Last weekend I got to teach a workshop for the first time since covid hit. I have really missed teaching. I was contacted to teach a wet felted hat class for a bride-to-be. She wanted to do something different than the traditional bridal shower. Everyone was vaccinated and we all wore our masks. It was a lot of fun.
Everyone picked their colours from The Olive Sparrow (https://www.etsy.com/ca/market/the_olive_sparrow) and I ordered them in. I have to say the wool arrived quickly and nicely packaged with labels. I point this out because I have ordered from other places and received a mixed bag of fibres and I was left to sort out what the colours were and prep it for class. All the embellishment fibres were from my own stash.
Everyone picked the style they wanted from the hat samples I brought. Then they grabbed their wool and we started. I like to do 3 layers for hats. With the most shrinkage being around and with the resist we used it leaves room at the top for shaping.
once the first side was laid out it was time to embellish. picking out the fibres and seeing how they look is always lots of fun.
Don’t forget to take a picture so you can embellish the other side.
Then the hard work begins rubbing and rolling.
After much rubbing and rolling, it was time to remove the resist.
and now they try them on and wonder how they are ever going to make them fit.
Much more rolling and fulling later the hats are shaped and ready to take home and dry. Sorry I got no pictures of that part.
All in all, it was good to teach again and the ladies were great to work with. I think we all had a lot of fun. I need to thank Sabrina( the gracious hostess) for her pictures of the day or they would be sparse. I think she is happy with her hat. 🙂
A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a pair of English wool combs. They were sold out at the time but the people in the shop were kind enough to allow me to backorder. Now all I had to do was wait a few days and let the spiky goodness arrive at my doorstep!
Finally, they were here.
It occurs to me that these would make great Wolverine claws for Halloween, were I in the mood to risk self-injury… Seriously, despite knowing these are pointy, sharp objects, it still surprised me to find out exactly how sharp they were in a slight moment of distraction. Note to self: don’t daydream when handling wool combs.
If you’re not sure what wool combs are for, these brilliant tools are used to process fleeces for spinning. They work by separating, aligning and combing the wool locks, whilst also getting rid of any vegetable matter (VM). The end result is a fluffy and lovely cloud that you’re supposed to carefully diz off the combs, ending up with a longish sort of roving.
Ideally, you’ll place the locks facing the same direction, which in my case was cut side nearest the tines, ends on the outside.
These are lovely locks from a Texel cross lamb’s first shear’s fleece. I washed it myself. They’re so soft and all I want to do is bury my face in them.. (which I definitely have. Don’t judge.)
Next, you carefully start teasing the tips of the locks apart with the other comb, which will transfer a bit of fibre to said comb at each pass. As you keep doing this, the longer staples of wool will move and the shortest bits will remain on the clamped comb. You’re meant to discard these short bits, but I keep them to make dryer balls.
You can see above that the fibre left behind retains some VM. I don’t mind it because it’s clean, and won’t be seen once the dryer balls are covered in commercially processed wool top. Waste not, want not.
You will do this transferring of fibre from one comb to the other until you’re happy with how the wool looks. The one below was on the third pass.
There was still a tiny bit of VM but I don’t mind.
Since I wasn’t planning on spinning this wool, I didn’t diz it off the comb, I simply pulled it all off together very gently, so it all came off at the same time.
After 30 minutes I had a few clouds.
I’ll be gathering a lot of this fluff into a bag and, once I have enough, I’ll card it on my drum carder and make batts to sell to spinners and felters. Lamb wool really is like a cloud and I’m loving playing with it.
To end this post in my usual tradition, here’s a completely unrelated photo I took a few days ago that I find amusing. This was on a building I happened to pass by here in Edinburgh.
When we were last chatting about the workshop we had got the students to the point where the image had been transferred to the felt and they were beginning to work on it.
As with other painting mediums, I had them work from the background towards the foreground. This is common in pastel, and often seen in Oil or Watercolour painting. You can lay-in the required colour by hand blending your fibre then checking it against your reference photo. The students discovered that very little fibre could affect a significant colour change in the resulting blended fibre.
7-10) laying in the background then working forward.
One student using her own picture decided that the figure in the foreground was unnecessary for her landscape and after much debating removed him.
11-12) Re-editing image and checking with phone
Kim’s lighthouse image was mostly blues and a bit more challenging. It was a photo taken at dusk, so the colours become more subdued.
13-17) the progression of the light house
One student chose the round hay bales picture I had also done.
18-22) Winter hay bales progress as more detail is added
Another chose the sheep in a snowstorm shot. It was vary painterly! The sheep are suggestions hidden behind the grasses amongst the snow.
23-25) sheep in snow behind branches
The alpaca picture was coming along nicely. When I checked again it had suddenly gone from 5×7 to the full size of the frame without the mat! (That is twice the felting space of the other pictures.) I like the tree details she was developing.
26-27 Alpaca in progress and finished
The students did very well with their pictures and even had time for a relaxing lunch break! It was fun to see them putting the frames on their pieces, which always makes it more of an artistic statement rather than just bits of fluffs of wool.
28-34) the students framing their finished paintings!
One student was having so much fun she started her second picture on the remaining half of the wool felt.
35) One student was starting another picture at the end of the workshop
This was a fun workshop to teach and the students seem to have had fun too. I still have 3 workshops full of 3D felted sheep coming up this spring. They will be scheduled when we have a classroom available and I am back to fully healthy again. (ok March has got to be an improvement on January and February Right?) I hope you avoid the flu, both the imported and domestic varieties and instead have lots of fun felting!
On the last day in February, I ran the Needle Felted landscape workshop for the Ottawa guild. We had six students sign up but one had to stay home to attend a first time mom who was expecting twins. The impending mom, being a sheep, was not as forthcoming in accurately indicating her due date and did not actually go into labour during the workshop but I am sure she would have them if he had joined his wife and left the sheep alone.
I brought a good amount of my fibre stash (I have been collecting fibre focusing on the landscape workshop and the sheep workshop). By the time Glenn got the car loaded, I had a full car of fibre and supplies to the point I could not see out the back window! Ok, it’s a Kia Soul so not a huge car but that was a lot of wool!
1) This is the foyer at Hartwood house. The studio is on the other side, through the double doors that Glenn is moving my stuff towards.
I had intended to get a picture of the room once I got it set up but I got distracted by one of the students arriving early and then I forgot. I had set out all the items the students were getting with their workshop.
23 pages of notes plus an appendix of photo options,
the foam kneeling pad that is made of a pool noodle like foam,
4 types of felt, (for a name tag, a large piece of good wool felt half of which was to be used for the project, a cheaper lower percentage wool felt and an acrylic felt to compare to).
different Needles, (including a finer spiral)
a test tube with a lid to keep the needles,
hard ruler (not a tape measure),
paper to make a template for the mat,
3 sizes of finger protectors (wooden)
Wooden frame with mat and glass
Fine particulate mask (no one wants to get wool lung!)
I had also brought Sock yarn to make their names and Lots of wool to select colours from!
To borrow I had extra scissors and a 7 needle holders tool with a guard (it’s the fake clover tool from somewhere in China).
I had them start with making a name tag allowing them a chance to try out the needles and work on eye-hand coordination. They wrote their name in yarn on a piece of felt from an accidentally felted duvet. Only one bandaid was needed so the practice was helpful.
2-3) Nametags – note the bags of wool in the background of the second photo
Next, they were on to choosing a picture from the ones I had pulled or three had brought one of their own. Two of my adventurous students had painted before and the other one had done a number of other types of felting so I felt they might be up to a bit more challenging subjects.
4) Using the phone to see details of the image and checking the pictures as they progress.
I had asked the students to bring a camera, an eye pad or a phone with a good camera function so they could check their work as they progressed. One had her Lama picture on her phone and could zoom in and look at details which was also an excellent use of technology. The phone works similarly to looking at your drawing in a mirror. It allows you to see proportions and negative space more clearly.
Transferring the chosen image to the felt
I discussed the lightbox or window method of tracing. This works well on thin light coloured felt or pre-felt but not as well on thicker or darker felts. If you are using a window, it works best on sunny days (sunny days can be scarce in winter). This transfer method was used in the workshops I have attended.
I also mentioned the grid method to scale a drawing while transferring it to your work surface. It is a lot slower but can produce an extremely good underdrawing. I suggested they check out their notes for other methods like the projector, Lucy and camera obscura.
I wanted to give them another option if they did not like to draw freehand or using a lightbox. I explained the template method of transferring an image, which requires scaling your image by photocopier or by computer and printer to make your image the size you would like to work with. Make a border on your felt, the outside size of your picture. Then divide your picture into basic tonal areas again working from the background to the foreground. It can be handy to put your image in Microsoft word then adjust the image with “Artistic Effects” look at “cut out” to give tonal blocking. While you are in Microsoft, you can check under “colour saturation” to see what hidden colours are in your image.
This is the point that you move trees or tilt hills to suit your wants. You are God of your landscape! If you want to have a tree lose or gain a bit of weight, you can decree it!
5) Freehand drawing and the use of a paper mat
One student went with the freehand method. She referred to her phone to get the detail in her picture. I had a number of different colours of permanent markers. We were using permanent markers since I have used quilting makers in a workshop I had taken that did not stay on the felt but appeared as a blue smear on my arm from finger to elbow as I worked on my piece. (The options of various colours of permanent markers are nice since they stay where you put them and they will be hidden under the fibre you are adding.)
I had them make a paper mat the size of their picture, 5×7. This lets them check to see if their picture was getting bigger or smaller as they worked. Checking your image with your paper mat will save you money by ensuring that your image will fit in your mat and frame when it is done.
6) Template method of transfer and using the phone to check the progress
Continued in part 2 scheduled for March 15th 2020 (lots more pictures to come in part 2!!)
During this 5 week course, you will have the opportunity to make at least 3 bags/purses.
In week 1, you will make an animal themed spectacles/phone/pencil case, this could be in the image of your favourite pet or a friend’s pet (they make very thoughtful gifts) or a mythical beast of your own imagination! You will use multiple resists, introduce some nuno felting and make a closure entirely from wool.
In week 2 you will learn to make a small to medium shoulder/handbag (purse to our US friends), this tutorial will demonstrate how to add internal pockets, a magnetic clasp, adjustable shoulder straps and take shaping the felt to the next level so the bag has a flat bottom and stands up on its own.
The week 3 tutorial is a little more ambitious, you will learn to make a backpack with adjustable straps, multiple internal compartments and internal pockets.
Weeks 4 and 5 will be for catch up / further development, you might like to apply your own design to a bag, Teri will be on hand to answer any questions and talk through any challenges your design might create.
As with all the online courses, there will be lots of opportunity to share your work with the rest of the group and share ideas.
The content of this workshop is suitable for felters with some experience, you do not need to have made a bag before but if you are confident making felt pods, bowls etc. over a resist you will be able to make these bags.
The class begins on February 13th. The price for this five-week course is £60 GBP (approx. $79 US, $105 Canadian, €70, $112 AUD, $119 NZ) and the number of places will be limited to 30 students.
In 1989 I joined the OVWSG at their annual general meeting and became their librarian. I did tell them I was Severely Dyslexic and was assured by the executive that would not be a problem. I was given 5 boxes of books that had to be entered into the library before the September meeting which I did with a bit of help from Glenn. Things went on quite well until I built them a subject catalogue and they discovered what dyslexia was. Isn’t Urope always filed under U? E-Urope sounds like a burp not a continent. Annoying English! I think you should all convert to dyslexia and spelling would all be phonetic with occasional decorative letters you stick in because you likely forgot to use them earlier.
In 1993 I went back to school and Clara took over the library at the guild with the goal of fixing the subject catalogue by making cards with the “English spelling” -See – “Dyslexic version of the word”. I returned to Ottawa in 1996 and got the Library into a Database with fewer spelling errors or foreign languages.
I am pretty sure that somewhere between the 1989 start with the guild and the return to school I took my first felting class. It was with Maggie Glossop. She has had the starting of many of us into the addiction of fibre accumulation both for Spinning and Felting. When I checked on line to make sure I spelt her name correctly I found her resume http://www.convergenceart.com/Maggie%20Glossop%20Resume.htm Impressive!
The workshop I took was making a small bag in felt over a resist embellished with an image. Mine were Iris, a bit stylized, but definitely flower-ish. I discovered I was entranced by laying out layers of wool, making pictures and not so fond of wet hands. But it sparked enough interest I took more workshops with other teachers as they were offered but Maggie was the first to introduce me to this medium (so it’s likely her fault you are reading this).
I had thought she was a pretty amazing person but hadn’t realized just how many people she has touched with her teaching. To illustrate I should tell you what I was up to yesterday. Friday (which was yesterday) was the first day of a 3 day demo at the Carp Fair. I was organizer (Just don’t blame me for today’s weather. I didn’t ask for rain / drizzle and mist). Friday we had Elizabeth and Cindy who are both Master spinners (OHS spinning certificate) and myself, who is not one but does a lot of felting, spinning and occasionally weaving.
Maggie was at the Fair and stopped by the demo to say Hi! We were all very glad to see her. In her teaching career of both spinning and Felting Instructor, we realized she had taught all three of us. For me she had ignited an ember of interest that grew to include wet and dry felting both 2D and 3D. Without her would I have discovered this art form or would I have listened to myself “ick Water” and avoided wetfelting? I don’t remember what her workshop description was but it was enough to get me curious (maybe she omitted the part about getting your hands wet) and started me on this path.
I want to thank Maggie for her patience with this student and her obvious deep enjoyment of her art which has started the path of interest I am now following. Teachers can be such a strong influence on their students. By sharing their knowledge with a student their information can inspire them into totally new and interesting directions and adventures. Seeing Maggie made me think about my first class, my first time laying out wool, my first flower. I still have that piece and look at it as I walk by the bookshelf it sits on.
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.
Ann told you about the workshop she gave on felted Flowers. So I thot you might like to hear about the last workshop I was teaching. This was the first time I had taught it and I was a bit nervous and excited (inner voice to self, take a deep breath, relax). In December you heard about the panic of making the Catalogue sample for this workshop. (https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2018/12/01/this-is-the-story-of-a-felting-emergency/)
As you may remember I have a background in both commercial and fine art. Add to that the sivear dislexia which tends to change my way of approaching a subject or at least the way I tend to interpret it.
Last August the guild started to set up the list and order workshops that would run in 2019. There were a number of felting workshops but we had requests for felted landscapes in 2D. I had signed up to teach Inkle weaving as usual but Our Workshop coordinator was sure I could do the landscape and re-run a felted sheep class I had done over 10 years ago. I said sure and between working on the Catalogue for the workshops, restructuring the Guild library and a few Exhibition and Sale chores I started writing my notes.
I am pretty big on notes. I want a student to be able to look back on them and remember what to do even if it’s been a year since they took the workshop. For this one I felt I needed to include a bit on composition, perspective, aspects of different mediums of painting and finally how to deal with the felting itself. So think small book rather than regular notes.
(picture 1 Name tags and a bit of back ground information )
I was going to teach them a different way to look at felt; treating it more like a water colour than an acrylic and using some of the work principles used in pastels and oil paintings. Because of the time restraints of only 5 hours to felt I went for a smaller size, working in a 5×7 inch format.
(picture 2 the supply, a stack of notes, a picture chosen and all ready to start )
I prefer workshops where you don’t have to go searching for a long list of supplies to bring. So I try to have everything that will be needed to start your adventure included in the materials fee. The Introduction to inkle weaving workshop is the same, students even get the integrally important box of smarties. For this workshop smarties were not as important but they did get a 5×7 frame with white mat, a selection of needles, a mat to work on (I took a workshop from Megan Cleland who had used Dollarama Garden kneeling pads as work surfaces which were light and worked very well. The handle even held fibre I was working on!)
I had found some mid-weight felt at Michaels that was longer then needed for the project so we had enough to do a name tag too. I started everyone off by making a name tag. Firstly, so I would remember their names. Secondly, it would give them a chance to try the eye-hand coordination required to needle felt. It also let them get a feel for the differences between needles at moving fibre. They had 2 each of the fine, medium and coarser needles and one spiral in a fine gage. I had ordered a Multi-needle tool (it’s the flake clover needle holder from china) but it was not expected to arrive in time. it arrived Friday afternoon just before the Saturday workshop.
(picture 3 transferring image )
We started by discussing different ways to transfer an image to the felt. Megan was teaching a variation on the light box using a window. This will only work well on thin felt. So if you want to work on a heavier ground or a dark colour choosing another method would be preferable. I mentioned the most common methods for scaling and transferring images including using a Lucy or projector, the grid method and the template method. (I also mentioned pouncing as an option, it is used with frescoes) Since I haven’t seen anyone teaching template transfer we went with that. Its low tech and requires only scissors, permanent marker and an image.
I had selected a number of images ranging from quite simple to more complex since the class was to accommodate beginner and intermediate students. I had a couple students bring their own images too. With a bit of discussion they all chose there images. As they prepped and transferred there images to the felt I did a vary brief overview of perspective, how overlapping objects give the illusion of distance, how colour fades out as it recedes, detail in the foreground and less detail in the background and sky is lighter at the horizon and darkens as you go up. We discussed light and shadows and keeping your light source consistent if you are using more than one photo reference.
I also explained about thinking about using wool as paint. Using properties from water colour , acrylic and oil techniques.
(picture 4- 14 Slideshow Work in progress )
By that time they were ready to begin. There was much poking but I don’t think anyone stabbed themselves. (I did have 3 boxes of bandages just in case) Most of the students had never felted before so were quite amazed as the wool started to turn into a picture. There was some reworking of areas to get the shadows they wanted but it started to come together.
(picture 15 Framing there work)
As you have probably found out yourselves if you put a frame on even a simple sketch it gives it importance, focuses the viewer and gives it the feeling of Art. As the students put there finished pieces into their frames it was fun to see them so pleased with their results. Two of the students had to leave early due to impending bad weather and lengthy drives home.I realized afterwords i missed getting a picture of there finished piece.
Wednesday I taught an evening class in flowers at the Ottawa Valley Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild. It is a bit rushed for beginners to get both flowers finished but everyone got it done and we all had a good time.
As usual, I kept forgetting to take pictures but I did get some and Jan was in the class and got some but she was busy too.
First, we did a petunia/morning glory shaped flower this is me explaining how you layout the wool for the flower.
Jan remembered to take a picture of her layout. This is part way through.
Here everyone is diligently felting their flowers
This is Jan’s flower after scrunching and throwing. People usually look skeptical that this will be a flower at this point.
But then Ta Da!
Then there was no time to waist and we were on to Flower 2. Stems and stamens and silk hankies.
There was rubbing and rolling and gentle fulling and no throwing for these.
And lastly Jan to a good picture of her 2 blue flowers.
I think I may make this into a full-length class with a few more flowers. and maybe add some leaves to the stems.