Distractions while working on the Armature Wire Study group homework!

Distractions while working on the Armature Wire Study group homework!

As I mentioned earlier, the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners guild had decided to try 3 study groups starting in February. One on weaving, one on spinning and I had the Felt study group looking at armature wire. We were going to look at different types of wire, in different gauges and in different combinations. To see how flexible they were and what size of sculpture might be appropriate to use them with.

We started on Feb 24, 2021, at  07:30 PM and ran for 4 weeks till Mar 17, 2021.  I had ordered a lot of different aluminum wire online and had found quite a bit of non-braided wire at the hardware store and Dollarama.  I was doing quite well until last week!

As we came out of lockdown, we had the opportunity to do fun stuff in a limited way again like have a guild library day!! Ayah!!! Getting out of the house, pulling and bagging books to ready for pick up, the Anticipation!!! Then the horrible realization that the car still wants to quarantine in the driveway, watching the buses go by. After a quick consultation from the nice CAA man who said he has seen a lot of this problem, suggested we wait for the next warm snap and see if she will start. Unfortunately, that would be after Library day!!

0.5 This is the Sunday of Library day (Masked Librarian receives book return). Saturday Elizabeth, not pictured but also masked, helped with book pulling and bagging while I dealt with the circulation database and added new items to the library.

I was very grateful for 2 of my very wonderful friends who gave me lifts down and back to the guild library while my Kea Soul sat in the driveway refusing to stop self-isolating. I rather overdid it even with their help, well I do not get out much now and wound up back laying down how frustrating. As the 3 days of warm weather arrived, on day 3 she started!! 2 trips to the car doctor and a rather hefty bill and she is now fine.

Besides library and car surgery excitement, I have been organizing and participating in the “Armature Wire Study Group” through our local guild. We were making samples of various gauges of wire, single, twisted, and then felted over. We had a number of different kinds of wire, copper, steel, rubber coated steel, stainless and aluminum. We had gauges from 6 aluminum to 26 steel floral wire.

For my samples I have been making appendages, well, 15 twisted wire and 15 wool covered legs with feet, 4 wire arms with different gauges of fingers on hands and 22 samples of each wire I was able to get. (there are a few that still have not arrived yet!) All the appendages are hanging up beside the desk in little baggies, with labels, notes and wire samples. I had wanted to do samples of two different gauges of wire as well, but am running a few days behind where I thought I would be. I still have a day so I may get a couple of the options done but without a wool covering.


1-3 all the samples (This is part of tonight’s zoom meeting for the study group)

The EXPERIMENTATION –Loop joint Samples

One of the participants had wondered about increasing articulation at the joint. I decided to try a simple loop to loop connection and a loop to loop with lateral support. The idea was to keep the “bone” sections from bending when it’s not appropriate. I sampled 2 connecting loop options in 9ga aluminum which is quite heavy. The first was two loops set perpendicular, at a 90 deg. angle to each other. The second was the same configuration but with 18ga aluminum secured above and below the joint and acting as the medial and lateral collateral ligaments (MCL and LCL) to this mettle joint.

– to try to give articulation in one plane of movement. Using 9-gauge Aluminum wire.

8 the bare armature with the first joint attached. Joint 1

Joint 1

2 loops locking together, the lower turned so the main articulation swing will be front to back. This will give hyper-extension but may be reduced by wool over layer.  Wool does provide increased support but still allows more lateral shift than wanted.

– Freely swings to the front and back (anterior/posterior movement).

-it also swings freely from side to side (Medial / lateral movement).

-the joint can not be positioned to stay in one location other than what little support the wool is giving it. (This joint needs emergency surgery to correct for the lack of both the lateral and medial support ligaments!!!!

Joint 2

Loop at joints – with double twisted wire of the same gauge creating a loop for superior articulation. Augmented by 20 gauge aluminum wire (at sides of joint for adding grater lateral support).

-lateral support from wire greatly reduces lateral shift in the joint almost all the movement is front /back, anterior/posterior.

-again positioning is not an option other than the restriction from the wool covering the joint it can be moved but will not stay if released. moves more freely than just a single or twisted wire.

Conclusions: will not work for posing a figure but may be of use if you need a flexible joint that returns to its resting positions. This may be an option for some other project, but not for the project I want to do next.

We will have one more meeting in a month to report after we finish all our samples and exchange information. So I may be able to give you an update on a bit more of our findings. This looks like it was a good felting question to investigate

18 Articulating swing arms for webcam and tablet

I bought some new equipment to help with my zooming and after much surcharging for improved lighting. Eventually, I remembered the box with the magnifying lamp picture on it was not empty. (I had moved it when I was trying to sort out the office so should have remembered more quickly that I had it.) I got out my light for de-hairing Qiviut fibre to augment by poor office lighting. Of the new stands, one is designed to hold a phone, (if only mine would let the zoom app lode and open) but also how has the attachment to hold a webcam pointing at the desk and the other is holding Glenn’s older small tablet. I got Miaka’s email to log in through the tablet, so it could take a picture of me. It’s all been very exciting and a bit of a steep slope on the learning curve!!

It’s now getting quite late, which is why my spellchecker is not available (I think sleep spellchecking may be no better than me believing Microsoft word when they tell me “that is defiantly the word you meant”!!! I will hope that it doesn’t lead me too far astray.)

There are rumours it is getting warmer and there may be spring soon. I saw strawberry leaves poking through the fall leaves on Friday (car doctor assessment day) but by Monday (day surgery car day) they were all dead again. they always seem to be a bit overenthusiastic. I know that soon we will all be out Felting Alfresco again!!!

14 thoughts on “Distractions while working on the Armature Wire Study group homework!

  1. This all extremely interesting Jan. Will you be able to post about your final conclusions?
    Glad I’m not the only one having problems with spellcheckers. I hate machines that tell me what to do!

    1. Thanks Ann i was suspecting that most of the felters would have tried hinging the joints this way and already discovered this may not be quite what i wanted. it may be prefect for something in the futre but not this next project. i suspect i may have a few more blog posts to chat wire and armatures in the future.

      i have not had good success believing computers when they tell me “yes that is defiantly the word you wanted!!” Glenn and i were given a second hand Mac from his brother while i was taking my RMT training. so i typed out my 80 treatment assignments, carefully spellchecking myself believing the computer when it suggest i had the wrong word Pattent and i should “change all”. Computers are smarter than i am! click accept!! (Glenn hadn’t started yet so no human spell checking was avalible). i got the assignment back (with a good mark!) and was asked why i was massaging Patents rather than Patients? my only hope was that i was massage Medieval shoes (Pattens) rather than legal documents (Pattens). Shew would be closer to the body. i still cant spell pattent. maybe it is best i am now not working with them! i can spell felt most of the time correctly!! As long as i dont destroy the spelling of all the felters reading this!!!

      i will defiantly keep you posted on the Armature Wire Investigation goes!

  2. Brilliant work;have been thinking about this for some time.I know nothing about wire and h.ave been thinking about how to make a tall figure.Am trying to work out how to easily felt over the wire.Look forward to your next posting

    1. Thanks this is just part of my part of the group effort. i still have a couple gauges of wire waiting to arrive (from China because i could not find all the gauge options for sale in Canada or the US.) 2 more arived with the mail last night just before the study group so i will do those samples today. 7ga and 22ga both Aluminum.

      on thing we did find out. Aluminum comes in a coated and un-coated versions (the stuff from Home depot was un-coated and intended as picture framing wire) it oxidizes and got blackness on my hands and made the wool look dirty. one of my steel samples was also untreated and oxidized. pay the extras bit of money and avoid the un-coated mettle it was unpleasant in its messy.

      the addition of pipe cleaners rapped around the wire will give the wool something to grab onto. not adding too think a base layer makes a difference too. i found the “gardening wire ties” which is rubber covered steel wire (unlabled but looks like a 20ga). it was easy to add wool but it is the only wire i broke a needle on. one of the British authors had suggested that is the type of wire she uses.

      remember you dont have to Stab the Wire and wool into submission, only stab enough to engage the barbs on your needles. also working at a glancing angle, more to the side and strate back out rather than up and down helps you doge the wire. try to keep your wire in the center of what will be your figure, rather than close to the surface if possible. (some legs are too thin like birds to easily accomplish that.) i have herd suggestions that wax or glue on the wire when the leg isn’t big enough for much wool coverage may be helpful. that too will need further investigation but it sounds plawsable!

      I am sure you will have lots of fun with armatures, try to get samples of wire in various gauges and types so you can refer to them when choosing your armature! 12,14, 18, 20 and 22 aluminum are some of the most commonly used gauges but there are lots of other options out there you mite like the grater firmness to a 9 or 7ga aluminum? (we all agreed the fence repair steel 11ga was way too stiff for anything except Quodradents!) experiment investigate have fun!!

      PS different types (stainless vs Steel vs Copper vs Aluminum) of wire have different stiffness so different wires of the same size (Gauge) will not give you the same result! sample and see what will be rite for your perpous.

    1. Thanks there is still a lot more to investigate!! the Horrors of a curious mind!!

      i am doing a sample for the 7ga aluminum that arrived last night. its really extremely stiff when doubled so i am doing the sample as a single wire. i will defiantly be per-wrapping the wire which will be the foot first then adding the over layer!. it would be a large skwerl sized mouse if i tried using this gauge for a mouse!! but it may work perfectly for something a bit bigger!!

      i continued cleaning up my work office, now my semi-studio (since im not working). now where did i put that wool? i hate it when i clean up and than i cant find anything!! it was vary messy but i knew where everything was!! found it i had stuck it in one of my baskets so i wouldn’t misplace it! (its ok, i know there the bump of corriadale is so i could just go get some more out!)

      Have fun felting!!

  3. As someone who uses wire armatures to create dog sculptures, this is very interesting! Thanks for sharing, I look forward to seeing more, Jan 🙂

    1. Thanks Leonor! Yes i hope to have more info!

      i was very curious about what wire was available, sampling as much as i could that looked like it mite be useful and looking a very large range of sculpture sizes. as well trying to find out what other felters were using and if possible why they had chosen that kind of wire. so the scope is wide for this investigation. doing this as a study group has helped since there is more than just my perspective (i tend to felt firmly and have had, up to recent years, unusually strong hands. its the dyslexia i coudnt do office type jobs so wound up doing much heaver work (shovel jobs, picture framing, RMT) so its good to get more perspectives on what is a heavy wire.)

      i have been finding a lot of websites and books are a bit week on there description of “Wire” or “Craft wire”. the later is likely aluminum but you are left guessing. one anther said she was using “rubber coated Garden Wire” i found 2 wires that match the description, the coating is thicker rubber on one then the other but both are the same side steel wire. steel being much stiffer than aluminum and being coated in rubber hopefully it will be more excepting of wetness. the type of metal that make the wire is extremely important. it will change its strength, flexibility, water sensitivity and if its not coated in something its oxidization (don’t try the cheep uncounted aluminum it gets all over your hands).

      oh no i got distracted again! i really meant to ask so whats your favorite wire for the size of dog you are creating? and why did you select that wire?
      Thanks! and will keep you updated as we consolidate our research! and impute is always appreciated!!

  4. I know what you mean about tidying up Jan. I also have problems with “de-cluttering”. As soon as you get rid of something, you always find you need it and nothing else will do.

    1. thanks Ann, i bot the house i could afford not the house i fit into so it was a spaceshal problem just getting everything in. now its accumulation on top of not enough space! and yes its a mess but i know where things are until i reorganize my mess then its no longer archaeology (it underneath whatever i put on top of it) its now a much bigger search effort to find it now that i moved it and its desperately needed again!!!!! AAARRRGGGG!!! the frustration. i love both the Japanese minimalist esthetic but don’t have the space to achieve it and the Victorian clutter which i could do with just adding a few more rooms!!
      i will keep trying to reorganize my space to better suet my probably retired life. (anyone looking for a huge reference collection on Massage therapy?)
      lets not think about the clutter too much today and get back to felting!!!

    1. thanks Ruth we are going to meet again in a month so everyone has a chance to do more samples, check out more reference material and then report back to the group. I am looking foreword to it. all these samples in so many gauges are vary educational and will be a wonderful reference. i should not have made such BIG sexy calves! they are not conducive to putting into a binder or book format!!! (there too big and sexy)

  5. I think mixing a bit of code breaking into your felting narrative helps keep the little grey cells active. I Know where to go if I want to make a sculpture in the future. I wonder if it would be better for bird legs to mostly wet felt them to get the wool tight around the wire.

    1. I try not to do too much self spellchecking, its not safe and i may say something i had not intended. but i also worry that i am slowly destroying the spelling of those around me. no matter what the Carlton board of education said to the contrary, Dyslexia is contagious with prolonged exposure. i have destroyed my mom’s spelling and Glenn is starting to fail.

      i have heard of using glue to make the finer wires adhere the wool better. be careful with wetting steel, particularly pipe cleaners can rust and brake since they are such a fine gauge. electrical wire may work, it would be worth sampling, since it is coated and would protect most of the wire from the water. (as long as it was strong enough to support your bird). other things i would consider are wrapping thin layers over leg wire then ether clear glue or hair spray (it worked as a fixative for pastels, it mite work here.)
      spray adhesive on the wire then apply the thin layers of wool may help the wool stick to the wire too. i have to rite down more things to investigate!! are you going to add a bird (birds eye view) to your first quarter challenge?

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