Still waiting, felt flowers in the making, creative spinning

I am still waiting for my delivery of Icelandic wool to arrive in preparation for the large rug I am felting my father’s cousin Sylvia, hope there is no charcoal getting in the way!  In the meantime my sister commissioned me to create 36 small felt flowers to adorn her new Stranne table light from Ikea.  This is a spin off from my own lamp which I updated at Christmas by adding stylised flowers to surround every little light bulb, everyone seems to like it for some reason.  Anyway, I used flowers left over from my Sculpture in Context piece so just added whatever I had left over but for Suzanne’s lamp I am making them from scratch in colours that she choose on Sunday.  Yesterday I started the production by felting two 8 flower batches and this morning I intend felting 16 more before loading the truck and heading of to a teaching engagement this afternoon.

Stunning hand painted roving from the Dancing Farm

On Friday I recieved a wonderful swap package from Suzy aka Hollyhill in the New Year Secret Scarf Exchange on Ravelry.  It included this fantastic hand painted roving from the Dancing Farm which in addition to looking forward to felting with it has inspired me to try out spinning with a spindle for the first time in an attempt to add some handspun yarn to me freestyle kniting!   Not  having any spindle myself I have adapted one (using a piece of bamboo, a CD and some rubber bands) and this evening when I am back from teaching I am going to have a try armed with Gaia traditional crafts beautiful book Creative Spinning.  This is such a wonderfully bulky amount of gorgeous fibre to recieve and in my mind’s eye I can see several beautiful and light felted scarves and some yummy yarn all created from the one gift from Suzy, thanks for this great swap package!!!

Opening photo, unwinding a bit, stunning package in the post …..

Unfortunately the photos I took of my work on Friday evening as the Blueprint opening got underway are not good quality. 

Blueprint Exhibition for Eigse

I thought you might like to see a shot of my set up however and when I am in Carlow during the week invigilating I am going to bring my bigger camera and try to take some better more detailed shots.  The two larger wall hangings and a small framed piece are hung on the wall to the right and overall I was happy enough with how the felt looked on the night.  I don’t think from this photo that you can get any idea what the inside of the grey pod (on the plinth) is like but I felted some ovals of black sequined fabric into the light grey inside and these pick up the colours in the large grey wall hanging and the small grey textured piece on the front of the other plinth.  Thanks to my friends who made the effort to attend the opening, it was much appreciated!

Today I am unwinding a bit, answering a few emails, uploading a few images to Flickr, hoping and waiting for a call from the American Embassy re. what exact visa I need to travel on this Fall and since the postman came (or woman as it was today) drooling over the most AMAZING package I received from Jayne as part of the Ravelry Colour Swap number 7.  Head on over to Flickr if you would like to see the full package and to Clasheen Uncut to see a close up of the most LUSCIOUS fibre and hand made button but for now be prepared to admire the amazing ‘Ishbel’ that Jayne dyed and knitted especially for me ! 

Ishbel - dyed and knitted for me by Jayne!

Sculpture progresses and fun morning with friend

Apologies for my lack of posts over the last few days.  The internet connection has been extremely sketchy, must be something to do with the fact that our weather has broken at last and amazingly for this time of year farmers (and the golf course) had actually been praying for rain!

I have been working on fulling and shaping the sculpture that I started at the end of last week.  This first experiment in creating a tall column shape should give a good indication of whether I need to make my felt thicker, use a different resist, have a larger space to work in etc., all the nitty gritty things that will help me when planning and executing pieces larger than my own actual height and width!  When I started fulling and shaping I initially worked the felt around a long piece of electricity cable housing.  I had intended on having this diameter as the finished width but discovered that the felt needed to shrink further to become stronger and self supporting so I put the work aside to see what on earth I could find to hand with a slightly narrower diameter to enable me continue the shrinking process.  I returned to the scuplture the following morning having discovered the perfect fencing stake lurking in my garage, no problems now working the felt around the wood and beating it with a wooden spoon to finish firming up the felt!  Pictures to follow when the piece is totally finished.

Yesterday I spent a fun morning with friend and artist Rosin Markham.  Amongst other materials Rosin sometimes works with gorgeous undyed raw wool from a variety of different sheep breeds.  She very generously gave me samples and locks from some wonderful looking kinds, hopefully I will be able to take pictures later today and you will see the crimp and texture which should translate wonderfully into some finished felted work.  As Rosin had never worked three dimensionally before I showed her how I work around a resist and she laid out a simple round vessel in graduating shades of undyed Icelandic wool.  Meanwhile I decided that this was a good morning to get started on an ocean inspired bag which I am making as part of the current ‘felted bag swap’ on Ravelry.  I tried out a new shape which with a little tweaking will be perfect as a basis for exploring a new complex felt bag design, just need to add another flap or two but need to buy more laminate floor underlay first!  Rosin’s vessel was looking very good by the time she had to leave and my bag is now sitting on top of a rad drying while I plan and execute the dreaded cord handle.

Suzanne's necklace

You may remember I posted a good while ago about the necklace I made my sister Suzanne for her birthday.  She and my mother came over for a coffee on Sunday morning and I snapped a shot of her wearing it for my records, note the fact that she didn’t want her face to be shown, false modesty in my opinion but it does make for a good photo!

Beautifully soft 16 micron merino

For part of the New Year Secret Scarf Swap that I am participating in on Ravelry I wanted to felt a gorgeous and soft scarf for my swap buddy Krysotfer.  I had decided to work in an amazing soft 16 micron merino which I had bought late in the Autumn from one of my favourite suppliers Filzrausch in Germany and the idea was to felt a long scarf in charcoal wool with natural mohair locks to decorate the ends.  The mohair was one of the gorgeous fibre related items that I bought on my October visit to northern California which is ironic in a way since Krystofer actually lives in San Fransisco, California and this is the city where Alan and both I started and ended our wonderful holidays from.  I hadn’t been going to upload any images of the scarf here until I was sure that Krystofer had recieved the package but due to circumstances detailed below decided to put this teaser up anyway! 

Detail of the mohair locks

 

This merino was a dream to work with, very fine, evenly carded and lovely and quick to felt, I laid out two very fine layers so the finished scarf is extremely light, warm and soft.  The only thing that I will do differently next time is give my hands a rub with olive oil approx 10 minutes before I start to felt and this will ensure that the fibres don’t snag at all on my skin.  Felting does mean that I have clean hands most of the time but I forget to use handcream when things are hectic, I can safely say that hectic just about describes every day here at the moment! 

Now the real question is why did I decide to uploaded this image after all?  Because luckily I checked through the discussion board before mailing the scarf to discover that long for Krystofer is really looooong and this scarf definitely is a little challanged on the length side of things!  What does a girl do???  Decide what the **** and really go all out to felt another scarf that is well over 10′ long, I’ve not actually measured it yet but at a rough guess it is approx 12′ and counting!  No pictures of this one going up yet but hopefully Krystofer will email me a picture of himself wrapped in the scarf when he gets it, providing of course that he is not totally hidden by the felt, it is rather LOOOOOOONG!

Felt vessels and great swap package

I have now uploaded some images of the felt vessels that I made for the Blueprint exhibition to my Flickr account.  With the exception of one bowl I decided to use all undyed fibres and keep the theme simple and stylish.  Probably the vessel that I am most satisfied with is a grey and white bowl with three oval pebbles stitched on as embellishment. 

Natural wool, stone and linen vessel

Natural wool, stone and linen vessel

Carmen gave me some raw linen thread to use for the stitching and I must say it does lend to the overall effect.  It really reinforces the thought that I have to get a bit more comfortable with a needle, judicious stitching can really enhance the style and feel of an item particularly when the thread has been chosen with care to complement or contrast.

The Clasheen Crafty Swap for Summer is well underway now, currently we have 98 members in our group and the numbers are growing weekly!  Swapping is a brilliant way to make friends and swap goodies with partners from all around the world, my most recent and wonderful swap package arrived on Monday afternoon from krobin in the Ravelry Cowl Swap.  In this secret swap we had to knit or crochet a cowl for our partner, send yarn and another cowl pattern and also include a few little extras taking into account the likes and dislikes of our swap buddy. 

Fantastic swap package
Fantastic swap package

My brilliant package included the hand knitted cowl, 3 crochet hooks, chocolate, yarn, pattern, pretzels, incense, my favourite ginger and orange bath lotion, ginger soap and some tasty chai tea!!!  Need I say more, EVERYTHING is me to a tee!

For my secret partner I crocheted a cowl in a silk/merino mix and finished it off with three buttons from my stash, hopefully my buddy will like it as it is in her favourite autumn colours!  I have bought some locally produced yarn from Cushendale Wollen Mill and yesterday got some chocolate and little extra goodies when I was in Carlow to complete my package.  Hopefully I will get it all together this afternoon (in between some dreaded cleaning in prep for Alan’s arrival home!) and it will be winging it’s way to the States tomorrow morning. 

Brilliant new felting book, wonderful swap package and new Clasheen swap news!!

Wow, I got some GREAT packages in the post last night!!  Check out Lizzie Houghton’s new book ‘Felting Fashion’, it is brilliant but especially if you are interested in creating wonderful nuno felt wearables!

Felting Fashion by Lizzie Houghton

Felting Fashion by Lizzie Houghton

I first read about this book approximately a month ago (it was pre-publication at that stage) and then members of Feltmakers Ireland who attended the International Feltmakers Association AGM raved about it when they saw a copy.  I was delighted to see that it was available through the English Amazon site although I think that it might be October before our American counterparts get it on the other side of the world.  Anyway, do try and get your hands on a copy if you are at all interested in felting clothes, the images alone make it worth the small investment, my copy cost less than E20 incl p & p from ‘The Book Depository’. 

Nuno felt berets and hats

Nuno felt berets and hats

Just a quick tip re Amazon, I always check out the used books first.  Although it sounds strange they are nearly always new and a fraction of the price of the actual ‘new’ ones!!  Two other textile related books that I had ordered arrived yesterday as well as did my amazing ‘Felted Purse (Bag) Exchange’ swap package from Darlene.  This exchange was organised through Ravelry and using my colour preferences my swap buddy Darlene (Ktoggal on Ravelry) made me a gorgeous knitted bag in reds, orange and plum which was then fulled in the washing machine. 

My gorgeous bag from Darlene

My gorgeous bag from Darlene

I LOVE the bag thanks Darlene and all the extra little goodies are gorgeous, I particularly love the scent of the blackcurrant mineral bath soak!!  Would you like to participate in the new Clasheen swap???

NEW CLASHEEN SWAP  For this next swap I thought that it would be a nice idea to exchange something small, handmade and wearable such as a corsage, piece of jewellery, scarf or a clutch bag.  Please sign up via the Clasheen Crafty Swap group on Flickr, it would be great to have participants again from all around the world!!