Monday, December 11, 2017

Of Turmeric, Tea and a Touch of Sand...

I'm working on some new needle felting kits and I'm in love with "curly locks." These locks, come from Blue-faced Leicester sheep and they have the cutest, tiniest curls I've ever seen. Right now the locks come, as they are, white with a little sand. Although, they have been washed, they are not overly processed, because this would destroy their curls. I am told by professional needle felters that, and I quote, "curly locks always come this way (sandy). It's part of their charm."

White curly locks worked for a few of my new kits, however, I needed, to add a little colour for a few more, so I dyed up some of the locks. First, I needed yellow for a lion's mane. I started with Turmeric. Wow, what a blast!! Who would have thought that something as basic as Turmeric could turn wool a neon yellow!!

Fortunately, the soothing nature of tea brought the colour down to a nice ochre. I soaked the yellow locks in a strong bath (3 bags) of orange pekoe and Voila! - a mellower yellow, just perfect for a friendly lion's mane.

The kits, I'm preparing will be a set of 12. So far I have put together 6 kits. I have another 6 to go.

Can you guess the theme?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Nothing says Winter like a ......

.......Penguin. OK, a snowman too. I work in sets. I'm a very symmetrical person - yes, I have two arms, two legs and head in the right place most of the time :), however, when I design, I do it in sets. For example, one set of my lace scarf designs all followed the theme of a forest - I had 8 of them - pine and fir, leaf and flower, moss and myrtle, stream and pond.

So, it is no surprise that I have sets of 4 or 6, when designing ornaments. I started this last set with a snowman face and a snowman body. However, these kits needed partners. I thought, "Who else likes the cold?" Why a penguin, of course.

I could have done the penguin set in cool colours - black, white and grey - a little blah! So, I decided to warm up winter  by adding some colour. Here he/she is up close.

And from a distance

This penguin needs a name, with his muffler and earmuffs, I was thinking "Muff the Magic Penguin." Hmmm, maybe needs a little work.

Have a cool day!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Pride of Angels....

........OK, it's a pride of lions, so maybe it should be an Arc of Angels, either way, this is a great description of our colourful Christmas Angel ornaments. They are, in fact, close to the rainbow colours of Pride - pink, yellow, green, blue, purple and, of course, white - the combination of all the colours.

Angels are ethereal beings, lighter than air, and magical. They are the embodiment of everything that's good. In fact, we have a very large angel at the top of our Christmas tree called Victoria, because she represents all the little victories or good things that happened that year.

Create some angels for your tree. Give them names - Felicity comes to mind, as does Phoebe, which means light, especially moonlight! I could go on...Dawn, Aurora, Sky....

Fortunately, we have at least six angels to choose names for. In fact, each kit makes 2 angels of the same colour - twins, perhaps. And a larger kit makes six angels - one in each of the colours. Also included in our kits is everything you need to create the needle felted ornaments - felting needle, felting pad, fibre, felted fabric, beads, sewing needle, invisible thread and gold trim.

Make light of Christmas and create these delicate angels. I'll leave you with an excerpt from a poem by Billy Collins -

Questions About Angels

Of all the questions you might want to ask
about angels, the only one you ever hear
is how many can dance on the head of a pin.

No curiosity about how they pass the eternal time
besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin
or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth
or guiding a boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge.

Do they fly through God's body and come out singing?
Do they swing like children from the hinges
of the spirit world saying their names backwards and forwards?
Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors?

Have an ethereal day!!

PS the rest of the poem is here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Good Enough to Eat

I am now totally committed to decorating my entire Christmas tree with needle felted ornaments. Not only is needle felting incredibly relaxing, it is also amazingly creative. Yes, you are given templates in our kits to create over 20 decorations, but every ornament is very unique, because you bring your own personality to every project.

You position the facial features, sculpt the smile, tweak the eyes and configure the face. You become the artist in a small, but very enjoyable, project.

In addition to Santas, reindeer, angels, poinsettias, Christmas trees and snowmen, I had to have Gingerbread men and Gingerbread women, of course. Plus a gingerbread house for them to live in

There are "curly locks" in every kit, to create the irresistible mop of hair, and the equally charming icicles which hang from the roof of the Gingerbread house!! In addition to the felting needle, felting pad, fibre and felted fabric squares for the base and backing, of the ornaments, there are also very detailed instructions.

Creating your own ornaments adds a whole new dimension to the classic "trimming the tree" party. Check out our other kits, and set a date to start your Christmas fun early!! OK you can't eat these, but you can always bake some cookies, add a pot of cocoa and have a really "old fashioned Christmas party."

Please email pictures of all your fun!!

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!!