scarves galore

I ws only intending to make one wrap to wear to our nephew’s wedding last weekend, something to go with a particular dress that is cream with pink roses on it. But I’ve ended up with three!

I began as one should, making samples for size and colour, and thought I’d worked out how much fleece and silk to use, but something went awry between the sample stage and the finished item – which is big enough for a small winter neckscarf, but not by any means for a wrap!

samples and scarf

As time was getting short, I decided just to plunge in and try again, no more time for sampling, so I laid out a lot of fleece, silk and fabric, and this is the result.

summer wrap

The size is right and it drapes beautifully, I really like its bright summery feel and could wear it as a wrap – or I may turn it into a skirt or a waistcoat later on. But I thought that it still wasn’t quite what I was after – too much sunshiny yellow and really too much personality for the dress it was supposed to be wrapping. It would have done, but as there were still a couple of days left, I decided to have another go…

This time I did nuno felting in rosy, leafy colours on a base of silk chiffon, and it turned out just how I wanted it! The last pic is me on the day of the wedding with our lovely daughters.

rose nuno wrap

rose nuno wrap detail

wedding photo

I’ll be at the Woolfest all day on Friday and would love to say hi to any bloggers who are there too.

the story of a scarf

I set out to make a scarf. An easy one – big needles, a ball of fancy fluffy yarn and a simple triangular scarf pattern from the web, where you just increase one stitch at the beginning of each row.

As it grew, I realised I hadn’t paid enough attention to the shape – with only a single ball of wool I should have been increasing at a much faster rate to end up with a shallow isosceles triangle that would be wide enough to go round my neck, instead of one like this…

knitted triangle

I looked at the ball band and the yarn was 30% wool – I can felt into this, I thought.

So, I cut it up …

cut up knitting

… chose some fleece …


… laid it out …


… wetted and soaped and rubbed it for a while. It looked promising …


… but what I actually ended up with was a ribbon of prefelt and a bit of felted knitting, loosely attached to each other in about three places. I think I was too lavish with the soap.

With nothing to lose I decided to sling the whole lot in the washing machine. I tied strips of calico round it at intervals to hold the felt and the knitting together, and put it in on a 60 degree quick wash with a pair of jeans.

The result was a nice uneven felted rope, joined firmly to the knitting wherever there was a calico strip. I snipped off the calico, added some wrapping highlights along the length with just a little lovely shiny embroidery thread, and here it is… a scarf, tousled rather than fluffy, and surprisingly warm.


The calico was quite well entangled and would happily have stayed where it was – another time I’d use a nice space dyed piece instead of white, or maybe sari ribbon or a yarn wrapping, and make it an integral part.

On another note, I’ve just joined an exciting new challenge – Today’s Title Is… – set up by Helen Suzanne of Heb-Art Journal. The challenge is to start from a given title and capture the first image it sparks off in the mind’s eye, in any visual medium. This week’s title is Blue Chair. Do visit to see all the wonderfully varied interpretations and maybe you’ll be tempted to join in too 🙂

blue chair

hairy felt and fluffy felt

I made three felted fleece samples yesterday – from Hebridean, alpaca and merino roving.

hebridean fleece felt sample
hebridean fleece felt sample

alpaca fleece felt sample
alpaca fleece felt sample

merino fleece felt sample
merino fleece felt sample

The Hebridean fleece is quite hairy, just a little rough and yet soft as well, while the alpaca looks hairy but feels fluffy and silky. However, I think I did something wrong felting the alpaca, maybe rubbed it too hard too soon, it’s not very well felted after a lot of work, and doesn’t look anything like other alpaca felt I’ve seen on the web. More experiments obviously needed.

I think it would be interesting to dye the Hebridean fleece, could it give a rich deep colour with a hint of brightness wherever the white fibres take up the dye?

And the merino – I didn’t really need to make a sample of that, just an excuse to play with the colours!

slippers and sampling

Today I finished off the felt slippers for Alan. He was away when I started them and I wanted to wait to do the final sizing till he could actually try them on. They turned out very hairy! I used a mixture of Hebridean, alpaca and merino, but I think the stray hairs are the white fibres from the Hebridean fleece, as they’re all pale. I did use some pale alpaca but also an equal amount of chestnut and that has all felted in fine. I’ve now done what a sensible person would have done first, and made a sample of each to see how they felt alone. Everything is drying in the airing cupboard (it’s so nice to have one of those).

felt slippers

I’m quite pleased with the slippers for a first attempt and glad to say Alan seems to like them too. I tried to be restrained with the colours and not put in any pink or purple! In contrast, the card I made last week has rather a lot of both.

needlefelted motif

I’ve been enjoying some ‘new to me’ blogs recently – India Flint’s Not all those who wander are lost; Elvis Robertson’s Lovely Textiles, found through Neki’s blog; and Jenny Dean’s Wild Colour, found through Helen’s blog.

We’ve had some glorious winter sunshine this week, with clear skies and beautiful sunsets. We don’t see the sun set over the sea from here, but the distant clouds catch its colours and give us a glimpse of it.

moon and cows

felt under fabric

When I was working on this quilted hanging, one of my aims was to use felt as the wadding in a way that made its colour a central element of the design. I’m still thinking about that, so today I’ve been stitching some studies for my sketchbook pages for the April TIF challenge (changing a piece of fleece in as many ways as I can). I collected a pile of sheer fabrics of varying opacity and made a small sample of each, layered with some of the pink felt I’d already made.

transparent samples

The best silk I’ve found for this is silk organza (top right) – it’s what I used on the front of my hanging; though I think you can get silk net and I’d love to try that. The manmade fabrics at the bottom – nets, voile and organza – are the sheerest of the samples but I really prefer natural fibres (although I confess I went and bought the finer net and the organza specially for this at Reticule today!). It’s partly because I like the feel of natural fibres so much more, but also because so many manmade fibres are petrochemical based. I think if I were to use them extensively I’d look for them in secondhand clothes and recycle.

In the middle are the cottons – an organdie on the right, and on the left my favourite – cotton scrim. I just love the combination of the open weave and the distortion from the stitching and the way the felt shows through and is furrowed by the pull of the stitches.

felt and scrim

I’m going to try a kind of nuno version on a partially felted base, and also with dyed scrim and different colours of felt.

And I just wanted to share these, because they’re so lovely…

tulip tulips