Saturday, 26 February 2011

A week in photos...

So, the children go back to school on Monday... and what have we done?  Not a lot is the honest answer.  My son came down with a heavy cold last Monday, which he very generously passed on to me.  Quite effectively scuppering all of our plans for the week; didnt want to visit and make anybody ill, and didnt have the energy for the outings or projects we were going to do.  At least we had the leisure to do nothing without feeling guilty about it though!

We did get a nice sunny day (just the one!) and I got my daughter to model the Faerie Shawl... it is a little large on her, but I`m sure she is dreaming of proms & faerie balls - fancy dresses & frilly wraps :)

I started to sort out my craft room into new storage boxes to give me more room (I hope).  While sorting I came across 2 lots of fibre that I had dyed about 3 years ago... and done nothing with.  There was a carrier bag with just under 200g dyed merino in that had become so compressed it was almost felted.. pretty much unusable as it was.  So I teased it apart & run it through the drum carder :) adding in sprinkles of sari silk fibre... ended up with 2 decent batts - what a fantastic machine!

Which, over the next couple of days I spun into 2 nice skeins

Rachael has, so far, managed to avoid catching the lurgy (she had it a couple of weeks ago).  So of course she needed entertaining.  The other dyed fleece I discovered came in useful here.  It was dyed using Tinctoria Natural Dyes; madder & I think calendula.  Rach helped me put it through the drum carder (which she LOVES) and we carded a batt of brown Shetland cross that I have cleaned  & waiting to be spun.  We split the batts into long thin sections and Rachael has woven a panel on the peg loom

Its more or less 18" square.  The plan was to turn it into a chushion cover... I hope that it works, I think it should.  Just need to find a suitable fabric for the cushion back.

And thats our week...  Im off to find a cup of tea and some quiet (Matthew is now better & has put his music on..only quietly bless him, but its echoing in my head)

Saturday, 19 February 2011

An invitation to all felt & fibre friends

I am putting the wheels in motion to start a tea/coffee morning for any fibre loving folks - spinners/felters/weavers and those who are interested in fibre arts & crafts. 

I dont have a group name or permenant venue as yet.  I propose either every other Friday, or 1 Friday a month to meet up for an hour or 2, the idea is to bring along something to work on while we chat over tea & biscuits.

This will be in Halesowen, West Midlands, UK.  Possibly the first meet up could be as soon as Friday 4th March (am)   If you are interested please leave me a comment, or email me through one of my shops or flickr (links to the right).

Ultimately, if there are enough people interested we could use a room at Haden Hill House.. but as I would need to hire the room we would need at least 7 people for this (with approx £1 sub)

This is a chance to get out and meet people who share a love of fibre, no concentrating on learning a new skill as you do at a workshop - just relax and make friends. 

Dont be shy

Friday, 18 February 2011

Felting Faerie Fashion :)

Got to be quick with this one... time is getting away from me again - Im sure its speeding up!

Wednesday my fibres still hadnt arrived.  But lying in bed on Tuesday night I suddenly felt the need to create a cobweb wrap fit for a faerie.  Possibly because I had been looking at the Glastonbury Faerie Ball on the internet that evening..

So, as soon as the kids were packed off to school I started setting up &  laying out.  I was really in the zone that day - had the incense burning & soft music playing...
How much did I wish that I had table room big enough for this?!
I decided on soft pink & white merino, with creamy tussah silk & ice white firestar to add magic sparkles.  Just one fine layer of fibre to keep it light, etherial.  Less fibre of course means more shrinkage so this needed to start out BIG.  As you see, I had to work on the floor & it even outgrew my piece of lino I use to protect the floor from water!  It started out 3 meters x 1 meter.

Simple leaves cut from mawata silk hankies
I cut 19 leaves from silk hanky and scattered them across the surface... just let them drift down and felted them wherever they lay.
The silk leaves really melted into the felt.. they look lovely.  Next time I will dye them a nice soft colour first though I think.
The problem with working on something this huge & also delicate.. on the floor! is my sad deficiency in the art of levitation!  OMG my muscles were aching after this.  Fortunately when it was rolled up I could transfer it to the table for rolling.

Now Im really happy with it - but I havent got a good photo to show you yet!  Im hoping to get my girlie to model it, hopefully on a dry sunnyish day.. (not hoping for much hey?)  OR, I may be sucessfull in my construction of a dressform - you never know.

My new fibres did arrive early yesterday, so with muscles already aching from the day before I set out to felt another wrap!  This one is a nuno wrap, which again has started out pretty big.  It took nearly 5 hours just to lay the fibre.. and after a couple of hours rolling I was just so shatter I decided to stand the roll in a bowl & leave it over night.  Im about to go work on it some more now..

Have a good weekend x

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Waiting again...

Well this morning I was all set to work on a new nuno wrap.  Over the weekend I dyed an Indian silk scarf (HUGE one) and some silk hankies ready for this.  I even got so far as pulling my fibres ready to start, only to find a distinct lack of some of the blues I was planning to use!  Luckily I already have them on order from Wingham Wool (just got an email to say they are posted - yay) so I just have to wait now...

I'm hoping to add some nice dyed silk caps & hankies to my Folksy shop soon (of course I've got to actually get round to dyeing them first lol).  I've been really rubbish at listing stuff in my shops since Christmas.. must do better.

Anyway with my days plans scuppered, I decided to work on some finishing touches instead.  Felted a lovely blue/green piece with some of the aforementioned silk hankies & some firestar fibre sprinkled between the merino & silk.  I'm planning some brooches made from this.. if they work like Im picturing they should be nice :)

And a couple of big blousy flowers (the one on the left is pretty massive :)

I cant believe we are heading into another school holiday... already!  It doesnt seem 5 mninutes since the kids went back and they break for half-term on Thursday this week. 

Heres hoping my fibre gets here by Thursday so I can get this wrap out of my system before the kids break up.


Saturday, 12 February 2011

February Felt..

OK, so I promised a felty post this time :)   I have been felting nearly every day working out a Spring / Summer range for my Etsy shop.. 

Im pleased with what Ive got so far, there is the Spring bag - you saw the prototype a few weeks ago.  After tweeking the resist Ive now got finished bags.  I LOVE these, they take a good 10 hours of work time, plus I dry them completely at prefelt stage so I can machine stitch the bottom, so the quickest I can make these is in 2 days. 

Veeery similar to the original, but the shape is just how I wanted it now.
 I thought I had a photo of the Love Spring bag too (ecru merino with heart inlays) - but I haven't, and its almost dark now, so I shall have to wait to take photos tomorow.  Never mind, I shall post them next time.

I have also made some hip bags!  I made myself one of these last year & I LOVE it, it always draws compliments when I wear it so I decided to make some more.  So far Ive made 2 roughly the same size & shape as mine, and one which is slightly bigger.

Apologies for the close ups of me bum - its the only way to show how they sit (oh for a dressmakers dummy!)
This is the bigger one (above).  About half way through the felting process - at the time that I cut the resist out, I added some simple embroidery stitches in tapestry wool which felted in nicely as I carried on.  Got loads of lovely sari silk fibre in here too (how much do I love sari silk?   A LOT!)

Loads of sari silk fibre, and sari ribbons felted in to this one.  I love the colourfull sari silks against the  vibrant lilac & pink merino

  A crashing wave with throwsters waste silk surf. 
Gary challenged me to felt a wave... so I felted it onto a hip bag.The cord belt has a BFL tuft at the end & mohair locks plus lots of silks felted in... I formed a loop section in the cord and added 3 sea worn limpet shells (from last summers holiday :) as I was felting it.  Just need to find time for listing thing now lol.

I've felted a lovely summery nuno wrap but havent any photos yet.  I really do need to get a dressmakers dummy to display things nicely!  I'm planning to have a go at making my own, they are just too expensive for me to buy one.  Hopefully should be doing that over the next week or two so watch this space :)

What else has been going on?  Well Gary worked away for a couple of days... I thought I'd get lots done while he was away (as I could carry on working after the kids went to bed guilt free)  didnt seem to happen though.  I did carry on working late, but didnt seem to get much more done than I would normally. 

We gained a new fishy friend - Rachael has named him Bob.  He's a VERY lucky little fish.  Gary found him in an empty house he was inspecting, the people had moved out at the begining of December and left him behind.  Amazing that he is alive and healthy after 2 months without food!  (Of course for all we know he may of had a couple of buddies to begin with.. he was all on his own when found.  He settled straight into our tank, is really playful with the other fish and growing fast now that he is eating. 

Bob is the second fish that has come to us in this way - our very first fish had been abandoned on an outdoor balcony in a carrier bag!  I do not know how people can do these things!  This first fishy was named Hannibal (the cannibal) no prizes ford guessing how he survived! But again he was a lovely peaceful & friendly fish, we had him for years.

OK, time to go cook :)

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Nettle for Fibre by John-Paul Flintoff - "Through the Eye of a Needle"

This video has just been posted on one of my yahoo fibre groups... I really enjoyed it... and yet another book is now added to my wish list!

I dont fancy trying felting with nettles (ha ha), but as a spinning fibre I`ve been pretty interested for a few years - who knows I may get round to experimenting this year! 

What John-Paul says applies just as much to wool & linen as nettles I think.   For someone like me with a fascination in social history, heritage crafts AND the environment, this promises to be an interesting read.  And, maybe a bit of a much needed prod (in my case) toward using even more of my local natural materials.

Next post is a felty one ...... promise :)