Thursday, October 28, 2010

Playing With Colors

     Here is 55 grams of 100% local wool, which I have spun into a singly ply, then dyed with food colors. It's almost what I was aiming for, but I went a little too heavy with the yellow and turned almost all the blue into the bright green tones. 

     All is not lost however. The next batch of single ply will be all blue, then it will be plied with this to make a strong, bright mitten yarn which will be incredibly warm. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wool Mittens

     Done. I spun enough of this yarn to make a pair of heavy wool mittens. Look how lumpy it is. That is because I'm not that great yet at drafting it into the twist, but I'm getting better at it. Next yarn project will be to spin a smoother yarn of two ply. I want to make enough for a whole skein, then dye the yarn before knitting it. These mittens are well knit and will be nice and toasty warm this winter. They kind of remind me of thrummed mittens due to the lumps of wool throughout. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Puttering Around ...

     Well, these days my husband, Don, is hard at work in his woodshop making some scroll sawn products for the craft show next month. Therefore, he's tracking all sorts of debris up through the house, which is keeping me busy with Mr. Vaccum. I've got most of my products packed up for the show, and that leaves me to make some sort of thing to display some of the smaller jewelery items. I have to go for a little walk out back later, as I'm thinking of cutting a small hardwood and trimming back all the branches, then spray bomb it some Christmas color and secure it in an attractive and simple base. That ought to solve the problem rather nicely and after all, it is a pre-Christmas show. 
     Since we had several days of wet and cold weather, I've been playing with some little critter designs, trying to capture the cute factor. Who's old enough to remember the Ookpik rage? I was a kid but I remember everyone had to have one. I got one at some point and it was really cute .. all furry and big eyes. Of course, ookpik is simply the Inuit word for snowy owl and it's more correctly spelled Ukpik in the Canadian north these days. However, they were to die for cute so here is the rendition I came up with. These are needle felted and around three inches in height. The feet and tail form a tripod allowing them to stand alone. 

   Yesterday I began spinning again, using my drop spindle. I have so much natural white short staple medium wool from meat breed sheep here to card. Since I've already carded a bucket full to the needle felting stage to use for core wool, I decided to try spinning some and make at least 100 grams. Here is the start of a fairly fine single ply. I've mixed in some long staple BFL (oooh .. so soft and silky) at about 25% that was dyed a lilac color. Today I'm working on the other single ply, not yet photographed. I'm mixing in about 50% violet dyed Corridale and then I will be plying them together. I hope it will be fine enough to make a thick pair of mittens. At least that is my goal. If it turns out a bit too coarse, I'm not sure what it will be turning into. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Felted FiberFish


      Here is the finished Fiberfish. He's actually very handsome and has lots of bling thanks to the many, many beads and crystals adorning his fins and gills. This is my first project of this kind and he was, admittedly, a challenge. I first had to figure out how to make his fins and gills, which I ended up doing separately, then needle felting them to the body. The rest was done in one seamless piece using resists ... note the plural ... as there were separate ones for the dorsal fins and the tail, then a space before the body resist. Yes, he was an engineering challenge to begin with. The material is an art batt I received as a trade from Linda Koch. It was amazing as it contained tons of different fibers, a great deal of which were synthetic, so felting was going to be difficult. I underlayered it with the bright blue as I wanted a contrast. That was Corridale roving. After the wet felting process was taken as far as it would go, I blocked it out and stuffed it with plastic bags, added the fins and gill and worked on the beading while it dried. It hangs in my front window now, and Don came up with the idea that since there are five panels to that window, I should do an installment of five sea creatures hanging there to simulate an fantasy aquarium. I think he's on to something there as I've been giving it some serious thought and I really want to take this a bit farther anyway. I've been thinking about a jellyfish which would give me practice in making thin coiled ropes. Perhaps later on, some aquatic plants or other undersea life. I find it an inspiring concept, so I think after the craft show next month, I'll be delving into this project if I'm not too swamped with Christmas commissions. 

     And speaking of the craft show: 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Never Met a Fiber I Didn't Like

     Having lost a small bet with my hubby, today was totally devoted to housework so I didn't get too much done in the studio other than some clerical junk. Managed to file some documents and pictures so I'll be able to access them again, and worked on labels and business cards for the November show. I have to pop out this evening for a bit, and I have a meeting tomorrow night as well as more housework chores for during the day tomorrow. It's turned out to be a rather busy week so far. 

     Since I haven't had a chance to complete the embellishments on my latest project, I wanted to take this time to comment on this wonderful fiber.  Shown above is the pitiful remains of what was a gorgeous art batt, carded by Linda Kotch in Ohio. It's a mixture of pretty well everything you could think of and it's so beautiful! I couldn't wait to begin something with it, and I came up with an idea for a wet felted 3-D hanging sculpture, which will be the subject of my next blog. 

    Oh, and I also had some time to play with my little sweetie pictured here. She's such a good girl! 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Needle Felted Meerkat

     I really enjoyed making this little guy. He too was done while I was recovering from the flu, as needle felting requires far less energy than wet felting. He's done really really tightly too, as I wanted him to be able to stand on his own without putting wires or sticks up inside his body. Once again ... he was an experimental piece, but he turned out so well. If he doesn't sell in the November show, he'll probably find a good home as a Christmas gift. 

     This little meerkat's eyes are Miracle beads and have a reflective glow all of their own in certain lighting conditions. It's really kind of eerie until you get used to it. There were a lot of hours that went into him due to the density of the felting. Since I've never seen a meekat, I relied on pictures from the internet and the pattern on his back came out ok. Perhaps next time will be a bit better. I was starting to get the hang of it toward the end of the pattern. 

     You can see here how his rear feet and his tail, also very tightly felted, form a tripod to support him.       

     Finally, in this last picture, you can see that he's just darn cute!