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Newsletter 2015

29 March 2015

New Year

A very belated Happy New Year to all our customers. We have been very remiss with the newsletter and have no good reason for that, we just didn't get around to it! Anyway, here is one at last, with our news over the past year and some new things for sale.

 

New products

FMP19S - Superfine Prefelt Blend, 80% dyed merino, 20% dyed silk: This is a lightweight prefelt, perfect for scarves and light drapey felted fabric. To start, we have limited colours. They are vibrant and intense - absolutely gorgeous.

New colours in FMP19 lightweight prefelt - Pink, and Sky Blue.

Lincoln washed locks: These locks are pristine, and length varies from 13-18cm (5-7"). They are white wavy and lustrous, some with pale gold tips.

I will also have some Lincoln batts in a month or so. Great for spinning, and it felts easily.

 

Felting Experiments

In the fall I was wanting to experiment with some different surface techniques. Rather than make samples which would just be put in a drawer, I made vessels, simple in shape so I could concentrate on the surfaces.

  • The orangey one: has a cut out prefelt laid over a different colour base. That technique looks even better when the base is multi coloured.
  • The yellow and pink one: trying out "craters", some with fabric, some just holes.
  • The black and white one: although simple in design, is quite dramatic with the contrast of the black on the inside and lustrous white merino silk on the outside.
  • The white one: merino with knitted patches and pockets felted on to the surface. Yarn was handspun merino/silk. I wanted to see how difficult it was to felt knitted fabric onto wool fibre...it took a while, especially the pockets which had a little resist inside so only the edges were being felted onto the vessel. I really like the textured white on white effect. I keep my knitting needles in it.

felted vessels felted vessel

Another vessel with cut outs, silk underneath. This was made of prefelt around a ball, I cut the prefelt and pulled it back from the top, separating the layers, and kept the "petals" from felting to each by pulling them apart every so often. The prefelt was lightweight, I used three layers, but should have used four. Even though it felted down hard, the bulbous shape caused it to keep leaning over to one side or the other. However, a 50/50 mix of white glue and water, applied with a paintbrush, and dried upside down, solved that problem.

A "faux mushroom" vessel, made from Blue Faced Leicester "humbug" and silk. What I was aiming for here, was to find a way to make a vessel with a bark like stem, a frilly edge and a flat bottom, without using a template or felting over a shape. The solution was to make a big circle, half felt it, then stitch the outer part as you would with Mokume Shibori. The stitched part was drawn up very tight, and the whole thing felted till it was very hard. It took a while. I then shaped the stem by placing a little canning jar over the central unstitched section, base down, bringing the "sides" up around the jar and rubbing rubbing rubbing around it. I then steamed it and let it sit with the jar inside until dry.

felted vessel felted vessel

Prefelt sturdy totes using three layers of the heavier merino prefelt. The prefelt was intentionally unevenly dyed, with some cut outs, silks, and yarns on the surface, which I pre-dyed in a way that resulted in multiple colours. The straps were made of four layers of the prefelt, felted down hard except for the 6 inches or so at the ends, which were insterted between two layers of prefelt at the top edge. I pinned those edge down so they didn't shift while felting the whole piece. I much prefer this kind of strap to a "rope", as it's very comfortable over the shoulder.

One humbug B.F.L hat, two Finnwool hats, and one Merino hat. I wanted to see how stiff and sturdy I could felt the Finnwoool, for a wide brimmed hat without having to use a stiffener. Result? No problem, no stiffener needed and the brims are just right. Also I wanted to compare the BFL to Finnwool. Both felted easily, the Finn has a "tighter" surface, and the BFL has a dense almost spongy feel, but very sturdy. The merino hat (top one) was just fun, with a prefelt cut out, silk fabric underneath, little curly locks and a -- whatever that thing is on the top.

felted totes felted hats

Cashmere/silk 50/50 cobweb wrap. Before I sold my big Elsa Carder I blended and carded this mix, it's absolutely gorgeous. This wrap was felted and then dyed. The silk and cashmere took up the dye differently, resulting in a very rich and complex colour. The wrap is light and drapey. It was a gift for one of my daughters who is working in Minneapolis, Minnisota. She is so thrilled with it, it's very toasty for the brutally cold winter they are experiencing there.

More on cutwork. This wrap is made of merino/silk, 60/40. I laid out the fibres and prefelted the piece until it was holding together nicely. Then I dried it, so I could snip away in comfort with it on my knee while watching t.v. I wet it again, stretched out on my work surface, then felted it again taking care to open up the holes as I worked, as they tended to close up. It is amazingly light but sturdy. The final size isn't much smaller than the original layout due to the stretching out as work progressed. There are probably several ways of doing this, it would most likely work if you completely felted the piece before cutting, but would have a different effect. So far I like doing it this way, and want to explore it a bit more. The wrap was dyed when finished.

felted wrap felted wrap

And lastly

In the summer, our young border collie Max died of cancer. He was 3 years old. From diagnosis to his death was just over a month. It was a terrible shock, because of his age and the rapidity of the disease. It was inoperable. We sure miss him. Here he is, shortly before he died. He's waiting with Rocky at the door, two balls in his mouth, wanting to go out and play. He was a fiend for tennis balls, had mastered two in his mouth at a time, and was working on three.

Max and Rocky

 

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