Flu and felt!

Cristina and I had a lovely time felting together although we did miss our friend Sheila who had some sick bodies to look after and couldn’t make it down from Dublin, hope everyone is feeling a lot better by now Sheila.  Unfortunately I seem to have succumbed to some kind of flu myself (how annoying is that) so I am going to keep this post brief and share a couple of pictures of two sleeveless jackets, one which I made a while ago (and now has a new home with Cristina!) and the other which Cristina made during her stay here at Clasheen! 

Detail from the front of Cristina's jacket

Cristina’s white jacket is worked from needle punched felt and has some lovely raised detail inspired by some interesting techniques of Danish felter Charlotte Buch.   The merino in mine picks up the colours of the large hand dyed silk lap which formed the basis of the design, I love the texture this silk adds to the surface and the little holes which I emphasised in the wool. 

Close up showing how the silk laps add texture to the felt surface

Stop press, my nuno felt poncho had been converted into an amazingly versatile sleeveless top!

Sleeveless top with flower brooch

I know that I promised you photos of my reversible nuno felt poncho/wrap in my last post but since yesterday afternoon the poncho has taken on a new identity masquerading as a fabulous sleeveless top! It is a bit of a long story and forgive me if I need to cut things short but it is a bank holiday here and my sister, her three kids and my mom are arriving to visit almost any minute now! 

Basically I am very excited that it has just been confirmed that I will be participating in a Charlotte Buch workshop at the Danish felting symposium this summer and yesterday I discovered that Charlotte has now uploaded a tutorial for her clever 3 in 1 top to her website, check it out for yourselves and see what I mean!  Armed with her finished measurements I hauled out my measuring stick and realised that the poncho was larger in diameter that those in the tutorial which meant that I could safely cut the neckline into a circle bigger thus transforming the poncho into this cute and extremely wearable reversible top! 

What makes this top so exciting for me is the multiple ways it can be worn and the fact that is is created from one single piece of flat felt and not shaped around a resist, perfect for an enthuastic beginner!!!  Head on over to my Flickr photos to view some (but not all) the ways you can wrap this beauty around your body. 

I’ll leave you with a shot from the back, isn’t this just a wonderful concept??? 

One option for the back view

More pictures of my sleeveless felt jacket and nuno scarf dying experiment

The weather has been APPALLING here for most of the day.  Horrendous rain and heavy winds until late afternoon meant that I didn’t feel one little bit guilty (virtuous in fact!!) felting all day and I was even able to buy some food dye and have a go at my first dying experiment!  First things first, here are a couple more pictures of the sleeveless jacket I felted at the weekend but you do need to bear with me as the pictures aren’t great.  To be strictly fair it is not totally finished but you know me by now, I really need to push myself to add a couple of buttons and a fish skin and leather belt, maybe tomorrow???  

Surface detail

 

The 'almost' completed sleeveless jacket

 

Yesterday when the jacket was drying in front of the range I decided to use some of the gorgeous hand dyed silk I bought from Lyda Rump to make some more nuno scarves, my target is a minimum of 10 scarves a week from now on!  The piece of chiffon that I choose to work with was in fabulous aquamarine colours and I suddenly had the absolute brain wave of felting one of the pieces with some extraordinary merino/silk/tencel/glitz artisan batts that I bought from Blas in Urban Fauna Studio last October.  This has turned into one of my absolute favourite nuno scarves ever, check out this cool texture and colour!   

Hand dyed silk chiffon with merino/silk/tencel/glitz

I used a combination of turquoise and apple green for the second piece of silk chiffon and turquoise, royal blue and apple green for the third.  It is incredible how different colours combine together and I hope to take more pictures tomorrow, all the scarves are nice but for me this one is absolutely special!Working with Lyda’s gorgeous fabrics got me on to thinking yet again about dying my own raw materials.  I know that I could achieve beautiful effects if I dyed wool, silk, fibres, fabrics, yarns, etc. here at Clasheen but to be honest I just don’t think that I would have the patience on an ongoing basis and for me the mess and tidying up process would drive me mental.  I also feel that when I can buy such fantastic hand dyed materials from Lyda why bother myself?  Well, inspired by the chiffon I did decide to have a go at dying with food colouring today as for me this seemed a simple way to use easily available dye stuff without horrible mordants and a lot of technical ‘stuff’.  First off I nuno felted a white scarf combining it with 16 micron merino, raw mohair locks and corn fibre tops, when it was felted I left it soaking in a vinegar and water solution.  I had done some searching on the internet first and thought that the corn fibre would not absorb the dye but this was fine with me as my intention was to create an ocean inspired colour scheme.  In my excitement buying the food colouring I didn’t even think what I was purchasing and it was only when I was mixing the colours that I discovered I had green to combine with yellow and not blue as I had thought!  Never mind, green must be my favourite colour so nothing ventured, nothing gained, various shades of dark to yellow-green it would  be  Once I had the food colouring diluted with some hot water and vinegar I placed the already soaked scarf in a microwavable bowl and ‘painted’ on the colours.  Realistically this meant that I used a bottle with a nozzle for the darker green and poured the yellow/green mixture directly onto the scarf from a glass bottle, very technical here!  I swirled the scarf around with a chopstick before covering the bowl with cling film.  5 minutes on high, a rest followed by 5 minutes more and the microwave process was over.  To be continued tomorrow …..

ithout much to loose except an untidy kitchen!