Blogs, nuno felt and our new book, ‘shapeshape’, a tip for pattern making and felting kits!

I intended to write a brief post today but instead I’ll just write quickly!

Because I follow a lot of interesting, creative and sustainable style blogs I never seemed to manage to regularly update the links to them here on Clasheen or add new ones as I find them and subscribe. As a result I always felt that I was never on top of sharing the links with my friends and blog readers so I’ve now set up a board on Pinterest titled ‘Blogs I love to follow‘. It’s going to take another week or so to upload every one of them (a few are currently inactive so I am reserving them for future inclusion), don’t panic if you don’t see your own blog included until I post they are all updated, at that stage please let me know if you have any recommendations that I may not have already noted. I’d also love if all of you who enjoy Pinterest set up boards for blogs too, there are so many wonderful sites out there that cater to every diverse interest, having a board for blogs you follow is a wonderful way to promote and share each others work!

I’ve started editing and laying out our new book and Chrissie and I have decided on a title too,  ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’. Hopefully that explains exactly what the book is about, we’ll also have an ISBN on this and any future books, this means that in addition to Blurb it can be sold online through Amazon and be stocked in any regular book store, hurrah.

Free-style curved stole, note the asymetrical hemline

You may remember recently I almost had a melt down on the sewing side of things, I love nuno felting, I love creating beautiful individual drapeable and textured fabrics but to date have always broken out in a cold sweat trying to design and felt larger garments. Thanks to several recommendations (thanks Ginny, Sharon et al!) I ordered ‘Shape Shape, Sewing Clothing Patterns to Wear Multiple Ways’ by Natsuno Hiraiwa from the Book Depository, it arrived yesterday. Realistically I want my clothing to actually fit. I don’t like to see nuno garments with big bulges under the armpits etc. and while I love a relaxed organic shape and style I do want things to actually have some style!!! Anyway, I love quite a few of the patterns particularly the sleeveless scarf blouse, reversible French sleeve blouse (I would love to wear it buttoned to the back, great for those of us with a small bust I think!), drawstring low-waist pants, free-style curved stole, reversible circle vest, the reversible wrap skirt and the envelope messenger bag, to be totally objective I do not like the  twist and drape blouse! Anyway, wanting to try a couple of pieces in nuno felt and because my sewing skills are totally non-existent I decided this morning to trace and cut out the free-style curved stole as a pattern first and then cut it out in some drapey jersey fabric I picked up for a song in San Fransisco last spring, any muslin I have in my stash I intend to felt with. For the first time in my life I actually traced and cut out a pattern as instructed!!! Now for those of you who are limited in the sewing department here’s my biggest ever pattern making tip….. cut the pattern from freezer paper then you can iron it to your fabric and cut it out easy, peasy!!!!! This stole is really another take on the style of nuno felt garment many of us are familiar with, a large flat piece of fabric with two holes cut out for your arms that depending on where you cut the holes may be worn in several different ways. The biggest revelation this time was that for Natsuno’s design the armholes are fitted at an angle. Hallelujah, the sample actually fits me although I do think that I would describe it as a sleeveless vest rather than a stole, maybe it is just the fabric I made it in gives this impression, anyway, I like it! This afternoon I’m going to felt some nuno yardage and then make this piece up for real, wish me luck.

Finally for today, Aileen Clarke from Aileen Clarke Crafts has written a great post for anyone interested in exploring some of the felting kits that are available at the moment, thanks for including mine Aileen!!! When I get to adding Aileen’s blog to my new Pinterest board it might just be the wonderful picture of Alistair that I pin, check him out here, isn’t his coat AMAZING??? Also check out Aileen’s beautiful felt pictures inspired by Highland cattle, very evocative.

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Sue’s fabulous felt purses!!!

Today’s post shares pictures of two beautiful purses felted in Michigan by my friend Sue. I first met Sue last May at one of the Plainwell workshops organised by great buddy Dawn Edwards where she chose to felt her first vessel complete with craters, ever since then we have kept in touch via this blog and through Facebook. When I started offering my new felting kits on Etsy Sue ordered one in a beautiful soft butterscotch shade, don’t forget you can custom request your favourite colours and I’ll oblige you if I can! I also included two buttons, one vintage and the other a lovely shiny kind of bronze colour with a very interesting opening where you sew it on.

Sue's beautiful clutch complete with vintage button

For her purses Sue combined the butterscotch fibre from the kit with some wool and hand dyed locks she already had in her stash, laid out some silk scraps on top for embellishment and added the mohair off cuts and cotton gauze, also from the kit. Once felted she added some machine stitching to both the purses and a long leather shoulder strap to one, aren’t they FABULOUS??? I can’t wait to meet Sue again at the 2012 felting workshops in Plainwell on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th May, then I’ll be able to hold the purses and admire them in all their glory!!!

Sue's gorgeous leather and felt shoulder bag

Felting kit winners!!!

Thanks SO MUCH to all of you who entered the felting kit giveaway, you definitely gave me some nerve wracking hours today as I tried to collate the entries and make sure that no one got left out of the draw! Eventually, between comments on the blog, new likes, comments and shares on FB as well as shares on your personal blogs the final tally was 105 entries, whew!!! I transfered all the names from the various methods (people could enter several times as you well know by now) into a numbered list and used Physic Science to randomly select the winning numbers.

The winning names matched to the numbers are as follows….. 99 – Tracy Dalke (comment on blog) 5 Gay Moller (comment on blog) and 62 Rosemary Finlayson (share on FB), congratulations!!! Please can you all email me with your full contact address and let me know if you would like a ‘cool’, a ‘warm’ or a ‘clashing’ coloured felting kit, I’ll be putting them together first thing tomorrow morning to go out in the post after Borris Market on Friday.

For those of you who are interested in trivia I think that Gay and Rosemary both live in NZ and Tracy is in Montana, the biggest percentage of entries came from the U.S!

Blog giveaway, last 12 hours to enter!

Well there are only 12 hours left to enter my first ever blog giveaway. If you would like to win one of the new felt pouch/wallet kits (including the tutorial) that I am offering from my Etsy shop please just hop on over here and follow the instructions to enter, there are 3 kits up for grabs! The winners can let me know if they want a kit especially made up in warm or cool colours, winners announced on Tuesday.

Each kit contains enough materials to make two pouches this size!

Blog giveaway and hat workshop update!

Finally, finally, my felt pouch/clutch kits are assembled, packaged, the first batch are available from my newly re-activated Etsy shop and I’ve just returned from posting the first order off to U.S.! It’s amazing how tiring it is to get everything sorted, sounds silly I know but you try to track down clear plastic bags of a suitable size, weigh the wool and gather the mohair off cuts, write the tutorial so that it’s easily understandable, locate cardboard bag toppers and bubble envelopes when you live in the sticks and then tell me it’s not a tiring job!!!  Eventually I got a big batch of freezer bags locally (thanks to some very helpful shop assistants who found them in a store room I think) only to discover that they were exceptionally flimsy, ah well, they were extremely good value and they will make the packages lighter to post!

The bag toppers I made today

The bag topper issue I solved by editing a template from Office online. In the future I’d love to have a really personalised one that I designed from scratch but this year I don’t want to be distracted from getting my work and supplies out there just because I can’t have every last thing perfect. The kits will also be available from Borris Market every Friday to compliment my new range of felted items and I’m hoping to build up a selection of tutorials with time, first steps first though.

To celebrate the fact that I have finally got it together and reached one of my January goals by launching the kits I would like to have a blog giveaway and offer 3 people the chance to win one for themselves! The deadline is midnight GMT on Sunday night and you may enter the giveaway by…..

  • Leaving a comment here on this post
  • ‘Liking’ Nicola Brown – Clasheen on Facebook and leaving a comment there saying you would like to enter the giveaway
  • Sharing a link to this post on your blog and let me know you have done so
  • Sharing a link to this post on your Facebook profile and make sure to tag me so that I can enter you in the draw

For each of the above actions that you do I will enter you in the draw once, the more you do the more times you are entered! I’ll use a random generator on Monday to select the 3 winners and post out the kits next Tuesday, remember the deadline to enter is midnight GMT on Sunday 22nd. Start spreading the word!

The ‘Fantastic Felt Hats workshop with Dawn Edwards on Saturday 21st April is now full, woo hoo!!! I’ve started a waiting list for everyone else hoping to participate and make a fantastic hat with Dawn, providing we get enough takers (and there’s no reason why not!) I will organise a second date, possibly on Sunday 22nd but maybe a week day depending on what is easiest for us here. Tomorrow I will be emailing all the confirmed participants and if you are interested in going on the waiting list please don’t leave it too late to contact me!!!

Well that’s all for now. I still haven’t got my studio tidy out and reorganisation finished but I do feel that I am starting to make some progress.  Alan mightn’t agree however and nobody has yet asked me why there is now garden trellis in my larder!

Felting kits for sale in my Etsy store at last!

My first batch of felting kits are finally up for sale in my Etsy store as of this afternoon.  I can’t believe how long it has taken to get to this stage, really I am kicking myself they were not up earlier but truthfully I just seem to have been totally snowed under with other important things as you may have guessed from my recent posts! 

Some of the wool for my new flat felting kits

Each kit contains between 110g and 120g Icelandic wool in mixed colours, a small bag with various embellishments which might include beads, buttons or fancy yarn, bubble wrap and full written instructions on how to make your flat felt masterpiece.  The kits make ideal presents for crafty male and female friends, both adults and children alike.

After Christmas (not going to be too ambitious about the date this time!) I will also be offering nuno felt kits, felt jewellery kits and simple felt vessel kits.  Realistically I need to write up clear instructions for all the tutorials, order in  more silk for the nuno kits, cut out resists for the vessel kits and basically take some good images of each individual kit to upload to Etsy.  The weather has been so bad here recently that I have not been able to take individual shots of the flat felting kits (they kept flying off the table this afternoon in the wind!), at the moment I only have the one photo but in the absence of any others I guess it will just have to do for now!

Ready to prepare the felting kits at last!

I was supposed to be going to a finance workshop (associated with the tourism course) tomorrow but as my fever is definitely back with a vengeance I have decided to stay at home.  Initially I was thinking of laying out and starting a larger garment flu permitting, but since the postman has just arrived with my large order of Icelandic wool guess what I’ll be doing in the morning???  Realistically I need to have a total overhaul of the studio as since I have returned from our holiday it is actually impossible to move around inside it at all, I kid you not.  While Alan and I were swanning around all those gorgeous National Parks and Monuments in Northern California my house guests were tidying the house and putting stuff away in ….. you’ve guessed it, the studio!  It was brilliant to come home to such a tidy and friendly house everywhere else but now that the time has come I am dreading ploughing through all the junk (aka washing, recycling, boxes, fabric, fibre, you know the sort of stuff) that has been accumulating in my workspace for ages.  The light at the end of the tunnel is that hopefully by the end of the weekend my studio will be tidy, my felting kits will be prepared, everything will be uploaded to the internet and all will be calm and organised chez Nicola.  I have also realised that of course I need to upload rug bases and plastic felting mats on Etsy as well as the new wool, why on earth I have been hoarding them here is beyond me especially as I imported them from Mehmet with the express intention of using some and selling the surplus!

The light was not so good today but here is a close up shot of the scarf that I made yesterday.  You can see how nicely the ponge silk has ruched during the felting process and the mulberry silk gives a gorgeous sheen to the surface of the felt.Surface texture and sheen