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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.
In Ottawa, Tis’ the Season of New Fibre Acquisitions!

In Ottawa, Tis’ the Season of New Fibre Acquisitions!

My first fleeces of the year were purchased today.  Even better, I was picking them up at the same Farmers Market where Ann sells delicious tarts, cookie, Bread and pies! The Market is set up so you go in a big circle with all the booths have space and a wide gravel path. This year there are more booths.

1-2 Barhaven Farmers Market

 3 Ross and Ann!

I bought Mom a couple of Chocolate chip cookies (they are her favorites) as well as Cookies and tarts for Glenn. More customers were arriving so I couldn’t stay and chat so it’s time to move on to the Fleece.

 4 Note the bag of fleece in the back left corner of the booth!

The fleeces I purchased were Rams who belong to a flock of about 300 sheep. The Ewes are gainfully employed as professional Lawn maintenance specialists, keeping the weeds trimmed under solar panels! I hear the burrs that were in last year’s fleece have been almost eradicated.  (I did not see any in the fleeces I got this year as I re-bagged them).

 5 This is a bit better view of the 2 skirted Rams.

 6-7 Distracted by small cool wild flowers beside the parking spot.

Now to get back to the important parts, these rams are Canadian Arcotts. This is a breed that you may have had  the opportunity to  have  fun with before. Its one of 3 breeds (Canadian, Outaouais and Rideau Arcott) developed by the Canadian government here in Ottawa.  The last part of their name, Arcott, stands for Animal Research Centre Ottawa.  The Arcott breeding program began in 1966 with the goal to create a breed which reproduced rapidly for genetic and other sheep research. The original mix of breads are listed as Finnish Landrace, Southdown, East Friesian, Suffolk, Leicester, North Country Cheviot, Ramnelet, Dorset Horn, Shropshire and Ile-de-France for the Arcotts.

1982 all three Arcotts were recognized as distinct breeds.  Rideau Arcott mature quickly  grows rapidly and often have triplets. Although they are primarily a meat breed, their wool is described as a medium quality and variable. The Outaouais Arcott are also know for fast growing and often having triplets. There fleece is considered variable and there was a mention of good for milking. The Canadian Arcott is considered as a good meat breed with fast growth.  The fleece was listed as Soft, lustrous 3-4 inches long and a 25 – 33 micron count.

I unfortunately do not have a photo of the rams who produced these fleeces. If this was in smell-i-vision you could experience the lovely sheepy aroma. Some rams are a bit aggressive aromaticly, but both of these fleeces have a more normal sheepy smell.

8-11  Fleece #1- Ram professionally sheered and well skirted. The crimp is tighter than fleece #2. The locks I used as an unwashed sample are about 3.5 inches long.

12-15   Fleece #2 – Ram professionally sheered and well skirted. Not as crimpy as Ram #1. The stale length is about 3 inches on the unwashed sample I pulled.

Both these look like they would make fun spinning fleeces and I look forward to sampling them for felting. I have not worked with a Canadian Arcott before so this will be both fun and educational. There will be samples to share but first I have to finish cleaning up the side yard so I have space to wash and dry the fleeces!

Coming up on Monday will be our guild A.G.M. We will also be having a fiber poker challenge. This year as well as Spinning and Weaving there will be a deck for Felting! I will tell you about that in a future post.

Have fun and keep felting, spinning, weaving, fleece washing! So much to do we need to make the days longer! Oh yes its summer, that will help!!

 

Busyness and Books

Busyness and Books

As it often happens in Ottawa, the transition out of winter into spring can be quite sudden. Some years when it’s quick, we get to experience the river’s quick rise and many homes discover they unexpectedly have indoor swimming pools.

Ottawa geologically was at the bottom of an inland sea, it got up and suddenly left long before I arrived in Ottawa. Its departure left patches of Leda clay (an unstable marine clay) and locally 3 raised beaches where the waterline sat for a while before exiting the Ottawa valley leaving us a river that occasionally wishes to try to reclaim its distant glory of being a sea. I am 1 raised beach above the present flooding area for the Ottawa River and am slightly uphill from the creek down by the transitway, which is moving to a deeper but closer canal so the new train can go in. I understand the train will be wonderful but It seems to have a fear of heights since it is incapable of climbing much of a slope. I hope they asked the train’s thoughts on winter since we have a lot of that as well as a few too steep for the train slopes.

Some years we are lucky and have a slow spring, no flooding and we get to enjoy the tulips. That was this year! I suspect summer got annoyed having to wait and we have now been enjoying August in May with +30c and heavy humidity.  This is providing the plants with a bit of a panic! “Oh no, I am missing my display time! Quick, Flower!!”  It’s a bit confusing at the moment in the front and back garden.

We got word the garden centres would be deemed essential services and be open with restricted numbers and access. I was able to get most of what I was looking for. I have been frantically doing and overdoing the potting out, removing and replanting stray catnip and some of the self-seeded lettuce (have you ever considered Lettuce as a ground cover?)

As I think I told you when the Raccoons were being evicted, we need to replace the roof as well as working on fixing the garage.  Then we found out that the chimneys (I am lucky and have 2!) need to be unbricked then rebuilt. The face of the brick has been falling off and it is in very rough shape. That needs to be done before the new roof. It also explains the mysterious pieces of brick that I find in the garden and on my patio…. I was reasonably sure it was not the birds dropping them on their way to build a nest. On further consideration, that might not be a bad nesting material, good against cats, raccoons, and other birds. They would get a reduced price on nest insurance but would need a strong tree. It would be quite cozy lined with some wool. (I would say my musings are due to sunstroke but it’s cloudy and looks like we are about to get an impressive and windy rainstorm.)

1-2 the newly rebuilt front chimney and the about to be rebuilt back chimney.

3-4 the portable forest, herb and Vegi garden  &  the extra catnip on the old bench

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5-10 the confusion of spring and early summer flowers all trying to get your attention

  11-12 the Japanese lilac is particularly impressive this year!

I wish I could share the aroma coming from my Japanese lilac and the adjacent thicker sweet scent of the flowering Honeysuckle vine. I was going to get a new hummingbird feeder for beneath the vine but with stores closed, I have missed the setup time so I hope the hummingbirds are enjoying the honeysuckle this year. While I was sitting on my (sorry Miaka’s) swinging garden bench, the perfume from the Lilac drifted over in waves on the gusting wind. I wanted to sit there longer but still have a lot to do today. More work on the Guild Library database and the year-end report as well as a blog post to write, but after taking pictures of clematis, bachelor buttons (the fancy ones) and trying to get a shot of the lilac as its flower-filled branches bounced in the wind. I still have raspberry’s to relocate or rehome, topping up the soil, some pruning of the back hedge and the grapevine (I saw more grapes starting than I have ever seen!! But the raccoon doesn’t share, it likely following the example of the chipmunk that eats all my strawberries!)

13-14 Grapes and Strawberries!

So it’s been very busy but not a lot of felting since Mother’s Day. (Ah I have finally got to the felting!)

15 Two of my felting books I wanted to tell you a bit more about

Although I have not found a book solely focused on wire armatures I have found a number of books that have small sections, to a brief mention of how they use armature wire. Recently I have picked up a couple more books that discuss armatures. The most recent was “Adorable Felted Animals: 30 Easy & Incredibly Lifelike Needle Felted Pals” by Gakken Handmade Series. This was originally a Japanese book translated into English in 2015.  80 pages, softcover, I was able to pick up a second-hand copy labelled as a knitting book. There is no knitting but 30 small scale animals to make.

It starts with posed pictures of the finished animal projects giving the name of the maker, the page numbers for the instructions and the size. The size of the pieces are interesting to note, with the largest just over 6 inches long but most are half that or smaller. This means they are excellent travel projects or you can just absorb the techniques and work on a bigger scale. There is a short section on the method used to create the golden retriever with lots of photos. This includes a layering technique for creating the fur look outer coat. The rest of the book is instructions for each figure. They have templates at the finished size to check your felted piece against as well as any special instructions such as a pattern for laying in the fur coat if needed or markings to add. The wire used varies from the full body to just the forelegs or tail.

I suspect a beginner who has never felted could be a bit hesitant to dive in, but if you have done a bit of needle felting and are comfortable with how the needle moved the fibre this may give you some ideas to take the information and use it for your own projects.

If you are interested in creating realistic fur you may want to look at “Needle Felted Kittens: How to Create Cute and Lifelike Cats from Wool” by Hinali.  96 pages, softcover with dust jacket. The author has more in-depth step-by-step instructions on each part of the creation of the cats. Although this book looks like one that an intermediate felter would choose, a newer felter would likely still be able to get a lot from this book because of the excellent photo instructions.

There is information on how to trim the fur to make it even more life-like. (Yes scissors and fibre can be used together much to the horror of the spinner in me!) There are both full and partial armatures used with good descriptions.  The suggestion of using yarn tightly wrapped over the armature to give the fibre something to stick to is interesting too (more experiments to come!). There are excellent examples of naturalistic shading to create a more life-like coat.

16 three more of my felting books I will tell you about

I have bought 3 more books dealing at least partly with armatures

  • Making Needle-Felted Animals: Over 20 Wild, Domestic and Imaginary Creatures by Steffi Stern,  127 pages softcover. this book has a couple of projects which use armatures.  It has a good beginner section of tools and some basic techniques before the project instructions. Pipe cleaners are used in one example as an armature which I would switch to one of the finer aluminum wires to reduce sensitivity to humidity. Scrap wool wrapped in yarn and used as an example for a possible core to felt over. the use of glue over bird’s feet is also shown.
  • A Masterclass in Needle Felting Dogs: Methods and techniques to take your needle felting to the next level by Cindy-Lou Thompson, 128 pages, softcover. (This one I liked immensely for all the extra tools and  techniques she suggests) She shows her starting armatures and thoroughly depicts how the four dogs were made. Many of the techniques I had not run into before.  Make your own Taxidermy like eyes, the uses of added colour; pastels, markers, paint, using mog-pog and clay. This is one I would suggest checking out if it crosses your path!
  • Next Level Felting: Professional needle-felting techniques to take your felted wool creations to the next level by Nancy Wesley. 90 pages, softcover. There is limited use of armatures, but good examples of blending fibres for a more naturalistic looking skin colour. she shows techniques to create a sharp edge when changing skin colours as well as subtle transitions. She has included many felting Tips scattered through the book.  If you have the opportunity to look at this book in person, check out the anatomical detail in her humped back whale.

and I have one I am waiting to order, so I will update you on it shortly.

  • The Natural World of Needle Felting: Learn How to Make More than 20 Adorable Animals by Fi Oberon. 144 pages, hardcover. More details to come on this one, but the preview bits I can see on Amazon.ca have multiple mentions of wire armature so I am quite hopeful and excited.

Have you found books about needle felting that have information on wire armatures that have helped you? Please point me in their direction if you have! If you are interested I can show you the Felted picture books I have collected over the past few years in another post.

 

Happy Mother’s Day 2021

Happy Mother’s Day 2021

Last year I made Mom a felted picture of tulips for Mother’s Day. She is very fond of tulips but not so much taking care of plants. Thus, the felted tulips seemed the best option. I told you about them last year (https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2020/05/10/a-bouquet-for-mothers-day/) so I hoped you might be curious if I gave her another tulip.

This year we have been having a long slow spring. Spring flowers started early and have lasted for weeks! It is a big improvement over some springs. We occasionally go from snowbanks and snow mould to crocuses to 20c+ weather in the space of a couple of days to a week (there is a lot of flooding those years). Ottawa is a wonderful place to experience weather in one year you can live through +40c to -40c. (I am glad there is a lot less of the -40c than when I was a kid)

this year with such a slow spring we got to enjoy the flowers for much longer! While we were working on the sinking garage sort and clear, I snuck out to the front garden to take a few pictures to see what would inspire me for this year’s Mother’s Day Felt picture.

The violets are out as well as the lungwort but mom really does like tulips

1-3 Harratige Violets and Lungwort

It’s still a bit early and there are more daffodils out than tulips in full bloom so let’s see what we have for inspiration options.

 

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4-11 2021 Early Spring Garden

After much deliberation, I chose the lighter of the peachy pink and orange tulips.

 12  The photo was taken May 2nd, 2021. The needle felted picture is based on this tulip and was started the evening of May 6th and then worked on over the next 2 days while Glenn still puttered on the garage clearing.

The base layer is an inexpensive commercial felt in antique white. I have shifted the grey background to a more blue tone. The wool is a combination of superwash merino, Corriedale and a small amount of BFL.  The background was worked with both a single T36 as well as the fake clover tool with T40’s.

13    I used the template method of transfer, although the felt was thin and light so if we had a sunny day I could have done the window or lightbox method. I did not want to use the black permanent black markers and could not remember where I had put the coloured permanent markers so I used coloured pens instead. (the lost markers could have been replaced at Dollerama but are not considered essential!!!)  I measured out the 5×7 box and since my cardboard mat has also disappeared after I cleaned my desk I just kept checking with the ruler to make sure I was staying in the correct size for framing. (It is a lot cheaper to work in a standard size so you don’t need to cut a custom mat later.)

Looking at the picture, I have the Red Maple tree out of focus as the background. This is very gray/brown out of focus bark and is not really as appealing in the felt version. Well, we can fix that, if you need to move a tree, go ahead and move the tree! If the sun is not shining, just turn on the sun In your painting if you would like it to be there! you are God in your creative world! So I used the Magic of Tree-be-gone and switched it out for the amorphous sky and nondescript foliage.

 14-15 I laid in the background first and used both the single needle and fake clover multi-tool to get the background blocked in.

Yes, that is more what I was wanting.

16 Messy desk yet again

Next, let’s look at the colours. I ransacked my wool to find Pinks, purple, navy, greens, yellow, white and a scarlet red I could blend with the pink. The red was from a bit of superwash merino I had bought from the Black lamb and used on last years’ tulips. Unfortunately, I got quite absorbed in the colour blending and layering before I remembered to take another picture.

17-19 thin wisps building up the colour

I had started with the yellows and peach colours at the back part of the flower and worked forward. I found the tulip needed more contrast at the intersection between the edge of the leaf and the background. So working with the fibres generally parallel to the base of the picture  I added wisps of a slightly darker blue to the edge, then folded the fibre back into the blue. In a few spots, I used my fingernail to pull back the tulip so I could work in the blue(if you don’t have scary talons an awl would have worked too).

20-22 getting a stronger contrast along the edge of the tulip

 

I decided after adding the contrast I needed to add bits of lighter wisps to keep the sky from looking too grey. I cut up and blended bits of white and blue. If you are doing a lot of cutting little bits of wool you may want to wear a mask (I know we are still doing a lot of that, but in this case, we are avoiding wool lung, not covid)

 23

I was finally pleased and decided it was time to see what it looked like framed. I had bot extra frames from Dollerama for my felted picture workshop. I use to have Ikea picture frames but they now are using Plexiglass which isn’t as nice with wool pictures. (plexi is not as clear as glass and can get quite a static build-up, not the best if it’s only lightly felted). So I went with the Dollerama black wooden frame, I may get a precut mat upgrade later since the frames now come with a thin paper mat. Unfortunately, we are still in lockdown so no upgraded mat is possible at this time.

24-26

Yes, I think Mom will like that!

When I was done I printed out the info (Happy Mother’s Day 2021 and the photo that inspired the picture.)

 

I also collected the pieces I had used for the template, the reference picture and a bit of the wool I had used. I put them in an extra-large sandwich bag to keep as a reference. I will eventually get around to organizing my work into a binder showing photos and references used on each project.

 27-28

 

I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day and Maybe even received a mother’s day present. (Possibly tulips or some very nice wool? Or the whole sheep?) Even many years after having expired from old age, my furry kids sent me a spectacular felting book; “Landscapes in Wool, the art of needle felting” by Jaana Mattson. I am looking forward to reading more of it. The back part of the book has paintings in felt she has made while the front half has step-by-step instructions on how she has made some of her pieces. I’m always intrigued to see how other felters work and see if there is something they are doing that I could incorporate to improve how I work.

 

It’s going to be 23c today so I guess spring is over and it’s time to get the 2 pails with dahlias out to their planters. After a call to Canadian Tier, I found out the garden center is open and the lines were much shorter in the evening (do not tell anyone, I still have a couple more plants to find).  Glenn came with me. he pushed the cart I pushed the walker and selected plants. I was successful and got most of the herbs and vegetables as well as a purple Raspberry and an exotic-looking honeysuckle! We put all the pots tucked between the planter boxes in the driveway.

29-30 No felting for me until I get most of this planted.

I also checked out the front garden the tulips are trying their best but are not going to like this weather.

  31-33 The later spring garden

 

 34  This is the same tulip I was felting. Now it is almost finished blooming and will soon drop its petals. What an amazing colour change!

I hope you have been inspired by spring. If your own garden has not inspired you this year then I hope you will find inspiration here and borrow mine! (Maybe just ignore the construction sign, though it is colourful!)

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

1-5 Parallel vs Twisted, both with Floral tape

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

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

6-7 Parallel without floral tape

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

8-9 Wool compression along the length of wire.

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

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

11 Stacked (one wire on top of the other)

12 adjacent (one wire beside the other)

Would parallel wires reduce wool rotation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dealing with the Pointy bits:

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

13 Hardware Rasp and metal Nail file

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

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

Thinking of the garage:

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

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

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

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

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

17 Oh no here is number three

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

18 Number four is added to the bin.

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

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

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

20 eviction number five.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spinning wheel Birthday-Xmass pressent arived

Spinning wheel Birthday-Xmass pressent arived

Electric Eel Wheel 6.0

Last year during the early covid of 2020 Glenn was browsing Kickstarter, likely looking for no-fun-train-board-games which he enjoys. This time he found an electric spinning wheel looking for funding. I had a tiny portable electric wheel from the same developer which worked great but I found the tiny bobbins frustratingly tiny! Glenn was sure a bigger bobbin and a upgraded motor strength would be a perfect x-mass/birthday present.

 Electric Eel Wheel (EEW) 6.0 was described as a production eSpinner that offers large bobbins, quiet operation and could both spin and ply. It was developed by Maurice Ribble (his company is called Dreaming Robots).

(what a cool logo!!!)

The Kickstarter campaign was active May 21 2020 – Jun 20 2020 (30 days) and 1,791 backers pledged $445,892 to get the project going by pre-ordering EEW 6.0’s. Maurice was very good at keeping everyone up to date with development, testing, and manufacturing. He asked for impute for the instruction booklets and made instruction Videos too. (He has made 114 update videos so far on you tube.) if you missed the Kickstarter but would like one too he is selling them on his website. https://www.dreamingrobots.com/

Earlier this month a mysterious box arrived at our postal box, it was a very sturdy box and seemed to be quite full of something…. Could it be? YES!!!

The Unboxing:

1-2 Well packaged, a good weight, there must be something interesting in here.

3 Excellent packaging, but I may have opened the bottom end.

4 I wonder what this is?

5-6 Oh my! Is this the Lazy Kate parts?

7-8 Six bobbins and a flyer,

9-10 and the base with power cord, foot on/off switch and battery holder.

This is obviously a box with no bottom it just keeps adding more stuff to the table!!!

11 No I am mistaken there is a bottom!! How did it all fit in there?

Glenn took the parts away to do the assembly but got distracted watching something on his computer, after a couple “is it done yet?’s” it was and I got to try it out.

I think there are 3 of us in the guild that have received this wonderful new wheel, Angela T, Terry N and myself. Angela was fast and had hers unboxed, assembled and photographed before mine even made it home from the post box. I posted pictures of the box, its contence and a video of the first spinning on my new wheel in the guild Facebook group. If you are looking for a reasonably priced, lightweight, electric wheel with a big bobbin and orifice, you may want to check this out. I hope we will be able to resume socials sometime this summer, I am suspect all three of us will be bringing our new wheels. (There is a battery you can get so you don’t need a long extension cord!!)

12 test driving new electric wheel

12 Here is the video. (i am working on finding a format will keep trying)

I was working on this post, had only spun a bit, when I finally got through to my Doctors’ office to ask questions about the Covid vaccine and was advised just get whatever was on offer. So next call was to one of the local pharmacy to ask more questions and inquire how long the waiting list was. I was extremely surprised to get the offer of a cancellation later the same day. I did mention I have not done well with flu shots in the past and have an odd assortment of allergies. So, I fretted until it was time to drive over for the Shot. I wound up with the AstraZeneca shot with a second coming in August. The Pharmacist did a fabulous job with the injection. However, within 3 hours of the injection I started to feel all over achy, nauseous, headache…. and crawled off to bed with my plastic bucket. It took about 3 days to climb back out of bed with only a stiff shoulder, exhaustion and bouts of wanting to go back to bed. With that much of a reaction, it defiantly means I got a dose that works.

13-14 having fun

I have had a chance to spin a bit more and am enjoying quiet motor, large bobbins and the adjustable speeds. I haven’t tried plying on it yet, but suspect that it will be as easy spinning is.

Armature experiment 2; Adhesion and Rotation of the wool on wire

Armature experiment 2; Adhesion and Rotation of the wool on wire

While making samples for the study group investigation of wire for armatures I have noticed that there have been differences in getting the wool to adhere to the wire and sometimes this seems to be leading to rotational movement of the wool on the armature.

While the rotational movement of upper quads on many of the leg samples would be reduced if a pelvis/hips had been added. I was still interested in investigating further.  Since there may be a shape I would like to make that does not terminate with a hand or foot.  Maybe a tentacle or spout?

The underlying problem may be adhesion to the wire. When twisted there is a bit of improvement in wool adhesion over the single untwisted wire.  This could be improved by adding a pipe cleaner (now called “Chenille Stems” since there are fewer pipe smokers who need to clean their pipes) which allows the wool something to grip as it is wrapped.

Sample 1; Untwisted 6ga aluminum wire with pipe cleaner on the loop half of the sample and Floral tape on the second half.

1 Pipe Cleaner wrapped 6ga aluminum.

One of our study group had been instructed to add tape to specific areas of her armature. I had at first thought this may be for added strength or stiffness to that section. Then, wondered if it was for improved adhesion to use the wool to strengthen the section with tape. I did a sample of a single 6ga/4mm wire with pipe cleaner on half the length and floral tape on the other half to compare adhesion. I had the upper quads on the leg sample to use as a bare wire sample.

Floral tape is a strange thing to work with. It is dry and a bit wrinkly until you give it a gentle tug, then it turns sticky especially when wrapped over itself. I did discover the stickiness does not last forever or even very long. So, only wrap the section you will be working on.

2-4  Pipe cleaner and Floral tape over a single wire

In sample 1; 6ga aluminum ½ Pipe Cleaner (loop end) and ½ floral tape.

Rotation is present, greater in the pipe cleaner section than in the floral tape.

Flexion test;     – both sections will make a sharp bend but are vary stiff due to the gauge.

I am also curious to see if with a weaker gauge wire if a duct tape or gorilla tape may give restrictions to bending in the section where applied. I may try a sample with the floral tape over the top since I suspect the adhesion will not be enhanced with duct or similar tapes.

5 Duct Tape and Gorilla tape. (Gorilla tape is an extra sticky extra strong version of Duct tape.)

I sampled with 18ga aluminum so it would show flexibility more than the 6ga I had been using. Note that the aluminum I have presently at this gauge is intended as picture wire and it is not coated. If you are selecting aluminum, try to perches the coated wire since it will not leave dirty marks on your fingers.

6-7 Residue from uncoated aluminum and what was on the empty plate (in case you were curious).

The two wire samples were about 10 inches long, which I divided into approximately 3rds. 2/3rds I twisted together and one-third was left single.  I put a small open loop on the single end and the fold on the other end created a longer loop. I wrapped as tightly as I could the middle section with gorilla tape. This covered about half of both single and double twisted 18ga wire.

8-9 bare wire and gorilla tape and sample covered in wool for flexibility test

In sample 2; 18ga aluminum ½ single/ ½ Doubled with center 1/3rd wrapped in Gorilla tape.

Rotation is present and seems equal in all sections.

Flexion test;       –  single could make a sharp bend

                            –  Taped section could make a curved bend

                            –  Doubled could make a sharp bend

 

For sample 3, I used 18ga aluminum as before,  ½ single/ ½ Doubled with center 1/3rd wrapped in Gorilla tape. This time I added floral tape over all sections in hopes to increase adhesion

10-11 Bare-wire, wire with tape added (about 6 wraps)

12 Test bending with tape to see how the tape was resisting making a sharp bend.

13 covering wire and tape with Floral tape with the hopes of increasing adhesion and decreasing the rotational movement of the wool around the wire.

 

In sample 3; 18ga aluminum ½ single/ ½ Doubled with center 1/3rd wrapped in Gorilla tape. Floral tape over all sections in hopes to increase adhesion.

Rotation is minimal to not noticed across all sections.

Flexion test;        – single could make a sharp bend

                             – Taped section could make a curved bend

                             – Doubled could make a sharp bend

 

14 Sample 3 with wool, checking flexibility in all test sections.

The use of tape may be helpful in spots where you want to allow a curve but not a sharp bend. The amount of tape (number of wraps) will change the amount of flexion in the wire. If you want to use tape to restrict a sharp bend, more sampling may be required. While the gorilla tape adhered to the wire and itself, the wool did not adhere well to it without the addition of the floral tape. The use of the two tapes together may have merit in a particular application.

 

The Rotational movement component may not be a problem when working on a large or thick figure or object but may be more problematic on fine legs or other skinny appendages. In this case, the assist of floral wire may be very helpful.  Another future investigation for thin appendages would be to investigate the use of waxes to assist adhesion.  Wax has also been used to create surface smoothing as seen in some felters’ bird legs. Although that may partly get beyond the parameters of wire, it may be well worth further investigation. unfortunately, I will leave that for another day.

PS; while Glenn was spellchecking (if there are more spelling errors blame me I think I have broken his spelling), he suggested I try the sticky cloth medical tape it may give an improved adhesion over the bare wire. I suspect it would likely have a bit more flexibility than gorilla tape and be a bit more expensive than floral wire. (Drat now I have to go look and see if we have any medical tape!!)

 

Investigation of 6.5mm and 7mm aluminum wire (the heavy stuff)

Investigation of 6.5mm and 7mm aluminum wire (the heavy stuff)

I have been working on more samples for the study group, I hoped you might like to see some of my investigation of the heaviest gauge of aluminum wire (6ga/7mm) we were looking at. It has come to my attention that it is also Palm Sunday. (I am glad I had included Palms in my samples!)

1 Part of the 7mm samples

I know most of us will not be making armatures that would require this gauge, but if you are wanting to make something quite large or you need it to have very strong legs this may be an option for you.

For both the 6.5mm and 7mm wire, I found it helped to wrap the foot loop wire with a layer of wool before I started to build up the foot itself.

The twisting of the 7mm wire required anchoring with the large welding pliers. (These were a fabulous find at Princess Auto. Yes, in the welding section. Did they not know they are well suited to make ninety-degree corners in armatures so should have been in the felt section? Oh right they don’t have a felt section yet.)

Here are photos of the 6.5mm wire is being wrapped to form the support to attach the rest of the wool for the foot.

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4-9 foot development leads to a leg.

With the 6.5mm I used the wire untwisted with no augmentation or secondary wire. While I did not find this particularly challenging I do see that some felters may find the lack of grip on the wire a bit annoying. While the gastroc (calves) at this size were very stable and quite firmly felted the quads did have the ability to rotate slightly. This I did find annoying. I suspect this would not be as much of an issue if this appendage had a pelvis. So if you are making a shape that ends in a cylinder shape you may want to investigate other options than a plain wire.

I would investigate Sara’s wax products to give a bit more stickiness to the wire or try tacky craft glue. Other possibilities to investigate would be Pipe cleaners possibly paired with floral tape if the pipe cleaner was not gripping to the wire itself. I have not investigated the life expectancy of floral tape so I can’t guarantee its longevity.

For the 7mm sample, instead of the open foot loop, I folded back the lower section to make it doubled to the patella (knee). This made me thread the short section of roving I was working with through the foot loop to cover the wire. It was a bit fiddly but was worth it to have a base from which to build the foot.

The lower leg to knee was very easy to wrap. Remember when you are adding the wool in thin layers to make sure that when you start to get close to the end of the fibre spread it out so it’s quite thin and work back over what you have already applied. When you get to the end of the fibre keep turning the appendage as if you were adding more fibre while rubbing and smoothing the fibre you had just laid down. If your application is firm and built up in thin layers you will have very little needle felting needed to get this under layer to stick to itself. The preparation of the fibre will also make a difference, stripped batts work better than top but top will work.  it’s just a bit harder for this particular application.

When I had completed the appendage, I found that there was even greater rotation in the larger gauge wire. This may have been due to the under layer being a bit looser than I could have wrapped it. I did a second sample and yes the quad still had a bit of rotation but not as much as the first sample. So I suspect part of the rotation is a looser under layer.  I have made a sample with a pipe cleaner wrapped around half of the appendage and will see if that reduces rotation but I will get back to that one later.

12-13 next sample to address the problem in quad movement

Leaving the legs for a moment, I went on to the next sample, which was a hand with wool. This I consulted the bare wire samples I had taken for each gauge. After consideration, I started with the 20ga hardware wire (steel) from Dollarama for the fingers and 6ga for the palm and forearm. Unfortunately, that sample made like the hand from the Adams family and the thing crawled off. (I am sure IT will return the Thing shortly).

14-15 consulting the wire samples

To make the fingers I used Sara’s “Digit widget”. I have previously used my tapered mettle seed planting measuring guide for little fingers on my mice and the mettle ruler for the fingers on the Mer’s.

16 the finger former implements; mettle ruler, seed depth guide, Digit Widget.

My second ample was 20ga aluminum from AliExpress for the fingers and 6ga for the palm and forearm.

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17-18 Fingers

At this point, the weather outside had stopped raining and we had a break. During which I rushed (ok, slow shuffle) outside to attend to the overflow for the rain barrel that had come adrift as well as fill the bird feeders. (I got scolded by a chickadee as soon as I stepped out of the door!!!) . I got three tomato pots and one tree moved from the front garden, where the pots over winter, to the driveway.  Then my back said, Are you nuts? Did you just move a potted poplar tree? Well, we are not moving the next one!! We are not doing anything that requires sitting or standing for at least the next day!!! If we don’t decide to yell at you longer so I crawled back into the house took off my boots, by this point that was a big accomplishment and crawled into bed with a hand, one needle and a small baggie of wool. So, I apologize for not grabbing the camera, so it would be in reach to document the finger creating. Thus there is a bit of a jump in photos while I am adding wool to the fingers, palm and then to the wrist.

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19-21 (the Palms of Sunday) the wrist still needs a bit more work, but the palm is close

I am not quite happy with the hand yet. I think I would be having an easier time with scale if I had been building from the arm down as I usually do with full figure sculptures. This way I am trying to guess the forearm thickness to match the hand to. I found the aluminum is a bit soft but may be able to stiffen it a bit more by more felting. There is enough grip strength to hold the felting pen without dropping it. But I would like it to be just a bit stiffer. Therefore, I may investigate shifting to a stronger type of wire or a heavier gauge of aluminum since the fingers are still quite thin at 20ga aluminum. I will find the 18ga aluminum and try that next.

We had a quick trip out to Rona to look for pot saucers (no luck) and while there, I checked out their wire selection. I picked up a brass and a copper as well as another un-coated aluminum. The new wire seems to be hiding in the car may be under the big bag of potting dirt Glenn put in the back. Once I find them, I will make samples and add them to the collection.

The 6.5 and 7mm would be a gauge to investigate if you were building a 3D picture that needed a supportive tree trunk or branch something would be hung from. You will need reasonably strong hands to work with it especially if you are working with it doubled. If you have a desperate need, you may consider a bench vice and substantial pliers to assist you in the wire twisting (no wimpy pliers for this gauge!). Glenn has a cool blacksmithing tool called a bending fork but I do not think I want to stick the aluminum in the forge! He also has a couple of jigs for bending “S” hooks which might be fun to play with. There is also a large leg vice sitting by the “small” anvil.  I will let you know if I sneak out and play with his tools.

On a different topic, I just heard that “littlelaurelfibre” on Instagram, has tried to heat the bee-combs from Princess Auto that I was telling you about in a previous blog  https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2019/10/15/a-cheap-alternative-to-wool-combs/ .  instead of an Oven, as was used in making plastic armour, she used a heat gun. (she has a great photo of the before and after on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/CM5ToLnJw37/?igshid=duidf6r2yckg&fbclid=IwAR1Qj3-1gKu5GURshhce-DGhGl0F5ZUBAw7kNqByQZXYJ0E0RymCKhXdDG8 . The Heat gun did the trick perfectly! She was able to adjust the angle from the handle to the tines so it would better suit our needs (instead of the bees).  Now I will have to send Glenn to the “room of tools” in the basement and see if he can find the heat gun. I was sure we had one!

Have fun and keep felting!!

 

Distractions while working on the Armature Wire Study group homework!

Distractions while working on the Armature Wire Study group homework!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The EXPERIMENTATION –Loop joint Samples

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

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

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

Joint 1

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

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

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

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

Joint 2

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

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

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

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

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

18 Articulating swing arms for webcam and tablet

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

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

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

Twist Workshop – 2D needle felting portraits

Twist Workshop – 2D needle felting portraits

A few weeks ago, there was a question about the Fox picture in the bog banner. With the re-cropping, you can just see the eye and a bit of the upper face. I was sure I had blogged about the workshop I started to create this in but neither Ann nor I could find the post. I promised I would re-post it after the Hedgehog of Love posts were up.

Twist Workshop – 2D needle felting portraits

Sunday, August 19, 2018 from 09:30 to 16:30 Teacher: Megan Cleland
Level: Beginner to advanced Language: English

Getting to twist the first time:

In August there is a fibre festival just over an hour away from Ottawa in Quebec.   I went for the first time a few years ago carefully printing out the instructions from Google maps (I didn’t own a GPS).  I jumped in the car and headed east across the border and down highway 50.  Now I know you likely had not noticed I am SEVERELY and utterly dyslexic.  I am even dyslexic in French (much to my grade 7 English teachers horror.  “What do you mean you can’t have 3 vowels and 3 consonants together?  The French teacher said it was fine.”!  So that was the end of my French classes. Too bad I really liked French there had been no reading or writing up to that point!)  Anyways to get back to Twist, I headed out with the instructions to turn north at the town that made me think of pineapples (Papineauville).  Yes, that should have made me think of grapefruit (pamplemousse) but I really am dyslexic bilingually so I slaughter both English and the bits of French I still remember. 

As I mentioned it’s just over an hour away from Ottawa and I was diligently checking each off-ramp sign I approached to see if any of the letters looked similar to what I was looking for.  That year there was a lot of road work and a lot of dead skunks.  It was past an hour by the time I reached Meribell airport (that’s really getting a bit close to Montreal!) so I turned back.  There had been no suggestion in the instructions you had to pass the airport.  On my way back I passed Montebello, which I remember passing the first time. Then I reached a sign that had been missing driving east; Papineauville and Saint-André-Avellin.  Turning north I found the town and the festival only I was really late!  I found out the sign was down due to the construction.  DRAT!!!

This year Getting to the workshop location:

I cannot spell but I am not a dumb as I look.  I asked Google Maps again to find the location of the workshop I would be attending;  ” Staffroom ADSPN”.   It told me this place would be 2 blocks away from the recreation center Twist was being held in.  so I did a street view and discovered no, it’s across the street from the back of Twist! You won’t fool me twice!!! I checked when I attended the 3d sculptural workshop, yes, it’s across the street.

Our Teacher was Megan Cleland who has a background in Fine Art (Painting).  She lived on a sheep farm for 10 years in Australia then moved back to Canada bringing her fibre with her. (I don’t think she brought her sheep).

She had requested we email her which of her sheep pictures we would like to do or if we had felted before we could select our image. So I did some digging through the internet and found a few photos I thought might work. 

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I narrowed the selection down to these shots.

I decided on the fox with the seal as runner up. I got an email back that she could only see half my fox could I send it again. So I sent the fox, the black and white and the colour separation. Ah, there is only half a fox.

Arriving at the workshop there were a lot of animals chosen but I had the only close-up. Ok, it is going to take me longer than the class to do this.

Our teacher is approaching needle felted felt portraiture was more like a watercolour painting; using layers of blended hues to produce the final colour.  

She handed out our photos with the out lined colour separation in grayscale like the third picture I had done.  We also received the prefelt for the picture backing, a bag of fibre in colours that would be appropriate for the picture that we could blend from, a foam pad (dollar store for kneeling to garden on), half a pool noodle as a needle rest and 2 felting needles.  She asked us to bring a pair of sharp scissors and a tablet or phone with our image on it.   I also brought candy and a bottle of Mountain Dew –for the caffeine.

I was very excited about how we would be transferring the image to the background.  Could it be the use of a Lucy? (A projector used in Illustration and Commercial art applications)  Are we going to grid and scale the pictures up? Would we be using a light table?  – I knew that commercial and fine art background would come in handy!  Yes, it was the last one just less hi-tech; we used the window.  She suggested a couple of types of pens used by quilters.  We used a blue ink that was to disappear with heat I think.  Quite a bit of it rubbed off on the side of my hand so I may try a different type next time.

She works starting with the Eyes and nose then adding in the darkest areas, then working out from there.  I had a commercial art teacher who painted watercolours.  His preferred method was to paint the whole painting then soak it in the bathtub to remove most of the pigment leaving only a stain behind. He would repeat this over and over but in the end, his painting had a Luminosity that was amazing.  But it was a very slow way to work. I usually approach felt more like a cross between Oils (work from the background to foreground) and Acrylics (application of carefully blended paint). Although, I did tend to use my acrylics paints with more of a watercolour wash technique. Back to the dyslexic confusion I mentioned before.  I know how I would approach this so let’s see what her methodology creates.

Just after lunch.  I have the eye basically blocked in but it needs more work same with the nose.  I have started on the dark areas

By the end of the workshop, I am not close to finishing and am feeling very slow but had a blast and am pleased with what I have done so far.  This is definitely slower than my usual technique, but let us wait and see the final result.

I got a chance last weekend to do a bit more between photography and a bit of shopping at the Almonte fibre fest.

Here is how far I have gotten at show and tell for the OVWSG guild show and tell (I had a lot of show and tell including 2 new to me, flax wheels, one Mini Electric spinning wheel, a tensioned lazy Kate and skein winder, both by Alvin Ramer, the 2 baskets I made at the blacksmithing conference and the Fox from the twist workshop, still in progress. It was a busy summer!)

The workshop with Megan Cleland was a lot of fun and I gained new information and experience. The garden kneeling pad from Dollarama is a great idea and did not absorb fibre like the foam pads do (even with the plastic cover still intact). She will be using rigid foam insulation for her next extremely large life size portrait. The half a pool noodle needle rest was a cool idea and the consideration of using fibre colour similar to layers of watercolour is quite intriguing.

She will be coming back to the Ottawa area and will be teaching in other locations both later this year and into the next. If you see her workshop you may want to take it.  Check out her Facebook page for what she has been creating! https://www.facebook.com/InTheLineofFibre/  I hope you get a chance to take a workshop with her too.

Update: Thursday  in Kanata 9am-7pm

I had the opportunity to continue working on the fox during the Kanata Games Club board game convention last weekend. While Glenn played 18xx train games, which are extremely long and full of math, I got to have fun and felt.

I found that checking with the camera helped me to see where I needed to adjust the fox’s colour.  It was also interesting to check out the back of the very thin felt we had been given to work on.

Friday I spent working on the guild library so I was back to felting on Saturday 11am to 9pm; this time downstairs by a window.  Then later I moved upstairs (someone brought garlic dinner so I evacuated).

Back Sunday to Kanata for the last day of the Boardgame (and Felting) convention.  Today the church was booked so we were at the community centre behind the church.

I got to the point around lunch when I was finally happy with the general look of the fox and decided to try single muskox guard hair as whiskers.  I was suspicious they would be too thin and need to be augmented by gluing a few together to give them more visual weight. 

 I like the concept but I think using the glue to beef up the size of the whiskers should work.  So by 3-ish I started another picture; this time sheep! But that’s for another day!

PS: Update on the foam kneeling pad from Dollarama. It worked very well for the fox but by the time I started to work on the next piece I was noticing bits of wool sticking and the foam is degrading in the areas most poked. So it works very well for a short time (30+hours?). But if you are really layering lots of thin wisps of fibre it will die. But at only a couple bucks it’s affordable and there is the second side to still use!!

I hope you have enjoyed the reminiscence about the fox and how it came to be. The banner at the top of the blog is a combination of Spinning, weaving, many kinds of felting as well as equipment for all these activities created or belonging to Ann or i. We stuffed it all into our cars and dragged it down to the guild studio to do a photoshoot for the blog heading. it was quite the assemblage of felting, spinning, weaving, basketry (to hold the fibre) and fibre prep tools all adding up to a pile of fibre fun. But that is another story if you would like to hear it sometime.

Wet Felting for Valentine’s Day!! Day 2

Wet Felting for Valentine’s Day!! Day 2

Day 2

After leaving the hedgehog overnight to dry on the air filter, he had successfully completed his mission to dry.  

I could now begin to add a bit more width to his cheeks. Next, add his coat. I chose an Icelandic fleece using the outer guard hair part of the dual coat as the bristles and bits of the inner coat to help space and increase adhesion of the guard hairs.

27 time to consider the face and coat

I separated the tog (outer coat of guard hairs), which is less inclined to felt when wet, from the undercoat which is soft and crimpy. To separate the two types of coats, hold the tips and base firmly and gently pull away from each other. Sometimes it takes a bit of a rhythmic tugging to free the tog. Once separated, I could use the tog to start building the outer prickles for the hedgehog.

I used a 38 star needle for most of the felting (except the ears which I also use the fake clover tool with T40’s loaded). I lay the guard hairs down, attaching across the locks then laid in a bit of the under coat to increase adherence. I worked the needles at low angles to almost parallel to the fibers catching a few fibers in the barbs at a time and pushing them into the layer of felt over the soap bar.

I added a bit of the under coat to give extra adhesion.

I then folded up the tips which had been pointing away from the fibers I was adding to.  Again securing them into the under layer of felt above the soap.

Occasionally I would add a bit of the under coat to the folded tip side too.

The order of addition was backwards to the layering I usually do when I want a coat to lie naturally. Since I wanted this to stand up, I needed to increase the density of the coat so it would not lie down. This time I starting from around the face (in white) then switching to the darker part of the coat, worked back towards the butt. I left the butt ends a bit shorter than the tips as I laid them in.

Once I got his coat on, I brushed and lifted the ends with the mini carder (dog brush). This fluffed him up nicely.

He is a cute little hedgehog! Here is a shot of the underside so you can see the bar of soap which is the base.

45 the soap base

Laying in the coat which is quite tightly packed took most of the day. I finished him after dinner and did the fluffing. So this would not be a economically viable option for mass production. There are a couple other options that may work faster such as using a section of the washed fleece and attaching it to the underfelt more as a blanket rather than a few locks at a time. I suspect it would not give the density that adding locks as I did allowed.

Finishing touches

Poor little guy, doesn’t suspect his life will be full of wetness then getting dry just in time for the next wetness to set in. I bet he would drip dry quicker if he could hang up.  I should add a “rope” for this soap.  I looked first at a piece of Kumohimo but the cotton fiber seemed wrong.

46 kumohimo option

So, I took the brush waste from the mini carder and added some of the washed locks and drafted it out. By adding a good deal of over twist with one of my spindles, I quickly had a two-ply yarn that could be mistaken for a rope.

I added the rope with a bit of needle felting along the edges of the underside of the soap-hedgehog using a bit of the under coat and pulled apart bits of the extra yarn to help secure it.

50 adding the rope to the soap

Ah, that’s better a way to dry faster and a loop handle so you don’t have to pick him up by his nose!

51 “please don’t pick me up by my nose!”

Last thing left to do. It is Valentine ’s Day after all, so He needs a Heart! I hunted around, found my bag of various red coriadales, choosing Nutmeg, and hand blending it with some of the reddish brown undercoat from the Icelandic fleece. (Colour should never be flat! Unless you are doing something graphic)

A few quick stabs and I had the shape. Now to add it to the right spot. Hmm, there is not much wool on the underbelly of this hedgehog! So, I was very careful in the angle of felting. The needle does sink into the soap fine but leaves a stinky soap smell on the needle and a bit on the wool as it emerges. (Just a warning – make sure you keep the angle of entrance and exit the same or the soap will want to break your needle)

55 “the Hedgehog is in the bag!!”

Now I just have to wait to find out if Glenn likes his new shower time friend.

56 “Glenn, can you meet me in the bathroom to unwrap your valentine’s day present please?”

      57- 62  the unwrapping, he found the Heart!

Yes Success!! I will try to get a shot after his first shower experience and see how he holds up!

63 First Shower! one bedraggled hedgehog

Epilogue

There seems to be a strange moose in my bed but he does have a bag of chocolate Easter eggs so I guess he can stay! (This is Canada, you do find moose in odd places here, often in swimming pools)

E-1 What is that in my bed?

 It is normal to see the triceratops, Cthulhu (who is somewhere else today) and the Balrog in bed. The moose was a surprise so was the chocolate, he can stay.

the last word from Hedgehog:

“Oh the Humanity!!! i give you my soap so you are clean!! Now i drip!!! Oh the wetness!! Oh the horror!!!”

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