Yesterday I put the last finishing touch to some of the items that I have sent out in the Autumn swap. These necessary but fiddly touches really defeat me sometimes so it was really good to have a deadline to work towards, things like putting poppers on bags and sewing pin backs to brooches, all the little SEWING details! Anyway it inspired me to get out those bowls of felt beads that I have just waiting to be put to use. In the afternoon Carmen arrived and we spent the time happily sewing beads around the edge of a hand dyed silk scarf (Carmen) and stringing several simple but attractive necklaces (me). Today I actually have a couple of things to do outside the house but intend on spending some time tidying out the studio, or at least starting it in preparation for a marathon day tomorrow. I have organised a neighbouring farmer to help me for a couple of days before next Thursday, he has some fiddly but essential outdoor tasks and I have those essential but horrible indoor tidying tasks to complete before the first of my evening classes starts next week. I am also going to be finalising Mehmet Girgic’s workshop dates today so keep your eye on the blog, they will go up as soon as they are organised.
By now all of out Autumn swaps should be in the post. I have a small confession to make, I missed the post yesterday so appologies to my partners, they are posted now but you will be getting your parcels one day late and I really have no excuse except confusion and distraction! Next time for the swap I may set up a group on Flickr to run everything through. Things were a bit confusing here and I actually am involved in a couple of swaps (really enjoying them!) but operating through my Flickr account would mean that I would have less chance to miss anyone out or have any errors.
My swap package arrived from Anna, thanks SO much Anna for the fantastic painting and the great cards. I actually admired the painting on Anna’s painting blog at the weekend so was absolutely amazed when it arrived in the post yesterday!! I am also looking forward to making the delicious sounding bread, it should tase great made in the Rayburn. Please email me images of your swap packages as they arrive if you want to and I will set up a page on the blog so others can see them as well.
Started today with a big clean up around the Rayburn, maybe it didn’t like me putting my felted coils in it or something but on Friday the range decided that enough was enough! Anyway, I had just got a delivery of oil so maybe the last dregs were a bit dirty or something but it cut out on Friday afternoon just when the new oil had arrived. To be honest it was a good opportunity not to relight it and take the opportunity to give it a good ‘Spring’ clean. Right now it is recieving a service and by this evening it will be as good as new, hot food and water at last.
Anyway, once I had cleaned the range I was able to start felting. I had already decided that today was going to be the day when I tried my big floor sander out on a trellis scarf. Carmen lent me a small mouse sander previously but although it did work the experience today was a 100 times better! I laid out my wool on the smooth side of bubble wrap, wet it out as usual with warm water and olive oil soap (making sure not to over wet) and then laid a piece of laminate floor underlay on top of it. The main thing to remember when using a sander is that electricity and water don’t mix so you must be CAREFUL. I then placed the sander on top of the underlay and turned it on at the full setting, WOW, the fibres almost blended together instantly. The sander just replaces the need to rub your hands over the bubble wrap loads of times before you start rolling, it doesn’t replace the rolling or the hand made nature of the felt when you are felting and fulling. It also wouldn’t be suitable for every item you wanted to make but for the trellis scarf it was brilliant at getting the sections where the wool crossed to felt together. In the morning I am going to take a few pictures, weather permitting and I will post them to the blog.
Several friends have asked me about running evening classes so I am happy to say that I have decided to run a 5 week beginners course starting on Thursday 30th October at 8pm. Give me a call on 087-2789740 or email me if you are interested in attending the course. All materials to make at least one item each evening are included in the price, tea and coffee will be on tap and each class will cost E25. I can guarantee that they will be fun! You might even get inspired to create all your own Christmas presents or a few special ornaments to hang on your tree. Other times and days by arrangement.
Had a great day today on the felting front. First thing this morning I called over to Carmen and thankfully she was a little better although not fully recovered from her virus or whatever. As a result we had a spot of breakfast and I was home and ready for action by about 10am. The first thing that I got stuck into was shaving the rug I made at the Mehmet Girgic workshop and then the felted lariat with the spirally bits that I mentioned in my post yesterday. I made some more long cords, very thin and then worked further on all the cords to make sure that they were fully compacted before winding them around the metal knitting needles and putting them in the oven of the Rayburn (oil fired range). A great lunch later I recieved a call from a friend and I decided to go in to Borris for a quick coffee with them and to visit the bank. About an hour later I suddenly realised that the spirals were still in the oven, boy was I lucky that they were not burnt to cinders!! Anyway, I finished that lariat, made two more nuno felt neck pieces and then assembled another lariat, this time two thickish cords with flowers on either end. Tomorrow morning I am going to photograph all the work and then I need to go to Kilkenny and meet with Ann Mulrooney, the curator of Breaking Out.