A tip to enhance texture in nuno felt and KY and MI workshop details are finally online!

I have managed to get through a lot of the clearing, re-organisation and tidying chores that I blogged about on Monday, not all of them obviously but I have made a dent in the never-ending pile! Thanks for all your encouragement both via comments and through FB, they are definitely much needed to keep me going, I HATE tidying!!!

As promised, the full workshop descriptions for the KY and MI workshops in May are now up on the workshop page and I am hoping that we will have a mix of both experienced and improving felters attend. Beginners are really welcome too so please don’t feel you don’t have enough felting under your belt to book a place, everyone is welcome and it makes for a really fun and creative time if we have groups of mixed experience!

I have also started to transfer some of my felt pouches across from Big Cartel and into my Etsy shop, only time will tell if this has been a wise descision.

Finally for today, Rhonda was wondering how I achieve so much texture in some of my nuno felt pieces. This is something that I will be writing about in the new book with Chrissie but a great tip is to wet out and soap your fibres before you lay out any of your embellishment. Taking this idea a little further for projects such as nuno bags or cushions (items where you have a couple of layers of wool in addition to your fabric), try rubbing the base layer of wool through your bubble wrap to create a ‘skin’ on the surface before laying out your fabric on the top, then wet and soap the fabric lightly and rub again through the bubble wrap. By working like this the wool fibres underneath don’t have as much opportunity to travel through the fabric and this helps to create more texture! You do need to be careful though to rub longer than roll however using this method, otherwise you could try fulling with the tumble dryer, this elliminates both the rubbing and the rollling process!!! I’m going to be discussing my experiences nuno felting using the dryer thoroughly for my section of the new book and I will also be talking about it at the workshops in Lexington and in Plainwell!

Textures in a nuno felt scarf

Home, pics, links, Sheep and Wool Festival, the new June Wikio rankings and THANKS!!!

I arrived home safely yesterday afternoon but my luggage stayed in Atlanta, maybe it was trying to tell me something!!!  Customs at the airport had already been informed that it was not on my flight so although it does mean I don’t have it back until sometime tomorrow afternoon at least the bag was traced and is now waiting for a courier to collect it from the airport in Dublin.  This does give me a little ‘free’ time to catch up with everything here at Clasheen, please be patient however if you are waiting for an email response or something like that because it will definitely take a week or so to get back to ‘normal’ here!  Writing is short and staccato like today, here are the highlights …..

    • Pictures from the wonderful Lexington workshops are uploading to Flickr as I write this post, I will need to edit them somewhat but if you can’t wait to see the beautiful felt created head on over to the relevant set and have a look!  You can also head on over and visit the Loco Life of Lindy if you are interested in reading about Jan and I visiting Lindy and Paul Huber’s beautiful Seldom Scene Farm on Sunday, I won’t spoil the fun but INTERESTING things happened ……….
    • I need to update my links here to reflect the varied and inspirational blogs that I follow.  Most are felt and fibre related and because I view them through Google Reader I have to copy and paste each URL individually and add them to my sidebar.  At the moment I am thinking to have a totally seperate page for all of them, this would tidy up the front page of my site and I would be able to divide them into catagories easier, what do you think?
    • Still link related I am going to write a post over the next few days linking to the websites and blogs of all the participants from the three different US workshop venues, some wonderful fibre related businesses for you all to drool over and order from!!!
    • Don’t forget the first time anyone gets a chance to view Horst’s amazing couture garments outside of USA will be at this weekend’s Sheep and Wool Festival in Kilkenny.  There will also be an exhibition of the incredible work from the girls in 6th class Presentation School Kilkenny (you remember the CRAFTed project I was involved in?) and I will be teaching 4 felting workshops over Saturday and Sunday.  Please call in and say hello!
    • The June Wikio rankings are just about to be announced and I am delighted to remain at no 5 in the top 20 UK and Irish knitting blogs, here is a sneak preview at the list …..
1 ysolda
2 pennies per hour of pleasure
3 needled
4 Daisie Days
5 Clasheen by Nicola Brown
6 Confessions of a YarnAddict
7 The Woolly Adventures of a Knitting Kitty
8 Eskimimi Knits
9 Art Yarn
10 Little Cotton Rabbits
11 slippedstitch
12 Wendy Knits
13 The Yarn Yard Blog
14 mooncalfmakes
15 SNOOPYDOGKNITS!
16 fourth edition
17 All things Socktopus!
18 Purlpower
19 glittyknittykitty
20 Lixie Knits It

Ranking made by Wikio

Finally but certainly not last, THANKS A MILLION TIMES to Emma, Sharon, Dawn and Jan (plus all your significant others!) for opening up your homes to me and organising the various legs of my workshop schedual, thanks to all the workshop participants for your enthusiasm and creativity not to mention wonderful felting ability, thanks to everyone who shared their stash with me and gave me wonderful fibre and embellishments to try out in the comfort of Clasheen, thanks to everyone who bought our new book with them for me to sign (obviously a new experience for me!), thanks to all my old and new friends who visited with me during the course of my working holiday and helped to make my stay in CA, MI and KY such an amazing experience, as always you are the best!!!

So much felting news to share, so little time …..

I really wanted to write a LOOOOONG post this morning complete with pictures of some recent felt accessories but I still need to assemble my materials for this month’s US workshops, get my hair cut, buy my suitcase, sort out the house, check my diary (ha, ha)  to confirm which dates Alan and friends are staying at Clasheen during my travels, wash some clothes, photograph some felt, write a bio and statement (for my first solo exhibition in August), write a profile for a book Feltmakers Ireland are producing etc. etc. etc.!!!  Instead I am going to beg your patience and write down today’s essential news as three bullet points reserving a longer post with pictures of the felt accessories for when I have some more writing time tomorrow.  Here goes ……..

      • THANKS a bunch to Chrissie who now has the softback version of our book listed on the UK Amazon site, brilliant!  Apparantly the more people who ‘like’ the book there, the higher up the rankings it moves so fingers crossed that when people actually have it in their hands we will get some positive responses and it will move upwards.  If you are looking for the hardback version it is available (as is the softback too) by clicking on the picture to the right or going directly to our page on Blurb.
      • Congratulations to UK felters Annie and Lyn of rosiepink who have just released their first eBook, I have already ordered and downloaded mine and I love it, the book is titled ‘Creating Felt Artwork’, a step by step guide!
      • Horst has been featured today by felting editor Linda Lanese on the wonderful Craft Gossip website and blog.  Thanks Linda for mentioning our ‘Large Felt Garment’workshop which takes place in The Studio, Bennetsbridge, Co Kilkenny, IRELAND from 17th to 19th June, the first time EVER Horst will be teaching outside the US, it will be an amazing experience.  In fact, participants who work hard and finish their large garments early will have the opportunity to make a matching bag/purse for themselves, bring it on!!!  There are only two places left for this unique workshop so if you would like to join us please email me asap, thanks.

        Horst's latest line of felt purses!

Workshops at The Tin Thimble in Loomis CA and questions answered about how to order your book!

I am just about to update everyone on my workshops in California but before I do that let me give you a little info re ordering our book, Chrissie and I are getting a lot of questions about where and when it will be available to purchase.  We are self publishing through Blurb, this means that the book will be available to buy online as soon as we have the final projects uploaded and edited!!!  Because of the extremely tight time schedual I am under at the moment the book will be available to order sometime from the middle of next week but it may be that I have to do a little revision to text, images etc. from US if I discover any small errors when I get the hard copy.  This means that if you are really keen to get your hands on nyour own buy it next week, if you want to wait another couple of weeks and get a revised edition (if it needs revision) please do so!  I am going to be ordering my own first copies and having them sent directly to Loomis as there won’t be time to get them posted here before I leave on my travels, I can’t wait for both the book and the travels!  If you live in US and are participating in any of the workshops and order a copy prior to my arrival ,of course I would be delighted to write a personal dedication in the book for you!!!  I believe the books will take approx 7 to 10 days to arrive from the time of purchase, hope this answers all those questions.  Now on to the CA workshop update …..

You may remember that I was to be joining other teachers for a wonderful Mother’s Day Fiber Retreat in Downieville but this has been changed to two workshops with me in house at The Tin Thimble in Loomis because finances were preventing people booking a longer extended stay with accomodation.  Emma has posted all the details to their website but I have also cut and copied the main info from there and included it here at the end of this post.  If you live anywhere within striking distance of Loomis do please come along, we are going to be having SUCH FUN!!!  Last year was brilliant and I have to say that I am really looking forward to spending some extra time myself with Sharon.  I have so many ideas in my head and Sharon (Emma’s mum) is the master of adding a few judicious stitches into almost finished felt, I am hoping she will help me translate some of my ideas into gorgeous, simple, wearable clothing!  Anyway, enough writing for the moment, scroll down to read the info and if you would like to book your place please email Emma asap.

Felted Accessories – Friday, May 13 10:30-5:00
Fun and funky or subtle and sophisticated, let your imagination run wild when designing and creating gorgeous felted accessories to adorn the body!
During this one day workshop participants will experiment incorporating glass nuggets, stones, fabric, leather, beads, buttons and found objects with wool creating unique wearable accessories. Each person will felt a collection of pieces which may include a combination of rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, scarbes, simple belts, small purses (or one large one), neckwraps, sleeveless mittens, flowers or whatever else takes their fancy.
Nicola will bring a selection of unusual fabrics with her from Ireland including metallic meshes and sequin or glitter studded polyester in addition to some of the ‘mohair waste’ fiber which she is currently experimenting with in her work. Participants will be free to use these as accent materials but are also encouraged to bring alongany old bits and bobs they like from their stash, incorporating these into the felt lead to truly personal one off pieces of wearable art. A materials list will be available upon registration.
Instructor: Nicola Brown
Class Fee: $150
Special 2-Day Nuno Mosaic Workshop – Saturday, May 14 & Sunday, May 15 10:30-5:00 

Discover the possibilities of creating your own wonderful multi hued and textured fabric using the mosaic nuno technique. Working over two days participants will have the time and opportunity to plan, design and felt either a beautiful piece of wearable art or else a stunning decorative or functional textile for the home. Suggestions for wearable projects include a large ruffled wrap, mini skirt, folded oragami style top or complex panel perfect for inclusion in any one off piece of clothing, ideas for interior design include a beautiful wall hanging or an unusual and stylish table runner. A materials list will be available upon registration.
Instructor: Nicola Brown
Class Fee: $250

CRAFTed news, Michigan workshops open for booking and general workshop information

Laying out merino for the inside of a beret

Friday’s CRAFTed session was chaotic but fun, all the girls are going to have beautiful items to take home with them as a reminder of this transitional year at the school.  Working with 32 inexperienced felters is definitely a challange, I love the enthusiasm with which everyone is attacking their work, it does mean that Mairead (6th class teacher) and I are running all over the art room however during each session and I really hope that I am able to give each girl enough individual attention to ensure the process is an enjoyable one for everyone!  These individual projects will be completed in our last session (they include bags, cell phone covers, vessels, flat felt with/without little pockets, two scarves and one beret!) where we will also work on our collaborative wall hanging, this will be hung in the school when the girls graduate later this summer.  Because of the logistics when working with 32 beginners I am thinking that we will divide the class into three distinct groups next time, each group will rotate and have their turn to finish their individual project, create twisted yarn cords to add to their bags as well as select a square from the group piece which they will then embellish, add a pocket to or otherwise decorate with something of significance which they would like to leave behind as they leave for secondary school and move forward in life.  Not sure if this will work but I am predicting it will be easier and more sensible than having everyone working on the same task at the same time, it will also avoid me running all around the art room all the time, more concentrated effort but less stressful I think for all envolved! 

MICHIGAN WORKSHOPS – I am delighted to say that our Michigan workshops on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May are now open for booking!  Please email the wonderful Dawn if you would like to reserve your place, I am just going to have another go uploading  the full details and descriptions to the workshop page (having problems yet again today!) so in case of further technical issues the Friday workshop is titled ‘Simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects’ while Saturday will be dedicated to the fascinating art of ‘Nuno Mosaic’.  One workshop will cost $140 or if both are taken the cost will be $130 per day, for more about what can be covered over two days check out the general workshop information further down this post. 

Wonderful vintage printed silk and chiffon create Marni's gorgeous textured nuno mosaic scarf!

The nuno mosaic technique was taught to me by German felter Sigrid Bannier and is a wonderful way to create memorable wraps, scarves and yardage for incredible one off pieces of clothing.  To refresh your memory (or if you are only visiting this blog for the first time!) here is an image of Marni’s amazing scarf incorporating vintage silk and chiffon from one of the Tin Thimble’s workshops last Fall, this was actually the first time ever that Marni had felted a nuno piece!  If this has not whet your appetite enough there are some more nuno mosaic images from The Tin Thimble workshops here, some from the previous Fall at Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco here and a few of my own nuno mosaic skirt and matching wrap here.

GENERAL WORKSHOP INFORMATION – I like to think of my workshops as a place where I share information and provide a recipe for felters to follow or adapt as they see fit!  When I am teaching I always explain that there are many ways possible to reach a similar end result, I will be sharing the methods and tips which I find work best and usually guarantee me a successful outcome, it is up to each individual participant to determine whether they want to follow exactly or adapt the steps to suit themselves.  Although each of my upcoming workshops has a title representing the main technique/techniques covered on that particular day, it will be possible for participants choosing to attend for both days to felt larger more complex projects that may not be specifically mentioned in the titles.  An example would be someone who wanted to felt a complex felt sculpture or bag using several stitched resists, another would be a person wanting to create a reversible nuno felt shrug.  If you have any queries in this respect please don’t hesitate to email me personally, I want to provide all the necessary information in order for people to make an educated descision.  As previous experience has demonstrated most participants at my American workshops are regular felters, it should be noted that all the workshops are open to total beginners so please don’t feel you can’t attend if you are just starting out learning this fascinating craft, I would love to have you come along!!!

Finally, at the risk of sounding pushy, the Kentucky workshops are now provisionally full for Saturday and only have 4 places left on Friday, if anyone is having a little think about things please don’t think for too long!!!

Kentucky workshops now booking and some great CRAFTed felting!

Well, finally I have managed to upload new information, class descriptions etc. on the workshop page about the felting on offer in Kentucky this May but after almost two hours of trying I am almost at my wit’s end!!!  I had hoped to have all the info for both days in KY as well as the two days in Plainwell MI online for you this afternoon but forgive me at this stage, it will be the morning before I have another tangle with the formatting (what on earth was wrong, it just kept going MAD???!!!) so apologies to Dawn and everyone in Michigan, your time will come tomorrow!  Anyway, Kentucky is now open for booking and if you want to reserve your spot please email Jan as soon as possible.

For those of you who might be debating whether you would like to attend a workshop with me I am going to post tomorrow about the sort of experience you can expect!  I will also explain a little bit more about the workshop titles, they are not written in stone but rather indicative so don’t panic if the titles are not exactly what you are looking for, more on that as I say tomorrow.

Beautifully felted journal cover

Now I am just going to suggest a little visual journey over at Flickr, this morning I had my third session with the girls who are participating in our CRAFTed project and managed to take some great photos of the work they have all done to date.  I was blown away by their wonderful first pieces of flat felt, during the week their teacher Mairead helped them embellish these further (if they wanted to) and now each girl has a beautifully decorated journal in which to record our progress!  Please do leave them some comments if you like their work as much as me, photos of today’s session working on three dimensional pieces should be uploaded over the weekend!!!

US workshop details getting fine tuned, Downeville info and large vessel is HEAVY!

My upcoming workshops at Urban Fauna Studio SF, Plainwell MI and Lexington KY are in the last stages of finalising, I hope to have all the details about the various workshops ready by the end of this week!!!  I keep forgetting how difficult it is to write workshop descriptions accurately and provide enough information without overloading anyone.  I try to be flexible when I am teaching so one title often doesn’t quite do justice to the various techniques that will be shared during the workshop so if anyone has questions once the info is uploaded please shout and I will do my best to answer!

The Mother’s Day Fiber Retreat at Downeville is booking up nicely, Emma (joint owner of The Tin thimble with her mother Sharon) has written a blog post with some links to photos of previous retreats so if you are interested in more information check this out.

As I write this post my current large ArtL!nks vessel is spinning in the washing machine.  Today I have been rubbing, rolling and throwing it on top of my kitchen table, it is uncomfortably heavy to handle when wet hence the quick spin to remove some of the excess water!  Hopefully it will have shrunk some more by the end of the afternoon, I am really wanting enough shrinkage to make inserting the exercise ball necessary to stretch it into shape before a lot more fulling and finishing.  Wish me luck!