Happy Thanksgiving, completed pieces from last Saturday’s workshop, size of my new hearth rug

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  It is brilliant to have readers all around the world and really nice to discover whenever any of you have special days that you like to celebrate, to those of you Stateside I hope that you have a wonderful day. 

I promised you pictures of the completed work from last Saturday’s workshop at Clasheen as soon as I recieved them by email so here are Ann’s and Alisons, I think that Lindsay is still embellishing hers so you will just have to wait another while! 

Ann with her beautiful finished felt

If you look closely at Ann’s work some of the smaller leaves are actually three dimensional and stitched in place after the rest was felted.  This picture probably dosen’t do the colours full justice, the leaves really have loads of silk fibres and silk chiffon as surface decoration which gives a beautiful depth to the felt and the background is a warm creamy white.

Alison's amazing felt landscape

Alison’s landscape really came together as the day progressed.   There is a palpable feeling of motion about the wall hanging, I can just imagine the tree swaying in our local mountain breeze!  The colours really remind me of the Blackstairs mountains which surround my house, at the moment they are a beautiful heathery purple (from the heather!) and a rich golden brown from the dying heather.

In response to some queries about the size of my hearth rug, it  measures just over 1m by just under 1m.  This probably translates to about 4′ X 3′ but I don’t have an imperial tape measure that I can lay my hand on at the moment!

Tactile felt hearth rug!

I forgot to mention yesterday that I did weigh the Icelandic wool and divided it into two piles.  There was just over 400g per layer and interestingly enough not much shrinkage overall by the time the rug was complete, possibly even less than 20%. 

Starting to lay out the Jacobs fleece

Cotton fabric between the layers of wool

I should also have said that I used green silk hankies both within the fleece and at several points near the edge of the rug but that the white silk tops around the outside might not be silk at all but is more likely to be tencel.   It felt quite different in the hand but as I don’t know where I got it from so this is just an uneducated guess!

Initially I worked the rug hard (several hours) by hand and sander on the reverse and eventually was brave enough to turn it over and work directly on the top.  It took ages for the fibres to start coming together, possibly if I had laid two layers of wool on top of the fleece and then the fabric as the last layer it would actually have been a lot quicker.  Whatever, another couple of hours later and things were beginning to hang together nicely.  When I was absolutely sure that the fleece was not going to come apart I chanced wrapping the rug inside a piece of cotton and putting it through a wool wash in my washing machine!  With the exception of rinsing Osman technique rugs or making beads from waste felt I never use my machine for felting, I prefer to do everything by hand.  This time however since I was in an experimental mood and the Jacobs is extremely slow to felt I decided nothing ventured, nothing gained.  After it came successfully out of the machine I worked it by hand again without any soap.  Another while later I put it through a 40 degree wash and again worked directly on the surface by hand for approx another 45 minutes. 

My finished hearth rug!

The finished rug is extremely tactile and will make a great fireside rug or else something to keep my toes warm during those cold Irish mornings!  More detailed images of the final result are available in my Flickr photos.