My finished felt slippers and textile trials in our extreme weather conditions!

With the cold weather continuing and more snow forecast I made myself finish my felt slippers this afternoon. 

The finished felt slippers with latex soles

I had painted four (I think!) layers of latex on the soles allowing 24 hours between each coat, this has given an excellent ‘sticky’ sole which is both waterproof and slip resistant.  My friend Sheila Ahern from Feltmakers Ireland has a really great tip for colouring the latex, add some food colouring in the appropriate colour as you paint on the soles!  It was too late for me this time but I will definitely consider it again especially if I make slippers in dyed wool as opposed to natural colours.  As per usual I had been putting off stitching the backs of each heel AGAIN but finally all all the agonising is over and now I will be wearing these beauties tonight in front of my wood burning stove!

I still have no water here and as you can see from this photo am reduced to melting snow on top of the range if I want a cup of tea or a coffee. 

Melting snow on the range

Luckily I do have heat again so things are not as bad as they were a week or so ago but no water at all now bar melting snow means no felting until my supply resumes.  As a result, I am trying to finish off little projects that have been lurking in my conscience and during my enforced absence from felting I have also vowed to get to grips with my Ashford Knitters Loom!  This frustrating but beguiling piece of kit has had me cursing and frustrated endless times over the last afternoon and this morning.  I actually bought the loom from Stephanie at The Yarn Room with money that I earned teaching felting at one of the ‘Pick Up Your Needles’ sessions at the Courthouse Arts Centre in Tinahely, Co. Wicklow.  My thought process went something along the lines of occasionally (when I have NO water!) it is good to experiment in another textile discipline and sometimes in the future (when I master the blooming thing!) it might be interesting to combine some weaving with some felting.  Knowing as you must by now how incredibly difficult I find little fiddly things to master it is a testament to my not so great patience that I actually managed to warp the loom at all. 

Warping the loom

To be totally fair to Ashford, these Knitters Looms are excellent to work with and the included instructions are very clear and simple to follow.  I’m not going to bore you with all my selvedge difficulties, suffice to say that I found it totally impossible to get an even edge!  I know that it is my first scarf but really, it was amazingly frustrating not to even think that I was improving as the weaving progressed and the scarf got longer.  Early in the process I determined to sell the loom but as things went on I started dreaming of loads of lovely felt projects enhanced by a small piece of my very own woven fabric! 

Warm woven scarf

Time will tell whether I continue with my weaving but for the moment I have a very warm (all be it an extremely badly woven) scarf to keep me warm during this cold weather and a head full of ideas for future felt and fabric collaborations.

Busy preparing for last ‘Craft in the Classroom’ sessions

This morning I have had to cancel my proposed training with Failte Ireland in order to concentrate on preparing for my last sessions in the ‘Craft in the Classroom’ project and to finish designing the race card for our Green Party fundraiser this Thursday night.  Because I was so shattered the last time that I drove up to Drumlea early in the morning I have decided to travel up at my leisure this afternoon, spend some time with friends (thanks a million Nigel and Jackie for giving me a bed!) and be bright and bushy tailed tomorrow morning ready for our big session rolling the wall hanging.  My plan is to arrive a couple of hours before I am due to start working with the pupils, wet out the hanging myself and give it a good working over with my sander BEFORE letting the pupils loose rolling, felting and fulling.  The problem is that I always use an electric sander (carefully) not a cordless but obviously would not be able to let the kids use it as it could be constituted as an electrical hazard.  Knowing how much a design can shift if not worked carefully I really want to make sure that the text is fully secure before the pupils start to stamp and kick the rolled up package.  I also need to find some thin but strong cotton cord today that I can use to tie up the large plastic mat that we will be enclosing the wall hanging in, hopefully I can pick some up in a hardware along the way as I travel to Carrick-on-Shannon this afternoon.  I am off now to start packing the truck and hope I will have some great images on Wednesday to post here showing some of the completed projects from our last two sessions including the finished wall hanging.