Friday felt

A small select group met at my house on Friday for a smidgen of felt making.
We’d not met before but we had a great day together, I know I had a ball and felt energised by the session.

Claire had never made flet before , lovely colours on here, inspired by pebbles.

Simple but very effective felt from Kirsten.

Ang loves driftwood and tree bark.

A lovely landscape from Claire.

A wonderful textured tree bark from Ang, can’t wait to see what she creates at home
so remember to send me a pic Ang.

A painstakingly created hellebore from Pippa. the colours are wonderful,
the stamens stand out from the centre and although it’s not quite finished in the picture the
edges of the petals will also curl upwards.

Great landscape  from Kirsten, have you spotted the castle?
Come back soon ladies, I’m ready for another session when you are!

A very floral week

It’s just so happened that I’ve taught felt flower making twice this week and thoroughly enjoyed both sessions. The first was to a textile group over near Ripon, they hadn’t seen each other for a few weeks so there was lots of catching up, teasing, laughter and of course, flower making. There are so many flowers that I’ve had to pick the best photos to show you. No refelction on the actual flowers, just on my photography.

The second group, today, was one of my monthly workshops across at Bradley near Skipton. We’ve had a really good day, not as much laughter as earlier in the week as most had never met before and they were a most studious and prolific group!  To see the progression in one day from complete novice/first time flower maker to creating specific flower shapes and understanding the subtleties of colour in felt making has been amazing.

We had tea/coffee delivered to the tables,absolutely no chance to slack and there was a kind of possessed frenzy after lunch as people succumbed to the felting bug. There’s no hope for them now but at least it’s fun.

Bags of ideas

I’m running a bag workshop on Saturday 5th March and I thought people might like a few ideas of what type of bag can be made in a one day workshop. So here goes.

Now I’d like to introduce you to my latest creation. I had great fun making this bag and I think it shows. There’s a pocket on the outside and two more on the inside. I’ve included, pre-felts, fabric and yarns for extra texture plus a flower for decoration.

I love it and I’m going to have so much fun beading it up. The best bit is it’s made of old fibres which I’ve carded plus ends of yarn, scraps of fabric and leftover pre-felts so it feels as though I’ve been quite economical. Remember 5th March is the next bag workshop.

Flower workshop

I don’t know where my mind was on Saturday morning but I forgot at least three things that I needed for the workshop. My apologies to Hubby who dug me out of trouble and my thanks to the ladies who soldiered on until supplies turned up. I even forgot my camera so many thanks to Rachel and Rachel for these photos.

We worked on freestyle organically shaped flowers and more controlled shapes. There were some unusual colour combinations which I think worked really well too. Below are examples of the flowers beaded up plus one which Rachel was inspired to make when she returned home and is made using Herdwick wool. Great stuff ladies.

Rachel N was also kind enough to send me the following feedback “I just wanted to say a huge thank you for such a wonderful day on Saturday! I had a great time and learnt a lot! I made another flower on Saturday evening after I had got home from the workshop day! Then yesterday, I beaded up some of the ones I had made on the workshop – I think I may have caught the bug!

I enjoyed your teaching style as you took it a step at a time, and let us a do a bit and then show us the next step and I appreciated that way of learning.  Your gingerbreads were delicious too!”

I am such a happy bunny after this feedback 🙂 – thank you!

Slipper workshop

I was privileged to teach a lovely group on Friday and we had great fun making slippers and using our own feet as the lasts. Until you’re sure you want to make lots of slippers it doesn’t make sense to buy polystyrene lasts as they’re not adjustable and you’d need a pair for each shoe size. So it’s obvious isn’t it? Just use your feet.

I love the contrast interiors on these slippers and the sparkly bows on the green pair are great. Once you have a basic pattern it can adjusted for many styles of slippers / boots. It’s also quite simple to create patterns and make slippers for other people’s feet in the same way. However, if you’re totally smitten you can buy lasts from Wingham Wool Work. It’s also possible to do some shaping by using an old trainer or a wellington boot. As usual with felting, there’s always more than one way to do things.

That’s the last of my workshops for a while so I hope to be showing you more of other crafty things I get up to and experiments with dyeing that I’ve been putting off for far too long.

Nuno workshop

Earlier in the week I ran an introduction to nuno workshop. Nuno is a wet felting technique where fabric and wool fibres are bonded together through the felting process. We worked across a range of fabrics each of which gives a different textured finish.

The pink fabric is a synthetic which is harder to work with but gives lovely big crinkles in texture. The less fibre that passes through the fabric the larger the crinkles. Next to that is a silk which in addition to giving texture also adds shine. Bottom left is on cotton muslin with the outline of a pre felt showing through and the final sample is on my personal favourite, silk chiffon.

You can see the muslin has far more crinkles (but smaller) than the synthetic and in the sample above on silk chiffon you can see it’s a smoother finish still. The black circles are more silk chiffon added to the fibre side to make it truly double sided. Nuno is a very interesting technique and is a favourite way of working for me.

Working with Herdwick

If you keep Herdwick sheep you have access to lots of fleece. What to do with it all? Well in recent times the fleece has sometimes been buried or burned as it’s had such a small commercial value. Some spin it and a few learn to felt with it Yesterday I had the privilege of teaching a small group how to turn it into felt.

We weren’t working with raw fleece. Halifax Spinning Mill near Selby is able to process small numbers of fleeces so we were working with Rose’s carded batts . I think Herdwick are quite pretty looking sheep but the fibre has a poor reputation with some feltmakers and many are frightened to have a go with it. It has quite a coarse fibre so it’s not suitable for clothing but no reason why it can’t be used for pictures, bags, rugs and other items that don’t go against the skin.

This one would make a lovely wallhanging I think. As with other fibres, it will grab and hold onto yarns, silk fibres and Teeswater curls as you see above and it has a nice mottled grey colour.

I don’t know why two look brown because I promise you they are grey. The pictures don’t show that some pieces also have angelina fibres included. At least one has successfully added synthetic yarn and another has embroidery thread in it.

In my experience, you get a shrinkage rate of around 30% with Herdwick fibres, less than with breeds like Merino and Blue Faced Leicester. You need to use more soap than you would with Merino and to be gentle in the early wet and set stage to avoid spreading the fibres. So yes, it does take more patience to felt with Herdwick but it is possible and not nearly as difficult as some believe. I’d like to leave you with the photo below. This guinea fowl has found the warmest place on the farm for cold feet and the Herdwick sheep doesn’t seem to mind! Thanks to Rita for the picture.

Well timed workshop

Saturdays workshop was short scarves and fingerless mittens using nuno techniques. A couple of people didn’t make it but a big thank you to those who did. And the reason? – snow. I’ve never had a problem with snow affecting workshops pre-Christmas before but although there wasn’t more than an inch where I live, it wasn’t so for everyone. Given how cold they’re forecasting the weather to be this week it seems scarves and fingerless mittens were the right things to be making – well timed indeed.

The scarves are long enough to be tied around the neck but you can see the blue one had a slit cut into it to form a hole, which allows the scarf to be fastened by threading through itself. We used cotton muslin and merino fibres and finished with silk fibre decoration. If you can’t see the silk it’s because it tends not to shine whilst still wet.

The mittens are silk chiffon with merino wool and silk decoration. With the muslin you get a larger texture than with the silk chiffon. I thought it would be useful for people to work with two fabrics to understand the different effects that using different fabrics gives to nuno felt. Didn’t they do well?

On a high!

A brilliant day today. I had three lovely ladies for the stitched in felt notebook covers workshop. The work they’ve produced is wonderful, how I wish I could keep it. We began by stitching into fabric, stopped and stitched at the pre-felt stage (part made) and have the opportunity for further stitch and beading at the end.

I wish my photos did better justice to the felt but it was getting dark when we finished. The atmosphere was good with lots of enthusiasm and the day was marred only by the necessary removal of a blackbird carcass from the kitchen. A downside of keeping cats I’m afraid, although not a common occurrence. I feel enthused by their enthusiasm and use of colour, the day has left me on a high. Might just have to go and make some felt.

Wakefield Felting

This is my first chance to show you some of the stunning bags that were made at Wakefield last week.

Aren’t they wonderful. It never ceases to amaze me that everyone starts with the same basic materials but ends with such unique work. It was a large group of very friendly women and only two of them had ever made felt before, astonishing.

The day was organised by Sue, to whom many thanks are due. I received excellent directions from her husband, the venue was lovely and the lunch was superb. Everyone (except me) brought food along and it was shared by all. It’s the best lunch I’ve eaten for a very long time – thank you ladies. So if you fancy getting a group of friends together for a felting day and we can agree a date, I’d be delighted to travel to you.