Beautiful felt ring arrives in the post!

By the time you read this I will be part way through my two day workshop with Charlotte Buch at the ‘Felt Naturally’ symposium in Denmark! 

Beautifully packaged treasure

Last week I fell totally in love with a little ring created by Kate aka Tastykaeru and I was thrilled that it arrived in the post right on time to wear for my early morning departure to Grima’s exciting felting get together.  Opening the package just confirms my thoughts that judicious beading and stitching can really add another dimension to hand rolled felt.  Kate’s Etsy shop is a pleasure to browse through, jam packed with gorgeous but simple embellished jewellery and at such amazing prices it is difficult to decide where to start!  Green being my FAVOURITE colour to wear for the last few seasons I finally decided to break the bank and buy this little beauty!!! 

Nestling in the black satin


Booking open for my felting workshops at The Tin Thimble, Loomis, CA!!!

I am delighted to say that booking is now open for the two felting workshops I will be facilitating at The Tin Thimble in Loomis, Northern California this Fall!  We will be kicking off the fun with a two day Complex Felt Bag workshop on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th September followed by a Nuno Mosaic workshop on Monday 27th September. 

Detail from a recent bag

I am really looking forward to meeting owners Emma and her mother as well as blog readers and friends from Ravelry who are hoping to book into one or even both of the workshops!  It constantly amazes me how the internet brings us all together in a virtual sense and it is always fascinating to meet up in reality and confirm friendships forged online.  Lasy year I had the pleasure of meeting expert nuno felter Nancy Schwab at Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco (dates and venues for the general San Fransisco area to follow in a week or so!) and earlier this summer Jamie and Blas from Urban Fauna paid a visit to me here in Clasheen as part of an extended Ireland and England road trip!!!  Mosaic nuno felting was actually the topic I covered in San Fransisco last year and if you are wondering what on earth it entails and would like to see some pictures why not check out this post from October 2009?

Where is Clasheen???

For anyone wanting to visit me here at Clasheen to attend a felting workshop I am about 1 minute drive from Ballymurphy, Co. Carlow ( extremely rural village with 1 shop, a big church, 2 pubs one of which is also the post office and about 10 houses!), 5 minutes drive from Borris, Co. Carlow (very small country town), 8 minutes from Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny (another small town) and 10 minutes from Kiltealy, Co. Wexford (another very small rural village with exactly the same services as Ballymurphy!). 
I am just up the small road from Kyle Cross on this map Unfortunately none of the above mentioned are on a direct bus or a train line and unless one had a car it would be very difficult to get here by public transport.  There is a small ‘Ring-a-link’ bus service to Ballymurphy periodically but I think it is pretty much a ring on demand kind of thing so unfortunately if anyone wants to attend a workshop here they would need to get to one of the above mentioned villages/towns (Borris or Kiltealy would be the easiest) and at a pinch I would be happy to collect them from there.  I only have a pick up truck so this offer is for one person at a time!

Off now to start my rug ……….

Another fibre and yarn experiment, wool has arrived

Fibre and yarn felted together

Yesterday afternoon as I was trying to tidy my studio (yes, I can NEVER keep it in order!) I came across another small scrap of discarded knitting or possibly even crochet. I don’t have any idea what I was doing or when I started and scrapped it but I do know that the yarn was a gorgeous merino and silk combination from Manos del Uruguay in lovely shades of blue and green. I decided to felt a small insulated pot stand using two shades of green and a white C1 wool and stretch out the knitting for some surface interest. Again this yarn combined very well with the fibre but if I were to start over I would probably try getting the base to the prefelt stage before adding the yarn because it did lose some clarity and sharpness of colour as the felting process progressed.

My mother called over for a coffee earlier this morning and while we were having a chat the postman arrived with my large order of wool from Iceland. At last I can start to get Sylvia’s rug underway but now I am thinking I am not going to get it finished before I head off to the ‘Felt Naturaly’ symposium in Denmark next week, never mind I will finish it in a couple of days after I return home. I am going to finish tidying the studio this afternoon and hopefully get the rug base laid out ready for long days felting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tomorrow I will be at a Visiting Captain’s Day at Killerig Golf Club but all work and no play …………. not that I ever look on felting as work but you know what I mean!

‘Felt a small clutch bag’ workshop at Clasheen on 5th August and huge internet problems over the last few days!

I had been planning a simple felt vessel workshop for the afternoon of Thursday 5th August but since Kristi (who will be visiting from America!) really likes the little clutch bag I blogged about on Friday have decided that this is what we will be felting instead!!! 

Little felt clutch bag

If anyone is interested in joining us we will be starting at 14.00 sharp and working until between 16.00 and 16.30.  Basic experience is necessary for this afternoon workshop and the cost will be E25 incl. materials.  If anyone has no previous felting experience or is just starting out I am happy to offer the same workshop on another date but taking 3 to 3.5 hours, the cost for this longer session would be E35 incl. materials.  Please email me asap if you would like to reserve a place on 5th or are interested in another date and time.

Our weather has deterioriated really badly over the last few days, wet, wild and windy!  I think that this must be the reason my internet connection has been and still is appalling.  Please forgive me if you have been trying to contact me via email or are waiting for a response to anything, I hope all will be back to speed later today or by the middle of the week in the worst case scenario.

Beautiful beaded silk felts perfectly!

One very welcome spin off from my recent adventures in freestyle knitting has been discovering some of the amazing natural and man made yarns now available online or in specialist shops.  I felted myself a little clutch bag (purse for our American friends!) on Thursday afternoon and decided to add various yarns from my Blade scarf into the surface layer as an experiment to see how they would felt.  The most amazing revelation was the huge success of some Tilli Tomas beaded silk!  This is a very beautiful but expensive yarn and I had a small bit of discarded knitting with some cut threads which I really didn’t know if it would be possible to incorporate successfully into my felt.    I laid out the bag around a resist as  normal, decorated the surface with the scrap of beaded silk knitting, some artificial sari ribbon and some swirls of a Rowan wool/silk yarn and a silk/cotton combination.  Some of the beaded silk I covered with the finest wisps of fibre and other areas I left uncovered.  I needn’t have worried, the beaded silk felted beautifully and actually needed no covering wisps at all.  

Clockwise from left - sari ribbon, silk-wool, silk-cotton and beaded silk


I love the way the knitting has become distorted and the little seed beads gleam and glisten as they catch the light!  The sari ribbon also became incorporated really easily and it was actually the silk/wool and silk/cotton combinations that needed a little extra care while rubbing before they felted fully into the wool.  I love the effect of all the different yarns in the finished bag and know that it will get lots of use over the coming months, green is after all the colour that I am most often to be seen wearing!

Felt flowers adorn my garden!

This morning I finished the last of the 36 felt flowers for my sister’s lamp and as the latest batch are drying on the range I thought it would be fun to take a picture of some scattered amongst the leaves of my beautiful purple burning bush! 

Felt flowers for Suzanne's lamp

I didn’t find the flowers as tedious to felt as I had been expecting.  Maybe it was the fact that I was only working on 36 and not 450 as previously for Sculpture in Context but anyway I enjoyed playing around with the colours and I hope that Suzanne will be happy with the result.  This afternoon I am intending on punching a very small hole in the centre of each flower then   unscrew the bulbs and refit them around the felt.  I am consistently amazed at how versatile and wondrous a fabric felt is, the fact that wool is fire resistant means that these little lamp shades will be perfectly safe.  When the lamp is fully assembled I promise to take some pictures before it wends its way to Suzanne in Dublin!

Still waiting, felt flowers in the making, creative spinning

I am still waiting for my delivery of Icelandic wool to arrive in preparation for the large rug I am felting my father’s cousin Sylvia, hope there is no charcoal getting in the way!  In the meantime my sister commissioned me to create 36 small felt flowers to adorn her new Stranne table light from Ikea.  This is a spin off from my own lamp which I updated at Christmas by adding stylised flowers to surround every little light bulb, everyone seems to like it for some reason.  Anyway, I used flowers left over from my Sculpture in Context piece so just added whatever I had left over but for Suzanne’s lamp I am making them from scratch in colours that she choose on Sunday.  Yesterday I started the production by felting two 8 flower batches and this morning I intend felting 16 more before loading the truck and heading of to a teaching engagement this afternoon.

Stunning hand painted roving from the Dancing Farm

On Friday I recieved a wonderful swap package from Suzy aka Hollyhill in the New Year Secret Scarf Exchange on Ravelry.  It included this fantastic hand painted roving from the Dancing Farm which in addition to looking forward to felting with it has inspired me to try out spinning with a spindle for the first time in an attempt to add some handspun yarn to me freestyle kniting!   Not  having any spindle myself I have adapted one (using a piece of bamboo, a CD and some rubber bands) and this evening when I am back from teaching I am going to have a try armed with Gaia traditional crafts beautiful book Creative Spinning.  This is such a wonderfully bulky amount of gorgeous fibre to recieve and in my mind’s eye I can see several beautiful and light felted scarves and some yummy yarn all created from the one gift from Suzy, thanks for this great swap package!!!

Felt rug and another bag in the planning

You could be forgiven for thinking that I am doing NO felting at the moment if all you were doing was looking at my current Flickr photos!  In one sense it would be true because I am so totally wrapped up in my Golf Club duties at the moment that all I can do is collapse at the end of the evening after the prize giving ceremonies are over (to watch World Cup highlights with my freestyle knitting in hand) but in another it is not true at all.  While I am unwinding I am plotting and planning my newest felt bag design and waiting for the delivery of Icelandic wool to start the large rug that I have been commissioned to felt.  Last night I finished this Jane Thornley inspired ‘Frond’ knitted wrap and I have decided to felt an accompanying bag using some of the gorgeous yarns and sari ribbon to add surface detail and tie everything together. 

Wrapped like a cowl

Pictures of my completed (almost!) felt bag and another ‘weaving through the trees’ image

Short post today, heavy on pictures and light on writing because open week is on at the golf club and I am totally tied up with Lady Captain duties!  As you will see from pictures of my finished bag ‘finished’ is a subjective word!!  I still need to felt the drawstring closure echoing the way my grandmother’s suede pouch closes.  Because of the beautiful flower motif at the top of the bag front I have decided to adapt this drawstring slightly to allow the silk remain uncovered, now I just have to felt the cord and punch some holes at the side, loop it through the inside top (maybe with some small jump rings) and pull it through.  For the moment here are some pictures to look at and when I am happy with the drawstring I will post a final completed image.

The bag fully felted

Inside and outside

Lastly for today there is a picture of me weaving through the trees, thanks Sheila for forwarding me on the image, it brings back happy memories of our weekend together.

Me engrossed in weaving our web