If you use World of Wool regularly, you might have noticed that they’ve added some raw wool breeds to their naturals selection recently. I bought a couple last time I did an order, Blackface, and Radnor. They looked a lot like the photos.
I picked out all the locks first, and made a few piles of loose bits: a pile the same quality as the locks, a pile for surface texture and a pile for adding texture between layers.
The Blackface had quite a few different parts, longer straighter locks and some shorter and curly, and some wiry black parts – these went out for the birds – there was a clump which was really dirty and this went out for the birds too after a soak. I picked out some nice locks to keep raw:
I washed the rest, just a handful at a time, dipping them in soapy (anti dandruff shampoo) water to get rid of most of the dirt, then rubbing any dirty bits with shampoo, then rinsing. Here are some washed Blackface locks:
Here are a few more:
I forgot to take photos of the washed loose Blackface, but for this and the loose Radnor, I washed it a bit differently. I ran a bucket of water and poured some into a tub to put the loose fibre for a few minutes to get the main dirt off; I poured some into a tub with shampoo to leave it to soak, and poured some in a tub to cool down at the same rate for rinsing. This is the (nicest bits ) loose Radnor after washing and drying:
I’ll probably card that and the Balckface. I sorted and separated the Radnor the same as the Blackface, this is the raw Radnor:
There were differences in some of the locks, some being a lot more crimpy. Here are some of the washed and dried locks:
A close up of the crimp, you can see there are bits of VM in there. It doesn’t bother me too much because I don’t mind a bit of VM on my natural hangings and the tiny bits will flick out if I comb the locks through my handcarders.:
I did get some other raw wool recently, I couldn’t resist when I saw it on Facebook for £1 per 100g, beautiful Portland wool, here are some locks:
I didn’t pick or sort them either, that’s how they came. I got them from Nancy from Nancy’s Fibres, if you’re lucky she might have some left. And just to add a bit of colour, here’s the small sample I made at the well being centre last week when we tried out fabric strips (yep, the second one is yet another charity shop scarf!):
I think I might’ve mentioned a few times how much I love natural wool, animal fibres and embellishment fibres 🙂 I made a couple of natural felt pieces recently. This first one uses lots of different breeds of wool inlcuding Finnish wool, Gotland, Shetland, Merino, Chubut, Mongolian, Russian, French, Welsh, Irish wools and Portuguese Merino. Plus quite a variety of wool locks and embellishment fibres such as hemp, flax, ramie, bamboo, silk and cotton.
This is a close up:
And this is even closer, the boucle yarn is mohair Marilyn sent me and she also sent me the thick and thin yarn. The gorgeous reddish brown wool was from wollknoll, listed as ‘Russian Camel‘. I think it’s camel coloured Romanov, nowhere near soft enough to be actual camel, and probably 8 times cheaper, thinking about it! The little nepps are cotton nepps.
I love the way the black Bamboo top has rippled on the Chubut here, near the top of the photo:
And this is a closer pic of the Bluefaced Leicester curls at the top of the Chubut in the previous photo:
From one extreme to the other, this next piece uses just Gotland, or Gotland cross wool. It’s about 1 foot by 2 feet (30cm x 60cm). For the bottom layer I used commercial Gotland tops, the second layer was commercially scoured Gotland fleece which I carded, and the top layer is all raw Gotland locks, most of which I got from Zara not so long ago, with the odd few from my old stash. I’m not going to cheat and enter this in the 4th quarter monochrome challenge 🙂
You can never have enough different breeds of wool, I think, so when I saw some being offered in a UK spinners group on Facebook I just couldn’t resist. I told the seller, Wendy, that I loved locks and nice colours and let her choose what to send me, which is a good thing because I’d originally said I had enough alpaca. I didn’t have any like this though:
A little while ago I showed you the prototype for a large felt helmet I was planning and the finished hat. http://wp.me/p1WEqk-2rU now I thought I would show you some of the process. There are lots of pictures.
I used a dog brush to fluff up the ends of the horns. I never manage to keep the ends dry. I taped the resist inside the horn to the hat resist and then added some brown wool under the white so it wouldn’t show so much inside.
I wrapped the horn in plastic again so it wouldn’t stick to the hat.
I added the wool for this side then did the same on the other side and added the raw unwashed Wensleydale fleece form a sheep named Wiki. It was important to use an unwashed flees so I could keep the curls and not have them all felted down. You can see the dirt running off when I got it wet. It took a lot of soapy water to get it wet.
The horns were a not very white after the first rolling.
After washing all the dirt was gone.
Even after fulling it was a big hat. I wanted to put it over a helmet but couldn’t find one so I put a hard hat harness inside so it is adjustable.
Not a lot of felting itself going on this week but I have been busy. Like everyone else I never have enough storage space in my studio so I painted up all the peices and hubby and son put a new shelving unit together for me. I started to put sort and put things on it already but more needs to be done.
I am teaching at a multi guild gathering today. We call it Distaff day and for a small fee you get two 2 hour classes, lunch, vendors and lots of chatting with like minded people. I am teaching nuno felt bracelets and taking hookers necklace. I will have pictures of the day in a later post.
I washed some old fleeces I found stashed away and salvaged a small amount of curls I will cut from the matted back. I don’t know where I got these but they would have been free. They don’t look bad in the pictures but they were in rough shape.
I received a raw flees I ordered for a hat project that you will get to see when it’s done. I was down to picking between 2 fleeces and in the end picked this one because I liked the sheep’s name. The fleece is very curly. I love the smell of raw wool.
Lastly around the farm: the chickens and turkeys arrived. The Black chickens are egg layers and the yellows are meat birds.
The Winner of the Beyond Nuno Giveaway is … Wendy who commented on February 25th. Congratulations, Wendy 🙂 Please will you leave a comment on this post so I can email you with the download details, Thanks 🙂 Thanks a lot for entering and for leaving such nice comments, everyone 🙂
A Guide to The Felting and Fiber Studio Site
We’ve had a lot of new visitors to the Studio site recently, and lots of new members on the forum, so I thought it might be time to do a reminder about everything we have to offer here on the Studio site. Before we started the blog just over a year ago, the four of us spent about 6 weeks working on the site, filling it with as much info as we could. We wanted to build the site into a valuable ‘One-Stop’ resource for anyone interested in felting and fibre.
The ‘About Us’ page tells you a little bit about why we started the Studio site, and there are sub pages for each of us with some info about ourselves and our interests.
In the Felting section there’s a short introduction about the many different kinds of felting. The main pages for Machine, Needle, Nuno and Wet felting all have more in-depth information, and each has a gallery page with many different examples of that particular type of felting.
Mixed media simply means artwork that is made with more than one medium, but for the purpose of the site we use it to mean artwork made mainly with felt or fabric combined with other materials. This section features pages about Beads and Beading, Hand Stitching, Machine Stitching and Surface Design. Each page’s gallery features many examples of artwork.
The Fibers section is packed full of information about wool and other animal fibres. The main Fibers page explains some of the different terms that are used to describe wool in its various stages of processing. The Wool and Other Animal Fibers page has a lot of information about wool, animal fibres from animals such as Alpaca, Angora goat, Llama and Camel. There is also an explanation of the Micron and Bradford Count systems of measuring a fibre’s fineness or coarseness; and a PDF guide to the most common sheep breeds and their Bradford and Micron numbers. The gallery page features photos of different animal fibres. Preparing Fibers has a guide to processing your own wool, from washing a raw fleece to carding it into fluffy batts ready for felting or spinning. There is a photo set and detailed description.
The Other Fibers section has lots of information about the non animal fibres we commonly use in felting, such as silk and organza fabrics; fibre prepared into tops like bamboo, banana, viscose, and the more unusual fibres like crimped nylon, plastic and Angelina fibres.
The Silk page shows the many different silk products available, for example, silk carrier rods, silk hankies and silk throwster’s waste and the gallery page features many uses of these. The Man-made fibers page and its gallery have examples of fibres and their uses including commercial art yarns and some nuno felt examples with synthetic fabrics. The Plant Based Fibers page has many examples of these gorgeous luxurious fibres and felted pieces using them.
The Tutorials section is another area with a wealth of information. There are free Dyeing, Felting, Fiber preparation and Mixed media tutorials all written by one of us, including a video on how to make your own roving using a diz, PDFs on Degumming silk and dyeing it; Stitching on felt, making mixed media wall art, using a sander for wet-felting, a beginners guide to using a drop spindle and dyeing with food colouring.
And if you can’t find what you want there, there are also links to outside sites in the Links/Resources section, including rosiepink’s free felting tutorials and their fantastic e-book showing how to make amazing felt artwork and Ruth’s book The Complete Photo Guide To Felting.
So, make yourself comfortable and come and have a look around the site. We’re always happy to read comments and listen to suggestions for adding more to the site, or to requests for articles or tutorials. Maybe you are a fibre artist with an interesting skill that would make a great feature or you’d like us to link to a tutorial, if you have anything felt or fibre related you want to tell us about, we’d love to hear about it 🙂
While I was laying out my white texture felt piece the other week, I had all my bags of white and light grey wools spread out on my floor, along with my stash of raw wool locks, so I thought I may aswell go ahead and do an inventory of my white wools, to see if I’m running low on any and need to order more. I usually keep a small stash of each wool breed (or colour) out in my felting boxes and put the rest away in my supplies bags and boxes, it makes it easier to have a large selection of breeds or colours to choose from without taking up as much room. These are the white wool tops, scoured and carded wools I most commonly use.
My favourite raw wool locks are Gotland, Teeswater and Wensleydale. There’s also some raw mohair locks here.
After scribbling down the names of all the different wools I commonly use, I checked whether there was a good amount in my felting box and whether I was low in my supplies and needed to order more. This took a while, and it suddenly occured to me that if I made myself a document on Word, I could print it out any time I needed to do another stock check. It’s only taken me about 4 years of felting to think of that 🙂
A few years ago, I spotted some really inexpensive index card holders in our local supermarket. I thought they would be perfect to use for wool samples, so I bought a few and made myself a cover for one.
I like to pull off a small sample of wool tops and staple it to the index card with the name of the shade or blend. I buy almost all of my supplies from World of Wool, but on the rare occasion I buy something elsewhere, I make a note of that too.
It’s really handy for natural wools too, the texture and staple length can be seen as well as the colour.
Do you have a system for storing your wools and fibres or keeping track if supplies are getting low? How about storage? I know that is always a favourite topic for fibre artists! 🙂
Sometimes, the wool and fibres I’m using don’t felt the way I expect them to. This was the case recently when I tried banana fibre with grey Suffolk wool tops. We often say there’s no bad wool, just the right wool for the job. I’d say that was true for wool and fibre combinations too. The banana fibre I used came as combed tops, but I fluffed it up and placed hair-ball like bits of fibre dotted around on top of a couple of layers of the Suffolk. I really didn’t expect the result I got, it was the most unusual effect I’ve seen with fibres and wool so far. Although the banana did felt onto the Suffolk somewhat, it wasn’t firmly attached and gave interesting cobweb like results. The banana fibre in the top right corner reminded me of the compact cocoon-like spiderwebs you find in crevices. Or all over trees and fields after flooding (eek!) 🙂
I finally got around to trying out Ann’s bird pods this week 🙂 The first couple of layers are grey Merino, then I added lots of raw Gotland locks around the edges and added a couple of layers of Gotland roving that Kaz sent me a while back. To finish, I used some carded Gotland fleece and a few wisps of banana fibre. It is about 11.5 inches tall and about 7.5 across the middle. I mainly get small birds here, so the hole is only about an inch in diameter.