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
January 8th 2020 started a series of sudden unexpected Doctor and Dentist appointments culminating in a trip to emergency. It was an infection on one side of my face with a strong possible suspect of a broken tooth for its source. Three antibiotics later, one of them IV administered, I was off to see the dental surgeon for a consultation on Friday Jan. 17th. Really it was just to be an assessment then that word “expedited” from the specialist at the hospital came up and I was requested to return that afternoon at 3 for an extraction. They could squeeze me in while he was doing a triple wisdom tooth extraction. Oh no! Oh well, it has to be done and it would be under full anesthetic which works much better than locals for me. I’m not sure what they used this time but it must have had a codeine chaser. I was wide awake till after 4:30am last night then wide awake by 8am this morning. Since I was still a bit frozen in spots but was feeling pretty perky Glenn said he would be porter and take me as long as I took it easy.
OK now on to the fibre related stuff:
1) Wheels on Fire / Les Rouets en Feu Spin-in January 20, 2018 @ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Wheels on Fire is the first spin-in of the year. A time to stock up for the rest of the snow and deep freeze that can be Ottawa in the winter. Also it’s a chance to see friends from other guilds and meet some of the ladys and gentlemen from the Quebec side of the river.
It is held at Le Cabane just at the edge of the Gatineau park. It’s an old log building with a few large meeting rooms, all of which were in use today by various groups. We had a lower turn-out this time due to impending snow dump forecast for later this afternoon. However, for those who could make it, there was great shopping of fibre, yarn, felting needle and holders, Japanese embroidery templates and thimbles and did I mention fibre?
There was also to be a talk and slide show on the flax study groups findings for 2019
2-12) Report on the Flax project 2019. There will be a 2020 Flax project if you want to join in on this summer and fall’s study group you still have time to sign up.
please note the size of the logs as you see the inside pictures. Finally a few shots of vendors and participants:
13) $5.00 cost to get in, Tim Hortons coffee and the roll of door prize tickets.
14—16) The drawing and the Door prizes
17-18) the Cabane and the man who created it.
19 -20) Fibre cleaning supplies for sale
21-23) Icelandic fleeces and kids leather mitts.
24-30)Fibre buttons and felting supplies
31 – 33) the pink blue and white batts are the from the fibre she won a couple years ago at wheels on fire 2018!It was a donation from the Wool Growers Co-Op in Carlton Place (just west of Ottawa)
34-36) stitch markers
37-40) Bernadette organized the event, selling batts and locks of fibre.
41- 47)Weaving and spinning wooden supplies, more fibre!
48-50) Art batts, wild colour batts!
51-54) basketry complete with a demo! (he does workshops and gives very good presentations on basketry)
55)Yarn to knit or weave
56-59) Indigo dyed cloths, natural dyed yarn, Japanese Embroidery –kits supplies needles and templates.
60) Really big logs
61-75 some of the participants today
76-80) Ceinture Flechee
After such a fun day the snow started and we all made a run for home. Even with the threat of the impending storm the day was wonderful. There were many of the items I was hoping to find for sale and it was lots of fun talking with many of my fibre Friends.
81-82) The storm was just starting. It was time to get home and back to indoor ice (pack) and antibiotics!
Now home I can write up my day and a few quick shot of today’s purchases to inspire your own shopping. I think my year may be looking up since both Glenn and I won door prizes! He got the silk wash and I won Green Locks from Bernadette!
83-87) Shopping! (i went from 6 students for a full class to 18 students wanting to take needle felted sheep workshop so i had to get more supplys!)
I hope your year is starting out with lots of fibre and no trips to doctors and dentists!
(sorry this is a Long Post if you make it through to the end there are videos! make sure to check out the one on flax dressing its really horrible looking stuff but works exceedingly well)
After a break for the guild Sale and Exhibition we resumed the Flax project on Saturday, November 16th at 10am. It included a potluck lunch.
A quick review of what went before:
– April 4, 2019 Waiting for the soil to thaw and dry
– May 5th Prepare the ground and plant the seeds; germination expected in 10-14 days.
– May 13th Sprouts are seen
– June 08 2019 – Weeding party
– June 28 2019 – The first flowers have appeared
– July 7 2019 flax flowering is slowing down, seed pods developing
– July 9th added extra support ropes to keep flax from collapsing during impending torrential rain storm
– July 13 flax survived storm – wind and heavy rain
– July 18 Seed pods are showing signs of turning yellow
– July 27, 2019 at 10 am First Harvesting (1/4 of the crop has been left to be harvested in 2 parts later)
– July 29 Bernadette tries rippling, not yet ready.
– August 10 2019 Rippling and Winnowing the flax then beginning of the retting
– August 15 the remaining crop is ready to harvest for the seed
– August 17 2019 continuing threshing and winnowing. Retted flax laid out to dry
Which brings us up to November 16th at 10am. We converged at Cathy Louise’s Coverall barn where the flax was waiting for us.
1 kiddie pool of first harvest, retted flax
We kept the flax in the three sections of harvesting. The first harvest in the kiddy pool, second harvest on one end of the metal troughs (it’s the darker colour) and the last harvested, saved for the seed, which is the lighter colour and at the other end of the trough.
2 the later harvests darker, below, harvested before the lighter on the top of the picture
Starting with the largest amount, we began the breaking. (Let the Violence begin!). The Brake breaks up the outer fiber to start to access the long linen fibers within. We eventually figured out this was a very important step. Cole who has processed many local bass fibers (dog strangling vine particularly) had the most experience with the equipment. He had built his own brake, we had the loan of an antique and Gord had found a good rugged one for sale.
3-6 Using the Brake
After the fiber had been cruelly beaten by the brake its fate turned dire as it was firmly thwacked by a skutching sword. The best one seemed to be the Lilac branch that had been split and slightly shaped. It was a bit more flexible than the kitchen implements Cathy Louise had tried or the wooden swords similar to my Viking sword beater. Cole had brought a massive timber and a board with a hand-protecting hole cut in it. Both worked more ergonomically than the boards we had started with.
7-8 Skutching Knife made from Lilac
9-11 Skutching tool formerly a kitchen impliment
12 -16 our various skuching boards, note the handy safety hand hole to keep your finger safe.
The next step was the Hackles. This is the sharp part!! By this point, you really do need to have your tetanus shots up to date.
17 setting out the hackles
We set up a coarse, medium and fine set. We had been lent both old and newer Hackles, all were very sharp and really should be used with gloves. I found them highly photogenic.
18 i got a few really cool shots of these viscous implements of plant torture
We ran the flax through the teeth to separate the line (the long really good fiber) from the tow (the shorter pieces that are not as sought after but still will spin and weave up nicely)
19-20 drawing the flax through to hackles removes more of the shorter fibers and leaves the high quality line linen. you can see the tow stuck in the hackles and on the table.
We worked from the course to the medium to the fine. Producing small amounts of line flax.
21-24 Hackles and a growing pile of Tow
As you can see there was a lot of tow for as little bit of flax. We suspect that we will get a better yield with greater attention to breaking and possibly slightly longer retting. This is our first time and we suspect the growing season was not prime for flax so we hope for a better harvest next year. The Line flax we got from the process was very nice; most of it seemed quite fine from the first batch.
25-26 inspecting the flax and checking out the cows
While we were torturing plant life on one end of the coverall our neighbours were having an extended lunch or maybe it was second or third lunch. Like cats, cows seem to feel that there butt ends are one of their best features. I had trouble getting a shot that wasn’t mostly butt shots. (I had promised the study group not to take them but not all the cows would cooperate.) Thinking of lunch it was time for ours so off we went back to the house to enjoy it and get a bit warmer.
Lunch break Pot Luck:
27 – 35 Lunch
After lunch, Cathy Louise showed us her CPW (Canadian Production Wheel) she has an amazing spot to sit and spin in her loft.
Then it was back to work
36 – 40 thump thump thwak thump thwak thwak
At the end of the day we had 2 bags of floor findings from the Brakes and the same amount from the Skutching and possibly a bit more from the hackle leavings. We kept them separate to work on as part of the final days processing.
This was the amount of line linen we produced.
41-44 our days work, a little bit of good line linen and lots of tow
Final day of flax processing
45 the coverall barn that we were sharing with the cows and some annoyed birds
Saturday November 23 at 9:30 am, one week later and we were back at the coverall.
46-47 Alison had brought her course drum carder to try on the flax
48 First batt off the drum carder looked promising.
49-50 Bernadette arrived with the dew-retted flax she had done. It was a darker colour. She also had big English combs in her bag to try out with the flax.
51 -53 4 pitch English combs by Alvin Ramer
Unfortunately the combs were not as successful as we had hoped ( it shredded both the long and shorter fibers) so we continued with the drum carder.
54 -55 Here is the difference in colour between the two types of retting (field and trough)
56-57 We finished possessing the last of the flax and put most of the tow through the drum carder once before we cleaned up for lunch.
58 Cole made a quick bit of rope out of some of the coarsest waste. He used the strange wooden tool on the table to make the rope.
Lunch Break Pot Luck!
After lunch, we measured and divided the flax seeds. We kept part for next year’s planting from the late harvested plants. We each got a portion to either plant at home or make flax dressing from. (This is used instead of water when spinning the flax or to size a warp for weaving. Bernadette made some it was truly an interesting viscosity but worked extremely well for spinning.
65 We then weighed and divided the line flax.
66-67 the line is ready to be divided
We looked at the difference between the two methods of retting and tried to determine if the second and third sections harvested were much coarser than the first.
68 We kept aside samples for comparison later.
Then it was back to the coverall for a quick peek at the cows and to give the tow a second pass through the drum carder.
-73 We divided up the tow, did a final clean up and headed for home.
75 (Glenn took this just to prove I was actually there since I wasn’t in any of the pictures!)
I took a number of videos while we were processing the flax and Bernadette’s experimentation with flax dressing. If you would like to see all the videos please consider joining the OVWSG Flax Project Private Group on face book https://www.facebook.com/groups/642029912915854/?fref=nf
Cole using the Brake:
Drum carder with the Tow
this is the culmination of this part of the Flax study group. Bernadette has boiled 2 tbs of the flax seed to make a flax dressing which is used to size warps that are being difficult and to add in spinning flax.
11-25-19 flax dressing – Bernadette with wool and flax spinning using Flax dressing.
I hope you have enjoyed the Flax study group as much as i did participating (well i did more photography and not as much hands on but it was still a blast and i hope to be able to participate in next years study group). if this appeals to you too you mite want to join next years study group or maybe start your own.
PS it takes a lot longer to upload a video than it dose a picture so its much later than i expected it to be and i think i best head off to bed now.
(Sorry. I got to the first part of the harvest and realized this could grow into a book! So i will tell you about the violence and weapons like swords, brakes, hackles and skutching later.)
There are many reasons you might want to join a local guild. There is the comradery of people who are also interested in what you are interested in. There may be access to shared equipment or resources. There may also be the opportunity to join a study group. The Guild Ann and I belong to is reasonably old by North American standards and reasonably large for a local guild. We have members with interests from spinning, weaving, felting, dyeing to tatting, lace making and naalbinding . We even have at least one (Icelandic) warp weighted loom represented within the membership. We have socials every Monday nights if we are not having a meeting which happens once a month. At socials we spin, weave, knit and chat. One of the chats led to the idea to form a study group to grow and process flax. I think that was about a year ago.
Pre planting planning:
Cathy Louise offered planting space at her farm and started to research on seeds appropriate for our climate and length of summer. I tracked down books in the library, looked on line for information, and volunteered to photograph the experiment. We had a number of people that expressed interest but not all made it through to the end. We found a particularly good book on growing flax in Canada. Cathy Louise bought the seeds (we divided the cost amongst the participants; $7.00 Canadian) and prepared a row in her farm garden for the planting to take place. I think it was 4 feet wide by 40 feet long.
We had to wait till the field was dry enough to work (there was flooding again this year as the snow melted)
This is April 4, 2019 at Cathy Louise’s field south of Ottawa while most of my garden was still covered in snow.
Day 1 planting:
2 Cathy Louise Leads Us to the field
The study group arrived on a bright sunny day (May 5 2019) to rake, stake and plant the 3 bags of seeds to start the beginning of the practical part of the study group.
density 4 seeds per inch hand scattered
Step 1 measure and mark the planting section for the flax.
3-4 Positioning the Flax Plot
Step 2 weed and rake the area of planting. Put up a line to mark the planting area.
5-6 Weeding and raking to prepare for the flax seeds
Step 3 we had three seed packages so we cut the section into thirds and marked them by a stake.
We planted each section by scattering the seeds by hand. Then raked and tamped them down.
14 Afterwords, relaxing with everyone on the deck (there use to be cake)
The end of planting was celebrated by cake on the deck!
Cathy Louise gave progress reports as the seeds became plants on our study group face book page; OVWSG Flax Project. (There was much rejoicing when we saw the little green bits and they didn’t seem to be weeds!)
(Skip ahead a little)
Weeding party- June 08 2019
Checking the amount of growth of the row. Height just over 4 inches?
Instructions- if it’s not flax pull it.
A quick touch up along the edges (was that implement called a stirrup hoe?
visit the very pretty cows
Celebrate with cake and ice tea!!
15- 21 Some of this green is not like the other green so get rid of it! Glenn’s technique is vary relaxing.
22 We Work hard evicting and terrorizing weeds. So we relaxed with Cake and ice tea! it was vary good!
All this took just over an hour and then we celebrated with cake!
Cathy Louise posted updates at the flax grew
June 22 Cathy Louise Posts update on flax groth
June 28 updated on flax from Cathy Louise
July 7 update from Cathy Louise
July 11 In early July, Strings were added across the flax to help keep it upright before a large rainstorm was forecast (Cathy Louise, Bernadette and Julie did the stringing)
July 22 the seed heads suggest we should be harvesting soon updated picture from Cathy Louise
First harvest Saturday July 27, 2019 at 10 am. The harvest took an hour to complete.
28 Flax flower and seed pods
29 – 39 the Harvesting Teem. small bundles were pulled and tied with a flax plant to hold the bundle securly. the bundles were staked along the fence rail to dry.
40 the first part of the harvest is in . look at the weeds that snuck in among the flax plants.
You can see that we left about 1/4th of the row to continue ripening so it could be used as seed for next year. We split the remaining flax in two more harvests so we could not only have viable seeds but also see how leaving it to grow longer would change the characteristics of the fibre.
To also give comparison we were going to rett most of the fibre in a trough but wanted to also see what effect dew retting would create. To sate our curiosity Bernadette took a few bundles home to dew rett (spreading and lay it out on the grass, turning it to start the rotting of the outer part of the stalk to allow access to the inner fibre)
I will show you more of what happened to the unsuspecting flax plants after they were pulled up by their roots and left to dry by the fence. That will be for next week, or i am sure you will feel like you are reading a book!
Last month Glenn and I took a trip down to Oakville to visit his parents and one of his brothers and part of their family who had also come for a visit. It was going to be crowded at the house so we stayed at a hotel with a pool (I got to go swimming and do pool exercises each morning). I had been hoping to see both of my nieces but Fiona could not escape from her work so I was only able to enjoy the company of Jennifer and her Mom Marg (I did not inflict fibre on Grant!) (Really I will get to the fibre stuff)
When the nieces had been very young, both our families had all lived in Ottawa. I had bought them excessive numbers of Barbies (because there dog kept trying to keep the population down by eating them) and had taught them how to weave Barbie blankets on a plastic loom.
Two years ago they visited in Oakville at xmas. while I was desperately finishing Alex’s Xmas Polar bear, I got both girls doing sculptural needle felting. It went quite well and Fiona seemed to really like it.
This visit I was determined I would further their Fibre arts indoctrination. I brought supplies for pictorial needle felting, spinning (Wheel and spindle) and Japanese cord making (Kumihimo).
There was a lot of running around town and family visiting happening but in preparation for the landscape I took pictures of my Mother-in-laws amazing garden. I also caught shots of some of the wild life you see in their back yard. I was not sitting outside when the Raccoon and rabbit went by. (More about inspirational images in another post)
We finally had a quiet day (the day before they left) and started on the drop spindle. I used the same make-it-yourself Turkish drop spindle I had used at the Gaming convention to Spin the Golden fleece.
For those that missed it the DIY spindle requires;
4 six inch (short) meat skewers
1 longer meet skewer with the wide end cut down. (my cheap garden sheers cut them nicely)
(optional nail file to clean up the cut on the skewer)
6 small elastics
2 bulldog clips (I have medium ones but if you want less weight and momentum use smaller ones. If you want more weight and thus greater momentum use larger ones)
One leader cord (piece of string) about 3 feet long tied in a loop.
We assembled the spindles and I showed them the “Park and Draft” method of spinning. You build up the twist then park the spindle between your knees. Next focus on the fibre, draft out what you want the twist to deal with and let the twist slide up to the top of that section. Add a bit more twist if necessary then wind onto the spindle. After a bit of this they put it all together and did the drafting and adding twist together.
With the first yarn successfully completed we moved on to try the wheel.
I had brought with me from Ottawa the new-to-me Lendrum Rook. Gord Lendrum made about 40 of them between 1984 to 1986. There a very nice little upright wheel with a very odd tensioning system. The one I have has a problem with the upright that supports the wheel. It’s lost its’ glue and now will rotate so you have to straighten the wheel each time you set up to spin. But once you have her strait she spins like a dream!
Both Marg and Jennifer seemed to have enjoyed the wheel. Both were able to make respectable yarn.
Next Jenifer and I moved on to Kumihimo with the card stalk marudai. She selected her colours, and set up her marudai.
She also likes blue, the green was a nice highlight with the blues.
The supplies you will need to make a Moridi are heavy card stock (I’m using 110lb cardstock, a cereal box would work too). I made a template in publisher then saved it in PDF and Jpeg.
You will also require;
a hole in the center and
7 strands of yarn.
“100% Cotton, each skein is 7.3m/23.9ft.” I found these at Dollarama
Good options are
tiny elastics and a
mid-sized Bulldog clip
Ok now that you have run out and collected all the equipment, measured (I have heard it’s about 3 times longer than what you want to make) and carefully cut out your marudai, here is what to do next.
Depending on how you set up the colours and position them around the marudai you will get different patterns. (I have not yet tried all the variables yet) gather all the 7 strands together and Tie a knot (leave extra length after the knot if you want to have a fringe). Either push the knot through the hole in the centre to the back side or from the back side thread the yarn through, leaving the knot. I add the bulldog clip to the knot so it won’t slide through the centre hole. Skipping one slot (I skip the one with the direction arrow when I am setting up) space your strands into the 7 other slots. Wind your strands up so there is about 4 inches loose; the rest wound up in a butterfly. Use the knot for marudai bobbins or elastic to keep if from slipping when you don’t want it to. (See the picture above)
How to weave:
This is really important. There are only 3 steps!
Step 1) From the empty slot count clock wise to the third strand.
Step 2) Pull it out of its slot and move it to the empty spot.
Step 3) Rotate the marudai so that the empty slot is towards you again.
Repeat from step 1 until you run out of yarn to weave.
When the cordage you are making gets too long curl it up and clip it with the bulldog clip.
Keep the marudai surface flat and the strands will not tangle as much. Also keeping them not too long will help keep them in order.
This is a fast, portable way to make cordage. This particular pattern, 7 strands in an 8 slot marudai, makes a number of variations depending on colour and strand placement. It is easy to pick up and put down and not lose your place
Jennifer really enjoyed Kumihimo. I sent her back to California with extra cotton to weave with on the airplane. I look forward to seeing what she will do with her cordage. Now let’s see if she finds herself a spinning wheel and a drop spindle!
In Ottawa, Canada there is a large gaming convention on the May long weekend each year. Glenn usually runs 18xx train games, other train games and sometimes Settlers of Catan. The 18xx gaming system is extremely long, involves stock trading, math and the early trains rust out part way through the game. It really doesn’t sound like much fun to me so I spin or felt.
Why yes I think I may be able to come up with something. So I made a beta testing game for this year, with the option of a second theme for beta testing next year.
Since its live action it would likely be best to run this game as a live action role-playing game (LARP). Larp’s are a form of role-playing game (RPG) where the participants physically portray their characters. You may be familiar with table top RPG game like Dungeons and Dragons. In both systems everyone has a character with stats in various skills. Using these skills, critical thinking and co-operative problem solving you have to defeat or solve some problem (rampaging orcs, dragons, other common problems) within a story told by your dungeon master. (It’s all very exciting and better than trains that rust – Sorry Glenn)
Now how to fit fibre arts into this? I need a story arc or plot; one with the necessity to spin. Rumpelstiltskin, which would be spinning flax, would be a bit hard for a beginner to start spinning on. Sleeping beauty, no that’s just how to catch tetanus. It would also be hard to find a prince that could actually heal that.
Eureka!! Jason and the Argonauts! Yes perfect. Jason is an idiot but the story has lots of other great non-player characters (NPCs). Such as Jason, Captain and leader of the Argonauts (a lot of sailors), Medea (a high priestess) and her father (the King). The two important magical artifacts were the cloak of Helios and the Golden Fleece. There is even an epic battle. Perfect! But most important it involves a fleece (a rams fleece technically but I won’t be picky).
Well the battle is unimportant for spinning but it has to have already occurred so the players will have the fleece in hand to spin. It also needs to happen before Jason tries to dump Medea for the young and beautiful Creusila, daughter of the King of Crete.
Ok let me try to write that up as an RPG
“Live action RPG Spin the Golden Fleece
(Advanced characters with High Co-ordination best suited to this game but lower levels are welcome too)
Spin the Golden Fleece.
This adventure takes place between the heroic battle you fought, assisted by Jason and the Argonauts and the High priestess Medea against her cruel and unreasonable father the king. And before the adventures in Crete with the beautiful Creusala and her father, the king of Crete. (“Weave the Cloak of Helios” may be offered in another RPG another year but only if the weather is cloudy.)”
I printed out the instructions (see below) made up kits with the instructions, parts and a bit of wool to practice with. It all fit in a basket I picked up at value village. So off to Cangames with one of my travel wheels in a trundle box and basket to beta test the new “spinning game”.
Glenn Mover of Wheels and lugger of stuff
Jan having a great time spinning, watching and listening to a good book
Ready to play Spin the Golden Fleece
The gaming takes place in the curling arena, some games are on tables set in the lobby, a few in the basement and some in the upstairs hall that overlooks the curling area. It’s a very old building and there is no elevator but 2 very long sets of stairs do get you up to the comfortable chairs of the upper hall (luckily the washrooms are also on the upper level). Since Glenn was gaming upstairs and it has the best view for watch the other gaming happening below, I enjoy being up there. The best chairs are also upstairs.
I set up in a corner near the RPG-ers but not underfoot. Most people had pre-signed up for games but occasionally there will be a break, a game is canceled or ends early. If you have a game going that could use another person you put out a small orange traffic cone to indicate you are looking for more players. Since I was beta testing I was not on the schedule so didn’t have preregistration. I put out my traffic cone, kits of spindle making and some extra fibre. Then sat down with my roadbug wheel, turned on my audio book and started to spin. I had 5 people join me this year. Only one had tried to spin before. I did have lots who stopped to see what I was doing and were interested but about to start a preregistered game. A couple of the organizers stopped by to see what kind of game I had come up with too. They were also busy but wanted to see me submit it for next year’s program.
The first part of their adventure was to construct their own drop spindle. I had bought the necessary supplies at the local dollar store. The long and short meat skewers, small hair elastics, bull dog clips in a few different sizes (weights), a box of extra-large Ziploc sandwich bags, a ball of string and a really strong pair of garden pruners. I selected some of my superwash merino wool to stand in for the Golden fleece. Super wash wool may not felt but it does spin quite nicely.
After getting the players to assemble their own drop spindle I had them try spinning by using the park and draft method. I also showed them how to put it all together, drafting and spinning all at once. They all seemed very happy and headed off with their spindles, fibre and the web address for the local guild and their Face book page so they could find more spinners.
It was fun to try to integrate two activities. My solution was to make spinning a game, but Glenn’s solution has been trying to entice me into sheep related boardgames (without trains that rust or excessive math or spelling skills). He has actually found and acquired a lot of sheep related board games for me. We have even taken them in to a couple social nights at the guild to enjoy them with other sheep oriented people.
Here are some of them. Have you found ones he has not?
“Sheepland”, “Attribute”, “Battle Sheep”, “Shear Panic”, “Sheep’n’sheep” (the Japanies one), “Wooly Bully”, “Space Sheep!”, “Wool rules” and a sheep staking game.
“Sheep and Thief” and “Lowlands” have recently been added but not yet played.
Image 31 Glenn won a tournament.
If you were curious here is the written part of the RPG game I was running.
Live action RPG Spin the Golden Fleece
(Advanced characters with High Co-ordination best suited to this game but lower levels are welcome too)
Spin the Golden Fleece.
This adventure takes place between the heroic battle you fought, assisted by Jason and the Argonauts and the High priestess Medea against her cruel and unreasonable father the king. And before the adventures in Crete with the beautiful Creusala and her father, the king of Crete. (“Weave the Cloak of Helios” may be offered in another RPG another year but only if the weather is cloudy.)
The adventure instructions:
Part 1 Assemble the Turkish Drop spindle (25 experience upon completion)
How to assemble the spindle;
Take the 4 shorter skewers, elastic-ed together in pairs laid tip to tail. Make an ‘X’ by crossing the two sets on top of each other. Put the long skewer through the center of the cross and rap elastics diagonally from the point between the arms of the X and back to the point. Then add an elastic to the other diagonal. Trim off some of the extra length at the top of the long skewer. Take an arm’s length of your string and tie a knot to make into a big loop. Rap the loop around the spindle shaft and pull one end through the other do this again to make a double loop to set your leader. Add the bull dog clips on opposite arms to give more momentum if needed.
Part 2 spin the Golden top or Roving
(the golden Fleece has already been fiber prepped, presumably by Jason (drum carded), his crew of the Argonaut (Roving or Rolags) or Medea herself (Top).)
Method; Park and Draft
Use the attached leader from your spindle, fold over a bit of your fiber (pre-drafted if you have not spun before is suggested). Pinch the fiber and now add twist by spinning your spindle.
Do not let the twist into the fiber you are not yet spinning.
Once you see a good amount of twist in the leader and bit of fiber you are starting with, Stop. Park the spindle between your knees. Now comes the draft part. Slide the fingers you are pinching to keep the twist on the spindle side of the roving up the roving until you feel the fiber is starting to lose twist or you reach the end of the area you have predrafted.
Twist is what keeps the fibers together. It’s the magic glue when you spin. If you get too much twist the yarn will have too much energy and twist up on itself when plyed. If you have too little twist it will break.
If the singles seems to be twisted to your liking, wind on to the spindle. With a Turkish spindle you wind over 2 and under one arm. Then set up to add more twist by spinning the next section of fiber (roving or top).
When enough twist has built up again, park the spindle and draft out the fiber. Then add to spindle. Spin again to build up twist repeating until you run out of fiber or have a full drop spindle. (Park/Draft/Park/draft….)
If you wove or knit with a single (that is the yarn you made on the drop spindle) it will have excess energy which will affect the product you are making. To remove the excess energy plying is used.
Double ended ball method.
Use a ball winder, Nostapina or toilet paper tube to wind a ball keeping the inside end accessible. Join the inside end and the outside end together. Spin in the opposite direction to balance the twist and produce relaxed yarn.
Making a skein
Storing the spun 2 ply yarn is important, so it will be ready to weave or knit with between battles.
Equipment: skein winder, reel or squirrel cage. In an emergency, the space between your thumb and first finger and your elbow can be used to make a small skein.
Affix with a slip knot or hold the starting end. Wind the skein. When you have almost finished secure the tail in two or three places to finish the skein.
Twist opposite ends of the skein and tuck the tail in to the opposite loop end. Let the twist create a finished looking skein for you.
Last week you saw Jan post about the spin in Wheels on Fire. LINK It was lots of fun and I bought a lovely batt from Judy Kavanagh etsy.com/ca/shop/JudyKavanagh I loved the colours and it made me think of a wild landscape. I decided to just open it up and felt it as is. Here is before:
I also got this lovely little red batt form Bernadette Quade. I don’t know what I will do with it yet but I like the depth of red. The colour is not good here it is quite red with a little purply blue. There was a picture of her table in Jan post linked at the top. She doesn’t have an online store but I can get you in contact with her if you like.
Then as my luck was in, I won another batt in the door prise draw. Also very pretty and I don’t know if I will pull it apart or felt it as is or maybe even spin some of it. It is from Creations Christine creationschristine.com/collections/ the batt I won was non feltable so she traded it for this one.
Last Saturday was the other spin in in my area. In a small town called Chesterville. I am lucky I am just about in the middle between both theses spin ins It was there 20th annual spin in. I wanted something interesting to spin. I was tempted by some “fancier” less blended batts but didn’t think my spinning skill was up to them. I bought a small batt from Judy Kavanagh again. Reds and blues.
This is the first small ball done on Saturday.
Having said that the other batts were to complicated for my spinning ability, I kept being drawn back to this one by Alpaca Tracks. http://www.alpaca-tracks.com/ I reminded me so much of a storm over the ocean. It has quite a bit of shine too but it just doesn;t sho in the picture. I am not sure if I will use parts of it or do the whole thing adding some sand near the bottom. or use parts of it for sky in other pieces.
Then while I was Showing a 4H group how to spin on a spindle and getting them to each spin a small bit for their project binders, my number was called for a door prize. I chose this lovely batt by Celine Paquette of La ferme le moment present. www.facebook.com/artistedelafibre/ part of this one may become the sand with the storm batt above. When I opened it I realised there were 4 lovely wooden buttons in it too.
I have made a few plainish backgrounds to work on this last while. One I put a blue stream in . and then promptly ripped it off when dry. Why do we always think of water as blue. it is seldom blue. It looks more like a stream now than before. You will have to wait for the next blog post to see it. Time to get out the needles and start working on the backgrounds.
Last week in Ruth’s post Batik Post she had a scribble tree. I have always liked them so Ruth suggested I make some. Ok them what to make. then I remembered these felt pieces I made a long time ago, I think, because I do not remember making them or what they were for.
They seem to be white felt with black silk hanky on them that were make to the prefelt stage, then cut out and put on some black prefelt(maybe) and felted again. I had no idea what to do with these but then thought why not just treat them like pieces of tile and just make a picture on them like painters do.
First I needed some tree green yarn so bot out my carders. It is some sort of curly fiber maybe Blue Faced Lester as that is what I have most of and the curls are small.
I made some rolags to spin. It is full of lumps and nepps so it will be a textured yarn.
I spun up a single, then plied it and made it into a center pull ball ready to use.
I used the yarn to needle felt a scribble tree onto one of the bigger pieces.
I decided it needed a star so used some embroidery thread to add one. I would like to add some hanging Christmas balls but there really isn’t room for them. The piece is only about 4 inches square.
I decided to try it on one of the smaller pieces too about 2×3 inches. The picture on the right is the back. I love how all the little stabs of fiber stick out.
So thats been my weeks worth of daily doses of fiber.
As It is so close to new year I am going to Wish you all a Fibrey New Year full of creativity. I am planning to do more hangable art work, work out an online workshop and an intermediate vessel class for my guild. But also to learn how to use my new camera to make and document my work. See you next Year(8 whole days form now).
When Zed announced the 4th quarter challenge, I immediately thought of a bit of wool yarn that I spun by hand with a drop spindle ages ago. It has been sitting in my studio for years now and I have never done anything with it. So I hunted around for it, finally finding it on a shelf with some other yarn.
Then I made up some twists using my hand carders and a skewer. I found a batt of natural fiber that I had lying about and was able to make something for the challenge with very little preparation. I’m going by that motto “use stuff up”.
Here’s the layout. There are 5 twists which are fairly fat and the rest is hand spun yarn. My spinning skills are minimal so the yarn is very thick/thin.
And here it is after felting. I think that the twists kind of look like orthoceras fossils. So I am considering adding either hand or machine stitching or both to bring out the fossil appearance more. What would you add to it?
Once I have done some stitching, I will show it to you again.