Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ho...Ho...Ho.... and a bag of fibre....

Summer tends to be a little slow, so I've been busy working on kits for the winter season. Well, it is over 30ÂșC outside and I need to cool off!!

Plus some shops start their Christmas planning early. For example, if you're putting together Advent boxes, which contain a project a day from Dec 1 to Dec 24, you need some time to come up with 24 projects that can be finished in a day!! (Actually Advent starts a full 4 weeks before Christmas, but let's not worry about technicalities, which would also mean another 3 or 4 projects in the box!!) A needlework project a day sounds like a lot of fun and much more slimming than a cookie recipe a day or a chocolate a day - because let's face it who can eat just one chocolate a day!!

Here is my first winter ornament - I love the effect of the "curly locks" fibre on the hair and beard!!

These kits will be available soon and each kit will make either one ornament with a face on either side or two ornaments with plain felt on the back. Included in the kits will be everything you need to make the project  -  felting mat, felting needle, fibre, squares of felt backing, and complete instructions.

I had lots of fun with my computer program creating this face template, which will be included with the instructions.

Lots of fun all around!! I think I'll have to teach a few classes to see how everyone brings their own personality to their Santa face!!

P.S. Kits will retail for $15.00. If you stock our Bhedawool and TrueFelt squares, you can supply customers, who want to make more, at much less, because they will have the felting mat, needle and instructions already!!

I also forgot to mention that I created most of the ornament to the strains of Bob Dylan. My neighbour was working in his garden and instead of listening to the bird song, he opted for the bard song. I still can't get

"I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now" out of my head.

Is this why he won the Nobel prize for literature?

Have a good one.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Lazy Summer Blogging...

....Now that it has finally stopped raining in southern Ontario, I get to see the sun. In the words of John Denver - "Sunshine always makes me high!" So I am going to be a little lazy and post something I wrote for one of my other blogs. It's on knitting and a blog idea generator, which I think I have to visit again soon. Here it is -

My blogs are works in progress. That is, I often re-read a post, which might be listed on my stats. page, as recently read by someone else. Invariably, I find an error, usually minor, in the spelling or the syntax, which I then correct.

Today, someone read this post - Content Marketing Tools Can Be Fun. It reminded me that there is this really cool site that will generate blog topics for you. Since I was writing about knitting again, I decided to key the word knitting into the idea generator and let the fun begin. Here are some random topics from the generator, with comments :)

1. How Knitting Makes You A Better Lover - Knitting is not just the domain of grandmothers and even if it were, grandmothers can be lovers too. I was always fascinated by the concept that some people knit underwear - very sexy underwear. If you were at all timid about going into a lingerie shop, you might just want to buy a few balls of gorgeous silk yarn and knit yourself a "Teddy" - just saying.

2. Unbelievable Knitting Success Stories - There really are some amazing "things" that people have done with knitting and crochet. Some people have covered cars and buses with hand knit pieces. One woman even knit a house cozy. Yes, she covered an entire bungalow with knitted squares. That's not to say that finishing your first ever knitting project is anything less than an amazing accomplishment!!

Fair isle knitting

3. Why Knitting Should Be One Of The 7 Deadly Sins - Sloth comes to mind. It's not that knitters are a lazy lot; it's just that when we sit down to knit, it's really difficult to break that concentration to get up and make dinner or clean the house, for example.

4. Why Do People Think That Knitting is a Good Idea? - I have always maintained that, if you have a skill, however small, you have the means of earning a living or augmenting a pension, through sheer industriousness. Many people have supported whole families by knitting.

5. Ways Your Mother Lied To You About Knitting - My mother crocheted. She could knit, but preferred the fact that with crochet, you only had to keep track of one stitch at a time. I would see these gorgeous fair isle sweaters and decide that I wanted to knit one. My mother would say, "Oh, they're far too difficult." I was almost 40 before I attempted fair isle knitting. It is still my favourite!!

Have a awesome day!!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Weave A Little Loveliness.....

Weave a little loveliness into your life with two new looms from Clover. I haven't done much weaving in my life. I find it slower than knitting, which is slower than crochet and well, as a crafter, I like to think that I live in the fast lane, which these days looks a lot like needle felting on fabric!!

Last Thursday, though, I must have been having a "slow" day, because, this little guy was calling to me, "Psst, I'm the warped one over here!" OK, he wasn't warped. He needed warping and I needed to create a small wall hanging.

I had seen some lovely woven wall hangings on Pinterest and I thought that I might try to create one or two very small ones, using these cute, but sturdy looms. The actual measurements of the finished pieces are about 4.5" x 5.5" . And depending on the yarn used, a project could take anywhere from two to three days, in fingering weight, for example, to an afternoon in DK.

The one below is in hand dyed fingering with a very strong rayon lace weight warp. I used more of the warp for the stripes and since I hadn't bothered to read how to join yarn when weaving, I left "tails." I actually wanted some danglies, which I beaded. I twisted the remaining yarn into a cord for the hanging part and after much searching (the entire house, in fact) I finally found the bamboo skewers we use for bar-b-queing kebobs. One can find fancier rods to mount a hanging, but these were the best I could do, at a moment's notice, without breaking the bank!!

The last one, I wove with a warp of some sport weight cotton, which was actually from a ball of two lengths of yarn joined together with a knot. Now, you are not supposed to knot your warping yarn!! Well, I was well into the warp (can you say that?) and I thought "a-ha" a piece with decorative knotting - Why Not!!

I really should do another one. The idea of hanging three together in some sort of artistic arrangement  appeals. I also thought that you might do smaller pieces, like decorative badges to sew onto a jacket or bag. Clover does do a longer (double) loom for slightly larger pieces and, of course you can join pieces together (may take a while) to create something really epic!!

Have an awesome day!!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Streetscaping along....

I have a gig teaching advanced needle felting at YarnoverSleepover this April, so I needed another felted project with a different orientation - that is vertical, as opposed to horizontal (not sexual!). My class is entitled "Creating Felted Masterpieces" and I needed to show the importance of the orientation of the background "canvas" to the final masterpiece.

Needle felting is an Art form. Fortunately I have taken (and passed) several university Art courses. Yes, they do come back to haunt me, whenever I pick up a pencil, brush or needle. All the muses are there, though sometimes they're all talking at once and it's a little difficult to get a straight answer out of any one of them. However, if I let the canvas speak, then everything grows quiet and I can hear the fibres whisper.

This is the beginning of a mediterranean streetscape on a pale vertical canvas.

My first streetscape was on a dark teal green background, with a horizontal orientation. This is how it turned out.

This is the second project completed.

It's a beachscape on the mediterranean. It was not unlike a fishing village that we went to near Malaga in southern Spain.

OK, we were there in February and there weren't many flowers, but the sea was right across the street.

Here's another one, with the sea a little further away. I could add a few more, because I think that my streetscape is a combination of all the places I have been, embellished with the fondest memories.

Create dreams in felt!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

I Felt Like It!!!

I've been doing a lot of "needle felting" lately. In fact, it's become my new obsession!! Since I distribute a collection of felting fibre - Bhedawool and felted rectangles - TrueFelt, I decided that I needed to know a bit more about needle felting.

I started last year with a small felted flower brooch - a very satisfying one hour project, that whet my appetite for a bigger meal, so to speak. I now needed to find some time to "cook up" something, that was more than just an appetizer.

Eureka!! My husband would be away on business for a few days so I had a window where I didn't actually have to cook a real meal. The kids, now in their twenties, rarely eat with us, anyway. From their odd looks and painful groans you'd think our food was some sort of poison. Well, who wants to die young from a lentil soup, when you can die slowly from poutine :)

Like all meals, for me anyway, it began in a rush. Running out of the door at the end of the day, I suddenly remembered that I needed to start this project and I had better grab a few felt pieces and some fibre before I left. It's a little like - "Oh, yeah, dinner - better pick something up at the "quickie mart" or we'll all starve.

I grabbed whatever was at hand and took it home. After some warmed up chilli, which passed for dinner, I looked at my palette. Alas, I had a choice of hot pink or dark teal as a background and whatever fibre was left over from my flower brooches. My artistic muse may well be Andy Warhol!!

I selected the dark teal, looked at a few felted projects online and decided I could do a streetscape, maybe. There was something about a quilted project with washing on the line that spoke to me. Yes, I know, the laundry baskets, in the corner, were full, sigh!

Finally, after three or four hours of fibre escape, voila! - a small French village on a dark and stormy night, perhaps

All I need now is a glass of wine, some Brie, a small baguette...... feeding the body after feeding the soul. There's a lot to be said for fibre!!


Friday, June 17, 2016


....Or the insane things we do to keep from going insane, if that makes sense. I was at a loose end the other day (I have to believe that most people who knit or crochet etc. are forever at loose ends) when I decided to do a little crochet.

I made the decision after ripping back about six inches of circular knitting in sock yarn on a 3.0mm needle - there were 400 stitches on the needle. Why? Well, you guessed it, I had a twist in the cast-on. I won't go into why I hadn't noticed it earlier. Let's just say it was therapy knitting. The therapy worked, but the garment was never going to be a mobius, so out it came.

Crocheted flower motif in DK cotton.

This is when I became my mother, who crocheted more than she knit. Her argument was - in crochet you only have to look after one stitch at a time - certainly easier than 400! (How my mother ever looked after five children is beyond me - but then a little insanity runs in the family :).

I had some yarn hanging around - go figure - so I thought, why not a vest. I had actually just finished a crocheted mobius - more on that later and I had been longing to do some "granny squares". I know some people long for Paris or something exotic, I long for crocheted motifs - a little insane, maybe.

I started by flipping through some crochet books I had, looking for the perfect motif. It didn't exist, in the books I had anyway. Perfection in this world is hard to come by, so I had to make up my own. I am far from perfect, but I am a little obsessive-compulsive (more insanity), so I had to have exactly the shape I had envisioned. At this rate, of course, the vest might never get done.

Front back and back - 3 quarters there.

The long and the short of it is - more short than long, it is a vest after all - I came up with the above motif, which I am sure exists in the book 100 Granny Squares or something like that, but, in the absence of a source, I had to improvise!

With some inventive joining of hexagons - I love the allusion to witchcraft with the "hex", as in "who put the hex in hexagon - I am almost finished. I was originally going to do a lot of beading on the motifs, but since I didn't feel like pre-beading the yarn and I found stopping to pop on a bead slowed me down too much - crochet is fast - I opted for adding a bead on the little tail of yarn at the centre of the motif - Voila.

Front & back with armhole!

Now who said granny squares are dated. I think they're awesome!! My magic wand was a 2.75mm Amour - love that word - crochet hook from Clover. Try them - they really work wonders!!

Paris here I come!!

Have a magical day!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Oh....Have you got a minute....? sew on this button...or mend this rip....or turn up this hem...... Well, you may have, but you are out in the "wilds" with propane as your power - or not - as the case may be and you have just been asked to work a miracle.

Now, where did I put that wand? Or in this case that little blue box. Voila! You now have -
1. 3 needles - two to lose and 1 to keep!
2. 1 needle threader - you may need it beside a dimly lit lantern.
3. 1 pair of the world's cutest scissors - that's cute not cut - although they are sharp.

4. 1 pair of tweezers - to pick out the itty bitty threads that you can't manage, cleanly, because you've just built a campfire.
5. 4 neutral shades of yarn - who wears fuschia camping?
6. 2 safety pins - 1 big, 1 small - I swear there were times in my life, when I was held together entirely by safety pins!!!

All with their own special place in the tidiest little plastic container you've ever seen. In fact, it's no bigger than a cigarette lighter.

It's from Clover - Compact Sewing Kit - #CL2002 on the Infiknit site. Order your miracle worker today - go camping tomorrow - or something like that.

Have really "neat" day!!