Busy Week of Wool

Life has certainly been moving along. With my body aches subsiding, I’ve started working on wool with seriousness. I realize that I only have about 2 months left of outdoor drying as autumn approaches. Yes, dyed wool!!!! I’m loving the colors that are coming out of my crazy dye baths. Slowly but surely I’m starting to hone in on what I want with colors and actual purpose with my spinning. Go figure!

Current working fleece started out with 4.6 pounds! I’ve used about 1.5# thus far.

Let’s back up a bit: I do have several things in the works. First off is The Owl. It’s been coming together and actually having a true background added with “aged cedar”. I haven’t shown any images here regarding the owl, but it’s a donation to my local Arts Center in Corvallis. Below are a few progress images to the final piece (well, almost final!)

start of owl using wool from my friends sheep
Fluffy face before trimming. Wool used is NZ Corriedale
Premature trimming….
Lots of blending happened to achieve the “barn owl” color around their head. NZ Corriedale, Merino, and something else…
trimmings from the owl project
Figuring out alignment for the owl.
Owl surrounded with iron stained cedar
Owl with dark iron stained cedar. It’s resting on a waste piece of wood.

Cedar is a lovely color, but I really wanted a greyed out aged finish of barn wood. I recalled that my father aged the cedar shakes on the exterior of his houses using a simple solution of vinegar and iron. I stuffed a OO size steel wool bundle into a jar and pickled it with vinegar. After 24 hours I mopped it on after first treating it with black tea tannins. It went much darken that I thought, but I think it’s ok. Mounting of everything to come.

Next up: the weaving project! So, I’ve been dying wool this week and that’s been just lovely!!! The wool was a 2019 fleece shearing from my friends Cheviot cross ewes. This fleece was cleaned via my now normal fermentation process and washed with the Unicorn Power Scour (not Dawn Dish soap). The fleece was air dried on my homemade rack and bagged for future use. 4 or 5 fleece ended up in 5 gallon pails with lids out in the garage for safe keeping. So, I’m working through this first easily accessible fleece and totally loving the wool! I’ve even spun up a whole bunch for a near future weaving. First dye bath was for green.

Next dye bath was for a crazy intense blue.

First Blue dye bath and I love everything!

Now I’m just dying for more blues and Orange!

Second Blue dye bath with Turquoise, Periwinkle and Violet.
Friday Orange dye! OMG I love it!

Carding has become more intense because I’ve been learning more. With my hand problems due to Psoriatic Arthritis, I need to card my wool multiple times. Originally I was only carding it twice. Now I card it about 6 times with all the color blending and it has improved the flow of wool through my fingers. The easier it flows, the easier it is on the tendons in my hands. Wow! I had no idea it would make such a difference. This year I also figured out that the roving processed off site requires multiple cardings before use. I originally thought it was going to be perfect from the start, but it wasn’t. Now I know and can work with the wool more in order to make it easier for my body to handle.

first bobbin on my regular Haldane type wheel.
second bobbin that’s much larger and on a different spinning wheel (Ashford)

Heading into the weekend I have more dyed wool, an owl donation almost completed, and a spinning project well underway for future weaving! I do have one more project/reworking in the mix, but the garage studio hasn’t been able to incorporate the mix as of yet. Hopefully next week will bring about it’s completion and I’ll show you then.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Published by paperstew

I'm an artist in Albany Oregon focusing on paper and natural objects for inspiration.

3 thoughts on “Busy Week of Wool

  1. I love seeing all the processes you take to create the perfect wool and then your creative outcome the amazing owl head. You continue to amaze me with your endless talent and creative drive!

    1. I’m just a crazy woman to want to tackle everything under the sun! I wish I could just create art and not have to deal with the household daily stuff, food choices, dog care, husband care…. 😉

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