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!
Here is an image of some recently carded fibres, don’t the colours just glow! These particular rolls are a mixture of merino, alpaca and mulberry silk. The orange coloured one was a particular favourite of mine, now it has been incorporated into the BIGGEST felted vessel that I have made to date and I am delighted with the result. Tomorrow morning, weather permitting I am going to take some shots of it and post them up, it is a very organic shaped ribbed vessel in orange/green/brown tones and I think I feel a series coming on!
Tonight I teach the first in a series of beginners feltmaking classes, back off to tidy again, will it never end. One other thing that I am going to do before I resume the tidying up is to upload more images to my Flickr account, click here to check out images of some great swap packages that I have received and another image of recently carded fibres.
Delving through the goodies in my delivery from Germany has sparked so many creative projects it is almost hard to concentrate! I decided to work my first piece in Alpaca without adding any other fibres and see how it reacted to felting. The fibres looked absolutely amazing laid out on the bubble wrap, exactly like a long hank of beautiful chestnut hair. They were really quick to felt and surprisingly I found that they felted particularly well in the opposite direction to how I had laid them out. Because I wanted to make a long supple scarf I had just laid one layer, almost as fine as cobweb feling. Anyway, pretty soon I had a really soft but pretty narrow scarf, really luxurious, but a bit plain. I do like some items to be very unadorned but next time I am going to add a little of the finest merino wook and a few silk strands to see what the difference is.