A lightweight nuno scarf for me!

On Friday afternoon I felted two ultra lightweight nuno scarves, one for me and one to sell! The ponge silk that I used for both was a beautiful lettuce colour and I combined this with a very fine open layer of my favourite apple green short fibred merino from Wollknoll. I wanted to wear my scarf the following day at the Crafts Council training I was attending and have it match the bag I was bringing so added quite a lot of apple green and turquoise mulberry silk as well as plenty of hand dyed silk throwsters waste. The second scarf I added apple green mulberry silk and plenty of high sheen firestar, it’s lovely to be working with spring shades and I must say it was nice to make myself something for a change! I will be bringing the second scarf to Borris Food and Craft Market on Friday but on the off chance that anyone here is interested it is priced at E40 plus a couple of euros P&P so please just email me if you would like to reserve it and I can invoice via PayPal!

The two sides of my new nuno felt scarf

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Nuno felting today!

I’ve been to the library, discovered I’ve won some gorgeous hand spun from my buddy Heather, run a wash, stocked up on brown soda bread and milk as well as 100 dressmakers pins this morning (more in a minute) and now I’m ready for a FULL DAY felting and possibly dying too, woo hoo!  I still need to catch up on emails, paperwork and many more other household tasks left over from the manic last weeks but for today that is it, no more procrastinating but rather creating and playing with fibre!!!

Nuno texture and merging colours

On Friday I shared with Gerda an experiment in nuno felting using a technique I hope to offer in workshops this Autumn.  Basically it involves using a tumble dryer for some of the steps therefore meaning that anyone with physical limitations or a tendency to get tired rubbing and rolling will have this stage of the process either eliminated altogether or cut down to no more than ten minutes in total!  Chrissie and I will be publishing a new book prior to Christmas (click here to check out a preview of our first book From Felt to Friendship if you are interested in what we have been up to so far) and this time concentrate on simple ideas for designing and felting your own clothing with a view to flattering your personal shape, not that ‘perfect’ shape we all aspire to but most of us never achieve!!!

Anyway, back to Friday and the nuno top I made.  Working in white ponge silk and undyed 26 micron I laid out a front and back side of my top basing the design on a scaled up version of a favourite wardrobe staple.  By using only white raw materials for the main layout area I was able to lay out the fibres really quickly, get on to the felting, piece my top together (thanks Gerda, you kept me sane, bought more much needed pins this morning!) and then have great fun dying using Horst’s wonderfully simple method of achieving graduating colours with no stress at all.  Having the correct equipment now for my studio and working with Horst again over the course of our large felt garment workshop as well as observing friends Jan Durham, Dawn Edwards and Sharon Costello from The Tin Thimble in action during my US trip has given me the confidence to set up my dying station in the kitchen and just ‘get on with it’ myself.

My plan for the next few days is to felt and dye at least two pieces to be used for the fashion show at Felt in Focus next week, I leave for Copenhagen on Friday so I’m off now to get started!!!  Thanks Cristina for house sitting while I will be away, Rex will be thrilled.

Ready to prepare the felting kits at last!

I was supposed to be going to a finance workshop (associated with the tourism course) tomorrow but as my fever is definitely back with a vengeance I have decided to stay at home.  Initially I was thinking of laying out and starting a larger garment flu permitting, but since the postman has just arrived with my large order of Icelandic wool guess what I’ll be doing in the morning???  Realistically I need to have a total overhaul of the studio as since I have returned from our holiday it is actually impossible to move around inside it at all, I kid you not.  While Alan and I were swanning around all those gorgeous National Parks and Monuments in Northern California my house guests were tidying the house and putting stuff away in ….. you’ve guessed it, the studio!  It was brilliant to come home to such a tidy and friendly house everywhere else but now that the time has come I am dreading ploughing through all the junk (aka washing, recycling, boxes, fabric, fibre, you know the sort of stuff) that has been accumulating in my workspace for ages.  The light at the end of the tunnel is that hopefully by the end of the weekend my studio will be tidy, my felting kits will be prepared, everything will be uploaded to the internet and all will be calm and organised chez Nicola.  I have also realised that of course I need to upload rug bases and plastic felting mats on Etsy as well as the new wool, why on earth I have been hoarding them here is beyond me especially as I imported them from Mehmet with the express intention of using some and selling the surplus!

The light was not so good today but here is a close up shot of the scarf that I made yesterday.  You can see how nicely the ponge silk has ruched during the felting process and the mulberry silk gives a gorgeous sheen to the surface of the felt.Surface texture and sheen

Mystery of the lost post, incorporating pongee silk and the Clasheen Winter Swap

Well, I have just spent an extremely frustrating and puzzling time trying to locate my blog post and images of the printing on felt from yesterday.  I knew that it had gone live thanks to your welcome comments so imagine my surprise this morning when I was giving a bit of a demo on blogging to a couple of colleagues from the tourism course and discovered that it had gone!  I double checked that I had published it as a public post, kept opening and closing the website until finally I decided to check out my date setting (Alan’s spring clean is not as good as earlier envisaged!!) and voila, the problem is now solved.  This got me to thinking how many of my other posts will now reappear? Time will tell.

Yesterday afternoon I made a stunning merino and ponge silk scarf in black, dark turquoise and light turquoise.  I tore the ponge into squares and strips and laid them in a design on top of the soft merino and then covered the rest of the surface in light turquoise mulberry silk.  The ponge felted into the merino beautifully and the mulberry silk adds a sophisticated sheen to the whole scarf, definitely a design to be repeated.  This will be uploaded to my Etsy store tomorrow morning and hopefully will find a home as quickly as the nuno wrap which Carole bought yesterday, thanks Carole!

Before I sign off for the afternoon (fever has returned and I am just going to call it a day) why not check out the Clasheen Crafty Swap pool on Flickr to see the fantastic goodies that participants have been exchanging in our current Autumn swap?  The Winter Swap is now open for sign ups so if you didn’t know about it before or you have been a little bit apprehensive about joining don’t!  In order to participate you just need to join our group on Flickr (only takes a minute or two to sign up) and then Flickr mail me with your details, everyone welcome so please tell your friends as well.

Felting supplies, winter workshops at Clasheen and computer problems ….. again

My first really large order of wool and fibre arrived this morning and in a couple of minutes I have the great task of opening the box and delving into all the yummy contents!  A lot of this order is actually for myself and not to resell but will be used for my new range of winter scarves, felt jewellery and other wearable accessories and clothing.  There is also some new dyed flax fibre which I am interested in experimenting with and some gorgeous colours of silk chiffon and ponge silk to use for nuno scarves and other wearables.   Tomorrow is going to be my first full felting day for a long while and by the end of it I hope to have several completed items all ready to upload to my Etsy shop over the weekend, wish me luck!

Yesterday afternoon I finalised the workshops that I will be offering here at Clasheen from now until the beginning of December.  With the difficult financial climate we are all operating in I wanted to offer a good value, fun way for people to learn a new craft.  If anyone is interested in evening sessions as opposed to the advertised Saturday dates please just contact me and we can discuss your requirements.  

Computer problems have bitten again.  My new(ish) computer is in Dublin at the computer doctor and I am reduced to a nervous wreck trying to get this old thing to do what I want it to do, not happening very well I am afraid.  Alan is away also which means that as I don’t have access to his laptop I may not be the best communicator over the next few days.  It has actually taken me over an hour this morning to read half my emails (I got no further) and over another hour to write this post so please bear with me if I appear to be ignoring any messages, I’m not!

I took the opportunity before he left yesterday evening to update the workshop page and also printed some flyers to drop into Threads of Gold when I am in Kilkenny this afternoon.