I just ordered some horn toggles on Etsy from AntlerQLWear and they are fantastic! Handmade too! The coats collar is in the felt process and I hope to have it ready in a day or too. I have started to work on the Blackface rug again and the forcast is for 2 more days of sun before another snow storm so I hope to make some headway.
Well, maybe I should start selling sheep's milk instead. This coat is some different than what I was hoping for. The one good thing is that it is a seamless felted coat but better fit for an artic explorer than a sheep shepherd! The below picture is a sample of the SBF wool felted. I have learned from this project that samples are really important. I should have backed this sample with the wool I planed to line my coat with and I would have realized that the two wools felted so differently that a better choice of wool combos should have been used. The brown wool lining ended up not felting untill the coat was almost finished making the otter SBF wool a bit harder and over felted than is desirable.
SEE WHAT I MEAN? Antartica here I come!
I continued to full it more after this pic was taken and will shpe it (or try) and add a collar. I'll post the final coat when finished.
After a very cold night my coat (out in the unheated greenhouse) stood on it's own.
Had a brainstorm this morning when I walked in the greenhouse after a 7 degree night and found my coat project frozen solid like a plate of glass. I flipped it over without disturbing a hair! The coat is still so large (hasn't shrunk yet) that I haven't been able to work on the front . No problem! It stood straight up on the table and I flipped it over! Perfect.
FROZEN SOLID ! Can't work on it today but can't wait for tomorrow!
Day 3 of attempting to felt the fibers of the coat! One day to lay it out, two days to start the felt process. I paid special attention to the seams today and they look good ( from the outside anyway). I poked drain holes in the bubble wrap under the coat so it wouldn't sit in dirty water too long.
By mid afternoon I was able to roll the coat up and press some water out. If this doesn't shrink to half it's size I hope I can find a giant who would like to wear it.
The rug is on hold for a minute as we layed out endevour 2, A seamless Felted Shepherds Coat! It took one and a half days to lay out the coat. Kathy, a mighty fine & creative seamstress ,( among other artistic things), stitched up a pattern resist for the project. A pattern was chosen, similiar in style & size to our coat, and one resist was sized with extra material to compensate for shrinkage during the felting process. We layed that on the table, covered it with bubble wrap, and used it as a visual template to begin laying down the wool.
First we added some embellishments, long, course, Scottish Blackface Locks from Cookie's neck & chest ( less apt to felt but creating interest & contrast to the outside of the coat).
Next we layered BFS roving horizontally ( from wrist to wrist). This will be the outside of the coat. We added an extra 5 inches beyond the template on the 1st two layers ( only the 1st two) of both the white & brown fleece, to be used as seams.
On top of this, going the same direction, we added another type of wool, much softer and finer. Blueface Border L. batts. Now the outer frontside of the jacket is finished.
Then we began the lining of the jacket using another soft, fine brown wool.
When we finished the 1st brown layer ( the lining), we pulled out the template from under the bubble wrap and put it on this 1st brown layer and wet it. It is best to have the calico already damp.
Next we folded over the extra 5 inches of brown fleece onto the dampened calico resist everywhere we would need a seam. The hem, neck and wrists are to be left open.
Once the seams of the lining are folded we added another layer of brown fleece.
Finally the last layer of white fleece ( the back of the jacket).
The white 5 inches on the 1st bottom layer is now folded over the finished outer layer of white. We layed some tulle over it all and began wetting it with tepid water and grated and disolved Marseille Soap. It was late afternoon and the sun was fading to clouds so tomorrow is the beginning of the felting.
Still combing out locks and now there are 7 layers. But I am begining to think about turning this rug into a traditional shepherds coat instead. My friend Kathy ( a seamstress) and I cut out a pattern for the coat and tomorrow I am going to see if I can make a big enough table to work it on. It is a seamless coat.
Weedy is still in tough shape but is starting to stand occasionally and is eating a small amount of rice & milk as well a orange juice which the vet advised me was good for him.
I had enough sun this morning comming thru the clouds to continue working in the greenhouse until late afternoon. I got layer 3 done and begun layer 4. The weather is going to go down hill for a few days so I picked & piled a stockpile of locks from Cookie's fleece so that I can work in the shed tomorrow with a woodstove.
It's a lonely job, this felting! I can't wait to get to the next step and start soaping & wetting it down.
King of the Barn
Duck up-date at end of today's blog
COOKIE in a compromising position
This is a camel & yak down felted endevour I haven't quite finished
Felt class in August 09
I was able to take a "traditional Turkish rug making class with a woman over from Shropshire, England this past summer.
woops, don't know what happened here
Close-up of layer 3
Just starting layer 4. Each layer I start the edge in a new direction
Overlapped tips on edges
Combed lock, stretched out, ready to layer
Rugs really getting thick now on layer 4
A LOOK OUT THE GREENHOUSE DOOR
Tomorrow is calling for rain so I'll have to work in the Bearhouse, which is right outside the greenhouse. ( My sister used to make stuffed bears in it)
Its already pretty full of bags of wool.
But it's pretty cosy in there once the woodstove is lit.
DUCK UPDATE Late today Weedy was able to drink water. I put some Gator-aid in place of his water and he liked that too. Gator-aid is great to give sick birds a helping hand when they arn't yet eating. Tomorrow's another day of duck care & felt prep.
WELL, TODAY WAS A REAL BOMB. I DIDN'T GET MUCH DONE ALTHOUGH IT WAS A PERFECT SUNNY DAY. THE HAWKS WERE EVERYWHERE AND ONE GOT POOR WEEDY ( AS IN TWEEDY, SWEETIE AND WEEDY). I SAW 2 OF THE DUCKS RUN BY WITHOUT HIM SO I RAN TO LOOK FOR HIM, THEY ARE ALWAYS TOGETHER. SURE ENOUGH DISASTER! A HUGE REDTAIL HAD HIM BY THE HEAD IN THE DRIVEWAY. I HAD TO ACTUALLY WACK THE HAWK OFF HIM AND BROUGHT HIM TO THE BARN. DON'T KNOW IF HE'LL MAKE IT, PRETTY BAD HEAD WOUND BUT I SPENT MOST OF THE DAY CARING FOR HIM AND ONLY HOPE TO SEE HIM IN THE MORNING RECOVERED SOMEWHAT.
I DID MANAGE TO GET A LITTLE OF THE 3RD LAYER ON.
I'LL BE BACK AT IT TOMORROW FOR A FEW HOURS IF IT'S WARM ENOUGH IN THE GREENHOUSE.
Day 2 I have got the 2nd layer on the rug. It got cloudy today so I had to close the greenhouse doors. Whew! Pretty strong aroma with the doors shut! The layout alone is consuming my days but it looks great. I haven't even put a dent in the fleece! I could make 20 3' by 6' rugs from 1 fleece. It looks like I'll need about 5 or 6 layers. I've been combing the locks with a card cleaner on the edge of the table. Those greenhouse mesh tables are great for felt work as the debris falls right through. I took a picture of a thin felted square of Blackface so you can see how it felts.
The locks I'm getting out of Cookie's fleece are huge. The ruler in the photo is actually 15 inches not 12.
Well, I finally got the courage up to roll out Cookie's fleece from last March. I realize I'm a little late but you just don't understand. Cookie's fleece is gynormous! I love my ram Cookie, sweet but dangerous. When we sheared him the first time as a yearling I was so excited, my first sheep, my first shear! My girlfriend has a fiber mill. She thought it was so cute that I was so excited to knit something from my dear Cookie's fleece, she offered to process it for me (since I had no idea how to do it myself) in her mill. Well, it wrecked her mill for a while, threw guard hairs all over the place and finally spun up like garden twine! I tried washing last years fleece and hanging it out on a pole to dry but it was an absolute failure, I was late in the first place and it stunk to high heavens, it was so heavy wet I couldn't get it out of the trash can I washed it in, the guard hairs were stuck all over my body (I was in my bathing suit) and finally it took about 6 weeks to dry. So this time I decided to use it raw, in the grease and felt it one way or another. I'll try and post as many photos of the process as I can. For all you Backface lovers. First I have to say that I just love (as we all do) raw fleece! But more than that I have gotten to the point that I don't want roving, combed top or carded rolags, I just want raw locks! I started this project with unwashed fleece and just pulled the locks. Then loosed up the tip ends, gave the lock a horizontal tug like an accordion and layed them, overlapping, on a rush mat. (goodthing I am working on this in the greenhouse because it is a rather large & hairy project. This first felt project is a rug. Next will be boots!