A little bit of weaving

When I have time I enjoy a few minutes on my knitters loom, when I don’t have time it, folds up and slips behind the chair. Recently I’ve been using some lovely Jacob yarn from The Knitting Gift Shop and am quite pleased with the outcome, two delicious bedside rugs.

You can see the one on the left has not yet had the fringe finished and been blocked but I couldn’t wait any longer to show you.

I thought I would like the one with more white in best but I think the dark one is stealing my heart, how unexpected.

New Rug

Since we changed the carpet in the living room our hearth rug ddoesn’t match and we’ve struggled to find something we like within budget. So I suggested to Hubby that I made one using fleece in natural colours, no design so that it wouldn’t clash with the stripes. We have an open fire so do need it to be a reasonably dark colour.

I laid out raw BFL x Jacob fleece then two layers of Shetland followed by a further layer of raw BFL/Jacob.I wanted a longer and narrower rug than our current one. At the part way stage I was worried it wouldn’t shrink down enough but it has. After lots of rolling I did a final cold wash and rinse in the washing machine. I just love the finished item.

It’s not yet dry but I couldn’t wait to show it to you. The natural colours vary from grey and caramel through to dartk brown.

Bit of a dark photo – sorry. Looks quite smart, great natural colours, wool is self extinguishing so a good choice in front of a fire, goes well with the stripes and will no doubt be much beloved by the cats. Rugs are quite work intensive but I enjoy making them, can feel another one coming on.

Eight more Masham rugs

No, they’re not all mine more’s the pity, these are from the rug workshop at the weekend. Eight hard working people produced eight fantastic rugs using all four natural shades of Masham plus a little Merino for extra colour.

We laid out three layers of wool then dry felted it using our hands, which helps to take out a lot of the air and begin the felting process. A layer of cotton muslin was added and then three more layers of fibre, dry felted again and then we could begin the surface decoration. Some people chose to lay out random patterns on dry fibre, some chose to lay it out on wet fibres. The difference being thee control this allows over exactly where your decoration is placed. When placed onto wet fibres there is no/less movement of the decoration.

You can see here three of  the processes we used for felting. After rubbing to wet and set designs, we rolled as usual then took them outside  for more rolling using ropes, bashing with stones, this really hardens the felt but can be hard on thee hands, and walking on it to consolidate the felt.

Didn’t they do well? I just know that you’d like to see them in more detail though.

Clockwise from top left, Lesley with a stunning poppy on the dark brown Masham, Sheila with a contemporary design on fawn Masham, Pru with a striking design also on fawn Masham and Chantelle with a modern design on the white Masham. Pru actually came along with her design idea ready drawn out whilst some had ideas in rugtheir heads and others went with what sprang to  mind as they worked.

Amended – Trying too much multitasking this morning and forgot to say that these rugs clockwise from top left are by; Sue on mid brown Masha, Alex on white Masham, Jane on mid brown Masham (apologies to Jane for calling her Alex on several occasions during the day) and Iris on dark brown Masham. It’s a real shame that Iris’s rug doesn’t have a better picture as that bright roving really sang out against the dark background.

Masham rug

I’m teaching a felt rug workshop tomorrow and thought it a good idea to make a rug in the size we’ll be using. After sampling English, Cheviot, Jacob and Masham I decided to use the Masham wool this time. The idea for the design came from a doodle of my daughter’s.

Onto fawn Masham I laid brown BFL pencil roving. I tried out some white roving too but decided I preferred the rug just in brown. The image below shows it once I’ve finished the laying out.

I’m so pleased with how this has turned out, it was definitely worth taking the time on the laying out and being so careful during the wet and set stage.

This is now destined for the living room (when it’s dry). I wonder what  people will make tomorrow.


Summer rug making workshop

It doesn’t seem a year since my last felt rug workshop, the time has flown by. The weather has been fantastic for us and we managed to do quite a lot of the work outside once the wool was wet. Each rug began with what most people think is the best part of rug making, laying out the design. For those who did double sided rugs this began and ended with a pattern. Each rug looked gorgeous and fluffy like the one below.

Then of course we had to begin working on them. After wetting the fibres, we rubbed to set the design then began the rolling. We rolled with hands, with feet and with ropes. After this we beat the rug with stones and my special tamper tool,which my husband had to repair after day one thanks to Demolition Debs, just kidding Debs. Not content with that we also walked on it to compress it.

So it was lots of work, lots of water, lots of good company and lot and lots of sunshine. Here’s how they all turned out.

They are fantastic and you wouldn’t believe that two of the creators are novice felt makers. We also wrote a communal toast to our rugs.

May it tickle my toes gently

May it bring sunshiney memories

May mother and daughter share it happily

May the cat love it not scratch it

May it fit by the side of the bed

May it last many years

Margaret has been kind enough to send me the following feedback and picture. ” My rug has been safely delivered to the Relax-U massage room. My friend Lynne was delighted, the colours were perfect and she loved the design. We are going to put a plaque on the wall to describe what wools it is made of, and we thought a felt rug was very appropriate for a massage room as both involve heat and movement. Lynne gave me a free massage as she was so pleased, and it did indeed tickle my toes gently – it is so soft. Haven’t had so much fun giving a present in ages – or been so exhausted producing it!”

Some of the pictures are courtesy of Jennifer who also had this to say “Thank you for a wonderful weekend. I learnt a lot as usual and also really enjoyed myself.” Our novice felt makers survived and were also happy, “Thank you for an absolutely brilliant weekend. I really enjoyed it (I know Debs did too), and we learnt an awful lot, both being absolute beginners. My hubby (and the neighbours) are very impressed with my rug which was hung outside in the garden to continue drying when I got home. I’m sure we’ll be back for more”

Thanks for a great weekend ladies

Communal rug making

I recently helped out at Artybird to deliver the communal felt rug making element of the City and Guilds feltmaking course. I was privileged to work with Wendy, Sue, Anne and Kate for the day.

carded fibres

Laying the pattern on side 1

Laying the pattern on side 2

Wetting out

The emphasis was on experiencing communal rug making and the use of traditional techniques to achieve it. The first job was to card the Shetland fibres using drum carders. There was very little time to design the pattern so each person chose a shape from a recent course module and it was cut out from pre-felts. They worked very quickly and soon moved onto the wet and set stage where soapy water is added and the whole rug is rubbed to attach the pre-felts to the fibres and start the felting process.

Rolling by hand

Stretching back to shape

Rolling whilst standing

Initially we rolled using hands and forearms plus beating along the length of the roll with our hands. To stretch a rug back into shape you can’t just get hold of the edge and pull. The rug is so heavy that if you pull the edge it just stretches the edge out of shape, instead you need to work it from the centre out. As always, it was then a nice change to roll with our legs for a while.

No rest but at least a sit down
Easier still with ropes
A walk in the sun
Tamp and stamp

Nice to sit down and roll but if you push it away too hard with your legs it can be difficult to get it back again! Ropes are also great but best if you have two left handers or two right handers. One of each and the rug will start to skew sideways. You can see my homemade tamper tool in action along with lots of walking to compress the fibres.

Bash, tamp, stamp
Squeezing out water
Final reshape

As well as the tamping tool we used mallets to compress the fibres whilst continuing to stamp. To squeeze the water out it’s easiest to roll the rug up and stand on it. Final reshape and leave to dry. This will go onto my resources page as a permanent how to guide and if you’d like to make your own felt rug I’m running a workshop on the weekend of 26/27 June. Two days tuition, homemade cake and a felt rug for just £95. To book, drop me an email.