Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Taking the Plunge

After months of procrastinating and several friends encouraging me to take the plunge, I have finally done it and set up a Facebook page. I am still on a steep learning curve trying to figure out how to navigate the different areas, respond to messages and upload photos but bear with me, I WILL get the hang of it!

If you are a FB fan you can find me here (I hope), please let me know if the link does not work.

On a less stressful note (anything IT-related always seems to push by blood pressure up) here is the bag I mentioned in my last post, I love the shape and design but might make another in a more tonal colour combination, perhaps red, with orange yellow, white and black accents...

The base wool is some hand dyed Corriedale with merino for the colour accents. You can't really see it in these photos but there is a zip across the top and lots of pockets inside. The body of the bag is approx 40 cm high and 30 cm wide.

The "North Devon Sunset" ring binder cover is also finished in time for the exhibition on Sunday and I'm really chuffed with how it turned out, I will definitely be making more of these, it was so much fun to make!

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Monday, 27 October 2014

Lichen #2 and some machine embroidery

As promised here are some photos of the second lichen on bark piece, this one took much longer than the first to complete and I  think that was largely due to the number of resists that needed cutting and placing (more than 40 in total) but, at last, it is finished.

I have spent most of today working through my UFO (UnFinished Objects) box in preparation for the Sonning exhibition on Sunday. This has almost exclusively involved machine embroidery.

And this piece was inspired by some sunset photos I took in North Devon a few weeks ago:

I plan to use it to cover a ring binder, hence the embroidery design is only on the right hand side.

And I made some leaves to turn the silk flowers into brooches:

I have also been working on a new bag that I think is rather exciting but more on that next time... :)

Thursday, 23 October 2014


I have just realised that this blog reached its one year anniversary on Tuesday. I can't believe how the time has flown.

I had a look back through my old posts expecting to find my style or felting techniques to have changed over the year but I'm not sure they really have. Certainly I have learned some better ways of making felt but for the most part I am still using the same basic techniques such as nuno felting and using resists and inclusions in my felt. The only obvious change is my choice of fibres, a year ago I was almost exclusively using merino but lately have been using more Corriedale and BFL. Have you noticed any changes in your felt-making over the last year or so?

Here are a couple of pieces I have been working on this week.

The finished pumpkin bag:

And a couple of pods:

I have also been working on a second lichen-inspired wall hanging which is currently drying with various pins holding the lichen folds in place. I will post a photo in a day or two when the pins come out.

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Friday, 17 October 2014

A Productive Week

Not sure what happened to me this week but it's like someone put amphetamines in my coffee. Last week I could barely motivate myself to cook for myself and only managed to produce one piece of felt. This week I have turned into a felting whirling dervish... Here are a few of the things I have started / finished so far this week:

I dyed the lacy scarf I made on Sunday but after looking at it for a couple of days decided I wasn't that happy with it so put it back in the dye bath.

Much better!
It now makes me think of autumnal leaves falling into a river.

Some felt cuffs using a similar technique to the scarf, there is an adult and 2 child sizes, I think you can just see where I have cut some slits in the adult one, I hope the cuts will open up to make a lacy effect with a little felting persuasion.

A little felt pod made using an adaptation of the lacy felt technique to create the loops you can see in the second picture.

A felt vase made from some shibori dyed prefelt, this is still very much a WIP but I hope the top will look like a 5-petal flower when it's finished.

A Halloween-inspired bag, still quite a long way to go on this one but I think you can make out that it will be a pumpkin... one day!

I started this "coral" piece before I went on my hols but it takes so long to needle-felt each strip into place that I only just got as far as wet felting it this week. It is currently drying and waiting to be fixed to some stretcher bars.

These 2 pieces were started at Dagmar Binder's class in September. The pale blue piece was an uninspiring, flat multi-layered disc that I have been looking at for weeks trying to decide what to do with it. I finally picked it up and started playing with it this week, folding it this way and that and this shape was born. An hour of stitching later and it is now drying in it's new form. Given that I was ready to throw it on the reject / recycling pile a few days ago I'm rather pleased with how it turned out.

The dark blue piece below is a sewer's bowl, the raised ring around the outside is a perfect pin cushion, while the bowl will prevent your reels of thread, beads etc. from rolling away. It was inspired by photos of a coral polyps:

A nuno felt scarf (would you believe, dyed the silk, felted and finished this week, including a rolled hem).

I also felted this cotton scrim and embroidered bowl, even after using CMC to stiffen it I wasn't that happy that it would keep its shape so opted to felt it.

And finally another piece from Fiona Duthie's surface design class. I think this might be come a book cover...

As if all this wasn't enough I have also scoured and dyed a Shetland fleece, all the beautiful colours are busy drying over my bathtub. More on those in another post.

I think I have earned myself a glass of wine :) Hope you are having lots of fun in your felting adventures too :)

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Monday, 13 October 2014

You are cordially invited....

I spent yesterday felting with the lovely ladies from Sonning (IFA region 5) and will be taking part in their exhibition on Sunday 2nd November. If you are in the area I would love to see you there. We are also looking for fellow felters to join us for a fun day of felting once per month; if this is of interest please let me know.

I am feeling rather pleased with what I managed to complete yesterday (there was a LOT of chat about the forthcoming exhibition which ate into my felting time :) ). I have been wanting to make a felted top for a long time and finally managed it... and best of all, it actually fits!

I plan to wear this at the exhibition next month so if you want to see me modelling it you will have to come along! ;o)

I also managed to make a lattice scarf using the technique taught on Fiona Duthie's surface design course. I plan to dye this later in the week but can't decide between green / orange or blue / brown...

And finally a couple of samples from Fiona's class...
The piece on the left is destined to become a brooch while the other 2 have felt cuff written all over them.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Weaving by the Sea and Some Lichen

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, I have just returned from 2 wonderful weeks in northern Spain. The first week was spent with Tim Johnson on a ("basket") weaving course, aptly named weaving by the sea. I put basket in quotes as that was probably the one thing I didn't make. I went with the intention of learning Tim's methods so I could interpret his methods into textiles and mixed media pieces. The 7 and 9 stand braiding was really interesting but is very slow, I expect I will make some fabric bowls using it but don't expect it to be commercially viable to make these professionally.

The second half of the week was spent on freeform or chaos weaving which I loved and can see myself using some of the willow stored in my garden to make some mixed media sculptures. Tim was an amazing teacher, he is incredibly knowledgeable and keen to share what he knows. His fine art background brought a different flavour and an unexpected freedom to what we made under his tutelage, he was very keen that we move away from making functional objects and experiment with different forms.

Here are a couple of photos I took during the course but more can be found (including a few of me ;o/) by following the weaving by the sea link above.

Mr TB joined me for the second week which we spent touring northern Spain and walking in the Catalonian National Park, Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici, according to Wikipedia this translates to "The winding streams and lakes of St. Maurice". We certainly followed a stream for most of our trip so this seems quite apt. The views in the park were absolutely stunning and so varied. In the space of just 7 km (about 4 miles) we found ourselves walking through woodland, along the banks of a stream, across pastures, sitting by a huge serene lake and always with mountains providing a majestic backdrop.

Even with all this beauty on such a grand scale, it was some lichen growing on a tree trunk that caught my creative attention and this is what I have been working on since we returned.

I like the lichens and the tassely bits but think I might repeat this piece with the bark represented using strips of cut-away resist.