Today we have a Guest Post From Cathy ‘Luvswool’
Zed and I were chatting about coarse wool fibers–which we both enjoy–and the end result of our chat was my agreement to try some wet-felting experiments with some “exotic” coarse wool she had just got from Woolknoll. And even though I have tried many different types of wool fibers over the past couple of years, Zed’s package of fibers was quite a surprise. Okay, how many of you have heard of Fox Sheep wool, Milk Sheep wool, Russian camel and Chubut. The latter name is what my siblings used to call me in our “anything goes” name-calling childhood.
While in Colorado, I had gifted my four colorful pods (above) to the Breckenridge Arts Council for their silent auction. And I missed them. So I decided to make four more pods, this time in neutrals, using the same resist I had used previously.
I also planned to add embellishment fibers, which were also contained in Zed’s package. Although I was familiar with Bamboo and Viscose, I did not know how they might react with coarse wool fibers, so I decided to use Zed’s new e-book, The Right Fibre as my guide. In the e-guide on fibers, Zed clearly explains how one can go about blending fibers with each other, but also tips on which fibers might go better together. The photos–some of them macro–clearly show the effects one might be able to achieve.
I decided to work with 4 coarse fibers I had never before felted, which were Fox Sheep wool, Karakul, Milk Sheep wool and Chubut. As embellishments, I chose Viscose, Bamboo, Russian camel and Schappe (a type of silk fiber).
First up was the mysterious fox sheep wool, which has nothing to do with foxes and everything to do with coarse, hairy wool. As an embellishment, I used black viscose.
Next was the Karakul, which I had heard about but really didn’t want to think about too much or too long. This wool fiber–of course–was not the dreaded karakul you might be thinking about…phew! I used black bamboo, which actually looks grey in the photos.
To keep it all scientific, I used the same sized resist, felted for the same amount of time, and likewise with the fulling; but I did change up the size of the openings for variety. Here is the order of most coarse to least coarse (and hairy!): Karakul, Milk Sheep, Fox Sheep and Chubut.
Here’s what surprised me: The Schappe, which has looked so soft and silky, turned out to be lumpy as an embellishment on the Milk Sheep wool, and I would use it again, but strictly for the build up of texture underneath other fibers. It could react differently on a softer, lower micron fiber, such as Merino wool. The Karakul shrunk the most and retained its very hairy quality, which I do like for this particular pod. The Fox Sheep wool (white with the black viscose) turned out well, and I like the way the Viscose retained its waviness.
The Chubut seemed to be slightly taken over with the Russian camel, but perhaps I used too much camel as an embellishment. It would be useful to try all four base fibers again and pair them with different types of embellishment fibers.
Here are all four pods standing nicely together. I have even decided their fate: a bud vase, yarn carrier, cat bomb (you may notice I added a felted cord for the wick), and gnome’s cap. I’m not serious about the cat bomb, as I do love my kitties, but perhaps our readers will have a suggestion for use of the final unnamed pod?