Unfinished business

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know I have a bit of a butterfly tendency. One minute it’s felt, next it’s indigo, then it’s on to embroidery or natural dyes.

I’m sure I could achieve more by concentrating in depth on one thing for a particular period – but there are so many exciting ideas to explore! 🙂 And I do revisit themes and ideas, often from a new angle, having learnt something else in my wide-ranging explorations.

Anyway, when I was putting my stuff away after returning from the workshop with Maria Friese, I came across a piece of felt smocking that I’d stitched on commercial prefelt but not felted. (The holes you can see are – ahem! – moth holes.)

felt smocking1

This was from a while ago, when I was pondering the connection between smocking and origami tessellations. It led to some very interesting email exchanges with Jane Araújo, who designs amazingly complex lacy knitting patterns and came up with some very helpful suggestions about how I could pursue this further.

Needless to say, I got distracted by something else, but I was reminded of it when I was talking to Maria about origami and felt. I think I’d left it unfelted because the prefelt was very fine and I was worried that the lovely pattern and texture would just disappear and I would end up with an uneven lumpy bit of felt.

But of course it didn’t – it retained the structure very well after felting.

felt smocking2

And it looks even better with the light coming through – perfect for a lampshade or backlit panel.

felt smocking3

With the felt I also came across a couple of linen table mats I’d stitched, ready for dyeing. And as the weather has been a bit hot for felting I charged up the indigo vat.

This was also the opportunity to try another technique that I read about on the excellent Momiji Studio blog. I’ve never tried tesuji shibori because I couldn’t visualise how to bind the fabric onto a rope, but blogger Jessica gave a great explanation.

I used a rather pedestrian open-weave cotton scarf in a large grid of different colours – and it certainly made a difference.

tesuji shawl1

The discharge effect on the central orange section was interesting.

tesuji shawl2

And the mats came out OK too, though I think the stitching on the second one could have been a bit tighter.

mokune table mat1lace table mat 2

But given how long they’ve been sitting around, I should be grateful that the moths didn’t much through the thread! 😉

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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

6 thoughts on “Unfinished business”

  1. I tend to flit around a bit too. But as you say, it all works together to add ideas from one area to another that you might not have though of otherwise. Love the tesuji shibori!

  2. Love all your examples. I, too, play around. Dyeing,shibori,polymer clay,wet felting, indigo, break down printing and more. However, I am never bored…wish I could decide which I would like to stay with for a long period but it depends on weather, if I need to make money lol and what I have on hand to work with…thanks for sharing. Linda Spreen

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