New Drum-Carded Rolags…

I’m working on crafting some textured yarns — from Merino, Border & Blue-Faced Leicester, Silk, Mohair and Cotswold Locks, Tunis, CVM and Organic Polwarth — for a felting project with a floral theme. After carding and rolling these rolags for spinning, and arranging them in a basket, I noticed that they already looked like a bouquet:

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This little rolag set looks like “Mother-of-Pearl,” and the fibers include Merino, Silk, Finn wool, Border Leicester, Mohair locks and Tunis. I’m looking forward to spinning this set, and letting the texture curl and bump along:

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Published in: on April 15, 2014 at 6:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Some Pics from the Studio

Handspun yarn fashioned into wearable cowls:

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Detail of “Starling” wearable cowl:

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Drum-carded batt, “Blue Jay,” rolled into rolags for spinning, with lots of merino, silk, cashmere, sari silk threads, organic Polwarth, soft curly locks:

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Dyed Cultivated Silk Top:

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Published in: on April 11, 2014 at 1:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thematic, Drum-Carded Batts…

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I have a nice assortment of my own drum-carded batts waiting to be felted/spun. Really, it would be obsessive to create more of them… and yet, I really love carding batts.

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The sweet improvisational energy of putting together so many colors, curls, threads, different sorts of fiber and watching them interact, imagining how they might spin or felt, is a creative challenge that is pure pleasure.

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The idea of carding batts for sale that would perhaps just wait, and wait for a home and a purpose — this seems sad, and in a way, a waste of exquisite fiber and also of space in my studio. But my own slow pace of felting and spinning does not keep pace with my love of using my drum carder to craft batts… I’d love to find a reason for making more of these wonderfully-nuanced batts that are layered with interest and surprises. The world of folks who appreciate and use carded batts is small. Sometimes I think that the folks who appreciate them the most are those who already card batts; we know what goes into a batt that is beautiful, versatile and functional.

So I’m putting an idea out to readers, all three and a half of you: if you’d be interested in purchasing a commissioned, just-for-you drum-carded batt (or rolag set) on a particular theme — any theme at all — two to four ounces of fine fiber, please comment on this post, or message me on my Wooly Bliss facebook page, or send me an email (post comment to request email address, please) and we can start the conversation about a batt for you.

Here’s my brainstorm about thematic batts: a season, a longing, a place, a plant, a flower, a creature, a jewel, a dream,
a healing, a river, moss, stones, trees, wilderness, peace, courage, prayer, hope, baby love, rainstorm, garden, moonlight, firelight, sunlight, opalescence, transcendence, milk and honey, berries and cream, burnished, gilded, smoked, stoked…

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There are no limits to the imagination!

Published in: on April 4, 2014 at 2:57 pm  Comments (2)  

Making Order in the Studio

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This jumble of spring-toned fiber that I carded and coaxed into form is a good symbol of what my studio looked like this morning: there was work in progress here; work to go to shops there; pieces of felt related to some of the yarn that has been spun and pieces of felt related to work that has not yet been done; boxes of beads and all of the paraphernalia of beading; the unhappy start to a crocheted collar that was whispering “release me, I do not want to be a collar.” So I started to tidy up and completely un-crocheted the collar and wound the pretty hand-spun yarn into a ball.

I’ve learned to write down notes related to work-in-progress, and to tie it on or otherwise secure these notes with the related work: a date, and what fibers have been used, and what the intended use is for whatever fiber has been dyed or carded or felted or spun or gathered. It should NOT amaze me that I can be utterly immersed in a project, then put the various components in a bag, start half a dozen other projects, return to the bag and not remember what fibers were used or why I did what I did in the first place. Why am I amazed? The artist’s brain is a fickle brain.

And on the floor: wonderful bits of fluff, dyed silk noil, silk threads and strips of silk fabrics that are the evidence of hours of blissful blending and working; tiny bits of veggie matter teased out of curly wool locks and locally-produced rovings.

A short, focused flurry of organizing and vacuuming created the equivalent of a blank page in my studio.

I’m clearing my small studio, preparing to teach an “Intro to Felting” workshop. I love this feeling of making order in anticipation of introducing others to the magical world of feltmaking. It all feels good: straightening up, re-discovering the starts of projects that are sometimes wonderful and sometimes better left undone, putting supplies in good order, and getting ready to share the studio and share about fiber!

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Published in: on April 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment