We’re almost there with the book and check out these hats of Dawn’s!

Last night I finally finished as much of the book as was humanly possibly and pushed the button to start uploading the files to Chrissie, pity I didn’t realise that I had previously set the computer to switch off after 5 hours, hmm! Anyway, it’s back on now and hopefully by tonight the book will be ready to publish!!! I’m off for another session of CRAFTed today and then I’ll be shopping and organising in preparation for Dawn’s arrival tomorrow morning, I’m so excited!!! I can’t imagine how difficult her packing must be, check out this picture of the wonderful hats she’ll have at Borris Town Hall on Saturday and Sunday for our two ‘Fantastic Felt Hats’ workshops!!!!!

Dawn's amazing hats ready to pack for Ireland!

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Taking pictures of nuno felt and an opportunity to help make a difference

OK, it’s not totally blowing up a gale outside but it is pretty difficult to take pictures of completed pieces for the book without everything almost heading over the fence and into the field, nuno felt can be so lightweight, help! I’ve been trying to wrap up so many things today, I’m not finished by a long shot and in fact can’t see much light at the end of the tunnel yet. I have however managed to get some washing done and out in the wind to dry and shortly I’ll be taking a break before returning to the computer in the evening. I feel like I’m tied to the thing at this stage and would love to be in the studio felting instead, not a hope this weekend unfortunately!!!

I'm offering a large collaged nuno wrap in colours of their choice to the winning bidder in the Helping Herd auction. This image is just to illustrate the sort of wrap I'm talking about!

For those of you following me on FB you may have seen that I’m part of the Helping Herd, a group set up to raise funds and help Chris and Christina Silver of Earth Art Cashmere to get back on their feet after a fire devestated their farm in Novia Scotia. An online auction is currently underway (until midnight on April 27th) for some beautiful hand made goods and supplies that have been donated, I’m offering a large collaged wrap which I will felt to order for the winning bidder. Please consider donating something to help this worthwhile cause or placing a bid on one of the items that are already online, I wouldn’t blog about this if I didn’t feel it was important to support other fibre producers and artisans when something as dreadful as a fire has impacted on their livelyhood.

Finally for today I’m heading back outside to try and take some photos again, wish me luck!

Special offer, $10 off ‘From Felt to Friendship’ through until 27th February!

Great news from Blurb in my inbox this morning, $10 discount when you order ‘From Felt to Friendship’ through until 27th February if you enter the promo code SAVE10 when you checkout!!! I’m adding Blurb’s terms and conditions for the offer after the following preview of the book.

*Offer valid through February 27, 2012 (11:59 p.m. local time). A USD $10, GBP £6, EUR €7, CAD $10, or AUD $10 discount is applied toward your product total with a minimum order of USD $50, GBP £30, EUR €40, CAD $50, or AUD $50. Valid for printed books only. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with volume discounts, other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders.

Packing my bags, link to pictures and new workshop announcements!

Well, I just need to spend about another half an hour on the computer and then I am off to pack all my workshop supplies as well as sort out some clothing for my imminent US trip!  I can’t believe the time has finally arrived to hit the road but really with all the work on the book recently as well as trying to sort out things for my solo show in August my brain has just been stuffed to the brim.  I have also just finalised everything in relation to the house and Rex, thanks Alan and everyone else who will be taking turns staying here, walking Rex and keeping  things safe during my travels, you know who you are and you are all MUCH appreciated.

Now, I had been going to write a post about felt accessories and nuno mosaic in advance of my workshops at The Tin Thimble CA, Plainwell MI and Lexington KY but you are just going to have to forgive me, I have no more time.  Instead I am going to direct you to the various sets in my Flickr photos (don’t forget there a couple of pages of sets!),  the images there are by no means an exhaustive grouping of what it is possible to felt but at least if anyone is sitting on the fence about making a last minute decision about travelling to Loomis (there are a couple of places left at The Tin Thimble) this might help you make your mind up!  Please email Emma if you would like to join us or Dawn if you might be able to make Plainwell.

Before heading off I want to remind everyone in Ireland about the fun short workshops I will be facilitating at the Sheep and Wool Festival for the June bank holiday weekend as well as announce a series of workshops for the summer which are going to take place at The Yarn Room in Ashford, Co. Wicklow.  I am pasting the details for these workshops at the bottom of this post but please check the workshop page at The Yarn Room over the next week or so to check the price and further detalis and to book a place, alternatively email Stephanie and she will sort you out!

Finally I want to thanks all of you who have ordered our book, as mentioned before Chrissie and I are THRILLED!!!  Thanks for the wonderful comments we are recieving from those of you who have already recieved your copies, I am SO JEALOUS as I have not got my own copy yet, but roll on Tuesday, it should be waiting for me at The Tin Thimble!  I do intend to blog throughout the time I am away so this is not a firm goodbye, just be prepared my posts may be a little patchy for a while!!!  Adieu.  Now for those workshop details …..

Saturday 16th July 2011

WET FELTING – REVISITING THE BASICS with Nicola Brown

At this one day workshop beginners and improving felters will have the opportunity to revisit the basics of wet felting and learn some simple new techniques to add to their repertoire.  Working with a selection of colourful merino and adding beautiful silk, linen and other vegetable fibres to enhance and embellish the surface design participants are encouraged to bring along any old beads, buttons, ribbons, yarn and other found objects to incorporate into their felt if desired!  Nicola will have a selection of glass nuggets, embellishing fibres and unusual fabric with her and everyone is welcome to include these as surface detail in their felt too.

NB Beginners and improvers wishing to participate in the nuno felt workshop on Saturday 23rd July are encouraged to attend this ‘revisiting the basics’ day as it will be an excellent opportunity to practice laying out the very fine layers of fibre needed to master the nuno felt technique!

Saturday 23rd July 2011

NUNO FELT SCARF with Nicola Brown

At this one day workshop participants will have the opportunity to discover for themselves the wonderful technique of nuno felting.  Learn how beautiful textured effects and ultra lightweight yardage and accessories are achieved by felting together very small quantities of wool with a fabric such as silk or cotton gauze.  A basic silk or cotton fabric is included in the price for this workshop but if participants would like to bring along any additional lengths of silk (minimum 1.8m in length) or rolled edge silk scarves with them Nicola will help them transform these into beautiful textured nuno felt!

NB It is advisable for participants to have some previous felting experience prior to this workshop so beginners wishing to attend are urged to try and make the wet Felting workshop on Saturday 16th July if at all possible.

DATE TO BE CONFIRMED

UPCYCLED, RECYCLED AND FELT ACCESSORY AND INTERIOR ACCENT WORKSHOP with Nicola Brown and Cristina Garcia

Working with materials as diverse as plastic, paper, leather, vinyl, metal, old woollen jumpers, denims and hand rolled felt (to name but a few!) learn how to create wonderful wearable accessories or interior accents for the home.  Nicola and Cristina have a wealth of experience reworking old loved clothing and found objects into beautiful, functional and decorative objects such as jewellery, bags, mobiles or other interior accent items!  Plenty of raw materials will be provided for participants to work with on the day but please bring along items like old beads, buttons, ribbons, yarn, broken jewellery and other found objects from your stash as well as previously felted jumpers and old denims if you have any!  Fancy paper may also be brought as Nicola will have a laminator on hand to help with the creative process and although we will have one to share if you have a sewing machine please bring this along too.

NB To felt a jumper in the washing machine and get the shrinkage you are looking for it is necessary for it to be made from a high percentage of hand washable wool or a wool/mohair/cashmere mixture.  Just bung it and some other clothes in a 40 to 60 degree wash and if you feel it hasn’t shrunk enough run it through a second cycle, when felted you should be able to cut the fabric without the wool unravelling!

New felt vessel, thanks again and latest Wikio rankings!

This morning I started a turquoise and white vessel, the first in a new series which will form the main focus of my solo show this year for the Kilkenny Arts Festival, hopefully I might have a few pictures for you all tomorrow.  It felt great to be laying out my fibres and felting again, the last few weeks have really seen me tied to the computer but now I need to concentrate on getting a little work finished before I head of to U.S. next Monday.  I also want to felt a few new nuno mosaic scarves to bring with me but at the moment all I can think of is one day at a time and I don’t have many of those days or times left now!

Chrissie and I are thrilled with the response to our book so far, THANKS SO MUCH to all of you for your encouragement, support and good cheer as we went through the laborious process of documenting our work and putting thought to paper.  Your messages of congratulations and ordering of books has been wonderful, thanks Linda Koch for being the first ‘outsider’ to order a copy, only 8 minutes after the book went live so that gave us a great big boost last night!!!  If you are interested in getting your own copy all you need to do is click on the little picture of the book to the right, select whether you want softback or hardback and click the order button, Blurb deliver workdwide!

I am also pleased to be moving upwards again in the latest Wikio blog rankings!  Thanks Neila for letting me know, at the moment I am in eigth position for the knitting rankings in the UK and Ireland, see my sidebar, but after the 5th May I go up to 5th.  Here is a sneak preview of the new top 20!

1 pennies per hour of pleasure
2 needled
3 Daisie Days
4 Art Yarn
5 Clasheen by Nicola Brown
6 The Woolly Adventures of a Knitting Kitty
7 ysolda
8 Confessions of a YarnAddict
9 Eskimimi Knits
10 Little Cotton Rabbits
11 The Yarn Yard Blog
12 Dyed in the Wool
13 mooncalfmakes
14 All things Socktopus!
15 fourth edition
16 Wendy Knits
17 Purlpower
18 SNOOPYDOGKNITS!
19 Dye Studio Diary
20 glittyknittykitty

Ranking made by Wikio

Michigan workshops and a short felt book update!

I was thrilled this morning to be able to switch on my laptop, connect to the internet without any difficulty and discover that the wonderful Dawn of Felt so Right fame has started a blog, welcome to a whole new world Dawn!  What made it even more exciting was to see what Dawn’s first post was about and revisit my memories of the wonderful ladies who participated in our ‘felted accessories’ workshop at the KIA in Kalamazoo last Fall!!!  I had a total blast facilitating both workshops in Michigan (the earlier two day workshop was complex felt bags) and I am absolutely sure participants I meet at our workshops on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May will be every bit as warm, friendly, enthusaistic and artist as the ladies who made my first visit so special.  I am SOOOO excited to be in this beautiful part of US one more, thank you Dawn for being my friend and making this trip possible again!!!  If you would like to join us and are interested in what we will be felting who not check out the workshop page and then please email Dawn to book your place.

Rounding the point and heading back along the shore line

Yesterday I took an unexpected break from felting and any lingering computer woes.  Alan and I took full advantage of the beautiful  hot weather by escaping for a long walk at ‘The Raven’, a nature reserve right on the Wexford coastline and about an hours drive from Clasheen.  We walked for 6 miles totally, 3 miles through forested dunes and slob land and the return trip right beside the shore line.  I love taking pictures on these walks, everything falls under my eye and may be used as inspiration for a new felt piece in the future!

Writing our book together has made me even more conscious that Chrissie sketches and makes notes about work in progress far more than I do.  Sometimes I wonder if it is because I document so much online that I just don’t write everything down literally, other times I wonder if it is just that I lack discipline, hmm.  Now that my computer is on top form I am starting to enjoy sitting down and writing my part of our collaboration, the whole process has just been SO stressful over the last 4 weeks I was beginning to wonder would we ever get sorted!  Light is at the end of the tunnel however and now that my flights are booked I can really set myself some deadlines and make sure we put it to bed sometime before the end of this month.  I really want to have some copies to bring with me to US and I know we have editors chomping at the bit waiting to review it for some of the textile and craft magazines, we are getting there!

Footprints in the sand

A little about our new book and just a glimpse of some raw materials from yesterday!

Working on our new book has really forced me to write down ideas as they come into my head and document projects on paper more than I would otherwise tend to do, for me a lot of my documentation is through this blog but sketching more is really helping me clarify ideas and leading me to explore them in a more systametic way than I have being doing previously.  Chrissie is brilliant at this anyway and I really look forward to seeing some of her sketches and musings when she comes to stay with me in April for our final efforts to put the book to bed and get it available online.  I don’t want anyone to get the idea our book is going to be the bee all and end all of felting techniques, it’s not!  Rather it is an idea of how we both work as well as a demonstration of how we translate our thoughts and ideas from the inspiration stage into the finished felt item.  

Stunning 50/50 silk merino blend from Cloverleaf Farms

I love gathering up my raw materials at the start of any project, the possibilities seem endless at this stage when all the beautiful fibres and colours are gathered together just waiting to be selected.  Sometimes however, I find that having a wide selection of different fibres to work with can bring on its own worries and often just getting started is challenge enough for one days work alone! 

Yesterday was one of the good days.  In the morning I selected some stunning 50/50 hand dyed silk/merino roving which I bought at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival from the wonderful Joan Berner of Cloverleaf Farms, one of my all time favourite suppliers now!!!  I wanted to use it for a very special project and demonstrate how a small amount of luxurious fibre could create the most beautiful scarf imaginable!  Although I am not showing you a photo of the finished article imagine the glistening sheen of clear glass beads against the wonderful and subtle variations of colour in this blue based combination which Joan has called Sapphire.  I based the scarf’s design and colours on the beautiful blues and greens in the clear waters off La Gomera in the Canaries and Kos in Greece.  Wearing this piece (if I keep it for myself!) will bring back happy memories of holidays shared with Alan, the glass beads are NOT sewn in after the scarf is felted, wait for the book to see how I include them in the lay out stage!!!The second piece I felted yesterday is waiting on my table now to be transformed into a sleeveless vest/wrap type of affair, probably NO sewing again but maybe a couple of judicious stitches around the collar region, I’ll have to wait and see how it drapes once I cut out the armholes and put it on my manequin.  Again I loved gathering the supplies for this one, originally I had a big pile of silk fibre and hankies, beautiful Blue Faced Leiscester, linen fibres (all of these hand dyed) and some different colours of silk chiffon fabric.  In the end I felted this piece using ‘Chili Pepper’ BFL roving from Joan, silk hankies, silk fibre (again from Joan!), two colours of silk chiffon and then added a fine layer of orange merino because I wasn’t sure that I had enough BFL to make the vest strong enough.  Chrissie is really the master at the nuno felted jacket, I did however want to include a wearable piece requiring minimal stitching in the book, I know I could have done a bigger seamless project but really that’s not what I do every day, this type of felting is much more suited to my organic kind of style!  Anyway, here is a glimpse of some of the raw materials before I made my final selection.  Technically this wasn’t a nuno piece having more fibre than fabric, today I hope to felt a highly textured nuno wrap, one of my all time favourite projects! 

Hand dyed BFL and silk from Joan teamed with some lightweight silk chiffon