DSCF0470This is a recent small picture I created.  While walking some of the Kerry Way in summer 2014 we came across this sheep who was stuck on the wrong side of the fence.  We made sure to close the gate to stop him straying any further and hoped he would figure his way back.  His colouring was a bit darker than his companions, not completely black but a little.  I love using machine embroidery for creating grasses at the moment and I added a few French knots in this to give it more interest. I love the orange and red undercolour that shows through the grasses at various times of the year.

Back in the swing of things and will be updating my blog to reflect my new work . Had a break for a while due to problems with tendonitis in my arms, spent a couple of years painting and decorating furniture, stencilling, decoupaging etc. But now I am creating textiles pieces using wet felting, needlefelting, applique, hand and machine embroidery. Here is a detail of a new piece just finished.

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Just finished the wedding ring cushion for my sister and future husband. It is made of three layers of felted merino with silk noil  and silk hankies, silk gauze fabric, strips of silk chiffon and cotton muslin as decoration. I used the green and gold silks for the Kerry colours for Juliette and the red merino with sparkly angelina fibres for Denis for the Cork colours. I felted a flat piece in roughly a square shape, intentionally making a piece bigger than I needed so I could cut my favourite piece out.  When firmly felted, I used a piece of recycled satin scarf cut to size for the back as the template for the felted piece.  Before stuffing and sewing up I tried a few sample machine embroidery stitches on the excess felt. I picked a flower stitch that seemed able to follow curves without the need to make the machine ready for free machining (which involves removing some bits and adding other – and I just don’t have the patience for that fiddling about!!!). I then used a fade away pen and drew some heart shapes around the muslin which had created the best surface texture of all the additions. I then followed the pen line with the machine embroidery stitch. Finally I pinned and stitched the satin to the felt leaving about two inches not sewed, turned it right side around and stuffed the cushion with some cushion filling that a friend had given me a couple of weeks ago. I then hand stitched it completely closed and added a lovely light gold organza ribbon in the centre for tying the rings.  I am so pleased with the end result and again I learned a lot. I would love to make more of these as well but am racking my brains trying to find an excuse!! Otherwise I will end up with loads of lovely small cushions all over the house!

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Have just completed two outstanding projects, thanks to a morning babysitting given to me by my generous sister.

The hat is made of felted Kerry and merino wool fibres and then cut into equally sized squares. This turned out to be a fortuitous accident as when the felt was made some years ago, I had not the skill to complete a hat. My mum and I felted the wool one night with the intention of making ‘something’ and decided to try making a hat by in joining the squares. But it sat there unfinished for at least three years until Mum found the bag of bits and gave it to me. I took it away intending to work on it at some point.  After a further six months I started sewing the squares together alternating the black/green and white squares. It took me two attempts at hand sewing it, using blanket stitch, then whip stitch until I realised that the stitches were too visible and it needed machine stitching. I joined the squares together in a rectangle shape of two lines of squares. Then I created a six piece crown for the top of the head but snipped the corner squares in half at both ends in order to create an oval shape. I then joined the oval and rectangle together. I had previously worked out how many squares I needed for the oval and base by measuring my hat block. When the oval and rectangle were joined together it was a little loose so I decided to felt it again. This was partly to strengthen it and also to shrink it to get the exact hat block size. I was delighted with the results, as I only ever half believed that it would actually work out properly. Today I finally got around to making a lining. I cut an oval and rectangle shape from green lining a little larger than the hat size to allow for hemming. I joined the oval and rectangle together and hemmed the edge of the rectangle that would be joined to the hat. I then hand stitched the lining in place, learning, as I went that big stitches worked better to hold the lining in place. I am so delighted with this hat, it was a complete learning experience from start to finish. And I hope to use this design to make more in the very near future. I call this hat Composite for want of a better word! It is an example of style I am developing where I join separate pieces of felt together to create something that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

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Here is the mermaid fabric sculpture Eleanor and I made recently as part of our school’s Textile and Craft exhibition which I am organising. Each class is making a project based on Nature and the Sea using a variety of materials and crafts. This exhibition marks the Year of Craft as designated by the Crafts council of Ireland. Eleanor’s class are doing an under the water theme and we have already felted  a background for the display. The mermaid will be part of this display as well.  Here are some photos of the progression. The basic form was constructed using florist wire, tinfoil and kitchen paper to bulk it out before adding various fabrics which were dipped in Paverpol first. We sat the mermaid on a brick which was covered in a piece of silk painted another night by a friend at one of our craft nights and left behind forgotten. We collected some seaweed for added effect and I used some old rope dipped in bronze coloured paverpol for the hair. We used a tiny plant pot for the treasure chest and some broken costume jewellery.

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I can’t believe this is the first post  in so many months but life has just been so busy with the new baby.  I’m going to try to get back into it . Here’s a scarf I made recently for my mum to match a lilac tailored jacket. It is made of merino fibres of pinks and lilac, dyed needlepunch fabric, chiffon fabric, silk fibres and dyed silk gauze. The scarf is laid out in mostly linear design with a few cross lattices to add support. Rather than the traditional way of making nuno or fabric felt and laying the fibres over the fabric base or vice versa I am currently enjoying working by laying the various fibres laongside each other overlapping enough to catch. Also I am working more on design and attributing one element of design to each colour fibre or fabric. For example the cerise coloured merino is a circle, the needlepunch is a straight piece with holes torn into the middle of the strips. The chiffon was manipulated by pulling some strings at the side and causing a puckering effect before felting. I am enjoying this new approach to design. I have struggled with holding back on design and not overdoing it to the point of cluttering the effect. This new approach is very satisfying and still just as creative.

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Feltmaking Evening Classes at  Flowers By Lynda, Greystones

Felting basics

Wednesday night October 20th 8pm-10.30pm

Create your very first piece, inspired by flowers if you wish!


Three dimensional felting

Wednesday night November 3rd 8pm-10.30pm

Make your own 3d piece, a bag, bowl, or a bunch of flowers!


Nuno (fabric) felting

Wednesday night November 17th 8pm-10.30pm

Create your own felted scarf using a fabric base.


Felting presents

Wednesday night December 1st 8pm-10.30pm

Make seasonally inspired tree hanging ornaments!

Price per person is based on class and all materials supplied. €35.

Minimum class size 4. All welcome. Individual attention and fun projects.

To book contact Lynda at 201 6566 or Sharon 087 2020560

Feltmaking Classes at the Fabric Gallery/Craft Cafe, Bray, Co.Wicklow


Felting foundation course

Monday October 11th 10am-12.30pm

Learn the skills of basic feltmaking and create your own picture.

Three dimensional felting

Monday November 8th 10am-12.30pm

Create your own bag or bowl.

Nuno (fabric) felting

Monday December 13th 10am-12.30pm

Create your own felted scarf using a fabric base.


Please bring your own wool roving fibres or these can be purchased in the shop.

Minimum class size 4 people.  All welcome. Individual attention.

Price per person is €30 for class only.

To book contact Fabric Gallery at 01 2860979  or Sharon at 087 2020560

Sharon Wells 2010

www.feltcreative.ie

www.wordpress.sharonwells.com

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