Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 216 Catch Up

I'm writing this post in December, but I want to catch up on this year's blog since I haven't blogged since June.  Here's a wrap-up post for the rest of May:

I built a brooder pen for the chicks in the barn.  It is 4 panels that come apart for easy storage.  

I did some fleece washing in the kitchen, doing smaller batches in the sinks and some plastic tubs.  David said hte kitchen smelled like sheep, like there is something wrong with that? Ha!
Different stages of washing, rinsing, and drying. 

I made a few dizzes out of polymer clay.  A diz is something used to take fiber off of a drum carder. You can see a video of one in use here.  

I came home from work one day and found a half dead raccoon in the yard.  I thought it was dead, until I poked it with a stick.  I figured it may be rabid, so I put an x-pen (wire panels to make a circle) around it to keep the other animals away.  I called the health department in our county, and they sent someone out to collect it.  Turns out it was rabid, so we had to get rabies boosters for all of our dogs and cats, even though they were up to date on their vaccinations, just in case they had any contact with it.

Buford knows how to get comfortable on the couch!
David built a clothesline for us.  Kylee got in on some photo bomb action.

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!

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