New Look

December 19, 2010

December Is The Busiest Time

I haven't been visiting blog land much, except to view and occasionally leave a comment. 
I've been felting and hand stitching .... but I can't show too much.  Most are gifts for family.
I did manage to take the dog to the beach.
It was quite cold but no frost.  Beezer ran up and down near but avoiding the surf.  He chased seaweed as it blew across the sand.  I counted starfish and threw the live ones back in. 
I got my boots wet
And then went home.  It was a great way to clear the mind, breath fresh air and remember that the Season is more than the Mall.  
I'd like to see the Lunar Eclipse on the Winter Solstice.  But it looks like it might snow.
I got a little package from Heike last week.  She offered to do a swap.  

Will be doing some hand stitching and more felting after the Holiday. And I will be sure to include some of this.

Merry Solstice. 

November 27, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Especially in my studio.  I have been busy making gifts.  
First I have a Honey (read Spouse) that is an English Motorcycle Freak-O.  And his very favorite is his 1958 BSA GoldStar.  He polishes it and rides it and sometimes just looks at it with serious love in his eyes.  So I made him a banner for the wall above his work bench. 
I think he'll be very happy .... it's pretty close to the actual emblem.  Next time it will be a Norton.
Then I needed more to the skin soft black.  So I ordered some Black and White from Margaret at Crystal Creek Fibers.  She has the most *wonderful* Rambouillet.  It is constantly high quality, high micro, clean clean and clean. Felts like magic. 
This gorgeously soft black Merino was meant for another Christmas project. 
I have wanted for some time to take a class from Jean Gauger to learn how to make her fabulous butterfly shawls.  Unfortunately my schedule has not allowed this.  So I decided to try on my own.  
My initial sketch eventually resulted in this. 
And, of course, the back.  
I also bought some Icelandic batts to make slippers.  These arrived in the mail, too.
These batts are so different than the Rambo and Merino.  They are soft and light but the micron is larger.  The test I did showed they felted up like a dream! 
I also have to make some scarves.  They are on the agenda for tomorrow.

November 14, 2010

Short Break

I've been on an unscheduled break from blogging.  I've been busy with a visit from my sister and her friend, a visit from my friend Diane, a trip to Boston and just the day to day stuff.  I even took a nap one day!  Not much time left to do anything felty.  
However, I've managed to spend a little time in the studio.  
Diane and I had a wonderful weekend.  I made two pair of slippers.  One for me....and one I can't show as it will be a Christmas present.  Diane made wonderful MaryJane slippers.  She knows that stretching is an important part of making hard felt.
We tried a resist to make two layers of different colors. 
Oh, just ignore that was one of the libations to the felting muse.  It is also a most important part of making good felt.
Diane took her slippers home to fill in the little moons near the toe.  Mine fit me like a glove.
I have also worked on other projects.  The quilt has made a comeback to the priority list.  I made more of the green for the sections between the flowers then basted them to make the top a single piece. 
Now I have a small emergency.  Because I have been working on this 'as I go along' and not as a planned out project, I have run out of the prefelt.  I'm on a search to find one of the colors I have used in the background.  I think I've used too many colors on the top to add another on the edge.  
In the meantime, ha!, I've been getting ready to make some Christmas presents.  
When Diane and I attended the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool festival we bought an Icelandic lamb fleece.  During our weekend visit we washed it and another merino fleece I had.  Today I put the lamb fleece through my carder.  It took me all afternoon. 
My carder has medium grade pins and the lamb is very fine.  It is not the best combination but my little batts turned out well.  My Honey needs slippers for Christmas and I think this will be perfect.
I plan on working quite a bit in the studio prior to the Holidays. I think there are mostly handmade gifts on Santas list so I'd best be cracking.

October 11, 2010

Time to Felt 2

I spent the day mostly in the studio.  Of course, the dogs and I did go for a walk.  It was 73 degrees and so so wonderful outside.  I opened the windows of the studio and let the air in.  So much more enjoyable than the basement.  Sigh.  
I got the second piece done.  They are very close to being the same size.  Laying out was quite the process.  I've not done anything so large in 2 pieces previously.  I was pleased that I had very even wool on the back side without any plain silk.  The light will filter through well. 
Almost 3/4 done with the second piece. 

Left and right side.  Colors are close...for 2 dye pots...I'll take it. 

Now to decide if I want clips a rod or tabs at the top. 
I'm considering this a success and am ready to try a larger size.  Look out bedroom windows you are about to be "treated".

October 10, 2010

Time to Felt

I haven't posted much because I haven't felted much.  I've been busy with the garden mostly.  But also the dogs.  I planted almost 200 bulbs and 1/2 pound of wildflower seeds.  Plus I've pulled weeds and put down mulch.  I'm hoping it pays off next Spring.  

Fall is always a very busy time for me.  We still ride on Sundays so the studio has felt neglected.  Walks with the dogs took me to the woods where the mushrooms are popping out all over.  
This is stink squid.
A Russula type..they may be green, gray, red, pink, or peach color.
I saw lots more mushrooms...but this blog is about felt.

I have several projects I would like to complete before winter.  Drapes for the large living room windows are one.  I've been trying some experimental dying for color.  These have been mostly onion skins with different mordants or an over dye with indigo.  Before I invest in the yardage for such a huge project I needed to see if I could even make drapes at all.
So, first I made a sample of 10 square inches.  
  I figured out it was 40% shrinkage and did some math.
I covered my tables, spread out plastic and then laid down my silk. 
I weighed out the wool.  My sample was 5 grams per 10" square.  
I figured out the total wool, divided it into quarters, laid it out and then added water.  
Today I played patty-cake.....rollie rollie, pattie pattie ... put it in the dryer.  Then it was rolled again, tossed again, heated with hot water, stretched then rolled some more.  
 The first panel is done.  The second is now lying on the table with 1/4 of the wool laid out.  Tomorrow is a holiday for me.  The studio will be filled with music while I make the second panel. 

September 19, 2010

The Studio Is Open

My friend, Jane came over this weekend for a Felt-A-Thon.  We have done this several times and it always ends up pretty intensive as far as what gets done.  This time was no different.  
I walked up and down these stairs more than 20 times getting things (tubs of wool, silk, ironing board, books!, pens, pencils, get the picture) moved in and *somewhat* organized.
But eventually I was ready .... or at least, semi-ready .... to work in the studio.  
 We had fun and we made a mess!
From this
To This!
Not quite zero to 60 in 2 sec....but it was pretty incredible. 
Jane was very productive.  And although her work is abstract and very different than mine, I enjoyed watching and talking to her about her thought processes as she worked.
  She did 2 pieces about walks in the woods through dappled light and over roots of large trees.  
She also completed number three in a series called Hole In The Tree.  She has these slated for a show, so I'm not revealing them.  
I did one piece that I am not sure about.  It is called the Watcher in the Lake. 
This was influenced by my retreat at the Huyck Preserve and is a very large piece for me.  It ended by about 21" x 49".  And although I'm not over the top happy....I'm always so critical of my work....I learned lots and lots about larger pieces and my nuno felt technique.
He is now drying and I'll do a minimum amount of stitching to fix his eye. 
The background was green and green-yellows, green-blues and it seems all the yellow washed away! 
I will sleep on it and see if this is The One...or I need another  attempt.
Hope you had as much fun this weekend. 

Oh, and I did pick up the studio when Jane left.  But it has been broken in.

September 6, 2010

Huyck Retreat

I returned last night from upstate New York.  It was a most astounding adventure.  My friend Diane and I slept in an old horse stall.  
But we still heard the barred owl hoot hoot hootoo at night and listen to the rustles of the night movers.  During the day we heard lectures by mycologists, the songs of birds, the lapping of the pond waters and the laughter of felting friends. 
Though we ate, hiked, felted and laughed together, we each interpreted the shared experience of Huyck's nature differently. 
We shared and talked and listened and supported each others explorations in felt.  
It was the most wonderful experience I've had with felting friends.
I will not  ever be able to write about the exchange that happened, I can show you a bit of the work.

I was inspired by the mushrooms.  We did mushroom dyeing and mushroom picking and I felted mushroom pictures. 
This is laid out and ready to felt.  I made small pieces but there are also banners and pods.  At the end of the week there was a small exhibit. 
And felting workshops.
But all good things come to an end and we had to say goodbye. 
Diane Christian, me, Sharon Costello, Kris Sandoy, Linda VanAlstyne, Carol Ingram, Lynn Ocone, Sharon Janda, Renate Maile-Moskowitz and Marianne DuBois. 
Until we meet again....

August 28, 2010

Quick Post to Share

I found these old shoes this morning....over 12 years old.  Since I was going to paint I needed something comfy but I wouldn't mind if they got paint on them.  Unfortunately where the sole meet the top at the stitching it gave way and pretty soon my toes were hanging out the end.  So what is a girl's best friend (besides fiber, I mean)

It worked, too!  I could call these my 'PreFelt' shoes as they were used in the studio before felting began.  Sorry, I just couldn't resist.  Oh, there I go again.  
I'm going to whine a bit now.  It was absolutely stunning outside today....the sun, the breeze, the temp..I only took a lunch break and a short walk with the dogs. 
These are cinnamon ferns on the edge of the swamp.  I also noticed lots of these. 
Can it be possible?  It is only August....well, almost September.  When I woke up this morning it was 47degreesF outside! The Season's Change is upon us.  I love the colors of Fall.  It inspired me to try a little experiment....Felt background and a little color on the top. 
I have several ideas as to where this can go and I leave tomorrow for a Felting Retreat in New York.  I'll be back in a week.  But...I'll be taking the camera and the I may have some pictures from the project.
Now, I'm off for a dose of ibuprofen after all that painting of the ceiling ooooooohhh, my neck.  I may have to have a glass (or two) of wine to relax those painting shoulders.

August 14, 2010

Still Stuck in the Dye Pot

I returned from Vermont with Diane after a wonderful trip to attend the Guild's Meeting.  Jennifer Hoag of Northeast Fiber Arts Center gave our workshop.   If you want to see much better pictures and a synopsis of our trip skip over to Diane's blog.  She did a great job.
We had a wonderful time and returned safely.  We went for a walk and picked several different leaves and a few berries.  I put the berries and flowers into the freezer and let the leaves sit over the week.   
Yesterday I started 5 pots for dyeing.
One to soak silk in alum.
One to soak silk in tin (pot).
One to simmer wrapped sticks and a wrapped iron pipe (courtesy of Diane's Dad, Dean).

One to soak rhododendrons in water.

And One refurbished indigo vat. 
  This vat was the same I used in February.  It had sat in the basement, undisturbed for 6 months.  I checked the pH which was 10 and when I added more indigo crystals and thiox it's smell was definitely of fermentation.  
Results...oh, yes, the results. 
This was a piece of brown silk I dyed that would wash out with felting leaving a pale beige.  Even if the brown washes out now (which it didn't with soap and hot water in the indigo final rinse) I'm sure it will be a lovely blue.  
The wrapped pieces came out of the dye pot and sat on the deck to cool. 

The pipe wrapping gave this wonderful grey and orange piece. 
Sumac buds gave me this lovely pink.  Next it needs to be light and wash tested....but I'm letting it cure right now.  Sumac leaves make lovely marks, too.  I have hopes for grows wild and in abundance here. 

Onion skins with St John's wort, daylilies and sumac leaves gave me this.  The actual color is really more orange than peach. 
While the Rhododendron leaves have simmered for about 3 hours.  The liquid has been divided in half and part placed in a tin pot and the other with the alum and tannin soaked silks.  These were simmered for a while and now are left to cool overnight.  
Tomorrow is the Brit Jam...a motorcycle show and we plan on riding most of the day through Southern Connecticut.  I won't be able to rinse my silks until later Sunday evening.