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The Wool is Here!

The Wool is Here!

I needed to order some wool and Jan need some wool, in the hopes of being able to teach again. And… Well….who doesn’t need more wool.  I order a large amount when I order. I was aiming for 20 kg. The shipping gets cheaper if you order more. I picked out what I wanted and Jan picked out what she wanted. We took several days to do this. And then having reached 20kg I realized I had not added in the 5 kg of Corriedale I wanted. Well, that means I need to get 40kg as I am in the next shipping bracket. Add some wool I had only been thinking about and some more dyed fibre and then ask a few others I know with week will power, that might want several kgs of wool, not little retail amounts, I made it up to 40kg.  Hit the order button and hear my bank account shriek. LOL, my spell checker wants to change shriek to shrink. Now we wait. a few days later it was in Indianapolis Indiana in the USA, then Montreal Quebec, then Ottawa Ontario.  whoops, then Indianapolis again.   That does seem right… It’s not, here it is on my doorstep. Yay, wait a min there is only one box.

Her it is Jan took these on Saturday when she dropped by to pick you her goodie order. She was busy doing flax and wouldn’t make it to the market. You can see it is not a square box.

I kept checking but the FedEx site just kept saying it was in transit in Indianapolis. Then the site tried to tell me I had no packages so I called them and after a bit convinced the automated system that I was stupid and needed to speak to a human. He had a hard time finding it but said it was waiting for customs clearance. Hmm, I wonder if they will open it or x-ray it. It was there for several days. And then, at last, it arrived

Well, that’s odd that isn’t a white World of Wool box. I bet they opened it and couldn’t get it back in the box. LOL on them. I have had this happen before but it came with the top open and lots of customs tape over the top to keep everything from falling out. It was quite funny.

The first to open was the white box.

 

I dug down in the white box and it seems to be the batts and prefelt.

 

 

I dug down into the second box about halfway. I put it all back in. I don’t have room to let it expand right now. I have to keep my table clear for baking tomorrow. My table does double duty. It has to be cleaned to do felt and then cleaned to do tarts. I have a rolling stone but I need the room for the tart trays.

As you can see it is not packed to the top so I do think it was repacked into a larger box at customs.

I am pretty sure the white you can see inside is the Corriedale. and partway down I found the packing slip and the nice thankyou postcard you always get in these orders. They are usually on the top.

It all went back in the FedEx box but not into the WOW box

The FedEx still shows the parcel as pending with no delivery estimate. I think their site is broken but if they want to deliver more wool I will be happy to take it.

Monday is a holiday and we will don our masks and meet on Jan’s lawn to sort out all the wool parcels. She is in about the middle of where we all live.  I am sure Jan will take lots of pictures of the happy wool gathering.

 

 

 

Shibori Shrug Jacket

Shibori Shrug Jacket

Heres another throw back post. I thought if I do not remember doing this maybe you won’t either. I hope you like it.

After seeing Ruth’s jacket it reminded me I had made a small one for one of my daughter’s dolls years ago. I thought I should give it another try but life size this time. I thought about doing it seamless but decided that it would make something that is a simple design into something complicated. Although I am not a great sewer I was sure sewing 2 straight seems on my machine should not be beyond me.

There are quite a few pictures so I have put them in a gallery for ease of viewing. If I could figure out how to post pictures side by side or in groups I would but that is beyond my skill level.

First I made a large piece of nuno felt. I used silk gauze and merino wool. After it was finished I put it in a red dye bath. It came out quite nice. It’s hard to tell from the picture because my camera did not like the red at all. The one you see was the best of a bad lot.

The next thing to do was the shibori. I finger pleated the middle of the piece starting at one short end. I very carefully held it flat and tight while I tied it. The first tie is the hardest one. After that you just pleat it up tying every couple of inches. You don’t want to be too neat about it. If the pleats are to perfect you get straight lines. You want your pleats to be tight so some of the material will resist the dye in the second bath. This type of shibori is supposed to make a bark like pattern. I put the tied up piece in a purple dye bath hopping for a nice red purple to appear on my cloth. It came out black. After it was dry the gauze side had more of a purple look but still very dark.

I sewed up my jacket. I made the material far too wide so the jacket ends up long. The short sides overlapped a lot when folded up. I had to have long “lapels” to make it work. It is not a mistake it’s a design feature, just ask me :O) It is still to long for me. I think it may look good one someone who is tall and thin. Two things I am not.

All in all not a bad try. I’ve made another piece of nuno felt to try again, I made it narrower this time. Now I have to find the time to sew it up.

Felted Cat Cave, A Quick How To

Felted Cat Cave, A Quick How To

Another old post from me. This is one of the most visited posts we have, so thought everyone might like to see it again.

I have been wanted to make a cat cave for sometime now. I decided it needed to be bright. I picked some Blue Faced Leicester  wool so it would be strong and dyed it chartreuse. Then I picked some purple and magenta for the spikes.

Spikes and Wool

I wanted an oval cat cave. I used my oval hat form to get the shape and gradually sized it up.

Drawing the Resist

I laid out 4 layers of wool for strength and even shrinkage. I put the first side aside and after laying out the second side I poked holes to put the spikes through.

Spikes in the Wool

After wetting it all down I wrapped each spike in plastic wrap so it would not get felted down flat.

Spikes all Wrapped Up

I covered it with a sheer curtain and rubbed both sides for a while and rolled it for a while and then wrapped it up and put it in the dryer twice, changing the position of the felt each time.  It was starting to shrink so I cut out the resist and switched to rolling it in a stick blind. I find the stick blinds to be very aggressive and shrinks felt quickly.  I did do some throwing too. Finally I rinsed the cave out in a bucket of alternately hot and cold water being quite aggressive with it. I then had to stretch the top so it would be domed up. I steamed it to heat it up and make it easier to stretch. Mostly I used a wooden spoon to push in a sliding motion to get the shape. Here it is on top of the resist so you can see how much it shrank.

Finished Cave on top of the Resist

Here it is in use, it didn’t take long for one of my cats, Wu, to take up residence.

 

Cat in Cave

As a foot note Wu ( queen of all things) is no longer with us. This is one of my favourite pictures of her. She really like the cave and we buried her in it, here on the farm.

What To Do With All The Little Bits Or Fun Batts

What To Do With All The Little Bits Or Fun Batts

I am very busy getting ready for the first Farmers market of the season and forgot it was my turn to make a blog post. I thought You might like to see this one from 2012 again.

Ann

Last week I sorted out my wool and put all the decent size pieces on the new shelves. this left me with a lot of little bits. I usually keep bins of little bits to use as accents. Now I had way to much of that too.  I sorted it all, picked out the stuff I really wanted to keep and put the rest into 4 piles for carding.

I have a large carder, a Patrick Green Cottage Industry Carder.

A friend came over and we carded it into a 4 fun textured batts.

pink/red/purple batt
orange/yellow batt
brown/gray/black/white batt
blue/green batt

The batts came out really nice and will be great for felting or for spinning textured yarn. I didn’t think I had that much until we fluffed it up to card. It is amazing how much you can compress wool when you’re stuffing it into a little storage box.

More Booties

More Booties

I’ve been spending most of my spare time making bootie favors  for my nephew Mike and his wife Stephanie’s baby shower. This time they were blue for the little boy they are expecting this spring.  This was the first batch.

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I made a total of 40.  I couldn’t find the same kind of bows I used on the 60 pink ones I made two years ago, but Amazon finally came to my rescue.  There was no pearl in the center, but looked more masculine.  I thought about cutting off the tails to look like a bow tie, but I ran out of time.

The candy I had inside  were little candy coated balls of carob and chocolate.  I had to devise a system to fill the netting in a bowl because those little suckers traveled fast and rolled everywhere if I didn’t contain them.

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All 40 finished and ready to go.

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The shower was held this past Sunday at a restaurant. Of course, it snowed all day Saturday and Sunday.  But it was still a big success for those who braved the storm. Here are the booties on one of the tables.

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I told the family I hoped it would be a while before there were any more baby showers and booties.

I know many of you have done fairs.  Have you done any special projects lately?

Finishing the Panels

Finishing the Panels

Last week I showed you two large panels I made using scraps.  Since then I created three more.

One long panel.

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20161118_122511Two short ones.

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Here they are laid out on the floor.

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Here’s the final project.

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So, whats underneath?

My Simplicity Needle Felting Machine naked.  Sorry about the lighting, this was our first snow and kind of cloudy.

Now you see it.

20161204_142455Now you don’t.

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I was amazed that I got the sizes right.  I purposely left the edges organic.  Its a little lopsided but the top of the machine is narrower than the bottom.  Now I can change it around for a different look when the mood strikes.

Did you see that coming?

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Mini Weaving

Mini Weaving

It seems lately everyone is into weaving. This past summer I was shopping with my daughter in law at Joann’s and this mini loom caught my eye.  I actually thought it might be something to do with the grandsons.

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The last time I wove anything was on one of those metal looms using loops to make pot holders.  Yeah, I’m showing my age.

I forgot about the loom when I got home then when I was gathering all my scraps for the 4th Quarter challenge I found it under a pile. Ok, let’s see how this works and what all the hoopla is about.  Looks easy enough.

I have a tubful of yarn so that’s where I started. I thought an autumn theme would be nice. The black acrylic/wool combo also has a little silver bling, the pink ball is mohair and the multi colored yarn is thick and thin with a little blue and white thin threads.  I also added some polyester and silk scraps and hand dyed boucle.  The ball of yarn under the string is the alpaca I used to make my Ginkgo leaves a while back.  Not pictured is hand dyed green pencil roving.

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They don’t sell the warp so I decided to just use string. Besides I didn’t want to invest in anything if it was something that I wasn’t going to do a lot of.

I didn’t like using the shuttle, so I just used my fingers.  Here it is on the loom:

20161113_144410Here’s a closeup:

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The instructions were not helpful so I ended up finding a video online.  I used the alpaca as fringe. I wasn’t following a particular pattern just kind of winging it.

Of course, I had to hide the ends which was a lot more fiddly than I like.  But I like the overall look.  I decided to make it a wall hanging and cut a piece of bamboo to tie it to.  You can’t tell from the picture, but it’s hanging on a light gold wall.  Sorry about the shadow .

20161113_151758It took me a lot longer than anticipated.  But I’m happy with the results.  I may try another to felt.  But I don’t see myself investing any larger looms.  I admire those of you who have the patience to dress a loom and weave away.

 

4th Quarter Challenge 2016

4th Quarter Challenge 2016

Like everyone else I have a ton of scraps, threads, cut offs, etc.  I finally got around to organizing them somewhat into like piles.  As you see I had a lot to choose form. The first pic is a tub full of scraps etc.

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I pulled out some and put them on the table to pick from.

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I decided I needed a store coupon case to keep in my purse.  I recently got a new purse and none of the pockets were sized large enough to hold some of these coupons.  I have a separate coupon holder for groceries that I only use when I grocery shop.  But I never know when I might pass by a department, fabric or specialty store that calls me in to shop.

I wanted it thin so I only used prefelt on both sides of the resist. With back problems, I don’t carry a big purse and try to keep it as light as possible.

I picked through the scraps and threw a little of this and that until I was satisfied with the look.  Then I topped off each side with some wisps of merino to help keep those rayon and cotton threads and silk bits to felt in adding merino over the sides to fold over. The yellow is silk selvedge.

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I spent a lot of time rubbing so as to not disturb the little bits and thread.

While still wet:

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The purple fringe got a little wadded up in the felting process and the edges of the flap and sides of the holder needed to be straightened a bit.

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After drying I still had some wild threads so I needle felted some down and cut others.  I also straightened the fringe and needled it down. I think for my use it will be fine.  Here is the finished front:

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Back closed:20161107_163746

Now I’m ready to shop.

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Here’s another piece I started as an experiment.  I don’t care for dots or the colors of this scarf, so I decided to cut off a piece and see how it felts because I have two more scarves I do like and didn’t want to experiment with them.  I used some silk scraps and angelina on one side and the scarf on the other.

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I liked the dot side after felting. It doesn’t look so dotty, but more textured.  I may do some stitching on it. The silk side I got carried away with the angelina and don’t care for that.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with it it’s fairly small.

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It was fun experimenting with the scraps.  I’ll probably do more. Have you started your 4th Quarter Challenge?

Felting Soap with Guest Artist Leonor Calaca

Felting Soap with Guest Artist Leonor Calaca

Our guest artist today is Leonor Calaca from Felt Buddies shares her method for making felted soaps.  You can see more of her work at http://www.FeltBuddies.co.uk

Hello! Today I’ll teach you how to make your very own felted soap.

Before we start however, I’m sure a few of you are wondering, “What on earth is a felted soap?” Good question! Allow me to explain.

A felted soap is, as the name might reveal, a bar of soap that’s surrounded by felted wool. This means you’re basically getting a bar of soap and a washcloth in one product, making the former last longer, while using the latter as an exfoliating agent.

The wool around the soap also makes the soap last longer, and when the inside is all used up you can use the wool as compost material, or keep it as a decorative pebble.

Christmas is fast approaching, and this would make a great gift – it smells nice and it’s useful, what’s not to love? I actually sold out last holiday season!

Let’s get started, shall we?

1

First, you’ll need the following ingredients: warm soapy water in a clean container, a nice bar of soap with round corners (sharp corners may break through the wool), enough wool to cover the soap with, and some bubble wrap for friction.

A couple of good extra items are a felting needle (I’ll explain why in a moment), and a pair of kitchen gloves.

2

Begin by carefully wrapping the fibre around the soap. I used a lovely wool top with silk tweed here, but you can use roving or a batt – just make sure you’re using enough to cover the soap, but not so much so that it makes lathering hard!

You’ll need to wrap the fibre in two opposite directions. I like to start by wrapping it horizontally and then vertically because I think the end result looks nicer, but you can do it whichever way you prefer – just as long as you have two opposite layers.

3

Remember the felting needle I mentioned before? Here is where it can comes in handy: I like to needle felt the ends to make sure nothing comes apart when I’m wet felting. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but I find it keeps things neat.

4

Once your soap is all wrapped up, it’s time to dunk it in warm water.  I highly recommend you go slowly at this stage, as the fibre might fall off the soap or migrate if you haven’t secured it with a felting needle. Squeeze all the air bubbles out carefully in the water and, once you take the soap out of the water, gently squeeze out all the excess liquid and start rubbing the top layer lightly so the fibres start clinging to each other.

5

Once the fibre is secured, it’s time to help it shrink around the soap. I had a bubble wrap pouch from a mailing bag that I used to help create friction, but regular bubble wrap will work just fine.

Rub the bubble wrap against the soap, checking regularly if your fibre isn’t migrating, you don’t want to end up with bare patches (you can needle felt some extra fibre on those at this stage, and continue wet felting).

6

Once the fibres start contracting around the soap, you can use your bare hands to continue the felting process.  I like to create friction on the ridges of my sink; I sometimes also wear kitchen gloves because the rubber also helps, and I like to alternate hot and cold tap water so the fibre shrinks around the soap faster.

7

Once the fibre feels compact around the soap, you’re done!

Carefully rise out the lather under the tap, gently squeeze the soap and let it dry; after that, you can add some kraft paper around the soap to make a “belt,” or you can just place it inside an organza bag.

8

Don’t be surprised if, after gifting this to friends, they come back for more! You can always direct them to this tutorial so they can make their own…

Feel free to ask me questions about this in the comments section. Happy felting!

Thanks Leonor for sharing your method of felting soap.  I have a feeling a lot of people will be getting soap for the holidays.

 

Fibrefest, some Demoing at the Fair and a Little Farm Life

Fibrefest, some Demoing at the Fair and a Little Farm Life

I think I have recovered for selling at Fibrefest. It was a good show for me. Consequently I did not get out of my booth much to take pictures. I did get a few shots of my booth.

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This is what the 12 yard skeins ended up looking like. You can see them in the big black basket in the middle of the table. They went over quite will at $5 each, mostly to rug hookers.

skiens

I shared my booth with a friend who only has a small amount to sell. She has lovely hand spun wool.

brenadetts-table

This weekend was the Richmond Fair. Three of us go every year and have a great time.

Here is our display, Bernadette is getting some fiber ready to go through the drum carder and I am getting  wool and pencils ready for bead making. Jan’s Inkle loom is front left.

richmond-display

Here Jan is chatting with a lady about our guild and a close up of what she has on the inkle loom she is adding in some fuzzy caterpillars as a supplementary warp as she goes.

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Two of the many children that made beads. Everyone seemed to like them. Bernadrett was in charge of putting a short piece of her hand spun through them and making them into bracelets.

making-beads

Sunday afternoon we had some sheep show to be sheared.

sheep-at-the-fair shearing

They are Rideau Arcotts except the black faced one that is a Suffolk cross. They were a big hit and Jan got 2 fleeces that she now has soaking to get clean.

Around the farm this week we had a set of twin bull calves born. Twins are unusual in cows. I only have a not so good picture of one of them. Black calves are hard to photograph and mom likes to keep them hidden in the weeds.

calf

This summer has been very hot and dry. None of the squash or beans in the field garden came up and only about 6 potato plants. There are plans to get water to that garden next year. However we did have a volunteer squash plant in the barn yard where the water from the roof lands. It has gone crazy we harvested 17 squash and there are more ripening and more flowers. So apparently we are better accidental gardeners than on purpose gardeners. LOL

squash

 

 

 

 

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