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LEARN HOW FIBONACCI CAN HELP with NUNO

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Is there any particular design principal that nature follows? It has been recognized that certain proportions keep showing up in things we consider beautiful - a Natural Rhythm that our human brain finds especially visually pleasing. Leonardo Fibonacci’s, a 13th century mathematician, discovered that our human brain finds certain proportions especially visually pleasing and it happens to be expressed everywhere in nature.

Much of design is actually the management and division of space. Precise and effective space management can make the difference between an average design and an amazing one.

In these Natural Rhythms workshops we will learn a method of bringing this proportional spacing system into your designs (no maths required!). You don’t have to use the Fibonacci sequence for everything, but you can start small and see what sort of effects it has. I have found just the subtle use of this system can make a dramatic visual impact. The Fibonacci sequence isn’t the only method but it is indeed a great one, weavers and quilters have long since discovered it’s potential. Come and be inspired by the endless possibilities of Natural Rhythms! Full workshop details Click Here.
Flyer Developing Sample Library of Natural Rhythms

UK &IRELAND | TEACHING TOUR

1 May – 14 June, 2020

I’ve had the pleasure of being chosen as one of the International Feltmakers Association Guest Artist for 2020. A 6-week workshop tour begins in May. Workshops will cover a variety of topics: Developing a Sample Library of Natural Rhythms, Natural Rhythm Sequences for Scarves, and Hanky Panky Scarves – Playing around with Silk Hankies.

Feltmakers Ireland will host Developing a Sample Library of Natural Rhythms workshop in Dublin, Ireland on 25,26th April. For full details contact Maureen Cromer at mmcromer@gmail.com.

Felt in the Factory will also be hosting a 4-day Natural Rhythms Kimono Poncho workshop on 23-26 May, 2020 in Herefordshire, UK. For full details contact Kathie Barrs at kathiebarrs@hotmail.com.

If you are interested in knowing dates, locations and class descriptions please Click Here.
Flyer Kimono Poncho

USA TEACHING TOUR | OCT 2020

Regrowth Infinity Loop.flyer
Who could resist an invitation to teach for these amazing women of fibre, each running an incredible business catering to all things fibre. The following Treetops workshops will be held at these venues in October 2020:
Join me for a fabulous felting adventure. For course descriptions, dates and contact details Click Here.
Shifting Shapes Flyer

STATIC ELECTRICITY IN YOUR FIBRE?

Static
Annoyed by the static laden fly-away ends that are generated when you try to draft your silk and wool tops? Static electricity is caused by an imbalance of electric charges within or on the surface of a material. A static electric charge can be created whenever two surfaces contact and separate, and at least one of the surfaces has a high resistance to electric current (and is therefore an electrical insulator). Unfortunately there no simple solution to solving this complex issue. To stop static, you have to ensure electricity never has a chance to build up. Simple to say but hard to do….

One of the easier ways to stop the fly-away ends in your fibre is by applying anti-static products (ie fabric softeners). Anti-static spray coatings typically consist of a conducting polymer and a solvent made from deionized water and alcohol. When the solvent evaporates, it leaves behind an invisibly thin conducting "skin" on the surface of the object that prevents static build-up.
Here are a few of the simplest options that I have found helpful:
  • Work in a more humid environment, use a room humidifier. Water is a good insulator and will help get rid of ions. The dryer the climate the more that static.
  • Spray your wool and silk fibres with a commercial Anti-static spray. You can usually find these in the laundry section of your grocery store. Spray the wool/silk tops with a fine mist and let dry before drafting.
  • Below is a simple and effective recipe for making your own Anti-static spray. Be sure to use a bottle with a very fine misting spray so the droplets are small and dry fast.
Creating Anti-Static Spray by Cougar Robotics¹
1 TBLS Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol)
1 TBLS Fabric Softener
250ml (8 oz) Water
1 Fine Mist Spray Bottle

¹Anti-static products and coatings by Chris Woodford, www.explainthatstuff.com. October 23, 2019.

MOTHS IN YOUR STASH?

Webbing Moth photo by Echte Kleidermotte
Yikes I’ve got moths! These are four words you never want to say when you are a full blown fibre-holic. Is there anything you can do to keep moths at bay and what do you do if you find them eating your stash?

According to Ted Edwards, honorary fellow with CSIRO's Australian National Insect Collection. “There are two main species of clothes moth found in Australian homes — the webbing clothes moth and the case-making clothes moth (of which there are about eight different kinds)…They're very secretive as adult moths and you don't see them flying around very much at all. Usually the first indication that they're around is you find the damage that the larvae have caused.¹”
The larvae eat natural fibres like wool and silk. Moths love dark, humid, quiet places and love to feed on fabrics stained with foods and perspiration.
Here are a few key points to preventing moth attacks:
  • Don’t leave you wool sitting for long periods of time quietly in a dark place!
  • If you have wall hangings or carpets, occasionally take them down and outside to vacuum and expose them to sunlight.
  • Always wash and dry your garments before storing them away for the season.
  • Always keep your stash of woollen/silk items stored in closed airtight plastic containers or if that is not possible inside cotton bags (moths don’t eat cotton).
  • Essential Oils, Cedar and other moth deterring natural products (and even moth balls) – do only that DETER moths, they don’t kill them. The most effect way to use them as a deterrent is if they are placed in a closed/confined space with the wool/silk items. Simply putting a bit around in a large open closet won’t be an effective deterrent.
What if you have found or suspect Moths?
  • The most effective way to be sure you are rid of all the larvae (they generally can’t be seen) is to FREEZE your items for 1-2 weeks. I would first wash and thoroughly dry your item and place it in a plastic bag in your freezer. For larger items maybe you can find a friend with a large freezer chest?
  • Any infested goods can be cleared of insects and eggs by washing in hot water (50-60°C,122-140˚F). Insects and eggs are killed at temperatures above 60ºC for 15 - 30 minutes². Be careful washing wool at this high a temperature as it can felt if handled very much. Mainly just let it soak and then use your spin only cycle to remove the excess water.
Ultimately the best way to keep moths out of your stash is to enjoy using it! Remember moths mainly like quite dark places, so dig into your stash and start a new creative project today!

¹Tips for dealing with clothes and pantry moths in your home by Penny Travers, ABC Radio Canberra, Posted 17 Feb 2018 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-17/how-to-deal-with-clothes-and-pantry-moths-in-your-home/9425618
²Guide to the control of clothes moths and carpet beetles, CSIRO Textile and Fibre Technology, http://www.tft.csiro.au

VISCOSE | ECO-FRIENDLY?

viscose.DIAGRAM
Currently there is a real trend in “eco” textiles which is a good thing; however, people rarely backup their claims with science. If you are interested in educating yourself further, there is one newsletter, O Ecotextiles, that I highly regard as having ‘done their homework’. I’d have a look at their site, they cover a large range of topics.
Viscose is not as green as it's marketers would like you to think. Here is a short summary about Viscose from a very big article from O Ecotextile. As far as Viscose is concerned, the reason the Viscose is thought to be detrimental to the environment is based on the process chemicals that are used. The problem comes in disposing of these process chemicals: the sodium hydroxide (though not harmful to humans) is nevertheless harmful to the environment if dumped into our rivers as untreated effluent.
Certainly the standard viscose production process is definitely NOT environmentally friendly, but some manufacturers use new closed loop systems, treat and/or recycle wastewater and capture emissions. Tencel ® and Modal ® are the trade names of fibers manufactured by the Austrian company Lenzing, which advertises its environmentally friendly production processes, based on closed loop systems (which don’t release any affluent into the environment).

Interested in reading more about Viscose/Rayon? Click Here.

Eucalyptus fiber by any other name, https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/eucalyptus-fiber-by-any-other-name/. March 2, 2012.

BUSHFIRES | DROUGHT | FLOODS

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With Australia's recent bushfire disasters effecting mainly Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia, market analyst say it will be months before the total affects are known that these fires have had on the livestock levels. “For sheep, 13% of the national flock live in regions (NSW and Victoria) that have been significantly impacted and a further 17% in regions partially impacted.²” Bridget McKenzie, the Federal Agricultural Minister, said she estimates 100,000 sheep, beef and dairy cattle will have perished as a result of the bushfires.³

Australia's shorn wool is forecast to have a 9.2% decline from the 2018/19 season according to the latest 2019/20 season Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee (AWPFC). In New South Wales, shorn wool production is forecast to fall 13.7% , Victoria down 4.8%, Western Australia down 4.7%, South Australia down 10.5%, Tasmania down 6.7% and Queensland 17.3%.¹

Persistent dry to drought conditions, limited pasture and stock water availability in key wool growing regions combined with strong returns for mutton and lamb continue to reduce the number of sheep on Australian farms” said the Australian Wool Production Forecasting Committee Chairman, Russell Pattinson.

This past week (7-14 Feb, 2020) bushfires affected areas have had an incredible turn around with unusually large levels of rain, ie floods! The overall effect is good, most of the fires are now out but the loss of top soil and damage by the flood waters will take time to sort out. The good news is some of the drought affected damns and rivers are now almost full and some rivers which haven’t had any water in them for over a year are flowing again.

It has been a very hard two years for the Australian sheep industry!

¹Australian Wool Production Forecast Report November 2019. Australian Wool Innovation. www.wool.com
² Farmers Weekly, Jonathan Riley 09 January 202
³ Australia livestock hit hard by bushfire by Chris Gillies, 01.09.2020. World-Grain.com
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