Normally on Fridays, I spend all day doing fiber art of some variety and then post about what I did in the evening. But yesterday, that wasn’t the case. We had nearly a foot of snow here on Thursday and hubby’s “back is out” so he couldn’t do the usually plowing. So I ended up spending 3 1/2 hours on Friday morning (after having a lovely mammogram), shoveling and snow blowing. It was “great” fun. Then somehow, I had signed us up to participate in the “Mini Maker Faire” at the community college on Saturday to set up the yurt and demonstrate felting. So I spent the rest of Friday, getting all the yurt felt rolled up and packed as well as other felted items for demo. The we packed up all this stuff – 1 pick up truck and 2 SUV’s filled to the brim – and taking it over to the college Friday evening.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHere is a bad photo of the pile of stuff we brought in. You can see hubby in the background in a sort of bent over position. I didn’t let him lift anything and he got a little grumpy.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a better photo of some of the stuff we brought. This is about half of it.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s the yurt being set up with the ladder in the middle holding the center piece where the roof poles fit in.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHere is Paula helping to fit the poles in. She was very brave and climbed up on the ladder.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHere it is before we started adding the felt covering. I was planning on taking lots more photos but then the people started pouring into the faire. We got the yurt covered and then we started doing felting in a bag demos. I think we probably had 80-100 kids felt a “flower” in a bag. We had an assembly line going and just kept felting and felting and felting. Everyone loved the yurt and I can’t believe how many people don’t even know what wool is. Most often we heard “where does wool come from?” – I tell them a sheep and they looked at me like I had two heads. One lady was very disgruntled because “just think how many sheep were killed to make this yurt”. Paula explained that no sheep were killed, they were just sheared to harvest the wool. The lady didn’t believe her. But we did teach tons of people how to felt and showed them a variety of projects that can be made from felt. The faire lasted 5 hours and I would estimate 400-500 people came through in that time. Then we had to take the yurt down, pack it all back up and haul it home. Thanks Paula for all your help – I really appreciated it. Next time I mention that I think it would be a good idea to do this again, shoot me.

Wool Gathering

Today we drove to Florence which is about 3 hours from us to buy 200 pounds of wool for the yurt project. Once we got the wool on the trailer, we then took off for Hall, Montana to drop the wool off at the fiber mill. I’m just going to do a quick post tonight but I’ll do a more extensive post over on the Felting and Fiber Studio site next week.

 Here we are pulled up to Suzanne’s house in Florence to pick up the wool. It was all stored inside that white trailer.

 Here is one of her sheep. I’ve forgotten his name but most of the wool that I got for the yurt is that lovely brown color. I think he is a Targee. Suzanne informed me that this is Raven and he is a black welsh mountain sheep! Thanks Suzanne.

 Here I am in front of the wool mill with all the wool piled up in the back of the trailer. It was windy and cold but we got it all loaded inside and weighed. They are going to wash it and card it into 4″ batts for me.

This is the mill that I took the wool to in Hall, MT. Ed and Sue were very nice and Ed took the time to show me the big carding machine and a felting machine that he made himself. I’ll post about those soon. Dennis even took another video of the carding machine running. It took us 12 hours from when we left home until we got back again. We should be able to go back and pick up the carded batts by mid May. I can hardly wait to get them back.

Yurt Samples

 I’m off to my next Level 2 Stitch class tomorrow but I thought I’d tell you about what I’ve been doing in regards to Yurt planning. I have gotten several books from the library that talk about yurts. None of them suggest you use felt for the covering. They all suggest you use canvas but that pretty much defeats the whole purpose of making a yurt in my opinion. So I’m trying to figure out how much wool I will need. I thought it would be possible to felt the covering with raw wool and skip the washing and carding parts. So I made a sample to test this theory. This is the pile of wool before felting. It is 18″ x 18″ after layout and is 5 layers of wool thick.

I thought I had a photo of the finished sample but somehow it isn’t on the camera. Even though it did felt, I still had holes in the finished felt even though it was five layers thick at the start. The greasy wool seemed to slide around a lot more than clean, carded wool. It didn’t shrink as much as expected either. I think that was due to the sliding around problem. I could definitely make the yurt covering with raw wool but I think it will take less wool and be easier to felt with clean, carded wool. I have found a Montana source for raw wool at $3.07 per pound. I have also found a mill in Canada that will process the wool into batts for $7.00 per pound. That price is for finished weight so you don’t have to pay the full raw wool weight which is generally 40-50% lanolin. I think I’m going to need 200 pounds of raw wool to end up with 120 pounds of wool batt. I did speak to Ankaret from Canada (Thanks Ann for the connection) who is in the process of making a 10 foot yurt. She was very helpful about how much wool they used and the process they went through. We are planning on making an 18 foot yurt. No guts, no glory!

My 400th post is coming soon and I’m planning on a give away. So keep you eyes peeled in the next couple of weeks to win a variety of fibers and threads.