Follow by Email

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hanging by a thread

Forgot my camera again! Oh dear me, I should just have it surgically attached to body. Anyway, mixed fortunes at felt school today. With joyful abandon I told the children decorate their uppermost pile of merino tops with some tapestry yarn. Unfortunately I forgot to tell them to place a few wisps of merino over the top to trap it in. After felting the yarn was not very securely attached. I don't want to harden this felt too much because eventually it will be cut, collaged and felted into a tops background. Decided that on Monday we'll have a stitching session to add a bit of decoration and catch down the yarn where necessary. Very good children might even get to use the sewing machine!

A bit unsure about where we go from there. We have to cut shapes from this stitched soft felt so do we just let the thread ends do their thing? Do we give it a wee wet rub with vegetable net before we cut it to bed the yarn in. I think that might be an idea. If you have experience or advice to offer, I would be very grateful.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Puppet up

In the new year I hope to be making puppets with children who attend a special needs school. I've been revisiting some of the simpler puppets making techniques I've learned over the years. Here they are.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What a contrast

We had a bit of a chat about contrast at felt making school today before we finished the Kandinsky inspired collages for four four wall hangings. I explained it to them in language I hoped they would understand. In Scotland men fall into two categories. The two recognised greeting would be 'hello there big man' or 'how's it going wee man'. Contrast, if I'm not mistaken, big and wee. We elaborated on this.

I helped them remember the name of the artist who was inspiring us by imagining they were drinking a CAN at DINner time in the playground looking up at the SKY. Then we tackled that pesky K issue and adjusted our pronunciation. It seemed to work.

The kids are keeping a sketchbook throughout this project in which they will write each week what they have learned, how it made them feel and whether or not they enjoyed it. One boy asked me what you call it when you feel nothing so I told him the word he was looking for was numb and that was a perfectly valid way to feel. (Obviously I'm doing a grand job). I'm pleased to report his recorded feeling for today was happy so that's definite progress.

We had out first mass, hands on felt making trial today and the results were better than I had dared hope. On Friday everyone is making their own individual piece and I'll take more photographs. Feeling a lot more relaxed about the project now and can see success in sight. All feelings of numbness brought about by my fake it until you make it way of working have now evaporated.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sheer extravagence

Normally I try to recycle and reuse as much as I can in my craft activities but I lost patience with trying to gather together enough scrappy little bits of bubble wrap for felt making school and invested in a giant roll of all of my own. I also bought eight lengths of pipe insulation foam to roll the larger pieces of felt around and give them what for. I'm not a milk drinker but asked friends to collected for me enough empty milk cartons for the children to use as watering cans when they come to damp down their felt. Its easy to poke holes in the plastic lids and they make excellent little sprays. This helped to salve my carbon conscience a bit.


I had another lovely day of soldering net curtains together with the ladies of Linlithgow yesterday. Linlithgow is a beautiful historic Scottish town complete with palace and, more importantly, a wonderful wool shop! In answer to your questions yes I did (spend far too much money) and yes I have (already cast on despite several unfinished projects). They were a bad influence on me, these women!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Kandinsky homage

Off to felt making school this morning to make Kandinsky inspired paper collages with the kids.

This was my less than inspired effort yesterday. Shiny PVA makes it difficult to photograph. Trying to be all very artistic but sadly it still just looks like a smiley face! I'm sure the kids can do better.

Monday, November 12, 2007


In the lull between school projects and before it begins to look a lot like Christmas I've been in project finishing mode. Here's the first beneficiary.
The Rocky Road Shrug from Amazing Crochet Lace by Doris Chan.
Who would have thought it would engender such obvious ecstasy? If I'd know it was going to make me this happy, I'd have finished it months ago!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Disaster averted

My blue over dyeing looked every bit as bad as I thought it was going to be. Uniform gloom throughout. So I panicked and chucked them in some bleach............which seems to have worked. Phew!

All a matter of choice

Three of the four classes selected one quarter of their fabrics for over dyeing.
The forth class said thanks, but no thanks. Do They know something I don't?
I does seem a shame of unify all these lovely colours with a healthy dose of school uniform blue. I hope they manage to retain some of their individuality.
I've learned my lesson about sorting through a million pieces of wet fabric looking for tiny pen marks. This time their are being dyed, rinsed and washed in their individual classes.
Pity I only suss these things once the project is over...

Monday, November 05, 2007

New felt making project beings with a bit of art making to music. Dance Macabre to be exact. Very halloween. Lots of high energy fun and enthusiasn and a fair amount of drawing and painting on the lino. As soon as the school holidays are over these artworks will be cut up and collaged to make our take on a Kandinsky homage. Or rather several Kandinsky homages to be exact. Can't wait!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Golden glow

Here are the insipid fabrics after their over yellowe over dyeing bath. The pieces top and bottom with the white in represent the 'before'. They were the best of a bad job. Pleased with the results now.

Disappointing Dyeing

I was less than pleased with the children's last lot of dyeing when it emerged from the washing machine. No fault of theirs. They were given supplementary instructions (not my be me, the dog, but by someone barking themselves.) They were told to secure their tied fabric with lots of plastic bands and make it as tight as possible. The tighter it was, the better it would be. Wrong. The tighter it is, the more difficult it is for the dye to penetrate resulting in a greater percentage of dirty white.

This is the first time that I've been delighted that children quite often don't do what they are told and some of the batch was quite acceptable.

I has been decided to over dye one quarter of each class room's output so the four groups in each class can have a different colourway. This dyeing disaster gave me a chance to experiment with a bit of over dyeing, albeit rashly and without much forethought. (Yes, that sound like the kind of thing I'd do.)

I decided to over dye this group's yellow fabric which weren't very yellow. I squished them all into a cut off water bottle and submerged them under some yellow dye solution. Then it dawned on me that this will kill all the white and they might look a bit odd. Errr, ummm, yes...right enough.

Sooooooooo, for the official over dyeing session I've decided both to tie (but not too tightly) and to squish in order to retain some of the white.