Thursday, 16 February 2012

Hundertwasser inspired bag #3 and purses

This is my third bag inspired by Hundertwassers spirals..  a round one this time :)

Made in pretty much the same way as the others; white Falkland base layers and coloured merino outer layers.  Pockets and hanging loops made in the same way as last time.  I added a twist to the cord handle, just to be a little different.

Pocket spirals
Layers of white falkland

Showing the hanging loop during layout, pegged to keep it bent.
I dont overwork the hanging loop cords before attaching them, I work them really well as I full the bag

I love using these pegs for felting.. they open up pretty wide and have soft rubber covering the wide gripping area – they don’t mark the felt like my old pegs wanted to.

Starting the outer spirals
Wetted and rubbed
Now came LOTS of rolling, followed by plenty of throwing and thumping :)

I love the rounded shape of this bag, and how solid it is, its almost basket-like.. 
Once I had felted the handle cord (apart from the fluffy ends)  and threaded it through the hanging loops, I crossed the cord over a couple of times before joining the cord and finishing felting it.. resulting in a gently twisted strap.

I made some co-ordinating purses too..  didn’t take process pics as I  was sewing these (the light was really bad anyway)  but this is the piece of felt I am making them from (part way through felting).. I used white Falkland, dark duck-egg & bilberry merino.  AND guess what?  I forgot to take a photo after Id finished felting it!

I have only made 2 so far.. they are lined with pretty cotton fabrics with a zip closure across the top.. and one of Sharry's gorgeous ceramic buttons on the front.  The felt is big enough to make 4 purses from and they will all be different; now I just have to find out some interesting lining fabrics for the next 2 :)

Next time: Hundertwasser bag #4  - this is one I am JUST finishing and it's a different again..  Its going to be the last Hundertwasser inspired project that I post about for a while.. I have some other projects to show you :)


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Hundertwasser inspired bag #2

This is my second Hundertwasser inspired bag..  I love the coloures of this one - dark duck egg and bilberry. The white coming through makes ALL of the colours nice and heathery.

After finishing the first bag there were a couple of adjustments that I wanted to make next time:
  1. Inner pockets thicker and firmer
  2. Handle loops to be thicker/chunkie
  3. Handle a little shorter
So this time I made the handle loops about twice as thick..
Handle loops with fluffy roots for attaching to bag body..
I wrap the fluffy ends in cling film to keep them dry while I felt the centre part
I decided to make the pockets prettier as well as thicker;  first I laid a couple of basic spirals where the 2 pockets would be, these spirals would be uppermost on the inside of the bag when its finished.  Then I laid a layer of Falkland, and 1 layer of the duck egg coloured merino (I did it this way so the colouring would be subtle and blend more with the rest of the inside of the bag), followed by 2 more layers of Falkland.  Wetted the fibre and positioned the resists, then went on with laying the fibre layers to enclose the main resist.

Same as with the first bag I used 6 fibre layers; 3 of white Falkland then 3 coloured merino.. and then the spirals.

The handle loops were added in to layers 3 and 4.  I did come across one unexpected hurdle with the thicker loops.. don;t know why it hadn't occured to me, but as they were so much thicker they were also stiffer and didnt want to stay bent.  I had laid the first side with no problems.. when I bent them over to do the second side though they wouldn't stay down.  I used a couple of clothes pegs to hold them bent while I finished the laying out and rubbing.  I paid a lot of attention to the areas where the roots were (which I do anyway) when I was sure they were well attatched I took the pegs off.  I had gotten so caught up in doing this that I forgot to take a photo of the peg positioning.. I've got one for the next bag though :)

Starting to build up a spiral..
it takes a suprising amount of time to make a big one with lots of colours!
I use thin strips of merino first and then the yarns, tucking the yarn ends under
the merino

I drew a big spiral to both front and back.

Here again I forgot to take photos of the stages as I cut the resists out!  And I really should take one of the bags on top of the resists to show the shrinkage involved too.. I want all of these bags to be very tough - felted as hard as I can get them.. so there is a LOT of rolling, throwing and thumping involved.. I like all of my bags to be HARD anyway, they have a tough job to do, so I always work, work, work them.  I think (and hope) the Falkland is making these hardier than just merino does, but I'm finding Falkland seems to take a lot more working than merino to full it to its max..  I like the slightly hairy character they have, its quite subtle 'cos its just coming through the merino, it makes them very tactile.

The handle was made in exactly the same way as last time.. just a few inches shorter.

I think this hangs at a better height..

Inner pockets with their spirals..
The photo doesnt show it too well but the duck egg fibres come through the white
just the same as it does on the rest of the bag

I am REALLY happy with this one :)  I absolutely love the duck egg and bilberry combo - must remember to order more bilberry!  Its one of my new favourite shades

Next time: Hundertwasser inspired bag #3 - different again


Sunday, 5 February 2012

New year - new ideas

I started off January by making a list of themes I wanted to explore this year.. And I actually started working on 2 of them IN January - now thats good going from me! There are a couple of other themes that I really want to work on soon, but I want to show you what I've been upto so far :)  I'm going to be running with these for a while I think 'cos I am really enjoying them.  So far I have started on Petroglyphs & Pictographs and Hundertwasser inspired projects..  and I'm going to start off by showing you my first Hundertwasser inspired bag, which was a nice little learning curve :)

I have been very much inspired by the work of Freidensriech Hundertwasser the renowned Austrian artist.. I love his use of colour and spirals and his love of nature.  If you have a few moments and are unfamiliar with him, please go google.. the site I have linked to is interesting but there is so much more online.. I enjoyed this essay in Hello Magazine.

So far I have kept it simple.. using lovely colours and spirals, nice natural shapes and texture..  My first bags have been inspired by The Big Way painting..

Hundertwasser inspired bag #1
close-up finished spiral
I made my resist with the idea of 50 to 55% shrinkage.  I enclosed my resist in 6 layers of fibre; the inner 3 layers are white Falkland and the outer 3 are coloured merino.  The first thing I laid down was 2 inegral pockets to be on the inside.. with this first bag I just used 3 layers of Falkland for the pockets (forgot to take photos this early). 

 After laying 4 layers of fibre, I added loops to run the handle through..  These were short cords with a fluffy root left at each end, I incorporated the fluffy root in between layers 4 and 5 of the layout stage. 

I didnt position it right at the top of the resist as I wanted room to cut the resist out and even up the top without having to worry about the loops getting damaged or weakened..

 Once all the layers were laid I started spiraling :)  This was the fun bit, it did take a lot longer than I expected though I must say.. laying out a nice spiral takes time!

I drew spirals on the front and the back of the bag using thin lengths ofmerino fibre, pretty BFL slubby yarns and boucle yarn which is an alpaca/wool blend - this is what the dark blue and charcoal is.

These BFL yarns are part of the stash I brought back from Wonderwool last year,
all naturally dyed by Alison at Pure Tinctoria

I got so carried away felting that I forgot to take pictures for a while now :(  I dont have any of it partially felted, or as I cut the resist out.

For the handle I wanted to creat a double cord - a big loop that runs through the hanging hoops.. I felted a loooong cord leaving fluffy tufts at each end again.  Onto the cord I twined all the colours that were in the spirals, they twist all along the length.

 And then I felted that - the cord handle has a white Falkland core and 2 layers of merino, then the twist of fibre and yarn.  It was worked in between each layer, but once the twist was on I REALLY worked it hard.. leaving the ends till later.

Internal pockets
The pockets are not as tightly felted as I would of hoped.. I think its to do with the different character of the Falkland wool compared to merino.. and possibly 'cos I only used 3 layers.  This is an area for improvement next time.. 

I am very happy with my bag.. and this one is MY bag :)  a keeper - yay!  I love the way that the white Falkland has crept through to the front making it all heathery - it brings all the colours together - so what could of clashed horribly is actually very harmonious. 

There are a couple of things to tweak for next time..  The hanging loops are strong and stable, but maybe look a little thin on such a big bag - next time make them chunkier!  The handle is super long.. I like that, I can wear it across my body comfortably, if I want to wear it over the shoulder though I would probably have to tie a know to shorten it a little - next time make it a tad shorter.  And the inner pockets need to be sturdier, these are stable enough, but I like them to be tight and even edged, these are a little 'frilly'.

Next time Hundertwasser bag #2


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

ALMOST a cake-tastrophie..

Gary's birthday (Monday) went well..  he loved the folder and laughed his socks off over the horrid hairy helmet!  I was quite surprised while washing up at lunch time to see him strolling into the kitchen modeling it in his birthday suit :)  That was a laugh!  We had a lovely day, and an even nicer night out with most of the family.


My weekend was spent ducking and diving trying to get his cake iced in secret.. easier said than done.  It didn't turn out as I had pictured it.. mostly because there were so many mistakes and mishaps along the way.

I had decided to make him a cake with a lady jumping out of the top.. I rather naively thought 'no problem - it'll be an interesting challenge' HA.  What I didn't take into account is how long its been since I iced a cake (7 or 8 years) and the simple fact that I was having to do it on the sly and hide it away from my husband!  (I don't want to bore you.. the rest of this post is my catalogue of mini cake-related disasters.. so please stop here if you aren't that interested :)

I made the lady from icing and painted her in a nice peach foodcolouring; I used it for her skin, hair and bikini.  Stupidly I decided to paint the back of her bikini while she was laying face down on a soft towel.. of course when her bum was dry and I turned her over to find she now had a boxers nose (flat)  Never mind..

We don't like icing or marzipan on our cakes, so I decided to just use a thin layer of icing.. I knew this is what I always used to do.  What I forgot is how I used to cover the cake with butter-cream icing BEFORE putting the rolled icing on to smooth out the surface.  I did have a vague recollection of brushing apricot jam glaze onto the cake before icing it.. and did that.  Of course when I put the icing on I couldn't smooth the darned stuff out no matter what I did!  I ran out of time at that point and had to leave it till the next day.

The only thing I could think of to try and save it was frosting, which I've never used or eaten before (but now really like!) I brought a can of American Frosting thinking I could smooth it over my bumpy sponge cake to get a nice smooth surface.  I tried to make it blue.. after adding a couple of spoons of the cheap blue foodcolour brought from our local supermarket I got the blue-ish grey you see above, I think I could of added the whole bottle and just about got a true blue..

When I tried peeling the icing back off - the apricot glaze had virtually welded it onto the sponge!  I eventually got it off and started dolloping frosting on .. only to discover that it doesn't really like being 'smoothed' onto cake.. I could NOT get it flat.  The more I tried the more it started coming back off and bringing crumbs with it.  So I took a fork to it and make swirly patterns and covered the worse messy bits with white chocolate stars. 

I was getting in quite a panic, thinking OMG how can I take this to a restaurant to be carried out and presented to him in front of everybody? 

I decided to keep going and see how it turned out.  I stuck my iced lady into the hole that I had cut and stood back to look....and she started leaning back further... and further..  till she broke in the middle - oops.

Which is why she ended up so deeply stuck in the cake that she looks more like a swimmer waving her arms for help... maybe I should of added an iced sharks fin swimming up the side of the 'waves' he he.

Anyway..  When it was all done I thought it wasn't too embarrassing after all.. and in the end everyone enjoyed it and the only thing Gary was embarrassed about was us singing happy birthday (and the big flashing 40 badge his sister made him wear :)