Felting Class in Sebastopol

Date/Time: Saturday, April 16, 2016
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Location:
West County Fiber Arts
3787 Ross Road
Sebastopol, California

Tuition: $120

Get ready to be immersed into a fun and exciting class where creativity and imagination has no limits. This is going to be a fun and rewarding class. Mistakes are a plus!”

For more information and for signing up please visit the website:

West County Fiber Arts

Patricia

 

Traveling Guatemala

Long time no see! I spent a couple weeks in Guatemala with hubby plus 12 more people that came along with us this past February. The route was amazing. We started the trip in Guatemala City (just one night which was plenty) and then we flew to Tikal the next day. Keith was leading a bird watching tour, and so I got to enjoy the great outdoors of this wonderful country. We tend to go to places off the beaten path to look for birds, but it’s unavoidable to visit “the must to go” places like walking through the markets or the streets of Antigua (one of my favorite cities). After several years of not visiting the country, I saw how much this country is changing rapidly, the technology is being embraced by the Guatemalans and it’s going to stay forever. One thing that struck me the most, was the heavy traffic in the city that I don’t recall as being this bad before. Nevertheless, it’s always amusing to watch the chicken buses passing by with their colorful load of all kinds of vegetables that they carry on the roof.

One of the mornings while we were in Tikal, we went up to Temple IV at 4:00 am to watch the sunrise. We could see the Temples I, II, and III and even Temple VI off to the right. It was an amazing experience even though the sun never showed up, but it was very special to watch the jungle wake up. First we heard the howler monkeys with their loud voices calling to each other and then we heard the first bird calls of the day including the Great Currasow  and Laughing Falcon. Yes, that’s their real names.

Tikal

 We also spent a couple nights near the Caribbean side of Guatemala in Livingston. One of the most memorable meals I had while I was there, was a traditional dish of the Garifuna (descendants of the West Africa people) named Tapado which is a seafood stew made with coconut milk. It has every single imaginable edible sea creature that you can think of plus pieces of banana and yuca. Even though the dish was superb, because of the size, I had a hard time finishing my meal.

Tapado

We visited other wonderful places, looking for birds, but I couldn’t wait to get to Antigua and Chichicastenango because I get to spend time looking at the textiles and the woodwork. Chichicastenago has a wonderful array of masks that I’ve been collecting over the years.

Chichicastenango Masks

Chichicastenango Masks

Is fun to watch the locals shopping or selling their wares.

Women in Chichicastenango

Flower Girl in Chichicastenango

Flower seller

Textiles in Chichicastenango

Textiles in Chichicastenango

The market is just alive and fascinating. There is so much color everywhere you look!Mercado de frutas y verduras

 Mercado de frutas y verdurasYou can practically find anything you need. From hand made cigarettes…

Hand Made Cigarrets

To hand made tortillas.

Women Making Tortillas

I was happy to find a couple stalls at the foot of the church’s steps, selling spindles!

Spindles

Of course I bought 15!

Another place that we visited on this trip, is the area around Lago Atitlan. San Juan La Laguna is a town located near the lake. In this town there are a few co-ops where they do demonstrations on natural dyes.

Cotton yarn dyed with natural dyes

Hand Spun Cotton Yarn

This woman here is showing how she spins the cotton.

Woman Spinning Cotton

She also showed us how she prepares her dyes. Here she is grinding Achiote (Anato seeds) that yields a nice orange color.

Woman grinding Achiote

I hope to be able to go back to Guatemala soon. There are still so many places that I would like to visit!

Swing

Patricia

How about more blue to start the year with?

Every time I have a new project I try to learn something new from the process… Or at least I try to teach myself something new. There is always a story behind each piece.

Nuno Felted Coat: Wensleydale Wool, Merino, Uzbekistan Silk, Deer Antler Buttons with Indigo.

Indigo Coat

Indigo Coat with Wensleydale Locks Collar

Indigo Coat with Wensleydale Locks Collar Detail of the buttons Indigo Coat

Patricia

Collars for Marcia

I made a beautiful collar for another Mother of the Bride. She lives in Maryland and it happens that she also raises Border Leicesters which have been used to create the collar below:

Textural Collar Textural Collar Textural Collar

The brown collar was made with Wensleydale lambswool from JoAnn in Occidental, CA and then dipped in an Indigo Vat to get a blue background.

Wensleydale Collar Wensleydale Collar Wensleydale Collar

I swear I can’t ever get enough of these curls.

Patricia

One more project, almost done!

This dress isn’t quite finished yet. Still needs color, straps and some adjustments here and there. Hmm… I might even add some beads to it. But, I’ve been missing blogging. It has been a fun and busy summer with some up and downs. Heck, if it wasn’t for the downs, I wouldn’t be having the ups, right? Nothing too extreme, but when it comes to computers problems, it can turn your life quite miserable, especially when all that I want to do, is be outdoors.

By the way, the jewelry has been designed by moi. I’ve been having a ride making jewelry again. It deserves a later post.

Felted dress Felted Dress Felted Dress Felted Dress Felted Dress Closed up Felted Dress Closed up

Lastly, yesterday, my friend Charmaine and I went to visit my friend Mimi and came back home with a nice fleece with lots of curls and I want so badly to make something totally different this weekend…

Patricia

The Mother of the Bride

I had to admit, at some point I felt a little panic during the production of this dress (just a little). I tend to think about too many “what if’s” and I have to remind myself that I will be fine. I was checking my emails a few days ago, and the first email from The Mother of the Bride was on October last year. I met her in December and I agreed to design her a dress for her daughter’s wedding. Talking about a little pressure, right? I worked on it really slow and I took my time before walking to the next step. I guess I take dyeing for granted (since that’s what I generally do almost each week), because when I realized that it was the time to dye the dress, again my “what ifs” started to go around my head again. I don’t have a lot of experience with indigo. My friend Charmaine kindly spent an afternoon with me showing how she prepares her vat. So, I was on my own and I had to dye the dress with Indigo. I took my notes, and started my first indigo vat. So, one cold afternoon, I held my breath and I dipped the white dress in a stinky dark liquid hoping that the magic would do its trick for me… And it did!

The reds from the cochineal turned purple, the yellows from the Osage Orange turned green and the white wool and silk turned blue.

indigo Dress

Indigo Dress indigo Dress

The making of this dress tought me a few things. One of them was feeling ok with using buttons to fasten the garment. And the other lesson I learned is being p-a-t-i-e-n-t!

indigo Dress Back

The dress was modeled by my friend Gina.

Patricia

Easy Felted Scarf

Nuno Felted Scarf

I promised that I would post a photo tutorial and show how I use my Merino Wool Blends to felt a scarf. This is a fun, easy and fast project. Almost instant gratification. What I like about working with these blends, is that it is not necessary to purchase several colors of wool to make a multi color scarf, like the one shown in the picture, which can become quite expensive. Also, storage can be a problem for most of us. One braid of 4 oz can probably be enough to make a couple scarves. The tops are already blended, just the right amount, so the colors don’t muddy up once they are felted. They are great for beginners, since one doesn’t need a big investment on materials to make a couple of scarfs.Forest Jewels

For this particular scarf I used the Forest Jewels colorway (which is a blend of Merino with Soy Silk) for the front, and for the background I decided to used Merino in the Eggplant color which are both available at my shop. I also used a template for guidance, olive oil soap, bubble wrap and a pool noodle to be able to roll the project.Material used

I also found in my stash, some fun pieces of fabric and some dyed locks to add as decoration. This is a great way to use bits and pieces of fabric remnants from past projects.

Laying it out

Start by laying your bubble wrap with the bubbles facing up. Next, measure and break apart a portion of the roving needed, leaving some room for the shrinking process to occur. Forest Jewels roving

Carefully and with patience, start by opening the wool as shown below. Make sure that the fibers stay in a vertical position.

Here you can play with the design by leaving some holes on purpose if you want some of the background layer to show. It’s like making rivers of colors.Opening the rovingKeep opening the roving until you reach the size of your template if you are using one. I usually have one just because I don’t feel like measuring all the time.Scarf Tutorial

As you can see in the picture, I left a few holes, but I kept moving the colors around a little. This is the fun part for me. One important note: I usually work my way from the front to the back, meaning that I lay my materials facing away from me.

Laying out

Once I’m happy with how it looks, I move into laying out the background color, in which this case I used Merino in Eggplant.

Laying out the background

For this particular project, I also added some fun crinkle silk gauze at the edge of the scarf. If you add some fabric, make sure to sandwich it between your front layer and the background to secure it. Once I feel that I’m done with the design, the next step to follow is to wet the entire project with soapy water.Rolling the project

Now is the time to roll the project. I’m not going to go deep here, because there are many tutorials on YouTube to do this. But I usually do 12 min. on each end. After rolling from both ends, it is important to check and see if the fibers are already felting. If not, then it will be necessary to repeat the rolling stage again. Once you see that there is some felting happening, the last step will be the fulling which consists of throwing the project against a hard surface… like your floor. But before doing this, it is useful to get rid of excess water, otherwise, you will be splashing water and soap just about everywhere. I usually go outside on the deck to do this. Be cautious when doing this because here is where the scarf will shrink even more and faster. Keep checking the size constantly.

Once you are done with the fulling, make sure to always rinse your felted projects in water with vinegar and hang your piece to let it dry. I like to press my scarves to give them a nice finish.Finished Scarves

Sequins

Here is how the Soy Silk looks after it has been felted into the wool. It forms nice wiggles on the surface. Soy Silk

Crinkled Silk Gauze sandwiched between the two layers of wool.Crinkle Silk Gauze

The wool locks add color and texture.Wool Locks

This was a fun project! I think I will be working with the next color which is called Peacock. I will definitely post more pics.

Patricia