Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Artisans Craft Fair tomorrow

I have got some nice and simple designs in preparation for the Artisans craft Fair in Limerick
First of all I made the lacy scarves:
fairly normal stuff there (nothing unusuall about it) . Used 18 mic merino wool, dyed afterwards.

Also I have been making some silk scarves with wool inlays.

finally some hats (dyed afterwards)
this one is an experiment (with cut out flaps of felt)

I know some of the stuff is not very artistic but this is what sells :). I think I am not going to be dyeing the lacy scarves into two colours because it takes too much time and it distorts the design :)

More could be seen at my stall.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Another Sunday ..

I am slightly tired these days and somehow very much focused on my design ideas.
This morning I was actually making a scarf sample. What has come up looked like a butterfly. So I was so interested in the idea of a butterfly that when making my brew (tea) I poured the water to tea container instead of my tea cup. Now I am offering very concentrated tea essence to anyone willing to take it :)
The outcome

On Saturday I went to sell at Farmers Market in LImerick (and because the customer profile is different there I have mostly sold little things like flower brooches). I was standing next to a lady who sold jams. She was soo nice to let me hide behind her gazebo during short torrential downpour. 

It is really good to get some interesting feedback from people. So apart from earning little money from selling your products I would recommend this to everyone. You might get very positively charged for the rest of the week!

I went mushrooming today:) with Ania. Here her dog has sniffed a little mushroom (at the very bottom of the pic). Not joking! it seems to know where these things grow. 

Look at all of these beauties! Mushroom picking is one of these primeval instincts, which I link to hunting gathering needs of human life.

we have also found a fantastic photographic spot which  I will be supplying with the article about feltmaking to my local newspaper. Here investigating :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Some ideas for a cheap display

Since I have started my hat making (and there is a lot of them to finish now but I am waiting to get the KateHuset hat forms from WinghamWoolwork), I was thinking about some cheap ideas for a stylish display.

So I have purchased a styrofoam head whilst in Vancouver (there they cost 6.20 $). The problem with these is that they get easily scratched and dirty. So I have covered these with bits of newspaper (I have used a PVA glue).

Although the coating looks nice enough I think I have to coat it with an additional layer of polish. Has anybody got an idea which one is suitable for this job?

To complement the head (and to stabilize it a bit) my friend has bought a kitchen towel holder for me (3 euro).

 I have also bought a mug holder to use for displaying the bracelets (cost 5.99 eu).

 Have you got any nice, cheap and nifty ways of displaying your work?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

just a preview...

I have been working a lot to make scarves for christmas sale. Here they are stored in plastic ikea container.
 But more importantly I have continued experimenting with my hat making. And with this one I am particularly proud of myself. I came out as an accident but it is the most favourite of mine so far.

not finished and needs some more pinching and vaporising and dyeing.
I have used Wingham woolwork hat block here and merino 18 mic.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The case against and for olive oil soap and Fairy washing up liquid.

I have been having a break for the last few days, I cycled in preparation for my visit to Clonakilty. I am going to be teaching but also exchanging some feltmaking tips there.

But throughout those days I have been thinking here and there about the uses of good old olive oil soap versus all available Fairy washing up liquid.

 First the price:
- Fairy costs 1.18 eu in local shop whilst a bar of Oliva is 1.50 (it is way smaller than the one pictured wchich is 600g).
- I need a one 125 g bar of soap for a day of intensive feltmaking. A Fairy bottle would last for over a month.

There is a general question of ecology when using lubricants in feltmaking, so probably the best idea is to use Ecover, the so callled ecological washing up liquid. However just like olive oil soap it washes out very quickly (What I mean is that it is soaked up by wool pretty quickly and needs frequent top ups of the solution).

So if anybody is practicing something more ecological i would welcome any suggestions!

The case of lathering:
- oliva is gentle for hands and lathers well but this is very quickly soaked up by the wool (loads of top ups)
- ecover lathers less well and requires frequent top ups (it is difficult to wash the residue from the product)
- fairy lathers too well but does not require too many top ups, hence it is easier to wash the residue from the final products.

The question of the amount of lather:
- if there is too much lather,
when felting with ecover it results in less felted spongy surface of felt
when felting with olive oil soap the product shrinks far less than it would normally, and felts a bit slowly
with fairy it is very difficult to felt with overdosed solution.

although I would like to use more ecological solution, Fairy is the most cost effective liquid to be used in my opinion.

Any other suggestions welcome!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Artisans Craft Market in Limerick and late night workshop.

Just wanted to say that I had a wonderful day selling at the market.

We started at 12.00 and finished at 19.00 and I rarely had time to spare, at the end almost lost my voice! This is my stall minded by my next stall neighbor.

The dotted scarves sold very well today. Has anybody noticed yesterdays hat? It was still slightly damp...

I have taken the three little wonderful mice to the stall and they worked very well to attract the yummy mums!

A happy customer wearing my scarf!

Other stalls offered hand made postcards: (Sadie Cramer) (visit

felted wool (but knitted) (Hanora -K - Designs)

Lovely button jewelery and bits and bobs (Ruth from Nice Day Designs!

After all that selling I gave a little 2 hour workshop to Ania.

She has been using Icelandic wool to make a lovely sculpted vessel.
There is some more pics I have taken during the process.

At the end of the day she was really pleased with the outcome. The vessel is going to be used to hold pens in the office at work. She also tried to make a fridge magnet but this time we tried to make a shape of a tree. I think that hands are the biggest gift of all,  that we feltmakers have.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New hat and I am participating at Artisans Craft Fair in Limerick tomorrow!

So as promised I have been trying to learn how to make hat my own way.

I have made a tubular structure which has not at all resembled the hat structure I have ended up with.
In fact I have had not a clue what final shape it is going to be!
So after initial felting stage I have packed the hat form from wollknoll and the felt in tightly closed pantyhose and off in to the washing machine.

The hat form has not been broken at all and the hat has emerged somehow felted from the machine.
then I have tried to play with the form and shape so at the very beginning the hat has looked as if it had a lot of ruffled pleats or indeed it looked as if it was a scrunched up piece of paper.

I have put the hat block and the felt to steam for a few minutes and this is where the disaster struck. My newly purchased block form has changed its shape slightly. Now a lesson use a boiling kettle instead to soften your piece.

So one thing for making pleated hats is to full the hat to a stage when it is pretty much closer to be done and then repeatedly steam it and pinch and shape in between.

This is what I have learned throughout this experiment. 

finally the final image:
I love the outcome and there is more to come!
Publish Post

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hat forms and hatmaking part 1

Hats and forms. My journey with hatmaking has just started. So if anybody has a comment or sugestion or indeed a correction to what I have been saying please comment freely!

First of all the hat form I have purchased from Wollknoll (price 32 euro)

- bit pricey for the material used (it is a thick form of plastic similar to the one used in plastic fuzzy drinks bottles.

- the stand that comes with a hat is poorly made from playwood, but also screws can come out (in wet environment I assume that plywood coud soak up all water, but note I have not checked that)

The form could be prone to cracking if it is pushed on the wooden stand. When I have ordered my hat I had received a cracked form and apparently it happened in transport. So I assume that this hat form is not right great if one wants to finish their hat or creases in washing machine. So at the moment the hat form is out.

WinghamWoolwork hat (price 13 pounds)

- sturdy enforced styrofoam finish. If you have purchased your shoe lasts from Wingham this styrofoam is even sturdier.

- very handy handle, useful if you are dipping your hat in hot water or dye (sturdy)

- interesting surface design! These little dots are designed to hold the the hat in place. Very useful as there is no need to use hat pins or rubber bands to secure the hat in place.
At the moment I could recommend Wingham's hat forms. I have no clue whether you can put it in the washing machine etc but the price is very encouraging and I will be definitely buying more. Note. this review is independent from the influence of the owner of Wingham, in fact some of you may have noticed a few incidents and dissapointments I have had with Wingham. However this time the hat is a winner!

Yesterday night I was finishing the brooches for the craft fair, the candles were burning in the kitchen and my friend was finishing her essay (while I was helping out in terms of translation).

I have made this hat using clamp resist and leftower dyes. I have dipped it repeatedly in hot and cold water to secure the design. Then i have added yellow overtones to it and left to dry. I am thinking about using shellac to secure and strengthen it. Have you got any particular good brands in mind?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Today has been a manic day:

I have returned from Cork and earlier have been in Galway where we have been brainstoriming about the ways of expanding the business in the internet using social networking tools!
Check out Jagienka's blog to get the details of that meeting!

I love one sentence : she said that it is my fault that she can't stop making felted flowers, especially tripple deckers! The truth is that I am very passionate about felt and I cant stop myself from telling people about it and teaching them about it!

BTw. I am going to be heading to a seminar about marketing using social networking sites - I will share any new info here.

I have updated my shop and have been photographing my recent work. Here is one of the scarves;
I have sold quite a few silk laps so check out my shop for newest batch arriving on Thursday!

I have made some lovely fridge magnets. What do you think? (Btw this is the correct way of displaying them!)


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Micro feltmaking and spinning gathering in Galway

Myself, Ewa ( and Jagienka ( have gathered together to do some feltmaking and spinning.

Yesterday I have had another batch of 5 scarves which are to be sold at Limerick's Milk Market the following Sunday. I have dyed hand rolled silks and have felted some dots onto it. This is a photo of the process:

Today I have been finishing felted pod brooches:

I love the balls, the colours came out very well. These brooches have a very organic shape and could have some sexual connotations :). So hopefully they would sell. It takes time to attach the pin to it.

In limerick though there was another meeting of the Irish Etsy craft team. Good luck girls and have a lovely night out!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Silk laps in use and processing

Working with silk laps:

first time I have bought my silk laps I cried, because I couldnt separate the sheets of silk! My skin was too rough and it pulled little strands of silk every time I wanted my hands to be free of silks! To separate the silk laps you should:

- peel off any dead skin from your hands or do a little feltmaking session using olive oil soap!

- rub a side of the silk lap to reveal the layers of silk

- separate delicately a thin layer and consistently pull it from main lap.

To dye silk laps:

you should pre soak the laps in water and vinegar acid, squeeze the excess of water well and lay it on plastic cling film. Apply your dyes and wrap up well. Steam for 15 minutes. Rinse and stretch to dry.

please note that when pulling the silk from the lap it becomes very fluffy, so when laying the silk lap on your felting table you should spray the surface with soapy water.

Silk laps can be shaped and pulled so they present various possibilites for making lovely silk inlays. They are way faster to lay and produce interesting yet even results in the products. Finally silk laps support wool so the use of silk laps in feltmaking allows for faster bonding and fulling of the piece (approx 20 min for the whole process without using the sander)!

The result?


BTW: I supply a range of silk laps both undyed and dyed. My silk laps are made from the best silk (grade A Mulberry) for best shine and quality.