Tha yak was absolutely yummy to felt with! If I remember Blas correctly it was an 80% yak 20% merino mixture but I am going to check this out again. Although the fibre is quite a bit more expensive than merino it is worth every penny and I definitely will be ordering some more for myself in the not too distant future! It was gorgeous and soft to lay out but due to the short fibre length totally different than working with merino. Initially I thought that I would have to be very frugal with the fibre as I only had 61g but in actual fact I made an extremely long but fine scarf and had quite a bit left over! I had kind of decided to try it for cobweb felt but as soon as I discovered how short the fibres were changed this for 2.5 thin layers (2 layers and a bit of topping up in thin areas!) with a lot of silk fibres on the surface. The yak was super quick to felt, within about 50 minutes from start to finish (including laying out and no use of the sander!!) my new winter scarf was ready!
Continuing with my destash, I came across some stunning hand carded rolls that I created one day when I spent some hours hidden away with Carmen’s drum carder. Hiding their light under my table is what these lustreous fibres have been doing in the meantime so off to Etsy they’ve gone to find a slightly more appreciative new home!
Today Alan and I will be going to a drinks party at Shankill Castle, Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny, home of Geoffrey and Elizabeth Cope. Elizabeth is a well known artist and Shankill was actually the place where Alan and I both met, we lived there in the late ’90s and over the Millenium!! After last weeks open house here at Clasheen, Elizabeth kindly suggested that I put a discrete display of my work on one of her sideboards complete with some business cards in time for tonight’s festivities. This was a very welcome offer because you never know at Shankill exactly who will be there or who might be interested in the work!
Anyway, I decided last night to made myself a mosaic nuno neck wrap to wear this evening using some of the gorgeous silk chiffon that arrived at the end of last week from Wollknoll. I chopped and laid out the silk in apple green and forest green with some warm yellow and soft orange highlights. Alan arrived into the studio at that point and declared that the layout was just like army fatiques, not the most helpful comment but in a way he was right! I laid a very fine layer of gold coloured merino over the silk and then laid a layer of a beautiful greeny/gold merino and silk combination at right angles to this. This top colour was one of the melanges that I carded earlier this winter when I had the use of Carmen’t drum carder and I had just been waiting for the proper opportunity to make use of it. The whole neck wrap had been laid out on thin plastic bin liners and when I wetted it out I placed another bin liner on the top. I massaged the package by hand to ensure that all the fibres were fully wet and starting to connect, then I rolled it up and began to roll. Once the wool was starting to migrate through the silk I then replaced one of the layers of bin liner with a long sheet of bubble wrap, I felt that this would speed up the process and so it did. Where the silk pieces overlapped by more that two layers it took a bit longer for the wool fibres to work through but after approx 1000 rolls I was able to start throwing the scarf! This sounds a bit frightening if you have never made nuno felt before but so long as the silk and wool have combined successfully this is the ideal way to full your work. Dipping it into really hot soapy (olive oil soap) water, squeezing the excess gently and then throwing hard onto the bubble wrap meant that the wrap only took a further five minutes to shrink and felt fully. The finished item has a really interesting combination of colours now that the merino and silk have worked through from behind and it will be perfect with my olive and apple green linen/organic cotton and hemp outfit that I intend wearing tonight. Hopefully if I get time in the morning and rain permitting I will take a picutre of it and post it to the blog.
I finally succumbed to the lure of Carmen’s new drum carding machine! To date I have been more than happy with the variety and quality of commercial fibres on offer but finally I have tried mixing my own and have to confess that I could become hooked!! The carder has been left in my possession for 2 days and I am live a devil possessed, my favourite mixture of fibres is merino and mulberry silk and I am frantically carding as much as possible before I give the machine back. I also carded some of the beautiful Jacobs wool that I got a present of, still not sure that all the work is for me but it will be nice to make something with wool that I have washed, picked over and carded myself. The biggest problem I find is that it is very tough on my back and although I love the idea of preparing all my own fibres it is not really the best option for me.
What can I say about the beautiful woven bag that I recieved from Martina in the swap?? Pictures to go up as soon as the weather permits me to take a good image. The colours are perfect for me, a rich russet with black highlights, really beautiful with an organic hemp and cotton outfit I have from Blue Fish in Taos, New Mexico. thanks a million Martina!