Spinning at the Medieval Fair.

Last Sunday I went to the medieval for to be part of the demo at our local Medieval fair. It is always fun.

Here I am spinnign some of the rolags I told you about in this post.

It looks like I was saying something very interesting to Bernadetts Who was carding on the hand carders and spinning on her wheel. She was Dressed as a Moorish house slave to some a  Dutch family. She would not go get us Coffee though. 😉

In the picture above you can see Judy spinning on a medieval spindle and using a distaff to hold her wool. Below is a video of me trying to learn and not doing a good job.

It’s a different action then using a suspended drop spindle like I usually do.  You have to spin and control the spindle with your right hand and draft off the distaff with the left.  My right wants to drift up and help my left draft. I need to practice much more. If you look at a medieval painting of spindle spinners you will see how they have one hand at there side and one up by the distaff.

We were close to the stage so we had entertainment most of the day. Here we are watching the dancers and musicians. but notice I am still demoing and not slaking off.  Another great reason to use a spindle.

Then this happened, and we had to pack up quick as the heavens opened and we all tried to stay dry.

All in all a fun day with friends and fiber.


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Designs for Third Quarter Challenge

The third quarter challenge that Marilyn announced recently is the Japanese Edo Art Period. I needed to do some historical design work for my Level 3 Art and Design class so I decided I would combine this challenge with homework.

I googled images and found that there are a lot of circular patterns from this art period in Japan. That works out great since we are concentrating on circle designs in my class. There are a lot of circle family crests and also sword guards that are circles.

I printed out a lot of photos of designs that I liked. I then used portions of different ones to try out some circular designs. I started designing with a 1/12 piece of the circle. You can click on the photo to enlarge it if you’d like to see some of the design ideas.

Here’s a closer shot of my interpretation of the first sword guard. I really like how this turned out. I decided it was a bit too intricate for a felt piece though.

But I could still use the design for my homework. I needed to do a white on black design and this was perfect. I transferred the design to black paper and then colored it all in with a white gel pen. If you’ve ever tried using that type of pen to color anything in, it takes a light touch and a lot of time. But the result is worth the effort.

Here I am working out the second design that I want to transfer to felt. It is a bit less intricate. It is also based on one of the sword guard designs with a different center.

Here’s a closer view. The plan is to use this as a resist which will be cut out of interfacing. The resist will be left in the felt. I plan on using a grey, coarser fiber as the base and black merino on top. Then the resist will block the coarser fiber from migrating through and the design will show in black. More to follow!

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The Hummingbird and the Tiger Lily

I know a lot of people are experiencing different seasons around the world.  Here in the U.S. summer has finally arrived.  One of the things I always look forward to is seeing the hummingbirds fluttering around my flowers.

While the hummingbirds haven’t been seen yet, I decided to make my own.  I started with making a base with Domestic 56 batts, then I added a thin layer of batts and silk hankies as a background felting it slightly and letting it dry.

I decided to make the bird and flower in three dimension.  I shaped the bird first by doing some needle felting and putting it in place then covering it with handmade prefelt and silk hankies. I did a little needle felting on the wings to get the detail of the wings.  The beak was made like a spike and attached before the final wet felting.

The Tiger Lily petals and stamens and stem were made from prefelt and again the stamens were added right before the final wet felting. I used little resists under the petals and needle felted the stamens to stay in place.

A little plastic wrap around the stamens  and beak to keep them from felting to the petals or background.

The felting was slow and I tried not to get it too hard. I wanted a soft look.

I added more needle felting for detail.

Here are several different angles to see the dimension.

Looking at it from above it doesn’t show the dimension.  I may have it framed in a shadow box.  What do you think?

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Latest Nuno and Bookcover

I made the last of my nuno strip pieces into panels for a bag. It was this yellow piece:

I used various types of fabric–cotton, viscose, silk, suspected silk, so got various textures:

I liked these two strips next to each other, they showed the very different way felting/shrinkage affected them:

I used some of the spare offcuts from the orange piece to make up the panels:

I made the Green felt which I piled with BFL locks into a notebook/diary cover. The pictures look a bit weird because I had a small patch of desk out of the sunlight when I was taking photos, but it must have been shadier at one end so, to me, they look upside down!

Here’s the other side:

This is the inside without the book:

And this is the outside without the book:

I’ve finally got the buttons and buttonholes on nearly all the purses from a few weeks ago, so hopefully, I’ll have those to show next time 🙂

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Second Quarter Challenge Part 2

My second Quarter challenge is all finished. Better late than never.

After fulling the pot the design was almost completely gone.

I Got out my handy dandy disposable razor and gave it a good shave to get rid of the fuzzies. The design magically reappeared. A tiny bit of sun came out for the pictures. It has been raining and raining and raining here so not great pictures.


I finished felting the relief picture. The inside yarn didn’t feel a secure as I wanted so I went all around it with a felting needle before deciding how to reveal the encased yarn. I had originally planed to cut the darker green away but thought it might more like it occurred naturally if I shaved it.

I wanted it to look like a piece of something, a tablet or piece of cloth that had been dug up or found in grave goods.  The colour is closest on the right hand one. the background is dark mass green and the picture is a lichen green. I tried to fix it but it just made it worse. I like it. I think I will frame it as is.




Posted in Challenges, Design, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Cretan Felted Shepherd’ Cloaks – Guest Post by Jill

This is a guest post by Jill about her recent trip to a local museum. Thanks Jill for this great post!

A recent visit to the excellent Cretan Ethnological museum in Vori, South Crete, gave me an unexpected surprise – a glimpse of a felting machine! This folk museum, in a tiny town in rural Crete has won many awards and has an interesting textiles section. I knew of the historical farmers’ woollen capes, but had not realized they were felted.

For hundreds of years, life for sheep and goat farmers in Crete remained almost unchanged. Indeed, many people still live in a relatively similar way now, albeit with 4 wheel drive trucks instead of donkeys for transportation.

During the winter, shepherds lived in their family’s village in the lowlands , with olive trees, a kitchen garden and often orange groves; moving their flock around this area to graze. In April-May the sheep were shorn then moved up into higher altitude pasturage, until November; the shepherds remained in the mountains during much of this time. Their most important garment was their felted woolen cloak.

It is a voluminous coat, heavy, water-resistant, with a large hood, and often below knee-length.

Cretan sheep are kept primarily for milk (much used for yogurt and cheese) and meat, the wool is a by-product. Coarse, it was used mostly for weaving heavy rugs, bags and blankets.

To make the cloaks the wool was usually washed, carded and woven at home by the women of the household and then was stamped by foot by the men for long periods in a water-filled wooden basin and support frame. OR by using a kind of felt machine, water powered, which had paddles to agitate the wool into felt.

I have read that each cloak took 4 kg of wool. Mostly white or brown (natural), some were dyed dark blue or black. Whilst the most basic are a simple tent shape, I was surprised that most do have sleeves. The cloak was used as bedding as well as worn outside.

The wool was also used as padding in donkey saddles. I loved the recycling element on this saddle.

The decoration is made of bottle tops from the local fizzy pop, called Gazoza. The museum’s displays are kept dark to avoid light damage to the artifacts, hence the poor quality photos.

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3rd Quarter Challenge 2017

My first instinct was to go towards some type of abstract art, but we’ve done a couple of challenges in past years. So, I took a left turn and decided on something entirely different. Japanese Art from the Edo/Tokugawa period in the early 1600s to the mid 1800s.


Here is a bit more cultural history.  https://www.britannica.com/event/Edo-culture

Woodblock printing became very popular during this period and much of the art was created this way. One of my favorites is  The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

A lot of the art featured Samurai, Kabuki players, Geisha, but then there were more sumi-e ink type paintings that were not as detailed and spoke more of nature.

While a lot of the art was very detailed, there were also paintings done in a sumi-e ink style paintings. Today, there are a couple of textile artists doing sumi-e ink on felt.  But I also like the idea of painting with wool.


Here are some simpler paintings.

You’ll see a lot of cranes in Japanese art since they have a significant cultural meaning of honor and loyalty.  Origami was developed during this period as well.

There were also specific crafts during this period.  The making of handballs for children, doll making, laquerware and weaving among them.


There was also sculpture and folding panel paintings were very popular.

And of course Kimonos continue to be an art form today. This one is from the Edo period.

I think there is plenty to choose from in terms of what you’d like to create.   Here is another resource or just Google Edo Art Period for images.


I look forward to seeing what everyone creates!  Have fun!




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