I have never found felt cords and balls as simple and easy to make as everyone else! When Sigrid and Ingrid Bannier were in Ireland at the end of November I asked Sigrid how she was able to make her cords so strong and even, here is the method that she uses as I understand it. It certainly works for me!! Lay out a horizontal line of wool to whatever depth you want (depending on the thickness of cord required) with all the fibres running in a vertical direction, as most of us would do anyway when making cords. The big difference is in the rolling, if you are right handed start at the left hand end, if left handed start at the right hand side. Roll the fibres on the diagonal instead of in the normal straight line. It is a tiny bit more difficult when visualising it but quite simple to do, rolling in this way really allows the fibres to form a tight cord. Dry roll for a minute or so, wet lightly with warm water and olive oil soap, roll some more and then wet out as required. Keep rolling and dunking in hot soapy water until the cords are to your satisfaction then rinse and leave to dry. If you want to have curly cords just shape the wet rolls around a metal knitting needle, tie with cotton thread to secure and place in the oven on low to dry. If you check out my Flickr images I have a blue necklace in the necklace set that I curled using this method.
Last call to everyone for the Sigrid Bannier felt jewellery making and mosaic nuno workshops that take place on 29th and 30th November at Woodbrook House, Kiltealy, Co. Wexford. Please visit the workshops page for full details and either call me or contact Feltmakers Ireland immediately if you want to book a space. This weekend Sigrid is in Dublin and these courses are totally over subscribed, the Wexford leg still has a couple of places.
This afternoon I made the last felted vessel that I will be bringing with me to Kozo Gallery tomorrow. I love 3 dimensional work and really enjoy exploring the different shapes that can be made starting out with a flat felted parcel containing a resist. Depending on where you cut the hole to remove the resist all sorts of regular or organic shapes can be achieved using the same initial template. The vessel that I made today is in various shades of green merino embellished with a felted cord and some beautiful hand dyed tussah silk. I sandwiched the felt cord inside 4 layers of merino then felted the vessel as normal. Although I was expecting it to stand out very visably in relief in the finished piece I think that I could have used a thicker cord, it is visable but I felted it so much that I think it disapeared into the background a little! My intention is to shave the vessel as soon as it dries and then emphasise the cord with a little judicious stitching of seed beads along the lines. Fingers crossed this will achieve the effect that I am looking for.