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Author: Jan

Realy im not 12, i am just sivearly dislexic. i can spin, weave, felt, garden, Draw, Paint, and do layout but i realy cant spell. if you read out louwd i do make more sence.
2022 Landscape workshop

2022 Landscape workshop

Landscape workshop

It is fabulous to get back to felting!

Last week I spent a lot of time looking through my fibre stash, rereading my notes and finding all the supplies in preparation for Saturday’s needle felting workshop. I sorted out and made sure the supper wash was labelled and in a separate bag, yes I do have superwash merino, it’s just too tempting in all sorts of fabulous hand-dyed colours. Most of which has come from the black lamb. She has been selling small balls of fibre at various fibre fests, such temptations of colours! I admit I have caved and purchased supper wash!! Luckily with a bit of extra poking or a bit of blending, we can needle felt with it.

I found the box with the supplies I would need. Hum, I had this ready to go for 2020 so that makes the markers only…..2 years old… better get new ones just in case.

Six sets of 21 pages of note, and 4 versions of each picture chosen by each student, oh no the printer finally actually means it’s out of ink….it has been almost a year of saying it was going to run out at any second. Ouch! The price of new toner has gone up and needing to replace all the colours at once is painful!

Early Saturday morning arrived and Glenn loaded up multiple bags of wool, the box of supplies, a bag of frames and notes and finally the important bottle of Mountain due and off we went to set up the Ottawa Guild studio for the workshop. He was able to extract three six foot long folding tables from behind the looms one of which wound up covered in bags of wool.

1 large clear bags of little bags of wool, separated sort of by colour. There are also small dog brushes, scissors for paper and mettle rulers ready to use in the workshop1 large clear bag of little bags of wool, separated sort of by colour. There are also small dog brushes, scissors for paper and mettle rulers ready to use in the workshop.

It took me a while to get all the parts of the student’s kits organized on the table. Last I set out 2 packages of the mini chocolate bars.  I got half of a cheese and cream cheese bagel eaten and I was ready for the students to arrive.

2 student supplies pile sitting on the table; foam pad, picture frame, notes and photos, needles, name tag stuff, project bag, cheap craft felt, 100% wool felt.2 student supplies pile sitting on the table; foam pad, picture frame, notes and photos, needles, name tag stuff, project bag, cheap craft felt, 100% wool felt and thick 100% wool felt for name tag.

3 the tables, with the supplies, sitting in a C shape so I could sit in the center and see what each student was working on3 the tables, with the supplies, sitting in a C shape so I could sit in the center and see what each student was working on.

I had purchased foam kneeling pads from Dollerama but had brought a few other work surfaces to show the students.

4 Samples of different types of works surfaces; wool pads, wool ironing pad, cellulose sponge, foam cushion4 Samples of different types of works surfaces; wool pads, wool ironing pad, cellulose sponge, foam cushion

When I first did needle felting a cellulose sponge was the surface suggested.  (WARNING; Do not leave needles in a cellulose sponge, it will absorb moisture and humidity and rust the needles). The foam cushion (this one is 18”x18”) worked very well for pictures and later sculptures.  I also brought the thicker soft wool felt mats (Grey and white) and the thinner ironing 100% wool pad. In a previous post, we chatted about some of these felting surfaces.

In the week before the workshop, I had emailed a selection of photo options to the students most let me know which one they wanted to try. I had four photos for them printed off in approximately 5”x7”; two with no alteration, one version that was colour blocked and the final version was done in extreme colour saturation. The colour blocking gives suggestions of colour value and the extreme saturation gives suggestions of hidden colours. Both can be helpful when looking at and assessing the original image.

The students arrived and we started on time.

Some of the students had felted before while others had not. To get them started I had them make a name tag using a thicker 100% wool felt made by the black lamb and a fine sock yarn. I had a scrap piece of paper for them to get the correct size of name to fit the tag. This is a good way to practice eye-hand coordination and fewer Band-Aids are needed later in the workshop.

In the notes, I covered multiple ways to transfer images to the felt base.  A couple used the template method (good for thinkers or darker felt ground) and a couple used the window or lightbox method (easy if you have thin or light-coloured felt ground).

5 Two of the students getting started, cutting a window in cardstock, used to check the size of your image so it will fit in the mat when you’re done felting. The table is cluttered with their supplies including photo reference and tiny chocolate bars5 Two of the students getting started, cutting a window in cardstock, used to check the size of your image so it will fit in the mat when you’re done felting. The table is cluttered with their supplies including photo references and tiny chocolate bars.

6 three of the students starting their pictures. There were 2 students per 6 foot table6 three of the students started their pictures. There were 2 students per 6-foot table.

7 two of the students now a bit further along working on their pictures7 two of the students, now a bit further along, working on their pictures

A couple had combined images or added elements from one picture to another. So we had a quick chat about light sources (but there was more about light sources in the notes).

8 using the original photo of 3 sheep and a round hay bale in snow and replacing the sheep with her own goats. She had emailed me the goat photos and I had shrunk them to a size similar to the sheep.  I had also made mirror copies so she could rotate them if she wanted in the composition.8 using the original photo of 3 sheep and a round hay bale in snow and replacing the sheep with her own goats. She had emailed me the goat photos and I had shrunk them to a size similar to the sheep.  I also made mirror copies so she could rotate them if she wanted in the composition.

9 The sheep are gone and the goats are almost done!9 The sheep are gone and the goats are almost done!

Goats were replacing sheep and a few others made changes to their landscape.  I had told them they are the God of their landscape! If a tree offends you then you can banish it from the picture, “Be gone Tree”!! If you would rather it was a different kind of tree or if you would like your tree to gain or lose weight that was up to you too!! (The power is Heady!!! < Maniacal chuckling in the background! >)

As I mentioned before I had brought in a number of different types of working surfaces to show them or let them try.  There was a bit of interest in the wool felting pad, this is the one from amazon that has gone up to exorbitant prices (wait for the price to drop since it was about $13.00 when I got it and it was $53.00 when I checked last week). There is a similar but much cheaper version out of china too.

10 students hands trying out the 100% wool felting mat with her picture. She Liked the darker grey mat better.10 students’ hands trying out the 100% wool felting mat with her picture. She Liked the darker grey mat better.

The sheep and hay bales were popular, both in their original form and also used with other photo parts of landscapes. Even with the same picture, the interpretation was quite different but definitely the same image.

11-close up of student working on sheep with hay bales picture. 12 another interpretation of the sheep and hay bales picture. Showing more of fiber around pictuer on table11-12 another interpretation of the sheep and hay bales picture.

I chatted about approaching wool painting like a watercolour, washes of thin layers of fibre or like an acrylic, blending to match the image then affixing the colour to the ground.  They worked from the background to the foreground.

13 one student holds up her picture and she and two other students look at her progress.13 one student holds up her picture and she and two other students look at her progress.

By late in the afternoon most were to the point that they were ready to put their pictures into their frames. This is the first time I did not have any of the students stay a bit late to finish the last bit of their picture. It took me a while to finish packing up and cleaning up the studio so it would have been ok. There was a threat of more snow so with a few having a long drive home everyone made a break for it at the end of class.

14 close up of the tree with fence felt picture now in a black frame14 close-up of the tree with fence felt picture now in a black frame.

Working from the back to the front is particularly helpful in this image. Having the background done behind the tree and then adding the tree on top is much easier than trying to fill in all the background between the many little branches.

15 matted picture of sheep with hay bales held by the artist and admired by a fellow student. She used small locks to create curls on the sheep. It was very cute!15 matted pictures of sheep with hay bales held by the artist and admired by a fellow student. She used small locks to create curls on the sheep. It was very cute!

16 the finished framed  hay bale with goats! Also very cute!16 the finished framed hay bale with goats! Also very cute!

17 one student framing her picture while one keeps working on hers.17 one student framing her picture while one keeps working on hers.

18 the picture of sheep and hay bales framed18 the picture of sheep and hay bales framed

The students seem to have enjoyed the experience. there was a bit more work to finish for two of the students but I made sure they all had enough fibre to finish and get them started on their next picture. I hope they will drop into one of the guild socials or post on the guild’s Facebook page so I can see what they are up to.

Tomorrow I am off to the basement to find some of my inkle looms because next weekend I switch gears and I’m teaching introduction to inkle weaving. That workshop involves boxes of smarties candies (but you have to take the workshop to find out why!!)

I want to thank my students for a wonderful workshop, I was very impressed with what they accomplished in just a few hours of happy stabbing of wool! (and only one finger) I hope they will continue felting (Dry or Wet or Both) and find images to inspire them. I hope the photos from this workshop inspire you to think about small landscapes, they make excellent Christmas presents!!

OVWSG 2022 Exhibition and sale

OVWSG 2022 Exhibition and sale

Last weekend was the return of our local Guilds Sale and exhibition. It was last held in 2019. The Sale had grown over the years unfortunately the venue had not expanded as we had (Brick and Morter buildings just don’t stretch well!!)

Glebe Community Centre started life as the St. James Methodist Church In the Palladian style designed by Clarence Burritt (It was begun in 1914 and finished in 1924.) due to a merger of congregations it became St. James United Church in 1925. In the early 1970s, the congregation had declined and again merged with another Church building leaving The City of Ottawa to buy the building. In 1974 the Glebe Community Center opened.

outside of Palladian style brick building that was a church and now a community center. 1 The Glebe Community Centre, views from the outside. Large Palladian-style domed church a community centre.

2 Inside the Main hall.  Transom windows around the base and an octagonal apex window in the dome.2 Inside the Main hall.  Transom windows around the base and an octagonal apex window in the dome.

This year we reduced the number of booth spaces and increased the space for the exhibition, demo and Iles which also gave the sale a less squished look.  This worked out well since we had some vendors who were no longer vending and some who did not have the amount of stock for a booth so joined the Guild Co-Op booth.

Ann organized the measuring and taping group that started the setup for the sale. Once the tape was down marking the booth spaces, the tables and chairs were put where requested. The crew was moving so fast that it was hard to get a shot of their hard work!

3 part of the tapping and table and Chair crew. (a blur of activity)3 part of the tapping and table and Chair crew. (a blur of activity)

Just as the last table was set into place the first vendor arrived early.  Wendo had one of the four booths with felting!

4 Wendo arrives first with her car full of Felting4 Wendo arrives first with her car full of Felting.

The rest of Friday afternoon into the evening was spent in a blur of setting up. I had lively music to keep them moving, (including Uriah Heep, Sweet, Placebo, and lots of other lively inspirations ending with the Lords of Acid).

My focus for Friday was to both photo document the activity and find Photos of each of the 21 booths to put up on our Facebook group to inspire Shoppers for the weekend.

Booth 1 was the co-op booth. Members of the guild who only had a few items to sell put them in the co-op booth. Both Ann and I had items in this booth. (Bernadette was sharing a booth you will see some of her batts later)

5 Co-0p Booth Spindles, orifice hooks, stitch markers, Tapestry, Coasters and Mug mats5 Co-0p Booth Spindles, orifice hooks, stitch markers, Tapestry, Coasters and Mug mats

6 Co-0p Booth Handwovens, hand died yarn, Pine needle baskets, Felted sheep heads, felting needles.6 Co-0p Booth Handwovens, hand died yarn, Pine needle baskets, Felted sheep heads, felting needles.

7 Co-0p Booth Felted Soap, Dryer Balls, Sheep ear rings7 Co-0p Booth Felted Soap, Dryer Balls, Sheep earrings

8 Flying Dinosaur!8 Flying Dinosaur!

The booth beside the co-op was Wendo Van Essen’s. Full of whimsical felted animals, kits and pincushions. I was all set to take this guy’s picture face on when he suddenly swung around and showed me his but! I waited patiently, as he slowly continued his rotation until I felt he was showing a better side of himself.

A few booths down was Molly Underhill who also had a booth full of felting. I was captivated by the thin felted bowl. It was even more intriguing when she dropped in a battery-operated candle, which produced this fabulous glow!

9 her booth and the glowing bole9 her booth and the glowing bole

Lona’s Booth also had some Felted items, as well as Wood turned yarn bowls, shawl pins, buttons, art yarn items, crochet sets, handwoven and knitted items.

10 felt picture and roles of felt (I think they were scarves)10 felt picture and roles of felt (I think they were scarves)

Les Belles Bouclettes booth had high-quality mohair from Angora goats.  In both natural colours as well as dyed mohair locks, roving and yarn.

11 Combed Top, Kid Mohair Locks and Died Yarn11 Combed Top, Kid Mohair Locks and Died Yarn

Booth 6 was Judy Kavanagh and Don Haines. Both work with wood. Judy repairs wheels, makes spindles and sells fibre. Don makes doffers, nostepinne, Inkle looms, warping boards and a loom bench with a shelf!

12 fiber atrs tools make by Don and Judy and some of Judy’s fiber12 fibre arts tools made by Don and Judy and some of Judy’s fibre

Booth 7. Studio 3 had hand weaving; hand-dyed clothing, textiles, scarves and fibre art.

13 Handwoven shalls, scarves, stoles, hand died and hand knit Mitts, tam and scarf13 Handwoven shawls, scarves, stoles, hand died and hand-knit Mitts, tam and scarf

Booth 9. Wool, emporium de laine Amélie Blanchard raises cashmere goats. (She is also one of the people who run the fibre festival Twist). She had hand-dyed yarn and fibre, fleeces, and cashmere.

14 Fine yarn, Art yarn swetter with scains of art yarn behind, Fleeces from Rinebeck14 Fine yarn, Art yarn sweater with skeins of art yarn behind, Fleeces from Rhinebeck

Booth 11.Fab Fibre Two (Jean Sharp and Bernadette Quade)

Jean Sharp is a spinner and weaver. She had unique yarns suitable for weaving and knitting projects. As well as handwoven and knit articles.

15Knitting with shall pin and handwoven hand knit15

Bernadette Quade is a spinner and weaver She hand cards, drum cards, or combs the majority of her fibre and tries different dye techniques on her handspun yarn. Her fibre and yarn may include Fine wools, silks, linen, cashmere and angora as well as alpaca, llama and other exotics. (I have used her batts for landscapes and have found them fabulous!)

16 small bats in a hat box and with her business card. There is a depth of colour that flat colour batts can not match.16 small bats in a hat box and with her business card. There is a depth of colour that flat colour batts can not match.

Booth 12. Handweaving by Janet Whittam  Handwoven clothing, fashion accessories, rugs, household linens, and baskets in vibrant colours and always with something unexpected woven in. She also teaches both weaving and basketry.

17 Janet’s booth, rag rugs, jackets, shalls, close up of lace inclusion and fringe.17 Janet’s booth, rag rugs, jackets, shells, close-up of lace inclusion and fringe.

Booth 13. Cavadelo Flax Garden “Established in 2021. Our goal was to spin and weave flax/linen. We started with a (12 x 12) plot and tools replicated by our local Men’s Shed and learned the process of fibre prep, spin and weave. We have a much larger flax crop this year and it should be ready for the exhibition to spin.” They had a display of the tools of flax preparation, a small loom weaving with linin as well as a spinning wheel spinning the prepared flax into linen. It was a fabulous display! They are hoping to expand their production next year.

18 a hank of flax sitting on a woven linen mat, explain the stages of using hackles, small pouches of linin seeds in a handwoven linen bag.18 a hank of flax sitting on a woven linen mat, explain the stages of using hackles, small pouches of linin seeds in a handwoven linen bag.

Booth 14. Beaux Arbres Basketry (Michael Peterson) Basketmaker for about 30 years. Inspiration from historical techniques from various sources to make functional and artistic baskets. He teaches basketry, check his website. It is fun to watch a basket appear out of a pile of wet sticks.

19 weaving cane between the ribs of a small basket.19 weaving cane between the ribs of a small basket.

Booth 16. Wayside Weeds and Wool (Amanda Carrigan) Handspun and natural-dyed yarns, hand-knitted accessories and original patterns and kits. She is published in the ‘101 Lace One-Skein Wonders. She teaches spinning and natural-dyeing workshops.

20 Hand knit gloves, Hand Natural died yarn20 Hand knit gloves, Hand Natural dyed yarn

Booth 18. Yarnsomniacs   Handraised and homegrown sheep and llama fibres and yarns: raw fleece, washed fleece, roving, handspun and hand-dyed yarns, handmade SuperJumbo knitting needles, and more! Rambouillet Merino, Romney, Babydoll Southdown, and crosses of BL/BFL/Polwarth with either Romney or Rambouillet.

21 Many baskets and containers of raw and washed fiber21 Many baskets and containers of raw and washed fibre

Booth19. Cannaweave Weaving and Fibre Studio and Accessories (Laurie Harkin-Chiasson)  Loom weaving articles and baskets, including pine needle baskets, tools for the fibre enthusiast, nostepinne wool winders to mini tools on jewellery chains. Also woven bookmarks of handspun dog fur, spinning wheel hooks, wrist distaffs and rug hooking hooks. All the equipment for Japanese braiding (Kumihimo) including finished jewellery with Kumihimo braids. She uses beautiful exotic woods in many of her tools.

22 Laurie’s Booth, with tools and  baskets. A basket of Kumihimo bobbins22 Laurie’s Booth, with tools and baskets. A basket of Kumihimo bobbins

Booth 20. Off the Loom (Liliane McKennirey)  Hand Weaving using recycled materials for the weft: t-shirts, ribbing, furs, leather, VHS tape and plastics.  Liliane is very well known for her recycling of old fur coats into lap rugs and pillows.

23 Lap rugs, a purse, rag rugs.23 Lap rugs, a purse, and rag rugs.

Booth 21. Lin en ville Weaving eco-friendly linen essentials for the bath and kitchen. If you look closely you will see how fine the yarn she is using for her tea towels is. I could not pass up the lozenge twill pattern in blue and white!!

24 Tea towls in Linin (lozenge twill pattern!!)24 Tea towels in Linin (lozenge twill pattern!!)

We also had an exhibition. The theme this year was Then and Now: A Maker’s Journey. We were to select an early piece and one that was current to show the progress we had made in our creative journey.

 25 a few shots of the exhibition25 a few shots of the exhibition

We also had a make-and-take table (Kumihimo on cardstock, Turkish spindles and Tapestry Necklace)

26 the table showing the moridi and samples, the necklace tapestry pices and the parts to make turkish spindles26 the table showing the moridi and samples, the necklace tapestry pieces and the parts to make Turkish spindles.

There was also a demo area. (Spinning and weaving, I was felting in another corner with the Mer’s while I was taking photos and trying to get the music to run.)

27 the demo team changed over the weekend but had weaving, spinning (wheel and drop spindle). It was quite busy most of the time.27 the demo team changed over the weekend but had weaving, and spinning (wheel and drop spindle). It was quite busy most of the time.

Overall the sale was busy, vendors seemed happy with sales and the shoppers seemed happy with their purchases!  I mainly was distracted by fibre but also impressed with the linen display. Even Ann did a bit of shopping!

28 Ann took her new spindle for a spin!28 Ann took her new spindle for a spin!

Mr. and Mrs. Mer also attended the Sale but did not do any shopping.  I was working on Mrs. Mer but yet again Mr. Mer was caught Flirting!!

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A last minuet Halloween Door for the OVWSG Studio

A last minuet Halloween Door for the OVWSG Studio

I was up to my ears in layouts for the upcoming guild sale when I got an email that inquired if I could make a door display for Halloween as I had for Christmas last year. Hummm…. Yes, I could probably figure out something. OK, add that to the to-do list!

For Christmas you might remember,  I had made a landscape for the guild studio door with card stalk and wrapping paper. I populated it with 3 sheep representing the spinners, weavers and felters. I should again try to represent the guild in the decoration. I was considering spiders and ghosts, now I just need an appropriate background.

Off to Dallarama!  Sure enough, I found a black commercial lace table runner and a tablecloth of the same cheap commercial lace.

1-2) Black Lace Table cloth draped over front of guild door, with the Black Lace table drape as a swage above the door. 1-2) Black Lace Table cloth draped over front of guild door, with the Black Lace table drape as a swage above the door. 1-2) Black Lace Table cloth draped over the front of the guild door, with the Black Lace table drape as a swage above the door.

I bought a bit more candy and found three googly-eyed “cute” spiders in black and black and silver. Perfect! They will cover the spinners and weavers.  Ann Brought a large purple spider and a couple more of the smaller ones. (you will see those a bit further down).

3-4) One black and one black and silver googly eyed spiders sitting on top of a shopping box and teal plastic bag and wicker basket. Close up of the googly eyed spider with plastic legs. 3-4) One black and one black and silver googly eyed spiders sitting on top of a shopping box and teal plastic bag and wicker basket. Close up of the googly eyed spider with plastic legs.3-4) One black and one black and silver googly-eyed spider sitting on top of a shopping box and teal plastic bag and wicker basket. Close-up of the googly-eyed spider with plastic legs.

I started 2 little people who would be holding up a larger ghost.  To save wool I had Glenn buy a Styrofoam ball as the core of the ghost.

 5 starting one of the little figures, starting to warp wool over head of armature.5 starting one of the little figures, starting to warp wool over the head of the armature.

My original idea was to make a ghost and have the little figures holding it up, sort of like the ghost girl I made in…. was it 2018. This time I was aiming for a larger ghost and smaller figures, I am not sure I got the scale quite what I wanted but it sort of worked. I will show you our door and then show you some of the other doors also decorated in Heartwood house.

6-7 OVWSG Studio Door, Black lace showing spider webs, 6 small spiders, 1 big purple spider and felted ghost and 2 figures underneath running the ghost. Close up of Ghost and trick or treaters (Could it be the ghost is running away with them.) 6-7 OVWSG Studio Door, Black lace showing spider webs, 6 small spiders, 1 big purple spider and felted ghost and 2 figures underneath running the ghost. Close up of Ghost and trick or treaters (Could it be the ghost is running away with them.)6-7 OVWSG Studio Door, Black lace showing spider webs, 6 small spiders, 1 big purple spider and felted ghost and 2 figures underneath running the ghost. Close-up of Ghost and trick-or-treaters (Could it be the ghost is running away with them.)

8 ALSO room 105 black background, ghostly castle and pumpkins with bags of candy stuck to the door.8 ALSO black background, ghostly castle and pumpkins with bags of candy stuck to the door.

 9 Heartwood house office door has paper ghosts 9 Heartwood house office door has paper ghosts

10 the Laundry Co-op has bats and had wrapped there door in white garbage bags leaving large yellow eyes peeking out between them10 the Laundry Co-op has bats and had wrapped their door in white garbage bags leaving large yellow eyes peeking out between them.

11 ALSO Children’s room (it’s a daycare)  has a black background, spider webs, with a witch with purple hair and a bag of candy11 ALSO Children’s room (it’s a daycare)  has a black background, spider webs, a witch with purple hair and a bag of candy

12 World Accord had a creepy tombstone seen and bats with googly eyes12 World Accord had a creepy tombstone scene and bats with googly eyes

13 PWC ( People, words & Change) door with crows spider web and pumpkin lights13 PWC ( People, words & Change) door with crows spider web and pumpkin lights

14 Multifaith Housing Initiative card with ghosts, cats, tombstones, trees bats cats  on a card14 Multifaith Housing Initiative card with ghosts, cats, tombstones, trees bats cats  on a card

1516 -17 Options BYtown have a number of doors on the second floor (Ghosts, bats, cats and lots of fake spider webs) 1516 -17 Options BYtown have a number of doors on the second floor (Ghosts, bats, cats and lots of fake spider webs) 1516 -17 Options BYtown have a number of doors on the second floor (Ghosts, bats, cats and lots of fake spider webs)15-17 Options Bytown has several doors on the second floor (Ghosts, bats, cats and lots of fake spider webs)

18 the Unitarian Sanctuary Door, 3 Ghosts and black candles18 the Unitarian Sanctuary Door, 3 Ghosts and black candles

19 ELTOC (English Language Tutoring for the Ottawa Community) there door had a purple back ground a scary figure, bats cabbages(?) and a fire. They had a spooky soundtrack playing and were giving out candy19 ELTOC (English Language Tutoring for the Ottawa Community) their door had a purple background, a scary figure, bats cabbages(?) and a fire. They had a spooky soundtrack playing and were giving out candy

When I returned to the guild studio I found that again one of our swag spiders had made a break for it!!

20 I am not sure where the spiders are trying to get to but it is odd the two keep making a brake for it. even stranger they always land on their little legs.20 I am not sure where the spiders are trying to get to but it is odd these two keep making a break for it. Even stranger, they always land on their little legs.

21 All the groups were now ready for the kids from the day care to drop by.21 All the groups were now ready for the kids from the daycare to drop by.

22 one of the black and silver spiders was set to guarding our Swiss milk chocolates in a white wire basket

23 there is a small Werewolf next door!!

24 Yes! It was a werewolf!!! I gave him Some of our Chocolates so the looms would not be chew toys!!

The rest of the day was spent prepping for the Guilds Sale and Exhibition with an early social. I think we are almost ready for next weekend!

25 grids, quilt wrack, boxes of things to go to the sale and one of the signs (we are not sure where the others disappeared too but we have 4 days to find them!!)

I hope you are having fun, have leftover Halloween candy to enjoy and not quite so busy!

2022 Grape vine altercation (better than 2016 battle)

2022 Grape vine altercation (better than 2016 battle)

It’s been a bit of a sore week, I lifted things I should not have and then got a bit over enthusiastic with the fall gardening (Glenn was very helpful). My brain keeps telling me I am 25 and my body insists I am 90. I would like to find a compromise closer to the lower number but cannot seem to talk my body into that.

Each fall I wander into my backyard and discover the raspberries have made a break for it across the yard heading for the neighbour’s fence. The Grapes have anticipated their troop movements and are waiting for them. Grapevines were draping themselves over the fence, clematis and up into the back neighbour’s tall hedge. This year I found they were also working their way down the fence toward the patio and had stopped to attack my Japanese lilac tree.

Normally I trim and pull the grape vines out of the hedge. Usually, this extraction goes well, except for the one year they threw me on the cinderblock garden edging. I may have been lying partly in the garden bruised, but still won the war since their extracted vines were still clutched in my slightly numb hand.

1- i am clutching the large branch of grape vine I had cut off then pulled from the nabouts hedge, arm is uprased do you can see part of the brews on triceps. The background shows the arber over the compost bin the grape vines are suposto be growing over.1-2016, I am clutching the large branch of grapevine I had cut off and then pulled from the neighbour’s hedge, my arm is upraised so you can see part of the bruise on the triceps. The background shows the arbour over the compost bin the grape vines are supposed to be growing over. (just to remind you that the grapes fight back when extracted!)

2- 2016 War of the Grape vines, I had taken damage but won (this is a close up shot of the brews purple center with blue edges. impressive hematoma. )2- 2016 War of the Grape vines, I had taken damage but won (this is a closeup shot of the bruise purple center with blue edges. impressive hematoma. )

Back to 2022

I do apologize I was not thinking as well as I usually do (I was still quite sore from the garage incident) and did not have my camera ready to document the coming battle and its aftermath.

I was not quite up to that level of physical conflict this year, being already quite sore from having attacked the moving of heavy stuff in the garage. Luckily, Glenn offered his help. With much tugging and a good pair of anvil pruners, the tree was freed from the assaulting grape vines.  Glenn dragged the long pieces of grapevine to the sideyard to await my displeasure.

We (mostly Glenn) filled a yard waste bag of pulled weeds and errant raspberry plants. Then he retreated from the battlefield defiantly the victor of the first battle. (Glenn had a few scratches and I was still aching from previous endeavours)

Now on to the more fibre-oriented part of the day.

For the past few years, I have put my captured grape vines to use by trying to weave grape wreaths. The first few were ok but not substantial enough, not enough vine for the circumference it tried. The last few years have been much better.  I hang the new ones on the gate and on the dog fence. This year the pieces of the vine were longer than usual and I had more of the old stalk as well as a lot of the new growth.  I had a couple of pieces with old stalk last year and had tried soaking it to see if I could make it more pliable. It did not seem to make a difference, but I may not have been patent enough with the time I had left it soaking.

This year I started with the longest piece which had quite a bit of old stalk and slowly started the circumference (bent it to my will- maniacal laughter), weaving in the side and branching parts as I came to it. Sometimes I would have two side branches weaving as well as the main stalk. I would try to wrap them one from the inside and one from the outside as well as routing the main stalk around the growing wreath. I would add a new stalk as I go, to the tip of the old one.

3- close up of grape vines wound into a wreath with leaves left on. The house bricks may give a bit of scale. (big leaves this year 3- close up of grape vines wound into a wreath with leaves left on. The house bricks may give a bit of scale. (big leaves this year)

I know I could get better compaction if I took off the grape leaves but I like the way they look as they dry and the chickadees seem to like the leaves on them through winter.

For this wreath I have only extracted and used about half the errant grape vines from the back yard.  I still have to get the rest out of the hedge. So knowing I will have more I used all the extremely long stocks to make one very big wreath. I did get a picture of the finished project for you.

4 – Large wreath sitting on iron bench and leaning agenst the brick wall of my little house4 – Large wreath sitting on iron bench and leaning agenst the brick wall of my little house

As usual the grapes have disappeared (into the birds, raccoons and the rest of the local wild life), but we did grow very big leaves this year!

5- This is the side of the yard we cleared of the vines. Japaneses lilac beside wooden fence. A pot of Saskatoon berries with red/orange and gold leaves to the side of the picture.5- This is the side of the yard we cleared of the vines. Japaneses lilac beside wooden fence. A pot of Saskatoon berries with red/orange and gold leaves to the side of the picture.

6- hidden by grapevines, the fence the arbor and one end of the nabours hedge. 6- hidden by grapevines, the fence, the arbor and one end of the nabours hedge.

This is part of what’s left to get under control! that hopefully will be next weekend’s work.  There is not much left to do in the garden but harvest the extremely slow growing carrots, the last of the herbs and hope the last of the cherry tomatoes hurry up.

 7- Possibly over optimistic tomatoes it is almost November! Close up of cherry tomatoes the closest to stem is just starting to change from green to orange but not yet red.

But for now its time to head back to bed. Other than ticking off my back last week, I also go my covid shot, was that yesterday or was it the day before? It’s a bit of a blur, which means it’s working.  So I’m heading back to bed feeling like I have caught the flu, give me another day or two and I will be back on line. (Don’t worry, I always react badly to flu shots, covid shots just seems to hate me a bit more. Glenn got his and had no side effects at all!)

So please felt and have fun twice as much to make up for my lacking the last however many days this is/was.

8- Gratuitous marigold flower shot of to inspire you with their Red orange and yellow colours. Even the foliage is trying to inspire with the shades of green and purple where the cold has hit them.8- Gratuitous marigold flower shot of to inspire you with their Red orange and yellow colours. Even the foliage is trying to inspire with its shades of green and touches of purple where the cold has hit them.

 

Mrs Mer Joins in the Adventures, Gaming (& Felting) Convention!

Mrs Mer Joins in the Adventures, Gaming (& Felting) Convention!

It has been a longer break than usual between posts but it’s also been a busy time.  I am partway through writing about the carp fair (yes, I will tell you if you can felt with gloves on shortly but not today.)  Today I want to tell you of the continuing adventures of the Mer’s.

Was it just a week ago that Mr. and Mrs. Mer and I followed Glenn off to the Kanata Games (and Felting) Convention? I have gone before and happily, spent the weekend felting, listening to my audiobook and watching the convention goers gaming. After a 2-year break, they were finally getting back to the fall tradition.

While Glenn wandered off to play train games (the older trains rust out part way through the game and there is a lot of math, doesn’t really sound fun to me.) the Mer’s and I settled into an empty table in the corner with a view of most of the gaming.

We are a little out of sequence since I had been working on Mrs. Mer at the Carp fair (which you haven’t seen yet!) I had built up her fishy parts to the point I was ready to add the wires for the fins.

1-Mrs. Mer, lying on felting pad, with fin wires for lower fins added to her fish body, needle is adding wool to lower abdomen of fish section.1-Mrs. Mer, lying on a felting pad, with fin wires for lower fins added to her fish body, the needle is adding wool to the lower abdomen of the fish section.

2- Close up of fish part of Mrs. Mer, adding folded wire that will be anal fin, the other fin wires are in place for lower fins and are wrapped in wool.2- Close up of fish part of Mrs. Mer, adding folded wire that will be anal fin, the other fin wires are in place for lower fins and are wrapped in wool.

3-Mrs. Mer viewed from the back showing under structure of wool and adding the back fin wires.  She is lying on a wool pad which is on top of a handwoven cotton blanket of various colours of blue and bits of purple.3-Mrs. Mer viewed from the back showing understructure of wool and adding the back fin wires.  She is lying on a wool pad on top of a handwoven cotton blanket of various colours of blue and bits of purple.

Since we cot Mr. Mer flirting again at the fair  I was determined to get Mrs. Mer closer to completion over the convention weekend.

4-Mr Mer as his arms resting over the handle of my willow basket, he is showing off his chest and smiling.4-Mr Mer, as his arms resting over the handle of my willow basket, is showing off his chest and smiling.

One of the tables designated for overflow games was suggested as a good spot so I was out of the way and it was large enough to work comfortably.

5-Table at back of gaming convention, gaming going on at tables in back ground, Mrs. Mer lies on table showing her back. She has her fin wires wrapped in wool and has a felting needle stuck in her sacrum.5-Table at the back of the gaming convention, gaming going on at tables in the background, Mrs. Mer lies on the table showing her back. She has her fin wires wrapped in wool and has a felting needle stuck in her sacrum.

I finished wrapping the last of the fin wires and was ready to start sculpting more detail into the fish bits and then add the actual fins. I still have work to do on her human parts but am focusing on her fishy bits at the moment.

I am interested in the intersection between human and fish again, this time playing with the echoes of lines that would have been gills.

6- Close up of Mrs, Mer’s gluteal muscles and the transition to fish, 2 ridges are developing reminiscent of gills.6- Close up of Mrs, Mer’s gluteal muscles and the transition to fish, 2 ridges are developing reminiscent of gills.

As I thought about the transition, I decided to move to the tail for a bit as I considered her options.

7- Mrs Mer on wool pad on table. Showing tail fin being built up with white wool over the Alpaca under layer.7- Mrs. Mer on a wool pad on the table. Showing the tail fin being built up with white wool over the Alpaca underlayer.

8- Showing Mrs. Mer on pad on table, with very thin felt being built up between the upper and lower tail wire, there is gaming going on in the background.8- Showing Mrs. Mer on the pad on the table, with very thin felt being built up between the upper and lower tail wire, there is gaming going on in the background.

9- Mrs Mer, lying on felt pad on table, with clutter of mini Chocklet bars, Ice crackers, glasses and extra needles spread around her. I am adding more fiber to expand the thin felted tail fin.9- Mrs. Mer, lying on a felt pad on the table, with the clutter of mini Chocolate bars, Ice crackers, glasses and extra needles spread around her. I am adding more fibre to expand the thin felted tail fin.

I added a lateral line on both her fishiness as well as her hips sort of where her IT band should be.

10- It band integrated with Dorsal line on fish body  anal fin over felt pad with felting needle adding thin wisp of fibre to wire fin armature. Glasses and tiny plyers and cutters are lying on the felting mat.10- It band integrated with the Dorsal line on the fish body anal fin over a felt pad with a felting needle adding a thin wisp of fibre to the wire fin armature. Glasses and tiny pliers and cutters are lying on the felting mat.

11- Close up of anal fin and tale (Caudal) fin both with very thin wisps of felt for the fins.  They are lying on the felt pad with a needle sticking out of it.11- Close up of anal fin and tale (Caudal) fin both with very thin wisps of felt for the fins.  They are lying on the felt pad with a needle sticking out of it.

12 - Starting the Ventral fin one on each side of the lower body of Mrs Mer’s fishy body12 – Starting the Ventral fin one on each side of the lower body of Mrs. Mer’s fishy body

13- Mrs Mer lying on her side on the table with her Ventra fin on the felting pad with a needle stuck in it. There is a bottle of mountain due (pop with a lot of caffeine), reference photos and my audio book player also sitting beside the pad.13- Mrs. Mer is lying on her side on the table with her Ventral fin on the felting pad with a needle stuck in it. There is a bottle of mountain due (pop with a lot of caffeine), reference photos and my audiobook player also sitting beside the pad.

14- Mrs Mer is now leaning on her elbows on the felting pad. I have all the lower fins added as well as the tail, I have started to add a bit of light skin tone to her lower back and glutes.14- Mrs. Mer is now leaning on her elbows on the felting pad. I have all the lower fins added as well as the tail, I have started to add a bit of light skin tone to her lower back and glutes.

The gaming will go on until 11 pm on Friday night, there are still quite a few people that I can see and more in the other half of the hall. Since I have a bit more time I started the Dorsal fin.

15- Mrs. Mer Lying on the table with her Dorsal fin spread out across the felt mat. There are wisps of wool being added to the space between the spines.15- Mrs. Mer Lies on the table with her Dorsal fin spread out across the felt mat. There are wisps of wool being added to the space between the spines.

16- Mrs Mer props herself up on the table with a bottle of mountain due behind her.16- Mrs. Mer props herself up on the table with a bottle of the mountain due behind her.

It is the end of day 1 at the Friday gaming and felting convention and time to send Mrs. Mer back to her project bag,

Day 2 (Saturday) unfortunately I had a previous shopping commitment when I learned about the gaming and felting convention planned for Saturday morning. Therefore, the Mer’s and I jumped in the car very early and headed north not just out of town but also out of province to Wakefield Quebec. They were having a wool day at the market.

17- Photo of community center and the corner of some of the Market stalls with white tents.17- Photo of the community center and the corner of some of the Market stalls with white tents.

We arrived in time as they were still setting up some of the booths.

18 -bin of wool and 5 small bags of tiny locks sitting on small chest freezer, more of market in background18 -bin of wool and 5 small bags of tiny locks sitting on the small chest freezer, more of the market in the background

19- Feme sol Fiber yarn and batting for sail in pretty baskets.19- Feme sol Fiber yarn and batting for sail in pretty baskets.

I found Femme Sol and sorted through some of their fibre, selecting bags with small curls in white and dark brown. The next booth over was Rocks end farm with Icelandic sheepskins and yarn but no fibre this time.

20- Rocks end farms  yarn displayed on table with dift wood support20- Rocks end farms  yarn displayed on a table with driftwood support

I also spotted some colourful wool mitts, shooting mitts (have a finger for the trigger), fingerless mitts and toques.

 21- table covered in batique cloth with colorful mittens on top 21- table covered in boutique cloth with colourful mittens on top

22- 2 ladys looking at mitts one lady selling the mitts22- 2 ladies looking at mitts one lady selling the mitts

Ginger had asked about Mr. Mer so I went back to the car to let them visit.

23- Mr Mer and Ginger Chatting.23- Mr. Mer and Ginger Chatting.

24- Mrs. Mer interrupts Mr Mer’s Flirting.24- Mrs. Mer interrupts Mr. Mer’s Flirting.

There was a dyer of yarn there, Riverside Studio, who had a great selection of hand died yarn.

25- Grid racks of hand dyed yarn, woman with large pink hand bag admires yarn25- Grid racks of hand-dyed yarn, a woman with a large pink handbag admires yarn

I admired the last of the fall flowers in front of the Wakefield community center before heading back to Ottawa.

26- Ornamental grass and brown-eyed-Susan flowers with dark rose colours flower I don’t recognize and general greenery behind.26- Ornamental grass and brown-eyed-Susan flowers with dark rose colours flower I don’t recognize and general greenery behind.

The trees are just starting to turn colour at the higher elevation around Wakefield.

27- fall colour along the highway green, orange, red yellow leaves on trees.27- fall colour along the highway is green, orange, red and yellow leaves on trees.

Did I mention the main highway in Ottawa is getting one of its overpasses replaced this weekend….. that would explain the odd extra traffic. I eventually made it back into Ottawa and then west to Kanata where the convention was underway.

Mr. Mer was very attentive to his wife. It may be she was annoyed with his flirting of earlier this morning.

28- Mrs. Mer on felt pad on table with Mr. Mer leaning over the back of the walker supervising her felting. In the background gaming is going on.28- Mrs. Mer on a felt pad on the table with Mr. Mer leaning over the back of the walker supervising her felting. In the background, gaming is going on.

Today’s focus is to firm up the fins I laid in yesterday.

29- his wife as she lays on the table with her Pectoral fin about to be worked on with the fake clover tool.29- his wife as she lays on the table with her Pectoral fin about to be worked on with the fake clover tool.

Glenn borrowed the camera so I have a picture of myself felting.

30- Jan using fake clover tool on pectoral fin, with Mr. Mer watching over his wife.30- Jan using fake clover tool on pectoral fin, with Mr. Mer watching over his wife.

Many hours pass…

31- Mrs Mer balancing on 2 mountain due bottles on table, gaming happening in the background.31- Mrs. Mer balancing on 2 mountain due bottles on the table, gaming happening in the background.

32- Mrs Mer tries to go for a swim  but it is now time to go home. Glenn had fun and so did i.32- Mrs. Mer tries to go for a swim but it is now time to go home. Glenn had fun and so did i.

As Mr. and Mrs. Mer head home they share a project bag.

33- Mr.and Mrs Mer share a project bag as they prepare to head home. Glenn sits behind the table ready to carry everything to the car.33- Mr.and Mrs. Mer share a project bag as they prepare to head home. Glenn sits behind the table ready to carry everything to the car.

Well, that was a good weekend of felting and shopping! I hope you are enjoying your fall, and that winter doesn’t arrive too soon.

Rare Earth Magnet on sale! Just add wool for more fun!!

Rare Earth Magnet on sale! Just add wool for more fun!!

A couple of weeks ago the latest princess auto flyer booklet arrived. It is always fun to look through and see what is on sale! Princess Auto is an interesting store that has a vast variety of things, hunting, camping, farm supplies, a bit of blacksmithing, welding, tool boxes, electric bikes, and lots of stuff I am not sure what it’s for but it looks interesting. I sat down to see what exciting things might be included this time. There may be more Bee Decapping combs (which make very cheap emergency wool combs! However, I have a couple of sets so maybe I don’t need to get another pair?) Aha! There is a metal bench on sale, circle that! Is there anything else? YES!! Magnets! (This is the link, they will go back on sale again sometime) https://www.princessauto.com/en/48-pc-rare-earth-magnet-and-dispenser-set/product/PA0008996993 ) 1) 48-piece Rare Earth Magnet and Dispenser Set

Glenn had a couple of things circled in the flyer too so stopped in after work the first day of the sale. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with them but I knew it would be fun and I bet there will be wool involved. These are very strong yet very tiny magnets.

 2) Tiny, tiny Enthusiastic Magnets sticking to a felting needle to show you how tiny they are

I had a question a few weeks ago about making a sheep head, if I make a tiny sheep’s head I bet I can make a broach. Where did I put the wool with the tiny crimp I had purchased from Ginger at Farm Sol at the Wakefield Farmers Market? And more important, can I get more?

The mark 1 prototype I used unlabeled white wool roving, I am hoping it’s Corriedale but I’m not sure. It seemed less enthusiastic to felt than I usually find in Corriedale. So after more stabbing than I would have liked, I did get a basic head/nose shape.

3) This may not be the Corriedale you were looking for (spooky Jedi background music)

4) Eventually there was a head-like shape, sort of

Now that isn’t as sheepish as I would like. (This is why reference photos are really helpful) I know what’s missing,  I will need to add ears!!

5) Ears added to the slightly sheepish head

Now that is a bit better. Next to add the first magnet.

6) Magnet balancing precariously on superior aspect of sheep neck

The magnets were tiny and behaved in a slippery manner determined to fling themselves to their death on the floor!! Alas for the magnet, I used another previous Princess Auto Sales item to find them and pick them up!! (Without bending or crawling around on the floor under the computer desk, even better!!)((I am suggesting anyone doing Dry Needle felting should consider this marvellous invention to retrieve errant needles, and magnets from the horror of nether regions that the floor has become.))

7-8) Extending magnetic picker-upper of things mettle, with built-in light (it Is dark under the table)

The version that is brought in for sales with the light doesn’t seem to be on their website but here is the link for the lightless one. You can likely find something similar at any hardware store, this one says it will pick up 3lbs (that would be one big needle!!) https://www.princessauto.com/en/3-lb-magnetic-pickup-tool/product/PA0008716615

I wound up trying 3 ways of affixing the magnet into the back of the sheep head.

9-10) First I tried lightly felting a bit of wool, then attaching it to the back of the head. This was not totally successful since the magnet migrated lower than where I had been trying to hold it. I also found the needle was very attracted to the magnet when I tried to poke adjacent to it. Interesting.

This did let me find out that the magnet is strong and once embedded in the wool stuck to bulldog clips (some people call them binder clips) with enthusiasm and required gentle prying to get them to let go.

11) Sheep head sticking to bulldog clip

Next, I tried a divot in the superior aspect of the neck or back of the skull depending on your perspective. I placed the magnet in the dent and then added a backing that I had felted flat.

12) Magnet sitting in a bit of a divot and leaving the rest of the loose wool to work over the top of the magnet once it was in position.

13) The magnet was attracted again to the needle so this may not be quite the best solution

14) It was a bit more challenging to keep the magnet where I wanted it but the divot did help.

15) Success! But this took more time but kept the magnet location where I had wanted it.

(16) The third option is “this picture is unavailable” which was a combination of making a dent to seat the magnet and then making a felt backing for covering the magnet. I could have used a commercial felt but it’s so easy to just make a bit more of the wool you are using and you are sure it will match the head if you use the same wool.

17) Now let’s talk about ears.

It is time to use those C40-111’s again, Crown Needles!!! For the first two sheep heads, I attached white ears and then added the wisp of pinkishness to the attached ear. For the third prototype, I build a base layer of the white, then lay in wisps of pink to make the inner ear. Using the crown needle at an angle close to parallel allows the addition of colour to one side without affecting the other. The working depth of the crown needles is much shallower than regular needles. Once the ear was constructed I attached it to the head. This was a bit easier than adding the pink to the ear after it was attached.

18) Time to add the second Magnet and check it sticks through cloths. Yep!

This sheep is still rather naked and needs curls. Remember that trip I took to Wakefield a few posts ago? Well, we are about to find out what happened to those fabulous little locks.

19) The tiny crimpy locks from Ferme Sol Farm in Wakefield Quebec http://www.fermesol.ca/

The locks worked perfectly. The tight and tiny crimp was perfect for this scale of sheep. Her sheep are Icelandic/ Frisian/ Gotland/ Finn and Shetland crosses. These were really fabulous fibre blends.

20-21) Front and back view of the sheep broach with a second magnet to go inside your shirt. This is less damaging to fabric than a pin broach back would be.

22) Here is the sheep with both the curls and ear details added.

23) A bit of online shopping arrived and I have added the two new boxes to the tools I used for this project (you don’t need quite this many needles I actually only used 3needles, which were each different, to make the sheep)

I had ordered two more needle boxes, this time a T-38G-333 and T-42G-222.  The T is the shape Triangle, the first number is the gauge, the G is the tip or point specification, and there is another letter designating the barb specifications which I have ignored and the last digits are the number of barbs per side. So I will leave you with a shot of the new needle boxes (yes there are 500 needles in the new ones a bit less in the older boxes) and the other tools and pieces I used for this project.

Next week I have a choice of things to tell you about, Mr. and Mrs. Mer’s trip to the Carp fair (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) or the mini-workshop I gave on a card stock 7- strand kumihimo-like braid (Monday). There is also going to be another trip up to Wakefield this coming Saturday, to purchase more little locks and hopefully get some good pictures.  It has been a VERY busy four days in a row!! Now it is time to find the Robax-platinum and crawl back into bed for a day or so.

Have fun and keep felting (even if you are wearing gloves – you will hear about that when we chat about the Carp fair!)

Almonte Fibrefest and Demoing

Almonte Fibrefest and Demoing

As Ann was saying, last weekend was the first Almonte Fiberfest since 2019.

 Almonte is a small town about 30 minutes from the west end of Ottawa. In 1818 David Shepherd was given 200 acres (0.81 km2) to build and operate a mill. However, it did not go well, there was a fire and Shepherd sold to Daniel Shipman by 1821, who rebuilt the mill. In 1866 the Rosamond Woollen Mill was built to manufacture fine tweeds.  By 1850, the area had seven busy woollen mills and was one of the leading wool cloth production centres in Canada.

1) Rosamond No. 1 Mill is now a condominium

2) Left the old mill Right the Annex

3) Mississippi Valley Textile Museum Entrance

The last textile mill closed in the early 1980s. By 1987, Rosamond No. 1 Mill was empty and was considered for a textile museum. The main Mill building was located by the lower falls. It was a large, six-storey, flat-roofed, stone building. The second building was the last of the outbuildings and referred to as the Annex which had housed the mill’s office and large warehouse space. It was a stone building on two floors, both of which could be reached from ground level (it was built on a slope). It was decided that the Main mill building would be renovated into condominiums and the Annex would be the new Mississippi Valley Textile Museum.

Over the years the building has been updated with HVAC, an elevator and even bathrooms! A large number of volunteers and small staff support and run the museum. It contains a gift shop, permanent exhibits and gallery space. One of the fundraising activities to help support the Museum is the Almonte Fiberfest. (See I did get back to the point eventually!)

2022 was the 27th Annual Fibrefest. Originally held in the Museum, as the number of vendors grew larger it expanded to include other locations, now it is located in the Almonte Community Centre (arena). This year there were 69 booths (about 30 booths smaller than in 2019). The smaller number gave a wider aisle and made the arena feel less crowded. Workshops were again offered but there was no cantina this year.  While twist fibre festival was, quite noticeably, heavily loaded with knitting yarn, Almonte was more diversified having both finished goods and supplies for many of the fibre arts.

Let’s have a very quick look around then head out to see the demos.

4) Three booths with felting supplies or finished felting for sale (FiberCraft, Wendo and Starbright Curios)

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5-15) A Few Shots from Booths

Outside the arena, there were various fibre arts guilds and groups displaying or demonstrating their skills. (spinning, knitting, weaving, rug hooking, lace making, smocking and quilting).

16) West Carlton Fiber Guild (the guild just to the west of Ottawa)

 17) The Ottawa Valley Guild of Stitchery

18) Home Hospice north Lanark Comfort Crew

19) Ottawa Knitting Guild

20) Ottawa Rug Hookers Guild

 21) Ottawa Guild of Lacemakers

The arts collective Out of the Box was there but I cannot find their photo. The Smocking guild is usually there but I don’t remember seeing them this time.

22) Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild Demo (Sat.)

Not forgetting of course is the demo for the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild that Ann was participating in. We had different volunteers on Saturday and Sunday, so the table display changed each day too.

23)  Part of table display on Sat and Sun

24) Pine Needle Basket Demoing

25) Part of the Sunday demo Team

Demoing is a great way to introduce the public to something you enjoy and are passionate about. It allows the public a chance to connect and possibly join your group. We have also had people ask if we take donations of books or equipment, which can help the group.

You don’t have to be an expert to demo, you don’t have to know all the answers. If you don’t know the answer to a question you can ask them to contact the guild website or Facebook page or you can ask one of the other demo people if you are in a demo team.  It’s often good to have a new weaver or spinner or felter who can say “I am just starting, this is fun, you can learn this too!” it’s important to smile and look like you’re having fun, scowling at your work is not conducive of others wanting to join you in your endeavour!

One thing I have enjoyed over the years demoing is hearing people’s stories of their mother or grandmother or Aunt who spun or wove and the descriptions of their equipment. In Almonte, I have heard stories about working in the textile mills from some of the older people attending demos.

Demos don’t have to have to be planned events with lots of people and a display table.  You can find yourself demoing when you thought you were just using your drops spindle waiting in a slow line, or needle felting while waiting for a doctor’s appointment.  If your guild or group has business cards with your web contacts keep some with your spindle or felting to hand out to anyone that seems interested. The stranger you give a card to may be a fibre friend in the near future!

If you get the chance, I hope you will try demoing, either a formal demo or a spontaneous accidental demoing. Both are fun! Keep Felting!

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 2

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 2

It is time for Hair!

16 When we last saw Mr. Mer he was distracted and playing with his Jellyfish little friends.

17-18  I wanted to add hair down the spinal ridge I had created for him.

I had built up an extra amount of muscle above the upper traps attaching to the suboccipital bone so he would have an easier time looking up to see where he was swimming. Likely this muscle might be called the suprasuperior trapezius or maybe the superficial Inferior occipital muscle?

I considered and decided I would like to add hair along the spinal ridge of the new mer-muscle, (it will give more options in hair styling!!).

19 working in the spinal ridge and long hair

I started at about the level of the scapula and layered in thin locks. I focused on building up the area over the cervical spine, affixing one end securely in a narrow band and leaving the other end long and loose down his back.

(at this point I got very focused and put the camera down behind me… safe but out of sight!!!) SORRY!!!

While Mr. Mer patently admired his jellyfish friends, I moved to the occipital ridge (the bony bit at the back and base of the skull). For this area, I worked with the locks in the opposite direction to how I wanted them to hang and securely worked in the last half inch of the locks, I am not worried this will not hold since I am using enthusiastic needles (T36-333) and I will have more fibre layered over top. I worked with the darker shades of green then as I added fibre this time in the direction I wanted it to lie I added a few of the accent locks of gold/green and green/grey blue. I worked from the base of the skull up the back and sides. I added some shorter locks towards the temples and set aside some to use across the forehead. I added, like shingles –overlapping the butt ends of the locks and leaving the length and tips loose. When I got to the crown (top) of the head I had a few very long locks that I laid in side to side (ear towards ear) then let them fall back and to the sides. This filled in his potential bald spot (I don’t think it would work to try and comb over a merman’s hair!)

20 Mr. Mer helpfully held up his hair so you could see the long locks originating from the neck and upper traps area.

I then started to look at styling, I don’t have hair accessories of the correct size! He has decided on a loose ponytail for now but may look into other options if I can find Hair combs in his size.

21-23 Mr. Mer admiring his new locks.

I think he likes the colour! And his new eyebrows.

He seems a bit overwhelmed with all the new hair!

I think he could consider some beads to go in his hair (for special occasions). I have a couple of boxes of beads to look through and some fine wire to thread the beads on.

24 Mr. Mer lost in thought inspecting his new hair

25 In fact he seemed quite contemplative and took off for a quick swim around the office before returning to his project bag for a rest.

Now that he has hair I took a look if I could find hair accessories in his required size. No luck, so I decided to make a few options in different sizes of wire and beads.

26-28 beads strung on wire (20ga, 24ga, 26ga) to go in his hair.

On Saturday of the long weekend, we had a Cookie run to the Log Farm Farmers market and a fibre quest at the Wakefield Farmers Market in Quebec. Mr. Mer joined Glenn and me for the drive and to show off his fancy new hair to Ann.

29 Ann checked his new hair, Ross seemed quite impressed with him and took his picture!

30 Glenn Cookie shopping with Ann and Ross

We of course remembered to get the cookies! Now off to Wakefield!  We had a lovely drive north of Ottawa into Quebec up highway 5 through the Gatineau hills. There are great rock cuttings, Lakes, small rivers and lots of trees to admire on the way.

By the time we got there, it was very busy and hard to find a parking spot In the main parking area, we were going to go around for a second look when the Gods of Parking smiled upon us and we saw not only a parking spot but it was adjacent to the back of a booth with hanging sheep skin rugs!!  It must be Ginger from Ferme Sol and the booth we were looking for!  (if you would like to see some pictures of her sheep you could check out her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Ferme-Sol-105585311548965/)

31 Fabulous parking spot and the back of the booth we were looking for

32 the front of her booth with fibre, yarn, sheep skin rugs and the freezer. (my little grey Kea Soul is hiding in the back)

33 Her fibre and yarn for sale

I got 3 bags of locks with very tiny crimp, in natural black, grey and white. I also selected a part of a ram’s fleece in natural black and white, which will be lots of fun to spin or felt with. Her flock of sheep are a mix of Finn, Gotland and Icelandic, which are fabulous for both spinning and felting.

Ginger asked about Mr. Mer so we brought him out of the car for a visit. She liked his new hair and said it was very soft.

34 I think Mr. Mer may be a flirt and I will need to finish up Mrs. Mer soon so she can keep an eye on him!!

Mr. Mer dose seem quite pleased with his hair and his lovely jellyfish. I may do a little adjusting once i have the complete family finished, but he is basically done.

I am sure he will reduce his flirting and behave himself, since i suspect he notice i took Mrs. Mer on her first outing to the Ottawa Guild social on the holiday Monday to start her (Butterfly) Koi body tail.  (Overall its was a very fishy and fibery holiday weekend.)

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35-37 Mr Mer wanted to say “Hi! and thank you for following his progress so far,” before he returned to his project bag for a nap (photo shoots seem to be quite tiring).

I am not sure that Sara, who started the Mermaid-felt-along on YouTube, intended quite this scope of project but it has be lots of fun. i hope others will give making a family of Mers a try!

Whatever you wind up working on, I hope you have fun and keep felting!

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 1

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 1

It has been another busy week full of multiple projects for the Ottawa Guild along with a sort and prep for photos project for Glenn. So Mr. Mer has been very patent and supervised me while he sits contemplating his options in his project bag (I did get him a bigger project bag).

On Monday evening the Ottawa Guild is usually back to an in-person social. There is still a zoom social for those who can’t travel. Unfortunately, last Monday coincided with a department heads/exec meeting so not as social as usual but it was good to see a lot of faces I had only seen over zoom the last 2 years!

Ann was there and had brought a present for Mr. Mer (I will defiantly need to get more hair if he gets a swollen head from all the attention!) Her Jellyfish is sooooo Cute!!!!! It is such a pretty blue and so delicate. I wonder how she made it?

1 – You saw his new Jellyfish from Twist.

 

2- This is his new Jellyfish from Ann

I set up my desk for a photo shoot and hung up the little guy.  Mr. Mer seemed happy to get out of his project bag and was immediately interested in the little blue jellyfish. It’s so delicate!

3-6 Hunting and catching Jellyfish

I have discovered the correct way of hunting jellyfish! You pick them up very carefully by their head strings!! (Not the lower strings, which might kill you. This is a special Mer skill and should only be tried on fibre-based jellyfish that have obvious head strings. Not the squishy ones found in water or stranded on beaches.)

7- 8-  He seemed mesmerized admiring both jellyfish.

While he was distracted, I went through his shopping bag to see what lengths and colours he had collected. Most of what he had collected was too short but in very nice colours. I am sure we can use them for other projects

9- 10- Sorting through the longer locks while Mr. Mer is distracted

The locks that look like they will be best are mostly the ones from Bernadette, who had purchased them from Adele’s locks of love.

11 looking at the best locks

I think I will have enough for him to have respectable hair.  He was still quite captivated by his jellyfish, having them chase each other. so I snuck his hair option into a bag and put the rest back into a bag of locks for other projects.

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12-14 Jellyfish racing!!!

Now I am distracted too! A Majacraft Suzie Pro spinning wheel has come up for sale, with a lot of accessories…. I am sure there must be room for one more wheel? it’s small! As I contemplate and consider a test drive/spin, Mr. Mer has tried to swim off with his little friends. Sneaky!!

15- ran off with his jellyfish

He wasn’t fast enough! I cot him and brought him back to the desk. I got his little friends to distract him as I got out a T-36-333 (I do have more aggressive needles but this should be perfect.)

16- ah good, he is not paying any attention to me!

Jellyfish seem to work as well as antithetic!!! We are set and He will shortly have hair! But that will be for next week in part 2!

Thanks, Ann!!! (your jellyfish is so cute and tiny I will have to inquire how you made him so tiny and so cute!! I hope there are pictures!!)

 

Hair shopping at Twist Fiber festival with Mr. Mer

Hair shopping at Twist Fiber festival with Mr. Mer

Finally, the big day was here! It is time to take Mr. Mer shopping for Hair! I had persuaded him to wait to broaden his choices by looking at the Fiber Festival Twist in Saint-André-Avellin, Quebec. That would be a bit over an hour’s dive east of home. I had a few bags to put purchases in (optimism!), the camera, something to drink, Mr. Mer in his project bag and a good audiobook to start the trip off (today’s driving was accompanied by “A Lady’s Guide to Fortune hunting” by Sophie Irwin).

1) Mr. Mer is napping in his project bag before the big drive. I promise I will get him a bigger project bag!

Ah, summer, the other season of road maintenance in Canada. Oh well, at least the scenery is lovely, driving through the rock cuttings along highway 50. To see all the geology from the comfort of your car, (ok there were a few potholes and truck ruts to distract from the view). You get glimpses of the Ottawa River as it heads south then into the hills and more rock trees and farmland. Turn at the town that makes me think of pineapples (it’s a French word that has nothing to do with pineapples) and go north over a stream, past the cows and eventually into the town of Saint-André-Avellin. A couple more turns and you are at the arena complex wondering where they put the handicapped parking (no I do not actually have the special parking for my e-“specially” great spelling ability). I stopped to ask a man in a sheep hat with horns, I bet he will know! Oh, it’s right here? And don’t run over the line of people waiting to get in. What a close parking spot to the line, amazing! I got out, organized and was already in line, we were ready to go.

2) in line at Twist, handicapped parking is adjacent to the line, now that is close parking!

There are a few changes since the last Twist festival (2 years ago), there has been construction on the building and a covid clinic has taken over what used to be the classrooms. There were, as in previous years, tents outside for Emerging Artists and the Food court.

3) the first outside tent

Inside there are two halls, the arena and the gym and locker room spaces which they are using for classrooms this year. My plan of attack was to cruise through the larger hall first, looking for long locks (the Olive sparrow and a couple more booths might have some) but taking a quick photo of the Black Lamb’s mill ends on the way by. Continuing on to the small hall where the booth for Fibercraft might also have long locks. We were in agreement and had a plan of attack!!
With Mr. Mer leaning over the back support of my walker, the line started to move and we were off! We breezed through the emerging artist’s tent (I will look more carefully later) and took a fast sweep through the main hall looking for the elusive long fibre locks.

4) Inside the Arena (lots of knitting yarn but looking for those elusive locks)
5) Half of the Black Lamb’s booth. They have mill-end fibre.

Pausing briefly, I took a quick shot of the pile of mill ends at the black lamb’s booth. I am fascinated by the hugeness of the pile as the weekend starts and the speed it dwindles as the weekend progresses. I will be back shortly and do a bit of shopping there myself. I hope that some of the other guild members will post the after pictures from Sunday! Finding only a few booths with any fibre, none of it as long as I was hoping, we turned our vehicle to the small arena to do a quick fly-through there.

6) AH ha! We found some locks, not as long as he wanted but a good colour.

We headed past booths with knitting yarn towards the Fibercarft booth, which was looking like our last hope for anyone with long 12-inch or longer locks for Mr. Mer’s hair. I hope he will not be too unhappy if he winds up with a military haircut if long wavy locks are unattainable.

7) Success!! We bought a bundle of green and a bundle of orange-red for his daughter or wife’s hair.

These were the only extra-long locks we were able to find this year at Twist. There may have been some in the back of a booth I did not see, but we were pretty thorough in our such (Next year there will be lots I’m sure since a short bald Mer-fish was asking for them!). The green locks look a bit bright but there is the option to over-die or it may be ok as an accent with the locks from Bernadette. He will show you his loot in a bit.
We met a relative of his while we were in the Fibercraft booth. She was also inspired by Sara’s “Mermaid-felt-along” at the beginning of the pandemic. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hljS4YRmz9w&t=1992s) this was a great way to keep us sane and busy during our time isolating. I am not sure if Sara realizes what she has inspired!

8) Mr. Mer met another Mer from a different branch of the family. (from the same Sara Felt along!)

We said goodbye to his cousin, I didn’t get her name so we referred to her as Ms. Coral Mer. With his shopping now done, we can relax and see what else is on offer.

Around the next corner, we spotted some familiar looking felt. This is Richard Hanna, he is an excellent sculptural felter and sometimes member of the local guild. It has been inspiring watching him work on some of his large pieces during meetings (the Narnian Lion head and Marilyn Monroe head were both very memorable). He has made some interesting green men and tree people more recently. He was quite busy so we didn’t have much time to chat. It was great to see him again, I hope he will have the time to come back to the guild and attend socials.

9) Richard Hanna’s booth at Twist

We stopped to have a quick chat with another guild member, weaver and basket maker Janet Whittam.

10) Janet Whittam’s booth

I took one of Janet’s basketry workshops years ago. To begin we went for a walk down country lanes near her home, collecting wild grapevines and other interesting vegetation. This salvaged material was used with various cane to make a basket. It was so much fun. Janet mentioned while we were chatting and I was admiring the new baskets, that working with the antler as she wove the basket was quite challenging. The final effect was definitely worth the extra work!

11) needle storage

In one booth I saw this lovely little pottery needle holder. What an elegant way to store needles!

12) These mice were so cute but I have no idea what they cost, I could not find a price and the vendor seemed very busy so I didn’t ask.

13) This is a prin to skene winder.

The Prin to Skene winder was incredibly cool and I would love to have bought it, I don’t know where I would put it but it turned easily and was just so cool! That is a giant bag of superwash merino mill ends, it’s sitting beside ($10.00 per LB). This means we’re back in the arena at the Black Lamb’s booth. Here are a few more shots to drool at. I got the last of the BFL (Blue Faced Lester)/silk which is fun to spin and it will also felt!

14) A few of the specialty blends at the Black Lamb booth

15) Mostly superwash merino but other blends of fibre too

16) a few of the Felting supply’s at the Olive Sparrow

We wandered back to the Olive Sparrow and perused silk in fish-appropriate colours then l checked out pieces of felt backing for pictures in so many colours. I spotted the painting in Wool book and one of the two recent Landscape paintings in wool books was also there. I found some extra-large leather finger cots by the cash so added that to my order too. (It’s hard to find thumbs that fit unless you sew your own.)

17) A Majacraft dealer booth

There was a booth selling Majacraft products, (they make spinning wheels that are very posh). I did not realize they also made fibre prep tools. I spotted blending Hackles, mini-combs, a tiny blending board and regular-sized drum carders.

18) A booth of mixed weaving equipment and weaving yarn

Mr. Mer was particularly excited about this Jane loom by Louet, I think the lack of treadles was appealing since Mer-persons would have a challenge to operate them with their tail fins. I did not point out that looms are usually made of wood so tend to float and would be hard to operate in an aquatic environment. In addition, getting wet would not be good for the loom.

19) This booth is Fibres of life

Fibres of life had cat caves, mice, balls in felt as well as felt backgrounds, really nice backpacks and bags as well as examples of the heavy commercial felt used in storage baskets (you can see them under the cat caves and holding the mice and balls). There were also mysterious giant balls of felted roving that looked like balls of snakes.

20) It was good to see such interest in spinning from a range of ages

21) this year the majority of the booths did seem to be more knitting oriented.

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22-23) One of the outside tents was filled by the rare breeds conservancy group.

Rare Breeds Conservancy group brought four sheep, a mother and son and two twins, I think the twins were Shropshires. There was interest in the mom’s pretty fleece too!

24) Sheep dog demonstrations

We stopped to watch the sheepdog demo. One of the sheep had figured out it was bigger than the dog and was being stubborn.

With all the fibre I had purchased (as well as Mr. Mer’s shopping), it was time to drop things off in the car. We headed back through the food tent, I was very tempted by the “Hamburger de Bison 1/4lb”, available “avec Sanglier Effiloche” if you wanted for a bit more money. (I had it without the extras last time and it was delicious!)

25) Exotic lunch options

We stopped to have a chat with a lovely lady who had driven up from the states with some friends to attend. She had enjoyed the scenery of the drive from the 1000 island bridge through the southeast of Ontario and then into Quebec. She mentioned she enjoyed our weather (the heat wave the states and parts of Canada were having, had broken in eastern Ontario after a heavy rain storm last week. It was either that or the weather feels cooler when posted in Celsius?) She is presently a knitter but said she is a future felter who is just waiting until she retires to start felting. I hope she will be inspired to jump in and try both wet and dry felting sooner.

The ladies at the ticket table were very helpful in making sure I got safely back to the car (which was much appreciated). Mr. Mer and I must have been looking very tired and I was going quite a bit slower than when I arrived. We got the shopping in, but I said I just wanted to rest for a few minutes, in hopes that I was up to another trip around the venue and take a few more photos to let the guild know what was there. Mr. Mer seemed very pleased with his shopping so he got comfy in the passenger seat as I had a short rest. We had another Guild member stop by, say hi and linger for a chat. It was a very restful chat and I was ready to take one more round of the shopping options.

26) Having a chat with Mr. Mer, who has retired to the car to recover from his shopping trip.

27) He checked out Mr. Mer. (Safety first- always wear your seat belt), Fish fatigue from shopping!!

I left Mr. Mer to nap in the car with the shopping and headed back in for one last lap around the booths. The crowds had thinned and I was able to get into most of the booths with the walker. I found a bit of fibre but was wanting to save a bit of money for a treat after the shopping. There was a booth “the Campaign for Wool, Patron: HRH The Prince of Wales” which seemed to have literature but it was still too busy to ask questions.

28) I admired the Baskets from Big Blue Moma’s booth but didn’t get one.

The baskets were in the first booth just inside the first tent. It was a great strategy. You could buy your basket then fill it with purchases or after buying everything inside you were wanting, buy a big enough basket to hide it in for taking your new hoard into the house! Many would make excellent presents for a family cat but only if you didn’t fill it all the way up with fibre.

29) I stopped to admire the Kromski wheel

I did finally get into the booth with a Kromski spinning wheel, I cannot afford one of their ornate wheels but I now have a Kromski drop spindle! I took it for a spin when I got home with a bit of the BFL/Silk blend I had also purchased.

30) Kromski makes a drops spindle, which is more in my price range!

The tag says it’s an 85gr spindle, so reasonably heavy but It still spun quite fine yarn. At 32.00+ Tax, it was also the least expensive spindle I saw and now I can say I have a Kromski brand yarn maker! (Ok, technically it’s not a spinning wheel just a drop spindle but it is wheel-shaped and it does spin!)

Some of us have a post Twist tradition of heading to a small restaurant at the far end of town. We discovered it was there quite a few years ago. I had checked online, to make sure it was still there and that the comfy-duck-club-sandwich was still on the menu. (YES!) Therefore, I had carefully saved enough money to get 2 orders of the drool-worthy sandwich. Unfortunately, I arrived to an empty parking lot and new hours, I found out that the restaurant is having trouble getting servers for the evening. We will have to make another trip of just over an hour or wait until next year to get the comfy duck!!

31) La Toquade restaurant, with Club Sandwich au confit de canard (comfy duck served on apricot Raisin and sunflower bread, garnished with bacon, onions, green apples celery and mayonnaise, with a side of your choice of French fries or salad.)(this explains why the duck is so comfy)

I was too tired to go back to Twist and shop till my pockets were empty but my car was full. Instead, I put on my audiobook and headed home. It was a bit slower traffic due to the roadwork, but the book makes the time pass quickly. Now all that is left is to show you the results of our hunting expedition.

Mr. Mer seemed quite pleased with himself. He had a lovely time, enjoying women (and some men) admiring his 12-pack abs and his fine butt. He had acquired the only long locks we could find, for both himself and ether Mrs. Mer or Teen Mer, as well as picking up a little friend.

32) Mr. Mer shows off his shopping

33) My loot!

I was looking for felt bases for pictures but got distracted by the soft fluffy BFL/silk blend (the large bag of white) and the blue batt looked so oceanic (yet dry) I could not talk myself out of buying it too. I was pleased by the leather thumb covers (finger cots), they are good for protecting fingers if you get momentarily distracted while felting.

I hope you also have access to a local Fiberfest with shopping, workshops and fabulous food. It was a fun day and productive hunting. I hope all the attention Mr. Mer got doesn’t go to his head or I will have to find more hair!

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