Monday, December 22, 2008

I won a contest!

What fun! Sydnei Moore of Simply Sentimental hosted a contest. The prize was a felted necklace created by Shalana, The Funky Felter. I was the randomly chosen winner. What a nice unexpected surprise.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just a Little Something


I felted a table runner a while back, using lots of different yarns drizzled all over and a little roving to hold it all together. I had note cards made of this close up picture. Below you can see the whole piece on my table. I'd like to do another one like this.


Company is coming in a few days, and I must get ready. This might be my last posting of the year, but I'll see you in January, and, meanwhile, I'll be reading all your blogs. May God bless all of you in 2009.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Felter's Goals

I've been in sort of a funk this week. I haven't done any felting at all. For show and tell, I have a vessel I finished a few weeks ago. I don't think I posted it before.


This week I've been thinking about:
  • how to better market my work

  • how to improve my work

  • what do I want to accomplish in the long run

One of my long term goals is to study under as many good felt makers as possible. So toward that goal, I am taking a workshop in March done by Chad Alice Hagen. She will be teaching Handfelted Scarf Bonanza, a workshop sponsored by the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. Here is the description from their website.

Hand Felted Scarf Bonanza with Chad Alice Hagen

It's fun, instructive, enlightening, creative, and useful! Join us for a full three days of making three very different hand felted scarves. You will learn to hand dye merino fleece, layout and hand felt the famous Airy Fairy Scarf. Then experience using very fine Australian needle punch batts to make the ultra fabulous Bubble Boa Scarf, and last but not at all least - dye, stitch and overdye the incredibly artistic Bark Scarf using the Japanese Mokume resist process.

793 Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, March 13, 14, 15: 9:00am-4:00pm Level: MultiTuition: $345/$285 members Materials Fee: $35 Dye Lab Fee: $45

Another opportunity in 2009 is the Midwest Felting Symposium. I am eagerly waiting to see the class and instructor list. Also, Pat Spark will be teaching in Iowa in June at the Midwest Weavers Conference.

Another of my goals has to do with proficiency. I want to be able to make a wider variety of felted items very well, and to become familiar with using different types of wool and other fibers. I am still a "young" felt maker, and I know I can learn a lot from those with experience.

So here is a challenge for you. Name one goal you have and what action you will take to achieve that goal in 2009. Be brave. Send it to the comments section so we can all encourage you.

Now here is a picture of the cutest little Santa ever seen:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Show shots and Fabrications

Show shots from the RAC Artists' Morning.



Well, here it is. Scarves were displayed on one table. Vessels and other things went on another table. I'm sure I have a lot to learn about display and merchandising, but it seemed to look nice. I sold only a few things, but it wasn't expensive to participate and fun to boot. I met a weaver named Connie Simonson. She creates beautiful handbags, table runners, and other items with great texture and color. Connie does custom work through her Etsy shop Illoominations.

After lunch, it was off to Crossings for the Fabrications Artists' Reception. This is the 3rd year I've participated in the show. Several other felters also participated, doing all types of felt making including needle felted pins and brooches, needle felted hair barrettes, scarves with needle felted sheep as a design, needle felted animal sculptures. Wet felted items included hats made of Navajo-Churro wool, jewelry, and some crochet-and-fulled vessels. The show also included other fun fibery things: weaving, hand-spun yarn, knitted items, jewelry, and a dress that looked like it was made of paper money. I'm sure I'm forgetting something worth mentioning, so you'll just have to check it out yourself if you are in southeast Minnesota.

After that it was back to real life. The whole weekend seemed to be a crazy word problem series from some nightmare SAT test.

"If Renee has to be somewhere by 8am, and her husband must drive Child #2 to choir practice at 9am, how many of the other five children must he take with him while he does speed-Christmas shopping before picking up Child #2 one hour later and dropping Child #4 off at a friend's house?"

"And if DH must be at church by 4:30 pm, and neither Renee or Child #2 is due home until 5pm, can Child #3 babysit Children #5-6 until Renee completes her obligations and picks up Child #4 from her play date?"

"And, by the way, where is Child #1? He left Friday to go winter camping somewhere with his Boy Scout troop. If they drove north for 2 hours going 60 miles per hour, then we hope they had heated cabins wherever they were going, 'cause it's pretty doggoned cold outside."

Thought for the day: Step back from the busyness of life. Remember that the Creator of the Universe created you and loves you. He will give you all you need. Rely on Him, instead of your own strength.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fabrications Exhibit



I knew Crossings was going to use a picture of one of my scarves on the publicity post card for the Fabrications exhibit. But, wow! I wasn't expecting it to cover the whole postcard. Isn't it cool? The exhibit runs through December. Come and see!

This week is like finals week for me. Everything is due on Saturday. In the morning, I'll be at at a show sponsored by the Rochester Athletic Club. Saturday afternoon I'll be at Crossings for the Fabrications Artists' Reception. I'm praying I stay healthy and that the weather is clear.

A lot of little details need attending to before the morning show, such as attaching price tags, figuring out display details, packing things up to transport. I don't do shows regularly so I'll be making a list and checking it twice.

We traveled over Thanksgiving. I knitted a scarf on the 12 hour drive there. Then I made an "emergency" yarn run to the local Hobby Lobby, so I'd have something to knit on the way home. I bought some inexpensive bamboo yarn, just to see how it knitted up. The yarn was soft and nice to work with. Daughter #1 bought some blue tinsel-like yarn and knitted her own scarf on the drive home.

I've been experimenting during the last couple of weeks with "restyling" scarves. I purchased some plain scarves and embellished them using my Janome Xpression. Some people call this a needle felting machine. Others call it a machine embellisher. Here are the results.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Adventures of Felt Girl

I've been struggling to get any felting done lately. Lots of things going on with the family...2 children had birthday parties, our church choir had an event, school conferences (x5), being a superhero...
What? You didn't know I was a superhero? I got my secret identity just today. I am..."FELT GIRL", and I have a trusty sidekick, Lava Girl (my 4 year-old red-headed daughter). Lava girl "turns into lava with her head on top of it." Felt Girl, "makes felt and ties people up with them." Not a bad super power.
Since we last saw Felt Girl, she managed to finish some felted vessels and even felted a scarf, er, a shawl, or, um, maybe it's a table topper. It turned out kinda big, but it's pretty.
This one will be on display at Crossings during the month of December.
Just a simple one in Purple and Gold. I like how the gold migrates through the purple when it is felted.
This one reminds me of winter.
My attempt at an original motif.
My extra large Christmas scarf. The snowflakes are trapped between two layers of mesh. The mesh is trapped between superfine merino.
Oops, Lava Girl needs my help. Tune in next time for the adventures of ...duhn duhn duhn...Felt Girl and Lava Girl.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Laminated-imbedded-hybrid-nuno felted scarves

There is an interesting discussion on the Feltmakers List about the terminology used to indicate felt made from wool and other cloth. The term nuno is very common here in the United States, but can be confused with the Japanese company Nuno and its products. Laminated is used but doesn't really imply how the wool really intertwines with the cloth instead of just laying on top of it. The word imbedded covers that but, in my opinion, doesn't really give a good visual for the final product. Hybrid is another term used by some.
I think the problem with the terminology is that the words don't sound nearly as beautiful as the real thing. Who wants to wear an "imbedded felt scarf" or a "hybrid felt scarf"? It just doesn't sound beautiful and elegant and soft and colorful. Of the four words, I like nuno the best, because I don't have another competing definition for it.
Well, no one likes blog entries with no pictures, so here are some scarves I felted using wool and silk. Call them what you please.

My favorite. If I could name it, this one would be "A River Runs Through It."
I love the colors of this silk. I used a simple design, similar to the one I did in Kris Post's class at The Fiber Studio.
And this is the one I did in class. You might remember it from a previous post. I did press the scarf since that first picture, so maybe it looks a bit better here.

And finally, this is the first one I did at home after taking the class. I used a purple and orange scarf purchased from a second hand store. Not my favorite, but for someone who likes purple and orange together, it makes quite a statement.
Photographing scarves is quite an undertaking, especially scarves that don't even lay flat, like nuno...er...like these scarves. Someday, I'll get one of those dress form thingys and drape my scarves elegantly around it to take well lighted, thoughtfully composed photographs. Someday....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scarves and vessels

Just some things I've felted lately.

Mocha scarf. So named because I've already spilled coffee on it. I'll probably keep this one. Machine needle felted.
Nuno scarf on silk, made in class last weekend.
Nuno scarf made with Optim and mesh.
Nuno scarf made with lace.
Seaweed scarf

And some vessels.

This picture was taken on a cloudy day with no flash. The color is really washed out.

Large vessel with silk cap cut into pieces.

Ode to the Red Hat Society.

An example of why you should never give up on a piece. This thing sat on my shelf for months. I was never happy with it and couldn't figure out what to do with it. Finally I needle felted the surface with swirls and reshaped it into a square vessel. I like it much much more.

Something sort of Christmas-y.
That's all. I don't have much to say right now. Just wanted to catch up on pictures.
Have a great weekend.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Great Felting Escape

Saturday was a great day. I escaped to Minneapolis by myself for a nuno scarf class at The Fiber Studio. I'll post a picture of my scarf as soon as I can. Kris Post gave a wonderful class, all very comfortable and relaxed. It was very much like hanging out with old friends for the afternoon.
Of course, I loaded up on supplies while I was there. I bought a few extra silk scarves so I can make a few more nuno style, some merino top, and some Harrisville fleece in several colors. And before I went to class, I stopped at Needlework Unlimited Outlet, conveniently located only a few miles from The Fiber Studio. All the yarn at this outlet is at least 50% off, so, of course, I had to load up. In my defense, I used one of the yarns in my nuno scarf class, and I used some more today as a needle felted embellishment to one of my large vessels.
I came back charged with energy, so Sunday, I felted three small vessels and some Christmas balls. In the evening, I helped Child #1 finish a machine needle felted scarf he'd started. He did a good job on it, and wants to sell it.
Today I made two scarves. One has lace and merino/silk, and for the other I used some of the superfine white Optim merino with some gold mesh fabric.
Pictures later. I seem to be having a hard time getting those photos taken. The best time is when Child #6 is napping, but that is the best time to do many other things, as well. Today Child #5 got sick at school, so I had to turn around and go back almost immediately after dropping her off. She'd been unusually whiny, so I should have known something was up. In addition, DH had to leave unexpectedly on a business trip, so I had some extra chauffeuring to do today that he usually takes care of. It was a busy day, and sometimes these unusual turn of events throw me for a loop. I must still be psyched up from the weekend, because today I just rode the wave and enjoyed the ride.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nuno Scarf class

Today's the day! I'm going up to Minneapolis for a nuno (laminated) scarf class at The Fiber Studio. Kris Post is the instructor. I believe I met her at the Midwest Felting Symposium. I am looking forward to it. Though I've tried nuno on my own once or twice, I have felt unsure about it. I will be happy to have some instruction.

This past week I did some finishing work (beading, needle felting) on some vessels, and started some scarves. As usual I am trying to be organized, plan out what needs to be done and finish things before I start new ones.

No pictures this time, but if my nuno scarf comes out well, I'll post it.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tag, I'm it

Suzanne Higgs tagged me so I'm it.

The Rules:
Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random and some weird.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Enjoy! You've been tagged!

It didn't take as long as I thought to think of 7 things I'm comfortable sharing about myself publicly.

I love living out in the country.

My favorite habitat is the prairie.

In my other life, I was a botanist, and occasionally, still am.

I'd love to go to Rome and see the Vatican and the Pope

When my last child graduates from high school, I'll be 60 years old.

My favorite song is "MomSense" by Anita Renfro, and I sing it in the car very loudly, even if the kids are with me. I have to watch my speed while doing this, as it is easy to get carried away...

I'd love to live in Virginia.

I don't know 7 bloggers well enough to send this to them, so I'll pass on that part.

TaDa!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Basic Three Dimensional Wet-Felting

I'm teaching in January at Crossings in Zumbrota, Minnesota. The title is Basic Three Dimensional Wet-Felting. I'm excited, but suddenly nervous, after seeing my name right there on the Internet. Yikes! Anyone out there in southeast Minnesota, come check it out. We'll have a lot of fun, I promise.
I'll also have some felted vessels on display for the Holiday Open House at Crossings the weekend before Thanksgiving. I'll post the link when it is there.
This week I've been working on scarves. Michael's had a sale on Paton's Pooch yarn for $1.99 per skein so I loaded up. Pooch is one of those yarns that lends itself to felting projects. It has texture like popcorn. Anyway, I had to justify spending $xx on yarn, so I incorporated it into a few scarves. My daughter named one of them the Seaweed Scarf, and another the Puppydog Scarf.
Meanwhile, Child #6 turned 2 years old yesterday. We had a Coldstone ice cream cake. That is the third birthday in our house in the last 10 days. That's a lot of Coldstone ice cream cake, so I will have to work out today. Not something I really enjoy, so I'll really have to exercise my self-discipline as well.
Have a great day!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Satisfaction

I said I'd be satisfied if I tried out some scarf ideas and felted two vessels that I'd started. I actually got it done. I love love love Frabjous Fibers Multicolored Merino Top, seen in colorway Moulin Rouge on the scarf with the ribbons. I found Frabjous when I got the chance to go to Susan's Fiber Shop in Wisconsin last August (Hi Susan!). The rainbow colored merino on the first scarf pictured, is some I got quite a while ago from The Fiber Studio in Minneapolis (Hi Pam!) I am a sucker for those multicolored fibers.
Below are the two bowls I wet felted yesterday. I am undecided about them. They are telling me they are not finished. Since I plan to donate them to Channel One's Empty Bowls Fundraiser, I'd like them to stay more or less bowl shaped. So I will keep working on them.
Today I made some updates on the blog settings, and thought about possibilities for needle felting classes I could teach. I also came across an awesome Etsy shop by an artist who calls herself Deebs. She does some incredible needle felted art. I wish she'd come and teach.
I didn't get any actual felting done today. Too much going on here with kids and their friends. We are totally enjoying these autumn days. We've had sunny skies and cool temperatures. The trees are usually in peak color around this time, but this year I think it will peak a bit later. Any of you keeping track of that sort of thing? This is the part of fall I love, but I always feel a bit sad (or SAD) knowing that before too long, the weather will turn rainy and colder. When that happens, I'll just have to cheer myself up by making felt.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wet Felted Vessels


I've been asked to teach again. (Yay!) This time it will be wet felted vessels for adults. Here are a few samples. These were made on 5-7" inflatable balls. I've started experimenting with shaping these small vessels instead of leaving them round.
The proprietor asked if I could come up with a more catchy name for the class, and I agree"wet felted vessels" doesn't sound all that glamorous. Ideas anyone? I googled, and almost everyone lists similar classes as "wet felted vessels" or something very close.
I am trying to stay productive. Two more vessels are laid out ready for felting, and I'll also try out some scarf ideas that have been simmering in my head for some time. If I accomplish that this week, I'll be pleased.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Making felt while the sun shines

I'm taking advantage of good weather, healthy children, and a strange abundance of energy to get things done. Channel One, the local food bank, will be having a fundraiser in October called Empty Bowls. Artists donate hand crafted bowls, which are auctioned, sold, or given to people attending a soup supper. Here is one bowl I will donate.
I also finished 2 scarves. I would call them laminated scarves, I think. I knit the scarves in a very loose stitch on large needles. These I used as the base for wet felting. One is done in a window style, with patches of knitting left uncovered by the layers of wool. The other is felted into a solid layer of merino/silk. The pictures are quick and dirty, but the scarves came out well.

If everything keeps running so smoothly, I will be able to get a lot of work done.
I was also asked if I wanted to teach an adult felting class (vessels again). So I need to put together a proposal quickly, and make up some samples.
Happy Felting everyone!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Some Felting Pictures

I am busily getting ready for Fabrications V at Crossings in Zumbrota (December) and also for a little art/craft show that is put on at the Rochester Athletic Club in December. Here are some of the things I've made lately. I've really enjoyed working with some new fibers, especially some multicolored merino top from Frabjous Fibers.

Here is a really beautiful scarf in colorway Tango. It also has a little silk embellishment. This one would make a nice warm coat scarf.

This second scarf is also in Tango with silk embellishment. It is very thin and lightweight, maybe a nice little accent scarf with a blouse.


This scarf in whites, is another of my romantic series that has lace embedded into it along with various yarns, all bound together with some white merino/silk blend.
For this scarf, I used Optim white merino---ultra fine! It has a sparkly white yarn running through it, with just a touch of color to embellish it.


I am really pleased with this vessel. The outside is a multicolored silk cap. Just underneath is a sparkling layer of Angelina. Blue and purple layers of wool make up the body.
More functional items--these can be potholders or trivets or table toppers.
I was playing around with needle felting and came up with these flowers. I haven't decided quite how to use them. They'd make pretty pins, or embellishments for other pieces.


And a few more vessels.
This one is extra tiny. It started out as a round scrap-the leftover top from cutting open a small vessel. I steamed it and shaped around the smallest cup I could find. It would make a cute ring holder. It is about 2 inches tall.

Here is the last picture. This vessel has been sitting around for awhile, waiting for inspiration to strike for its final form. I steamed it and started stretching it, and it decided it wanted to be square instead of round. I like it much better this way.







So there you have it. More pictures and less blathering, as promised!