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Crafting For Those Dedicated to Experimentation

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Wool

Class 3- Wet Felting

The ladies, and occasional gentleman, are having so much fun with these classes.  I find it so heartening that all of my students just jump in full force with all of the classes I am teaching!  I admit I keep forgetting to get pictures of everyone crafting, mostly because I am having a ton of fun right along with them!

Most of my students had created mini batts in our last class and they were using those to make their felt.  I had them wet down their batts and use soap to gently begin felting.  Since they were just mini batts they felted very quickly, though some had thin spots.  This felt is going to be considered the basis of their bookmarks as well as mini notebooks, so I would rather it be as solid as I can help them get it.  Since wet-felting doesn’t seem to be doing the trick we will be playing around with some needle felting (after another quick lecture on safety).  I hope that they will be able to needle felt in some filler for their thin spots as well as some embellishments.  (I’m going to experiment with bamboo and patching today).

These classes are so very exciting!  My supervisor has recommended I look for a grant to offset some of these costs in the future and this is certainly worth looking into.

Happy Crafting!

Class 2- Carding Wool into Batts and Rolags/Punis

My students are amazing, creative, industrious, and fearless!  They took to carding like ducks to water.  Once they had the skills mastered they began teaching each-other.  This was a glorious example of cooperation & creativity.  They wound up with such beautiful batts and rolags, I am almost more excited then they are for the wet felting class next time.  We used hand cards, a blending board, and a Brother Drum Carder.  Everything went smoothly, though I am certain the number of times I warned them to be careful if they weren’t up on their tetanus shot helped, lol.  Happy Crafting!

I’m Such a Card

I, very happily, carded a couple of batts from the fiber I dyed.  I have named the Pink Batt ‘Stormy day in a rose garden’ while the other batt is ‘Sunrise’.  Both batts are entirely compromised of wool.  Stormy Day was carded once while Sunrise was carded twice.  I love the look of each batt.  I am planning on spinning the batts and wet felting small portions of each.  I will show off my progress as they are completed.

Happy Crafting

Easter Egg Dyeing

I had an absolute blast with my leftover Easter Egg Dye!  Since there was so much color left over in the cups I decided to use that water to dye some fiber.  My black turned out phenomenal and the others gave me such beautiful marbled effects.  I am very pleased with how everything turned out.  The eggs turned out well too, you can see the black one next to its corresponding fiber.  I had such a blast, Happy Easter!

Dyeing with Depth

I am having so much fun with dying techniques!  These are my first  4 attempts at dyeing with depth, using more than one color before putting in my main color so that the main color stands out more than it would have.  The first two braids, that I think of as Crows and Ravens are red & blue with black as the main color.  The reds and blues struck the fiber more than I thought they would leaving little room for the black to attach, I think I will have to use less of the first two and perhaps a professional black if I want to try this again.  The yellow is a light yellow overdyed with a stronger golden yellow.  I like the effect, it gives the yellows some depth without muddying things up too much.  The reds were an interesting experiment, between my cake frosting dyes, and my regular dyes I had about 3-4 shades of red/pink.  So I used all of them, the end result was supposed to be a strong red with pink undertones/depth.  Things didn’t seem to be working too well until I remembered a piece of advice where they said to use a contrasting color to emphasize the main color, so with a hope and a prayer I put in a drop of blue.  Much to my shock the red started to pop and the overall effect is that the colors deepened quite a bit.

I am very happy with these results and look forward to my next dyeing day!

Happy Crafting!

Dyeing For Color

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I have to confess, this wool is so much softer than it looks.  All of these pieces of wool are dyed using either Liquid or gel food dyes as well as a combination of Alum and Cream of Tartar as a mordant.  I do enjoy how the colors have turned out, they are not as brilliant as I would have liked.  I did find out with the last batch of yellow I did, if I pre-mordant the fiber and cook up the dye bath in the mordant and use about half a container of the color then the colors come out very rich, the bottom two golden yellows.  The yellow right above was first dyed in Hibiscus Tea (a variety that was quite sharp though I usually prefer hibiscus tea).  This particular blend of tea is a very sharp red and initially turned the fiber a beautiful Burgundy…alas all of that color just ran right out of the fiber when it was taken from the bath.  The result was a very faintly beige color, you know that shade of eggshell where you are staring at it and saying “it isn’t quite white but it isn’t really anything else either.”  So I overdyed by plopping this fiber into a pot that I thought was exhausted (it wasn’t) and turned out to be very pretty and rinsed clear.

I am really happy with my experimentations.  If I get particularly brave this afternoon I might try to fill out cards with what information I have for them and start a dye dairy.  At the absolute minimum I intend to finish dyeing my fibers using the Wilton Cake Dye kit I obtained and Alum Mordant so that I have a wide Pallette of colors to play with.  If sometime this summer a yen takes my fancy I might look into obtaining some Jacquard dyes to get more colors.  I do hope to spend some time this summer and fall experimenting with plant materials and the dyes that they can create, how exciting!

Happy Crafting!

Spinning the Blues, Still

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These are my bobbins full of blues.  As you can see I spun a lot of blue.  I could not separate them out by color as I had originally intended…because I spun a LOT of blue, lol.  Also I do not have enough bobbins to separate them out by color.  The truth is I think this will work out better anyway.  I look forward to finding out how the different blues pool and interact with eachother.  It will be a blast to see what size this yarn winds up being and if I like it that size or if I will cable it in the end.  Yay, I cannot wait until I start this!

Tweed-Ish

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I have some batts that I carded up with some slightly sticky wool.  I had originally thought to sell these sticky batts, but have since decided that I would wash these batts and see how they spin up.  Right now they are spinning up almost like a tweed yarn, which is what I thought they might do.  There are too many Nepps (little broken pieces of wool) in the yarn for me to get a smooth product.  I am not great at getting a consistently thicker yarn, especially with an uneven batt like this, but I think I am doing an alright job.  I will confess to enjoying the speed at which this batt spun up, and I look forward to seeing how it will look plied with something.  I think that the actual singles are brighter than this picture is giving them credit for, I might have to ply them with a white to get the effect I want, or maybe find another of these batts that this will look good plied with.  At this moment I think I will try to create a 3 ply yarn of a thicker weight that might make a nice crocheted shawl or lap afghan.  Depending on how thick the yarn is and how many yards I manage to get from it.

Happy Crafting!

 

Plying Fun

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I finished spinning my fine blue singles! Yay!  Then I plied up the wool, bamboo, silk, etc, singles I had lying around.  The singles are composed of all of the little bits of batts I had lying around.  Essentially they are my ‘destash’ yarn. It was a lot of fun to spin, even more fun to ply!  I wound up with 212 yards of plied yarn pre-washing.  I haven’t gotten around to washing this yarn yet, I am enjoying the unwashed energy too much right now.

It is always so much fun to see how the yarn will turn out!  Happy Crafting!

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