Taking my time 

I am coming to realize that it can take me a very long time to finished a felted piece.  In July 2015  I made a piece based on some photographs I had taken in 2014.  The inspiration was wet lichen covered rocks. 

  
Then I looked at this felted piece and thought what on earth will I do with this now ! For those of you who read this blog , might remember I eventually cut it up.  A radical move , but I still could not finish it ! I loved the dark brown Masham surround and wanted to find away to bring it all together. 

  

So I took it to a master class with  Artybird and asked ,” what shall I do now”. Various suggestions were made mostly involving bringing it together as a piece.  I thought about this , alongside the original inspiration  for the piece and suddenly I could see a way forward.  Organic stitching across the whole piece, along with the addition of some more fabric. 

So here is the piece being transformed .  

Some stitching and pinning.  And here it is , ready for framing.  It’s only taken me about 18 months to get to this stage!!!!!!! 

Finishing 

I have had a good week , finishing, or at least seeing  the way forward to finishing a number of pieces.

I have got my sewing machine back in action and stitched these two brooches, they both remind me of ice .

  
Out walking today there was lots of snow and ice  at one of my favorite places Easedale tarn.

  
  
I found some nice simple wooden frames in Hobbycraft which fit my stitched felt squares perfectly.  I only bought two as a trial , but they are perfect , I will be back for more soon.

   
I have also been hand stitching . 

This little beauty contains a vintage  button and now has some lines of beads to finish it. 

All in all a good week , some wonderful walking and lots of felt finishing . 

Alpaca 

My use  of alpaca to date has been as a yarn for texture.  I like to do this as it takes up natural dyes slightly differently than wool adding both texture and shades simultaneously.  You can see this in the madder dyed piece below , where the alpaca yarn  is at the top and slightly lighter than the surrounding wool

  
I  was therefore interested to see how the fibre itself felted during a day this week at Artybird in Carnforth.   The fibre I had to felt was one year old alpaca , the youngest and softest .

It has less scales and less crimp than wool fibre.  Perhaps it would be very hard to felt.  

  

With four thin layers laid out I just used my normal techniques and only cold water and found I could easily and quickly make a small sample.  I had embellished the piece with a small amout of darker shades is alpaca and they were well connected.  This piece is light and strong and slightly hairy.
  
I tried again , using finer lines of the darker fibres and adding some cords.  Again easily felted , but overall not as pleasing as my first piece , the dark cord really detracts from the rest of the composition.
  
I am encouraged to seek out the alpaca fibres I have in my stash and test them out , and I think I am going to try a bit of solar dyeing with some onion and pomegranate on my window sill on these two samples. 

How to restart ?

Well after a successful move back to the UK , followed by two weeks unpacking , and a family Christmas and New Year,  I need to start felting again.  In truth we are far from unpacked but the essentials are sorted and now is mostly just a question of time before some modifications to the house can be organized and its dry enough to tackle the jungle of the garden

I have temporarily installed my sewing machine on a small table in the study and put a felting table in the conservatory so nothing is stopping me – except I am not sure what to do !  Before I left the Netherlands I put in my pop up felting studio, some jewellery making partial felt and some beads , but I am not inspired to make any jewellery right now.   I have in my stash of fibres some beautiful fibres that I bought from Meervilt, it’s a mix of European steenschaap and New Zealand Merino and is lovely and bouncy.    I think tomorrow having found these fibres in my sea of unpacked boxes I shall make some felt samples and hopefully that will act as a spring board for greater things.  

  
I am off to a masterclass at Artybird on Thursday so I also need to get some work together to take to that , realistically the only thing I can take in my small autumn pieces which I have been embroidering over that last month .  This  has been more of a stitching practise than anything else.  

  

I also have this cheerful bright piece where I am in progress with some gold stitching.

    
Tomorrow felting samples in my conservatory overlooking my water soaked jungley garden , that how I am going to restart and I will see where it takes me.