OVWSG Spinning Poker Challenge

Every summer my weavers and spinners guild does a fibre poker challenge. You can choose weaving, spinning or felting. I am doing spinning and felting. This post is about the spinning challenge. I haven’t started my felting one yet.

In these challenges, they make up 4 decks of cards. The cards for spinning are Fiber, Colour, Type of Yarn and General Design. You pick one from each to get your poker hand. You are allowed to return one and draw another.

Mine are

Fibre: surprise us.

Colour: dark rich colours

Type of Yarn: thick and thin

General Design: include locks

I decided I wanted to try spinning some of the silk hankies I have. these looked like dark rich colours. Well, not that dark but not pastel.

I looked up what was the recommended way of prepping them for spinning. It was to poke a hole in the middle and stretch them out. Most of the drafting is done in the stretching out. I did 2 of each colour. They stretch quite far. I am sure I could have stretched them at least twice as long but I didn’t want my yarn that thin.

I also have to do thick and thin. I decided the easiest way to do that was to use the required locks to create the thick parts. I think these are Bluefaced Leicester.

I don’t have a spinning wheel. I like to spin small amounts, so I use a drop spindle I have quite a few.

 

After I finished the 4 silk hankies I made it into a center-pull ball. My original intention was to ply one end against the other.

But then I changed my mind. I spun some purple silk top to use as the other ply.

I made it into a center-pull ball as well. I put one small ball on my thumb and one on a finger. I used a little painter’s tape to keep the outside thread from unravelling as I will be pulling from the center, then I can control how fast it pulls out. I like painter’s tape as it’s just sticky enough to hold but comes off easily without grabbing and pulling the fibres and doesn’t leave any sticky behind. If I was going to store the ball I would tie the two ends together instead.

Somehow I guessed right and had just a little more of the second simple single than the first fancy single.

That’s my laptop lid so as you can see there wasn’t much extra.

I wound it off into a skein. It looks a little wobbly at first but it needs to have a bath to let the spin show what it’s really like. I used the small extra piece to tie the skein in 4 places. I wanted the 4 ties because I am very good at tangling skeins.

 

Here it is after its bath and hang to dry. I didn’t use any weight to try to set the yarn, I wanted it to be its natural self. I am quite happy I managed to get a nice balanced spin. I took to pictures flipping it over so you can see both sides.

I spread it out more and took a close-up. I am really please with how this came out. It was difficult to get the locks in because naturally, the twist wanted to go to the thinnest part.

 

I hope you like it too. It was a bit of a challenge but that’s the point, get you doing something you wouldn’t normally do. I could have wished for some action shots but it’s hard to spin and hold the fibre and hold the camera. It puts me back to wondering why on earth my prehistoric ancestors got rid of the prehensile tail, it would be so handy.

Shearing day

Not long ago was shearing day. Before had we have to get pens and shoots set up to direct the sheep efficiently to the shearer. I had to go get wool bags, from the Wool Co-op I got half bags this time. The full-size ones are too hard to pack, they are taller than me. We also got my nephew to come and help out. Wrangling sheep is best done by young people, my son and nephew.

There is a crowding pen is at the far end of the shoot so the sheep can fairly easily be pushed into the shoot and past the one-way gates. You can see lambs on the right-hand side. They are small enough to pop through the fence and get out of the way. On the left are some late lambs from last year. They have been put there to be kept separate. They are too big to get back through the fence.

Despite taking many pictures most of them were terrible and I didn’t get any sheared sheep pictures because I had to grab the fleece out of the way as my husband handed the next sheep to the shearer. By the time I stuffed it into the appropriate bag, the sheep was long gone.
so here are the best of the bad shearing pictures. I am not sure that’s all the same black sheep but you get the idea. you can see how brown they look from being in the sun and weather and how black they are underneath.

I also have one lincoln sheep named Dolly. You can see how different her fleece is.

These are some of the wool sacks. I was sorting black wool I want to look at again and white wool I want to look at again and the stuff to go off to the co-op because I don’t want to look at it ever again. LOL

 

And some close-ups of some wool.

This one has so much lanolin the shine bounced the light and it looks grey.

It took about 4 hours to do 55 ish sheep. That’s about one sheep every 4.5 min. I know it’s no record but I still find it amazing. When it was all done we released the lambs to find their moms. There was a lot of noise while the lambs work out who mom is now she is sporting her new summer look. And the kids my 2 grandchildren and great-niece and nephew came in and gathered up all the little bits of stinky wool to play with. They had so much fun and smelled just like sheep in no time.

 

I wish I had better pictures for you. Maybe next year with no pandemic I can have Jan come play photographer.

Next steps in the 2nd Quarter Challenge

I’ve been working on the stitching for my basket organizer. The first part I did was the waves. I liked them but I didn’t like how the edges were fuzzy.

 

I went looking in my stash for the right size yarn to edge it. I found my stash of Briggs and Little Sport singles. I picked up several colours cheap from a weaver who had finished a project. I picked black to outline the waves.

 

I used the outline stitch. I used the tutorial in this great stitch dictionary. https://www.embroidery.rocksea.org/stitch/stem-stitch/outline-stitch/

You can see how the wool yarn is raised adding texture as well as definition. I enjoyed following the curves with my stitching. more fun than straight lines. I only

And finished. I like it much better the black outline really makes the waves pop.

Next was the rectangles on the flap at the front bottom. I used some red this time.

At first, I thought I would do a Fly stitch up the middle of each one. My stitching was really uneven. I didn’t like it, so out it came.

I decided to put two lines up the rectangle. the stitching isn’t fabulous because I had no line to follow. the only thing I had to mark it was chalk. I did try it to see how it would brush out and it was really hard to get off the felt it wanted to move further into the felt rather than come off.

And after I cut off all the tails.

So far so good. I have a plan for the last part of the decorating. It will need lines for me to follow so I will have to wait for the heat erase marking pens I ordered. After that is the really hard part……….. the finishing.

Getting Organized and 2nd Quarter Challenge Part 2

I have been beaten to the first completed prize. That’s just bragging rights. 🙂 No worries. Just getting it done on time is a major win. If you would like to see the first completed piece and read the lovely story that goes with it, pop over to here: https://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/thread/4271/2021-second-quarter-challenge

As I added layers the layout grew beyond the template outline so I trimmed it. After leaving it overnight it had mostly dried. It made it easy to cut and separate the layers for later.

I originally thought I would do diamonds but after sever attempts I couldn’t get them all the same and it looked odd so I went with rectangles.

I wanted to do some waves on the back. when I looked at the art deco waves they were not even lines but they got thicker and thinner.

It looks a bit messy but I think it will be alright after felting.

It turned out pretty well, not too much shifting. after drying I decided it wasn’t wide enough. I wet it down and pulled it top to bottom and then ironed it for good measure. Now it’s not quite as long to will fit things that are a little taller.

When it’s folded up the back will look like this:

The front closed will look like this:

The inside looks like this:

I have decided to do some stitching on it before sewing it up and dividing it into sections. I am not sure what yet. I think I may outline the waves in a dark yarn to smooth them out and a diamond pattern on the blank flap and some lines or something in the squares. I will be looking up some colour palates of art deco.

Getting organized and the 2nd quarter challenge

This last week I decided the scarf I use to line my basket needed a wash and my basket could use a hose down. It is quite an old apple and is pretty dry. The basket masters say either dunk it in a bucket of water or hose it down every once and a while. It is an old apple picking basket and I love it for taking it everywhere with my stuff in it.

 

And this is all the stuff that was in it and will go back in it plus the 3 more spindles. It’s like a purse or backpack you just keep adding more stuff until you have to clean it out. The bag of yarn may go to the studio and a new one started.

There was more in it, that is just what is going back in it. You can see why I need it more organized. I thought I would make a roll-up pouch, like an artist uses for brushes. This also gives me an opportunity to do the 2nd quarter challenge. Art deco was often a repeating simple pattern. So I can do that on this piece and maybe be the first to complete the challenge. (insert maniacal laughter here)

I had to figure out how big I wanted the finished piece. the blue roller mat is 12×18 inches so I tried folding it like the finished piece. This is too short but think the length is good

Here is the layout. this layer is on the bottom but will end up inside the pouch. Some Bambino wool from World of wool. It is quite shiny. I can’t figure out which one. The picture of the mixed bag is pretty accurate but I can’t match it to the individual pictures.

The blue background seems to have turned it orange.

I then added 2 layers of white merino and a final layer of this lovely blue-green merino called Malard, for the outside.

 

I wet this down and cut out some prefelt pieces for the decorations but that’s it for today because it’s time to take the puppy out, feed the lambs again and make some raspberry scones. More to come. I hope I can get more done tomorrow morning. I will show you more next time.

Spinning up some yarn

I haven’t had much time for felting with the puppy and lambs. I did manage a little spinning.

I got some nice tweed roving from World Of Wool. I think they will make nice hats and accessories. Then I wanted something to spin so I thought I would try these.

This is the pink. The dark flecks are viscose. It drafts nicely and makes a really nice yarn.

And the grey. Over-dying them might be interesting too. The viscose won’t take the wool dye.

They were both nice so I thought I would try combining them. I pulled off a thin strip of each colour and drafted them together. This is the single. I am winding it off the spindle into a centre pull ball so I can ply one end against the other.

and this was the result.

 

I think I like the two spun together best.

I am a slow spinner. I do it because I enjoy it but I don’t want a lot of anything. I am not making sweaters or even socks. I will use them for some decoration on some felt, probably.

This is is what I am currently spinning, some yellow for the glitzy line at World of wool. It has some super bright triloble nylon in it so it has lots of sparkle.

Yellow, isn’t a colour I have a lot of in my stash but I like how this is turning out. Surprisingly the multi-coloured sparkle tames the yellow. Do you spin? have you thought of it. It’s fun, portable and you can make some great yarns for decorating your felt.

First Quarter Challenge

Lyn and Annie have set us a challenge for this quarter to make something inspired by the decade 1900 – 1909. The challenge is here If you would like to see it and maybe you could join in. first-quarter-challenge

They gave us examples of what was going on and what caught my eye was the aerial photography. It made me think of some wonderful works by the fibre artist Chris Cullen of As theCrow Flies. https://www.facebook.com/cbdasthecrowflies/. She uses mostly recycled knits and yarn in her amazing pieces. she sells mostly through galleries but does commissions through her Facebook page. for sale at https://www.facebook.com/Blue-Bramble-Gallery- in St Ives, and https://www.facebook.com/a2gallery.wells Also from Spring, Baxters Gallery in Dartmouth.

These are 2 of Chris’s recent pieces

 

I have in the past thought about doing a piece inspired by her amazing work. Lyn and Annie have given me the push I need. I thought I could do something similar in felt for my own farm. First a prototype. This is a flat piece and not of my farm but just a farm. I used an old sweater that I ran through the washer then dismantled and ran through a couple more times. I wanted a nice sturdy base.

I did this picture by needle felting into a square cut out of the sweater. I have one of the little 6 needle holders that I used for most of it. Then switched to a single needle to put in the details. It is done in a very minimalist way with

The sweater piece.

The background and the road and the start of a field.

Added the fields and the house and barn.

Then some sheep of course.

I folded all the wool

Lastly used some green curls to make the trees.

It was a lot of stabbing, too much stabbing. I think I will try to do all the main features like roads and the fields by lightly needling them into place and then wet felting them. Just adding the detail and features with needle felting. The next one will be more 3D. I have some ideas for the house and barns. Have you started thinking about his challenge? We would love to hear about it on the felting and Fiber studio Forum. Here’s the link to the place to post pictures. https://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/thread/4247/2021-first-quarter-challenge. or use the Forum button on the left to get there.

Time for a New Hat

I don’t know whats happened to my last year’s hat. It is probably at the back bottom of the deep shelf in my hall closet. I don’t feel like cleaning that out so I am taking it as a sign I should make myself a new hat. I think I will make it to go with my new cowl. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2020/11/16/the-cowl-is-finished/

I know it will be a purple wool base and have the orange/gold silk lap on it. I am not sure about the leaves. I am thinking of several possibilities for the hat.

You will have to excuse the very crude drawings but my drawing ability is very small.

The first option has a brim like this hat. The brim folds up twice but stands away from the hat. I was thinking of putting the silk fibre on the inside so it would show when rolled up.

The second thought was to elongate the brim on one side so that I could cut it and make a rosette on one side but still have the other side just folded up.

The third option is to make it with a normal turned up brim and the elongated part for a rosette. In the picture, I did it so it would have a very turned up brim but maybe a regular slight turn up would be better with the rosette.

Forth option( not pictured) is to just do a normal brim with some silk on the underside.

The leaves. I am not really sure they wouldn’t make the hat too busy. Maybe I could felt a couple by themselves and add some vanes on the sewing machine and then tuck them in behind the rosette.

Then there is doing a swirl or rings with shaping on the crown.

So many options, now tell me your thoughts on this hat. I am open to suggestions.

Basket mark 2 finished

This week I finished the basket. All it really needed was to have the handle finished and that would have been fast and easy. But a white basket is not only boring it does not fit with me. I can’t keep anything white clean for long.

So faze to of the basket: dying.

I have a turkey fryer/corn cooker for dying outside. After clearing a spot on the porch for the dye pot and my son cleaning all the bugs and spiders and webs out of the hose and burner I got some water heating. Usually, when you are going to dye wool you wet it first. it gets you a more even take-up of the dye. I didn’t want that in particular so I popped it in dry.

you can see I only put it in partway. Ther is about half the bottom of the basket sticking out. This is limy green. after it had cooked for about 45 min just under a boil the water was clear and I removed it and added a dye from ProChem called Mallard. It’s a blue-green and put the basket into the pot the other way up. I forgot to take a picture of that, sorry.

Once the dye was exhausted I rinsed it and blew the beach ball up in it again, another alien. I am really pleased with the way the colours came out.

Since I had the dye pot hot I dyed some wool too.

My original idea was to use a piece of a tree branch in the handle.

It was ok when I was holding it but as soon as I put it down this happened.

It dropped right to the bottom. So much for the cream buns you just bought. It is much too heavy. Looking back at the pictures I had seen with wood in the handles, they were all small and the wood was mostly driftwood, which is much lighter. Those baskets seemed to be more decorative than useful. I went back to just rolling all the excess wool up into the handle. It makes a nice sized comfortable to hold handle. You can see the colour mixing better now its dry.

when I let go of the handle It still falls to the side but not nearly as much, so the cream buns are safe.

You may have noticed that one side of the basket stretched out more than the other. I think it was from the ball being blown up in it. I should have rewet it and fulled it some more but I didn’t want to. I was thinking of how to fix it or make it a feature rather than a flaw.

I pinched it a couple of different ways and that would have worked but I didn’t really like it. the heck with it, it’s just for me.

The basket part feels a little light even though there is 200grams of fibre in it. It was a bigger resist but I reasoned to myself that there is more wool in 200 grams of Corriedale then there is in the same weight of Fin. I didn’t put any yarn in it, mostly because I forgot. I wanted to prevent the basket lip form stretching out any more. I tend to overfill my baskets and bags. Off to search my handspun for some appropriate yarn. I found a yarn that is predominantly the same colour as the Mallard on the bottom of the pot and did some decorative and structurally helpful stitching. I am pleased with the results. Sorry about the pictures. I was trying to keep my arm out of the way and get far enough back to get the whole basket.

I think there will be more baskets in my future.

Second Quarter Challenge- Mark 1

So we are just starting the 3rd month of the second quarter challenge and I have a finished piece. Everyone, please clap because I actually finished it in May, very early for me who usually finishes the challenge after the next one has started. Here’s the challenge if you need a refresher. 2020-second-quarter-challenge

Last time I teased you with the beginnings. No one could guess what it was. Grey didn’t seem to be a very summery colour. Well, I made a basket. I had seen a few online and thought that’s a good idea. I liked that they looked rustic and functional rather than pretty. Best laid plans of mice and men as they say.

I started with a pattern. I wanted it to be big enough and I thought an oval would be the best shape to start with.

I wanted a sturdy basket so I used 160 grams of Finnish wool. In retrospect, I think another 40 grams would have been better. I thought the handle and where it attaches will take the most strain so I added 5 strands of Briggs and Little sport singles between the second and 3rd of the 4 layers. This sort of thing is always much fiddler than I think it will be.

I added 3 lines of the Briggs and Little to the outside.

After rubbing and rolling and for a while it was time to cut the handles.

I measured to get the handle in the center and made a template but then not thinking I cut the whole piece out. I had intended to only make the horizontal cut. I cut both before remembering that was not what I had intended. Oh well, I can fix that later.

The shrinking went very well. At first, I thought the ends dipping down would be a problem and I tried to stretch them up but after shaping it I realized it was a good thing as the middle shortens as you open it up. I already knew that I just wasn’t thinking it through, probably because I was still mad I cut he 2 side tops off.

When it was dry I pinned the two cut off pieces back onto the handled.

And used the machine to sew them back on.

Next, I wasn’t fussy about the edge of the basket so I used some fleece, double-fold bias tape around the edge. I had some grey in my stash so that worked out.

As I feared the red stripes all but disappeared. This is the best place they showed, not very impressive.

So, I went and got some of the yarn, the red and some yellow and stitched on 3 stripes. You can see the old red stripes more in the picture than you can in real life. I think I would just do the stitching next time. It is much easier really.

For the handle, I rolled up one side flap, then wrapped the other side around it and stitched it in place. It feels sturdy and comfortable in your hand. I used the red and yellow yarn around the handle to make it more visually appealing. If you wanted the stipes to say exactly in place you could catch the underside of the handle as they go round.

Here it is in its entirety.  it is about 14 x 10 inches. I am still not thrilled with it but my daughter really likes it so it is probably just me. It is growing on me. I know what I will do with the next one to make it better, besides paying attention and not cutting off parts that I want to stay on.