I haven’t had much time for felting with the puppy and lambs. I did manage a little spinning.
I got some nice tweed roving from World Of Wool. I think they will make nice hats and accessories. Then I wanted something to spin so I thought I would try these.
This is the pink. The dark flecks are viscose. It drafts nicely and makes a really nice yarn.
And the grey. Over-dying them might be interesting too. The viscose won’t take the wool dye.
They were both nice so I thought I would try combining them. I pulled off a thin strip of each colour and drafted them together. This is the single. I am winding it off the spindle into a centre pull ball so I can ply one end against the other.
and this was the result.
I think I like the two spun together best.
I am a slow spinner. I do it because I enjoy it but I don’t want a lot of anything. I am not making sweaters or even socks. I will use them for some decoration on some felt, probably.
This is is what I am currently spinning, some yellow for the glitzy line at World of wool. It has some super bright triloble nylon in it so it has lots of sparkle.
Yellow, isn’t a colour I have a lot of in my stash but I like how this is turning out. Surprisingly the multi-coloured sparkle tames the yellow. Do you spin? have you thought of it. It’s fun, portable and you can make some great yarns for decorating your felt.
After leaving the hedgehog overnight to dry on the air filter, he had successfully completed his mission to dry.
I could now begin to add a bit more width to his cheeks. Next, add his coat. I chose an Icelandic fleece using the outer guard hair part of the dual coat as the bristles and bits of the inner coat to help space and increase adhesion of the guard hairs.
I separated the tog (outer coat of guard hairs), which is less inclined to felt when wet, from the undercoat which is soft and crimpy. To separate the two types of coats, hold the tips and base firmly and gently pull away from each other. Sometimes it takes a bit of a rhythmic tugging to free the tog. Once separated, I could use the tog to start building the outer prickles for the hedgehog.
I used a 38 star needle for most of the felting (except the ears which I also use the fake clover tool with T40’s loaded). I lay the guard hairs down, attaching across the locks then laid in a bit of the under coat to increase adherence. I worked the needles at low angles to almost parallel to the fibers catching a few fibers in the barbs at a time and pushing them into the layer of felt over the soap bar.
I added a bit of the under coat to give extra adhesion.
I then folded up the tips which had been pointing away from the fibers I was adding to. Again securing them into the under layer of felt above the soap.
Occasionally I would add a bit of the under coat to the folded tip side too.
The order of addition was backwards to the layering I usually do when I want a coat to lie naturally. Since I wanted this to stand up, I needed to increase the density of the coat so it would not lie down. This time I starting from around the face (in white) then switching to the darker part of the coat, worked back towards the butt. I left the butt ends a bit shorter than the tips as I laid them in.
Once I got his coat on, I brushed and lifted the ends with the mini carder (dog brush). This fluffed him up nicely.
He is a cute little hedgehog! Here is a shot of the underside so you can see the bar of soap which is the base.
Laying in the coat which is quite tightly packed took most of the day. I finished him after dinner and did the fluffing. So this would not be a economically viable option for mass production. There are a couple other options that may work faster such as using a section of the washed fleece and attaching it to the underfelt more as a blanket rather than a few locks at a time. I suspect it would not give the density that adding locks as I did allowed.
Poor little guy, doesn’t suspect his life will be full of wetness then getting dry just in time for the next wetness to set in. I bet he would drip dry quicker if he could hang up. I should add a “rope” for this soap. I looked first at a piece of Kumohimo but the cotton fiber seemed wrong.
So, I took the brush waste from the mini carder and added some of the washed locks and drafted it out. By adding a good deal of over twist with one of my spindles, I quickly had a two-ply yarn that could be mistaken for a rope.
I added the rope with a bit of needle felting along the edges of the underside of the soap-hedgehog using a bit of the under coat and pulled apart bits of the extra yarn to help secure it.
Ah, that’s better a way to dry faster and a loop handle so you don’t have to pick him up by his nose!
Last thing left to do. It is Valentine ’s Day after all, so He needs a Heart! I hunted around, found my bag of various red coriadales, choosing Nutmeg, and hand blending it with some of the reddish brown undercoat from the Icelandic fleece. (Colour should never be flat! Unless you are doing something graphic)
A few quick stabs and I had the shape. Now to add it to the right spot. Hmm, there is not much wool on the underbelly of this hedgehog! So, I was very careful in the angle of felting. The needle does sink into the soap fine but leaves a stinky soap smell on the needle and a bit on the wool as it emerges. (Just a warning – make sure you keep the angle of entrance and exit the same or the soap will want to break your needle)
Now I just have to wait to find out if Glenn likes his new shower time friend.
57- 62 the unwrapping, he found the Heart!
Yes Success!! I will try to get a shot after his first shower experience and see how he holds up!
63 First Shower! one bedraggled hedgehog
There seems to be a strange moose in my bed but he does have a bag of chocolate Easter eggs so I guess he can stay! (This is Canada, you do find moose in odd places here, often in swimming pools)
It is normal to see the triceratops, Cthulhu (who is somewhere else today) and the Balrog in bed. The moose was a surprise so was the chocolate, he can stay.
Oh NO! I got distracted! I will get back to work shortly but I was so inspired by Alex’s Ladybug or Bird and was wondering if a hedgehog would work with a bar of soap? There was also a suggestion of a heart of soap for valentine’s day…… hmmmm. I wonder if I can combine that?
Bad Brain!!! Stop thinking and wondering where the soap stockpile is stored! No! It’s wet felting! It involves getting wet!! NOOOOOO! Remember brain we like needle felting partly for its DRYNESS! Even if there is occasionally a bit of blood, it’s not as wet as wet felting! ….hmmmm.
I think Glenn would like a hedgehog soap for Valentine’s day, it will last longer than chocolate or flowers!, (the flowers without roots that is.) Oh well, I guess it must be done, I will get wet! Step one, I will need to clean the bathroom sink (yes there is almost no counter space in the bathroom so it was messier before I neatened it up a bit).
Let me think, what will I need? Fibre, soap bar, a container to work in (the drain is problematic so let’s use a plastic box to work in), I need to find some bubble wrap and maybe a zip lock bag would help contain the wetness? I blended up a bit of white and beige for the nose and over felting fibre.
I discovered that the soap hoard is woefully low at least of my glycerin soap (remember to add that to the shopping list). Luckily, Glenn’s giant package of smelly soap from Costco was only half gone! He probably won’t notice one is missing until after Valentine’s Day right? (he didn’t)
I quickly noticed that the sink is not a comfortable work high. I wonder if I flip over the storage box and use that as a table surface. Yep, much more comfortable. Remembering the instructions from Alex and his Mom, the fibre must encompass the soap. Then the fibre and soap are secured by putting it all in a nylon and felted. I don’t have nylon. I also want to have more fibre on the back than the belly as well as having a nose and face at one end.
I alternated thin layers making a shape that would wrap around the soap and then added more in the middle and towards one end.
A bit more in in the butt I think then wrap and a bit of needling to hold everything together.
He needs a nose; a bit more poking will fix that. Better check photo reference! I watched (listened to) a few YouTube videos as I continued to needle felt until the general shape was achieved.
I found a small piece of bubble wrap (I spotted the larger piece after I was done) and an extra-large sandwich bags.
Now the hard part, I have to get the wool wet so that soap (Liquid Lavender and cucumber you can see in the photos) and agitation can do their work. Hedgehogs’ first bath!
I got a flash of a brilliant idea! If I put the wet soapy hedgehog and the bubble wrap in the extra-large sandwich baggie I could sit and watch the impeachment of the neighbour’s ex-president. Rather depressing, but it will keep my mind off the possibility of impending wetness. (I will work in the plastic bin in case that happens). The seal was stressed but as much as the soapy bubbles tried, only a few escaped.
I started softly, gently, caressing the fibres. Slowly increasing my pressure until I was massaging with some enthusiasm (I have a license for that!). Unlike work, I used bubble-wrap on this patient, focusing on the nose and the general body shape. I built up so much soapy lather that it became hard to see the hedgehog! After a few impeachment presentations, I felt I had achieved Felt!! I also had not sprung a leak and got wet!
Time to rinse out the suds and make sure the felting worked! (really I can’t see much in all this soap!)
I brought the Hedgehog back to the office so he could dry and finish watching YouTube, maybe I will have to give him eyes so he can better see what is happening. In the meantime, he is practicing some form of Yoga nose stand. I wonder what that pose is called. (Balanced nose drying?)
While I know watching a naked, eyeless, hedgehog dry is absolutely fascinating, and is worthy of hundreds of photos, at every stage of wet to dampness to ultimately dryness. I can see that you may have other things to do so I will resume once he has accomplished his mission to dry. So I will pause today and resume to see if I can add spines and other important parts.
In early September I came across the website John Galon Designs. I think I found the link in a spindle group on Facebook but I don’t remember. https://johngalen.com/ He makes beautiful spindles, many from old, timepieces. I didn’t get a timepiece one but I did get one.
Here is the reveal
Are you ready? here it is:
It is a very pretty and cool spindle. The acrylic in the middle is actually clear but the purple of the spindle radiates out through it. There are about a dozen colours to choose from. I am really pleased with it. Now I need to spin properly with it. I am not used to a spindle with such a small whorl.
The other thing I wanted today is to announce the 2020 holiday card exchange on the Felting and Fiber Studio Forum. We have been doing a card exchange for several years now. Its a fun and easy way for us to share a little cheer at this time of year.
the deadline to sign up is Oct 24th, Partners will be assigned ( by random generator) on Oct 25th
You have to make a felt card and send mail it to your partner by Nov 14th
Once you receive your card you post a picture of it on the forum
The cards do not have to be Christmas cards they can be anything. There is a lot going on in late December and there is New Year too. We are starting a little early this year and on a tighter timeline, having you ship earlier so the cards have a good chance to get there for the holiday season.
Today I wanted to tell you about the Quadra-dents, and show you how i made them. I know they should be Tri-dents but I like the look of Four points better than three. As frequently happens life gets busy or interrupts and plans get put aside for other plans. so i will get back to the quadra-dents i promise!
Unfortunately, last week I started to feel a bit better, so tried to catch up on gardening while sitting in a chair. I was working on weeding the tall pots along the driveway, transplanting catnip out and planting the herbs and vegetables in. I think I just did too much of it. To be fair the side yard and some of the back patio look much better. I will be having words with that chipmunk that seems to have other plans since he or she keeps digging deep holes in pots I have already planted and moving or removing things I had wanted there.
1-10 Maybe these will give inspiration, Highlights of the front, back and side yard (yes that is a portable forest. the city wont let me plant poplar trees in the ground so the self seeded ones that start in my garden get moved to pots and grow happily there)
I did get a bit of felting in between meds, Dr’s visits, checking out a walker and weeding.
11 it is important to check Vital ergonomics when getting a vehicle. My early cars were purchased on their ability to carry my warp waited loom in the hatchback. Now its wheels and fiber as well as the looms!
My Mer-teen is underway. i think she is taking after Mr. Mer since she also has great lats! (It must be all that swimming). My goal is to get all the under-structures done so I can look at the proportions and keep them in scale.
12 Skeletal Mer-teen, Mrs. Mer and Mr. Mer.
This time I started working from the head down instead of starting with the legs and tail then working up. I have varied the order of application of fiber each time and seem to be getting a good outcome from all three. So order may be more preference or to help keep in scale for the head and body. This time I am going to add hands after I have the rest of the body blocked in. That will allow me to lengthen where the wrist is, if I need to. I think the torso may be a bit long on her parents but I’m short wasted and don’t like water thus haven’t seen a mer-person so maybe they are longer wasted than I am.
I have yet again notice felting while listen to an audio book ( this time part of Wen Spencer’s Tinker series) while it is very productive, does make me forget to take photos. I remembered to take some as I switched books to Lynsay Sands’ the Trouble with Vampires.
I made latissimus dorsi, SCM and upper traps. I made use of the 3-needle pen tool, and the up to 20 needle tool (set up for 12 needles) and various single needles for different parts of the body, head and arms. i am continuing to use the slightly felted batt of alpaca in variegated shades of light brown- beige. it may felt a bit quicker with some wool content but i am liking the effect the alpaca is giving.
13-15 making and adding upper Trapezius
16-17 you can see the lateral superior border of pec major heading towards the bicipital grove, the deltoids, both the clavicular and sturnal heads of SCM and both clavicle.
I will keep working on the under-structure and hopefully will be ready to start the top layer soon.
I hope you are all having fun felting! Hopefully you are felting and relaxing out in your garden enjoying the summer! Stay safe and healthy!
The other day I made a bangle. I have made them before but it has been a while. So long ago, I can’t find the pictures. I know I have seen them recently while looking for something else. I was not as good at labelling things then as I am now so searching didn’t help much. Anyway, for this one, I wanted to use some of my handspun. I have many little balls of yarn as I never make much of any one thing.
To start you need a piece of cord or yarn. Make it the size you want your finished bangle. It will not shrink in size. I used a scrap of yarn.
You need some wool and some yarn. I am using some very dark purple merino but you won’t see any of it when I am done. The yarns are some of my mostly wool handspun.
Wrap the roving around the string. Wrapping down through the hole and back around until its all covered.
At first, I thought I would wrap the 2 yarns side by side. The larger ball was too hard to poke through the hole all the time. I forgot to take a picture of wrapping the pattern I did but you can see here how snug I did it. It is compressing the roving but not a lot.
This is the wrapped and wet bangle.
At this point, I just wrapped my fingers around it and squshed it like making a playdough bracelet. Move the bangle around and around so it was all getting squished. I did that for a few minutes, not very long as I am impatient. I rolled it up in a rolling mat. It’s a piece of the foamy, rubbery shelf liner. I rolled maybe 10 times and then unrolled rotated and flipped it. I did that maybe 4 or 5 times. I wasn’t thinking about it as a tutorial at that point, so I wasn’t keeping track. When I was done it was flat.
Don’t panic, just pick it up and put one hand into the hole and one on the outside and roll it back and forth in the hands like making a playdough snake. Do that all around the bangle until it is round again and feels firm. You could just squeeze it for longer and then roll it in your hands if you don’t want to roll it in a mat.
It really works, it is round and the yarn has given it texture, as well as colour. The longest part of making the bangle is wrapping the yarn. If you were not as neat as I was, you could do it much faster and would have a more textured bangle.
Here it is dry.
You can see it’s a little fuzzy. I wanted more texture and more sparkle. Both Yarns have silk and some Angelina in them. So I got out my trusty dollar store disposable razor and gave it a heavy shave.
There is a lot more texture and you can see some of the minor colours and some shiny and sparkly bits. I had a really hard time trying to capture the sparkle. Most of the little pink dots are sparkle and the orange Bits are silk.
It is too large for me really It would fall off if I would it loose on my wrist. I push it up to my forearm. On a less Rubenesque person or my much younger self, the upper arm would work well. It was fun to do and I should have thought of it for the first quarter challenge.
Cindy O’Gorman is one of the guild members that has made it through the master spinners program and is an amazing teacher. She has been very busy at work and has not been teaching too often the last few years but was talked into doing a series of evening practical spinning workshops this year. The concept is to take a type of fleece, add a particular processing technique and spinning technique to form a yarn appropriate to a specific end use.
1 Cindy O’Gorman our teacher
Before the Guild shut down due to the virus I was able to attend her first workshop in this series and wanted to share the fun I had taking her evening fibre prep/spinning workshop.
For the first in this series, she chose a fine wool with an amazing crimp (that’s the springy kinkiness you see in the fibre) it was a Rambouillet / Merino cross. She used small mesh bags to wash some of the fleece (which kept the lock structure intact) and had washed some in a clump which did not clean the tips as well. The small baggies show the colour the fleece was before washing.
For the OHS program, she had made a chart of various different ways to classify wool and sample of some of the many types. She also had a yarn size and twist angle gauge. This would be useful shortly as we tried to match the yarn she had used as warp on the rigid heddle loom she had brought for us to sample with.
Next was how to process the wool to prepare it for spinning. We used small fine combs. I had brought my 2 pitch Alvin Ramer Combs, single pitch Viking combs (from Indigo Hound), a few of my Bee combs (Decapping Combs) and a wooden handled dog comb.
8 My combing options.
9 Alvin Ramer 2 pitch combs. I use the blue clamps with them since the original C-clamps stayed with one of the previous owners.
10-11 Viking single pitch combs (with diz on the green gardening wire). They were a Christmas present from Glenn quite a few years ago.
12 Bee Decapping combs (Bee combs) these were from Princess Auto but you can find them online. The handle angle is not the best for using as a pair the way normal combs work but can be used singly to tease open a lock.
13 Dog comb. Again, this was ok to tease locks open but didn’t work as a comb.
Unfortunately, my selection was not fine enough so we used the Roger Hawkins combs.
I went looking for a good picture of them online and stumbled across this really nice shot. Then I thought it looked rather familiar. Yes, that is my picture of a bunch of Roger Hawkins combs! It’s odd to see your own photos show up in an online photo search.
Cindy had two pair of Hawkins combs and had the guilds’ pair of the Louet Mini Combs. Unfortunately, the Louet combs have not stood up well to guild use. The tines have become loose. (watch for the picture of dizing from the comb)
She had us load the combs with the butt end in the tines and the tips exposed to the tines of the second comb. Stressing that it was important to only comb enough to make the fibres parallel and get rid of neps and vegetable matter. We did this by transferring the fibre from one comb to the other and back again. One comb was held tines up and the other with tines horizontal. Working from the outer tips slowly transferring fibres until we had as much fibre as possible migrate. (Don’t throw away your combing waste that remains on the comb!! Keep it for core felting something later!)
We spun off the last comb, remembering to space the fibre up the comb so it would draft more easily.
She had us try both short forward and backward drafting directly from the comb.
We had quite the selection of wheels; an Ashford Traditional, the Matchless, a Louet and a Rook by Lendrum.
Next was on to Dizzing! What a cool word Diz, to Diz, we Diz, we are Dizzing and we have Dizzed. It may just be the sound of the word or maybe having a plethora of z opportunities is what makes it a great word? Anyways, on to the dizzing. Using a button, shell, or a piece of curved plastic will work as a diz. The size of the hole will change the amount of fibre that is pulled through to make the sliver. A small crochet hook or loop of fishing line will help start the fibre through the hole. For best results, it is important to get the concave curve towards the fibre. (Like this; spinner —-(===== fibre source) You can diz from a drum carder too if you were curious.
Again reposition the fibres upwards in the tines if the drafting feels resistant.
31 I need a button with a slightly smaller hole and I should pick up a tiny crochet hook!
All this work is worth it. Look at the lovely fluffy clouds waiting to be spun!
Spinning from the slivers was much easier than from the comb (which was actually a lot of fun). We quickly spun up singles with which we could then try weaving. We wound off the spinning bobbin and directly onto a weaving bobbin using a bobbin winder. A single, being an energized yarn, I put my wheel back away from the bobbin winder to give the twist a bit more space to even out before winding on to the weaving bobbin.
Cindy gave us a quick rundown on how to use the rigid heddle loom (where to find the up, down and neutral position sheds). You can also see the small peg looms to the right on the table. The warp on the loom is Polwarth from Shirley Browsky’s sheep. We had been given a sample of the two-ply and were spinning to match the diameter but in a one ply.
We were getting close to the end of the workshop and were going to take turns weaving off our samples at the next social (which was cancelled due to the virus). So we will have singles that have sat on a bobbin for a bit and that will make them a bit more cooperative (less energized).
Cindy showed us a different way to wind over your hand to make a double-ended ball to spin from. She was winding pretty quickly so I’m afraid the pictures are a bit more “Action shot” than I had anticipated.
I used to snitch Glenn’s paperbacks (usually the one he was reading) to wind a double ended ball. He eventually made me a metal winding tool with his blacksmithing skills so he could keep his books.
Since this workshop, I am now watching for 2 more sets of combs, the Viking 2 pitch fine combs and a set of the Roger Hawkins combs. I have 2 fleeces that could use their attention! Oh, the Humanity! My poor fleeces will have to wait until I have the right equipment to really show off their loveliness! I wonder if the Wool Growers Co-Op in Carlton Place has any new fleeces yet? I wonder if anyone other than I would consider wool an essential item to daily life?
Take care, stay healthy, keep your hands in warm soapy water as much as possible!! (I am not implying you should do any dishwashing)
Since we are all sitting at home, and not going out to gatherings, I did a little spinning with some friends from my weavers and spinners guild on Zoom. A social distancing, social. For our first try, it went very well. We chatted about many things while most of us were spinning, just like we do when we meet in person.
This is part of the batt I used. You can see there are large parts that or very hard to draft along with wool. It is silk fibre, I think.
It was getting close to time to start zoom so I did a few rolags up with my hand carders. Naturally, I didn’t think to take pictures of them until later. Lying in bed I think that’s ok I had 1 or I thought 2 left I will do it tomorrow. But, they disappeared mysteriously. No one took them or moved them. Not even a bit of fluff from them has surfaced so I think perhaps some fairies came in the night and took them off to make soft beds or something.
I do have a picture of the little bit of spinning I did. I will have to make some more rolags and hide them. Although putting stuff in safe places often means I can’t find them either.
This is the P.S. to this part of the post. I made some more rolags after I finished setting the post up. Here they are:
This is some spinning I did earlier in the week form a different batt. This batt is a nice grey and pink. I think I showed it to you before but can’t find where.
I thought I had a picture of it as a single but it’s not on my phone. This is it plied into a 2 ply yarn and wound into a little center pull ball. It is quite pretty
I hope everyone is keeping well during this stressful time.
On my last post, I showed you my new studio space. I had just moved in and my beloved fibre was still very much scattered around, and I felt a little at a loss as to where I should place my furniture.
It’s been 3 months, so how have things progressed?
The quick answer is, very much as I’d expect – there’s still work to be done! For good reason, however: I’ve been busy working on a new collection and have been concentrating my energy on that instead of changing things around.
I did manage to add a little touch of whimsy to this corner. A few of my for-dyeing fibres are tucked in those cubicles, and I managed a way to show off a few o my hand spun art yarns, as well as some commercial ones I have plans for very soon.
Holes in the walls are a no-no, so I’m buying some MDF, placing it behind the shelves and drilling that instead to keep my vertical storage organised. Having it propped against the walls as is isn’t agreeing with me.
My little reading corner, currently filled with work stuff. When I’m sewing I feel I never have enough space to place my finished items.
I managed to add a little artwork to the walls, to liven the place up. My ceiling is very high and the bare walls looked a little sad. Wish me luck when it’s time to remove them…
Placing the sewing table in front of my window was both smart and silly. I get plenty of light (my initial reasoning) but when it’s windy I can feel the draft from the window ventilation slots. For now, it stays where it is, but I might change it later.
Have I told you I named the sewing machine Marge?
My former dining table can be completely stretched now, which is lovely. It might look chaotic but every item is in use for my current project! Ok, most items are.
Spot the Christmas wreath in the background… it’s needle felted.
I made this wreath for my husband, who had to spend the holidays by himself in Scotland. I wanted him to enjoy a little seasonal joy and made this in a couple of hours. What do you think?
That’s my tour of the studio space. I’m still going to add more artwork to the walls, and might change the big table’s orientation. Other than that, I’m very happy with my work area and have found my energy is higher here, especially now that the days are growing longer. I’m looking forward to working in my corner during Summer.
I haven’t managed any felting this last little while but I have been doing some spinning. I spin on my drop spindle, making small balls I use to decorate my felt. I did have a wheel at one point in my spinning journey. I had an Ashford Traveler. It was a very nice wheel but it ended up sitting in a corner gathering dust, so I sold it. My favourite wool preparation right now is rolags. The wool just seems to draft so easily.
I’ve spun up most of this blue.
I did a ball of regular yarn and one of thick and thin. I can do both these very well but am having trouble making consistent and thick yarn.
I also have these nice orange-yellow rolags I am working on.
I’ve only done one ball of this so far. I had just wound it off into a wall when I took this so It has some cardboard in it so the center doesn’t collapse.
and lastly some wool I won at the Rosepath Auction at my guild in December. This is a funny cross between an auction and a draw. I spun the smaller ball of this and gave the rest to my friend Judy as she had tried to win it as well. I am not sure what this is other than wool and silk. At least we think so. Bernadette burned some at one of our guild socials and it stunk up the place like burned hair.
and here is the ball.
I have a lot of these balls more than I am ever really going to need for felting. I do make some small skeins, 11 yards, to sell. That is enough to cover an 8-foot scarf quite densely. I don’t knit crochet or weave so not sure what else I could do with it. maybe some crewel work or rug hooking/punching maybe, because I need another fibre hobby. LOL