New Year New Goals

I can’t believe we are already 3 days into 2015…. so I am already late setting my new goals; not the most auspicious start! 🙂

My first 2 goals are essentially carried over from last year but they really worked for me so I will carry on with those with just some small edits.

  1. Post to my blog at least once per week and to Facebook twice per week
  2. Maintain at least 90 listings on Etsy
  3. Attend at least 2 workshops with other feltmakers to further develop my felting repertoire
  4. Start teaching felt making
Number 2 is an interesting one for me, as we approached Thanksgiving last year I set myself a target of having 90 items listed in my Etsy shop and I noticed a significant increase in sales soon after (not difficult to achieve, you might think, given that I had only sold 8 pieces in the 13 months prior). Initially I put the sales spurt down to a Christmas rush but I have had 5 more sales since Christmas (I’m still bouncing round the house with joy that other people like my work! 🙂 ) so it can’t just be people buying Crimbo presents.

Number 3 is a bit of a cheat since I have already signed up for a hat making class with Judit Pocs (I am so excited I can barely sit still) and I already have an idea of what I would like to do for the second one (more on that once it has been confirmed). But I do think it is important to keep learning from each other and expanding our horizons.

Number 4 is still just a handful of seeds in my mind, a few people have suggested I write a tutorial and I have ideas for at least 3 but the new EU VAT rules that came into force on January 1st put a spanner in those plans for a while but after much reading and networking I think there may be a work-around if I email the tutorials (it still isn’t clear if ALL the EU countries will agree this is acceptable). I also like the idea of doing some face-to-face teaching although it scares the hell out of me! There is a studio near me that runs a variety of workshops but as far as I can see felting is not on their menu, so I have plans to go and have a chat with the owner…. watch this space 🙂

I hope you have been taking a few days from your day job and have found time to be creative over the last week or so?  I have been having a whale of a time, here are a few images of the things I have been working on:

A pair of fingerless gloves to match my felt jacket:

Another pair of fingerless gloves with silk hankies for decoration:
A couple of nuno felt scarves:

A black-widow spider inspired cape – in this photo it looks more like a dangerous creature from the deep 🙂
Rolling the tassels for the fringes took forever, I am so glad it is now finished and busy drying!

A new nuno felt top for me 🙂

layout of the silk over a resist

layout of wool over the silk

I plan to wear this next week – will try to get a photo of it on, seeing it laid flat on a table under artificial lights really doesn’t do it any justice…

What have you been up to over Christmas? Have you made any resolutions or set goals for 2015? I hope your start to 2015 had been great and reflects how the rest of 2015 will pan out.

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

New Nunofelt Top Design

A couple of weeks ago a friend from my day job approached me and asked if I would make a top for her. We had a bit of chat about what colours she liked and what shape the top would have. She was clearly besotted with the dress I was wearing at the time:

This front panel of this dress is parfait dyed haboti silk. This became the basis of her top.

Instead of just having a panel of silk we thought it would be interesting to cover the entire top with silk so I set about dyeing a few metres of haboti in similar colours to the dress:

Then set about laying out the silk and wool over a template cut to Karin’s measurements.

The wool colours were graduated from white at the top to chocolate brown at the bottom.
After lots of rolling, massaging and throwing, the wool started to contract and the silk puckered.

I added a few darts to help with the shaping, these photos were taken at the second fitting, I think it looks beautiful already but will add a couple more small darts around the collar.

I’m chuffed to bits with how this top has turned out. The silk has the most beautiful sheen (the photos really don’t do it justice) that gives the top a luxurious look without being “in your face” bling. I’m already planning a purple version as a Christmas present to myself, and Karin has asked for another with a 3/4 length sleeve… I guess I will be a little busy for the next few weeks!

Wishing you all a wonderful, woolly Christmas and Happy New year!

Woolly Shipment

My wool order finally arrived today, it should have been here on Wednesday but it appears the Interlink drivers aren’t capable of following their sat navs. Interlink have a really nice system where you can watch your driver going from drop to drop as it counts down to your delivery. For 2 days running I watched the driver come within 50 yards of my address only to click “cannot deliver / cannot locate address”. Utterly exasperating!!! I can’t help but wonder if he was behind schedule so couldn’t be bothered to stop?

Anyway, here is my bag of woolly goodness 🙂

The large white bags are merino and corriedale top, most of which I plan to dye, above them are some commercial merino and silk blends, a bit of a novelty for me as I normally blend my own. The dark grey in the centre is Gotland, it always amazes me how heavy and dense Gotland is, this parcel is 500g, most of the others are only 200g but are a similar volume. 
I have already started to play with some of the merino/silk blends, I chose the purple-blue mix for starters:
And have been laying out over some cotton scrim I dyed yesterday:
I am trying out a new design for the sleeve attachments after making a jacket last week. If it doesn’t work this top will go from being long-sleeved to a vest 🙂
This is the jacket, I love it and have worn it every day this week but feel there is a bit too much fabric in the armpits, while this allows great freedom of movement I think it looks a bit bulky when my arms are down, hence the experiment to find alternative designs.

Here are some more shots of the blue-green top this time on the mannequin so you can see the shape.

This fuzzy effect was created by needle-felting green merino through from the reverse side. I rather like it, it reminds me of lichen.
Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

A new Nuno-Felted Top

Last Sunday was our monthly get together for the Sonning Common Felters. After the success (and aching muscles) of my nuno dress I really wanted to try a nuno-felted top using different decorative techniques.

I started with some rainbow dyed silk chiffon (I’m afraid I forgot to take photos but it was a mottled green, yellow and blue). I folded the chiffon over the same resist I used for the dress and laid a very fine layer of green and blue merino over the top. Over one should I laid a diamond pattern resist with more wool over the top of that.

I have added a couple of darts and some top stitching around the neckline with the sewing machine but that was all that was necessary to get the shape and fit I wanted.

I’m really pleased with how the resist has worked and am totally besotted with this electric blue wool (it is a new colour World of Wool have just started to stock). You can expect to see this making more appearances in my felt… 🙂

Some close-ups of the diamond pattern:

And close-ups of the chiffon peeking through the wool, it’s lovely how it has puckered up as the wool shrank.

Linking up to nina-marieoff the wall Friday

Weyfest was Brilliant!

I spent last weekend at Weyfest, a small and very friendly music festival about 10 miles from where I live. I have been to a few music festivals over the years but Weyfest is definitely one of the most enjoyable, there’s always a broad spectrum of ages and everyone is always in such a good mood (and I don’t think it was due to any chemical assistance).

A lot of the bands such as 10cc, Squeeze (Cool for Cats), Chas and Dave, had their hay-days several decades ago and I’m sure that influences the demographic of the crowd, there were a lot of parents and grandparents with children in tow which was lovely to see.

I was there with the West Surrey Spinners Weavers and Dyers and we all had a fantastic time, I’m afraid I was enjoying myself so much that I forgot to take photos.

These guys were a troop of rather gothic looking morris dancers, I love their costumes! They seem to be a regular fixture at the festival as I have seen them before.

 photo by Peter Day

The hats I made were a real crowd pleaser, the bright colours and unusual animal themes solicited a lot of interest and 2 of them found new homes. It was a real joy to see their new owners sporting their purchases as I wandered around the festival.

This one was the first to find a new owner, a really lovely man who felt bad about haggling £2 off the price and came back the following morning and left the money with a fellow spinner – how lovely is that?! I still find it rather amusing that he chose to wear the hat back to front but seeing him wearing it, it does look equally good either way round and as he pointed out it does have a Tibetan vibe about it.

The “Firestarter” hat also sold, lots of people loved this hat and quite a few tried it on so I wasn’t too surprised that it sold. It was bought by a young lady who said her friend had been coveting it – how nice is that? I saw him wearing it a couple of hours later, it was a real head-turner, definitely a hat to get noticed in!

And finally a nuno shawl found a new home, again, it was bought as a gift by a young lady for her mum I believe.

A weekend spent spinning and chatting in the sun, listening to live music and 3 sales, who could ask for more? 🙂

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