Felted accessories, our Friday workshop with Lyda Rump

Yesterday morning I drove Lyda back to the airport and after a quick call to Ikea, McDonalds (a girl’s got to have some junk food ocassionally doesn’t she??) and the library in Carlow I returned home to Clasheen ready for a hot bath and bed.  I am physically tired but mentally exhilarated after our weekend workshops and I am so looking forward to getting silly household chores out of the way so that I can start laying out some samples for my newest felt project.  I still have to finish fulling my complex felt sculpture but that is on hold for a couple of days until I get the house tidied and the well (STILL no water of my own) back in proper working order.  Now on to the ‘Felted Accessories’ workshop with Lyda on Friday.
We started the morning oohing and aahing over some of Lyda’s beautiful scarves and inventive felt jewellery.  These fun pieces of jewellery gave us the freedom to discover how different colours, fibres and fabrics combined together without the stress of laying out a bigger project and it was very satisfying to have a gorgeous felt accessory at the end of each experiment! 

Gold threaded fabric, turquoise beads and felt necklace strung on rubber cord

Lyda encouraged us to incorporate artifical fabrics into our layout and these had some amazing results in the finished felt, you either loved each piece or you hated it, no middle ground!  During the morning I suddenly remembered that I had a large artificial fabric wrap donated to me by a friend to repurpose and the metallic weaving combined with black was perfect to cut up into pieces to see what the result would be if it were felted into a background of short fibred merino.  As you can see from the picture on the left it formed a good bond with the wool fibres and crinkled nicely during the felting process!  I thought  it was interesting the way the mixed fibres in the weave affected the finished shape.  My lay out of wool and fabric for this piece was square but as I felted them together they shrank very much more in one way than the other.  This ended up as an interesting twisted rectangle shape which I further embellished with turquoise stones and strung on a black rubber tube.  My brief to myself over the weekend was to try our new things, to stitch or bead some work and to complete some projects and not leave them on the long finger for finishing later, whether you like this piece or not it is finished and it is beaded!

Argh, I am so annoyed and frustrated because when I uploaded this post for some reason the second half of my writing and the image to accompany it was deleted.   I don’t know what actually happened and unfortunately I have to rush to the bank so don’t have time to write any more right at this minute.  I will however leave you for the second time, this time with a picture of my merino, stone, fabric and bead pendant minus the longer and more instructive description! 

Beaded felt and stone pendant

 
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Some more fun and funky felt accessories!

This morning I made some more felt flowers and two cuffs, after lunch (fed five hungry tree planters some home made red Thai curry!) I forced myself to sit down and finish several of the flowers by adding simple brooch backs.  The weather has been wonderfully crisp today so I was able to take some photos of the completed works and have just now uploaded them to my Etsy shop

Funky orange and turquoise felt flower!

This large orange and turquoise flower would look equally at home pinned to an outfit or tying back your hair so I am actually giving the purchaser the option of finishing the flower with either fitting or else I can include both the findings for them to stitch on themselves!  It was actually when Hilary and I were working on Saturday that I thought of this colour combination.  Although I always tell students to either compliment or contrast I have never actually combined turquoise and orange myself before.  The mulberry silk around the outside of the base layer provides a nice highlight to the finished flower.  You can check out some more of the flowers on Etsy and I have also uploaded the cuffs too.

The tree planting is almost finished, it is amazing what 4 or 5 men can do with 13,000 trees when armed with a simple spade and a bit of will power! 

James with the oak

Rex surveying the lower ash plantation

Arms ache from felting!

My arms ache this evening after a long rolling session which seemed to go on forever!  I was delighted to get a free day to felt, especially as it was unexpected because I had been meant to play a golf match this morning but my opposition couldn’t make it.  Over the last couple of days I have been away attending residential workshops as part of the toursim course I am attending and it was great to get a mental break and back into the creative swing of things!  I started the day by ironing and working on the edges of a nuno felt project and then got stuck in to laying out a really thick pad of fibres ‘a la’ Sigrid Bannier.   I have spent absolutely hours rolling, heating and rolling again to make sure that the felt is fulled and strong enough to punch into more striped felt beads which I will string over the weekend to make some more fun jewellery.  Over the last while I seem never to stay still for very long and I really need to make myself some new accessories that I can wear at all the events that I appear to be going to every week.  In the run up to the local elections I only expect this to get more hectic (my partner Alan is running for the Green Party in our local elections which take place at the beginning of June and I am his campaign manager!!) so I better concentrate over the next week or so and get them underway!  It is lashing rain at the moment here so hopefully I will get to take some pictures of recent work tomorrow and promise to upload them as soon as I get a minute.

Disaster in the utility room!

Well, last night I had a big disaster in my utility room.  Johnny, one of my felting students had given me a present of some beautiful Alpaca and I decided to try washing some of it in the washing machine prior to carding.  Thanks Carmen for THAT tip, what a catastrophe!!  I put the Alpaca in a pillow case, tied the top with cotton cord and set it on a cool silk and wool cycle.  When the cycle was over and I opened the door an amazing amount of brown ‘gunk’ was pooling within the rubber of the seal and the pillowcase was extremely wet and heavy.  Maybe I shouldn’t have then decided to rinse and spin the package on a higher setting but nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Anyway, this morning I am the prowd owner of what looks like a raw fleece collar, some of the fibres felted together, some are shaggy and unfelted.  Never mind, I learnt a lesson and in actual fact I think that with a bit of judicious pruning I may well set a new trend in fashion accessories this Winter!