Saturday, August 25, 2007

Felting again

This was the last Saturday of the month and my felting day. Since only one other person showed up, I was able to felt myself and made the bowl that I have been dreaming of for about a month now. I have been looking at some llama/mohair/wool roving that is in my shop bathroom and wondering how it would felt up. I had already needlefelted a small piece and figured it would work out, so today I pulled it out and started laying it out for felting. The first thing that I discovered, is that it takes a lot more of a blend to felt a sturdy bowl than it would have, if I had stuck to wool only. The second thing that I discovered is that the last layer was too much llama (not the undercoat). I also decided that I much prefer using my own batts. They are already carded and the fiber is blended consistently enough to felt really well. My friend's bowl was perfect and gorgeous. Of course, she stuck with my batts and could not go wrong. She has a lot more Patience than I do. She will probably be selling it on her internet store, etsy. The link is on the home page of my website:

This is the first bag that another friend sewed up from six yards that I wove up in different yarns for bags. This is how it looked before felting. The one below is the felted version. Funny things happen in the washing machine! The bag shrunk, but the front flap did not. The warp was the exact same fiber as the flap and they did different things. With something inside the bag, the flap will hang like it does in the above photo. The change in color is a result of the weft shrinking and the warp (grey) not. The grey color took over. Since grey is in for the fall and winter, that is not a bad thing.
I will be felting again on Monday since someone, who could not come on Saturday, wants to learn to felt. I will make a smaller bowl and see what happens, if I card the same fiber into batts. Certainly it will be quicker to lay out!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Good news

This has nothing to do with the fiber business, but I am excited about it, so will share it. Kyle, my 18 year old son, has been awarded his Associates of Science by the local community college. He has also been accepted into the University of Arizona's physics program and starts classes on Monday. He has taken a major step and he is ready for the big time. Of course, he plans to get a masters and probably a doctorate, so he has years to go.

Current projects

I am busy cleaning up my studio and trying to card or box up the older fibers to be processed. The bugs are starting to move in, and I don't want to have to move out!

I am weaving a series of bags on my loom using the yarn that I got back from the spinning mill. The singles were nice, but it seems like their machines are set up to put even more twist into the plied yarn. It was not what I would use for knitting, so I used half of it to warp my large loom.. I have woven five bags so far and still have two more to go. I started out spinning the weft especially for this project and then today decided to dig through my basket of small skeins. I found enough groups of colors to be able to use up half of them. Some are colors that I personally do not like, so it is great that everyone is not like me!

Another project I am working on, is providing information to a freelance writer about how I got into the fiber business. It has been interesting reading and then answering her questions. It has triggered memories that I had forgotten and caused me to analyze what motivates me. If the article gets published, I will be sure to let you know. It will not be done in a hurry. I could see using her questions as a guideline for writing a book someday. I have to admit that right now I am too busy living it.

Anniversary gifts

This little bit of info might not be too late for a lot of you, but I was informed that the gift for a seventh wedding anniversary is wool. If the date is in your future, you should make sure that your stash gets increased. One customer was "with it" and really treated his wife. Lucky woman to have someone who loves her enough to really search out these things! Make a guess as to what she got!

Marble's haircut

Those who visited last year during the wool festival might remember the little lamb that followed me around. Guess what? I gave him his first haircut two weeks ago. Amazing how much lanolin and how many blades needed to be replaced to finish him up. I left the top of his head with wool, because I was not sure how the goats at his new home and he would react to each other. Turns out, that I worried for nothing. I think his hairstyle is kind of cute and it reminds me of one of the Beatles. Am I dating myself?

Penny came and sheared 8 goats last week, so I have a new supply of kid mohair to play with. Almost all of it has been washed. I wanted to get them done, because I need to see how fine the hair is on the eight bucks that I got in trade for two does. I plan to use a few for breeding and I needed to know which ones I would castrate. It is already breeding season, so I HAVE to make decisions. A few rams have already become "its". Several more will also get castrated in the next few weeks. I have already started moving the ewes in with their mates.

I have ordered the only animal that I plan to buy this year. It is a dominant black yearling buck coming from California. My friend here in Tucson has agreed to do the hauling for me. He is such a nice guy! The new buck should be here in mid September and then I will split the does by color. I will probably move No Size out to the far out pasture in two weeks. I am hoping to keep my gates and fences intact!

Computer hiccups!

I meant to post these pictures weeks ago, but problems with Internet Explorer had to be resolved. I finally updated my website with upcoming shows and events, as well as workshops. The weeping willow tree was the centerpiece of the the spinners' retreat that I attended at the end of July. I taught a class on wet felting landscapes and was thrilled to have artists in the class. All, but one of the students, hung their pieces, so they could be photographed. It was nice that they had room dividers so conveniently placed!