#342

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Just recently, I’ve found myself napping less, and having a lot more time. This means more creating time, but I haven’t learned how to pace myself yet. This morning, I made a doll and an outfit, including underwear, before lunch. The rest of the day was split between sewing a pincushion, a felt heart patch, watercolour and fashion design. I’ve found that I need to have a project in mind, otherwise I flounder the day away, staring at YouTube or the clock until my partner gets home. On days I am crafting, I do these anyway, but it doesn’t feel as long of a day, and I look like I’ve accomplished things.
I used to make these dolls all the time with my Mum and Grandma when I was little, where you basically stitch a gingerbread shape on two layers of calico, or other material, snip around, turn and stuff, paint a face. Add a lot of hair, then design and create clothing. This was useful in learning how to draft patterns at an early age. Occasionally, I will make a doll that I haven’t made in a while to compare how much better my sewing is from then. There was a couple of places that I clipped too close, and had to stitch up, and my tension was a bit off at the start, but it evened out after a bit for some unknown reason. Perhaps I need to clean my machine.

#287

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Only slightly less creepy looking, and semi-undergarmented.
I worked on a few things today, after waking up by watching some YouTube videos. I found a girl’s channel, named Chezlin, that does different kinds of arts and crafts, a lot like me. She had a video on needle felted cat toys. Watch it here, and check out her other videos. There’s links to her blog and other sites in the description on the video.
In the cat toy video, one of the toys had bells in it. I thought it was a good idea, but with all the padding, it might soundproof them. So, I made a ball for my own cats, making a rattle, using two bottle caps and a soda tab. Put the tab in the middle of the two caps, and tape it all up securely. You can use other things to do this, such as a coin, rice or some beads. You could replace the bottle caps with little toy eggs from vending machines, or little paint containers or film canisters. Anything that has room for the inner object to move, and make noise when they hit together, but small enough to be a nice light ball when covered in wool. The sound will be muffled slightly, but remember if your cat wants to play at two in the morning, you might not want it to be too loud. Cats have super hearing anyway, so a subtle sound is fine.
Once you have your rattle taped up, just wrap in wool, and felt with a needle, avoiding poking straight into the rattle. Since my rattle was coin shaped, I had to build up more on the flat sides, to make the shape more ball like. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it’s good if it can roll. I didn’t compact it a great deal, but it rolls nicely, and bounces quite well.
It was one project they stole that they were allowed.

#285

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Not looking any less creepy, but slightly like Patrick Stuart.
So, a few things that I didn’t count on with the yarn fluff that I chose for the skin. Firstly, the colour is dulled down a lot, and has only a touch of the original colour. Secondly, its rather transparent, so it need a few layers to cover the previous colours on the face and bring up the intensity of the colour a little. Being a softer material also doesn’t help the shaping of the lips and eyelids. Lucky the head is rather smallish, allowing for a few layers worth of room to play with. It seems to smooth out over regular stuffing nicely, though. Most of her skin will be covered in armour, so I’ll use a grey to cover most of her, which, unlike the skin, won’t matter if it’s too light and not getting enough vitamin D.
Now I just need to buy some grey, as I recently used it all on another project… Along with most of my wool, for a blanket… That needs more wool to finish it.
Aaaand I’ve spent next pay in my head, already. :/

#283

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Time flies, when you’re stabbing fun. I was going to have an early night, and all.
I wanted to make another cat, so I made a pipe cleaner armature, and tried to cover it with some fluff that I’d made from some variegated brown acrylic yarn. It was probably too small or something, as it was too tedious, even for me, and I gave up for now.
Instead, I began using the fluff to make a ball, then practiced making some thin shapes, that I had trouble with previously, and they looked like bunny ears, so I attached them. The acrylic seems to knot quicker and tighter than the wool, so it might be why smaller shapes are easier. Once I got to this stage, tearing myself to bed, I decided it would be so cute to make a little girl bunny with a light blue or red dress. Maybe I should do both and have sister bunnies. I like how the different shades of brown show in different areas. This wouldn’t have happened if I had continued brushing the yarn, and let it all mix more. It slightly mixes the colours as you work the felt, so I didn’t bother beforehand.
I did a little more work on my doll, making her more feminine with a nice figure. She still looks crazy and her feet are facing sideways for some reason, but it’s slowly progressing. I haven’t found any wool that I can use as a skin tone yet, so I could try some yarn, as its easier to find colours in that. I think I even have some around the house, somewhere.
Time to sleep, so I can craft and game more tomorrow. Night y’all.

#276

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So, quite a few crafty things happened today.
First off, I found myself in the newsagents, looking for some inspiring supplies, maybe even look for a knitting or needle felting magazine to look at. There wasn’t much in the way of anything but scrapbooking and card making. There was one cute one with a birthday themed embossing folder, and mini stamp set to match, but it was rather specialised, so I put it back. I then found two large packaged magazines, each promising a large amount of items for a smallish amount of money, certainly less than it would have been worth for the items alone. I couldn’t decide which was better, so I bought both. This was a good decision, as the one I was thinking to put back ended up with a huge amount of gorgeous fairy stamps inside. All up, I received seven sets of stamps, four magazines, some paper, a pile of card bases, ribbon, quilling paper and tool, cutouts, rhinestones, templates and a small baggy of gold glitter. It all made me feel a little less guilty for spending the money.
I spent a large part of the day needle felting. I made some beads (small balls), balls (medium sized balls) and worked on the face of my doll (small balls on a larger ball.) I learnt a couple new things on YouTube, such as when adding detail, stab shallower, but more, so it doesn’t all just cave in on itself. Another thing I learnt was that you can wrap the wool around objects to create tubes and shapes to help build up features. I also found out what carding is (mushing various wool with brush things to make roving or a batt of wool.) I tried this in small scale with a cat hair removal brush and the jeans I was wearing. It worked ok, but since I mixed dark green and yellow, and it isn’t paint, it looks a bit mottled, but I still like it.
I’ve begun adding skin to my doll, and it looks like a diseased zombie. I used a mustard colour to add the bumps, and its peaking through in some places, which is icky. I’m worried, as the wool is already thick and getting hard to puncture, even with a fine needle, and I have a lot of work to do on the face.
I decided the other day that I wanted to make a meme about crafting upsets, and things, so I needle felted a mascot for this, I just need to photograph him. Although, now I know a bit more about making faces, he could do with some brow bones.
The five needle tool, that I spent a bunch of money on yesterday, is quite annoying. It has a safety guard that seems to limit movement, and doesn’t help stabbing injuries, unless you were to hold the needles side on (which doesn’t happen,) it had a loud piece of metal designed to keep the needles in place, but it bangs every time the needles go in. Even with five needles, it doesn’t seem to do better than one without the handle. I had to replace the fine with heavy, and add my original needle, with a lot more notches, to get it to do anything practical. Even then, there’s not a lot I can use five needles on in small scale. I should have waited, and got the three needle Clover on that I had my eyes on, but couldn’t find. It won’t go to waste, especially if I do any bigger projects. I really need to put nail polish on the ends. There is no easy way to tell each felting needle apart, and is recommended to colour code each type.
It’s so nice to be able to concentrate on craft for a while. If only I didn’t have so many projects that I’m torn between at the moment. My house is getting messy again.

#272

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My doll is slowly evolving… And quickly being stolen by our resident kleptomaniac.
I was watching videos on YouTube about needle felting. There was one from Threadbanger’s ‘Man vs Pin,’ which you can watch here. There is Blood and swearing warnings.
Another video I watched was much more useful, and gave me a few tips that I didn’t know. The main one that will come in handy the most, was that instead of felting the inner stuffing from scratch, you can just wrap sewing thread randomly around it, to get it started. The inner, cheap stuffing won’t be seen, and it leaves plenty of space to actually felt layers on top. As you may see, I tried this, and it was so much quicker and easier, as well as getting rid of a lot of bulk, even if she does look like the worlds most misshapen body builder. I began needling in some of the bulges, so it’s a bit smoother beneath the next layer. I’m wondering whether I should use the felt sheets I have, or wait to see if I can find a skin coloured wool to use, next shopping day. I’m often impatient when it comes to these decisions, and decide to use the lesser quality materials, in case I leave it until pay, then forget about it, or spend money on something else. I’m in a momentum with this at the moment,
that I don’t want to lose. Perhaps to keep it going, I can make practice pieces, like I did for the eyes, but with lips, nose and hands.
Hmmmmm. Decisions, decisions.

#271

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Knitted puffy bow!
Not quite how I had imagined it, as I wanted it to have more height. I forgot that knitted fabric acts differently to cotton, where squares make perfect bows. Its still cute, especially when I squish it sideways to be shorter. I also probably should have taken more care wrapping the centre so it looked neat. All things learnt for next time.
As for my doll, I began bulking out her arms, and defining the face a little. I’m not sure how much will make it through her skin layer, but thought I could at least block it in to see how it might look and how big I’ll need to make the facial features, etc. Also, making the dents for where the eyes go, so they don’t look buggy, might be a good idea.
I want to get a couple more colours of actual wool roving, as I only have red, and would like to play around using actual wool to make something nice. I’ve seen little felted cats made to copy real cats, and that would be great to do of our cats. So many embellishments and charms can be made with felting. It’s and excellent medium, whether done with synthetic, cheap materials, or pure wool roving.

#268

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Instead of showing you painstakingly slow progression pictures of my needle felting, I thought I’d show you how that yarn, that I bought, knits up. It’s 4ply soft baby yarn (which looks a bit softer in colour than this), and using 3.25mm needles. Most of my knitting needles are on unfinished projects, or half in another dimension, so it’s rather slim pickings at the moment. I decided that I would make a small, puffy, knitted bow for a headband, as it didn’t need a pattern. Knit a square, sew into tube, sew ends of tube, after stuffing, and wrap middle with yarn.
To update on the needle felting, I did a fair bit of the legs. They still need so much work done, but they are mostly blocked in. There is absolutely no way this figurine will stand up by herself at the moment, and will need a whole load or wire to do so. Now would be the time where I decide to let her sit, or wrap her in wire before she gets too bulky and I can’t add things without them showing on the outside. I suppose I could use a doll stand that are used for displays.

#267

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Beginning to fluff my armature.
Just using polyester filling and blocking in the shape, slowly. It’s quite fun, despite being repetitive and risky, but I don’t mind menial tasks occasionally, and there have been no puncture wounds, yet. I’m not packing the stuffing too tight, as I’m not sure how to pose the doll/figure, and there’s room to change the proportion if it’s off. I can usually eyeball the figures proportions, but that’s usually with the skin on, and on paper. Pipe cleaner bones are a bit bendy and tricky to approximate. Of course, I could have measured, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, dolls hardly ever have realistic proportions!
I’m going to try covering the stuffing later with felt sheeting for skin. Hopefully, I can cut darts into it to make it fit without much bulk, but sculpting features as I go. I have no idea how I’ll do the hands. She was going to be a fantasy character, so she’ll probably be wearing some gloves. Hopefully, that will make it easier.
Remember how I said I like a challenge… Or the time I always bite off more than I can chew for a beginner.
Silly me.