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More Samples with Interesting Results

More Samples with Interesting Results

We’ve been talking on the forum about how important it is to make samples, especially when using new fibers or unknown fabrics.  It’s better to take a little time to make a sample, than to waste a lot of time and fiber.

I still had one fiber from WOW I hadn’t tried.  It was actually a Jacob batt.  The batt was very uneven so I used two layers and still ended it up with a couple of sparse spots.  I only felted the samples to the prefelt stage so I could use them in another project.  The end result of the Jacob was it was very loose and spongy.  I’m tempted to full it to see what happens.  It is very similar to the Black Welsh I featured in a previous post.

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I recently did an experiment with one of Fiona Duthie’s 15 minute projects called Mountains.  It’s lost it’s bowl shape a little, but I really liked the curliness of the base, but couldn’t remember what fiber I used.

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I have been trying to use more of the coarse fibers I have.  But I have been terrible about remembering to write down what I’ve used.  I thought Icelandic was harder to felt.  It has a very long staple, dyes well, and whenever I use it in has to be shaved when finished. So, I decided to make a prefelt of this as well.

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What I discovered is it is soft at this stage, but felted easily.

So, have I been badmouthing the wrong fiber? I have a fair amount of Cheviot so I figured I would experiment with that as well.  The Cheviot had a shorter staple but the resulting prefelt was soft and a little lighter in color than the Icelandic which I thought was a lighter color. Hmmm.

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When I went with Cathy to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, I purchased some Navajo Churro which I have never used.  It had a short staple and was coarse to the touch and filled with little knots.  The resulting prefelt was very hairy and much flatter than the others.  It reminded me of Gotland I had made a sample of a while back, but while they look similar, the Gotland was very smooth to the touch. It also had been fulled, so that may make a difference.  The Churro was very hairy.  I have some white Churro I will try dyeing later on.

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Last but not least, I made a Romney prefelt and found my curly fiber.  (its more noticable at the sparser edges. It is rougher to the touch but I like the cobweb wavy type look.  It also has a long staple.

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I had done similar samples using habatoi silk, mulberry silk fiber and yarns on each of them a while back, fulled, dyed and then stitched them together. Here is the Four Day Dye Experiment http://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2014/06/15/four-unintentional-days-of-dyeing/

These samples were fully felted and it is hard to tell the difference except to rub my hands over them. The Icelandic and Domestic 56 are coarser to the touch than the Cheviot and the Romney.  Different than at the prefelt stage.  I think in the future I may take a smaller sample to full and compare obviously they are different.

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Now as a preview to some more future sampling on a pile of fabric samples to test.

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What is your experience with sampling?

 

Learning to Use a Drum Carder to Make Batts

Learning to Use a Drum Carder to Make Batts

Our guest artist today is Cathy Wycliff aka Luvswool.

After several months of taking a hiatus from felting–due to a work project and family health issues–I was starving to get back into it.

Fortunately, Marilyn suggested a lesson in carding batts. I don’t own a carder and my experience with blending fibers has been minimal, that is, using my dog brushes to blend a few bits of wool roving. Last Friday, Marilyn came over with two carders: a Louet Junior with a very coarse cloth (40 tpi?), and a standard Brother with fine (120 tpi) cloth.

I felt more comfortable beginning with the Louet, and grabbed some neutrals to begin the carding process. I used these fibers with no particular plan for my first batt: Mystery fiber chunks and fibers, possibly some Finn hand-spun; hand-dyed vintage yarn (early 80s); small amount of Domestic 56s and Navajo churro–all in various neutral shades, mostly gray.

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Then it was time to move on to the Brother for some finer carding. This time I went for color: Indigo-dyed Domestic 56s, dark blue Merino, hand-dyed mulberry silk, white Tencel, green mystery fiber, possibly Corriedale. The machine was a bit more sensitive, and so the fibers needed to be fed more carefully onto the drum.

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I tried the Brother once again, using slightly different fibers and colors: Hand-dyed Indigo Domestic 56s, dark blue Merino, white Tencel, unknown white fiber (possibly cotton), and Milk protein. Marilyn suggested we make two passes through with the fibers.

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Some things that surprised me about the carding experience: it took a lot of time and was more difficult than I imagined; the fibers don’t necessarily cooperate, in that bits get caught on the smaller drum; and finally, it’s probably a good idea to have a plan of what you want to make with the batts before you begin. This was an experience I really enjoyed and I have made a couple more batts with the Louet coarse carder, which Marilyn generously has loaned me. The neutrals below were passed through three times.

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More mystery fibers in green and yellow.

 

Thanks Cathy for sharing your first experience with carding batts.  Do you still have carder envy?  Personally, I am happy to have the carders.  They have come in handy more than once.  I love making batts just for fun.  I don’t always have a use for them and often give them away.  Its always a creative learning experience!

 

 

 

 

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