75th Anniversary Moose bag, Bag #2

75th Anniversary Moose bag, Bag #2

Last time I showed you the bag I was working on for myself, if you missed it you can check it out here; (https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2023/11/05/75th-anniversary-moose-bag-needle-felting-on-a-ground-fabric/)

I took it to the Guild sale as an example of embellishing and started to work on the second bag. Unfortunately, while my bag (the Black Moose) was at the sale it got rubbed (yes that has to be supper wash….. it fuzzes with little provocation!!) So, I will have to go back and do repairs then finish it off in a different fiber.  Today I wanted to quickly (ok that’s quickly when considering my regular posts), show you what I have been working on for Glenn.

I had offered to make an embellished bag for him. I was considering blacksmith tongs entangled in the antlers but he requested a more 3-D shape and in moose-like colours. Ok, I can do that. This time I started with the 14-inch hoop and the Maori short batt fibre I had purchased in September at the Almonte Fiber Festival (it’s a fundraiser for the Almonte Textile Museum. If you are visiting the Ottawa area, you may want to check them out and maybe stop at the Wool Growers Co-op in Carlton Place too).

stone building, was the office for one of the mills in Almonte. now it is the Mississipy Valley textile museum1)Mississippi Valley Textile Museum, Almonte, Ontario.  https://mvtm.ca/

storage area of the Wool growers co-op. open ile in the back of the building, man leaning in doorway, with end of tractor visible. on ether side of ile are wrapped bundles of wool sorted and ready to ship2)The back storage area of the Wool growers co-op (https://wool.ca/page/history-of-canadas-wool) & https://realwoolshop.ca/blogs/product-inforfmation/canadian-co-operative-wool-growers-canadian-wool?_pos=1&_sid=6387e1151&_ss=r

(exiting travel suggestions and back to felting)

I had been hearing about Maori short-fibre batts online and had been curious. I had purchased a light and dark brown, a mossy green and dark charcoal (that was what Bat on a stick was made from).  The fibre had felted to a very firm consistency on Bat so I wanted to use it for the moose, since rubbing may be a problem this fibre should be able to stand up to it if I use Bat on a stick as a guild.

Mayori batts in white cubes for sale at Almone tiberfest 20233)Display of Maori batts in the Wool and Paddle booth at Almonte (Lisa Paddle from Manotick Ont.)

I had success with the T38-333 needles so used them again. I may do the final surface work with the T40’s or T42’s since they will not be inserted into the ground fabric.

I started to work on the second bag as part of the demo at the guild sale. (I will show you the sale but it’s taking a while to sort all the photos by booths. I took 343 shots on Saturday and 279 on Sunday but I promise not to show you all of them!!!!)

Mettle table holding felting demo debree, black moose on bag haning in front, bags of fiber and brown moose on bag in embroidery hoop. 4) Felting set up in the demo area.

bottom of picture has top of embroidery hoop and a bit of Moose, behind are spinners and spinning wheel demoing happeing  5) I Was part of the demo team (when not taking pictures!)

As previously I started by creating a base well attached to the ground canvas

Detail of Moose felted antlers and felting needle sticking into canvis backing 6) Detail of Moose antlers

I continued into the body adding a base layer and following the shape of the silhouette.

Moose in embroidery hoop, sunlight racking across image a bit of fiber is sitting off to the side7) starting to fill in the body with a light brown wool base.

Building up the head and shoulders. Anns hand is holding the felting needle 8)Building up the head and shoulders

I did not get as far as I had hoped during the demo, but I did keep getting up to take pictures. I kept working on Moose and had him covered and somewhat rounded by the time of the Monday meeting. Bat-on-a-stick also attended.

 9) Bat-on-a-stick sitting in Moose bag. hanging off the handle of a walker (Bat is holding the extra needles)

added the ear, and the body is more rounded. hanging on walker handle 10) I have added the ear, and the body is more rounded. The bag is hanging on the handle of my walker and is holding the fibre I was working with and the batt.

After the meeting, I was getting sore-er after moving a few things in the studio the day before. So, I planned to take it easy and focus on Moose. I wanted to give him the closer antler in 3D. This would require an armature and its inclusion into the partly rounded head and neck.

antler armature laying on top of antler on the bag11) Checking the wire armature for the antlers, against the antler in the silhouette.

Close up of the antler armature12) Close-up of the antler armature.

Dollarama stems (floral wire) posibly 20ga steel13) Unfortunately, Dollarama does not say what gauge the stems are, but I suspect 20ga-coated steel.

I used two 15-inch long floral wires to twist and create the antlers. The back antlers were the pattern for the wire armature.  Is should have made the prongs a bit longer but was able to build them up a bit with wool.

Moose making was briefly interrupted by my order arriving from Sara’s last sale (I got the moose workshop on an SD card.) I know, I can make one from scratch at this point, but it will be interesting to see how she does it and she usually has some bit that is an Ah-Ha moment. I am hoping she will have something inspiring to suggest with antlers and the difference between antlers with and without “velvet”. I am not sure I want to try the stage where the velvet is coming off,  it’s a bit gruesome, even for me!

Ok back to my, well Glenn’s, Moose. I wrapped fibre around each point and the main part of the antler then started to fill in the spaces in between. The shortness of the fibre did not allow me to work the same way I had done the little dragon wings. So I had to build up the fibres in much shorter sections, luckily I wanted the antlers thicker and firmer than the dragon wings.

showing armature now wool wrapped, forming antler14) showing wool wrapped antler

I checked for placement as I worked. Then built up the base that would attach the antler to the “skull” (no I did not get that anatomical and make him a skull)

Checking positioning of the wire insertion15) Checking the positioning of the wire insertion

Ok, this part is a bit gruesome (not as bad as the pealing antlers) so you may want to look away if you’re squeamish. I took the trailing wire under the antler and drove it into his head so it came out near his carotid artery.  (I did warn you).

The end of wire had passed through the head and curved to come out in the neck 16) The end of the wire had passed through the head and curved to come out in the neck

Next, I bent the wire into a loop and pushed it flat against his neck, while making sure the antler was seated, tightly to the head. The next step is to start carefully adding fibre over the area of the injury, so no one will know that happened.

You can see a bit of the folded wire partly covered in wool 17) You can see a bit of the folded wire

You can still see a bit of the wire showing but it is starting to disappear! It is fabulous he doesn’t look like he will be permanently scarred from the procedure.

Close up of moose neck showing that the wire is now well hidden18) Close-up of moose neck showing that the wire is now well hidden.

top view of the added antler 19) Here is a top view of the added antler

There were a few other details that have been added to this moose. He has the understructure of his beard and bell

adding support for beard and bell under moose chin20) Beard support has been added I will likely add locks to create the beard when I am working on the surface colour.

Two of the feet have 3D tows21) Two of the feet have 3D tows

Under side of hooves22) Underside of hooves

Here is a view of the underside of the hoof, you can see the far side is attached to the ground fabric and the near side is totally 3D.

Lastly, I also added an eye, again it is blue,  but this is a much brighter blue. Yes, I checked, the eye should be brown but I like blue so both of the moose have blue eyes.

Blue bead added for his eye23)  Blue bead added for his eye

This is the point I have Glenn’s moose now. I still have a lot more to do. I will be adding shading to the understructure I have built up.  Glenn has indicated he would like to have yarn wrapped in the antlers so he will have to decide on the yarn colour and fiber. I will let you know how it goes.

Moose under structure finished. Felting needle sticking in hsi superor glutes.24) This is the point I have Moose 2 at now. (the needle in the glutes,  is that Moose-u-puncture?)

I have heard that other guild members are planning to personalize their moose too. If I see their augmented moose bags I will take a photo to show you.

Finishing up my Visor Mirror Cover

Finishing up my Visor Mirror Cover

It has been a busy few weeks getting everything ready for our Guild Sale. Now that’s done and over and I am sure Jan will show you lots of pictures. For me, I found the time to finish embellishing my visor mirror cover. For those that don’t remember the cover on the mirror of my car visor was broken when we bought it. When you flip the visor down while driving the mirror is there. It’s distracting.  I decided it needed a cover. Nothing so simple as making a plain piece of felt to match the visor. That is much too easy. Here is a link to my last post showing how I created the cover. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2023/08/31/a-cover-for-my-visor-mirror-part-2/

I have continued on with my stitching. I wanted to use lots of different open background stitches. I didn’t want to cover up anything. I started working on the flower that looked like a superhero in flight.

I thought I better tackle the head next to stop it from looking like a person. I broke it into 2 areas. I think it worked well

Then I did this interesting stitch in the purple. Make 3 parallel lines and then come up in the middle go around all the threads and back down in the middle. I thought it was effective.

Then when I had just about finished everything else I decided to add 3 dots. I am not sure it looks like a flower but it looks a lot less like a superhero.

Next, it was this leaf. I thought I would do small stitches and go all the way around the middle but after a short distance, I didn’t like how the small stitches looked following the line exactly. I ripped them out.


I decided to use more threads and larger stitches and only follow one side.


And around the outside.


I liked it and I am getting very good at outline stitch. It was still a little plain so I added some colonial knots. Also in between I added some stitching to the small leaves. You can see a few in the picture.


I finished off this leaf and was thinking I was done, but…

My hubby said I needed to do the sheep and give him eyes and a nose. I had been going to leave him minimalist. It took 3 tries to get his eyes in the right place and the same size.

Now for the finished piece.

I had thought of cutting off the wonky outline but decided against it. Here it is installed. I used the hook side of some stick-on velcro dots, to attach it to the visor. It is a bit big but if it had been smaller the velcro dots wouldn’t have had a flat surface to stick to. Anyway, I like it and I will definitely do the wet wool technique again.






Shetland Wool Week (SWW) September 2023

Shetland Wool Week (SWW) September 2023

This is a guest post written by Bobbie Herrick, my friend and level 3 stitch classmate. You can see some of her beautiful work here in my post about our exhibition. Bobbie is from the Seattle, Washington area and recently went to the Shetland Islands for Wool Week. I hope you enjoy her post.

Shetland Islands landscape with sheep in foreground and a house by water in the distance.

My friend Dorothy and I had wanted to learn how to do Fair Isle knitting as well as visit the Shetland Islands. We thought SWW would be a fun way to do both.  We knew our adventure had begun when we met Val, from Cleveland, Ohio sitting beside me on a flight from London to Aberdeen, Scotland.  This was her first time to SWW as well.

Shetland Wool Week Participants waiting at the ferry station.

After a day in Aberdeen we checked in at the ferry terminal in the evening for our ferry to the Shetlands.  We found the waiting room full of knitters.  Many of them were wearing the 2023 SWW design for the Buggiflooer Beanie.  Buggiflooer is the Shetland word for a sea campion which grows around the Shetland coast. The travelers were from a great variety of places  including Missouri, Texas, Canada, Australia, Poland, Sweden  and Japan.  Excitement was only temporarily dampened by the rough overnight crossing of the North Sea!

Knitted credit card case by Bobbie Herrick.

We arrived in Lerwick in the early morning and walked to our “Introduction to Fair Isle” class taught by a delightful, skilled tutor, Janette Budge.  There we were given wool to make a small Fair Isle piece. There were experienced knitters as well as beginners.

Later in the week, I was able to visit open houses of several local guilds and some designer studios.   Old and contemporary work was on display.  There were spinners, weavers as well as knitters.

We had only selected a couple of events out of an extensive list of exhibitions, talks, tours and classes. Many events were at different locations on the islands. The SWW ‘Hub’ located in Lerwick was a great resource for finding directions, events, and provided a comfortable place to knit and relax. There we were able to find additional sites and studios to visit.  It also had a map showing where participants were from.

During our week on the islands, we found the local people resourceful, warm and welcoming.  They are proud of their rich Scandinavian and Scottish heritage.

Resident of Shetlands Islands in knitted sweater, scarf and hat standing at the shore.

Shetland artists often get their inspiration from the natural environment and incorporate traditional and contemporary motifs in their lovely work.  There is much more I would have like to see and explore, so hope to return!

Thanks Bobbie for telling us about your trip!

Sea Patterns and Acorns

Sea Patterns and Acorns

Sea Patterns

I was recently showing some felt pictures in my little harbour hut gallery in Whitstable. 

Hut 23, Whitstable Harbour Market

I had two sea pattern pictures and someone was very taken with them, but neither of them was exactly what he wanted.  He liked the overall ‘troubled sea’ impression of Sea Pattern (on the left), and the ‘frilly bits’ top and bottom, but he preferred the size in the frame of Summer Sea (on the right).

After some discussion he (Peter, we were on first name terms by this time) decided he liked the idea of commissioning a picture from me.  Now, I’ve written once before about my qualms about taking commissions, link below if you want to take a look.

The long and short of it is that I find it very difficult to know what someone else sees in a picture, which means it’s difficult to be confident I can produce what’s in their head.  Even aside from whether I can translate what’s in my own head into felt.  My conclusion when I was writing previously was that I would take a commission for a picture I’d happily make anyway, on the understanding that if the person didn’t like it, I’d take it into my stock and they wouldn’t have to buy it. So, for example, I’d happily do a picture of a local coastal bird in its environment, but I’d be reluctant to take on anything I didn’t have a feel for and/ or wouldn’t want to make or offer more widely.

This commission fit my criteria so I asked Peter to describe in some detail what he liked about his favoured picture compared with the other one.  He liked the less calm, more turbulent feel of the winter sea pattern. I agreed to take the commission and took a 50% deposit as I think it shows good will on both sides.

These pictures are made by creating two lightly felted cobweb felt pre-felts (one in white and one in blue) then laying them onto a (predominantly pewter-coloured) background and felting them together.  I’ve developed this technique over a number of years.  They’re quite difficult to control but I enjoy the results.

When it came to making Peter’s picture, I first made some blue cobweb pre-felt.  I laid out two layers of a pewter-coloured merino wool background with a few greenish wisps on the surface for a bit of extra colour.  I then put the wet blue cobweb pre-felt on top.  I say pre-felt but it’s very lightly felted – only one step beyond wet wool – so I can pull it about to fit where I want it to go. That’s one of the things that makes it difficult to control.

First layer being laid out
Base layers with blue cobweb overlay

Rather than making new white cobweb pre-felt I used some I’d made previously – which is where I think I went wrong.  I realised in laying it out I didn’t have quite as much as I’d have liked. The client wanted some turmoil, which I interpret as a lot of white, and I was in danger of making a picture more similar to the summer sea pattern.

Final layout

Indeed, although I like the resulting picture – which I’m calling Autumn Sea – I decided it wouldn’t do for the commission so I had another go.

Finished picture – Autumn Sea

I do sometimes get carried away with what I like or am interested in trying and forget what I’m supposed to be doing

This time I would include more white, so I made a new batches of both white and blue cobweb pre-felt.

Laying out wool for blue cobweb felt

Here you can see the dry background: pewter with some wisps of green and blue.

Dry base layout: pewter with blue and green

And here it’s laid out with first the blue and then the white cobweb added, waiting to be felted.

Picture laid out ready for wet felting

And finally here’s the finished picture

I sent Peter a couple of photos, fingers crossed, but reminding him that I’d return his deposit if he wasn’t happy. Fortunately, he liked it and asked if he could name it.  So, it’s called ‘Upon Reflection’ and it’s waiting for me to frame it so Peter can arrange to pick it up. 


As a small aside, last month I participated in something called ‘East Kent Open Houses’.  People in this area open their homes or studios for 3 weekends in October to show their art.  I have two friends (Sue, a potter and Irene, a glass fuser) who I often exhibit with so we decided we’d show our work together in Sue’s lovely conservatory. Here’s a link to a video on Instagram if you’re interested in seeing what it looked like.  The potter is @suemortonceramics and the glass fuser is @irenesouthonglass.


We shared the stewarding which meant I had quite a few hours with nothing specific to do other than sit in the lovely conservatory and wait for visitors.  I’m way behind getting anything made for the upcoming seasonal markets so I thought I’d make some acorn tree decorations. I first made these a few years ago when I’d visited a park that had a gorgeous oak tree with large acorn caps.  I’d picked them up without knowing that I’d go on to making felt acorns for them.  So, I popped into the studio and grabbed my needle felting gear along with a few different wools as I thought I’d experiment to see how much they varied.

I tried 4 different wools: merino tops/rovings, merino & silk batt, Cheviot carded sliver & merino & silk pre-felt. The first ones I fully needle felted.  They all felted well. 

Felted acorn shapes along with natural acorn caps

You can’t see a lot of difference in the photos and indeed there wasn’t a lot of difference. As the Cheviot carded sliver was by far the cheapest of the wools and produced good results, I decided to go with those.  I also decided I got the best results if I knotted the end, lightly needled them into shape until they held their form then wet felted them.

Needle then wet felting gave the smoothest finish and was also quicker than the fully needle-felted ones. Ultimately, I think I just like wet felting more than needle felting.  I’ve glued on the natural dried acorn caps and a hanger, so these went off yesterday to a pre-Christmas fair of cards and decorations at Creek Creative Studios in Faversham, Kent. More info on their website https://creek-creative.org/

Felted acorn tree decorations on a stand ready for sale

And finally – an exciting challenge for 2024

There’s a fantastic Michelin-starred restaurant near where I live called The Sportsman. Looking on their website they say they took over The Sportsman in 1999 with the intention of serving good food in relaxed and informal surroundings.  It’s a good description. A link to their website, if you want to know more. http://www.thesportsmanseasalter.co.uk/

It’s not a ‘posh’ place. More like an old pub in a beautiful slightly out-of-the-way spot by the sea.  As well as serving fabulous food, they also display local artwork on their walls. I contacted them a short while ago to see if they were interested in a display of my artwork.  I sent some photos and they invited me to bring some work with me and come along for a chat.  Happily, they liked what they saw and have booked me in for 6 weeks from 1 April next year. All very exciting but I hadn’t realised quite how much space I’d have to fill.  They casually estimated about 35 to 40 pictures should do it.  Gulp.  So, I now know what I’ll be doing in January, February and March…..

The Wool Revolution

The Wool Revolution

As avid wool enthusiasts (including a few shepherds) most of us are all too well aware that the cost of shearing a flock of sheep is rarely ever covered by the sale of the fleece. In fact the financial return on many fleeces is so poor, I know many farmers end up composting what should be a valuable and eco-friendly product.

Woven and felted wall hangings

Part of the problem is that many of these under-valued fleeces are typically at the coarser end of the spectrum, shorn from sheep bred for the meat industry. In some cases the situation is further compounded by farmers deliberately selecting sheep with coarser wools for their breeding program because their logic dictates, coarser wool = a heavier fleece per sheep and since wool is sold by weight, a heavier fleece = more $$$.

If, like me you make mostly wearables from wool, you probably see the fault in that logic, I know I value the lower micron wools far more, cheerfully paying a premium for them because they are less “scratchy”. However, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for the coarser wools too and as felt-makers and spinners perhaps we should not be so quick to dismiss them….

These coarser wools, also known as “strong wool”, have traditionally been used for various industrial applications that require padding that is fire resistant, for home insulation products, even the pads that piano hammers rest on.

In previous decades, one of the largest buyers of strong wools used to be the carpet industry, unfortunately the move towards synthetic carpets has seen the use of strong wools for carpets go into a steep decline. Currently there is a drive in New Zealand to support rural schools to replace their flooring with wool carpets, rather than the imported nylon carpet tiles the government wants them to use.

Large felted wall hanging

I fist met Liz Mitchell MNZM when she joined the Auckland Fun Felters (AFF), just a month or two after I did. Already a wool enthusiast, she was on a mission to discover new ways to use this fabulous, natural material and her enthusiastic interest quickly evolved into a dedicated promotion of strong wool.

Felt illuminated

Liz has had a very interesting textile career, as a fashion designer, with her own label, she was primarily focussed on hand-made couture and in 2005 was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the fashion industry and to this day she is one of the best known names in New Zealand fashion.

A series of large wet-felted vessels

In recent years Liz has expanded her repertoire to include working with architects and interior designers to use strong wools, still in their natural colours, for a mixture of wall hangings, rugs and soft furnishings. Her diversification from haute couture to interior design is beautifully documented in her current exhibition, “This Raw Material” on show at the Corban Estate Arts Centre in West Auckland.

This exhibition is open until 9 December 2023 and is well worth a visit, I particularly enjoyed the interactive room where you are encouraged to touch, feel, sit on and even smell the pieces. When was the last time you went an art exhibition where they encouraged you to sniff the exhibits?!! 🙂

Biker jacket and hot pants – Agate wool Jacquard

We were all very proud to hear Liz has secured a grant to set up a “Wool and Natural Fibres Textile Hub” in Auckland, which will serve as a hub for wool research, education and creative exploration. An endeavour I am very keen to support. She has also set up a Wool Revolution PledgeMe to raise funds to support the new Hub.

Winter White Wedding Dress – NZ wool felt
Detail on Wedding Dress
75th Anniversary Moose bag -Needle felting on a ground fabric

75th Anniversary Moose bag -Needle felting on a ground fabric


For the last few years at least, you have occasionally, through the blog posts, been invited along to see what the local weaving and spinning guild is up to.  There are a few of us, on this blog, who are members of the Ottawa Valley Weavers and Spinners Guild.  (The guild goes beyond spinning and weaving, having also a number of felters, dyers, and other fibre arts). The Guild was started in 1949 by a group of local weavers after returning from a conference out of town. By the time I joined, over 30 years ago, the weavers had already been joined by spinners (and changed their name from OVWG to OVWSG).

I am sure you noticed that 2024 will be our 75th Guild Anniversary. There are a number of projects planned to help celebrate this momentous occasion.  (The compiled list of suggestions was quite long and the planning committee narrowed it down to 5 projects, there may be more!) Today I want to show you one of them.

One of the suggestions was a project bag to commemorate the occasion. We wanted a bag that was reasonably sturdy, big enough in size to hold a project and it would need to have a graphic and text element that would allow its use, even after the event.  Bernadette took over the quest for a bag to be printed on. I pulled out a lot of the ideas I had been working on for logo and bag options the last time I was asked to work on ideas.  I also did graphics for a few other ideas from members. One was Glenn’s moose antlers as a skein winder idea. I found a free clip art silhouette of a moose which was a bit pixilated and needed to be redrawn, but it would work as a prototype.   I added the yarn to the antlers and it was added to the other images up for selection.  It was the only funny one.  Although,  the octopus trying to weave spin and do fibre prep was funny too, but it was a bit too cluttered as an image. (I still liked it! maybe for a future bag?)

Glenn’s Moose idea was eventually selected, and suitable bags were found and printed.

2 large 1 small box 1) Three boxes containing the new bags arrived in the studio

The bags arrived mid-week. I found them when I arrived to work on the library and was asked to unbox and take photos of the contents.  So, I took pictures of the unboxing to let the rest of the guild enjoy the anticipation of discovering what was in the boxes.

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2-11) the unboxing

A few close-ups;

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12-14)close up of bag details

Part of the idea of the project bags was for those who purchased them to make them their own, by embellishing them. It could be as simple as sewing on some yarn through the red screen printed yarn on the bag. The weavers may want to make a scarf to add to the moose.  Or it could be more elaborate, adding a background to the image.

I would like to show you what I did. You probably remember how I have trouble keeping 2-D images not wandering into 3-D places.  First, let me mention this is a mid-weight canvas cloth and that I have not tried felting on this type of fabric before. I guessed on gauge and pulled out two T-38 333 needles, in case I broke one. (Which I did not, but I did manage to misplace one of them…. Maybe I should go find some footwear?) Next, where did I put my embroidery frames? I haven’t used them for a while…. Ah in the bedroom? I started with one of the middle-sized ones that fit the head and antlers.

15) Moose on bag set into 7-inch embroidery frame.

16) bag of unknown fibre, labelled with a warning it might be superwash. The (7) boxes of needles are in the background.

Now it is time to add wool. I found a mystery bag of charcoal fibre, which may be super-wash merino wool. Laying over the pre-printed shape I started to add the fiber.

17) starting to add wool to the ground fabric

The angle of the needle is perpendicular to the fabric.  I am felting into a very old block of foam that is 7”x 6” and 3 inches thick.

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18-19) You can see there is good adhesion of the wool to the ground fabric.

Time to add the antlers, The bag said  “Finn sheep, roving – semi wersted”. I got it early this summer and it was 6.00/oz. the antlers I wanted to keep more 2-D so I could augment them with yarn later.

20-21) Inside and outside of the bag, the moose is already starting to turn a bit 3-D

I found it easy to follow the edge of the antlers and moose.  The wool is still adhering well to the ground fabric.

Once I had a base of felt established I started to create a more 3-D element, unfortunately having chosen the black fibre it is not as easy to see the contours.

22) Adding ear

I created an ear (I am pretty sure this is supper wash, it took a while to felt the ear) and added it.

23) 3-D view

I had now reached the edge of the hoop and needed to move it to continue working. I decided I did not want to put the areas I had already worked on under the edge of the hoop. So, I would have to locate the bigger hoop I was sure I had. There is a really big one in the basement near the furnace, but that would be too big to fit the bag… Ah, I found it in a different spot in the bedroom… why are most of my embroidery hoops in the bedroom? I have moved them to the office.

24-25) After some tugging and adjusting I got one side of the bag into the 14” hoop.

26) adding wool to the legs

I had to decide which legs were on which side of the silhouette. You could just leave the back-side legs wool-less. I didn’t investigate the gate of a moose, so hopefully I have selected the correct legs on the correct sides.

I continued to add wool but worked at a more shallow angle now and did not feel the needle entering the ground fabric. I added more wool to the back edge of the mandible, the withers, the back edge of the belly, the shoulder and hip.


I am pleased with the moose and antlers, but I need to add an eye. I wanted a blue eye (I did not research so I don’t know what colour  Moose eyes should be. Yet!)

 28) added eye

It was not as visible as I had hoped. So added a bit of light bage (maori) fibre to the underside of the eye. That helped, I also loosened the thread that held the blue bead and it looks better.

Next, we need to add the yarn to the antler skainwinder. First I added threads for the back of the wrapping. (I did not wrap them but sewed them back and forth between the antler prongs. Sneaky)  Then I added the top of the wrapping. I used two shades of blue to add more interest. The careful application of blue has covered up the red from the original silk screen. If there is gaping I may try couching the strands in place.

29-30) close up of added yarn to the antler

Overall, I am quite pleased and hope this will inspire more moose embellishment! The project bags will go on sale at the Guild sale Nov 4-5th (2023) which is for me tomorrow (for you it would be today!)



Getting ready for the sale

Getting ready for the sale

So this week is the week before the sale I posted a few days ago. Jan, Carleen, Bernadette and I are all very involved in the planning and running of the sale. We are running around getting the organising done and trying to get our stuff ready too. Bernadett has a booth with another friend, she has to fill. The other 3 of us are in the co-op booth. It’s a booth for guild members who don’t have enough stuff to get a whole booth to themselves.

I have 3 things to put in the booth. Felted soap.

I have bags of sari silk in several colours

And lastly some spinning kits. I have only 6 of those the wooden wheels I use for them were back-ordered.

So now I am down to making signs and making sure I haven’t forgotten to do something critical to the sale. The weather has turned cold so that should help people start thinking about buying Christmas presents. Fingers crossed for a great sale for everyone.


Slow Progress on Forest Floor

Slow Progress on Forest Floor

I have made a bit of slow progress on my forest floor piece. If you missed my first post, you can see the beginnings here.

Nuno felt background with small stitch samples of running stitch and wrapped cords.

The next step was to do a bit of stitch sampling on the tree trunks. I had been making some wrapped cords that I thought might look nice stitched down to give tree trunk texture but they were too large a scale for the size of the trunks as you can see on the left side. Then I started searching for a stitch that I thought would look nice as texture on the bark. After looking at some complex stitches, I suddenly remembered the KISS principle (keep it simple …). So I decided to try running stitch. It is a much better scale and simple to stitch, the winner!

So I stitched on both trunks. The left photo was taking a look at how they were going to be on the background. I decided they still needed more stitching and added a bit more running stitch. I used a lightweight wool thread as I didn’t want to have a contrast from the wool trunk to a shinier thread such as cotton or silk.

Nuno felted background with stitched felt stumps, felt rocks and cheesecloth moss.

Now on to adding more of the foreground elements. Keeping in mind that I want to highlight the streak of “sunshine” from back left to right foreground, I placed three pieces of felt cut into perhaps rock shapes as well as adding some “moss” with cheesecloth. This is how far I have gotten. I think the rocks need some stitching to add a bit more shadow/darker values. That’s the next thing to sample.


Tools for Pricing

Tools for Pricing

The Guild show is looming and a real challenge is to price the final product. Producing everything is usually accomplished slowly, over several months; it accumulates in boxes and bags, then suddenly you realize the shows are upon you and you now have to price ALL this material! There are lots of discussions on-line and at meetings about competitive pricing in the arts and crafts community. We don’t want to undersell ourselves or price ourselves out of the market. We don’t want to be ‘greedy’ or foolishly inexpensive. Hand spun yarn is very fiber dense, very heavy when compared to factory spun yarn. So a hand knit scarf of hand spun yarn is going to weight more than one from commercial yarn. The benchmarks don’t apply.

But first you have to have a price, for that you need to measure and weight your products. The decision on what to charge is really difficult, but I search on-ine for hand-spun yarn of similar grist, similar fiber content, weight, etc, etc and see if I’m comfortable charging a similar price.

I was fortunate to find a tiny scale that weights from 1000g to .01g. It can be re-calibrated if I have a true weight of 1000g. I’ll look into getting one later this year. This is the only scale I’ve found that can weigh minuscule amounts of silk and cashmere.

The scale weighs in both metric and imperial on the fly, I just have to change the configuration.

So I don’t have to change the position of the fiber and can write the weight on the label right away.

Second I have a voice response computer to convert from imperial to metric and do math so I can keep working with labelling. Google is my friend.

And third, I have a yarn measuring device to measure the length of a specific diameter of yarn. This is the best thing to come my way in ages.

I can set the wraps/inch, mount the skein on the umbrella swift, start winding the yarn onto the niddy noddy and when I’m done the yarn measuring device shows how many yards or meters I have. When I want to convert to meters or yards, I use the voice activation on my computer to do the switch and its all done.

This skein is 20 wraps per inch

There is a plastic card included with the yarn measurer to check the wraps so you can set the device

The viewing screen is very clear and very easy to use.

Admittedly neither the scale nor the yarn measuring device perfectly accurate, the client gets more from both and that’s fine with me.

But the bottom line is to find what both you and the market will bear. We are in a unique position to negotiate with clients who come to our booths, to explain our products and discuss their needs. Pricing is more flexible at the guild sale and if this year looks like its a tough one for clients we can choose to be more willing to negotiate, or not. I will be more confident with my pricing decision once I get to the sale.