scarf up close

Ruffled Neck Scarf Workshop

Last week I taught a Ruffle Neck Scarf workshop. This was the first time teaching it and it went very well. I was worried about the timing but it all worked out. I thought the class at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum. They have a nice big classroom with lots of light. and water.

As usual, I forgot to take pictures early but here are two of them being laid out

You can see the template they used to get the layout right and keep it even from one end to the other. I drew it with the outline to follow and a line on them to let them know when they had shrunk enough.

Here they are using the plastic under their scarves to make nice edges.

And a shot of the class working.

Here are the results. I really like the ones where you can see the wool that migrated through the silk.

The Class was a lot of fun. I made the written instructions more detailed than normal because I want to make it a kit. If I ever figure out video iI would like to make an online workshop.  If you were to buy a kit for a ruffled scarf would you want it to be a short neck scarf or a long scarf? the only difference really would be the amount of wool included and the length of silk. I was thinking a short scarf but include the sizing to make a longer template too. I am wondering about the template I usually use thick plastic to draw it on. but it is too bulky to fold flat and too big to ship cheaply rolled up. Should I include a template on thinner plastic or just the instructions on how to draw it up on whatever you want to use?

scarf up close

Dying Some Silk

I am teaching a class next week and needed to dye some more silk for embellishment.

I had looked in my silk box to see what I had and I seem to have a lot of green and not much pink/purple.

I use a variation on the scrunch dying I use for the scarf blanks. I soak the silk in a little soapy water to get them properly wet before dying.

I use just enough fibre reactive dye to cover the silk. Then leave it for about an hour and put the PH up (sodium carbonate) in. I mix the PH up one tablespoon for each cup of water including the water I am mixing it in. Then I let it sit for a few hours.

One of the colours I wanted was a nice brown but when I rinsed it all the brown stayed in the water and I had purple. I haven’t had that happen before.

This is what they look like after rinsing and squeezing all the water out, they look a mess.

After they are dry, they fluff up some, but still not very nice looking

Next, you shake them out a bit and give them a tug along their length. Now they are pretty. again. Now I have a good variety for my students to choose from. The top one is the one that should have been brown.

I think I am just about ready for the class. Just some plastic to cut and pack it all up.

 

 

scarf up close

Scarves Done, Well, Almost

The felting part of the scarves is all done. I have moved to adding buttons. A friend helped me pick out all the buttons at our guild social On Monday night. At one point we had lots of buttons out of the bags on the table as we poked through them in search of just the right button. Unfortunately no picture of that. Jan got a great close up of this button we were trying on this scarf. Actually all these pictures were taken by Jan Scott except the 2 of her and her new wheel.

Here is a picture of part of the social. There was spinning and weaving and knitting and wheel adjusting, probably other stuff too.

And Jan brought her new wheel. It is an electric spinner and it fits in a small plastic container. It is as portable as a spindle. There were lots of oos and ahhs as she showed it off.

And lastly 3 great pictures of my scarves, thanks to Jan.

I hope you like all the pictures. Now I have to get on with the finishing, the hardest part.

scarf up close

Felted Cat Cave A Quick How To

 

Another old post from me. This is one of the most visited posts we have, so thought everyone might like to see it again.

I have been wanted to make a cat cave for sometime now. I decided it needed to be bright. I picked some Blue Faced Leicester  wool so it would be strong and dyed it chartreuse. Then I picked some purple and magenta for the spikes.

Spikes and Wool

I wanted an oval cat cave. I used my oval hat form to get the shape and gradually sized it up.

Drawing the Resist

I laid out 4 layers of wool for strength and even shrinkage. I put the first side aside and after laying out the second side I poked holes to put the spikes through.

Spikes in the Wool

After wetting it all down I wrapped each spike in plastic wrap so it would not get felted down flat.

Spikes all Wrapped Up

I covered it with a sheer curtain and rubbed both sides for a while and rolled it for a while and then wrapped it up and put it in the dryer twice, changing the position of the felt each time.  It was starting to shrink so I cut out the resist and switched to rolling it in a stick blind. I find the stick blinds to be very aggressive and shrinks felt quickly.  I did do some throwing too. Finally I rinsed the cave out in a bucket of alternately hot and cold water being quite aggressive with it. I then had to stretch the top so it would be domed up. I steamed it to heat it up and make it easier to stretch. Mostly I used a wooden spoon to push in a sliding motion to get the shape. Here it is on top of the resist so you can see how much it shrank.

Finished Cave on top of the Resist

Here it is in use, it didn’t take long for one of my cats, Wu, to take up residence.

 

Cat in Cave

As a foot note Wu ( queen of all things) is no longer with us. This is one of my favourite pictures of her. She really like the cave and we buried her in it, here on the farm.

scarf up close

Techniques for Intermediate Felters Class-The Afternoon

See the cool little rolling tool I got recently. It’s a little massage roller. This was it’s first try out. It worked really well. I have some other kinds ordered so I will do a post about them later.

  

Here are a couple of shots of me teaching. The left one is talking about adding some scruched up silk and the right one I explaining how you make one of the resists into a flower.

Here Carlene and Jan are showing thier pieces at show and tell at our guild meeting.

and a close up are Carlene’s

We didn’t have enough time to do everything I wanted to do, so at the end I was doing quick how to’s.  The pin needle technique two ways  and I also explained book resists.

So now it’s a matter of deciding what to take out and what to add in for the next time I teach it. There was not enough time. I think adding an hour to the class would be good. I think I will drop the nuno part of the sample to make sure we got to the pine needle part. I am not sure about the book resist. It may take to much time. What would you want to see in an intermediate techniques class?

scarf up close

Techniques for Intermediate Felters Class- the morning.

On Saturday I was teaching Techniques for Intermediate Felters.  It is a sample class.

First we talked about how felt shrinks and then  did ruffled edges.

As an aside it was Jan’s ( top right) birthday and the class was one of her presents.

Only two finished ruffle pictures thanks to two of the students.

After ruffles we did cracked mud. They did a double sample. One side was done with painters tape and one was done with floor underlay with holes cut out. On Lauren’s piece here you can really see the tape and the underlay.

I wanted them to see how even the thin underlay makes it much harder than the very thin tape.

Some needed a little more fulling at this point but were progressing well. We were on to lunch and then more techniques. I will tell you about the afternoon next time I post.

scarf up close

Spin in

Saturday I spent the day at a spin in not to far form home. There were lots of people there. More people arrived after I took these pictures, mostly wheels but ther were a few of us on spindles.

There were things to buy of course

There were door prizes.

And show and tell, this amazing blanket Rams and Ewes I think it is called. it is a double knit so it is double thick and the back is different then the front. The wool is all natural coloured Shetland I believe. Click onthe picture to get a batter look. here is a link to the pattern if you are interested. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rams-and-yowes

I got a close up of this dog collar and leash,

Here are some other . I didn’t get  picture of the table after it filled up, sorry. I was to busy chatting.

And lastly some tiny little handwoven pillows. So if you thought you don’t have the room to weave , you do.

This is my loot, a bag of Massum, a bag of silk cocoons, and a new sketch book.

That was my Saturday well wasted. Nothing better than sharing a fun day with old and new friends doing something you all love.

scarf up close

Jan’s 3rd Quarter 2017 Challenge Part 1

My friend Jan really got into the 3rd quarter challenge. She worked on it most of the summer and fall. If you have read other posts by Jan you know she is a great story teller. So, I had to break this into 3 posts. This post and the next 2 will take you on a journey with Jan from concept to finished challenge.

3rd quarter challenge part 1 the Plan

I was instantly intrigued by the third quarter challenge. I have always appreciated the aesthetic of Japanese prints and the Hokkaido wave had been particularly interesting to me. A bit strange when you consider I really don’t like getting wet. Ok, I am a bit hydrophobic. When I look at the Wave I don’t concentrate on the impending death of the fishermen in there precariously tipped boats, the fact that mount Fuji may be plunged into unpleasant wetness at any moment but that the repetitiveness of the design on the inside of the wave reminds me of a Japanese umbrella. Umbrellas are good. They keep you from wetness. A giant umbrella in the middle of the ocean sounds almost appealing, as if you might stay dry surrounded by all the wetness.

OK, I have a theme. Now who would need an umbrella in the middle of the ocean? Hmmm. An octopus!

The Great Wave off Kanagawa also known as The Great Wave or simply The Wave, is a woodblock print by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. It was published sometime between 1829 and 1833 in the late Edo period as the first print in Hokusai’s series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. It is Hokusai’s most famous work.

As you may have noticed I tend to do flat pictures with a bit more thickness than flat pictures usually have. So the concept of taking a print you like and using it to inspire something from it but not make a copy will not be a problem. OK wave as umbrella, and octopus holding umbrella. Other elements of the print to work into the finished pieces. The sky, the other littler waves and maybe the boats with fishermen, or maybe not the boats with fishermen. I have nothing against fishermen, I really do like to fish. But I’m not to fond of boats. They are just tempting fate. Why leave nice solid ground if you don’t have to? So let us leave the boats for a later consideration.

I had a plan and all within half an hour of reading the email. A quick sketch (I thought I had lost it but found it inside my new needle felting box. This is why the original idea and the preliminary execution differs quickly. I lost the sketch by putting it somewhere safe.)

Then a trip to the wonderful internet to “acquire” reference photos and do a bit of research.

I’ve got the wave (I found 3 graphics of the wave one with the fishermen very easily visible) so let’s get umbrellas.

Now for some octopuses/octopi.

Phase 1 Planning is complete.

scarf up close

Finishing up some Spinning

 

In the spring I borrowed a blending board from my friend Carlene. I made rollags at guild social meetings and at demos.

And spinning here and there.

I finally got around to plying them all.

Then I needed to be washed to reset after being tight up in skeins for ages. this is before washing. I spent an evening tying the skeins up so they wouldn’t be a mess after washing.

This is some of them soaking.

And after all the skeins where soaked this it what the water looked like.  I couln’t believe how dirty it was.

then I had to hang them all up to dry. excuse my shower backdrop. we don’t have the new tub surround in yet so it is just orange construction plastic so we can shower.

And the finished yarn. I am making the skeins into center pull balls on my nostepinne. I am mostly done. I am getting better at them.  I didn’t realise how often I do thick and thin yarn until I started winding the balls. It is fun to do.

So thats one thing finished up from 2017 and only 2 days late.  All ready for embellishing some felt.  I hope you all have a fibery new year.

 

 

 

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A Holiday Card and a Look Back and Ahead

I have been to busy lately to do any felting. The other problem is my felting table gets turned into gift wrapping central.

I Got a lovely card from my exchange partner in our card exchange. I got a few extra goodies with my card too. My partner Rhoda Lamb (how’s that for an appropriate name) has a nice little etsy store. https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TheFibreBin?ref=search_shop_redirect

This year seems to have flown by. I have been teaching and making some art pieces for the guild art show celebrating Canadas 150th birthday. I even sold a piece, the sheep.

  

 

I had fun reshaping some hats. I plan to make some more that are similar.

 

 

Next year I would like to work more on artwork. Time to dig into the inspiration file. I have accumulated lots of frames I think will work well for felt. I will need to remember to make the pieces the size to fit and not make some felt and then try to find a frame that will work. The first thing to do will be to have a really good tidy up. With today being boxing day you wild think I might be inspired.

I am hoping for a slower and more creative new year and I wish you the same.

Ann