Wednesday, September 30, 2009

felt fun 2

this is a bag made as a result of improvisation. I wanted to see how the "native" wool would combine with fabric, so I laid it out on a sheet of cotton. It is quite coarse(the wool), and I was happy to see that the hairs were passing through the fabric- happy because they were visible, also because lots of them had passed through, it was quite stable without being at all fulled. when I started to throw it and drop it I decided to make something out of it, and not have just another flat sample of felt. I sewed two sides together, one short and one long, making a cylinder, closed on one side. I threw it around some more. I love this part, spraying soapy water all around, massaging my woolly fabric and stroking it so the hairs felt into the others and not rising up. It was just beginning to get crinkly when I thought it might be a good idea to strengthen the seams. I cut merino commercial prefelt into strips and laid it over the seams, rubbing a little bit. after throwing and squishing some more it dawned on me that it would be uneven, with more wool on the seams, so i started "collaging" more prefelt on to the fabric, until it was covered. It is good that this wool doesnt felt quickly, so I had time to wait for inspiration while squishing. I get my best ideas when working with my hands- it would be easier to cut a strip of prefelt as large as the fabric and lay it out on the other side from the beginning, but now I know eh?
After rolling and squishing and wetting and soaping and then hitting and really rubbing hard and dancing with the felt I had a cylinder, closed on one end. And it stayed on the kitchen table all night long with no identity, just possibilities. I wasn't making a bag, just a nuno sample. Next day, the boys were asking what it is. I told them it is a hat and wore it on my head. they laughed. but it did look good, and I saw it could take many shapes with blocking. As I was playing around with form, I saw that it would make a nice pouch. so I made cords, using the black wool and some merino roving dyed the same as the prefelt I had used for the inside, and because it was looking good and I was enjoying the rolling, I made a second one, long, soft and coarse at the same time. I cut holes near the top of the bag, rubbed them well, the felt hardened more there- I think with manual felting there is always the possibility to felt some more-, I passed one of the cords through the holes. Now I had to attach it to the lower corner. I made a small palm-felt, hard and strong, and opened holes - two widely spaced and two closer together. passing the cords through that, I saw that it is good for pushing against the rim of the bag to keep the cords tight to close the opening- like the pieces of wood with two holes that keep the tent strings taut- so I kept that for a closing mechanism and made another one for the bottom end. I passed the cords through the second one, made a nice flattish knot. Then I put some wool behind it, stitched a few holding stitches with wool yarn and rubbed it until it was fused with the body of the bag. I liked the second cord too much not to use it, so I wove it around the first one around the rim of the bag. It is now my handbag.
My mother when she saw it said that she especially likes the combination of sugar white and caramel now I am going to make one for her. But she doesn't like sac-like bags, she wants compartments, so I have to practice using resists. Then I'm going to start selling them for a lot of money and be mythically rich so that I can play around with sheep hair and soapy water all I want without worrying about the bills :-)))))))))))))))

these are my future experiments soaking in various indescribable liquids. I will have many metres of different light weaves of cotton to play with. when I am rich, there will be silk also.
this one began as an exploration of karagouniko (my native fleecewool)on linen. I did measure it to make a wallet for the packet of rolling tobacco, the measuring worked- I allowed for it to be half the size when finished. it is harder than I would want for wearing, but fine for a bag or slippers.the breakthrough on this one is how much I enjoyed stitching. I couldn't stop- it still needs a bobble or something to keep it closed, but I like it. the yarn is wool from the same kind of sheep, sold as rug yarn - i bought it some time ago.

and, a whatif- another one! A piece of fabric died with seedpods from a bush that is prolific on our land, acacia leaves and the remnants of a eucalyptus bark dyebath. so whatif I made a bag with this inside? which side would be nicer? would the dyes keep? this hasn't had time to cure- but the colouring is so bold I think something will stay. here it is stiched on two sides- should I say basted?i decided to use the gray fleece, to see how it felts. it has very long hairs and is very coarse.I made a resist out of cereal box cardboard, taped an opened plastic bag and bubblewrap around it.I put it inside and sewed the top closed. that is more sewing than I have done in the past thirty years, and there's more to come.fibres laid out on one side. they took a lot of water. both sides wetted out and tucked in. I rolled it up and rolled away bouncing it a little bit, the bubblewrap on the inside helped the bouncing. I hated not being able to look inside to see whether the fibres are passing through the fabric. so I decided to trust it. and roll softly and a lot, to make sure.I opened it when it began to get crinkly, you can see where I made the cuts. the colours on the cloth were lighter, but they look good with the greythis is the inside of the finished purse, interesting markings on the cloth, but not as bold as before. So I got bold with the stitching-


frontside open


I'm enjoying the embellishment, stitching, sewing sooooooo much I don't believe it. I was the worst pupil in "home economics" when it came to stitching I managed to nearly fail this unfailable course in high school
the teacher didn't like it that my hands were always inky from writing with a fountain pen
she didn't like it that I made stitching drawings instead of straight lines
now revenge is mine
I will stitch and embroider rough wooly felt in a rough wooly way to my hearts content.
It is a pity that I refused to touch a needle for more than 30 years
maybe I will enjoy it more for that
for this new joy of stitching I want to thank jude hill of spiritcloth I read every post, visit her favourite sites, and admire her work
the idea of whatifs is from her site too
I think everything I do is a whatif, much of my everyday life is a whatif now that I am growing older and can appreciate the fun
when I found myself looking at needles in the shop I knew new worlds were opening for me
since I started searching the internet to learn about dyes from plants last spring I feel that I have opened the door to a great place to be
I'm so grateful


Joei Rhode Island said...

Love the bags...colors are fantastic. I have some extra silk....want to trade???
email me and let me know...
Love your enthusiasm for felt! Isn't it great?

Ladka said...

Manya, I enjoy your picturesque descriptions of what you're doing. I especially liked your "selling them for a lot of money and be mythically rich " which is also my situation. Nevertheless, I keep playing with plants, wool, cotton and bamboo fabric, colours and printing. It's so refreshing to read of other people's playing in a similar way, now that we're growing older and can appreciate the fun.
Thank you for your detailed description and for the many pictures.

Karen said...

What a gorgeous Bag and love your description to, good luck on your journey to riches and when that happens we can all say, we follow that girl hehehe.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

This is a great post. I feel like I spent the day with you! -J

Martine said...

You'r whatiffing is beautiful Manya. I love your bags.
You allready are mythically rich cause you're allready playing with sheep hair and soapy water.
@ Thanks for the albizia julibrissin and the green one is on his way.

yvette said...

hoi sweetie, what wonderfull things you did ..they are my favorite colors!
ot yes I'm learning a lot at the revalidation centre...throw your pain away, begin all over again to be more yourself instead of the pain...away with the morphine....symbolised in my seapictures my new self is coming on the coast.....
love you!

Jasmine said...

A beautiful bag, a wonderful process. Enjoy your revenge x

dorie said...

your stitches are like a story...I do like this very much!

Manya Maratou said...

Joei- hi! yes, I love the idea of trading. I'll email. these are coarse, extremely dirty fleeces- or were you thinking of the bags???

Ladka, thanks for your words, I love the scarf you are sending for attikasos..I'm thinking of a chuckleclub where we (virtually) meet and chuckle away with our fun activities!

Karen, yes, but I'm beginning to think that maybe a lottery ticket would be useful- a winning one of course :-))

Jayne why do I have the feeling that it might just happen one day?in the real world, I mean

martine, your scarf arrived, it is wonderful, much nicer than the pictures- thats it with textiles, they are tactile, not just optical

Yvette, hugs, you are teaching us, too by writing about your experiences. I tend to overdo everything. I love the galaxies I see in your latest posts, like unverses being born

jasmine, how are you? yourcreations are stunning. Theblanket, she is beautiful. yesterday she hugged a tree, now she is waiting for her new owner

dorie the scarf is here, the prints are amazing. I'm jealous!! do I see cotinus coggyria with the rose leaves?how do you manage with such a low price? silk is much more expensive here. I visit your blog often to look at the pictures, and to read the hilarious google translations. your work and Yvettes speaks to my soul. please keep me informed about mehmet girgic seminar
thank you all

Suzanna said...

I love reading how you did this's beautiful. Thank you.

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