Mostly spinning

I have been doing some demos lately. It is much easier to demo spinning than wet felting.  This is at the the Richmond fair.

ann and jan gord and great wheel

Jan(sitting) and I as Jan makes a skein from her spinning. Gord spinning on the Great wheel.

Jan’s Husband was doing a blacksmith demo.


He made us some great hooks for our wheels.


On the second day this is what it looked like.


We gave up. we packed up early and went down to the sheep barn where our friend Mary who was doing a demo there.

mary in the sheep barn

We got to watch some of the seep show.

tunis sheep sheep

The red one is a Tunis sheep. I am not sure what the group is.

I must say that most of these pictures are Jan’s. I forgot to take many and they were not great.

Posted in Demo, Spinning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

More Caricatures in Stitch

I wrote a post about stitching some caricatures back at the beginning of June. The sketches are all done by my friend Nanci Williams.  We are still working out the details but the plans so far for these are to have an exhibition of work by different artists using Nanci’s sketches as inspirations and to make a book of all of the people. We are thinking of calling it “Whitefish Fashion Plates”. The two previous stitched people who I did were the same size as Nanci’s sketch. This time, I decided I wanted to enlarge them considerably. I chose a sketch that had four women pictured who were all dressed very much alike.

Pattern Enlarged

I copied the original sketch and then enlarged each person on my copy machine by 200%. I then taped them all back together again. I gave them names as well!

Choosing Fabric

I then hunted down fabric that would work for them. All of them were wearing pastel shirts, all had grey hair and wore a visor and carried similar handbags. I had a hard time finding pastel fabrics in my stash as I don’t seem to have a lot of these colors in solids. The skin tone fabric I had was dyed with tea.

Fabric Ironed and Ready to Fuse

Once I found all the fabric, I had to iron all the pieces so they would be flat and ready to put fusible web on to the back of the fabric.

Trace Pattern on to Fusible

I started with Becky Sue, the one on the right hand side of the sketch. When I traced the different body parts, I had to remember that the paper on the fusible web is on the back side so I had to turn the sketch over and trace from behind. That way when I fused the pattern on to the back of the fabric and cut it out, the figure would be facing the proper direction.

Iron Fusible to Backside of Fabric

I then ironed all my fusible web with the patterns on to the back of the fabric I had chosen.

Becky Sue

I cut them all out and here is Becky Sue ready to be fused down to the background. I haven’t chosen a background fabric yet. I only have one piece of fabric that is the correct size and it seems a bit too “tie-dyed” for a background. I have been just using fairly plain green backgrounds. All of the details will be added with stitching once all of the figures have been fused to the background.

What Color Stripes?

All of the ladies shirts were plain except for Becky Sue. Her shirt is supposed to be striped. I didn’t have any striped fabric so I decided I would add stripes with a permanent marker. I made a sample piece to see which color stripes I like. Which color stripes do you prefer?

Deb's Mosaic People

These mosaic people are by my friend Deb Stika. This isn’t a very good photo but these are approximately 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall and all done in mosaics. The resemblance to Nanci’s sketches are amazing. These will be included in the future show and book too. I will keep you posted on my progress on the four ladies.

Posted in Stitching | Tagged , | 17 Comments

A Day in the Life of a Fiber Mill

Last Friday, Cathy (Luvswool) and I took a lovely drive out to Belvidere, Illinois to tour the Illinois Wool and Fiber Mill.

Nestled in the midst of farmland, we were surprised to turn into a  homestead driveway. I guess we were expecting a huge factory, but it was a quaint store and small facility crammed with custom made machinery.  The idea for the mill started when Jane Zeien’s family purchased two ewes  for a 4 H project.  The family enjoyed working with the sheep and began raising Cheviot, Hampshire, Shetland and Cotswold sheep. They decided to expand their services to help promote the industry.

The Illinois Wool and Fiber Mill can handle everything from washing fiber, blending, picking, carding, pin drafting, custom dyeing, preparing batts and spinning.  All types of natural fiber are welcome  unwashed or washed.  And no order is too small and each fleece is processed individually.

Jane greeted us and led us into her workspace and into wool heaven.

We were surrounded by fleece waiting to be processed in a variety of  breeds and blends and piles of roving in a potpourri of colors and blends.

The picker has a big enclosed space behind it where the fleece piles up ready for the next step.

PickerThe carder dominated the center of the room.

front of carder carder back











Batts can be made on the carder by changing out the parts on the back of this machine shown here making roving.

This is the pin drafting machine.

pin draftingDepending on the job finishing the wool can be done on the spinning machine, then the skeining machine.

Spinning Skeining machineWhen the tour was over we visited the shop where everything is related to sheep from skins to finished good by Pendleton and Woolrich along with handmade items, books, roving and yarn. If you want to learn more about the mill visit their website

Of course, we both bought some new wools to play with. One of my treasures was an English Merino wool batt.

Eng Merino batt

Here are Cathy’s new treasures –

Cathy treasures


Posted in Fiber Preparation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments


A while ago I bought a weird fluffy, knitted, tubular scarf from Poundland to try felting with. If you ever buy one, make sure you cut it over a bucket or newspaper or something to catch all the bits! I laid out a couple of layers of very wispy pink Merino tops left over from a book cover I made last year, then I added the piece of scarf, and 2 more wispy layers of wool tops. It didn’t take long to felt. This is one side of it:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the other side:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is what it looked like holding it up to the sky:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t remember how long after, but I decided the scarf sampler might make a nice sculptural piece similar to one I’d made before. I didn’t make it in exactly the same way, I concertina’d it and stitched in place, then twisted and felted and fulled more. This is the top:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAClose up of the ridges:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASuper close up of the texture:


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA close up of the back:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd a super close up of the texture:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, what do I do with the other 8 square feet of fluffy knitted stuff? :)

Posted in Other Fibers, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , | 21 Comments

Raw Fleece Helmet

A little while ago I showed you  the prototype for a large felt helmet I was planning and the finished hat.  now I thought I would show you some of  the process. There are lots of pictures.

I used a dog brush to fluff up the ends of the horns. I never manage to keep the ends dry. I taped the resist inside the horn to the hat resist and then added some brown wool under the white so it wouldn’t show so much inside.

attaching the horn attaching the horn 2

plastic wrapped horns I wrapped the horn in plastic again so it wouldn’t stick to the hat.

curls on

I added the wool for this side then did the same on the other side and added the raw unwashed Wensleydale fleece form a sheep named Wiki. It was important to use an unwashed flees so I could keep the curls and not have them all felted down. You can see the dirt running off when I got it wet. It took a lot of soapy water to get it wet.


dirty sheep horns after first roll

The horns were a not very white after the first rolling.

After washing all the dirt was gone.

hat dry hat dry horns

Even after fulling it was a big hat. I wanted to put it over a helmet but couldn’t find one so I put a hard hat harness inside so it is adjustable.

hard hat harnis

And here is me in my hat.

me in hat web


Posted in Design, natural wools, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Making Stamps with Sticky Foam

I hope you don’t get tired of seeing what I’m doing in my sketchbook. I decided to make some new stamps from sticky foam. This is a product that is mainly used by children’s crafts in the US and can be found at discount stores.

Foam Sticky Back Sheets

This is the label of the pack that I bought and I have made quite a few stamps from these and still have tons of the sheets left over. You only need small amounts of the foam to make fun designs. I didn’t spend a lot of time making these and didn’t worry too much about making each design.

Cut Pieces of Sticky Foam

I had some left over pieces of foam from another stamp making project. I used some pinking shears and hole punches to add a little interest to some of the pieces. You can also use a pencil or pen to draw into the foam for further detailing.

Clear Plastic Sheet

I use plastic sheet covers to apply the sticky foam on to make the stamp. I am holding a piece of plastic sheet holder in my hand in front of the sticky foam pieces. You could apply them to a piece of wood, cardboard or they do make thick plastic pieces that are meant to be stamp backs. But they are expensive and these don’t take up as much room when you’re storing them. You have to be careful to not move the stamp when you’re applying it but it works fairly well.



Paper on Back of Sticky Foam

This shows the paper on the back of the sticky foam. You just peel it off and apply the foam to the piece of plastic.

Completed Stamp

With this first stamp I just peeled the paper off of a pieces and stuck them down on the plastic in a random fashion. I didn’t over think the design which is unusual for the way I usually work.

Applying Ink to Stamp

I then used an ink pad to apply ink to the stamp. I forgot to get any photos of applying the stamp on my sketchbook pages but since it’s a two-handed operation, I’m not sure how good the photo would have been. I just place the stamp face down on the page, hold the plastic backing with one hand and press the for

Purple and Blue Stamped Sketchbook Page

I covered the sketchbook page which was already painted a light blue color with this stamp in a variety of directions.

Second Completed Stamp

Here’s another stamp that I made from the rest of the left over scraps.

Blue Green Stamped Sketchbook Page

And here it is stamped on to a blue-green page.

Third Completed Stamp

This is the third stamp I made. I decided to stick with geometric shapes with this one.

Pink and Green Stamped Sketchbook Page

I used pink ink to stamp on to a light green page. Not my favorite.

Fourth Completed Stamp

This one I used the pinking shears and made leafy shapes for the stamp.

Green Leaves Stamped Sketchbook Page

And here it is stamped on to a previously painted green page. With this one, I did one stamp where I had covered the stamp with ink. The rest are ghost prints done without re-inking.

I plan on working further into these pages by adding more to them. I’ll either use colored pencils or markers and keep working on the designs. They all feel unfinished at this point so the stamping was just the second layer with more layers to come.

You could use this kind of stamp to stamp on fabric or felt using either fabric paint or thickened ink. And you can cut any design that suits your fancy. This is an easy and inexpensive way to make stamps. If you try some, I’d love to see the results. Come on over to the forum and show us what you’ve created recently.

Posted in Sketch Book | Tagged | 25 Comments

Two in One Felt Project

Last year Zed had sent me a variety of small amounts of embellishment fibers.  I wanted to try them, but wanted a project that would preserve them in a format I could use as a reference for future use.

I had purchased her book HANDMADE FELT BOOK-COVER PROJECT: Everything You Need To Know From Start To Finish. I had never made a book cover so, it seemed an ideal way to combine two projects into one.

I had received the journal as a gift for Christmas and while it’s a nice book, I thought I”d dress it up.

I followed Zed’s instructions on planning the layout and made a template adjusting for shrinkage.  I laid out a moss green base and proceeded to place each of the embellishments along with a printed name next to it.

I had some empty spaces so I filled in with some embellishments of my own.


Since it was large the names didn’t come out very well in the photo so I broke it up into three pics – left, center and right.

left sidecenter







right side

After it was felted and fulled, I cut out the strap.  I had more shrinkage than I expected, but since I wasn’t going to use a clip as she recommends I wasn’t concerned and cut a narrower strap then used a velcro closure.


felt and cut 2

Then I did a blanket stitch around the book cover and the strap with some metallic thread. ( I can’t help it, I love the bling!)

finished front


finished back












Now it’s a beautiful book which reflects my love for felt and a great reference as to how the embellishments reacted to the felting. Thank you Zed for the embellishments and the terrific ebook!

If you can’t read the tags, I used Zed’s black vicose, crimped nylon, plastic fibre, black bamboo, white viscose, silk noil, acrylic tops, raw Suri alpaca, black nylon, Ingeo (corn), soy top, milk protein, bamboo staple, white Egyptian cotton, and super bright trilobal nylon.  I added locks, yak, mulberry silk, alpaca, tencel, cashmere, wensleydale locks and throwsters waste.

What is your favorite embellishment and why?


Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments