Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Making a new blanket

Since my blanket at the workshop with Polly Stirling did not work out like I wanted, I decided to make another one. This time smaller pieces that will be sewed together. I am using a silk gauze from Dharma Trading that I have dyed
in pale green and blue. For the first piece I grabbed purple because I have a lot of it.  This is a merino wool that I purchased from Outback Fibers.

I tried a new technique for this.  I have a Feltcrafts felt rolling machine that I purchased used.
Once I had the piece layed out, wet down, and rolled up I put it on the rolling machine for 20 minutes.
When I unrolled it the fibers were already going through the silk. I felted it a bit more by hand, then tossed it into the dryer on air fluff with a towel. It did the rest of the work for me. I was able to lay out the next piece while waiting for the first to finish. This is the back side of the piece.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Curtain panel for the living room

I spent part of the weekend felting. My first project was a curtain panel that I wanted to make for the living room window.  Its a no sew panel of cotton gauze. I may decide to over dye it later.  I folded over the cotton at the top so I could get a curtain rod through it. Put wool roving along the fold to hold it. then I put long strips of roving every 12 inches going down the length.  I like the drape, and plan to make a second panel for the window to match.  It's larger than my table so I had to improvise. I put the wool down, felted it some, scrunched it up and pulled the fabric up. Lay more wool down and so on. Here is what it looks like in my window. I rather like it. Of course I need more panels since the insulating curtains are covering the rest of the window.  Its nice to let the morning light in. By late morning the sun is so strong the window must be covered or the room heats up too much.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lessons learned in felting and questions asked...

When I went to the blanket felting workshop, we had homework to do, and I thought i would do the silk paper fish and put it on a blue background. That was fine. What did not work was other changes I made.
First I was going to use a silk gauze and measured my wool based on that.
I ended up using a silk organza which is harder to felt. It also left me with less wool because it was wider.
When I layed out the wool, I did not take this into consideration.
I layed it to thick in one direction and then rather than cut my project to two pieces I did not lay enough on for the second layer to make it shrink properly.

My blanket pieces therefore did not shrink in proportion.  And they are still in need of felting because of the use of the silk organza is really harder to felt. 

So how can I save this project?
Do I felt these three pieces harder, cut them up and sew a blanket?
Should I use what I have to make a wall hanging which would not require a harder felt?
What other options would make sense?

Paint it cool

"Making roads and roofs a paler color could have the equivalent effects of taking every car in the world off the road for 11 years," claims Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy for the United States.

I thought this was an interesting idea and article

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Silk Paper for felting

In the recent workshop I used silk paper that I made in order to cut out fish shapes for my blanket koi pond.

Many people were interested in how this was done.  By making the silk paper it lets you cut shapes out of the silk that will then felt into the piece without too much distortion.

Here is how you make them

Silk Roving
Liquid Starch
Spray Bottle
Parchment paper - kind used for cooking
an Iron

Lay out the parchment paper on your ironing board or a towel
Lay out the silk roving on the parchment paper in perpendicular or even the same direction depending on
how you want it to look when felted.

Mix up the liquid starch with water in a squirt bottle.  Spray the silk roving until it is wet with starch.
Lay a piece of parchment paper on top and press it with a hot iron to flatten.

Lay it aside to dry a bit.  Once it drys a bit, Iron it again so its totally dry.  Then you can peel the silk paper
off of the parchment paper and store it until needed.

I make quite a few sheets at a time so I have them ready.

You can also do this with silk hankies if you like.  It makes them easier to deal with when laying them down.

The starch dissolves in the felting process and washes away.  This is a picture of the silk shapes before felting during layout. And after they have been partially felted.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Silver Bay felting retreat with Flora Fauna Studios

Spent a week felting with Polly Stirling and Sachiko from Australia. This is a part of the blanket from Polly's class. It needs to be finished
This is the piece from Sachiko's class

Silver Bay YMCA - The Inn where the retreat was held.
Sachiko modeling her work.