Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Keep turning the bag and make sure the inside surfaces aren't sticking to each other. Lots of pressure now.
Anyone see a bag emerging? It has a shape something like a saddle pad. The finished bag won't have a sharp crease like shown in the pics. You can see how much smaller it is now, compared to the pattern.
Moving on to the kitchen sink, I rinse the bag in water as hot as my hands can handle, rubbing the bag all over against itself, manipulating and squeezing and throwing it into the bottom of the sink with malice to shock the fibers. Once all the soap is out, I rinse it again with very cold water.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
It wasn't long before I had a pattern cut from craft paper. It's actually under the wool in this pic, so you can't see it. This is only four layers of roving so I'm already halfway there with this layer.
As soon as I had eight layers laid out for the back of the bag and the flap, I placed the resist on top. I used corrugated box board. Once it's wet, it becomes pliable and serves to separate the layers. In this pic you can see how I have folded up the overlap over the resist. Wetting the resist helps the wool to stick. Now I need to add eight layers to the top of the resist so the thickness will be even on the front and back.
Once I have a nice surface on all sides, and paying particular attention to the edges, I roll the whole thing up in bubble wrap and roll in all four directions at least 20 times. Each time you must turn the work and readjust the mesh to make sure the wool isn't sticking to it. When this is completed, the resist will be visibly buckled.
Stay tuned for next installment of this project.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
None of my new supplies have arrived yet, so I laid out another bag, this time in hopes I'd like it for myself. Based on my original design, it took two hours to lay out the wool the way I wanted it to hopefully look. Special attention was paid to the fringe. The inside of the bag is dark brown and the outside is grey. Both wools are rather coarse. I added a tiny bit of white to the fringe, but it got lost in the brown somewhere. Next time I'll be a bit more generous with the lighter colors.
The next morning I had a brainstorm. That antique washboard I have decorating the wall might be useful. I began working the bag over the washboard, with hot water and soap, and voila! it didn't take long at all. A bit of good elbow grease did the trick and I was able to shape the top so both the bag and the flap were narrower, with really nice results. This is my bag for sure now, and it's already full of junk. I love it.
That was my weekend ... how was yours?
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I had an email from Louet yesterday too. My order has been shipped but one of the colors is on back order and to follow in another couple of weeks. Hopefully the most of it will be here by next weekend, as well as the Angelina fiber from the states. I'm having my friend Lu out for part of the long weekend and she is interested in seeing how this is done. That gives us something to do, besides our trip to Masstown in search of Dragon's Breath Blue Cheese. We have both declared this to be the absolute bomb of blue cheeses.
So, I'm not sure what my projects will be this weekend. I think I'm going to make another bag. Can't decide on the color or style just yet. That decision is going to take another cup of coffee. Have a great weekend everyone ... the sun just came out here and it was supposed to be raining, so all is great in my world.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I attempted the red wool again. As soon as I wet it, it tried to get away from me again. I have no idea what this wool is .. the staple is short and it's very fine and soft. I'd guess merino, but not sure. I was able to control the wool but you can see this one is a bit wider than the others. A tiny bit of the red solidified and didn't stick on the front so I snipped it off. Not sure what happened there either, except I think it might have folded off initially on the bottom side where I couldn't see it, during the beginning stages. I also dared to cut some holes in the flap with pleasing results. I found out these holes can get a lot larger in a big hurry where the wool is very thin. More valuable knowledge for the data base in my brain.
I was really happy with the flame look of the red flap. I don't know what kind of wool the yellow is either. It's a long staple a slightly coarser than the red. I got both at a fabulous price on EBay in large amounts. I imagine it is left overs from the International Day of Felt project quite some time ago as this was themed in red and yellow colors. In any case, it was inexpensive and I have a lot of it.
This is the sketch I have ready for my first handbag. I'm waiting on an order of four colors of dyed Corridale top from Louet in Quebec and a sampler of Angelina fibers from the states. Once those treasures arrive, I think I'm ready to dive into handbag production. The little cases were a great experience, but I just fell in love with the handbag concept and can't wait to try it.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The spots are the slices from the bracelets that I had saved for this purpose. Then I laid a few barely there wisps of a long stapled yellow wool over the spots here and there. I lost a couple of spots during the felting process and had to pull one off at the end as it wasn't stuck very well. The best parts were that I made my resist the correct size for shrinkage and the phone fits in perfectly. The fringe turned out really well and I'm thrilled with it's final look. The whole piece is very firm and the flap is stiff as a board and protects the keys so what was a horrible mistake really worked out. The color is kinda cool too.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. I hope you have a wonderful day. That goes to my mom too, who I know will be reading this. Love you Mom.
I'm still playing with the wet felting ... holding off on the handbag project because I just am not yet skilled enough and I really want to make it nice. I'm learning quite a bit about the art just from making these bangles. I've already learned that not all wools like each other and have had a couple of disasters. The black and red number shown fell apart on me early in the wetting process, so after fighting with it for a little while, it wouldn't go the way I wanted it to, so I discarded it.
I've learned that the hotter the water is, the better this works. I'm starting to develop a feel for the process, beginning to understand when to add water and when to add soap. I'm completely amazed by the process and how hard and smooth it becomes. I've been flaming the fuzzy hairs off the damp finished bracelets, before beading them because I love the look. The smell of burned wool disappears once they're dry. I can't find any instructions where this step is mentioned .... so it's not likely recommended. Remember, I don't have the luxury of an instructor. I'm trying to learn all this from internet resources. I can't afford to buy the books either. I've also been sharing this with my talented artist cousin, Deb, on the South Shore. She has made some very pretty unbeaded bangles and has also become obsessed with the process.
The ones shown in this pic have just been flamed and I took them outside to brush the burned bits off. Notice how smooth they look. The more I make, the more I realize I need to learn. This is especially true when something doesn't work out and I then have a need to find out why. So many questions ... so much to learn .. but it wouldn't interest me if there was no challenge.
I'm looking for a list or chart or something to tell me which types of wool work best for needle felting vs. wet felting vs. spinning. So far, I have found no such chart, but lots of info. It looks like I will have to make the list myself based on many different resources. Any helpful hints from my readers are gratefully appreciated.
There are volumes of things I want to know. Like all about wet felting with resists, and how to stick on pieces of prefelt and how to attach ropes for bag handles and the like. I now realize a beret with a resist was a silly thing to do for a beginner project and the fact I was able to save it with so little experience was a pure miracle. This is so much fun and at the same time so difficult. The learning curve will surely take years to master. I now understand so much more about the accomplished artists in this field, and have so much more respect for the time they invested to get to where they are.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Baba Ghanouj (roasted eggplant dip). Wanda had made another dip, proper name unknown, but it was delicious as well. There were little flattened lentils all spiced up ... and an extruded and fried chickpea snack which also had quite a bite to it. Polly's hummus was a big hit and soon all our diets had gone straight out the window. Next course ... koftas with cucumber mint dip. Little Indian meatballs ... made with beef, but depending on what part of India, may be made with pork or lamb. The spicy black pepper poppadoms were enjoyed by everyone ... This was new to most of the guests so quite an adventure. There was much interest in the frying process. Meanwhile, I had a big pan of samosas, bahjis and another vegetable fritter type hors d'ouvres which I forget the name of. That was to be served with tamarind sauce, but I had tasted it the night before and it nearly stopped my heart, so I warned everyone. There were a couple brave enough to try it, and Lu loved the stuff. The entree came next ... Chicken Biryani with sweet mango chutney and naan. That was really good and a big hit. There were lots of 'doggy bags' packed up after the meal, mostly meant for significant others, but a couple for some special friends who couldn't make it. Polly's taboulleah was delicious and all fresh ingredients. Dessert wasn't forgotten either. Wanda made Kheer, and Indian dessert made with milk, eggs, rice noodles, raisins, and almonds. I can only describe it as something like a rice pudding. Very delicious ... can be eaten hot or cold and I enjoyed mine cold with a bit of cream. All in all it was a great gathering. We all stayed civilized and everyone made it home. A huge success. I'm not even going to get into what it took out of me ... it's two days later and I'm still worn out ... but it was all worth it.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Yesterday was a great day. Two of my city gal pals packed up the dog and took a drive out my way for a visit. My Daisy was thrilled. Lupus is a fairly large female husky and very playful. We put both dogs outside in the kennel and watched them play for hours. They really like each other and had a great time, while the "moms" caught up on all each other's news inside. It was a great visit and it sure played the dogs out. Daisy was asleep before the guests hit the highway and she even slept in this morning until 9:30 am.
Today is errand day. I just returned from Fall River where I picked up my bead order from The Beading Room. Hollie was busy with orders coming in online but came out of her office to see these new creations of mine. She loves them and even bought one from me! That was a nice surprise. All I need is time now to make some more. I also picked up the Mirage beads I've been lusting over for quite some time. They're amazing ... they're thermo reactive so change color with temperature. Just like the old mood beads of the 70's but much, much higher quality, clarity and more color range. Modern technology ... who knew?
I just froze the leftover pork tenderloin schnitzel I had from yesterday. Had some on a bun for lunch. It's really good. I used a dry citrus product in the seasoning and I think it made a world of difference and leaves a nice aftertaste. However, it's pretty hard to mess up schnitzel anyway. I've been cooking mine on the double side grill. Not as crispy but much less fat ... hardly any as the tenderloin is lean. On a whole wheat bun it's nearly guilt free. I'm trying to behave so that I can eat a whole bunch of really spicy Indian food on Wednesday. Lot's of goodies planned that. I'm making up the koftas later today and going to freeze them. I'll make the Chicken Biryani on Wed. Wanda is bringing Indian dessert and I have pappadums , samosas, onion bajhi and a couple other little surprises. Sauces and dips, we have them all. It's going to be quite a feast. I still have a couple of errands to run as well, so looking at the time, I think I should get to it. I'll let you know how the party turned out.