a life of fibre

My spring wreath May 22nd, 2015

Life rushes by so quickly that I’ve only just realised that I never showed you the full pictures of my spring wreath. I made it as a sample to inspire people at the workshop but love it and now have it on my front door.

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A polystyrene half ring was used for the base, which was covered in carded Merino in shades of brown and green. Early spring when the daffodils are out doesn’t have masses of green which is why I wanted to include browns.

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There’s a contorted willow in my garden which is now somewhat denuded of small branches as we availed ourselves of it’s bounty.

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There’s very little variety of plant material in the wreath, just daffodils, willow and a few leaves, which just goes to show that less can be more. I think it’s very successful.

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The stamens were made separately and needle felted in afterwards.

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Our door shows it off wonderfully. I seem to have taken a lot of photos don’t I? Did I mention I like it?

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There are so many more wreath ideas zipping about in my head that I must make time soon to make another one.

 

Nuno felt workshop May 21st, 2015

Foolishly I decided to go online and check a few things this morning before I wrote this blog – 3 hours later and I’m finally writing it!!!! Technology must be one fo the greatest time wasters there is so I have just made myself a promise to spend less time on it.

We began the workshop by making small narrow nuno samples just large enough to be a scarf if required. For this we used cotton muslin as the fabric and tried out various ways of laying the wool, changing the ends and incorporating frills.

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Muslin gives greater texture than the silk chiffon which we used later and so is good to practice on and compare end results. Sharon had a finger injury and spent the day trying valiantly (but ultimately fruitlessly) to keep her injury dry.

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It’s interesting to see scarves being laid out and then contrast that with the finished item.

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Kathryn’s scarf was beautifully laid out and was double sided. In fact, everyone made double sided scarves, some looked the same on each side and others were different on each side.

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There’s a wonderful variety isn’t there?

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The last two were made using the same coloured chiffon base but the addition of different wools and patterns means unique results. I love the nuno workshops, perhaps I should plan more?

Nuno + devore May 13th, 2015

I’m running a nuno devore wrap workshop in December and have been playing around with samples. This latest one is a charity shop find, no label but I believe it to be wholly synthetic.

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A silk/viscose mix would have been better. It’s a blue grey in colour although the later photos show it as more blue. I thought it was quite pretty if a little short.

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I carded up a mix of black, navy and cornflower Merino from Adelaide Walker and added some dyed throwsters silk waste for extra interest. As the scarf was so short I laid the fibres going across the scarf meaning that it would get narrower but not shorter. To compensate I also added a wool border right around the fabric making it wider and longer.

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You can see from the way the scarf has crinkled that I laid the fibres in one direction.

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I’m really rather enjoying the texture and weight of this scarf. The carded Merino colours compliment it beautifully.

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It’s amazing how few devore, especially silk devore, scarves end up in charity shops. I know I can buy fabric by the metre but I don’t want all my samples the same so I will continue to explore the shops and see what I come across.

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I can feel a non devore wrap coming on – must dash and play. Byeee

Wharfe Wool Fair May 11th, 2015

It was Wharfe Wool Fair last Saturday, the second time we’ve organised this fair and it was just as successful this year as last. Organising a fair is hard work but worth the effort as everyone, stallholders and visitors alike, seemed to enjoy it so much.

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In addition to the various stalls the local guild of weavers, spinners and dyers were demonstrating.

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There was a needle felting workshop with Jenny Barnett.

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A drop spindle spinning workshop with Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth.

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A wet felting workshop with yours truly.

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We only had two hours and the ladies made some splendid felted vessles in that time. Wool used was Bergschaf from Adelaide Walker.IMG_1401

So pretty May 8th, 2015

I planted these last Autumn so it’s the first time I’ve seen them bloom.

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I like tulips but these particular ones I love.

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The colours are so beautiful I think I need to buy more this year.

Bergschaf vessel May 6th, 2015

I read about Bergschaf wool and how people liked making felt with it so when we got some in at Adelaide Walker I jumped at the chance to try it. Bergschaf is an Austrian sheep, 30  micron, short staple with a good crimp and comes in a carded batt. To be honest the wool has more vegetable matter in it than I’d like but I was ready to give it a go.

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On Saturday 9th May I’m running  a vessel workshop at Wharfe Wool Fair so I thought I’d kill 2 birds with one stone by trying out the Bergschaf and making a sample at the same time.

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As it’s a carded wool batt it’s very quick and easy to lay out which will make it easier for any new felters. I laid out two layers on each side and finished with some tussah silk on the centre top. It wasn’t very long before it was ready to come off the resist, another plus for anyone new to felting.

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It’s quite a hairy wool which you can see has worked it’s way right through the silk but it makes a splendid vessel and was very quick to felt. Now it’s dry you can feel just how sturdy the felt is, I really rather like it and it’ll mkke beautiful hard wearing bags too. There’s still a few places on the workshop on Saturday if you’d like to come and try out this technique and this wool.

Nuno scarves May 4th, 2015

Saturday dawned bright and clear and saw me heading off to North Yorkshire for a nuno scarf workshop with the talented Lyndsey Tyson. I’ve made lots of nuno scarves before but it’s always good to go to workshops and see how other people work, what techniques they use and garner inspiration from your fellow workshop attendees.

Here’s the two pieces I made, one a practice and the other a full length scarf.

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The day was all about adding frills and for me, a little texture too.

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Both of my pieces are double sided with a frill showing whichever way the fabric falls. You can see three frills on this side of the practice piece. The first is synthetic lace, the second a piece of silk and the third is a wool fringe.

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I also incorporated some boucle yarn and wool nepps for texture. Having completed this tester we moved on to producing our full length scarves. before setting off I’d tried to narrow down my colour options so that I wouldn’t need to take my full stash of wool with me. Focussing on purple, green and blue allowed me to stagger out with just the one Ikea blue bag full to overflowing. Plus two carrier bags!!

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As a base for the scarf I used silk chiffon which I’d hand dyed a lovely deep purple shade. The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted a frill at the bottom there that looks a little familiar? It’s some of the cotton left over from the remodelled skirt project. The second fabric was gifted by Lyndsey (thanks) and then I’ve used three types of lace for extra interest.

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It all looked a little dark when wet but it lightened up cosniderably in the drying process and you can now start to see some of the dyed throwsters silk waste that I used for embellishment.

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Not forgetting more nepps for texture! Do I like it? yes. Would I do anything differently? of course but that’s the fun of feltmaking, every time something different and every time more ideas for the future. If you’d like to come and make a nuno scarf of your own there’s still a couple of spaces on my workshop on 16th May – booking here.

Photos by Charlie Battersby

WonderWool Wales May 3rd, 2015

Last weekend saw us at the wool show, WonderWool Wales, at Builth Wells. Much of the preceding week was taken up with packing for it and quite a lot of this week spent recovering and preparing for Wharfe Wool Fair next Saturday.

I love the Welsh show, it has a great atmosphere and a stall which sells Scotch eggs, just Scotch eggs. The cheese and cranberry version was a little too sweet and peculiar for us but the olive and sun dried tomato was delicious.

Lots to see at the show including this enormus cardigan.

and knitted cottage.

You know me, I didn’t go mad with the fibre buying but this very pretty spindle insisted on coming home with me.

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photo by Charlie Battersby

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photo by Charlie Battersby

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photo by Charlie Battersby

You needed more than one photo so you could appreciate how pretty, delicate and sparkly it is. It fair twinkles when it spins!

Spring wreaths April 20th, 2015

Here’s photos of two  of the finished spring wreaths with the others to follow later. First up – pastels by Lisa.

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A great first ever piece of wet felting don’t you think? Lisa was considering adding more leaves  and pink blossom to it so it may change.

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Sue eschewed pastels and went for strong orange and yellow.

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It’s quite different but no less successful. The Trillium shape works very well with the anemones and daffodil.

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I do enjoy the wreath workshops and have at least three more in the planning but I think they’ll need yo wait until next year.

 

Tomorrow April 16th, 2015

It’s the Spring Wreath workshops tomorrow. I don’t know what it is about wreaths but I really do enjoy creating them. As I write there are another three jostling for space in my head, that I must try and find time to make.

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