judging a book by its cover

I know you shouldn’t but sometimes it’s hard not to – this new book Eco-Colour by India Flint looks so beautiful and the subtitle is so enticing – ‘Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles: Environmentally Sustainable Dyes’. I feel a moment of weakness coming on. India Flint’s web site is delicious as well – beautiful work and a sidebar that takes the phrase ‘navigation metaphor’ to new poetic heights.

It’s been a lean and hungry textile week for me, with a time-consuming project keeping me stuck at the computer, but I did sneak away long enough to make a little piece of nuno felt, on a cotton scrim base. I’m really trying to get that lovely barnacle-like effect on the cloth side – this is a bit more like the nuno felt I’ve seen than my last attempt, so progress in the right direction.

The pastel side:

pastel nuno felt

… and the bright side:

bright nuno felt

I imagine a garment with the delicately coloured textural side outward and the bright soft fleecy side within.

more felt

I’m not sure about either of the pieces of felt I made today but at least I made them 🙂 One is an experiment stitching into prefelt before felting – more play with a piece of fleece. The images show before and after the felting was completed:

embroidered prefelt
embroidered felt

I want to explore this effect some more, but would prefer finer wools for the stitching, I think.  Then, rather than getting all wet and soapy for one little piece, I also made another piece of felt based on thoughts of the sea at sunset. It didn’t really turn out as I wanted, but it’s all experience.

felt

April TIF Challenge 3

Well, I ran out of time before I ran out of ideas, so I’m going to carry on playing with April’s Take it Further Challenge during May. I think it has some connections into May’s challenge as well so who knows where it will lead?

This, anyway, is where I’ve got to.

felt samples

The piece at the top left is partly felted. The little balls of yarn are naturally dyed as well – I got them at Soay Studio on the Isle of Harris (that’s the only link I could find, but I’ll go and hunt out a photo in a minute). I’m going to do big woolly embroidery stitches into the pre-felt and then finish felting it.

Next to that is a piece with some other coloured fleece added; and then my woven samples – I overdid the felting, so they’re very hard and small! Below them is a grid with thin strips of the pink roving in one direction and colours laid across it – I want to try this again on a bigger scale.

Bottom right are the samples of knitted fleece after felting – I like the coloured one in stocking stitch and this is another technique I’d like to explore – it was very easy to bring in additional colours exactly where I wanted to.

The middle piece at the bottom is very thin and webby and the piece on the right is the one I nuno felted into muslin. It was quite a dense muslin, and having seen the lovely lacy textures of Monika’s nuno felt, I’d like to experiment with some different fabrics to see how the effects vary.

The piece underneath the nuno felt is ‘just’ plain felt. Warm, soft, comforting – and pink – it has so much in common with the fleece it came from and yet it’s not the same at all. I plan to chop it up into pieces and sandwich each between different translucent layers, to quilt into the layers and watch the subtle changes that will emerge, and the differences between them.

I just love the amazing, endless variety of textures and patterns and colours that we can make with textiles, and their physical, tactile presence.

And this is the gateway into the delightful dyer’s garden at Soay Studio on Harris, which we visited in August 2006.

Soay Studio

TIF Challenge April 2

My response to Sharon’s April TIF challenge is about craft as change, taking something raw and unformed but full of potential, and effecting a transformation through a making process. Something like ‘n things to do with a piece of fleece’ where n is currently undefined, but (though possibly infinite!) will be determined by how far I get by the end of the month. I’ll put it together as a series of journal pages.

pink fleece

I decided to start with fleece and it isn’t actually raw – it’s already been washed, carded and dyed – a lovely crushed raspberry pink merino, dyed with madder and logwood, which I bought last week from Fiery Felts at the Embroiderers’ Guild North West Regional Day.

So far I’ve done some small experiments with weaving, knitting, needlefelting, and hand stitching, and I’ve started doing some felting.

weaving with fleece

I wove some of the fleece with a wool mohair warp and some with a fleece warp – I did two of each so I could felt one.

playing with fleece

Creative mayhem…

fleece ready to felt

Ready to felt – thick and thin layers of pink fleece, adding colours to the pink, felting onto muslin, knitted and woven samples. More to come when these are done…

well, it’s done…

… the ‘when will this ever be finished’ wall hanging for City & Guilds Patchwork & Quilting is now finished!

This was my first experiment using felt as the batting so it became an integral part of the design. The assessment was to make a piece using appliqu̩ techniques. It has three layers Рpainted silk organza, handmade felt, and painted silk pongee. The shadow appliqu̩ shapes are hand dyed cotton and hand painted silk, and the machine and hand quilting are in cotton.

I cut back the top layer of some of the shadow appliqué and machine quilted areas after quilting them. I finished the edges with buttonhole stitch and then needlefelted them to break down the stitches into the felt. The support is a piece of driftwood I found on the beach, and the work is 53cm x 78cm (or 76cm x 78cm if you include the wood).

applique hanging

applique detail

applique detail

applique detail

applique detail