Scatterbox Originals on Etsy

Friday, 23 May 2008

S'totally different

I've been doodling ideas again...developments on the idea of animals on purses, a bit different to my other designs. Keeping the Attic Shelter for Troubled Felt Animals afloat is difficult and I thought it would be helpful to sell related products to promote the cause. These are going to be bigger than my recent zip purses, closer in size to the pouches :)Here we have some of the ASTFA animals kindly posing for some applique coin purses...well, I say kindly. When I asked Rory to pose he just said 'Raaaaaahr!' Referring to my Angry Lion to English dictionary, I believe this means "You took me out of my box for this?! I had my hopes up there, I thought you were going to send me to a new home, grrrrrr!"

I did have some more willing models for the purses, who are considering coming to the Attic Shelter for re-homing. Ruthie Bear is terribly shy and unsure of herself. I'm not sure her nerves can stand up to living near Rory, but she's said she will certainly consider coming to the shelter after Rory leaves.

Elsa is an owl struggling to fit in with her peers. She's really not a 'night owl', you see, she's more of a '4pm cup of tea and a biscuit' sort of owl. I've told her that if she comes to the shelter she can watch afternoon tv with me while I sew.

But who's that brown and white character hiding at the bottom of the pile? Could it be my penchant for daft puns has broken forth into the land of Scatterbox? Oh dear...

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Felt like stitching

Hello, I'm sorry to say things have ground to a halt for a few days while I went to the zoo with a friend, and recovered from a nasty cold. Back in business now and I've been experimenting lately with making a different kind of felt. For the feltily-uninitiated, there are basically three kinds of handmade felt:

1) Wet-felted. This is the kind I generally make, which involves taking wool 'tops', which is essentially wool that hasn't been spun, and looks a bit like cotton wool does when you get it in a roll. You add hot water and soap to wool tops and through lots of rubbing and friction and dipping in hot and then cold water, and then throwing the wool about a bit, the wool gradually meshes together into felt. This takes quite a bit of exertion and with all the hot water, can get a bit much in very warm weather like we've been having lately - my wet-felting in summer is limited to cooler evenings!
(there's a special type of wet felting called Nuno felt, where you use the felting method to attach wool to fabric such as silk for a lovely light and durable fabric)

2) Needle-felt - you can see fantastic examples of this in Gretel's blog
This method involves stabbing the wool tops with sharp, barbed needles - I plan on having a proper go at this one day when my to-do list is a bit shorter.

3) Machine felting - this is where you take something knitted or crocheted out of wool and put it in a really hot wash in the washing machine and let it have a good tumble around, the heat, water, soap and friction making the wool shrink and go fuzzy. This third type is the kind I've been playing with. It gives a different effect to traditional felt and its a cool way of upcycling old clothes :)

After felting some sweaters (bought in charity shops) in the wash, I've been stitching wool through the felt in patterns, and then using my wet-felting method to felt the stitching into the sweater-felt a little.

Here's one piece of turquoise wool and angora blend sweater, felted up and hanging in the sun to dry:

This is for yet more products for Treacle Toffee. The plan for this piece is to make some dangly fish-shaped ornaments for hanging in bathrooms. I've also been stitching some felt for some coasters - pictures coming soon!

Later in the week I'll be working on some more Scatterbox things. I want to make some bags I've had ideas for, and more zippy little purses, and maybe more mobiles, and some felt animals that have been waiting patiently to come to life for oh, so long now! I'm determined to get as much done as possible before I go away in June.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Can and can't

The 6th of May was a double birthday in this house - my sewing machine (who I have ingeniously named Jan) is ten years old. I got her ( as my big prezzie for my 16th birthday. A little bit of mathematics and you know how old I am now. I've become very fond of my machine, and it's served me well over the years even though its only a basic one. Here, on my sewing table.

For my birthday, I tried to make a marble cake...sometimes my cakes come out really nice, and sometimes...they really really don't. I put too much mixture in the tin, and it all came spilling out in the oven. I tried cooking it for longer to make up for having doubled the ingredients, but then it burnt pretty badly on the top.

Never mind, I'll have to just focus on the things I can make...

...more zip-up purses on the way in future and lots of handmade pillow boxes for the Treacle Toffee jewellery.

I mentioned recently about new ideas for Treacle Toffee. I'm still determined to make them but I'll need a new kind of fabric that I can only buy in bulk, so I need to a) clear through the fabric I already have and b) get a bit more money together for investing. What started out as one idea has become three ideas for new products...possibly more, they keep multiplying! I'm really eager to make these things while they're still clear in my mind's eye. In the meantime, a few hints:
The fabric will be that gorgeous soft cotton called moleskin, which I can only obtain in white so I get to practice my dyeing skills.
Stitched onto this moleskin there will be handmade felt, and possibly velvet and lengths of pretty yarn.
One idea is for wearing when its cold, one idea is for carrying things in, and one idea is for sitting pretty on your sofa.

Oooh whatever could they be?!