Suzanne’s felt rug is finished, here are some pictures and a brief explaination!

I’ve just don’t have enough time in the day to write a detailed post about how I felted my sister Suzanne’s rug but hopefully these pictures will give you an idea of what the finished rug is like, I LOVE the fact that it is reversible! I did upload more pics of the work in progress to FB if you are interested, thanks everyone for your positive comments as I progressed throughout the afternoon.

Starting size 1m x 2m (39.37″ x 78.74″) – I laid the design out in merino on top of a fine wool and cotton fabric base prepared at Mehmet Girgic’s studio in Turkey.

Design laid in merino wool on top of a base prepared at Mehmet Girgic's studio in Turkey

Note the areas where I have left uncovered, these will become textured white parts in the finished design, again I have uploaded a detailed picture to FB. Mehmet makes the bases from approx 6 fine layers of undyed wool covered with a sheet of tightly woven cotton muslin. This is wet out and stamped until the wool fibre is starting to penetrate the fabric but no shrinkage has occured. I bought quite a bit of this base material from him several years ago and this was a piece left in my stash.

Working the reverse of the rug with my new fulling roller and stretching the edges with a pliers

Niki Collier and I will be selling beautiful hand made fulling tools to our own designs shortly, the grooved roller that I used in the final stages of this rug is one of them and it worked wonderfully to spot full and even up the edges. I also pulled with a pliers to stretch a bit where necessary, these ones are just jewellery pliers that I picked up in Aldi for a song! Pin It

The last picture I’m sharing today is one of the finished rug. In actual fact the rug is fully reversible and if you head on over to FB you can see the reverse side, I love the subtlety of the design blending with the natural wool on the back. For those of you with a mathamatical bent the lay out size was 100cm X 200cm and the end size 72cm X 140cm. Using an online percentage calculator this means that the rug shrunk 28% widthways and 30% lengthways, I did work it slightly more in the lengthwise direction as I wanted to get the best shape and size possible for Suzanne!

 

Suzanne's new felt rug!


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Slightly sidetracked by felt rug!

Today I will be finishing laying out and felting a hearth rug for a belated Christmas cum birthday present for my sister Suzanne. I need to get this finished and off my two large tables by tonight at the latest leaving me free to finally finish tidying the studio on Tuesday. I’m teaching a private workshop here on Wednesday then have a beginners and improvers day on Saturday so need the space sorted. I’ll take some pictures of the completed rug and post them tomorrow if I get a minute, thank goodness I can blog from my phone!

New retail venue, nuno wrap, workshops in Portugal and Loomis and help sourcing bag toppers please!!!

I submitted an application recently to have some of my framed felt considered by CCDP (Carlow County Development Patrnership Ltd) for a new art and craft based retail space they are launching shortly, this will be in the renovated stable yard at Ducketts Grove, Co. Carlow. On Wednesday morning I met with Pat McCarthy from McCarthy Integrated Design Solutions to show him my work, he is the person CCDP have contracted to launch the project successfully and he also is responsible for selecting the artists and crafts people whose work will be offered for sale. Luckily Alan suggested I bring some of my other felt too, lucky for me because Pat has choosen to display 3 of my vessels in the fine arts section, for the craft area he has requested several large nuno felt wraps, 8 to 12 nuno scarves, 14 pieces of framed felt, some small and large pouches, the book (From Felt to Friendship at the moment and the new book when it’s published) and some felting kits! I only have about 4 weeks to get all the pieces made so last night I ordered more business cards, care lables and a postcard/flyer, today I’ve been frantically ordering my favourite cotton gauze from Charlotte Buch as well as ponge silk and short fibre merino from Wollknoll. It’s nice to be nuno felting a series of wraps and scarves that will all relate somewhat to each other, I was about to felt some more pieces for the new book anyway but now I have a pressing need to get these finished and photographed asap!!! Here’s a picture of a recent wrap felted using merino and a combination of different weights of silk, cotton gauze and metallic mesh, I love the colours!

Large nuno felt wrap

Thanks to everyone who has already contacted me re. the exciting residential felting week in Portugal!!! I’m guessing from the initial interest that places are going to be in short supply so do keep an eye out for the full workshop description next week, if you have any specific questions right this minute please just email me. Emma and I will also have details of the fall workshops at The Tin Thimble for you next week, we just need some quiet time to discuss and put everything together properly!

Finally a question, does anyone know where I can get good quality bag toppers printed??? I’m talking about the stiff cardboard cards that fold over the top of a bag and are stuck or stapled in place, you know the kind of things that come with maybe a contents list and contact details? I want to get some really good quality ones printed because I need something better than my current home made ones for the felting kits! I also know that with time I could maybe design a better one myself, the problem is that I just don’t have time!!!

I’ll leave you with a close up of the nuno wrap.

Cotton gauze and ponge silk

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Announcing a wonderful residential felting week in Portugal!!!

I am so excited to be announcing that from June 9th to 16th I will be joining Karin and her husband Eelco at the beautiful Domino Vale do Mondego in Portugal to facilitate a wonderful week-long residential felting holiday!!! If you would like to register your provisional interest with us once you read the details below please email me immediately. I expect the places will be taken very quickly as the price is incredibly competitive and includes all accomodation, organic food, local wine and 5 full day felting workshops! Alternatively we will have the full workshop details available online sometime towards the end of next week and you can book directly with Karin then.

Karin and Eelco moved to the region in 2007 and farm biodynamically, they have a large herd of milk sheep, a dairy, fruit trees (it’s going to be cherry season in June!) and olive groves as well as unspoilt woodland and natural areas for guests to enjoy. One of their main aims is to breed and promote the rare indigenous Bordeleira sheep, the famous Serra da Estralla cheese is made from their milk!

Little ridged vessel combining raw and prepared Bordeliera wool

Karin sent me a small sample of both the raw and prepared Bordeleira wool and I immediately requested more! I was blown away by how beautifully it felts, really soft in the hand so perfect for clothing and accessories, not at all scratchy and incredibly quick to form a strong fabric too. I’ve made a few samples, a small vessel, a nuno sample and some sleeveless mittens, everything worked like a dream and I am really looking forward to introducing others to the beauty of this fibre, I particularly enjoyed felting with the raw wool. Carmen was with me the other day while I was experimenting and already wants to put in an order, I imagine I’ll be coming back with bulging cases this summer, roll on the shearing season!!!

Anyway, Karin and I hope to have the flyer and workshop description finalised by the end of next week but just to whet your appetite here are the bones of what we will be offering. One week’s stay at Dominio Vale do Mondego in a double room including breakfast buffet, 2-course lunch with wine, 3-course dinner with wine each day, 5 full days felting workshop including materials working with the rare Bordeleira wool, an excursion to a weaving museum and a walk with Eelco costs just E695, a single room will cost E765. I think that this is an absolute bargain!!!
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More nuno felt vest/stole pics and some answers to questions posed

I don’t have much time to write today so here are two more pice of my latest nuno felt vest/stole and the answers to a couple of questions I’ve been asked.

  • Yes, this vest is fulled in the dryer so NO rubbing or rolling!!! I will be including full instructions about how I do this in my section of the new book. Please note though, I don’t always use the dryer, just sometimes depending on what I’m felting, what my mood is at the time and what end result I’m aiming to achieve!
  • The muslin that I used was bought from Kiernan’s, my local habadashery. I think that it is a little finer weave than what you call muslin in U.S. or Turkey, definitely not as loose a weave as cheesecloth or gauze but rather more like a hybrid of the cheesecloth and your muslin. Hope this helps Carole, the nearest weight that I’ve seen over in U.S. reminds me of the beautiful new 50%silk/50% cotton fabric Sharon and Emma had at The Tin Thimble last spring, do you remember that???

Side view

Anyway, I’m sorry that the quality of the images isn’t great especially the back view. I snapped them while the wind was howling a gale and I couldn’t get the back shot to stay still at all but at least you’ll get an idea of the shape!!!

Back view

My new nuno felt vest/stole!

As stated in yesterday’s post, I headed to the studio in the afternoon to felt some yardage and once it was dry I cut out the free-style curved stole from ‘shapeshape’ by Natsuno Hiraiwa. It definitely drapes differently in felt as opposed to the jersey I tried in the morning but I love the finished result, to me it’s much more a vest than a stole!

Free-style curved stole adapted slightly and prior to dyeing

In fact I adjusted the pattern when I started to cut, one because I was aiming for a longer piece at the back, two because I wanted a narrower piece to drape or form a collar at the front. I was also limited by the amount of muslin that I had in stock (I LOVE nuno felting with muslin!!!) so my end yardage was not quite as long at the pattern asked for, I laid out one very fine layer of merino between two layers of fabric and then decorated one side with a lot of raw silk, the piece is obviously now reversible. It’s amazing how much more confident I was cutting into my felt as a result of discovering that the angled armholes appear to suit my body shape. Like my sample from the morning this piece fits well and now all I have to do is decide what colours to dye it!!! With some of the waste I cut out the reversible faux collar, this piece was a big revelation because Natsuno says not to take any short cuts when cutting, it’s obvious why once you do cut and as a result it sits beautifully around the neckline. In the picture I have it lying back to front, I like the vee shape!

Texture and soft colour from the raw silk

 

Blogs, nuno felt and our new book, ‘shapeshape’, a tip for pattern making and felting kits!

I intended to write a brief post today but instead I’ll just write quickly!

Because I follow a lot of interesting, creative and sustainable style blogs I never seemed to manage to regularly update the links to them here on Clasheen or add new ones as I find them and subscribe. As a result I always felt that I was never on top of sharing the links with my friends and blog readers so I’ve now set up a board on Pinterest titled ‘Blogs I love to follow‘. It’s going to take another week or so to upload every one of them (a few are currently inactive so I am reserving them for future inclusion), don’t panic if you don’t see your own blog included until I post they are all updated, at that stage please let me know if you have any recommendations that I may not have already noted. I’d also love if all of you who enjoy Pinterest set up boards for blogs too, there are so many wonderful sites out there that cater to every diverse interest, having a board for blogs you follow is a wonderful way to promote and share each others work!

I’ve started editing and laying out our new book and Chrissie and I have decided on a title too,  ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’. Hopefully that explains exactly what the book is about, we’ll also have an ISBN on this and any future books, this means that in addition to Blurb it can be sold online through Amazon and be stocked in any regular book store, hurrah.

Free-style curved stole, note the asymetrical hemline

You may remember recently I almost had a melt down on the sewing side of things, I love nuno felting, I love creating beautiful individual drapeable and textured fabrics but to date have always broken out in a cold sweat trying to design and felt larger garments. Thanks to several recommendations (thanks Ginny, Sharon et al!) I ordered ‘Shape Shape, Sewing Clothing Patterns to Wear Multiple Ways’ by Natsuno Hiraiwa from the Book Depository, it arrived yesterday. Realistically I want my clothing to actually fit. I don’t like to see nuno garments with big bulges under the armpits etc. and while I love a relaxed organic shape and style I do want things to actually have some style!!! Anyway, I love quite a few of the patterns particularly the sleeveless scarf blouse, reversible French sleeve blouse (I would love to wear it buttoned to the back, great for those of us with a small bust I think!), drawstring low-waist pants, free-style curved stole, reversible circle vest, the reversible wrap skirt and the envelope messenger bag, to be totally objective I do not like the  twist and drape blouse! Anyway, wanting to try a couple of pieces in nuno felt and because my sewing skills are totally non-existent I decided this morning to trace and cut out the free-style curved stole as a pattern first and then cut it out in some drapey jersey fabric I picked up for a song in San Fransisco last spring, any muslin I have in my stash I intend to felt with. For the first time in my life I actually traced and cut out a pattern as instructed!!! Now for those of you who are limited in the sewing department here’s my biggest ever pattern making tip….. cut the pattern from freezer paper then you can iron it to your fabric and cut it out easy, peasy!!!!! This stole is really another take on the style of nuno felt garment many of us are familiar with, a large flat piece of fabric with two holes cut out for your arms that depending on where you cut the holes may be worn in several different ways. The biggest revelation this time was that for Natsuno’s design the armholes are fitted at an angle. Hallelujah, the sample actually fits me although I do think that I would describe it as a sleeveless vest rather than a stole, maybe it is just the fabric I made it in gives this impression, anyway, I like it! This afternoon I’m going to felt some nuno yardage and then make this piece up for real, wish me luck.

Finally for today, Aileen Clarke from Aileen Clarke Crafts has written a great post for anyone interested in exploring some of the felting kits that are available at the moment, thanks for including mine Aileen!!! When I get to adding Aileen’s blog to my new Pinterest board it might just be the wonderful picture of Alistair that I pin, check him out here, isn’t his coat AMAZING??? Also check out Aileen’s beautiful felt pictures inspired by Highland cattle, very evocative.