Sarafina Fiber Art

Sarafina Fiber Art

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wet Felting Experiments - What Fibers Work

Sarafina Fiber Art will be offering wet felting kits, fiber, and instruction in the near future. We are continuing to learn about wet felting as we do more and more, but I felt like a good test was in order to better understand which fibers that we carry will produce which results.

In an effort to have a controlled wet felting test, we have wet felted 20 swatches of different fibers at the same time for the same length of time. We used A bubble wrap base, most patches had 4 layers, a tulle top, a pool noodle roller, and 100 arm rolls in all 4 directions for a total of 400.

No surprise that the Merino, Faulkland (Corriedale), and Black Smooth Top, felted very well.  These fibers make up the base of a wet project.

Sky Blue Merino, Smooth Black Top, and Faulkland

I experimented with using a wool batting (made for quilting by the same mill that makes our chunky core.) and the merino and Corriedale together.  The batting can save time and $ by providing an inexpensive and pre batted base layer.  It worked very well.  The batting side is not quite as firmly felted as the roving side, but the two different fibers felted together well and the batting is definitely felted sufficiently.  I plan to begin carrying the batting in our shop.

This is the batting and Corriedale

This is the batting and Merino

Other fibers that felted well are our Top Coat and Targhee Roving (which we currently do not have for sale in our shop).  Our Top Coat line is full of great colors.  Blended with Merino they will be a great addition to a wet felted palette.

Raspberry Top Coat and Targhee

Our Pelt and new Wet Felting Batt also felted very well.  These are batts that we card in house to create useful and unique colors. Our House Carded Batts an be laid out and felted in one piece, as is, or you can pull smaller batches of color from them.

Red Fox Pelt and part of a Sand Dune Wet Felting Batt

I was surprised how well our locks batches felted.  We did one of Border Leicester, which is the majority of our House Dyed Curls, and one of Blue Faced Leicester.  They both felted firmly and show how you can achieve really interesting texture using locks.

BL Dyed Curls and Natural Grey BFL locks felted remarkable well

I am happy to announce that the mohair and the Irish Fur batt did not felt well.  I was counting on my Fur batts to not felt because I created them to resist felting from handling for use in needle felting projects.  The white Mohair swatch was made with Mohair roving, not locks.  It is so lustrous and slightly wavy.  Very pretty but not well felted.  I think some mohair could be used to create shine and texture, like silk, but needs some wool to help it stay.

White Mohair Roving and the Irish Fur did not felt well... which is a good thing.

A few other patches were our Core and Chunky Core.  They felted but would take a lot more work.  They also are so fluffy/bulk that they are difficult to work with. 

The Suri Alpaca Patch did not felt well at all.

We did a patch of Gotland Roving and it felted extremely well. But, interestingly, it grabbed, inhaled, and embedded into the tulle.  Absolutely, completely, they became one. 

Angora (rabbit) felted but remained fuzzy with a halo which is pretty cool.

We look forward to exploring more!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

When to Push and When to Bend

Spring can make me a little manic.  I wake up along with the grass, flowers, trees, critters, and, unfortunatley, weeds, and feel the need tackle.... everything.  The garden, the yard, the winter house hold, the seasonal clothing, exercise,  and always new projects are clamoring for my energy and attention.  I want so much to accomplish all at once.  So this time of year has left me reflecting on what has and has not come to be.  When do you move mountains and when do you find the pass?

I tend to think that I can do anything I set my mind to.  It's not a bad way to be but it can leave me not recognizing when to change course or let it go all together.  Patience is not my virtue; If I can not push to make it happen then I get frustrated.  Likewise, when something does not go according to plan (mine) I have a tough time adjusting.  It's like have to go through all the emotional upheaval of the grieving process over a change of plans.  Ridiculous.  I need to be more flexible.

At the same time, some of the greatest things in life are not easy and require a lot of effort.  Doing something/anything well, raising children, building a business, staying fit, maintaining relationships all require effort... a lot of effort.

Starting a family was the most difficult thing I have done in life but also the most valued.

The other side of the coin would be to avoid stress altogether; always bending out of its way.   Also, not necessarily a bad way to be but one's life might not have the layers of richness without a little effort or some risk and challenge.  You would be always at the mercy of the current and missing the beautiful spots along the river that might require some paddling to get to.

Some paths need to be let go.  I have pushed for things before, harder than I should have, because I wanted it to be.  When do you stop?  Is it healthy for you and the people you love?  Have you given it your best?  Letting go can be necessary because the goal no longer fits into your overall life plan.  Or maybe it was taken from you through no act of your own.  I guess the lesson is in recognizing what you can and can not make happen.  If you stay positive and open to possibilities, almost always a new door opens to things you might not have even thought would happen for you.

Some paths need to be fought for.  Large or small, there are many additions to my life that I am so grateful I recognized and pushed to come to be.  A tiny recent example; The Goats. I have been wanting goats for 2 years.  Last Spring we opened and moved into the Art House.  A major push at my home to get ready for the goats was not going to happen simultaneously.  This year, I was determined to make it happen.  We had a huge batch of bamboo dug out with a back hoe.  I lined up my fence guy; there was much to be built.  I found a nearby angora goat breeder.  I visited her and her goats.  I picked out two.  I called my fence guy.  I called my fence guy.  I called my fence guy.  He finally came here and there over 60 days.  I got all the goat supplies.  Fence guy built the hay feeder wrong.  I made him make it right.  I put up wire and gates.  I moved old manure.  I called my hay guy.  I found a straw guy.  I drove out to get the goats.  Goats now live here and I sit with them every day admiring their beautiful beings. 
Glad I moved mountains for these guys.

I don't have any answers here.   Just like the yin and yang in most things in life, hard and soft must exist together and work together.  I will work on recognizing which to apply.  I am sure there is a great Kung Fu quote out there somewhere.

I told Dave I was struggling to write this post and he said, "You should let it go."

Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit.
~ Joe Lewis