Thursday, December 29, 2011


This year for Kris Kindle, I received this beautiful neck wrap. The Feltmakers Ireland committee get together in December and do a quicky meeting, food carry-in and a present swap. This year we chose names and Suzanne drew mine. YEAH!!

It wraps around the neck and has a strap that goes around again, fastening over the lovely red felt flower. It has a hand loop that slips over and secures underneath. Yummy green is always a bonus for me.

So after receiving and wearing my neck wrap, I made another for a Christmas pressie for A Simple Yarn. It's made from super fine carded merino for Filzrausch, crinkle chiffon from a friend in China and the super cool flower made from Silk Carrier Rods.

I love the nuno effect that happens with silk and wool. I wet it the night before and it practically melted together over night. Took no time for the wool to incorporate with the silk. Roll and shape.

Oh, the fun to be had with these!! Now my new favorite thing to play with and dye!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Warm and Wooly, Cute Too!

This was made for my lovely sisters birthday in October. It was a special year for her, but you'd never guess it by her outlook on life and the way she lives it. Newlywed to a wonderful man, marathon, triathlon, teacher of special needs children plus a whole host of other wonderful things. So, not being sure, I made 2 things and let her choose. This hat and a nuno scarf, which I will post soon. Then, sent pictures and asked her to act surprised when it arrived.

The hat is made from short carded merino wool from Filzrausch in Germany, silk fibre and a scarf procured from the local thrift store. Cut into squares. It was made with a resist and then pinched and tucked on a hat block and left to dry overnight.

This one was made shortly after the first. I'd posted a picture for a hat workshop that I was running, so being without the sample, I did another in a different colour and shape for the element on top/side. It was fun to try plaid with strips of scrim (cotton gauze), silk lap, and short merino as well. It grades from dark purple to a raspberry on the other side.

Saturday, November 05, 2011


It's time for the annual Knitting and Stitching Show at the RDS Convention Centre. This year, Feltmakers Ireland is teaching Fabulous Felt Brooches at the Learning Curve "mini workshop"
The instructors have 1 hour to teach mostly new felt makers the skills and technique of making textile from wool fibre and fabric. These are a some of the samples that I did in preparation.

We're using a new type of wool this year. A very short merino fibre. Carded, not combed. It felts very quickly and super smooth. They will be able to do some stitching on theirs if they want to.

This one will be stitched along the "S" curve in the middle.

This one is nearly done. I prefer the cheesecloth or scrim fabric to most others. The texture is very cool.

This one has a little pocket in the top, made from an oval foam resist. Needs a bit of stitching as well. Fun stuff.
On with the show!! November 10-13.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


So after the marathon sewing projects, here's a peek.
Son is "Soldier" from Team Fortress Challenge. I know, it pushes my buttons letting
him play the game so much and even say yes, to making the costume. Turned out cool though and he really likes it. It will probably the last Trick or Treat for him.

The jacket was made from red "store bought" felt. Rocket launcher is drain pipes, funnel, old thermos, a bit of wood and black spray paint. Grenades were green, but had to modified to look authentic. Military surplus hat, couple of luggage straps, dad's boots and there you go. Soldier!

Our little flower. Small home made hoop skirt. Have the giant neck slash to prove it. Thick wire can be very springy and painful. DH thought he might have to get the super glue for the quick fix. Several layers of sheer fabric over an orange lining. Leaves sewn onto the shirt, head piece, orange tights, wellies (of course) watering can for goodies and an umbrella just in case. She had more fun putting the makeup on time after time "just to practice". I can see it coming. At least she'll have some practice in moderation, not a trip to clown college for makeup tips.

We all had a great night. Sat and watched the local lads stealing pumpkins, smashing them in the street and then lighting illegal fireworks until very late. Ah, Halloween.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween

Well the costumes are finally done after a marathon of sewing. Pics to follow.
Have a Spooktacular day and night. Corny, I know.

Been very busy with the upcoming Knitting and Stitching Show prep in Dublin. I have a felt
dress to make in the next few days for the Profiles in Felt book launch on the 12th. 42 Irish felt makers have come together in a book published by Feltmakers Ireland. Really wonderful women and beautiful felt involved in making this long process come to life. Can't wait to get my copies.

Lots more felt to come. Need time to breath.

Monday, October 03, 2011

And Then There Was None

I'm not a great sock knitter. I've made 2 pair in my lifetime. They take a long time. Last December, I found a beautiful sock yarn from Araucania Yarns. Grays, lavenders, chartreuse and mossy greens. Maybe I will. So I started the hunt for a lace knee sock pattern. What was I thinking?? Not sure, but on Ravelry I found a lovely pair by Nancy Bush in the Folk Socks book. Highland Schottische Kilt Hose. They're amazing. So I got the book off Ebay or Amazon for next to nothing and started to knit.

Nearly a year later, I'm down to the ankle on both. Just getting ready for the heal. I've been trying them on all along to make sure they fit. They're snuggish. Maybe a little to snug after I wash them...

This is the unstretched lace leg.

I only did one repeat on the cuff, afraid that I wouldn't have enough yarn. I have plenty now that I'm down to the ankle.

And this is what I have now. I made the decision to unravel them both, knit them on a larger circular needle and include the second round for the fold down cuff. Maybe next winter. Although I haven't given up and put them away for another time, which is what I normally do.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Gosford Rare Breeds Show

Another year for Feltmakers Ireland to visit Markethill, Northern Ireland for the anual Rare Breeds Show. Last year was such fun that we decided to have a vessel competition this year.
80% rare or native Irish breed / 20% other fibre. There were no specifications on size or colour. The visitors were asked to vote on their favorite piece by placing a bean into the vessel. The one with the most beans won a beautiful Wensleydale fleece. I knew I should have done something cute instead of what I did. The boat with the little penguin won.

This is mine. I used Galway (white) Lincoln Longwool (dyed green) and a loden green Finish wool on the top. I also incorporated a few strips of cheese cloth, because I really like the way is looks as it becomes incorporated into the felt.

This is a detail shot of the cheese cloth.

I bought a Lincoln Longwool fleece last year at the show. They are beautiful. In the eyes of the beholder. The colours range from white, brown, silver and charcoal all in the same fleece. It was difficult to get clean because of the long locks, but well worth it after all.

Dyed green. Chucked a bit into the dyepot after something else. The exhaust was a pale sage green.

This is hand carded and teased out. It doesn't work well on the drum carder due to the length of the locks and the curls tend to be pretty hard to get apart. They do curl back up once the felting begins.

This is the new love of my life. Leicester Longwool. One of these sheep has the most beautiful charcoal/silver gray fleece. Tight curls. Just think of what you could make. I know I am...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saying Goodbye

After 13 days of constant interaction, it was time to say goodbye to those who had become like family to us. The wonderful ladies from Budapest said their fair wells to Ireland today with hugs and tears.

Last evening was spent with a fantastic evening at Gabi's and the traditional Irish BBQ, in the rain. Songs and gifts were exchanged with invites to return to Budapest any time. There is a plan in the works for another adventure next summer. Should be amazing!

These are the girls. Marta, Ester, Betty & Sophie, Silvia, Gabi, Bea, Elizabeth, Kata and Boro. All happy with their gifts of Irish native wool. It will be interesting to see what becomes of it.

Unknown to us, while we were planning gifts for them, they we're doing the same. Wine, honey, marmalade, marzipan, cookies, paprika, of course, lovely traditional cookies that are beautifully iced and a photo album with pictures of us on our wonderful holiday taken by Ester. They are so thoughtful and generous as well as wonderful crafts people. A sisterhood was formed.
Szerelem az Ön számára

Friday, August 26, 2011


I just took a trip to Budapest for a week with Feltmakers Ireland. There we 6 of us that were able to take the trip. We did an exchange with a lovely group of Hungarian felt makers as well. We were invited to come and participate in the National Festival of Traditional Craft held at the Castle.
Their group (12) are currently visiting Ireland and exploring our short, but thriving felting techniques and communities. Saturday, they will take part in Ireland's National Heritage week, by doing demos of traditional Hungarian felt making. It should be fantastic.

They are a great, fun loving group that adapt well to our cooler climate. After leaving weather in the 40's C, they arrived to the mid teens. Burrr!!!

Here is a brief overview of the week.

Arrival was late Tuesday night, finally falling into bed around midnight. The next day was beautiful and warm. Off to the St. Gellart Thermal Spa and Swimming Pool. Yes, It was Great. Basecoat of the tan begins now.

Next we did a sight seeing tour lead by Judit. A lovely woman who has immense knowledge of Buda and Pest. Great with English as she is an English teacher.

This is the Buda castle that overlooks the Danube River. There were hundreds of traditional craft vendors that all over the grounds. The link is for the festival from last year. Have a look at the video portion. It's really good.

Wednesday evening we went to the castle ground to help erect the 3 yurts and 2 tents that were in the area that the demonstrations were to be held. Dinner was afterwords around the yurts. Starts around 9:30. Roll into bed around midnight. I was sensing a pattern here.

As felt makers, we decided to do a group project together. While we were not together until last week, we decided to to Celtic and Hungarian knots. Each square was to be a certain size with ropes, so that it could be tied together when we came together. These are mostly the Irish knots with more being added later in the week. I'll take a photo on the completed piece tomorrow.

Thursday morning was the first day of the festival and we got to work right away cutting prefelt (half felted wool) for the prayer rug. The rug was being done in one of the main squares as a demo for people to participate in if they wanted to.

Rolled up and ready to begin felting. Heavy, wet and full of unprocessed wool. (Poop) We made felt along with a translator up at the yurts for the rest of the day. Had a lovely dinner after the festival and got to bed around the same time.

Friday was spent at the castle and in the evening was a fashion show of traditional costumes, reworks on traditional and felt pieces. Absolutely beautiful and what a setting.

Saturday was the big 25th anniversary party. Millions of people flocked to the castle and river to watch the spectacular fireworks show. The bands at the castle before and after were amazing. Meat by the cartloads and beer a plenty! What a party was had by all.

Sunday was the final day and take down. We had an amazing breakfast at the yurts of shared traditional foods. Salmon, cheeses, fatback, breads, jams, paprika spreads and whiskey of course. Not sure which side that was, but there it was.

Sunday morning was museum time. The Museum of Applied Arts and the Museum of Ethnography were beautiful. Breathtaking architecture in each one. No minimalism here.

Traditional eggs. Can't wait to have my lessons from Gabi in the spring.

Bit of scenery along the river. This church is at the north end of the castle. Amazing tile roofs.

Sunday evening we went to visit Bea. She's a dentist by occupation and "just plays" with felt. Talk about feeling inadequate! Her stuff is fab. Piles and piles of every different type. Wow.

Monday, we were treated to a trip to lake Balaton. It's huge and picturesque. The six were accompanied by several of the ladies and their families. It was really a great day to talk and get to know them better.
Tuesday, we went to Boro and Oto's for breakie and off to the market for paprika and the last souvenirs. What a finish and what a trip. Thanks to everyone for all the hospitality and great planning.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Sometimes I find commission pieces hard to do. This is one that was requested in a lovely lilac colour. I don't have anything against lilac, in fact I quite like it. But the question is always, where to start and what to put into it. It's endless. So after months of putting it off... Here it is.

I really love the silk twine that I picked up 2 years ago from a dye company called Oliver Twist. They are a very sculptural element to a soft hat. White twigs are what they remind me of. The silk dyed well and incorporated more than one colour to the surface of the hat as well at the bow and band. I'm very happy with the results and so was Dee.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Man vs. Beast

Ok, after you say "Ahhh, isn't she cute!!" Yes, she is and we love her, but...

She's a weed whacker that has good taste. Our lovely little bunny has a fancy hutch, with a fancier run, built for her by Bob the Builder aka Roy. It's spectacular. Plenty of space, grass, ramp for the in and out activities. Guilt overruns us as we see her staring into the windows as we stare back out at her. She must want to run, we say. Let's let her out.

She loves to run. So much, that she's excivated at track of sorts behind every bush and plant in the garden/yard. We love watching her take off at super rabbit speed and race around in circles until she's so tired, she drops to the ground in exhaustion.

Part of the track making involves chewing down and through anything that might touch her during her sprints. Anything. As much as I try to plant towards the grass, she seems to enlarge her running lane.

Our lovely leeks that were just planted.
We had 3 casualties today.

Our lovely peas that are bearing fruit or is it veg, have lost loved ones.

Not visible at the first glance, but look beyond and you will discover...

So, gardening with a free range rabbit has it's issues, but we just plant extra. Life with "The Rabbit" is fun and keeps us on the run as well. We love our little beast!