Sunday, May 23, 2010

Back in the swing of things....

There is nothing like travelling for 33 hours to humble you and give you perspective.  By the time we arrived in Kerry again I was nearly mute with exhaustion.  The trip and subsequent wedding were totally worth it, though.  My brother is married to the lovely Tammy and they are (surprise!) expecting their first baby!  Very exciting to have a new member of the family on the way.  I got to visit lots of girlfriends from high school, some of which I hadn't seen in over twenty years.  How do we let so much time go by???  It was wonderful to see how they had changed or not changed at all :)  

My good friend Lisa came over from Spokane and we tortured Small Boy with an afternoon of craft shops:  first off the lovely Stitch on First Hill in Seattle.  She has wonderful, quirky fabrics and I got some lovely linings for handbags and hats, as well as some wool.  Then we went on to Weaving Works in the University District in Seattle--paradise!  I got some bamboo, soy silk, and linen fibres for felting, ecru Merino for dying and then felting, and skeins and skeins of wool (see above picture) for making lots of hats.  I found a great book on making handbags and I found silk scarves for painting.  I picked out some nice acid dyes in new colors, since I am really enjoying dyeing small batches in the microwave.  The staff at WW were really fabulous.

We then went on to the super huge Joann's Fabrics at Southcenter in Seattle.  I got these cute birdhouses to add to my collection.  I got a magazine called Cloth Paper Scissors that I had been wanting to look at before buying and it has great ideas for surface decoration.  I have simply painted the ones I have, but I am going to try and do something different with these ones so I can add to my kitchen wall collection.  Small Boy seems to think the small birdhouse belongs to him, but I have to talk him out of it.  It's really mine.  I got more fabric, more wool, a big embroidery hoop to stabilize silk for painting, and a new stockpile of threads for the sewing machine.  Machine embroidery has been eating my stash entirely.  I tried to stick to things that would be hard to source over here, so I didn't get a lot of ordinary Merino.  I am going to start making wedding accessories because when I saw the prices that people were getting I thought that I would be a fool not to....the bridal veils were all $100-200, which I thought was shocking for something that you wear for one day only.  Time for me to try for a piece of that pie!  Even in a recession, people spend on wedding items.

I went into Goodwill and scored a nice wool blanket and some new corduroy fabric that someone had donated.  I wanted to upscale/reuse/alter stuff and got lucky there.  Unfortunately, lots of sweaters/jumpers are synthetic now, so its hard to find the old woolly jumpers of old.  And this altered fashion bug is getting popular, so I think its hard to actually find the good stuff.  And finally, Lisa taught me the basic stitch of Tunisian crochet, which is basically a combination of knitting and crocheting.  I must admit that it was really awkward and slow first, but I am finally picking up speed and I like the way the finished product looks.  I think this will be one side of a handbag.  Fionn was thoroughly sick of fabric and craft stores by the end of the trip, but he got to do plenty that was right up a kid's alley: zoo, cinema, swimming, park, ice cream, waaaay too much McDonald's, Pike Place Market, and running through a fountain at Seattle Center.  And I got him some cool sports gear.  Life is good for Fionn.

Now, we must get back to our routine for the next month at least.  School finishes in a month and then I must get him organized for summer camps and I need to start focusing on finishing stock so that I will have more to sell in the market.  Back to the grind....

Fionn was cool as a cucumber the whole ceremony.  You would swear he was handing out wedding rings all the time. He destroyed his clean dress shirt with ketchup a half an hour later.  Kids.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Little Blog That Could...

Well, you might think that I disappeared, but here I am still. Easter holidays are well over and we are into the crush of finishing up my textile course for the summer and fighting off colds at the same time. My sewing machine is awaiting a part, so I am felting for the moment and hoping the new bobbin case arrives in the post soon. I have actually been doing a lot, even though my blog is not reflecting it (or perhaps lack of posts does reflect it???) Here is my newest hat, with Fionn modeling...

We are heading off to America for my brother's wedding on Friday so its all systems go! I have final projects to finish, house to clean, packing, little presents to finish, and I have to get us up to Shannon Airport and launched. Never a feckin dull moment. I have my red shell piece finished and my blue fishy egg pod embroidered piece is now done. Blue Fishy was supposed to be my 3D piece, but I loved it flat, so it's mounted to a canvas and I now must come up with something else. That has to be done by Thursday. Sigh.

Here are the pair of pillows I made for the sitting room with the felted hearts that Fionn and I made for Valentine's Day. I free-machine stitched them and then sewed them to the wool fabric that I space-dyed in the microwave. I love dyeing in the microwave for small batches. Small bundles of vibrant silk and wool that I can add to projects. The merino and silk tops dye especially well and really add a bit of pizazz to whatever I happen to be be making.

The is the heart that Fionn felted (with a bit of help of the final fulling from Mom).

My version

And in the middle of all of that, Dingle's Feile na Bealtaine is on this weekend. The theme this year was "St. Brendan's Voyage," which is a bit dry for a parade, but it was loosely (and colourfully) interpreted. Fionn's class did such a fantastic job and Fionn was a Fire person. There were Water, Chrystal, Fish, Lambs, Pilgrims, Monks--you name it, they were there! Fionn had a ball! Great job, Dingle!

I will try to blog from America on my brother's computer. I am planning on spending all spare money of fibre goodies to bring back. Then I must hunker down into my studio and get making stuff. But first I have to get my brother married and Fionn dressed to be ring bearer. More soon!