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...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Friday, September 4, 2015

Experimenting whilst the rains came...

I've experimented a few times with wool 'painting and I absolutely love this process.
It's the combination of wet felting, needle felting and embroidery 
that can make for very textured piece.
And a process it is!
Beginning with laying out the roving.
 I've been wanting to use these tiny bits of wool called 'nepps' for a while now and Queen Anne's lace flowers seemed the perfect candidate for a go at them...
Nepps or noils are small tangled knots of fibers. They are more matted than raw fleece and come from the second cut of the shearing of sheep.
As I'm discovering they felt into the smoother roving quite nicely.
 I've also added strands of dyed silk thread for varied texture.
My new best friend...
 No I'm not doing strange medical procedures, which is what this may look like, instead 
it's a new tool I found at the local fiber arts festival.
It's called a Ball Brause Sprinkler and makes light work of wetting down your work.
If you ever wet felted then you know how important it is to evenly wet your work before
the rolling process. With a spray bottle or just using your hand to toss bits of water
on the work is labour intensive and time consuming.
With this baby you fill a bowl with warm water, squeeze your ball (o.k no jokes here!)
to fill the rubber chamber and then gently sprinkle the water over your work...easy peasy.
I see them here on line if you want to order one. Good old German engineering at it's best!
 So here it is laid out pre-wetted...wispy and lovely but will blow away in the slightest breeze!
 I prefer to use the net method over my work before I wet it because I like the way the netting
holds the roving in place. This is important especially when trying to do imagery.
The netting can be anything of that kind of texture...this just happened to be an old curtain I had.
 So after wetting and soaping and rolling and turning again and again here is the look, 
still soapy and wet...
 After a few rinses...
 See how nicely these little nepps cling onto the other fibers?
 I put the finest bit of roving over the silk threads to lock them into the roving...
 After a day or more of drying the piece, I started in on the embroidery...
 ...many French knots were done...
 ...the bees were added by needle felting and using some organza ribbon bits for the wings...
I VERY CAREFULLY burnt the edges of the ribbon so the fibers would stay in tact.
Using tweezers, I still managed to burn a finger or two!
 Some bits of silk merino roving made for nice wispy clouds...
 And there you have it...
Bees in Queen Anne's Lace

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe...

Well, I'm not quite an old woman and I don't live in a shoe and I don't
have too many children that I don't know what to do but...
I do have a fern that keeps reproducing wee baby ferns ALL the time.
I've given so many away and have composted more than I care to admit.
I've written about this fern before so if you live somewhere where I can get them
to you or it's legal to mail them, let me know and I'll be glad to share the wealth.
So here I go again...saving these little offspring...reinventing things to do with them.
This is the Mother of all ferns.
Her common name is actually Mother Fern...
I got her about 5 years ago as one of 'those' babies.
A tiny little 2" scrawny orphan in a pot.
I was told to give her lots of water.
I did.
She grew very slowly for almost a year and then....bam!
All of a sudden she got bigger and bigger...kind of like a child does.
Now she has fronds about 3 feet in length and is the proud momma 
of a kazillion green miniatures of herself...
They grow on the ends of the fronds and you just gently pull them off to start new ones.
The other day I found a nice old mason jar.
A mason jar old enough that modern lids don't fit.
I love that it has the big word 'CANADA' embossed on the glass...
I don't think they make them anywhere near Canada anymore.
It also has the words 'Improved Gem' embossed above Canada...
I guess it was better than the even older ones.
So I picked up some pebbles from the beach, combined with some other
bits of beach glass and beach crockery bits...
Filled it with some filtered water and anchored the little ferns amongst the pebbles... time they'll root, I'll give some more away and dream up more ways to reinvent
this plant...kind of like sour dough don't you think?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Upcoming workshops....'cause a hard rains a gonna fall...

Not that I'm predicting us all to be inside for the next 8 months 
but you all know what's coming....autumn, rain, winter, rain,
maybe a bit of snow to put us all in a Canadian state of mind, more rain....
(did I mention there's going to be rain?)
Therefore you may be looking to try your hand at some felting classes
at the local wool shop...something to keep your fingers busy on those
cold dark nights.
Seaside Yarn and Button here in Sooke will be offering quite a few of these 
fun, short intro classes to this highly addictive art form and 
yours truly will be hosting several.
So what's on hand?
An owl perhaps...
...a sleeping fox?
 ...maybe an orca?
...little fuzzy acorns for the tree?
 ...for a little more challenge, you could make a wee gnome (or gnomett if you're so inclined)
Here's the link for you with all the info...hope to see you there!