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Flora’s Felty Friend

Did some more felting yesterday- trying for a slightly thinner material. So only four layers of fiber in each sheet (last time was six I think). I did two natural white (ish) and two from misc dark wool from the stash.

I twas pretty happy with how they turned out- especially the two dark ones.

oooohh- felty!

They were still on my mind last night as I drifted off to sleep- and sometime in the night my brain pieced it together- how I might assemble a felt version of my knitted sheep puppet.

And so this morning Flora and I got down to it.

Flora helping with pattern drafting
She was such a good sport!

Once I’d settled on pattern shapes that looked like they would work, I was amazed to find that they actually both fit on a single sheet of my felt!

And here are the pieces cut out

front and back pieces

I also needed to cut out two additional ear pieces, that would be attached to the front piece before the rest of the assembly. Here is the inside once completely sewn together-

Took me a couple tries to get the assembly right. I thought at first it would be easier to do by hand, but I’m not an especially tidy hand-sewer, and so the machine turned out to be a much better option.

And here is my right-side-out sheep!

front
back

I’m so excited about this little felty sheep. She’s a little bit slighter in build than Flora (due to seam allowances) but I think that gives her a very endearing “little lamb” type of look. Can’t wait to give her a face and some embroidered embellishment!

Sampling and Swatching

I came home from Whidbey last week with some fabulous alpaca fiber, which was just begging to be washed up and taken for a test spin-

Luna (White) and Emma (Chestnut)

So I spent a little time getting a feel for it. I hadn’t spun straight alpaca for quite a while, and it’s got a very different feel from wool.

My first attempt was not bad, but too thick. I was spinning on Sigrid, my slanty scandinavian wheel, and her doubledrive configuration didn’t permit me to get enough twist into the singles to make a lighter weight yarn.

My second try was on Moto, my e-spinner at about 640 rpm. Closer this time, but once it was plied up I still wasn’t happy with the twist. Needed more in both the singles and the ply to give the yarn more body.

So I cranked Moto up to about 750 rpm for another go- and this time I think I’ve hit the mark.

It’s knitting up nicely on size 2s at a gauge of 6.5 stitches/inch. So that’s cool.

Also took some time on the 4th to play around outside with lots of soap and water and wool make some sheets of felt.

Since then, I’ve been thinking about what all I could turn these felt sheets into. Pillows, bags, toys, etc-

Yesterday I was thinking about different ways that I could turn a flat sheet into a hat. Here is my first effort-

First I cut the sheet into a spiral- then I laced it back up, baseball style, easing it into a round shape. Here is the view from the top-

Then I re-felted it to size it down a little bit. I kind of thought that the re-felting might tighten up the yarn I laced it with, but that didn’t work like I expected, so I might have to reinforce the joins a bit. But it was a fairly successful experiment. Not sure I’ll do more hats this way (might be easier to wet felt them into that shape directly) but it was useful getting some practice working with felt as a material. Hope to do more of this throughout the summer!

Returned from The Island

Just got back from 3 lovely, fibery days on South Whidbey with my knitting peeps.

I stopped on my way there and picked up some goodies for later at Abundant Earth Fiber Mill

And a fun sampler pack of east friesan wool

Which I dove into right away and spun up into a crazy cool skein

Some scenes from our comfy spot in Maxwelton-

View from the dining area over the bluff to Useless Bay

View to the east over the Alpaca pastures

Visiting with the ‘Pacas

And- I actually got a fair bit of knitting done! Here is the complete back of “Forest”

I got some ‘Paca fiber too, just before leaving- more on that next week!

Hay Tasting Party!

Yesterday I put on a little taste-test party in the pasture to get input on this year’s hay options.

Three varieties were presented to our experts- 2019 second cut, 2018 third cut, and 2018 second cut.

A sweet, almost fruity nose led our tasters first to the 2018 second cut, where they lingered quite a while, noting the structured tannin profile-

Dottie was the first to get beyond pile number one, passing 2018 third cut with hardly a sniff (a bit musty/earthy), to enthusiastically partake of the 2019 second cut.

It took a little while for Frank and Felix to get into the action, but they eventually wandered over to offer their input.

In the end, the gang favored the rich herbal notes, smooth mouthfeel and long finish of the 2019 second cut Teff/local grass blend. Hopefully we’ll have it delivered and put up in the woodshed next weekend!

And the final accounting on my “Best of Frank and Felix” yarn is in-

Total of 840 yards, 13.6 oz.

The grist varies a bit more than expected over the five skeins, but I’ll just have to account for that in planning whatever garment they end up being.

So nice to have another almost-sweater quantity of yarn ready to go. I might be able to put together something really neat with this F&F lot and Chone yardage left after I finish my Forest project, as they are about the same weight.