Work in progress

I’ve not managed much felt making over the last month but here’s a glimpse of another project I have in hand. It’ll be a combination of hand sewn, machine sewn and  painted.

It’s on a calico base and is destined to be a gift. Once it’s been gifted I’ll be sure to let you see it. Oh! and don’t forget to ask me about my rust project.

School workshop

School workshops are fun but are often very quick affairs of just an hour or two. Imagine my delight when a local shool, Moorfield School, commissioned me to create a wallhanging with the upper sixth to be a permanent feature in the dining hall. Discussion with the art teacher led us to working in neutrals with a tree theme. I was so looking forward to the day.

We began by laying out the background fibres onto a piece of cotton muslin. I was using the muslin because I wanted the hanging to have extra strength. As the tree was to be quite pale I wanted a slightly darker background and chose fawn Masham, sandwiching some white between the layers to keep it lighter still.


Every once in a while we swopped activities so that everyone got chance to have a go at everything. The girls laid out backgrounds. made wet felted berries, flat felt with mulberry silk on and cords and needle felted some large balls to chop in half and hide under the tree roots.


On top of the Masham we put milk protein and tussah silk followed by all the cords to form the trunk and branches. The cords were made with Merino, some had inclusions of Wensleydale locks, cotton scrim and flax fibres for a little deeper colour.


Finally we added real skeleton leaves and leaves cut from the white felt made earlier, It was really starting to look good and then there was the hard work of felting the whole thing together. The girls worked very hard both rubbing and rolling the hanging. Once felted it was time to stitch on some more skeleton leaves, white felt leaves, beads, buttons and berries to create a very full and textured effect.


It always looks a bit flat when wet but once dry it comes to life. If you look at the base of the tree you can see the texture created by hiding wool balls under the roots and including more Wensleydale fleece and wool nepps.


Just some of the many berries that were made.


There was scrim, cords, fleece, flax, cotton chenille and lace in the trunk



The girls worked very hard and it was so, so worth it, the hanging looks fantastic and now that the channel is on the back for hanging I’ll be delivering this tomorrow.


A great days work, don’t you agree? It will look splendid in the hall.

Tree of life 7

It’s a little while since I showed you any of my trees, I have been doing more work but just not finding the time to blog about it. I came across this image on the internet and found it so inspiring.


The electric blue against the dark background is very striking so I set out to make my own version in felt. Pity I didn’t have any blue silk so I went into the kitchen and dyed some up for the occasion.


Some areas of the silk had purple on so these were separated out. With the blue silk I made a book cover which I’ve lost the photos of but will show you next week once I’ve had chance to take more. The blue/purple I decided to use to make a small tree picture. After laying out a background of brown BFL I used the blue areas of silk for the trunk of the tree and the purple areas for the branches. Love, love, love the way it tuned out.


You can see here that I’ve them emphasised the colours and added some texture through the addition of stitch. Simple stem stitch for the trunk and single daisy stitch for the branches. Loving it but it’d look even better with a few beads don’t you think?


Ta-dah! A few beads set it off wonderfully and it looks splendid in a white box frame from Ikea. You can see all my trees and the wonderful and varied work of Metaphor Textile Group at Farfield Mill from now until 2nd May. I’m going to pop in this Sunday so will show you more next week.

Tree of life 6

I wish I had more time to pursue this topic as I’m so enjoying it. In my head I can already see it leading to a whole series on trees if only I can find an extra day in the week. Do you remember this one?


You ought to be able to tell from the photos but I’ve cut this down into a perfect circle which really emphasises the tree. I rarely cut felt as I’m not keen on cut edges but in this instance it works brilliantly.

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Holding it up against the window with the light behind turned it into a silhouette – loving it but you can’t see the beading on either of these photos.


It was Rosie’s idea (thanks Rosie) to bead the tree, I was frightened of spoiling the serenity of it but the beads just add to it. Judge for yourselves.


It’s tempting  to make lots more of these but what would I do with them all ?

Tree of life 5

Do you remember this from earlier in the series?


At the last Metaphor meeting I played with applying a little fine sparkly thread to the outlines of the branches and it encouraged me to do more so I cut a circle surrounding the tree. One of my original sketches had the tree within a circle and I really liked the containment.


Much improved don’t you think? You can perhaps see that I’ve been busy beading it too although you can’t see the sparkly thread at all in these photos, just too fine I guess.

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Generally I prefer round sead beads but as I was trying to use only what I already had, I settled on the short silver bugle beads and I’m delighted I did. This tree now has a cold almost ethereal quality about it. Ghost tree perhaps.


I’ve been busy beading another tree too and I’ll show you that next time if I ever manage a photo that does it justice.

Tree of life 4

Using much the same technique as before I began with a piece of BFL pre-felt and a paper sketch of a tree.


Cutting out a patteren from the pre-felt with nothing to guide me is too difficult so pinning the paper to the felt allowed me to cut through on one side of each cutout piece. The actual cutout was completed once I’d removed the paper. I really hope that makes sense to you!


Instead of laying fibre behind I used a second piece of BFL pre-felt onto which I had nuno felted some lace. I didn’t attach them through needle felting just laid the two pieces together and rubbed carefully so that they wouldn’t be disturbed.


Technically this has worked but I’m not at all sure that I like it.However, when I went to the last Metaphor meeting Rosie took a liking to it as a background and has taken it away to work on it. Once she’s worked her magic we’ll put this into the exhibition as a joint piece. I can’t wait to see what she does.

Tree of life 3

Do you remember this page from my sketch book?


Using the bottom image as my inspiration I created a piece from BFL felt leftover from a previous project.



Fine blanket stitch along the edges of the cutouts and lines added in the centre to accentuate the curves. Do you like it? I do.

Tree workshop 2

Working from the same simple sketch and another piece of pre-felt, I began by cutting out the curving lines of the tree.


Each curve was then outlined in purple and a mix of red fibre laid behind and needle felted all over. Small circles of yellow pre-felt were added in the crook of each bend and attached with a quick stitch in red wool.The sections of red wool that I cut from my previous piece were twisted and laid onto the trunk for additional texture.


As before, I felt the tree went too much into the background. To combat this I added some stem stitch across the twisted bits of red on the trunk and then purple stem stitch along each of the curving lines of the tree.


On each of the yellow circles I added a little trio of red french knots.


Another great set of colours.

Tree workshop

Last Autumn I attended a workshop at York Feltmakers run by Jackie Lunn  we were experimenting with pre-felt techniques. I decided to use it as an opportunity to create more tree pieces and made a quick sketch to get me going.


As requested, I’d made some pre-felt in advance from leftover scraps pf Merino. A little yellow laid out and needled in gave me some cutting lines.


Small circles cut out at the top of the tree and a few areas on the trunk too.


The technique was then to lay fibres out acrosss the back of the pre-felt and secure with needle felting all over. Behind each hole I put a circle of blue/green fibre in various shades. Some of them courtesy of Jackie who’d brought her bit box along for us to rummage through.


The mix of red/oranges with blue/greens is one of my favourites. Needle felting across the piece from back to front pushes little spots of the background colour forward. I felt that the background was then a little busy and the tree was less visible.


A little work with thread brought the tree forward again. I’ve done a running stitch along each yellow line of the tree, I did try stem stitch but it felt too heavy. In each blue circle I’ve put french knots in various shades of blue.


It’s turned out well. There’s a second workshop tree in progress which I will show you soon.


Tree of life 2

Following on from my last post, I’ve now tried the tree on an oatmeal BFl background rather than the ecru.


What do you think of it? I’m not sure I like it on this background, I could try it on a fawn Masham or light grey Swaledale. Thoughts anyone?