Pictures of my recent nuno felt top!

Slowly, slowly I am finally starting to get back to basics with my newly working computer and all the attendant software.  Things like Office 2007 were all wiped out and I had a major panic because I couldn’t find any discs even though I knew that I had purchased all the bumpf.  Anyway, without boring you totally sensless I finally managed to find some old emails from Microsoft, realised I had purchased the software online, found the 25 digit product key and voila, I am back in business this morning!  Initially I couldn’t get any of the pictures from my phone onto the computer but now that I have updated everything I can finally proceed as if the last 4 weeks never happened, I wish!!!

Folded and stitched nuno felt top

 

You probably remember I blogged recently about my Japanese inspired folded and stitched top but wasn’t able to upload any pictures at that time, well here they are.  The first shot shows the top from the front, this is the kind of loose style of clothing I enjoy wearing myself so hopefully I will get plenty of wear out of this now that I have finally put it together into something wearable!  The second image is the top from the back.  I think you should be able to see how beautifully this piece of ponge silk was dyed by Lyda Rump, I echoed the colours by selecting short fibred merino in complimentary shades and also added silk fibres making the top reversible if desired.

The back of the top

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American workshops – a guide to the raw materials required by participants!

My flights are booked, new linen trousers purchased and I am SO excited now about my upcoming workshops in America, meeting old friends, making new ones and simply having the best of fun with like minded fibre nuts!!!  From 13th to 16th May I will be participating and teaching at The Tin Thimble’s wonderful Mother’s Day Fiber Retreat, on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May I will be with my amazing friend Dawn for two days of workshops in Plainwell, MI and then on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th May I will be meeting and staying with online fibre friend Jan Durham and facilitating two days of workshops in Lexington KY, how fantastic is that for an adgenda???  

On the Friday participants in both MI and in KY have the option of taking a workshop titled ‘Simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects incorporating found objects’ and on the Saturday a workshop titled ‘Nuno mosaic and other interesting possibilities for wearable felt accessories’.  Participants attending both workshops have the option of designing and felting larger and more complex vessels, bags, sculptural items, bigger nuno projects or indeed an art piece for the wall.  As a result I have been toying with the correct materials list to publish for each workshop, eventually I have decided to provide a ‘minimum fabric and fibre requirement’ list for some of the projects participants may want to make and hopefully this will cover most potential eventualities!  In this way each individual participant will decide for themselves what exactly they want to make and what materials then need to bring with them at a minimum,. I know from personal experience that I can never bring too much fibre and embellishment items with me when I attend any workshop so limiting myself can be a challenge, it may also bring unexpected rewards at times!!!  Each participant will need to bring their usual felting equipment, bubble wrap, towels (please bring a few!), hard olive oil/goats milk/glycerine soap, sprinkler, bamboo blind, pool noodle, net, whatever they like to work with themselves.  Anyone felting a bag, vessel or any sort of three dimensional project will need some flexible plastic to use as a template/resist, I prefer laminate floor underlay but in an emergency we can use bubble wrap or whatever flexible plastic you have to hand.  For participants felting nuno mosaic or large nuno wraps it is really best to have two long lengths of bubble wrap bigger than the starting size of the silk used, plastic trash can liners are OK too in an emergency so if you have a roll of them please just bring them along!  NB I love working with batts but roving and tops are perfect too, bring whatever you have and like to work with yourself.  I will also be bringing loads of embellishments, inclusions, leather off cuts and artificial glittery fabrics with me for everyone to share as well as some of the mohair waste which I am currently experimenting with in some of my three dimensional work!  Enough of the waffle, hopefully the following will be a guideline and I am always happy to answer any questions directly so please feel free to email me if you have a major concern …….

Clutch bag, vessel, iPad cover and smaller three dimensional items will need 80 – 150g of fibre.

Larger and more complex bags will need 200 – 350g fibre, I like this to be divided into 2/3 merino and 1/3 a strong coarser fibre such as C1 or Icelandic wool.

A nuno scarf will need either a pre rolled silk chiffon or ponge silk scarf as a base, a long length of silk cut from a roll or alternatively a cotton cheesecloth or muslin length, the longer the better in all cases!  This project won’t need anything like a big amount of fibre but at a rough guide anything between 40 – 60g will be fine for a highly textured end result!

A large nuno wrap (two day project!) will need 2 – 3 m (yards is fine) silk chiffon, ponge silk, cheesecloth or muslin for the base and 40 – 100g good quality merino depending on size.

A mosaic nuno scarf will need a total minimum of 1m silk chiffon but this needs to be in at least 3 colours ie. 1/3m from a roll of three different colours, adding a small amount of a clashing colour can work wonders!  Incorporating vintage scarves into nuno mosaic is wonderfully effective and a beautiful way of bringing old fabrics back to new life, to see what I mean check out Marni’s wonderful scarf from last year’s Tin Thimble workshop, isn’t it beautiful?  These scarves will also need over 100g good quality merino preferrably in two colours.

A large nuno mosaic wrap will need 2 – 3m silk fabric in mixed colours and a total of up to or over 200g good quality merino, again two colours of fibre is ideal.

As you can imagine different projects require different techniques and heaviness of hand when laying out the fibre.  The figures above are a minimum guideline, I don’t want anyone to feel pressurised to buy more fabric or fibre than they may realistically need but to be honest where felting is concerned, can one ever have enough fibre or raw materials???

Fit to be tied …..

I’m fit to be tied right now and in case this is not a saying that you are familiar with it means so frustrated that it is almost impossible to do anything at all!!!  Alan’s computer is archaic (I’m still glad to be able to use it for email though, thanks Alan!),  I have just lost everyting I posted to the blog this morning so am having to scrawl this out and call it a day now, apologies.  I had written a proper post about my latest nuno felt scarf, the progress of the book and a litle about my US trip but unfortunately all will have to wait until later as I need to drive over to my friend’s house now and work on the book, thanks Cathy and Martin for being so patient and allowing me to work at your house on functioning equipment, it’s much appreciated!

Our CRAFTed project is going on tour and US, Irish and Horst workshop updates!!!

On Wednesday evening we had a fantastic open night at Presentation PS in Kilkenny.  The girls displayed all their amazing work from our CRAFTed project and screened the video footage of exactly what was achieved during our time together and with their teacher Mairead in the classroom following our last felting session.  I was blown away by the sheer scope of what we had achieved, it was incredible to think that the body of work produced arose from a project with in effect 8 hours of actual hands on felting time.  The video footage (which the girls and their teacher Mairead had all taken turns filming and editing) was broken up into 4 short films, our initial meeting and introductory session, the first hands on session where everybody made a piece of flat felt for their journal covers, the start of the individual projects and the finishing of these pieces coupled with the embellishment of our group wall hanging, awesome!!!    I spoke a little about what the project had entailed, how we acquired the funding etc. (thanks to Kilkenny Education Centre and the Crafts Council!) and then we had a great time answering questions and showing the parents, relations, teachers, pupils and other guests present the beautiful and tactile results of all the hard work.  It was fascinating to delve into the journals and realise how much the girls seemed to enjoy felting, everyone mentioned how much hard work it was but all agreeed it was well worth the effort!  The positive energy in the school hall was infectious and I am delighted to say that I have been speaking to Marie from the Irish and International Sheep Shearing Championships this morning and we will be displaying our work to a wider audience when the 2011 Sheep and Wool Festival comes to Kilkenny on the June Bank Holiday weekend, congratulations girls, we are going on tour!!! 

If I didn’t have my phone I actually think that I would have thrown in the computer towel yesterday.  My computer is now in Dublin for some serious doctoring, thanks for all the messages of suport, yes, I definitely wish I had invested in a MacBook last year and Paul, what I have been working is actually my new laptop, not a PC!  Thank goodness I can upload images directly to Flickr from my phone and then steal the code to insert them here in the blog, Alan’s computer is about 4 years old and amazing I don’t seem able to upload them directly there or download Blurb because of some scripting problem, at least I think that’s what the problem is!  Update ….. I have just discovered that I can’t actually steal the link code and upload the images here for some reason so please head on over to the CRAFTed set on Flickr to see more images from Wednesday,  I will be drip feeding uploads from my phone all day today so bear with me, it may take some time!  A lot of the pupils had their cameras too so I am hoping we will have a great variety of fun pictures to share over the course of the next few days.

US, Irish and Horst workshop updates – I know I promised to get the materials list together for my US workshops and also contact Horst workshop participants with B&B info, please be patient, it is in the works but this computer stuff really has my head addled!  Last night I called in to The Yarn Room in Ashford, Co. Wicklow, don’t think I was skiving I was delivering the laptop to my sister.  We put two dates in our diaries for July, these will be for a kind of felting orientation day followed by a wonderful nuno felting workshop, more about these when I get the specs written up but if you live within striking distance and would like to learn or improve your felting skills July 16th and July 23rd are the dates for you! I also have a workshop booked here at Clasheen for Saturday 23rd April, the last time I will be teaching here before heading off across the water!  If you have already got some felting experience and would like to join me for the day to explore some interesting ways of adding detail to the surface of your felt (I will write up this class spec too and add it to the workshop page) please email me asap, I have a couple of spaces left.