Monday, 20 July 2015

Nuno Weaving

I got the idea to do this woven nuno felt piece after my pencil roving mats. I've done similar things before, you've probably seen them if you have Beyond Nuno, but I think I used a lot more strips on this one. I didn't get as big a variety of 'feltedness' as I thought, most of the strips just felted quite firmly, but I did use two 'regular' thickness layers of Merino, which I actually laid out after I wove the strips.

You can see more texture on this angled photo:

Close up 1:

 Close up 2:

Close up 3:

If you're interested in making your own unique buttons for your feltwork, you might be interested in an e-book I wrote a while ago 'Polymer Clay Simply Made'. It was previously only available from my etsy shop, but since I had to pay for a hosting upgrade, I thought I'd add that too, so you can now buy it from the info page on the blog :)

Saturday, 11 July 2015


I've been dyeing some cellulose fibres recently for taking to the MakeFest at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester. I'm getting the hang of it now, but I don't think my first lot of fibres turned out as nice as I'd like. I did some Viscose fibre recently, and this turned out really nice. These are some of the reds, oranges and yellows:

And some yellows, greens, blues and purples:

I don't like the way dyeing cellulose fibres wastes so much water with the rinsing, but it is easier for me to do large amounts than it is with acid dyes, not that I had much choice, even mixing up just 500ml each of red, yellow, blue and black was more than enough to dye about 200g of fibre and I had to look for other things to dye so as not to waste it :) I tried dyeing Kapok fibre too, that stuff is practically impossible to wet, it seems to form a 'skin' around itself, so dyeing gave some interesting results as it behaved the same way, and when the fibre was separated, the centre wasn't dyed. This is some rose and lilac coloured kapok:

I've mostly stuck to dyeing staple fibres. I also had bamboo staple fibre. These are the greens, blues, purples, silver and black shades I dyed:

And here are the yellows, browns and reds bamboo staple:

I tried out some tops of rose fibre, the photos didn't come out, but the tops dyed well so I dyed some bamboo top:

They came out really nice, so I used up the last of the blue and purple dyes on some viscose top:

And since I'd already made a mess in the kitchen and hadn't got around to putting the table/equipment away, I started dyeing with acid dyes. Only these silk carrier rods were dry enough to photograph:

I'm not going to dye all the fibres I'm taking, I wanted the fibres to be easily recognisable as the same as the samples they have in the Textiles Gallery, showing where fibres come from and the fabric they're made into, but I wanted to show/offer dyed samples too.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Natural Wools and Fibres

I've been re-organising my supplies lately, and one of the things I did was put my dyed silk products into one box, and my natural undyed silk supplies in another. While I was doing this I had an idea to make a silky cocoon type pod. I had a look on google images and liked the look of ones which were more fibrey, 'scruffy' looking. So I started by really piling the silk on to my resist. I added a couple of bunched up silk hankies, a silk hankie I'd drafted into roving, silk throwster's waste, schappe silk from wollknoll, different types of silk noil, some coccon strippings. I can't find my undyed silk carrier rods, but I did find a little bag of 'fluff' I'd carded from silk carrier rod scraps a few years ago, so I put that on too. I did a layer of 18.5 Mic  Merino on top of the silk, then on one side I lay lengths of white pencil roving. I used 23 Mic Merino for the second layer, and then 2 layers of English 56s. I do like the way it turned out, but I didn't expect it to be so 'neat'!

I thought with all the silk I'd piled on it'd be a lot more fibrey, but it does have nice texture and structure and there's a lot of different shades.

This is a closer look at some texture:

And this is some of the throwster's waste:

I wondered if some of the texture and features would show up more with a light inside, so I used a bit of sewing thread to attach it to a ceiling light to see:

You can definitely see more, and here you can see the ridges from the pencil roving better, I think it looks quite creepy with the light inside:

Another piece I've made recently is this wall hanging. I laid it out about a week or so before I got time to felt it, and I think it ended up being 'upside down'. I wrote down the wools and fibres I used as I laid it out, but think I forgot a few as I kept adding locks here and there! Also, I added a few locks to the bottom just before I felted it, but I'm certain that was originally the top:

I added some pieces of handspun yarn I'd made mostly from bits left over from carding, I spun them quite thickly, and didn't do anything with them after wards, just wound them onto card. This one is on the row of white Chubut, a 'new' to me wool I got from wollknoll, which felts so nicely and looks really nice too.

These are some cotton fibres: cotton top, cotton fibre and cotton nepps on carded Portuguese Merino, with some soy staple and carded Gotland.

If you are interested in trying more fibres in wet felting work, I recently wrote an e-book guide to using them. It features 20 commonly available natural fibres. Have a look at the info page :)