My favourite felt accessory of the moment, raw materials for US workshops and a picture of my new fibre friend!

If you are a regular follower of this blog you will know how hectic things have been here at Clasheen since my return from ‘Felt Naturally’ in Silkeborg at the beginning of August.  Laying out and felting Sylvia’s large rug took a lot longer in actuality than in planning, partially due to the logistics of scaling up to such a degree (especially without another pair of hands!) and partially due to interruptions with Lady Captain duties at Borris Golf Club.  I did however manage to fit in a few small projects between other committments and one of the pieces that I felted is definitely one of my all time favourite accessories, a real conversation opener whenever I wear it at the moment which to be honest is quite often!  

Green felt boa

Charlotte Buch needs to be credited with the design and was very generous in sharing the technique used with all of us who participated in her long workshop in Denmark.  Because I was totally focused on felting my sea creature it wasn’t until I returned to Clasheen that I actually got to try out this method for myself and I absolutely LOVE the versality of the finished piece!  In the workshop many participants felted this boa starting with a base of prefelt but for mine I decided to start from scratch and use some of the gorgeous hand dyed merino roving I recieved from Holly as part of the New Year Secret Scarf Exchange organised via Ravelry.  The boa may be twisted a couple of times around the neck as a necklace, wrapped around the waist, worn as a scarf, tied around a ponytail and in many other ways which might grab the wearer at any given moment.  This felt accessory just goes to demonstrate how totally versatile and adaptable one simple design may be and if you would like to see some of the other ways which I wear mine have a look through my Flickr  photos.  Another amazing advantage of felting this piece is that my horror of a sewing machine has almost disappeared, honestly!  Charlotte uses either an embellisher or a sewing machine (depending on the end result required) during the early stages of some of her work and to be honest once I saw how simple various of the techniques were and the amazing results on offer I have had a major head change with regard to the use of these frightening pieces of equipment (frightening to me!). 

This brings me on to another point which I feel is well worth making before I head over to the US next week.  Many different raw materials may eventually lead to a similar end result and many different end results may be arrived at by numerous different people all starting from the same point and using the same raw materials!  This is something that I can’t stress enough for anyone considering joining me at one of the exciting workshops that are planned for Loomis, Berkeley, San Fransisco and Kalamazoo over the next 4 weeks.  Please don’t feel that you have to copy exactly what I do or use the same fibres and other raw materials that I choose to use but obviously you are welcome to do so if that is what you so wish!  What I will be providing is an insight into how I work, what I find works best for me (I am ALWAYS learning and discovering new materials and texchniques!), sharing some of my own favourite pieces and bringing along with me as many raw materials and embellishments as possible to examine with all of you thereby providing a felting receipe which you may choose to follow or totally adapt dependent on your own wishes.  What I would like all participants to do is to bring with you as many or as few of your own felting materials,  found items, stash goodies, jewellery findings and equipment as you can comfortably transport (in a bag or in a truck!!!) and then we can look at the ways in which you work and find the direction and materials you are comfortable experimenting with in order to create some fabulous and individual pieces during the course of the various workshops!  Is it obvious HOW EXCITED I am to be finally meeting so many of you in the flesh???

Lastly, here is a picture I took of a fibre friend from La Gomera and I have now installed her as my desktop background because I think she is just gorgeous!!! 

My fibre friend from La Gomera!

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Back at the ranch!

I got a wonderful greeting from Rex when I arrived back at Clasheen yesterday evening and he was just thrilled today when I let him out of his shed this morning and headed off for a walk before breakfast!  Amazingly enough, although the weather was very cloudy and damp here in Ireland when we landed yesterday afternoon and again today the temperature is actually approx 20 C so it hasn’t been too much of a contrast acclimatizing after the wonderful week we have had in La Gomera. 

Today I am trying to unpack, download some of my photos (over 500 of them!), get some washing done, catch up with emails (not going to get this one finally sorted ’till tomorrow so don’t panic if you are waiting for a reply), collect post from the post office, shop for basic food supplies, call over to Carmen (she is cooking lunch and we will be felting for the afternoon), start to assemble supplies that I need to take to America with me (trying to sort out the most interesting, unusual and relevant materials that I like to work with and share with others!), organise things for a workshop tomorrow morning and generally catch up with all those little things that don’t seem much by themselves but add up to a LOT of work to get done by nightfall!

Three point turns necessary to negotiate the bends!

As promised here is a photo showing the kind of roads and terrain we were travelling  on and traversing across although I have to confess this was just one road too far, we walked the final mile or so down to the little hermitage.  Three point turns on every corner with an horrendous fall if you went over the edge were just not my idea of fun so we parked where we found a spot and shank’s mare was the way to travel for the last stretch of this road!!!

OH NO, for some reason I have just lost a LOAD of writing and images when I uploaded this post for the first time so apologies for the lack of writing now (I’ve run out of time!) but here are a couple of images showing texture and patterns which I am saving in a special folder to spark inspiration for felting work in the future. 

Colours and textures from an old door in El Cercado

Old roof tiles, again in El Cercado

Inspiration for a fun little holiday project

Yarns and inspiration for the Jane Thornley mini KAL

Alan and I are off at 2.30am for a short holiday break to beautiful La Gomera! This small Spanish island is a relativly unknown and unspoilt part of the Canaries and thanks to felting buddy Carmen we will be staying in an apartment belonging to her friend and meeting her brother who lives in the main town San Sebastian and runs a small local bar/restaurant. Obviously I will not be able to felt over the next week (and I am also not sure how much internet connectivity we will have) so earlier this morning I gathered an assortment of yarns together using pictures of La Gomera for inspiration and am intending on knitting a funky piece as part of the Jane Thornley triangular KAL on Ravelry. Hopefully I will find an internet cafe somewhere and be able to write a post or two while we are away but if not please forgive me in advance and I look forward to catching up when I return, hopefully bronzed, relaxed and raring to organise those last minute items prior to my departure for my American felting adventures!