Sunday, 25 May 2014

Week at Fiberfusing

I have just spent 5 days at a felting workshop organized by Fiberfusng by the wonderfull Dorie van Dijk withAndrea Graham as the tutor. I had a fantastic week at a wonderful location , learning interesting techniques and meeting some fellow felters. I have come away with many ideas for further development.

Here a few images of the samples I made exploring texture




We were then challenged to make a pod. Mine was rather a flight of fancy and here he is flying and drying in the sunshine

Many different pods were made. Collected together they look wonderful dancing on the banks of the Amstel.


Saturday, 17 May 2014


Yesterday I went and collected my internet felting friend from the airport. For nearly two years we have used FaceTime to exchange ideas and inspirations regarding our felting course with Artybird but we had never met, as she lives in Jersey and I live in the Netherlands. But now we have got together and are starting our preparations for our felting courses with Andrea Graham at fibrefusing which starts on Sunday.

Here is my rather somber batt, good for a rotting tree trunk.

And here is Paula's colour of the sea batts and fibre.

An exciting mix ready for pods

Leaving two small felting experiments drying in the sun.

Off sightseeing in and around Rotterdam in beautiful sunny weather.

Looking forward very much to the week ahead with Paula.


Sunday, 11 May 2014

A paler shade of dandelion

In discussion with Artybirds tutor Kate regarding my previous strange dying results , she mentioned that dying mixed animal and vegetable fibres simultaneously is very tricky and might be best done with natural dyes. I was pondering this advice when while out on my bike near my home I saw a sea of dandelion flowers. Perfect for a natural dyeing experiment. Nothing too big, or complicated just some fabrics and fibres as a test.

So I returned to the field of flowers with my collecting bag and picked dandelion heads . Well I quickly picked rather a lot 650g. Rather more than I needed for my small experiment.


I then tried simply boiling the flowers to extract the dyes. No mordants, additives were added, which I know is probably wrong. However in my enthusiasm for this totally unplanned a experiment it had not thought to get any suitable chemicals.

After straining I simmered my fabrics and fibres, mixed vegetable and animal sourced for 30 mins .

I left them to steep over night and then rinsed and dried the dyed samples.

Very pale , but quite satisfactory for a first natural dying venture.

A bit more research is needed now into mordants etc and then I will dare to dye a combined felted piece again.


Friday, 9 May 2014

Sewing bee challenge.

Since watching the second year of the sewing bee , I have had a great desire to make clothes with my new sewing machine. Time has been my problem really , but right now I am in a lull whilst thinking over my next felting project and waiting for some supplies to arrive. So I decided to test myself on a challenge to remake a favorite garment out of stretch material.

So I made my pattern, the trickiest part was the curve on the sleeves, I guess there are some rules here. But I just approximated. My mother could tell me how to do this I am sure if I ask her. I cut my fabric nervously leaving only 0.5 cm turnings as was required for my sew and neaten in one go stitch . I realised that the construction method of my top was not the traditional , sew the shoulders , sides and sleeves seams.and set in the sleeves , but rather sew the shoulders , sew in the sleeves and then sew sides and sleeves together all in one. Not a lot of room for error here but a time saving idea.

Here you can see a little bit of tacking and my magic disappearing marking on the neckline.

My super fast heming stitch.
Binding the neckline which is proving a bit tricky.

Learning so far me .

Accurate cutting and placement of the pattern pieces is critical .

Iron the fabric first to ensure it is totally smooth is required otherwise forget the accurate cutting effort.

I must understand curves on sleeves better.

The stretchy of fabrics and their thickness effects the stitches on the machine and I need to test and adjust before starting.

Overall I am please with my almost finished top but could I have made it in 2 hours. No way .


Sunday, 4 May 2014

An unexpected and peculiar colour

Continuing my pleating theme. I made yet another foil masking tape piece. Still the old boring white but this time more integrated mixing the two techniques together.

Quite effective. But not dramatic enough for me, pleats need to be more bold and I would prefer larger gaps between the pleats.

As I was making it I decided I would dye it after finishing to see the effect of the different fabrics and some yarns that I had incorporated. Below the scrim was silk , cotton and alpaca.

Green I decided would be good. I mixed a nice kind of khaki green which I hoped would give lots of shade possibilities. I read again about mordants and modifiers thought I understood and went for it.

Not really the expected results . In fact very peculiar all together.


Not a sign of green. I have to admit that I mixed my khaki from orange and turquoise blue , but if was definitely green in the pot and on a piece of paper. What seems to have happened is the cotton has become dirty blue , the wool and alpaca dirty orange and the very small amout of silk very dark green. So unexpected and peculiar. I better read my dying books again.