How I made the felt shrug!

Thanks for all your comments everyone, it is always nice to get feedback.  Here are some brief instructions for those of you who want to give the shrug a try this weekend (could that be you Dawn??)!  On top of bubble wrap and with bubbles facing up lay out a LARGE circle of merino (a bit bigger that the one formed if you create a circle with your arms stretched in front of you and by joining your finger tips together) one layer thick.  I used predominantly one base colour and added splodges of green and some darker merino as well, don’t be too fussed if the shape is  not totally round as this creates an organic feel to the edges.  Place your silk chiffon (in a contrasting or complementary colour) on top of the wool almost but not quite up to the edges (for the ‘Peony’ shrug I used 2 different colours) and then lay a second layer of merino around the edges and in a few selected areas of the silk. 

Back view of 'Peony' shrug

Back view of 'Peony' shrug

I then added some gorgeous space dyed mulberry silk on top of all the areas where wool fibre was uppermost, wet out as normal with tepid water and olive oil soap, placed bubble wrap on top bubble side down and started the nuno felting process.  I did pay particular attention to wetting out all the fibres, rubbing while the layers were flat and then rolling around an insulating pipe for a couple of hundred rolls in various directions.  When the fibres and silk were holding together well but not felted fully I cut out a narrow wedge shape just like a slice of pizza!  Leaving the felt flat on the table I then went round and cut short slits all over the place but always in the direction from the outside towards the center.  Next I sealed the edges of the wedge and the holes with soapy hands, swirled and massaged it gently in a warm bowl of soapy water and then just continued to felt as normal for nuno.  I kept laying it flat again, stretching the holes but being careful not to tear them too much at the edges.  I also stretched the whole shrug so in fact it ended up not a whole lot smaller in diameter than it started.  When happy with the result (I tried it on wet a few times!) I rinsed the shrug in warm water, shaped on my kitchen table and then left it to dry shaped over my new (to me) tailor’s dummy.  Enjoy and have fun making your own shrug, remember that I want to see your pictures!  By the way, this piece in reversible and can also be worn back to front if  you prefer!!

Workshop details and photos of new nuno felted wrap/shrug!

At last I can post more details for Sigrid Bannier’s exciting August workshops!  All the workshops will take place either on site or within walking distance of my studio and farmhouse here at Clasheen, Borris, Co. Carlow.  Inexpensive self catering accomodation will be available at my neighbours newly renovated farmhouse (only 1 minutes walk!!) or participants can organise to stay in B&Bs locally or the one high quality hotel within a 5 minutes drive.  All workshop costs include materials and tea and coffee throughout the day, please bring a packed lunch with you or you can walk through the fields to the local shop if you want to get something basic to eat.  I really think that this will be a FANTASTIC series of workshops.  Sigrid is a great facilitator and so generous with her knowledge, I hope that as many of you as possible will take this opportunity of investing in your felting future and as they say here in Ireland ‘the craic will be mighty’!

Anyway, here are the details and please note that if you want to participate in two workshops there will be a €10 reduction or if you wish to join us and felt for three or four workshops a €30 reduction will apply.  Please also note that the mosaic nuno day is more expensive in order to cover the cost of the silk chiffon we will be using.  A non refundable charge of 50% of the workshop price is payable with your booking to secure your place and the balance to be paid by 29th July.

5th August – Mosaic nuno felt  – Discover the possibilities of creating your own unique fabric for clothing using the mosaic nuno technique. €90

6th August – Incorporating found objects into your felt – Learn how to incorporate natural and found objects into your felt whether as a focal point in a piece of jewellery or to add embellishment to flat felt or 3 dimensional bags and sculpture. €85

7th August – Incorporating found objects into your felt  – Learn how to incorporate natural and found objects into your felt whether as a focal point in a piece of jewellery or to add embellishment to flat felt or 3 dimensional bags and sculpture. €85 

8th and 9th August – Felt lampshades – a two day workshop – Sigrid’s pictures speak for themselves if you want to learn how to plan, design and create quirky and stylish lampshades or wall lights! €160

Sigrid's flower explosion lampshade

Sigrid's flower explosion lampshade

Nuno mosaic scarves made at a workshop Sigrid tutored in Italy

Nuno mosaic scarves made at a workshop Sigrid tutored in Italy

Please email asap or call me on 00353 (0)87 2789740 if you wish to reserve your place!

And now on to some pictures of my latest nuno felt project, a simple but striking lightweight wrap or shrug.  This developed from an idea that I had when creating some flower corsages the other evening; what would happen if I enlarged the size of my circle, cut out a wedge as per the corsages and then manipulated the felt into a collar or shrug??? 
'Peony' - my new nuno felt wrap

'Peony' - my new nuno felt wrap

I was thrilled with the results and here I present my second shrug which I have called ‘Peony’.  The photos really don’t do the colours justice (it was overcast and raining when I shot them) but I thought that you might like to give this a go for yourselves when you see how simple it is!  Check out my Flickr images for the side and back view and please email me some pictures if you give this a go yourselves!!