Finished: one wetfelted bag

wet felted bag

This is the smaller of the two. I gave it the fleece felted flap of the bigger one.
wet felted bag

wet felted bagwet felted bag
I took it to the shoe maker who attached leather straps. However due to a miscommunication within the shop he did not attach reinforcements on the inside. These straps might tear the holes in the felt.

Luckily this is a small bag, just for wallet and phone and a knitting project. I think it will be alright. Otherwise I might add a lining that attaches to the straps somehow and relieves the tension on the felt. I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes.

wet felted bag

A close-up of the texture of the bag and how well the locks go with it:
wet felted bag

This bag is quite “neat” in colour and texture. It’s all white on white.
The locks are “neat” too, albeit a bit yellow white. Wool yellow white. It’s the expensive Sikko fleece I was so uncertain about.
They go well together.

The other is finished too. It’s bigger, it can hold my iPad and a notebook and a sweater WIP. It has texture too but I used some of the locks of the fleece and they stayed very yellow and even brown and dirty. Its surface looks mottled and quite busy. It was better to combine it with the piece of felt I already had, the one with the beads, as that is quite busy too.

Now I have one “neat” bag and one “busy” bag. The busy bag has reinforcements for the straps. But it’s clear my shoemaker isn’t as invested into felt bags as the leather masters of Dun Hook who finish bags for het Wolbeest.

I would love to show it to you.
However it’s in use at the moment:
wet felted bag

And by the looks of things it’s going to be a while…
Untitled

More Wensleydale wetfelting

I was so giddy with the wet felting skills I unlocked with ice cream the other day that I took a small piece of the grey Wensleydale fleece and made some sort of cushion/head rest from it:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

On the back I put white Bergshaf/ Mountainsheep from the Wollfabrik/ Woolfactory.

I remembered: don’t fret with the curls while they’re still wet:

tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

The Wollfabrik’s Bergschaf always has bits and pieces of vegetable matter in it:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
It’s also not very soft. Only suitable for non-delicate felts such as rugs and bags and cat caves. Not suited for shawls or hats. But the Wensleydale curls are supersoft!

This piece of felt is meant to sit on my knitting chair.
When it’s put in the reclining position I can prop up the cushion and rest my head amidst the locks. That will be nice, especially in Winter.
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Ahh the cat-help. Always the cat-help. Apparently I shouldn’t photograph any wool item on its own. It always needs cat enhancement.
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Finished: felted throw for the city

I did it. I spend two days felting by hand and then 30 minutes in the washing machine.
Then waited for two days for the thing to dry and now I present to you: the felted throw in my city living room.

All snugglebug on the couch, where it wraps around Lillepoes and myself.
It’s in accordance with the rest of the room:


“Squiggly lines, yellow-white-mintymint and cat.”

I also sewed the cross stitch squirrel to its cushion. It’s right at home, all cosy next to my other squirrel cushion, a kit from Japan!

Pics and/or the felting didn’t happen.

The half quarter felted throw this morning:

and a little while later:

and at the moment:

At the moment it’s back at the cabin, just like we are. It’s parked in the wool room near some black holes of neeeeeearly finished projects, such as the cross stitched squirrel pillow, a felted Spring Fairy Princess dress I started putting together back in 2012 and a bag full of high quality Merino that Will Be Washed This Week.
And that’s only what’s in the picture. I’m not telling about what’s not in the picture. Because of plausible deniability.

One thing about my felted throw is finished and it is fabulous: the Wensleydale lock. Caught in a little plastic wrapper it has not felted onto the throw, only at the base where I put a little yellow merino on it. Lovely!

I’ll be back in the city in a couple of weeks. Perhaps I’ll bring a finished throw with me!
Or perhaps it’ll still be in it’s plastic bag…

the smell of things….

I’ve arrived in the city. I brought with me the wetfelted throw to work on. It’s spread out in the attic, smelling terrible. Of wet moss and last week’s rain… Which is fitting since that’s exactly what it contains:

This is the first time I see it as a whole and I’m glad to see that the swirls do remind of the inspiration picture and my coffee table. I laid it out in parts, folding it away as I went and with a fairly Happy Go Lucky attitude. It was a good day back then! The sun shone, I worked and I was in gear without worrying too much about ruining wool and stash and plans for this throw.
It’s too early to say anything about the result, though. We’ll know more when this throw is finished.

On Saturday, still in the cabin, I managed to roll it for a good 30 minutes, while the storm was gathering above our heads. I was rolling at the table under the big beech tree, next to the big chestnut tree. My husband was standing amidst some sprouting chestnuts and we were talking about the urban planning for a manure factory. One of the biggest in the country, 70 trucks of manure daily!

It was a pleasant talk, mainly about how these planning procedures and court cases are like a formal dance where each party has to play its role and nobody addresses the actual issues with clear honesty. It’s a formal dance of wits, questionable debating techniques and political motives.
Not something regular folks can contribute to.

But we, normal folk, can watch and think about the essence of things. (try to ignore the fishy smell).

The sky was changing, clouds of numerous colours were taken over the golden September sun. The wind picked up and leafs were now twirling down. It was a magical half hour. And a magical talk.

The rolling I did was effective, the throw is now halfway fulled I’d say. Some bits didn’t take to the woolen base layer, they need help from dry felting techniques. From needle felting.

Needle felting is the kind of felting that requires bandages… in my house anyway.
You’re hacking away at wool with a wooden thing full of Piranha teeth!

I had anticipated the need for this technique and I brought the tool with me. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the needles that go into the tool fast enough. I ordered some online.

Here now follows a picture of another felting technique in this throw: a lock that’s only felted secure at its base. The rest is protected in a bit of plastic. In theory it will be a loose curly bit, by Friday.

Yes, I’ll needle felt some of the other bits into place. As soon as my needles arrive tomorrow. Then I’ll put warm soapy water on it (I brought my soap and “broes”) and felt it by hand a bit. I should say: “full it by hand”.
Then a bit of rolling to mash everything together.
And then the washing machine, for the felting.

It càn be done by Friday. hope hope hope
Let’s just pretend I had no other plans for this week…

In from the rain. (long post)

The week of nice weather and sunshine is over. Me and all the woolens had to come inside. The rain started yesterday and now we’re all cooped up inside, trying to get dry.

Luckily I finished some socks to wear while cocooning:

Green socks! Yarn held double, needles 3,25 mm. 44 stitches in the round.

Just let me show you some things drying around the living room at the moment:

On the back of my sewing chair is the felted fleece, it’s still drying. The long locks with their bases hidden deep in the fleece are still wet and damp, at those bases. Haven’t sat on it yet, haven’t picked out all the vegetable matter that’s still in there.

On the horizontal part of my sewing lamp hang my happy orange socks, drying. I took them into the shower the other day. (Together with the washing cloth that’s also drying on there, inside out, that’s why so untidy. It’s from Norway.)
Efficient, I say, to take your socks with you into the shower. They need to be handwashed, you’re in there having soap on you hands anyway. I’s a genius, I say.
Other times I bring my bra.

On the wall at the right hangs some organic handspun. I washed it very hot to get rid of the grease. I want to knit some mitts for Francis, the farmer who provides us with organic eggs, butter, meat and veggies. And the occasional fleece from her Hollands Bont/ Dutch speckled organic sheep.

These fleeces are magic. They don’t felt. And this one in particular is ridiculously soft. You can see it in the white parts of the yarn in the close up.
I’m asking for another fleece next year, especially now that I’ve tried out a woolpicker. That tool makes processing a fleece so much easier! And I love spinning fleece. Especially from a sympathetic source.

Here’s the sympathetic source in this case, with her two lambs:

The good thing about organic farm De laan van Wisch, by the way, is that they do not sell meat from young animals. All animals get to live to full adulthood before slaughtering or selling is even an option.
And they chose breeds and animals that are healthy and can deliver their own babies without much risk or need for assistance, which is getting unusual in industrial farming. I love that. Healthy animals, happy animals.

Look at their cows, the have the most amazing colour variations! It seems like the farmer decided to collect them all. All kinds of greys and blues and reds. Wonderful!
And: all with horns.

None have the perpetual surprised face expression that all industrial raised cows sport:

pic by Patrick Nijhuis

(This high fore head is caused when the horn is burned at the base to stop it from growing. That somehow causes build up of bone under the skin, giving industrial raised cows high foreheads and surprised looks.
They are prevented from having horns because the farmer doesn’t want them to figure out their social rank using their horns and perhaps damaging each other. Industrial cows are kept too close together for them to be able to move out of horns’ way. Unhappy cows not allowed to be cows.)

Knitting mitts for Francis will be a lovely project for the coming week. It’s on fairly big needles, 4,0 mm, and the wool is soft and a delight to work with. The pattern doesn’t require much thinking and the sheep provides all the colour changes.
I’ll be knitting it in the city, where I’ll spend next week.

Also drying under the lamp is a small skein I made from these rolls:


27 grams, 66,5 meters. I started it years ago and picked it up and finished it at Spin Group last Tuesday. I’m finishing and gathering all kinds of little handspun skeins to combine in one project.

Maybe something like this:

Petal Cowl by Xandy Peters

Yarns with more texture, like the one drying right now, invite me to weave them.

Ahh, so many wonderful plans I have!

For example a plan for the brown orangy throw for the couch here in the cabin. And the blue green one for the couch in the city. Which I’ve actually started.
The fleece that felted so readily in the washing machine made me felt-confident. All I had to do was lay out the felt, full it a bit and let the machine do the hard work!
So I spend all Wednesday laying out the throw I want to felt for the living room in the city.

Laying out all the bits and bobs took a full day. I wasn’t expecting that but it was a lovely day, with the sunshine and birds and mice running around the undergrowth, so I thorougly enjoyed it. Truely a lovely day. Albeit not very efficient, wool wise.
I managed just about to lay everything out, sprinkle it with soapy water and roll it up in plastic before nightfall.

The rolling to and fro, to get the bits to stick to the wool base layer, would have to be done the next day.

So on Thursday I rolled it a bit. But it was a weird day, Thursday. Everything went wrong. I had been chasing sleep and mosquitos all night and first thing in the morning I broke the coffee vessel which I needed to make coffee for my parents who were about to visit. Usually this vessels holds the whipped cream I have for lunch every day (with chocolate ganache, hmmm!) so both my parents and I had a problem.
Later on I tried to bake an apple pie but had no eggs which I only discovered when all the apples, batter and oven where ready and done. And in the afternoon I burned some wool while dyeing and it smelled awfull. I lost my grip on a glass full of dye in the panic of trying to stop the burning wool from smelling so bad that the smoke detector would get involved and scream its head off. So I tie-dyed the kitchen and burned wool and missed out on pie and whipped cream and got my period 5 days early.

That’s when the blogging halted, as you probably noticed, and that’s when I also didn’t feel like rolling a 2 m sausage of wet felt around very much. But I did roll a bit because I knew that all I have to do is roll. After the rolling comes the washing machine, doing all the hard work.
And it was still a day of good weather. Excellent for working outside and enjoying nature.
So I rolled a bit, lied on the couch a bit. Ate a bit of chocolate and yearned for apple pie and whipped cream. Got up and rolled a bit more.
A weird day it was.

On Friday I didn’t feel like rolling at all.
And then the rain started…

So now I have this woolen thing in my garden. It’s been wet since Wednesday and is already starting to smell “compositional”…

Today I had a look at it… it doesn’t full so quickly. As in: not at all. There needs to be a whole lot of rolling before I can give it to the washing machine!
I might have to resort to fulling by hand, with real hot water. I rolled a bit today, in between showers. The rainy kind.

So here it is, late Saturday afternoon:

it’s draining it’s soapy water in a bucket, so I can fold it up, put it in a bag and bring it with me to the city tomorrow. Where I’m sure I have no time to full it at all … but I keep hoping. There ís a washing machine in the city. And it ís destined to go on the couch in the city.
Those are two of reasons why this throw could be ready by end of coming week. In theory.

There’s one more thing drying in the cabin today and that’s a new spinningwheel!
It’s an old one. A Louet S70 I found abandoned at the thrift store. It’s in a bad shape:

The foot connector is broken and it has been left out in the rain by its previous owner(s child): lots of water stains on the old oak.

But it was once purchased and used with much love. There’s still wool on the bobbins and it’s spun craftily. It’s greasy wool, probably dating back from when this was all the rage: in the ’70s and ’80s of last century. It was bought back then (and it was an expensive wheel then) by someone who desired it and saved up for it and loved it. And then used it a lot.
Afterwards it was taken by someone who knows nothing about wheels and probably stored in a shed somewhere. But it’s still a S70.

The S70 is a solid oak wheel and was produced by Louet as a festive commemoration between 1983 and 1985.
I have a healthy version myself and it’s my favourite wheel. I can spin anything on it, except Longdraw rollags. But lace or bulky are no problem. (Just interlace the leader for spinning lace, just like the way I hacked the Ashford Country Spinner🙂

I’m glad to have found another S70 and I’ll see wether I can nurse it back to purring.

I have no idea when I’m going to do this though. Next week I’m in the city and the week after that I’m preparing for the Annual Spinners’ Weekend.

Besides not fixing up the wheel and not fulling and felting the throw I’ll also not be able to spin the yarn for the brown orangy throw I want to knit for the living room in the cabin.

I dyed all the wool.
I woolpicked it all.
I put it into bags and boxes according to colour. It’s all so fluffy!

I did a little spinning test and it’s better if this wool is carded first. For that, I have no time….

But I need to make time because the various colours are hogging up all kinds of containers. Including my paper tape model (I bought two pieces of fabric 2 weeks ago, for skirts. I can sew a skirt in two days. I only need two days. Twice.)
And the bag I need to take with me on the Annual Spinners’ Weekend. So I’m hoping against reasonability’s advise here that somehow in the next two weeks I get to at least card the wool that’s in the bag so I can bring the bag to the Weekend. And preferable bring the wool too so I have something to spin.

The sunshine of the past two weeks gave me so much confidence and optimism. About what I can do, woolwise, in an amount of time.
But it seems Summer is now over. Autumn is here. The rain has come.

It’s raining so hard, it’s raining sideways. We all need to shape up, face probabilities and make contingency plans. You too, Lillepoes. Probability is creeping up on you:

(under the chair a box with hazelnuts. I gathered them on a parking lot in the village. They will make the squirrel here very happy, come Winter)

me not knitting? let’s felt!

Because felting won’t tax my hurting shoulder. At all…

Actually, felting is very hard on shoulders!
That’s why I took a full week to felt a piece of chiffon, very lightly and with lots of intervals. It was more like petting the wool than felting.
It has turned into an airy piece of cloth. It’s one layer of the four layers I’ve created to make this Spring Fairy Dress:

There’s an underlayer of handdyed silk pongé (I believe it’s called Habotai Silk) in green.
The shape is a moderate mermaid tail. Based on a circle shape but with less fabric around the hips and waist.

Over that I’m wearing a layer of open mesh, it has gold circles on it. This is stretchy fabric and roughly has the same shape.

Then there are two felted layers which can be worn separately. They are oblong shapes and close with a button. Here’s the one that has been felted pretty much all over:

There’s a top layer that has pretty dyed chiffon and nearly no wool, it is shown in the last picture.

Both chiffon layers are felted using the tendency of wool the shrink in the direction the fibres lay. Long vertical strips of wool run all the way down to the hem. In between them there’s chiffon without felt.
These vertical strips draws in the hem of the unfeltedfabric in intervals. This creates … erm … “Dutch Canopies”?

Here’s the layer from the picture above in progress:

Four layers that I can mix and match. And they match the vest I made.
It’s all so princessy and happy!

pictures and flowering shrub by Tineke from Atelier Het Groene Schaep.

Straw into gold: a felted woven sewn vest

GOLD
I often make things that end up not being what I hoped for. But still too pretty to throw away. In this project I combined three of them together and it turned into something I really like! An Elfish Spring vest:

I took a piece of pre-felt that was dyed by Adrian Salomé from A3an art and felted it and sewed it to a woven cloth that I wove myself, from my own handspun. The second thing I ever wove.
I sewed them together with the mohair I showed yesterday. This is De Voart mohair, from a small Dutch husband and wife company. It has a lovely sheen.

Using some of the things I’ve learned about body shaping, both in knitting and in sewing, I knew I could really draw things in in the small of my back and that I would do this by sewing it by hand.

To shape the collar I needed to cut into the felt. Here you see the cut for two armholes and the back of the neck. The woven cloth is positioned where will go in the middle. The smaller piece of felt is just there for show, it won’t be used in the vest (but undoubtably in something else. Purse perhaps?)

Later on I had to cut more felted fabric away but I followed the same shape. On the left you see one of my toile pieces, to determine the shape and depth of the armhole.

Here’s a close(r) up of how that was combined in the end:

The woven cloth was longer than the prefelt. When combined it looked like I had a tail. Or was just really scared of cutting into woven cloth. Which I was.
Here’s what I did: I sewed two lines into the fabric (stretching it while sewing). I then cut between the lines. Basically, I steeked:

I then hemmed it with the mohair. Lovely colours!

Look how the mohair is ‘talking’ to the colours in both the woven and the felted cloth.

I have some roving and chiffon in the same colours, also dyed by Adrian, which I’ll use to make some skirts to go with this top. It will be a Spring Elfish dress up!

STRAW
The thing is: each and every component of this vest I managed to screw up when I prepared them. Most of them have been lying around my house for months or years even, because I could not think of a way to make them in something nice.

The list of disappointing components:

  1. a handspun in which I combined glorious silk top (which I cut -with scissors! a mortal sin to handspinners-)  into too short pieces to spin with a scratchy green (so dumb! Don’t mix these two, it made the yarn scratchy)
  2. a woven cloth I eventually made with the scratchy handspun. But I made it too narrow. All it could ever hope to be was a table runner, a scratchy table runner. For a very small table.
  3. a piece of prefelt I felted but then it became too small to become anything useful. Small pieces of prefelt are mostly used to make 3D shapes. A ready felted piece that’s rectangular… what you gonna do with that?
  4. the mohair yarn in lovely colours…. a little too scratchy to wear next to the skin. But the main problem is that this yarn changes colours quite rapidly. It knits up heathered. It looks awful in big pieces of knitting! And I bought three skeins! (one of which doesn’t match the other two.) What to do with yarn like that? There’s the linen stitch of course…but otherwise I’ve got nothing. I hate knitting linen stitch.  (this yarn is even too variegated to weave with)

 

The mohair yarn. I bought it when I had just learned to knit, back in 2008, on the very first Handwerkbeurs I visited in Zwolle. I just fell for the colours. I knew nothing of fibre content, yarn weight or drape.
It is the very first yarn in my stash page on Ravelry. I hadn’t even been on Ravelry for a month!

A3an’s prefelt, such lovely colour and so big. I honestly thought I could get a whole top out of this:

But prefelt shrinks. The endresult had shrunk to these dimensions, too small to spark my inventiveness, I was so set on a top of this felt:

The handspun I used for the weaving. It’s called Silk Spring and I spun it back in January 2010 , when I was so cheap I didn’t dare to buy or use good stuff. I had splurged on a silk brick from Mandacrafts, 6 months earlier, but had no idea how to spin it.

The silk hurt my hands so I decided to cut it into shorter pieces. As you do. When you have no clue. I also thought this a good idea because the colour repeats where longer than the silk fibres. I didn’t want to mix the colours while drafting, I wanted to preserve them. And I didn’t like the copper colour…

So I cut them. I cut out the various colours, left the copper to the side. I cut the silk with scissors. Which is stupid. Scissors leave sharp ends on the fibres and this will always show in the resulting yarn. You will get a halo. And when you’ve cut pieces as short as I did (2,5 cm/ 1 inch)(hey, I really had no idea back then) you can hardly card it with something and expect it to blend in nicely.

But I tried anyway. On my drumcarder I mixed the pieces of silk with green roving I had. Scratchy green roving.
Because I was cheap. I didn’t want to waste anything. I told myself this was an experiment. For which you use scraps. Forgetting that my experiments and prototypes tend to give the best results.

You can practically hear the yarn scratch your screen:

I did spin it into a colour gradient. And got to play with my drumcarder for the first time. Oh, such lovely colours…

I have knit with it a couple of times over the years. But it came to nothing. Too scratchy and the colour gradient hindered options in knitwear.

Earlier this year I wove it into a cloth. That worked for the gradient and I got to experiment with the weaving loom.

Lovely colour and texture! And you can see the bits of scissor cut silk trying to escape:

Someone liked it though:

But as a cloth is was quite scratchy and loosely woven.

When a couple of weeks months I thought about combining it with the felt I decided I better felt the woven cloth too. Otherwise it would not be sturdy enough to co-operate with the felt.

So I tried to felt the woven cloth.
before:

after:

It hardly shrunk. It’s still loosely woven. Not very sturdy at all. I must have done something wrong.

I just can’t get things to turn out how I want them to.
Which the cat predicted from the very beginning:

 

Finished: Old Jeans Town Cardigan!

In Carla’s kitchen. She liked the shawlpin, she laughed hard and long when unwrapping!

The cardigan is perfect. This will get lots of wear, I’m certain. And only made from 3 skeins of sockyarn…

notice my felted cloggs?
Made by Tineke from Woolstudio Het Groene Schaep

They are special in that they are felted from three separate layers which are partly felted together and partly had resists in them which were cut open later.

Technical delight!

Fit for a fairytale princess.

Autumn’s here: *hello!* now RUN!

Yesterday I was enjoying the wonderful Summers weather rolling the fleece rug, to make the locks attach to the backing better:

In the morning I had drained some of the water of the previous night. Just hang the wool over the edge of the tabel, gravity and wool characteristics will do the rest. I even watered the fleece with the garden …howdoyoucallit?” the bucket with the snout”… we say gieter meaning “pourer”

anyway, one of these:

Very dirty water drained from the fleece. Sheep just pee and poo all over themselves. I throw this water in the sewer, if you leave it out too long all kind of flies drown it it, high on pheromones.

I then added new warm soapy water, stuck a pin to roll with in it and started rolling. It needs a couple of hours rolling to get the fibers to properly intertwine. In between I have to check now and then that the locks do not felt among themselves, only to the backing. I prey them apart, making sure their backs start to attach firmly into the Bergschaf.

Slowly the rolling will traverse into felting rolling, where the wool will start to shrink and the size of the rug will shrink. This is when the intetwined fibres really become so gripped they cannot be pried loose again. This is felting.

But that is many hours away from this stage. For now it is the initial rolling for fulling: a gentle and lengthy process. There’s sun, wool, soapy water. GO!

GO INSIDE IN A HURRY

Because suddenly the skies darkened, everything got green and hazy and a big thunderstorm was travelling over the Netherlands.

I’m in the red dot. It was not there 5 minutes ago.

image

We had just a few minutes to gather two spinning wheels, six garden chair cushions, one table cloth, two cats and six skeins of yarn that were drying before the downpour started.

I just threw some plastic over the felting roll, shoved the bucket with dirty water under the table and RAN.

We forgot about the coffee cups and table cloth and my shirt and the hedge row scissors that were left at the table at the far end of our patch of forest. But when it comes to Autumn wool and cats take priority!

the skeins that are trying to dry inside now.
Untitled
I set the twist and I was sure it would dry in the sun, taking on that marvelous Summer’s smell.
(ooooh, I need to knit faster!!)
 

Today it’s cold and wet outside. I don’t feel like rolling stinky fleece…

I wonder how long I can leave it out there before it starts moving on its own.