a life of fibre

Woodland pots 3 June 17th, 2017

You may remember these pots from an earlier post or two. This is part of the work I’ve created for the misummer night’s dream theme we were working to at Metaphor.

I was extremely pleased with them at the time but I did wonder whether or not to stitch into them. It seemed an impossible decision with opinion divided on the question. in the end I did the only sensible thing and walked away returning some time later to decide that actually I’d give it a go.

Once I’d started I couldn’t stop!

Do you love it? I do, it makes me so happy and my heart sing.

Just looking at them again now makes me want to do more.

I was worried about boring you so I haven’t even added all the 17 photos here but they are all in an album on my facebook page for those who’d care to take a look. Oh, go on then, just one more 🙂

 

Experimenting with oil based ink May 27th, 2017

Our local region of the IFA (International Feltmakers Association) is collaborating with Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills to produce a felt exhibition inspired by the mill or it’s contents. It’s a great place to visit with lots to see, I urge you to go and if it’s wool you like then next Saturday 3rd June is Leeds Wool Festival. 

As part of the industrial past of Leeds there are some printing presses and the conservators said they could use one of them to print onto our felt if desired and they proved it by running a test piece on commercially produced felt using oil based ink.

I was keen to see if we could print onto pre felt (part made felt) and fabric and then continue to felt. Would the print survive the felting process? would we still be able to read the words after or would they be too distorted? Taking along some prefelt and fabric to the mill the experiment began.

The picture below shoes print on pre felt prior to further felting

and after

The ink began to disappear almost as soon as I began working on the prefelt, by the end all you could see is these few faint dark marks and then only if you look hard enough. It’s probably because pre felt is very soft and airy and is anything but smooth to print upon. The fibres aren’t locked together properly and therefore there’s insufficient ‘surface’ for the ink to hold onto.

Next up was print onto silk chiffon which I doubled up and got two prints for the price of one.

On cotton muslin with freshly loaded type and then again without reloading the ink.

and on silk

I laid Merino fibres out, placed the fabrics on top and nuno felted in the usual way. Once the fibres were through the felt was subjected to very hot soapy water and lots of pounding and I’m very pleased with how it worked out.

In all instances you can see see and read the print, even on the cotton muslin which is now quite textured, I had feared they would be too distorted or the letters too squashed together to read but they worked out well. Even the faintest print on the silk chiffon

and the silk worked very well which you’d expect as it’s a smooth fabric.

Now to work out how this might fit in my final piece.

Catching up again May 17th, 2017

Have you missed me? I’ve missed being here but life has been a little full these past few weeks. For a start, we managed a whole week long holiday in Scotland and the weather gods were so kind to us. From six in the morning until nine at night it was blue skies and sunshine!! The thermals we’d taken just in case – didn’t wear them, the waterproofs we’d taken just in case – didn’t wear them, we even had times in just t-shirts as temperatures soared to 18 degrees. Mind you, it was a little on the breezy side but we didn’t mind that at all.

Don’t you wish you could bottle up your holiday and bring a little back? It was blue skies, blue sea, blue lochs, the higher hills still brown and the vivid yellow of full flowering gorse. If a child had painted the scene it would have looked something similar I’m sure, so bright and primary coloured as it was.

I don’t know about you but if I go on a beach I generally need to paddle and yes that does include January too. Scotland in April is pretty cold I have to say, the sea was like liquid ice and our feet quickly became bright red with the cold. Very refreshing.

After our screams had died away and we’d regained the use of our feet we went exploring and found the most magnificent rust.

Wouldn’t it have been marvellous to bring these home, better still I should just move there. We were there before the midges too so not a single bite between us. I won’t bore you with lots of holiday snaps but it was wonderful to have nothing that had to be done and nowhere that we had to be. Lunchtimes sitting in the sun with a drink, early morning walks before the wind got up and fantastic sunsets. Below is the view from our cottage as the sun began to go down.

And the one below is the sunset from the back of the cottage.

They’re not brilliant as they were taken on my phone but you get the idea, an all round fab holiday. I love Scotland even when it rains all week, which it did on a previous holiday, and would love to move there but I find the thought of the midges off putting as I do tend to be seen as a particularly tasty morsel by them and am pursued ruthlessly. Happily, holidays come round every year.

 

 

British wool book covers April 28th, 2017

Piles of Masham, Blue Faced Leicester and Shetland wool turned into five smashing book covers.

We included lace, natural and synthetic fabrics and dyed Teeswater curls onto the fibre. At the pre felt stage we stopped and stitched into it before continuing to felt.

In the photo above you can see the broken lines of navy stitch which were put in at the pre felt stage and have sunk into the background as opposed to the cross stitch which was done after felting was completed and which floats on the surface.

Again, the pale pink stitches done at the pre felt stage have become part of the background whilst the stitching added later stands proud. I love the layering and effects that can be achieved by stitching at two stages in the felting process.

Beautiful, hard wearing British wool note books. Another successful day 🙂

 

Whitework tree book cover April 7th, 2017

There are some things which you really really enjoy making and this book cover was one of them. Inspiration came from a magazine cover.

I began by stitching into some crystal organza to create a tree shape. The thread used was wool yarn and I used a split stitch.

The little twinkles in the shot above are not water droplets but small pieces of glitter on the fabric. I laid out two layers of Blue Faced Leicester wool, placed the fabric on top and then felted it together.

 

To embellish I chose a simple lazy daisy stitch in cream and white embroidery thread.

In addition to the stitch I added small glass beads for that extra twinkle and finished the edge with blanket stitch

I love using crystal organza as it adds so much texture to the finished felt and using white on white wool means you only see the texture and twinkle added, it hasn’t obscured anything. It’s amazing what a diference even simple stitch can make to the finish.

If you feel inspired to make your own book cover why not come along to my workshop on Thursday 27th April, it’s one of my favourite workshops to teach and a fun one to experience. You really don’t need to be brilliant at sewing as even running stitch is really effective when combined with the nuno felt.

Aha! the photos have been found April 5th, 2017

At last, I’ve found the photos from the wet felted vessels workshop last month. We were working in British wools and if I remember rightly the ones chosen were Shetland, Masham and Blue Faced Leicester. The idea was to make two smaller pots to get a feel for how different wools behave.

They’re cute aren’t they, we then went onto our second ones in which people made larger ones and played with the shape.

All the shapes above come from a circular resist.

They look really great as a group, everyone did really well with the pots. One or two have silk on but it doesn’t shine when wet, more’s the pity.

Picture workshop April 4th, 2017

A couple of pictures from yesterday’s workshop to share with you.

This one by Anne was still in the making and the soap is obscuring the colours somewhat but I bet it’ll look great once it’s dry.

Margaret was working from a photo and wanted to know how to bring more life into her work by using relief and working with pre felts. It was coming together quite nicely and I know it will be transformed with more relief work and stitch before we next see it.

This was Angie’s first picture, worked from a photograph and quite successful. Another one destined to be stitched into!

Jackie brought in a black and white photo of a landscape reflected in water to work from. It’s come out very well and the silk added to give greater lightness to the piece is just beginning to shine as it dries.

Catch up one March 26th, 2017

I’m back playing catch up on my posts again! I seem to have a few weeks where they’re flying off the keyboard and then time runs away with me in other areas of my life and the posts roll to a halt.

I was hoping to show pictures from the wet felted vessel workshop but they seem to have disappeared from the camera. I suspect Hubby may know something about this. If they turn up I will share them here but in the meantime you’ll have to make do with a few pics from the bag workshop earlier this week.

All the bags are worked in Shetland wool and all but one of the workshop participants were compete felting newbies. The end of the day turned into a terrible rush as just as we were taking photos the next group turned up to use the hall half an hour early. There’d been a mix up in the admin and our bookings were overlapping so we had to shoot round and tidy up very quickly which meant photos were rushed and not all bags were on the photo above.

The light areas in the photo above is the silk which was just beginning to shine as it dried and this bag was made by Mary.

Steph is responsible for the bag shown above, it was her first day felt making and was paid for by her son as a Mother’s Day present – wasn’t that a nice thought.

I loved the way Karen decided to frill the edge of her bag flap, it really suited the decoration on the bag too. I must thank all the ladies for their speedy work in helping me to clear up and pack away tables etc. I don’t think I’ve ever been out of there in such quick time but the youngsters were waiting for their dancing lesson.

One crocheted cushion and slightly sore fingers March 14th, 2017

Visiting a local charity shop I spotted a cone of wool for only 50p, no matter that it was strong rough rug wool, I had to buy it. It languished in my stash for some months then finally made it onto my crochet hook. After a brief flurry of activity it languished on my crochet hook too. It has finally made it from w.i.p. to finished project – phew, it took way longer than it should have but I’m pretty pleased with the result even if the wool felt somewhat rough against my skin at times.

The pattern was made up as I went along, I knew I wanted texture (when don’t I ?) and decided on a post stitch to create it. It was simple to follow and no counting so very easy to do.

It’s envelope style which doesn’t require buttons to keep it fastened but I love the contrast between hard shiny buttons and soft (well, softish) matt wool so I added buttonholes and buttons.

The buttons have been languishing in my stash for years and years so it was a perfect match with the languishing wool and a relief to finally find a use for them. I also went mad and added my first ever fringe to a cushion. Why haven’t I done this before? I’m partial to a fringe, I enjoyed doing it and I think it looks great and adds to the texture. There may be more fringes in my future 🙂 This cushion is now off to work to adorn one of the chairs we have available for customers to rest their weary bones, all those decisions on which luscious fibre to buy can really wear you out.

Masham pot March 8th, 2017

This is another of the samples I made for the British wool vessel workshop I ran last week. Masham is a lovely wool to work with and I, most unusually for me, decided to decorate the pot with pattern!  I don’t know what came over me and I actually found it quite fun.

 

It’s been s struggle to get anything like half way decent photos and these don’t do it full justice but I can wait no longer to show it to you. The pattern was varied around the pot and used lines and circles, very simple but also very effective.

 

 

 

I used two shades of Masham – fawn and mid brown. You need to see the underneath of the pot too

 

Quite possibly my favourite view of the pattern if not the potm Much as I enjoyed it I found myself wishing for more texture so perhaps my next one should be both patterned and textured 🙂