Category Archives: wool
I have recently had the pleasure of being able to take a nuno felting class with Fiona Duthie of Saltspring Island Vancouver . It was a tremendous learning experience and great fun. Fiona is a delightful woman who is always smiling, happy to help and guide you through the process. She has a lovely looking studio on Saltspring Island where she dyes her own wool and more check out her blog here: http://fionaduthie.blogspot.ca/
So with my new found knowledge I thought it was time I gave it a go. I had previously plant dyed and bundled a couple of wool scarves. One of which the colours were very strong, I had used small pieces of saffron and a little goes a LONG way. I decided to nuno felt both scarves together to make one long scarf/wrap. I used natural merino wool, 19 microns ( I think) very soft. I laid out the scarves and wool using all the skills that I could remember from the class….but guess what I laid out the scarves (which I cut by the way) with the hem facing out instead of in ….oh well next time…
I like the result but I think a little stitching would help bring it all together. I like the fact that the wool migrated through the scarf and muted some of the brightness. I will be making more I am sure….after all I need the practice.
Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day.
Here on the West Coast we had a cool start this morning, the hummingbirds were busy looking for nectar but the silly birds kept going to the one feeder where the sugar solution had frozen. I had put out a new smaller feeder with fresh solution but they kept going back to the frozen one ….silly birds, so I brought the frozen one inside for a while to thaw out and it gave them a chance to find the good stuff!
We have all kinds of woodpeckers here in our garden, Downy, Hairy, Pileated and the Northern Flicker. I had never seen the first two types but now that we put out Bark Butter….they come everyday and eat it as quickly as I can get it out there. It is a spreadable suet that can go into a small log feeder. One and half inch wide cavities have been drilled into a small branch or log, pack these holes with the spreadable suet and hang somewhere away from squirrels. ( That is quite a challenge around here.) My log has a small eye screw on the top to make hanging it a bit easier. All the small birds love it too including chickadees, nuthatches and bush tits. Even juncos fly up to it although I have to say they look a bit precarious, they are usually ground feeders and don’t quite know where to land on the log and madly flap their wings, most figure it out and eat quickly.
My apologies for the rather poor quality of the above picture but I was inside looking out but I hope you can see the log feeder hanging below the squirrel proof suet feeder. There is a tail prop feeder close up with some bark butter spread on this side and a hopper (House) feeder in the background. The woodpecker photos came from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Pileated on the left and the Downy on the right.
Now onto other things…the knitted mitts. I am not sure if I will make this into a pattern to sell, as much as I would like to, I don’t know how too ! so I have a little learning to do first. Here are some of the proto types.
Lastly I would like to show you some more of my eco dyeing projects. Some went well others not so good but all have been great fun….now I have to decide what to do with them. I think I will definitely hand stitch over some of them. The one with the pink lines in it was a mistake I tied the bundle with bright pink yarn never thinking the dye would come out I thought it was acrylic ! oops…oh well maybe it will be better with added embellishments. As you can see one of them is very yellow, I used saffron which a friend had given to me….but I was rather heavy handed with it … a little goes a long way !
I love how the creative process gets the mind working and ideas keep popping up, some of which actually turn out to be useful!
I have a new knitting project on the go which I am very excited about. This is my own design and I have been playing around with it for a while. It all started because a friends Mum asked if I could make her a pair of speciality gloves. She needed to have warmth as well as dexterity. I must admit I thought it would be very simple to do! just adapt a glove pattern and we are good to go….well that is mostly true, but I needed to factor in specfic measurements. Well I have made a few proto types and I think we are on our way to designing something worthwhile, more on this soon.
Now for something quite different, here in South Western B.C we have a hummingbird that stays all winter. That just amazes me, we have had surprisingly cold weather lately and this little bird will start nesting in February…brrr. The hummingbird is the Anna’s and here is some information about them from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
Anna’s Hummingbirds are among the most common hummingbirds along the Pacific Coast, yet they’re anything but common in appearance. With their iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throats, they are more like flying jewelry than birds. Though no larger than a ping-pong ball and no heavier than a nickel, Anna’s Hummingbirds make a strong impression. In their thrilling courtship displays, males climb up to 130 feet into the air and then swoop to the ground with a curious burst of noise that they produce through their tail feathers.
This is the male Anna’s, isn’t he just spectacular! The female Anna’s has a stout body with short, straight black bill
central iridescent pink throat patch Some females show several scattered pink feathers on face. White above and behind eye.
We have a hummingbird feeder ( seen in the above pic, Anna’s female is on it !) in our garden and have such pleasure from seeing two of these wonderful birds daily. They are quite fiesty and do not allow each other to drink at the same time. By the way the sugar water solution for these birds is one cup of boiling water and 1/4 cup of plain white table sugar. Mix up and allow to cool before placing in your feeder. DO NOT ADD FOOD COLOURING to this….it is not good for them. Also do not change the ratio because you think they may need more sugar, it can be hard on their kidneys and could kill them. The sugar solution should be changed regularly I clean my feeder out once a week in the cool weather and twice a week in the summer. We have the Rufous hummingbird here in the summer more about them later.
Have a lovely day and take time to enjoy the small things 🙂
Felted wool birds are the latest items in my repertoire. I am having lots of fun making them, I use Merino wool roving in a variety of different colours. Sometimes I add silk threads or maybe a little tussah which is a fine silk mixed with wool, it adds a lovely sheen to the item.
I also use some of my knitted UFO’s you know the ones …unfinished objects ! I felt them, then create a small wool bird from the felted fabric. I stuff some of them with polyester fibre fill and others I stuff with pure wool. Many of the wool coats and sweaters that I have purchased from the thrift stores make great birds, I even dye the fabric to make it more interesting.
What I love most about them is that no matter what I use to create them they all have their own character, sort of like our children. But I am not selling my children to-day ! Just wool felted birds. I do hope you will take a look at by bird family on etsy. More will be along soon.
Wishing you happy creating with love, remember Valentines Day is just around the corner and a little bird friendly company maybe the perfect gift.
I have been very busy wet felting the weather has been unseasonable warm and so I have been taking the perfect opportunity to wet felt outside. This really saves on clean up time! My latest work has been inspired once again by my natural surroundings, mostly our garden but also the gorgeous coastal areas of the wonderful Westcoast of North America, where I feel very fortunate to live.
I have been using different wools, this time I have been working with polwarth this is a mix of two well known breeds, Merino and Lincoln making for a very versatile and soft wool.
Other things in my life schedule have changed and I will not have has much time to felt and knit has I have had in this past year. So I am rushing on to fit in as much outdoor work as possible. I must make felt while the sun shines ! I hope you are having fun being creative.
Here is my own design of the lovely market bag from the wonderful Alabama Studio Style Book by Natalie Chanin. I love the designs from this book and the previous one, aptly named Alabama Stitch Project.
The work is slow and therapeutic and uses old gently used cotton t-shirts. I had originally thought I would be making the skirt from the first book (ASP) when I designed this stencil pattern. But on closer inspection I decided that the pattern for the skirt would not fit me! So the fabric with the stencil painted on languished in the corner of my sewing area for a REALLY long time! Finally I hauled it out and planned a market bag shape and used the sewing instructions from the second book (ASS)
I will have used three t-shirts in total, one turquoise, one pumpkin with a Pennsylvania logo, and one for the lining. At this time I am not sure what colour I will use for the lining but I am leaning towards green, always one of my favourite colours. I do have leftover turquoise pieces from the skirt but I would have to piece them as I did for the front of the bag and I would rather not have to piece the lining, you will have to wait and see what I do! I still need to make handles for the bag BUT I am almost finished. Just a little note about thread, I used jeans thread which comes in a lovely array of colours, it is polyester and is made by YLI corp and comes in 200yard / 180m spools and is called Jeans Stitch.
As you can see from the photos I also made a hat band in the same method using small scraps of leftover t-shirting. I think the process so far as taken me about a month. But I also knit in between!
I have knitted up a green shrug to go with my blue dress that I made a little while ago. I didn’t use the Alabama style completely for the dress. I did however use the spiral designs in green and the rosebud stitching and I added pewter grey beads around the swirls. I am hoping to add more spirals and stitching to the dress before I wear it again. The shrug came about because the dress is sleeveless and I sometimes need a little extra warmth. I had thought I would make just a pair of knitted long sleeves but it morphed into a shrug. I have to say it is very cosy.
At last I am wearing my creation. Although with all the work and effort I am a little dissatisfied with the end result. I really do believe that I enjoy the process far better than the results. Funny ‘eh!
I know that there are things I would change, for example one sleeve is slightly longer than the other and the same goes for the front bands which I knitted in moss stitch. I think if I knitted the front bands with a slightly smaller needle then I would not get the “drag or pull” on the front. The reason the sleeve is longer is that I knitted one sleeve separately because I wanted to be sure I had enough of the different yarn choices included in it. I should have transferred the knitted sleeve stitches again as I added it to the last side. Instead I just joined it on with a three needle cast off. Experiments….that’s what this is all about.
The cardigan is lovely and warm and I love the colours. I used two yarns that I would not use again or better still I should have used doubled, they were to thin on their own. I love the moss stitch collar front bands BUT not the way it drags downwards. On my next one I will change this part of the design and only use the moss stitch for part of the collar and front.
I look forward to the next one or even two !
The many yarns that I used in this project : Cascade 220 Heathers and Plain. Chunky Mochi by Crystal Palace Yarns. Ella Rae Classic. Patons Classic Wool. Ultra Alpaca from Berroco. Tekapo Pure New Zealand Wool by Ashford.
Have you knitted anything similar? do you have any helpful suggestions?
My latests de-stashing project is a knitted cardigan using various odd balls of yarn. I used to buy yarn one ball at a time, I would see something great and think OH! goody what can I make with one ball from this gorgeous colour. Also it was affordable BUT not very economical or smart. Nevertheless I have a few balls to use! so begins my side to side knitted cardigan. I have admired other knitted side to side projects that I have found on Ravelry and thought surely I can do this too ! I have knitted from the top down, making a sweater with Barbara Walker’s helpful guidance. So I felt sure I could use a little help from Debbie Bliss to make my side to side cardigan. This is it so far…
Are you inspired by your surroundings ? what have you made ? would you like to share ?
Here is the project I am working on for this Earth Day Challenge, so far so good but I am not sure about the tie! I read an article in the latest Threads Magazine about using old ties for bias binding. I found this lovely greenish one at the local thrift shop. ( See in the previous post pics) I noticed it is made of silk so I am not sure how I will incorporate it into my design ….I am thinking over the exposed seams. Hope you are able to make something too.
So here is the plan, take three items of clothing and use all of them or parts of them to re-create a new item. This is my challenge, would you like to join me ?
For example: take an old wool sweater ( no surprise there! ) one used cotton T- shirt and one no longer “cool” tie. Now get creative and see what you can come up with. Some ideas to get you started might include, hats, scarves, mittens, pillows, toys, games, bags, purses, slippers etc.
A few titles of books that may help spark your creativity:
Sewing Green and Warm Fuzzies both by Betz White
Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt By Megan Nicolay
The Sweater Chop Shop: Sewing One-of-a-kind C… by Crispina ffrench
Heartfelt: 25 Projects for Stitched and Felted Accessories By
If you would like to participate just send me a note and if we have enough people we can set up a flickr page for all to see!
See if you can get it done by April 22nd Earth Day.
Good Luck and have FUN 🙂