Saturday, March 14, 2009

Learning More Ways to Use Fiber!

I usually get my blog fodder from being in the shop frequently, and from the project I am knitting at the time. But as you know I've been in school full-time since mid-January, and I have to admit that whole weeks go by where I don't manage to find the time or the energy to knit. However, it should be noted that I am a Fine Arts major in Fiber Arts. Just so you don't think that I haven't been playing with yarn in all this time. I've just been playing in different ways.

The first technique that we have covered in my Mixed Media Fibers class is coiling. This technique is most often seen in indigenous basket-making, both with several tribes of Native Americans and also from far flung places such as Africa. But what can you do if you take this fun and interesting technique and put a different twist on it? I started with the question: What would happen if a bird got loose in my studio and started building a nest? Trust me, there are days when it looks as though birds are already building nests in here. But here is my interpretation...

Upholstery cording was used to form the core, and is wrapped with luxurious yarns - a few from my stash, and many others from Kiwi. There is Bambool in a color called Petrol, Silk Garden with it's ever-changing color palette, here in blues and greens. Some Lantern Moon rayon yarn acquired back when Kiwi first opened (not as much fun to coil with due to it's uneven texture, but it looks great once you get it on there), some Silky Wool in a color called Woad. Flashes of Starlight in Copper. I added some recycled glass beads to the mix, and made some small totems of hammered copper wire.

Fashioning the interior of the nest as I went along, I wanted to have a 'feathered' effect. What would a bird find if they were hunting in a knitter's nest? I made thrums of some merino roving from the shop and wrapped them into the basket. Loops of Kid Merino in Pacific Blue, as well as some scraps of silk yarns. Some green boucle yarn pulled from my stash - also acquired from Kiwi so long ago that I no longer remember what it's called. All work together to form a warm, plush interior that is ready to welcome incubating eggs.

The bird started with a form that was needle-felted of wool roving from Kiwi Knitting. After I had a shape that worked, I wrapped it in left-over Kureyon Sock. In areas where the shape had angles too steep for the yarn to stay in place, I needle-felted the strands to the body form. Some feather scraps and a beak of coiled copper were added. The eyes are made of paillette sequins with seed beads. A little scrap of the rayon yarn is held in her beak as she finishes her nest. And the edges of the nest? Double-pointed needles, wrapped with the same rayon yarn.

Coiling is a technique that I will most certainly use in the future. I like the way in which the coiled piece can be shaped as well as the decorative stitching that can be added, and find it a wonderful way to use yarn without actually knitting or crocheting. Already I can imagine several ways that I can use this technique to enhance my knitted and/or felted pieces in future.

Also, a reminder from Lynn - Kiwi Knitting now has the book Estonian Lace, by Nancy Bush back in stock!

No comments: