Felted, hand spun yarn!

I decided to try my hand at felting my handspun yarn. I read about it in one of the spinning books I have. Now that I have tried it, I really like it.

First, you spin the wool. The first time I tried it I just spun just a little bit and made it into a ball, which I then felted and unspun. After that I tried making full skeins and felting them. Below, you see a full skein that is ready for felting.

To felt a skein, you put it in hot water and full it, then take it out and with soap, you lather it up and agitate between your hands. I like to fold my skein so it doesn’t get too tangled and felt it as if it were a ball.

Below is a picture of the felted skein which has not yet been unspun.

After the first felting, the skein must be unspun by turning the spinning wheel backwards and gradually moving the yarn onto the spindle while untwisting it.

This creates a beautiful and interesting texture in the felted yarn. Then the yarn must be felted again to increase its strength. Below is a picture of the final product, after drying.

The more it is felted while twisted, the more defined and interesting the texture when finished.

Below is a picture of the three stages next to each other.

Below is a picture of the first little bit I felted and unspun. All of these examples are with Merino wool.

I’d love to hear from anyone who tries this or has tried it.

Finally finishing my cottage art studio ceiling.

The first piece of sheet rock is in place!

The insulation you see between the rafters is a stiff foam insulation about 4 inches thick. This came from a greyhound bus station. It was given to my sister Cheryl and I after she found it online. I think she requested insulation through Freecycle. This insulation was bound for the dump but we were able to collect and use it instead.

I am very excited to be working on the designated art studio area in the cottage finally. Once this art studio area is finished I can move all my art supplies out of my very cramped living room studio and into the cottage studio.

Moving my art studio will allow me to open my home back up for family gatherings and more comfortable entertaining of friends. .

I am looking forward to decorating my house for the holidays this year ūüôā

Perspectives and the Subconscious

 

I have had a recurring dream, at least once a year, of being at high school or college, not remembering my class schedule, where my locker is, or the combination. ¬†Finally getting to my class only to find it is over, I’ve missed most of the semester, and I have not paid my tuition, or I haven’t graduated yet. ¬†I think this is often a recurring dream for many people.

Last night my “recurring” dream was dramatically different. ¬†I dreamed I was at high school. ¬†I knew my schedule. ¬†I knew where my locker was. ¬†My books were in order. ¬†I was part of the popular group of kids, which was not true in real life high school for me, and I was actually helping incoming freshmen know where to go and what to do at the school on that opening day.

As I lay in bed pondering this huge shift in my school dream, I realized it had something to do with feeling like I belonged with a group of people in a learning environment. ¬†Here’s what I believe triggered this change of perspective and also the shift in my dreaming.

On Saturday I went with my daughter to a huge gathering of the guilds (art guilds) at the Oregon Convention Center because she had a ceramic piece on display there through her high school.  I decided to wear the yellow and grey outfit I made and the felted necklace I made to go with the outfit.  I even put on some makeup, which I seldom do normally.  I wanted to fit in and feel confident among all those accomplished artists.  As I walked through and around the many booths at the convention center, I was repeatedly stopped by others who commented on my unusual necklace, telling me how gorgeous it was!  I was very  pleased having others appreciate my work.  It was validating to me.

As I was talking with another fiber artist at her booth, she encouraged me to join the Portland Weavers Guild because it is open to all fiber artists.  She suggested that I would find my tribe there.  I felt so excited about the idea I went home and began researching the guild.  I decided I would join.

When I dream about Trackerschool I always feel completely at home and part of that tribe.  Now I have another tribe to feel at home in.  I think it is interesting that Trackerschool did not change my high school recurring dreams, but meeting these other artists and being invited to join their group did.

Connections and relationships are what life is all about in my opinion!

OK, I think I am straightening all this out.

My “Paradise Petting Farm” website is found at http://www.paradisefarm.sitey.me ¬† It is still under construction but you can see some of the things I am going to be offering.

This website, micheleballantyne.com , my WordPress site, will remain my blog place and my art place.

My “Survival Skills” website is under construction and will be for children and their families. ¬†We will have friction fire workshops, debris huts, cordage, primitive pottery, camouflage, and awareness games including capture the flag in the dark using camouflage and two camps with fire pits for the team to sit around and guard the flag. ¬†that game is all about stealth and being invisible, not about running or speed. ¬†Really fun!

More later . . .

Bringing a Vision to Life — PARADISE!

Tender ones.
Tender little ones.

Visions are evolving things. ¬†As we journey through life we are drawn to things that interest us. ¬†I have often wondered about my vision in life because my view of anything in the future, other than children, has always been Continue reading “Bringing a Vision to Life — PARADISE!”

Hosted a Felting Workshop Today!

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I hosted a one on one workshop with a great artistic lady named Elly from Corvallis.  She made one very fluffy colorful scarf plus a smaller neck warmer scarf.  Here are photos of the large scarf as it is drying on the rack.  I taught Elly my method of felting which is much faster than the rolling on the noodle method.  MUCH faster!

We had fun and she says she will probably come to another workshop and make more felted items.

If my readers are interested in learning to felt, or just want a place to felt where there is instruction and lots of supplies (merino wool in all colors, silk fiber, wool locks, and more) for your project, please call me at 407-766-2588 or email me at micheleballantynedesigns@gmail.com and we will schedule a workshop for you.  I can have up to four participants at my workshops.  Workshops are 6 hours for $100, or 3 hours for $50.  In a 6 hour workshop a more complicated item can be made, like the scarf in the photo Elly made using locks of wool as a fringe and decoration, and possibly a second simpler item like a smaller neck warmer scarf.  In a 3 hour workshop a less complicated scarf or other item can be made.  You may notice that each side of the larger scarf Elly made is different.  The scarves you make at my workshops can be made to be reversible.

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The flip side of the scarf.
IMG_4856 Elly at the workshop
After the wet felting, Elly applies a little needle felting on some stubborn fibers!

Nature Inspired Scarf

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Here is one view of the finished scarf based on colors from the bark of a tree trunk (see next image).
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This is the image that grabbed my artistic eye. I love the color and texture of tree bark and this tree bark is stunning!

While watching nature documentaries with my son I saw this tree the bobcat is climbing up with his catch. ¬†I felt my heart flip when I saw the magnificent combination of colors. ¬†I got a screen shot of the tree on my computer and used it as a model for the scarf. ¬†Also, notice the bobcat’s amazing camouflage against this tree!

Below, you can see the layout of the fibers before felting:

 

And here, below, you can see images of the finished scarf in different positions.  I made a couple slits on one end to allow the other end of the scarf to be pulled through.  Or, for a more traditional look, a button looking pin can be used as a brooch.

Below is a close up of the finished scarf.

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This will be heading to the art store in The Art Center in Corvallis soon. ¬†This scarf is made with “against the skin” soft merino wool, silk, and baby alpaca; the flip side is lined with super soft baby yak, silk, and merino wool in creamy white with slight hints of color showing through. ¬†This art scarf will be priced at $100.

Below you can see how the “dread lock” fringe is created. ¬†First cuts are made on the edge of the scarf to the desired length, then each flat strip of fringe is rolled between the hands to create the rounded dread lock look.