Cat Coulson

Artwork & Inspirations.


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Valentine’s and Green Hearts

The Climate Coalition have a campaign for Valentine’s Day 2016 where you can get involved, making, photographing or wearing green hearts to show commitment to the environment and the challenges it faces – there is a film to watch at fortheloveof.org.uk and you can share your projects on social media using #showthelove

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Here is my wet-felted heart bowl with recycled sari yarn and green silks/merino on the inside. Happy Valentine’s Day x

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Experiments with Eco Printing

Over the Easter break, fellow felt maker Linda Irving came to stay, and we had a couple of eco-dyeing experiments! The first lot of petals and moss were not that successful, but we found good results with rose leaves, ferns and red onion skins. The process was fairly straightforward – laying the items onto prefelt soaked in vinegar and rolling it up carefully, then wrapping as tightly as possible in yarn. It was then simmered in a vinegar water solution for about 4 hrs. The difficulty was waiting as long as possible to unwrap it and look! We managed almost 2 days on the second batch… The prints were very subtle but beautiful, it has definitely inspired me to do lots more research into the process and more experimenting through the year!

 


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Washing Fleece

Phew – I have finished washing all the fleece from Amanda at Pedwardine Gotlands – tried a few different methods, but here is what i found most successful…

Tip 1 -DO NOT pour water with lanolin down the sinks – it may block them as it sets solid. Find a suitable place outside to tip dirty water.

Tip 2 – The more buckets you have to hand, the easier this is!

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1-Fill 2 buckets with warm water – (no soap yet) – submerge the fleece into one and gently swish to remove dirt. Carefully squeeze most of the dirty water from the fleece or put into a colander and press down to remove excess water.

2-Repeat in the other bucket – this process of removing the dirt first makes it easier to see the lanolin dissolving in the next stages and reduces the temptation to move the fleece around more once the soap is in – and hence lowers the risk of felting.

3-Fill a bucket with warm water and ecover laundry liquid (or other gentle/green product) and submerge fleece – do not stir or touch as it could felt together at this stage. Cover with a makeshift lid to keep warm. This is when the lanolin will start to dissolve.  Leave sitting for half an hour, handle as little as possible when removing – best to lift out in one go into a colander and press down once. As the lanolin dissolves you may notice a yellow tinge to the water and an oily watermark around the bucket – it is important not to throw this water into the sink, lanolin will solidify as it cools. Tip water outside somewhere appropriate.

4-Repeat with slightly hotter water – some wools can take very hot water, but i was recommended to only use warm for gotland fleece.

5-Rinse – fill bucket with clean warm water – no suds. Submerge fleece, swish gently to remove suds and strain.

6-Continue rinsing! Fill your remaining buckets with clean warm/tepid water, take smaller sections of fleece and swish out any remaining lanolin and suds – move it along the buckets and as the soap dilutes you can be more firm with the fibre. Squeeze water out and move to next bucket until water is clear. repeat with the other sections of fleece. Tip water away outside.

7- Take large handfuls of fleece and run tepid water from the tap over it while turning it in a circular movement in your hands. Squeeze a couple of times until you are satisfied it is well rinsed. Repeat with other sections.

8- Lay the fleece onto a towel and gently squeeze excess water out.

9-Spread on a dry towel or rack preferably outside in sun/air to dry or if raining outside finish over towels on top of the radiator!

10-Make sure the fleece is totally dry before storing, but it should now keep well for future use. The locks can be pulled apart at this stage if desired.

Remember -DO NOT pour water with lanolin down the sinks – it may block them as it sets solid. Find a suitable place outside to tip dirty water.

I am no expert at fleece washing! This is the best method out of the ones i tried – using gotland, gotland x shetland and gotland x teeswater fleeces. It is worth asking advice from your supplier. Try at your own risk 🙂 ! Happy washing!


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Fleece Foraging – Gotland Sheep

I went to visit Amanda and Barry’s gorgeous flock of pedigree British Gotland sheep today at Pedwardine Gotlands – they were so friendly and loving. They have an idyllic life, grazing on medieval pasture in the countryside hamlet of Burton Pedwardine and showered with love and affection. Such wonderful creatures who adore Amanda – she knows each one by name – it was so sweet to see them close their eyes as they enjoy being stroked!

The sheep had just been sheared so i had the pick of spring fleeces to choose from – the colours are stunning – the fabulous variety of greys are pure Gotland with the lovely brown tinged tips. The white/cream shades are Gotland Teeswater cross and the black shades are Gotland X Shetland. Amanda knows which fleece belongs to which sheep, so it is even possible to choose which sheep you love the fleece of and reserve it!  I picked a good selection of colours and textures to experiment with -very exciting 🙂 – now for the washing

Amanda’s website has some good info on Gotlands, or have a look at her Facebook page Pedwardine Gotlands