Carding some Wool and Making some Felted Soap

After I dyed my wool last week I had to recard it into batts. I have to do this because it became slightly felted during the rinsing process after dying. I have to rinse a lot more than some people because I have hard water. It doesn’t matter if I use a little dye for soft muted colour or lots of dye for strong bright colours.  To recard the fiber, I strip it down into thin ropes. I feed the ropes into the carder. I have a large electric carder but you can do this with a small hand operated drum carder too. I have in the past. I am sorry to say that yesterday I took a nice long video of the carder working but it has disappeared from my phone.  All I have are a few still shots.

Carder This is the carder and infeed table. They are in my nice new studio space. It is all by itself at the moment until I can get the rest of my stuff sorted and my husband can finish the electrical work.

wool in strips carder batt end

Here are the strips on the infeed table and the batt coming off onto the storage drum. I do feed the wool through twice as the first time it is still a bit stripy in density . I separate the batt into thin layers and feed it in again.  I end up with very nice batts.

finnished batts These are all a little less than 100grams/3.5ounses. I used them to make some felted soaps. I tear off a piece of batt and wrap it around the soap. I add a wool stripe or a piece of silk hanky and then pop them into the toe of a nylon. When I have a bunch ready I sit with an audio book and wet felt them all.

soap felted 2

Here they are all ready to go in their nice bright spring/Easter colours.

I am starting to feel like spring with the longer day light hours we are getting. it puts me more in a mood to be felting.  I would feel more  like spring if there wasn’t  still a couple of feet of snow on my lawn. I am however thankful I do not live in the Prince Edward Island on the east coast of Canada . They have had 16 feet of snow in the last two months the last being just a few days ago. I am sure they feel like spring will never come. Are you feeling like spring? Or perhaps you are in the southern hemisphere and are starting to feel like winter is coming?

Posted in Dyeing, Fiber Preparation, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Brighter Cat Toys and Making a Few Batts

Last week I showed you the roving I dyed with Rit dyes and this week, I made them into cat toys as I needed some brighter colors. I have shown how I made the cat toys here.

New Brighter Cat Toys

These definitely fit into the “brighter” category. I always think it is funny when people are choosing what color they want and they have a discussion on which color they think their cat will like. Really?

Blue Green Merino Fleece

I had also dyed some merino fleece so I decided a little drum carding was in order.

Set Up for Carding

Here’s my set up on the coffee table in front of the television. It’s a good activity at night when I’m zoning out in front of the “boob tube”. My mom used to call it that. You can see the dyed fiber on the far left. I picked and teased it apart by hand and ran it through the carder. I got two batts out of it.

Drum Carder

This is a slightly closer view of the carder. My hubbie got it for me for Christmas one year which was a big hit as you can imagine. It’s from Strauch Fiber Company and is very sturdy.

Olive Green Batts

I had some left over green mixed breed fiber so I decided to combine them to make them a bit more interesting. They are both in the olive-green shades although the one on the left is much more yellow.

Close Up of Batt

Here is a closer view of the mix of colors in one of the batts. I am trying to use up bits and pieces of wool so that I will use them so blending them into batts makes them much more interesting.

 

Posted in Fiber Preparation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

The First Quarter Color Challenge

I’ve been playing with the color wheel in fiber and paints for our first quarter challenge.

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When I made the samples for the fiber color wheel I started out using my fingers to blend them.  It took a while to get them to look like they were supposed to.  (I apologize for the photos and the shadows.)

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Since  I needed more of the secondary colors to make the tertiary colors, I decided to use the dog brushes.  I wasn’t getting the results I wanted.  So, I decided to use the carder to make a bigger amount then to move on to blending tints.

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Secondary orange then on to adding white, then black for tints.

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I stopped with the reds.  You can see the outward progression with each color group blending red with white, then red with black then down the line doing the same.  Some of the colors look a little reddish brown.

Once I finished the red group I wanted to try paints.  It was actually a little harder than I expected.  On the left side is the acrylic, the right is watercolor.

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When I started the project with fiber I was in Florida with my grandson who wanted to help me.  Here is his secondary blending.

2015-03-05 15.56.29Not bad for a five year old!  Had he spent more than five minutes with me, he probably would have done a better job than Grandma.

Have you tried the first quarter challenge?   We’d love to see your results on the forum www.feltandfiberstudio. proboards.com

Posted in Challenges | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dutch and Russian Wool

I got some ‘Yellowish Dutch Wool‘ from wollknoll, 34 mic ‘not suitable for felting’, it said. It seemed to felt fine for me:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t know what breed it is, I’d guess Texel, maybe someone who’s bought it knows? Here’s a close up of a corner:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI Thought I’d try a variety of fibres again, so the top row is a blend of black Viscose tops and Ingeo, the narrow band in the middle is Fake Angora, and the bottom is black Bamboo and White Bamboo blended.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADifferent angle:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of the Viscose and Ingeo:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd close up of the fake Angora (it has a strange feel to it, and looks kind of waxy):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother vaguely listed wool I bought was ‘Russian-Camelhair‘. I’m guessing from the way they describe things on wollknoll, that ‘Camelhair’ is the colour, it’s more reddish though. And this is also 34 mic but ‘This wool is especially suitable for felting’. Another guess is that this is Romanov wool. It seems to be double coated like a lot of the ones I ordered. I used Ramie fibre with this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe circular parts are Ramie that I fluffed up then patted down into little discs:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up of Ramie just fluffed up and added:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sun came out as I was taking this, I usually try not to take photos in the sun, but I liked this one:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you tried any new wools or fibres lately?

Posted in natural wools, Other Fibers | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Washing some Fleece

While looking for something else I found some unknown dirty wool. There was lots of nice curls so that’s probably why I kept them. There wasn’t a whole fleece but just a piece of one, enough to fit in a dish washing bowl. Here it is sitting on top of the water before I pushed it under. There is some dish soap in the water.

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Here  it is soaking. This is a pretty clean piece of fleece the water isn’t very dirty.

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Here it is drying, and after it is dry, it is much lighter gray.

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The are lots of small bits in the individual locks  so I tried just combing the ends and rewetting them to bring it back together.

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Unfortunately it did not word as well as I hoped. They are better and perhaps if I used them on some felt or off the edge of some felt they may come back together by the end of the felting.

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Have you had any success in getting locks back together?

 

 

Posted in Fiber Preparation, natural wools, Wool | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Dyeing Wool with Rit Dyes

When the Michaels store opened in Kalispell, they had a grand opening give away. You spun a wheel and chose a prize. They didn’t have very many prizes left when I got there but they had liquid Rit dye. I decided I would choose that for my prize, one for me and one for my husband!

Rit Liquid Dye

Then it sat at home for nearly 6 months. I needed to dye some wool and Ann’s recent post reminded me that I needed some brighter colors. So I thought I would experiment with the Rit Dye and see how it worked on wool.

Roving Into the Pot

I got out my dye pot, filled it up to 2/3 with water, added the full bottle of fuchsia colored Rit dye and a couple of glugs of vinegar. I heated the dye up to steaming and then added some mixed 56’s wool roving.

Roving Ready to Steam

Here it is ready to steam. I put the lid on and had the stove on low heat. I left it that way for 30 minutes.

Red Nearly Exhausted

The dye exhausted pretty well. Better than I expected actually. And the color was a nice red.

Red Before Rinsing

Here’s the wool before I rinsed it.

Blue to Blue Green

Then I did the same with the turquoise Rit dye. You can see the original color on the paper towel. I already had a bunch of blues so I decided to go for a blue-green. So I added a little bit of yellow acid dye. Not much but I didn’t measure.

Dark Green

And here is the pot ready to heat.

Green Didn't Exhaust

This one did not exhaust as well.

Green Before Rinsing

And this is green, not blue-green. I guess I added a bit too much yellow. But I think part of it was the wool took up the yellow dye better than the blue.

Blue Green Merino Fleece

I then had a small amount of merino fleece left which I threw in the pot. Now that’s a better blue-green. Once I rinsed all the wool, the Rit dye held well. And the colors stayed nice and bright.

Yellow Dye Pot I did a few more pots of dye with acid dyes.

Bright Spring Colors

And here is the result. Lots of bright colors for my stash and to make more cat toys.

Up Close

So if you want to try the liquid Rit dyes with wool, they will work fine. Just add in the vinegar and you can get some great colors. It’s not the dye I use all the time but hey, it was free.

Posted in Dyeing | Tagged | 31 Comments

Making a Gift for a New Grandma

As you may be aware my daughter in law Mari  is due to have a baby girl any day.  While we wait for the “phone call,” I decided to make her mother a small cosmetic case/clutch.  This is her first grandchild and she has traveled from Japan to be with her daughter and my son for the big event.

I made a template allowing for a 30% shrinkage rate.  I had planned to use some prefelt and merino, but I realized I was almost out of black merino.  So, I substituted some black Corriedale for a middle layer.  The bottom half of the resist was 9″ x 11″ (23 cm x 28 cm).

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The inside layer was a turquoise merino.

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The second layer was the Corriedale batt and the last layer was a black prefelt.  Then I laid out the embellishments.  As usual, I was so engrossed in the process I forgot to take pictures.  The embellishments were 100% Peruvian thick and thin hand dyed wool yarn, a turquoise and metallic silver mohair yarn, silk hankies and green and turquoise throwsters waste.  The template for the flap was not used as a resist, but as a pattern for the shape and size of the flap.

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Once I was finished felting and fulling, I shaped the bottom and sides using an ice cream scoop. The shrinkage was less than I expected.  But it was well fulled so I was satisfied. The finished size was 8″ x 7″ high (20 cm x 18 cm)

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I used the yarn to put on her initials — ST on the flap and embellished it with a silver button and will either use a velcro or magnetic closure.

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I was pleased with the outcome.  It is sturdy, yet not heavy or bulky.

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments