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2012 Review

2012 Review

It’s hard to believe it’s almost a year since we posted about our plans for 2012! Looking back over what I’d hoped to achieve I didn’t expect to have done many of them, as the year panned out a lot differently than I expected. One thing I really wanted to do was learn some stitches by taking part in Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST). I did try my hardest, but I found the instructions really hard to follow and gave up after about 13 weeks. I never got the chance to explore direct dyeing felt any further, which is probably a good thing, since I’d hoped to combine the results with stitches I learned from TAST πŸ™‚Β  I did dye some fabrics for using in felting, though. And I did actually get around to trying out a Suri Alpaca sample, but I’d hoped to try a few more ‘controlled’ samples so never had enough to make a post about it.

suri alpacaOne thing I was really looking forward to spending time on in 2012 was working more with other felting fibres and fabrics, and writing some tutorials for the studio site. Early in the year I did make quite a few pieces exploring natural fibres with natural wools, which I really enjoyed. Some of the results were quite interesting, like this Suffolk wool and banana fibre piece, a photo of which ended up being used by a Lecturer at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) for a book.

suffolkI did write a few tutorials for the blog this year, but they weren’t about fibres. It seems like I spent a big portion of my time in 2012 on the phone to various government departments and agencies trying to get onto a scheme to become self-employed. I thought I had all the information I needed until it came to writing my business plan and realised I (along with everyone else, it seems) have no idea whether the scheme lasts 6 months or 12, which is quite a problem if you’re trying to forecast things! But hopefully that will all be sorted out in the new year.

I enjoyed taking part in the Studio Challenges this year, I haven’t done a piece for Karen’s weather challenge yet, but I do have some wool and fibres blended and around 40 photos of storm clouds to work from in the next few days πŸ™‚ Another thing I enjoyed this year was finally learning how to make silk paper. I did intend to try a few more methods, but that was another thing I didn’t get around to, though I did buy a book about it!

silk paperA couple of my favourite things from this past year are the bird pods I made and using the electric sewing machine my mum gave me to make collage notebook and diary covers. I still haven’t mastered the speed pedal on the machine, but I can wind a new bobbin really well πŸ™‚ The bird pods were great to do, I haven’t had much success previously making 3d felt from flat resists, but they all turned out really well. This is my favourite.

bird pod whiteI’m looking forward to 2013, all the challenges and exciting new things yet to come. I hope you’ve had nice holidays and if you’ve done your own 2012 review, post a link in comments, we’d love to read them πŸ™‚

Grey Wools and Banana Fibre

Grey Wools and Banana Fibre

Sometimes, the wool and fibres I’m using don’t felt the way I expect them to. This was the case recently when I tried banana fibre with grey Suffolk wool tops. We often say there’s no bad wool, just the right wool for the job. I’d say that was true for wool and fibre combinations too. The banana fibre I used came as combed tops, but I fluffed it up and placed hair-ball like bits of fibre dotted around on top of a couple of layers of the Suffolk. I really didn’t expect the result I got, it was the most unusual effect I’ve seen with fibres and wool so far. Although the banana did felt onto the Suffolk somewhat, it wasn’t firmly attached and gave interesting cobweb like results. The banana fibre in the top right corner reminded me of the compact cocoon-like spiderwebs you find in crevices. Or all over trees and fields after flooding (eek!) πŸ™‚

I finally got around to trying out Ann’s bird pods this week πŸ™‚ The first couple of layers are grey Merino, then I added lots of raw Gotland locks around the edges and added a couple of layers of Gotland roving that Kaz sent me a while back. To finish, I used some carded Gotland fleece and a few wisps of banana fibre. It is about 11.5 inches tall and about 7.5 across the middle. I mainly get small birds here, so the hole is only about an inch in diameter.

There are a couple of new uploads in the Tutorials section of the site. The first is How to make roving from silk hankies on the Fiber Preparation page, and on the ‘Other‘ page, is a short guide to taking photos of felt and fibres. They are both in PDF format and can be downloaded.

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