Sunday, April 26, 2009

Filled In Day

A rejection email for one of my non fiction pieces--albeit a very nice one--sent me scurrying from my keyboard into the consolation of wool. One batch--the cheviot fleece that, according to friend who gave it to me, was not folded properly, is still on the lawn having experienced several rainwater rinses now.

The remaining fleece has been retrieved from the lawn and we have been stepping over or around it on the floor of the laundry room.

I spent the past couple days in between chores reading two felting books, both of which I can wholeheartedly recommend to those of you given to idling away hours thinking of colours and patterns in wool.

Felt to Stitch: Creative Felting for Textile Artists by Sheila Smith ISBN 97807 13490084 is probably better for someone who already knows the fundamentals both of knitting and of felting although she includes the basics so that even a beginner ought to be able to do all the projects mentioned in the book. This book has an index, which I always like because I may often need to track down things that I have read somewhere, and an index is a lifeline for me. She provides additional resources, which I also like so that the learning from the book extends beyond the first or second reading. Her instructions are very clear and straightforward--the tech writer in me always pays close attention to that, and the photographs are both helpful and beautiful. Since she includes a very helpful chapter on colour and dyeing, this is a good book for background info for those of us who have had no formal art instruction since about 4th grade. There is also a brief list of different types of wool and their respective features for felting. Pretty much all you need is in this book. The chapters on shibori and other techniques incorporating stitches and non wool are great even for beginners and allow the reader to dip into those techniques without investing in more books or lessons. A good all around book.

Complete Feltmaking, as the title suggests, is another all around text. It is written for beginners with a subtitle is intended to reassure: "easy techniques and 25 great projects." Although it has a different look and feel about it from the more artistic, Felt to Stitch, it is an equally useful resource. I bought it on nothing more than the title and a quick peek at the contents on Amazon as a gift for a fellow textile-buddy. I was relieved to discover that it lived up to its name. Although intended for beginners, the projects range from simple to much more complex but all the techniques are limited to felting. The instructions are accompanied with large photogrpahs and easy step by step numbering. The book has no index, but it does include an additional resources page, and templates that can be photocopied for some of the projects in the book.

So yesterday was filled with reading these two books and looking at the slightly different approaches they take to felting. I made a list of projects from each to try and made one of the templates. Yesterday was what is called a filled in day--basically a day in which sky and ground combine to make a cloud blanket. The wind is still and the air reminds me of a supersaturated solution. If t6he sun comes out or the wind picks up ever so slightly, the day is said to "lift, " usually taking my spirit along with it.

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At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see you have the same book as me for felting, I too saw it on amazon and jumped, I have half a fleece washed and dried but 1 and 1/2 soaking but need a dry evening to drain and set them to dry! so no idea when :-) am hoping to do a felting session for my pupils next month, I thought some nice felted pencil cases and things would be good :-D
any ideas welcome.
lol ruan

At 9:16 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

I saw some great knitting needle cases in one of Angela's magazines yesterday (Knit Simple maybe?) It would be good for pencil cases, too--just a wrap around with a wee folded in pocket at the bottom. They stitched theirs but I think you could do it differently.

The crossbred fleece takes a lot more rubbing than the merino does, so your kids may have to work harder. I have done one wee sample and will do others but I may mix some merino into the fleece --easy enough done since you are carding it anyway. I'll let you know. If you get to it before I do, you let me know. Stitch to Felt has some great 3 d projects, which I think I'd like to try --you know how I hate sewing up! Also yesterday Anglea and I talked about needle felting the edges for, in effect, a gusset so that purse or pencil kit is not so flat. I want to try them all.


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