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Friday, March 14, 2014

Workshop at Sara Felts This June

Please - come join me at Sara Felts this June to enjoy playing with an Embellisher (provided) and creating your own one-of-a-kind gorgeous vest; the techniques you learn can be used again and again!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

FanciFULL Mosaic Felt Vest

After delays due to a fall on my back (carelessness on my behalf because I still think I'm a spring chicken!) - thank goodness nothing was broken but I've had six weeks of physical therapy and on top of that a sinus issue that left me with no creative energy, I'm finally feeling GREAT and ready to roll :-) 

I have been working on vest samples for upcoming workshops; I found that I love nothing more than to create felt fabric - sometimes with the Embellisher and sometimes not - before cutting it all up and piecing together to take advantage of the texture.    It is easy to get lost in the design and it really is quite a creative and enjoyable process; using one simple pattern, you can make it as long or as short as you would like to showcase the felt.

This pink felt felt fabric was made right before I hurt my back - the inspiration was a gorgeous but quite wild swirls; a silk scarf from TJ Maxx in reds, fuschia and touches of plum - something I would never wear but just perfect to use in felting since the wool tones it down a bit.

The pictures aren't the best but it is too cloudy today to take better pictures outside, but you get the idea.  I will be doing this workshop for Opulent Fibers in Portland, Oregon, in August and for the Baltimore Weavers Guild in November.  I'm designing something similar but using more of the Embellisher for a workshop at Sara Felts in Vancouver this June.  I'm so excited to meet new people and to see what my students come up with - felters are such creative souls and this technique provides just another outlet for them to showcase their creativity.

Here is a another that I posted to Facebook a while back in a soft peach showcasing lots of silk and some velvet.  

If your group is interested in a workshop - it can be arranged!  just contact me either on here, email or message me on FB!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

2014 SO FAR . . . .

This past year, I have come so far but still have so far to go; the more I learn, the more I find that I'd need another lifetime to accomplish it all.  The main focus besides getting our cottage and garden in order is still felting, of course, but I am still enamored with eco dyeing and eco printing. 
I have gotten some really brilliant information and tried some of it today - and I'm so excited with the results and this is just the beginning! pictures will follow soon as it is too dark outside now for me to use my new little photography studio set up in one of our screened in porches.  I do love printing with leaves but I also love natural dyeing - I've stocked up on a big variety of natural substances from Maiwa but there is so much to learn about which mordants to use. The outcome depends on what mordant was used and if it was added afterward or soaked ahead of time.  I do believe that I will be forced to keep notes - I'm not into taking time to write things down when I'm engrossed, just love going along with the flow but I can see it will be necessary especially if I am happy with the results.

I am only now getting my creative house in order - I've been making samples for upcoming workshops and waiting to hear about some other opportunities that are in the pipe line.  In the meantime, I've made two pieces of felt fabrics to cut up for another vest and created a sample book of silk paper for a workshop in Portland, Oregon, later this year. 

Here are the pictures of the felt that I am now going to cut up and stitch back together to create a vest - so fun to play with felt this way as you can play around with your design elements as you go along - nothing is set in stone; I'll be teaching this workshop for the Baltimore Weavers Guild this coming November.

For this project I used a red/violet silk burnout wrap that I found at TJ Maxx a while back andn used it as the inspiration piece and used a variety of techniques to create texture although I have learned through experience to leave a few places rather plain for design purposes - very, very fun when it all starts to come together!  I have some ladies from Tennessee who are coming to visit me to learn how - I met one of them, Helen, who is a dear sweet soul when I taught a while ago in Richmond and she brought her good friend Sue to take the Blossom Wrap class at the Maryland Sheep and Wool - these ladies are adorable and so eager to learn everything they can about felting - I can't resist because I have had those same feelings.  I just can't believe that they travel that far to learn from me :-)

Here is the silk paper, embroidered by hand and then enclosed in a book to keep all the samples together; I'll be teaching several workshops at Opulent Fibers this coming August and I'm so excited to see Kristi's setup especially those cool felting tables - I've been following her since we met at the MFS in 2012; have quite a bit of her wool and other fibers in my stash and it is luscious - love working with it!  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just Cant Stop This - More Eco Dyeing Experiments

rust, leaves, washer, flower petals
Ever searching for the elusive bright orange print
but learning lots along the way and I am about to have a variety of euca from  more sources so who knows - I now understand clearly (and it makes sense) that lots depend not only on the species but location, time of year, even individual trees.  In the meantime, I am immensely enjoying the journey. 

I know some who object to India Flint claiming her right for introducing euca prints but let me tell you as an author, no one, and I mean no one has done more extensive research, experimenting and compiling experience in such rich comprehensive books.  To me she is a marvel and I appreciate reading both of her books and making new discoveries based on her knowledge.  

Don't get me wrong, but there are others along the way that have contributed to my excitement and passion as well through their own work and generosity regarding methods and resources. 
euca leaves euca bath

I am so grateful for the time to just play with these ideas and one day perhaps I will open a bundle and find that bright orange.  This has become almost a daily ritual and given me new eyes always alert for something to bundle and each time, I learn more.  

I am not good at keeping a notebook - yet; but I have promised myself to do just that.  Only I don't much like cutting up my prints so perhaps the way to get around that is to include just a small piece of the same each time I bundle just for my book.
different variety of euca leaves - love, love the patterning

more euca leaves

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Eco Printing

 The piece below is my favorite fabric - cotton and silk - it has a substantial but soft hand and takes the print and color so beautifully! 

I've become totally obsessed with eco printing/dyeing.  I have learned a lot from my experience these past few weeks - there is no better learning than doing.  Last week, I used onion skins, red cabbage, leaves and copper pipes.  Here are some of the results:
 I used many varieties of fabric - all silk/wool or with some silk content as that is my fabric of choice and the results are quite varied.  I used chiffon, gauze, habotai, etamine, silk mix of something that I picked up at the bazaar in Amsterdam for a song - shiny on one side and it was so inexpensive that I couldn't quite believe that it was silk - but it dyed so beautifully with maple leaves.  

I'm in awe of nature and the color she produces.  I've looked everywhere for a source of eucalyptus and put out a desperate call to FB friends and alas, a kind friend is sending me some and  I have ordered more varieties since I want to make some of those lovely reddish prints; I have learned that in order to achieve that, lots depend on many conditions - variety, time of year and other factors.  I can't wait to experiment further.


On Tuesday, November 19, our newest grandson, Victor Ian Pirtle was born a week earlyVIP: how is that for an important monogram! Praise God that everyone is healthy and happy; we really have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and every day.  Mom and baby are coming home tomorrow, so we can't wait to see him in his own cozy home surrounded by those who love and adore him.  Ian was named after our son and Jennifer's brother, Ian, and he couldn't be named after anyone with a better character; we are so proud of him and he is so flattered :-)


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Silver Felt

Although it is difficult to tell, this felt is the lightest and most airy felt I have made to date - I'm in LOVE with it!!!  - can't wait until the weather cools (just a little - 60?) to wear it with leggings and boots - it is very fancy and turned out a shimmering silvery greyThe base is an eco chiffon dyed with rusty bits and iron before we moved; then there is one layer of grey (Opulent Fiber Merino), a layer of Margelin silk from Russia sent by a Russian student, Galina, who traveled all the way from Moscow for my workshop to Dorie's in the Netherlands - and was topped with part of a silk oblong also eco dyed in the same batch as the chiffon.  When I stretched out the oblong, it actually looked exactly like marble - amazing and beautifulOnce it had been felted, the grey wool came through the white margelin and it actually shimmers and trying it on was like wearing a feather!  Perfect for SC winters!!!  So excited!!!!

In the evenings, I am working on some cq hand stitching for one of my workshops at Opulent Fibers in Portland, Oregon, next August and tomorrow I'll begin working on some samples for other workshops as well - both machine needle and wet felting.  Life is good!

I love hand stitching - keep checking for more updates!