Spotty Runner

Last year my daughter and I sat and cut out loads and loads of pre-felt circles for a a school project. Not all the circles were used and they’ve just been sat waiting for a new project which I came up with yesterday. I decided to create a new table runner and to use up all the different coloured spots on it. After a little thought I decided that I’d sit them on a natural grey merino fibre.

It’s a lovely mix of light and dark grey and sets off all the colouirs very well. At the ends I’ve also cut out more circles for added interest. There are five cut outs at each end.

I decided not to include white and to keep it to coloured circles only. The pile of waiting circles looked very large and yet I had to cut out more. Obviously I cut out too many more and now there’s a small pile waiting for a new project – unbelievable!

On request

I was commissioned to create three vegetable pictures. They’ll be used in a research laboratory which works with children looking at how we can get them to eat more veg. I know my own daughter goes on and off different vegetables and fruit although overall she’s pretty good about everything except green salad. I usually substitute: raw white cabbage for the lettuce, red peppers for the tomatoes and peas instead of cucumber. It seems to work okay. Before they go off to their new home I wanted to show you the pictures.

I know they’ve used bright wall paint in the lab and I wanted to provide equally bright pictures with the vegetables in forms the children would recognise. Each picture has an element of low relief. Nothing too exaggerated or it’d be difficult to frame them. I hope they’ll be liked.

Inspiring!

I’ve been lucky enough to have Kerry come along to a couple of workshops, a very cheerful, positive lady. The last time we spoke Kerry had agreed to make a felt flower bouquet for her sister’s wedding and was seeking guidance on how to go about some of the flower shapes. Well I think she’s done a fantastic job and I’m chuffed to bits that Kerry and her sister Jackie have kindly given permission for me to show you these photos.

When Kerry said she was making a bouquet I expected something more modest and I think you’ll agree this extravaganza is wonderful ,and what a fantastic reminder of the day for her sister Jackie. It just goes to show what you can achieve with the right motivation. Well done Kerry and congratulations Jackie.

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.

Bags of bags

It was a lovely group of people last week and some fabulous bags as I’m sure you’ll agree.

One of the people who attended was Christine who was kind enough to say “Thanks. I meant to say how much I enjoyed the workshop on Thursday. I never knew felt could be so exciting.” That made my day 🙂