Sample felt landscape

After I finished my new inventory list for Duckett's Grove this morning I felted a sample landscape prior to laying out the big wall hanging with the pupils in the Gaelscoil this week. I was a big concerned in case we had worked our prefelt too much, in fact everything came together nicely so I'm confident now that things will work out very well for the children.

This first collage shows both the front and back of my sample prior to felting. The design is very simple (I wanted to work out the shrinkage rate), drawing is definitely not my strong point but I think that the linen, silk and milk protein fibres I embellished it with help to bring the whole piece together. Because the prefelt has already started the fulling (shrinking) process we won't need to lay out the wall hanging much larger than we want the finished piece, it's going to be big enough anyway to roll and turn so any little help is gratefully accepted.

The second collage shows both sides during the felting process.

The final picture shows the front of the landscape after felting. Please keep your fingers crossed for me and the children this week that the big picture will come together as easily!



Felt landscapes incorporating silk velvet and a question about signing your textile art

Yesterday I finished felting a series of felt landscapes which I am hoping will be selected for inclusion in the Blueprint Christmas Exhibition, fingers crossed please!  It was one of those days when everything seems to go right on the felting side of things, the velvet crinkles wonderfully when felted with the short fibred merino and the simple white frames and off white mount show off the landscapes just to my liking.  Of course that doesn’t mean the people curating the exhibition will feel the same but at least I am happy with what I produced.  My new lables also came in handy as I was able to attach one to the back of each piece of felt, that leads me to the question, what is the best way to sign a framed piece of textile art?  Any suggestions eagerly awaited!

Thanks and a few pictures of completed felt from this week

Thanks Dawn, Nancy, Elizabeth, Lois, Annie and Lyn for responding to my last post!  I like the idea of making my own lables so I am going to look into designing one clearly giving the message I want to portray but in the interim I have ordered some iron/sew on lables just printed with my name and blog address.  They are already on their way from local business MyStuff (great service, posted on the day I ordered them!), a company which I had never heard of before but Carmen discovered the other day.  The only problem I had on the website was that while I wanted to order the large lables with 3 lines of print (name, blog address and tag line) and this should have been possible there was no form to do so.  Obviously I could have rung the company but to be honest I am so short of time I just opted for the 2 lines of text and I can send them an email or ring another time if I haven’t got it together at that stage to make some myself.

Beautiful texture in the felted silk velvet

The weather improved yesterday and it is also dry at Clasheen today although for how long I ask myself considering the rain and wind we have been having for the last few days.  I managed to take a couple of bad pictures of some framed pieces this morning so many apologies about the quality.  The light is difficult to shoot accurate colours in and as I don’t have a light box or any professional equipment please bear with me.  This piece is an abstract landscape, I absolutely adore the highly textured effect of the felted silk velvet!  Interestingly Kim Winter posted about felting with silk velvet the other day on her great blog Flextiles and I read the post in the evening after I had spent the day finishing and framing my pieces.  Great minds think alike???  I won’t say fools seldom differ!  Anyway, like Kim I had previous experience or rather lack of successful experience when I experimented with felting velvet before.  I know that it is possible to trap it by laying fibres over the top but wanting a clean surface I decided to try once more using silk velvet, I thought that this was what I used the last time but maybe it wasn’t, I had got the fabric as a present so didn’t know the exact fibre content.  Initially I felted a few landscapes with only selected pieces of fabric but for this one used two larger pieces of velvet in a lighter and darker shade of hand dyed green.

Green Fields

I love the simplicity of the design and now am looking forward to stocking up on more fabric, probably from Jean Oliver of Oliver Twists when she brings her luscious supplies to the Dublin Knit and Stitch Show in November.

I also finished one more raw wool bag yesterday and felted another, busy huh?  Below is a picture of the second bag (more in a little album on Facebook), this time with inside pocket, fabulous large vintage button closure and felt handle stitched in.  The third bag that I felted this week used the same resist as the second.  The finished size is a little smaller however because when I removed the resist I cut into the felt in such a way as to include an integrated handle, pictures of this bag when it is dry and has a closure fitted.

Jacob's sheep bag with flap and large vintage button closure

Today I have been procrastinating but unfortunately I can’t for much longer, I’m supposed to be doing my accounts for the year up to December 2010 but I HATE paperwork!  I also need to go and vote in our Presidential election, we have 2 referenda to vote on too so I better get my finger out and log off this computer pdq!!!

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.

Picture of the mosaic mat and more with prefelts and reusing old felt!

As promised here is a picture of the completed mosaic mat. 

The completed mosaic mat

Obviously you can tell from the image that snow has arrived at Clasheen but the unfortunate news is that my water has once more stopped running.  Luckily my heat is OK because the outside temperature has never risen above -2 degrees today, unheard of weather conditions for Ireland although everything looks like a beautiful winter wonderland at the moment!!  It struck me when taking this picture that the mosaic method would work very well if you cut out your shapes as if you were going to sew a traditional patchwork quilt.  This may be some research that I will take up at some stage but for the moment it was a really simple way to use some of my left over prefelt.  Following on from this project I decided to experiment with more prefelt, pieces of my first long loved (but finally wrecked!) cobweb scarf and various bits and bobs of embellishing fibres that I have had in my stash.  Due to my lack of water I also wanted to work some more with Icelandic wool (as it needs loads of soap but not too much water) and melted some snow on the range to keep me going for the moment. 

Silk and mohair/romney highlights

Here is an image to whet your appetite and you can check out my Flickr photos for some more teasers of this landscape.  For anyone wanting to experiment with Icelandic wool I am offering the batts that I work with for sale through my Etsy store, please just mail me if you don’t see the colour that you are looking for!