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2022 Landscape workshop

2022 Landscape workshop

Landscape workshop

It is fabulous to get back to felting!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The students arrived and we started on time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mossy Driftwood Continued

Mossy Driftwood Continued

Last time I posted, I showed you a piece of driftwood that I had covered in green felt to represent moss. It definitely needed more work to achieve the natural look that I desired.

I took a small pair of sharp scissors and cut out some holes as well as making the ends not so uniform and straight. I then decided to use the left over cut out pieces as padding for stitching. I added the left over pieces in a couple of places and hand stitched them down.

I then decided to try adding more texture with needle felting. I had a pile of little wet felted scraps which you can see on the left and I needle felted those down. Then I added some wool from my carded batts that I had left over after wet felting. I needled those down but not too firmly. I still wanted the texture of moss, which you can see in the right photo.

Driftwood covered with green felt, stitched layers of felt added, needle felted layers added

Here’s what it looked like after I finished the lower layered bits. I left hanging threads as this will be the “grassy” looking bits sticking up between the moss.

Work bench covered with variety of green thread and driftwood covered with felt.

Next was looking for different green threads. Here’s what I came up with. You can also just see on the left side that I found some of my photos of moss and printed those out for reference.

Close up of French Knots stitched on green felt covering driftwood.

I then started adding some hand stitching. These are “wonky” French knots with hand dyed lace weight wool thread. This is going to take a while. I have another “slow” stitch project on my hands.

Next up was to try some machine stitching. I made a sandwich of the threads on the left between two layers of water soluble fabric. I then machine stitched a random branching pattern. The photo on the right shows the result after washing out the soluble fabric.

Close up of machine stitched threads on top of felted driftwood.

Here’s a small piece of the machine stitched moss by the French knot section. I haven’t stitched it in place as I think I will do more of the hand stitching first. I’m loving all the different greens as that is definitely what you find in nature. I will keep you updated on my progress.

A last minuet Halloween Door for the OVWSG Studio

A last minuet Halloween Door for the OVWSG Studio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23 there is a small Werewolf next door!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many hours pass…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5) Ears added to the slightly sheepish head

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

6) Magnet balancing precariously on superior aspect of sheep neck

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

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

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

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

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

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

11) Sheep head sticking to bulldog clip

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

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

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

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

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

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

17) Now let’s talk about ears.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Make a Tiny Jellyfish

How to Make a Tiny Jellyfish

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.

 

 

 

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 1

Mr. Mer gets a new little friend Part 1

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

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

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

1 – You saw his new Jellyfish from Twist.

 

2- This is his new Jellyfish from Ann

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

3-6 Hunting and catching Jellyfish

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

7- 8-  He seemed mesmerized admiring both jellyfish.

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

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

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

11 looking at the best locks

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

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12-14 Jellyfish racing!!!

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

15- ran off with his jellyfish

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

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

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

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

 

Ocean sunset continued

Ocean sunset continued

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.

Ocean Sunset

Ocean Sunset

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.

Plain Air wool painting at a the Pinhey’s Point demo

Plain Air wool painting at a the Pinhey’s Point demo

One of our local guilds mandates is education and we fulfill part of that by doing demos for the city of Ottawa at their local Museums. This weekend we were requested by the Pinhey’s Point Historic Site to provide a demo focusing on weaving but including other fibre arts.

Sign for Pinhey's Point

1) Sign for Pinhey’s Point

Pinhey’s Point features a nearly 200-year-old manor house (Horaceville) and surrounding ruins on 88 acres. There is a fabulous view of the Ottawa River overlooking sailboats at anchor in the bay in front of the house.  There are remains of the original old kitchens and a couple of outbuildings visible from where we were located.

2)  Views from Pinhey’s Point

We had been having high temperatures during the week, not as bad as parts of the States, but still hot for what is normal for us. On Saturday morning I checked the weather and was happy to see a lovely (cool) high of 26c but under the tent, on the top of the hill with the breeze, it felt more like 20c and I should have brought a sweater or jacket! (Never complain, because it could always decide to snow!!!)

The staff had set up a number of 10×10′ tents with tables and chairs. It was overcast most of the day but a lovely spot to chat with visitors, some of whom had come up from the sailboats to see what was happening under the tents.

  3) Part of the Demo team showing, Weaving (2 harness, 4 harness, 8 harness looms), Spinning (2 different wheels) and Felting (Just 2-D today)

I was running late and selected a spot for my table overlooking the front lawn and down into the bay with the sailboats. It would be a lovely spot to work.

3) Morning view of the front lawn

I originally had intended to work on the sheep horns that you might have seen me working on at other demos. I may have been watching too many episodes of Landscape artist of the year, since I was inspired by the vista, even in its overcast colours, before me.

4) the not quite 8″x10″ felt base for my picture

I had a piece of felt with me that I could use as a backing, about 8×10 inches so started laying on a white wool base. (the base layer was a bit uneven and seemed a bit kempy.) It was also not quite 8×10 so I had to spend a bit more time adding more width and a bit more height.

5) the not quite 8″x10″ felt base for my picture

 Next, it’s time to draw in the basic shapes using a bit from a micro-batt Bernadette was not pleased with (thank you, Bernadette! It worked perfectly for my use!)

I started to add the murky skies and reflected water.

6) Beginning to add sky and water

There is a small airfield nearby but I am not sure if that was the origin of the float plain we saw circle, then land and take off a number of times over the morning.

7) float plane practice landings on the Ottawa River

As the day progressed, more groups of people arrived with picnic paraphernalia and headed down the path toward the shoreline. More of the sailboat people came up the hill to check out the tents, their occupants and visit the museum. I have worked at this demo 3 or 4 times, this is the busiest I have seen it.

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   8-12) More of the Demo Team

As the afternoon went on I spotted the first bit of Blue sky!

13) the first bit of blue sky (still almost all grey)

Drat, do I have to add that in? I still haven’t got the foreground done!! Sneaky Weather!!

14) I didn’t get as far as I had hoped but I had a lot of fun

It was getting close to 4:30. Where did the time go? I will not win landscape artist of the year if I am this slow!! I will just have to practice more!!

Since it was getting late, I went in to take a peek at the ground-floor exhibits. It’s a fabulous 200-year-old stone house that is very grand for its time.  It has a central grand staircase and a fabulous main door.  The Dining room is at the top of the stairs and very posh when built.

I toured the ground level displays but did not feel inspired to try the stairs (it had been a long day by then).

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 15-21) inside the ground floor at Pinheys Point

By the time I was heading down the hall towards the kitchen, I was behind a woman telling a younger woman about living in the house when she was age 13 to 21 when her grandmother still lived there. It turns out she is one of the Pinhey descendants visiting from BC and had brought some artifacts for the museum from her part of the Pinhey family. She was telling her niece stories about living in the house in winter, flooding, and taking over from her aunt living with her grandmother in the old stone house. (Her parents lived nearby in another house on the property). I asked her about the spinning wheel in the kitchen room but didn’t want to interrupt her touring her old home. She said she remembered a different wheel when she was there.  She explained about the setup of the house when she lived there with her grandmother, who in the winter slept in the room that had been behind the stove in the kitchen (the warmest part of the old stone house). It was fascinating and I felt extremely lucky to hear some of her stories.

22) The Great Wheel in the kitchen

She told me about her Grandmother getting unexpected, uninvited visitors one winter while she had lived there. The hill path down to the side door by the kitchen, which was the house access commonly used, was particularly icy and treacherous that day. Some very well-dressed men arrived to see the house, it was the Governor General of Canada and his entourage. When they entered the house she was sent out to put ash on the ice so they would be able to leave, after her grandmother reluctantly gave them a tour of the historical house.

I returned to my spot but it was time to pack up, the weather was showing signs of improving further. I took a couple of quick reference shots as we packed up.

23-24) A couple of quick shots as the sky started to show more blue areas

It was time to pack up, Bernadette had been combing as well as carding and spinning so there were lovely tufts of fluff floating around the landscape. The staff was sure that there would be some stylish squirrel nest this winter!

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25-26 Bernadette droppings left to improve the homes of the locals

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27-33 a few more shots of the area as we were packing up and heading to the car

We had packed up and were on our way out when we met this guy coming in. He was a bit late for the demo. I don’t know if it was the weaving, spinning, felting or the loose fibre he was looking for.

34- the last visitor was just a bit late for the demo

I love to see auto-mobile-lawn decor. Maybe he/she, or some of the landscapes will inspire a bit of picture felting? Have fun and keep felting!

 

If you are in the Ottawa Ontario Canada area and you would like more info on Pinhey’s Point you can check here;  https://pinheyspoint.ca/

There is more info on the house here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horaceville,_Ottawa

 

PS Today is Mom’s 91st birthday, don’t tell, but there may be some of Ann’s amazing chocolate chip cookies involved in the celebration!

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