May 13, 2013 ~ posted by Fiona Dix in felt
I’ve been working on a big project – big for me anyway – felt mats to form part of the centrepieces at a wedding reception. The mats are around 41 x 68 cm each and there are 13 of them! The colour scheme is purple and turquoise with gold so I enjoyed working with those.
I’ve managed a rate of about two mats every three days over the last few weeks, fitting them in round other things and I couldn’t have done it without the generous instructions for tumble dryer felting provided by Treetops Colour Harmonies on their web site. I added a couple of notes to myself regarding the process. One is to use the biggest heaviest towels that will fit in your tumble dryer for the fastest felting. Another is that when smoothing out the plastic layers between tumbles, if you use the backs of your hands and not the palms the plastic doesn’t drag. I started off using painter’s dustsheet plastic but found it not very durable and quite difficult to handle. For the size I was working on, cut up kitchen bin liners worked fine and one liner did all the mats and is still going strong. Plastic dustsheets come in huge sizes though so they would be a better option for bigger projects.
To keep the size and shape uniform I made samples beforehand and kept notes of the amount of fibre to use for each layer – a good discipline for me. The mats have three plain layers and then the decoration. Each one is decorated slightly differently. I decided early on that it would be good to have something lasting at the end, so the mats are only lightly fulled and still have plenty of shrinkage in them. After the wedding I’ll bring them home and finish fulling them to produce smaller table mats for the bride and groom to keep.
I’m committing them to the postal system shortly – wish me luck!
Late, but I hope not too late, my attempt at Racing Stripe for the Web Spins Challenge, working through the book Spin Art by Jacey Boggs. Racing Stripe consists of spinning a singles yarn while letting an existing yarn wrap around it in a controlled way.
I had this small arty batt carded and for the wrapping I chose a variegated cotton yarn that would sometimes contrast and sometimes blend in.
The spun singles. I ‘lost’ the striping yarn a few time in the fibre, especially to begin with. My batt was only carded once and was quite textural so I went with the flow as I drafted, resulting in some thicker parts with less wrapping and some thin, heavily wrapped sections.
I plied it – it’s supposed to be a singles but I wanted to see what would happen. It will find its way into a weaving sooner or later.
February 3, 2013 ~ posted by Fiona Dix in spinning
A few months ago I went on an art retreat with my spinning wheel and tried out a few of the techniques in Jacey Boggs’ book Spin Art. Since then I haven’t had time to pick it up again or practise what I learned, but Monika of red2white and Marian of Florcita are just starting a new challenge, Web Spins: ‘The aim is to improve our basic spinning and learn new spinning techniques to be able to create various types of textured yarns’. Slow spinning – one technique a month. Sounds perfect.
I realise how often I don’t post here because I take so long to write a post and get images together; and how counter productive that is.
So just a note about a couple of things I’m doing.
The latest in the withdrawn warp experiments, this is bigger than the previous one, 36cm long, and was woven on the tail end of the first warp on my new Saori loom. The fibre was combed top, with an assortment of frayed fabric strips. I’m beginning to get an idea of how this could develop.
This is the first length of fabric I wove on the loom using the pre-wound warp that came with it. It’s mostly handspun yarns and the warp is cotton. Apologies that I haven’t yet trimmed the ends on the back.
Finally I just discovered Offset Warehouse, while looking for a heavy organic fairtrade cotton. I sent for their sample set and it arrived yesterday. I love the range… They sell reclaimed fabric as well.
May 11, 2012 ~ posted by Fiona Dix in cloth :: felt :: techniques
This was on my Ashford Knitter’s loom a couple of weeks ago – a length of fabric using handspun yarn and handdyed and recycled cloth, with some ribbon and embroidery threads. I haven’t decided how to use it yet, my loom’s only 12 inches wide so this is just over 2m of 25cm width fabric, not enough for clothing on its own but I could mix it with something else, maybe. Or do something else entirely. Still thinking…
I’ve also done a couple more samples with the withdrawn warp idea.
This one could perhaps be called nuno weaving? It’s carded merino interwoven with dyed muslin. I used monofilament fishing line for the warp and withdrew it after felting by hand. Not very pleasant to work with the fishing line and it wasn’t much easier to withdraw than the hemp yarn I tried first of all.
This one is handspun yarn woven with sari ribbon and silk organza on a cotton warp, felted and the warp withdrawn. Felted using the tumbler dryer, using this method from Treetops Colour Harmonies, then fulled by hand.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this but I’ll just keep playing and see what happens. I’m also thinking about weaving something very open and using it in nuno felt in the usual way. Or in a different way… I got a lovely book in the post yesterday – From Felt to Fabric by Catherine O’Leary. She uses a very inspiring nuno felt technique with what she calls ‘nuno prefelts’. It fits right into my current preoccupation with ways of combining wool and cloth.
This week’s biggest achievement was to get my shop on Etsy up and running. I’ve been letting my perfectionism stop me doing this since January, and I’m so glad to have made a start now.
We have another Tiree Tapestry Group workshop tomorrow, finishing work on the backgrounds (twelve of them, in the colours of a Tiree day) and starting working on the main images. I’m helping with the images, so I’d better go and start getting ready!