Friday, July 31, 2009

What would you do and a giveaway!

The question isn't WHAT to do, but what to do FIRST??? I have a weekend all to myself and I am always overwhelmed with what I should start with.

I have stuff that I should do - laundry, dishes, vacuum, etc.

I have stuff that I want to do - finish felting projects, read my book, go for a walk.
I am really bad at finishing projects. I have 5 pillows in varying stages :)

I have stuff that I don't want to do, but need to - fix the electric fence in the ram pasture, mow the lawn, clean the garage.

and stuff that I seldom do, but would be fun - lay on the couch and watch a movie, eat a carton of ice cream (that was my mom's idea) ;)

I suppose I will end up doing a little bit of everything, except for eating the carton of ice cream!

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is tell me what you would do with a weekend all to yourself?

The prize -

A tote bag filled with a goody of your choice :)

Option 1 - handspun yarn
Option 2 - fiber for spinning

Option 3 - felting kit
Option 4 - none of the above ;) for the non-wool people - I will come up with something special
Just leave a comment with what you would do and what option you want! I will announce the winner on Tuesday, August 4th. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Felt Table Runner

Thanks to the hot weather, I have been felting a LOT ;) Doing anything outside besides the absolute necessary is out of the question. This is one of the pieces I made. A table runner made with jacob wool.

I was awfully tempted to keep it, but I think I am going to make another one that matches our kitchen better. It measures 16" x 60"

It is also reversible.

I love the color variations of jacob wool.

Hope you are staying cool wherever you may be!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Lil Dynamo

Look...I have a new wool picker!

Isn't she cute?

She is serious about her job.

She digs and pulls until each lock of fiber has been picked apart.

The final touch is fluffing.
Just kidding :) She does enjoy picking the wool but I don't think customers would enjoy having dog slobber mixed in with their wool!

I do have a new wool picker though - it is called the Lil Dynamo.

I tried a jacob lamb fleece through it and I am so happy. The top slides across and is very smooth. Here is the washed fiber going in...

and here it is afterwards.

The pile on the left is before and the pile on the right is after. Picking wool opens up the locks and makes carding easier.

I found a more appropriate toy for Paisley to play with.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wet Felting - A Tutorial

Wet felting is a lot of fun and all you need is: 1.) a piece of bubblewrap 2.) wool 3.) a piece of netting, rug underlayment, shelf liner, screen, or any type of fabric with holes in it.

First, lay your bubblewrap down on your working surface. I am using a pool cover in this picture. I called a local pool store and found a remnant piece for free!!! I was able to cut it to the size of my table.

Lay your wool out in approximately 25% bigger than you want your finished piece to be. This is a very rough estimate and if you are a perfectionist then you can felt a small piece to see what your actual shrinkage is. I like to felt on the fly :)

Layer your wool by placing a very thin layer in one direction and the next layer in the opposite direction and so on until you have 3-4 layers depending on how thick you want your finished product.

Here comes the fun part and I have my very capable assistant to demonstrate the rest of the process. Cover your wool with your netting, we are using shelf liner here. Fill a bowl with hot water and a little bit of liquid soap. Take a sponge and drip the water over the wool until it is completely wet.

Next, use a bar of soap (I find that glycerin based soap works best) and aggressively rub it across back and forth over the wool.

Once the surface is slippery you can set the soap aside and rub with your hands. Every once in awhile, pull the netting up to make sure the wool isn't felting to it :)

The wool should start sticking to itself and beginning to felt. You can pull the netting off and rub the wool directly.

He is so serious :)

Roll the wool up in your netting and roll back and forth. I find rolling REALLY boring, so I do this for a very short period of time. I roll a couple times from one direction and a couple times from the other.

Pull your piece of felt out of the netting and scrunch it up and abuse it :) Throw it on the table, rub it against the bubble wrap.

Now we need to get rid of the soap and finish the process. Put it in hot water first and continue scrunching it up under the water.

Next to the cold water. Repeat this 2 times - hot, cold, hot, cold. You will feel the surface texture change when you go from the hot to cold - I love this part.

Sometimes I will throw the finished product into the dryer and sometimes I will lay it out in the sun. Here is my son's finished piece...

and here is mine. They are both going to be used for vests. He is going to make one for his teddy bear. We used Navajo Churro wool and it felts beautifully. Not to be worn against the skin but great for rugs and masculine vests.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We did a little bit of everything :)

I knew Joan and I were going to be busy when she came, but we ended up cramming a week's worth of fiber fun into 2 days. We started out needle felting...

this was her very first needle felted item! The horse is one of her beautiful Kigers, Cali.

While she worked on hers, I worked on a gift for a jacob breeder that helped me out by housing and transporting some of our lambs after they traveled from Oregon to Indiana. I hope he likes it!

After we needle felted our designs, we needed a back for our pillows. Our local JoAnns used to carry 100% wool felt and that would have been the easiest route, but they don't have it anymore - so we wet felted! We made fairly big pieces, they started out being 2 1/2 feet by 3 1/2 feet. I kept laughing because most beginners start with something simple, like a flower or a sheep and you certainly don't learn how to wet felt by making a big piece of fabric! We found that we are very much the same - we don't like to start simple ;)

We didn't have a lot of time, so we did a LOT of multi-tasking. We dyed fiber using my new pot and the results were fun.

She dyed some of her washed jacob fiber with a beautiful teal color. The carded results are going to be so pretty!

We also washed fiber. I found this great tub out in my barn! We also found out that my fiber shop has a small water heater. Wet felting and washing fiber takes more hot water then it had! So we moved the washing tub to behind the house.

She brought me some of the wool wash that she uses as a hostess gift and I am really impressed. It has a nice soft euctalyptus scent and did a fabulous job! I washed Wrangler's fleece first and it doesn't have any ram smell left and the white is white!

The weather was beautiful on Friday and the fleeces dried pretty fast.

We finished making our pillows and she learned how to blanket stitch - my favorite!

She sat down and used my spinning wheel (I hope she posts some of her pictures) we laughed quite a bit :) Then she tried out my drum carder.

It was so much fun and very motivating! I have been washing, carding, and spinning since she left. Who wants to visit next ;)

Friday, July 10, 2009

The winner is...

Dandelionmom!!! Congratulations - contact me for where you would like me to send you prize. I am going to take a wild guess and say you want the sheep one :)
Thank you to all that participated!
I know I am a day late in announcing the winner, but I have a very good reason... Joan from Mud Ranch is here for a couple days to learn all about felting and fiber. We had so much fun yesterday - we needle felted, wet felted, dyed washed wool that she brought, played with baby lambs, and had lots of chatting time. On our agenda today is finish our pillows, card her dyed fiber (we can't wait to see the results), and do some 3D felting. I'll post pictures in the next day or two. Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Custom Bags

I have been working on a few custom bags.

This was a special request from Michelle at Boulderneigh. She raises Shetland sheep and I traded her for some roving from her sheep. The fiber is lovely and I can't wait to spin it.

This bag wasn't a custom one, but it inspired the gal who ordered the next one.

The angoras were a little tricky, especially the red one but the lady was great in regards to giving me feedback and I hope she is really happy with it!

Last but not least is Ziggy with the bag that I made for his buddy Tisha. Isn't he a cutey? He loves to race!

Currently the bags come in the light blue and dark blue, but I am working on dyeing them. I experimented with dyeing the lighter blue and am really excited with the results.

The results confuse me a little :) The original color is on the left and I got the red by dyeing with bright red and the green was achieved by dyeing with a mustard yellow. I thought the dyes would blend with the light blue dye - red/blue make purple and yellow/blue make green. The green was what I expected but not the red. I like the red better than purple so that was a nice surprise!

And look at my Goodwill find...

We have a large outdoor burner, but I needed a big pot to dye in.

The added bonus is that it has a strainer in it! Stay tuned for the results.

I have added a few new totes to my etsy store and would be happy to make a custom tote or purse for you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A giveaway to celebrate my new blog!

You can still keep up with things on the farm at - Stories from the Farm - but this blog is going to be all about the fiber studio. To celebrate my new blog I am having a giveaway! All you have to do is leave a comment or become a follower. I will put all the names in a hat and have my son choose the winner. The deadline is a week from now - July 8th.
Now for the fun part - you will have your choice of bag 1...

or bag 2...

I will contact the winner on July 9th - Good Luck!