Saturday, 12 October 2013

I am still here...

Apologies to everyone (anyone??) who has been waiting with baited breath for a new post from me! Well, life has rather overtaken felting during the last months. We are in the slow process of moving from Belgium back to the UK after a very long time away - we first arrived in Brussels in 1981! We packed up our home here in May, and are leading a nomadic existence while we renovate a 400 year old barn in Suffolk.
And maybe - just maybe - the renovations will include a studio for me where I can make felt to my hearts content!

Meanwhile, my wool is all packed up in boxes.

So here are a few pictures of an exhibition in Cahors, (SW France) this summer by the artist Odon. Huge cobweb structures made from intricately plaited and woven paper, which is first hand made and dyed.





Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Egg-Bag (part 1)

I haven't done any felting for ages! And it was hard to decide what to make to break the felting fast. How about an egg?
I have been wanting to try a one piece handbag with an integrated handle, so here goes.
I used 3 layers of merino wool around an egg shaped resist with a slightly flattened bottom.
To make the felt very strong, I incorporated a layer of cotton scrim between the top 2 layers of wool. I'm not sure if this has made very much difference, but I had some purple dyed scrim.
I carefully felted and fulled the piece using a bamboo blind and cool water with savon de marseille.  In this picture it is lying on the resist, so you can see how much it has shrunk.
I also added small pieces of silk in a random way as surface decoration, but they have all but disappeared into the felt.
It is still damp, and I have cut a curved line to remove the resist and form the handle and flap.
And the same on the other side.
Here it is stuffed with plastic bags and drying. I am feeling very pleased with the shape. 
I am planning to put some thick cord into the handle, and stitch the edges together, so that it holds its shape even with some weight in the bag. 
How should I decorate it to finish it off? - any ideas welcome! 


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Advent

I spotted this delightful knitted nativity in a bakery shop window on Sunday in Monschau, which is just near the German Belgian border. 
It had snowed, and the Christmas market was enchanting.

Monday, 19 November 2012

From little acorns . . .


I have some great oak trees near me, which produced lots of acorns this autumn. I've seen that several people make charming felted acorns using the real "caps" but replacing the acorn with an elongated felt bead.  I discovered a fool-proof way of making felt beads in issue 7 of the wonderful Australian Felt Magazine. You put the wool into a small container, add water and soap, close it up and shake vigorously. Then remove the loose ball of felt that has formed, and roll between your palms under running water gently at first and applying more pressure until it's a tightly felted ball. Rinse, squeeze out excess water, and roll in one direction to elongate a bit for acorns before drying. I used a glue gun to attach them into the (cleaned) acorn caps. 
I wanted to give these as small gift to my special friend Dawn who likes all things autumnal. But what to put them in? A little felt pot of course! I followed this great tutorial from Annie and Lyn. I used yellow felt on the inside and green on the outside, with little wisps of silk to decorate.  
Here's the gift feeling at home among some other seasonal objects on my friend's table.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Shibori

Shibori is a Japanese technique, often used in dying textiles, which involves twisting, stitching and tying fabric so that the dye creates interesting patterns. In felt making it can be used to create interesting  textures too, using the capacity of wet felt to mould and form permanent shapes as it dries. 
If that makes me sound as if I know what I'm doing, don't be fooled - this is my first experiment.

I made a roughly circular piece of felt layering different colours and finishing with some black in the centre, then some silk strands to add some shine. While still wet, I pushed some wooden beads into the back of the felt and used elastic bands to secure them in place. When the felt was completely dry, I removed the bands, popped out the beads, and found that the felt retained its "bubbles" where the beads had been, leaving the excess felt around the border prettily ruched up. I snipped some of the bubbles open so that the coloured layers were revealed.  
I tried this on three smaller pieces, as I thought they might make flower brooches. They are quite thin - almost transparent, at the edges, and thicker in the middle. I might add some beads in between the "bubbles". 
A close up view of the bubbles
And the back view - you can see the spaces where the beads were.


Saturday, 18 August 2012

Distressing "Before and After"

Husband's at the cricket, too hot to felt....so...
Made myself pretty hot doing this actually! I'd had this piece of furniture in a shed for years. I am reliably informed it's called a tallboy. Slightly art nouveau would you say? I'd already sanded one drawer when I remembered to take a photo. 
I ended up distressing it a bit more than I'd intended, but I quite like it. I used a more liquid clear wax that  can be applied with a brush for the first time, which  found much quicker and easier. 
A bit of gold behind the green adds a touch of faded opulence. Might upgrade it from the shed to a bedroom.  

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Nuno notepad cover

I made this A5 size notepad cover to use up a piece of experimental felt that I had made! 

It was made with merino wool on organza which has a slightly metallic sheen. I added more pieces of organza, and nepps, trapped behind a thin layer of merino wisps, to add texture. Silk strands were used to give colour and shine. I liked the way adding the extra pieces of organza just under the top layer gave the piece areas of deeper folded texture. I was worried that the nepps (little knobbly balls of wool!) had not felted into the fabric well, and might come loose with handling, so I added a bit of machine stitching on these areas. 


To make the cover, I first made a fabric cover to fit the notepad, then sewed the felt onto this, leaving an extra border of felt around the edges. I then blanket stitched the edges of the  felt.