After experimenting with making felt from different types of wool (Icelandic, Shetland, Corriedale, horned Dorset, etc.) I really appreciate why feltmakers usually choose merino wool, particularly for nuno feltmaking. Nuno, or laminated felt, is the process of incorporating lightweight, open weave fabric such as cotton gauze or silk chiffon into the feltmaking process. The wool fibers travel through the woven fabric and, as the fibers shrink down to become felt, entrap the woven fabric. Because the woven fabric strengthens the felt, very little wool can be used, and the felting process causes the woven fabric to pucker up. The end result is a lightweight, flexible fabric with a lot of texture.
I’ll be adding this shawl and other items to the Etsy shop this week. In the future I’ll add more detailed process pictures – it is SO much fun to see the transformation from fluffy fleece to well-fulled felt fabric!
I have exactly two pincushions. The one on the left is the standard issue sold at big box stores. I bought the pincushion on the right at a Boston Bazaar Bizarre holiday show several years ago (they are no longer held, but now there are other holiday handmade fairs, including Boston Handmade's). As a pair, these pincushions nicely illustrate the answer to the question of why buy handmade, when mass produced is readily available. It's a question that can become doctrinaire and the jargon can mislead at times, but in this case, handmade IS better.
I have tendonitis and will not be vending at SoWa today, as I had planned. I want to give my hand a rest and avoid slinging a tent, tent weights and the other stuff that comprises even a simple booth. It's a missed opportunity for me, but I'll be back at SoWa on August 24.
I'll take a lesson from the dwarf cherry tree in my yard, which was in full blossom way back in May. The flowers were present just for a few days but my mind was on other things and I essentially sleepwalked through that brief period of bloom. The lesson? Time passes quickly. You get one chance to enjoy that particular moment, because when it has passed, it's gone. But... there will be other delicious moments to enjoy.
Because I had missed the cherry blossoms, I made sure to track the cherry fruit as they first appeared as green nubs where the flowers once were, then swelled and turned yellow, pink, and finally red. Last year was the first time that the tree produced a noticeable amount of fruit, nearly five years after I first planted it, and the first time I could say I harvested fruit from my own yard. This year the tree produced a startling abundance of blossoms which meant there would be more than enough cherries for me and for the neighborhood birds.
I picked several pounds of cherries at the point where they just turned red, and made cherry juice and lots of cherry compote. I left on the tree almost as many cherries as I picked. The birds waited about two weeks after my harvest: when the fruit turned a deep, cherry-red (duh!) color, the bluejays, cardinals, sparrows and starlings had a feast. But the cherries I did pick were yummy. And next year, there will be more cherry blossoms, and more cherry fruit, and I'll take a tip from the birds and wait a bit longer before harvesting so that I'll get riper cherries that will still be of no interest to the birds....
.... and I"ll be back again at another Open Market with more items to sell....
My name is Ava Chan. I live in Boston with two greyhounds. I make felt. I dye and sew fabric. Studying, seeking, making textiles.