I'm a bit bogged down with paperwork and emails this week, submissions to complete for both the Glucksman Gallery (done) and Creative Island for the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (coming along) mean a lot of time spent in front of the computer. It was a welcome surprise to find this lovely picture in my inbox this morning, thanks Roo from Moonwood Farm for your great photography skills. Here are my fabulous students from day two at the Alpaca Fiber Solution stand (generous sponsors of the materials for my Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival workshops) showcasing the gorgeous alpaca clutch bags they felted, lovely memories!!! For those in the know, with the progression of their respective businesses Roo and Elizabeth are now working individually, Roo's yummy fibre is available from her Artfire store and Elizabeth's from her Etsy store!
I’m working on descriptions for the workshops I’ll be teaching in U.S. this spring and hope to have everything sorted and up on the blog by Monday. Time is tight today so I’m just going to leave you with two images of a clutch I stitched up last night, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Marble effect vintage button and loads of lovely nuno texture
Yesterday Alan and I spent a wonderful afternoon and evening enjoying a Christmas get together with friends. I wanted to make our hostess a little felt gift and decided on a clutch with raised detail in a beautiful plum and cerise two sided felt.
Clutch purse with raised detail
I have to stress that I don’t actually like stitching yet and seriously doubt that I will ever but working using the method Vanda taught the result for me is definitely worth a sore neck and a lot of curses! Although the end result looks deceptively simple there is a lot of work involved in making a piece even one so small as this clutch. Aside from the fact that the two sided felt is worked from up to 10 layers of wool a lot of attention needs to be paid when stitching the raised areas, the seams have two different stitches and the bound edges a kind of woven topped blanket style (my words, not Vanda’s!). For this piece I wanted to experiment with forming the purse from the one piece of felt and not stitching seperate pieces together as I have previously done for my other bags. The flap is also integrated into the purse and I had wondered if it would be possible to get a good shape where it folds over due to the thickness and rigidity of the felt. This didn’t prove to be a problem however as once I washed the area where detail was raised (to remove the pencil guidelines) it was not difficult to fold the flap while wet and dry the purse slowly to achieve the top edge. Anyway, I definitely will make some more styles of this clutch as I feel they have a miriad of uses, camera, phone, money or make up!
Stitching still not perfect but I can live in hope!
I had been planning a simple felt vessel workshop for the afternoon of Thursday 5th August but since Kristi (who will be visiting from America!) really likes the little clutch bag I blogged about on Friday have decided that this is what we will be felting instead!!!
Little felt clutch bag
If anyone is interested in joining us we will be starting at 14.00 sharp and working until between 16.00 and 16.30. Basic experience is necessary for this afternoon workshop and the cost will be E25 incl. materials. If anyone has no previous felting experience or is just starting out I am happy to offer the same workshop on another date but taking 3 to 3.5 hours, the cost for this longer session would be E35 incl. materials. Please email measap if you would like to reserve a place on 5th or are interested in another date and time.
Our weather has deterioriated really badly over the last few days, wet, wild and windy! I think that this must be the reason my internet connection has been and still is appalling. Please forgive me if you have been trying to contact me via email or are waiting for a response to anything, I hope all will be back to speed later today or by the middle of the week in the worst case scenario.
One very welcome spin off from my recent adventures in freestyle knitting has been discovering some of the amazing natural and man made yarns now available online or in specialist shops. I felted myself a little clutch bag (purse for our American friends!) on Thursday afternoon and decided to add various yarns from my Blade scarf into the surface layer as an experiment to see how they would felt. The most amazing revelation was the huge success of some Tilli Tomas beaded silk! This is a very beautiful but expensive yarn and I had a small bit of discarded knitting with some cut threads which I really didn’t know if it would be possible to incorporate successfully into my felt. I laid out the bag around a resist as normal, decorated the surface with the scrap of beaded silk knitting, some artificial sari ribbon and some swirls of a Rowan wool/silk yarn and a silk/cotton combination. Some of the beaded silk I covered with the finest wisps of fibre and other areas I left uncovered. I needn’t have worried, the beaded silk felted beautifully and actually needed no covering wisps at all.
Clockwise from left - sari ribbon, silk-wool, silk-cotton and beaded silk
I love the way the knitting has become distorted and the little seed beads gleam and glisten as they catch the light! The sari ribbon also became incorporated really easily and it was actually the silk/wool and silk/cotton combinations that needed a little extra care while rubbing before they felted fully into the wool. I love the effect of all the different yarns in the finished bag and know that it will get lots of use over the coming months, green is after all the colour that I am most often to be seen wearing!
Tomorrow evening I have to show my face at the Golf Club Captain’s Dinner. Being on a budget I was wracking my brain deciding what to wear (it is informal this year which is unusual) when to my absolute delight I found my ‘lost’ black velvet trousers! I managed to pick up an inexpensive plain turquoise top that compliments them perfectly so today I set myself the task of creating some eye-catching accessories to glam up the outfit.
Turquoise and black nuno felt brooch with Victorian button
My mother is lending me a gorgeous diamante bracelet of my grandmother’s and I wanted to make a matching nuno felt brooch using this fantastic Victorian button for the centrepiece. I was lucky enough to pick up the button in a charity shop while in the States and the nuno felt seemed the perfect setting to really show it off! I cut out a rough circle of pongee silk, laid one layer of short fibred merino on top and within a very short space of time the brooch was made. Not being too fussy about the evenness of the circle makes for a simple organic shape and I like this brooch so much that I think I will make some more of them tomorrow morning and put them up for sale!
My next project was a small black evening bag and for this I used an old resist that I already had and made it a little bit smaller. I wanted a clutch (purse for those of you over the water) which was easy to carry and not too big, something just to keep a little bit of money, car keys and the obligatory lip balm that I always manage to mislay! To jazz it up and tie the whole outfit together I have just finished another nuno flower to stitch onto the flap, this time using turquoise silk felted with a deeper turquoise merino.