Felting in Portugal, part four

Well the ‘tomorrow’ of  Wednesday’s post has been and gone so appologies if it’s taken me a couple of days longer than anticipated to write about our nuno felting and eco bundling experiences in Portugal! My Danish friend Annette arrived in Ireland at 12.45am on Wednesday morning and as well as enjoying her company, attending the market in Borris on Friday and sorting the hundreds of other daily things that go on here at Clasheen I’m trying to get my supplies together (not sucessfully yet unfortunately) and prepare for Dagmar Binder’s masterclass in Scotland which starts on Tuesday.  Annette and her husband will be staying here while I’m away and taking care of Rex then we’ll have another couple of days together when I return, I’m planning a visit to Cushendale Woollen Mill and we’ll be felting together too so that should be fun! Now as promised, back to our time in Portugal…..

Sandy and Stella both working on laying out large nuno felt wraps

The latter part of the week was taken up with nuno felting, flat felting with a view to eco bundling and basically a little (or a lot!) of whatever took each participants fancy based on the techniques that had been already been shared. Not everyone had previous nuno felting experience and strangely enough it proved impossible to get either cheesecloth or muslin in Portugal for everyone to share, why is this I wonder??? Between us all however we had quite a variety of suitable fabrics including the most amazing stretchy cotton gauze from The Netherlands that apparantly is something you use when making a mattress for yourself!!! Depending on the supplies that everyone had brought some participants worked with undyed Bordeleira while others worked with hand dyed silks and coloured merino. For everyone who had not nuno felted before I recommended felting their first pieces by hand to learn the different stages of the process, for those with plenty of nuno experience I shared the way I’m currently using the tumble dryer to slash the time for larger projects. Over the course of the rest of our week a selection of amazing large wraps were felted (pictures of finished work from the week will be in my next and final post about Portugal!) and some smaller nuno felt and flat felt pieces in white were made in preparation for some natural dyeing experiments.

Participants disappearing into the distance to forage for leaves, flowers and old pieces of rusty iron!

From the beginning it had always been obvious how Karin and Eelco would like everyone to use natural materials or found objects from the domain as inspiration for or inclusion in the felt that we would be making during the week. This came together very naturally with a desire to try out simple eco bundling, the olive and sweet chestnut leaves just cried out for inclusion as did various rusty bits of old metal which we picked up while out foraging for goodies! Terriea was marvellous in sharing her experience dyeing with leaves and rust, thanks Terriea for your wonderful manner and fun way of sharing a new experience!!! Our objective was to imprint leaf shapes and colours onto felt as well as trying out some experiments with the heavier cotton fabric Karin had bought originally thinking it would be OK for nuno felting with. Terriea explained that protein fibres such as silk and wool absorb natural colour from the leaves best but since we also had the cotton we decided to give it a go too, we soaked our felt and the cotton pieces overnight in a vinegar solution prior to bundling. This was all a fun and relaxing experiment so please don’t ask me for any exact measurements as shock horror, we didn’t take any!

Terriea and Annemarie with a large pot of bundles ready for the stove

On Thursday morning Sandy choose to continue working on the final shaping of her large felt vessel but everyone else wrapped a selection of different nuno felt, flat felt and cotton pieces with a selection of the leaves and rusty pieces of old metal we’d scavanged. Heather also decided to eco print a felt bag; the original intention had been to felt this together with some silk velvet but as the velvet experiment hadn’t worked out as planned this proved to be an inspired choice to print with! Carla made great use of some left over cherry soup from the previous lunch with one of her pieces of felt and I added some tea leaves to a couple of my cotton bundles. Once all the pieces were tied up with their various inclusions we placed them in two different saucepans, one for pieces including rusty objects and the other for pieces only containing vegetable matter. The bundles were covered with water and put on a cooker to bring to the boil, once boining point was reached the heat was turned down and the pots were simmered for aprox 45 minutes to an hour. They were then left to cool down naturally and the bundles stayed in the water overnight until we unwrapped them on Friday morning. This was fun, seeing how our expectations were either met, exceeded or in some cases failed, all part of the learning process and information to be stored and used in future projects! Sweet chestnut leaves (plus the long flowers), olive leaves and rose leaves proved to impart the strongest and clearest shapes on felt, Carla’s scarf using the cherry soup worked brilliantly as did Annemarie’s pieces using a mizture of flowers, grasses and fruit slices while Heather had a very successful experiment wrapping one of her large nuno felt wraps without inclusions and simmering it in the pot with the rest of the iron filled pieces!!!

I’ve got to sign out now because my bags are calling and I need to get those raw materials assembled for Dagmar’s class as well as some final clothes dried and the house tidied a little. My final post about Portugal will be memories of our last group day together at Dominio Vale do Mondego and pictures of the participants with some of the amazing felt completed during the course of this fantastic week. I’m not sure if I’ll actually get this written before I fly to Scotland at 6.05am tomorrow morning but I will try and keep you all up to date with progress at the masterclass during the week and finish Portugal as soon as I can. For now one last picture and ‘adeus’ until next time!

Having fun – Heather and Sandy watching Nienke unwrapping one of her bundles

Using a felting roller to speed up the nuno process!

Yesterday morning I felted the piece which will actually be the first in my section of the new book with Chrissie, it’s a beautiful but simple scarf and I think the perfect project for anyone wanting to try nuno felting for the first time. I’m not going to have much time to blog for the next few days as I’m teaching, felting, writing, at the market and preparing the house for Dawn Edwards to arrive this day next week!!!

Using my 'niki & niki' roller directly on top of the bubble wrap

I will however post a few pics as I go along, the one today shows me using my felting roller on the top of the bubble wrap at the early stages of making my scarf yesterday. Instead of rubbing with my hands as I usually would before starting to roll, I simple rolled back and forwards with my ‘niki & niki’ felting roller all over my package 20 times on each side and the short fibre merino was already starting to migrate through the heavy silk fabric! Half the rubbing replaced with this rolling and a lot faster result, yay!!!

‘Niki & Niki’ felting tools are on the way plus plenty of other felting news!

Well, everything definitely seems to be happening at once here. The first batch of felting tools that designer Niki Collier and I are having made to our specifications has arrived now and will be available for sale sometime over the next few days! We just need to burn our name on them, measure and weigh everything properly and then work out the postage costs, all the pieces are hand made so measurements will be as accurate as possible. You might remember recently I used the large textured roller to full my sister’s rug (you can find a picture in this post), it is 56cm long with a rolling surface of 38cm and a diameter of 4.5cm, it will be retailing for €45 excluding P&P. We also have a shorter version with an approx rolling surface of 25cm at €35, a handleless version measuring 20cm at €30 (I like this on my hands!) and a kind of ‘poker’ or ‘prodder’ for using when fulling vessels and sculptural pieces retailing at €8.

Niki & Niki's new little felting 'prodder'

Last night I was felting a little nuno inspired vessel with a lot of textured detail and the prodder was great for stretching and shaping whilst in the final stages of the fulling process. Obviously we need to come up with a better name for it so have a look at the first image and if anyone has any suggestions please pass them along!!! P&P costs will be kept to a minimum for all the tools, basically just what it costs up to wrap them up securely and get them sent to the various destinations, if you want to make an advance order please just email me asap, numbers are limited for this our first delivery! I should also mention that Niki is in the process of setting up her new design website and I’m honoured to be the first invited guest that she has interviewed, thanks Niki. If you want to read a little bit of Irish banter head on over to have a look at the interview!

This morning I ordered all the materials for Dawn’s ‘Fantastic Felt Hatsworkshops, please remember if you are one of the participants and have not already done so that the deadline for the balance of the workshop fee is on or before this Friday 23rd March.

Today I’ve felted a small nuno flap which I will be attaching (or hopefully attaching knowing my sewing skills!) to a leather pouch, this will be the prototype for a new design intended to be a phone, iPod or camera case and I’m hoping that all will work out well. The leather is from a large batch I bought the first time that I visited Dawn in Plainwell, we spent a great day visiting Saugatauk and Lake Michigan stopping en route at an office depot outlet where I picked the leather up for a song compared to what it would cost in Ireland. I love the combination of leather and felt but to date I’ve been too chicken to actually cut the pieces up and decide definitively what I’m going to do with them, wish me luck!

Speaking of luck, I’m thrilled to have received a letter confirming that Carlow County Council through the Arts Office have awarded me €550 to go towards the cost of attending Dagmar Binder’s masterclass in Scotland this summer, to say I’m delighted in an understatement!!!

Finally I’ll leave you with a better picture of my latest vessel, I’m not 100% happy with it as I wanted a more all over nuno effect but at least it’s a starting point so all is not lost. I laid it out using the design inside method and possibly needed to rub for a bit longer prior to rolling as some of the fabric needed to be snipped once I opened up the package. I also needed to pay more attention to the fact that the fabric would be reversed, obviously I needed to work from the outside in (or inside out) but even knowing what I should have been doing I laid some of the fabric back to front, ah well, I’ve lived and learnt!

Little textured nuno style vessel

U.S. workshop updates plus pictures of nuno felt from yesterday

I’m SO EXCITED that my spring trip to KY and MI is really starting to take shape!!! It’s taken quite a while to get a materials list together for the sessions organised in Plainwell MI by Dawn Edwards (25th and 26th May) and in Lexington KY by Jan Durham (11th and 12th May) because with the title ‘Fantastic Felt Inspired by the Natural and Built Environment’ participants are free to decide during the course of the workshop what direction they would like to explore, vessels, bags, sculpture, nuno felt, wall hangings, the list goes on. In a way I’ll be acting like a conduit for ideas, help and inspiration, the one constant is that the starting point and the theme will be the same for everyone. As a result it’s been a lot more difficult for me to write out a definitive list of what participants should bring with them, however I hope that the guideline below will be of some help for people with specific projects in mind and if anyone has a particular question that they would like me to answer personally please just email me and fire away!!! My workshops at the Kentucky Sheep and Fibre Festival have also gone live on the festival’s website so head on over there if you would like to join us on either the 18th, 19th or 20th of May! Now for the details for Plainwell and Lexington……

  • Small vessels, sculptures and bags will need 80 – 150g of fibre.
  • Larger and more complex vessels, sculptures and bags will need 200 – 350g fibre, for bags I like this to be divided into 2/3 merino and 1/3 a strong coarser fibre such as C1 or Icelandic wool.
  • A simple textured nuno scarf will need either a pre rolled silk chiffon or ponge silk scarf as a base, a long length of silk cut from a roll or alternatively a cotton cheesecloth or muslin length, the longer the better in all cases!  This project won’t need anything like a big amount of fibre but at a rough guide anything between 40 – 60g will be fine for a highly textured end result!
  • A large textured nuno wrap/bolero (two day project!) will need 2 – 3 m (yards is fine) silk chiffon, ponge silk, cheesecloth or muslin for the base and at least 40 – 100g good quality merino depending on size.
  • A large collaged nuno wrap, wall hanging or yardage for clothing (this may be made using the tumbler method and if so requires no rolling!) will need a piece of base fabric approx 35 to 40% bigger than the desired finished size. I like to use muslin, cheese cloth or my favourite cotton gauze for this but you can use silk chiffon or ponge silk too! In addition to this base fabric you need at least the same volume of fabric in a selection of colours and mixture of weights and texture, i.e. if your base fabric measures 180cm X 40cm you need about 2m X 50cm fabric comprising a mixture of silks, cottons and/or some metallic mesh plus at least 200g good quality merino (for wearables) or alpaca/other fibre for a wall hanging.
  • A large table runner will need less fabric than the large collaged nuno wrap above but a higher percentage of wool to fabric, this it to make sure that the runner will actually protect the table from heat or water and is not just decorative, decorative’s OK too if that’s what participants want!

As you can imagine different projects require different techniques and heaviness of hand when laying out the fibre. For wearables I usually but not exclusively use merino with some surface silk/banana/tencel/firestar fibre so I would just encourage particiapnts to sort through their stash and we’ll work together with whatever they bring. The figures above are a minimum guideline, I don’t want anyone to feel pressurised to buy more fabric or fibre than they may realistically need but to be honest where felting is concerned, can one ever have enough fibre or raw materials??? Each participant will also need to bring their usual felting equipment to the workshop. This may include bubble wrap, towels (please bring a few!), hard olive oil/goats milk/glycerine soap, sprinkler, bamboo blind, pool noodle, net, whatever they like to work with themselves, people wishing to try the tumble dryer method need to bring an additional lightweight roll of builders plastic to use instead of bubble wrap.  Anyone felting a bag, vessel or any sort of three dimensional project will need some flexible plastic to use as a template/resist, I prefer 2 or 3mm laminate floor underlay but in an emergency we can use bubble wrap or whatever flexible plastic you have to hand.  NB I love working with batts but roving and tops are perfect too, bring whatever you have and like to work with yourself.  I will also be bringing loads of embellishing goodies with me for everyone to share!

Now for some pictures and chat about the pieces I was nuno felting yesterday.

Texture from Heather's hand spun yarn

Those of you following me on Facebook (click both links on the sidebar to the right if you’ve not already done so!) may have seen the image I uploaded yesterday morning showing some chocolate merino, gauze and beautiful hand spun yarn from my great buddy Heather which I gathered together and was in the process of felting into a simple nuno scarf. This is one of the projects I’ve been completing for the new book with Chrissie, basically it’s an easy first piece for anyone to try using the tumble dryer method. The image here shows how this particular hand spun felted beautifully to the surface of the gauze, I love the texture and colour of it on the surface of this scarf, it’s well felted together but you still have amazing texture from the slubby yarn! Pictures of the completed scarf will be revealed when the book is finished, hopefully not too long because I’m working on it every day now and hope it will be finished before Dawn arrives for her holiday and workshops here at Clasheen in April!!!

The other scarf that I felted yesterday (I also started some felt landscapes) is an even simpler piece, one fine open layer of short fibre merino on top of a long piece of ponge silk. I also added a lot of hand dyed silk fibre on top of the merino, I like the way this scarf can be reversible and only wish that it had been less windy when I was trying to take pictures of it this morning!

Plenty of silk fibre on the reverse

New retail venue, nuno wrap, workshops in Portugal and Loomis and help sourcing bag toppers please!!!

I submitted an application recently to have some of my framed felt considered by CCDP (Carlow County Development Patrnership Ltd) for a new art and craft based retail space they are launching shortly, this will be in the renovated stable yard at Ducketts Grove, Co. Carlow. On Wednesday morning I met with Pat McCarthy from McCarthy Integrated Design Solutions to show him my work, he is the person CCDP have contracted to launch the project successfully and he also is responsible for selecting the artists and crafts people whose work will be offered for sale. Luckily Alan suggested I bring some of my other felt too, lucky for me because Pat has choosen to display 3 of my vessels in the fine arts section, for the craft area he has requested several large nuno felt wraps, 8 to 12 nuno scarves, 14 pieces of framed felt, some small and large pouches, the book (From Felt to Friendship at the moment and the new book when it’s published) and some felting kits! I only have about 4 weeks to get all the pieces made so last night I ordered more business cards, care lables and a postcard/flyer, today I’ve been frantically ordering my favourite cotton gauze from Charlotte Buch as well as ponge silk and short fibre merino from Wollknoll. It’s nice to be nuno felting a series of wraps and scarves that will all relate somewhat to each other, I was about to felt some more pieces for the new book anyway but now I have a pressing need to get these finished and photographed asap!!! Here’s a picture of a recent wrap felted using merino and a combination of different weights of silk, cotton gauze and metallic mesh, I love the colours!

Large nuno felt wrap

Thanks to everyone who has already contacted me re. the exciting residential felting week in Portugal!!! I’m guessing from the initial interest that places are going to be in short supply so do keep an eye out for the full workshop description next week, if you have any specific questions right this minute please just email me. Emma and I will also have details of the fall workshops at The Tin Thimble for you next week, we just need some quiet time to discuss and put everything together properly!

Finally a question, does anyone know where I can get good quality bag toppers printed??? I’m talking about the stiff cardboard cards that fold over the top of a bag and are stuck or stapled in place, you know the kind of things that come with maybe a contents list and contact details? I want to get some really good quality ones printed because I need something better than my current home made ones for the felting kits! I also know that with time I could maybe design a better one myself, the problem is that I just don’t have time!!!

I’ll leave you with a close up of the nuno wrap.

Cotton gauze and ponge silk

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More nuno felt vest/stole pics and some answers to questions posed

I don’t have much time to write today so here are two more pice of my latest nuno felt vest/stole and the answers to a couple of questions I’ve been asked.

  • Yes, this vest is fulled in the dryer so NO rubbing or rolling!!! I will be including full instructions about how I do this in my section of the new book. Please note though, I don’t always use the dryer, just sometimes depending on what I’m felting, what my mood is at the time and what end result I’m aiming to achieve!
  • The muslin that I used was bought from Kiernan’s, my local habadashery. I think that it is a little finer weave than what you call muslin in U.S. or Turkey, definitely not as loose a weave as cheesecloth or gauze but rather more like a hybrid of the cheesecloth and your muslin. Hope this helps Carole, the nearest weight that I’ve seen over in U.S. reminds me of the beautiful new 50%silk/50% cotton fabric Sharon and Emma had at The Tin Thimble last spring, do you remember that???

Side view

Anyway, I’m sorry that the quality of the images isn’t great especially the back view. I snapped them while the wind was howling a gale and I couldn’t get the back shot to stay still at all but at least you’ll get an idea of the shape!!!

Back view

Blogs, nuno felt and our new book, ‘shapeshape’, a tip for pattern making and felting kits!

I intended to write a brief post today but instead I’ll just write quickly!

Because I follow a lot of interesting, creative and sustainable style blogs I never seemed to manage to regularly update the links to them here on Clasheen or add new ones as I find them and subscribe. As a result I always felt that I was never on top of sharing the links with my friends and blog readers so I’ve now set up a board on Pinterest titled ‘Blogs I love to follow‘. It’s going to take another week or so to upload every one of them (a few are currently inactive so I am reserving them for future inclusion), don’t panic if you don’t see your own blog included until I post they are all updated, at that stage please let me know if you have any recommendations that I may not have already noted. I’d also love if all of you who enjoy Pinterest set up boards for blogs too, there are so many wonderful sites out there that cater to every diverse interest, having a board for blogs you follow is a wonderful way to promote and share each others work!

I’ve started editing and laying out our new book and Chrissie and I have decided on a title too,  ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’. Hopefully that explains exactly what the book is about, we’ll also have an ISBN on this and any future books, this means that in addition to Blurb it can be sold online through Amazon and be stocked in any regular book store, hurrah.

Free-style curved stole, note the asymetrical hemline

You may remember recently I almost had a melt down on the sewing side of things, I love nuno felting, I love creating beautiful individual drapeable and textured fabrics but to date have always broken out in a cold sweat trying to design and felt larger garments. Thanks to several recommendations (thanks Ginny, Sharon et al!) I ordered ‘Shape Shape, Sewing Clothing Patterns to Wear Multiple Ways’ by Natsuno Hiraiwa from the Book Depository, it arrived yesterday. Realistically I want my clothing to actually fit. I don’t like to see nuno garments with big bulges under the armpits etc. and while I love a relaxed organic shape and style I do want things to actually have some style!!! Anyway, I love quite a few of the patterns particularly the sleeveless scarf blouse, reversible French sleeve blouse (I would love to wear it buttoned to the back, great for those of us with a small bust I think!), drawstring low-waist pants, free-style curved stole, reversible circle vest, the reversible wrap skirt and the envelope messenger bag, to be totally objective I do not like the  twist and drape blouse! Anyway, wanting to try a couple of pieces in nuno felt and because my sewing skills are totally non-existent I decided this morning to trace and cut out the free-style curved stole as a pattern first and then cut it out in some drapey jersey fabric I picked up for a song in San Fransisco last spring, any muslin I have in my stash I intend to felt with. For the first time in my life I actually traced and cut out a pattern as instructed!!! Now for those of you who are limited in the sewing department here’s my biggest ever pattern making tip….. cut the pattern from freezer paper then you can iron it to your fabric and cut it out easy, peasy!!!!! This stole is really another take on the style of nuno felt garment many of us are familiar with, a large flat piece of fabric with two holes cut out for your arms that depending on where you cut the holes may be worn in several different ways. The biggest revelation this time was that for Natsuno’s design the armholes are fitted at an angle. Hallelujah, the sample actually fits me although I do think that I would describe it as a sleeveless vest rather than a stole, maybe it is just the fabric I made it in gives this impression, anyway, I like it! This afternoon I’m going to felt some nuno yardage and then make this piece up for real, wish me luck.

Finally for today, Aileen Clarke from Aileen Clarke Crafts has written a great post for anyone interested in exploring some of the felting kits that are available at the moment, thanks for including mine Aileen!!! When I get to adding Aileen’s blog to my new Pinterest board it might just be the wonderful picture of Alistair that I pin, check him out here, isn’t his coat AMAZING??? Also check out Aileen’s beautiful felt pictures inspired by Highland cattle, very evocative.

5 hectic days at Clasheen!!!

I’m just catching up from 5 HECTIC days at Clasheen!!! I really can’t write everything down because I still have so much work to plough though this week and not enough time to do it so apologies if you are expecting an email response, it will be another few days before I get my backlog cleared. Suddenly everything seems to be coming together all at once so highlights which will all be blogged about individually as soon as I get a minute include…..

  • exciting news about an AMAZING week long residential felting workshop on a bio-dynamic estate in Portugal this June (tba later this week)
  • the launch of some beautiful new wool products for felters and knitters/crochet artists with Chrissie Day (this will be taking place during the late summer)
  • the development and launch of some pretty amazing felting tools with friend and designer Niki Collier
  • the completion of my neighbour’s house upgrade which I have been working on frantically, this means residential felt and fibrerelated holidays at Clasheen!!!
  • the continued work on our nuno felting book, Chrissie and I are just in the process of getting an ISBN number which means that we will be able to be stocked on Amazon etc.
  • a potential new venue for my fall US workshop trip

Whew, I’m buzzed just sharing the potential of these events with you!!! ‘Till next time…..

A tip to enhance texture in nuno felt and KY and MI workshop details are finally online!

I have managed to get through a lot of the clearing, re-organisation and tidying chores that I blogged about on Monday, not all of them obviously but I have made a dent in the never-ending pile! Thanks for all your encouragement both via comments and through FB, they are definitely much needed to keep me going, I HATE tidying!!!

As promised, the full workshop descriptions for the KY and MI workshops in May are now up on the workshop page and I am hoping that we will have a mix of both experienced and improving felters attend. Beginners are really welcome too so please don’t feel you don’t have enough felting under your belt to book a place, everyone is welcome and it makes for a really fun and creative time if we have groups of mixed experience!

I have also started to transfer some of my felt pouches across from Big Cartel and into my Etsy shop, only time will tell if this has been a wise descision.

Finally for today, Rhonda was wondering how I achieve so much texture in some of my nuno felt pieces. This is something that I will be writing about in the new book with Chrissie but a great tip is to wet out and soap your fibres before you lay out any of your embellishment. Taking this idea a little further for projects such as nuno bags or cushions (items where you have a couple of layers of wool in addition to your fabric), try rubbing the base layer of wool through your bubble wrap to create a ‘skin’ on the surface before laying out your fabric on the top, then wet and soap the fabric lightly and rub again through the bubble wrap. By working like this the wool fibres underneath don’t have as much opportunity to travel through the fabric and this helps to create more texture! You do need to be careful though to rub longer than roll however using this method, otherwise you could try fulling with the tumble dryer, this elliminates both the rubbing and the rollling process!!! I’m going to be discussing my experiences nuno felting using the dryer thoroughly for my section of the new book and I will also be talking about it at the workshops in Lexington and in Plainwell!

Textures in a nuno felt scarf

Another nuno felt bag, a bit of a ramble and working titles for my KY and MI workshops in May!!!

After I returned home from the market in Borris on Friday afternoon I laid out and felted the nuno section of another new bag, this time I worked in mossy greens and various shades of chocolate and olive. I also fulled the piece more than usual as you can see from this picture, note how the green wool has travelled further through the various thicknesses of silk and mesh fabric.

Well fulled nuno felt

Yesterday Alan and I attended the opening of our friend Eileen MacDonagh’s extraordinary exhibition LITHOSPHERES at Visual in Carlow, this is not to be missed if you live in Ireland and are at all interested in art and sculpture, absolutely wonderful!!!

Today is the first day of a new tidier me. Hm, I’m not actually sure if I should even be writing that sentence but if I don’t try to sort myself and the house out I’ll never achieve anything! In order to have some virtual and actual space in which to felt productively I have put 3 days aside in which to…..

  • gut my office once and for all including removing one table, throwing out LOADS of obsolete paperwork and bringing in a futon which has been taking up space elsewhere
  • strip out the hot press and get rid of any clothes I don’t wear regularly or that have shrunk, I’ll be passing these on where possible and not throwing them out. Items gone beyond repair will become cleaning rags!
  • strip out the upstairs bathroom including the wash stand and basin, it is too high and the tap is not actually working now. This is in preparation for my glamorous new double sinks and cabinets which are currently on the kitchen floor but at this stage I’m wondering if they are actually a little big for the upstairs space, oh dear
  • putting spare duvets and pillows into the vacuum storage bags I invested in ages ago, this will also tidy up the vacuum bags!
  • changing the door curtain between the dining room and my office
  • writing up some sample social media related workshop descriptions to present to the VEC and other local adult education organisations
  • check and give feed back re a friend’s blog

From the felting perspective I’ll be…..

  • adding some new kits (in wonderful colours!) and finished items to Etsy. Now that I’m felting quite a lot of smaller items for Borris Market each week I’ve decided to bite the bullet and go back to selling product as well as supplies on Etsy. I’m not sure that Big Cartel is working for me even though I do like the layout and look of my store, have any of you got any other ideas???
  • continuing with my studio clear out and reorganisation
  • collating all the email addresses of felting friends whose business cards I have collected over the last 4 years. I’m planning to put them in my Gmail address book and then get rid of all the floating cards (I’ll gather them as I tidy), pretty as they may be I can never find them when I actually need them!

Finally over the next 3 days Jan, Dawn and I will be confirming details and prices for the felting workshops I will be facilitating in Lexington KY and Plainwell MI during May, I just can’t wait to be back in both places!!!!! My Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival workshops have also been confirmed (wey, hey!!!) and I hope that they will be available to book online through the festival website sometime later this week too. For the moment please visit the workshop page if you would like to book your places with Jan and Dawn, here is a shortened excerpt of the workshops to give you a sneak preview of what we’ll be covering! (I’ve designed the workshops so that participants will get the maximum amount of benefit from attending both days, in certain circumstances it will be possible just to come for one so don’t panic if you aren’t available on both days, just have a word with Jan or Dawn.)

‘Fantastic Felt Inspired by the Natural and Built Environment’

Let the shapes, forms, colours, patterns, textures and structures of the natural and built environment fire your imagination! During this two-day workshop participants will design and create their own unique and beautiful wearable, functional or decorative pieces of felt using nature and the man-made landscape for inspiration. Some participants may choose to create a purely decorative art piece such as a complex vessel, sculpture or wall hanging while others may decide to design and felt some wearable art or interior accent, possibly a bag, some jewellery, some nuno felt or maybe a framed landscape or table runner.

There will be time to experiment and discover techniques or materials over the two days that you may have never considered using in your felting before. Nicola will be bringing some of her favourite mohair off cuts for everyone to try out and will share with participants how she is currently using free machine embroidery selectively to accentuate design elements in some of her new bags and framed landscapes. She’ll also demonstrate the use of an electric sander during some stages of the felting process and speak about the possibilities of fulling nuno felt using the tumble dryer, Nicola doesn’t use a sander all the time herself but sometimes it can really help with certain tasks and it is definitely useful to know when this might apply. The tumble dryer technique is wonderful for difficult to felt fabrics and to eliminate all the traditional rubbing and rolling, it’s not for everyone but it is fantastic to speed up the process especially if you have a bad back or other health issues so again, another technique it can be handy to know about!