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.
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.
2-11) the unboxing
A few close-ups;
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.
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!)