Sunday, 22 June 2014

Fibre of the Month June - Finnwool Piiku Project

I just loved making my patchwork top hats.. and the Piiku certainly felt soft enough that it would be comfortable.  I had also been lucky enough to see some beautiful Piiku felted vessels at Wonderwool Wales, so already knew that it was good for sculptural pieces.  I decided to make a colourful top hat!

I brought 4 differently coloured, variegated batts.  When I unrolled them they were more variegated than I had realised.. so I split each one into the strong colours (from the outside) and the softer, more heathery colours (which were inside).   I did find that there was a fair amount of veggie matter to pick out.. but they are such lovely colours, and the fibre is so soft and lovely, that it is well worth it!

I used the strong colours for this hat.

Though I decided not to use the lovely fresh ocean greeney blue in the bottom corner..
I know this just looks like a heap of fibre but it's
2 layers laid out on top of the resist.. I promise :)
Wetted, flipped, rays folded in, then 3 layers on,
flipped and put 3rd layer on the other side
 The strangeness at the top is the rays of the third layer in the top gusset sticking out under a separate piece of bubble wrap.
Part way through.
Lovely rich red, orangey red and smoky purple.
And then guess what happened..  I forgot to take photos of the rest of the process DUH!

Modelled by my baby :)

I love these vibrant colours..  But they are only half the story, I still had the other half of the batts left.. 

the softer colours from batts - my left overs

Which I turned in to:

Another top hat..
this one is a lovely turquoise, coral red and heather
- an unusual combo but really pretty
I think Rachael rather likes Top Hats :)

For comparison to sampling data:
Resist size: 18" tall x 19.5" across bottom (46cm x 49cm)
Finished size squashed as flat as possible: 10.5 x 12.5" across brim (27cmx32cm)
Shrinkage: 41% x 35%
Weight: 100g

They felted beautifully - fast and easy.. I'd even have say faster and easier than merino!  It was a pleasure to work with.

I'm really enjoying my top hats at the moment :)  These two are in my Etsy shop if anyone is interested..

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Fibre of the Month JUNE - Finn sheep / PIIKU

This month I am working with another of my Wonderwool Wales 'treasures'.. PIIKU.  Piiku is Finnwool..  reared, sheared, cleaned, carded and dyed on a family run farm in Finland.  

I brought mine from Felt in the Factory, unfortunately they don't have many details on the website, but they do carry the full range of beautifully dyed batts - which you can see here on the Piiku website.  If you're in the UK it's probably more cost effective to buy from FITF (postage from Finland pushes the price up) if you email Nina I'm sure she will be happy to sell you some :)

I love this picture!
This Finn ewe in the USA gave birth to 7 lambs.. aren't they all beautiful?!
Finnsheep landrace sheep are renowned for being prolific, it is common for them to have 3 or 4 lambs at a time.. with the record being 9 lambs born to a ewe in Finland.  

Their fleece is classed as medium grade, but it is fine and lustrous with a micron count between 24 & 31 and staple length between 3" & 6".  Colours; black, grey, white and brown, piebald & spotted.

Finnwool Piiku sample

Laid out to the same size as previous samples (20cm x 20cm), with three layers of fibre and thoroughly felted to achieve maximum shrinkage.

The layers peeled off easily and were nice and even.  This is such an easy felter it's unreal!  Very, very nice to work with.. the finished felt is strong and feels like it will be hard wearing, while still being soft to touch. It has a nice tight finish, very tactile.   

Finished sample size: 13cm x 14cm
Weight: 9.3g
Shrinkage: 35% x 30%

I will definitely be using this again..  In fact I am planning to buy more batts in July when I shall be attending a workshop at Felt in the Factory.  (I'm making Lizards with Judit Pocs - I'm so excited!  I have been told there are a couple of places left if anyone is interested..)

Next time:  My Piiku project