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A Long Wait for a Large Loom Part 3

A Long Wait for a Large Loom Part 3

In part 1 we saw the history of the guilds’ old 90 and 100 inch loom. In part 2 we chatted about the arrival and unpacking of the new 100 inch loom. Now lets take a peek at the reference binders related to the old looms and consider continuing that tradion.

My hope is that today’s guild members, as they chose a topic, whether it’s a coverlet or blanket or something else to try out the new loom, they look back to the weavers from earlier in the guild’s history. Like these earlier weavers they record their projects and designs, take photos of their weaving so we can get a glimpse of them as well as what they are creating.

In the past the guild weavers have sporadically documented their projects both with the 90 inch and 100-inch loom. I (in my capacity as one of the guild librarians) would like to see a new binder documenting the projects which our modern weaving teams will make with this new loom.

94  The 90” loom Samples 1 May 1973 to 1 May 1974

95 – 101 sample pages from the 90” loom sample binder

  102 OVWSG 100” Loom Samples Aug 1982 to Oct 1983

103- 110 sample pages from the 100” loom sample binder

111 OVWSG 100” loom Samples  1987 to 1992 (while the loom was in Donna G’s Basement. Donna also taught the beginner and intermediate weaving at that time with table looms)

112-121 sample pages from the 100” loom sample binder

We have some sample binders in the reference section of the library, including guild projects, workshops and individual members weaving careers.  It would be nice to have sample binders from Spinners, Basket makers, Dyers and Felters too. Keeping records in a sample binder is a way to keep track of your work and experimentation. Your collected projects will give inspiration to yourself or others.  Try to make your sample binder in a way that will keep your samples safe from damage. (Use acid-free materials if you can get your hands on them, sew in your samples if possible rather than tape or staples) and always take lots of photos as you work to include to show the process you went through to make it!

Weavers have the advantage of pre-made sheets (available from guilds or online) that save the draft or pattern of the weaving as well as noting yarns, yardage calculations and notes. i would like to see a similar collection of information for the other fiber arts. Spinners can keeps notes of what fibers were used, where they were obtained, what spinning techniques were used and what the end use for the yarn will be. For Felters, what fibers and their sources, weight of the fibers used,  techniques used, amount of shrinkage when fiber was sampled, note on how the project was made. Photos would be useful to document your project (felt sculptures don’t fit in binders).

Figure out the information that would be useful to have for each project you create. You may want to include not only the date started and finished, but keep track of the hours worked on each project. Or you may be more interested in what fibers are used or what mix of fibers were used and in what amounts. If you have demo-ed you may recall getting asked common questions, how long did that take, where did you get the idea, where did you get the fibers, how heavy is it, how did you make it do that? theses questions mite help direct you in what to include in your binder.

If you make a binder documenting your work it will both keep a record of your artistic career, showing your progress, and looking back through it may inspire new work.   I hope you will consider sharing it with other fiber artists too. If you show them yours, they may show you theirs!

122 Part of the Reference Section of the Guild Library

I hope the saga of the large loom has inspired you even if you do not go out and get one yourself!  If you are suddenly yearning to weave a coverlet or a lovely warm blanket check with your local guild and see if they have a 100” loom you could use.

 

 

Who could resist

Who could resist

My name is Janet Bayar, I’m 60 years young and live in the lake District Cumbria. 2018 January I attended a day felting course,a Christmas present from me to my daughter, with my daughter and now I am hooked. I have created art all my life but feel that now I have found “the one”. I am excited for the journey ahead. Apart from the day course I am self taught and live by the “what if” mantra.

When taking part in the beginner wet felting day like many I couldn’t get my head around how you could make this fibre and flat felt into a 3 d item. With patient guidance from my daughter , who has a degree in art , I mastered the craft of felt vessels. My mind then went to , well if you can have one resist why not more and thus the journey began.

I am often asked , what do I mean by a resist. A resist is something that stops wool fibres from felting together. In vessels it could be a simple piece of plastic sheet , in shobori it could be a button or marble. Something that stops the fibres of the wool knitting. Recently I began thinking about using the same techniques I have used in vessels but adapting them to 2 d pictures. I first laid down a base of Marino topps then used herdwick in various shades sandwiching between three different sizes of circular plastic. After wet rubbing until I knew the fibres were well felted I cut out the plastic

Shaping the piece was next. I have mainly used the ever forgiving Marino in the past and wasn’t ready for the harsh corse herdwick and must admit ended up skinning the side of my hand rubbing the fibres into shape. In the end I put on disposable gloves and used bubble wrap to creat the shape.

I loved the process so much I then went on to experiment more.

This shows the piece with only one resist cut out. You can see where the other resists are positioned.

I will now develop these. I always treat the felting pieces as the base of my canvas. Sometimes I go into a project with a concept of where I am going it sometimes the piece takes me by the hand and leads.

In this case my sample piece is developing. It’s early stages yet but I know where I am going but will post how it develops to the final outcome.

Challenge – make an item for your home for the festive season

Challenge – make an item for your home for the festive season

This  is my version of a commonplace Christmas decoration – it’s not an original idea but it’s unique because I’ve made all the bits. I used fibre in the form of fabric, yarn and merino wool tops.

My colour palette was inspired by the winter sky – blue, white, yellow, pink and grey.

I cut a suitable branch from my garden then coloured it with dark blue acrylic paint (photo below shows the branch before painting)…

…then I rummaged around in the glass recycling bin for a suitable bottle to put it in.

To make the cracker, I used a piece of cardboard tube rolled up in fabric (you can see the white tube through the fabric in the middle) …

…then tied either side of the tube with sewing thread.  The ends were trimmed with pinking shears and the cracker was finished with some narrow organza ribbon.

I knitted a stocking using a  free pattern for mini knitted socks  then stuffed it with some merino wool fibres.  I like this pattern because it’s knitted on two needles, not the usual four, so it’s very easy.

The snowgirl was made from 3 large white felted beads and some floral wire (see how to make felt beads ) and how to make a felt bead snowman).

Her hat is made from a rectangle of knitting drawn up along one long side, seamed, then a small pompom added made from the same wool.

         

Her scarf is a simple knitted i-cord.  Here is a video – how to make an icord

The tree is a scrap of blue felt, cut to shape, then decorated with fancy yarn.

The star is cut from a scrap of thick felt – yellow on one side and pink on the other.  I applied PVA glue to the edges to stiffen it.

               

I made 5 snowflakes but each is unique – that’s another way of saying that I made several mistakes because I was watching a film whilst crocheting and not paying enough attention!

I made 15 large felt beads in winter sky colours – but I only used 12.  As I was hanging everything onto the branch I reached a point where I realised I had enough and I had to stop.  The photo below shows them drying on a rack.

Everything was hung onto the branch using thin, yellow coloured wire.

This was a really easy, fun Christmas decoration to make and the variations are countless.  I hope you enjoy making something for your own home, and if you want to share photos please post them here fourth quarter challenge 2020

 

 

 

A Long Wait for a Large Loom  Part 2

A Long Wait for a Large Loom  Part 2

(A long wait for a large loom  Part 1 https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2020/10/25/a-long-wait-for-a-large-loom/)

The guild both Ann and I belong to had an old 100″  loom at the end of its life. With the greatly appreciated grant assist, we were able to order a new loom that will be much easier for our ageing membership to use. We had our grant request approved so put in our order with Leclerc Looms. We dispersed parts of the old loom, put in a new floor in the classroom and awaited the new looms arrival…..

Unbeknownst to us, other guilds seem to have had the same grant idea! So, the loom that should have been ready for us in a few months, was suddenly delayed, then delayed again. There was a backlog of orders at Leclerc looms for 100-inch looms!  Then Covid 19 hit and there seemed to also be a shortage of wood (looking at the packing crates I can believe that!) so 18 months since we placed our order and a couple of grant extensions, our new loom arrived.

Long heavy wooden crates arrived and had to be carried up the stairs (there is a turn in the stairs too) since the 100” loom crates would not fit in the elevator.  All the crates and boxes were transported up to the classroom (which is down a long hall from the stairs with a couple more corners just to make it a bit more challenging). That was enough of an accomplishment for the day and a different unboxing date was decided on.

  41 – 42 A long way to carry all the heavy boxes up from downstairs

The evening they selected coincided with the day I would be doing the library book exchange, Oct 7th.  The guild library during covid has been doing book requests and drive by pick up /drop offs at the side door  for our members. It’s a bit more work for the librarians, but it is allowing the members to use the library again.  I was finishing with the library and started packing up, as the team of unboxers arrived.

43-45 yes there is candy involved in the library book exchanged!

   46- 47 I locked up the library, took the camera and headed for the classroom.

Upstairs in the Classroom, unboxing was already underway! Since we could not all be there to experience the extreme excitement of seeing the 100” loom unboxing I took photos and posted them on our guild face book group page.

48- 51  The Unboxing had begun!

I tried to capture some of the wonder of what is this? Where will this go? Is that a tensioning device for the bobbin rack? OOOH, a counter!!!! What are those extra beams for, are they just deflectors? OOOH, sectional bits and extenders!!!!

52-57 OOH!!

That is one big loom!!! In pieces it looks a lot bigger than 100 inches worth!!!

58 – 62 BIG!!!

63 There was ergonomic unboxing while sitting on a chair.

The last long wooden box was the one with the reeds, leash sticks and rods.

64-68 the last wooden crate

You can see the unboxing of the treadles and here is a close up of the treadles.

  69-73 that box was the treadles!

You can see the bobbin rack also still wrapped up. This will be a useful addition to the 100 inch since with a sectional beam you will not need as big a team to warp this large loom! I spotted the tension box, a counter and I think a tensioner for the bobbin rack too (COOL! My 60 inch sectional didn’t have one of those!).

74-75 Bobbin rack!!

The loom parts were well packed! The packing crates look like long window boxes!

76-77 well packed

The assembly of this loom will be like a giant 3d jigsaw puzzle! I hope photos will be added as this part is started. This next step might take a number of sessions more to complete. I will check next time I’m in to work on the library to see the progress.

78

After seeing pictures of the 100-inch loom and the fun that the next assembly project will be, I bet you are glad that felting is just vast quantities of wool, soap, pool noodles, bubble wrap, needles, wire and odd bits of equipment that were not originally intended for felting. (ok, that can take up the same space as the big loom but the wool is lighter to move!!)

 

 

Next trip into the guild library to do a book check, pull a couple of magazines and get photos of a couple of reference books, I also went up to see if the 3d puzzle was underway. Yes! It was almost complete!

It looks so shiny and new with its bubble wrap still on the beams! (those extra pieces I wasn’t sure how they would fit turned out to be a rotating breast and cloth beams.) I look forward to seeing if the rotational aspect will improve take up of the cloth or warping the loom.

 

79-81 the 3D “Kebec II Loom Counter-balance with Pulleys”

The extenders and the sectional parts still need to be added to the back beam but that isn’t too big a job. The bobbin rack is still to be assembled too. But the new loom is almost ready for its first weavers!

82-84 Sectional pices yet to be attached.

85-91Loom close ups

92 – 93 the New loom even makes the Guild’s Grate Wheel look smaller!

Since the new loom is now here, it’s time to start thinking about what exciting things it will be making; Blankets, coverlets, catalogue, curtains, Icelandic blankets?

My hope is that today’s guild members, as they chose a topic, whether it’s a coverlet or blanket or something else to try out the new loom, they look back to the weavers from earlier in the guild’s history. Like these earlier weavers they record their projects and designs, take photos of their weaving so we can get a glimpse of them as well as what they are creating.

Weavers have kept samples binders of there projects with notes on drafts, samples of warp and weft yarn and a sample of the woven cloth. Sometimes there are notes about the designing the project or inspiration that they used. Some have photos of the weaving in progress, finishing, equipment and weavers involved in the project. Sample binders can be a history of a weavers life or inspire other weavers.

We have a few sample binders of previous 90 and 100 inch loom projects in the guild Library.  I will show you a few next week.  Since these binders are very helpful to weavers; the Spinners, Dyers, Basket makers and Felters may want to make there own versions of sample binders!  Have fun and keep felting!

94  The 90” loom Samples 1 May 1973 to 1 May 1974

 

 

Decorating the cowl

Decorating the cowl

As you recall I was dying some silk lap for my cowl. They turned out well. Silk always looks so raggy after dying. I think it’s the squeezing out of the excess water. They look a little better dry after a little shake and stretch.

With the cowl being different colours of purple I think either the gold/orange or gold/ orange/purple.

 

I decided on the gold/orange/purple. the gold/ orange was to close the leaf fabric. I cut a small amount from one side of the lap.

 

I stretched the silk over the back of the cowl leaving enough on each end to cover the front.

I flipped it over and then cut up the leaves to decorate the ends. I put some on the underside( the silk side) and some on the top.

Then the other end

You saw above I had about 10 grams of silk. After stretching it out to get the amount of silk lap I wanted, I ended up cutting about 1/4 of it off the 2 ends.

I covered it up and gave it a good rubbing on both sides and rolled it up. Next up, the rolling. I am starting to feel like this is the never-ending cowl but I hope to show you it all finished in the next post. Before I can do that, I have to make some more masks, my mom wants a couple and some more pie making. And of course, today is Halloween. No trick or treating for the kids but the grandkids are having a haunted walk in the field. The grownups have as much fun setting it up as the kids will have running around in it.

 

 

Cute distractions and stashes

Cute distractions and stashes

I am writing and scheduling this post ahead of the imminent new regulations to be announced in two days time by BJ….so typing with fingers crossed, is a little like patting one’s head and rubbing one’s tummy!

The reason for my contortions is that we are expecting to meet our newest member of the family, now 8 weeks old. The visit was not originally on our calendar as they live out of the country, but circumstances have intervened – our daughter has fractured the head of her femur and if it shears off, she will need a joint replacement. C-19 totally prevented me from getting to them (Arrrrgh 😤😭) so with doctor’s certificates they are coming with wheelchair and baby et al for some much-needed help and TLC.

The imminent visit is having an effect here in the house….a grand clear-up! Whilst my garden archaeology (finding what once was 4 years ago) is on hold, I have been tackling large sewing projects put to one side ‘for when I have time’ – the ones that have piled up for way, way, too long.

In addition to this activity, I wanted to create a personal little welcome for our Grandson. Thinking of a friend’s story with her grandchildren whereby on their visits she always has a little something tucked into their pillows I decided to make a ‘pocket’. It is a work in progress….

 

Drawing out the letters and reversing them ready to draw onto Bondaweb. If I’m making one it makes sense to make one for our next youngest grandchild too (sadly, also an out of country resident!)

Fabric for little boys….denim of course! I took an already de-constructed and very worn pair of jeans from my stash.

I fiddled with the fabric to work out the construction….as many of you will have read previously – I often work things out as I go along, my thought process being like filtered coffee. Thankfully and necessarily, the filtered result came quickly!

I much preferred the back of the fabric (rather than the old, worn, almost see through, bleached front) so joined the pieces of leg fabric to allow for my construction.

Left overs bits….some for my stash box, threads from painstakingly pulling out threads to find the grain edges (for possible use in felt pieces etc) and some ‘fiddled with’ pieces for future sewing activities!

Then it was into my stash box to find appropriately colourful bits of fabric. It is here that I have to admit to having several stashes, all ironed and tidy – for large, medium and small pieces of fabric and another box for tiny bits….a ‘neat-nic’….guilty as charged!

Sadly, no photos, but I cut out the fabric letters and ironed them onto the base to start my appliqué stitching. Deciding to use Perlé thread, it was a dive into yet another stash to find the right colours.

In the meantime, my vast stash of ribbons, edgings and bias tape let me down – I just couldn’t find what I needed.

You will have now realised that I have many ‘stashes’ (hence the title of this post) and like so many of you I’m sure – all my stashes have been collected over many years (read that as decades!). Where would we be without them? But I digress….

I can count on one hand how many trips I’ve made into the high street since March, but this was totally an ‘essential’ trip! Strangely I can’t remember shopping for decorative haberdashery items for sooooo long that the prices took me totally by surprise – ‘how much for a metre?’ In the second shop I finally found my ‘ah-ha, that’s the one’.

Stitching then commenced. The back shows the faded jeans and my attempts to keep the stitching neat.

Tadaa….thus far!

Once all the hand stitching is complete, I’ll add interfacing and lining then tape the edges – I’ll post the finished ‘pocket’ next time.

I hope, by the time you read this, that I will be a less frustrated mum finally able to care for her offspring (with no more crossed fingers) and also a proudly doting Grandmother too….definitely a cute distraction!

A Long Wait for a Large Loom

A Long Wait for a Large Loom

There are many advantages to a guild such as the support and comradery of like-minded people who share an interest or passion in something. Sharing knowledge; whether in a library or through the members sharing their ideas or teaching. The pooling of resources to acquire equipment to be shared amongst the group that individual members either can’t afford or do not have space for.

Ann and I belong to the same guild here in Ottawa, Canada. It’s old as far as Canadian guilds go; having started as a group run through the Ottawa Civil Service Recreation Association from 1943 to 1946. In 1949 a few of their members went to a weaving conference.  When they returned home they decided to  start their own guild and became the Ottawa Valley Weavers guild. They eventually added “and Spinners” to their name. I joined in 1987 or 1988, becoming their new Librarian at my first meeting. (I did clearly warn them about the severe dyslexia but they didn’t think that would at all be a problem). So I started my guild career in  a closet, under the stairs, with the library. The guild was meeting down the hall in an old gymnasium at Devonshire Public School.  Ann joined a bit later.  By then I and the library were living in a different closet. She kindly decided to join me to help with the library. The library team eventually grew to Ann, Mary and I, but still in a closet with the books.

 1 Devonshire Public School (we were in the lower level with the closet under the stairs and the old gymnasium.)

For many years, the guild did not have a space to house equipment but always yearned to do so. We kept the shared equipment we did have in various members basements including a borrowed 90 inch loom (before my time), then a purchased, second hand 100-inch loom. The Library has sample binders from projects made on both of these.

Our 100-inch loom was second hand when we acquired it. It had moved multiple times, coming to rest for many years in one member’s basement.  It was used for many projects, mostly blankets and coverlets. If you have not seen one they are big looms.  It takes 2 people to weave on it.  This one was becoming more and more temperamental in its old age it took a large team to get the warp on. Warps were long to accommodate multiple blankets on the same threading. The treadling and colours would change between coverlets depending on what the weaver wanted.  Occasionally, between one coverlet and the next the loom would require readjusting of the tension. At this point the loom was functional but just a bit grumpy occasionally.

In 2003 the guild received a grant that allowed us to move into a space in Heartwood House (an umbrella group for many charity’s and the OVWSG) to set up our long dreamed of studio and house the library. The 100-inch loom as well as other floor and table looms left members basements and arrived in our new space.

2 Heartwood house.

 3 Our new home in the basement of Heartwood house, with the 100-inch loom warped and ready to go! The loom was often in use since it was much easier to get into the guild studio and use it.

4-7 Weavers work in pairs and weave 2 blankets. It takes two weavers weaving at once to make each blanket so they weave one for each of them. 2002

We moved to various rooms in the basement,  taking the looms with us.  In 2009 we made another move, this time going upstairs to one of the large classrooms which had large windows. We had to pick up and move all our guild stuff; the wheels, the library and the all the looms including the 100-inch up the stairs to the new space. All that moving was worth it since we now had a wall of windows and lots of bright light!

8-12 Upstairs in the light warping team in February 2009

After 10 years the building Heartwood house was renting was sold out from under them.  All the charity’s and us were on the move again. It took quite a bit of looking but finally a new location was found. We all moved to a building that once was a Giant Tiger Store with a small attached mall. Ann S., another member, headed up the design team that designed a purpose built studio space with a kitchenette, the library, and all the looms (wheels were moved to a storage closet down the hall.)

13 Moving Out of old Heartwood House! 2013

14-15 Moving into new Heartwood house (a lot of those boxes are the library!) 2013

 16-22 Weaving in the Studio 2014

After being in the space for a while, it was found to be a bit tight, so a classroom space was rented upstairs and the 100-inch loom moved yet again.

 23-24 Moved to the Classroom Nov-Dec 2014

The classroom originally was divided,  having a second smaller room where the loom was put, but we had the partition wall removed to create one big space. The space had carpet originally but we eventually upgraded to laminate in hopes we could have felting workshops upstairs and for easier clean up under the loom.

 25-27 This is the weaving draft for the coverlets. Here you can see tying on a new warp to the old. This is used to keep from rethreading the heddles or to save an expensive warp from being loom waste.  It is the second use as a dummy warp this time. 06-29-2015

28 Special guest in the studio (gratuitous lamb photo) Ann has the best living room decor!! Everyone enjoys when she shares and brings one of her bottle lambs to the studio.

  29-31 Our loom is getting more finicky to put the warp on the loom. 06 2016

32 They are adjusting heddles and leveling harnesses before threading the next warp. 7-4-16 (you can see the wall is gone so its easier to warp the loom. (Well relatively easier))

 33-34 You can see the treadle patter and more of the classroom. Aug 2016.

 35-36 Overshot is a weave structure with a distinctive 45-degree angle to the pattern. It is starting to show that the tension is not even and there are problems with the loom.

 37-38 The weavers are having to argue with the loom to stay square and get the correct angle. Weaving has become slower. 2018

By this point in its life, it was not keeping tension well and I think there were problems with the brake. A grant request was put in to acquire a more functional user friendly new 100 inch loom from Leclerc (an old Canadian company that has made looms since the beginning of the 1900’s). We wanted a 100-inch loom that was easier to warp, kept tension and did not have brake slippage. Therefore, we put in our grant request and were thrilled when it was accepted. <Weavers Celebrating!!>

The next project the executive undertook was what to do with the old loom. It had been repaired as much as was possible but really was now well beyond its working life so sending it off to another guild to fight with was not an option. They reached out to other provincial guilds and found a few had the same model of loom and could use parts of our old one to refurbish theirs. So the loom was mostly dispersed to upgrade other old looms.

 29-40 The new floor is put in as we prepare for the new loom. July 2019

We cleared the area for the new loom at the end of the classroom. With great excitement we awaited the arrival of the wonderful new loom! And we waited,  and waited, and waited…..

And now I will be horrible and make you wait till next week so you too will find out if it was worth the wait!

in the mean time keep felting! (i am still busy with data analysis of the guild library survey, which is actually lots of fun but keeping me from felting at the moment. i hope to have my part handed off to Ann soon so i can rejoin you in fiber fun!)

Next Steps for My Cowl

Next Steps for My Cowl

With a few weeks until the Christmas markets, I finally got back to my cowl.

This is as far as I had gotten before I had to put it aside. It took me forever to get the silk wrapped around the template properly and as you can see I had to use painters tape to do it.

The first job today was to sew the center together. I used some nylon thread and large basting stitches so I can pull it out at the end.

I put some tape on the one end of the thread so it should be easy to find when it is finished.

Time to add the wool, 3 shades of purple.

The next thing should have been cutting up the yellow/orange/red prefelt into some leave and put them on the cowl. But that would too easy. I decided I wanted to put some silk on top of everything. I thought about some silk hankies but remembered I had a big bag of silk lap. Silk lap is similar to silk hankies but much bigger and many layers.

As you can see the silk is bright white. I will have to dye it. I am not sure what would be the best colour so I cut several strips of the lap to dye.  I was thinking different shades of green but maybe copper or gold would be better. Maybe a combination s of all 3. What do you think?

First I had to find the end, easier said than done.

Even with many layers, it is still see-through.

Silk takes more preparation to dye than wool and other fibres. Silk is hard to get wet. I added a little dish soap to help the silk get wet. It will have to sit at least overnight to be properly wet so I can dye it. I will show you next week when it’s my turn to post again.

And a reminder about the holiday card exchange. You have until tomorrow night (Oct 24th at midnight) to sign up on the forum. holiday-card-exchange-2020 link  If You have signed up chec the forum on the evening of the 25 to find out who your partner is.

A Small Infestation on the Back Patio

A Small Infestation on the Back Patio

I have been very busy with the Guild Library Survey this week. (19 fantastic questions covering 5 topics!) I hope that I will have the first draft of the data done in the next few days so I can get back to felting. (Not that I am not having excessive fun with data analysis!!) Who knew this could be such a blast!! (Bernadette, you should have told me how fun this is! you have one of the best jobs ever!!).  So while I am wrapped up in thoughts of trends and preferences and comparing sub-groups, I wanted to tell you about the Blue tarp you saw last week in the background of this shot. So now it is later and I should get to explaining about it!

1 from last week

In 2020, most people don’t get to see a blacksmith or smell that distinctive aroma of a forge starting up. It is a smell that clings to clothing, hair and especially damp wool. Like the sudden mysterious appearance of Fairy rings of mushrooms in your lawn, you too may wake up one morning go out to check your…. Well, attempting to dry fleece and find you have an infestation of a blacksmith on your patio! But take heart!! It’s not all bad. They are often photogenic, their pounding tends to remove chipmunks from the area at least for a short time and they can be persuaded to make useful things for spinners, basket makers or for my felting friends; self-nailing hooks!!

Quick note: it is important to keep your fleece-drying upwind from the forge if possible.

A few fleece piles of washing back Glenn removed one of the two blue tarps. Underneath was the smaller forge that one of the chipmunks had thought was a good overwinter nest last spring. I had been requesting a few more hooks for the fleece straining buckets and he had another project he wanted to work on too.

  2-4 The Infestation (not necessarily a bad thing)

So he dug around in the garage, pulling out tools and the ¼ inch stock for the hooks. He also pulled out a railroad tie for his other project. He actually has 2 forges on the back patio. This one is the Sears light-duty farm forge. (check out the Sears Robuck catalogues for the end of the 1800s/ beginning of the 1900s.)  if only we had bought it then, it would have been $18.00 and came with an anvil and a foot vice. let’s just refer to it as the over-enthusiastic barbeque but it would be better not to cook steaks on it since it can melt metal and that is coal, not charcoal he is using.  His other forge is bigger and maybe a homemade arrangement with wheels. It is under the black covers on the other side of the blue bins full of coal (when we could have put them to better used holding fleeces!)

Now I may have already confused you, why would we want to have this odd self-nailing hooks?  And what would a hook self-nail? This is something you may have seen at a homestead museum or an old barn.

5 hooks and guillotine

These are self-nailing hooks, beside them is a Guillotine tool. you can change the parts inside it to make different effects on the stock. The hooks are freshly out of the forge and have yet to be lacquered so they won’t rust.

The trellis along the side yard is made of 4×4 lumber which is perfect for putting hooks into.

6 These are over 2 years old and I need to use a wire brush and a bit of spray lacquer. After a couple of winters, they have picked up a bit of rust. I use them to hang and drain the strainer baskets between the washing and rinsing soaks of the fleeces.

7 blacksmiths are also handy for lifting strainer baskets out of the soaking buckets.

  8 At his point I have a backlog of fleeces sorted and waiting to be washed.

  9-10 My present 2 hooks and the sorting table.

 11 I hang the baskets on an angle so the water drains from one corner removes more of the water than when it hangs straight.

12 He has also made me a couple of hooks designed to hang over 2×4’s both horizontal and vertical orientation. I have been using this for the 3rd strainer basket but it drips right in the carrots and I don’t like to think of the soap and other material the carrots are getting from the drippings.

I was checking the unwashed side of the covered side yard and found another fleece! It is a small Romney lamb  (1lb 1oz.) that said it was washed but didn’t look like it. So into a couple of bins for washing it goes.

 13 Oops, found one more this was hiding!

Now back to that little blacksmith infestation on the patio…

 14 Once the fire is made and the coal had burnt off the green smoke (don’t breathe that part!) it’s time to start heating up the bar stock to make hooks.

   15-17 Blacksmith at work, don’t startle him.

He is putting a twist in the hook. This is similar to spinners putting twist in yarn. For spinners a successful twist is produced with even drafting, allowing the same amount of twist into the same amount of drafted fibre each time. Since twist is lazy it will leap to any thin sections and build up more twist there. For blacksmiths, if the heat is not even across the section you want to twist it will not spread the twist evenly, going instead to the hotter spots producing an uneven twist. Think of the bar stock as just very stiff spinning roving or maybe since the fibres are so well aligned we should consider it top rather than roving.

Here is a little taste of blacksmithing but without that distinctive aroma.

18 (the loud sounds that are not blacksmithing is the medivac orange helicopter heading north up the Ottawa Valley) please note his forge squeaks worse than any of my wheels, even the Hatbox on her grumpiest day before she got her new tension band.

 19 This is his bigger anvil hidden partly amongst this year’s very good growth of catnip. The tool in the hardy is for cutting metal.

 20 These are the hooks he made while I was wrangling dirty fleeces.

If you awake one morning with an odd smell coming from your yard and find your back patio has had a sudden infestation of blacksmith do not fret. Find some bar stock and whatever you think will appease the blacksmith (chocolate, coke zero and raspberries works for mine). Luckily some will work for treats, so they are sort of like brownies which you appease with milk (but not as clean).  If you are very lucky and don’t scare them away, you too may get self-nailing hooks, drop spindles, manual double-ended ball winders, and other fibres related delights!

 

 

Soon to be leaves; purpose made prefelt

Soon to be leaves; purpose made prefelt

If you remember I started to work on a new cowl design for maybe teaching or maybe selling but at least one for myself. here the blog if you missed it or want to remind yourself. https://wp.me/p1WEqk-9Ha

Sorry to disappoint but it still isn’t finished. I did decide I wanted to put some autumn leaves on it so I made some prefelt to cut them out of. I started with green, I want it to be in the middle. I was thinking of having a little green showing at the edges might look nice.

then I added some reds orange and golden yellow. I did it in an odd pattern so I could cut out leaves that were not all one colour. The pictures are not great. No matter what I did they looked blurry. I think it’s too much light bouncing off the fibres it just can’t focus.

I flipped it over and laid out to “match” the other side. The green is thin so it wasn’t hard to see the colours through it.

Next, I got out my silk top and my silk hankies and put some on both sides to give it some shine. I tried to get pictures of it but it doesn’t show at all.

This is the finished piece. You can see the silk now.

There is only one more regular market day, this Saturday and then I get a break until the Christmas markets on Nov. 21 and 28. I plan to get the cowl done and to make some baskets to sell. So, fingers crossed, more to come.

 

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