As promised here is a picture of the completed mosaic mat.
The completed mosaic mat
Obviously you can tell from the image that snow has arrived at Clasheen but the unfortunate news is that my water has once more stopped running. Luckily my heat is OK because the outside temperature has never risen above -2 degrees today, unheard of weather conditions for Ireland although everything looks like a beautiful winter wonderland at the moment!! It struck me when taking this picture that the mosaic method would work very well if you cut out your shapes as if you were going to sew a traditional patchwork quilt. This may be some research that I will take up at some stage but for the moment it was a really simple way to use some of my left over prefelt. Following on from this project I decided to experiment with more prefelt, pieces of my first long loved (but finally wrecked!) cobweb scarf and various bits and bobs of embellishing fibres that I have had in my stash. Due to my lack of water I also wanted to work some more with Icelandic wool (as it needs loads of soap but not too much water) and melted some snow on the range to keep me going for the moment.
Silk and mohair/romney highlights
Here is an image to whet your appetite and you can check out my Flickr photos for some more teasers of this landscape. For anyone wanting to experiment with Icelandic wool I am offering the batts that I work with for sale through my Etsy store, please just mail me if you don’t see the colour that you are looking for!
It’s really unusual to have snow this early in the year on the ridge opposite the front of my farmhouse. Sometimes, the larger peak Mount Leinster does have a dusting in mid November but normally we only have it on the whole range in the thick of winter (if at all) so I was delighted to wake up to this pretty picture first thing this morning!
Hilary joined me just before half past ten to felt for the first time, our project was a simple felt vessel. We had a chat about the basics of felting over a warming freshly ground coffee (part of a Going Green swap package from Chaimama via Ravelry) and then got stuck in selecting and weighing fibre. The Icelandic wool batts (available from my Etsy store) are excellent for sculptural felt and it is important to have roughly the same amount of fibre on each side of your resist hence the weighing! Hilary decided to make a round vessel with the main colours being my favourite apple green in combination with a gorgeous turquoise. We sub-divided the wool into four equal piles giving us two layers to lay out for each side prior to any surface embellishment. Once the two layers were laid and wet out lightly Hilary then added some turquoise mulberry silk and some swirls of wool in another complimentary turquoise/greeny shade. As I have mentioned before using more soap than usually advised coupled with a lot less water seems to work really well with the Icelandic wool.
Hilary sealing the edges
Once Hilary’s vessel passed the pinch test I cut out a very small hole to release the resist. As you seal and work the cut edges the opening will always widen so a good tip is never to make the initial cut too big! When sealing the edges use a lot of soap on your hands, this helps you to make a nice clean edge. Now the vessel was worked by hand both on the bamboo blind (we had started with bubble wrap and progressed to the blind as the fibres started felting together) and in very hot soapy water in the sink. Hilary also threw the felt onto the table to help shock and full it, then kept stretching it to form the final shape and help the wool form the memory. Finally all the soap was rinsed totally out of the felt, the vessel was reshaped, the texture and form admired and all that was needed were a few images to mark a great mornings felting!
Hilary with her stunning first piece of felt!
For some reason the image uploader is playing up this evening so check out my Flickr images for a larger shot of the finished vessel, the texture is beautiful!
As promised yesterday I am going to post about the rug I made on Sunday from raw fleece and Icelandic wool but before I kick things off just a quick reminder. There is now only one adult and child place left in either the morning or the afternoon workshop here at Clasheen on Saturday 5th December and if you want to join me this coming Saturday and learn how to make a felt vessel using a resist please email me asap.
Now for the low down about the hearth-rug that I made on Sunday. Basically I was trying to experiment combining raw fleece with carded wool using the ‘Heart Rug’ project in Dutch Felt as my guideline. It was a little bit like following a cookery recipe because author Ria van Els-Dubelaar recommends using a long fibred fleece but I really wanted to experiment with the Icelandic batts which are now available from my new Etsy store! In the rug from her book she uses merino to back the fleece and silk fabric as a stabiliser for the final layer on the back. I decided to use my beautiful Jacobs fleece (a present from a kind neighbour), Icelandic wool for the base and a middle layer of some cotton fabric that Mehmet Girgic packaged my Turkish rug bases in, waste not want not!
Firstly I needed to decide which colour batts to compliment the cream and dark chocolate brown fleece, I went for my favourite apple green although I did have a bit of a toss-up with turquoise as well! The deciding factor was that I didn’t know exactly how much wool I would need and I knew I had plenty of the green but not so much of the turquoise, oh what an exact science I make of things! Selecting which parts of the fleece I would use was fun, I had about 4 different bags with some gorgeous sections of Jacobs and some dirty dags mixed in as well. Once my choice was made the raw wool was laid on bubblewrap with the shorn side uppermost, sections were pulled apart by hand a little and silk tops and silk hankies inserted in these gaps. I also laid some silk around the outside edges of the fleece and then covered the whole thing with a one layer of Icelandic wool. At this stage I lightly wet out the entire and pressed the soapy water through the wool. Anywhere I saw the colour of the raw fleece through the green wool batts I topped up the green wool before laying my cotton on top of the bundle. The second layer of Icelandic wool went on next and then I wet the whole package and started the felting process.
Pictures of work in progress and completion the rug to follow tomorrow!
There never seem to be enough hours in a day to fit in all the things that I really want to do. Luckily my flu is now 90% over so I am starting to plough through all the paperwork and outstanding letters/emails etc. that built up over the 4 weeks while I was away from home. My exciting news of the day however concerns the Icelandic wool that I will soon be selling from my Etsy store, I haven’t linked through this time because I need to wait until the wool arrives and get the images uploaded first! The colours are fabulous and as well as offering different weights of the wool for sale I also intend putting some fun kits together with clear (hopefully!) instructions on how to make various different items. The Icelandic wool is superb for structural work, bags, vessels, sculpture, light shades etc. and also could be used for warm scarves although would not be as soft as merino when worn directly against the skin. Please let me know what you think about putting felting kits together, I was thinking along the lines of ….. beginners flat felt, simple felt vessel, felt purse, felt flower, felt necklace, felt brooch etc. and then a kit with instructions for a first nuno felt scarf using the fantastic short fibred merino I import from Filzrausch. I would include all the raw materials including embellishments and any findings, clear but simple instructions and enough bubble wrap and resist where necessary to complete the project. All comments gratefully received!
This Thursday is the deadline for all Clasheen Autumn Swap packages to be on their way across the globe! If you have been one of our gang participating this time please remember to get your goddies out and then to leave a message of thanks and pictures to the Clasheen Crafty Swaps pool on Flickr as soon as you receive your own package. If for any reason you are going to be a day or two late getting to the post PLEASE just leave a message on our message board. Everyone understands if a delay occurs (so long as it is not every time!) and it just relieves the pressure on both ends of the swap.
Next Monday I will be taking down my felt ‘Cascade’ from Sculpture in Context so if you have not yet visited the Irish National Botanic Gardens in Dublin to view the exhibition now is your last chance. Check out this article from the Irish Times.