Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Farmland Adventure! (or Washing Wool, part Un)

Okay fiber lovers, get excited! As promised, here is photo documentation of my woolly weekend with Amy! First things first, Amy's house is beautiful! So cute. Here's a view from the backyard:

While I was there Amy showed me the great assortment of naturally dyed wool roving she just received from Wool Farm Crafts.

She was making some really nice Christmas ornaments and I liked them a lot. I've been thinking about felting a nativity scene and seeing the ornaments convinced me to make my Christmas gifts this year.

After I admired Amy's digs and took the grand tour, we got down to business. Here's one of the two bags of wool that Chris and Amy sheared:

So we have plenty of raw material to work with! As you can see there is some sticks and leaves and junk in the wool. Luckily Amy had the good sense to not save the wool from around the butt. There was honestly tons of wool, so it would seem cruel to have to use the poopy stuff. Next we got started picking the big stuff out.

After we picked the wool sort of clean, we put it in lingerie bags, which we got 3 for a dollar at the dollar store. You can see the bag on the ground. After we filled our 9 bags, which in retrospect, we should have bought more bags, we were off to the laundry room. (As we were doing this I was reminded of the John Waters movie "Pecker" with Eddie Furlong and Christina Ricci. Christina Ricci works at a laundromat and at one point she catches a lady trying to use Rit dye in the machine. Ricci goes OFF on the lady and I was imagining the same scenario, but with dirty wool! Ha!)

After we filled the washer and added the soap, we poked at the bags with wooden spoons to help jostle some of the dirt and debris free. We took the bags out, emptied the washer to get rid of the filthy farm water, then refilled with new clean water and did this until the water ran fairly clear. We probably filled the washer 3 or 4 times.

Next we took our clean bags out to the garage to sort out the clean wool. You can see we each have a little funky pile next to us and then a bigger pile of wool that's been picked further of sticks, et cetera.

The next step is carding the wool, getting all the fibers lined up in the same direction, getting the knots out and any final stubborn sticks and leaves. Amy and I do not own carders, but we are looking into buying some, maybe off EBay. Here's what it looks like:

That nice lady from Oaxaca, Mexico is carding wool. The things in her hands are the carders. You can see they look a little like dog brushes. So Amy and I tried, you guessed it-dog brushes! It worked okay, but they were smaller so it would just take longer. You can see the lady has the basket of nasty-ish (but clean) wool and she is making nice fluffy organized wool!

Now by this time my husband was calling, wondering if I was ever coming home, so the photos end here. We plan on making a regular thing of this, so when Amy and I have nice bats of wool roving, I'll post the pictures. Here's a little nugget of cleaned wool, so you can see how far it came from the first picture of the wool straight off the sheep!

So there you have it. Washing Wool, part Un. It was a lot of work, but not too much, especially if you have good company to share the work with. Once we get it all carded, I'll post Washing Wool, part Deux.

Full directions on how to wash fleece are available at Gleason's Fine Woolies. Please consider making them a donation for this service.

Mah brain hurts.

So I've been busy once again fooling around with the ol' blog layout. I guess I should start working on some, um, CONTENT, for this thing, not just add buttons and links all day. I must say that I am in no way technically minded. I got an iPod for Christmas like four years ago and I can count on one hand the amount of times I used it. I couldn't deal with all the downloading and the instruction booklet seemed all mumbo-jumbo-y to me. So I finally pawned it for like $10. Whatever. Give me NPR. I can tune a radio.
That's more my speed.

As you can imagine, my barely existing technical skills can be quite the handicap in this here digital age. For the roller derby, I am the keeper of the Myspace-juvenile, yes, but a great way to get promotional information out en masse-and that has been good for me to learn compooter skills on. However, despite my tendancies to glaze over when it comes to this complicated code stuff, I do want to have as "fancy" a blog as I can muster. That plain template looked WEAK! And I think it's super fun to have fancy page and pick all the colors and whatnot. Getting the computer to make all that stuff happen, is not. I now think graphic/web designers must be some of the smartest, most focused people on earth. So with my minimal html knowledge, I have done my best to add jazzy features to this page. I managed to get the elusive 3rd column! That nearly killed me. I also managed to add the "Grab a button" thingy. That also was a a total bee-otch to figure out, so please grab a button! In conclusion, I am very proud of myself. Enough about that. On to more exciting things.

On Friday last week, my friend and co-worker Amy had me come over to have some felty fun! She and her husband have the good fortune to live on a great big peice of land, which I want to call a farm, but I think a farm needs crops, no? It's farm-like at the very least. She has sheep! And goats! And horseys! Thrifty fiber lovers that we are, we decided to clean some of the wool that Amy and Chris sheared off the sheep earlier this fall to help us feed our need to felt stuff. We thought this would be an economical way to have enough natural colored roving to use as a core material, and save the expensive pretty stuff for the outer layers. We may dye some too, so that will give us even more options. I do like the natural sheep colors too, so we'll see what we do with it.

In any case, I don't have the images to upload right now, so consider this a big tease and I'll post the photos of my Farmland Adventure as soon as I can.
I do have this picture of my cats, though:

Saturday, October 25, 2008


As you know, I like felting, weaving and wooly things in general. I tried wet felting for the first time this summer and here's the result:

The brown parts on the pineapple looked better before the wet felting, as they were more spread out into little diamond shapes, but all in all I'm pretty happy with it. I ended up with a pretty good square, which as a beginner was something I had to pay careful attention to, so as not to end up with a wonky rhombus.

Pineapples are one of my "things". I'm fixated. I don't know why. Yes, they are delicious, but it's more than that. Anyway, I tend to collect all things Pinapple. I even got a pineapple tattoo! (Thanks to Casey Corklic.)

That's my arm.

Fish don't fry in the kitchen.

So I haven't posted anything since Sunday, but I've had a pretty full week! I'm moving my desk at work into an actual office, which is exciting. I'm also getting some new responsibilities, which is good too, since I really like working at the museum. Moving on up!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

You win some...

Alright, bad news. We lost the game! It's not a big deal, the other team was really good. They had less players than us, but all the girls they had were pretty amazing. Hard hitters, big girls that were hard to take down, endurance and good offense. It's not so bad to get beaten by a strong team. Makes me want to work harder. It was a close game, we lost by about 12 points I think. (Derby is kind of like basketball, in how high the scores can go. If we lost by 12 points in say, soccer, I might feel worse right now.) Anyway, enough of that. There's always next time.

On another note, some people asked me to put up some pictures of the things I have made out of felt. I left my camera battery charger on my desk at work, so could only turn on my camera and take one picture before it died. So here's a little lady I made. It's not suposed to be offensive, so don't take it that way. It actually started out of my love for the Ancient Fern brown color. I made the body out of a toothpaste green, then covered it with the nice colors. I haven't finished the arms yet, so you can see the light green coming through. The picture is a little blurry because I was trying to take it quick before the battery went.

Want to hear a sad story? Cats like to eat felted stuff. Something about the sheepy smell drives them wild. After my abbreviated photo shoot-disaster struck! I forgot the god damn little lady on the couch and Bubsy mauled her overnight. (Pardon my french.) I was able to get the camera to turn on for one more photo.
The aftermath:

Can you see how she's all fuzzy now? She used to be smooth and firmly packed. Now she's all nubby! She had a rough night. She's fixable though. She did, however, have two felting needles stuck in back last night, which are not there now. I can't wait to find a 3" barbed needle (or two) jammed in my foot.

The culprit:

Penelope does not approve:

Here's us in happier times:

We were on a derby trip to play a bout out in Ohio and we stopped at this gross barbeque place on the way. All the food had names like "The Pittsburger" and there was no real indication of what any of the food was going to be. So I ordered the Pittsburger, which turned out to be a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and french fries on top. It was a disgusting mess. Later I saw a lady who worked there sweep out the oven with a broom. Like a broom that you clean the floor with. My friend Bonnie ordered some "Ragin' Cajun" sandwhich that turned out to be a two foot chicken hoagie. Ahhhh...good times.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Reading is FUNdamental.

So I decided to fancy up the ol' blog a bit. It's not quite how I'd like yet, but I'm over it for tonight. I have a bout (game) tomorrow (I play roller derby) that I want to get my rest for so I can try to cream some ladies tomorrow. I would, however, like to leave you with this:

Penis Pokey Book by Christopher Behrens.

Penis Pokey
"This book contains no nudity. No profanity. No sexual material of any kind. And yet it just might be the most obscene thing we've ever carried! Penis Pokey is an illustrated board book with a large die-cut hole in its center. Every spread features a dazzling full-color illustration with one thing missing—a banana, perhaps, or a fire hose, or a sea serpent. Male readers can complete the illustrations using the talents God has given them. Are we serious? Yes! Is this funny? Absolutely! Will this be a terrific hit with college students, bachelorette parties, and exhibitionists of all ages? Of course! Penis Pokey is far and away the strangest and funniest novelty book we've seen in a long, long time."

There, now I can go watch the Soup and go to bed. I'll post an update about the bout tomorrow night. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I love felting! I started with wet and dry felting over the summer and it reminds me of when I started weaving. It's a "where have you been all my life" feeling. This is going to sound weird, but I'm sure no one is reading this anyway, but I freaking love the wool roving. I want to eat it or roll around on it. It is so beautiful, the colors available are lovely and the way you can transform wool roving into "stuff" is amazing! Whether it's wet or dry felting, it's awesome how quickly the wool dreads together to make material or sculptural forms. This is a photo of the sampler pack from Peace Fleece. If you look closely, you can see that the colors aren't solid, but heathered with all kinds of beautiful colored nubbies. Ancient Fern is my favorite, favorite, favorite. Brown with purple and greens mixed throughout! Nice.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So I decided to start this blog after being inspired by a friend's blog Katydid and Kid, which you should check out- especially if you like the earth or have a baby, or both! My blog won't be about babies or the earth, although both are alright in my book. I thought this would be a good way to sort of live in the present and be more aware of the things that are going on in my life. Sometimes we think about the things we do today as preparation for something better down the road, but that seems to me like a good way to waste your life. So this is going to serve as a record of the stuff I do and the things I care about.

A little about me: I'm 27, I live with my 25-year-old husband of 5 years and our two cats Penelope and Bubsy. Together we've had our ups and downs, but we're a team and we always find a way. We got married quick and young and spent 4 years being broke and living in my in-law's basement while I went back to school. We moved into our first apartment one year ago on Halloween. We're still broke.

This blog is the story of us making our way in the world.
Fight or flight.