Knitting and Roving

Last time I did a World of Wool order, I got some ‘Pencil Roving waste’, it’s a the bottom of this page here. I very recently learnt to knit and it is really nice to knit with. I was going through my commercial yarns recently, they’re pretty much all tassley, eyelash, loopy things for embellishing felt, but right when I first discovered felting, I bought some thick and thin acrylic ‘fake’ pencil roving. :

I’ve needlefelted and wet felted with it, and made a tiny knitted square when I first learnt and thought it would be perfect to use with the pencil roving to make something thick and soft and texturey. I used a multicoloured ball, and added in the pencil roving lengths as the previous one ran out. I think it’s about 10 inches square:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI did neaten the ends a bit, and poke them through to one side, so this is the back:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think the texture is really nice:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt got me thinking about making my own pencil roving, I kind of made some a while back when I was having my kitchen done, I spun some Merino on a drop spindle then knitted it straight from there a day or two later, but the drafting is such a pain from wool tops. Then I remembered Ann did a video right when we first started the site about drafting roving using a diz. So, I blended a drum full of browns and turquoise/spearminty colours, found a button with a big hole and made myself some roving. I was impressed with myself, it only went thin a few times:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few shorter lengths:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI thought this could be useful for making wet felting kits because I noticed people who’ve never seen wool tops before find them hard to pull off, and hand carded/drafted roving is much looser. I made a short video of the next lot I drafted. I made a new diz from a film tub lid, because I wanted it a bit wider and also made a little ‘tool’ from bent wire to help pull the wool through the hole.

Posted in Fiber Preparation | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Twist Fibre Festival

This last week end was the Twist Fibre Festival in Saint-André-Avellin, Quebec. Two friends of mine and I shared two booths. I am going to show you our booth in this post and the rest of the show in the next one. This is our whole booth

whole booth

Judy is mostly at the left  and has the wooden stand full of fiber bags. She has lots of hand processed breeds of wool and hand made small batts and rolags in great colours. I was in the middle and had the silver stand and Elizabeth is on the right with hand dyed roving and weaving kits.

We also had two friends helping us. I do not speak French , Elizabeth speaks a little and Judy speaks a little more. We had Andrea ( on the right) to be our French speaker. She was an enormous help and was so good with customers.  Here she is with me having fun trying on the Viking hat.


and our other helper, Jan, who is a great sales person. Elizabeth is in the back chatting with a customer. She is the one with the whited pass around her neck.

jan and e and andrea

Now for some more detailed pictures. This is me with the batts and tea cozies and some knitting and plying bowls that my friend Mike makes.  On the stand I had the project bags and nuno felt kits and drop spindle kits and hats.

mi in the middle elizabeds end and my wrack

This is Judy’s table and a close up of her hand turned drop spindles and Lego drop spindles.

Judies end 3 judys spindles close

Down at Elizabeth’s end she has drop spindle kits and hand died roving designed to spin colour changing yarn. She also has an amazing ridged heddle book (on dvd) she wrote and kit put together.

judys end 2

She brought her loom and was working on the kit samples to show people how it works. The multi coloured one is one of the sample pieces finished. You get 2  that size and another small bonus sample pattern.

Elizabeths weaving

So that was our set up. What you can’t see was how hot the room was once it was full of people. We just about melted. I should have shrunk a couple of sizes but some how I didn’t. :)



Posted in Fairs and Shows, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Mysterious, Disappearing Blue Dye

My local surface design group doesn’t meet in the summer months but we had a challenge for over the summer. Each of us was to use surface design techniques on a 2 yard piece of silk. I can’t remember exactly what type of silk it is but it is very heavy and not really suitable for nuno felting. So I decided to try some dye techniques on the silk.

Someone on the forum posted a technique using plastic cups to direct the dye to look like flowers. I couldn’t find the link and hadn’t really paid that much attention to the technique other than you use cups, put the fabric in the cup and pour the dye into the cup. So I decided to try this and go for the look of poppies. The first step with the red and orange dye went very well (sorry, no photos) and I ended up with very large flower like dyed areas on the silk.

The next step was to over-dye to get a green background. I used fiber reactive dyes but the first set of dye had been mixed up at least a month ago. I mixed yellow and blue to get a light, sage green. But the blue disappeared and I ended up with a golden-yellow background.

Green Paper Towel

So I decided to try again and mixed up a new, dark green dye. You can see on the wipe up paper towel above, that it was dark green. So I soaked my silk in soda ash solution for about an hour, laid the silk out on plastic still wet and applied the green dye with syringes. I didn’t really try to make exact leaves as I wanted to keep it fairly abstract. I also added some black dye into the center of my “poppies”. It looked great when I finished. I rolled it all up in plastic and let it batch for 4-5 hours.

Silk - Not Green

But then when I rinsed it out, all the blue in the green mixture washed out. I am back to very little green and a whole lot of golden-yellow in the background. This shot probably shows the most green in the entire two yards of silk. Sigh.

Green on Shirt

This photo doesn’t show the colors well but I used the remaining dye on my work shirt. It stayed nice and green. So it wasn’t the dye. It seems this silk somehow doesn’t like blue. Weird. So back to the “drawing board”. I think the solution is paint. I will use Dye-na-Flow paint on wet fabric to achieve the dark green leaves that I have envisioned for this piece. I’ll let you know how it goes. All these steps I’m sure will be worth it in the end as it will give it more depth. Or so I keep saying to myself.

Posted in Dyeing | Tagged | 33 Comments

Third Quarter Challenge 2015 by Carole Gascoigne

Today our guest artist/writer is Carole Gascoigne aka Craftywoman.  She also maintains a Facebook page just for fun — Bagsalicious.  Here is Carole’s contribution for the Third Quarter Challenge.

I have to say this is a first all round – first time attempting nuno felting and first time writing a blog for this felting site.

It was a treat to be asked, then came the big challenge: what to write about.

We have a quarterly challenge and this one is to take a photo, take it into a colour palette site and find the colours for a project.

cg 1

I half completed this challenge, in that I found myself trying to capture the image into a nuno scarf or shawl, rather than, as I had originally envisaged, creating something more abstract.

Armed with my 3mm silk chiffon and pre-dyed coloured fibres, I started to develop my scarf.

cg 2

Top and bottom I used merino and silk in greens and blues. To the blue part I added white viscose fibres for sheen, and turquoise locks. The poppies (sorry about the blurred pic) were first a layer of raw silk fabric cut up into random poppy shapes in salmony pinks, with pink locks and fine red merino over laid.

cg 3

All of this, the silk fabric and the fibre design was laid out on bubble wrap – bubble side up.

Then came the hard work. I hadn’t appreciated how difficult nuno was going to be. Initially, I covered my design with net and wet felted the design into place. I then rolled it all up onto a foam roller, tied it together and started rolling. I think I rolled about 400 times, 200 each way – then I removed the net.

I re-rolled about another 600 times, changing the end I started with to ensure all the fibres had a chance to be on the inside and the outside of the rolling.

When I was happy that the fibres had migrated through the silk chiffon I added more hot water and threw the piece on to a towel. I continued doing this until I felt it had been felted enough.

Here is my ‘Poppies by the Sea’ inspired nuno felted scarf.


Carole, thanks for completing the Third Quarter Challenge and sharing your first nuno felting journey with us!  It was worth the effort the scarf is beautiful!


Posted in Challenges, Guest Writer, Meet the artist, Nuno Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Felt Picture

I had an idea over the week to do a piece of felt for my sister to say thanks for helping me at MakeFest. I saw a photo she took and thought that would make a great piece. I haven’t told her or asked her, so I probably shouldn’t post the photo without permission, but I made a simplified version on Photoshop as a guide:

field field picI don’t have a computer downstairs (or working printer) so I didn’t have a photo to work from, but I did draw a guide :)


I marked out the bands on a template and did the first layer, I’m afraid some of the photos aren’t the best, it was dark and I had to use flash at times:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI then started on the second layer:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI thought it was looking alright until I got to the bright yellow patch near the bottom, it’s a field of bright yellow rapeseed flowers, and I really wanted to capture the almost bubbly look it had. I blended Nylon and silk throwsters and Bamboo, and it looked great, but made the rest look really flat:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, then I had to go over all the areas with more texture. I blended shades, mixed in fibres, fluffed it all up and filled in the rows:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI realise now if I’d taken photos of the blends etc, I could have used this for the 3rd Quarter Challenge :) My favourite part is the bottom, it was a hedge with lots of colour to it, mostly greens, but the new growth had shades of red. I used lots of different shades of nylon staple fibre for this.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI added the details on next: hedges, trees, telegraph poles:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the trees I used black viscose top, I pulled lengths off, fanned out the top, then gave it a twist to make the trunk and branches. Then I added fluffy wisps of blended wool.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFelted and still wet:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few bits of yarn I used for tracks didn’t work, so I removed them. Here it is dry:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe back looks good too:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s completely the wrong shades, the original photo is more ‘acidic’, but I liked how it turned out. I’m not sure it’s my sister’s thing though so it might be back to the drawing board there :)

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Fixed Tea Cozy

If you remember my post about the tea cozy that went wrong, and-then-it-all-went-wrong I have now fixed it. First I had to needle felt the pieces that fell off, back on. I only needled the middles so I would still get the cracked mud effect. The hardest part was placing the pieces in the right places.

needle felted 2 needlfelted peices

This is what the inside looked like.

neddle felted inside

The next step was to tape it all again. I didn’t want the edges to felt down flat.

adding the tape

I did trim the pieces that were touching so they would not felt together again. I rewet the whole thing and started fulling.  Lots of rolling on my washboard to get it well shrunk and stiff enough.

It turned out really well.

finnished finnished 2


And a better angle so you can see the texture.

finnished 4 finnished 3


so disaster averted and all is well. Now I am back to getting ready for the Twist festival this coming  weekend. Twist    If you can make it make sure to drop by and visit me in booths 57 and 58.




Posted in Dyeing, Experiments, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments

Green Notebook Completed

I finished up my green studies notebook. I didn’t add anything else but leaves but I may add a few thread studies and green photos later.

Glycerin Leaves

I had high hopes for the leaves preserved with glycerine. They looked really good after they came out of the glycerine. I soaked them for a week. All I did was put glycerine in a plastic plate, put the leaves on top, pour a little more glycerine over the top and cover with another plastic plate. I put a little bit of weight on the top plate and just left them. The photo above shows the leaves after a week. They were very dry and brittle and I had to be very careful with them. It was a bit time consuming removing the excess glycerine. But then the moment I applied them with matte medium to the pages, they turned brown. I guess I could have attached them some other way but they would have crumbled into bits if they hadn’t been coated with something.

Green Studies Notebook 7

This is the best leaf I achieved (same leaf as in the middle of the glycerine photo). It turned a bit brown but stayed mostly green. Some of them turned really dark brown. I’m not sure it is worth the effort to use the glycerine as some leaves just seem to take to this process better than others.

Here are some other pages with a variety of leaves, seed pods and mossy bits.

Green Studies Notebook

For the cover, I used a painting technique that I had seen online. It uses eggshells for the texture.

Green Studies Notebook End View

You can see the texture from this angle a bit better . My notebooks always end up looking “fat” as they always have extra stuff on the pages. I really enjoyed making this notebook. Have you done any color studies lately?

If you missed the finish of my second quarter challenge, I posted about it on my personal blog. I haven’t started the third quarter challenge and it’s already the middle of August. I better get a move on!

Posted in Sketch Book | Tagged | 22 Comments