Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It Felt Wonderful



In my other life I kept a few sheep and goats and with them came an abundance of fleece...Oh I loved that fleece... I use to spin All the time... or at least I tried to... I dyed the fleece too, using all manner of things natural... sumac, onions skins, tree bark, golden rod, tea.... whatever I could find enough of...
but I must admit I wasn't always a purest ... I had been known to use a lovely prepared dye that came from Australia, I can't think of the name of it right now but the colors were very subtle and muted....... I even used Kool-Aid a few times..... smelled good...

Sometimes I would spin the fleece into skeins first before dying... and then sometimes I would just dye the fleece first and blend the colors when I carded the wool to get a particular shade...





On this occasion, as I had quite a lot of fleece, dyed in various colors, on hand, it was a perfect time to use some of it to make a felted vest...



front lapel


....I thought a mohair fringed collar might be kind of fun... I felted only an inch or two of the long angora goat hair into the entire neck-edge of the vest so the locks hung freely... I liked that the locks kept their form... and moved when you walked and when the wind blew.... and that it was so soft... I wanted to bury my face in it...



back of neck


The strange thing was........ that whenever I wore it.... I felt like King Henry the Eighth... Don't know why.....

I never feasted on giant drumsticks and I never had 6 wives.......


...although when I looked around the house at the chores that needed done.... an extra wife/husband or two wouldn't have hurt!

44 comments:

pRiyA said...

what an amazing person you are gwen. you are so superbly creative - painting, gardening, making jewellery, baking, playing music and now i see you spin too and made this gorgeous vest. you are truly a blessed person.
i loved reading best of all the different things you used to dye the fleece. the mohair collar is so gorgeous. and the enlarged photo shows even better the lovely colours on the vest.
i know what you mean when you say you want to bury your face in it. the underside of Cindycat, her stomach, has all this soft hair too. but i'd probably get my eyes gouged out if i tried to bury my face in it.

Shelley said...

Beautiful Gwen.

shicat said...

Why Gwen, that looks like a wild hippie woman vest? Beautiful wool,and colors. I had a store bought coat that was bright red,a maxie, with a similar collar. Just loved it. You are really something,love your posts.

Ruth said...

Gwen! Do you believe in synchronicity? I have had my next post written for maybe almost a month. Sometimes I do that and have one or two waiting in the wings. I decided I would post it tomorrow. In the post I link to you about raising animals and sheering them, spinning the wool into yarn, and making garments. I find that remarkable!

Again, you've reminded me that you don't just do the process, you do it with mind-blowing ingenuity, and that's what sets you apart. This is just way too cool.

You could pull the vest up and play Santa too!

So, be watching tomorrow!

Ruth said...

Oh, and clever title. :D

Bill Evertson said...

Or perhaps it is fit for a queen with many attendants to till the gardens, shear the sheep, paint the house, prepare the lavish banquets and fill the dishwasher after.

Anet said...

Another "Gwen" talent! Of course you've dyed fleece, spinned it, and made a beautiful vest:)
That made me chuckle, you felt the King Henry!
The mohair collar looks so soft, like Santa's beard.
I can just imagine the pride one would take in making something like this, from the sheering to the finish product. Very cool!

Debbi said...

Hi Gwen, what a stunning vest. You have so many talents, why am I not surprised to see yet another one surface! I love the colors and whimsy of this vest. As for the Henry 8th, you must be channeling something strong. Very interesting. Wonder what would happen is the vest had been red - you might have started amassing little gift wrapped boxes and finding reindeer outside your door at night!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Priya you are so funny...so you think CindyCat may get a little rough with you, tell her to take it easy, at least you never made her into a collar... but really... spinning is quite easy once you try it a few times... before long you'll be spinning the cotton out of pill bottles!!

Thank You Shelley! You could spin the combings from your little puffy dog... Dog-hair is really warm.. it is kind of fun even just to use a band of it in a pair of mittens or a hat as a conversation piece... and No it won't smell doggy!!

Thanks Shicat, it does look rather hippiesh.... kinda folky.... Now that coat of yours.. bright red with the locks.. ooouuu lovely!!!

Ruth.. You are kidding me? Synchronicity Indeed!!! I believe now!!!
I should start preparing some posts in advance.. I have never done that yet.. I probably wouldn't make half as many mistakes if I did. I will check your post for sure!!! Thanks!!
Ah yes, mohair makes the best Santa hair... the younger the goat the finer the fleece...the softer... like angel hair..

Oh Bill, one of my laments is if I ever won the lottery(but that will be impossible cause I never buy a ticket) I would hire a chef.. how decadent!! that would be the biggest treat in the world.. I would shear sheep and goats all day if someone would cook for me.. it is such a pampering thing!! I'll dream on as I'm painting the trim and hoeing the garden...

Thanks Anet, the process in creation is the best part I always believe.. by the time we follow something through all the steps it is usually easier to part with if we have to sell it... as by the end we are forming the next project in our minds... Don't you think that?
One thing I have never tried has been the beautiful needle felting that you do.. They are amazing creations!!

Debbi. necessity is the Mother of Invention.. Gee I should of thought of that.. I love presents as long as they stay wrapped... I find it very difficult to open one..

Janice Thomson said...

Too funny Gwen - I loved the Kool-aid dye! You are very creative I must say :) Beautiful vest - I can feel the softness from here...

kathi dunphy said...

Hah! I always suspected you were a closet hippie Gwen! Cool man...

The Weaver of Grass said...

Love that vest. Just down the road from us is the Wensleydale Sheep Shop where they sell lovely silky fleeces and beautiful silky wool. I have never tried spinning myself but have made felt sometimes and that can be most satisfying. There is an artist called Andrea Hunter in our Dale - she makes beautiful felt pictures. She may well have a web site - I shall look and let you know as I am sure you would be interested in her work.

Anet said...

Hey Gwen,
Noah and I were so excited today. We were watching the History Channel, a program called The Universe. It was about the moon, then it mentioned the moon's effects on the tides...They showed The Bay of Fundy!!! We were yelling "That's where Gwen lives!"
They showed the beautiful shore line. We just wanted to share this with you:)

Cuidado said...

Hi Gwen. That's a beautiful vest you made. The curly fleece matches your hair.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hey Anet and Noah... that is so cool!!! I love it!!!..That was so sweet that you thought of us!!!
We were down walking the dogs along the shore of the Bay this very afternoon ... The Tide had just reached its high point of the day.. and had turned to start its long journey back out again. it was so high because of the full moon.... the water was so blue and the sky so bright!!... the warmest day we have had in a long time so we couldn't resist going for a walk ... a beautiful day... I was practicing with the camera in movie mode.. and got a small water video... I'll keep trying till I get better and post one ... Thanks for telling me you saw the Bay... I'm so glad... Yeah!!!!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Janice,, I made mittens from the Grape kool-aid dyed wool.. it is amazing how long it keeps its fragrance! The color faded a bit to a dark rose but I'd be making snowballs and still smelling grape..


Hey Kathi.. It takes one to know one!..a Back-to-the-lander, digger of the dirt..


Ah Cuidado, Thank you ...
about the hair.. Funny but true!! Hope you are enjoying being back at your glass-work.


Weaver , Andrea's work sounds wonderful... yes I would certainly be interested... England sounds like such a romantic place.. ancient villages scattered here and there not far from each other.. It must be a joy to wander the place and see all of its quaintness..

Marie Alton said...

Gwen ... I love that vest! I can so see it flowing in the breeze. I've never had the opportunity of having live animals that give fleece...just cats that I've often thought of saving fur from and spinning it into yarn...but that'd take many years of diligent accumulation...so don't think I'll go there. Like I don't have enough else to keep me busy!

Shayla said...

This vest is gorgeous! I love the wooly trim, yes it is rather regal ;)

So you're also a fiber artist from start to finish- didn't know, but I should of guessed with the weaving.

I have big plans to make a felt rug for the living room- don't yet know how to do except in theory, but will. Dreams too of a purring spinning wheel...

Delphine said...

Its the colours that I love,all melting into one another, Gwen and her technicolour dreamcoat! The curly white lapel looked just like Tarma, my cream afghan hound, just after she has had a bath- I have to blow-dry her straight or I would never be able to get a brush through the tangles.

rauf said...

why Henry the Eighth Gwen ? you could have chosen any other number,
He was a fun loving guy alright, a composer of sorts. He appointed the FBI to find out how many wives he had and how many children he fathered. FBI found out that he was the father of half of England. Where ever he went children rushed to him calling him daddy daddy.
You are my daddy too said the FBI agent.

Jo Horswill said...

Gwen, I love the kid mohair collar and your gorgeous felted vest!!!
A few years back, I bought a nuno felted poncho (wool felted onto silk) with black kid mohair fringe similar to yours...The problem was...it had a striking resemblance to my hair!!! I felt so so woolly wearing it (only wore it once) just terrible, because it's really a beautiful piece.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Marie.. Kitty is a bit tricky to spin due to cat hair being so slick... if it is spun very tightly and fine and mixed with some wool it would probably be ok.. it has a tendency to slip out of the yarn...
yeah, like you don't have enough to do!!! but I bet you would love it...


Oh Delphine, I have always wondered what spinning afghan hair would be like..I imagine something like Alpaca...
I tried Alpaca once and it was the most delicate fine, soft long fiber I had ever slid through my fingers.. it is a crime to spin it think... it desires to be spun as thin as humanly possible.. I adore it...


Rauf, I really don't know why... silly I guess,..
but I do know that if you don't write a satirical book on any subject whatsoever, you will have missed your calling... Is he your daddy too?... gee he might be a long past relative of mine too since so many of my ancestors came from the British Isles..


Thanks Jo, I know what you mean... somethings turn out to be more to look at than actually wear, I have found.. I feel this way about a lot of fabulous textural yarns and handspun... they are beautiful enough already.. it might be just as lovely to wrap a whole skein around ones neck as a scarf.. it might work..

Shayla, That must have been the reason for feeling like King Henry, because of the way the mohair locks gave the impression of a large white textural collar like the portraits of old portrayed...
If you like an activity that lets you dream and drift off to faraway places I would recommend spinning.. it is very soothing .. and rhythmic..

Pam said...

Hi Gwen. Thanks for your comment on my blog. I like your vest and its beautiful colour - and I agree with you about the feel of alpaca fibre. There is a shop in the Adelaide hills at Hahndorf (your daughter may know this hills town),where they sell the softest of scarves and wraps spun from the fibre of these gentle creatures. The articles feel divine to wear, but too expensive for me unfortunately.

Rebecca said...

Gwen, this is spectacular! A really beautiful piece - I like my art to be wearable.... :)
x

twisted sister said...

Hi
Have mentioned this post to another blogger looking for ideas for her felted coat
I am now inspired to try spinning
Thank you x

Sandy said...

How beautiful this is! I love the softness and curls and...well you are certainly a rennaisance (sp)..woman.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi Pam, it is really good to see spinning and fibre work coming back into vogue.. it is like the Seventies all over again but more widespread due to the internet!!! I could never afforrd a finished piece but it's much more economical to start from scratch...

Rebecca, the satisfaction of creating it yourself has a way of making it feel even warmer!

Twisted S.. a warning*... if you start.. you may not be able to stop... it is addicting!
can you borrow a wheel from the school?

Thanks Sandy,you're sweet but the truth is.. If I don't do it myself It won't happen.. but it is throughly enjoyable to discover the processes behind how things are done...

Chris said...

Oh Gwen, This is so beautiful!!! You never cease to amaze me with your talents. I could use an extra wife myself. Somebody really needs to keep this house clean for me :)

T said...

Hello Gwen, I am new to your blog. You are amazing, so talanted, what an inspiration you are.

Twisted suggested that I have a look at your vest. It is wonderful, absolutely love the curls. I think it might be too late to do this to my coat.

Also going to try your pickled eggs as the chooks wont stop laying and the pickled eggs sound delicious. xt

Lisa said...

Wow! Gwen that is so lovely, and has such an ancient look to it, as if other worldy!

I love clothes that transport us, skirts that make us feel like gypsies, jackets that drag us back to the 1800's... In particular I have a certain set of clothes that makes me feel like a war bride from the 40s, when I wear them I simply must do afternoon tea!

albertaphotography said...

what a beautiful work of art. I especially love the added detail adding that gorgeous angora goat hair to the lapel and neckline.

painter girl said...

Oh!
So beautiful!
I love the locks hanging down and the image of them blowing in the wind.
You are a true Renaissance Woman!
I love that about you. Always a surprise coming by your blog.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Chris.. Housework always takes a back seat to the creative process... the dog hair is only up to my ankles so far... it's getting a little hard to ignore though..


T, You are amazing!!!! your coat.. is a vision!!! Wow... I have to go back over to your site and ow and ah over it some more.. and yeah, the mohair locks collar would have been crazy on it.. maybe a removable band could be made for it... although It is fantastic on its own!!! I'm awed!!!
...........and...You have chickens!! Lucky you.. I keep saying I really want to start up a little flock again.. I miss their singing!... and egges and garden droppings.... oh maybe...


Thanks Lisa... I love your feelings and comments on the way clothing can conjure up a feeling... Back in the days when I was first lured to making clothing, I thought I was in paradise when someone would pass on to us a bag of old clothes... it was like Christmas.. all that fabric..felt like a million dollars! I'd be cutting this off and adding to that and turning that inside out to see the more muted shade, sewing a cuff here, a collar here.. applique or embroidery... The great part about the old clothes.. no one cared what I did with it..it was total freedom.. ... Folkwear patterns are also a great source for more accurate detailing and patterns for particular eras... I have one called Edwardian Underthings... oh the layers and possible embellishments it alludes to... I made that so many times!!


Albertaphotography... I ordered Mohair from Alberta a few years ago after I no longer had my goats.. Are there any angora goat farms near you?...
The three I use to have acted like dogs... they loved going for walks in the woods and would have certainly pranced right in to the house if I gave them the OK...


Oh Thank you Leanne, You lucky London Traveller... What a break you must have had... You must feel so refreshed... Did you miss your clay? ...I Missed Your clay!!!

Arija said...

Well at least your hair fits the Henry VIII image, just as well you were satisfied with the soft fall of the collar and did not rise to starching and gophering it!
A beautiful post and I love the colour you achieved. Leicester wool retains the memory of the lock as well, but has nowhere near the softness.

rivergardenstudio said...

Your vest is lovely, especially the subtle colors. I love reading about how you dye the wool... and your rose IS beautiful! roxanne

dowhatyoulove said...

What a beautiful project. And how much fun to make it from your own wool.
I just found your blog, I look forward to coming back to explore more.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Oh Arija can you imagine doing that to those wonderful locks!! that would be a crime!! I do love Leicester though for its strength...

Thank you Roxanne, jewelry making is taking most of my time right now but soon I know I will be able to do more spinning...

dowhatyoulove,, thank you ... My daughter lives on the west coast of Canada... she is an outdoor girl... she hikes, mountain climbs and bikes every spare minute... She keeps telling me I would love it there too.. she is probably right,... hope to see you again...

flyinamber said...

what a funny piece,I like it!it looks really that it comes from the middle age :)

Gwen Buchanan said...

Dada, I would have liked to have lived then I believe...

Shayla said...

Yes, for sure. I used to spin but don't have a spinning wheel right now.

wildpic said...

gwen, thanks for the post ... it did feel wonderfull, your creation has a wondorous organic feel that i really admire ...
in your other another life you lived in india ... and you had cows and goats ... !!!
cheers ! spring is coming ...

Gwen Buchanan said...

Wildpic... That is nice of you to say... What is it really like to live in India? I would love to know...

Lynn said...

What a fun story to go with this amazing piece of work! Love it.
Do eat at least one drum stick wearing it and perhaps don a crown!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Thanks Lynn, Does a thigh count..