Catching Up

Well, where did the winter go? After a warm spell the last few weeks we had lost all our snow, March definitely came in like a lamb. However, last night winter decided to come back and we awoke to 3 inches of new snow and more coming down.

I have kept busy this winter taking several online classes to learn new techniques. I have taken several different classes with #Yaroslava Troynich, a very talented Russian felter who lives in Finland. I can see more hand puppets and flowers in my future.

Felt Fox Hand Puppet
Felt Tulips

Handmade Christmas Stocking

I generally use 4 layers of wool for my ornaments, adding a loop to hang the stocking from. Stockings are so simple and you can make any size from tiny to large.

Next I selection the fabrics and fiber I will use for embellishment. For this stocking I chose some green merino wool, cotton scrim and hand dyed red silk gauze.

Below is the final layout of the first side. I just had to flip it over, embellish the second side and then I was ready to start felting. I generally start with gentle massaging by hand and once I feel that the fibers are beginning to entangle with each other I roll in bubble wrap from every direction. After that I continue adding hot water and soap and massage by hand, rolling the felt more and occasionally throwing it on a hard surface to further shock and shrink the fibers. It’s a lively process and a great way to keep moving.

And here’s the finished Stocking. Not quite dry yet. The fabric I created from fine hand dyed wool and silk fabric is very dry but also very strong. Ready to fill with all sorts of little treasures for the holiday.

Finished Mini Christmas Stocking

Christmas Ornaments in the Works

As usual, I seem to be running a bit behind, but definitely focused on finishing up more handmade felt ornaments for the holiday season. Mini felt christmas stockings, approximately 6 inches tall and ready to fill with little treats, will be heading to 4 Ravens Gallery in Missoula this week.

First Sunflower Harvest

This year I grew my first Hopi Black Dye Sunflowers. As seen by the photo below they did quite well. I started harvesting the heads when I noticed the birds were starting to go after the seed. I cut the stems about a foot from the head and bundled them together to hang upside down in the garage. I continued harvesting for several weeks as some of the seeds really didn’t look ready. Today I brought the biggest head in and removed the seeds. They do not come out easily. If anyone has tips on how to remove them I am eager to learn. The largest head produced 131 grams of seeds. I have a lot more heads to work on.

The sunflowers have inspired me to invite some fiber friends for a dye day so hopefully it won’t be too cold next week as we gather with our seeds and plants to experiment with various fibers and mordants.

Hopi Black Dye Sunflowers in September
Sunflower Seeds

A Blast from the Past

I found this post from June 28, 2012 on an old blog that I didn’t know was still in existence. So fun to read about my sheep as I’ve been sheepless for a number of years now.

Thought I’d better post something or I’ll have missed the whole month of June.  Are summers crazy or what?  The top photo is a pretty little colored purebred ewe lamb.  Photo #2 is BFL ewe Cara with her triplet ewe lambs.  The last photo is either Gem or Bella, they look so much alike.  50%BFL-50% Gotland – nice ewes with super luster and hold their condition well raising lambs on just grass.  We lambed late this year and I just weaned my first lambs.  My biggest lamb is a purebred BFL ram that I’ll be keeping for breeding this year.  Thor was born March 31st and weighted 103 lbs at weaning two days ago.  He knows he’s special.  We didn’t weigh all the lambs but the Gotland crosses seemed to average 73.5 lbs. which I thought was good for lambs born in April and raised with just mom and the pasture.  No grain or pellets.

Matching Wide Brimmed Hat & Scarf

Using hand dyed silk fabrics as well as silk chiffon prints to add interest to this black wide brimmed hat. The hand felted wool and silk hood was then blocked on a vintage wooden hat block and trimmed with a leather band and dyed bamboo button. The Nuno felt scarf incorporates the same dyed silks and silk chiffons for a striking ensemble.