Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 in Fiber

It has been an interesting fiber year. Learned lots - good and frustrating, but overall really fun!

Fiber should be fun in my opinion. If it isn't then find something else to do with your time and energies. Each technique is not for everyone, but if it adds to your knowledge... At least that is why I try lots of new things. Some come easier to the hands, but each adds to my knowledge base in different ways.

Not a lot of embroidery this year. I find that the energy that goes into administrative work is the same that goes into a project. I've planned lots of embroidery projects this year, but that seems to be a different part of the brain for me.

Drop Spindle Spinning - finished off one skein and worked on a 2nd. Took the 2nd half of it around with me to a couple damp events... sigh... now I need to pull strips and do a bulky since it seems to have felted itself. Need to learn plying next. Will probably just knit with 2 threads for the skein I finished or do something that calls for finer yarn.

Felting - loved doing the needle felting project at the beginning of the year. Bought some roving to do more at some point. I have some very (as in way tooooo heavy) felted wool that might make up into a nice bag with needle felted design - hmmmm

Weaving - card woven silk trim for my newest Viking. Also did some weaving in the round. Not all the pieces are here since they were gifted earlier this year. Fun and mindless - good for going to meetings and keeping the fingers busy.

Knitting - loved the knitted bag project. Learned lots! Have most of a 2nd one done. Will felt them at the same time when the 2nd one is done.
Finished knitting my hat and wore it in Alaska. Kept my head nice and warm.
Finished 1 of the medieval socks and am about 1/3 through the 2nd one. The first sock fits well - hurrah!!
The lacey knit shawl has been on hold. It takes brain power to do the pattern right.
Finished by first scarf (not shown) -- tired of yarn overs and fighting with a "fancy" yarn.
Knitted the first of 2 fingerless mitts. Working my way down in size of dpns, adding in stitches, and adapting patterns to "fit" the yarn and me. Finally got the knit stitch cast on to even out nicely.

Naalbinding - finally finished my hat. Also did a hat for Will. He loves wearing his -- all nice and warm. Think I will try to do matching fingerless mitts for my hat.

Thank-you to all who helped hold my hand through the learning processes. Having fiber in my hands makes for a happy me. Will be looking at Stitches West and other events to grow my knowledge (and stash :).

Hope to do more stitching in 2011. I am signed up for several fiber and stitching workshops. Also have several projects mentally designed that I'd like to make and perhaps teach (CQ in particular).

Wishing you all a happy healthy fun and creative 2011.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hiatus Due to Busy II

Knowing that August/September would be very busy we decided to schedule a vacation in later September - a cruise. San Francisco to San Francisco - 10 days - the Sea Princess - doing the inside passage of Alaska. Yes we have done this before - but 10 days - no cooking, no laundry, no bed making, no airports, entertainment - or not....and beautiful scenery. Took about 600 pictures which I will distill into webpages for our website - in the next few days.

Sept 19th had us sailing out under the Golden Gate bridge. Cold and beautiful! Not a sight to be missed!!! Saw sea lions and seals.
Sept 20 - cruising -- 9 am was fiber get together on at sea days :) They were also doing ceramics at sea so made 2 plates and 2 bowls to go with the other heraldic plate I made last cruise.
Saw a humpback whale. They had a naturalist on board who gave wonderful lectures about glaciers and wildlife.
Sept 21 - my birthday - thank-you all for the lovely wishes - cruising. Discovered the espresso bar on board the ship.
Sept 22 - Ketchikan - walked about town. Had a good cup of coffee --- finally! Saw a red jelly fish!
Sept 23 - Juneau - Mendenhall Glacier was real treat. It had calved the day before so there was a beautiful piece of blue ice to be seen! The salmon fishery was fun and the salmon bake - yummy - despite the rain. Lots of bald eagles around but none actively flying or fishing.
Sept 24 - Skagway -- walked around town in the AM. In the PM we took the narrow gauge railway up the mountain. Passed through autumn into winter - the first snow of the season! And it was serious snow. Came down to find that a major storm had come in and was expected to do gale force winds and 100' waves. The Captain cancelled our sail of Tracy Arm Fjord (really the only part we had wanted to do) and we made fast (22 knots) south around and into the Canadian inland passage to avoid the worst of the storm.
Sept 25 - cruising - the early AM was rocky since we had to pass into the Pacific to get into the inland area. We also had lots of fun getting pilots on and off the ship. Seems we needed 2 to get through some areas which are a bit dangerous - even for our size ship. Pretty - cold - rainy. Finally managed to finish Will's naalbinded warm hat (day late!)
Sept 26 - cruising - saw dolphins. Lots of pretty scenery.
Sept 27 - Victoria - went to a Butterfly Garden and Buchart Gardens. AMAZING! Need to been seen to be believed. Pictures do not do either justice. Also celebrated our 13th anniversary - which was Sept 7.
Sept 28 - cruising
Sept 29 - home -- beautiful to watch the sun come up over the east bay hills. Came under the Golden Gate in the dark :(

We were very lucky in our table mates. The food in the dining room is MUCH better than the buffet. Also in the dining room they will make all the necessary accommodations for dietary issues. The food quality has come way down over the past 10 years, but it still is quite decent. Only 1 meal was what I would call excellent, but then I am spoiled. I should also say in all fairness that it is amazing all the meals that are prepared for over 2000 people - passengers and crew - in the 3 galleys.

Our table consisted of 6 regular and 4 "anytime diners". The other 2 couples that made up the regular diners were interesting and nice people. They also liked to dress for dinner, so we were easily the best dressed diners. One of the gentlemen was someone who was fascinating in his own right, but was always interested in what others had to say and thought. They also were one of the most gracious couples I have ever met. There is a lot to be said for graciousness and I am sad that it is a rare thing in this most modern world in which we live.

We knew before we left that my car battery was dead. Something about not driving it for long periods of time. Fortunately it did start when jumped and seems to be back to normal. Will's mini required servicing before being back to normal.
We also knew the insta-hot water dispenser was dead - new one ordered now.
We also knew that the computer on the ovens was dead. A new one was ordered that the repair man installed the new one and refurbished the stove top burners on the 30th.
--- how come it all comes at once??????---

Oct 1-2 was my Region meeting and stepping down as EGA Region Director. The meetings went smoothly and I was given a lovely present. It is easy to leave the office, only because I know I am leaving it in really good hands. Of course I still have other EGA projects to handle.

After the meeting, I made the mad dash drive to Oct Crown. Will was wonderful, taking my display up to the event for me. Since my current major embroidery project is on hold, I opted to do a basket of "practical items" - Spinning, Weaving - Circular (mini pouch that I also dyed the yarn), Weaving - Tablet - trim on my newest Viking, Dyeing, Naalbinding - Will's new hat, Knitting - Pouch, and Embroidery (stockings). Then dashed back to take Jane out to dinner.

Jane Nicholas came to do 2 workshops for us. I love hosting her. She is so gracious (there is that word again :). Will picked her up at the airport on the 1st and entertained her for the evening. I love having that man as my partner/husband!!!!! On Oct 3-4 I took her workshop and on the 5-6 I merely acted as Teacher helper. I always learn so much listening to her. Yes plans are underway to have her hopefully teach here in the San Francisco Bay Area next year again!

Then 2 days of selling items from the 2010 Seminar at a local boutique/harvest show and our "final" 2010 Seminar Committee meeting. We still have many items to sell (sigh!).

This week is a bit of recovery, putting up and doing the display at PIQF and being a celebrity.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Seminar Class Musings

First - I will not share pics of the class projects. The projects are copyright by the designers so....
I took 2 classes. I was careful not to choose classes that would fill during early registration as I didn't feel that it would be fair to other students knowing that I could be pulled out of class at any time and for any amount of time. I also chose classes that I felt my absence would not create a drag on the teacher or other students. That said - I did get my choices. As a courtesy to the teacher, I also notified each of the possibility that I might get pulled out or be late on my "returns", kept my cell phone on vibrate, and sat in an easily accessible place in class to enter/leave without disruption.

Michelle Roberts - Golden Poppies
Michelle is an excellent Goldwork teacher and as followers of my blog know, I can never do enough goldwork. She was one of my first goldwork teachers - her Napolean's Bee. This class was a great review and there were several "ah ha" moments in class for me. I asked if she minded my using a slate frame rather than stretcher frame, tacs and lacing and she made me show it off. We transferred the pattern using tissue and stitching which was a first for me. I knew of the technique but had not done it before. She also talked a lot about how the gold bullion bits were made and what made each unique. While I am sure I've heard it before, it makes more sense to me now that I have spent more time with the different bits and understand working with them better. Didn't get much done in class, but it was a great 2 refresher for me.

Deanna Powell - Barbary Bangle
Deanna is a former President of EGA and long time teacher. I had not taken from her before and I needed to up my beading game. The bangle is effectively 2 bracelets with flat peyote, flat herringbone - both wide and narrow, and peyote bezel. Lovely materials as well - 24 carat gilded beads. Glad the techniques were not too difficult since I my brain was fried by the end of Seminar (days 9 and 10 for me due to Board meetings). I was able to get the gems set and the peyote and herringbone to lay nicely. As I keep saying I am a tension-holic so getting the right tension was important to me.

Off on vacation for the rest of the month. Will take the bangle with me to finish since it will go with an outfit I plan on wearing. The vacation was planned before we got the kittens so have arranged live in care for them while we are gone.

Have posted pics of me in the Victorian outfits on my Facebook account. Not the best pics since I look really tired in each. I know there are better ones out there, but I don't have them - yet.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Before I left for Seminar I attended a class at my local chapter on embellishment. The teacher covered how to do some fancy beading, working with Angelina, capturing stuff behind veiling, etc. Lots of ideas of things to do!

Then at Seminar we had an ATC Board - bring/make 1 and take 1 on Friday. Some brought several. I brought 4. I traded 2 and put 2 on the board for general trading.

These were from an introduction to ATCs that I did for our Region Meeting a few months ago. The idea was to dimystify the how of doing ATCs. The hardest part for most people is getting past the empty canvas. With acrylic paints in tubes, I did some graffitti on a piece of Aida cloth. It was interesting to see which paints would just soak in and which would actually "paint". The metallic copper worked well as a top layer. Then I cut the piece apart before adding embroidery and beads. The backing is Timtex (?sp) - glue for 3 and edge stitched for 1. Think I like the glue better. They aren't fine art, but they were fun!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Busy Times

The kittens helped us pack but failed to contribute enough fur to hold me over for the full time away. Sept 1 was pack the MDX full (well at least 2 full hotel carts full) for the move to the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. Sept 2-3-4 were Board meetings - 8 + hours a day.

On the evening of the 3rd a group of us went to the Impressionist exhibit at the DeYoung. It was fascinating to see the paintings of an era all together. I've been to Degas, Monet, and other single artist exhibits, but this really set the stage to understand their youth and development. Impressionists are not my thing, but I can appreciate them.
The 4th evening was a birthday party for a fellow board member. She threw herself a party and invited the Board along. It was a lovely social evening.

Then the work really began.
The EGA National Seminar - classes started on the 3rd and ran through the 10th. Over 600 people, including 32 teachers from around the world (5 were international), 2 banquets, tours, a dozen lectures and other special events, a boutique with a huge bookstore, 2 needlework shops and 3 other shops, displays and more displays, AND a Merchandise Day with about 50 vendors. Our theme was Stitching on the Barbary Coast.

Beginning with the opening Banquet, I was in Victorian costume every day and evening -- 1 ball gown, 3 day gowns with appropriate hair, jewelry and makeup. I also wore a hat and gloves on Merchandise Day - after all I was shopping (even if it was indoors :). As Region Director, for the hosting Region, I felt it was important to be The Hostess for the event. This included sitting head table for both opening and closing banquets (with Will also dressed appropriately in Victorians for the opening and Tux for closing), doing the Invocations, Welcoming and Farewell speeches, pulling raffle tickets, making announcements, and directing the hordes as appropriate. Yes I can be heard across a loud lobby :). Wednesday night we went to Beach Blanket Babylon. It was fabulous, and as a VERY special event, the Director came out after and answered questions for about 30 minutes. I also hosted a social for our Region, attended the Annual Meeting, attended a lecture by Autumn from Dark Garden on Corsets, etc.

I took 2 classes - Michelle Roberts' Goldwork Poppy and Deanna Powell's Barbary Bangle (beaded bracelet). I will do a separate post on the classes themselves. While I had a few things that periodically made me late to class, I wasn't pulled out for any emergencies. The event flowed smoothly in large thanks to the fabulous and hardworking Seminar Committee and the many volunteers. Think I had 1 dinner to myself and half a lunch. In my "off time", I strolled around and gave out spot awards for wearable art. Each day had a theme. My goal was 100 awards, but I barely managed to give out half. In part because I was soooooooo busy and in part because it was a new concept.

Will came up about every other day to participate in various things. He was a hit in his Victorians and dashing in his tux. The ladies wanted to auction him off in the Thursday night live auction, but he said no.

All in all a good time - a fun time - a refreshing time.

Then yesterday we went to the gem show. Will bought me my birthday gift :) I make it easy on him - we just go to our favorite jeweler. Usually he is the one that spots the item for the gift. He has good taste :)

Now off to do the mundane chores the pile up when you are gone.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


How could I forget how much fun it is to work with ribbon or fabric and do ruching! This flower was from a class with a lady who teaches needlework, embroidery and design a local sewing center. Her bags are works of art and they were all decorated with ruching!

This flower is silk charmeuse cut on the bias and done with zigzag ruching. The leaves are 2 types of ribbon. I've done a bit of ribbon work with Candace Kling who is the goddess of ribbon work. If you can find her book - get it!

Hmmmm now I have all these ideas running around my head just when I need to concentrate on a big project.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


These kittens - age 8 weeks are now ours. They were strays found by my brother in law at his work. A couple of people have been collecting the strays and getting them fixed. The older kittens went off to become barn cats. These 2 young ones have been socialized for the past couple weeks by my brother in law and his wife. We have been thinking about a kitten to keep the Pickwick company.
Temporarily the larger/blacker one is Bandit. He is 2.6 lbs. The smaller Pirate is 2.2 lbs. They had their shots yesterday. Today they had "sniffing" with Pickwick. Tomorrow perhaps a bit more and hopefully they will have full interaction by Friday.
OY - kitten and fiber!!!!!

Long Update - trip, knitting, knitting and more

I know time flies when you are having fun, but life seems to do so also.
When last we left our intrepid adventurers...... we were setting out on a nearly 3 week road trip. But before I tell that story - here is the bag from the class I took on knitting and felting.

The bag is smallish and designed to teach changing colors, picking up stitches, eye cord, and a couple other bits. This bag is not yet felted so also not yet blocked.

It has lots of errors but I think I will call them design variations.

I also had started on this bag with the left over yarn and some other I had in stash. I am finding that knitting is smoothing. I can do it in front of the tv in the evening and just relax into it -- if it is not too challenging. The plan is to felt it as well. I have a bit more to do and then the handles. As you know by now it is very hard for me to follow any pattern. I need to make it my own. This is a variation of a pattern since I haven't ever made handles which curve.

Before this class I had finished this hat. It was my first "finish" even before the Islamic knitting projects. It was my learn to knit on circular needles. Of course this is my hat and now Will wants one too -- just not as much brim. They will be our wear to bed when camping hats when it is cold.

I also had gotten brave and started a "lace knitting" shawl pattern. I made a classic beginner error - choosing the wrong yarn. The yarn is obscuring the lovely pattern. It is an 8 row pattern. You add on both sides. Obviously I will need to block this. When I finish this ball of yarn I will do the other side which is all decreases.

Then Will's injury happened.
The trip was 2875 miles in total. Will road in the back seat with his leg propped up. It was in a cast from high thigh to ankle. When we left he was on crutches but could not carry or lift anything so if I could not carry it or lift it - it didn't go with 2 exceptions - a case of bottled waters small and our "tourney box" with minimal items for the event at the end of the trip. Our clothes were divided into regular and medieval and set into separate bags and suitcases. Despite trying hard to take a minimum of items, the car was full for the first leg of the trip.

Home to Redding - visit to Shasta Stitchers. We also did a quick stop at the Sundial Bridge.

Then Redding to Rogue River for Southern Oregon Stitchers. The plan was to off load the medieval event stuff and leave it with our hostess there. Originally this would have been a huge amount of stuff, but plans changed. It was still great to leave off the extra stuff so we had space in the car for the rest of the stops. It was SOS's Founders Day luncheon event and they treated me royally.

Then Medford to Eugene for Cascade Stitchers. They put on a lovely dinner for us. On our way out of town we saw a sign "Alpaca Festival". It turned out that Black Sheep Festival was that weekend in Eugene. It was free at the fairgrounds. The parking was free. We escaped with only a small amount of damage to our pocket books.

Then Eugene to Portland for Rose City Stitchers who put on a lovely reception for us. We stayed with my cousin in Portland for 2 days to visit. After reading Allie in Stitches - we paid a visit to Fabric Depot where I did find brocades for 3 vests for Will - including 1 that is embroidered. It will make a lovely vest for his Victorians which he will wear at the opening banquet for the National Seminar.

Then Portland to Spokane. The first half of the trip was lovely through the Columbia Gorge. Wish we had had some extra time to just take in the scenery. We stayed at the Hotel Lusso - very lovely European style hotel. The ladies of Mt Spokane Stitchers made me most welcome.

Then Spokane to Seattle. It was like driving Hwy 5 - long - boring drive - sigh! We stayed at the Inn at Queen Anne. It had a kitchenette which was very nice to have. Will's brother and family live in Seattle so we spent time with them including dinner at the Space Needle. I hadn't been there since the World's Fair which was 1962.

Then down to Tacoma to visit the Hotel Murano and have lunch with the members of Evergreen. They are hosting the 2012 Region Seminar at the hotel. It is a lovely site. We also took a little time to visit the Chihuly Bridge and Tacoma Art Museum. The Glass Museum did not have any Chihuly glass out so will visit it another time.

Then Seattle to North Vancouver. We had a lovely hostess who housed us, cooked for us, and took really good care of us. North Shore Needle Artists welcomed me and hopefully they will be more active in our Region with 2012 coming up. They are lovely people and fabulous stitchers.

Then we began heading south - first Vancouver to Olympia. We stayed with friends who helped us restock in preparation for the event. Fresh goat cheddar from a nearby farm and fresh home made Chevre from our hostess.. YUMMY!

Then Olympia to Rogue River. Had a nice visit with our hostess and her husband. Got to see his trains. They are about 1.5 - 2' high and the engines pull 3 cars plus "passenger cars" in a local park. They helped us reload the car for the final trip over Grant's Pass to Gold Beach Oregon.

At Gold Beach we stayed at the local Motel 6 which was about 15 minutes from site. With the help of friends the Arts and Sciences and the First Ever Medieval Sock Wars Event (not connected to the modern Sock Wars and which henceforth will have a different name) was set up and nearly ready for opening on Friday morning.

The event itself went beautifully and the A&S portion totally ROCKED!!! 3 days of classes - 30+ teachers and around 50 classes! 33 knitters/naalbinders for the knitting war portion. The "winner" was a lady who finished her first sock on day 1 and her second on day 2. She then made me a felted purse on day 3. We also had several judges choice - yak socks, first ever knitting project, and naalbound socks. Of course most of the socks were not finished on site but I've been hearing finishing sounds from many.

We used Christian's Pre-literate sock pattern primarily and the socks were done with worsted. I've been working on mine and I have just finished the heel of sock 1. They are knee socks to be used with garters. I took the lady from Brown Sheep's advice and added in a poly or nylon wooly serger thread for the heel and will also do so for the toe.
I also reconnected with my Naalbinding guru and reviewed the stitching which I had learned at Maker Fair. With all the intervening stuff, I was a bit hesitant about what to do next. It only took 5 minutes, but it was an important 5. This will be a hat too. I have a bit more to go before I begin the decreases.

The long trip was from Gold Beach to home. Nearly 10 hours but we made an early start so made it home for dinner. Whew!

Nearly caught up. Will's cast came off and he has a "dial" brace. It has been a couple weeks and he is already at 132 degrees of movement for his knee. Now comes the real work of slowly strengthening the leg.

We also have a new project -- 2 new kittens but that will have to wait for the next post. You can find more about our trip, etc. on my Facebook account.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the continuing saga

Had a blast doing the medieval thing at Maker Faire. Since the EGA booth had enough people working it, I opted to do the medieval booth. Maker Faire is the largest DIY event and stuff from steampunk to teslas happen along with everything fiber or electric or fire or.... Our booth was a mix of demos of arts, fighting, and display. I had my fiber arts and jewelry out. I brought stitching, knitting, weaving, and spinning. Since they had enough spinners I spent most of my time hem stitching a napkin while talking to people. Found I couldn't weave and talk (grumble need to take out that section...). Will fought and talked armor to lots of kids and dads.

I had been trying for quite a while to meet up with a guy who does fiber arts stuff and learn naalbinding from him. Others have tried to teach me, but it never looked right. I knew that he could make me see the path. Fortunately one of the booths had fabulous wool for sale - wool that felts. The joins are done with spit felting. 15 minutes later - I am a confirmed addict of naalbinding -- and I really understand it!

On May 27th Will fell on the inside front steps while loading the car for Erinwood. ER said left knee not broken - here is a splint - here are crutches - here are meds and see Ortho on June 2. June 2 see Ortho doc, 5 minutes in he is calling the on call doc to schedule Will for surgery, same day -- he ripped his Quadracept Tendon from his knee. They take the tendon above the knee and sew it to the tendon below the knee through the knee cap (drill holes). 6 weeks in a do not move knee brace from mid thigh to ankle. They kept him in overnight for pain issues and then sent him home with drugs. The leg is weight bearing and the ice maker is getting a work out (me too running up and down the stairs). Fortunately not much keeps the Will down for long, but.... He can't drive since the knee needs to be straight and he can't sit in either front seat. He sits in the back seat with his leg up on the seat.

We leave in 2 weeks for a 3 week road trip - Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. I am visiting 7 of my EGA chapters with a couple stops for family and friends. I get to drive. The last week is our West An Tir War in Gold Beach Oregon. No war for the Will but I am in charge of Arts and Sciences. We have a great class line up! We have motel reservations since if we take it, I have be able to carry it. It will be a long 3 weeks, but fortunately Will and I do well together. Pickwick will have his personal house/cat sitter while we are gone.

One of the key events at the War is the First EVER Medieval Sock Wars! Knitting is medieval so why not! Besides lets make it fun!!!!! The contestants have from Friday 9am until Sunday around 3 pm to get 1 sock done in worsted weight yarn - knitted or naalbinded. The minimum length is 16". We are using a plausibly period pattern or contestants can do their own. There are 3 categories for competition - 1st done or most done if no one completes, judges choice, and most inches per kingdom. Brown Sheep, Yarnia and Lion Brand have all donated supplies to help get the idea off the ground. I am tickled that other large inter-kingdom events have opted to run with the idea.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Embroidery - Costuming - Embroidery Coming full Circle

I started doing embroidery when I was in grade school. Mostly crewel pictures and follow the lines on table cloths. My Mom did needlepoint and that was the next step. I branched into doing some minor embroidery in high school. I also started doing costuming in high school/joined the SCA. Played in the SCA, Dickens and other such through college and did some limited costuming. Returned to SCA, etc a few years later (post graduate school) and did more sophisticated costuming. But something was missing. The decoration on the garb was not "right". Commercial trims and such just did not work.

In the late 1990's, I began learning more about embroidery and doing it on garb. In 1999 I taught my first class - a blackwork band. 10+ years later I am circling back to doing embroidery on garb. Truly integrating it.

Since we are off in a month or so to a 5 day war and I am in charge of A&S, I want comfy clothes. I will primarily be running around in Vikings or Cotehardies. I need a coif for each. The Viking coif is relatively plain, but it will get a bit of decorative herringbone stitch to hold the hem down. The other is a St Brigit's cap. It too will get a bit of herringbone and a very simple needlelace edging. Nothing is really stand out decoration, but rather completion of the whole item.

In truth, this is where I was heading. The knowledge and ability to "finish" my garb in a way that is "right".

Monday, May 24, 2010

Results of playing with wool

About a year ago, there was a "challenge" on Live Journal to offer to make a gift for the first 5 who signed up. Your prize was a gift from someone else on whose journal you made a request . It was a "pass it forward" kind of thing. I made 2 of the Viking Chain weaving bracelets and these 3 pouches as my "gifts".

I am enjoying the Medieval Islamic Knitting. It is rhythmic and fun. The projects are on the small side so you are done quickly. I think that it takes as long for me to make the kumihimo shoulder strap braid and the drawstring braid as it takes for me to knit the bag. There is also the finishing to do of working in all the thread start and stops.

The other 2 pouches are weaving in the round. I have a variety of wooden forms. You lace the form with kitchen string at the top and, if you want to have a flap, at the mid-point. You then do a continuous warp through the string - top of flap to front edge and reversed. You warp as thickly as you want. You then do a continuous circular weaving - over under, using the warp threads to make the weft. Good TV time.

The projects were delivered this spring so I can now unveil them for all to see.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Buying Power of Crafters and Needleworkers - warning not for the faint of heart

For better or worse our buying patterns affect the commodities offered to us. The companies that provide supplies for those of us that enjoy needlework are very strongly effected by even our small decisions. Why is this? Most of the companies that provide supplies to us are VERY small companies. Did you know that Au Ver Soie is 4 people and they are all of retirement age? Benton & Johnson produces goldwork supplies as an offshoot of another company that produces military braid. Golden Thread is Bill Barnes working part time and his secretary.

Tricia Nguyen of Thistle Threads wrote a very thought provoking post on this topic. I hope you will take the time to read it.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Time Flies...

Sorry -- this is another catch up post.
Doing lots for EGA - region Board meeting, semi annual National Board meeting, visiting chapters, and teaching for my local chapter. We won't talk about the 26 sets of meeting minutes and newsletters to be read monthly or the emails or the rounds of information gathering required for tax time -- even for a not-for-profit. I don't mind it, but it does consume time and energy.

As a balance I decided that I needed some art input. Signed up on Joggles to take Sharon Boggon's Studio Journals a Designer's Workhorse. I have never used a journal before. I keep a "log" in my head about projects. When I have an idea, I make a mental note of it. When I am working on a project I pull the materials and place them in a concentrated area -- across the room from where I usually sit. The materials tell me what goes where and whether I need to change a color or thread or.... I am still not convinced to use a journal, but I can see where it can be a good tool -- and I am all about tools :) The exercises she had us do were interesting bits of self exploration. Some confirmed my feelings about what I like to do/see -- I like it either very busy or stark. One of the exercises - walking with a camera, is something I do a lot. I have pics from all over with buildings, plants, ironwork - anything that makes for an interesting pattern. I usually take a dozen of the pictures for a year and put them up along with our holiday letter each year on our website.

I also signed up for Barbara Suess' Sunflower Temari. It is a set of intermediate kiku designs. I am behind getting started on them. I haven't finished the Echo Star additional balls yet, but I will some day.

I did hand off doing the Region outreach events. Now I just get to go and help or work the booth. Stitches West was fun. Didn't buy much except more roving to spin and yarn to dye. Speaking of Dyeing, I signed up via ANG for a dyeing at home class. So far I have done a couple experiments with English Ivy and Flowering Plum leaves. Many of the suggested projects I have done in prior dyeing experiments or the materials are not available to me. When I'm done I'll put up a web page with the results.

Really enjoyed my foray into ribbonwork. Our local EGA chapter had a member give a lovely program on stitching during Jane Austen's time. Susan Bryant is always a fascinating teacher. We made a needleroll with ribbonwork flourishes. Yes pics when I get it finished.

Of course I have a hard time keeping my fingers out of fibers. I have finished knitting my first hat -- circular needles to 4 needles around with reductions down from 66 to 6. Need to get a photo. I have also knitted a 2nd Islamic bag and finished both, the original and the 2nd one, with hand done cording. I also wove, circular weave, 2 pouches for other gifts. Pics once the final pouch is gifted.

I am sure there has been much more happening, including medieval events, but they will have to wait for the next blog.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

I made Sheep

Backstory -- a couple weeks ago I was tooling around the blogs and discovered a needle felting challenge put out by Shannon at Kenleigh's Fiber Studio. I have wanted to try needlefelting and she made it so easy with a kit, simple project, and instructions. Received the kit about a week ago and last night I put needle to felt.

Please welcome Sheepsie, the newest addition to my animal collection. After posing for me to photograph, she went around visiting the other animals in the collection.The variety of plants was a bit baffling to her, but she had to try them all out for size and taste.She even offered to travel around with me in my pocket to various fiber events.At present she is mulling over whether she wants to have siblings or just be a one of a kind. I've told her that maybe, since I let her keep her tail, I should give her a black faced sheep, like we saw in England to keep her company. Time will tell.