Merride, Keith and I had a busy but wonderful time preparing for and co-hosting our second felting, eco printing and dyeing retreat at Lake Tahoe. Keith was on top form preparing delicious lunches for us yet again and was instrumental in getting everything brought to the cabin and installed before our guests arrived! It was great to spend creative time with returning participants Julie and Tina as well as meet Shelly and Virgina for the first time. Here are some of the highlights in picture form………..
I’ve been having great fun dyeing cotton gauze under Jan Durham’s expert eye. It’s my first time getting to grips with Procion MX dyes are really they’re not difficult to use, the biggest problem was having to wait overnight (it could have been longer) before opening the bundles and seeing what I’d achieved!!!
I like the idea of dyeing my own fabric to nuno felt into, I don’t think I’ll be doing this every week when I get home but I’ll definitely order some of the colours I like best and make an effort to experiment further. I’m not the tidiest person as regular followers of this blog know by now but I was able to keep myself totally dye free, luckily Jan’s husband Bruce was away yesterday though because if he had been around he mightn’t have been so happy about the dye I managed to spill all over the white counter top!
Once the bundles had time to absorb all the dye I rinsed them in cold then hot water before putting them through a wash cycle in Jan’s great big washing machine. The weather’s been a lot drier today (the rain this last few days has been just like Ireland!) so I was able to hang everything outside to dry. I ironed the smaller scarves but the larger piece in the second picture I decided not to bother ironing! I’m going to nuno felt it into a shift dress hopefully, I had planned to do it here but I actually think I may need to keep it until I get home and then I have my full selection of short fibred merino to work with.
Amongst everything else I got up to yesterday I had the strongest urge to felt one of Chrissie’s new designs from our upcoming book and then decided to dye it using turmeric from my larder!
At the time I should have been preparing 35 starter felting kits (yes, my 26 students multiplied magically) for our first CRAFTed session but I justified the felting by telling myself I could edit the relevant section of the book better if I actually had made the piece myself!!! For this piece I worked with a combination of white ponge silk and white needle punched felt from my stash and used a few torn strips of black silk chiffon for embellishment. Before I started the dyeing process I quickly checked a couple of good blog posts that I pinned recently to my ‘textile techniques to remember’ board, the posts I pinned were from red2white, Art Threads and PAGES FROM MY moleskine. I’m not going to spoil Chrissie’s surprise by revealing the garment design but here are the steps that I used to achieve a gorgeous warm yellow colour!
NB, I just dyed my nuno felt when it had finished felting but prior to drying but if you wanted to dye an already dry piece you would need to make sure it was totally wet through first. Now for my step by step process….
- Mix approx 30g turmeric into a couple litres of hot water and stir, I use turmeric in Indian dishes so had it in my larder already!
- Add a good glug of vinegar, I only had malt vinegar (the brown kind) but I added it anyway
- Plunge your wet felt into the pot and submerge properly, use a wooden spoon to push it down
- Leave for 15 minutes
- Place the pot on top of the stove and allow the liquid to get hotter but not boiling, 15 minutes is what I did
- Remove from the heat and leave to sit for about 30 minutes
- Rinse in water that is the same temperature that you are removing the felt from, rinse until the water runs clear
- Spin (not rinse and spin) your felt in a washing machine to remove excess water or roll it in a towel
- Dry and enjoy!
After the Feltmakers Ireland get together on Wednesday I popped into Borders bookshop in the Blanchardstown Centre, Dublin. Carmen introduced me to the shop and it is really great, loads of magazines, plenty of craft books, big squishy leather arm chairs and a Starbucks on the upper level! I was really looking for something inspirational to buy with either new felting ideas or some crochet patterns that were funky and would work up quickly. Nothing jumped out that I didn’t already have in my library so after about half an hour of browsing I decided to cut my losses (especially in the current financial climate) and head for home. Luckily I glanced in the discount section on the way out and imagine my absolute surprise and delight when I found three of the most inspirational books, each reduced from £12.99 to E4.99! I am going to give you the names and authors of each book, I can’t recommend them enough if you are looking for fun, colourful and interesting books to add to your library and I think that the ideas in each book would be great to try out with both adults and children alike. The books are all published buy Gaia Books and are …..
- Creative Felting by Lizzie Houghton
- Creative Weaving by Sarah Howard and Elisabeth Kendrick
- Natural Dyeing by Jackie Crook
I am off now to try out an idea that I have had since studying the Creative Felting book, results to be published here complete with pictures probably on Sunday or Monday as soon as I return from the Irish Blog Awards.