My favourite colour

Purple is one of my favourite colours. I wanted to test of some surface decoration effects on a felted vessel. I have done many tests before , but never with the high degree of shrinkage that is needed to make a felted vessel robust enough to stand up. This high degree of shrinkage tend to make the fabrics and yarns that have been added completely disappear, which defeats the objects of adding them is the first place. As a change from the more muted colours obtained by natural dyeing I decided to make this vessel from purple merino.

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My surface effects were dyed scrim , dyed cotton broderie anglaise and purchased purple silk yarn.Laid out these additions can be clearly seen.

After removing my circular resists they are still visible.

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After completing the felting the silk yarn was virtually invisible, and the scrim was now a very subtle effect, well imbedded into the felt. I was right to be concerned that some simple effects would be almost disguised by the process. After some stitching and beading I am however very happy with this finished purple vessel.

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Felting in the garden

It has been the most beautiful weather this week in the Netherlands .  So I decided to do some felting in the garden .  I always feel freer to use loads of water in the garden where I don’t have to worry about mopping up , I also use the hose to rewet my pieces which is really quick and feel that the slats on my wooden garden table help the process.

Outside with my neighbours apples tree in full bloom and the sun shining it’s hard not to be inspired.

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I am making a series of vessels to naturally dye.   I decided to have a go at making three at once.  One Polwarth , silk and merino , one Blue Faced Leicester and one LLewyn and merino.

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The LLewyn had been in my stash since a Woolfest a number of years ago.    It proved to be the problem child of my trio.  It’s short fibres had made it hard to lay our evenly and that made it subject to  forming holes.  It also required lots more water,  soap and rolling than the others to felt.

I thought about giving up but persisted.  I should not of bothered as I am left with a holey piece of felt , which I think is a hopeless case.  Maybe some creative stitching , arty darning ?  , but no somehow I think it would look just a bodge.

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My other two working well and after some stitching will be ready for the dye pot later this week.

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Away from home

This week I am away from my studio visiting family and friends so I have not been doing any felting .  A bit of stitching but no felting .  I have had some time to do some walking and photographing in one of my favorite places.  Far Easedale is a valley north of Grasmere.  I find its isolated hills and streams very beautiful and I have often been the only person walking in the valley.  Easter weekend was not quite so quiet but it was still peaceful and serene .  

There is one spot where the beck cascades over some ancient rocks .  It is a perfect spot for relaxing and enjoying the scenery .  I am particularly drawn to the colours of the rocks with the lichens and the reflections. Here are my favorite images from my last visit.

   

         

   I hope I can capture some of these ideas in felt soon.  

  

Dyeing problems

I made this little wet felted and stitched pot to be dyed.

  

I decided to collect some nettles to dye it.  I thought this would be difficult but in fact armed with my gardening gloves it was really easy.  I just went to a local small wood and there they were waiting to be harvested .   I chopped them up with a knife also wearing my gardening gloves and left them to steep.  At this point I did wonder , how small should they be chopped.  The scientist in me said as small as possible, the practical  person in me said that is just not possible using a knife with gardening gloves and I thought I should not use my hand blender on nettles.

So I steeped and boiled my nettles  and then with  mordant included added my little vessel.  More simmering and standing overnight resulted in this.

 

I was  disappointed.  Was this the chopping , or the combined dying and mordanting.  who knows?  The only way to find out is structured experiments.  As I wanted my little pot to look more beautiful I decided to go back to my old trusted favorite – onions skins. 

So here the pot is after a redye with onions.  

 

Looking quite luxurious!

I will have to come back to nettles and try and learn how to use them.   Has anyone got any suggestions ? 

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