Thursday, April 04, 2024

Spring and Summer Classes 2024


Well, it's April and the sheep have been sheared. 

The chicks have arrived in the mail and Easter is behind us already. 

Time to start thinking about SUMMER CLASSES!

I'm planning to teach two classes at Shepherd's Harvest this year. Introduction to Skinnfell, is scheduled for Saturday, May 11 and a Skinnfell Hat class is scheduled for Sunday, May 12. Registration is open now. Register for classes here:

A Small Felted Fleece class is schedule for Saturday June 22nd, at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN. Register here:

And my more in-depth Raw Felted Fleece class at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN is scheduled for August 23-25th. Register here:

And I've set a date to host a felted fleece class at my studio on June 26th also, there are three spaces open for that one. Email me for more details.


Monday, November 06, 2023

Getting ready for Christmas Markets!


I'll be doing two Christmas markets this year. The first one is at Sapsucker Farms in Brook Park, MN Nov. 18-19th. And the second one is the American Swedish Institute's Julmarknad Dec. 1-3, 2023 in Minneapolis. 

I'm saving ten felt pelts I made from my flock to debut at Julmarknad. They all turned out so well! I've needlefelted the sheep's name and the year of shearing on the back of the pelt. I no longer breed my sheep and the ones who are here are it. So I've decided to commemorate their fleeces in a 2023 collection. Stop in to see them! There are fleeces from Juno, Dolly, Yolanda, Maggie, Maisie, Ingrid, Grettel, Smudge, Blue, and Lester. I did Roxie's fleece too, but I'm going to keep hers. She's getting pretty old for her breed and I must have one to remember her by.

I'll have Skinnfell items (ornaments, muffs, couch throws and chair pads), my full line of handcrafted goat milk soaps, ecoprinted scarves and Tibetan lamb boas. And as always, Sid's family recipe spices Toadspit and Lizard Dust.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Another way to Felt locks

I belong to a group on Facebook called Vegetarian Sheepskin, which is a strange name for felt pelts, but there are lots of variations on what to call these felt-backed fleeces. Recently there have been a few posts about a way to felt the locks using some type of grid. I thought I would give it a try. So I ordered some plastic poultry fencing with 3/5" openings. It's stiff plastic. I would try a more flexible plastic next time. Some of the posters say they have left the grid in the finished piece for reasons that will become clear later in this post.

This photo shows a small sample of washed TeeswaterX locks that have been threaded through the grid openings. It's a tedious job threading the locks. I like to have 3/4" of the cut end coming through the grid. Of course as you get farther along, the locks catch on each other and it gets tedious trying to keep the cut ends at an even length across. 

To safeguard these long locks from felting together, I placed a piece of bubble wrap under the grid and over the locks that were hanging out to one side.

The next step is to cover the cut ends with roving.

Then I covered with netting and applied water. This is the wetted down sample.


To begin the felting process, I gently rubbed with a flat palm in a circular motion for a few minutes with the wool protected by netting.


After a skin had developed with the gentle rubbing, I removed the netting and applied a piece of solar pool cover (any bubble wrap will do, but solar pool cover is more rigid so it works faster).  Again I rubbed in a circular motion with flat palms, but with much more force than before.  I did this for a few minutes, maybe five. It didn't take long to felt those cut ends into the roving. 

Then came the tricky part, removing the locks from the grid. I found that removing the grid was easiest to do with washed locks or short locks. I also did this experiment with long raw Lincoln locks and actually had to CUT the plastic apart to free up the wool! I got so caught up in it I neglected to take photos. Sorry! Anyway, suffice it to say, carefully and gently work the plastic grid down the length of the locks to remove it without pulling the locks away from the felted backing. 

Then dip the piece in warm soapy water and work the felt by squeezing and rubbing until it's firm. Then dip and lift the piece in and out of the water until the locks are clean.  Rinse, roll in a towel and set aside to dry.

The photo below shows my attempts at this. Left to right: raw short-stapled Gotland locks; and that same Gotland but threaded through the grid AND a pre-felt backing to limit the movement of the locks from the grid; long raw Linclon locks; and the washed Teeswater locks shown in the process photos above.

In my opinion, this method is not worth the extra effort. I just did small samples, there's no way I would want to do a chair pad with this method. One could easily just felt the locks without the grid and if that's too hard, needle felting them to a pre-felt backing and then wet felting is more efficient in my opinion.

I have seen another version of creating larger pieces where wooden slats were placed in a vice and locks laid across the slat with the cut end protruding, then another slat and more locks, repeating to the desired size and tightening the vice to hold everything in place while the back was felted. Then the slats were removed and the resulted was a thin, flexible fabric with gorgeous locks. I might try that method some day. But by using my method of nuno-felting gauze onto the back of a raw fleece, I can get a very soft flexible fleece too.

Happy felting everyone! My shearer is coming in two days and I'll have 17 more fleeces!

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Felted Faux Sheepskin Tutorial - No longer Available


This is for experienced wet felters. Step-by-step instructions on how to turn a raw fleece into a felted rug or luxurious lap blanket in an afternoon. Eleven pages with process photos. Access to my private Facebook group to ask questions and share project photos. I have taught my method of creating felted fleeces to hundreds of students over the past several years. There are many ways to create felted fleeces (a.k.a. humane sheepskins, eco-rugs, vegetarian sheepskins, faux sheepskins). This method is fast and efficient. It doesn't require a lot of equipment, just a  4'x8' solar pool cover, pool noodle, mosquito netting, and a laundry tub to rinse and full the fleece. You must have previous experience with wet felting (know how to layout fiber, how to felt, and how to full) and have the physical ability to maneuver a heavy, wet fleece.

 The tutorial is longer available, but if you're interested in taking a class in my Ogilvie, MN studio, shoot me an email for details.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Norwegian Skinnfell Traps


I got to use my new wood blocks from fjellform  Norway this week. They are such beautiful blocks!

I made this  chair cover (trap) using six of the eight blocks I bought. 

The printing is the fun part, the measuring, cutting and stitching is the work part. But the result is so worth the effort!

I'm making some large traps and some small chair pad sets this week. I will put some in my Square shop soon.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Felted Rugs!


I took an online class taught by Flora Carlile-Kovacs on rug making with pre-felts in traditional motifs. Thanks to the Minnesota Feltmakers Guild for hosting this class.

I learned some new things that I will definitely use again. I can't wait to make some natural colored rugs for the house!

Making the prefelt. I used Shetland Mule fiber I had dyed years ago. And some dark Indigo Ashford fiber given to me by a friend when she could no longer felt.

Deciding on the design placement

More design decisions after cutting out the motifs. I liked both sides so I had to make two versions, a positive and a negative.

Layout for the second rug

Second rug, love the edges on this one!

First rug, I intentionally wrapped the backing fibers around to the front, I thought it gave it the look of being singed by fire. Maybe the recent fire we had influenced this decision.

Pretty comparable in size and thickness. Can't wait to make some bigger rugs!

Spring and Summer Classes 2024

  Well, it's April and the sheep have been sheared.  The chicks have arrived in the mail and Easter is behind us already.  Time to start...