Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I am addled...

Between the mid-term break holidays, a head cold that is refusing to totally evacuate, a mouse in my house (!), and getting ready to leave for Dublin for the Knit and Stitch Show, I am addled.  I am thoroughly disorganized and I am trying to motivate myself to get upstairs and pack, but no, I am here fiddling around on the computer and talking to YOU.  I have mousetraps to set.  I have tolietries to organize.  I have to pack my camera so I can take lovely photos to post here for you.  All I want to do is drink coffee and relax in the chair by the fire.  I think relaxing for the school holidays has gone all a bit wrong ....

I must remind myself of all my fellow fibre people that will be in Dublin for the show!  All those inspiring exhibitions!  All the people that want to learn to crochet!  And we cannot forget the wonderful supplies that will be there: velvet, silks, wool, dyes, paints, beads--oh, my!! 

In between these daydreams, I did manage to felt a scarf and one hat.  The hat needs more work, so  I  haven't photographed it, but the scarf is on the right.  I love the colours, but I do think it needs something more on the length, perhaps a fringe, so it doesn't feel complete to me.  And I dyed more fibres on the dry days this week, so when I get back, armed with my new goodies, I should be heading straight to the studio.

Now, I must head upstairs and face the music!  If I don't get organized, I will be so sorry when I get up at 6am....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Autumn Cometh

This weekend I could definitely feel the chill in the air and last night it was cold!  It was the first night I had to light the fire, instead of wanting the cosiness of it lit.  I suppose my news today is that I have my Etsy site up and running!  It feels a bit like giving birth, except I haven't nosy nurses poking at my girly bits and I am not starving!  But my baby is up and running and now it is time to start SELLING! Plenty more will be added in the coming weeks. 

More nuno felted silk/merino
scarves this week

I am going to be working on scarves this week as the hats and scarves have sold the best.  Lots of purple and gold for our Huskies! I have rovings that are dyed, dried, and ready to go, so I need to make lots of pre-felt pieces to add into the designs and get some chiffon dyed up so it is ready to go on Tuesday.  Chiffon is dry in minutes, so I need to dry my purples and greens and blues so I can get ready to lay down some fibre!  I have the week to complete scarves and then I must get onto some slipper samples.  The resist felting is going really well, but I think the slippers will be more challenging.  And hats!  More hats must be felted.  Eek, I haven't enough time to really get at all the projects I need to!  If felted a lovely dark blue/purple hat for myself and I need a new scarf to go with it :)  When I say NEED, you know what I mean....

It seems like I am inundated with forms to fill out lately.  Paperwork for citizenship, kids, Scouts, jobs.  When I get through this next bit I need to get on to Halloween. We pulled everything out of the attic, but with all the interruptions today, I didn't get a thing put up.   So the house must transform.  At least I will have a great excuse for leaving the dusting for the next few weeks!!

Fishnet cape: crocheted, felted, felted flowers, beaded collar.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Photos Snapped!

Bright pink hand-dyed lambswool
Well, I finished the photography for ETSY today and I just edited the photos.  We have had glorious Indian Summer weather, so the light was perfect.  This is going to be a mostly photographic post, so here goes:

Fishing net cape with beading around the neck
Merino/Silk/Alpaca hat
Turquoise funky beret
Felted, embroidered, and beaded green wrap

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I am not Superstitious!

You can see the Angora and Gotland texture here.
Well, here we are on 10/10/10 and the world has not gone BANG once again.  I actually forgot about it until I looked at the date on the computer dashboard.  Having a head cold for a full week has a way of doing that to you.  Small Boy got a stomach bug and came home from school Monday and was ill on Tuesday.  The cold I thought was gone over last weekend came back, retreated, and came back again.  I think the strong winds that are blowing have got us all on the run, immune systems up and down.  It wasn't cold, but it has been wet and windy and, really, is there anything more annoying than a sinus headache?  I had one for four days this week and I have to admit that I was cranky.  Yes, I was cranky.  Why is that hard to admit?  I think it seems a bit childish for an adult to act irrational, but in this case I had a good reason: banging headache with nowhere to hide from it.

Can you help this beret?

I got two hats made this week in spite of all that.  The first is a beret felted with a resist.  It didn't turn out the way I wanted it to for two reasons: 1. I used gray Angora for the first layer so it would be nice and soft next to the skin and it migrated through the purple Merino and made it look dirty.  2.  I cut the head opening a bit too big.  I made the beret circumference a bit larger than the average beret on purpose, but you get a what-the-heck kind of attitude with a head cold and don't make the smartest decisions, so I just snipped a hole without thinking.  I am hoping to take it in a bit or perhaps sew a band of felt around the brim.  I'm not looking for a traditional beret look anyway.  I fixed the dirty colour problem by over-dyeing the hat with acid dyes after fulling.  I don't think I can felt directly onto the piece after finishing, can I??  Anyone know the answer to that?

The second hat had the same dirty Angora migration problem because my head was too locked to see the problem before I did it a SECOND time....sigh.  I over dyed it after fulling at is came out gorgeous.  Here it is on the right.  It was originally a bit more autumnal with oranges and reds and yellows mixed, but didn't have a great deal of choice when I had to cover the Angora.  The Alpaca also has long, fuzzy fibres and so it seems to be shedding a bit, which you can see on the closeup of the beret.  Will people have to keep it in the freezer???!  I am happy enough with the felting and style, but I might fuss with the folds a bit more.  I am going to stay with the hats this week and see if I can't add some spikes or something interesting like that....

I am finding Lizzie Houghton's book Felting Fashion: Creative and Inspirational Techniques for Feltmakers very, very good.  I am finally wrapping my head around resist felting and making progress on much neater finished products.  The beret would have been felted perfectly if I hadn't made a mess of the head opening and my Leaning Tower of Pisa hat looks good and feels better.  The book has clear illustrations and excellent photos for inspiration.  While the designs might look complicated, they are easy enough to follow and experiment with in your own time.  Felt Fashion: Couture Projects from Garments to Accessories  by Jenne Giles is the new book that I am hoping to get ahold of and peruse a bit.  I have a few on the slide show on the blog.  I really want Art Cloth: A Guide to Surface Design for Fabric by Jane Dunnewold as I hear she is amazing.  The problem with a lot of these techniques is that you really need a demo to get them as they are often complicated and it is the rare book that guides you through the process thoroughly.  Gorgeous colour pics of finished products are all well and good, but if you can't breakdown the process then the book is no good to you.

Meanwhile, my house is a mess and I need to bomb my body with fruit and veg today to make sure this cold is gone, gone, gone!  Time to prepare for the week! 

Sharon's Christmas Countdown

Sharon's Christmas Countdown

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Turning the Corner of October....

Well, it was a quiet week of thinking and sleeping and trying to figure out what to do next.  The only thing seems to be to just push forward, but perhaps not take on too much at one time.  Three workshops on one day seems a bit ambitious, but the lesson is learned.  I think some people might have stayed away because of the economy, but I think many more can afford it and I didn't focus enough on niche markets.  I know that sounds a bit vague, but I have some new ideas that I am not about to divulge yet!

My Junior Felter having a go at a flat piece of felt
I did get my big box full of supplies from Wollknoll finally and that alone is enough to inspire!  I have a hat block to play with and lots Merino and I got some Gotland, which I haven't used before.  I think that it will be a bit more sturdy for the outside of the slippers as Merino tends to pill with tough use.  The Gotland is really beautiful and smells nice (me and my smells--I like the smell of fresh fish, too) and is a rich silvery gray.  It will look beautiful paired with purple and gold!  I am going to re-attempt to make slippers for my brother again.  They didn't turn out great last year, but I crocheted them.  He has very large feet (size 17) and so I have a pattern of his feet, but I am going to have to guess a lot while fulling to make sure I have them right.  I think the wool will give a bit if they are snug...I will tell him to wet them and wear them to allow them to shape to his feet anyway. 

So, hats and slippers and Christmas stockings and ornaments and scarves--and what did I do?  Get a cold.  Damn.  It's almost gone now, but I had a headache for two days and didn't get to play much yet.  Tomorrow!  Back on track again.