Entries in wool (8)

Sunday
Aug102014

The Plufo

I've been working on a bunch of little needle felted creatures lately. The idea behind them is that they are amorphous beasties that don't really have an identity until they pick a mask. Once they put on a mask, then they can take a shape. I want to make a whole bunch of them, because I have many ideas! So far I just have the three, but that's enough for me to share them with you. I must thank my friend, Misty Babcock, for giving them a collective name. I had no idea what to call them. Misty initially suggested 'Pluffo' which Brian then modified to 'Plufo' and I just liked it. So, Plufo they are!

This is Benk. He was the very first Plufo.

They are each between three and four inches tall, needle felted of wool. Their masks are epoxy clay painted with acrylic.

This is Tor. He'd like a carrot. Now.

This is Spec. He's not really sure what he's afraid of, but he's ready to run away just in case.They'll be for sale in the Etsy shop, and you can see photos with more angles of each of them there.

Monday
Dec092013

Santa Cthulhu 2013: Final!

It's done! At last! Santa Cthulhu 2013 is complete. If you haven't been following along, this is now the fifth not-quite-annual needle felted Santa Cthulhu extravaganza for us. You can see previous years' projects in the Felt Gallery. This one took a while, Brian and I started working on it back in mid-October. Santa Cthulhu sits in his Octi-Sleigh, ready to deliver his bag full of squirmy presents to children all over the world. A shoggoth pulls Santa and his sleigh; why bother with eight tiny reindeer when one protoplasmic behemoth will do? Keep scrolling for far too many photos ...

 The bag of presents appears to be made of fishing net. It erupts with assorted tentacles, and a single giant crab claw.

Santa is needle felted entirely from wool. Oddly, this is the first year we've given the Santa Cthulhu wings. I have no real reason for that. In previous years I think we just got close to the finish line and thought, "Wings? Nah, that'd be more work ..."

The shoggoth is a writhing, amoeba-like mass of needle felted pustules, eyes, appendages and teeth. A shoggoth is a constantly changing creature. As such, it's somewhat difficult to put a yoke or harness on it. Santa just hitches his sleigh up to a large metal ring that he has to trust the shoggoth to keep incorporated into its fluctuating body. Chains hitch the shoggoth's ring to the sleigh, and Santa holds leather straps as reins. The eyes are glass cabochons that we painted specifically for the shoggoth. The teeth are epoxy clay.

 

The Octi-Sleigh is a substantial sculpture I made specifically for this project. It has a wire armature covered with nearly 4 lbs of epoxy clay. It is painted with acrylics, and I'd just like to point out that this was my very first attempt at painting with an airbrush! If you look back at the last several journal entries, you can see lots of work-in-progress photos of the sleigh.

Lovecraft's shoggoths are described as iridescent. For fun, we went with fluorescent. If you have a blacklight handy, the shoggoth (and even Santa) will glow!

 

Santa sits about 11" tall. The sleigh is 13" long and 7" tall. The shoggoth is about 8" tall and 11" long. And just to help, I took a photo with my hand in the shot, to demonstrate how big these figures are.

Wednesday
Nov282012

Santa Cthulhu, NOW with Genuine Flaming City! 

Last night after we posted the Santa Cthulhu, Brian couldn't help but think something was still missing. Today he sat down and felted a little city to go in the fireplace, with buildings that are burning and collapsing. Yours at no added cost, genuine flaming city! :)

Wednesday
Jul252012

Where To Buy Wool

I received a question about where we buy our wool, and the answer may be long winded so here goes.

We buy raw fleeces from farmers and process them ourselves, so it's very rare that we buy finished wool from anywhere else. In fact, I still have some of the Corriedale and Merino roving I bought years ago when I first got into needle felting. I've never used it because I much prefer our own Dorset wool for felting! But I digress.

So how do we find the farmers? We started out by going to fiber festivals. Connecticut has a great sheep and wool festival every year in Vernon. They have a raw fleece sale there that has grown in popularity every year I've attended. Local growers bring in raw fleeces from all sorts of breeds and people can wander around inspecting them. Many of the nicest fleeces sell out fast! We usually pick up as many fleeces there as we can fit in the back of the pickup. We look for fleeces with little VM, ideally from coated sheep. Fleeces with tons of burrs and straw stuck all through them are a pain to get clean and just not worth the time and effort. Most states have their own fiber festivals. There's one each in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine that I know of, because those are the ones local to me. Try googling your state and 'wool festival' and see what you can find.

After finding a few fleeces we liked at the wool festivals, we contacted the growers directly to ask if they had any more to sell. One grower in particular, Winterbrook Farm in CT, has been very good to us. They raise mainly Dorset sheep for market lambs, but they also have a few fiber breeds like Romney and Merino and various crosses. They were used to only selling those few fleeces each year, but one year I asked them if they'd consider putting coats on their Dorset sheep and selling me the wool. They were more than happy to, since Dorset wool is not generally in demand and often they just have to throw it away!

County and state fairs are also a good place to make contacts with growers. Many people raise sheep as a hobby, or they have them as 4-H projects for their kids. Often these growers don't want to bother with marketing their fleeces because they only get a couple a year, so you can sometimes get good deals on decent fleeces. Fairs will also sometimes have shearing demonstrations during the event, and it's always worth asking what happens to the fleece once the demo is over!

Finally, the internet is your friend. You can find websites for local growers and contact them directly. You can also find fleeces being sold on eBay, Etsy, and other online venues. Before I had any local contacts, I bought several fleeces on eBay. Some of them were spectacular. Some were completely disappointing. It's difficult to purchase a fleece when you can't see and feel it first hand, but if you're willing to take a chance you can find some good sellers. Anymore, however, I don't buy a lot of fleeces online because the shipping costs can be prohibitive. A fleece from a larger breed can weigh 10-12 pounds (30-40% of which is the lanolin and dirt, which you'll just have to wash out once it arrives anyway), and that costs a lot to ship. But if none of your local growers raise your most favorite breed, you might have to resort to purchasing it online and having it shipped.

There you have it, that's where we get most of our wool! I say most, because a few fleeces we don't have to hunt for at all. The neighbor's Shetlands graciously donate some of their wool each year in return for the grass they eat in our back pasture. :)

Wednesday
Jul042012

Needle Felted Giraffe Waiting to Swim

Here's another figure we finished for the library display case. Remember when you were a kid and your mom told you not to go swimming after eating? I never understood why. What would happen? Would I turn into a gremlin? This giraffe doesn't know either, but his mom told him the same thing. He really wants to swim, he's got his yellow duckie inner tube and his swim fins on, but he has to wait at least a half an hour before he can go in the water. So, he sits. He's available for sale on Etsy!

Monday
Jul022012

Needle Felted Baby Cthulhu

Brian and I were asked to fill a glass display case at the local library with some of our needle felted works. In the studio there is a very large box full of felted body parts, half-finished projects, and random bits of wool. We dug the box out and sorted through it, choosing several items to polish off before the display was due to go up. The library is hosting a needle felting class soon (not one of ours, someone else is teaching it). I'm not exactly sure how the sleepy little town of Plainfield is likely to respond to this particular piece, but it's one that has been languishing in that box in the studio for over two years. It's about time we got it done. Allow me to present the Baby Cthulhu, complete with his own earth-shaped binky! He's for sale, too, see more pics over in his Etsy listing.

Saturday
Dec102011

Needle Felted Santa Cthulhu, not quite

Every year for the last few years, Brian and I have made some sort of large Santa Cthulhu project together for the holidays. I know, as Christmas traditions go, it's a little bit twisted. But hey, we have fun. You can see some of our previous Santa Cthulhus here, here, here, and here.

This year, we started another needle felted Santa Cthulhu. The plan was for him to be standing in front of a fireplace, putting icky things into little stockings. Other projects kept getting in the way, though. Then Brian broke his right hand in a tragic Man Cave accident, and his needle felting days were over (at least until they let him out of the cast). I realized I wasn't going to have time to finish the Santa by myself before Christmas this year, so we're just going to have to put him away until next year. This is as far as we got (that's his arm laying next to his feet). Stop by this time next year, and hopefully we'll have him finished!

Saturday
Oct012011

The Zombie Bunny Returns!

Brian and I revisited the zombie bunny idea we had back in 2009. He's back for sequel: The Return of Zombie Bunny! Thanks to astounding reproduction rates, the world's bunny population had returned to normal. What are the odds that another bunnypocalyse would occur? Doomed to an inevitable outcome, this is only one of billions of undead bunnies soon to be found in your neighborhood! For more photos, click through to my gallery. Whatever you do, don't go out into the garden unprepared!

edit: The Zombie Bunny is now for sale at The Odd Luminary.