Sunday, 23 November 2014

Guildford Soroptomists

If you are anything like me you are probably thinking "soropto-what?"

I first encountered the soropotmists through a friend's post on Facebook a few weeks ago and promptly went off to look them up. It turns out they are a charitable organisation focussed on empowering and enabling women across the globe. While the Western world has seen the benefits of the suffragette movement and decades of feminism, although we may sometimes feel less valued than our male counterparts, there are dozens of countries where women really are still treated as second class citizens and the soroptomists have made it their goal to help these women.

If you would like to know more about the soroptomists you can access their website here.

Purely by accident, I was looking through listings of upcoming craft fairs trying to identify the ones that I would like to attend and noticed that the Guildford soroptomists are organising a fair in a village hall not too far from here. Their table price is a little more than I would usually pay but when I discovered the proceeds from this fair are going towards the Ebola crisis in West Africa, it was a no-brainer for me.

If you are in the area I would love to see you there, approx 30 stallholders selling home made food and gifts will be there supporting this cause:

10 am to 4 pm Sat 29th Nov at, Cranleigh Village Hall, High St, Cranleigh, Surrey GU6 8AF

On a more light-hearted note, I shared this picture with you last time and asked what you thought it might be:

Ruth was the closest, it is indeed a pod. I had some hand-dyed silk left over after completing my dress a couple of weeks ago and it was so pretty I wanted to use it rather than resign it to my inspiration bag. I settled on making a decorated pod. This is the result, it's about 25 cm (10") across:

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Fingerless gloves

This week I have made a start on something that has been on my to-do list for over a month. I have several Christmas markets coming up and fingerless gloves have been popular at previous events so I wanted to make some more.

Obviously they need to be strokably soft, so I decided to use some hand dyed alpaca I had left over from another project and combined it with some lovely merino for the green and orange pairs.

Here they are after laying out the fibres.

And once dry:

I also made a "rainbow" pair from merino, they are a little bit shorter than I planned but are quite wide so will suit larger hands.

And I started this piece too - can you guess what it is yet?

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Give Aways!!

To promote the launch of my new Facebook page I have decided to offer the chance to win a £20 (approx 30USD) voucher to spend in my Etsy shop as a thank you to everyone who has helped to spread the word. I will hold the prize draw when the number of likes reaches 100. It has already reached 13 with no promotion so I'm hopeful it will get to 100 within a couple of weeks and the lucky winner can use their voucher for a Christmas splurge.

To enter all you need to do is:

  1. like my FB page (click here)
  2. Share the "Give Away!!" post on your FB timeline
The winner will be drawn at random when it reaches 100 likes. GOOD LUCK!!

And another Give Away - are offering 10 of their favourite textile art books for free, just follow this link to enter.

Onto more woolly matters... ;)

This is the finished "sea creature" bowl I posted a picture of last time, I used the dyeing technique in this tutorial to created the colour graduations. The bowl was made using a combination of multi-layered resists, adding flaps of prefelt and stitching during the felting process. It was a bit of an experiment to put all 3 techniques together so I'm really happy that it has turned out so well.

I confess I made this scarf a couple of weeks ago but have only just found time to photograph it, it is some rainbow dyed habouti 5 silk with merino nuno accents. The silk catches the light beautifully but you will have to take my word for that - I just can't seem to get sheen or metallic shine to show up in photos - can you?

The show at the Rural Life Museum was fun but not particularly lucrative, but all the other traders were lovely and there were some really interesting customers including one lady who my heart went out to; she struggled to find gifts for her overly discerning (and IMHO ungrateful) mother so had changed tack and was now buying gifts that she would like to receive in the hope that it would be regifted back to her. I think she has the patience of a saint, I don't know that I would tolerate that sort of behaviour - I certainly wouldn't continue to buy gifts for them!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Blog Centenary

The last few weeks have seen quite a run of achievements for me, this blog reached its first birthday at the end of October, last weekend my City and Guilds certificates arrived, and today this blog has reached its 100th post.

It seems quite fitting that this post should be about another milestone; my first felted dress. Being a nuno felt dress the template was HUGE, 1 m wide by 2 m long, forcing me to work on the floor. Not something I like to do as I ache for days after spending all day crawling around on all fours.

The dress didn't quite go to plan, no matter how much I rolled and worked them the shoulder straps were still far too long so I resorted to cutting them down and sewing seams across the shoulders. Here it is drying on the mannequin.

The front
The back
Close up of the silk panel
Now I just need to pluck up the courage to wear it to work!

Here are a couple of other pieces I have been working on too. They are both winged pods but very different styles.

This first one reminds me of undersea creatures so I am thinking of dyeing it aqua blue / green colours.

The second one reminded me of a helter skelter so I dyed it red and yellow. Here it is before dyeing.

A helter skelter slide
And after dyeing

I will be attending the Rural Life Museum Christmas Fair this weekend in Tilford and would really love to see you there if you are in the area.

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Sunday, 9 November 2014

It's Official!

My City and Guilds certificate arrived yesterday, I heard that I would pass in October but did not want to tempt fate by telling people until the certificate had safely arrived. Silly I know, but I am strangely superstitious like that. It has finally arrived, and to my surprise is actually 2 certificates...

To celebrate I started making myself a nunofelt dress, it's not quite going to plan but I think it is still salvageable with a bit of dressmaking. My biggest learning so far is that the "holes" (i.e. around the neck line and arm holes) in the template should not be increased by 50% along with the rest of the garment.... more on that next time.

Here are couple of other pieces I have been working on this week:

It may not be that easy to see from this photo but I have used resists to create flower patterns peeking through the green, I plan to add some embroidery to the centres of each flower.

This piece has been sat on my table for a few weeks now and I still can't decide where to go with it, should I just leave it as it is? The yellow and pink patterns are rather nice but not as striking all the way round as they are in the photo below. I could add some embroidery but am concerned it might just detract from the dye pattern. Another idea I had was to cut holes about a 1/4 of the way down and add a drawstring to make into a bag rather than a pot. It stands about 30 cm (12") tall. What do think? What would you do?

I also made a couple of coin / key purses to match the 2 bags I made recently, both will have a zipper on the back and the loop at the top allows for a key hoop to be attached.

This is another coin purse, but using the flower resist technique again, the zip will sit across the top where you see the line of orange. I plan to add some embroidery to the centre of the flower on this one too.

Hope you are have a creative week too... :)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Felting Exhibiton

Last Sunday saw the second International Feltmakers Association (Region 5) exhibition in Sonning Common. It was a good day with lots of chat, very nice cakes and some felting demonstrations from yours truly. The visitor numbers were rather low due to incorrect dates being advertised in various papers and magazines. I'm not at all happy about the poor organisation but I won't keep harping on about that, I still managed to have fun and met some really lovely people.
The exhibition as you walk in
My display area
The view from the far end of the hall
I also had an interesting experience with some wool I was demonstrating with. I was making pods and used a coarse red wool (afraid I don't know the breed) on the inside and variegated purple merino on the outside. The coarse wool almost refused to the felt. Even when the merino was firmly felted there were still unfelted tufts of the coarse wool but it did give a very interesting texture that several people likened to a brain.

I also made a couple of more conventional pods and think I might have even inspired one of our feltmaking group to have a go at making pods too :)