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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Osmon Rug Workshop

Nancy's "girls" -- all dressed up for the party complete with prom dresses !

Mehmet cooking us a delicious shrimp lunch complete with Meditarean vegetables (and his specialty, "hot" sauce)
Did I mention Nancy's antique cape? What class! Another "Queen"!!!
Mehmet helping with my border. I decided to something completely different for me -- I always do flowers but I really wanted to learn how to replicate a design - and as you can see, I got plenty of practice!
Nancy's creation - check out her bird!

A sampling of Mehmet and Theresa's work - we all had an opportunity to enjoy their work up close.

More fabulous detail - everywhere you looked Nancy had special touches!
Theresa after a long work day - and still cheerful!
The "girls" shoes! awww . . .

Mehmet taking a turn rolling (3 rugs inside!) -- he helped us all and made sure we understood the technique.
See what I mean about the endless rolling?
You can see for yourself, just how much fun we had!
Mehmet made rolling look so easy -- his hands are very powerful after all his years of practice - he's been felting since he was 13 years old and felt rug making is a family tradition.

Mehmet demonstrating how to begin our design. The first day was spent laying it out, the second day was spent filling in with the wool and on the third day, we rolled, and rolled and rolled and then when we were exhausted, we fulled and then we rolled some more!
This my friend Kathy, laying out her gorgeous flower design - she does some amazing work.

Look at the intricate design here! We were all given personal guidance - and then it was up to us!
These are the amazing results of the workshop held at the amazing studio of Nancy Schmitt in Westminster, Maryland. Nancy is the tall, gorgeous brunette with Mehmet's arm around her. (I'm the short one on his other side!) This three-day workshop was physically and mentally challenging but worth every single moment!

The fun took place inside and outside of Nancy's fabulous studio. One third is a cozy seating area complete with overstuffed chairs, felted ottoman and a fireplace with mosaic surrounds - (I know I can't keep repeating the word fabulous, but I want you to get the picture!). The rest is a work room complete with wonderful brightly painted tables just the right height for felting, running water, a stove, plenty of storage and french doors that open to the outside.
I'm going to add some more pictures here but I'm no expert on arranging things the way I like them on Blogger (don't have the time that it takes to learn how) so I know they will all be out of order but you'll get the idea.

Mosaic Rug Making Workshop

This past month has been a whirlwind of learning new things and meeting new felting friends. I learned that world class felters, Mehmet (from Turkey) and Theresa were coming to Maryland, I jumped at the opportunity to take classes.

The first one day mini workshop was spent learning the Mosaic technique and was held at Sharon Janda's home in Potomac, Maryland. Although Sharon and I spoke a few times via the Internet, nothing prepared me for her fabulous studio equipped with every possible piece of felting paraphernalia imaginable!. . . and her room of hand dyed roving was a joy to behold! A complete storehouse full in the most splendid colorways - - what a pleasure to the eye . . . and to the hand too if you had an opportunity to sink your fingers into it. Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera with me so you'll have to believe me when I tell you just how fabulous her studio is and what a caring and wonderful hostess she is. There were about seven of us each busy creating our individual designs with guidance from Mehmet and Theresa. I won't soon forget the fun Sharon and I had throwing and rolling our rugs down her driveway (our rugs were rolled together in the same Turkish mat)!

Confession time: I feel like such a "Dunce" every time I take a class, as I make things too complicated and I also love lots of detail which makes me take w-a-y longer than everyone else! but, I although I feel intimidated when I look around and everyone else is ahead of me, I'm never sad for long as I've learned new techniques and what I should and shouldn't do next time. Since it was Spring, I decided that I wanted to make a robin-red-breast -- but I didn't have enough time to really make him the way I wanted (one day isn't long enough for this class) so he looked a little like Humpty Dumpty except the brick wall was on his breast and he only had half of a wing (poor thing)!!! I'm needling in some detail -- could I have made flowers that are more organic and thus forgiving - nooooo - I had to choose something that had features that move around when felted -- like a neck and legs that got short (the rug shrinks by 40%). I have no idea whether or not the detail I'm adding will felt properly when I finally get time to roll it again - but I'm posting a picture of little robin in progress and will post another after the rug has been rolled - he's a spunky little thing - eh?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Green "scrumbles"

I've been making these green scrumbles (modular knit/crochet pieces) for over a year now and mentioned them in an earlier post. Since they were just sitting there, I decided to challenge myself to get it put together in time for the Maryland Sheep and Wool -- always fun to share with others to let them see how much fun making scrumbles can be -- it's amazing to me that more don't try it since everyone knits and must have loads of scraps of yarn hanging around. I always have lots asking for more information about scrumbles and I alert them to the International Freeform Knitting and Crochet group on Yahoo -- people from all around the world are into freeform. No need to worry about tension, or gauge -- just pick up some yarn and do whatever takes your fancy - there is everything in this wrap from plain knitting surrounded with all sorts of crochet stitches. What a great way to learn by making samples of new stitches and putting them together. Since I'm looking for relaxation in the evenings when doing these scrumbles, the colorway and texture means more to me than the actual stitches. With that said, sometimes, a particular yarn will call out to be bullions or fans - and there you go! This began with some gorgeous chenille and some curly wool in the Caribbean green tones and I began my pilgrimage of gathering everything I could find in that same colorway - a ball here and a ball there in various textures; I love working with monochromatic color schemes so the "hunt" is great fun for me. After I began working, I realized that it needed a delicate "punch" so that is when the rose tones entered -- nothing too loud or big just tiny touches here and there and I added a few pink locks here and there. It turned into a rather "frilly" wrap with an organic collar -- it reminded me of a garden so, of course, it had to have leaves -- and these are needle/wet felted and stitched and strategically placed. . . and what do you know, it WON the First Prize and Special Award in it's category! I was so surprised and thrilled!

This was the third attempt trying to create what I call "faux" nuno -machine needle felted then felted in the washing machine and fulled by hand! A few french knots were added as I love tiny detail (if I'd had the time, I would have added a lot more -- beads too!). If you look closely, you can see tiny roses and leaves that were stitched. It started out being a wrap and turned into a collar! That's the beauty of felting this way - the fibers migrate and sometimes results can be unpredictable but worthwhile just the same! As long as you are learning, the time spent isn't wasted and the results are quite pretty, I think. It is hand-dyed silk gauze with wool and silk and it won a third prize at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival!