Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shibori Dyed Alpaca Felt Purse

The white alpaca fiber was first needle felted on the Table Top needle felting machine that can be seen at After needle felting I rolled the pieces - wet and soapy - on the rolling machine. Then they tumbled in the dryer - again wet and soapy. I had 7 pieces of felt and I dyed each a different color. Then I wrapped or otherwise folded the pieces to achieve different resist effects. They were then all dyed in the same dye bath - a brownish color.

The bag is lined and leather is sewn on one side of the strap.
The bag is currently on sale at the Tactile Arts Center in Denver Colorado at the 5th Annual "Member Showcase"

Table Top Needle Felting Machine and visit to Illinois

We had a quick trip to visit Susan and her husband Ron at Waldron Grove Alpacas in Illinois. She is doing some very exciting work on the table top needle felting machine. She is felting into all kinds of fabrics using alpaca and wool and also using her rolling machine combining with the needle felting machine.
Me and Susan
I have a pile of needle felted romney wool - natural brown color - that I can picture to become a coat. It was made while testing finished machines waiting to be shipped out to their new owners. I want to wet felt onto the needle felted fiber and see the results of a twice felted piece. Today I finally had a chance to do some samples. First I laid out different colors of gauze fabric on top of the solar pool cover rolling mat. Then I cut pieces of hard felt - sometimes called "pebbles". The pebbles were placed on top of the gauze fabric. I used gauze because I want to see the effect of the pebbles and have them stand out. I covered the pebbles with two thin layers of merino wool, some matching the fabric and some in contrast. The needle felted romney in natural brown and natural grey was placed on top and everything was wet down with cold water and liquid Dawn - soap (from a watering can), then placed on the rolling machine. I didn't use pressure, I just let it turn on the bottom two rollers checking it every 3 to 5 minutes. After about 20 minutes everything was felting together so I used hot water with olive oil soap and flipped the piece over and now placed it on the machine with 3 turns of pressure. I left it for 5 minute intervals before rolling it in the opposite direction. Everything felted together after around 20 more minutes and I rolled by hand for about 5 minutes then let it tumble in the dryer wet and soapy for around 8 minutes total. I like the results and now I can plan the final fabric color and the merino wool color I will use.  

brown needle felt on left, grey needle felt on right. Test sample in middle.

Creative Design Retreat

In my new quest to learn all I can about sewing and fashion so I can use my hand made felt for garments, I attended a 4 day workshop in San Marcos, California put on by Cochenile Designs.

Missoni - made for the World Cup

Ballet and Opera costumes
The retreat focused on creative design for sewers and knitters. Anna Walden, a knitwear designer and Susan Lazear - Professer of Fashion at Mesa College in San Diego were the instructors. I took copious notes and many pictures and came away with a new appreciation and understanding, (though just scratching the surface), of garment design. We spent a day in the LA garment district and visited Beverly Hills - Rodeo Drive and a highlight was the "Il Teatro alla Moda" Theatre in Fashion, an exhibition of the theatrical costumes from Italy's world famous haute couture designers.

Button selection at Mood Fabrics

LA Garment District

"Animal Felt: Art Informs Shibori" Exhibition in Hong Kong

I was very happy to have my submission to the 8th International Shibori Symposium accepted. It is a bolero made from hand made merino wool felt, shibori dyed with resist techniques and immersion dyed. The title is "Russet Bolero.  Here is the link to the Conference: