Remembering my first felting lesson

In 2008 when I moved to Rotterdam I joined the local Stitch and Bitch group of knitters.  There I found lots of knitting friends and I also found felters, weavers and spinners. I am not sure exactly when it was but I remember being giving the options of learning to spin or to felt.  I chose felting.  Looking back that was a pretty momentous decision. The lady that taught me to felt , Els , has become a really wonderful friend.  In a few weeks I will leave the Netherlands and move back to the UK , although I am really looking forward to this move,  there are things I will miss and seeing Els on a regular basis is one of them.

As my move approached I felt (no pun intended) that I should give Els a piece of felt as a thankyou for changing my life in so many ways.  I then discovered that Els , translated into English from Dutch was alder . Fantastic. Alder cones are a wonderful natural dye .  So I have made Els her own piece of felt dyed with Els , with lots of love and many many thanks. 

Here it is after felting, Blue faced Leicester in two natural shades plus loads of silk and cotton fibres , both felted in and machine and hand stitched.

  

And after dyeing

  
I hope Els will add to to her wonderful eclectic collection of textiles and sometimes remember the day at her house when she taught me to  make my first felt flower.   

Stocking up 

Over the last few months I have been foraging and collecting and stocking up on materials I can use for dyeing in the future.  Whilst walking I have been picking up lichen that has been washed off the trees by the rain and now have a small collection of two varieties.  I have still to research what colours these will yield.

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I found some fallen down tree branches and collected some silver birch bark .  I am hoping this will give a beautiful pink colours.

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Both in the UK and in the Netherlands , I have found is very easy to collect alder cones especially after all the heavy rain we have been having.  These can be used as a mordant , or a dye.  Only a few months ago I don’t think I really knew what these were. !

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I harvested some young bracken shoots and some dock leaves , which I have dried.  They don’t look very inspiring any more but hopefully will give green and browns.

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I have really enjoyed slowly collecting these materials and I am planning to collect berries and fruits in the next few months. Lots of dyeing to look forward to 🙂