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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Summer Workshop News...

"Who knows where the time goes ?" I can't believe we're half way through the year… Much of June has been taken up with workshops, both in Freshwater and Newport. Here are some of the photos taken at the recent workshops at The Patchwork Cafe and there's more photos if you follow this link. Scroll down for the new workshop dates... 
 

The CafĂ© workshops have been really successful and there's been so much interest that we've got more dates arranged for August and we've just added some more NEW dates :  

'INTRODUCTION to FELTMAKING' 
Sat 6th Aug. & Mon 29th Aug. 10 - 4pm.
NEW Dates : Wed 3rd Aug. & Wed 10th Aug. 10 - 4pm. 
Workshops for beginners. Simple felt making techniques will be explained, with everyone making one or more pieces of flat felt, experimenting with blending colours & textures as in the photos below. Plenty of ideas & examples of interesting projects will be on display.

We've also added a NEW workshop for beginners:

'PAINTING with FIBRES'  Fri 12th Aug. 10-4pm.
This workshop will show how to create a felt picture or landscape from wet-felted multi-coloured 'pre-felts'. The finished felt piece can be used as a wall hanging, cushion cover or a cover for a book.


'FELT JEWELLERY'  Wednesday 17th August 10 - 4pm.
Creating felt flower brooches & corsages - perfect for those summer weddings! Making felt beads & bangles using a variety of simple felting techniques, with lots of ideas for decoration using needle felting, beads & embroidery. This workshop is also suitable for beginners.


'FELT BAGS & BOWLS'  Wednesday 24th August 10 - 4pm.
NEW Date : Fri 19th Aug. 10 - 4pm.
This workshop is for those that have some felt making experience and wish to complete a 3-D project. You can choose to make a seamless bag or bowl using a resist. There's ideas for incorporating handles and decorating with textures, threads & beads. Lots of bag and bowl designs will be on display for inspiration!































All the workshops are £20 for the day, plus the cost of materials which are available to buy. To book your place please contact Wendy on 01983 554934 / mobile 07724 616390 or call into the Cafe in Newport High Street...


Sunday, 12 June 2011

Felt Slippers Workshop News...

The first two Felt Slippers workshops have been a great success! All credit to the sheer determination and hard work of everyone involved - especially during the first Saturday when I'm sure the temperatures in the conservatory at Madeira House must have peaked to well over 100° F…! It was like a furnace, even with three fans going BUT hardly a complaint and everyone went home with a smile, a PAIR of slippers and a great sense of achievement...



When I first thought about this workshop I wasn't sure how best to organise things? We don't have a great deal of working space in the conservatory, using the traditional 'two boot' shaped resist would have been difficult, so I decided to use a simple 'slip-on' mule shape which everyone could easily size to their own foot and flip over for the pair.

We started by measuring our feet (always a good laugh!) allowing a 3cm allowance for shrinkage, then cut out the resists.  Most had made bags & bowls before, although a couple were new to working in 3-D. Having laminated instructions handy for everyone while they work is invaluable. Even I find it difficult to remember what layer and side I'm at. No comment ! I blame the heat!! And it did get very, very hot...


I got everyone to complete their first slipper to the point where the resist was removed, then to start on the second, bringing it to this same stage. It is easier to duplicate the cutting lines before they get too stretched, then both slippers can be rolled and worked on together in the final felting & shaping stages - this cuts down on time & energy physically rolling and helps to better ensure a matching pair. Lots more workshop photos here.

I did briefly explain how to make soles for the slippers, but I've recently discovered a new latex product called Sock-stop which can be painted onto felt slippers & knitted socks, and comes in a variety of colours. It improves grip, stops slipping on shiny floors and protects your slipper soles.  I've just ordered some so let me know if you would like more details.

At the end of the day the slippers did need some final felting but I suggested that when everyone got home they filled a bowl with warm soapy water, put on their slippers and soaked & rubbed them on their feet. Nice relaxing way to end a very warm day of felting!  Pat, Michaela & Karen even said they were going to wear theirs to the music Festival this weekend. Now that would be worth a photo ladies…!
  

I must also mention my 'real' Mongolian slippers, they must be at least a size 15 - but aren't they fantastic! Jane bought them back from her recent travels there. They inspired me to try making a pair of 'fairy' slippers with pointy toes...


These colours are not really very fairy-like - I actually think they are rather wicked so I've re-named them the 'Goblin boots' with thoughts of Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market...

Now I think they need some needle felted spots to match my jacket...?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Soft Pots...

Just had another wonderful workshop at the weekend with everyone making Soft Pots! As you can see from the photos, each pot is so very different, not just in colour, but shape & size, which is extraordinary as all are made using the same size resists. Again, another lovely group of ladies who worked extremely hard on their bowls...




































'Soft Pots' was a term I began using very early on, as it described my felted bowls and pots perfectly. I started making bowls as gifts for friends, who used them to keep their knitting in, sewing bits & pieces, buttons, cotton reels, shell collections, dried flowers - anything like that! Being so soft the bowls are also perfect for jewellery - you can pin earrings and brooches to the sides…  And use them as big pin cushions when you're sewing.

I also love making soft pots using the wonderful range of natural coloured fibres. They come close to resembling ceramic pots, with similar characteristic shapes and colours, yet remain soft and felty! KC and I have collected ceramics for many years and they're all around the house. Some old favourites are used everyday - milk jugs, mugs & plates, cereal bowls, casserole dishes - others are purely decorative, but they all serve an equal purpose, they're a pleasure to have around.     

This up and coming 'Soft Pots' workshop spurred me into making a pot that I'd been thinking about for a while...



...I used natural shades of BFL blended with some black & brown Merino, working from a light inside out to darker shades. The pebble design was made using wool slub/knops textures, plus a small piece of 'real' Mongolian white felt (someone had left it behind at a workshop!) that the larger pebble shapes were cut from. I wanted to emphasise the soft textile quality of the pot by incorporated some stitching and I particularly like the opening 'collar' with the fish tie... 

I'm really pleased with the result and keen to make some more so there's a range of different shapes and sizes to show at the Open Studios...

which is creeping up too fast...

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