Felting with Vilte and Irit Dulman.

I discovered the world of felting several years ago, through the guidance of Polly Stirling, the pioneer of Nuno Felting and I vividly remember the feelings and excitement I had when I first dove into learning a whole new language that wool and silk speaks when they get together. Polly used to come to SF to teach her workshops at the Sewing Workshop, and I was one of the lucky ones that got to sign up for a couple of them on two consecutive years. Both classes were filled with so much information about how to lay the fabric, fibers, and how to get different effects and textures.

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Years have passed ever since, and my felting went into a sort of a halt… until the day that I stumbled upon the work of Vilte and Irit Dulman. When I first saw their work I was taken aback by the beauty and the complexity of their pieces. The textures and layers express an organic rawness that almost look like the pieces are taken from tree barks, waterfalls, sand dunes, etc. They are photographs of nature captured into beautiful garments. I learned that they where offering workshops. Unfortunately for me, the workshops were held in far away places… bummer. But not for too long.

Work by Vilte

Work by Vilte

Going Beyond the Surface

I heard that a new workshop was going to be held here in California. In Monterey to be more exact. I signed up almost immediately and I started gathering my materials for the workshop with lots of excitement. I drove to Monterey with my car filled with smelly raw fibers, boxes packed with all kinds of leaves that I started gathering, since who knows when, bolts of silk, fibers of all sorts, and an unending list of accoutrements… and big expectations. I should have taken a picture of my car. It looked like the car of one of those homeless guys that hung out here in town. With all due respect…

Objects for printing

I won’t go into details about the workshop, but it was a wonderful experience. It was intense and filled with so much information that I’m still slowly processing it, but I came home with a set of new tools that I will be able to apply to my work and renew that first love that I felt for the first time I encountered felting. Irit and Vilte generously shared their knowledge, but furthermore, what they truly do is plant the seeds for more experimenting and exploration, which enhances the  true value of their workshops.

Vilte

Vilte

Irit Dulman

Irit Dulman

Opening bundles

Bundles

Unfolding bundles

Bundling

Eucalyptus printed on silk

Opening bundles

I retured home tired, but happy and with several pieces, some felted, and some pieces of silk dyed with different kinds of leaves, and an immense amount of inspiration that will last me a lifetime.

My dress

Detail

Rose leaf details

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Patricia

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Hand Spun

I’ve been spinning for a few years now, and my stash of hand-spun yarn keeps growing and growing. I know this is not news for any of us that spin our yarn, but I’m selling and using less of my stash and producing more. When I want to knit something in particular, it gives me a special joy going through my stash and finding something suitable for that particular project. A few days ago, I came upon a “forgotten” skein hidden in a bag inside another bag. It is single strand dyed in a variety of pastel colors spun from Merino wool. At that moment I didn’t know what I wanted to knit with it, but I left the skein sitting in a place where I could see it form time to time. I wanted to knit something in the round, but not another hat. Since Merino is perfect for next to skin garments I thought that a scarf would be suitable for my skein of yarn. So, I started my project with a crocheted circle made with 16 sc, and then I casted on 16 st around a to start knitting my circle.

Casting on

I’m using 9 inch circular knitting needles, which is a little pain in the… It took a while for my clumsy hands to get used to handling such a small length but after the second circle, I got a bit faster. I can’t imagine people with big hands being able to use these needles without any problem. The next day, my hands were a bit sore and I’m suspecting that it is from using the needles. I might switch to double pointed from now on.

Knitting circles

I managed to finish a couple of circles for my scarf. The idea is to connect them later on using a crochet hook.

Knitting int the round

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There is a nice pleasure that comes from knitting with a hand spun yarn. I really enjoy when small bumps, color changes and twists pass through my fingers.  It’s something that I don’t get when I knit with mill spun yarn. It has a different character that shows well in your project. The yarn blooms with every stitch and I love that unique quality and funky look that it gives to my projects which I don’t usually get with commercial yarns.

Hand Spun

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I still have a few more circles to do at this point, but I won’t be knitting today. I will be busy working on some felting pieces for an exhibition at the Bolinas Museum this coming March. There is so much preparation to do that I better get back to work…

Patricia

Save the date! October 10th. Second Annual Fiber Fest.

Yep! It’s about the time when we start to get ready and celebrate the bountiful gifts that mother earth has been saving for us all year long. On October 10th, Mimi Luebbermann will be hosting her Second Annual Fiber Fest at Windrush Farm located on Chileno Valley which is surrounded by beautiful scenery and wonderful wineries.  At the farm we will have demonstrations, fiber vendors, and of course I will be there with my woolly goods. Black Mountain Weavers represented by Marlie DeSwart will have a booth and Charmaine Krieger be there offering her natural dyed fibers. Mimi will have for sale her milled spun yarn and roving made from her own flock of sheep . Spinners are very much welcome to bring spinning wheels!

Directions

From San Francisco and the East Bay

Take Hwy 101 N to Petaluma Blvd South
Exit on Petaluma Blvd S and stay on that road into downtown Petaluma.
Take a left at the sixth stop-light which is Western Ave, just underneath the clock tower.
Stay straight on Western Ave for about 2 miles until Chileno Valley Rd. Look for green Walker Creek Ranch sign before your left turn onto Chileno Valley. Turn left on Chileno Valley Rd.
Follow Chileno Valley Rd for 3.6 miles. Look for the “Marin County Line” sign and a “narrow bridge” sign.
Windrush Farm is the driveway on the left just before the bridge. 2263 Chileno Valley Rd.

From Santa Rosa and the North

Take Hwy 101 S to Washington Street Exit, Petaluma
Exit and turn right on Washington Street.  Continue west and turn left on Petaluma Blvd.
Take a right at the next stop-light onto Western Ave, just underneath the clock tower.
Stay straight on Western Ave for about 2 miles until Chileno Valley Rd. Look for green Walker Creek Ranch sign before your left turn onto Chileno Valley. Turn left on Chileno Valley Rd.
Follow Chileno Valley Rd for 3.6 miles. Look for the “Marin County Line” sign and a “narrow bridge” sign.
Windrush Farm is the driveway on the left just before the bridge. 2263 Chileno Valley Rd.

From Pt Reyes Station

Take the Petaluma-Pt Reyes Rd and after the Marin Cheese Factory turn left onto Hicks Valley Road.  At the Petaluma-Marshall Road, turn right towards Petaluma.  Go up the big hill, come down, and at the intersection where Chileno Valley goes left, GO STRAIGHT.  Cross the narrow bridge, and immediately turn right into the driveway of 2263 Chileno Valley Road.  The intersection is confusing, but Chileno Valley also continues straight, hence, do not turn left.

Re-skilling

I’m excited to let you know that I will be teaching a Felting workshop at the Regenerative Design Institute on October 31st as part of their Re-skilling Series.

Re-skilling is a term used by the Transition Town Movement to revive the art of traditional craftsmanship. As we transition away from global consumerism and towards localized, earth friendly economies, we need to reclaim these skills for ourselves and for our community. Beyond just providing for our personal or family needs, these essential skills can provide the basis for emerging cottage industries that can revitalize the local economy with genuinely “green” principles and technologies.

Re-skilling requires that we connect more deeply to the natural world. It involves cultivating (or foraging) plants for basketry, building materials, medicine, general body care, dyes, food and clothing. It invites us into a closer relationship with domestic and wild animals, and asks that we pay more attention to the changing of the seasons and the cycles of the natural world. It also fosters a deeper gratitude for all that nature continues to provide us.

Workshops will focus on hands-on learning, and will include topics like fiber arts, rustic furniture making, soap-making, herbal medicine, mushroom cultivation, and more. This fall, RDI will be hosting several fiber arts workshops – the first in a series on how to transform raw local materials into beautifully hand-crafted clothing. Read more about the Re-skilling Series and the Fiber Arts workshops.