Saturday, 17 August 2013

Milliner ?

I like the word milliner far better than hatter. How did this word come about? According to Wikipedia, it originates from the 1600s and refers to some coming from Milan , a city which was famous for fancy goods, now meaning someone who make and sells ladies hats.

Picture of a millinery shop in Bruges folk museum. Look at all the different hat blocks!
I have been attempting a little millinery over the last few weeks and I love it. There are so many options I have barely scratched the surface . I like the two dimension into three dimensional aspects and I know I have a lot to learn. I have been rescuing old unfinished hats and making new.
My rescues were both previous attempts to make a hat with a sculptured surface and in neither case had I really got a grip with the amount of felt surface needed to do this successfully.
My first attempt has been turned into a beanie style with a slight military flavor.
My second sculpted into some hills and valleys with addition of beads.
Starting from scratch and a like bit wiser I made the beauty below, merino with silk threads incorporated . This is more like it in terms of sculpture , but there could still be more!
I do like the little stalk and the spiral
And for a complete contrast I made a bowler, not black of course but still bowler shape. When it came to making the brim I was not sure a first how to do it . Eventually I thought about pinning it round the cable piping you can buy here in the Netherlands. A bit of a brainwave.
Now I just need to find someone to model them for me, as this white lady does not smile.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A tale of two bags

I have been trying out felting the same bag design in Shetland fibre and merino fibre.

From these photographs can you tell which is which?

I expected a difference but was surprised at quite how marked it is.

Shetland fibre, is about 30 microns with a staple of 50- 120mm

Merino about 23 microns and has a 30-90mm staple.

Both the fibres I used had been bought from World of Wool. The Shetland was natural grey and the merino I carded white and black to make grey as it did not have enough predyed grey.

I used exactly the same resist and the only modification I made for the merino was to shorten the cord which i used in the design to strengthen the handle.

In terms of weight they weigh.

Shetland 100g. Merino 75g.

The Shetland was really hard to felt even with loads of water and soap, I never got It to shrink as much as I wanted, The decorations disappeared into the bag itself which is very soft and springy to the feel and visually I think quite flat. The merino was a lot easier to felt , has shrunk more and was more easy to shrink and because of the carder fibres I think looks more interesting. The declaration is more obvious as well.

A good bag experiment. Maybe I'll try it again. What shall I try it with?