More felt accessories – how to make a stunning felt brooch or pendant

Carmen and I spent a happy and productive afternoon continuing our experimentation with merino and artificial fabric.  Both of us have stiff backs after all our exertions during the complex bag workshop (just wait until you see the pictures when I post about that!) so we decided to stick with small projects today and have some fun together. 

Midnight I brooch prior to beading

 

If you are interested in creating an experimental brooch or pendant like the one pictured on the left here is the process.

  1. Lay out a rough square of merino approx 6″ X 6″
  2. Wet it lightly, soap and flatten to remove the air
  3. Lay a small wad of dry wool in the centre and then place your stone, glass nugget or other found object on top
  4. Cover the insertion with dry wool
  5. Needle lightly through the dry wool into the wet to secure (don’t worry if you don’t have a needle, just leave this stage out)
  6. Lay another layer of wool over the whole front
  7. Cover this with strips or a larger square of artificial fabric, be inventive and try out anything!
  8. Wet out, soap and felt by rubbing directly on top of the front and back of the bundle, you don’t need to roll your work
  9. When fully felted cut a small cross over the insertion and using your finger nails push out the cut edge to expose your glass, stone or found object
  10. Rinse, shape and bead or embellish as required

HAVE FUN!  More pictures of work I created during and after Lyda’s visit are now uploaded to Flickr.

Advertisement

Felted accessories, our Friday workshop with Lyda Rump

Yesterday morning I drove Lyda back to the airport and after a quick call to Ikea, McDonalds (a girl’s got to have some junk food ocassionally doesn’t she??) and the library in Carlow I returned home to Clasheen ready for a hot bath and bed.  I am physically tired but mentally exhilarated after our weekend workshops and I am so looking forward to getting silly household chores out of the way so that I can start laying out some samples for my newest felt project.  I still have to finish fulling my complex felt sculpture but that is on hold for a couple of days until I get the house tidied and the well (STILL no water of my own) back in proper working order.  Now on to the ‘Felted Accessories’ workshop with Lyda on Friday.
We started the morning oohing and aahing over some of Lyda’s beautiful scarves and inventive felt jewellery.  These fun pieces of jewellery gave us the freedom to discover how different colours, fibres and fabrics combined together without the stress of laying out a bigger project and it was very satisfying to have a gorgeous felt accessory at the end of each experiment! 

Gold threaded fabric, turquoise beads and felt necklace strung on rubber cord

Lyda encouraged us to incorporate artifical fabrics into our layout and these had some amazing results in the finished felt, you either loved each piece or you hated it, no middle ground!  During the morning I suddenly remembered that I had a large artificial fabric wrap donated to me by a friend to repurpose and the metallic weaving combined with black was perfect to cut up into pieces to see what the result would be if it were felted into a background of short fibred merino.  As you can see from the picture on the left it formed a good bond with the wool fibres and crinkled nicely during the felting process!  I thought  it was interesting the way the mixed fibres in the weave affected the finished shape.  My lay out of wool and fabric for this piece was square but as I felted them together they shrank very much more in one way than the other.  This ended up as an interesting twisted rectangle shape which I further embellished with turquoise stones and strung on a black rubber tube.  My brief to myself over the weekend was to try our new things, to stitch or bead some work and to complete some projects and not leave them on the long finger for finishing later, whether you like this piece or not it is finished and it is beaded!

Argh, I am so annoyed and frustrated because when I uploaded this post for some reason the second half of my writing and the image to accompany it was deleted.   I don’t know what actually happened and unfortunately I have to rush to the bank so don’t have time to write any more right at this minute.  I will however leave you for the second time, this time with a picture of my merino, stone, fabric and bead pendant minus the longer and more instructive description! 

Beaded felt and stone pendant

 

Wonderful workshops with Lyda Rump underway!

Sorry about the lack of posts since last Tuesday, I am TOTALLY engrossed in Lyda Rump’s visit and our wonderful felting workshops!  Lyda arrived from the airport on Wednesday and Thursday was spent together visiting Cushendale Woolen Mills and Kilkenny city.  In the late afternoon friend and Irish feltmaker Maureen arrived and the rest of the day was spent chatting and having a ‘show and tell’ of Lyda’s felt!  The following morning another felting friend Cristina arrived to stay and then we were all set for more friends and participants to come for the felted accessories workshop.

Gerd's glam brooch

Here are just two pictures from the first day’s workshop to tantalise you, full report and loads of pictures to follow over the next few days when I have time to stop and catch my breath! 

Detail from Maureen's neckpiece

Lyda Rump’s complex bag workshop update

I have had several enquiries about the possibility of participants coming for only one day of the complex bag workshop and not both.  As there are still spaces available on either day I have decided to throw it open and accept people for either Saturday 6th or Sunday 7th February if they so wish. 

Surface detail revealing glass nuggets

Obviously because the bags are complex it will not be possible to plan and complete your bag in just one day but it would be possible to plan, design and get the bag to a stage where you could take it home with you to finish at your leisure.  If anyone would like to take me up on this option please either ring me or email asap, I would really like to get everything sorted out before I head to Mullingar this weekend for my felting workshop with Anna.

Patsy the plumber was here again this morning and the bad news is that I won’t have my own water supply for another couple of days although he has rigged me temporarily from a tap in my neighbour’s yard.  The heat is back in action however and I have been able to run the washing machine at last and fill the water tank in the attic which is a big relief as I can have a bath again this evening!  I can also get back to felting now with a vengeance and although the day is flying by with things to catch up on I hope to make a nuno scarf later in the afternoon and then get stuck into my new large felt sculpture tomorrow.

Surface details and inclusions in felt, tutorial for simple felt slippers!

One of the most striking aspects of Dutch felter Lyda Rump’s work is her beautiful attention to texture and surface detail.  At both our accessories workshop and the complex bag workshop on 5th, 6th and 7th February learn how you too can enhance your work  during the actual laying out of your fibre and by embellishing your felt once it reaches the fulled stage.  Including items such as stones and glass pebbles while you lay out your fibres can lead to all sorts of exciting surface possibilities which really enhance the finished felt.  Layering strips of silk, artifical fabrics and other fibres on the top layer provide additional depth whilst further embellishing with stitches and small glass seed beads once the felt is fulled add interest and movement to the finished felt.  On Friday 5th we will be using our imagination to create fun and stylish felt accessories with Lyda and learning all those finishing touches that go to make jewellery, scarves and other felt accessories so special.  This is a great workshop if you have never felted before, come along and leave with some beautiful completed pieces!  I will have wool, silk, glass nuggets and beads on hand and Lyda is bringing some of her gorgeous hand dyed silk with her.  If you have been looking at some fabric or beads in your stash and are looking for inspiration about how to include them in your felt look no further!  Bring everything along and if you have some glittery fabric or mesh bring it along too!!  The two day complex bag workshop on Saturday and Sunday will explore the art of creating strong and beautiful multi pocketed bags and backpacks.  If you are a beginner/improver and are worried that this workshop might be too advanced for you think again.  Felting one of these bags is more involved than creating a piece of flat felt (that’s why they are called complex bags!) but Lyda is a brilliant teacher and I have participated in one of her workshops where an almost total beginner left with a very beautiful and perfectly felted bag.  If you would like to attend either workshop places are booking up now, please contact me asap to reserve your place.

Now on to that tutorial for the simple felt slippers that I made (when waterless) to use up an old piece of felt in my stash.   This project is not designed to be complicated, just an easy way of utilising a well fulled rectangle of felt and an excellent way for a beginners workshop to leave with a lovely warm and comfortable pair of slippers at the end of the day.  You could paint the bottoms with Latex to make them more durable if you wanted, I get mine from Wollknoll.  Measurements are fluid but just remember to cut out your felt a couple of inches bigger that you think you need to allow for the stitching.  This is especially important with the width, I would have needed my piece of felt to be quite a bit bigger all round if I wanted the slippers to fit my own foot! 

Divide in thirds and cut like so

Divide your felt in thirds and cut as per the image.

Round ends and stitch to close

Round the ends and stitch to close.  Pinch the back together and stitch up, voila!  Your first slipper!!

Oops, just lost my internet connection but back again …. in case I lose it imemdiately you can check out my Flickr images for some more pictures of the slippers in progress, even for a bad stitcher such as me they only took about 5 mins from cutting to finishing!

Oops again, lost my electricity this time ….. Just a quick not of warning, check that you have flipper the felt over before stitching your second slipper otherwise you will end up with two right feet like me!

Continuing hardships but felt and fibre reign!

A really quick post while I have sketchy internet connectivity.  Over the last couple of days I have had no internet, no water, no central heating and no electricity although thankfully the electricity and central heating are back although the water and internet is still a problem!  As soon as the internet is back to normal I will update you with …..

  • a tutorial to make the simplest felt slippers from a rectangle of flat felt although don’t make two right feet like I did yesterday!!
  • give full details for the Lyda Rump workshops, she will be bringing her own hand dyed silks and they are FABULOUS!
  • update you with the latest images of my second weaving project which will co-ordinate with the bag which I am going to create incorporating felting and weaving

Until then …….

Another book for felt fanatics!

Yesterday was an extremely busy ‘paper’ day, a visit to my accountant followed by financial mentoring followed in turn by a session of business mentoring, little wonder that I didn’t actually get to create any felt!  On my way back from Wexford however I called in to Carmen and borrowed her new book ‘Dutch Felt’ (Vilt in Beeld) by Ria van Els-Dubelaar.  Anyway, I did enjoy relaxing and reading this last night and particularly loved ‘Wrinkles’, a stunning fireside rug which looks like a hot orange and natural brown sheepskin.  The text is in both English and Dutch which is helpful and there is a nice gallery of work by various well known Dutch felters including some gorgeous urns by Lyda Rump, roll on February!

Off now to do some more tidying up in preparation for the Saturday felting workshop, this day is fully booked but if you are interested in attending on Saturday 28th please check out the workshop page for full details.  I am flexible with what we make so if you prefer any of the other titles from the Winter series please just email me asap and we will see what we can do!

Exciting news, Lyda Rump felting workshops for February!

I am delighted to announce that Lyda Rump will be facilitating two seperate felting workshops here at Clasheen next February!  Lyda is a fantastic textile artist who is gifted at passing on her experience.  You may remember that I attended a brilliant workshop of hers at Felt in Focus last July where I learnt a lot about creating complex felt bags and ended up making a funky felt backpack.  

Lyda with one of her large and bags

Lyda with one of her large felt bags

During the two day workshop Lyda shared many of her interesting bag designs with us utilising multiple resists and we also learnt simple techniques for incorporating and positioning inclusions such as glass beads accurately within out felt.  Lyda loves including items from a treasure trove of silk, fibre, fabric and artificial glittery mesh into her bags and recently has been experimenting with new designs incorporating knitted or crocheted sections into the shoulder area.  These newly designed bags remove a lot of the weight from the straps making them extremely well balanced and comfortable for anyone unable to carry heavy weights.  When I tried on one of them in Denmark I was absolutely amazed at how light the bag felt, it was almost like wearing an item of clothing and not like carrying a heavy bag at all!  Lyda has also recently designed a ‘scarf/sling’ as a stylish and wearable accessory for anyone recovering from various surgeries or needing a little extra support for their arm/upper body area, a totally neat idea.  I also fell in love with different pieces of felt jewellery that Lyda had with her, especially a silk and felt necklace that Suzanne, one of the Irish contingent snapped up as soon as she saw it!

Our first workshop  ‘Felt Accessories’ will take place on Friday 5th February and the second, ”Complex Felt Bags or Backpacks’ will take place over two days, Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th February.  These workshops are a brilliant opportunity to learn and have fun with a truly gifted tutor.  To provisionally reserve your place please email me as soon as possible with your preference (full details will go up online over the next week or two), I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with the experience!

Finishing the felt backpack

I decided not to attend the optional evening talk which was organised on day one of Lyda Rump’s workshop as I really wanted to get started laying out my backpack.  The resist had been cut out of laminate floor underlay as usual and I started by rolling the handle and also the dreadlocks to attach to the bottom of the bag and to use as a closure.  The ends of the handle and the dreadlocks were left dry so as to make it easier for them to felt into the middle of the bag when I added them at layer two.  It took me 40 minutes of pondering before I realised how to go about laying out my inside pocket and then I laid out one layer of the bag as well before calling it a night.  At breakfast the next morning fellow Irish felter Maureen Cromer pointed out that the way I had positioned the pocket was not how Lyda had explained the day before so so much for all my efforts that evening!  I had a word with Lyda at the beginning of day two and although my way would have worked I decided to start again as I really wanted to learn the simplest and most efficient method, that was why I was there!!  Lyda places the bag template on the working surface, covers it with the bubble wrap, lays the full 3 layers of the pocket, positions the pocket resist on top of it, lays the first layer of the back of the bag and then removes the resist from under the bubble wrap and places it on top of the layer of wool.  Then she folds over the wool around the edge of the resist and lays out the first layer on the other side of the bag.  Try it with a piece of paper on your table, it works and is a simple way of positioning the pocket in the correct place internally.  The glass nuggets and the bag straps were lightly needled in after layer 2 (this was C1 wool) and then the final layer of merino with it’s silk and gauze surface decoration was laid.  To skip to the completion of the bag, I rolled, re-wet with hot water, rolled and rolled again to fully finish the felting process and ensure that the backpack was as tough and rugged as possible without loosing the integrity of the beautiful merino, silk and gauze finish.  When I was sure that the package was shrinking and holding together as per usual I cut out the resist and at the very end I cut a tiny cross on top of the glass nuggets and then worked the area with my fingernail to widen the opening and expose the glass.  The final technique was to shave the surface of the bag like Mehmet Girgic does with his rugs and this leaves a beautiful finish allowing all the fabrics, fibres and glass to be shown to the best advantage.  Because I really worked hard on fulling my backpack the finished bag has handles that actually have shrunk more than I intended.  As I am tall the bag now sits very high on my back so for the moment I am wearing it as a shoulder bag until I make extension loops to add to the ends of the straps!  Holly Angle took some good quality photos of the bag so as soon as I get them via email I will post them here and to Flickr.

Complex felt bag workshop continues

I know that you have already seen an image of my first sample but here is a close up so hopefully you will be able to follow what I am talking about! 

Close up of sample 1

Close up of sample 1Sample 2

Lyda had brought a great selection of glass nuggets with her for us to share (apparantly cheap and easy to get in Ikea, roll on July 27th when the first store opens in Ireland!) so I decided to felt in 4 different colours to see which would work best with my wool selection.  Just by matching the nuggets up beside the raw wool I thought the the green colour would be best but also incorporated black, clear and frosted green.  I also covered one of the nugets with green gauze before covering with more wool thinking that it could prove an interesting contrast in textures when the glass was exposed.  In the close up above you can see how much shinier and visable the green glass was compared to the frosted glass and indeed these were nothing like as good as the black, black was by far the best contrast with clear glass second!  The other thing of note in the close up is how the silk chiffon that I used on top of the merino was almost totally submerged into the top layer of wool, useless for the bag as you would not have had any idea it was there at all!  I also used gorgeous silk hankies and silk twists on the reverse of the piece but again these just blended into the background.  What did stand out brilliantly however were the strips of green gauze (bottom right of image), I had never incorporated gauze into my work before and it was a revelation so off I went back into the traders hall (had to ration myself here!!) to try and get some turquoise gauze.  Unfortunately they did not have it in this colour but luckily I found some gorgeous pongee silk in just the right shade of blue.  Although by this stage everyone else was well underway laying out the wool for their bags I made the decision to make a second sample in order to discover exactly how the pongee would look against the black, blue and green for my backpack. 

Sample 2

Sample 2

With this sample I laid out the wool a lot thinner than in my first piece (everyone else’s work was much thinner than mine in sample 1) so it felted quicker but Lyda said to stick with how I usually worked and to lay it as per my first sample.  I loved the effect of the pongee silk against the merino so with a happy heart started to lay out my backpack!  To be continued …..