Friday, 6 November 2015

Gotland Locks - Messenger Bag or Backpack?

Zara from Sweeden is selling some absolutely gorgeous Gotland locks on the forum, if you are quick there may still be some left! Of course I couldn't resist and now they have arrived I'm so glad I didn't, they are soooo shiny and soft!

Now I have Gotland locks from 4 different sheep (2 from Zara and 2 from UK sources) so its high time I did something with them. I decided to make a messenger bag using the same Gotland resist technique I used on a cat cave a couple of weeks ago.

I used a couple of layers of Corriedale and laid out some pockets over a resist before adding 2 layers of Gotland tops, my plastic resists and some vibrantly blue merino on the outside.

I only used the locks on the front flap and used a mix from all 4 fleeces as they varied from black/white to grey and almost jet black and are different lengths.

It's interesting to see the Gotland invade the coarse Corriedale wool too:
Only the pockets remained white where the resists prevented the Gotland from going walkabout.

Where the resists were placed between the Gotland and merino the blue of the merino can still be seen.

The blue colour was brightened by a little bit of shaving.

It was interesting how the Gotland shrank (fulled) more than the merino, causing the merino to pucker slightly:

The locks were a little bit matted after I had finished fulling the bag so I combed them out which made some of them go rather fluffy, I used some leave in hair conditioner to try to tame them. Have you ever tried to hair products on your wool?

This is quite a large bag, about 40 cm wide by 40 cm high, now I have to decide what handles / strap to put on it. I was toying with the idea of an adjustable shoulder strap made from felt ropes but now I am leaning towards back-pack style straps, simply because it is so large it will weigh a tonne when I have filled it with everything bar the kitchen sink. What do you think?

Monday, 2 November 2015

Stained Glass Felt Hanging

The lovely Ruth Lane from the Felting and Fiber Studio Forum is creating a book of contemporary designs and posted a request for interpretations of a couple of designs in different art forms, this is my interpretation of the Nature design in nuno felt.

I started by increasing the size of Ruth's pdf on a photocopier to make it more manageable for felt and traced that design onto the dull side of some freezer paper. This was ironed onto a piece of black prefelt.

Then cut out the internal sections to leave a black felt frame. I wetted out the prefelt to help the silk pieces stay in place.

Then I started laying out pieces of hand dyed silk chiffon, trimmed so that they overlapped the black prefelt.

Once all the cut-out areas had been covered with silk, I laid a piece of white prefelt over the back, if you want to hang your piece in a window so that it will be seen from both sides you can carefully place black wool over the chiffon edges to cover them.

When I flipped it over the freezer paper was still attached to the front, this was very carefully removed so as not to pull the black prefelt out of position.

Then I gently rubbed the surface through some decorator's plastic to fix the silk and wool into position before rolling it.

Take care to check the prefelt has not moved off the silks after every 100 rolls.

The finished wall hanging:

I think it looks a lot like looking through a window into a garden full of vines. I'm toying with the idea of adding some embroidery and squaring up the frame but I also quite like it as it is and don't want to ruin it! What would you do?

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Effect of Gotland on Merino

A recent discussion on the Felting and Fiber Forum reminded me of a technique I haven't used for a while, it relies the quality of some coarser wools to migrate through (engulf) finer wools, Gotland is a good example of this.

For this cat cave I laid out 3 layers of Gotland, some thin plastic resist in a scroll pattern and 2 layers of teal merino.

Here you can see the Gotland already starting to invade the merino after just 100 rolls:

The pattern on the finished cave before shaving, the Gotland has engulfed the merino except where the plastic resist was placed (even there it has tried to migrate over the merino (it really is the Japanese Bind Weed of the wool world):

And after shaving:

This is the resist and the finished cave, it shrank just a little during the fulling!
The finished cave is about 60 cm across.