I really haven’t done much of anything since I did the jellyfish. I did go to help with a Demo at the Almonte Fiber festival last Sunday. It was so lovely to get out to an event and a demo. I have missed doing both of these the last couple of years.
I am sure Jan will show you many pictures of the event as she is the official photographer. So I will only show you my end of the display table. well for the first half of the day. Then the other felter left and a weaver arrived and my end of the table worked better so I moved to the other end of the table and didn’t take a picture. Jan will have. Yay Jan!
It’s messier than I remember someone must have been looking at it. That’s a good thing. and then of course I put my spinning down in the middle of it and took a picture. The basket and flax and silk and cotton are Bernadett’s and were not quite that hidden from the front.
At the demo, I was using my drop spindle. I spun up some rolags I made with Wool from Bernadette and some saree silk.
That’s really all I have done lately. So here are some of the rolags I have left and some of the spun yarn.
These are two I spun earlier that still need plying. It’s fun to see how the different colours of sari silk affect the same colour wool.
Next, it’s the green wool, with different sari silks.
That’s it for now. I hope to do some felting before my next post but you never know it might be more spinning.
It’s summer time here in Ireland and the living is, well, slightly more laid back than the norm. Having decided to metaphorically kick off the shoes for the month of July, I thought it might be nice just to “see and share ” rather than “do” and this forms the basis of my post.
Before I start on the main focus of this post (my holiday in Italy), I just have to show you a beautiful piece that totally blew me away. Before heading off, I visited Dublin’s Botanical Gardens. Founded in 1795, it is an oasis of calm for any visitor and I would highly recommend a visit if you happen to be in the neighbourhood. While there, I noticed that there was a patchwork exhibition happening in one of their exhibition spaces. This piece just caught me, so I want to share it with you. The artist is Ethelda Ellis and the piece is called ‘Aoife’s View’. The curator told me that Ethelda is a medical doctor by profession. If you would like to see more of Ethelda’s beautiful creations check out her blog: http://ethelda.blogspot.com/
Now, to the Italian holiday. We headed to Como mid-July and, in spite of the heatwave, spent our time sightseeing and eating! Our base was Como which is to the north of Italy, right beside Switzerland. Lake Como is totally dwarfed by the Alps – a really beautiful place.
We called into the Cathedral, the Duomo which was magnificent internally and externally. I reckon that to appreciate all its beauty would take months observing 24/7! I want to share with you a small area of a tapestry which was made in 1610 and which underwent restoration in 1990. It was impossible to get a good photo of the entire masterpiece as so much detail would have been lost. So I settled for a little!
One of our tours took us to the tiny picturesque village of Orta which is situated on Lake Orta. It was recommended that we visit the interior of the local church which was situated at the top of a steep street.
My journey was interrupted by the sound of a piano recital and when I investigated I discovered a rather special textile exhibition happening in the same building. The works exhibited were by Sergio Cerini. The artist merges his early experiences in the Italian high fashion industry with his current artworks, producing beautiful pieces which are in essence a mix of paper mache and textiles. The description does not do justice to his widely exhibited pieces and he was reluctant to allow me to photograph his work. He did, however pose in front of one of the pieces and others can be viewed on his Instagram page @sergiocerini
Since the 1800s, the city of Como was historically the main producer of Italian silk. When ultimately production was outsourced to China, the area was in danger of losing connection with its cultural heritage. The large factory was bought by the Hilton hotel chain. These photos show early paintings of the factory, what it became at the height of the industry and where it is now (apologies for the reflection on the glass):
Rather than allow the old machinery to be lost to history, a wise decision was taken about 10 years ago to set up an Educational Silk Museum to preserve these beautiful machines. Along with displaying the machinery, some of which dates back to the nineteenth century, the museum offers interactive videos and exhibits of high fashion clothing. Unfortunately this section was not open during my visit but I thought it might be fun to show you some of the many machines featured. So please, grab a cuppa, sit back and I hope you enjoy the show. I have included captions for ease of reference.
I’ve been doing a little spinning. Spinning on a drop spindle is a wonderful thing to do. It fits in a basket or bag or even your purse and you can do it anywhere and anytime you have a few min.
I got 3 lovely little batts of mixed colours from Bernadette. I don’t think they were any particular breed of sheep, just sheep. I thought they were pretty. I thought I had pictures of all 3 but I don’t. I do still have one left, I took a picture of it for you.
I am quite please with how it turned out. There are about 42 yards(38.4 meters) in the skein. I guess it’s not too bad because someone wanted to buy it. I didn’t really want to sell it so I put I high price on it. Someone recommended once that when you are not sure you want to sell something, price it so that you won’t wish you hadn’t sold it.
Not long ago when I was at a new little fibre sale I bought some Blue Faced Leicester top. I wanted to try something different, I spin mostly Merino or Corriedale. I am always using BFL locks so I thought it would be fun to spin some too. I found this lovely lustrous BFL/silk mix.
Here I am pre-drafting it a bit. I had compacted a bit in my basket. it wasn’t felted and would probably have been fine but I loosened it up anyway. Thanks to Jan for this picture and the last one.
I spun up so easily. I use a sort of long draw, most of the time. Isn’t it pretty?
I made a center-pull ball. I use my deligan spindle as a nostepinne to make the ball, a dual purpose tool.
Now, onto the plying, always so much faster. It only took 15 min I would think.
and finally in a skein. It is very shiny. I am sure the silk is helping there but is well blended so you can’t pick it out. I am guessing there are about 40 yards(36.5 metres) as it is about the same site as the other skein. I have 2 more slivers of it about the same size. I am not sure what I will do with them.
It was a nice change from little pictures. But I will probably do another one next week. I am enjoying them.
I spun a single first, naturally. It took a little bit to get used to the silk. The silk is much harder to draft but mixed with the wool it wasn’t too bad. You have to accept you are not going to get a really smooth yarn. You are going to get a great texture.
Next, I did what is the most meditative part of spinning for me. I made a center-pull ball by hand. If you are in a hurry or you have lots to do then a ball winder is the way to go. But I really do enjoy this part. I use a little piece of painter’s tape to make sure I don’t lose the center yarn, while I am winding. Do you enjoy doing something that other people seem to dread doing?
Then the fastest part, plying.
It’s interesting that when it was a single I thought it was a bit dull and muddy but after plying it seems to be brighter and shinier. I really like it. It has lots of colour and so much texture. it will be great as an embellishment on my felt.
I haven’t decided if I will make it into a center-pull ball or a skein for storage.
I ordered some sari silk a while back as part of a larger order from World Of Wool. I am ordering wholesale so I ordered 1 kg of each of the colours I wanted. the first 2 look very similar here but the first has a lot of green and red and the second has quite a lot of black. I had expected the pink one to be much more purple. It is called Royal Robe. Every batch is different, so you are always taking a chance. It would be great if they took new pictures for each batch but I suppose that would be a big hasssle for them. And they do warn you so no complaining.
That is a lot of sari silk.
I did make up some small bags of it and sold them on the guild’s Facebook page. I will offer it again soon. I still have lots. I haven’t played with it much at all. So last weekend knowing it would be rainy at the market, so slow and I would be bored, I grabbed some of the silk and a spindle to try spinning it. I brought an older cheaper spindle because I knew I would probably be doing as much dropping as spinning. I was right. It is very short and very frustrating to try to spin, especially since I usually do more of a long draw. I tried for a while then gave up and plied the tiny amount I had spun.
I told you it was small. Here is a close up.
It is very pretty and shiny but I will not be spinning more this way.
Next was to try blending some with some wool.
I picked these two shades of merino. I think they are mallard and duck egg. They seem to be the same colour but have different saturations of the dye.
And these 3 sari silks to blend in. Looking now I see I picked the 3 primaries.
First I did the turquoise lagoon. I did a layer of the dark, then the light and then the sari silk. I carded it several times to blend it and then rolled it into a rollag
It is very subtle but I think it will add some shin and interest when I spin it.
Next, I did the Salsa, I did the same thing a layer of each of the wools and then some sari silk
And lastly the wildflower
Now I have to spin them up. They are not the neatest rollags but I think they will work. I will do some recarding if I have to but I hope I don’t have to.
Every summer my weavers and spinners guild does a fibre poker challenge. You can choose weaving, spinning or felting. I am doing spinning and felting. This post is about the spinning challenge. I haven’t started my felting one yet.
In these challenges, they make up 4 decks of cards. The cards for spinning are Fiber, Colour, Type of Yarn and General Design. You pick one from each to get your poker hand. You are allowed to return one and draw another.
Fibre: surprise us.
Colour: dark rich colours
Type of Yarn: thick and thin
General Design: include locks
I decided I wanted to try spinning some of the silk hankies I have. these looked like dark rich colours. Well, not that dark but not pastel.
I looked up what was the recommended way of prepping them for spinning. It was to poke a hole in the middle and stretch them out. Most of the drafting is done in the stretching out. I did 2 of each colour. They stretch quite far. I am sure I could have stretched them at least twice as long but I didn’t want my yarn that thin.
I also have to do thick and thin. I decided the easiest way to do that was to use the required locks to create the thick parts. I think these are Bluefaced Leicester.
I don’t have a spinning wheel. I like to spin small amounts, so I use a drop spindle I have quite a few.
After I finished the 4 silk hankies I made it into a center-pull ball. My original intention was to ply one end against the other.
But then I changed my mind. I spun some purple silk top to use as the other ply.
I made it into a center-pull ball as well. I put one small ball on my thumb and one on a finger. I used a little painter’s tape to keep the outside thread from unravelling as I will be pulling from the center, then I can control how fast it pulls out. I like painter’s tape as it’s just sticky enough to hold but comes off easily without grabbing and pulling the fibres and doesn’t leave any sticky behind. If I was going to store the ball I would tie the two ends together instead.
Somehow I guessed right and had just a little more of the second simple single than the first fancy single.
That’s my laptop lid so as you can see there wasn’t much extra.
I wound it off into a skein. It looks a little wobbly at first but it needs to have a bath to let the spin show what it’s really like. I used the small extra piece to tie the skein in 4 places. I wanted the 4 ties because I am very good at tangling skeins.
Here it is after its bath and hang to dry. I didn’t use any weight to try to set the yarn, I wanted it to be its natural self. I am quite happy I managed to get a nice balanced spin. I took to pictures flipping it over so you can see both sides.
I spread it out more and took a close-up. I am really please with how this came out. It was difficult to get the locks in because naturally, the twist wanted to go to the thinnest part.
I hope you like it too. It was a bit of a challenge but that’s the point, get you doing something you wouldn’t normally do. I could have wished for some action shots but it’s hard to spin and hold the fibre and hold the camera. It puts me back to wondering why on earth my prehistoric ancestors got rid of the prehensile tail, it would be so handy.
First, the part everyone wants to know, who won the Custom Fibre Chest. The winner is Karen Cantwell. Congratulations, I am sure you will enjoy your basket of goodies. For everyone else get a Free goody bag if you place an order this month. Just mention you saw it on the Felting and Fiber Studio Blog.
And now the less exciting part,
I decided to make another little bag to keep things in my basket organized. I am going to use some thick prefelt I have. The nice thing about the thick felt is you can split it and cut away a layer so you can overlap the edges and not have a thick seam.
Here’s the layout ready to wrap around. I use a felting needle to keep it all in place before wetting.
I thought it would make it more versatile if it had a little loop so it could be attached to something if I wanted to use it somewhere else, maybe attached to my sketchbook. to add it I used the offcuts from pealing the prefelt and some of the yarn I am using to decorate it. It’s handspun wool and silk. This is the back with the loop wrapped up so it won’t stick down. I needled the ends of the yarn down.
And this is the front. I may embellish it after it’s felted. I will see what it looks like. It looks very blank at the top but I will be cutting that later to make a foldover flap.
It felted down really well and you can’t see where the joins were. The join is right down the middle top to bottom.
I added the pen for size and a little piece of white felt so you can see where the opening is. It didn’t show with the black on black. I will probably add a magnetic closure if I have a small enough one. If not I will add a snap.
I love the way this yarn worked. This yarn is handspun. it’d shredded sari silk and wool. I don’t remember spinning this but looking at it I think it must be mine. Firstly it is a very small amount and I typically do this. The other is how it’s plyed. It looks like it sat in a center-pull ball or on a spindle a long time before plying. When you do that the yarn sets and when you ply it, it doesn’t really look right until you wet finish it to give the yarn back its spin energy. I almost never bother to wet finish my yarn because I won’t be knitting with it. Essentially I’m lazy about it, what can I say?
I didn’t look at this too closely before using it, I just liked the colours and thought they would look good on both the black and grey. Now looking at it after felting I suspect ( I would have to go look to be sure) that it was plyed in the wrong direction. I plyed it in the same direction as the spin so added more energy rather than plying in the opposite direction, removing energy and balancing the yarn. If you look at the yarn now you will notice it sometimes looks like two parallel yarns and sometimes one wrap around the other and that seems to be happening in the same direction as the single yarn. It didn’t just all unravel because I have tacked down at both ends.
It is another fun thing about making your own yarn. You can do some cool stuff on purpose or by accident. It fun, you should try it. It’s all the same supplies you already have. You just need a cheap drop spindle. You can even have lots of them, cheap and expensive and still not be in as deep as one spinning wheel.
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.
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.