Friday, December 28, 2012

Gel Printing 101

I've been eyeing up the new gel printing plates out there for sale-but they are a little pricey for me.  So...the cheapskate side of me found a recipe for a home made plate and I managed to make it and even get it right.  I boiled 2 cups of water and added 8 packets of Knox gelatine.  I stirred until it was totally dissolved and then poured it into a little square pan lined with plastic wrap.  It set up really well overnight just sitting out on the counter.  Tonight I gathered together some things to make marks, stencils, and masks and proceeded to print with plain old craft paint and a brayer.   It wasn't hard to do and was fun.  I need to make myself a bigger work space for the next round of printing.  I'm thinking of cutting the plate down to ATC size and printing each card separately.  I think I'll be saving my pennies to get a larger store bought one to make bigger prints at some point in the future.  

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays

I haven't been blogging much lately.  I've been too busy with the holiday madness-or maybe just lazy-no- let's go with too busy.  I did manage to spend some time Christmas day spinning up some art yarn.  It was a while since I had done any spinning.  It felt good.  I have a New Year's resolution-more time spent spinning-less time nodding off in front of the TV.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book learnin'

I haven't blogged in forever, it seems.  I've been puttering around with all kinds of crafty stuff, and basically getting not much done.  My latest craze, though, has been making leather bound books.  I happened upon some really pretty journals made by other folks that are selling the books for a lot more than I'm willing to spend.  Sooooo, I started digging around in all those corners where I've been hoarding the scrap pieces of leather that I dig out of the garbage at work (we do upholstery work there).  It seems I have enough scraps to make a couple of cows (that's a lot by the way).  I've made a few journals now and I'm very happy with them.  I hope to make more so I can use up all that leather.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A mind of its own

I had a yarn in mind..
I spun up a thin single from a soft, fluffy and sparkley batt on the antique wheel.  That little bugger likes to spin fast and furious.  I treadled slowly, but it still flew like the wind.  It's a double drive that I have yet to learn how to control completely.  But I did get a consistent thin yarn.  I started to ply it on my Traddy-but it just refused to spin decently.  So I figured the country spinner can handle anything-and it can.  But, what I was going for and what actually happened are two different things.  I just wanted to kind of core ply the single onto a brushed mohair core.  There was so much twist in the single that it just kept twisting onto itself no matter what I tried.  So I gave in and let it do its own thing.  I'm not sure I could purposely repeat what happened-but boy do I love it.  I'm not sure I even did it-the yarn took over and did its own thing-I was just along for the ride.
This is not the yarn I had in mind.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mixed media jewelry

A while back I tried my hand at making some paper jewelry and was pleased with how it turned out.  I finally got a whole necklace finished and I love it!
The necklace part is some hand spun art yarn, then the pendant is a blend of paper (for the large oval) and a metal washer, a copper domed disk and a bead.  I fashioned a bail from some copper colored flat wire and made spirals for end caps with a clasp.  I wore it to a bead show and was thrilled to get some very nice compliments, one being that it looked like Raku pottery.  I just added some embossing powder on the top of the paper.  I'm trying to make more, but that dang old full time job just keeps taking up all my time.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Foster Mom

Well, I'm trying my hand at being a foster parent-no-not a real kid.  It's an antique spinning wheel that belongs to my BFF (Yup, Carol, that's you).  I talked her into letting me take it home to see if I could get it working. Well, I polished it up, oiled it, made a new drive band and had it going in no time.  One problem was a horrible screechy squeak-with my windows open, I'm sure the whole neighborhood heard, and wondered if I was strangling a cat.  Oil didn't do it, so out came the candle wax.  I applied it about 5 times before it finally quieted down.  But, the squeak sounded like it was saying the name Judith Anne-so with Carol's okay we named her Judith Anne-I call her Judie.  Once I figured out the ins and outs of double drive I spun up some Egyptian cotton I've had packed away for a couple years, did some lace weight wool for a shawl I want to make, and-I bought some flax and started to spin that.  I had to make a distaff for it-parts of it were missing. So I dug up a couple dowels and fashioned a usable distaff.

Flax-interesting stuff.  I researched every website and Youtube video I could find.  It is very different to spin.  Not especially hard-just different.  I can get it pretty thin without it breaking, but I don't think it will become fine linen.  More along the lines of rope.  Oh well, at least I can claim to be a pretty well rounded spinner now.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It Sounded Like a Cool Idea

Ice dyeing-sounds cool-hey?  Well...not so much.  First I had to go shopping to get some ice cube trays, cuz who knows what happened to the ones I had?  Then I made lots of ice.  I put some wool (soaked in vinegar and water first) in the bottom of the bin to soak up the run off, and then some in a wire basket and topped it off with all the ice.  Then I sprinkled several different colors of dye all in the purple blue and pink family.  I covered it with plastic and set it out in the sun to do its magic.  Notice there is no finished dyed wool in the picture.  It did not turn out.  Soooo...I divided up the water on the bottom of the bin and the wool into two pots on the stove and did some boiling instead.  I added some dark purple to one of the pots.  I haven't taken pictures of those colors-but I got a lavender from one pot and dark purplish/burgundy from the other.  I didn't get the results I hoped for-but still got some pretty color.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paper is fiber, too!!

I discovered a new technique for making some pendants and earrings from several layers of watercolor paper and good old Elmer's glue-all. I made some simple shapes and glued them together.  The top layer of most of them is watercolor paint randomly drizzled here and there on a sheet of paper.  Then I just picked out the nicest areas to cut out a shape and glued that to the tops.  A couple of the pieces have a top layer of some handmade paper I made a while ago.  None of them are quite done yet, they need several layers of high gloss varnish.  I'm really liking how this process works.  I learned it all from here:

I hope to finish them this weekend, then use some hand spun yarns and copper wire for the "chains".  I'm anxious to get these finished and see how they turn out.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Marathon Spinning

I decided to just keep adding all my batts to see how much I could squeeze on to that huge bobbin on my Country Spinner-well, 14 batts later-at about 1 to 1.5 oz per batt it is still not full.  I still have more batts to go to keep on spinning for the Tour de Fleece.  It will be interesting when the time comes to wind them off.  My plan is to wind them all off into separate balls.  I have to get at spinning up some of the alpaca and llama I have sitting here, too.  I'll use my other wheel for that.
Happy Spinning!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saori Book

I spent most of the day making a cute little book.  When I added the weaving to the front it made the book perfect. (for me, anyway)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pretty in Pink

I decided to dye some more pinks.  I used koolaid for the paler pink, and a mix of beet juice and madder for the darker shade.  The wool is Coopworth.  I hope to get this processed before the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry starts this Saturday.  I plan to spin a bunch of skeins of art yarn.  "Plan"  That's a big word.

I also received a gift from a friend.  She thought it was fiber related.  I think so, too.  But-I don't have a clue what it is.   It's too big to be a drop spindle,(it's about 15" tall)  and it doesn't seem to be a niddy noddy.  Anyone have any clues?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Flower "Garden"

I got on a kick of needle felting flowers.  Most of them are fantasy "lollypop posies".  I added pin backs to them and plan to use them as scarf pins for some smallish neck scarves I hope to make (soon).  They are quite fun and easy to make-and I have enough wool to make a ga-zillion more.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Soapy Fun

I spent my Saturday morning being all "wishy washy".  I felted 14 bars of soap.  Boy are my hands squeaky clean!  I went to the dollar store the other day and bought some soap.  The better deals were the Dial and Palmolive that have 3 bars per package.  But the nicer stuff is the Yardley-a buck a bar.  The square shapes are a little harder to felt nicely -those corners like to stick out.  I figured out a good way to lay out the wool-I made small "batts" with my hand carders, and used about 3 layers.  This was fun and I plan to hit the dollar store again (after my next paycheck!)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Monkey Business

I got some cool socks (seconds) from an online friend who makes looper rugs.  Well, before she cut them up I was lucky enough to have her send a pair to me so I could make this adorable monkey.  I'm hoping she'll come up with a kit form for making more cuz these are some really nice socks.  I checked the dollar store for some other possible socks-but the selection was not good.  Gotta find a source for some cheap socks to make a few more-some folks I know want me to make more.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Power Outage

What to do when the power goes out for 2 hours?  Hmmmm?  How about a little experiment with the home made hackle?  I lashed on some pretty colors of roving, some sparkle, and got out a metal washer to use as a diz.  This was my first attempt at dizzing roving off a hackle.  I found that the "pass" from right to left went well. The left to right not so much on the first try.  But I gave it another whirl, and it worked out pretty well.  I spun up my little rovings into a thick and thin single, and then plied it with some funky textured pink I had on another bobbin.  It's only about 10 yards, but it's very pretty-the picture doesn't do it justice.  It was a nice way to spend 2 hours without power.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Laundry " Day

I hate doing laundry!  BUT.....this was definitely way more fun than regular old laundry.  I had been spinning yarns and not setting the twist because I was waiting for the time and the weather to all work together.  Today was the day!  I found a better way than "thwacking" the yarn to finish it.  I just spun it around by hand out on my deck and it helped to remove a bit of some extra twist and the excess water-the neighbors probably wondered what the heck I was doing.  So now I just have to wait for the sun and warm breeze to do their stuff, and of course I have to decide what to do with all that yarn.

Friday, May 11, 2012

"Yes sir, yes sir, 3 bags full"

Well, I have my work cut out for me.  I just made a purchase from Lael (of Maplewood North/Hearthside Fibers).  Three very nice bags of smooshy soft wool.  My house smells like a barn at the moment-it's not a smell I dislike at all.  The dark brown/black is from a Shetland named Brie.  I had gotten her fleece last year and loved it so much I reserved it for this year.  (I'm still not through all of last year's)  Then I got a nice white Shetland named Vanilla.  The third bag is a white Coopworth (no name).  All look very promising for making some wonderful yarns.  So let the washing begin!  (Shhh-don't tell my plumber)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I'm feeling a bit blue these last couple of days.  I decided to sell my floor loom due to some financial "woes".  She hopefully is enjoying her new home somewhere in Minnesota.  I felt like I was selling one of my children,  Weird.  So, to help me move on,  I warped up my rigid heddle loom to weave along to the pool party theme with the Saori weaving group on Ravelry.  I've only just gotten started.  It'll be a scarf-just kind of wild and crazy.  A mood "picker-upper", I hope.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

2012 WI Spin-In

I went with my friend Carol to the Spin in today.  It was really nice.  I only bought one skein of yarn made from corn fiber.  We also went to the fiber/yarn "tasting" that was held in the evening.  I tried several fibers and spun up some crazy art yarn.  The coolest part was when I wanted to get a picture of the alpacas and they weren't cooperating-the owner took me in the pen, showed me how to hold one and I had Carol snap the picture.  He was sooooo soft-and humming the whole time.  His name is Iyata Supa.   I didn't get he little brown one's name.  It was an enjoyable afternoon and evening for sure.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Little Bit of Felting

I haven't been up to much lately.  Got myself a nasty cold-but it's finally winding down.  Last weekend when I was feeling particularly lousy, but itchin" to be creative, I decided to felt a bunch of little bitty balls to make into earrings.  I had only 8 hour workdays this week, for a change, and had the ambition to punch out and hammer some little copper domes for the earrings.  I'm thinkin' they turned out awfully cute.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Special Bear

I made a special bear for a very special friend and co-worker.  She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is having surgery Friday.  This was the very first bear I've made in quite some time.  I forgot how happy bear making makes me-and especially when I can give one to someone to help cheer them up and bring a smile to their face.  I couldn't post anything about the bear til now, because I wanted to surprise her (she reads my blog now and then)  But, I gave the bear to her today.   I hope she likes it as much as I liked making it.  I hope all goes well for her and she has a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bears revisited.

A friend and I challenged each other to make a teddy bear, something we haven't done in quite a while. Both of us were bear artists a few years back, doing bear shows and teaching classes, and being neck deep in mohair and bear parts. Life changes put us on different tracks and neither of us makes much in the way of bears anymore. This one little challenge opened up the floodgates of how much I enjoyed making the furry little guys. I've been bitten by the bug again. Not sure if it's something I'll get totally involved in again-but I plan to make a few and see what happens.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I found another fiber "technique" that interested me. I somehow ran across it while watching You Tube videos of crocheting and knitting. It's knitting with a crochet hook with a cord on the end. I had no idea there was such a thing. From there I found a group on Ravelry and there are a lot of people there that have been doing it for quite a while. I didn't have a hook, and wasn't sure where to find one-so my first attempt was to drill a hole in a wooden crochet hook that I had and put a cotton cord through it. It worked, but not great. I sort of gave up on the idea. So, tonight as I was perusing the aisles of my local Ben Franklin craft store. there it was-one lonely little package on the bottom shelf under all the other crochet hooks. Of course, I HAD to buy it. So now I have an official knook hook. I have no idea what to make-but I know I'll be giving it a try.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Yes, I needed MORE fiber!

I went to the "Sheep in the City" getaway today. It was waaaay in Milwaukee (that's a bit of a drive for me) I believe the shop-Just for Ewe sponsors it. It looked like a nice big group was there spinning and knitting and other such things in the middle of the room. There weren't a lot of vendors there-but it was all good quality stuff. Lael from Hearthside fibers was there. She's practically a neighbor of mine. I feel really lucky-I have a fleece reserved from one of her sheep when they shear this year (it's a beautiful brown). We talked about me possible getting a white fleece, too. I bought three braids of wool roving from her-Berry Patch, Marshmallow Chick and Frog Legs. I bought some bamboo from Fiber Lady. I also got some Frill yarn for making the corkscrew scarves. Then I got a really pretty pattern for a shawl from Corny Goodness. I wanted to buy some of their yarn, but ran out of money. They explained the whole process of how their yarn is made from corn. YES, corn! Its beautiful. I have their card so I can order some in the future.
So that's it-more fluffy stuff to add to the stash. I got me some spinnin' to do!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bunny Time

I was feeling the need to make a doll lately. It's been a while. I just happened to find a cute pattern in the latest Create and Decorate magazine and knew I had to make her. She didn't take long to do, and I used mostly scraps of fabric I had stashed away. I'll probably give her to my granddaughter for Easter. Or, I may need to make another for me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How to get things done

Well, one way to get a LOT of wool picking done is to go crazy and use the picker like a mad woman--like I did a couple weeks ago. I was having issues with some nasty pain that wouldn't let me relax. The only way to quell the pain was to keep moving. So I grabbed some wool and pushed and pulled that ol' picker for a few evenings in a row. Then the pain meds kicked in and I could finally relax. I got around to piling up the bags of wool and couldn't believe I got that much done. Whew!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Whopper size needles

I was wanting to do I-cord with big bulky yarn-and didn't have a big pair of double pointed needles to use-never saw anything as big as I wanted for sale anywhere-soooo.... I had this old broom handle and figured I tool wood carving classes a long time ago-still have all the tools. I cut two pieces about 12 inches long and proceeded to Whittle the ends to a sharp point. All in all, I do believe they came out pretty good-one is a little longer than the other. I made 1 I-cord so far-it was from a very unbalanced yarn-but the needles worked just great. I'm trying to find something I could put on one of the ends so I could just use them as regular needles to make a scarf. I still have some of the broom handle left-I may just make a separate pair for that. We shall see......

Monday, January 2, 2012

"New" space

I totally rearranged everything and now have a bit more room for "studio" space. At least now I feel I can call it my studio. All my working stations are in there. I just moved my living area to the dining room, and spread out all my stuff in the living room. I just have to find room for all the small stuff, supplies and general junk I've got in that stash I can't throw out. Here's hoping that when the urge to create strikes I can now just go sit and get started, instead of looking everywhere for that one item I know I have somewhere.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!

I spent the last night of 2011 playing with ATC's. I had this idea to use old magazine pages rather than throwing them all away. I cut out the brightest most colorful pictures I could find, cut them down to ATC size (2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches) then sewed them to several more pages to thicken them up. I was at it for quite a while-but doing it while watching movies made it go better. I'm finishing them up today , and hope to start using them to just slather some paint, glob some glue, and generally just have fun with them. I like that they have the colorful background all ready to get started. Now, off to play!