Archive for the ‘Fiber’ Category

Plantel Plant Trays and Zenport Ring Knife

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

I recently attended the Santa Barbara County Fair in Santa Maria, CA. When I wandered through the horticulture displays I saw a sign for free plants. Plantel Nurseries was giving away vegetable plants. I snagged a few plants-kale, chard, lettuces, and celery.

When I returned home I immediately planted them in pots. While I was planting them I got to thinking about the Plantel plant trays. The cells were smaller than those of the typical plant trays available at the neighborhood nurseries.

I visited the Plantel website and was directed to Peaceful Valley Farm Supply.

Plantel Plant Trays

While I was visiting their site I found the Zenport Ring Knife.

Zenport Ring Knife

This is an image of the Zenport Ring Knife from the Peaceful Valley Farm Supply website.

I thought that it might be useful when I am working on a project that has loads of binding and cutting of yarn and cord. I wasn’t sure what size to order. One reviewer stated the ring runs small. I ordered two sizes, both were too large. So, I bound them a bit.

Zenport Ring Knife

The top ring knife is bound with a bamboo yarn and will be used for clean projects.
The bottom is bound with waxed linen cord for ease of cleaning and will be used for gardening.
Wrapping the ring makes the tool more comfortable to wear.

I am not recommending that anyone else should attempt this at home.
Using tools inappropriately can be dangerous.

Zenport Ring Knife

I attempted to use the knife ring as instructed, but it was awkward and difficult.

Zenport Ring Knife

I flipped the ring knife and it was easy peasy cutting. I had better control of the blade.

Even though it appears that the blade can come in contact with my hand, it does not.

I am not recommending that anyone else should attempt this at home.
Using tools inappropriately can be dangerous.


More Ants on Flowers

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Tadpole

Ants on a Pandorea jasminoides Flower

Noticed a few pods, so I snagged them.

Pods

Previous posts on Pandorea jasminoides pods use as an art material–

Accustomed to Being Invisible

Invisible Stitched

Changes

Changes


Casemaking Again

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

I am in the process of making a trellis for the courtyard wall. It will be similar to the trellis on the wall that wraps around the corner. I needed a piece of 1″ fence to use as a support for the vertical bamboo pieces.

Trellis

I found a piece of fence that was to have been used in a project with cotton twine. The cut bits are sharp unless they are ground down, so the edge was taped until a border was attached.

Taped Fence

When I flipped the piece of fence over, I noticed casemaking moths attached to the tape. For insects that are supposed to be particularly fond of animal fiber, they sure seem to show up on loads of surfaces.

Casemaking

Not sure if they are alive. Seeing them did remind me to try placing items that may have been exposed to casemaking moths in the trunk of the car. An entomologist that I met while hiking, mentioned exposing the casemaking moths to the heat in the car over a period of a couple of weeks. He seemed to think the exposure should kill all forms of the casemaking cycle.

I do not like killing anything, but the casemaking moths can’t seem to stay outside, away from my studio work and sweaters. Frustrating, but not the bane of my existence.


Bound Bulb Leaves

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

The large draping leaves of a bulb that isn’t quite done yet, were shading some new additions to the garden. Since binding is a component of my art work, thought I would give it a go in the garden. Plan to move the bulb with the bound leaves to a different location.

Bound Bulb Leaves

This is the same type of bulb that was recently relocated from another garden space.

Bound Leaves

This is another type of bulb with braided and bound leaves.

Bound Leaves

I used jute cord for binding knowing that the leaves would eventually turn shades of golden brown.

I am liking the bound verticals in the garden. If several were together it would be more interesting. When I began converting the garden to larger drought tolerant plants, the bulb was blooming. It had numerous white flowers. Lovely flowers, so didn’t want to move it.


Wallpieces, Concrete Columns, Flax

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

While archiving project working files for the garden wallpieces, I thought it would be a good idea to have the layout image with the finished wallpiece.

Wallpiece

Wallpiece

Wallpiece

Wallpiece

I chose to switch the colors on this wallpiece. When the two are viewed together on the wall, I wanted the dark brown rope of the embroidery stitches to act as a frame.

Our the weekend our neighbor gave use two solid concrete columns.

Concrete Columns

The columns are 29″ x 8.5″ x 9″

Leaning toward building a faux fireplace as the focal on the back wall of the courtyard between the two wallpieces. Need to relocate the Cordia boissieri, Texas Wild Olive. The location isn’t sunny enough.

Wallpieces

Need to stain the columns and perhaps even break off some hunks to give the visual feel of age. The mantel will be a couple of thick slabs of wood. Inside the “fireplace” will be snake plants to stand in for the flames of a fire.

Can’t wait to get started, but first I must finish building a rock garden. Over the weekend I removed the plants and bulbs. Today I started removing the soil and locating the irrigation system.


Flax Seed

Harvested Flax Seed


2017 Anniversary Piece

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Each year I make a piece for our wedding anniversary. This year marks 34 years. Crazy, where does the time go???

This year I used hardware cloth and self striping sock yarn to make 35 squares, one for each year. Each square has the same background stitch of gray yarn. The dots of the code are in orange and the dashes are in yellow.

2017 Anniversary

Left side was original design.
Right side is the stitch layout used for each square.

2017 Anniversary

Detail of 2017 square and how the piece is attached.

2017 Anniversary

Square for each year of anniversary bound together.

2017 Anniversary

Completed and framed piece.
Chalkboard paint and purple chalk application for an aged appearance.

Usually I make my own frames. This year I ran out of time so I purchased a frame. The frame is too deep for the piece. Also, it was difficult painting the frame. The glass was fixed in place and could not be removed. I taped it up, but the internal frame that holds the glass in place was white and could not be painted. And it could be seen. I used a black permanent marker on the glass. Definitely not good craftsmanship.

Making a frame with the proper depth will be necessary.

Placing pieces in frames, rather than directly on the wall changes how the pieces are view. I like the idea that you can see and touch the pieces, but a bit of protection might be in order. It has been difficult keeping pieces free of dust and in some cases insects.

Framing pieces, if done properly, just might give the feel of artifact. Need to think on it and make some frames for some of my work in progress. Live with them for a time and then decide if framing is a good for the work.


Courtyard Wallpieces

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Over the weekend I made two wallpieces for my courtyard garden. The wallpieces will break up the wall while acting as trellises for vines.

Courtyard Wallpiece

Courtyard Wallpiece

The wall has a step design that makes it difficult for spacing. I tried equal spacing between and around the wallpieces, but the edge of the right wallpiece hit a step in the wall that visually wasn’t working.

I moved the pieces to 3 feet from the corners. Still didn’t feel right.

Courtyard Wallpiece

I am leaning toward placing the wallpieces centered with the wall steps. In the center of the wall is a Cordia boissieri (Texas Wild Olive).

Cordia boissieri

It is small now, but should eventually fill the space.

Courtyard Wallpiece

The wallieces were made using simple Bargello embroidery stitches. Materials List–1 inch fence (41″ x 31″), coconut fiber rope, and sisal rope.

Courtyard Wallpiece Rope

Safety when working with fiber–wear a respirator, gloves, and a long sleeve shirt.

Coconut fiber is beautiful, but it is extremely prickly, dusty, and dirty. This is part of what I swept up.

Courtyard Wallpiece Dust


Again With the Casemaking Moths and Possible Easy Solution

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

I am in the process of cleaning and clearing my studio in order to have enough space to begin a new project.

While cleaning my work bench I found casemaking moths.

Casemaking Moths

Casemaking moth in a small bowl of cold wax test pieces.
The casemaking moth is in the center on the penny bound with wool.

Finding the casemaking moths brought to mind a recent conversation I had with an entomologist. I specifically asked him how to address the casemaking moth problem.

He said that an easy solution was to put my work in the my car. What would that accomplish? One of the ways to kill casemaking moths is to use heat. He also recommended tossing the stuff in a plastic bin with a few moth balls. I don’t recall which moth balls he recommended, naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. I would prefer not using chemicals.

But, it never occurred to me to use the heat in the car. That would be an easy fix, especially since most of my work will not fit in the freezer.

He mentioned that his wife had success killing an insect infestation in the wood horn of a recently purchased used saddle.

Previous Posts

It is Not a Pod…

What Happened?

Casemaking Moth Damage

Casemaking Moth Damage–Alpaca yarn embroidered on harware cloth.

Tinea pellionella

A Perfect Environment for Moths


Would the interior temperature in a car kill moths?

American Veterinary Medical Association

AVMA Temp Chart

The AVMA credits–Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University,
for creating the estimated vehicle interior temperature chart.

Alternatives, A Washington Toxics Coalition Fact Sheet, Clothing Moths-Prevention and Control by Jennie Goldberg states–“High heat (in excess of 99”F for one week) will destroy all life stages of the moth.”

It appears that the interior temperature of a car will kill moths.
Need to perform some tests to find out for sure.


It is Not a Pod…

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

I am currently staying with my sister’s family in an old farm house in Maryland. When I took my morning walk, I noticed something odd. The fir trees at the edge of the property had what appeared on first glance, some type of pods.

Fir Trees

When I took a closer look it became clear that the “pods” were made by insects.

Bagworm Pods

Bagworm Pods

Bagworm Pods

So, who made them?

According to the Penn State Dept of Entomology it is the work of the bagworm moth,Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis (Haworth).

“This insect is most easily recognized by the case or bag that the caterpillar forms and suspends from ornamental plants on which it feeds. The bag is made of silk and bits of host foliage. These materials are interwoven to disguise and add strength to the case.”


It is unfortunate that the bagworm is destructive. The structures that they build are so beautiful. Apparently, it would be a good idea to remove them from the trees to prevent an infestation.

The description of the bag incorporating the surrounding material brings to mind Tinea pellionella, commonly known as casemaking moths.

Casemaking moths are very small. If you are not looking for them or not aware that they even exist. They can be mistaken for a bit of lint.

They are definitely not something I want in my home and studio since I am using natural fiber in my work.

Casemaking Moth Damage

Casemaking moths ate a large portion of the fiber stitchwork of a work in progress.

Casemaking Moth

The photo was taken with my iPad. It is difficult to capture something that is so small,
but it is an example of a red case.

Casemaking Moth

Casemaking moth that was found inside one of my garden clogs.


Living With Bunnies and Birds

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

When you share a home with bunnies and birds, you must make loads of compromises. Bunny proofing means protecting or removing anything that can be chewed that is up to approximately 3 feet high, unless the bunny likes to climb on furniture. One of our bunnies runs laps on the back of the sofa.

It is incredibly difficult to bird proof a room. Removal of plants and anything that they might want to tear and shred is a given. But don’t forget about the thin iPad/iPhone power cables. They love to chew them.

One of my See a Penny pieces has been hanging on the dining room wall since I completed it in March of 2013.

See A Penny

Completed See a Penny piece prior to hanging in dining room.

Today I found one of the pieces of mirror on the floor. When I replaced the mirror, I noticed damage–

See A Penny Damage

and certain the culprit is either The Bird or Bob.

The Bird

The Bird

Bob

Bob

They both love landing and perching on the piece, but I didn’t realize chewing was involved.

I could attempt giving the birds a misting with water as a deterrent. Probably would not be a deterrent for Bob because he frequently takes a bath in Big Baby’s water dish.

Big Baby

Big Baby

Haven’t decided if I will be moving the wallpiece to a different location. Repair will be time consuming, but doable. The squares are constructed of roofing felt, tree wrap, mirror, hardware cloth, and cotton twine.

See A Penny

See a Penny, Squares Used for Code–Spacer, Dot, Dash

Slipping in a new square of tree wrap won’t work. They squares were perforated for ease of binding with the cotton twine.

So, what is the solution to prevent Elliot from chewing my shoe laces while I am wearing the shoes?

Laces

Repaired laces with embroidery floss.

Elliot

Elliot in the studio.