Thursday, June 13, 2013

Playing with Fiber

If you read or follow both of my blogs you will be seeing double!  This post fits the creative blog and the boys blog so I'm using it on both.  I've never done that, but as they say there's always a first time!

The boys were sheared in April and I have three bags full of their blanket fiber, plus two smaller bags from their legs and neck.  I just love saying three bags full - makes me think of that sweet nursery rhyme,  Baa Baa Black Sheep have you any wool,  but I digress.   On the third day of classes in Bend we will learn to assist our shearer, to sort, clean,to card,  and even needle felt some of the fiber. I don't want to get there and say I have three bags full but I've never touched it except to sort and put in bags, so today was the day to put my hands on it.

I pulled out some of the blanket fiber from Lefty's bag.  Pretty and white, but with lots of vegetative matter aka vm.  So I started by just pulling it a part with my hands, making it light and fluffy and pulling out little pieces of dried grass and twigs.
Starting fiber

Next, I used my hand carders.  They also make hand crank ones and electric ones (very, very expensive), but, for once, I decided to see if I liked doing the fiber myself or would I choose to send it to a mill for processing before I jump up in cost. I had so much fun today and saw how slow this process would be - fine for a little, but I see a hand crank carder in my future!
Hand Carders

 It took about 10-20 passes with the carders to get out vm I wanted out and even with that there are a few specks, but for the most part it's clean.

Trash after carding
When I was finished I had two small pieces of roving. This can now be used to spin directly from the roving or use for needle felting or other crafty things.   Pictures show how much I started with, how much vm came out of it, the carders and the finished product.  And it took about an hour or maybe more!

Roving - ready to spin or felt
And then there's what I have left of Lefty's blanket and remember I have two more bags from the other boys, plus all of the legs and neck bags and so you see why there is a hand crank carder in my future!

Lefty's blanket fiber left to card. This  does not
include the legs or neck!
The boys had lots of visitors this week and so more about that coming soon, with some fun pictures.  And I leave for Bend tomorrow!  Exciting time for me - haven't been away from home for 6 days in a long, long time!  I'll miss all of my boys and Bill will be doing alpaca duty while I'm gone!  The hottest week of the year!  Keep him in your prayers!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I love to do so many things!  I love to sew, quilt, stamp, scrapbook, felt (needle not wet) the list just keeps on going and growing, but drawing/painting is still my first love.  I know I've said it many times that I just simply feel God's presence when I have a brush or a pencil in my hand. While I enjoy the other creative areas I do not have that same feeling.

This weekend I painted a sunflower, while a week or so ago it was a cupcake.  I used acrylic paint and watercolors on both on watercolor paper and they're small, probably only about 4x6" or less.  Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever paint on a large canvas,  not exactly a question because I have, but I love these little pieces and it's so enjoyable doing them.  It's a time and concentration thing too!  Much faster than a big piece. At the end I emailed a picture to my friend Becky and she gave me encouragement and  some suggestions and it was then soon completed to my satisfaction.

I used to send out my originals and sometimes I still do, but a friend (thanks Jennifer) suggested that I scan them and make note cards that way not just one person got to enjoy them, but many.  So that's what I've been doing with the ones I like the most.

Some of these have already gone out - I find that when I have the cards printed and ready to go I'm better at sending cards.  Some I use as note cards and I leave the inside blank, others that are birthday or thinking of you etc. I leave blank and then pull out my stamps for a sentiment. No reason to let those stamps sit idle!  Adding some paper layers makes them a little more handmade, without painting each one individually.  And, then . . .

I got busy Saturday, maybe Sunday and listed some of my stepping stones on Etsy - they will sell or they won't, but at least I'm being proactive.  It seems crazy to just keep painting and not do something with them.  I have a friend that has requested two bluebonnet stones and two sunflower stones and I will be starting them soon.  Special lady, so they must be special stones, but she's not in a rush so that's good.

This week I've been busy with visitors, packing for my trip to Oregon (it's summer and the nights are still in the high 30's - yes 30's) and getting my supplies ready for a new class.  I've signed up for Junelle Jacobson's newest sketching/mixed media class.  I took the Art of Wild Abandonment a couple of years ago and learned to loosen up some in my art.  It's an online class, but she makes you feel like you're sitting in the room.  She will ask a question and you will find yourself answering her, only to realize she's not there!  Fits right in with my craziness, no let's change that word and use eccentric.  I like it sooooo  much better.  This one is "Wild Art Summer Studio - Wildflowers" and I already know it will be fun.  We get a sneak peak into the studio this Saturday ( I will be in Oregon learning to be a great alpaca mom ) and the class starts the next week.  It will be for six fun filled weeks, but it's available for a year in case life gets in the way.  Last time we started with radishes can't wait to see what she surprises us with this time.

If you think you might be interested in checking out this class click on the link above and you'll find out all about it.  And you'll also have a chance to see some of her sheep photographs and get links to her Etsy shop and more.  She is an interesting, talented, sheep and God loving young woman - a pleasure to know.

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