felt luminary

Friday, August 2, 2013

Too Busy To Blog......Doing What?!

Well, this January my husband, Jack, got me a spinning wheel for our 32nd anniversary.   He's such a great guy.....  I've been wanting to try spinning for years, as with felting, for me-there is a great sense of satisfaction  in being able to create a useful item from basic materials, things people have been using for thousands of years.  Keeping old ways alive in the fast paced, instant gratification world we live in today grounds me and makes me happy! 
My first spin.....

...then it got better....

The wheel I ended up getting was a Lendrum Original.  A few of my friends that spin all said this was the best wheel for a beginner and that it would also be a good wheel as I got better.  They were so right!  I'm surprised at how quickly I picked this craft up, it's been such fun spinning all different types & colors of hand dyed rovings and hand carded batts of wool then try to decide which would look good plied together , I just love creating this yarn!!  While I taught myself to spin I have to give a great deal of credit to my friend Lori Lawson.  Lori is one talented lady, she dyes her own wool, spins beautiful yarns, knits equally beautifully, felts, weaves....you get the idea.  She has a great blog :   http://paintspinknit.blogspot.com/
as well as one of my favorite Etsy sites:  
Via emails she gave me invaluable advice, after writing and getting to know each other she invited me to her home while I was in So. Cal this spring for a one on one tutorial.  I had such fun and picked up some great techniques for spinning!
Thanks Lori! 
and better yet!

of course I had to knit something with my yarn...a cowl
 So for a few months I did very little felting and loads of spinning and knitting.  Yeah, you could say I was obsessed. And it was (is) so much fun!

But felting is my first love and things have evened out lately and I am now spending about an equal amount of time spinning and felting.  Well, there is another avenue I have ventured down this past month but that is another blog entry!
 These last few photos on the right are some of my latest yarns.  The one on top I am currently using to knit a shawl, I had two skeins of it.

 The yarn on the bottom was the yarn I learned how to correctly ply on at Lori's.  That was an "ah ha!"  discovery and so key to a good yarn!  I'm currently using it to knit a hat pattern that Lori wrote.  I feel pretty good about these, while I would love to be able to get these thinner, sock weight, I
realize it will come with time
 and practice.  Couldn't tell you
what weight these are, I'm not a 
seasoned enough knitter/ spinner to know that just by looking at it!  Usually the nice label on the skein of yarn tells me that, guess I better get with it and figure it out.

So that and life in general has been keeping me busy enough to have neglected my blog. 
I'll try and do better............

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Time For Carin's Felting Retreat

  I know, it's been way too long between posts!  It's been a busy year so far........
I just returned from my good friend Carin Engen's retreat at her workshop and home in Garberville, CA.  Carin is an amazing felter and felt instructor who teaches all over the country as well as has her own line of hand dyed wool for spinning and felting.  For three years now she's had numerous three day retreats in
Garberville where nine felters can go and have the run of her workshop, Carin
is there as a "technical adviser" AND you get three yummy meals a day....yes, it is
a felters nirvana.  It was great to see                                                
friends I made at last years retreat and
make new friends.

  Here are the things I worked on:
The first day was this bag ,the three pictures here on the right and below is a bag I did, I've had this idea in my head for months now... it is fun to see it finally materialize.  I wanted a simple image on both sides of the bag and for
some reason spoons kept popping into my head....and a bowl goes with spoons.
First I made partial felts in the colors I wanted then drew & cut out the images.
After wrapping my bag template with four layers of white merino I added the cut out spoons, bowl & trim.  Next was, yes, much rolling in bubble wrap.  I use the larger, heavier blue bubble wrap when I'm doing something large and rather heavy, it handles the bulk better.  It's actually pool cover insulation, fyi.
Fulling was done by rolling it on itself
while keeping it wet and soapy, working the desired shape all the time.
In the next few days I'll find the right thread and do machine free motion embroidery around the spoons, bowl and maybe the edge. 

I'm especially excited with how the bowl turned out...

I'm very happy with the way it turned out, now I need to decide what I want to do for
straps.....I'm thinking purple leather, but can I find the right shade of purple!  I would
do one thing different though.....instead of four layers of white merino for the base of
 the bag I would do six.  I lay out quite thin and just feel the sides could be denser. 
 Next time.  Always something to learn with this craft.

 This I did on the second day, it's a red triangle scarf.  The three pictures below are it.

This one on the left is the first layer of my lay out.  The variation of the colors was so beautiful I just had to take a photo!  You can barely see the shiny plastic resist running along the edge, this made a type of overlapped edge, the bottom layer is plain burgundy and the top is the multi-colored reds and golds.
What you can't see is a triangle of cotton cheese cloth under the whole thing, it makes a great texture on the fabric, it can be seen on the turned over top edge.
The "design" along the edge and in the middle of the scarf was made with silk hankies that were dyed by Carin, the wool also was dyed by Carin, one of my favorite colorways, Drama.  You can buy her hand dyed wool on Etsy at Carin Engen Fiber Arts.  If she doesn't have it stocked, write/convo her and she'll tell you when it will be available.  

Finished Scarf

And finally day three.....this is a shawl I made from a beautiful light green vintage silk sari.  This shawl actually took me the longest to make, from 9am to 8pm, a real "all dayer".  The photo on the left was taken after the second go around at rolling; usually I do 150 rolls each time, switching ends after 150...I do this four times, usually.  This silk was a bit more stubborn and needed lots of extra rolls, how many?  I lost count.
Anyway, the main body of the shawl has a long piece of silk on either side, wool on the outside edges that was felted to make a slight ruffle and then two layers of silk on the ends.  As much as I dislike having my picture taken I ended up doing so, you can really see the length and, I feel, beauty of the shawl.  I really happy with how this came out.....I can promise you it won't end up on my Etsy site!  This will stay with my stash :)

great crinkle effect!

What a productive three days I had, such a blast.  Thanks again Carin!