Finishing some felting items and swap news

Yesterday I put the last finishing touch to some of the items that I have sent out in the Autumn swap.  These necessary but fiddly touches really defeat me sometimes so it was really good to have a deadline to work towards, things like putting poppers on bags and sewing pin backs to brooches, all the little SEWING details!  Anyway it inspired me to get out those bowls of felt beads that I have just waiting to be put to use.  In the afternoon Carmen arrived and we spent the time happily sewing beads around the edge of a hand dyed silk scarf (Carmen) and stringing several simple but attractive necklaces (me).  Today I actually have a couple of things to do outside the house but intend on spending some time tidying out the studio, or at least starting it in preparation for a marathon day tomorrow.  I have organised a neighbouring farmer to help me for a couple of days before next Thursday, he has some fiddly but essential outdoor tasks and I have those essential but horrible indoor tidying tasks to complete before the first of my evening classes starts next week.  I am also going to be finalising Mehmet Girgic’s workshop dates today so keep your eye on the blog, they will go up as soon as they are organised.

By now all of out Autumn swaps should be in the post.  I have a small confession to make, I missed the post yesterday so appologies to my partners, they are posted now but you will be getting your parcels one day late and I really have no excuse except confusion and distraction!  Next time for the swap I may set up a group on Flickr to run everything through.  Things were a bit confusing here and I actually am involved in a couple of swaps (really enjoying them!) but operating through my Flickr account would mean that I would have less chance to miss anyone out or have any errors. 

My swap package arrived from Anna, thanks SO much Anna for the fantastic painting and the great cards.  I actually admired the painting on Anna’s painting blog at the weekend so was absolutely amazed when it arrived in the post yesterday!!  I am also looking forward to making the delicious sounding bread, it should tase great made in the Rayburn.  Please email me images of your swap packages as they arrive if you want to and I will set up a page on the blog so others can see them as well.

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Felt vessels and Autumn swap reminder

Yesterday I made two more felt vessels, one tall and one a kind of funky shape, it was inspired by a pumpkin!  I took a few photos of them and hopefully will upload them here tomorrow if the uploading tool decides to work OK.  The fibre that I used was Bheda wool from De Witte Engel and both of them were decorated with silk, the tall one with mulberry silk and the pumpkin one with tussah silk.  I think that I definitely have an Autumn theme going colourwise at the moment with these new vessels as you will see when the images are posted!

Today I shaved the vessels from yesterday and then I made a felt picture/small wall hanging using the mountains outside as inspiration.  A friend had said that she would love a felt picture with mountains hence the trial run for her Christmas present!  I used a backdrop of green prefelt (which I had made a couple of weeks ago) and laid out merino, bheda wool and torn up prefelt over the top in a design of sky, mountains and fields.  Wanting  texture and an uneveness of the piece to play an integral part of the picture I decided not to actually felt and full the work as much as normal.  Firstly I sanded the design as laid out (could I becoming addicted to the sander, by the way thanks Joni for the interesting tip via the comments section and welcome back to blogging!) and then I cut up some scraps of wool and prefelts and sprinkled them on top of the mountains and fields to add depth.  I think that this worked although I will reserve judgment until the morning.  The picture is now drying on top of the Rayburn and tomorrow I shall get the camera out and take some shots weather permitting.

SWAP REMINDER The deadline for posting our Autumn Swap packages is 21st October, only 3 days away!  Mine are just about ready to go but if you are having any problems meeting the deadline you need to let me know and also your swap buddy.  I really want this to work and it needs everyone to pull together to have a bit of fun, enjoy the last few days and wait ’till your swap arrives for you!!  Remember we are sending one item made by you, one seasonal receipe and one little extra.

Funky felt neckpieces, button magic, interesting poll

Enjoyed a busy but fun couple of days and still only 15.53 Irish time!  Carmen and I drove to Dublin yesterday morning to join in the Feltmakers Ireland Wednesday session, my first time actually managing to attend.  It was great to catch up with old friends and meet new like-minded people who all love their felting.  Because we were helping with some paperwork in preparation for our stand at the 2008 Knitting and Stitching Show not much actual felting was created.  Elenor did make a beautiful bowl to demonstrate what we might be asked to do on the stand, why not come along between Thursday 30th October and Sunday 2nd November to check out the Feltmakers stand and stock up on all the goodies on offer at the show?  It takes place at the RDS in Dublin and if you click here you can get all the details and information about the wonderful demos and workshops that are on offer.  I will be doing my bit on the stand from 12.30 until 3 o’clock on Thursday and would love if you called over to introduce yourselves!

Once we said our goodbyes to the rest of the gang Carmen and I had a wander around a few of the shops in Blanchardstown.  Coming from the country I have to say that although I prefer shopping locally in a more boutique type setting it is nice once in a while to catch a few of the larger chains.  We browsed a couple of the bigger stores, had a bite to eat and then hit Borders book shop!  First we had an after dinner coffee upstairs in Starbucks, then we headed downstairs to look at the magazines and explore the craft and textile sections.  Carmen bought a book with some crocheting patterns and I found an absolute darling book called ‘A Passion for Buttons’!!  One of my biggest problems with felting is that although I enjoy looking at other peoples embellished work I find that for me it is the felt that counts.  Obviously other people might want a bit more embellishment and I do have a great stash of beautiful vintage buttons so I am going to do my best adding a few to some select pieces for Christmas.  Visit my Flickr account to see the necklace I made last night copied from an idea in the book, for some reason I am having problems uploading images directly to the blog this afternoon. 

Today I got up early and I had the whole morning to work on some funky new styles of neckpieces and also to make two vessels.  I actually made 4 neckpieces, 2 lattice type and 2 from an idea that I saw in a book recently, any of them would make very nice presents for a friend or even yourselves!  This weekend I intend putting a new page up on this blog showing images of work for sale or else linking to the same work on my Flickr account.  Because I am still waiting for my Etsy shop to be operational I think that this is the simplest way of allowing everyone to see what I have for sale at any given time and if you then see an item that you like but would prefer another colour scheme than all you have to do is ask!  If I have the fibre available then I will be able to make a commissioned piece for the same price.

Vessels and seamless bags are my absolute favourite items to make along with anything in nuno felt.   Why not take the poll below and let me know what you are most interested in?

Congratulations to Feltmakers Ireland

Just a quick note to congratulate Feltmakers Ireland on their great new blog!  Check it out and whether you are an experienced feltmaker or just starting out in this fascinating field I would encourage you all join our group.  Earlier in the year I participated at a weekend ‘Felt In’ with some of the members and it was a really fantastic experience, great crack and very informative.  I know that another weekend away is on the cards so why not join up, come along and participate in the fun!

Autumn swap update

I just realised that of course we are not all in the same time zone therefore I will wait until tomorrow morning to do the draw for our first ever swap!  If you would like to join in the fun you have just a couple of more hours to either reply to this post or send me an email.

Images from my course with Mehmet Girgic will be posted tomorrow!

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.

Waterlily felt for Bag Lady Swaps

Bag Lady Swaps taster

Bag Lady Swaps taster

This collage of images is a taster for Sylvia, my swap buddy from Bag Lady Swaps to show some of the raw materials and the colour scheme that I used to create the felt for the bag I made her.  If you look closely at the various images you can see pale pink and blue merino, a small section of green and pink silk fibres, pink prefelt and some of the finished water coloured blue felt.  The movement and watery colour in the felt was achieved from a couple of base layers of dark blue wool, a mixture of lighter blue merino laid on top and then quite a bit of light blue silk to finish off with.  I got the parcel posted today and included a couple of little extras one of which was a matching key ring.  The key ring I was especially happy with because I added a little fish cut out from dyed fish skin and I thought that it looked great!!  Because Sylvia has obviously got a few days to wait until the parcel arrives I am not going to post an image of the finished bag until I know she has received it.

Light as a cobweb

Light as a feather

Here is another image Bernie McCoy took, this time a featherweight scarf and a bangle made from undyed fibres.  This scarf is one of my mother’s favourites, extremely light and amazingly warm!  The wool used is merino and I added quite a lot of mulberry silk which creates a nice sheen when viewed from different angles.  The panel down the centre is a very fine chiffon silk which strengthens the cobweb felt and enables it to drape beautifully.

The bangle is one of my own favourites, very plain and simple in natural undyed fibres. 

Thanks to Joni who left me a comment and to everyone who actually sent me a text about Bernie’s photography of my work.  I am really excited about getting some of the images printed out and into my portfolio, a vital project for July!