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Ok, what is a “nal” and why would I bind one?  Well, if you have an interest in Viking textiles (yes I have the Icelandic variant warp-weighted loom to prove it!) then you may want to learn how to Nalbind. (yep that would be me please!) This fall the local Ottawa  Valley Weaver’s and Spinner’s Guild offered a workshop on 4 Wednesday evenings to teach an introduction to Nalbinding.

So now you know the where but may still be a bit confused by the what (it is) and why (would I want to do it).

“Nålebinding (Danish) literally ‘binding with a needle’ or ‘needle-binding’, also naalbinding, nålbinding, nålbindning or naalebinding”  I first saw it spelt with the double A (I have always liked words with double A’s). * I already love this word, look how many different ways you can spell it and still get it right!

The what:  there are multiple spellings depending on your location. It is usually described as a “type of single needle knitting” which is not at all like knitting.  it is produced by a series of interlaced loops but unlike knitting it creates a more dense and stable fabric.  if you use a pair of scissors and cut knitting it unravels, if you get a hole or slice in your nalbinded it will remain intact and not run or unravel.

When I first bumped into Nalbinding it was in the early 1980’s in articles on early medieval archeology. I was not able to find much information in English and it was mostly flat pattern analyses that were too much like some of the knotwork patterns to consider a true road map of instruction to recreate the process. Keeping the yarn looped and flat, while trying to stitch into the previous loops, was a bit of a disaster.  It was well before the helpful Mr. Google and the wonders of YouTube.  So, I put the hope of learning to make warm socks and cool hats aside and focused on my beloved Fragment #10 from Birka Sweden (Broken Lozenge Twill!) and making a ¾ size Icelandic variant warp-weighted loom. I measured from the inside of the trunk of my hatchback to the back of the seat, to get the height of my loom. It’s good to think ahead about how you are going to transport it.

diagram of flat layout of loops found in Nalbinding. 1) Flat pattern diagram of Nalbinding similar to diagrams I was looking at in the 1980’s you can see working flat would be a difficult way to work with yarn.

The next time I bumped into the opportunity to take a workshop in January(?) 2010, with a fellow Medieval enthusiast who had kept researching and been introduced to the thumb method of working the loops (so much easier than the flat table method!!).   She brought in samples of her work including a sock, mitts and a hand puppet

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2-4) Samples from the first 1 day nalbinding workshop,  laptop and samples with notes and nalbinding, close-up of the blue and grey sock, mittens  in two patterns (thumbs to the side  and thumbs underneath)  

We used big lofty yarn and made a rectangle, which we were to join one end to the other and make a tube.

Rebeca showing us how to create one of the stitchs in nalbinding5) getting started with a needle and a single wool yarn

Well, that took an odd turn…. I seem to have developed a Mobius strip, not a tube! But I had a lot of fun so it was all wonderful!

My show and tell was my mobius tube in blue yarn6) My tube was not tubular… it just kept going and going.. it was a Mobius tube!

hands holding the mobius nalbinding sample7) close up of Mobius tube

another view of the mobius strip8) Mobius tube

added line to photo of mobius strip close up showing the edge as it is worked on and that it is not creating a proper tube.9) following the working edge of the Mobius tube

Life got busy again and I did not keep practising (how can you do better than create infinity?) so I forgot how I was doing the loop and where the needle was going. Later that year I did take a hat workshop with Ann McElroy.  It also did not turn out as she expected but I loved it. someone else loved it too since it disappeared while I was eating at a restaurant.

odd hat i made in Ann's hat class, it has long side pices that can be tucked in around the neck and a turn up at the front to bake a short brim. the visibl undersidhas striations of blue silk on black wool 10) Bad photo of me smirking while wearing the new hat

I also got a Road Bug travel wheel from Merlin Tree out of Vermont for Xmas, from my husband….

Small wooden portable spinning wheel with felt hat sitting on it, in corner of pictue is some of the nalbinding wooden spinning wheel sitting on table with wheels excesorys, candy and other show and tell11-12) Both sides of the new travel wheel “Road bug” by Merlin Tree out of Vermont, wet felted hat and edge of nalbinding at guild show and tell.

Time passes:

So speed ahead to last week, and I again attempted to overcome my befuddlement and learn to Nalbind hopefully without the infinity component! I again arrived extra early (about 7:30 a.m. for the 7 p.m. workshop, that’s ok I had lots of library work to do before the workshop started.) I had cleaned up the library work, neatened up the studio and had it ready for Meriam, our teacher. She set up a display of her work and a few books that might be helpful.

Display by the teacher of books and samples on table13) The display of samples and reference books.

skull water cup, notes, sissors, pen, notes and Wool single yarn 14) The class notes, water cup (yes that is a skull),  my scissors and pen, as well as the yarn we will be using

For our first night, we started with the Oslo stitch.   Tail by the palm, wrap around the thumb making an x and pinch it with your first finger and thumb…. OK, I have nails, long nails at the moment. At this length, they should brake and be short in a week or so.  In the meantime pinching it as required is a bit awkward but not impossible.  We progressed from practising the starting loops to making the first few stitches. Oh no! I have got to work on even tension!!  We also were shown and then practised, splicing our singles wool yarn. At the end of the workshop, we were sent home with homework (Practice starting, making a line of stitches and making splices.)

my samples, the tention is extreemly randome and still needs work 15) First night’s class and homework

I was pleased with the homework, it did look a bit better than the first try but I was very slow.  I am still working on getting an even tension.

Today I went in early (8 a.m. or a bit before?) to keep working on sorting, checking and pricing the donated books given to the guild library. I have already written a separate database to help sort and track the books. I have been checking the library database and the shelf location to make sure we have a copy and that our copy is in good condition then checking online for the price range that the book is selling for. (Some are out of print, some are rare so I can’t find them and most I get a good idea of a reasonable price) I am getting them prepped for members to look through at the October meeting, (which is getting very close!!)  Lastly, each book is tagged with an ID number and its price.

The studio also had a new loom being set up and the drum carder in use in the morning. there was a team for the 100-inch loom working upstairs too.

I took a quick break to watch and chat with Marie from Living Felt in Texas. I would like to make the bat she was making today but I can see a few modifications I would like to try! (Maybe if I get my blog post finished early I will get that started and maybe finished before going back in to work on the library?)

About an hour before the second night of the workshop was to start, the strange loud noise I had been hearing outside finally appeared in the studio window. Isn’t that a pavement stripper? (No not that other kind of stripper just working on pavement) sure enough, it started in the bike lane,  pealing the pavement away. It wound up working straight through the class but moving farther down the street so it wasn’t too disturbing.

large macheen that is removing the top layers of pavement on the street outside the window the room the class is in.16) Stripper of Pavement, the things you see looking out the studio window!

Tonight we reviewed starting and making the Oslo loops (I unknowingly had been doing a Danish version which seemed completely right at the time.) We then learned how to make our first line of stitches attach at the beginning and end to try to make a tube (not the Mobius strip I had created last time).  We then were shown how to add the next layer of our tube.

example of increses used to create texture as well as increse the size of cercumfrence 17) Example of increase used to create texture as well as make the circumference bigger.

hands showing which loop the needle gose throung in starting nalbinding18) reviewing starting

showing where to start the second row after joining the front to the back of the single layer19)showing where to start the second row

this is my sample i have worked part way across the second row and it is looking more even.20) My second row looks much better than the first row did

two pices of yarn spliced together with water to extend the working length of the yarn21) my yarn splice. I seem to be good at this part!!!

I likely had too much fun today since my thumb and index finger kept spassumming toward the end of the workshop, while I was pinching the yarn. I will have to do more hand and finger stretches before nalbinding. (Maybe not shift and lift books all day before class!)

Before heading home, we were shown increases and practised increasing on every stitch. This gave a wavy edge.

the frilly edge is on the far side of the tube and has been caused by incresing in every stitch22) Increasing in every stitch gives a wavy edge

When increases are used in a less extreme way (not in every stitch), you can make a hat.

a hat made in Nalbinding, there is a diferent type of starting that we will learn in 2 weeks.23) hat made with increases in nalbinding (it has a different beginning but we will look at that in lesson 4

By the end of day 2, I have gone from absolutely no tensioning to a bit more consistent to adding a second row.   We were sent off with homework to start another length of nalbinding single-layer chain and use it as the basis to make a tube.  Then do that again and again! Practice makes….  well it’s getting better..

I will continue my homework, interspersed with more Library work and maybe this afternoon I will take a little time and make that bat Marie was showing on YouTube yesterday. (It was very cute… but I think it needs a bit more bite!  Have fun and I hope our weather doesn’t look at the calendar and we wind up in a chilly wet fall. I prefer the slow lingering end of summer with warm days and cool nights (but no frost, I am so picky!)


2023 shopping trip to Twist Fiberfest. (cheap vicarious shopping!)

2023 shopping trip to Twist Fiberfest. (cheap vicarious shopping!)

Twist Festival August 10-13, 2023,  Complexe Whissell 530 Rue Charles Auguste Montreuil‎,Saint-André-Avellin, Quebec J0V 1W0

map to Twist from Ottawa 1) Map to get to Twist from Ottawa

About 2 weeks ago my trusty Sherpa, Shark Boy and I, jumped in the car early Saturday morning for about an hour and 20 minute drive (there’s a detour so it’s a bit longer this year), to Twist Fiber Festival in Quebec. Last year I went with Mr. Mer on a quest looking for his Hair, this year his son, Shark-Boy, is in want of hair! So far I have tracked down and purchased some locks that look like they may be good for highlights. I have also traded and been given some white locks that can be dyed to the colour he is looking for but let’s have one last look for long locks before we go questing for the perfect die colour. (I don’t think any of the home hair dye companies offer something tailored to the young teen Mer-person, but I guess I could investigate further. If not, I do have food colouring, cool-aid and some actual commercial dyes.)

We arrived, found the special parking, and unloaded my comfy walker which I will be sharing with young Master Mer today.

Shark Boy sits in his progect bag cliped to the back of my walker wating for twist to open lady with blue/gray purs in front of us is similer in colour to some of Sharkboys highlights in his shark parts 2) Waiting in line for Twist to open (Shark boy sitting in his project bag which has been bulldog clipped to the backrest of my walker. I think he is admiring the colour of the purse of the lady in front of us.)

labled diagram of site of twist fistival 3) Sight map sign.

Twist is held at the local community centre in Saint-André-Avellin. There is a large arena and gym space as well as 2 large, ok huge, tents outside. There are also workshops held on the Thursday to Sunday. I have taken some excellent felting and spinning workshops here in previous years. (Sculptural felting with Marjolein Dallinga and felted portraiture with Megan Cleland.)

We headed first to the arena to see the giant pile of bags of fibre (decreased by Friday shoppers) at the Black Lamb’s booth then started the search for long locks.

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 4 -4.2) Awaiting the shopping hoards as Twist opens Saturday morning.

While looking through their fibres (and making the pile just a bit smaller), I spotted something as good as gold! 2 oak-handled Roger Hawkins mini combs!

Oak wooden handled mini combs made by Roger Hawkins 5) Two sets of Roger Hawkins Mini Combs. I have a set and they are fantastic. I was tempted to get a second pair but left them for others to enjoy too.

A quick circuit of the Arena did not look promising for Shark Boy’s hair. There was again a lot of yarn for the knitters. There seemed to be a few more booths with fibre than last year. there were also booths with tools and supplies for weaving, spinning, Knitting, and Sewing.

shark boy trying to flirt. 6) Shark boy had fun trying to flirt with other guild members we saw while shopping.          

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7 -23)Slide show – first quick once around 

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24-28) Slide show – first tour of the Gym

2 ladys in 1900's skert and shirts finger weaving Centure Flechay29) There was a display of Centure Flashay finger weaving

There was a booth selling circular sock knitting machines that had a display of old machines. Some of the old machines are works of art as well as functional tools.

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 30-32Slide show – Circular knitting machine display

I checked in with my Sherpa before starting a more thorough look through the booths.  He was enjoying his book and I got a report from another guild member he had been spotted earlier having a nap and snoring happily.

Shark boy and my patent sherpa 33) Shark Boy and my patent Sherpa.

I had only a few items on my shopping list; Shark Boy’s hair, fork needles and some interesting fiber. I got into the booth with the books from the slide show above, it had been too crowded when I went past the first time and I could not see the back of the booth. Eureka!! Long locks!! And in colours Shark Boy might like! he had a hard time deciding on 2 of the packages. I also picked a bag of mixed colour locks and one in extremely bright red that may help Mrs. Mer later.

34-36) Happy Happy Mer shark!

Still no sign of a fork needle, unfortunately, two of the needle felting suppliers that are usually here, are not this year. I did find 10 spiral needles at the black lamb, and there were a couple of booths with a few other needles but they were not prominently located and I already had plenty of the gauges they had available.

On to the last item on my list, cool fibre. I had spotted some in a booth in the gym but wanted to look a bit more carefully through a couple in the arena booths too.

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37- 39) Popular fibre booth

This booth was quite busy so it took a bit of patience to get in and see their braids and batts. But it was worth the effort and I found 3 braids that were particularly appealing.

Twist did not seem as busy as previous years but it was steady. There were also threats of heavy thunderstorms throughout the day but held off until the late afternoon. The vendors I talked to said it was busier on Friday for shoppers, but the sales were better so far on Saturday.

40) late Saturday afternoon at Twist.

One of the vendors had some very nice raw fleece. She had brought a picker with her and I cot her using it. I have an old Patrick Green picker that needs sanding and cleanup in the basement. I will show you when I get working on it. A picker is used to pick apart a fleece to prep it for carding. I did buy a bit of her fibre (unpicked) I will show you later.

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41-41.1) Swing picker in use

Shark Boy and I had done a pretty good job with our shopping and it was time to check in with my patent Sherpa and see if he wanted to have a lunch break and to show him our finds.

  42- 46) shopping acquisitions before lunch

Heading to the car we checked on the sheep herding displays but the sheep or dogs were on brake

47) Sheep herding on the brake

We headed out to the other end of town to the restaurant, La Toquade for their fabulous “Club Sandwich au confit de canard sur pain an apricot, raisin et tournesol” Yummm…Cumfy Duck!!!

Comfy Duck sandwitch with half side of fries and salid 48) I have been thinking about this sandwich since Twist 2019

Last year, coming out of covid shutdowns, the restaurant was having staffing difficulties and was only open for breakfast, we both were very happy to see that lunch and dinner had returned. While we waited for lunch to arrive I went through the photos I had taken so far at Twist,  there were a couple of things I wanted to go back and see if I could find.

A few last shots from 2023 Twist.

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49- 53) A few more shots of booths at Twist 2023

The rest of this year’s Shopping;

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54-56 ) little batt of expensive fibres

I picked up the small batt of super expensive fibres (try playing name that fibre before reading the 4 fibres in the batt),

Diz and Diz hook57) a diz and diz hook (I added the leash to the hook so it won’t wander off),

58-59) a heat shaping felt sheet,

This felt has an odd feeling closer to non-wool craft felts but much more substantial. (I will investigate that further at another time).

It was a long day of shopping, photography and fantastic food. Now that it was time to head home, the forecast rain finally arrived. Even Glenn bringing the umbrella in could not forestall the water any longer. We have had a lot of rain lately, a full sponge as it were, so what was not an extremely heavy rain was lingering on the road longer than usual. This gave the car the fun of trying to hydroplane on the road to the highway as well as on the highway. We stopped under a bridge, got out the GPS and fled the Highway to the slower driving back roads until the rain gave up. After we won the debate with the GPS who wanted us to take the ferry across the Ottawa River, we returned to the highway and safely made it home.

I hope you have enjoyed our shopping trip. I always enjoy seeing my fibre friends’ photos of festivals I can’t get to, it’s cheaper and lots of fun cheering on their shopping!


More signs of getting back to normal; in-person socials week 1 and 2

More signs of getting back to normal; in-person socials week 1 and 2

As you saw last post, the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild is starting to do some of our per-pandemic activities. We have had our first Demo since 2019, we are starting to organize in person workshops, the guilds library is back to having members borrowing in-person and we have had our first two socials in-person at the guild studio. This last is the topic i would like to chat about with you today.

Before the pandemic struck, we use to meet on Mondays (once a month for the guild meeting and we had socials in the studio on the rest). When the plague struck it took us a bit of a learning curve to transition to using Zoom for both meetings and then socials. The library was unable to Zoom. So, when there was no shutdown, we collected requests, pulled, bagged and had books ready for picked up and dropped off at an external door near the studio. (A bit more work for the librarians but it kept the books circulating.)

We tried a number of things to keep the guild active and connected during the pandemic. I started weekly posting of old photos going back to 2002, we most recently were checking the files from the early part of 2018 (so i hope the pandemic dosnt go on too much longer i am running out of photos!! Good thing we are starting to make new photos!). The Guild had Zoom based study groups on various topic to try to make up for the lack of in person workshops. Our Program team found cross Canada and international speakers for us that were a fabulous addition and would not have been an option in-person (so the effects of the social distancing were not all bad).

We have struggled with technological options as we change from zoom to the long-waited-for in-person or ideally, a combination of in-person and Zoom. Ideally we would like to have some way for those members who live farther away or can not travel at night to participate in both meetings and socials. We also want to take this opportunity to investigate what works and may be applicable for the first in-person/zoom guild meetings coming up in September. This gives us the summer to run through options and try problem solving so the on-line participants can feel included. With the meeting program it will be more watching and less input from the audience ether by zoom or those present. So, not quite the same as a social but it should give some feed back for those organizing the meeting.

Two weeks ago we had our first in-person social. It was a good turn out, we had 9 in person guild members, with a mix of masked and unmasked participants as well as 10 on line members. For technology we tried Ann’s laptop with its build in mike and camera.

1 Ann’s laptop running Zoom

Pros; One person could talk to the zoom group
Cons; the mike did not pick up other conversations away from the lap top. Only one person in front of the lap top could hear or communicate with the zoom group.

A few more shots of what we were up to in-person. I had brought my in progress needle felted Iris (its in photo one), there was a lot of spinning happening, as well as some innovative options for plying. The bulldog clips and basket were ingenious. We could not find a lazy kate in the studio so we improvised with two magazine holders and a chopstick for another spinner.

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2-8 a few shots from the fist social since we shut down at the beginning of covid

After chatting with the zoom participants it was decided that we needed to up grade the audio. I volunteered my x mass present of a video recorder with external mike for next week.

Week 2, we had Ann’s Lap top but now added my video recorder with external mike and my tripod.

Week two had a reasonable turn out, a bit less than week one with 8 in-person and 5 zoom participants (ginnypigs). this week we had spinning, fiber prep(Hackles) and felting, Ann this time since i was playing with the camera and Vid recorder. First we tried the external Video recorder/mike with Ann’s lap top then with the guild’s old lap top. (option 2 did not work since the Venerable old laptop did not recognize the vid recorder/mike it was too new)

The vid recorder has a zoom feature! which i discovered was vary slow and disturbingly jerky DRAT! I could zoom in but getting there was not fun to watch. So the concept is correct with a vid recorder and external mike but this particular one may not be the best choice (if i need to zoom in on anything).

9 Vid Recorder/ mike and Ann’s Laptop

10 the old laptop could get on zoom but the video equipment was to new for it to recognize

Pros; improved sound, more flexibility as to what the zoom members can see. smooth rotation from one spot to the next with the tripod having vertical as well as horizontal adjustments.
Cons; The mike works well so can pick up conversations that you may have thought you were having only with the person sitting beside you.

We wanted to try another experiment to see if we could get the zoom participants more than one view of the studio. To do this we signed into zoom from both the old guild lap top that runs the library programs (its ancient and i was not sure it could run zoom) and Ann’s computer. Unfortunately we quickly discovered that our internet bandwidth is vary low….. there was a lot of temporary freezing, but using two cameras gave the zoom group more options to see what was happening and from 2 perspectives. We may be able to do something about the bandwidth, we will investigate that further later.

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11-16 shots from the week 2 social

We had a bit of show and tell, Ann got a new aperen!

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17-20 Ann’s post appocolips apron. there were a few of us who want to look this up!

This configuration of hardware seem to be a big improvement from last week. The zoom members could see better what was happening and chat amongst themselves as well as have limited chatting with those at the social. I think our next option to try is to add the speakers the library purchased for use with viewing the guild videos. (The library also got headphones for when someone wanted to watch videos in the studio while someone else was weaving. The headphones would not be helpful in this instance.)

21 this is a big improvement over week one

Just when you thought i had forgotten about felting except for that brief glimpse of my iris in-progress, i have a few shots to update you but its Ann’s felting this time not mine. i had taken a couple shots of her background when i was at the farmers market buying her wonderful tasty chocklet chip cookies.Because i was curious i thought you mite be too, so i took a peek at the back of her back ground too. i had some quite fabulous video shots of Ann working on adding the moon to her background, unfortunately the Video was live feeding to zoom so i could not take a screen shot for you. i hope the shots i got with the camera will give you a sense of the intensely deep dark colours she is using.

22-24 Ann’s background for her little night landscape (front and back)

i hope if the groups you belong to are also struggling to figure out a blended in-person and zoom experience for  member we can share our attempts and figure this out. Please share suggestions of things you have tried. What worked what didnt?  in the meantime have fun and keep felting!


PS my computer had blue screened after a couple updates to software so its out to the computer doctor and looks like she will live with a minor surgery  (bigger C drive) and a good internal cleaning. maybe i should not felt on the desk right above the computer? in the mean time i am using Glenn’s computer which lacked programs i usually use and I lost half my pre-typed blog since he only has open office not word and if froze in stead of saving. i expect to have this up and ready to go hopefully before 2am (i did rewrite the second half twice and had to do some sneaky work arounds to get the photos! ooh i am looking foreword to my computer back! i hope she will let me felt in the office still!


A Bit Of Wire Work For Mr. Mer

A Bit Of Wire Work For Mr. Mer

Mr. Mer has spent another week making subtle comments about wanting an upgrade on his muscles…the fishy ones this time. His fishy bits are based on a Northern Pike which is common in the lake at my parents’ cottage. I have been beefing up his fishy bits but he says he is not ready for his close-up. I will keep working on his upgrades and try to tempt him to show you as soon as he feels he is done.  SO we will get back to him in a blog or two.

 Northern Pike reference


While we wait for him, I had something else I wanted to show you.

For the last week, I have been watching non-felting related videos from curios mondo. They seem to mostly have crafts to do with fabric stiffening products, that they sell, but have had some other interesting topics too. I did catch parts of the nine-class, workshop series on making a wire-wrapped bug necklace with beads. (They do the live broadcast free or you can buy the workshop and watch all of them at your leisure. So far I’m cheap and have so far only watched the live ones.)

You never know what you will be able to pick up while watching or taking a class. This includes topics that are not actually on the topic you mainly do. Even with missing large parts of the workshop, it gave me some odd ideas I wanted to investigate further. (yes, I will get back to that in a moment)

The instructor, while teaching, used the stepped pliers. I had been curious as to what their original purpose was. He used them while making a bail (it attached the bug to the chain).  He also had some very tiny-nosed pliers that might be quite useful for rolling ends of finer gauge wire. I have got to track down a pair of those! He showed an interesting technique of locking the bail and a similar way of making links on a beaded chain that I likely should have written myself notes on.

Another good suggestion he had was putting a mark on tapering rounded pliers so you will get the same size ring on each turning of wire. This would be more important on wire-work that shows but could affect your armature construction if you were working on a smaller scale.

He also work-hardened the antenna of the bug with a hammer (I would have suggested the smallest flattening hammer from the blacksmithing hammers around here which would have been more effective.) This might be useful in armature construction for the tips of claws if they are exposed? Or stiffening antler wires? You don’t want to work-harden the wire too much or it will be more prone to breaking when bent or posed. So, an area that will not be repositioned frequently like tips of claws or antlers may be fine.


Now back to what I got distracted thinking about while I was suppose-to-be learning to make wire-work bugs necklaces (with beads). It just doesn’t seem fair to give Mr. Mer a tennis ball but not give him a tennis racket.

Oddly, In last weeks guild social one of our members had made a tennis racket and was next going to felt a tennis ball. I seem to be working opposite to her as I had Mr. Mer’s tennis ball (which I used as my show and tell)  so now it’s time to make him the racket to go with it.

I have tried to play tennis in my much younger days. It did not go well. My glasses move if I run or suddenly change direction so I can’t see anything beyond blurs. This makes it hard to hit or dodge a moving object. I also got tennis rackets that tennis balls seem to be able to go right through!! That doesn’t seem fair at all. But if Mr. Mer would like to try then I should let him.  It may go better for him than it did for me. I am not sure if there are different rules for water tennis. I should ask my niece about that.  She might know. (She is very good at swimming, which I am not)

Now how to make the racket. It will be wirework! The gauge will be important.  With Something larger for the rim and much finer for the stringing.  I will also need to have a wrapped handle.  The black floral tape should work. If it is not adhering well I could try black acrylic paint, mog-pog or clear glue to finish it off.

Wire gauge selection

I pulled out and considered from 6 to 14 gauge aluminum for the outer rim. I decided on 9 gauge.  The little section of the inner rim had to be finer. After a bit of looking and debating, I felt the 12 gauge – 2mm Dollerama aluminum would likely work. For the lacing I selected the 26 gauge (steel?) coated gardening wire. After making the first racket I can see a way of making the lacing a bit neater but I am content with the first attempt.

2-3 two of the wires gauges I will need

The handle needs to be wider than the width of two 9 gauge wires. I debated between four or three wires and found 3 more in scale.

4 Three 9ga wire looks better than four

Since I didn’t have a bending jig I gently shaped the oval by hand at the top of the 9 gauge wire bringing the handle ends together and adding the middle piece of wire. I added floral tape to hold the handle in shape as I measured, cut, then shaped the lower curve in the 12 gauge wire. I added a wrap of black floral tape before taping it in place on the racket.

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5-6 Lower rim of racket added

I cut off a couple of lengths of the 26ga fine coated steel wire. ( If I did this again I would have made each vertical a separate piece and wrap to give the spacing between each string.) I wrapped then laid in the vertical longer strings (9 in total).  Then, used the back of the felting needle to create a shed to pass the horizontal strings through.  (Why did I not grab the large darning needle hanging from my desk lamp? It would have worked even better.)  I added extra wire wrapping around the perimeter which would likely not have been necessary if I had done the wires individually.

7 the strung racket

At this point, I needed a bit more stabilization of the handle. It was compressing towards the base of the racket (The three wires were not sitting flat. One was trying to lift up between the other two.) I can fix such errant behaviour with more wire!!! I pulled the lengths of the 22ga black steel floral wire and carefully positioned and wrapped the thin wire around the parallel 9ga wire. This required another layer of floral tape over top and all looked much neater and more like a tennis racket!

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8-10 Adding wire to strengthen the handle

Mr. Mer was thrilled with his new acquisition! Which he held and posed with trying to get just the right look.

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11-15 The photoshoot!

Here is a quick idea of scale as I hold his new racket and ball

16 To get a sense of scale

He has put away his racket and ball carefully and wants me to get back to work on his fishiness. Then, maybe finish off the muscles of his arms….maybe some hair…… (Mr. Mer is getting demanding).

17 Good Job Mr. Mer! toys should be put away after you’re done playing.


18 A final shot

Mr. Mer does a few quick stretches to start the New Year

Mr. Mer does a few quick stretches to start the New Year

January 8th, 2022

It’s the new year and like a new crisp white piece of paper, it’s all possibilities as you hold your pencil above it and wait to decide which way to go. Will it be a drawing of a landscape, will I work on a sculptural idea, will it be a note that I shouldn’t forget something, too late I likely have forgotten it since the paper is still blank.

I have things I want to work on in the future, more stretching with the Mers, I want to chat more about needles and I have to catch up to Ann with her studio upgrade! I also want to revisit my Peg Doll loom and talk about project bags and boxes.

However, after thinking about it and staring at that blank piece of paper I think we should start the year with a good stretch.

Let’s talk about Rhomboids!!! Not only are they a fascinating shape (sort of like a square but more creative: “a parallelogram with no right angles and with adjacent sides of unequal length”) they are also the muscles between your shoulder blades (Scapula). Their job is to help stabilize your arms and shoulders when your arms are out in front of you. As in when you weave, spin, felt, or work on the computer (typing and mousing).  As the Rhomboids work, they are paired with muscles at the front of your shoulders (there are 3 of them so it’s not really fair, Poor Rhomboids!)

Although you may be feeling pain between the shoulder blades and stretching them out feels good it is often the anterior shoulder muscles shortening and causing the rhomboids to complain. So let’s look at a couple of stretches for Rhomboids and then try to open out the anterior shoulder. So Rhomboids won’t complain as much and you get to have fun longer!

There are a number of ways to stretch rhomboids, there are yoga stretches that focus on them, there are also cat stretches and the one I don’t see on the internet is the self-hug with rotation.

Now to help me with today’s blog I had offers from Dragon and Mr. Mer. I think Mr. Mer just wants to get out of his project bag and he has hopes I might keep working on building up his muscles more!  While Dragon has a lovely back ridge and frill, his articulation of the scapula does not produce Rhomboids that would stretch quite the same way ours do. So even though Mr. Mer is a bit fishy he still has similar articulation in the shoulder and upper back.

With my willing victim, ummm… Volunteer, let us proceed to discussing how to stretch this fabulous muscle and why stretching the muscles that Rhomboids are working with maybe even better.

I have had Mr. Mer do a hard day of typing (too bad he can’t see what he is typing since he is watching his fingers when he types. I guess he did not have to take typing in grade 9 like I did, it didn’t go that well for me but that is another story.)

 1  Typing and showing off his Rhomboids

You can see he has a well-developed upper back including Rhomboids, it may be all that swimming! The Felting needle stuck in his back is indicating the area of the muscle. It runs between the large scapular bone and the spine on an angle that looks Rhomboidal (thus Rhomboids, some muscle names make sense!).

 2 Rhomboids between the shoulder blades (Scapula)

I asked him to turn around without moving his arms so you could see how contracted the anterior shoulder is in this position.

3 View of the front of shoulders

Three muscles help your shoulders curl in; Pec Major, Pec Minor and Short Head of Biceps. Sometimes Upper traps “Helps” and elevates your shoulder too. It is not as helpful as you hoped either. This is totally unfair since poor rhomboids on the back are having to stabilize against all three of them in the front.

If you are feeling the tension between the shoulder blades you have a few stretches to ease that. One that was popular and easy to do was the cat stretch. (this is usually done kneeling on the floor then arching your back like a cat and tucking your chin towards your chest to give a stronger stretch). Mr. Mer said it looked more like the dead man’s float from Beginner swimming lessons (oh the horror of these memories, the cold pool, the wet water…let us move on)

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4-6 the Cat Stretch

If, like me, getting off the floor may do more harm than good, you may like this one better. Try a self-hug, not too much stretch there unless you are really tight!

7 Self-Hug Stretch

Keep that self-hug position and rotate the upper body slowly left then back to the right.  If you need more stretch, try tipping the elbows down then rotating.

8 9 Self-hug with rotation

Now that Rhomboids have been stretched, let’s think about strengthening them while stretching out the anterior shoulder. This one is called the Invisible Can Crush.

 10 Preparing for the Invisible Can Crush

Bring your arms down to your sides, bent at the elbow. Imagine your favourite flavour of pop can magically floating between your shoulder blades. OH NO! someone has switched it for some terrible tasting Pop!!  Push your shoulder blades together and squish it for a count of about 7 seconds then relax. (Pop cans are weak and even weaker if they are invisible, so you don’t have to use all your strength in killing the can. Just use enough to feel like the muscle is working.)

 11 Invisible Can Crush

Next, lift your elbows up towards your shoulders and then squish the offensive pop again. (Count to 7)

 12 Invisible Can Crush

If we get Mr. Mer to turn around you can see that this will contract and strengthen rhomboids but also stretch the front of the shoulder. The change in position will stretch out a different part of the anterior shoulder.

 13  Invisible Can Crush front view

If we can keep the front of the shoulder from curling in we also reduce its likelihood of compressing the group of nerves that run past the front of the shoulder (the nerve bundle is called the Brachial plexus). If you squish the right part of the nerve bundle, you can get numbness in the hand or fingers which is not a good thing if you are using sharp needles!

Another way to stretch the anterior shoulder is a Passive Anterior Shoulder Stretch with a pool noodle. Unfortunately, I could not find Mr. Mer a pool noodle to fit him. I gave Ann some foam hair rollers that look like they might have been the right size but I will have to go look and see what I have here. Oh, I found a miniature pool noodle but it’s a bit too miniature.

14 This pool noodle is a bit small for his manly, er…Fishly back

This can be easily fixed by wrapping a towel around it to make it a bit bigger.  (I used a piece of felt and a few quick jabs with the needle to hold it in place! A couple of elastics will work with a real towel and pool noodle.

15  Pool noodle wrapped in a “Towel”

Mr. Mer is showing you where the pool noodle is positioned when he lies down (since he is not see-through) some people like to use the floor but I prefer doing this stretch on the bed.

16 Passive Anterior Shoulder Stretch, Pool noodle down the spine with a pillow under the head

17 The orientation of the pillow and pool noodle without Mr. Mer

The pool noodle (or pool noodle and towel) lies under the spine. This lifts the spine off the bed or the floor and lets the shoulders expand and relax towards the bed or floor. This is a passive stretch and should feel comfortable, not painful.  Adding a pillow under the head is often even more comfortable.

If you feel you want to increase the passive stretch you can either use a bigger pool noodle or move closer to the edge of the bed and let one arm extend off that edge. Do not over-stretch, it is important to listen to the muscles for what feels comfortable.

 18  Increasing the strength of the stretch by extending the arm

Remember to take a few stretch breaks while you are working. You can use a timer or drink something so your bladder reminds you it’s time to take a break.

I hope your shoulders and upper back are happy and you can now enjoy the potential that a new year brings just like a new crisp piece of drawing paper just waiting for your first flash of inspiration.

PS; Mr. Mer is so happy to be out of his project bag and is having a quick swim around my desk.  Or he is making a break for it! Have fun and keep felting!

19 “I’m out of here! See you later!”


2021 is almost done, looking foreword to a better 2022

2021 is almost done, looking foreword to a better 2022

It is almost the end of the year, which is good since this one has not been one of the best years I have seen. I must also admit it has had a few good moments.  We had tried to keep in touch with family and friends, through calls, zoom meetings and sometimes when we are very lucky in person.  There was even a bit of in-person fibre shopping towards the end! (ooh Fiber!!) This year I have been investigating wire and still have the ongoing investigation with samples of hairspray. I added a tiny dragon to the family and have one more nearing completion.

Speaking of Dragon, he was very excited about one of my Xmass gifts this year. It will take another day or two to get it figured out. I think I understand how my friends feel when I type too late at night! What I mean is that the instruction manual while written using English words, and most are incomplete sentences, is still incompressible. However, it is truly amazing how you can have a paragraph of words that are about the battery yet still do not tell you exactly how to add the battery!

It does have the specks I was wanting: 4K Video/Camcorder, 48mp, 60fps(frames per second in the very fine print it only seems to be available at 1080 setting.) it is also light enough to fit on my existing articulating supports.

1-2 Xmas present

Since there was also a gaping lack of instructions as to how to put the macro and wide-angle lenses on as well as the lens hood (not the lens cover that doesn’t actually seem to attach if you have the other lenses on.) it took me a while to figure out how it fits together. I have figured out the remote (YEAH! A remote) can turn the camera off but not on…..I did figure out how to plug in the mike.

I am not sure if the German, French or Spanish sections might be more helpful. So it will take me another day before I am ready to try it out. I am hoping to be able to use it for felting. This is considered a very entry-level camera so I want to try it out and see if it’s got enough function to do what we need. Maybe Ann and I can try it out for some of her study group work.

Dragon volunteered to help me show you it set up at the computer desk. Here is his photoshoot.

3-5 I think Dragon is a bit of a Ham!

I am hoping Dragon will have better luck with the remote than I have had so far. If this works I hope to be able to show you the results at some point!


I also wanted to show you a few Christmas shots of Christmas past to hopefully inspire you with better memories than the last 2 years.

6 -10 Shots from Oakville in 2016 (There was snow!)

Have a wonderful New Year!! I am sure we are all looking forward to exploring an exciting new year (one with a limited imagination on number selection – 2022)

An International Project by Line Dufour

An International Project by Line Dufour

Line Dufour has been a practicing textile artist and tapestry weaver for the last 35 years. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art in Toronto Ontario and has always had her own studio. She taught weaving to adults for about twenty years, while at the same time doing art/craft shows and exhibitions. She is currently retired from teaching but continues her studio practice. At the moment, Line does not have a gallery that represents her, and if someone wants to purchase one of her pieces they contact her through her website or social media or other channels. Line’s website You can find her cv on there as well. She is currently enrolled at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK and working on obtaining her Master’s in Creative Writing and Critical Thinking.

And now the project


Fundacion Pablo Achtugarry, Punta del Este, Uruguay 2017


Fate, Destiny and Self Determination [] Le Sort, Destin, et l’auto-determination [] Suerte, Destino y Auto-determinación [] Los, Przeznaczenie i Wola [] Das Schicksal, das Geschick und das Selbstbestimmungsrecht

[] 운명, 숙명 그리고 자기가 결정한 팔자. 팔자  []  Usud, sudbina i samoodređenje [] Sorte,Destino,Auto Determinação [] Öde, mål och självbestämmande [] Fato, Destino e Autodeterminazione


Written by Line Dufour.

Fate is defined as a force, energy, principle, element or power that prescribes to each person a set of limits, boundaries and confines. In Islam it is called Kismet. The Greeks called Fate, Moira. Greek Mythology speaks of the three Fates: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos who supposedly controlled each person’s fate. The youngest, Clotho,  is a spinner and she determines the time of birth and spins the thread of life on her distaff. Lachesis measures the length of the thread to determine the length of one’s life; the time of death is decided by Atropos, who cuts the thread. Inherent in the idea of Fate, is that one has no influence over events and outcomes. Mythology and psychology distinguish between Fate and Destiny. Destiny is considered an expanding field of possibilities alluding to our potential to influence our Fate. This makes Destiny kinetic. “The lives we construct are an inextricably woven fabric of influences, possibilities and accumulated consequences of choices made.” (James Hollis)

The development of the COVID-19 has made all of us more aware of the impact of isolation on our well being. This sense of isolation forms the underpinnings of this installation launched in 2016.  Fate, Destiny and Self Determination was created as social media driven initiative to reduce the isolation artists experienced in their artistic process through co-creating the installation, providing planned hands-on events and gathering them together to exhibit their collective efforts. Inclusiveness is the weft that weaves the installation together.

Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination is composed of three sections. The main tapestry woven panel (on the left) was created by Line Dufour, referencing the contemporary practice of tapestry where artist and weaver are one. The second panel on the right, was woven by visiting participants ranging from the inexperienced and amateur to the professional. This referenced traditional tapestry conventions in that many weavers work(ed) on the tapestry at the same time or at various stages and did not contribute to creating the tapestry designs.

The final section is composed of irregular shapes positioned at varying heights, between the 2 main panels, floating freely in space, as though the tapestry is pulling apart or coming together.  As each shape arrives, Dufour photographs/documents it, posts it to the Facebook page for the project as well as on Instagram@tapestryline and Twitter@tapestry_line. She also includes information about the participants such as their website if they have one, and other comments they have made about the project or about their work and/or life. Thus far, 864  shapes have been received from 43 countries, and a total of about 519 people have participated. The installation continues to expand as it accepts shapes on an ongoing basis. Part of the exhibition includes a list of all participant names. If a label cannot be displayed in the gallery, a QR code label is available so that the gallery viewer can access the web page with the names of all participants.

Each time Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination is installed the shapes are never placed in the same positions, making it interactive and spontaneous, and permits the curator(s) to be part of its creation. Conversely, the curator could also invite the gallery guest to position shapes on the wall between the two panels, having them re-create the installation.

The installation welcomes invitations to be exhibited around the world, and to that effect has been exhibited in the following venues:

  • Craft Ontario in Toronto, Canada
  • The Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • The Doyle and Margaret Hartman Gallery, Regis University, Denver, Colorado USA
  • Craft Council of British Columbia, Canada
  • The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles as part of the American Tapestry Alliance Biennial 11
  • Guan Shan Yue Art Museum, Shenzen, China. 9th From Lausanne To Beijing
  • The Centre D’Action Culturelle de la MLC de Papineau in Québec
  • World Textile Art Biennial at the Fundacion Pablo Achtugarry in Punta del Este Uruguay
  • World of Threads, Oakville, Ontario, Canada
  • Rosccommon County Council, Roscommon Ireland
  • Tuchmacher Museum, Bramsche, Germany
  • Tuch & Technik Textilmuseum, Neumunster, Germany


Anyone who wishes to do so, can create a shape using a textile/fibre related technique (tapestry, rug, weaving, felt, basketry, etc) or create a piece that references textiles with whatever materials they like. Any hue from the colour wheel is suggested. You can use more than one colour. There is no minimum or maximum size, but the average size is 10cm (4”) . There is no maximum on the number of pieces you can submit. A person can also weave (create) a shape of their country, state or province or any shape except not a square or rectangle.  You can look at the Instagram @tapestryline page for the project to see how other people have created their shapes.

Around the Web

Around the Web

This is post of links to interesting and or useful sites around the web.





Spin like your Scottish

spinning on a pendulum wheel






Felting Beaches

Felting Beaches

In my last blog I looked at different ways I’ve tried to represent sea and water in wet felted pictures.

Felting Sea Patterns

Looking back at this link, I realise I sold the sea picture I used as the blog header this week. Happy times! A couple of people asked in the comments if I’d also show how I’ve made beaches, so here we go.

The beaches where I live are mainly pebbles, but there are sandy beaches a little to the east and I’ve used both types of beach in my pictures.

Whitstable West Beach: the pebble beach at the bottom of my road

Here’s a picture of two Sanderlings at Minnis Bay: a lovely sandy beach with chalk rocks embedded in places in the sand.  I’m starting with this as it was an early picture and the first time I thought of using a blue cobweb felt overlay to represent a wet beach reflecting the sky. It’s a technique I like and use quite a lot.

Layout for and final picture “2 Sanderlings, Minnis Bay”

There’s a pewter-coloured base for the sand and light prefelted sections and silk fabric pieces for the chalk with a bit of darker shading around them

Here’s another Sanderlings picture, also at Minnis Bay. This time I’ve used a few different sandy shades to add the idea of shade and texture in the sand.

3 Sanderlings, Minnis Bay

Pebble and shell beaches are more common in my pictures as this is what I see when I walk near home. There are quite a lot of variables in how I create them. Some choices are for ‘artistic’ reasons (how do I want this to look and feel?), some for experimental reasons (what would happen if?) and some are entirely pragmatic (what suitable bits of prefelt and felt offcuts do I have kicking around at the moment?).

This is a Big Wave picture that is now owned by a friend of mine. Here I have cut up felt and pre-felt into pebble shapes and put them on a base of several layers of sandy coloured wool tops. I then laid a bit of blue cobweb prefelt and silk over the pebbles nearest to the wave to give the impression of the remains of a previous wave over the pebbles before wet felting everything together

This is a similar picture where I’ve added more patterned silk scraps (recycled charity shop scarves) which are topped with wisps of wool to help them felt in.

Here I’ve taken a different approach. Whitstable is on the north Kent coast of the UK. It’s famous for oysters and has a very long history of oyster catching and farming. Empty oyster shells are piled up on the beach next to a local restaurant to be reused for farmed oysters. When it’s quiet, turnstones pick over the shells, ferreting out bits of left-behind oyster. I love the turnstones! You can see one in action in this video and hopefully see where they get their name from.

Turnstone picking over the oyster shells

I’ve made a few turnstone pictures. In this one I prefelted lots of oyster shells for the foreground then snipped up loads of different coloured tapestry wool for the beach as I wanted a more distant background impression rather than individual pebbles. The tapestry wool is all from charity shops: I really like recycling old and second hand materials.

It took a surprisingly long time to snip all that wool into a large plastic washing up bowl ready to mix it up and lay it out on top of sandy wool layers. It also made a bit of a mess as the felting threw up lots of loose wool strands because the fibres were very short.

“Turnstone Dining at the Royal Native Oyster Stores”

Another experimental approach was a picture I made earlier this year using pieces of recycled silk (cut from charity shop scarves, of course) on top of a couple of layers of wool tops with some wisps of wool on top for colour and to help attach the silk. This gives a different feel – more impressionistic – but still (I hope!) the impression of a pebble beach.

This penguin picture was a commission. Unusually I was working from someone else’s photo rather than my own observations and pictures. By necessity the felt picture is similar to the original photo (though I had to give the penguin on the right a proper head!). I custom made various sheets of light grey pebbly prefelt which I cut up to make this beach as there’s quite a lot of it so I couldn’t just rely on scraps.

And finally, I think this is my favourite beach so far (maybe apart from the oyster shells). It includes several of the techniques I’ve described. I pre-made some shell shapes and used prefelt pieces for pebbles. There’s lots of silk too – I think I may have put down a whole sheet of silk on top of wool layers then added the rest on top of the silk. This gorgeous ringed plover was standing on a shingle spit that juts into the sea just along from my house and I felt this was a good representation of that particular terrain.

Do you have a favourite? Or anything you don’t think really worked? I’d love to hear your views.

Hair to dye for the Mer’s.

Hair to dye for the Mer’s.

Hair to dye for the Mer’s.

After a long pause from felting to work on the Guild Library survey (why did no one tell me data analysis was so much fun?) with interruptions to torture incent unsuspecting flax plants, I am now back to working on the Mer’s.  Shark Boy is coming along nicely but seems to be missing something… hair!! They will all need hair, but I want it to work with their tail colours too.

Well, I should have some locks or at least some bits of fleece that might work for long hair, because what Mer would not want long hair? All that floating along behind them in the water, looking flowy, and lustrous. Gorgeous tresses, getting in their eyes when they are hunting. ok maybe a braid might be better or another somewhat controlled hairstyle but long, defiantly.

I am imagining picking up bits of colour from the body may be a base of black or dark gray with streaks and accents of some of the body tones. Since Hair should be different than skin, I want to use a different fibre than the Corriedale I have used for the body. Something with a bit more body, (without the use of styling products or heavy conditioners).

In 2019 I picked up a couple of “Coarse” fleeces from the Wool Growers Co-op. Both are quite soft but are more towards a wavy hair than a fluffy crimpy type of sheep. Both are off white to light gray. I also have a reddish-brown Shetland fleece that might be interesting overdyed. I collected a sandwich zip lock bag of each from my stash and turned to the problem of changing their colour.

I need hair dye! Well, I have threatened my hair with that if it didn’t do something interesting as it’s progressing back to the “blond” I was born with. (Ann says it’s a shade of light gray, I claimed it’s just transforming to blond a very light shade of blond that I hope one day will be white) so I don’t have any hair die and none in greens and blues. Humm.

 1 I don’t have any hair die

I do have some old Ritz dies in the basement but they are for dyeing medieval gowns so a bit too much for small samples of fleece. I have heard rumours that you can use food colouring to dye with. Yep, checked youtube, they seem to show only dyeing yarn but it should work with what you make yarn with! Ok, check the kitchen, no food colouring.  I have a plan! Ask Glenn to pick some up on his way back from work! Thanks, Glenn.

So I had collected samples of the two coarse fleeces and a bit from one of the Icelandic. My final fibre to add was horsehair to give a bit more body. I have some dark and light tail hair but unfortunately, it was clumped together and tangled. I was able to extract some and got them laying parallel, held together with a bulldog clip.

Now what do I cook all this in. it’s a bit small for even my smallest pot. Hummm. I am not using the plastic organizer trays I was using for saucers on some of the outdoor plants. I wonder if they would go in the microwave? They don’t say that they don’t go in the microwave!

 2-3 Plan B

I am likely too impatient but I soaked the fibres in warm water and vinegar to prep them for dying. I realized I could fit most of my samples in one organizer and left one sample in the other.  I let it soak until the fibre seemed quite saturated and removed some of the excess water.

  4-6 Soaking in water and vinegar

When I could not stand the wait any longer, I dripped in drops of strait blue die on one end of the containers.

 7 Dye just sitting there

Well, that was disappointing. They just sat there, maybe I took out too much water. I think it needs a poke to inspire the die to migrate a bit. (One of the YouTube videos poked at their skeins in the dye bath) where did I put the spare take out wooden chopsticks? Found them! Why are they with the plastic straws? (maybe filed by the similarity of shape?) Poke, poke, stab, poke and the die is migrating along the top. Ok, let’s add some green and see if we can get a bit of migration and mingling. This is starting to sound quite social. I should put out cookies and make drinks! Again, green drips just sat there. Maybe a bit more water, AH! Yes, now it’s mingling better. More poking but not stirring and I have a nice blue-green, not the Prussian blue I was hoping for but it’s not the right base blue I suspect.

8-9 Poked with chopsticks then tipped the container to migrate the dye

Next, I dripped in some yellow to both samples and worked that in with more poking. Finally, I tipped the containers and got the unattached die to migrate towards the undyed parts. I assessed how it looked and deemed the blue was not quite what I wanted. Maybe a bit of red to get the blue a bit more towards purple would be better?  Let’s try that on the samples with the darker one. A few drops! Oh, my! Red is an aggressive colour! Well, I’m not sure you would call that blue but it is investing. Let’s see what it looks like when it’s dry.

10 3 drops of red

11-13 Heating it up, then letting it cool

Now on to the microwave, let’s guess a minute at a time. Two minutes total gave a nice hot dyebath but still a lot of suspended die. I cooked both for 2 minutes covered with cling wrap and remembered to take the mettle bulldog clip off the horsehair before I stuck it in the microwave. Now let it sit covered until it cools down on the stove and see if I have suspended dye left in the wool.

 14 one leaked but it did seem to have survived the microwave

Usually, I am much better at this patents thing, maybe I will go make some oolong tea. In addition, one of the last of the season’s butter tarts made by Ann. She is amazing and her butter tarts are Really good!

15-16 Oolong with one of the last tarts of 2020.

17 Cooling fibre on the stove

Enjoyed the Butter tart, drank most of the tea and worked on the computer….. Then went to drain and rinse the wool samples. Looking good!! I added some soap and re-rinsed, seems to have mostly stopped leaking blue.

18-19 Rinsing in the sink

So a light squeeze and draped over a chopstick and paper towel to dry.

  20-21 set out to dry

Went back to the computer (played Rune scape) then back to the kitchen to check on the wool and start dinner (miso and ginger soup with shitake mushrooms, onion and noodles). The wool seems to have left a few spots on the paper towel but is looking very colourful.

22 a bit of staining on the underside of the paper towel

  23-24 dyeing made me hunger for dinner

  25-26 Dry and ready to use

It was interesting to see how little die the white horse tail hairs picked up. I may get better results by letting them simmer overnight in a die bath but there is a bit of colour and they may still work.

It has been years since I got a chance to dye anything and this was a lot of fun. I will have to keep an eye out for variegated grey fleeces in 2021 and consider doing some dyeing outdoors next spring. (Glenn does have that second forge but it might make the dye bath a bit too hot. So maybe I can use the barbeque.)  Have fun and happy felting!

27 now on to more butter tarts!

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