nickelbee art studio and supplies

Kids Classes - Painting with Wool June 22 2016, 0 Comments

It has been sometime since I have posted anything on this blog.  I know, shame on me.  I have been busy as I am sure all of you have been. I recently taught a few classes at Leap Art Supplies and Gallery in Vernon, BC.  I had a group of 6-9 year olds and 10 - 14 year olds.  We did a "Painting with Wool" class and I chose Starry Nights for the older kids and a farm picture for the younger ones for them to interpret and create their own picture as they see it in their eyes.  We started off with a prefelt first that was 12 X 12. I then had the kids  lay out the wool and needle felt it in a bit so when the wet felted it, the fibres wouldn't move around so much.  We then placed the 12 X 12 piece in a large ziplock, added some ward water with  Olive Oil Soap and felted away.  Each students interpretation was so different and so amazing.  These classes were so much fun and I truly enjoyed myself and seeing the kids create! [gallery ids="258,259,260,261,262,263,264,265" type="rectangular"]

Felted Bags and more bags January 26 2016, 0 Comments

Now that Christmas is over and all the hustle and bustle is done, I can concentrate and getting some product made for summer shows and even fall shows. I have found a new love for the Felted Bag.  When I started Felting, I of course stated with felting scarves.   As I have grown and so has my love of the medium, I find myself being drawn more to felting purses and bags.  The process is definitely more time consuming gut more rewarding.  I love making purses with leather straps as I find it makes them a little richer in texture.  You can find my bags on my website at www.nickelbeeart.com [gallery ids="234,235,236,237,232,233" type="rectangular"] [gallery ids="239,240" type="rectangular"]

Receive $50 in Free Fibre when you buy a Table Carder January 14 2016, 0 Comments

If you are as much of a fibre enthusiast as I am, you will love this Table Carder.  It's great for Felters or Spinners.  It is easy to use and comes in 72 point or 108 point.  Which ever one you go with you are going to love to use it.  I use it to make rolags vs. roving or a batt.  But if you did want to use it to make rolags, you will need a Diz. Table Carder

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for the Felter, Spinner or Knitter in your life December 09 2015, 0 Comments

Holiday Ad I know that as a Felter and Spinner, sometimes it is hard for people to buy for me because they just don't know what kind of Fibre I like or what kind of tools and equipment I actually have and what brand I prefer to use.  Here is a list of the Top 10 Christmas Presents to get for the Fibre enthusiast in your life.  Prices range from $6 - $300.  There is something in this list for everyone and on every budget.
  1. Wooden Fulling Block - Felting blocks are a felters best friend. These are to be used once your project has been felted.  However, I have used them at the beginning of a project as long as I have a piece of plastic on top and water and soap to let the fulling block move easier. The fulling block speeds up the process.
  2. Olive Oil Soap - Olive Oil Soap is the best soap to use for felting, hands down.  It doesn't get to bubbly and rinses fully out of your felted project.  This is important for the longevity of the felt.  No felter should be without Olive Oil Soap.
  3. Drop Spindle - Drop Spindles are great for the beginner spinner or even felter.  I bought my first drop spindle so I could make fun yarn to use on my wet felted scarves.
  4. Blending Board - These are also great for both Felter and Spinner.  Blending boards allow you to blend fibres as evenly as you want for making wet felted scarves or making rolags to spin with.
  5. Table Carder - Table Carders are a fairly new product but are great for blending fibres to make rovings or rolags using many diffeent tyoes of wool, silk and many other fibres.
  6. Needle Felting Kits - Needle Felting kits are a great way for beginners to get into the art of Needle Felting.  They include all of the required tools and come in many different varieties.
  7. Spinner/Felter Sampler Pack - If you are unsure of colors that you would like or would just like a variety of smaller amounts, the sampler pack is perfect for you.  Choose from a few different color choices.
  8. Hand Dyed Yarn - Nothing compared to some beautiful hand dyed Merino yarn.  Knitting with Merino is amazing and buying hand dyed is even better.  Buy local.
  9. Dyeing Kit for Protein Fibre and Yarn - These kits are great for someone who wants to get started with dyeing their own fibre to knit with or spin and felt with. The nice thing about this kit is that you get to pick your own Acid Dye colors
  10. Gift Certificates - Not sure which of the above items your loved one might want?  Get them a Gift Certificate.  Then they can pick their own and decide when they are ready.  You never know, you might already have a great stash of fibre.
 

Nickelbee Art Studio and Supplies to Carry Golden Fleece Carders' products November 26 2015, 0 Comments

I am very excited to announce that I will be the Canadian Distributor and all Golden Fleece Carders's products.  I will carry a selection of Blending Board Cloth, Blending Boards, Hand Carders and Cloth and Table Carders. Their products are amazing and very well priced.  Go to our facebook page and like this post for a chance to win a Blending Board and Fibre! 01013-2Blending Board Cloth

Needle Felted Pumpkin Tutorial and Kit October 14 2015, 0 Comments

What a great fall it has been so far.  I have taught two needle Felted Pumpkin classes at the Vernon Community Art Centre and A Twist of Yarn in Vernon, BC. Felted Pumpkin Here is a mini tutorial on how I make my Needle Felted Pumpkins.
  1. I first start off with making a ball/cylinder shape for the core of the pumpkins. I use about 30 grams of wool.  There is no right or wrong shape here because not all pumpkins are created equal.  The shape though will depend on how many tubes you will need to make for the sides.  If your core is too large for the amount of tubes, needle felt the core more.  For the core, I use the Maori Natural White.
  2. Take your Pumpkin Orange Maori and make approximately 7 tubes by rolling the batt.  I use 60 grams.  This is approximate.  The more you needle felt, the smaller and tighter the tubes will be.  I like to make one and measure it to make sure it is not too long or short to go around my core.  Make sure that you have some extra incase you need to make another tube.
  3. There are two ways to attach the tubes.  You can attach them all to the top at once and then attach them all to the bottom at once, or you can attach them individually.  Don't worry if you see each line of where the tubes where attached.  Once the Green Maori Wool is attached at the top, you won't see the lines from the tubes. IMG_0005          IMG_0003
  4. Start to needle felt the tubes into the core of the Pumpkin around all edges of the tubes.  If you see some white showing, press down on the tube to make it wider and cover the white and needle felt it down.       IMG_0008          IMG_0006
  5. The following pictures are of a Pumpkin that the class did and added a Carded Batt to give it more color variation.                                   IMG_0012                                                                 IMG_0017
  6. Take some Green Maori Wool and add it to the top of the Pumpkin.  I use about 12 grams for the stem and the green part that goes on top.  Take a piece of green batt and roll it up.  Needle felt the end and needle felt it on top.  If you are wanting a more detailed Tutorial and Kit, Check out Needle Felted Pumpkin Kit on Nickelbee Art Studio and Supplies. These Needle Felting kits are great for Christmas presents or just a nice project to take on the go.

FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER $75 September 17 2015, 0 Comments

Get your shopping done now for those Christmas Projects.  Some new colors have been added to the 21 Micron Count Merino Roving. Merino is great for spinning, fetling and other mixed media art pieces.  It is extremely soft and very durable once felted.   21 Micron Merino Top IMG_0750

Hand Spun Art Yarn with Hand Dyed Merino Roving and Teeswater Locks April 08 2015, 0 Comments

I have recently joined the Kalamalka Weavers and Spinners guild and attended my first spin in.  It was fabulous and I met some great woman and other vendors.  My friend Nikki from Nickerbockers http://www.nickerbockers.blogspot.ca/ was there spinning away and purchased some of my hand dyed BFL and some lovely hand dyed Teeswater locks http://www.nickelbeeart.com/collections/teeswater-locks/products/emerald-isle-hand-dyed-teeswater-locks.  I dye all of my Merino Roving, Teeswater and Mohair with Acid Dyes.  They come in a great selection of colors.  http://www.nickelbeeart.com/collections/jacquard-acid-dyes I took a picture of it because it is so amazing.   She added some nice sparkle to it to give it a little pop.  There is so much that you can do with even neutral colors to give them a nice bright pop.  I will be adding more teeswater locks soon. You can find them here. http://www.nickelbeeart.com/collections/teeswater-locks 20150326_092954            20150326_092947_resized

Blending Board Tutorial for making Rolags for felting and spinning March 13 2015, 0 Comments

I first was introduced to a blending board sometime back and was instantly hooked.  Then I saw the price.  My jaw dropped and I said to myself "I can make that".  So I did.  There are several companies that name blending boards and the prices can range from $100.00 to $200.00.  I made mine for $70.00.  Mine does not have a keel but you can add one if you like but I don't feel I need one.  Adding a keel adds a bit more money and also skill in cutting the shape, etc.  I love using different types of fibres.  Merino Roving is the best to use.  Check out the link here for lots of colors Merino Roving for Felting and Spinning. You can also use other types of fibres like Bamboo, Banana Fibre, Banana Silk and more.   http://www.nickelbeeart.com/collections/wool-other First you will need to get yourself a cheap wooden cutting board.  I bought mine from Ikea for $10.00.  Secondly you will need to get a Blending board cloth which of course I sell at http://www.nickelbeeart.com/collections/felting-tools-and-equipment/products/blending-board-cloth You have a choice between 3 different "points per inch" sizes.  48 points is used for courser fibre, 72 points is used for regular fibre like Merino and 108 point is used for very fine and exotic fibres.  You will also require a staple gun.  DO NOT EVER GLUE YOUR CLOTH TO THE SURFACE.  This will make it stiff and WILL break your fibres as you are drafting the fibres and also laying the fibres out. I purchased a dowling and cut it a few inches longer then the blending board cloth diagonally and also purchased a paint brush or some kind of stiffer brush to pack your fibres down. Once you have all of those things, make sure that your blending board cloth is straight on the cutting board and that the points are faced the right way. Staple away.  It is easier if you have two people doing this and holding the cloth tight so there are no ripples. Have fun with your blending board.  The blending you can do is so addicting. Blending Board       Rolags on the blending board       Rolag and drop spindle       Drop spindle with rolag

Is your wool causing you to be Itchy? January 19 2015, 0 Comments

If I had a quarter for every time I heard "I can't wear that, I am allergic to wool", I would be rich.  Most people don't understand that only a very small percentage of the world, 6 % to be precise, are actually allergic to wool.  The others, just have a skin irritation to wool.  And as us fibre people know, this certainly does not relate to Merino, one of the lowest and softest of the wools.  This is because of it's low micron count.  Most wool clothing is very course and pricks the skin and bugs us so people assume they are allergic.  A lot of ski clothing is made of Merino wool and you would never even know it is wool. Some people who have wool sensitivity are also sensitive to other rough fabrics. The quality and roughness of the wool will depend on how it was combed and spun. Wool combing removes shorter and weaker wool fibers. If this is not done properly, the weaker fibers will stick out of the finished product. These are the tiny strands that poke you, causing your skin to get irritated. Dye and other cleaning materials - making wool products is a long and tedious process. There are many chemicals used to remove the oils, clean the wool and add coloring to it. Some people complain about wool allergies, not knowing that their allergic reactions were caused by the chemicals used to process wool. Both synthetic and organic dyes may trigger allergic reactions. Contrary to what most manufacturers say, natural dyes are not 100% safe.  Sometimes, if the wool is not processed well, there can still be vegetable matter in there that may cause an allergy.  And for others, it is the lanolin in the wool that they are sensitive too.  If you are allergic to lanolin, you will most likely not get itchy, but will actually get a rash. To find out if you're just sensitive to wool, try wearing a layer of clothing between your skin and the wool clothing. If you don't experience any allergic symptoms, it's clear that you only have a sensitivity. This also means that you can continue using products that contain wool, as long as it doesn't come into direct contact with your skin.  If you had an allergic reaction, even if the wool didn't come in direct contact with your skin, you should go to the doctor to have a patch test done. They will conduct a test using wool alcohols to determine if you really have wool allergy. Teeswater Locks

Ceramic Felting Stone October 08 2014, 0 Comments

These felting stones are great for wet felting any type of project. I use them when I make scarves, vessels and bags. They are great for detail felting where you may not want to felt the whole project but just sections. If I have a piece that I am working on that has lots of detail and I don't want the detail to get distorted with the rolling process, this is my go to tool.  It works fast and you can really apply great pressure to get the wool felted. I also like to use this in my resist felting where I can get right in the middle of a vessel or bag.IMG_9100 IMG_9102 They are made of ceramic and are very durable. But do not drop on the ground as they may break. I have dropped mine a couple of times and has not broke yet, but that is on linoleum.  I'm pretty sure if it hits tile, it's breaking. As these are handmade by myself, they vary in size a bit but are roughly 5 inches X 3.5 inches. The green ones are a bit smaller at 4.25 X 3.25 inches They can be purchased on Etsy at   https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/206181035/ceramic-felting-stone?  or my website at http://www.nickelbeeart.com/collections/wet-felting-tools

Felted Pumpkin Class September 16 2014, 0 Comments

Come and enjoy some local cheeses and a glass of wine while learning how to needle felt.  In this class, students will learn how to needle felt a pumpkin (measures about 5 inches in diameter) using merino wool and other types of wool.  Students will also get the opportunity to use the drum carder and make their own colors for their pumpkin. This class will be offered in my studio located in Vernon, BC.  http://www.nickelbeeart.com/collections/classes/products/felted-pumpkin Date: September 26th, 2014 Time: 6:30pm till 8:30pm or so Location: 464 Fortress Crescent Felted Pumpkin

Hand Painting Roving July 28 2014, 0 Comments

I actually had some time on the weekend to do some dying. The roving that I dyed was a Wool Mohair Blend. I don't do a lot of hand painting of roving or yarn, but I think I am going to be doing a lot more after this go around.

Undyed roving for dying with acid dyes

I have got smarter in my dying career and have learnt by trial and error. If you try something and it doesn't work, try something else. Artists are constantly trying new things. That's what makes us artistic.

There are two ways that I do my painting. One is rinsing the roving in a warm citric acid/water bath in the sink prior to laying it out, and the other is spraying it with a citric acid/water mixture as it is layed out on the plastic. Either way works well depending on the fibre. If I am working with Merino that tends to felt easier, I put the roving in the sink and don't agitate it. Leave it in there for 20 minutes or so, drain the water and lay it out on the plastic that is on your table.

Forget to put an acid agent in the water.....no problem. I have done that lots. If you mix a stronger solution of either the vinegar or citric acid and stray it on the roving, it works just fine as well. I have actually sprayed it on after I have put the acid dyes on and it has changed the black to a brown. Not sure why. So just watch out for that.

I find if I mix all my dyes ahead of time in jars, then I don't have too much going on at once. I write my recipe on a card and place it on the jar so I know what the formula was for that particular colorway. I make more then I need so it is there.

I am now using a Chinese steamer in a steam bath for the protein fibres. I have found that using a pot with a metal rack in it still is too close to the bottom and the heat has melted the plastic that the roving is in. no good! Using the steamers keeps it out of direct heat from the burner and is a more even heat source. I leave it in for about 45min to 1hr depending on what else I have on the go. lol! Before I leave it to cool in the sink, I usually rinse off a little corner to make sure that the fibre has exhausted the acid dyes. This means that there is no dye left to rinse out basically. There are times where I literally have no color that comes out when rinsed and other times there is a bit that rinses out. Cool it till it is medium hot and rinse it with water that is the same temperature. This will help to not felt the fibre. Leave it in the sink till it has no water left, or grab it wet and hang it somewhere it can drop dry.

Chinese steamer

Roving in Steamer

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I use some heat resistant gloves that work great. Then I can touch the fibre and also grab the steamers from the pot and not get burned. They also protect my hands from turning green for the next week. They are latex free, have a long cuff so the steam won't burn your arm and are puncture resistant and also stain resistant. The gloves wash up great in the washing machine. You can find them at www.nickelbeeart.com.

Heat Resistant Gloves

Once the fibre is dry, I try to separate it a bit to fluff it up and voila, beautiful one of a kind hand dyed fibre.

hand dyed roving for spinning and felting

If you have any questions, send me an e-mail. I would be happy to answer any questions that you have.


Hand Spun June 10 2014, 0 Comments

I was first introduced to spinning by my good friend Nikki Webber of Nickerbockers. She is an amazing spinner among other things! Check out her blog at http://nickerbockers.blogspot.ca/ Her great use of color and fibre makes her spinning so tantalizing to the eye. Here is a picture of some yarn Nikki sold at Creative Chaos to Janette Forest Creations. DSC02501 I first used this spinner to make my own yarn. I was not going to buy a spinning wheel because my husband would kill me and I'm not sure how I would have got that in the house without him seeing it. lol! Mayan Spinner 1 Nikki suggested I try the Drop Spindle. It really scared me at first but the Drop Spindles that I sell are so easy to use that I can't put it down. My husband asked me the other day if I was actually selling the hand spun that I was making on the Drop Spindle. I said "No Way". I am keeping this for embellishments on my felting. I am not much of a knitter but can knit. But I do love to spin and use it for the tassels on the scarves or right in the scarf, on bowls and whatever else I can fin a use for. I love how the colors come out and how easy it is for anyone to use. Whether it is commercial roving like this example or hand dyed roving the results are so exciting. On this hand spun "over the Rainbow", I used a variety of very bright colors with a very fine black hand spun for plying. As you can see from the pictures, the black yarn was almost as tiny as a piece of thread in some spots. It is hard to work with, but so fun. I used a box to put the ball sin for plying but they kept getting tangled, so I did split them up. 2 ply hand spun Hand Spun Merino Roving with black 2 ply Hand Spun Merino with Black Handspun Merino Yarn small ply with merino roving If you are interested in learning how to drop spindle, drop me a line and I will send you instructions on how to get started.

Felting with the kids May 26 2014, 0 Comments

I was very lucky to be asked to do some demos at Fibre Festival at A Twist of Yarn in Vernon. I did two kids felting workshops, a dying demo and a Nuno Felting demo. Camella had sheep there that were being sheered and then the fibre was washed, dried and carded. It was a great time and was very well attended. I am looking forward to next year and hopefully being a part of the festivities. The following are some pictures of the work from the kids. They were so fun to work with and have such great imaginations. I love working with the kiddies! 20140524_151032_resized 20140524_123541_resized 20140524_123533_resized 20140524_123447

Fiber Festival May 20 2014, 0 Comments

I have been asked by A Twist of Yarn in Vernon, BC to do some demonstrations this weekend at their Fibre Festival on May 24th, 2014.  They will be having Sheep Shearing demonstrations through out the day and I will be doing a Nuno Felting, Kids Felting and Dying demonstrations which will include a Solar Dying demo and crock pot demo.  Come on down and join us!Image


20lbs of Natural Roving soon to be beautiful hand dyed roving May 13 2014, 0 Comments

I love dying roving of any kind.  Merino, merino/silk blend, corriedale......anything white must have color. lol!  I love experimenting and seeing what is going to come out.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it does not.  Even the ones that don't work out, somehow are still spinable.  And I do just that.

 

I use different ways to dye.  Solar dying which is using the sun light to heat your dye bath, dying in a dye pot on the stove and also dying using a crock pot.  I find that you get the most even heat with the crock pot.  Unless you are solar dying.  With crock pot dying, you will get a different look then if you were to hand paint your roving.  I also find it impossible to crock pot my yarn when I am dying with different colors.

 

I like to use Jacquard Acid dyes and althought they may be more expensive then others on the market, they are THE BEST.  The color is extremely brilliant and colorfast.  I find I get a great uniform color throughout the roving or yarn when submerging the whole thing.  Stay tuned for some step by steps on dying and some tricks that I use.     Image