Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Felt Learning During the Pandemic - Translating Foreign Language Videos

Like many people, I have spent the time since March, 2020, trying to improve my feltmaking skills. I used this opportunity to take many online classes- PDF tutorials, Streaming videos, Face to Face classes on Zoom, etc. I started the time very interested in learning more about various techniques being used by the Russian speaking feltmakers. 

For many years, I have looked at the Russian language videos on YouTube. Since I don't speak Russian, I would usually just turn the sound off and pretend I was in the room with the instructor. I could see wheat the person was doing, but I couldn't understand the language and there was no translator in the room with us. This has happened to me several times during my felting career, so it doesn't really bother me. If there was something written in the video that I couldn't understand, I would pull up a Cyrillic keyboard on line and painstakingly type out each word so I could run it through Google Translator. This worked, but it was very slow!! 

I was talking recently about general feltmaking things with a new friend on Face book. (Norm Johnson) He mentioned the funny translations he got from reading the translated captions on the YouTube videos. DING!!!! That shot off a bell in my head. I thought to myself, you can translate the captions on YouTube!!!! That would save a lot of time for me! 

So here is how to do it. (I am working with one of Katerina Korshun's videos in Russian, in this explanation. She is showing how to soften a hank of stiff, hard to pull viscose. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g298Irf8m0)

UPDATE 1/12/2021: These instructions will work if you are using www.youtube.com.  If you are using an app, they will probably not work. I tried using a YouTube app on my iPad and I couldn't get to the English version of the Closed Captions. But when I used the actual program written by YouTube, the instructions worked. 

Translating YouTube Videos

1. Open the YouTube video you want to translate. 

2.Select the CC (Closed Captions) option.

3. When the closed captions are turned on, click on settings.

4. Click on the right facing arrow beside the words Russian (auto-generated)

5. Click on the option - Auto-translate


6. Scroll down the list to find the language you need it translated into. Click on that option.

7. Enjoy the computers translation. It can be comical, but it is still better than nothing. 

Thank you Norm Johnson for turning me on to this neat trick. Enjoy the many wonderful YouTube videos that are available everyone! Happy Holidays! 

Monday, March 4, 2019

Inclusions with Margilan Silk

An inclusion is made when you capture an object - possibly one that wouldn't felt onto the wool - between the wool layer when making the felt and the cloth layer.  While inclusions can be captured by opaque cloth, if the cloth is sheer, you can see the inclusion through it.  At the end of my last blog, I showed this picture of a collar I made for an article I wrote on collars with inclusions and sheer cloth. Felt Magazine, Issue 16, 2016 December, titled “Collar Variations”. (https://www.artwearpublications.com.au/product/back-issue-felt-16/))

The felt collar with inclusions between the black merino and the white silk gauze done for the article in ArtWear's Felt Magazine

This is a side view diagram of the wool fiber base, with an inclusion on it, covered by sheer fabric. The wool fiber grabs the fabric and holds it so that it captures the inclusion. 

NOTE: The fabric doesn't have to be sheer to make an inclusion. Here is a patterned silk habotai with a piece of hard felt underneath it for an inclusion.The pattern over the hard felt shape did not distort while the pattern over the wool fiber background distorted.

For this new group of experiments however, I did want to use the sheer Margilan silk. This is part of my explorations of the silk from the city of Margilan, Uzbekistan. I used the type of Margilan silk called sparse and some of the rarefied. For clarification of the meaning of these words, see my posts from Feb. 18 and 21, 2019. https://sparkfiberarts.blogspot.com/2019/02/some-more-information-on-margilan-silk.html  https://sparkfiberarts.blogspot.com/2019/02/marvelous-margilan-silk-that-is.html 

Here is a sample with various inclusions: 

Layout Diagram
Layer one: Margilan Gauze. (Unseen in this photo)
Layer two: Chevron layout with 19 micron merino top. (Beige color.)
Layer three: Inclusions (prefelt shapes, yarns, lines of viscose fiber, felt balls cut in half.)(The prefelt inclusions are white, pale pink, and orange.)
Layer four: Margilan Sparse and Rarified Silk (One half in beige and the other half greyed rose. and they are overlapped in the middle.)
Layer five: Decorated prefelts (small triangles). 

Finished Sampler
 Detail of rose colored Margilan.
 Detail 2 of rose colored Margilan.
 Detail of beige colored Margilan.
 Detail 2 of beige colored Margilan.

I decided to use my color studies with Margilan to make some scarves and to use the secondary color gamp to be the inspiration for my colors. (https://sparkfiberarts.blogspot.com/2019/02/margilan-silk-and-color.html  and  https://sparkfiberarts.blogspot.com/2019/02/margilan-silk-and-color-part-2.html) 

For the first one, I made a prefelt of four, thin layers of 19 micron merino in a sandy, beige color. I choose Margilan sparse silks in lilac, magenta, orange, rust and beige to use in collage over the prefelts. The wool layer was rust colored 19 micron merino. The back of the scarf was wispy blends of the same colors in viscose fiber. 

Here is the layout diagram: 

First layer on the work surface: wispy blends of viscose Thank you to Lubov Voronin and Katia Mokeyeva for introducing me to these lovely fibers.
Second layer on top of viscose: 19 micron merino wool, laid out in chevron style
Third layer: shapes cut out of merino prefelt
Fourth layer: a collage of pieces of sparse Margilan silk 


 Front of scarf with Detail

 Back of Scarf (Viscose Side)

The next scarf was in greens, yellows, and blues. I used the same layers as above for the layout. But I tried a viscose decorated prefelt instead of one that was all wool. Here are some process photos. NOTE: I have a small table, so I make my scarves in sections. After I finish the layout and "set" the design for a section, I roll it  around a rolled up towel. I do this since I am using the "No-Roll Felting Method" developed by Nancy Ballesteros of Treetops Colour Harmonies (https://treetopscolours.com.au/roll-felt-scarf/) to do a lot of the felting. 

 Layer one: Fluffy clouds of blended viscose fibers. There is a layer of thin plastic underneath the viscose fibers. After I laid the fibers down, I spritzed a little water over the top of them to help cut down on the static electricity in the air before I went to the next Layer.

Layer two: Wool fiber in chevron layout. Note, I am using the fiber managing system invented by L-Inna of Felt Tales (Л-Инна Войлочные Сказки). You can see videos of her system on her Facebook page. Or go to mine, where I have shared her videos. (https://www.facebook.com/patricia.spark) While she uses it to hold together bits and pieces of fiber top, I like it because it eases the arthritis pain in my hands. The merino top goes into a 6 inch piece of foam pipe insulation which holds it.  Then the very end of the fibers is held in position with a card (I was using my auto club card here). You pull back on the foam insulation and you leave a very thin shingle of wool fiber in place. It does help to spritz the air with moisture if you are having static electricity problems so the wool shingle does not puff up and get out of position. 

When the piece of wool top gets too short to stay in the foam holder, I hold it just in my hand and pull it back. I still use the card to hold the ends in position. 

When the fiber was all laid out, I sprinkled soapy water on the whole thing, covered it with net and pressed out the air.

 Covering with net. 
With the net in place, I blotted the water off so the fibers were moist but not sopping wet. Now we're ready for Layers Three and Four.
Blotting up moisture. 

Layer Three: Cut out pieces of prefelt for decoration. In this scarf, I used prefelts that had viscose fiber on them, but in the pink/orange scarf, I used plain wool prefelts that I had made. Roughen up the back side of prefelts so they attach well. You could add yarns or other objects at this point as well. 
Prefelts laid in position. Notice that I put some green viscose fiber behind the lightly colored prefelts because they blended in too much with the background. This is the first end of the scarf and it is all that will fit on the width of my table. (about 22 inches) I left about 7 inches on the front end so that I could use it to make the fringe.

Layer Four: Lay on the pieces of Sparse Margilan. I cut the fabric in a variety of odd shapes and did do some overlapping, pleating, etc. With the Margilan, the overlaps will still give a very smooth surface because the silk fabric is so sheer.
Beginning to lay on the Sparse Margilan fabric collage. 
Now I "set" the design. I wanted the viscose,  prefelts and Margilan collage to stay well attached to the thin layer of wool. So I wet down this whole section, covered it with plastic and then used the sander on it. NOTE: The sander has no sandpaper. I use a portable ground fault interrupter which will shut off the machine if any water gets in to it. I don't work the top end of the scarf section where the new layers for the next section will be added.

Sander on top of plastic covered scarf. 
From here, I rolled up a dry towel and laid it on the plastic covered (sanded) section. I rolled up the section, leaving just enough of the section unrolled that I could easily start the next section and have it overlap the first section slightly. (1-1.5 inches). When all of the sections are done, I roll a dry towel around the bundle and tie it so it doesn't unroll. Then I follow Nancy Ballesteros' instructions and use the dryer to tumble my piece. After 20 minutes, I re-rolled it from the other end and did another 20 minutes.  I took it out of the dryer, towels and plastic and cut the fringe. I rolled the fringe to felt it and then fulled the scarf.  

Finished scarf with collage/prefelt side showing. 

 Details of collage/prefelt side. 

 Viscose Side and Detail 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Margilan Silk and Color Part 2

Color Overlays and Collage with Sparse Margilan Silk Fabric, Part 2
© Pat Spark 2019

In this post, I will talk about the next color gamp I made - the Secondary Color Gamp.  I used several versions of secondary colors like orange, purple and green. Again, I crossed the Sparse Margilan silk with 19 micron merino and backed the "sandwich" with black Margilan silk gauze. See Part 1 here: http://sparkfiberarts.blogspot.com/2019/02/margilan-silk-and-color.html

Secondary Color Gamp

This sample also has three layers, like the Primary Color Gamp from Part 1. But the colors are not the same as the first Post. Here I used secondaries. (orange, purple and green)
Layer 1 – Stripes of Sparse Margilan silk that were overlapped along the edges to create an additional color blend.
Layer 2 – Two thin layers of merino fiber, laid out in opposing directions to one another.
Layer 3 – Black Margilan gauze. 

Layer 1 – I used different secondaries:
            Yellow Orange and Orange
            Lilac, Violet and Red Violet
            Subdued Green and Bright Green
The Sparse Margilan silk was laid on top of a thin layer of plastic which was on top of a large piece of shelf grip cloth. To keep the strips in place, they were sprinkled with soapy water and flattened onto the plastic. The soapy water helped them adhere to the plastic. (This trick was learned from the video tutorial of Maria Gladchenko.  http://www.tvfelt.com/shop/artfelt/en/artfelt     It is titled "Art Felt Stole and Bolero")

Layer 2 – I used a variety of different merino tops in the secondary colors.
            Orange and Rust
            Lilac, Violet and Greyed Violet
            Yellow Green and Green
Since I had the space on the Margilan strips, I added Yellow and a Blue Violet, just for fun. 

Before adding Layer 3, I used a trick I learned from Katia Mokeyeva. I sprinkled soapy water on the pile. (See Katia's tutorial on how to handle laying dry fabrics on top of wet wool:

Then I covered the wet fiber with net and pushed it down. 

I blotted the wet stack with a dry towel.

Layer 3 - I removed the towel and the net. Then I put the black Margilan gauze over the damp wool, smoothed it into position and re-wet with more soapy water. 
I covered the stack with thin plastic, sprinkled on a little soapy water and used a crumpled plastic bag to rub the surface for about ten minutes. 
Using the two pieces of plastic (the one underneath and the one on top) I gently turned the piece over, sprinkled the plastic surface with soapy water and rubbed this side as well. 
I used a sander for a few minutes on each side of the plastic covered bundle, just so that I was sure the Margilan was attaching to the wool. (NOTE: Use caution with the sander. There is no sand paper, just the vibrating head of sander. It is plugged into a portable Ground Fault Interrupter which will turn off the electricity in case any moisture gets to the motor. The wet piece is covered with a thin, dry piece of plastic. Do not push down hard on the sander as you could get nerve damage in your hands with prolonged use. I barely hold it in place. The first time across the piece I touch the sander to the piece for about 3 seconds in an area, then lift the sander and move it to the next area. The second time through, I turn the sander the opposite direction and hold it in place for about 6 seconds before lifting and moving it. You can use ear plugs or muffs if the noise is too loud for you.) 
I completed the initial felting using the no-roll felting method developed by Nancy Ballesteros of Treetops Colour Harmonies. https://treetopscolours.com.au/roll-felt-scarf/)    To do this, I rolled the plastic covered felt around a towel core.(See above.)
 This photo shows the piece in the process of being rolled on the soft core. 
Then I rolled it in a dry towel and secured it with ties. (Note: I forgot to photograph it with the ties.)

I placed the rolled item into the air fluff cycle of my dryer for 10 minutes. I ran the felt through the dryer twice, rolling it from opposite ends each time. This gets it to just beyond the prefelt stage. I full it by rubbing on the ribbed surface of my table and rolling it from all sides in the shelving material. I continued with these processes, adding hot water, until the felt is complete.

Here is the finished Secondary Color Gamp: 
Secondary Color Gamp- Yellow Orange, Orange, Lilac, Violet, Red Violet, Subdued Green and Bright Green Sparse Margilan crossing Orange, Rust, Lilac, Violet, Greyed Violet, Lime Green, Green, Yellow, Blue Violet 19 micron merino wool.

Detail of Yellow Orange, Orange and Lilac Sparse Margilan crossing Lilac, Violet, Greyed Violet and Lime merino wool fiber. 

Having the color gamps helps as a resource for my color choices. After looking at them carefully, I have come to the following conclusions (for use in my own work, these don’t have to be concluded by anyone else!).
1. I love the color combinations when the value of the wool hue is similar in value to the Margilan hue, but not in the same color family. For instance, the lilac Margilan over the yellow orange merino and over the lime green merino was really interesting and exciting to me.
2. When I have a darkly valued Margilan hue over a lightly valued merino, I am not very pleased with the resulting look because it is too “spotty” to me. For instance, I don’t like the blue Margilan over the white merino.
3. I do like the lightly colored Margilan hues over the darkly colored merino. For instance the lilac Margilan over the rust merino. 
The back side of the Secondary Color Gamp with the black Margilan gauze on the surface. This shows what I think of as the "spotty" look that happens when a lightly colored fiber is under a darkly colored sheer fabric.

I have done many scarves and collars with inclusions, which rely on using a very sheer silk gauze from China to hold down yarns and solid pieces of felt to the surface of a fiber background. I have usually done these in white and black, and then sometimes I dye them afterwards in a light indigo bath. With these, I also prefer to have black fiber on the bottom and white gauze on top. I wrote an article about these in Felt Magazine, Issue 16, 2016 December, titled “Collar Variations”.  (https://www.artwearpublications.com.au/product/back-issue-felt-16/) I am looking forward to my next set of experiments with Margilan silk – capturing inclusions. 

The felt collar with inclusions between the black merino and the white silk gauze done for the article in ArtWear's Felt Magazine. Now I want to experiment with inclusions using various densities of Margilan as the top layer.