Loads of felting news to report …

Yesterday was

Felted fingerless mittens
Felted fingerless mittens

 a day and a half!  Early in the morning my delivery of short fibred merino arrived from Filzrausch and boy was I excited.  I really wanted to get stuck in and felting straight away but I knew that I had other things that I just had to get sorted.  As soon as I logged on to the internet I had a message from Mehmet and thank goodness his visa and passport had finally been approved from the Irish Embassy in Ankara and he is available to travel!  This has been an absolute nightmare for me (wasn’t telling everyone) because I had never appreciated what it entailed getting your visa if you are travelling on a Turkish passport and I was afraid we might just have run out of time.  Anyway, all is well for the two workshops, Mehmet arrives next Thursday with the rug bases, the rolling mats are on their way and the wool is also on it’s way, from Wollknoll in Germany.  Margo made a rug with Mehmet last year and has some great images of the group’s work in progress and the finished rugs on her blog, they really take me back to the course Carmen and I did last September and I just want to get stuck in again! 

My second gorgeous event was opening my bartering package from Anna.  The scent was amazing as I opened the box and a fantastic selection of hand made cosmetics lay ensconced in tissue paper, bath bombs, lip balm, hand cream and after shave balm, I was blown away by how amazing they were!  We are now going to trade some more of these goodies in exchange for a felt scarf or necklace, what a nice way to do business.

Next on the adgenda was the tidy up I am trying to give the whole house, not just for my guests staying during Mehmet’s course but for my own sanity as well.  On January 1st I signed up to an amazing system at FlyLady designed to prompt me to organise my day and sort out my mess, I think that it could be working but we will just have to wait and see!  At the moment I am just doing the baby steps but check it out because if any of you are messy and a procrastinator like me you NEED to see this!  Do I sound like a crank??

Talking about procrastinating I finished the mobile that I had started the night before, check it out on my Flickr account, also two of the bags that I finished.  One of the other things that I really need to get a handle on is my Etsy shop.  I did make my first sale last week, horray, but I just need to really concentrate on uploading more items and getting a good shop front going.  The big problem is that you can’t upload images from Flickr and it seems to use a lot of battery power uploading from the camera, hopefully I will get it streamlined soon.

Eventually I got to try out the new wool, brilliant.  I tried a necklace first and then was inspired to make the fingerless mittens pictured.  The wool is so beautiful to work with, very soft and tactile and amazingly fast to felt.  These were the first mittens that I have made and had I thought about it better in the laying out stage I could have saved myself a lot of time by making them both at the same time.  This would have entailed laying out a much longer length of fibre wrapped resist and felting to the stage where I cut out the hole for my thumb.  At this stage I could have cut the hollow tube in two meaning that the mittens would only have to be finished seperately for a couple of minutes.  I would also have the advantage of both mittens having the exact same thickness, as it is one is a little thicker than the other because I was too lazy to weight the wool!  Ah well, will just have to make another pair!!

Felted sign and Happy Holidays!

This evening I am planning on making a felted sign to hang at the top of my lane.  I have been debating for some time what to put on it, Clasheen, Felting Studio, Studio, Nicola Brown, Felt, any ideas???  I would like to hang it up whenever I have an open house or a workshop happening, just something personal that would be a marker for people trying to find my rural retreat!  The technique that I am going to use is the Osman technique, basically what Mehmet Girgic teaches at his workshops but I will not full the felt to the degree necessary for a rug, just enough to have a large piece suitable to hang outside in all that the Irish weather can throw at us. 

Happy Holidays to everyone, whether you celebrate Christmas as we do or just take a few days break to recharge the batteries!  Thanks to my sister Lizzy, husband Paul and my nephews and niece for a great couple of days spent celebrating the occasion at their comfy house in Co. Wicklow.  My mother and I travelled up together and we all met at my other sister Suzanne’s house for Christmas day.  Lizzy and Suzanne live aout 5 minutes apart so the few days were spent travelling between the two houses, catching up on all the news, giving out our Christmas presents and of course eating some great food!  Lizzy and Paul’s children are now old enough to really enjoy the buzz around Christmas but not too old to be cynical about all the hype so it was nice to see them all so excited about the whole experience.

I really tried to make most of my own presents this year, felted scarves, home made cranberry relish, chicken curry, covered notebooks etc. and bought other craftspeople’s work if I felt the recipient might already have an overdose of my felt!  The response that I got to the hand crafted presents was great, it definitely is nice to make something personal for someone and I think that most people also appreciate the effort that you go to when selecting the gifts.  From the other perspective I was really happy with the presents that I recieved myself, thanks to everyone for the great things that you gave me, I am actually writting this post on the new (secondhand but very fast!) laptop that I got from my mother.

Stiffening felt and exchanging handmade items.

Many thanks to Nancy in San Francisco who suggested using either dissolvable interfacing or cellulose paste as a stiffener for felt.  It is great to be able to pose a question on this blog and get an answer almost immediately from the other side of the world! 

Speaking of the other side of the world, would anyone be interested in signing up to a craft swap if I organised it, exchanging something simple and hand made possibly with a festive theme?  I thought that we might get a group of us together and make an item or two for a swap buddy (think I am becomming obsessed with swapping) and possibly include a recepie, obviously the idea would be to receive something nice in exchange!  Please reply to this post if you think that it would be a good idea and I will put a challenge together if at least 10 people want to swap.

Continuing the handmade theme, check this out, I have just signed the pledge. I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

On the felt side of things I have been doing a few experimental pieces incorporating either cords or tails and will post a couple of images here tomorrow or on Tuesday.  I really need to knuckle down to the felting as Alan and I will be going away for a couple of days soon and I need to complete my work for ‘Breaking Out’.  It is still not sure if my work will be in the exhibition yet and I must say that I am a little worried in case I do not make something that the curator is happy with.  Anyway, I am delighted to have got so far in the process but have to admit that I will be really disappointed if my work is not included. 

Sylvia, my swap buddy from ‘Bag Lady Swaps’ has now received my package and thankfully seems to be happy with the colours and bag, this is despite my dreadful sewing.  Click here to view the images that she has posted to the group forum.