Printing on felt

Printing on felt is one surface decoration that I have not tried yet but hopefully today will change all that!  I am just off now for my monthly workshop (have missed all during the summer unfortunately) with the South East Textile Group and apparantly printing is what we will be learning, specifically printing on felt or so I believe.  Luckily I have a plain green felt rectangle in my stash and I am hoping it will be fine to try on this, some of the other members are bringing along commercial needle punched felt and possibly some hand made prefelt as well.  I will also have access to a good printer which the group owns so I am bringing some JetFix paper as well.  I want to print on to muslin and gauze and then incorporate this into some experimental nuno as soon as I have a minute early next week.  Anyway, off I go, I will update you on how I get on over the weekend.

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Merino, silk and linen combination, an experiment in nuno felt, fantastic necklace arrives in the post

Well, my package of fibres and fabric was every bit as good as anticipated!  In particular I was delighted with both the dark grey and the zebra striped 16 micron merino as well as the dyed linen (or flax) fibre and the ponge silk.  I have worked with raw linen fibre before and found it very interesting to use as surface decoration if somewhat ‘hairy’ or scratchy.  This dyed fibre however is beautifully soft and the colours are fabulous, I ordered a sort of apple green, dusky pink and a silver, gorgeous. 

Obviously with all these great colours (excluding the grey and zebra I have white, yellow, orange, two depths of turquoise, raspberry, violet, shocking pink, purple, black and two shades of green) I was hot to trot this morning!  I started by making a few felt flowers, some beads and then a necklace before following these up by trying an experiment.  My idea was to make some felt cuffs and try incorporating some artificial fabric, one fabric was a white net with ribbon and sequins, the other was black and shiny overprinted with silver cobwebs and funky spiders!  Both fabrics worked surprisingly well, neither actually became one with the felt as with normal nuno but because I made sure to catch all the edges of the fabric with the wool as I was working both cuffs turned out pretty well.  The black spidery cuff is perfect for Halloween and the turquoise and white cuff would definitely set off a romantic style outfit to perfection, I will be offering this one for sale as soon as Alan gets back and I can upload some photos.

My last project of the morning took a LOT longer to finish than I was allowing  for, about 3 hours instead of the one I had set aside!  This was a nuno felt experiment using a silk/linen mix wide scarf, short fibre merino and a lot of surface decoration on the merino with some of the linen fibre.  Carmen brought a batch of these scarves back from Spain recently and we have been trying different ideas out to see how best to use them with wool.  The weave is quite open but the texture of the scarves is slightly stiff and almost shiny, I am not sure if they have been treated with something but they do felt well after a LOT of rubbing and rolling!  The colour of the fabric was hot orange with a small white design and the wool that I backed it with was a mixture of orange, purple and hot pink.  I overlaid the merino with a lot of apple green and dusky rose linen and the end result is very nice, a hot and spicy coloured wrap with a great crinkly texture.  In actual fact I think that it looks equally good worn with either surface exposed, the wool overlaid with the linen or the bubbly texture of the fabric side upperside, you’ll see what I mean as soon as I have Alan’s computer back and am able to upload the photos.

Look at my fantastic new necklace!!!  For ages I have been a big admirer of Lori aka Tabmade on Etsy and when I discovered recently that she is having a blow out sale I just had to buy this beauty.

Pod necklace by Tabmade

Pod necklace by Tabmade

We have had an online chat as my intention is to order more of this type of bead to incorporate into some of my felt jewellery, what do you think?  For the moment I am in two minds, wear this as it is or (horror of horrors – I hear you gasp!) split the beads and use them as focal points in some new felt pieces.

Felting supplies, winter workshops at Clasheen and computer problems ….. again

My first really large order of wool and fibre arrived this morning and in a couple of minutes I have the great task of opening the box and delving into all the yummy contents!  A lot of this order is actually for myself and not to resell but will be used for my new range of winter scarves, felt jewellery and other wearable accessories and clothing.  There is also some new dyed flax fibre which I am interested in experimenting with and some gorgeous colours of silk chiffon and ponge silk to use for nuno scarves and other wearables.   Tomorrow is going to be my first full felting day for a long while and by the end of it I hope to have several completed items all ready to upload to my Etsy shop over the weekend, wish me luck!

Yesterday afternoon I finalised the workshops that I will be offering here at Clasheen from now until the beginning of December.  With the difficult financial climate we are all operating in I wanted to offer a good value, fun way for people to learn a new craft.  If anyone is interested in evening sessions as opposed to the advertised Saturday dates please just contact me and we can discuss your requirements.  

Computer problems have bitten again.  My new(ish) computer is in Dublin at the computer doctor and I am reduced to a nervous wreck trying to get this old thing to do what I want it to do, not happening very well I am afraid.  Alan is away also which means that as I don’t have access to his laptop I may not be the best communicator over the next few days.  It has actually taken me over an hour this morning to read half my emails (I got no further) and over another hour to write this post so please bear with me if I appear to be ignoring any messages, I’m not!

I took the opportunity before he left yesterday evening to update the workshop page and also printed some flyers to drop into Threads of Gold when I am in Kilkenny this afternoon.

Check out some of the great fibre related blogs that I follow!

Kreativ Blogger Award
Kreativ Blogger Award

Thanks so much to my friend Irene Lundgaard who has given me this Kreativ Blogger Award.  The rules for receiving this award mean that you link back to the person who nominated you, list 7 things that you love, link to 6 more kreative bloggers and leave a comment on their site to let them know how to keep the award going.  Irene and Stephanie (from the fabulous Yarn Room) are the main organisers of the ‘Pick up Your Needles’ series of workshops which take place regularly in the Tinahely Arts Centre.  Although crochet is really Irene’s thing she recently won the fastest knitter competition at the opening of Stephanie’s new yarn store in Ashford, Co. Wicklow, way to go Irene!  Receiving this award made me realise that I really need to update my links here as I actually follow 84 blogs through Google Reader, many of them textile and fibre related.  To whet your appitite here are six of my favourites (some of which I have linked to before, others not) ….. Florcita by Mariana, Sheep Thrills Yarn by Cedar, Ginga Squid by Vicky, Felting Your Soul by Yvette, Her Majesty Margo by Margo and Deb Seeger by the wonderful Deb Seeger!  Each of these special people I consider especially creative, they blog regularly about their passion for art and textiles and invite us through their writing to share the experience (sometimes wonderful and sometimes frustrasting!) of their arts practice.  Now for 7 things that I love excluding felting, fibre, teaching and participating in felt workshops, you already know that I LOVE all of these things so I am going for things that you may not already know about me (as if!) ….. Strong black coffee with no bitter aftertaste, dark chocolate (with/without natural orange and cardamom or with chilli), supporting local business (especially my butcher and the many wonderful art and craft practitioners in my immediate area), cooking comforting food and entertaining our friends with Alan, long hot baths filled with natural scented products, walking my collie Rex around the fields at Clasheen followed by a hot toddy in front of a nice warm fire and last but definitely not least, meeting and making friendships through this blog, our swaps, Flickr, Ravelry, ArtL!nks and other social networking sites such as Linkedin!

My nuno felt skirt!

I thought it was about time that I uploaded some images of the nuno mosaic skirt that I made during German felter Sigrid Bannier’s visit to Ireland during August.

Felt skirt and wrap outside Kilkenny Castle

Felt skirt and wrap outside Kilkenny Castle

The main body of the skirt is made from four cotton gauze nuno mosaic panels and the cummerbund section around the waist is also nuno felt, this time hand dyed merino felted into hand dyed silk chiffon.  Thanks to Sigrid and her expert sewing skills the panels are stitched to just above knee level and then the bottom of the skirt swishes and swings out beautifully when worn giving a very comfortable and interesting fit! 

Nuno felt wrap

Nuno felt wrap

The nuno neck wrap that I designed earlier in the year to match some of my linen clothes is made from the same silk and merino.  Sigrid liked it thrown around the neck exposing both the silk and wool textures at the same time, I prefer it with just the silk side showing but it is nice to have the option!

Wonderful scents wafting through Clasheen, felt laptop cover

Some wonderful scents are wafting through Clasheen this morning as felting friends have joined me for a home made cosmetic workshop facilitated by Anna Brown.  The morning session is well underway as I write this post and the most delicious scents are courtesy of fresh herbs from my garden and essential oils brought by Anna and some of the participants.  These are mixed in various combinations with other natural products (eg. epsom salts, beeswax and vegetable oils) to form ‘kind to your skin’ hand salves, lip balms, bath bombs, exfoliating scrubs, bath salts and more.  I am hoping to give all my friends and family hand made Christmas presents again this year and was planning on creating glamourous gift packages combining felt and some of these cosmetics.  As with last year I urge any of you who have not already done so to sign up to Buy Handmade and support artisan producers from all around the globe.  Especially in these difficult financial times it makes sense for us to support each other and promote the wonderful handmade products available locally and for sale via the internet.  This afternoon I will be participating in the cosmetic workshop and then later this weekend I hope to felt a laptop cover for myself, time permitting!  Because I don’t tend to carry my laptop around too much I keep putting this project on the back burner.  Obviously I do have a regular cover but for ages have been hankering for something a bit more stylish and individual.  Anyway, now is the time for action, watch this space because if I am happy with the result I might also make a few of these as presents for friends if requested!

Wool and silk on order, felting kit update!

Following on from my last post, the Icelandic wool that I have ordered is on its way and I am also now waiting for some silk chiffon and ponge silk to get here in preparation for a nuno felting marathon in the run up to December (note how I managed to avoid using the C word!).  I am very excited to see the colour selection as I definitely stepped outside my usual choices in this department, after all if I am going to be selling the fibre I need to make sure that everyone else’s taste will be catered for.  I also stopped off at Threads of Green today (my favourite Kilkenny fabric store) to pick up some more gorgeous printed silk and a small piece of a fun and funky black polyester printed with silver spiders, perfect to do a sample with a Halloween theme!  Thanks to all of you who took the time to leave comments or respond via email when I mentioned that I am planning to sell felting kits.  You definitely all endorsed the idea wholeheartedly and my plan now is to put together a selection of kits both for the total beginner and for more experienced felters.  I did manage to make one cobweb style scarf for myself the other day with brilliant fibre that I bought from Blas at Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco and it got many compliments when I wore it to dinner on Wednesday.  The fibre was from one of the artisan producers that Blas and Jamie deal with and was a hand carded deep green wool with flecks of purple and some glitzy bits thrown into the mix as well!  It goes brilliantly with some of my organic cotton clothing from Blue Fish so there you are, I was really flying the American flag in Ireland the other night!