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Some old jewelry, some new Jewelry and and Experiment.

Some old jewelry, some new Jewelry and and Experiment.

I was looking for some flat circles I made a week agone to try out some ideas for the 1st quarter challenge of Jewelry. LINK While I was rummaging around for where I had stashed them, I  found these. I made them a long time ago. The long one was meant to be attached to a hair clip but it never happened.  The small round one has a pin on the back.

I did find a few circles. Not the ones I made last week for this but these will do.

The first one is locks, I wanted to use them to make a pattern.  I anchored the cut ends in the middle and then curled the ends around and back to the middle.

 

I left some of the longer ends sticking up but the first thing my mom said was, did you miss these ends? I guess they didn’t look deliberate. I felted them flat into the middle. I think I will add some beads to the middle for interest. Maybe one big bead but more likely some small purple beads

I think I will make some bigger circles so I can use some longer locks I have and make some hat pins. I think this would be good with alternating colours too

Next is my experiment. I watched this cool video of how to make a 3 arm St Bridget cross from straw. LINK I am not sure how something with 3 arms is a cross but that is what its called. It looks like one of those pagan things that got converted to Christian. Historically this happened a lot.  There is a 4 arm st Bridgid cross too.

I thought some yarn might work for this If I anchored it in the middle of a backing piece. I envisioned the arms spreading out getting wider and wider making like a sunburst with a triangular middle. This is the first attempt. I laid them down side by side to get spreading but it really just looked a mess. I pulled it off and separated the strands and thought maybe if I wove the strands it would work better with yarn. It was messy too.

I pulled it off again and tried it keeping the yarn one over the other and lining it up with the angle instead of right up against the last thread. This one worked fairly well. At least it looked like a triangle in the middle. I think yarn is just too flexible and squishy. I am not sure it is useful for anything.

Have you made any jewelry for the Challange? or just for fun?

 

Naturals For A Nature Lover

Naturals For A Nature Lover

I wanted to make a piece of felt for one of my friends as a thank you for helping us out recently, he’s into the environment and nature, so I thought a piece using all natural wools and undyed fibres would be something he’d like. I really enjoyed not having to put too much thought into it apart from trying to use as many different fibres as possible. I can’t remember all the wools and fibres, but I definitely used: English 56s; Gotland tops, scoured fleece and raw locks (from Zara-thank you, again!); Brown Finnish, Grey, Brown and White Merino; scoured Shetland; Bluefaced Leicester locks; hemp; flax; soy tops; cotton nepps; silk noil; silk coccon strippings; Tencel; viscose fibre; bamboo fibre and ramie. Here’s the finished piece:

Close up of the top:

Close up of the bottom:

It’s not as textured as some pieces I make, but you can see how it is looking at it from an angle:

This is a close up of some of the flax:

A really nice, shiny Gotland lock with a gingery tip:

Another Gotland lock with some Soy top above and BFL locks at the bottom.

This is the BFL, I bought a bag of washed locks ages ago and forgot all about them until I went looking for something else!

The Tencel looked really shiny against the darker wools:

This is one of my favourite parts, because it has lots of texture, there are Gotland and Bluefaced Leicester locks, flax and hemp, Tencel, and cotton nepps:

Do you  have a favourite combination of wools and fibres? I didn’t get a photo from this piece, but I really like the silk noils and cocoon stripings on the dark brown wools, you often get little holes which look like a tiny bug made them, and the brown shows through the thin parts giving a ‘rusty’ look to it!

Raw Wool

Raw Wool

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:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI 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:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere are a few more:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI 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:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ll probably card that and the Balckface. I sorted and separated the Radnor the same as the Blackface, this is the raw Radnor:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere were differences in some of the locks, some being a lot more crimpy. Here are some of the washed and dried locks:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA 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.:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI 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:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI 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!):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd an angled photo of the texture:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe third strip down is silk taffeta, which I did a post about a while ago: https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2015/01/23/silk-nuno-samples/

Natural Wools

Natural Wools

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a close up:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love the way the black Bamboo top has rippled on the Chubut here, near the top of the photo:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this is a closer pic of the Bluefaced Leicester curls at the top of the Chubut in the previous photo:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom 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 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou 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:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey were all gorgeous, and I made an album on Flickr if you want to drool, this was another particularly nice one, Mule sheep:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m going to take some of the locks to the Well-being centre tomorrow, but I’m sure I’ll be using them myself soon, too 🙂

MakeFest

MakeFest

I might have mentioned a while ago that I’d be doing wet felting workshops at an event called MakeFest at the Museum of Science and Industry in August (8th and 9th, if anyone’s interested!). I must admit I didn’t realise it was a 2 day thing when I applied, or I probably wouldn’t have. I started getting ready for it back in May after getting accepted so I didn’t get overwhelmed with stuff to do. I bought the wool and fibres, made some batts, dyed some wool locks and fibres etc. The last few weeks I’ve been making small samples to take, just to give people a few ideas, so they can make something nice for themselves and also a few examples which show the kinds of things you can do/make with wool/felt.

They have a textiles gallery at MOSI which I’ve always loved, they have working machines processing cotton from raw fluff into cotton sliver and then into fabric, and also displays of different fibres showing the raw material they came from, like coal, oil, flax or cotton and the fabric they are usually processed into. And since I kind of like the odd fibre or 20, I thought it’d be a perfect chance to show wet felting and get people to try those fibres out with it. I made a small sample piece showing how lots of different undyed fibres look after felting. They’re mostly in alphabetical order, from the top: Bamboo top; Bamboo staple and Soy staple; Banana; Cotton; Flax; Hemp; Ingeo; Milk; Nylon staple and Plastic staple; Ramie; Soy top; and on the bottom Viscose staple and Kapok:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is one of my favourite pieces I made lately. It uses crimped Plastic fibre, made from recycled bottles. I used it blended with Merino, under dyed cotton scrim and also as a surface embellishment to create a kind of landscape:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd a look along the surface:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve dyed some of the fibres I’m taking as well as having samples of them all undyed. One which dyes really nicely is  Nylon. I usually go for more muted or ‘natural’ looking shades, but Nylon seems to suit more vivid colours. This is a sample made with dyed Crimped Nylon:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne other thing I really love is wool locks. I’ve had a few hundred grams of Gotland I’ve been really careful with over the years, but recently Zara was really generous when we did a swap and sent me loads (well over a kilo!) of the most gorgeous Gotland in many shades and varieties, so I dyed a lot of my ‘old’ ones to take to MakeFest. I used them on a couple of pieces. This is the first one:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, because I thought kids would really like it, I made a silly hat and used the locks on that:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI tried to do a video to show how quickly and easily you could make a piece of felt, but at just under 14 minutes it was too big to upload, so I edited it down to the highlights:

I don’t know what other displays, demos or workshops will be there, but it’s a huge place, so I’m sure there’ll be something for everyone.

Recent pieces

Recent pieces

I haven’t really done much since the craft fair a couple of weeks ago, but I do have a few pieces I finished before that I haven’t posted about. This first one is another Diary.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt didn’t sell at the fair, so I altered it and added a strap made from braiding I bought recently and a delrin clip closure. I didn’t have a chance to get a photo though, I gave it to my Dad for Christmas. One thing I worked on over a period of time was another woolly vessel. I embellished a wet felted vessel I made a couple of years ago with lots of wool, angora, mohair and alpaca locks. I attached them by needlefelting, then wrapped it up and put it through the washing machine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made this nuno felted piece quite a few weeks ago, but didn’t get a bright day to photograph it. I haven’t decided what to make out of it yet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHave you made anything over the holidays or took some time to relax?

Meet The Supplier

Meet The Supplier

We posted recently about expanding the felting and fibre community, wanting to meet the people who make it possible for us to make our fibre creations. Today we meet Amanda from Newmoor Barn.

Bertie the Angora Goat Kid leading the herdFibre 3, 2, 1
Q-3 Three types of fibre you can’t live without?
The Three fibres I can’t live without are Mohair, Zwartbles fleece and Shetland fleece
Q-2 Two tools you use all the time?
The two tools I use all the time are a drum carder and spinning wheel
Q-1 One fibre art technique you love the most?
Spinning Art Yarn

A selection of Newmoor barn Hand Spun Art Yarn
General Questions
What is your business?
We supply ethical natural fibres to fibre artists and doll makers. Our mohair is produced by our own gorgeous herd of Angora Goats and we buy sheep fleece from local farmers and small holders paying a fair price. All of our fibre is processed by hand including, washing, dyeing and carding.
We also sell 100% Vegetarian mohair scarves and bags as well as felted wall hangings, bags and purses and a wide range of hand spun art yarns all of which I create myself. We are now increasing our range to include felting and knitting tools. We also run training and workshops in traditional crafts such as spinning and pottery.

Betty the Angora goat kid devon

What kind of items do you sell?
Wool tops and batts; loose fleece (Raw and washed); hand spun art yarn; felting and knitting tools; felting and knitting kits; scarves; bags; purses; wall hangings and natural doll hair.
We also sell hand painted gourd bird houses (grown in Devon) and natural goats milk soap.

Fleece selection newmoor barn2What do you think makes your business different from similar ones?
Our business is an ethical business that focuses on animal welfare throughout the whole process (from growing to shearing). Our Mohair is vegetarian as our animals will never go to slaughter even when their fibre is no longer financially viable and they will never go into the food chain. The sheep’s fleece we buy is only bought from local small holders and farmers where we can be sure the animals are treated with care and respect. We treat the animals that supply our fibre as we do our customers, with respect. We are trying to encourage artists to consider where their fibre comes from and if it’s natural, to consider the treatment of the animal that supplied it, there are some horrible practices going on out there.
We try to give our customers and visitors to our site a wide range of natural fibres and good information on the fibres and hope we are approachable enough that if anyone has any questions they will contact us.

Newmoor Barn Wool TopsWhere are you located?
We have a small farm on the borders of Devon and Cornwall in the Tamar Valley in the UK. Yep, it sounds idyllic but we do have the A30 fly over running across the bottom of our land.

Feltin Wall hanging Three TowersWhere can we find you on the internet?
We are at www.newmoorbarn.co.uk

Many thanks to Amanda for taking the time to answer our questions and for being the very first in  ‘Meet the Supplier’ 🙂

There really is a great selection of wool and animal fibre at Newmoor Barn, I think I counted 10 different breeds available in raw or washed fleece as well as Alpaca, Llama and Mohair. The dyed wool is really interesting too, with breeds like British Grey Faced Dartmoor, Shetland, Badger Face Torddu and Cheviot X Welsh Mountain available in tops or batts and some gorgeous Devon & Cornwall Long Wool locks. It probably has the widest range of raw and dyed wool and animal fibres I’ve come across.

If you’d like to contribute to the Felting and Fiber Studio or would just like to contact us for any reason, we now have a ‘Contact Us‘ page up at the top.

Grey Wools and Banana Fibre

Grey Wools and Banana Fibre

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.

There are a couple of new uploads in the Tutorials section of the site. The first is How to make roving from silk hankies on the Fiber Preparation page, and on the ‘Other‘ page, is a short guide to taking photos of felt and fibres. They are both in PDF format and can be downloaded.

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