Meet Pete also known as Handsome Pete. He is our new Blue Faced Leicester Ram.
He arrived on Wednesday. He is settling in well. he can see the sheep when they come in and he can smell them are girls. He is handsome and calm. He likes his back scratched. He is not sure about Ava. She is a dog after all but I am sure the others will let him know that although she is black and white, she is no border collie.
This very handsome and alert shot is also looking at Ava who is paying no attention at all.
I really haven’t done much of anything since I did the jellyfish. I did go to help with a Demo at the Almonte Fiber festival last Sunday. It was so lovely to get out to an event and a demo. I have missed doing both of these the last couple of years.
I am sure Jan will show you many pictures of the event as she is the official photographer. So I will only show you my end of the display table. well for the first half of the day. Then the other felter left and a weaver arrived and my end of the table worked better so I moved to the other end of the table and didn’t take a picture. Jan will have. Yay Jan!
It’s messier than I remember someone must have been looking at it. That’s a good thing. and then of course I put my spinning down in the middle of it and took a picture. The basket and flax and silk and cotton are Bernadett’s and were not quite that hidden from the front.
At the demo, I was using my drop spindle. I spun up some rolags I made with Wool from Bernadette and some saree silk.
That’s really all I have done lately. So here are some of the rolags I have left and some of the spun yarn.
These are two I spun earlier that still need plying. It’s fun to see how the different colours of sari silk affect the same colour wool.
Next, it’s the green wool, with different sari silks.
That’s it for now. I hope to do some felting before my next post but you never know it might be more spinning.
After seeing Mr. Mers pet jellyfish I decided he needed another one, a felted one in his creator’s favourite colours. I am sure you saw him playing with his new pet in Jan’s post. mr-mer-gets-a-new-little-friend-part-1/
First, you need to make a small needle felted disk.
Then peel it off. You can see how thick it is. It is fairly thick for the size but it could be thinner but doesn’t need to be.
Now what you want to do is turn the disk into a bowl shape. You do this by holding your needle almost flat against the felt and poking around and around the rim of the disk.
Soon it will start to form a shallow bowl.
Keep at it
And you will end up with a nice bowl. The perfect shape for a Jellyfish bell.
I forgot to take a picture of myself needling 6 small Blue Faced Leicester locks into the bowl so they would hang down the outside edge of the bowl. 4 would have worked but more than 6 I think would have been too much. After I poked them in I trimmed the outside of the bowl to get rid of the fuzzy bits they created. It seemed a bit plain so I added the 2 blue lines around the outside to create a Blue Ringed Jellyfish.
I added a String through the top to act as a leash. Don’t worry it doesn’t hurt the Jellyfish.
More work on the ocean sunset. I got a few orange locks from Bernadette. I believe they are mohair, but she can correct me in the comments if I am wrong. They were nice and shiny so they went with the silk well
The next thing to do was to wet felt it. I popped it into a large freezer bag and added a little water. I have never done this method before. Well, a little is relative, right? After getting it all wet I drained out the water so it wasn’t swimming. Then I pressed it and it was still floating so I squished more water out and drained it.
The silk kept moving, no matter how gentle I was, so it ended up a bit stringy and not all in the right place. I still like it but it needs some fiddling.
I got out a fine felting needle and started lifting and moving the silk and flattening the horizon. Horizons are not wavy except in high seas.
This is how far it is now.
I was thinking of a boat silhouette but I may go with a whale tail this time. maybe a bird floating nearby. I am not sure. It also needs some colours reflected in the water. I may add bits of silk or maybe some of the coloured sparkle powder. I may not wait for them. I am wondering if I should spray the picture with something if I use the powder. Maybe a spritz of hair spray? Has anyone done anything similar?
More waiting now. I did do another small fast project I will tell you about next time to give you a break and build suspense.
Now hopefully, you’re not sick of them yet, another ocean picture. I plan on adding a sunset. The sky’s progress looks very similar to the progress of the other ones. I could probably just pick one and use the same picture over and over. This one is a bit darker as I am thinking it’s starting to get late with the sun going down.
For the ocean this time I wanted darker water and not so much sparkle so I peeled the top layer with the sparkle off and used the darker inside and back.
I have a nice pinky batt I think I can use to add the sunset to the sky and water. I think I am going to do it as the sun already being below the horizon but I am not sure. But I was back to a baking day so it will have to wait.
Now I’ve pulled the batt out to take a picture for you I am not liking it as much its got a lot of black and some blue in it. I think I need to look at what else I have.
That didn’t work well at all. What else do I have, Who knows, It’s all in boxes all stacked at the back of the storage area. so I must make do. I pulled a bit of corral pink and 2 shades of red silk ( probably but shiny anyway) out of the above batt and spread it out to be the sky.
I laid it on top and left a little spot for some orange sun.
Now as I said my stash is all in boxes and most of that is at the back. I did reach a small box or multicoloured silks in small bags. I found the right one I pulled a blob( technical fibre term) of dark purple from it. I don’t need much.
I pulled some fine bits ( another specialized fibre term)out and laid them across the top of the sunset sky.
Now I just need the shiny orange curl I have begged from Bernadette Monday night for the sun and that part should be done…….Except it’s not needled down and so it’s not really stuck. I look at it and it’s so wispy I think that if I try to needle it, it will end up pulling and being a mess.
I think I am going to have to wet felt it. I am planning to dig out some wet felting supplies. I think I can reach enough things for a small piece and some plastic wrap from the kitchen will work fine. That’s tomorrow’s job. Now if this ends here you will know I was unsuccessful at finding my supplies and taking them to the guild social to work on. Or possibly making tourtiere pie filling and waiting for and dealing with the livestock viewer took too long and I just ran out the door to do some spinning with friends. Hopefully, you won’t have to wait until my next post to find out how it goes.
I am still enjoying working with my water-themed bat to create ocean pictures. I finished the one that I was working on last time. I added some birds I mixed light grey and some white with so the seagulls wouldn’t look too bright. the 2 smaller ones looked ok but I tried to add black tips to the larger one’s wing tips and after some fiddling, and then more fiddling it ended up looking like a demented bat ( no picture of it at its worst) so I removed it and tried again. All the birds are going left. maybe into the wind? I tried to make the larger one go right just to be different but it started going left. I pulled it off and flipped it over and by the time I tacked it down properly, it was going left again. But at least it doesn’t look like a demented batt.
And a sailboat. Not the best boat but one of those little dingy boats with only one sale.
It was kind of boring so I added a red flag and 2 stripes for the sale and boat.
Better but I added another strip and I like it much better. I guess the rule of three works.
Then I decided I wanted to use some of the sparkly section. and started this one. I started it on my standard needle felting pad a foam kneeling pad. then my tendentious reminded me why I don’t use 6 needles at once and why I don’t do a lot of needle felting. Normally I would lightly tack these down and wet felt them. Jan gave me a small wool felting pad last Monday and I didn’t have time to try it properly so I tried it here. Wow, what a difference in how jarring the jabbing is. I also took apart my tool and removed 3 of the needles. I’ve ordered one of the 10×10 pads. I have this one to this stage. All well felted down but not sure what to put in the picture to give more visual interest. Maybe some whale tails? Rocks? a bluff and some birds? Sorry to say I didn’t take any in-progress pictures of this. Though adding the blue sky looks pretty much the same on all of them.
I fiddled with this a bit to try to show you how much sparkle there is. I used a flash and then turned down the brightness. Turning down the brightness was counterintuitive.
Now I started another but that’s my next blog post.
Sorry to say I have been too busy to felt again. I am hoping to have a little more time now my mom’s house is in possession of the new owners. I thought people might like to see this post I made in 2012 about dying silk blanks with MX dye. this method works with big things too. I did a dress for my much skinnier self once and some boxer shorts. something else I learned since I posted this the first time is that you can use these dyes as acid dies by using a mild acid and heat. the colours aren’t quite as vibrant but if you can only get one kind of dye this will do double duty for you.
I dye my own silk and one of the ways I do that is with MX dye. MX Dye is a fibre-reactive dye and works on cellulose or plant fibres like cotton, linen and hemp. It also works on silk. As far as I know, silk is the only fibre that you can use both weak acid dyes that are for protein fibres and the MX dyes.
I like to use the low water dye method. With this method, you use a jar and just a little water. What I do is scrunch or twist or pleat up my silk to be dyed. In this case, they are all about 2 feet wide and 8 feet long. Then you pack it into the bottom of a jar that is big enough to hold the silk and the dye (1/2 a cup) and the fixative (1/4-1/2 cup). It is important that it be a snug fit for this method to work.
I mix up 2 colours of MX dye in 1/4 cup of room temperature water. Pour them over the silk in the jar one at a time making sure the silk is covered with liquid. If it floats, as you can see a couple of my jars did, you need to carefully weigh them down with something non-metal. Metal will affect the dye. This is another reason you want them tightly jammed in the bottom of the jar but sometimes it happens anyway. Once the dye is in the jar you don’t want to disturb them. You don’t want the dyes to mix completely and give you a solid colour.
I am very impatient. So I usually go do something else for 20 min to an hour then I come back and add the fixative. With MX dye you have to raise the PH to get the dye to stick. The cheapest thing for this is PH up from the pool store. You can use washing soda not baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) or order it from your dye supplier but pool chemical is cheap, especially at the end of the season. I add a tablespoon for each cup of water including the water you’re mixing with. Stir to dissolve and then pour it into the jar. You should leave it for an hour to react but I am impatient as I said and usually dump everything out after about 20 min. Rinse the silk in cold water then hot soapy water then one more cold. Here are some results.
I am sorry the pictures aren’t better but the wind wouldn’t cooperate. They were dry in about 10 min.
Here are some others I’ve done over the years. It is a really fun and easy way to play with dye. You should give it a try.
I seem to have been obsessed with water pictures for a while now. And today is no exception. I’ve been doing a lot of tiny images, so I moved up to 5×7 inches for this one. I have to pat myself on the back for actually measuring my piece of felt instead of randomly cutting a piece and then not having a frame that will easily work. Yay Me.
The felt I am using is from The Olive Sparrow. Monica has great service and great products. I think I might be able to felt this a bit more if I tried but not much. It is pretty solid and has the right density. It will hold its shape but isn’t hard to needle into.
I started with a nice blue sky. This is merino from World of Wool.
Then I added some wool from a wonderful art batt I got at the little fibre sale Jan and I went to, in April I think. I thought Jan did a post about it but I can’t find it. Anyway, I bought it because it made me think of the ocean. I love the name of their business.
I just used a small corner of this batt. I think I will make another using the sparkly stuff near the top.
I have it about half needled down, it’s fairly well stuck but I can still reposition it.
thin I just tucked the loose edges around the back to get a better look at it. I am not sure I shouldn’t straighten up the thicker white line. but I kinda like it not straight too. the ocean isn’t always in straight lines. I am not sure.
That’s as far as I have managed to get. It needs some clouds or birds or something to break up the sky, to make it more visually interesting. I think maybe a small sail in the water in that lighter blue on the left maybe. Not sure how big, a boat or a sailboarder? Maybe I should make a few sizes and try them out.
Sunday was shearing day. It is a very busy day as you can imagine. We had a friend come help but most of the setup work was done by my son. This system is set up in the area we put the lambing pens in the spring. This is a shoot system from the holding and crowding pens to where they get sheared. There is a gate part way to stop them from going backwards. On one side is a big pen for the ram lambs to be separated for weening. It will be a noisy night.
Here are some shots of the sheep being sheared. We have a wonderful shearer. He is calm and gentle.
This is a picture to show the difference between the outside sun-bleached wool and the cut side of the wool
I only kept 4 fleeces. These are 2 of them. I couldn’t resist the white one. I have to have a proper look at them yet I hope there isn’t too much hay chaff in them.
This is my Lincolns fleece. It looks matted to me but I will try washing it and see what happens.
This is a bad sheep complaining, between nibbling. She ran around and instead of going out the open gate to the barnyard she flipped open the wooden gate and ran out the opposite side of the shearing floor. She then complained that she was by herself for the remainder of shearing. We opened the gate to let her back in but she just stood there and yelled.
I tried to get a picture of naked sheep. when I went feed Storm they were all in the barn, too dark for pictures. I went back an hour later they are all in the old garden, great. I got one picture before they turned tail and ran for the gait to the field. This is the story of my life trying to take pictures of sheep. You have to sneak up on them or they at very least will all turn away and show you their tails and at worst decide you are a coyote taking pictures for a future dinner party.
This is 4 half bags of wool ready to go to the wool co-op. I get half bags because I am the bag stuffer and the big bags are a pain if you don’t have a stand and are bad at climbing ladders to stuff fleeces in. they are much easier to manage and transport too.
For those wondering how Storm is doing. here he is He is in the barn and is eating grass (cut for him daily) and grain and still gets 2 bottles a day. In the close-up shot, you can see milk all over his face from bumping the bottle and sprayed milk all over his face and the other one is just to show you how much he has grown.
I took lots of pictures but my iPhone kept switching to live and so it kept taking 3-second videos instead of pictures. If anyone knows how to permanently turn that feature off I would love to know it. What a frustrating feature. If I wanted a video I would switch to video. I don’t know how to grab one shot out of a video. It is probably simple but… And that’s my rant for today. 🙂
I told you there would be another small picture. I wanted to do a night scene with water and a moon reflection.
I searched up lots of moon on water pictures. I won’t share them because even though I put public domain pictures in the search, I am sure they are not all in the public domain. Once I had done that, Pinterest sent me some more, some in weaving and other textiles.
I had this small offcut. I put my fingers in the shot so you can see the size.
I knew I had a nice really dark purple merino to make the sky but I had to ask Jan for some navy blue. She had some nice dark BFL, so it had a nice shine, perfect for water. This is the best picture I got of it. I had to fiddle with it because my camera on my phone wants the purple to be red and it’s more blue. Jan got some pictures for me too but her computer has died so I am afraid you’re stuck with my pictures.
I divided the picture into 1/3 sky and 2/3 water. I tried to keep the navy fibre running across the picture to give it a better water feel, like tiny ripples on the water. the hardest part was making the horizon straight and level.
For the moon, I made a disk separately and then added it. I think it makes it seem separate from the sky and closer than the sky. I then added the thin glow around it. the glow looks more transparent in person. I thought I had a picture of just the moon but I accidentally took a movie of it and I can’t figure out how to save one frame.
For the reflection in the water, I used silk. I tried throwster’s waste, some fluffy silk ( I think from silk hankies) and some top, it was a little yellow.
The throwster’s waste was too stringy
The fluffy stuff was too hard to work with. It wouldn’t stay put.
The top worked wet. and even though looked yellow as a blog of silk once it was spread out a bit it was good.
I laid it all across then needled the pattern I wanted and trimmed it then needled some more.
I like it, it’s ok but not great.
I tried adding some grey for clouds and some silk at the edge for reflection. I just tacked them down, I am not sure. It may be the silk reflections on the clouds that I don’t like. Maybe white wool would be better.
so I asked my son. He is more artistic than me but also observant. He said well the moons to big. So I showed him my examples and with the slightest glance says well they’re all photoshopped, to make the moon more magical. So much for that. I guess once I did it, my brain knew it was wrong. I will try thinning the glow and shrinking the moon and the reflectins and see how I like it. the trying may mess it up beyond repair and it will have to become dryer ball innards. I will let you know how it goes.
I managed to fiddle with the picture last night. First I pulled up the edges of the reflection and tried it back then I pulled the moon haze off and made it smaller and more transparent. I think it is better. not great but it will do.
A while ago I bought some fine mica. the kind they use in cosmetics. I got this set and a blue set. I wanted to try adding a little blue to water in a picture just to see what it looks like. This water was far darker than the blues I bought but I thought the moon could use a little shine. You can see how fine it is. I left my fingerprint in it, from just a light touch.
I took a close-up of the moon. I think the camera picked up some of the sparkle.