Monday, March 14, 2016

Mucking About with Felt and Fabric

batt of fleece
mucking in with soapy water
February can be such a dreary month that we decided we needed to have some fun rather than our usual guild business meeting.
 So, we brought supplies for Nuno Felting and gathered in our resource centre to mucked about with soapy water, fleece and fabric.  It reminded me a bit of making mud pies except everyone had exceptionally clean hands after working the fleece.

The first step in the process was to make a sandwich with fleece and yarn in different colours.  The red and black bat of fleece looks quite thick but it will seem to disappear once it is wetted down like the green and blue sample.

table set for work
The wet fleece is carefully hand worked until it barely holds together.
rolling the felt
 Once the fleece is at a pre-felt stage the pink rolls and bubble wrap come into play and the real work begins.  The fleece sandwich is rolled back and forth with pressure to fix the fiber to the cloth. Heat, water and agitation will shrink the wool fibers just like your favourite wool sweater.
Then wash and dry and presto you have a unique and often surprising combination of fiber and fabric.

Who knows what creations this mini workshop will inspire!!

finished sample, fleece and yarn attached to fabric

Thursday, March 10, 2016

On Beginners

sample weaving

This past year we have welcomed a number of new guild members.  Some are avid yarn enthusiasts who have recently moved to our area.  Some have a history of weaving or spinning and now have the time to pursue it.  Others are looking to expand their fiber arts skills.  What ever the reason we are happy that interest in weaving and spinning is on the rise.
Every group needs new members with new skills and ideas to keep it vibrant.

Gitte's scarf
A number of the new members are also new to weaving and in need of some support.  We have a great weaving teacher in our guild and those that have taken her classes are off to a good start but it takes more to help them gain experience and confidence.  We all had to overcome our fear of "bad edges" and tangled warps at some point. It took a lot of time before we could produce a scarf like Gitte's.
treadling variations with 4 harnesses
Our recent group projects were intended to help new members gain experience without having to dress a loom.  They have been very popular with the more experienced weavers as well.   Novice weavers get to practice weaving skills while the more experienced get to sample new ideas.  It is interesting how experience can shed new light on basic weaving and use it in ways we never dreamed about in our early years.    

unbalanced twill and basket weave

There is no better way to learn something that to agree to teach it. First you have to relearn the subject yourself and that often leads to an "aha moment" when something glossed over years ago becomes crystal clear.  Then there are the questions a neophyte might ask that make you rethink  your assumptions.  Why do I do that????  What would happen if I didn't???????

detail Anita's throw

We have all gotten ourselves into a project that may be just a bit beyond our skill level.  What better way to learn than to take a risk on something grand.  That is when we could all use a little one on one coaching.  The throw pictured in the photo is an example of a collaborative project.

So, embrace those beginners when they appear.  They will make you a better artisan as you learn along with them.  They may also become life long friends.