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Spinning Poker Challenge

Spinning Poker Challenge

Every summer my weavers and spinners guild does a fibre poker challenge. You can choose weaving, spinning or felting. I am doing spinning and felting. This post is about the spinning challenge. I haven’t started my felting one yet.

In these challenges, they make up 4 decks of cards. The cards for spinning are Fiber, Colour, Type of Yarn and General Design. You pick one from each to get your poker hand. You are allowed to return one and draw another.

Mine are

Fibre: surprise us.

Colour: dark rich colours

Type of Yarn: thick and thin

General Design: include locks

I decided I wanted to try spinning some of the silk hankies I have. these looked like dark rich colours. Well, not that dark but not pastel.

I looked up what was the recommended way of prepping them for spinning. It was to poke a hole in the middle and stretch them out. Most of the drafting is done in the stretching out. I did 2 of each colour. They stretch quite far. I am sure I could have stretched them at least twice as long but I didn’t want my yarn that thin.

I

I also have to do thick and thin. I decided the easiest way to do that was to use the required locks to create the thick parts. I think these are Bluefaced Leicester.

I don’t have a spinning wheel. I like to spin small amounts, so I use a drop spindle I have quite a few.

 

After I finished the 4 silk hankies I made it into a center-pull ball. My original intention was to ply one end against the other.

But then I changed my mind. I spun some purple silk top to use as the other ply.

I made it into a center-pull ball as well. I put one small ball on my thumb and one on a finger. I used a little painter’s tape to keep the outside thread from unravelling as I will be pulling from the center, then I can control how fast it pulls out. I like painter’s tape as it’s just sticky enough to hold but comes off easily without grabbing and pulling the fibres and doesn’t leave any sticky behind. If I was going to store the ball I would tie the two ends together instead.

           

Somehow I guessed right and had just a little more of the second simple single than the first fancy single.

That’s my laptop lid so as you can see there wasn’t much extra.

I wound it off into a skein. It looks a little wobbly at first but it needs to have a bath to let the spin show what it’s really like.  I used the small extra piece to tie the skein in 4 places. I wanted the 4 ties because I am very good at tangling skeins.

 

Here it is after its bath and hang to dry. I didn’t use any weight to try to set the yarn, I wanted it to be its natural self. I am quite happy I managed to get a nice balanced spin. I took to pictures flipping it over so you can see both sides.

I spread it out more and took a close-up. I am really please with how this came out. It was difficult to get the locks in because naturally, the twist wanted to go to the thinnest part.

 

I hope you like it too. It was a bit of a challenge but that’s the point, get you doing something you wouldn’t normally do.  I could have wished for some action shots but it’s hard to spin and hold the fibre and hold the camera. It puts me back to wondering why on earth my prehistoric ancestors got rid of the prehensile tail, it would be so handy.

Finally Finished and Playing with Rocks

Finally Finished and Playing with Rocks

I have finally finished my pouch. Yay! I am not sure how big I want the individual spaces in the bag to be so I have just basted the divisions for now. If they are working fine I will sew them in permanently.

 

Here it is full of things. and some things that didn’t make it in. As you can see it’s not dedicated to one kind of thing. It’s a way to keep all the smallish stuff from filtering down to the bottom of the basket where they are hard to find.

 

 

and all rolled up.

 

Here is the basket. First I put the liner in. It’s a thick, fairly stiff fake silk scarf. I can’t imagine it was nice to wear which is probably why it was in the secondhand clothing store in the first place. It’s great for this job.

 

Adding everything into and onto the basket.

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There was even room left to add my guild library books when I got back to the house.

I am sure you are all as tired f hearing about the basket organizer as I am so it is now time for something new and more colourful. I have been seeing felted rocks popping up on Facebook a lot. I figured they looked like a pretty obvious and easy thing to make, so I will give it ago. The first one I did use floor underlay resists.  I started with a pebble. I covered it completely in wool.

 

 

I cut out a resist a bit bigger than the wool covered pebble and then added the top put the resist on the top of the rock and folded the wool around. then I cut a bigger resist and did it again and marked the top. It was a bit awkward. I should have worked the other way up but where’s the challenge in that. LOL.

 

It fulled down quite fast.

time to start cutting, I rubbed each cut to heal it before doing the next cuts. I don’t think you can see it but the bottom of each layer is fully attached to the one below it.

 

I sat it on a green lid to dry, looks really striking there.

 

 

That worked quite well. Now for a different way.

For this one, I used plastic wrap to keep the layers separate. I cut a small hole in the underside so the layer would be attached to each other.

 

wool wrapped pebble

 

first layer wrapped in plastic

 

3rd layer

I wrapped the last layer in plastic I just rubbed it and rolled it around in my hands as if I was making a felt ball. I did it longer to make sure the inside layers were felted as well. While wrapping I lost track of the top and bottom. Naturally, I picked the wrong side to mark. I cut the first hole and it was attached to the one below so I kept cutting down to the pebble. I planned to stretch each layer, but with it being quite small there wasn’t much stretch or even room to get anything in between the layers to try and stretch.  so In the end I just fulled it tight around the rock.

 

Here is how they compared in size before felting

 

And how they compare with my hand to show the sizes

 

See Lyn, not felted rocks but felted rocks. Ha Ha Ha :O)

Olive Sparrow Giveaway Winners and Second quarter challenge, stitching all done

Olive Sparrow Giveaway Winners and Second quarter challenge, stitching all done

First things first:

The winner of the 100 grams of premium washed Teeswater locks is Sttamburo

The winner of the 150 grams of Swiss mountain batt in your choice of colour(s) is Darrel

Congratulations! Monica will contact you via the email you provided.

Now my stuff

My heat erasable pens arrived. They come as a pack of refills and some empty pens. I got one that came with 4 colours, white, red, blue and black. That should cover all possibilities.

I picked the white. I think red would have worked too.

 

Onto the last part of the design. Diamonds were a popular repeating pattern. I better check to see if this will work the way I think it will. I did not do my usual quick sketch but using a ruler. Are you amazed?

Yes, that should work fine, real diamonds and not just squares on point. Now let’s see if those pens work. A straight line to work form. I may stitch that in too. I wasn’t sure it was going to work, even smooth felt is very textured.  The tendency when a pen doesn’t write is to press harder. That didn’t work. A light touch was much better.

 

 

A couple of weeks has passed since I did the lines. I decided to use yellow for the lines.

 

 

I really like how the yellow looks against the green but it didn’t look complete so I added some red and black french knots in the middle

 

Next was finishing the sides. I decided to use double-fold bias tape. I like double fold because it’s easy to sew on invisibly. the bias I like to use with felt is a fleece bias. It blends with felt so nicely but isn’t as bulky as using felt. I had black and green that would work. I chose the green as it was such a good match.

If I had easy access to my machine I would have stitched the first side with it. You can stitch in the ditch of the fold and it’s invisible. That is the way I do it when I put a bias tape on the brim of a hat. As it was, I just stitched both sides by hand.

 

I think it looks good.

 

Next is sewing the pockets and filling them up. I should have that done by next time. I have almost a whole month to get it done and still be on time.

 

 

Second Quarter Challenge Part 2

Second Quarter Challenge Part 2

In Part 1, I showed you my design process for this challenge. It’s based on Art Deco ideas and color schemes but I created my own design.

The first thing I needed was to buy some black wool yarn. I was going to order unspun yarn, which I think would work best for this technique but I didn’t manage to get it ordered. Instead, I went to Michaels (hobby/art store) and purchased this cheap, wool yarn. At least that made it so I could move forward.

Next I placed my enlarged design under a piece of plastic so I could follow the lines with the black yarn first. You need to work upside down with this technique. So the black goes on first. I wet down the yarn per Ildi’s instructions on her recent felt wall hanging post. If I had been paying more attention, I would have looked back at Ildi’s design and seen that it was much more spread out than mine. But on I went.

Here’s the layout after I had laid down all the wet black wool yarn. I found it was easiest to cut all the lengths that were similar and wet them down at once. The yarn had a tendency to just lie on top of the water and not get wet. So I took 6 cut lengths at a time and dunked, patted and pushed the water into the yarn. Then I laid the yarn length along the pattern, sometimes squeezing the ‘corners’ to get a sharper turn in the yarn. I cut off the extra lengths as I worked.

Then I started laying out the colored wool. This was wet down in advance too. It was a bit awkward filling in the areas to start but I soon got the hang of it. I pinched off a bit of fiber, got it wet and then ‘smooshed” (that’s a technical term) it in place. My estimates of the amount of wool needed also got better with practice. I filled in the background color too to make the first layer of wool level. I did look at Art Deco color palettes and chose one that was similar using what I had on hand.

Then I added more of the background wool on top. I wanted it fairly thick so that it wouldn’t shrink too much and squeeze the design down even more.

I covered the wool with a sheer curtain and pressed the air out and added a bit more water to get everything flattened out. From the blue green side, I folded over any stray fiber and made a kind of circle with the background. I figured I would cut it later if I wanted everything to be even.

Then I spent most of my time rubbing and putting pressure on the blue green side. I didn’t do much rubbing on the front design as I didn’t want it to shift. I always use a piece of corrugated rubber underneath the felt while I rub and have the felt covered either with plastic or sheer fabric. Once the design was set and everything was staying in place, I fulled the piece with a rolling pin and with hand pressure. I didn’t do any throwing, rolling or heavy rubbing.

Here it is after felting and fulling. I was surprised at how straight my lines stayed. I did do a little stretching along the length of the lines if they started to get wonky. But all in all, I thought the method worked great. It does take a long time to layout but the design stayed put. The cheap wool yarn worked fine so I didn’t need the more expensive unspun yarn. But I think unspun yarn would felt in more easily and perhaps have less “hairiness” when felted.

And here it is after I cut the edges. It would make a nice hot mat or a design on a bigger felt piece such as a large tote bag. The piece is about 10″ in diameter (if it was a circle). I’m not sure what I am going to do with it. Thanks Ildi for the idea and thanks to Lyn and Annie for another good challenge. Art Deco is an interesting time period to use as an inspiration!

My 2nd Quarter Challenge is Progressing

My 2nd Quarter Challenge is Progressing

I’ve been working on the stitching for my basket organizer.  The first part I did was the waves. I liked them but I didn’t like how the edges were fuzzy.

 

I went looking in my stash for the right size yarn to edge it. I found my stash of Briggs and Little Sport singles. I picked up several colours cheap from a weaver who had finished a project.  I picked black to outline the waves.

 

I used the outline stitch. I used the tutorial in this great stitch dictionary. https://www.embroidery.rocksea.org/stitch/stem-stitch/outline-stitch/

You can see how the wool yarn is raised adding texture as well as definition. I enjoyed following the curves with my stitching. more fun than straight lines. I only

And finished. I like it much better the black outline really makes the waves pop.

Next was the rectangles on the flap at the front bottom.  I used some red this time.

At first, I thought I would do a Fly stitch up the middle of each one.  My stitching was really uneven. I didn’t like it, so out it came.

I decided to put two lines up the rectangle. the stitching isn’t fabulous because I had no line to follow. the only thing I had to mark it was chalk. I did try it to see how it would brush out and it was really hard to get off the felt it wanted to move further into the felt rather than come off.

And after I cut off all the tails.

So far so good. I have a plan for the last part of the decorating. It will need lines for me to follow so I will have to wait for the heat erase marking pens I ordered. After that is the really hard part……….. the finishing.

Second Quarter Challenge Part 1

Second Quarter Challenge Part 1

The second quarter challenge is to be inspired by the 1920’s and I decided to look at some art deco designs for inspiration. What I noticed most was repeating patterns, many with floral themes. During this research time, I was also inspired by a recent post by Ildi K. and thought I might want to give her technique a try. So why not combine these ideas into one project? Then I remembered that I had already done some design work based on Montana wildflowers in my Level 3 Art and Design class. Maybe I could use some of those floral designs and create my own “art deco” pattern?

This is a Mariposa lily. It blooms in June or July here.

These are some quick sketches using that flower shape but creating a simplified design that was more abstract.

I used the final design in several ways on paper. I could have just used one of these as my final design but I had noticed that many art deco repeat patterns were in squares or triangles. I thought perhaps I could fit the flower portion of the design into a triangle.

So on graph paper, I created a triangle pattern and fit the flower into it. What a jumbled mess! Obviously, I don’t create repeating patterns much. It’s way too busy for me. But perhaps if the triangle lines were more visible?

So I darkened the lines of the triangle and I liked this better. I think it would be better with a blank triangle in between the floral design but I left it as it was.

Now if I was going to do this in felt, I needed to enlarge the design. So I expanded it by 200% on my copy machine and then just used one portion of the design. Next up was to figure out a color scheme and see if I had the correct materials on hand. I thought I had some unspun yarn in my stash but I was wrong. I felt that would work best for the outlines so I have to order some before I can get started on the felting portion of this challenge.

Have you created something based on the Roaring Twenties? We’d love to see it over on the forum.

Getting Organized and 2nd Quarter Challenge Part 2

Getting Organized and 2nd Quarter Challenge Part 2

I have been beaten to the first completed prize. That’s just bragging rights. 🙂 No worries. Just getting it done on time is a major win. If you would like to see the first completed piece and read the lovely storey to go with it pop over here. https://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com/thread/4271/2021-second-quarter-challenge

As I added layers the layout grew beyond the template outline so I trimmed it. After leaving it overnight it had mostly dried. It made it easy to cut and separate the layers for later.

I originally thought I would do diamonds but after sever attempts I couldn’t get them all the same and it looked odd so I went with rectangles.

I wanted to do some waves on the back. when I looked at the art deco waves they were not even lines but they got thicker and thinner.

It looks a bit messy but I think it will be alright after felting.

It turned out pretty well, not too much shifting. after drying I decided it wasn’t wide enough. I wet it down and pulled it top to bottom and then ironed it for good measure. Now it’s not quite as long to will fit things that are a little taller.

When it’s folded up the back will look like this:

The front closed will look like this:

The inside looks like this:

I have decided to do some stitching on it before sewing it up and dividing it into sections. I am not sure what yet. I think I may outline the waves in a dark yarn to smooth them out and a diamond pattern on the blank flap and some lines or something in the squares. I will be looking up some colour palates of art deco.

 

Getting organized and the 2nd quarter challenge

Getting organized and the 2nd quarter challenge

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.

 

Alisa’s First Quarter Challenge

Alisa’s First Quarter Challenge

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.

https://www.wendyfeldberg.ca/galleries.html

 

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!

https://www.nikonsmallworld.com/galleries/2020-photomicrography-competition (the above and below from those galleries)

 

But what did I make?

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.

https://www.news18.com/photogallery/world/covid-19-photos-up-close-with-the-deadly-coronavirus-2532875-2.html

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.

 

1st Quarter Challenge – Part Two

1st Quarter Challenge – Part Two

When I posted last time, I showed you the felted portion of my 1st Quarter Challenge piece. The next step was to start free motion machine stitching to add more detail.

First to find some thread that would work with the colors of the felt. I used all of these except for one of the reds.

I started with dark green thread and worked on the stems, leaves and bud. I kept the inspiration photo by my sewing machine so it was easier to see where I needed to add stitching.

Next was the light green thread. I just used it for  a few highlights on the stems, bud and top of the big leaf.

Now on to the poppies. I used a light pink for highlights. Somehow, I always forget how much the machine stitching compacts the felt. It makes the unstitched portions feel very puffy.

Then I add some yellow for the centers of the poppies.

Next is the medium value red. You can’t see it very well because it is the same value as the main poppy color. But perhaps it gives a bit more definition of the edges.

Then on to adding a little more dark value where it was needed. Afterwards, I put it up on the design board and stepped back a little. Looking for anything that didn’t look right or drew the eye too much in one place. The areas that bothered me were the top poppy there seemed to be a straight pink line coming down to the bottom of the flower. And the bottom poppy, I thought the pink at the bottom center was a bit too much.

So I added a bit more burgundy in those two areas to tone down the pink just a little. So it’s complete. You can click on the photo to see it up close. Thanks for the challenge, Lyn and Annie!

 

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