Felted Spinning Fibre

This week I had my first dyeing disaster.  I have had many occasions when yarn or fibre has emerged from the dye pot looking completely different to what I had intended but this has always been either a nice surprise or something that can be easily rectified by over dyeing.  So this week I was dyeing four lots of spinning fibre and three came out perfectly, but the fourth (a blue faced leicester and silk fibre) felted really badly for some inexplicable reason.  Well, I say inexplicable but we all know it’s because I overcooked it!  (Next time I will use a thermometer. Probably.)  I initially thought the fibre was destined for the bin, as I couldn’t even pull pieces off it so drafting was definitely out of the question, which would have been a shame as the colours were perfect.

So what to do?  Well, I could have used it for a felting project, either on my felted art pictures or on a nuno felted scarf.  Or my favourite idea, at that point, I could prise the fibres apart width ways and make it into a cobweb felted scarf.  Before starting any of these projects I thought I would first try to see if there was any way to revive the fibre and still use it for my original spinning project.

I have to warn you that I did not exactly treat the fibre in the way I normally would and I’m sure a lot of people will be horrified by this, but I didn’t really have a lot to lose.  Fortunately, it did work out very well and I didn’t damage my carders.

First I pulled the mangled, felted fibre out width ways as far as I could (it was still all in one long piece as I was unable to pull it apart lengthways)  and I carded the end off and rolled it into a rolag.  I spun this first rolag before bothering to make any more as it was quite hard work and didn’t want to go to all that effort if the finished product was not going to be up to scratch.  It spun up very well; a few tiny bumps occasionally which I could twist flat with a finger and thumb or just pinch off.

CIMG3547    CIMG3551

Disaster averted, I continued to card all the rest.  To keep the variation in colour I tried, where possible, to only card each section twice.  I wanted to avoid the colours from completely blending together.

CIMG3552    CIMG3555

The singles were not as smooth as I would normally expect Blue Faced Leicester and silk to be but once plied they became much better and I don’t think anyone would suspect its origins and journey to that point.  The real test will come when I have knitted it up but so far it’s looking good.

CIMG3568    CIMG3571

So, felted spinning fibre can be revived and spun.  Obviously it would be preferable to treat your fibre better and not to felt it in the first place.  It would save time too!

Felt Art

Recently I have been working on creating felted textile pictures to put in my shop.  I had never thought I would be making felt of any description, it just didn’t really appeal.  Then I discovered felt art pictures and nuno felting and cobweb felting.  There are some really talented felt art artists out there like Moy Mackay who wrote this book to allow us mere mortals in on her secrets so that we can attempt our own felt art: Art in Felt and Stitch: Creating Beautiful Works of Art Using Fleece, Fibres and Threads.  Some of the nuno felting and cobweb felting scarves people have shared online are just awe inspiring.

Wet felting is really, really hard work, but I love it.  It’s got everything, colour, texture, creativity, wool fibre, embroidery (both machine and hand) and it saves me from going to the gym – not that I ever intended to do that anyway.

These two are based on local Cornish scenes.  The first one features the lighthouse at Godrevy with thrift and corn coloured grasses growing on the cliff and the second one is the engine house at Chapel Porth near St Agnes with bright purple heather in bloom on the cliff.  I just love the different blues, greens and turquoises in the sea.  I lined both of these with calico and sewed a ring on the back so that they can hang on the wall, but they would also look very effective framed under glass (I just wouldn’t want to risk putting them in the post like that).

This one was inspired by the gorgeous paua shells which you find strewn about the beaches in New Zealand.  This seems amazing to me as the shells on our Cornish beaches are very tiny and less colourful in comparison.  I have sewn it to some mount board ready to be framed.

Very different again is this field of foxgloves.  I enjoyed the free motion machine embroidery on this one and decided to sew pockets to the back to enable it to be hung with a piece of doweling.  This could easily be removed allowing the picture to be framed.  Again, it just makes it easier to post.

These were all fun to make and they are looking lovely decorating my walls until they have a new home to go to.

 

 

 

 

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