Black Sheep Gathering is just around the corner…just 8 days away to be exact. Each year, for the last 5 years, I have done a project for the Spinner’s Lead event. I strive to come up with inspiration for the next year’s project fairly early on and let it mull around in my mind and then cram it into the couple of weeks before the event. I really wanted to get away from the stress this creates, not to mention the fact that last year I ran out of time because my original plan didn’t work.
I started this year’s project a couple of months ago and the first step I had to take was deciding on who’s fleece I was going to use.
I decided to use two different fleeces -
Infiniti is one of my favorite girls and she has a lovely fleece.
I also used Hector’s fleece. His lamb fleece was so soft!
After deciding on what fleeces I wanted to use, I had to wash them.
I separated the black from the white before washing the fleeces. At this point I still didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do, but I knew it was going to be some kind of jacket.
I started carding the white wool and decided that I wanted to add some color. After carding the white, I dyed it various shades of green.
From there I carded the green with the dark charcoal. I had input at this stage because I was really struggling with how to blend it, do I do stripes, half green/half charcoal, fully blended???
The final result was kind of a combination of all the possibilities.
After carding and carding and carding some more, I had 15 batts to work with.
At this point, I had a pattern picked out and had a rough idea of how much felt I would need to make for the jacket. I laid the fiber out and created 4 pieces of felt that were approximately 30″ x 36″. I wet felted it and did a lot of soapy, sudsy rolling.
I lucked out in the weather department and had a sunny afternoon to dry the felt sheets.
Next, it was up to my mom’s to make sure I was measuring and cutting and sewing it the right way. I would have really been in trouble if I didn’t go up there because the jacket pattern I was using was one I had used previously several years ago and I left one of the pattern pieces up there. By some miracle, she still had it and we are now calling her closet the ‘magic closet’ because we opened it and there was the pattern piece!
The jacket fit, but it didn’t really ‘fit’ the way I wanted it to. It needed to shrink a little…why not felt it some more! I wetted it back down and rolled it some more and it did exactly what I wanted it to. Unfortunately, the collar area shrunk a little too much - oh no…what to do??? I had extra felt and thought…how hard can it be to add a collar? Felt is so forgiving, so adding a collar wasn’t very difficult and I am much happier with the result.
Now to add the little touches to really finish it…
The celtic knot closures came from a local company that I have ordered from before. Nicholas and Felice have beautiful jewelry pieces. These were originally earrings, but I could see the potential of using them as a closure.
I can’t put into words, how happy I am that this is done well before it needed to be. Now to finish everything else that needs to be done before the big event!