Blog giveaway, last 12 hours to enter!

Well there are only 12 hours left to enter my first ever blog giveaway. If you would like to win one of the new felt pouch/wallet kits (including the tutorial) that I am offering from my Etsy shop please just hop on over here and follow the instructions to enter, there are 3 kits up for grabs! The winners can let me know if they want a kit especially made up in warm or cool colours, winners announced on Tuesday.

Each kit contains enough materials to make two pouches this size!

Last day of sale and internet connection problems today

Having internet connection problems this morning possibly due to heavy winds so for those of you waiting for an email or a reply to a question please bear with me until tomorrow!  I have decided to leave my few specials on Etsy for today in case anyone else has been experiencing the same problems but tomorrow supplies only will be available there.

Special offers and the power of Twitter as my new boutique felt store goes live!

Exciting news, at least for me!  Although it is going to take a couple of weeks hard work felting new summer stock, photographing work already completed and uploading everything to my new exclusive boutique online store CLASHEEN, as of last night the store is live and I have already made my first sale!!!   

After a lot of soul searching and research, I decided like my good fibre friend Chrissie Day that Etsy is not really the market place for my one off designs.  Big Cartel offers a much more boutique shopping experience and if I were quite honest customers who appreciate hand felted designs are the demograph that I am aiming to attract.  To this end, all my felt wearbales and new interior/exterior design range will be exclusive to the new store although I will still be offering a limited selection of supplies from the middle of May on Etsy.  These will include an interesting  nuno felt scarf kit complete with silk/cotton fabric, merino, silk fibres and an instruction video!  For the next week only I have a selection of experimental felt accessories avaiblable at a discount of 40% off their original price as a stock clearing excercise so if you want to snap up a  bargain head over to Etsy now, these items are sold as seen and anything left after Friday 7th May will be de-listed and not offered for sale again.

I also have two nuno felt scarves/wraps on special offer at my new store and look forward to having regular specials and seasonal items as we progress through the year.  It is going to take a little getting used to but the system as operated by Big Cartel appears to use a simpler way of uploading items than Etsy (not complaining about Etsy, it served its purpose for me).   I discovered this afternoon that once an item sells it is still visable to the public although it does say sold out if you click through to the description.  This is something I need to keep an eye on but once I get the hang of things I think that it will be a lot quicker and easier to maintain the store as well as having a much more luxurious and individual look about it although I’ll let you all be the judge of that!

Lastly the power of the internet is a wonderful thing.  When the boutique store finally went live late yesterday afternoon I posted a quick tweet for all of you following me on Twitter, congratulations to Olwyn who is now the proud owner of this gorgeous felt vessel! 

Felt vessel combining C1 and Herdwick

Large experimental landscape felted at last!

Yesterday I was able to finish the large felt landscape that I had started at the beginning of the adverse weather conditions recently.  You may remember that I had been playing around laying out loads of different fibres and broken up pieces of cobweb felt for my design, it had been languishing for the last couple of weeks damp in my bath!  

Landscape prior to reworking

 

Anyway, here is a photo o f the piece yesterday morning before I got down to re-wetting and fulling the felt.  At this stage it measured approx 85cm X 49cm and you can see that the sky area looks slightly pinkish.

I boiled up a couple of kettles (STILL no heat or hot water!) and immersed the felt into a basin of hot soapy water.  It took a bit of dunking and squishing before the fibres totally absorbed the water but once I was sure everything was saturated I soaped heavily and then rolled the piece firmly using my old bamboo blind.  Because I was aiming for a nice textured surface and didn’t want too even a surface I didn’t roll for too long, just enough to totally felt the piece and once finished the completed landscape now measures 77cm X 49cm. 

The finished landscape

As you can see from this picture of the finished landscape the sky now is white with grey wisps for clouds and extremely pale pink strands of gauze streaking it in places.  It is hard to describe how like the mountains surrounding me these colours actually are.  Where my farmhouse is situated at Clasheen the Blackstairs Mountains  almost enclose me and every morning I am woken up to an ever changing view for inspiration! 

Silk threads highlight the hills

 

The finished landscape is now ready for a new home!  To me it is completed as it is and would be a wonderful reminder of Ireland for a special friend.  I do think however that if there are any needle felters, embellishers or stitchers out there it would also make an amazing base to work your magic on!!  I am going to put the landscape up for sale in my Etsy store as soon as I have had a coffee (internet connection permitting) and am happy to include some extra fibres if anyone would like to play around and embellish the surface some more.

Back in the felting saddle at last and new companion blog Clasheen Uncut!

I had just written a long post about my first felting workshop o f 2010 and aggh, the internet connection went while I was uploading the data and for some obscure reason the whole post was lost bar the tags.  Forgive this extremely short and abbrigged version but I am terrified that the link will go again and  just want to update you on Saturdays return to the felting saddle!!!

On Saturday printmaker and papermaker Sylvia joined me in the morning for her first felting experience.  Luckily the water was back in time although since I’ve been on the computer this morning my immersion has given up the ghost, loads of loud electricial noises and now the wretched thing appears to have stopped functioning.   Thankfully the kitchen range keeps the downstairs of the house realtively warm while the central heating is not working so once Sylvia had selected her wool this is where we decided to lay out her vessel.  She used a combination of apple green, teal and white Icelandic wool with some blue mulberry silk, white cotton gauze and white tencel tops (at least I think that they are tencel!) for surface decoration.

Sylvia working the inside of her felt vessel

 

If any of you would like to have a go felting with the Icelandic wool it is GREAT for vessels.  I am offering simple felting kits and wool for sale through my Etsy shop, just let me know if there is any special colour that you require. 

Sylvia with her beautiful completed felt vessel

 

I am sure that you will all agree Sylvia’s finished vessel is amazing, what a great first felting project. 

Before the internet connection gives up the ghost I just want to announce my new blog Clasheen Uncut!  This is the place where I will ramble about all my non felting projects so why not pop over and have a look if you can spare the time.

Felting kits for sale in my Etsy store at last!

My first batch of felting kits are finally up for sale in my Etsy store as of this afternoon.  I can’t believe how long it has taken to get to this stage, really I am kicking myself they were not up earlier but truthfully I just seem to have been totally snowed under with other important things as you may have guessed from my recent posts! 

Some of the wool for my new flat felting kits

Each kit contains between 110g and 120g Icelandic wool in mixed colours, a small bag with various embellishments which might include beads, buttons or fancy yarn, bubble wrap and full written instructions on how to make your flat felt masterpiece.  The kits make ideal presents for crafty male and female friends, both adults and children alike.

After Christmas (not going to be too ambitious about the date this time!) I will also be offering nuno felt kits, felt jewellery kits and simple felt vessel kits.  Realistically I need to write up clear instructions for all the tutorials, order in  more silk for the nuno kits, cut out resists for the vessel kits and basically take some good images of each individual kit to upload to Etsy.  The weather has been so bad here recently that I have not been able to take individual shots of the flat felting kits (they kept flying off the table this afternoon in the wind!), at the moment I only have the one photo but in the absence of any others I guess it will just have to do for now!

New tutorial, felting kits and photos as promised of the nuno felt scarflettes

At last I have my flat felting tutorial written and can start to put up my felting kits for sale in my Etsy store!  It needed the craft fair this weekend to really focus me, not having access to a printer at the moment is a big pain but hopefully next week I can get out to buy a new one.  Eventually I have decided that each flat felting kit will include simple instructions  (with a more detailed version here online), bubble wrap, wool batts and some nice extra bits and bobs of fibre to add surface decoration and design to the felt.  This afternoon I am going to email the instructions to my good friend Jan and hopefully she will be able to have some printed for me to include in the kits for this weekend at Raheen Craft Fair.

Meanwhile, the weather has been very dull this morning, rainy and cold, so forgive my photography skills if these images look a little bit grey and lacklustre.   As promised here are the two nuno felt scarflettes made using the same silk, one with turquoise and the other with hot orange merino.   

Detail of orange nuno felt scarflette

 

Detail of turquoise nuno felt scarflette

 

I love the surface texture of these pieces, the silk seems to be a little thicker than chiffon but not as thick as ponge, I’m not sure exactly what it is but I think the end result is nice!

Combining raw fleece with Icelandic wool and last call for winter workshops

As promised yesterday I am going to post about the rug I made on Sunday from raw fleece and Icelandic wool but before I kick things off just a quick reminder.  There is now only one adult and child place left in either the morning or the afternoon workshop here at Clasheen on Saturday 5th December and if you want to join me this coming Saturday and learn how to make a felt vessel using a resist please email me asap

Now for the low down about the hearth-rug that I made on Sunday.  Basically I was trying to experiment combining raw fleece with carded wool using the ‘Heart Rug’ project in Dutch Felt as my guideline.  It was a little bit like following a cookery recipe because author Ria van Els-Dubelaar recommends using a long fibred fleece but I really wanted to experiment with the Icelandic batts which are now available from my new Etsy store!  In the rug from her book she uses merino to back the fleece and silk fabric as a stabiliser for the final layer on the back.  I decided to use my beautiful Jacobs fleece (a present from a kind neighbour), Icelandic wool for the base and a middle layer of some cotton fabric that Mehmet Girgic packaged my Turkish rug bases in, waste not want not! 

Firstly I needed to decide which colour batts to compliment the cream and dark chocolate brown fleece, I went for my favourite apple green although I did have a bit of a toss-up with turquoise as well!  The deciding factor was that I didn’t know exactly how much wool I would need and I knew I had plenty of the green but not so much of the turquoise, oh what an exact science I make of things!  Selecting which parts of the fleece I would use was fun, I had about 4 different bags with some gorgeous sections of Jacobs and some dirty dags mixed in as well.  Once my choice was made the raw wool was laid on bubblewrap with the shorn side uppermost, sections were pulled apart by hand a little and silk tops and silk hankies inserted in these gaps.  I also laid some silk around the outside edges of the fleece and then covered the whole thing with a one layer of Icelandic wool.  At this stage I lightly wet out the entire and pressed the soapy water through the wool.  Anywhere I saw the colour of the raw fleece through the green wool batts I topped up the green wool before laying my cotton on top of the bundle.  The second layer of Icelandic wool went on next and then I wet the whole package and started the felting process. 

Pictures of work in progress and completion the rug to follow tomorrow!

Felt book, felt jewellery, pricing work and Clasheen Crafty Swap update …..

Following on from yesterday’s post about Carmen’s great new book ‘Dutch Felt’, I did an internet search this morning and discovered that it is available directly from the publishars Zijdar.  When I get a few spare hours (whenever that is!) I am planning on trying out Ria’s ‘Heart rug’ project incorporating raw sheep’s wool, silk fabric and merino fibres amongst others.  This looks like the perfect time to try once more some of the gorgeous Jacobs fleece kindly given to me by some neighbours this summer, I will keep you posted!

Orange and grey punched felt necklace

Carmen came over yesterday afternoon and her visit provided an excellent excuse to stop tidying the studio in preparation for the weekend workshop and sit down together and string some felt jewellery.  I pulled some of the colourful felt beads that I have made over the last while out of hiding and then spent some time selecting seed beads that would most do the felt justice.  I always find it difficult to finish projects like these and definitely it is the little things that make the difference, it was SO much easier to have a drink and a chat while putting some of these items to bed once and for all! 

The pictured orange, grey, black, white and hot pink necklace put some of my punched beads to really good use.  Normally I would not seperate these type of felt beads with anything, just string them together in a line but for some reason these screamed out to me to use cheery orange seed beads as dividers.  I like the effect and went on to make some earrings with the other punched beads that I had in my stash, you can check them out on Flickr and some are already up in my Etsy shop.

Speaking of Etsy, how do you price your work???  I am totally aware of the current financial situation globally and while I don’t want to undervalue what I am making I also definitely don’t want to overprice pieces and make them unaffordable to buy.  With this in mind I am constantly comparing dollar prices with euros, hopefully you will agree that $45 (E30.33 at todays exchange rate) is not too expensive for the necklace above, it does have 22 layers of merino in every bead and the felt pad which I punched them from took a full day to make! 

Turquoise and coral felt and bead necklace

The other style of necklace that I uploaded today is retailing at $40 (E26.93), I am trying to reflect the time and skill that went into each various piece as well as the artistic merit and uniqueness or sameness of each design.  These prices are an online special and only available through my Etsy store.  If I am attending a craft fair or other event the prices are a little higher to reflect the extra costs accosiated with participating and travelling to shows.

And finally for today ….. partners are at last assigned for the Clasheen Winter Swap.  Many apologies for the week long delay, things are just hectic here and I think that we will extend the posting deadline to accomodate everyone and allay frustrations!  There is still plenty of time to get your packages prepared, after all we are trying to destash as well as make a personal gift so hopefully there will not be too much shopping to do.

Felt flowers and felting kits

This morning I had put time aside to take photos of my new felting kits and put them up on Etsy.  I am SOOOO frustrated as I write because now that I have found my camera I can’t find it’s charging station so uploading them will have to wait until Sunday or Monday when I can borrow Alan’s camera again.  As a result I have spent the latter half of the morning making a selection of felt flowers which are now drying on the Rayburn (range).  After lunch I am going to settle down and add beads, buttons and brooch backs, whatever grabs my fancy for each individual flower.  You know how difficult I find it to do the small sewing projects that finish a piece, wish me luck because I know it will be very easy to get distracted by another more ‘urgent’ felting piece and I really do want to get these flowers finished and ready to go!

Making felt jewellery is really fun, doesn’t take a lot of materials and is a great way to experiment with colour combinations that you otherwise mightn’t use.  Tomorrow I am teaching the felting section of the ‘Pick up your Kneedles’ series of workshops, this is in Tinahely, Co. Wicklow, a gorgeous rural part of the country.  Possibly we will make jewellery at the workshop or maybe participants will want to make some flat felt or a small vessel.  To date several of the participants have attended each workshop and their skills have been progressing very well, each time is a mixed bag of experience but whatever we make we will definitely have fun!