Wednesday, 27 March 2013

All Covered Up

I have had great fun trying out my blending board and want to show it to friends, so the best way to transport it became something to be tackled.
The tines are damaging to skin 'rubbed up' the wrong way and they need to be protected from getting caught unawares and snagging fabrics. So after thinking about the best covering for the 'working' side of the board, and realising that leather would be too expensive, I have made a cover from something I had on hand.
I use this plastic coated fabric to cover my work bench when dyeing fibre and yarn and several printed patterns can be found at Dunelm.
I think that putting the board in and out of a complete bag could damage the tines and be a bit alkward so I decided to make a cover with open sides.
As you may be able to see from the pictures the fabric overlaps and fastens with velcro and I have cut hand holes, matching the board's, for easy carrying.
As it happens, the width of the fabric is just right, twice the length of the board plus sufficient for overlap.
I cut fabric twice the width of the board plus an inch for the seam.
I sewed a seam, right sides together, across the width of the folded fabric and up the length. Then trimmed the corners off the fabric before turning it rightside out. Once turned, I sewed the open end shut and sewed all the way around the cover half an inch from the edge. The sewn end became the front flap.
The cover runs from just below the hand hole on the wrong side of the board, around the board and over the front to the back. There is more overlap than needed but I didn't see the need to cut off the excess.
I sewed one part of the velcro near the edge of the flap, the other at the relevant place on the cover at the back of the board.
I marked the hand holes on the wrong side/inside of the cloth with a 'biro' pen. Then I sewed a rectangle around this shape about 3/16th away before cutting out the shape.
A friend from Beds Weavers Guild gave me some clear, zipable plastic bags and they are just right for my board, keel board, flicking tool, clamps and dowels. There is still room for some fibre which now, can't get caught on the tines of the board!
Having this board and seeing its use for blending and creating layers for felting, I bought felting needles and tool to hold them at the NEC last week - you can't go to a show like that without buying something! Now I am off to play!!!!!!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Latest 'Play thing'

It seems that this is not a new idea just one that has been updated and become the latest 'must have' for spinners and felters. Once I was introduced to the idea of a Blending Board I just had to see what could be achieved with one.
First, I had to get one. Looking on the internet I realised that they price was too much for me. Luckily, I have a wodworking husband and he had just bought himself tools at the local auction that meant making my own board was a possibility!
The result of our combined workmanship is what you see above. As soon as we told a friend about the project she said she would like one too. Great, it's always good when your problem solving and planning for a project means you can make use of your ideas more than once.
Yes, yes, I can hear you ask - What is it for? How good is it? - and yes it does look rather like a chopping board with additions. Well, I couldn't find a chopping board the right size and as more wood is needed to make the keel (at the top of the picture) then the wood had to be bought at B&Q - this time anyway.
Once the shape of the board and keel were fashioned, holes drilled for fixings and table clamps, the board was oiled - three coats - and left to dry before the carding cloth could be added.
This tool is used to blend fibres, either mixed types e.g. wool and silk, or several colours to make rolags to be spun into yarn or the 'sheet' of fibres once removed from the board can be felted.
So far, since finishing the board on Friday night, I have blended and spun together two oddments of fibre, brown Merino and space dyed Blue faced Leicester tops to create the sluby yarn on the left of the board.
Next, I tried blending the three yellows, middle top, and created the yellow roving below them. I removed the fibres from the board and rolled them lengthways, then drafted this large rolag to produce a fluffy soft length of tops to spin.
The grey rolags on the right were created by blending dark Jacobs tops with some white tops. I am spinning them at the moment with some other rolags that are stripped with the dark and light tops. Both of these are to be plied together. I will post the results later when the light is better and I can take better photos.
Before we made it my reservation about this tool was whether it would be easy to get the blended fibres off the board. When using a drum carder, it is always easier to remove the fibre once the carding cloth is full.
Happily, this is not the case with the blending board!
The other advantage is being able to work while watching the television without disturbing others with the noise, bump and grind, of a drum carder or hand carders. I also think that needle felters will be able to create small amounts of colour blends for their creative work.

I will take more photos and post more info as soon as possible.
I'm off to play some more!!!!!!!