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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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 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!

ArtL!nks project started and pretty hectic week ahead once more!

You may remember that I was lucky enough to recieve a E1000 ArtL!nks bursary earlier in the year and yesterday morning I started the project which should result in two large felt sculptures, one columnar and about my own height, one pod shaped.  I have 4 weeks (broken down into 28 days as I do have some other committments to fit in as well) in which to complete the pieces and will be documenting everything on a seperate blog which still has to be set up, I hope to have that live by the middle of next week!  For the moment I am just keeping my head above water until next Monday is out of the way, in brief I have the project to work on, am attending a three day workshop with Hungarian felter Vanda Roberts at Carmen’s studio from Thursday to Sunday, will be co-hosting the Captain’s Dinner Dance for the Golf Club on Friday night, starting another felting project with Borris Active Retirement on Monday afternoon and then chairing the Ladies Club AGM at the Golf Club on Monday night, whew, I am tired even thinking about all of this! 

Fun felt bag, possible shape for one of my first felting kits!

Once this is over however and I hand over the Lady Captain’s position I should have a little more head space in which to finalise my new felting kits, blog properly, enjoy my felting and enter proper discussions with US friends about some exciting workshops which may be happening in the Californian area during Spring 2011!!!  I knew that I couldn’t keep away from US for very long, exciting times ahead!

Next post will contain pictures of the initial days of my ArtL!nks project, until then adieu.

New tutorial, felting kits and photos as promised of the nuno felt scarflettes

At last I have my flat felting tutorial written and can start to put up my felting kits for sale in my Etsy store!  It needed the craft fair this weekend to really focus me, not having access to a printer at the moment is a big pain but hopefully next week I can get out to buy a new one.  Eventually I have decided that each flat felting kit will include simple instructions  (with a more detailed version here online), bubble wrap, wool batts and some nice extra bits and bobs of fibre to add surface decoration and design to the felt.  This afternoon I am going to email the instructions to my good friend Jan and hopefully she will be able to have some printed for me to include in the kits for this weekend at Raheen Craft Fair.

Meanwhile, the weather has been very dull this morning, rainy and cold, so forgive my photography skills if these images look a little bit grey and lacklustre.   As promised here are the two nuno felt scarflettes made using the same silk, one with turquoise and the other with hot orange merino.   

Detail of orange nuno felt scarflette

 

Detail of turquoise nuno felt scarflette

 

I love the surface texture of these pieces, the silk seems to be a little thicker than chiffon but not as thick as ponge, I’m not sure exactly what it is but I think the end result is nice!

Weneslydale tops, hand dyed silk laps, matching hand dyed gauze, beads and other bits and bobs!

I had an amazing time yesterday at the Knit and Stitch show in Dublin.  Unfortunately because of my fever I was only able to attend for the last of the four days but from a consumers point of view it was heaven!  Apparantly Thursday and Saturday were manic but Friday and Sunday had plenty of attendees although not so many that you couldn’t get around comfortably.  It was great to catch up with felting friends and give a hand out with a couple of demos at the Feltmakers Ireland stand, the rest of the day was spent relaxing and picking up some gorgeous goodies that are otherwise difficult to find in this rural part of the world. 

My mission for the day was to find and buy only unusual felting supplies and notions that I can experiment and have fun with over the next few months, I didn’t want to be arriving home in the evening saying ‘if only I had bought ….’ which is what happened last year when I left behind some amazing silk laps.   With that in mind first to go into my bag from Oliver Twists were two huge hand dyed silk laps,  hand dyed cotton gauze, cream gauze and an extremely expensive but gorgeous piece of hand dyed silk velvet.  Next I moved on to Art Van Go and bought some discharge paste and a few iridescent Markel paint sticks before picking up some beautiful soft Weneslydale roving from Warren of Craftspun in Naas.  Before a quick pit stop for coffee I stocked up on oodles of beads (some to go in the felting kits) and then had a brilliant discovery at the Woolfish stand, stunning resin pins that make great closures for cowls and wraps, no sewing, yipee!  Louise at Woolfish also had some stunning large hand turned wooden buttons, apparantly the ones that I bought were made from Laburnum and they also smell great.

I’m off now to prepare the first batch of Icelandic wool for sale and hopefully by the morning the rain will have stopped.  I NEED to take some pictures outside where the light is good (my farmhouse windows are very small) in order to get the wool and the kits up on Etsy.  This evening I am also giving a felting demo to some ladies in the ICA (Irish Countrywomens Association) so need to get myself together now and pack the truck before having some food and hitting the road!  ‘Till tomorrow …..

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