Finished the sign and bartering

Well, I am delighted to announce that I have completed the road sign, all be it not quite in the way that I blogged about yesterday!  Before starting the rolling and fulling again (dreaming of another 52 minutes rolling X 2 or 3) I asked myself why I didn’t do a little experiment and try out my sander and my washing machine to speed up the process.  I debated with my conscience for about ten minutes, hand made versus machine assisted and finally decided that it was only a road sign, not a beautiful commissioned scarf or wall hanging.  What was I sweating it out for, time = money and if my idea worked I could get started on my nuno mosaic series of wall hangings, these will not have any mechanical assistance!  Well, I sanded the whole sign for a couple of minutes until I was absolutely sure that there were no loose fibres, bundled it into a duvet and stuck it into my machine on a quick 40 degree wash cycle.  The result was pretty good after the first go, I trimmed the edges a little and stuck it in again for a further cycle at the same temperature.  Once this was completed I pulled and stretched the edges using a pliers and then rolled the sign in my bamboo blind again for a few minutes, rotating it every now and again until I was satisfied with the shape.  Although I know that the felting process was not exactly purist I have to say that the result is just what I need for the end of the lane, a tough and hardwearing (hopefully!) sign that will alert visitors to where my studio is.  It did seem pointless when I thought things over, spending hours more slaving over the thing when I could really be starting on the series of mosaic wallhangings that I have been dreaming and plotting about over the whole holiday season!  I will take some images of the sign in the morning (writting this post in the early hours!) and also measure the exact amount that it shrunk in the making.

Bartering is fun!

Bartering is fun!

One other thing that I have done today is to sign up to the Barter Bunch.  This is a great idea for trading hand made goodies that Malissa has started on her blog, check it out and see if you might like to join. 

The things that I can make and trade are my own felt designs and include scarves, jewellery, vessels, small bags and wallhangings.  The type of items that I might be interested in trading these for include one off silver or ceramic beads, handmade cards, bags, sewing (possibly sewing my nuno fabrics into gorgeous clothes to my design!!), handmade toiletries with no artificial colours or scents ….. the list is open ended, surprise me!

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Evening classes and using an electric sander when felting!

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.

Love affair with felt continues!

My love affair with felt continues.  Yesterday my delivery of fibres and equipment arrived from Germany, seventh Heaven!  Already I have managed to create 2 new scarves and tonight I will be tutoring again, probably do some really light and supple marino creations.  Have now attended the Artlinks morning on blogging for beginners, I hope I can put it into practice.

Carmen lent me her sander (yes a Black and Decker sander) and I have been playing around with it at the early stages of the felt making process.  You need to be careful to have a light sheet of plastic between you and the fibres, otherwise the holes in the plate of the sander will suck up the wool or silk.  Last night I made a Nuno felt scarf and also tried to use some prefelt cutouts on top of Bheda wool, a course wool that felts really well.  The prefelts were not make from 100% wool and the sander definitely helped to secure them into the feltmaking process.  Will keep you updated.