It’s Official!

My City and Guilds certificate arrived yesterday, I heard that I would pass in October but did not want to tempt fate by telling people until the certificate had safely arrived. Silly I know, but I am strangely superstitious like that. It has finally arrived, and to my surprise is actually 2 certificates…

To celebrate I started making myself a nunofelt dress, it’s not quite going to plan but I think it is still salvageable with a bit of dressmaking. My biggest learning so far is that the “holes” (i.e. around the neck line and arm holes) in the template should not be increased by 50% along with the rest of the garment…. more on that next time.

Here are couple of other pieces I have been working on this week:

It may not be that easy to see from this photo but I have used resists to create flower patterns peeking through the green, I plan to add some embroidery to the centres of each flower.

This piece has been sat on my table for a few weeks now and I still can’t decide where to go with it, should I just leave it as it is? The yellow and pink patterns are rather nice but not as striking all the way round as they are in the photo below. I could add some embroidery but am concerned it might just detract from the dye pattern. Another idea I had was to cut holes about a 1/4 of the way down and add a drawstring to make into a bag rather than a pot. It stands about 30 cm (12″) tall. What do think? What would you do?

I also made a couple of coin / key purses to match the 2 bags I made recently, both will have a zipper on the back and the loop at the top allows for a key hoop to be attached.

This is another coin purse, but using the flower resist technique again, the zip will sit across the top where you see the line of orange. I plan to add some embroidery to the centre of the flower on this one too.

Hope you are have a creative week too… 🙂

End of an Era

I’m feeling a little bit lost today, this morning I packed up the last of my City and Guilds pieces and mailed them to my tutor for assessment. I have plenty of ideas to try out and new things I want to make but just can’t seem to muster the energy to get started this afternoon. Perhaps I should let myself take a an evening off, relax and find renewed enthusiasm tomorrow. Enough with the wallowing already…. here are couple of new pieces and a WIP.

These clutch bags were part of the C&G course, the pink one has a zip across the front flap to reveal an extra pocket:

 The green one was inspired by the sampler in my last post.

This little bowl was crocheted from the Jacob’s fleece I dyed and spun a couple of weeks ago.

And this is my WIP, again it was inspired by the sample in my last post and when it is long enough, I will felt it into and infinity scarf. This is the prefelt that I cut up to make the scarf.

Finishing up C&G work

I’ve spent most of the last few days working on the last assessment pieces for my C&G work. My biggest problem is I can never make just one piece to demonstrate a skill or technique, I usually have a head crammed full of different ideas to try and it is really hard for me to stop at just one…. I really should exercise some self control but I don’t want to! 😉

This is a sample made from different  ways to needle-felt pieces of prefelt. This sampler has already spawned 2 new ideas that are WIPs, the first is a lattice style scarf the second is a bag with lots of texture on the surface. More on those in my next post.

In a similar vein, this piece was made by needle-felting different fabrics onto a prefelt base, I like this as it is but am itching to add some machine embroidery but will have to wait until after it has been assessed before I do that (I have been told by my tutor to refrain from embroidering my felt pieces). This piece is only the size of a postcard so I am already planning a similar piece on a much larger scale…

And a couple of vases, the purple one is Norwegian C1 while the green one is Corriedale. I made the Corriedale one to see if it would produce a firmer / stiffer felt but there isn’t a great difference between them, the Corriedale is only marginally firmer than the Norwegian. The yarns wrapped around the bases are the products of my hand-spinning, I like to think my spinning is definitely improving 🙂

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Natural Wool Colours

This week I have been a good girl (mostly) trying to catch up on my City and Guilds work, there’s been some dyeing of wools and animal fibres and using natural fibre colours. It’s very easy to overlook all the lovely browns, creams and greys that wool naturally comes in when confronted by the vast array of juicy, commercially dyed wools that are so readily available but I hope I can convince you to at least take a second look at the natural colours too….

For the current series of C&G assignments I have been using bone micrographs as my starting point and this piece was no exception. I found this photo on the Microlab Gallery and used it for inspiration. This is a piece of fossilised dinosaur bone as seen under the microscope.

Here are the fibres wetted out ready for rolling, I even used some of my hand-spun Jacob wool for drawing lines (my spinning is still a bit erratic but is getting better and I like the thick and thin effect in this painting).

And the finished piece.

I really like this piece, it is quite heavily textured and I’m finding hard not to stroke it whenever I wander past. I think it looks lonely and needs some companions, so will have to make a few more ;o)

For a related assignment we were also asked to make a piece from just white fibres with the intention of dyeing it so that the different design elements would be revealed as not all fibres accept the dye at the same rate. Here is the piece laid out, ready to be wetted out and rolled:

And before dyeing (not very inspiring!):

And after dyeing:

I’m a little disappointed with this piece, I’m glad I incorporated some vegetable fibre (igneo corn top) which does not accept the acid-fast dyes, the corn top is the only element that has provided a reasonable amount of contrast. All the wools, silks, mohair and alpaca seem to have accepted the dye fairly evenly so the changes in colour are rather subtle. The different textures are nice though. I am tempted to add some embroidery to make it more interesting…..

Carding Fleeces in the Sunshine

The UK weather is about to take a turn for the worse with the remnants of hurricane Bertha heading our way tomorrow so I have been making the most of the sunshine over the last couple of days and carding my White-faced Woodland (WFW) and Jacob fleeces outside.

I have been making a few rolags to try on my new drop spindle too:

And I made a felt sample from the WFW:

This is quite a coarse, hairy wool, definitely not a good choice for scarves but has lots of potential for slippers and handbags. Its shrinkage rate was 40%.

Those of you on the Felting and Fibre Studio Forum may recall I was looking to join a felt-making or other textile group a few months back and I think I may have found one through the International Feltmakers Association. It’s not particularly close (they meet in a village hall an hour’s drive away) but I am hopeful it will be worth the effort and they only meet once per month. Their next meeting is tomorrow – wish me luck!

With my City and Guilds course nearing an end I have also taken the plunge and signed up to a couple of workshops in addition to a 1-week contemporary weaving course I signed up to in May. Fiona Duthie’s Surface Design workshop starts at the start of September and runs for 6 weeks, then I have Karoliina Arvilommi‘s workshop in the middle of September and Tim Johnson’s weaving workshop at the end of the month. I am hoping that I can use Tim’s techniques to incorporate felt and textiles into some contemporary basket weaving. September is already shaping up to be a busy month! Exciting times 🙂

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