Exciting nuno felt jacket competition and a couple of pictures at last!

Over on Clasheen Uncut I posted last week about an exciting competition Chrissie is having to win one of her stylish ‘Waterfall’ nuno felt jackets!  The rules are simple and it is a wonderful opportunity to win a unique piece of wearable art in colours that are personal to you, check it out!!!

Light shining through pink silk chiffon nuno felt scarf

The weather has been a lot better this afternoon, still a bit windy and not too warm but at least I was able to take a couple of pictures in the garden!  Here is an arty shot of my latest nuno felt scarf, now available for $50 from my new online boutique.  For this piece I felted the stylised flowers very well but didn’t throw the  scarf too much meaning that the finished scarf is actually not much shorter than when I started to lay out the wool.  I also cut the leaves out of some short fibred merino which I had covered in silk before dry felting for a couple of seconds with my hands.  Working the wool and silk combination dry for a couple of seconds compacted the fibres enough to allow me cut out the shapes, pretty cool using the short fibred merino but not so easy with long tops. 

Summer nuno felt scarf

Here is another shot of the scarf, the pale pink is really very pretty, the darker pinks and purple of the flowers contrast with the green leaves and really make the pale pink ‘pop’!

Advertisements

Some more shibori pictures and fabulous new wool arrives!

My second shibori experiment on St. Patrick’s Day was this simple cowl, again felted using merino, cotton gauze and silk. 

Spice shibori cowl

This time my design had a hole at one end through which the cords pull through from the opposite end to close the cowl, hope this makes sense!  I love the combination of cerise, orange and raspberry wool as I think it gives the cowl a lovely warm and spicy feel.  The cords were very easy to incorporate into the body of the felt and this is a design I am planning to play around with a little, possibly make my next cowl a little longer and a little narrower.  Check out my Flickr photos for a full range of images from both sides of this piece.

Yesterday morning my latest order of silk arrived from Wollknoll and boy am I EXCITED!  When Lyda Rump was here for our workshops in February she was saying that they now were dying some fantastic wool similar to that which I usually get from Filzrausch, a short fibred19 micron merino.  I asked Sonja Fritz is she would be able to include a kg of various colours with my order for silk and I was blown away by the subtlty of the shades and how beautifully soft and easy this ‘Kap’ wool is to work with.  There was a PERFECT rose shade (I have never got anything quite as beautiful in this colour before) and it just cried out to be felted with one of Lyda’s gorgeous hand dyed silk chiffon scarves. 

Hand dyed silk chiffon with the softest nuno shibori

Again I decided to experiment with a little shibori.  My aim with this scarf was to emphasise the gorgeous colours from Lyda’s dying so I decided just to add wool at either end and not cover the chiffon completely.  This created a fantastic and light scarf which would be an amazing present for someone allergic to wool, only the silk would be touching the skin when you throw the scarf around your neck!  I have uploaded both these shibori pieces and my recent Zebra cobweb felt scarf to my Etsy shop this morning so if you are looking to treat yourself to a little uplifting pressie now is the moment!

Happy Thanksgiving, completed pieces from last Saturday’s workshop, size of my new hearth rug

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  It is brilliant to have readers all around the world and really nice to discover whenever any of you have special days that you like to celebrate, to those of you Stateside I hope that you have a wonderful day. 

I promised you pictures of the completed work from last Saturday’s workshop at Clasheen as soon as I recieved them by email so here are Ann’s and Alisons, I think that Lindsay is still embellishing hers so you will just have to wait another while! 

Ann with her beautiful finished felt

If you look closely at Ann’s work some of the smaller leaves are actually three dimensional and stitched in place after the rest was felted.  This picture probably dosen’t do the colours full justice, the leaves really have loads of silk fibres and silk chiffon as surface decoration which gives a beautiful depth to the felt and the background is a warm creamy white.

Alison's amazing felt landscape

Alison’s landscape really came together as the day progressed.   There is a palpable feeling of motion about the wall hanging, I can just imagine the tree swaying in our local mountain breeze!  The colours really remind me of the Blackstairs mountains which surround my house, at the moment they are a beautiful heathery purple (from the heather!) and a rich golden brown from the dying heather.

In response to some queries about the size of my hearth rug, it  measures just over 1m by just under 1m.  This probably translates to about 4′ X 3′ but I don’t have an imperial tape measure that I can lay my hand on at the moment!

Another felt hat, answers to questions

I had great fun yesterday finishing the raspberry ripple felt hat and then was inspired to adjust the template slightly and make another, this time with a fresh green and white colour scheme.  I also wanted to try incorporating silk chiffon and silk hankies into the Icelandic wool to see how they would felt together, I was very happy with the result!  I have now posted pictures of the second hat to Flickr and if you click here you can see some notes which I have added to the close up shot.  Move your mouse over the image and the notes highlight areas that clearly define the chiffon, the hankies and how the wool migrates through both.

Now to answer some questions ….. the wool doesn’t seem at all scratchy to me although it does have a very tactile texture, the raspberry/red highlights on the green and white hat are from the printed silk chiffon, scrim is a natural open weave fabric softer than jute but coarser than muslin, my Etsy shop is called Clasheen like the blog and the actual url for those of you who are technologically minded is http://www.clasheen.etsy.com and no, I am not going to shave either of the hats!

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.

My nuno felt skirt!

I thought it was about time that I uploaded some images of the nuno mosaic skirt that I made during German felter Sigrid Bannier’s visit to Ireland during August.

Felt skirt and wrap outside Kilkenny Castle

Felt skirt and wrap outside Kilkenny Castle

The main body of the skirt is made from four cotton gauze nuno mosaic panels and the cummerbund section around the waist is also nuno felt, this time hand dyed merino felted into hand dyed silk chiffon.  Thanks to Sigrid and her expert sewing skills the panels are stitched to just above knee level and then the bottom of the skirt swishes and swings out beautifully when worn giving a very comfortable and interesting fit! 

Nuno felt wrap

Nuno felt wrap

The nuno neck wrap that I designed earlier in the year to match some of my linen clothes is made from the same silk and merino.  Sigrid liked it thrown around the neck exposing both the silk and wool textures at the same time, I prefer it with just the silk side showing but it is nice to have the option!

Fantastic nuno mosaic felting workshop at Urban Fauna Studio

I had a WONDERFUL time at Urban Fauna Studio on my last full day in the States!  Blas and Jamie have a superb set up, wonderful fibres, yarns, books and notions etc. all neatly laid out in a small but practical space in a quiet part of the Mission district in San Fransisco.  Alan and I arrived in the city during rush hour (I guess that should be rush hours!!) on Wednesday evening and I have to say it was only then that I discovered how far downtown San Fransisco actually was from the studio, although we had driven through the city at the beginning of the holiday I really didn’t realise that it was so big.  Luckily Alan is someone who likes to study all the local maps from an area as soon as we arrive and boy was I happy when he found out that the Muni light rail system could practically drop me from our hotel on O’Farrell Street to Urban Fauna’s door, all for the cool price of only $2, a lot less stressful than driving! 

Blas outside Urban Fauna Studio

Blas outside Urban Fauna Studio

I duly arrived on Thursday morning looking forward to meeting proprietor Blas and scoping out the facilities in advance of the participants arrival for our class at 10am.  Unfortunately Blas’s wife Jamie was tied up so I will just have to wait until next summer and their trip to Ireland before meeting the other half of this great fibre duo.  I was very impressed with the quality and selection of fibre and yarn available to purchase as well as interesting books, notions and other covetable items and more than impressed with how Blas manages to keep this relatively small space totally clean, tidy and organised, if only my own studio was half as tidy I would be in 7th heaven!  While Blas headed off to the local shop to pick up some fresh fruit and teas I made myself at home, first selecting some yummy and unusual fibres to bring home with me and then setting up the tables and laying out a couple of samples of my felt that I had brought with me from Ireland.  First to arrive was my online friend Nancy Schwab, the person actually responsible for putting me in touch with Blas and Jamie in the first place!  Nancy is a great nuno felter and had brought some of her beautiful scarves for everyone to drool over and this was interesting for all the participants to see as neither Flo, Nancy W-B or Laura had actually wet felted before.  We had a really fun group (two Nancys, Flo, Laura and Blas) and everyone was totally more experienced in dying fabric and fibre than I am and between them there was a gorgeous selection of hand dyed and bought silk to select from to create the nuno mosaic with.  I explained how Sigrid Bannier pioneered the technique and suggested that for the total beginners a double ended scarf would be a good project to tackle, plenty of opportunity to experiment with colour but not as large a piece to lay out as experienced felters Blas and Nancy S were going to attempt. 

Laying out the mosaic design - Nancy Schwab

Laying out the mosaic design - Nancy Schwab

Using a guideline of three different colours everyone started to chop up their silk and lay out their patterns, a bit like making an overlapping jigsaw!  As you can see from the image of Nancy laying out her design everywhere the silk colours overlap another colour is created.  In this way a complex design is created and additional depth is acquired from whatever colour wool is used on the reverse to felt everything together.  As we started to work everyone began to appreciate that this method of working opens up the door to amazingly complex details, particularly as everyone seemed to be a dab hand at dying silk in the first place a whole new avenue of textile design is now on the horizon.  Before lunch I showed everyone how I would lay out two fine layers of merino on top of the overlapping silk and everyone managed very well with varying degrees of thickness and different qualities of wool.  Blas actually used a yak/merino mix that has to be one of the softest fibres I have ever touched, needless to say I bought some to bring home for myself and some as a present for Carmen as well!  Anyway, we wet out the first end of the scarf and started rubbing and massaging to help the fibres migrate through the silk.  After lunch around the corner in a super Japanese place (FANTASTIC food and amazingly cheap) everyone got stuck back into their work and continued to lay out more silk to complete their piece before rubbing and then rolling in bubble wrap around a short piece of pool noodle.  Once we were totally sure that the wool was migrating through every layer of silk the felt could then be dipped into extremely hot water and then either thrown on a towel or rocked and rolled on the table to continue the felting process.  Once I was happy that the work was fully felted each piece was given a final rinse and then proudly worn for a fun filled photo session!  The nuno mosaic technique does use a lot more elbow grease than straight nuno felt and takes longer to create but I am sure you will agree from the photos here and on Flickr that the amazing results were more than worth the effort! 

Beautiful results form our nuno mosaic workshop

Beautiful results form our nuno mosaic workshop

I promise that tomorrow I will put up the post ‘American wrap up – Yosemite, Castle Air Museum and fantastic killer whales!’ but for now I am off to create a nuno felt scarf all for myself!