Friday, 20 March 2015

Needlefelting an Upholstered Box Seat - A Bad Beginning

Spinning combed wool tops used to seem less interesting than beginning projects from the raw fleece.  To be truthful, I felt tops were a bit of a sell out for the would be organic, unpasteurised wool freak.  Each time I have had a little go at working with them, I have been taken aback by the difference in the skills needed.
Coming to appreciate that tops offer a whole new range of yarn possibilities, last summer, I bought a few metres of soft, puffy Blue Faced Leicester.  Trying to emulate the gorgeous gradient braids sold by Indie Dyers, I dip dyed the ends in a woad bath. After mordanting with 10% alum and simmering in a weld dyebath, I ended up with a lovely braid of Lincoln greens, so felted that combing it back out again would have given me shoulders like Charles Atlas.
 It got stuffed to the back of the cupboard, along with another length, which I had overdyed with late season coreopsis, getting dull bronze shades and a grim dark green. 

Two second hand Lloyd Loom style storage baskets have also been knocking about the house, waiting for refurbishment.  The sitting room needs extra seats and I need safer havens than the top of the dining table to keep my works in progress.  I repainted the first one, stapled some boiled wool blanket loosely over the top and stuffed it with some rough old washed fleece. 
The perfect canvas for a deeply symbolic needlefelt design I have been brooding over for some time.

Elinor Gotland returned to the nest during a break in filming 'The Girl with the Sheep Tattoo'.  She has brought another member of the cast back with her and I am getting just a bit fed up with the pair of them, billing and cooing away and expecting to be made endless cups of tea.
"Heathcliff, darling, look what Fran is up to now!  Lovebirds, how terribly swee-eet."

"Actually, Elinor, 'Two Birds in One Tree' is an ancient Celtic symbol with layer after layer of meaning. Here, have a look at Aidan Meehan's book."  She barely flipped through a couple of pages, before turning to simper at Heathcliff Wensleydale again.
"Mmm, fascinating, I'm sure.  Your interpretation isn't a patch on his version though, is it Beaut?  Aren't the two birds supposed to be identical?  Yours isn't symmetrical either.  In fact, I think you must have started a bit far over to the left. "
Distracted from the task in hand, I accidentally stabbed myself with the felting needle, dropped the ball of handspun Hebridean yarn I had been working with and let loose a few expletives.
"Now then, lass.  Th'art champion wi' Anglo-Saxon, anyroad."
"Heathcliff, you're such a scream!"  Elinor went off into silvery peals of laughter.
"Yeah, funny as when you caught your left teat in the flyer."  I muttered through gritted teeth, as I migrated upstairs.  Best I wrestle those felted green tops into needlefelt without a running commentary.

To be continued.

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