Armature experiment 3; Comparing Parallel wire with twisted wire (and ..the Garage)

Armature experiment 3; Comparing Parallel wire with twisted wire (and ..the Garage)

During the wire adhesion and rotational experiments, I awoke in the middle of the night wondering if the use of parallel wires would reduce wool rotation? Would parallel wires increase the likelihood of needle entrapment leading to breakage? How would the flexibility of the sample be affected by the use of parallel wire?  How would parallel wire compare to twisted wire of the same gauge? Am I not getting enough sleep since I seem to be dreaming about wire?

Since I had found the floral tape was helpful with adhesion and may reduce the entrapment of the needles I applied it to the twisted and one of the parallel samples.

Sample 3.1 twisted wire sample with floral tape compared to the parallel sample 3.2 with floral tape. Both are 10ga/3mm Aluminum.

1-5 Parallel vs Twisted, both with Floral tape

Sample 3.3 parallel, without floral tape also in 10ga/3mm Aluminum.

The second investigation on parallel wire, this time without the floral tape. Found that there was rotation in both the wire and wool. I used elastic on one end just to keep the wires together while the wool was wrapped.

6-7 Parallel without floral tape

The lack of adhesion to the wire allowed the wool to be compressed which was not seen in the other samples.

8-9 Wool compression along the length of wire.

I tried bending both with the wire stacked and adjacent. I found the Stacked was stiffer than adjacent.

10 Double bend with wire to investigate if the alignment of wire will make a difference in flexibility

11 Stacked (one wire on top of the other)

12 adjacent (one wire beside the other)

Would parallel wires reduce wool rotation?

  • parallel bare wire, greatest rotation of the three samples
  • twisted wire with floral tape, less than bare wire
  • parallel wire with floral tape, least rotation of these samples

How would the flexibility of the sample be affected by the use of parallel wire?  

  • parallel wire with floral tape, when stacked seemed the stiffest but still flexible.
  • adjacent alignment of both parallel samples seem similar to the stiffness of the twisted sample

Would parallel wires increase the likelihood of needle entrapment leading to breakage?

I did not find the needle catching between the wires but I wrapped the wires when they were straight, not shaped so this may have reduced the likelihood of catching. I also suspect the wires with the floral tape would be less likely to catch than the bare mettle. If the wires are twisted loosely there is more opportunity for the needle to get caught in the looping sections. Only two samples may be too small a sample size to be definitive.

Being conscious of the working depth of your needle and not speed stabbing will also reduce your rate of breakage.

How would parallel wire compare to twisted wire of the same gauge? For these samples at this gauge, I found:

  •  if taped the parallel gives less rotation of wool
  • depending on the wire alignment at the bend, it can give either a similar or stiffer flexibility to the twisted wire
  • if no tape is used and the sample section is straight, the wool can be compressed after wrapping.

The use of parallel wire may have an application depending on what you are creating. The ability to compress the wool along the length of the wire was interesting. I will keep it in mind but don’t have an application for it at present.

Dealing with the Pointy bits:

I found that the ends of the parallel samples were very pointy and sharp. To reduce this, I tried my rasp file to take off the point and then softened the edges with a metal nail file. This worked very well and maybe worth considering at least for the larger size wire.

13 Hardware Rasp and metal Nail file

Am I not getting enough sleep since I seem to be dreaming about wire?

  • possibly not, so I am now thinking about a studio in the garage…… ah, renovations!

Thinking of the garage:

In case I have been over investigating the wire options for armatures I have turned my thoughts to another topic. Glenn is on holiday and we are still in lock down so have to stay home. Instead of heading off on a vacation, we went to the garage at the end of our driveway, the detached and sinking one. We have been wanting to sort through the stuff that is in there and then try to fix the sinking walls and aesthetically dipping and twisting roof (someone did not put in an adequate number of roof trusses…you should not skimp on roof trusses!).  We had been pulling gardening pots and other essential stuff out of the garage when we, (OK, Glenn is doing the lifting) started hearing odd noises from the back corner of the garage. It grew louder when I adjusted the sonic mouse deterrent. (It’s a plug-in high-frequency sound generator that is said to be offensive to mice and drive them out of an area. It only works in straight lines so if your area is well cluttered it does not work as well.)

14 Squatters trying to make a run for it!!!

On further investigation we found we had squatters living in the garage, three of them had taken over the ruff-tote bin with air mattresses in it!! Well, they need to be evicted!!! NOW! Not only are they not paying rent they have shredded a foam sleeping pad, cardboard and chewed at the roof decking (there is a tarp on the roof so the hole isn’t leaking).

15-16 Odd, I was sure we saw three of them in the bin originally.

Glenn went back in to start to clean up the mess but heard more noise from the corner and emerged with raccoon number three.

17 Oh no here is number three

OK, now he can clean up… and is that another one?

18 Number four is added to the bin.

While Glenn returned to clean up I gave them a thorough lecture about their eviction and that they were not welcome in the garden either. I am not sure if I was successful since they fell asleep as I was telling them they had been evicted and were not allowed back in the garage.

19 Well they don’t seem too stressed about being evicted if they are sleeping through my eviction lecture!

Back in the garage a fifth squatter was found unsuccessfully hiding behind the leg of the shelf they had been living on. (Hiding is not successful if we can see your butt on one side of the shelf leg and a paw on the other side!) After more moving of the stuff number five was evicted too.

20 eviction number five.

Glenn has not had the extensive hunting by hand experience that I had growing up (snakes, a soft-shelled mud turtle, frogs, crayfish, mice, moles, voles and a squirrel). Unfortunately, the mind remembers how, but the back is very insistent that I am not bending and reaching to catch a teen raccoon, at least not at the moment. Glenn’s more limited snake and feral cat experiences have been greatly augmented by the eviction of five raccoons. Neither Glenn nor the Evicttees seemed stressed by the experience.

21 There are now five teen raccoons in my air mattress bin!

By the time he had all of them out of the garage and done a check for alternate entry points and blocked them it was getting late in the day and the temperature was getting a bit chilly. I retrieved one of the lids and put it askew over the racoon-lets to keep them warm. (I may be Evil and have evicted them but I’m not totally heartless)

22-23 Glenn secured the perimeter and I added a lid for warmth until their Mom comes to collect them.

The next morning I went to check on the evicted and found the lid off and the bin only holding chewed-on air mattresses. My plastic owl was also knocked over. So we can report the eviction was a success, so far no one has tried to move back into the garage!

24 Successful extraction… now I think I should have kept one for the soft possibly feltable fur.

We have another week to keep sorting through and clearing the garage before Glenn is finished his vacation. Then it’s back to having fun with felt. I may yet find some raccoon fur to add to my felting since we still have more stuff to move and sort through.

23 thoughts on “Armature experiment 3; Comparing Parallel wire with twisted wire (and ..the Garage)

  1. It’s good to see people experimenting with things, even if it’s not my craftdom! I’m going to start sampling spinning soon, so seeing your pcs with the notes reminds me that taking pics helps with the recording side of things!

    1. Thanks! yes documenting your experiments can lead to other thoughts and experiments! then on to a project you had not expected. it also gives reference if you are looking for a solution, whether its in felt weaving or spinning. keeping track of samples of fleeces and other fibers you have used will help you decide what to do with new fleeces you aquier. (should i comb it, card it or make rollags?) Bernadette is fantastic at figuring out the best fiber prep for each fleece she encounters.

      i learned to spin on a drop spindle with cotton, so my tendency is to spin thin and tight with the wool i can now use. it has taken years not to spin energized yarn (which has become popular so maybe i was just ahead of my time) but i think i would have loosened up faster if i had done more documenting of my spinning. (i enjoy the process of spinning and i cant really knit so i jsut put my yarn aside to weave with later)

      you never know when you can put an idea from another fiber art to use, i have a spool of super fine copper wire i got at a salvage place which makes fabulous art yarn (and its posable!!!)

      Have fun and happy spinning (PS im still enjoying my new electric wheel!)

    1. My nabour who shares half the driveway put in a security camera on his garrage pointed down the drive way last year. he said he has seen racoons, skunks, a porcupine, foxes, cyotes, big rats and rabits wonder down his side of the drive way. i have spoted on my side squerls and chip monks but i was watching dureing the day. my dog did find a cat sleeping in one of the large pots of catnip. (the cats hasty exit suggested cold dog nose was not the way the cat had anticipated wakeing from his catnip induced dreems).

      even though the racoonletts are very cute thay are also very distructive and probubly just as bad to have as rats. well maybe worse rats cant clime up and unhook the anty-racoon latch on the garbage can!! best to evict them all and maybe i will get my art studio!

  2. They do look sweet and you handled the eviction humanely – well done to you and Glenn. Lovely story and photos.

    It just shows how passionate you are about your craft – waking up thinking about it is a bit of a tell isn’t it? Your recording of results is impressive and will prove very useful (and it all makes for an interesting read Jan!)

    1. Yes we tryed to not be too stressfull but still firm in our conviction that an eviction from the garage was going to happen. Glenn has been doing cleen up for a cuple hours and we have more to do so i am sure Mom racoon thinks we have moved back into our garage. the garage the racoons use to live in was renovated last fall and the dead tree that was leaning on it was removed. so our garage is the next worst of the 3 garages, so im sure thats why thay chose it.

      if anyone tryes to move in i may do a bit of fur trimming so i can have a sample! in summer the imarismant of a bald spot will not be life threatining. (and may deture returning!)
      if thay were less distructive i would consider sharing space but like the chipmunk sharing is not a consept that works for them. (chipmunk harvest all my strawbarys!! he dosnt leave any for me!!!)

      I wonder what i will dream of if not wire questions? hopefuly hunky warewolves and/or sexy varmpires?

  3. Good experiments continuing with wire and great documentation! I love the racoonlets. So cute, but I know no one wants them in their stuff. Hopefully, they found a more appropriate home.

    1. Thanks Ruth, experiment 3 is what happens when curiousity wakes you up in the middle of the night. i did get back to sleep and luckily remembered the questions in the morning.

      the little face over the lid is so cute i am worndering if it mite turn up as a felt pictures some time. if thay were not such distructive little guys i would have let them stay.

  4. Oh dear – our comment disappeared into the ether – trying again!

    You and Glenn handled the eviction of those cuties very humanely – well done! Gorgeous photos of the little critters.

    Waking up thinking about your craft shows how passionate you are about it. Your diligence with the recording of results will pay dividends – no doubt about it – and your process always makes for an interesting read Jan.

  5. Great experiments Jan. AS usual Glen made a great porter. Raccoons are cute … when they are living in the wild and not trying to share my spaces. Rats are bad too. Best if we don’t have either.

    1. thanks i had fun investigating the wire.
      i dont think the racoons would have like to live with me in the garage. i have too many house rules, and i would have likely told them that baths, brushing and trimmings (shearings) were part of the rules (so i could collect more fiber). i dont think i can find anything usefull about rats, there fiber is short and stiff. now a fox or rabit may be ok in the garage, both have very nice feltable fiber! but it mite be best not to have both at the same time, glenn would likely be cleaning up another type of mess.

  6. You’ve documented a thorough exploration of armatures that will be a treasure trove to figurative needle felters everywhere.

    Your raccoonlet story is entertaining but demonstrates a firm humane hand (even if not your back).

    I think most of us are ‘Nimbys’ (Not in my back yard!)….the creatures look cute & adorable but please may they do so from a distance.

    Living in a rural setting nestled amongst farm buildings rats (they always seem to be huge) & mice are our occasional bête noir. By contrast to your daily/nightly creature visitors I will now count myself lucky.

    Hopefully turning your garage into a barber shop or the threat of one, will deter future uninvited guests….raccoons & chipmunks clipped for free 🤪

    1. i have mentioned to the chipmunk how nice he would look as trim on a medival tunic! (dont tell him i wouldnt do it) he just looks at me and contiues to eat my goosebarys and all my strawberrys!
      We did have a wild canada gose spend a night in the garage in the large breed dog crate (that my dog knew how to open) befor sending her/him on to a wild bird sancutary. i had forgotten i cot that by hand too. then drove home with the very large bird loose in my station wagon… on retrospect maybe not the best plan. (no one died and we both got home safe)
      i dont mind shareing my back yard with most things as long as thay folow the rules of no paws beyond the rocks (edge of my garden). My furry kids did follow the rules. only i am alowed to dig in the garden! (or Glenn if he is supervized!)

      i hope all the odd experimentation with wire will be helfull for others who are curious about makeing armatures. having a collection of wire samples labed by type and gauge is extreemly helpfull in decideing which type to chose for a project. Understanding the propertys of types of wire is also helfull. (sensitivity to humidity could be very important)

      the floral tape stickyness which increastd adhesion of the wool was amazing. the tugging on the floral tape activates the stickyness which from more investigation seems to be a wax not a glue. i want to look into glues and waxes in the future. (i found my crosscontry skeys and boots in the garage but no sign of the ski wax. if the racoons didnt eat it it may still be out there!)

    2. Yes Jan the gotta percha tape (florist’s tape) is very sticky when pulled. I used to use it for silk flower arrangements.

      I’d completely forgotten that stickiness and can see it having great uses for ‘gluing’ the initial layer of wool. Useful information….mmmm….I’ll have to find room for it in my little grey cells 🤪

      Longevity – it just goes brittle after many years, it doesn’t seem to powder….so i don’t see it being detrimental long term.

  7. Your post has really got my day off to a good start. Loved the information on the armatures. Had a good “Aww” moment over the racoons. I couldn’t get over how little stressed they seemed. I was expecting you to say that they paniced and went mad with fright. So glad they didn’t.
    Do you mind if I collect together and copy all your posts on armatures so that I can keep them on my pc for instant access when I need to consult them?

    1. Dear Ann, i am very glad you are enjoying my posts and are finding the armature info helpul. please do keep them. i may eventualy sit down and rite a book. but i still have too much curiosity about other facets of armatures and sculture at the moment.
      if you are realy curious about aramture wire options try to make samples like the study group did, so you can test the flexibility of the wire: single, dubled and with wool on it. i made a lot of leg with foot’s (there are 15 hanging beside the computer and more behind my chair, and some foarms with hands too.) try to make a samle of each gauge and type of wire you can get your hands on. make the samples all the same size so the variable is only the gauge and type of wire. decide what is comfortable for your hands to work with. (we had one partisipent with finger/hand isues and kept to the finer wire gauges.) i was not able to get a full range of Aluminum (coated) wire here and ordered some of them from China. it took a while to get here but there was a pandemic going on. you may consider starting a study group and share the expence in wire aquisition. if you have questions please just ask, i may have an experiment that answers the question. if not i may have another experiment to conduct!

      i had to take a brake from the fun of the sinking garrage and the wire investigation to make Mom another Mothers day flower picture. i hope i took enuff pictures for a blog post next week.

      have fun and keep felting!

  8. I must admit I’ve not thought of using side by side or stacked wire, I’ve always twisted it, so something to consider next time I’m making an armature.
    It may have been a brief stay but those raccoons are lucky to have chosen a squat with caring landlords! Hope you manage to keep them at bay.

    1. thanks Karen, if thay were better at takeing good care of the space we mite have come to an agreament on shared accomidations. but with out the willingness to operate a vacume or at lest sweep up after themsleve and better bathroom behavure our only option was eviction.

      i think i would try further experamentation with twists at juntions (neck/shoulds & spine/hips) then parrelel on legs or arms. i would definatly consider the floral tape. i understand that there are brands of floral tape that dont tair like tisue paper ( as the cheep stuff dose) and i will investigat that further. if you need a gauge that is heavy but your hands dont want to twit it parrallel may be a consideration to alow you to use the heavyer gauge with out damageing your hands. i hope that my odd curiosuity gives you more options when makeing armatures.

    2. Yes, this has given me more options so seeing your experiments with the tape I will have to get some and try it with my large gauge wire.

  9. I know, I should be commenting on the wire experiment, but BABY RACOONS! Oh my. I’d have been a very soft landlady and let them all stay. I’d invite them to tea. I’d create an Instagram account just for them.

    (At this point I realise it’s probably good I don’t live in a country with fluffy racoon wildlife or I’d turn into the mad lady with all the animals coming over…)

  10. i live down the street from Ikea, when i was born this was the edge of the City, the city has expanded a lot since then and this is definatly not the edge anymore. no one told the animals and thay have moved back in where they can. there use to be a moose in a pool in the south end of Ottawa when i was a kid each spring, sometimes more than one pool was moosed. (luckily a moose would not fit in my garage!) if i could figure out how to teach the racoons to clean up after themselves and not eat parts of the roof, walls and stuff i had in the garrage i would consider letting them stay too. i am quite happy to share my space as long as no one eats my garden! i will share my strawbarys but that dose imply the chipmunk leaves me at least a couple! (so far chipmunk hasnt got that rite yet)
    acutaly my cat kids had Email acounts and Miaka played Runescape. i finaly got the dog an account and email sine it wasnt fair his sister got one and he didnt. now i feel badly i didnt consider instigram, well likly becouse i dont have one ether?
    dont give uo on the contry or wild life in the city, you will like be inspiered to create something Amazing!!, rather than go mad.
    Baby Racoons are just SOOOO cute!!

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