We will compare how they felt at different stages, ease of felting and possible uses. We will all do Merino and Corriedale so we can compare how we all felt the same thing and then move on to different wools. We don’t all have to have the same wools. It would be nice to have and many different breeds as possible depending on what people already have on hand and or want to order. Some mixed fibre would be interesting too.
The group starts April 21st. We will meet on zoom once every 2 weeks and meet on a Discord server ( a place to share photos, chat and ask questions between zooming). Discord was chosen because some people don’t like Facebook or are not on Facebook. We didn’t want to exclude anyone. Or if everyone is on Facebook we could make a private group there if that is what people want.
Everyone will get a worksheet to record information on so we are all gathering the same information to share.
I am based in Ottawa Canada, (GMT-4hrs.) I think that makes our Zoom meetings 9 am the next day in Sydney Australia. I hope you can join us and learn something while having some wet woolly fun.
This last week I decided the scarf I use to line my basket needed a wash and my basket could use a hose down. It is quite an old apple and is pretty dry. The basket masters say either dunk it in a bucket of water or hose it down every once and a while. It is an old apple picking basket and I love it for taking it everywhere with my stuff in it.
And this is all the stuff that was in it and will go back in it plus the 3 more spindles. It’s like a purse or backpack you just keep adding more stuff until you have to clean it out. The bag of yarn may go to the studio and a new one started.
There was more in it, that is just what is going back in it. You can see why I need it more organized. I thought I would make a roll-up pouch, like an artist uses for brushes. This also gives me an opportunity to do the 2nd quarter challenge. Art deco was often a repeating simple pattern. So I can do that on this piece and maybe be the first to complete the challenge. (insert maniacal laughter here)
I had to figure out how big I wanted the finished piece. the blue roller mat is 12×18 inches so I tried folding it like the finished piece. This is too short but think the length is good
Here is the layout. this layer is on the bottom but will end up inside the pouch. Some Bambino wool from World of wool. It is quite shiny. I can’t figure out which one. The picture of the mixed bag is pretty accurate but I can’t match it to the individual pictures.
The blue background seems to have turned it orange.
I then added 2 layers of white merino and a final layer of this lovely blue-green merino called Malard, for the outside.
I wet this down and cut out some prefelt pieces for the decorations but that’s it for today because it’s time to take the puppy out, feed the lambs again and make some raspberry scones. More to come. I hope I can get more done tomorrow morning. I will show you more next time.
I haven’t had much time for felting with the puppy and lambs. I did manage a little spinning.
I got some nice tweed roving from World Of Wool. I think they will make nice hats and accessories. Then I wanted something to spin so I thought I would try these.
This is the pink. The dark flecks are viscose. It drafts nicely and makes a really nice yarn.
And the grey. Over-dying them might be interesting too. The viscose won’t take the wool dye.
They were both nice so I thought I would try combining them. I pulled off a thin strip of each colour and drafted them together. This is the single. I am winding it off the spindle into a centre pull ball so I can ply one end against the other.
and this was the result.
I think I like the two spun together best.
I am a slow spinner. I do it because I enjoy it but I don’t want a lot of anything. I am not making sweaters or even socks. I will use them for some decoration on some felt, probably.
This is is what I am currently spinning, some yellow for the glitzy line at World of wool. It has some super bright triloble nylon in it so it has lots of sparkle.
Yellow, isn’t a colour I have a lot of in my stash but I like how this is turning out. Surprisingly the multi-coloured sparkle tames the yellow. Do you spin? have you thought of it. It’s fun, portable and you can make some great yarns for decorating your felt.
This exercise started with me wanting to make some felt cubes and triangular prisms to make a more 3D version of a sky view landscape. the first thing I thought of doing to get the shapes was to felt around some small wooden blocks. I spit some into roof shapes and some in half for shorter cubes. Although this seemed like a good idea it was not very successful. the pointy corners proved to be a problem and adding more wool would just start rounding them too much.
Then I was talking to the group and Lyn said to try squishing them into squares when you making them. Well of course why didn’t I think of that. Now I need to make balls and I had been thinking I should try making a bunch of them, why make 4 if you can make more. I had seen a video of them making large numbers all at once in Nepal. So off to google how to do that. There are several videos on how to do this. Living felt has the best one.
Step one roll up some wool for the beads. I wrapped the wool around a chopstick and poked it a few times with a felting needle to hold it while I make more.
Once I had a bunch ready I added some soapy water. Just ad a little then roll them around the container to absorb it. Then add a
little more until they are wet but not soggy.
Then I popped the lid on and started rolling them around and shaking them until they were felted. This works really well and doesn’t take long at all. I rinsed them and couldn’t believe how dirty the water was.
Now I need to full them, I put them on a towel and used the starburst lid of my container to roll them around. adding pressure as I went.
On to a drying wrack.
I squished a few into the right shapes for my picture
I haven’t started the picture yet. I did make a sheep glasses holder for my granddaughter who just got glasses. I flattened the bottom so it wouldn’t roll. You rest the glasses on the lamb’s nose. His nose I a bit piggish but he was gone to her bedroom to find the best place for him before I could fix it.
And just to throw another spanner( or 2 ) in the works we started having lambs ( early, rams are very sneaky and quick when they want to be) got our new puppy. not sure how much felting will be going on but I usually do best when I have no time. Always seems to motivate me and create ideas.
I have been felting and stitching a little picture again. And of course, my favourite sheep will make an appearance.
I did a sketch of the idea I wanted, I don’t think I have the patience for proper drawing. I do a quick general idea. I used a thick piece of “almost felt” and made the blue sky and snow base, wet felting them together. Next, I used Blue Faced Lester lock to make some evergreen trees.
I added some paths for the sheep. Sheep like to walk the same path other and over, one after the other, even in a green pasture. Once they are where they generally want to go, they wander off. I have no idea why they like to stand out in a snow covered field, but they do.
I added all my trees and tucked the edges around to make it neater. I added some blobs for the sheep so when I add the stitching they will stand out a little more. I also lightened up the paths a bit.
I used french knots to make the woolly coats and some embroidery for the heads and legs.
I fiddled with trees a bit and added trails into where the sheep are standing. I tried t add some shadow under the trees but it didn’t look right so I pulled it off. The trees still need some snow. I usually do that last, I am not sure why.
My problem is the bottom right. It seems very bare. I don’t know if I want another sheep or something else. I thought of some little birds on the snow but think as this is a small picture (about 5″x6″, 12×15 cm) they might end up looking like sheep droppings. I don’t want a fence. Does anyone have any ideas? It may end up being another sheep.
It seems a few of us have had the dying bug. I couldn’t find my green curls and I needed some for another little picture I wanted to do, so I decided to do 3 colours of green to give me some variety. I did them in large freezer bags so I would only need one pot. I know I could have done them in the microwave in the bags but I am not really fussy about microwave dying.
The curls I have already separated are small Blue Faced Leister curls, my favourites. I divided the curls into three bags and added some vinegar water and three different greens to them. I used Dharma acid dye 461 Avocado, Prochem 716 Moss, and Prochem 735 Shamrock.
I forgot to take a picture of the curls but you can see these bags haven’t been cooked because they look like white locks in a green liquid. The colours don’t look very different at this point. Makes you wonder if you have gone to a lot of fuss to make three bags of the same colour. Time will tell.
I didn’t want them to be sitting on the bottom of the pot because they might melt. To prevent that catastrophe I put some ramekins in the bottom of the pot to keep them up. Empty tuna cans would have worked too.
I cooked them at a low simmer for 30 min then checked them.
Two of them definitely needed more cooking so I popped them all back in for 15 min( I think, or maybe it was 30 min) and checked again.
The third one was clear. I decided to let them cool in the bags and only one had any colour left in it by then but it wasn’t much.
I rinsed them, spun them out in the salad spinner and put them out onto a wire rack to dry. and this is the final result; three different greens.
So had to get a good picture of the true colour. The top right and bottom left are the same curls but look so different as the sun came out from behind a cloud and the room brightened. Their true colour is between the two. I like the way the locks are not solid colours. It gives them more life and depth of colour.
Using bags in a pot of water is a great way to dye lots of different colours at once. It’s especially useful when you don’t want huge amounts of any one thing. Who hasn’t been tempted by those little bags of colour at a sale or in a store? They are usually expensive. This way you can make your own. It’s a great way to try making your own colours by mixing your dyes and you don’t have to commit to having a huge amount until you know you like the outcome. Use a permanent marker to write down your proportions of dye right on the bag so you can replicate the colour later.
I have a guest post for you today. Alisa McClain is a pretty new felter, she is in my local Facebook group. When she posted her piece for the first quarter challenge I asked her to do a post about it and she stepped right up. Thank You, Alisa
Hello! I started felting in the early pandemic, and I’ve fallen hardcore in love. It’s blooming and it keeps me grounded and joyous, and I am slowly developing more skills that allow me greater control, too. I’m an experiential learner, for the most part, so I just keep doing and figuring things out. I make art playfully, usually without a plan.
When I first saw these blogs about a first-quarter challenge, I didn’t intend to participate. You see, my brain is pretty much an open browser with 1,000 tabs open at all times, and I always have a plethora of ideas vying for my attention and screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!”
And, then one day I took a look at all the photos suggested in the original challenge blog from the decade. The suffragette posters caught my eye. Maybe I should make something feminist in petticoats? That old Disney song starts up in my head: We’re clearly soldiers in petticoats and dauntless crusaders for women’s votes. But, I haven’t done human forms and probably can’t pull that off. That skill is in the not yet pile.
The next time I looked through the photos, I thought about finding an aerial view of the area I live in and got lost in the history of my little corner of suburbia. No aerial view though from 1900ish though.
And, then the third time I looked through the photos, I thought about nature through a microscope. In the lounge of the ski hill I frequented in the before-pandemic times, there was an entire heavy book full of breathtaking pictures in a microscope. Sometimes the wonder of nature just awes me anew. While I was still thinking of those micro photos, I walked by this piece of art in my home by Wendy Feldberg that I had purchased the previous summer.
Wendy told me that she’d been quite intrigued by the history of the Ottawa River and that many of the labourers had died of malaria versus physical accidents that occurred on the river. She had done a series of fibre arts featuring the cells of malaria; this one was malaria cells in a placenta.
Overall, I give the pandemic a solid thumbs down, but there has been beauty within it. The blooming of my felt, yes, but also there has been a cementing of several of my friendships into a deeper, lifelong kind of bond. I’ve had more time with my children. I have had a chance (and been forced to, at times) to slow down and think through things. There is a kind of beauty in this moment, in the midst of the horrors. I thought about people that I’ve loved that have developed serious medical issues and how, sometimes, those issues forced them to consider what mattered in life, to prioritize, and also to notice a community of love and support around them.
So maybe that’s my theme: disease and the beauty within it. I wondered what was happening in the 1900s in the way of endemics or pandemics, and Google brought me to microscopic pictures of typhoid fever (apparently on the rise in Texas, an antibiotic resistant strain? Enough already this weird time!)
So here are a few pics of the jellyfish-like bacteria responsible for typhoid fever. I’ve made a jellyfish before that I like and feel proud of so I was pretty confident I could do it.
Of course, along with having a thousand tabs open at all times, I also sometimes fall down rabbit holes in which I refuse to sleep and, instead, decide to read extensively about subjects that will be pretty much superfluous to any conversational moment. Did you know that Typhoid Mary was pretty much the original superspreader and that she was quarantined for over two decades after she ignored public health advice? I mean, they did tell her not to cook but failed to provide any kind of alternative income stream for her, a woman in a time where women weren’t supposed to financially support themselves so maybe there is a structural issue with the collective safety net there. I digress. Moral of the story: I guess wearing my mask really isn’t so bad.
I also got lost in the world of microphotography. See, I already had ideas in my head, but now I feel like I need to felt a few of these, too. There will be more noisy arguments between ideas about whose turn it is. But, also, what a great problem to have!
Oh yes, my typhus. It hits the decade both on the microphotography front as well as a time when typhus was raging. When it was almost done, I posted a picture for my friends and said that if they could guess what it was, I’d send it to them. They guessed (before the legs) that it was a paddleboard, a kayak, a UFO and a comet. Someone guessed it was a jellyfish, and that was the closest someone came.
And, now, I pretty much HAVE to felt covid, don’t I? As I said, there is a certain kind of beauty in this moment… if we can’t escape this pandemic or fast forward through to the end of it, we might as well look hard for the beauty that is blooming here. Neighbours helping neighbours. Pods looking out for each other. The recognition that working from home can be a good option for many workers. I know it’s not universal and I don’t mean to silver line the devastation that is occurring. If I focus on the kindness, I get through this moment just a bit easier. That said, you best believe I will be hugging the crap out of my friends just as soon as this over… the kind of hug you just melt into. I look forward to locking arms together instead of fibres on a way more regular basis, but for now… I guess it’s time to pick the next loud-mouth idea.
Thanks, Alicia, microphotography is a really great place to be inspired. Has anyone else been working on the first quarter challenge? you can share it on the forum or if you would like to be a guest blogger just contact us. we love guests.
I seem to be in picture mode. I wanted to do something with water but not necessarily as the main feature. I thought about a beach and that was my intention as I started but as was looking for pictures and some of the cliff-top pictures really took my eye.
I used a nice thick piece of wool prefelt that I bought at the Almont Fiberfest a few years ago. It is 4inches by 6 inches, 10cm by15cm I think it is wet felted on a flatbed machine. It is course wool and more solid (felted) than the thin needle felted prefelt we usually get. It is much closer to being felt. I would love to get some more but don’t know where to find it. If you know let me know.
I start with what is farthest away, sky and water. When I do sky, it’s always cloudy and I have to do a google search to remember if the sky is darker or lighter near the horizon. The wool I used for the water has a few bits of sparkle in it. I think that’s what is making the white dots in the picture.
Then some land and the rocks. I used a mix of 3 grays so the rock wouldn’t be flat.
Added the lighthouse and the path
Then I used throwers waist to make the white water around the rocks and some whitecaps. At this point I gave it a light felting mostly to sink the silk into the felt so it didn’t look so much on the surface. . There was still more needling to do though. I added the top of the lighthouse and started the stitching.
And as usual when you start stitching you start unstitching. The grass stitches here were much too small. The path needed changing as well as being far too straight it was much too wide. you can see how all the extra stabbing pulled the piece in even though I was poking up and down and not sidewise. I stretched it out.
Back to stitching. I am using 4 colours for the grass, 2 shades of gold and 2 of green.
I added some small blue dots for flowers.
Then the foreground grass
Then some french knots for more flowers. I used a couple of shades darker blue for the foreground.
This is a close up of the stitching.
That’s a lot of pictures but I hope you enjoyed seeing the progression. Stitching really helps a picture pop. And as I promised picture without Sheep. I can do it. LOL
So a week has gone by since I wrote up this post ready for the 4th of February. After a comment from a friend, and looking at it after a break from working on it, I decided to fiddle with it more. First I ripped off the path it was far too white, I remade it with some light gray. I did want it to be distinct but not a lightning bolt from Zeus. I added a tiny little dock, not easy but that’s what I get for working small. And the sky was too much open space so I added some birds, again very fiddley. I did add some slight shading to the lighthouse but it doesn’t really show in the picture the wight really reflects.
Lyn and Annie have set us a challenge for this quarter to make something inspired by the decade 1900 – 1909. The challenge is here If you would like to see it and maybe you could join in. first-quarter-challenge
I have in the past thought about doing a piece inspired by her amazing work. Lyn and Annie have given me the push I need. I thought I could do something similar in felt for my own farm. First a prototype. This is a flat piece and not of my farm but just a farm. I used an old sweater that I ran through the washer then dismantled and ran through a couple more times. I wanted a nice sturdy base.
I did this picture by needle felting into a square cut out of the sweater. I have one of the little 6 needle holders that I used for most of it. Then switched to a single needle to put in the details. It is done in a very minimalist way with
The sweater piece.
The background and the road and the start of a field.
Added the fields and the house and barn.
Then some sheep of course.
I folded all the wool
Lastly used some green curls to make the trees.
It was a lot of stabbing, too much stabbing. I think I will try to do all the main features like roads and the fields by lightly needling them into place and then wet felting them. Just adding the detail and features with needle felting. The next one will be more 3D. I have some ideas for the house and barns. Have you started thinking about his challenge? We would love to hear about it on the felting and Fiber studio Forum. Here’s the link to the place to post pictures. https://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/thread/4247/2021-first-quarter-challenge. or use the Forum button on the left to get there.
These last couple of weeks in the Wet Felt Makers group on Facebook people have been making in interesting and new to me type of scarf. It’s called a french scarf.
Arlene Toth shared it with the group and shared the youtube video. It is part of a video from a fibre festival a year ago. The teacher is Elena Nayemova. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho5B-bOHKwE The instructions start at 28:58 in the video. It is in Rusian. You can probably figure it out by just watching her make it but If you want to and you are on a computer not using the Youtube app you can use a translation future on Youtube. It’s nowhere near perfect but it helps. I will explain that at the bottom.
The scarf in the video is very lacy and mostly yarn, very decorative. I wanted something warmer so used much more wool. After seeing how small the ones using the dimensions from the video were turning out I sorted out my own sizing that I thought would work and had a go. If you are petite then the smaller dimensions would probably work for you but I am Rubenesque so that isn’t going to work for me. I picked purple and orange, my go-to colours. I used orange and gold silk lap bits on one side and some yarns for decoration on the other.
You can wear it in different ways.
The part that goes behind the neck is a bit short I think and maybe the rectangular part too. I added some to both parts and had another go in red this time, using silk hankies and silk top
For this one, I used silk hankies on one side and silk top on the other. I like this one better. I pulled the piece through farther so it hangs down to wear it out. I am not much for big bows. If you want to fold it into a triangle and poke the corner though I wouldn’t add the extra length to the rectangle part. Here are different ways to wear it
The other thing I realized while taking pictures is that you can give the large piece a twist in the loop so you have both sides showing
I wanted a winter scarf inside my coat. It worked wonderfully even though it’s not really cold here yet. I hope you give it a try.