Some swap questions answered and a photo of my latest nuno felt shawl

Swap partners are now up for the Flickr Clasheen Crafty Swap so if you are one of the current participants please ENJOY!!!  These swapping events are meant to be fun and I just want to take this opportunity of thanking everybody who has participated to date and welcoming new swappers to the experience, I think you are going to love it!  

Soft and ultra warm felt shawl

Before I write a little about the warm shawl I felted yesterday (could this be nuno felt???) I just want to address some questions which pop up quite regularly about the swap both as comments or private emails here to me at Clasheen.  I hope you don’t mind but I am just going to write the sallient details as bullet points, I know you will get the gist but for anyone needing more info please take a look through previous swaps on the discussion board and in the group pool of pictures to see the type of packages we share around the world.  Here goes …..

  • Everyone is welcome to join wherever you may live in the world
  • We usually swap one main item (hand crafted by you for your partner!) and a selection of other smaller items.
  • Our participants come from all walks of life so all we ask for the hand crafted goody is that you put some thought into it and make sure it is something that you would like to recieve yourself!  Ideas include wearable accessories (scarves are probably our most popular items to swap), a small painting, notebooks, jewellery, hand made cosmetics, bath products etc.
  • The additional items are often lovelies from our own stash, fibre, fabric, buttons, beads, upcycled, recycled, old books, magazines, findings etc., anything that we may personally like but have never managed to find a use for ourself or know that our partner would particularily like.
  • I assign each participant a number and when I do the draw put these numbers into a container and pair them up as the numbers are drawn out.  This does mean that it is a lottery and sometimes a participant is teamed up with the same partner twice although I don’t think that has been a big issiue to date.
  • The swap is not a competition or meant to be in any way stressful but it is nice to check through the discussion board to see exactly what makes your partner tick and try to put together a parcel that will please.   What colours do they like, are they girly or practical (I know that I’m not girly anyway!), do they read English, salty or sweet, tea or coffee, ground or beans, you get the idea.
  • You do need to join our group on Flickr in order to participate, this is just the only way for me to monitor the swap without getting boggged down in paperwork from this end of things!
  • Full names and addresses obviously need to be swapped with me as moderator of the group and with your swap partner.  We do this through Flickr mail and not publically on line so there is no need to worry about private details becoming visable to everyone on the internet.
  • For new or potential participants just take the plunge!  Really we have some good fun and it is fantastic to get to know people from all around the world and share a little of our own hand made goodness and wonderful to get a little something in return!

Now on the that shawl!  I am always on the look out for unusual fabrics to incorporate into my nuno felt and other wearables or to cut up and use as surface decoration for items such as vessels or bags.  A while ago I picked up a very unusual and lightweight mohair/metallic thread shawl that just seemed to be crying out to be felted into a beautiful and warm shawl.  It was like a gossamer piece of cobweb, beautifully soft and warm with a really interesting knitted pattern.  Nuno felt is the process of combining a lot of fabric with a little fibre to create a totally new fabric, in this case although technically the shawl I started with could have been called fabric it was probably machine knitted and not a woven fabric like silk or cotton so can I call the end result nuno felt???  I had been having a bit of a mental block about what colours to use with this piece but for some reason yesterday white and baby blue just jumped to mind and that was what I decided to work with as a backing for the shimmering indigo shawl.  The knitted square had subtle colour variations changing from silvery white in the centre through to deepest indigo at the edges.  The whole piece was also threaded with a silver metallic thread and I am now thinking that there must have been some elastic somewhere in the yarn because the fully felted end shawl almost appears to have a slight ‘give’ or stretch to the fabric.  Because I really wanted to keep the beautiful drape of the knitted shawl I decided to lay only one light layer of short fibred merino on the reverse, I did succeed pretty well although in some places the felt is a little patchier than I would have liked optimally.  Probably that is to do with the fact that I never (well almost never except for bags and vessels!) weigh my wool out in advance and I didn’t realise how little blue I had in stock so ended up using every last scrap no matter how unevenly laid out it was!  For some reason I can’t upload any more photos to the blog today (oh the restrictions of the internet!) but you can have a good look at the close ups on Flickr to see how well the fabric ‘melted’ into the merino backing.  You can also see from a shot of the rear view how different stitches and colours in the base layer result in subtle variations of colour in the finished shawl.

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Just organising swap partners tonight and a little bit of nuno felting!

Just organising the swap partners tonight for our first Clasheen Crafty Swap of 2011!  Welcome to all returning swappers and a big hello to our new members, you are going to love this event!!!  I am almost back to normal today, probably about 90% of my usual self with just a bad cough periodically but nothing much else to worry about.  There were two meetings (golf club, what else!) I should have been attending tonight and another tomorrow evening  but I have put in my appologies because an early night snuggled up in front of the stove calls, not a drive in the current wild wet and windy weather.  This morning I felted a highly textured nuno scarf and then knuckled down to felting a one off wrap, a bit more unusual this one but you will have to wait for more details and some pictures tomorrow!  My ArtL!nks vessels are really calling out to me but I just want to get a couple more smaller projects out of the way tomorrow and then from Wednesday onwards I can start the really large vessels and get a good run at them.  ‘Till then …..

Wrapped up in merino ….. and swap update

Thankfully my proposed Saturday workshop has been moved until next weekend as this flu, while getting a little bit better is still a long way from over.  It is so frustrating to go from hot to feverish and bathed with sweat in the blink of an eyelid and tired to exhausted in the space of those same few seconds!  I have been trying to stay in bed for most of the day (memory foam is a LOT more comfortable than lounging around on the couch) in an effort to shift this dose asap but yesterday evening I just had to do something fibre related (must have been feeling a BIT better!) while watching some mindless television in front of the stove. 

Soft merino cowl

Recently I received a skein of gorgeous handspun ‘pancake and lulu’ merino in one of my all time favourite colours from Suzy (aka Hollyhill) in a swap on Ravelry.  I wasn’t totally sure if there would be enough yarn to knit a cozy cowl for myself but happily things worked out just perfectly and this afternoon I have been able to keep my neck snug.  Do excuse the bug eyed photo but it was the best I could do taking a photo of myself with my phone camera, in fact I think my eyes look more swollen in reality after the last few days anyway!

Clasheen Crafty Swap update ……. Promise to get partners assigned by Monday at the latest, just give me one more day to recover from this dose.  Anyone wanting to sign up this late pop over to our group on Flickr and I will include you in this round.  Thanks Kirsten for jogging my dozy memory!

A moment of calm, beautiful new scarf and some fun felting photos!

Surprisingly I am ahead of myself time wise this morning.  Both letters of acceptance for the Arts Act Grant and ArtL!nks Bursary completed, one wash finished and another ready to go into the washing machine, paperwork underway to sign off on the work completed with the Borris Active Retirement Group, washing up done and some pictures uploaded to Flickr, amazing considering it is still only 10.18 here in the land of the leprechaun’s!  EDITED TO SAY that obviously this time saving was too good to be true!!!  For some reason WordPress is behaving very strangely this morning and I can’t seem to get the images where I want them and the captions in the right place.  Forgive the odd lay out of this post but hopefully you get the meaning!

My beautiful woven silk scarf from Tisserande

I promised you yesterday I would post about the wonderful swap package I recieved from Gill aka tisserande as part of the Spring Clasheen Crafty Swap on Flickr.  The colours of the stunning silk scarf Gill wove for me look absolutely amazing when pictured beside the dark purple aquilegias and fresh spring greens of the honeysuckle.  Until I read the little enclosed note I wasn’t sure what the fibre was but am happy to confirm it is woven from spun silk, bourette silk and sari silk, so soft against the skin and it drapes beautifully!!!  The other goodies included some yummy fibres, amazing walnut dyed tussah silk, alpaca tops, bamboo tops and a nice creamy soya fibre.   Gill also included citron flavoured organic chocolate, wooden buttons, a great French cookery magazine (yes, I can understand 90%!) and a lovely hand made card.  Thanks so much Gill, I love it all!!!  If any of you are interested in checking out Gill’s textiles you can visit her Etsy shop, you won’t be disappointed! 

Over the course of the last 5 weeks I have been having great fun felting with the ladies of the Borris Active Retirement Group.  We have covered topics including flat felting, ‘cords, balls and flowers’, simple felt bags using the resist method and nuno felt scarves. 

Mary working the stem of her flower

For our last session today participants are going to be selecting from my stash of beads and buttons to complete the jewellery and other projects they have been working on over the last while and everyone will have the opportunity to felt one last flower or other small item as a wrap up to the course. 

Dorothy and Betty rolling their scarves in harmony

I have had such fun sharing the joys of felting with the women (no men from the group decided to participate!) and considering none of them had ever felted before the work produced has been absolutely amazing!!!  We have decided to have an exhibition and a ‘show and tell’ of all the completed work a little later in the summer.  This will give members who were not able to attend an idea of what they were missing and our plan is to have another session of workshops later in the year as all the participants would like to take their new craft further! 

Una working her beautiful silk chiffon and merino nuno felt scarf

These pictures of some of the women felting are from our session last week (thanks Michael from taking the shots) and hopefully I will have more to share with you tomorrow if I remember to bring my camera with me later today! 

Anne felting her flower

I am still swooning at this wonderful box full of surprises!!!!

My fantastic swap package

I discovered to my horror over the weekend that I only have until the end of this week to finish three sculptural pieces ready for a joint exhibition in June (need to get to the venue beforehand) and complete my submission for the RDS and Crafts Council of Ireland National Crafts Competition.  This has really put me under tremendous pressure especially as yesterday the large piece that I was working on turned into a total disaster and eventually I just cut it up in frustration.  Imaging then my delight with this beautiful upcycled box of gifts from Jasmine aka Natures Whispers that I recieved as part of the Spring Clasheen Crafty Swap, it really made my day seem brighter!  It is hard to describe how perfectly Jasmine captured my personality and likes and dislikes when preparing this amazing swap package to post to me so I am just going to let some pictures do the talking and will blog properly about the AMAZING and unusual fibres (vicuna, possum, cashmere and angora!!!!!) as soon as I get a chance to try them out!  

I love this text and the hearts!

It is also incredible to think that Jasmine only started starting felting her amazing nuno scarves earlier in the year having followed my tutorial here on the blog and to say that what she sent me blew me away is an understatement.  The wonderful scarf is felted from merino, bamboo, silk tussah and angora; the silk, angora and bamboo were dyed with daffodils and the merino with lilac twigs from Jasmine’s garden.  Each end of the scarf has beautiful embroidery and shisha mirror work (instructions enclosed so I can try it myself!), I really, really must try stitching again as this extra detail totally finishes the scarf beautifully.  I don’t know if Jasmine has ever seen a picture of me in one of my Blue Fish linen pieces but I have collected a whole collection of pieces in combinations of straw and green and this scarf compliments them perfectly!  Check out my Flickr photos to see more pictures of this fantastic bundle of gifts and see what else was enclosed in the beautiful upcycled box but for now I leave you with a couple of images of my amazing new scarf!!! 

Beautifully felted and embellished scarf from Jasmine

Stunning detail

‘Spring Swap’ update

Just a very short post today to let any of you who don’t already know that the Spring Clasheen Crafty Swap deadline has been extended allowing all of us (me included!) to post out our parcels no later than Friday 14th May!  Check out the group on Flickr over the next couple of weeks to see all the fantastic goodies that are winging their way around the world brightening up someones day and sharing our love of fibre and crafting.  I have a hectic day lined up today as blogged about yesterday over at Clasheen Uncut and if you want to enter a competition for a fantastic nuno felt top by Chrissie details are also over on the companion website!  I promise that wet weather or not pictures WILL be taken tomorrow and uploaded to the web and I will also have details of an exciting vessel or bag workshop that I am facilitating at the end of the month.

American update, new online store and Spring Swap partners are here!

I am just finalising the Michigan leg of my felting trip in October and hopefully over the weekend will be putting everything together for the West Coast side of things.  This is such an exciting time for me and I can’t wait until I meet many of you in the flesh as last!!!  As soon as things start to get confirmed I will be updating the workshop page here (boy does it need an update!) and I will also be launching my new online boutique over the next few days, busy, busy times as per usual!

Spring Swap Partners are now assigned over at our Clasheen Crafty Swap group but if I have left anyone out by mistake please Flickr mail me asap so that I can add you to the swap! If this is your first time swapping with up why not check out parcels given and recieved in previous swaps to spark your immagination?

Please remember that for this seasonal swap we will make one special gift for our swap buddy using Spring as our inspiration. Let your imagination run wild sparked by all the freshness of the season, ideas to consider include light weight scarves, jewellery, hand painted cards, homemade floral scents or body products, fabric covered art journals, anything at all with a spring theme or colour.

We will also include a couple of inexpensive extras (possibly from our stash) and a receipe for a light and appealing main course dish which we enjoy cooking ourselves at this time of year.

Don’t forget to update your likes and dislikes and please contact your partner directly during the swap to touch base and check their address.

Now for the list – have FUN!

tisserande – Clasheen
jschubertdesigns – feltangel
makeyourpresentsfelt – Seldom Scene Farm
annabie – ChrissieD
Elise-Filt – edwardsdawn41
Woollove-Fiberart – lorena ferreira
kerryfelter – villagefiberworks
brenna42001 – AKPeacecat
viltalakim – Waschbear
tolu2005 – taylynnsbean
budda seed – sew.vanilla
vashonsnooze – Marian Florcita
(Natures Whispers – Clasheen as well, just waiting for you to sign up to Flickr Jasmine!)