New felt vessel, thanks again and latest Wikio rankings!

This morning I started a turquoise and white vessel, the first in a new series which will form the main focus of my solo show this year for the Kilkenny Arts Festival, hopefully I might have a few pictures for you all tomorrow.  It felt great to be laying out my fibres and felting again, the last few weeks have really seen me tied to the computer but now I need to concentrate on getting a little work finished before I head of to U.S. next Monday.  I also want to felt a few new nuno mosaic scarves to bring with me but at the moment all I can think of is one day at a time and I don’t have many of those days or times left now!

Chrissie and I are thrilled with the response to our book so far, THANKS SO MUCH to all of you for your encouragement, support and good cheer as we went through the laborious process of documenting our work and putting thought to paper.  Your messages of congratulations and ordering of books has been wonderful, thanks Linda Koch for being the first ‘outsider’ to order a copy, only 8 minutes after the book went live so that gave us a great big boost last night!!!  If you are interested in getting your own copy all you need to do is click on the little picture of the book to the right, select whether you want softback or hardback and click the order button, Blurb deliver workdwide!

I am also pleased to be moving upwards again in the latest Wikio blog rankings!  Thanks Neila for letting me know, at the moment I am in eigth position for the knitting rankings in the UK and Ireland, see my sidebar, but after the 5th May I go up to 5th.  Here is a sneak preview of the new top 20!

1 pennies per hour of pleasure
2 needled
3 Daisie Days
4 Art Yarn
5 Clasheen by Nicola Brown
6 The Woolly Adventures of a Knitting Kitty
7 ysolda
8 Confessions of a YarnAddict
9 Eskimimi Knits
10 Little Cotton Rabbits
11 The Yarn Yard Blog
12 Dyed in the Wool
13 mooncalfmakes
14 All things Socktopus!
15 fourth edition
16 Wendy Knits
17 Purlpower
18 SNOOPYDOGKNITS!
19 Dye Studio Diary
20 glittyknittykitty

Ranking made by Wikio

Workshops at The Tin Thimble in Loomis CA and questions answered about how to order your book!

I am just about to update everyone on my workshops in California but before I do that let me give you a little info re ordering our book, Chrissie and I are getting a lot of questions about where and when it will be available to purchase.  We are self publishing through Blurb, this means that the book will be available to buy online as soon as we have the final projects uploaded and edited!!!  Because of the extremely tight time schedual I am under at the moment the book will be available to order sometime from the middle of next week but it may be that I have to do a little revision to text, images etc. from US if I discover any small errors when I get the hard copy.  This means that if you are really keen to get your hands on nyour own buy it next week, if you want to wait another couple of weeks and get a revised edition (if it needs revision) please do so!  I am going to be ordering my own first copies and having them sent directly to Loomis as there won’t be time to get them posted here before I leave on my travels, I can’t wait for both the book and the travels!  If you live in US and are participating in any of the workshops and order a copy prior to my arrival ,of course I would be delighted to write a personal dedication in the book for you!!!  I believe the books will take approx 7 to 10 days to arrive from the time of purchase, hope this answers all those questions.  Now on to the CA workshop update …..

You may remember that I was to be joining other teachers for a wonderful Mother’s Day Fiber Retreat in Downieville but this has been changed to two workshops with me in house at The Tin Thimble in Loomis because finances were preventing people booking a longer extended stay with accomodation.  Emma has posted all the details to their website but I have also cut and copied the main info from there and included it here at the end of this post.  If you live anywhere within striking distance of Loomis do please come along, we are going to be having SUCH FUN!!!  Last year was brilliant and I have to say that I am really looking forward to spending some extra time myself with Sharon.  I have so many ideas in my head and Sharon (Emma’s mum) is the master of adding a few judicious stitches into almost finished felt, I am hoping she will help me translate some of my ideas into gorgeous, simple, wearable clothing!  Anyway, enough writing for the moment, scroll down to read the info and if you would like to book your place please email Emma asap.

Felted Accessories – Friday, May 13 10:30-5:00
Fun and funky or subtle and sophisticated, let your imagination run wild when designing and creating gorgeous felted accessories to adorn the body!
During this one day workshop participants will experiment incorporating glass nuggets, stones, fabric, leather, beads, buttons and found objects with wool creating unique wearable accessories. Each person will felt a collection of pieces which may include a combination of rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, scarbes, simple belts, small purses (or one large one), neckwraps, sleeveless mittens, flowers or whatever else takes their fancy.
Nicola will bring a selection of unusual fabrics with her from Ireland including metallic meshes and sequin or glitter studded polyester in addition to some of the ‘mohair waste’ fiber which she is currently experimenting with in her work. Participants will be free to use these as accent materials but are also encouraged to bring alongany old bits and bobs they like from their stash, incorporating these into the felt lead to truly personal one off pieces of wearable art. A materials list will be available upon registration.
Instructor: Nicola Brown
Class Fee: $150
Special 2-Day Nuno Mosaic Workshop – Saturday, May 14 & Sunday, May 15 10:30-5:00 

Discover the possibilities of creating your own wonderful multi hued and textured fabric using the mosaic nuno technique. Working over two days participants will have the time and opportunity to plan, design and felt either a beautiful piece of wearable art or else a stunning decorative or functional textile for the home. Suggestions for wearable projects include a large ruffled wrap, mini skirt, folded oragami style top or complex panel perfect for inclusion in any one off piece of clothing, ideas for interior design include a beautiful wall hanging or an unusual and stylish table runner. A materials list will be available upon registration.
Instructor: Nicola Brown
Class Fee: $250

Felt and recycled material mobile for Earth Day and beautiful nuno mosaic!

Happy Earth Day!  Today is Earth Day and to celebrate I am throwing open my studio this afternoon and sharing a simple way of making a beautiful waste felt and recycled material mobile.  This pledge ticks the ‘recycling and waste reduction’ box and is my way of joining others aiming to achieve ‘A billion acts of green’.  In the evening I will be joining Cathy, Martin and other green friends for a walk to the summit of Mount Leinster followed by a party and some great music, Kiwi with an Irish twist!!!  Check out this event here on Facebook and do come and join us if you are free.  Places are limited to 6 for the mobile workshop but because I only made the pledge on Wednesday I am not actually sure if anyone will be joining me.  If not never fear, I am going to make my own mobiles anyway and take some pictures of the finished pieces so you can all share the process online tomorrow!

Sharon's beautiful nuno mosaic wrap

Due to circumstances beyond our control plans have changed for my workshops with Sharon and Emma of  The Tin Thimble, Loomis, CA.  Instead of us heading off for the fibre retreat as planned, we now have 3 days of workshops happening at the wonderful studio in Loomis instead, a special two day nuno mosaic workshop and a one day felted accessories workshop.  Details of both workshops as well as a full materials list will be posted here and to The Tin Thimble’s website later today or early tomorrow but for now I am going to share two pictures of Sharon’s amazing nuno mosaic wrap from last year.

Stunning textures in Sharon's wrap

This stunning piece of wearable art was felted during one highly intense day, imagine the possibilities for a designing and creating a beautiful origami style jacket, wrap around skirt or large wall hanging when having the opportunity to play around with this technique over two days???

American workshops – a guide to the raw materials required by participants!

My flights are booked, new linen trousers purchased and I am SO excited now about my upcoming workshops in America, meeting old friends, making new ones and simply having the best of fun with like minded fibre nuts!!!  From 13th to 16th May I will be participating and teaching at The Tin Thimble’s wonderful Mother’s Day Fiber Retreat, on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May I will be with my amazing friend Dawn for two days of workshops in Plainwell, MI and then on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th May I will be meeting and staying with online fibre friend Jan Durham and facilitating two days of workshops in Lexington KY, how fantastic is that for an adgenda???  

On the Friday participants in both MI and in KY have the option of taking a workshop titled ‘Simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects incorporating found objects’ and on the Saturday a workshop titled ‘Nuno mosaic and other interesting possibilities for wearable felt accessories’.  Participants attending both workshops have the option of designing and felting larger and more complex vessels, bags, sculptural items, bigger nuno projects or indeed an art piece for the wall.  As a result I have been toying with the correct materials list to publish for each workshop, eventually I have decided to provide a ‘minimum fabric and fibre requirement’ list for some of the projects participants may want to make and hopefully this will cover most potential eventualities!  In this way each individual participant will decide for themselves what exactly they want to make and what materials then need to bring with them at a minimum,. I know from personal experience that I can never bring too much fibre and embellishment items with me when I attend any workshop so limiting myself can be a challenge, it may also bring unexpected rewards at times!!!  Each participant will need to bring their usual felting equipment, 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.  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 laminate floor underlay but in an emergency we can use bubble wrap or whatever flexible plastic you have to hand.  For participants felting nuno mosaic or large nuno wraps it is really best to have two long lengths of bubble wrap bigger than the starting size of the silk used, plastic trash can liners are OK too in an emergency so if you have a roll of them please just bring them along!  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 embellishments, inclusions, leather off cuts and artificial glittery fabrics with me for everyone to share as well as some of the mohair waste which I am currently experimenting with in some of my three dimensional work!  Enough of the waffle, hopefully the following will be a guideline and I am always happy to answer any questions directly so please feel free to email me if you have a major concern …….

Clutch bag, vessel, iPad cover and smaller three dimensional items will need 80 – 150g of fibre.

Larger and more complex bags will need 200 – 350g fibre, I like this to be divided into 2/3 merino and 1/3 a strong coarser fibre such as C1 or Icelandic wool.

A 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 nuno wrap (two day project!) will need 2 – 3 m (yards is fine) silk chiffon, ponge silk, cheesecloth or muslin for the base and 40 – 100g good quality merino depending on size.

A mosaic nuno scarf will need a total minimum of 1m silk chiffon but this needs to be in at least 3 colours ie. 1/3m from a roll of three different colours, adding a small amount of a clashing colour can work wonders!  Incorporating vintage scarves into nuno mosaic is wonderfully effective and a beautiful way of bringing old fabrics back to new life, to see what I mean check out Marni’s wonderful scarf from last year’s Tin Thimble workshop, isn’t it beautiful?  These scarves will also need over 100g good quality merino preferrably in two colours.

A large nuno mosaic wrap will need 2 – 3m silk fabric in mixed colours and a total of up to or over 200g good quality merino, again two colours of fibre is ideal.

As you can imagine different projects require different techniques and heaviness of hand when laying out the fibre.  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???

CRAFTed news, Michigan workshops open for booking and general workshop information

Laying out merino for the inside of a beret

Friday’s CRAFTed session was chaotic but fun, all the girls are going to have beautiful items to take home with them as a reminder of this transitional year at the school.  Working with 32 inexperienced felters is definitely a challange, I love the enthusiasm with which everyone is attacking their work, it does mean that Mairead (6th class teacher) and I are running all over the art room however during each session and I really hope that I am able to give each girl enough individual attention to ensure the process is an enjoyable one for everyone!  These individual projects will be completed in our last session (they include bags, cell phone covers, vessels, flat felt with/without little pockets, two scarves and one beret!) where we will also work on our collaborative wall hanging, this will be hung in the school when the girls graduate later this summer.  Because of the logistics when working with 32 beginners I am thinking that we will divide the class into three distinct groups next time, each group will rotate and have their turn to finish their individual project, create twisted yarn cords to add to their bags as well as select a square from the group piece which they will then embellish, add a pocket to or otherwise decorate with something of significance which they would like to leave behind as they leave for secondary school and move forward in life.  Not sure if this will work but I am predicting it will be easier and more sensible than having everyone working on the same task at the same time, it will also avoid me running all around the art room all the time, more concentrated effort but less stressful I think for all envolved! 

MICHIGAN WORKSHOPS – I am delighted to say that our Michigan workshops on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May are now open for booking!  Please email the wonderful Dawn if you would like to reserve your place, I am just going to have another go uploading  the full details and descriptions to the workshop page (having problems yet again today!) so in case of further technical issues the Friday workshop is titled ‘Simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects’ while Saturday will be dedicated to the fascinating art of ‘Nuno Mosaic’.  One workshop will cost $140 or if both are taken the cost will be $130 per day, for more about what can be covered over two days check out the general workshop information further down this post. 

Wonderful vintage printed silk and chiffon create Marni's gorgeous textured nuno mosaic scarf!

The nuno mosaic technique was taught to me by German felter Sigrid Bannier and is a wonderful way to create memorable wraps, scarves and yardage for incredible one off pieces of clothing.  To refresh your memory (or if you are only visiting this blog for the first time!) here is an image of Marni’s amazing scarf incorporating vintage silk and chiffon from one of the Tin Thimble’s workshops last Fall, this was actually the first time ever that Marni had felted a nuno piece!  If this has not whet your appetite enough there are some more nuno mosaic images from The Tin Thimble workshops here, some from the previous Fall at Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco here and a few of my own nuno mosaic skirt and matching wrap here.

GENERAL WORKSHOP INFORMATION – I like to think of my workshops as a place where I share information and provide a recipe for felters to follow or adapt as they see fit!  When I am teaching I always explain that there are many ways possible to reach a similar end result, I will be sharing the methods and tips which I find work best and usually guarantee me a successful outcome, it is up to each individual participant to determine whether they want to follow exactly or adapt the steps to suit themselves.  Although each of my upcoming workshops has a title representing the main technique/techniques covered on that particular day, it will be possible for participants choosing to attend for both days to felt larger more complex projects that may not be specifically mentioned in the titles.  An example would be someone who wanted to felt a complex felt sculpture or bag using several stitched resists, another would be a person wanting to create a reversible nuno felt shrug.  If you have any queries in this respect please don’t hesitate to email me personally, I want to provide all the necessary information in order for people to make an educated descision.  As previous experience has demonstrated most participants at my American workshops are regular felters, it should be noted that all the workshops are open to total beginners so please don’t feel you can’t attend if you are just starting out learning this fascinating craft, I would love to have you come along!!!

Finally, at the risk of sounding pushy, the Kentucky workshops are now provisionally full for Saturday and only have 4 places left on Friday, if anyone is having a little think about things please don’t think for too long!!!

Booking open for my felting workshops at The Tin Thimble, Loomis, CA!!!

I am delighted to say that booking is now open for the two felting workshops I will be facilitating at The Tin Thimble in Loomis, Northern California this Fall!  We will be kicking off the fun with a two day Complex Felt Bag workshop on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th September followed by a Nuno Mosaic workshop on Monday 27th September. 

Detail from a recent bag

I am really looking forward to meeting owners Emma and her mother as well as blog readers and friends from Ravelry who are hoping to book into one or even both of the workshops!  It constantly amazes me how the internet brings us all together in a virtual sense and it is always fascinating to meet up in reality and confirm friendships forged online.  Lasy year I had the pleasure of meeting expert nuno felter Nancy Schwab at Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco (dates and venues for the general San Fransisco area to follow in a week or so!) and earlier this summer Jamie and Blas from Urban Fauna paid a visit to me here in Clasheen as part of an extended Ireland and England road trip!!!  Mosaic nuno felting was actually the topic I covered in San Fransisco last year and if you are wondering what on earth it entails and would like to see some pictures why not check out this post from October 2009?

Nuno mosaic workshop confirmed for San Fransisco!

Thanks so much to fellow felter Nancy Schwab for helping me organise my first felting workshop in America.  Nancy contacted Jamie from Urban Fauna Studio and hey presto, we are up and running with a nuno mosaic day on Thursday 1st October at her gorgeous studio and fiber boutique!  I must say the images on Jamie’s website make me want to drool so I can only imagine what I will be like in reality when presented to all that gorgeous fiber and yarn.  Isn’t it amazing the virtual connections that the internet enables and how wonderful it will be to actually meet some online friends in the flesh at last!  Thanks also to Tobie, maybe we can get together anyway at Jamies and hopefully this will be my first felting experience of many in the States.  If any of you are interested in securing a spot in what promises to be a fun day please just click here to go directly to the booking page!