A weekend away with the women in my bookclub gave me the time to try another needlefelt sculpture. One of the ladies brought a Japanese needlefelting book, so while watching Rachel Is Getting Married, I worked creating my first pig.
Proportion and balance are my biggest challenges in needlefelting creatures. It is hard to gauge just how much wool to use for the different body parts. The head was too large once I attached it, causing the pig to fall flat on his face.
Once I returned home, I slit open his back end, inserted a rock and then covered the opening with some more roving. That was enough to restore his equilibrium, as long as his legs are spread apart.
To make the tail, I felted a bit of roving into a rope, wrapped it around a paintbrush and then pinned it in place. Once dry, I removed the pins which left a coiled spring. Perfect!
Working from Loren’s great suggestion yesterday, I sewed up the next two spindle cases with a strap.
Made in the surf colorway with bamboo and tussah silk roving for accents, this case features a button strap. It measures 10″ x 5″. I reversed the opening for this one just to see how it would work, but until I try actually wearing it for a while I’m not sure which is preferable.
The next version was sewn with a closed loop. If I were wearing a belt, I would thread it through the handle, but since I don’t usually wear one, the carabiner worked just as well. The flat felt was made with a merino cross roving in indigo on one side, and pinot noir blue faced leicester on the other side. It also measures 10″ x 5″. I finally remembered to sew a SpiderFelt tag into this fourth prototype. The coolest part of this case is the stripe of grey made with carbonized bamboo fiber (added as an afterthought, will remember to layer it over a brighter roving next time). The roving feels soft and supple with a hint of shine. The color is achieved by heating the bamboo fiber. Very neat stuff.
Maia of Tactile Fibers presented me with a challenge a few months ago: make a felt case for a drop-spindle using their naturally dyed blue-faced leicester roving. Always game for a challenge, I agreed. She suggested I model it after the case made in this Splindicity needlepunch tutorial.
The first case was a little wide, but appeared to be the correct length (10″ x 6 1/2″). The color looks very blue, but is actually very kelp, also the name of the colorway.
The second case looks to be the correct width, but a little long (14″ x 5″). This was made primarily in the tangerine colorway.
I’m off to work up a few more pieces of flat felt. Lessons to be learned from this project will include the value of consistency and careful documentation. While it is nice to make many one-of-a-kind scarves, the rigors of production felting will force me to grow in a more controlled fashion.
Sorry to have neglected this blog for so long. I have to say that discipline has never been my strongest suit, so when habits slip away (blogging, jogging, flossing), months can go by before I realize how much I missed those markers of time passing.
I’ve recently discovered the Doubleknit podcast, created by Jessica and Erin, Seattle knitters who happen to work at my neighborhood yarn store. Each episode they discuss finished projects, new projects, as well as good books and movies they’ve seen recently. Their conversations are relaxed and chatty, while also serving to point out new ideas in the fiber world that have escaped my distracted notice ( (forgive me, knitting has been low on my list of daily activities).
As Jessica noted in one of the early podcasts, it is important to keep life in perspective, both in terms of the hooray moments and learning opportunities. Today’s lesson will be about dye lots.
Exhibit A: two skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in the Baltic colorway
Notice the different shades and the color repeats. I started with two skeins, but lost one on an airplane and when I returned to buy another skein, they no longer had the same dye lot. How different could they be, I wondered. Plenty. The sock on the left has more pronounced brown segments with narrow bits of blue, while the sock on the right has very little outright brown and the colors are overall more balanced.
Lovely socks to wear with jeans, not so lovely to wear with skirts as I intended. I really wanted a pair of mid-calf socks to wear with swingy skirts, but not only do the colors look odd, but my gauge was different so one sock can be pulled nicely up to my mid-calf while the other strangles my circulation, so mostly slouches around my ankle.
This is a quick post to share the work that preoccupied me last week as I prepared for a visit to see friends and family in Colorado, both blessed with two little ones.
First, I made a pile of felted easter eggs, experimenting with different rovings pulled from a sample box. From left to right, a handpainted merino roving drafted into long, thin bits and wrapped many times around styrofoam egg; solid merino roving with tiny bits of bamboo fiber; and an assorted bunch of merino/silk blend rovings (not recommended for future egg experiments).
Then came the needlefelted chicks bursting from their wet felted eggs. It was very difficult to keep the chicks small, so I had to felt a purple egg large enough for an ostrich chick around an extra large rock.
Tickled children and parents all around; a project worth making and sharing.