Flames are very much on my mind at the moment. This year, the theme for Felt United is flames and Tracy Markey and I are arranging an exhibition around flames and the sun to coincide with the day. So it’s no surprise that when I came across this remnant from a previous project in my cupboard, I immediately thought phoenix.

The basic bird shape is good but obviously the colouration is completely wrong for a phoneix. So my first move was to transform it with flame.

I find it much easier to concentrate on shape when I’m not distracted by colour or pattern. Now the bird is a uniform  colour I can see the changes I’d like to make to the shape with the most change being in the tail area. This is as far as I’ve got so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait to see morre but I will show you as soon as I do it.

Olympic cushion

Have any of you heard of Woolsack? It has a project running to take British wool to the olympics by donating a wool cushion to every athlete that requests one. I’ve considered making one a few times but failed to actually do it – until now.

The whole cushion is made from Blue Faced Leicester wool. Looks real fun laid out. On the reverse I thought I’d write the type of wool and where and when it was given out.

I thought I’d checked all the regulations but it seems I’m not allowed to have the words London 2012 on there. so after obliterating London, here’s the finished item,

I’ve machine stitched the two sides together with a free hand wavy zig zag seam.

This has gone with me to Woolfest, where it’ll be stuffed and stitched up ready to be donated to an athlete. If you fancy getting involved there’s still time and the next big stuffing event is at Fibre East.

Nuno bag – part two

Do you remember this bag? Very purple with a nuno felted interior and extra fabrics on the outside. It still needed a handle and a closing mechanism. Here it is finished.

I made a small felt rope which I knotted on itself and then stitched to the bag for a catch.

For the handle I made a longer rope with fabric inclusions. After making small holes in the sides I threaded the handle through and knotted it on itself. I like the asymmetrical look and the double handle.

From the back.

From the front. My slightly more quirky bags are always my favourite ones. More nuno bags to follow.

Nuno bag – part one

Nuno felting is the technique of combining wool fibres and fabrics through the wet felting process. Most commonly used in clothing it can also be adapted for other uses like bags. I began with one of the fun parts – choosing fabrics.

The chosen fabrics are silk, silk chiffon, crystal organza and cotton muslin.I laid out the printed silk as an internal pocket then covered it with he crystal organza to form an inner lining. After this I added wool fibres and  further strips of fabric, silk fibres and pencil roving.

Less fibres find their way through synthetic fabrics and so you achieve greater texture. The photo above shows the crystal organza lining and the one below shows the silk pocket.

Below shows the outside of the bag with three different fabrics felted in. As soon as I make a handle and catch ‘ll show you more.

I’m running a nuno bag workshop on Saturday 1st December so you can expect to see one or two more samples between now and then.

Sssh – it’s a present

I think I’m safe to share this here with you as the intended recipients aren”t known to be  great surfers. As many of you may be aware Ian and Margaret have decided to retire from Adelaide Walker next month and I wanted to give them a small present to mark the occasion. Obviously it needs to include fibres so I began with Blue Faced Leicester. Not having any oatmeal colour at home I blended some myself using black/brown and white.

This is now made up into a pre-felt but I still need to put a picture onto it and this is what I’ve chosen to do.

I have a plan for putting the sheep onto the felt, I just hope it works and will show you how it comes along in the next post.

Garment making part 4

Well the finished garment was finally unveiled yesterday at Yarnival. Am I pleased with it? Hmmm, I confess that overall it didn’t turn out quite as well as I’d hoped but I’ve never designed for a tree before and I didn’t even see the tree until the unveiling.

I think a little shorter might have been better. The colour is pleasing and quite eye catching and the detail below is my favourite shot.

For those who’d like to see how it was attached to the tree, here it is from the back.

It’s now dried and packed away whilst I ponder what the next opportunity for it to be used will be. More of Yarnival tomorrow.

British brooches

I’ve sold quite a few brooches recently so I needed to make more and couldn’t wait to use the new Manx, black Jacob and grey Shetland fibres from Adelaide Walker.  They don’t look very inspiring laid out and they’re usually a little different to expected when finished.

Top is black Jacob with some BFLxJacob fleese with lovely caramel coloured tips. The second black Jacob has throwsters silk waste added (not finished this brooch yet) and the Manx has Wensleydale fleece decoration.

To the black Jacob and BFL I’ve added toffee coloured beads. The Manx brooch has cream beads with bronze flashes on them and the grey Shetland has hand spun yarn (yes, it was spun by me!!!) and pearl beads in the centre. Of course, I couldn’t work only in naturals, the turquoise is hand dyed BFL with silver threads, hand dyed yarn and crab fibre decoration.

All four of these are BFL with yarn, silk and bead decorations. Yesterday it seemed quite bright so I managed to snap these few photos for you. As you can see, it wasn’t really bright enough but the worst was the wind, you wouldn’t believe how many times it blew the brooches off the bench. When I can get better photos I’ll load them up to my flickr account for anyone who is interested.

Garment making part 2

Had you forgotten about the garment? It’s a large-ish project and |I have been doing some more work on it. So here are a few  photos of progress.

I’ve laid out in Blue Faced Leicester fibres and here you can see I’ve put some net along the edge and some hand dyed Teeswater curls. This will be followed by another two layers of BFL.

The red fibre is the top 2 layers of BFL and as you can see I’ve now also added some black lace. Someone must be able to guess what this is now.

I don’t know about you but this is definitely the longest felt rope I’ve ever made. It’s 7’9″ or 229cm long excluding the curls on the ends. As I’ve said before, this is a large client so everything is larger. Can you guess?


Frilly scarf workshop

I just can’t believe how busy it seems at the moment and how near Christmas is getting, I really must start shopping. However, here for your delectation are the pictures from Saturday’s frilly and lattice scarf workshop.

These are just the sample pieces we made before starting on a longer scarf. Some are long enough
for neck  warmers, I was hoping mine would make a wrist warmer but it’s too long.

Above, from left to right, is the work of Claire, Sue and Bev.

From left to right you can see the work of Anna-Louise, Jeni and and Ang.

Margaret’s scarf is on the left and the right one belongs to Liz.

Some people also had time to practice the lattice technique. The scarves were so beautiful on Saturday that I wanted to keep them all but no-one was willing to give theirs up. Nor did they want to wear a cold wet scarf for a photo shoot, I can’t imagine why! At least two people pushed themselves to work with unfamiliar colours and were pleased with how the scarf turned out. Claire was a joy to watch as the smile never left her face all day!

Thank you so much ladies for the help in setting up and putting away, I do believe ten minutes to clear up is a record and was very much appreciated. That’s the last workshop for this year, I’ve a few commissions to finish and then I can perhaps put together a new tutorial and work on a project for next March, more of which later.

Not sure

I’ve been wanting to make a felted lampshade cover for the living room for a couple of  months now.It’s not the first lampshade cover I’ve done and the delay was really only down to finding the time. As it’s in a room where my hubby will see it daily it’s important to me that he likes it too. Now, that’s when my problems start. Designing for me is one thing, designing to keep someone else happy is quite another.

Obviously I wanted to make it in British wool and Blue Faced Leicester has a lovely crimp that shows up very well on a lit lampshade so BFL is what I’ve used. I wanted the cover to extend beyond the frame a little and I didn’t want to use any kind of stiffener as it changes the feel of the felt.

Cylinder lampshades are very easy as it’s basically a rectangular piece of felt but coolie style lampshades are more difficult. You either have to make a rectangle and cut it down to size or work out your shape carefully and felt it down to size. I prefer not to cut felt so I carefully removed the old shade from the frame and used it as a template.

You can see that both top and bottom lines curve, without the curve it wouldn’t fit the frame properly. I considered using white BFL but decided in the end that oatmeal would be a better colour to blend into our room. I had some hand  dyed BFL curls spare from another project which I placed along the edge but was careful not to let them hang over. Although I’d be happy with dangly curls along the edge I know my hubby wouldn’t be. This little bit of colour lifts the shade and helps it to blend with the wooden base.

Really not sure if I like it and if the white wouldn’t be better. Hubby admitted this morning that he wasn’t sure about it when I was stitching it on but he actually likes it when lit up. Just need to decide what I think now.