strip all the way to the end I would wrap and then tuck the end.  If there was enough leftover I'd make little loops and finish up again by folding tape over the top and bottom.

The reason for all the tape is to keep the rose intact as it dries.  The palm shrinks as it dries so if you just secure the ends the rose coils will lose tension, not that it's a bad look.  If you want the coils to stay tighter and remain flatter though it needs to dry that way.  Both flowers on the left started out relatively the same.  The one on the far left was just secured at the stem and the other was secured flat with tape.

For these I used the roses and bundled scrap pieces to decorate crown of thorns

Slight variation, with ribbon.

The crosses were made using this technique. If that video goes a bit too fast, this shows the same basic cross, without the added loops on the cross bars.  The ones on the ends have this type of braid and the center one uses this rustic plait which I've added loops into the weave.  Each cross contains two separate braids, the joins are hidden by the roses.  

For these I hit my stash of dried leaves and flowers.  
The pressed wine & roses weigela flowers are layered 
with a small cross on top and a larger one underneath. 

More crosses, wispy strands bundled and pressed dry, with small roses.

A few more crosses, a bit simpler.  The one on the left is two crosses layered. 

Still more crosses, playing with different styles.  

This last one is just a small rogue bouquet, with a 
bundle of wisps, a couple of braids and a single rose.  

Whether you are one of the curious that actually received one of these or you just stumbled in off the internet I hope this was at least somewhat useful in your future palm weaving endeavors.  

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day

In this house Mother's Day is synonymous with Dirt 'n Worms.  Back by popular demand we made Deluxe Dirt N Worms with caramel worms thanks to last year's experiments. Not surprisingly caramel tastes way better with chocolate than that gummy nonsense. 

I still had to get gummy worms and sour gummy worms, because my children obviously got their taste buds from the postman.  I even had to get gummy sharks.  So watch out for land sharks the next time you're gardening because apparently that's a thing.