Monday, May 23, 2016

Animal Update

In the top picture, there's a deer grazing in the yard in the background.  I forgot to post pictures of all of the chicks...some I hatched and some I bought from the feed store. There are some Blue COchins, Speckled Sussex, Welsummer, Ameraucana, and mixed Marans.

The five older lambs are in the barn now, weaned a few weeks ago.  The other sheep and goats are happy grazing.  Ida does crazy moves to reach any branches she can.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

In the Shop

I listed 4 sheepskins in the Purl & June etsy shop.  These came from sheep born and raised here.  If you've never had a sheepskin as a rug or seat cushion, you're missing out!

Thanks to my friend Nancy for lending her house for the photos!

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival 2016

Kylee and I went to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival a few weekends ago.  We were lucky that even though it had been very rainy leading up to the festival, it wasn't raining the day we went.

We got there pretty early and made a beeline for the fleece sale barn.  I was on a mission to find a fleece with curly locks that I could dye.  I wanted a Bluefaced Leicester fleece, because they typically have nice curly locks.  The sale barn was PACKED, with both people and fleeces.

We managed to find a fleece after looking through several dozen, and then we got in line. There were volunteers taking turns holding a sign up so people could find the end of the line.

We waited....and waited...and waited.  The line was moving fairly slowly, and we ended up waiting for over an hour to pay for the fleece.  We looked at lots of neat knitted items while we waited, because everyone wears their best knitting things to Sheep & Wool.  I saw this really great knitted then fulled (felted) bag.

Waiting-in-line selfie!

After we found a fleece, we started making our rounds.

We went by the Sarafina Fiber Art booth and saw some amazing felted animals.

We saw some alpacas.

Kylee picked out some roving so she can spin some custom yarn.

We took a rest and took a few more selfies. We were feeling pretty punch drunk by then.

On the way home, we stopped at my friend's house to meet her new baby boy.

Here's what we ended up bringing home. We got some roving, a t-shirt for Kylee, a Border Leicester fleece, some washed curls, a pound of wool batting for wet felting (a pound is a good bit), a pound of BFL roving, a pound of Merino roving, and some kettle corn.

Here's a picture of a sample lock from the fleece I bought.  The funniest part? There were fleeces there from flocks from all over the state, and the fleece I bought came from my neighbor's sheep!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Wet Felting

Happy Mother's Day!  But more importantly, Happy Birthday to my Momma!  Now that she's opened her gift, I want to share it here.

I am a felter, and normally I do needle felting.  I wanted to try some wet felting on a larger scale than just wet felting soaps and beads and things, so I set out to make a gift for my Mom.

I started out by laying down a towel and then a layer of bubble wrap, and then a layer of prefelt.  Prefelt is a slightly felted fabric and it's great for the base of felted objects like this. You can also needle felt with it. I started layering whisps of wool on top of the prefelt.

I layered it in one direction first, then in the opposite direction.  Once I had a pretty good layer covering the prefelt, I started in with the colors of the scene I wanted. I made a sky and a field of flowers.

This was fun....putting the colors together to create a "painting".

Then I started adding in dyed locks of wool.  These locks are in natural form, and haven't been carded or combed like the roving.  They're a lot of fun to use!

Once I finished with the sky and the greenery, I was ready to add in the flowers!  I wanted to make hollyhocks, so I added circles of roving to mimic hollyhocks.

Once I was happy with the layout, it was time to wet felt. This was the nerve-wracking part! I was nervous something would get messed up, or the flowers would smoosh together or something.  I used a piece of sheer fabric (this just so happened to be scraps from bridesmaid dresses from our wedding).

The wool was still light and poofy at this point, but then I poured hot soapy water over it.

You can see above how the wool flattens out once wet. I would push it down gently to make sure the wool was saturated, but not sopping.  Then, I wet my hands and put dish soap in my hands, so I could smooth my hands over the fabric to gently start the felting process.  I rubbed my hands in circles and back and forth over the picture for several minutes until I could tell the wool was starting to felt.

Once I peeked at the wool below and could see it felting, I was ready to move on to the more aggressive felting.  The wool and bubble wrap get rolled around a pool noodle, then rolled back and forth to vigorously felt it.

It gets rolled 100 times, then it gets unwrapped and rolled up from a new direction and worked again 100 times. I did this 4 times, rolling up the felt from each direction for rolling.  After 400 rolls, it looked like this.

I was thrilled with how it turned out!  I wanted to add some detail though, so after it dried, I got out my beads and felting needles.

I added some beads to the flowers, and needle felted borders to give it more of a 3D effect.

I needle felted centers to the flowers.

And then I added a hummingbird.

And the finished product:

I was so happy with the finished product! I was so happy to send it to my Mom, because she is a quilter (doing some really amazing art quilts) and I knew she would appreciate it!

Wet felting is pretty addicting, and I'm already planning my next piece!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Wash and Dye Workshop

I'm lucky enough to live relatively close (about an hour) from Sarafina Fiber Art, a great source for felting and fiber art supplies.  Sara, the owner, has also posted numerous tutorials for different felting projects online.  Sarafina offers workshops for things like wet felting, needle felting, dyeing, and painting.  I took one of those workshops last weekend.

The Wash & Dye Fiber Processing workshop was a blast.  We learned how to dye different fibers and we all went home with our own fiber art bundle.  Each person picked through several different types of fibers to find a blend of things we wanted in our bundle.  There were a lot of choices.

We made cards with the name and a sample of each fiber.  Then we picked an inspiration photo and made a plan for the dye pot.

Sara had quite a few options of dyes available.

We also washed part of a Cormo fleece, to practice working with raw fleece.

Then we prepped our fibers for the dye pot.  The fibers went into a soaking bath with citric acid.

Then the fibers went into the pot (with more citric acid), and the different dyes were poured in quadrants.

Then the fibers were put in a rinse bath with vinegar.

Then we spun the fiber dry in this nifty laundry spinner!

The fiber art bundles were set in the sun to finish drying.

This is mine, below.  I have a project in mind for it, and hopefully I'll get to work on it soon.

While I was there, I drooled a bit over all the wool in their warehouse!  This picture below was only one small part of the fiber stash!

It was a fun afternoon, and I've been bitten by the dye bug. I can't wait to do more of this!
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