Meet Pete also known as Handsome Pete. He is our new Blue Faced Leicester Ram.
He arrived on Wednesday. He is settling in well. he can see the sheep when they come in and he can smell them are girls. He is handsome and calm. He likes his back scratched. He is not sure about Ava. She is a dog after all but I am sure the others will let him know that although she is black and white, she is no border collie.
This very handsome and alert shot is also looking at Ava who is paying no attention at all.
The other day I made a bangle. I have made them before but it has been a while. So long ago, I can’t find the pictures. I know I have seen them recently while looking for something else. I was not as good at labelling things then as I am now so searching didn’t help much. Anyway, for this one, I wanted to use some of my handspun. I have many little balls of yarn as I never make much of any one thing.
To start you need a piece of cord or yarn. Make it the size you want your finished bangle. It will not shrink in size. I used a scrap of yarn.
You need some wool and some yarn. I am using some very dark purple merino but you won’t see any of it when I am done. The yarns are some of my mostly wool handspun.
Wrap the roving around the string. Wrapping down through the hole and back around until its all covered.
At first, I thought I would wrap the 2 yarns side by side. The larger ball was too hard to poke through the hole all the time. I forgot to take a picture of wrapping the pattern I did but you can see here how snug I did it. It is compressing the roving but not a lot.
This is the wrapped and wet bangle.
At this point, I just wrapped my fingers around it and squshed it like making a playdough bracelet. Move the bangle around and around so it was all getting squished. I did that for a few minutes, not very long as I am impatient. I rolled it up in a rolling mat. It’s a piece of the foamy, rubbery shelf liner. I rolled maybe 10 times and then unrolled rotated and flipped it. I did that maybe 4 or 5 times. I wasn’t thinking about it as a tutorial at that point, so I wasn’t keeping track. When I was done it was flat.
Don’t panic, just pick it up and put one hand into the hole and one on the outside and roll it back and forth in the hands like making a playdough snake. Do that all around the bangle until it is round again and feels firm. You could just squeeze it for longer and then roll it in your hands if you don’t want to roll it in a mat.
It really works, it is round and the yarn has given it texture, as well as colour. The longest part of making the bangle is wrapping the yarn. If you were not as neat as I was, you could do it much faster and would have a more textured bangle.
Here it is dry.
You can see it’s a little fuzzy. I wanted more texture and more sparkle. Both Yarns have silk and some Angelina in them. So I got out my trusty dollar store disposable razor and gave it a heavy shave.
There is a lot more texture and you can see some of the minor colours and some shiny and sparkly bits. I had a really hard time trying to capture the sparkle. Most of the little pink dots are sparkle and the orange Bits are silk.
It is too large for me really It would fall off if I would it loose on my wrist. I push it up to my forearm. On a less Rubenesque person or my much younger self, the upper arm would work well. It was fun to do and I should have thought of it for the first quarter challenge.
I recently heard about a no water, no needle way of making prefelt. I thought I would give it a try and see how it works. It’s fairly simple. You layout your wool on a mat or plastic and roll it dry. When I teach resist felting I usually dry felt the layout by just pressing and wiggling to make it stick together well enough to pick up and move, so we can make the second side. I am sure we have all found that ball of roving in the bottom of a bag that is well on its way to bing a solid felt blob. Taking this idea further just makes sense.
On Sunday it was Library day at the guild and I knew it would be a fairly quiet one so I took my supplies with me. Here is my try at dry non-needled prefelt.
I am using a rubbery placemat and a plastic grocery bag. The Grocery bag is because I put the little piece of plastic in my coat pocket and then didn’t wear my coat. I picked 2 colours so I can see how much migration there is if any. I did jiggle the felt to stick it together, the same way I do when I want to move a layout.
I rolled it 100 rolls in each direction flipping it between as well. It came out very flat and has started to shrink.
I rolled it some more. I had intended to do another 100 rolls in each direction but we were chatting so I am sure it got much more than that, especially on the last set of rolls. It definitely shrunk in both directions but not a lot.
I cut it to see what it looked like. the edges are thicker and flatter than the middle but it’s still pretty solid.
Jan took a movie of it with her camera. It shows how sturdy the prefelt is.
I rolled it again to see how the edges would fair. There were wisps that migrated out in the direction of the rolling. I think it would have been better to just finger rub the edges. There was really no migration to the surface by the opposite layer.
All in all, I think it worked well with very little fuss. Next, I am going to try cutting out some shapes and felting them on their own, to prefelt and on a fresh layout. Have you ever tried this method? how did it go?
Where did the time go? I looked at the posting schedule and thought I have lots of time to get my post ready but here I am down to the wire,….. again.
I did manage this week to make some progress on my small picture. I started by adding some grass/stems/leaves/. Starting with a very Christmas green.
Then adding other shades
It looks ok but it’s way too short. What am I going to do with the other 2/3 of the picture? So, remembering Ruth’s advice on the last stitch project when I wasn’t very happy with it, she said “just keep adding more”, I decided I was not taking the stitches out. I would just keep going. The next batch of grass was longer.
At this point, I notice the bottom edge was starting to curl a little. This is because I was stitching into the bottom edge. I didn’t want the bottom of the stitches to show entry points on the top side of the bottom edge. I noticed some of the threads were a little loose too. To remedy this I ironed it with steam. I think it helped.
The next step is the flowers. I was originally thinking stitched flowers, then thought maybe seed needs would be good. I asked opinions at my guild social and everyone seemed to think I should do both. I probably will.
And now the Studio Progress.
The walls and floor have been painted. The place that hasn’t been painted is where the ductwork will go for the heating. It will then get drywall put over it and it will be painted. Notice one of my favourite things about this space. It has a center floor drain. The electrical box will get a cupboard built to hide it.
Yes, the floor is covered in blue speckles, for non-slip and to hide the floor repairs.
Next are the sinks, the ductwork, painting my selves, the bookcase and the small table. They will be boring white, once the books and wool are on them they will be colourful enough. The table gets the microwave so it will not be seen much either.
That’s it for now. I plan on doing the flowers for the next post but I am not sure what else. I am sure I will find something to keep me busy and out of too much trouble.
I’ve been running a felt study group and I wanted to share one of the more interesting samples I did in the group. I had some white welsh mountain sheep wool. I have no idea where I got it it was raw and I have had it for years because I didn’t know what to do with it.
The Welsh Mountain sheep is usually white with a white face with no wool on forehead or cheeks and white legs with no wool below the joint. Females are polled but rams usually have curved horns, although some are polled. The fleece is thick and moderately long and the tails are not normally docked.
Breeders give a high priority to hardiness, milking ability, mothering quality and lamb survival. (Lambing percentage can be 130%, which rises to 180% under favourable conditions on improved pastures.) It was not always thus; the 18th-century English agriculturist Arthur Young described the Welsh Mountain sheep as “the most despicable of all types” and a judge at an agricultural show in the 1880s described it as “a diminutive ill-shapen animal with its shaggy coat more reminiscent of hair than of wool”
I had a shoebox sized amount. As you can see not the nicest looking stuff, a bit like a horse’s mane.
I washed it in a laundry bag with some dish soap.
It took 2 washes but it came out a lovely white, white horse but white.
The locks average about 10 inches long.
I weighed out 25 grams and divided it into 4 and carded it into little batts. Each batt would be one layer of the sample.
The samples were all laid out 10×10 inches for easy calculation of shrinkage. At this point, I was skeptical that it would felt at all, it is so much like stong, straight hair
The piece was rubbed and rolled to felt and then rolled on a textured mat and scrunched for the fulling. Throwing doesn’t work well with such a small piece.
Much to my surprise, this is the final result. It’s a bit wonky but that’s down to my hand carding
It’s about 40% shrinkage and it is rock solid. The most I got of any of my samples. It is rock solid. I tried to felt it more but it wouldn’t budge. All the samples were made with 25grams of wool. It makes me wonder about people that say they get 50% shrinkage on their felt protects. Are they measuring differently or are they using very thin layouts? I could see this felting more if I used half the amount of wool. so if I made a sample 20inches by 20 inches with the same wool I would get a higher shrinkage rate. What do you think?
You saw Jan’s post about the group silk order our guild did after we had a presentation about silk at a meeting. If not or you need reminding it is here: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2022/02/05/group-order-of-sanjo-silk/ I have not seen her silk yet. I hope I get to see it the next time we are together. Perhaps she is hiding it from me, afraid I will try to make off with it after seeing what I got.
I have lots of nice silk so I decided to go the other way, I bought the strange stuff. It will be interesting to have at demos.
I got these Tussa silk cocoons. They aren’t like the regular ones you see. These are from wild silkworms and are much bigger than regular ones. I have never seen them for sale before. This is what the site says about them:
If you think Bombyx cocoons are fascinating, then you’ll be gobsmacked by these. The Tussah silkworm is wild, which means it eats in the wild. The cocoons are harvested from the forests where they feed. They’re huge compared to Bombyx cocoons; each one is about 1 1/2″ (almost 4 cm) long, not including the pedencal stem. This stem, with the ring at the end, is what the silkworm attaches itself to the tree branch with. Each of the cocoons has been cut, and the pupa removed.
I also got some of this, Kibiso. It might be interesting to use. I am not sure how but we will see. It feels very much like skinny carrier rods if you have seen those or paper. The website says:
100% Silk Kibiso, which is the outer part of the bombyx cocoon, the less refined part. It’s a bit like Excelsior, which is the woody fibre used in Easter baskets, but this is 100% Silk. It’s a nest of fibre, unprocessed, stiff, and lofty. It takes dye spectacularly,
Last is strangest. they’re 2 thicknesses of the same I am not sure why I got both. The excitement of the moment perhaps.
The finer stuff it says:
This yarn is 100% Silk – Tussah, which has been cajoled into this wonderful yarn. It’s stiff, quirky, and will add lots of texture and personality to your creative pieces. It can be woven and knitted – think about 3-dimensional pieces. Use it along the edge of a knitted piece. Incorporate it into your weaving to add body and texture.
And the thicker one says:
This is the yarn that gets the most attention when seen in person. In a whole display of beautiful, luscious silk yarns, people will zoom in on this one and say, “Wow, what is THIS???” It’s 100% Silk. We call it dreadlocks because that’s exactly what it looks like. It’s thick and glorious. It’s quite firm when you get it, but it softens a bit when soaked in warm water. This is a yarn that requires imagination. Think about 3 dimensions when using this yarn – it’s thick, has loads of body, and has the most intriguing texture. Make baskets with it. Wall hangings. Sculptural pieces. It’s truly magnificent.
“Yarn”., I put that in quotes because it is technically yarn but would not say it was spun. Looking at it I would say someone rolled some wet gummy scrap fibre in some mud or a barnyard and called it done. Calling them dreadlocks is an insult to dreadlocks and calling it glorious or magnificent, is just wrong. Interesting, intriguing, sure but glorious, no. I can’t help feeling like there is someone somewhere havering a great laugh at my expense. I can’t say I blame them. LOL
At some point, I will soak some in hot water and some with hot water and soda ash to see what happens to them. What would you do with them?
Continuing on from stitch camp I have started stitching. I like the pieces with a lot of negative space best but thought I should try to do something outside my natural inclination. So I picked one with mostly yellow but a nice distribution of blue too to start with.
I did a bit of stitching but decided it was too soft and floppy to work well. The stitching was distorting the fabric even though it wasn’t pulled too tight. Another thing I could see, that might happen, is the messy stitching on the backside might show through the white fabric. Iron-on interfacing would solve both problems. I know I have some……somewhere. And the Iron, I have one of those too, I am sure I saw it recently.
I found the iron first, but not before a mouse had found it. The mouse (the one we caught in the fall,) had chewed up the cord. Not a nice chew in half or in one spot but all the way along. You can tell how often Iron because the mouse was caught in the fall, late September or early October. Well, I didn’t like that iron anyway it tended to leak. I will have to buy a new one. Sorry, no picture of the chewed-up cord. I tossed it out on garbage day.
I never know what to buy, so I picked the middle price and the one that says it does not leak on the box. I was tempted by the one with the retractable cord but it was digital with little buttons. I don’t think my iron needs electronics.
Then I found my one-sided iron-on interfacing.
I am less thrilled with the pieces than I was so I picked 3 of the double pieces and one of the singles to use and I will see how that goes. If I start liking them better I can do some more.
I have 2 ironing boards. on is under siege in the spare bedroom and the other one, the small one, disappeared into the packed things. so I had to do it the old-fashioned way with a wool blanket on the table. I used a small piece of sheeting for the ironing cloth.
Stitching with the interfacing is better.
When I did this bit of badly done satin stitch, I noticed the distortion starting. Adding the interfacing and ironing seems to have fixed it.
I don’t know what stitching to do. I know it’s all just an exercise but I still want it to look good. I did some seed stitch and that is probably my favourite so far. I thought it was done but looking at it now it needs something else across the join down near the bottom between the woven circle and the yellow seed stitch I think.
Since I started writing this post I started the second piece. One of the more blue ones. I decided to use some green thread as there are some green spots where the blue and yellow paint crossed.
So far so good. I find it hard to decide where to stitch and what to stitch. I am enjoying it and I hope my stitching will improve with the practice. I find it hard to get my needle to go in or come up exactly where |I want it to. I am using a rounded tip needle. Perhaps a sharp one would work better but I didn’t have one with me. Another thing to look for. It is probably stuck in a piece of foam with some felting needles in a project bag or box.
It wasn’t until I started editing the pictures that I noticed this piece has a parrot in it. It is funny how we don’t see things until we take a picture of them. Do you see it too?
My weavers’ and spinners’ (and felters) guild has had to move online during the pandemic. One way we have been interacting is with Study Groups. For those who don’t know a study group is a bit like a workshop but not. There is a leader who facilitates the learning and does the organizing. It is an interactive learning experience with everyone participating and sharing information.
The group runs for 5 Zoom sessions over 10 weeks and has a dedicated space to share pictures, information and ask questions between sessions. The space will be available for 3 weeks after the last session.
Wednesday, January 12, 2022, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm(EST)
Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm(EST)
Wednesday, February 9, 2022, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm(EST)
Wednesday, February 23, 2022, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm(EST)
Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm(EST)
Time Zone: North American Eastern Standard Time(EST)= GMT-5
We will be sampling wool and how it felts. We will sample as many kinds of wool as possible and share results online and using a standard form and pictures, so we are all getting the information the same way. We will discuss possible uses for the different wools and outcomes.
We will share pictures (taking and sharing pictures is a requirement) and if everyone agrees to the extra work and expense(fibre and shipping), I will collect and distribute real samples to everyone in the group. If time and resources permit, we will try some non-wool fibres and possibly how adding non-felting fibre affects the felting outcome
The prerequisite for the study group is to be able to layout a simple 10×10 square and feel it and take and share pictures. We will discuss techniques and how they affect the outcome. This study group requires you to participate so everyone can learn and grow, it is all about sharing.
I hope some of you can join us for this fun way to find out about different wools and share with a group of like-minded people.
It would be a great Christmas or whatever you may or may not be celebrating (Happy Friday works for me) present for yourself or a friend. And no shipping fee. Adding some unusual wool would make it even better.
I spun a single first, naturally. It took a little bit to get used to the silk. The silk is much harder to draft but mixed with the wool it wasn’t too bad. You have to accept you are not going to get a really smooth yarn. You are going to get a great texture.
Next, I did what is the most meditative part of spinning for me. I made a center-pull ball by hand. If you are in a hurry or you have lots to do then a ball winder is the way to go. But I really do enjoy this part. I use a little piece of painter’s tape to make sure I don’t lose the center yarn, while I am winding. Do you enjoy doing something that other people seem to dread doing?
Then the fastest part, plying.
It’s interesting that when it was a single I thought it was a bit dull and muddy but after plying it seems to be brighter and shinier. I really like it. It has lots of colour and so much texture. it will be great as an embellishment on my felt.
I haven’t decided if I will make it into a center-pull ball or a skein for storage.
I ordered some sari silk a while back as part of a larger order from World Of Wool. I am ordering wholesale so I ordered 1 kg of each of the colours I wanted. the first 2 look very similar here but the first has a lot of green and red and the second has quite a lot of black. I had expected the pink one to be much more purple. It is called Royal Robe. Every batch is different, so you are always taking a chance. It would be great if they took new pictures for each batch but I suppose that would be a big hassle for them. And they do warn you so no complaining.
That is a lot of sari silk.
I did make up some small bags of it and sold them on the guild’s Facebook page. I will offer it again soon. I still have lots. I haven’t played with it much at all. So last weekend knowing it would be rainy at the market, so slow and I would be bored, I grabbed some of the silk and a spindle to try spinning it. I brought an older cheaper spindle because I knew I would probably be doing as much dropping as spinning. I was right. It is very short and very frustrating to try to spin, especially since I usually do more of a long draw. I tried for a while then gave up and plied the tiny amount I had spun.
I told you it was small. Here is a close up.
It is very pretty and shiny but I will not be spinning more this way.
Next was to try blending some with some wool.
I picked these two shades of merino. I think they are mallard and duck egg. They seem to be the same colour but have different saturations of the dye.
And these 3 sari silks to blend in. Looking now I see I picked the 3 primaries.
First I did the turquoise lagoon. I did a layer of the dark, then the light and then the sari silk. I carded it several times to blend it and then rolled it into a rollag
It is very subtle but I think it will add some shin and interest when I spin it.
Next, I did the Salsa, I did the same thing a layer of each of the wools and then some sari silk
And lastly the wildflower
Now I have to spin them up. They are not the neatest rollags but I think they will work. I will do some recarding if I have to but I hope I don’t have to.