Sunday, 17 March 2013

Woven Felted Bag

Last year I had the idea to weave merino tops in the Theo Moorman Techinique which I love. She was a contemporary of my weaving teacher who paid me a lovely complement when this was done and saying that Theo loved to see all the different ways that her technique could be used.

I started with samples which featured in this earlier blog. In early January I wound the warp that grew up to be this spinning fibre bag.

I wove small amoungts of the merino tops in colour sequences.

In showing both the front and back you can see, the weaving at the back that holds the tops is very loosely woven to allow for the shrinkage. The warp is wool with fine cotton, sewing thread, to hold the tops.

I covered it entirely in an old sheet

rolling it up and securing it with circles of cut tights. (Thanks to Sue for all her help. She was a wonderful inspirations throughout this project. )

It went into the washing machine at 40 degrees for half and hour. Because it was over 2m of rolled up tops, it felted differently over the piece from outside to the centre to inner end. It pre-felted rather than felting completely.

The outside edge felted the most. You can see the differences in the next 3 photos

The middle is also quite nicely held together.

The inner edge felted just enough to hold it together and made a wonderfully soft fabric that has me dreaming of future waistcoats.....

I choose the more felted section of the cloth to cut 2 bases for my bag.

I placed them wrong sides together so the base of the inside of the bag would have the felted fabric visible both inside and outside.

I used the softer less felted bits for the 'bag' part

 scalloping one edge as I had plans for buttons.

Sewn together on the sewing machine, it formed a good soft sturdy bag.

While demonstrating at the exhibition in December, I made and inkle band in the same colours to use for the handles. I folded it around some rope before sewing it together and attaching it to the bag

I was delighted to find these lovely sheep buttons which I discovered were made in South Africa.

I blanked stitched the base of the bag to neaten the outside seam.

I love this bag. The colours are cheerful. It is light and a joy to use.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Paris in the Winter

The Saint and I were watching Mondy Don on television.  He was standing in front of the Monet Water Lily panels in the Musée de l'Orangerie when I sighed and commented that I would dearly love to see them. Two weeks later, we were racing across the countryside in the Eurostar en route to a cold and wintry Paris. (Now you know another reason why he is called The Saint:))

We started our adventure by climbing the tallest hill in Paris up Montmartre 

to look out on the gloomy, misty city

and decided that a real 'French' experience would cheer us immensely. One of the things that I love about France is the beautiful paper placemats that adorn the tables.

We imbibed our delicious, if expensive, delights overlooking a traditional square of artists painting and drawing portraits for tourists.

Afterwards, we explored the streets where Picasso, Degas, Monet, Renoir and Cezanne, to name a few, spent time creating and changing our understanding of art. In the shop windows was the usual tourist tat.

These cups advertised a potter.

After walking for a couple of hours we found a delightful Italian place, decorated with the South African flag (in the corner next to the painting of the building) to while away a pleasant hour or two with red wine and good food.

The next morning saw us in a cafe near the Louvre where we enjoyed breakfast. This gorgeous panel was the decoration. 

 The Louvre pyramid is  impressive. The building that houses all those amazing art pieces is just as beautiful both inside and out, as the art it houses.

We beat the crowds to Mona Lisa and I was quite emotional standing before a number of these beautiful artworks. I never dreamed that I would see them when I studied Art History as a young girl in a faraway country.

Winged Victory of Samothrace

Venus de Milo

The Lace Maker

I don't know who this chap is but he looks kinda like The Saint (when he had more hair).

To honour my adopted country - St George and the Dragon.

I loved the ceilings in the Louvre and spent a great deal of time craning my neck looking at them.

The painting that stole my heart - The Young Martyr. I love the light on the water.

Too much culture dulls the mind so we left the Louvre to walk along the Seine to find lunch and the Orangerie. Monet's panels beckoned. No photos are permitted of the panels and words cannot describe the experience.

The bridges along the Seine are adorned with locks. People write their names and the names of their lovers on them then lock them onto the bridge and throw the keys into the water.

The buildings are fun, sometimes with decorated facades.

The following day we explored the islands of the Seine and visited Notre Dame.

We walked to Pont de Neuf bridge. The Louvre is beautifully framed by the arches.

We boarded a boat for a tour up the river but did not hear much as the engines were louder than the megaphone...

Thanks to the advice from Cecile, one of my lovely knitting/spinning friends, we travelled on the metro to a lovely area with a yarn shop where I was most restrained:) 

There were quirky shops selling quirky things. I loved the Chocolatier - a real artisan business.

In another shop window, a doll's house that looked fascinating

and then I lost restraint in a wonderful embroidery shop where I came away with this cross stitch kit and a beautiful pair of embroidery scissors.

The last day saw us walking towards the Eiffel Tower very early. We decided that even though the weather produced poor visibility, we still had to ascend the heights.

We stood in the queue underneath the tower eating croissants and drinking coffee, as one does in France, to keep warm.

It was such fun going up in the glass lifts and at the top a misty view of a very cold city.

Did I mention it was freezing...... ? My wonderful knitwear was deliciously warm, hidden under the big jacket!

As we left the sun attempted to break through the clouds. After a long walk around Paris we spent our last afternoon in the d'Orsay museum enjoying the works of the Impressionists who had instigated our unforgettable adventure.

The Saint has his own blog and if you would like to see more photos and hear his story you can find it here - Wild Man. I know I am biased but he takes wonderful photographs:)