Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Felted Stones Tutorial

I love stones, beautiful smooth river or beach stones that have been worn and weathered with time and the elements.   I have been teaching myself how to make embroidery stitches and stumpwork. I also love felting so thought all these elements could be combined as a showcase for my progress.  

I am happy to share the process I use to felt stones.

  Start with some 100% wool top or roving.  This is wool that has already been cleaned and processed and is ready for felting.  I have used 100% Merino Wool that I purchased from Ewe Give Me The Knits ... Mandie has a riot of colours :)  I am using undyed wool in this example. 

 First of all you will need to pull out small amounts of wool from the "top" and lay down in a vertical direction.  If you want to add sparkle or shiny silk fibre now is the time to add it.  Just make your first layer of wool very fine then put the embellishment fibres down and they will be captured by the wool. 

 The next layer of wool should be laid down in a horizontal direction, again, just a nice thin layer.

 The third layer is laid down vertically.  Make sure there are no thin spots or holes in the stack of fibre.

 Place your stone about two thirds of the way down onto your wool.

 Bring up the wool closest to you and fold over the stone.

 Roll the stone forward (away from you) so it is sitting on the beginning of the first fold.

 Now tuck in the wool from the sides.  Make sure you pull nice and firm, but not stretch the wool or make a hole in it.

Roll forward (moving away from you) again.

It looks like a little spring roll :)   

Now you have rolled up the stone in the wool, it is useful to needle felt a little to make sure those ends are secure.  You can make a whole heap of them ready for the next step. 

If you don't have a needle felt tool, you will need to move onto the next step of wet felting straight away or place your stone so it doesn't come unrolled. 

I use my ordinary liquid dish washing soap, just a little.

Over a container of warm soapy water place the wool covered stone in your left hand.  With your right hand scoop up some of the soapy water and just let it flow over the stone.


Turn the stone and repeat until the stone is nice and wet. The stone will feel very very loose inside the wool cocoon.

Now with both hands pass the stone from palm to palm ... gentle, no pressure, just moving from one hand to the other.  I actually use my fingers more than my palms.

 Keep bathing with the warm soapy water and continue to gently pass from one hand to the other.  You will see that the wool will start to shrink.  This is felting. 

You can start to add a little pressure and rub the stone between your two hands.  Add  little more soap and water, or just a little soap so it is slightly slippery.  You still want to maintain a certain amount of friction for the felting process.

You can see the difference in this photo, the wool has shrunk to enclose the stone, but not quite enough.

If you can pinch the wool away from the stone, it is not felted enough yet.   Adding some firm pressure, but not enough to hurt your hands, keep rolling the stone between your two hands.

The motion is just like you rub your hands when they are cold.

 Can you see the difference in the stone now?   Now it is felted enough.  The felt is quite firm around the stone and I can't pinch it away from the stone surface.
 I rinse the felted stone under quite warm water and then roll it between my hands some more.  This will wash away the soap and also gets rid of the excess water in the felt.

Felting one small stone like this will take around five or so minutes.

Make a bunch of them and set them somewhere warm and clean to dry.

You can use coloured wool and add silk, angelina fibre, thread or all sorts of things to enhance your stones, just make sure you have a thin layer of wool over the top some of the inclusions to capture them securely.

Have fun making your felted stones. Enjoy ... Jane x

Monday, 24 June 2013

Painted Stones Tutorial

 Painted Stones ... What you need:

Gesso - any brand will do.
Liquid Acrylic Paint (I use Daler Rowney Acrylic Artists Ink - comes in lots of colours)
Three brushes I like to use are: for painting thin lines and making dots I use  a 10/0 and a 5/0  Robert A Wade NEEF 970 Taklon Round. I also use a general flat 6 or 8 for painting the gesso on with.
A dish to put your ink into (Note: you only need a very little amount of ink/paint)
Some paper towels.
A water dish
Smooth clean River stones (I wash mine in warm soapy water and scrub them with a green scourer, any slightly abrasive wash cloth will do. This allows the gesso to get a better grip and some purchased river stones have a wax coating on them)

How to start.  I use the Gesso straight from the lid - it is thick and you don't need very much.   Using your flat brush pain a layer of gesso onto the top half of the stone.  Let it dry. 
Paint a second layer of gesso, ensuring you paint to the edge line nice and smoothly.

When this is dry you are ready to start painting lines and making dots and other marks. 

You can use Zentangle patterns, crochet patterns, even quilt blocks, embroidery patterns or anything you can think of to be inspired by.  Less is often more when it comes to painting stones, but let your imagination take over :)

Once you have painted them, let them dry and give them a spray with either a gloss or matt craft spray sealer.

Happy Stone Painting ... Jane

Monday, 17 June 2013

Painted stones

For something a little different ... I love painting stones and thought you might like to see some of them I have just done.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Winter Sun

Winter arrived today ... a pea soup fog and then some rain ... this afternoon the sun came out and was shining through the windows .. Merlin taking a snooze all curled up ... he is still there now :)