Earlier this year I told you about the Fiber Poker Challenge at the Guild Ann, Bernadette and I belong to. There were challenge cards for weavers, Spinners and Felters. four cards were drawn for us, in our topic of choice, which we received for the June meeting. our solution is due at the September meeting.
These are the cards I would be working with.
1) the felting poker cards I drew for 2021
As you may remember, I have been creating an army of Chickadees as a way for my brothers-in-law and their families to remember their parents’ home. (The bird feeders in the back yard are visited by chickadee, nuthatch, blue jays, cardinals, morning doves, sparrows and the evil squirrels; black, grey and red. There are also chipmunks feasting at the feeders!) I have sent chickadees home with 4 out of the 5 brothers.
2-6) four of the five brothers and their Mom’s Chickadee’s
All those tiny little feet may have been getting to me!
I sat down and pulled out the wire I had been using for the birds, 20ga and 26ga coated steel floral wire. I started twisting and playing making a pair of front legs… well that will need a bit more to go with it. With a few more bends with the tiny pliers another pair of legs appeared. Next a spine to attach the legs to and maybe a tail… yes definitely a tail. Hum I think those back legs should be front legs? yes! Rotate the feet and that looks better!
I think I need wings!
7) wire included, Check! adding wings
I had wrapped the armature with the 26ga floral wire. Using it to create the toes and lower jaw. For the wings, I slipped the U shape in the middle of the wire, into the space at the shoulders between the two gauges of wire. I will build up the support by adding more 26ga wire wrapping. Then strengthen it further when I add the wool.
8) The ribs on the wings are 26ga and the main structure of the wing is in 20ga.
9) adding the wool will stabilize the wings and “ears-like things”
I decided to add ear-like appendages to finish the armature. Now I am ready to add the wool. I am using Sarafina Dark Grey Core wool and for the first time trying her Tacky Wrap on the tips of the toes. You can see I am working with very thin strips of the core roving, the pieces are about 6 inches long. This core wool has a vary tiny crimp and worked well. I did find it much slipperier than the fleece I had used for the Chickadees legs and feet. When i washed that fiber i had left in a bit of lanolin which gave it a bit more clingyness. So the addition of the Tacky Wrap helped a lot! This is the first time I have used it, I liked it and will likely find it useful again.
10) most of the armature is covered and is balanced to stand.
So I have wire covered from the cards. (OK I have wire, covered literary!)
I am ready to consider the other card’s instruction, “Use your favorite colour!” Let me think, that would be Blue, but I like black too. But I do like blue better. Blue-green is OK and blue-purple is almost as good. A lovely indigo, prussion or ice blue……
Let me go check my stash of blues. How can I have a stash of blue and not have the blue I am thinking of? Change of plan! I checked our local fibre source Wabi Sabi in Ottawa and yes they had Corriedale in shades I was looking for and they didn’t close till 4 pm! I made a list and rushed (it didn’t look like a rush but it was for me!) out to the car. Hmm. traffic on the highway? Oh yes, it’s Sunday afternoon! I hope they’re not all heading to pick up blue fibre! No? Great! I even found a parking spot. Had a bit of trouble with the walker and the front door. I will figure doors with steps out eventually.
In Corriedale, I selected a number of cool blues, blue-greens and a cool yellow that I didn’t have. I found a bit of Silk and Merino that was in the colour-way I was wanting, too. (I don’t usually use much Merino since it tends to absorb light and I find Corriedale comparatively much more reflective and give my sculpture a bit more life.
11) why did I not have the colour of blue I wanted?
I considered the body. It is core wool but I like the mottled colouring and while the grey is leaning heavily towards the brown I quite like it. It makes me think of rocks in Iqaluit (the capital of Nunavut on Baffin Island in northern Canada). OK, next let’s cover the ribs for the wings. Something icy and cool in blue. That done, I had the little guy do some contortions so I could trace his basic wing shape. This gave me a template, which helped me in laying out thin layers of fibre to make the thin wing membrane.
12) wing tracing to make a template for layout
I laid out the wool then gave it a gentle rub, as if I was wet felting, (but stayed dry) then a few T-36 pokes. Next, I switched to the fake clover tool with the fine needles. I focused on the leading edge of the wing leaving the wisps alone along the trailing edge.
13) wing underway
I carefully pealed and flipped it a couple of times. This stretched the length of the wing a bit so I used a single needle to work across the front of the wing to shorten it. (The direction you poke is the direction the wool will move.) You can see I was trying to keep the wing extremely thin but still strong enough to hold together.
14) wing still quite transparent
15-16) A bit more dragon yoga posing and I was able to position the wing for membrane attachment.
I put the ribs on the underside which will show if the wing is elevated. I attached along the front edge then lay in wisps of blue to help attach the ribs.
Then on to the second wing. I was laying in wisps of the silk and Merino, a darker blue, a little of the light blue and the greenish-blue. While on the shopping run, I had looked at some Tencel but it seemed too shiny compared to the Corriedale.
17) the second wing
With both wings on, they seem a bit big for his little body.
18) downsizing the wings just a bit
I thinned the first wing by gently tugging on the tips downsizing the wing to a more appropriate size. You can see the amount of fibre I have removed in the top corner.
19) Ah that’s lighter it should be easier to fly now
20) Wings are looking good,
21) I think we need a tail puff to help with turning while flying. Aerodynamics are integral to dragon flight, they are not like a bumblebees who obviously fly by Magic alone. The puff will be a fan shaped rudder when I am done.
22) Attaching the tail puff.
23) a bit of ankle decoration.
The next card says “use Beads or Sequins“, how about some eyes? It’s important to see where you’re flying!!
24) “I can’t see if I am cute. I need Eyes!”
I think you will like the other ones better. I will sew them on so I can “use thread or fine yarn” as my final card.
So let’s take a peek at “use blue, use wire, include beads and thread”. A quick photo shoot for a little ice dragon.
25-27) a quick photo shoot in front of the computer.
28) Now let’s take a look at the scale of my ice dragon.
While I was out doing early voting (Dad always said if you don’t vote you can’t complain later), the little dragon was off investigating the office plant.
29) “I need dramatic lighting!! I’m ready for my close-up!!”
I had a lot of fun with this years fibre poker challenge, even if i did not actually do any of the 3 options i had originally planed to do. I may go back and try another version or wait and see what I pull next year.
Have fun and keep felting!