First pictures from CRAFTed project!

Only a few words today because I used most of them up with sixth class this morning!!! 

Having fun adding the surface decoration

 

I was blown away by how creative everyone was.  Each pupil was asked to choose two colours to use as a base, then they could select from all sorts of yarn, fibre and fabric to add to the surface layer.  A lot of the girls had brought in beads, buttons, pipe cleaners and all sorts of glitzy embellishments with them and these will be stitched on next Monday before the felt gets stuck to the front of their journals.  A tip for anyone wanting an easy way to decorate a copy, why not stick velcro to the book and then just press the felt to the barbed side of the velcro???  No sewing, I like that! 

Anyone see a favourite colour combination here???

Some of the pieces were fully felted by the end of the session but others will need a little more fulling at home before they are ready to embellish with stitches, beads and buttons.  It is always interesting to see how different people felt at different speeds, one of the last girls to lay out her wool was in turn one of the only girls who ended up with a fully felted piece at the end of the session!

Metallic mesh fabric, thick and thin merino, little buttons to be stitched on afterwards

There is no right or wrong way to felt either as many ways to end up with a good finished result but I always like to share with pupils what I was shown when I started because I feel it gives a good foundation to build upon.  You can check out my flat felt tutorial if you want to see what we did today.

Sewn felt bag

Internet connectivity difficulties persist so hopefully this quick post will beat the rot, it is also FREEZING upstairs where the computer is and I am trying to save my oil for keeping the downstairs warm incl. my studio!

Sewn felt bag with red leather handles

 

I am trying to felt as much as possible during the day, 1 to utilise the fibres in my stash, 2 to continue making Christmas presents, 3 to experiment with different designs and 4 just for the hell of it because I love to!  Part of the benefit of limiting myself to the materials at hand and being confined to base is that I find I am trying to make sure every piece of felt ends up in a finished product and not just the pieces that I am happiest with.  The bag on the left was felted on Tuesday afternoon and started as yardage for felt slippers (tutorial and kit in the making).  When I assessed the design yesterday morning I actually thought that it would be a pity to cut it up too much and decided it would make a much nicer bag for carrying files, books etc.  if only I could get my sewing machine out and bite the bullet on the stitching side of things.  At the time I thought that I had one set of black leather handles left but imagine my surprise when I discovered that I had no black left but instead the most perfect red imaginable to finish this project!  One bag later and not too much stress with the sewing machine I now am planning some Icelandic wool cushion covers and some more bags with both felt and leather handles.  As you know I usually only felt bags using a resist but there is something soothing and mindless about creating felt yardage and for some reason the mood I am in with all this snow this activity seems to suit me perfectly and I think that stretching myself with a bit of sewing in no bad thing either!

First photos from my ArtL!nks project

I am just taking a quick break from organising bedrooms (my two sisters and a friend are staying here tomorrow night in honour of the golf club dance!) to post the first pictures from the start of my ArtL!nks project.  After all the planning that went into my proposal it was actually quite hard to start the work  for some reason, sometimes I think that pondering, plotting, planning and worrying too much can have a very detrimental effect on my actual felting! 

Fitting and stitching some of Mehmet's rug base around a plastic resist with the intention of ending up with a freestanding tube

Anyway, I decided that instead of playing around with samples exploring surface detail as I had initially intended I would actually try and make a free standing column, measure the shrinkage rate, see how strongly I could felt it and assess how stable it would be without additional internal support.  This has been the aspect of the project that I have been having the most concerns about and I wanted to be sure that my ideas would work before studying images of nudibranches further prior to finalising the design and cutting out the first resists.  You may remember the piece I felted this summer during Charlotte Buch’s workshop in Silkeborg, the images we used for inspiration were the trigger for me to explore the wonderful and colourful world of nudibranches (aka sea slugs) and it would be safe to say I am thoroughly hooked by now!

I decided to stick with a tonal grey colour combination that I enjoy working with leaving me free to feel how the base of my piece was felting and determine how successfully the structural aspects of the column were working.  I stitched some of Mehmet’s rug base into a tube and inserted a plastic resist into the middle to make sure that the wool didn’t all just felt together into one big thick carpet!  Next I laid two colours of Icelandic wool (both grey) on the surface leaving a couple of areas free of wool and also adding a few splotches of apple green C1 for contrast. 

Working the soap and water downwards through all the layers of wool and fabric

A lot of rubbing and sanding later the surface wool was starting to migrate through the thick cotton well and everything was starting to felt together into one cohesive piece, now I was ready to start with rolling.  Because of all my recent work on Sylvia’s rug I knew that the cotton fabric Mehmet uses for his rug bases would add stability to the column but at this stage I wasn’t sure exactly how evenly I would be able to shape the final piece and whether the top and bottom would stretch a little as had happened with some tentative experiments earlier in the year.

Ready to start rolling

To be continued …..

More preparation for my US adventures and a little light felting relief …..

Gathering the felting materials to bring with me on Tuesday evening is not a problem, getting into the studio and negotiating the tables as I left them for felting the large rug is.  I am just going to have to grit my teeth and do a little bit of tidying up as I go along, at least it will make things more organised when I return home but I HATE tidying as you all must know by now! 

This morning I wrote and emailed off an article re. ‘Felt Naturally’ in Silkeborg as requested by Grima (the Danish felting association) and then I called over to Carmen for a bite of lunch and to deliver some Icelandic felting wool to one of her workshop participants as ordered for a community project in Wexford.  Writing about the fabulous time I had at the felt symposium in Silkeborg refreshed my mind about some of the techniques learnt and shared there, I can only hope that participants in my workshops in US will have half the fun that I had and also learn something new to boot.  It is absolutely amazing to think that at this exact time next Sunday participants will be finishing their bags during the second day of the first Complex Felt Bag workshop at The Tin Thimble in Loomis, northern California!!!

Since picking up my new iPhone 4 yesterday afternoon I have been trying to get to grips with some of its features, hopefully Blas from Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco (felt accessories and felt vessel workshops the first weekend of October!) may be able to help me with getting used to the phone and will give me good tips.  Apparantly the tarriff that I am on here in Ireland is totally prohibitive in the US but probably I will be able to access a computer somewhere in Loomis and keep you all updated with progress at the first workshops!  I felted a simple little iPhone cover when I got back from Carmen’s and once it is dry I am going to stitch on a little closure using some soft and supple fish skin from Iceland.  Alan sparked off the idea for the opening on the cover so as soon as I have it all assembled I am going to try to take the picture and upload it straight to the internet from the phone, wish me luck!

Felt rug and another bag in the planning

You could be forgiven for thinking that I am doing NO felting at the moment if all you were doing was looking at my current Flickr photos!  In one sense it would be true because I am so totally wrapped up in my Golf Club duties at the moment that all I can do is collapse at the end of the evening after the prize giving ceremonies are over (to watch World Cup highlights with my freestyle knitting in hand) but in another it is not true at all.  While I am unwinding I am plotting and planning my newest felt bag design and waiting for the delivery of Icelandic wool to start the large rug that I have been commissioned to felt.  Last night I finished this Jane Thornley inspired ‘Frond’ knitted wrap and I have decided to felt an accompanying bag using some of the gorgeous yarns and sari ribbon to add surface detail and tie everything together. 

Wrapped like a cowl

More with resists

I have had some really intensive felting over the last few days with another couple of sessions to go before I deliver my work to Thomastown on Tuesday for the South East Textile show and then on Wednesday (or Thursday at a total pinch!) to Carlow for the Blueprint Exhibition.  As I write this post my wrists, hands, shoulders, brain and other parts of me I can’t even describe ache and feel like they have gone into a rubbing and rolling overload! 

At last I finished a wall hanging yesterday which I am happy with.  It is a banner like piece felted from various shades of grey Icelandic wool and a small amount of merino with undyed silk throwsters waste and a scattering of ‘caves’ (just can’t think of a better word today) created with resists and revealing glimpses of various sequined and bejewelled fabrics underneath.  One of the sequined fabrics is very interesting, black and almost see through with very thin sequins in a kind of transparent black.  The effect of this fabric when combined with the merino or the Icelandic wool is fascinating to me, the fabric appears to disslve into the wool and the sequins appear as little glimmers on the surface, an interesting contrast.

Today I have felted a sort of mosaic nuno panel which has taken ages to lay out and get to the rolling stage, finally it is drying on my work table and now I am off to grab a soothing cup of ginger tea before grabbing the bull by the horns and starting all over again! 

Pictures during the week ……….

Scrambled brain ………

So many ideas, thoughts, impressions, happenings, exhibitions, commissions (promise to felt your sleeveless top tomorrow Patricia, just getting new bubble wrap this afternoon for the job), meetings etc. at the moment and although my brain is not actually scrambled I just can’t seem to write quickly enough to document everything as I would like to.  Apologies yet again for all those unsent emails over the weekend, I have just been totally tied up with American visitors and catching up with jobs delayed last week because of the golf matches that I absloutely had to attend in my position as Lady Captain.  Unfortunately for the golf club (but fortunately from my work perspective!) the club got knocked out of everything we played in last week so I am looking forward to a slightly quiter time on that side of things, now I hope to have time to finish some felt as I really need to earn some money quickly!! 

Jacob's fleece with Mehmet's rug base and Icelandic wool

A few pictures from my scrambled weekend …….

Raw unscoured Jacob’s fleece which I combined with Icelandic wool and a rug base (base prepared at Mehmet Girgic’s workshop in Turkey) to be sewn into a new laptop case/satchel for me!

Wool and mohair 'yarn', a by-product of the weaving process at Cushendale Woolen Mills

Funky ‘yarn’ picked up at Cushendale Woolen Mills over the weekend, the mohair on the right is now knitted into one of my new style crazy cowls and is available for sale throught Clasheen Uncut!  I am delighted to have found a fun project that I can work on in the evenings when taking a break from felting and fulling and hope to build a collection of funky knitted cowls as a simple way of supplementing my felting income.

Chair pad incorporating Icelandic wool, rug base and strips of woven waste

This week is going to be a busy felting week once I get awful paperwork and bank stuff out of the way today.  Tomorrow I am going to be spending all day felting a sleeveless jacket for a client in the States and on Wednesday one of my closest relations arrives in the morning to discuss a rug which I will be felting her as a comission, exciting times ahead!  This seat pad is a small experiment to see how much clarity is lost in the blue shades of Icelandic wool when combined with a natural white rug base from Mehmet and I also included some strips of the woven waste picked up at Cushendale just for the heck of it.

Don’t forget you need to get your entries off pdq to Chrissie if you want to enter her Waterfall jacket competition and if you are thinking of subscribing to a new felting magazing why not give the Australian publication ‘Felt’ a go?  Talking of things from the other side of the world I recommend keeping an eye on the Convergence blog to really get you in the festive mood!