Monday, November 22, 2010

Needle felt bear and trick for cleaning wool

Well, this is the latest addition to my felted furry family posing in front of some washed wool that will likely go into making more fuzzy friends . I will try and get a more scenic picture of him if the sun ever returns to MN .
.....and.....TaaDaa....this is my genius invention for washing wool when you don't have a washing machine to scour it . Submerged in the tub is about 3 pds of some Icelandic wool I bought in Hopkins a few weeks ago . It had very little VM but was very odoriferous . Icelandic has less lanolin then many other wools so I thought I would give washing it a try .

I began by cleaning the bathtub and then filled it with the hottest water we hot for hands I but didn't bother with a thermometer so not sure of actual temp .

I added some Dharma Synthropol and a little Original Dawn and mixed this about .

I them upended my wool bag onto some plastic screening that I bought at a garage's the kind that you would use for a screen door . Pores are large enough to let water through but small enough to keep the wool bits out of our drain . The size was about two feet larger then the top of the tub when it was submerged and I was lucky that it happened to be pre-cut to that size .

I then gathered the wool filled screen  like a ruck sack and slowly submerged it in the water . Having it compacted into the ruck sack shape helps keep it from agitating to much .

I held the sides of the plastic screening onto the top of the tub ledges with some shampoo bottles but magnets would also work well .

I let the whole thing simmer in tub for 30 min and then gatherd into ruck sack shape again and pressed the water out and while compacted (to avoid felting fibers before I'm ready to), rinsed it with my hand help shower head . I then refilled the tub with fresh water and soap . I did this 3X but basically you just want your last water to be clear and not brown .

After I thought it was clean enough, I again ruck sacked it= gathering in all edges, and rinsed with the hand held shower head and when finished squeezed out as much water as I could . I placed the bundle on a piece of fire place screen that I used as a display at a craft show but I really need to go to the garage and get out the other 2 sections so I can spread the wool out a bit more for drying . It's about 30 degrees out side right now, so that's not an option but I am considering putting a bit in the oven to see what happens and using a blow drier to experiment with drying it faster....mouldy wool does not sound pleasant .  Wish me luck .

Anyway, I wouldn't want to be doing this for a living but it is "doable" and modern technology....(running water, shower heads, plastic screening) make it bearable when you can't afford the fancy prewashed wool . I have to say it is much easier then trying to wash a cat.....(no claws) .

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GameStop Rocks Christmas contest

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme

TodaysMama (link to: and GameStop (link to: are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What is your holiday wish for your family?

 My Holiday wish is that I could spend it with my BF's family as it has been to many years since we have seen them and they are such wonderful people .

2. What is your Christmas morning tradition?

It seems like I always end up working Christmas Eve over night so the morning tends to be coming home and giving cats a special breakfast and going to sleep . 
3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be? 

I suppose my own Polar Bear is out of the next would be a horse or someone who would come to my apartment and help me clean and organize .
4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?

Having my favorite people and animals around doesn't cost a dime and that IS what makes the Holidays special ....that and my mom's cookies . 
5. What games did you play with your family growing up?

Lots of card games and more recently dominoes....(.I grew up in a pre-Gamestop world .)
6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?

I don't recall to many traditions other then eating decadent food with less guilt .  
7. Where would you go for a Christmas-away-from-home trip?

Either Kansas or Florida to be with family .
8. Check out GameStop (link to: and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year? 

Well, I tried to get some cool pictures from GameStop but am not tech savoy enough to cut and past the images so.....uhhm .

I would love a Wii with the Yoga mat and sports board because we are in some serious need of exercise here and I would like to get Flicker here .

The Kenect looks really awesome and would also help shed some Holiday pounds .

I would love some learning and gaming software for my computer .

Well, I think that's it, I've never won a contest before but couldn't pass this one up so go check out the links listed and enter on your own blog .

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Needle Sculpting with Mohair and Merino blend

I needle felted a few more friends this week . Despite my resolution to not make more as I have run out of room to display them in my own apartment and have still not managed to set up my Etsy shop , I could not resist the urge to needle felt .

This is one step closer to setting up an Etsy shop however, as I am "practicing" taking pictures using my wet felt wool table runner and a print of one of my favorite paintings .
I'm not sure if it's to distracting to others, but I really like the surreal look of it .

Taking pictures also helped me see that I am a bit out of practice needle sculpting . I need to add bigger eye lids and more pink roving to the mouth area of the large mohair animal . It looked fine in "person" but looks washed out in the picture and the eyes are a bit spookier then I had intended .

well ....I am losing the light but thought I would go ahead and post the "after" picture . I added a bit of pink to the inner ear and snout and eye lids and think they help , though he actually looks pretty upset about something . If there a market for smirking, disgruntled or angry animals , I think I have it covered .

Also forgot to mention how much I like using the mohair for the "loose hair bits " . The individual hairs stand out much better then when I have tried this with my usual merino .

I really am going to try and organize my crafts and begin posting my felt on Etsy this week . It would be nice to make a few sales before Christmas....then again, I've been saying that since last year so the operative word here is "try" .
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

needle felt jewelry ...and cat peace

 Finally took some of the hundreds of needle felted "beads" I make when I'm to tired to sculpt and animal and added them to the sculpted wool amulets and mixed them with some semi-precious stones, glass and pearls to make these necklaces . Obviously, not for the faint of heart , no dainty chains and butterflies here just bold colors, textures and shapes . Large but amazingly light of the advantages of wool .

I wasn't exactly sure how I would bead these but s large sewing needle and regular Beadalon worked fine . The only draw back is that I had to constantly take the needle off, thread the beading wire through the bead then rethread and sew through the wool bead...repeat x 100 . I like the contrast though so it was worth the effort for me .

Wet felt fabric to sew into....? probably bags but I might make a few cuffs and pins as well .
 Up-date on Balhoo and buddies in less then a week . I think Balhoo was starved for another  boy to chase and wrestle with and Max has much the same .
 Both recovering from a bout of "chase and wrestle "
 Balhoo says that Max tastes delicious !

Hope your all enjoying felting along with preparing for winter Holidays .

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Needle felt jewelry from peapod brooches to "knot braclets"

I haven't done much felting this past week as it has been filled with cat wrangling . The below pieces are made using a slightly new method that some might be interested in, though I warn that it does take some patience .

I started with a piece of roving about 3X the length of your wrist and then knotted along it's length . The knots should be firm but not hard as you don't want to brake your needle . I then just firmed the fiber from one end to the next leaving a few inches of fiber at each end to connect the piece into a circle .

I made a smaller knotted roving to make the red "peas" and then lightly felted (prefelted) some green roving and felted it over the red knotted peas .

The larger braid is the beginning of either a pet collar or a choker but I just not sure what to do to finish it off  The two smaller circle pins will be decorated with a few beads and a pin back and used to decorate a purse or scarf .
Needle felt jewelry

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Welcome Max the cat

Welcome our new family member Max....Mitch, my SO, says he is the cat version of a Great Pyrenees dog which I would love to get if I ever had the space for a dog...not likely this life time but one can always dream . In the mean time....this guy will do . We got him "accidentally" after a quick visit to Human Society . (I just went to look !)
He's almost 13 pounds of muscle and fluff....lots and lots of fluff that I have already started collecting to felt myself a scarf . Thankfully, he loves to be brushed as much as cuddled . The only draw back so his housemate Balhoo , our black fluff ball, is not really sure that he needs such a big "little brother" . Balhoo had really enjoyed several years of hunting and pouncing on his big sister Wolf ,  a 17 year old  cat 1/3 his weight . A bit like matching your grandma with The Rock in a cage match . He's not so fond of the odds now but thankfully Max is a gentle giant and not really interested in proving his dominance .

Below, Balhoo takes a quick sniff of the interloper . I think that's pretty good progress in relations for 24 hours....look how long it's taken to try and find peace in the Middle East .
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Monday, November 1, 2010

wet felt scarf with silk gauze on bottom and merino accented with silk bell caps

I wish I could figure out a better way to photo large head scarves . As the title suggests...these are a layer of wool between silk gauze on the bottom and silk bells on and wool sandwich . The top picture  is showing the turquoise silk bells spread over the blue and peach merino . The silk base is sort of a deep pink .
The above picture is the back side, the wool colors are showing through the peach silk gauze . I found it interesting how the blue wool on the reverse side looks purple when seen through the peach silk scarf base .
I am really enthralled with the texture created by the thin wisps of the silk bell as the wool shrinks up with felting . It looks bumpy but they are silk "bumps" and really soft . I think this would be a beautiful head scarf or shoulder shawl on a sleeveless black dress . As you can see, I'm still not quit ready for winter colors .
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