Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Misc *stuff*

Pix is of a felting on a balloon project- prototype for a felted hat series. See tutorial link below.

The Cedars of Marin, where I work, gave me a spinning wheel when they heard I was using a spindle and enjoying it. The wheel is an Ashford Traditional, 70’s knockoff I have been told ( I see it as the good solid easy to learn on wheel and potentially a keeper). Well, it is/(was?) the second wheel at the textile art center... and they don’t spin there. At fairs and visits from classrooms they use the first wheel to demo. The Studio is a Weaving Center only- and I felt honored by the sharing and it still “belongs to them” tho i have it at home. To make the long story short, I was also told there is another one buried in the back of the container, and is the one for me when they dig it out again... Mystery Wheel awaits.

There are sheep / fleeces too-

Do you like raw wool? I know it seems like pain in the butt, but that is what appeals to me. Somehow very grounding to me, being around the sheep here and there each week - and then working with their fiber for fun.

That being said I have a stash of not handmade (well, some are) odd balls, And cone yarn and hanks I have collected too- etthat was an impetus to learn machine knitting too. As a kid I learned weaving from Master Weavers- long story too- let‘s say from the next door Danish grandma master and another Aunty master at the College of Marin( Marianna Rauschanable ). I went to her classes as a grammar school child, as an afternoon workshop I could drop in on. I played there with fiber, looms and soft sculpture a great deal.

I also knit off and on from about age 5 or 6 (learned from Mom and Oma) and in fits and bursts as an adult ( moi baby came along and then knitting things had a long run, until he was about 8 years old; he complained of being the only kid who HAD TO WEAR HOMEMADE SWEATERS. OK now more.....The next project was a big sweater- we‘re talking a BIG Hawaiian Dad here...Took forever....Anyway it was an arsty 49ermotif sweater in the proper colrs, that was promptly left behind at the first game.Probably left at the tailgate! ( L;OL - Needless to say, he’s long gone ..;-)

Last year, while lusting for my knitting self to expand into as yet unchartered fiber waters..... I was ready for a leap into new aspects of the fiberaholic. Being the impassioned knitter, with less and less time on my hands, it was to be Knitting Machine rather than loom weaving.

Knitting and technolgy! What a hoot...then came the notion of spinning too..

I am still in my more rudimntary stages of spinning and machine knitting for sure and am loving every minute of it. Dyeing in the mix here and there. More time is spent planning and envisioning after exploring the stories and technique ideas, than actually implenting them. ( That darn Internet addiction thang).

Now with all the readily available WOOL, felting is Very do-able and I’m off and running there.Great for hot summer days‘ playtime!
My 12 hour work days this week ( too many things going awry with my rather extensive flock of Nursing Charges...) hasn’t helped productivity either...

so..... Balloon felting a bowl Or basket! It is.....

Craftster Balloon Felting Tutorial

Later now- The balloon wet felting was a bit of a challenge. I used tights instead of hose/nylons; Where the tutorial states to use an extra pair of hands -it made a big difference. Trying to keep wool from sliding around without the extra pair of hands when you put on the encasing- made for a bald spot on my second try.

This is a bit enlarged of the hat turned inside out. Frst try! I have made some nice slippers too- I really want to go for 3d work and do hats, vests, jackets, boots. We’ll see...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Sheepish information

Now that my interest in all things woolly has taken a quantum leap, it has been very interesting finding out the history of the various breeds of sheep. Different breeds are suitable for differing purposes (or combos of use): Wool for spinning / weaving knitting/ crocheting/ felting/ art...., meat, milk, pelts and other purposes like helping keep the house warm in “the olden days”. I didn’t know that felt was long used in machinery too! Today prolly replaced by synthetics but gaskets- who da thunk. Not I! Until i started to research all this...

Here is a link to 500 uses for felt..

Which reminds me- As for Global warming- from the website I was reminded that Sweden used to have a climate similar to France today ....long before Petrochemicals were around...Anyway, I’ll spare you most of my opinion about the current media hype of “proof” regarding the ostensibly current, so-called Global Warming.

The animal husbandry in selective breeding of sheep involved goes back thousands of years and many distinct breeds have their origins in the crosses of others. Click HERE -Northern Sheep Breeds

The above website has history, maps with links, huge list of breeds and pix/ info ...WoW!

There is considerable controversy over when and from what wild species the first domestic sheep descended. Current chromosomal and archeological evidence indicates that the divergence occurred about 9000-11000 years ago and that the first sheep domesticated were from the mounflon (Ovis musimon) flocks from Sardinia and Corsica. (Grzimek 1990)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Tour de Fleece

OK couldn’t resist putting up their button. Tour de Fleece. Another knitting challenge for knitters, this one for following the Tour de France.Participants are donating prizes. This is the Virtual Fiber community, in action- lots of fun ways of learning and sharing. Fiber Exchanges are on, the yahoo groups are full of tips and tricks. Hooray for Felting, Spinning,Knitting....

-Onward to have some precious time off- will be knitting on the machine (cell phone bags are improving from experimenting) and spindling up some alpaca and silk.


About Me

Marin County, California, United States
I work for 2 non-profits in Marin County CA (near SF) that serve the Developmentally Delayed. I was introduced to weaving and knitting at a very young age. Over the years I have always had knitting on hand. There was a time where I was severely chastised for being so old fashioned, so it is great to see the upsurge in the home arts now going on! I have expanded into machine knitting; fortunately there is a great Guild nearby that has really been great. Spinning Fibers is a new thrust as well, and felting has creeped in too. If only I had more time...