A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

Archive for the ‘Dye’ Category

Remembering


From Shakespeare to “Die Hard,” “Love Actually,” and “Harry Potter,” he brought a distinctive approach to every role. “I think there should be laughs in everything. Sometimes, it’s a slammed door, a pie in the face or just a recognition of our frailties.” I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and experience. Rest in peace, Alan Rickman, a giant of the stage and screen.

Thank you for stopping in and sharing my blog with friends. It brings me great pleasure to take you along on my journey of self discovery, self love, and crafty (mostly wet-felting, hand appliqué, and quilting of late) adventures! Visit me on Facebook here for more inspiring projects. As always, they are FREE.

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, Instagram, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

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Reawakening and Relaxation


No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world~~Robin Williams

Sometimes I simply need to remind myself I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Dare to play and experiment.  This is a 7″ by 7″ mini-quilt (with double-binding–corded and regular bindings) made for my friend as shop-warming present.  It’s a proportionally replicate of her shop logo–Nicole Michelle Decor.  Beautiful first-class shop. Check it out. I free-motion quilted with Silk threads and had to redo a few times.  Not perfect, but, it’s the thought that counts, right?!

I have been seriously itching to paint my own fabric for a long time–accumulated a ton of books on the topic since last year–so many possibilities and one of a kind cloth. A month ago, I got a hands-on demonstration for watercolor-pencil painting on fabric from Kristin. Why did I procrastinate the play? Craftastrophe, maybe? These exercises are really about courage, I guess. To make a blank piece of cloth to some sort of art and then show it to people can be scary. I open myself up to ridicule. It is always nerve racking.

Summer time is a time of reawakening and relaxation. What better way to relax than to reawaken a plain cloth (fat quarter) with a burst of color!

Organizing my threads

I spent a better part of Tuesday night adding layers–1) first tried light sketching with Staedtler Mars Lumograph 100 pencils. It’s too faded to make a difference. My poor eyes couldn’t see the lines. 2) Mixed 1-part Martha Steward Fabric Medium and 2-part water–worked out great here and half the price of my go-to Liquitex Textile Medium.  3) Paint small working area of cloth with watercolor pencils, 4) Touched up with Inktense pencils.  Now that I get some idea of how it works, I can easily skip Step 3 altogether.  Inktense is the way to go.  Go on smoothly.  Colors are vibrant.  I only need very little of it unless I want the color dark on the fabric.  5) Let the cloth dry overnight.

I treated the colored cloth with dry hot iron next morning, washed it gently by hand with mild soap, and hung dried. Surprisingly, no color was lost between rinses even though I did not wash the sizing off beforehand or let it dry for 24 hours as some suggested.  I believe the fabric medium played a major part in this result.

Stroke by stroke, “Traveling down the childhood memory lane” is born–the boats, its shadows, water fluidity, stone wall, rope posts, and row houses (awaiting thread painting to give more details.) I love my first child-like painting!

Wish I could wash the birds off the sky and start over though. Typically, I can paint over it. But I won’t as I will be fine-tuning the cloth with threads later in the quilting process.

No matter how badly I mess up, there is something of value here. I always say some of my best ideas came from my worst ‘mistakes.‘ Once a couple of strokes in place, I wasn’t afraid to take creative risks. I now call this creative fertilizer for my crafty garden. Oh and…sometimes it’s good to know when to stop adding ‘one more thing‘ to the designs. It’s why I left the sashing plain.

This is a blast to work with, literally had me giggling (in a good way,) but it was the brilliance of Inktense Blocks and fabric medium that lured me into a late-night paint party! I can’t wait to seam the pieces up, add cotton batting and some pieced-backing, and start embellishing/quilting it. Meanwhile, I washed a few more clothes, awaiting to be dried for more experiment. I am thinking of using all the acrylic paints and washable textile medium by Delta, Ceramcoat, Folkart, Liquitex, Deco Art, and Chromacryl I already have.

It’s a good thing to take a break from the computer sometimes and pick up a pencil. I love to doodle, dream, sketch, and do what I please on this once white cloth. It is all about inspiring self to spread my creative wings. I need all of the positive creative inspiration I can get as it isn’t easy for me–not at all. Is there something you’ve been procrastinating? Be brave. Have courage and confidence.  Dive in. What the worst thing can happen?

Enabler Alert. I am delighted to share a couple of knitting and crochet patterns published this month. Diamonds and purls knitted shawl pattern is FREE for the month of August.  No coupon code needed.  Thank you, Jenny, for a fine lace beauty.

Are you as crazy about Mandala as I am? Take a good look at what Dedri Uys designed. The vivid colors.  The lotus-like flowers in the corners.  Raised petals.  All the little details in Sophie’s Garden are stunning!  What’s more?  The pattern is FREE as a bird.  Would you make it?

That’s the wrap, folks. Visit my Facebook page here for another inspiring project to be shared later today.  As always, it will be FREE.

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

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ღ(✿◠‿◠)˙•٠•●ღ
ƸӜƷ•.¸¸.• ƸӜƷ

(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

Want to be Happier?


Try making my life a tad harder, preparing for Ravellenic games.  It’s epic.  I am on two teams, already!  Heehee.

Have you read Little House on the Prairie books?   Just imagine…scrubbing my menstrual flannels in a bucket, stewing up endless turnips, and chasing off the locusts.  Oh boy…my volumizing hair would surely have been greasy…petticoats grubby and encumbering…cuticles raggedier than my kids’ rag dolls.  Yet, the Ingall-Wilders were connected to their own lives.  Their every happiness and very existence were created from the work of their own hands.  Pa fiddled by the firelight while the girls knit themselves stockings with Ma sewing pantaloons.  Don’t forget…kids skipped school ‘cuz it’s time to boil maple syrup, harvest rutabagas, or cut ice from the lake.  I am full of envy.

My longing is no mere fantasy.  I’m actually happiest when accomplishing tangibly productive work–cleaning dishes and putting ’em away in proper places and stacking order, shoveling snow, replacing a shirt button for the boy’s jeans, cooking up feast, picking up hair from dogs and girls–rather than crossing virtual tasks off my on-screen to-do list.  I love seeking out activities that cultivate mindfulness.  The sense of oneness with my activity whether it is crocheting an afghan square, knit a sweater, or we felt.

The repetitive work helps me in two ways.  Counting chains/stitches and shingling fiber, a cognitive distracter,  distract me from stress while I’m doing the craft.   I get a great sense of accomplishment when there is a clear connection between my physical efforts and results.  My reward chemicals increases while the anxiety/stress toxins–heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration and all–drops.   This is a pretty nice cocktail, wouldn’t you say?!

Leisure turns out to be complicated and important.  But, any type of repetitive motor activity can calm the brain.  What do you do to ease the anxiety?  Will you be participating in any of the Ravellenic games?  Here is a pair of newly published Carved Heart Socks, perfect for Valentine’s Day gift, I plan to cast on for the kick-off ceremony and knit during the games.  Coupon code at check-out is Heart for your free pattern, good ’til January 8.

Kate Heppell of Shetland Story have made Love in Cold Climate FREE for the run-up to and duration of the Olympics as her little way of helping to raise awareness of the plight of the LGBT community in Russia, subject to terrifying levels of persecution, discrimination and abuse. You may read a little about this here.

Other candidates for the games are:

    • To Zola With Love, a prayer shawl worked up/designed by Kay Meador for a special someone in her life.  Free to Ravelry member. No coupon needed.

How’s that for starter?  I will show you my Ravellenic queues of JenJoycedesign by my dear friend next.  For now, Pin-striped Fingerless mitts is a free download to Ravelery member.  Grab a copy.  Sharpen your needles.  Dig in your stash.  Cast-on away.  Now, I must get to my daily walk.  Come back soon for more Ravellenic enabling.

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ღ(✿◠‿◠)˙•٠•●ღ
ƸӜƷ•.¸¸.• ƸӜƷ

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)

Life’s Three Choices


I only have three choices in life.

Give up.

Give in.

Or give it all I have got.

Today, I dare to be brave.  I am on the brink of my breakthrough.

Featured knit is Princess Lace Beret designed by Vera Sanon of SunfunlivingKnits.  It’s super easy, fun, and fast knit.  I ended up with two…this modeled one in Zitron Trekking XXL Duett went to my teen’s school fundraiser for her music programs.

The second one is in my superfine merino 2-ply handspun and Wilton’s cake dye.

 I cranked both out in three days.  Only change I made to the design was extended 1-cord tip to 1.5”; in knot, it’s 1” long.  Also, I switched the t2b and t2f symbols to reflect respective visual slants (while the key legends are written correctly.)

This makes a beautiful gift.  I highly recommend it.

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook!)

Do or Do Not


There is no try.  Kill fear by taking action and build on that confidence.  A real decision is measured by the fact that I’ve taken a new action.  If there’s no action, I haven’t truly decided.

Ideas alone don’t bring success.  The habit of putting ideas into action is now.

There is never a right time. I can ‘t wait until condition is perfect or put off tomorrow what I can do today.   The most difficult time to take action is the very first time.  After the ball is rolling, I’ll build confidence and things will keep getting easier.

I know. The longer an idea sits in my head without being acted on, the weaker it becomes. However, acting without thinking would make me look like a doer, instead of a thinker. A good idea will grow stronger; stupid ones will go away.  I prefer to wait a week before acting on it.

Instead of stimulating the amount of ideas, I much rather set the target to filtering my ideas internally before polluting the environment.  I will start my creative motor mechanically.  I will sit down and write, put pencil to paper, brainstorm, doodle…By moving my hands, I’ll stimulate the flow of ideas and inspire myself.

I will be a doer, seize the initiative, and live in the present.  Today, I’m taking positive steps to creating a new mind space based on this very solution. Cheers!

The dress coat I mentioned earlier is being dried (will be a long while as it’s heavy, dense…and very cold out.)  It gave me time to think and came up with a solution.

Through a seamstress’ lens, the pocket needs to be relocated from bottom to where the white napkins are placed. But, “How?” you ask. Of course, steekand “patchwork, I tell you.

Where’s that pair of magic scissors?  lol

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook!)

Carpe Lanam: Black Sheep Gathering Finale


 Seize the Wool.  Last day at Black Sheep Gathering (aka BSG).  What an amazing experience!

Complete sensory overload

and high on wool fumes.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, one may wear wool at least 9 months of the year. Imagine that.

At BSG, there is every kind of yarn you may imagine for sale, fibers of all kinds in all preparations (or none,) carders, combs, hackles and other fiber processing tools, drop and support spindles, spinning wheels, looms, knitting needles, and too much else to even begin to list!

Here is one of a few fascinating gadgets I’d love to acquire by Ken Larson of Pedro’s–his Flying Shaft Rug & Tapestry Loom.  You may fly through great projects–warp in 15 minutes, huge shed for ultra chunky/heavy yarn–imagine weaving a rug in just a few hours, on a quiet, relaxing afternoon.  It sure would burn a humongous hole in my out-of-control yarn stash.   Haaahaa…wouldn’t that be sweet!

I find the world to be an amazing place…even the not-so-fun parts, like rolling larger piece of wet felt.  But, wait…problem solved…if you only have this magical Roller Felting Machine, again, by Pedro.  Not only will it save time and my arms, I won’t have to worry about carpal tunnel, sore joints, vertigo physical challenges that may keep me from playing with this fiber art endeavor…ooooh, land of possibility… 😀

Wish I have gone back to see the finished felt piece (in about 1.5 hours) by sparkling Eve and the young fiber enthusiast.  Here you will see some already finished art felt by Eve.  Like what you see here?  The witting and entertaining artist will travel to you and give a up-close-and-personal demonstration.

I am inspired…by one of my favorite new vendors, Tylar Merrill of Thimbleberry Felt Designs.

It was a joy perusing delectable yarns, fibers and other wonderful items. It’s nice to know I can do more perusing of Tylar’s masterpieces when I return home as some of her vividly colorful 3-dimensional felted folk art and clothing are available at Tumalo’s new gallery.  She also will be at my favorite quilt show SOQS in July.

The colors were amazing but I refrained from being out of control.  Below are some of Wooly Walkersdesign work of art.  (Una Walker–a member of Designing weavers–in a red cardi.)

Following is a discontinued spinning wheel–Louet S90–handpainted by inventive Diane Cutler of Spinning Stripes.  Sometimes, I wonder why companies stop offering what people want and really need.  This is one awesome traveler a spinner should have, a real score if you see an used one being offered!

It’s always a pleasant visit with Diane,  one of my creative explorers. ♥

I came.  I saw.  I ate mainly at the Saturday Potluck dinner.

Other times, I skipped meals altogether–there was NO TIME to eat! Three days of sheep show, fleece show, vendors, classes, spinning, fiber, animals, and spending time with friends who share my passion–it was terrific fun meeting local Ravelers and out-of-towners, especially one that too is obsessed with jazzknitting. 😀  

I can’t believe I finally met and chatted with the one-and-only knitting guru and designer Eugen Beugler.  It was one of the most pleasant conversations I’ve had in a week.  He spoke eloquently and with true conviction and passion.  During the 30 minutes, it felt like talking to an old friend as we laughed, joked, and enjoyed a good conversation on knitting lace, cables, and designing baby blankets–with him pulling out his work in progress to share.  He was so personable, down-to-earth, full of life, and energetic.  Do I dare to think I would be designing when I am over 80?  Now…only wish I were moving to Eugene and be hanging out with him over the Knit Shop all the time!

Can you believe I however missed the BINGO game altogether…mainly due to me working the information booth during most of my free time?  (Pictured below–left to right–are Jo from Springfield and Nadine from Tigard, OR.)

No complaint. I was in great companies.

If April would have me back, I’ll be sure to sign up for that next year.  😀

Next year, I’ll join the BINGO game too–even to be one of the SQUARES–to win one of the awesome prizes!  (Look, here, at–April and her sister Jessica–how much fun it is to volunteer at the Information Booth!)

Next to the shopping, my favorite part of the fiber gathering was Fiber Art judging and exhibit.  In most fairs, this is done quietly behind the scenes.  At Black Sheep Gathering, it is a public affair.  Many of you fiber enthusiasts know Melda Montgomery well, either through Fiberworks and Pacific Basin School of Textile Arts (both in Berkeley, California,) McMinnville Art Center, or Woodland Woolworks.

I learned so much about wool and yarn from the judge’s explanations while she talked about the sheep origins and breeding, the qualities and structures of various types of wool and their uses.

I got to see so many beautiful arty creations and gained a real appreciation for the necessity of choosing a yarn suited to each particular project.  (Shown below represents only a small fraction of entries submitted and judged.)

High on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber Fumes
High on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber Fumes
High on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber Fumes
High on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber FumesHigh on Fiber Fumes
Fiber Art, a set on Flickr.

Last night was the infamous Spinner’s Lead in show ring, (below pictured on the left is Laura aka Spindrift, one of many contestants in her own gorgeous handspun, handknit)

M.C. by Trish for the entertaining event.

No doubt it was enjoyed by the overwhelming, enthusiastic crowd…even though it made it a late night for many of us started at 8:00 p.m.

A lot of fun.

People walk through the show pen wearing something they’ve spun, knit, felted, or in some way crafted into clothing while leading the breed of sheep that the wool came from.

Next is my friend Shirley modeling her handspun, handknit ensemble out of her spinner’s lead prize from two years ago.  Fancy that!

There is a lot of gorgeous creativity.

Some were very funny.

I was too entertained to remember to take more photographs!  Bad ‘ol me.  But, this blew my mind.

Check out his story in detail.  An a-m-a-z-i-n-g lad.

Contender of the Spinner’s Lead is also this year’s winner of the Black Sheep Cup in the Fiber Art Division–my most admired felted jacket in her Jacob wool by Shannon Phifer of Kenleigh Acres Farm.

Last year (or the year before?) they also had a costume show with Shetlands dressed up. Makes for a fun evening.  (Showcased below is one of this year’s Sheep-to-Shawl winners— a ravishing shawl worn by Laura aka Tinkertots.)

Comparing to fellow spinners/ravelers, I don’t have a stash to take home, other than a couple packs of hand-blown glass beads by a Portland artist. A very good reason…for I’m saving up for something huge in the near future.

My main goal for the show was to take a jazzknitting class, catch up with friends, and give back to a wonderful community that have enriched my life over the past few years.

That’s a wrap for the blissful weekend.  (Here are first and second parts of the hightlights.)

I will be spending most days wandering about, spinning, knitting, felting, creating…(sorry I don’t recall the venture for these lovely bags.)

and oooooooh,  crocheting.  Another awesome meet of a new friend, Heather Lightbodythe cool, hip, originative brain behind Girl with a Hook.

Sheesh…it’s getting very late and I’m heading off to bead with visions of sheep and goats in my head…I can’t help it. I like sheep and fiber. I like the way they feel. I like the way they smell…I like the pretty things that I make out of them.

Seize the day. Hope you all enjoy the show!

Thank you all so much, the organizers for another wonderful event and to all the lovely spinners, knitters, weavers, crocheters, woodturners, needle-felters, and hook-rug artists for creating that magical sense of community!  Next year…I will try to camp out and hubby won’t be traveling then!

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook!)

Inform…Illuminate…Inspire


Day Two at Black Sheep Gathering (aka BSG) started off with registering for a jazzknitting class with Ilisha Helfman in the afternoon, six blocks from the fairgrounds.  It was a breeze.

Oddly, I was only one signed up for the class?

As much as I feel bad for Ilisha, I didn’t mind one bit of having the one-on-one four-full-hour personal time, chatting over the joys of incorporating various striped patterns and beads into naturally curling forms and new directions.

As a knitter, I have a strong response to yarn and fiber. They resonate with a kind of musical intensity. I see ’em in high notes, low notes, intense tones, quiet tones, short staccato, sharp strong or subtle contrast…delightful melodies sent into the universe.

I fall in love with ’em easily, yet, have any clear idea or plan what I would do with ’em. Does it happen to you?

Ilisha’s creative art pieces and design thought process provided endless situation where I may draw on what I know as I explore over the coming days.

Each little form I attempt will be a safe haven where I may combine methods, try out concepts, and just let one idea lead to another.

It allows me me to make use of techniques I’ve learned over the years about knitting gathered from books, classes, friends, or the internet.   Thanks for the best afternoon and evening spent at BSG, Ilisha!   I am so “jazzed” to make more playful “music.” 😀

Though I didn’t make it to Mr. Duncan‘s drum carding demonstration, here is his eye-catching Civil War–Beavers Face Ducks–college rivalry, colored batts,

carded in his electric carder.  Dang…most of packages were cropped!  But, you get the picture.  In·gen·ious.

Behind a range of custom built–hand operated/motorized, pretty wide bed–drum carders for processing of fine fiber is my friend Cheryl, long-time booth-mate of Duncan Carders.

She is one heck of a talented spinner, dyer, and lace knitting queen! You can always spot her by her many luscious Anne Hanson lace shawls and wraps, in her glorious handspun,

Each time I meet up with Cheryl at fiber festivals  (more her hand-dyed yarn and roving displayed in her booth, back of the picture.)

I think of my beautiful, colorful, arty friend Lori Lawson (on the left, which I mentioned in my last post.)

Black Sheep Gathering has become the largest yarn/wool/sheep show/market/school of its kind in Pacific Northwest since 1974!  I feel so utterly fortunate to be here in person again this time around.

Each gathering elevates my experience,

provides me abundance of engaging opportunities

to learn new skills.  (Shown below:  Pat Fly on the right teaching sock knitting.)

Below is Judy Taylor of Little House Rugs.  Each time I see her, Judy has some amazing new canvas she is working on,  another one of her custom orders that typically take up to 9 months or more to create.  This one is called something Nursing under the Night Sky?  (Sorry for my poor memory!)  Don’t you just love her intricate patterns, colors, and dazzling effect they create from cramming massive amounts of detail into every square inch? 

If you’re in the market area, all you usually have to do is say Boy, I would really like to learn to spin and probably within 10 minutes, you’ll be sitting in front of a wheel

or drop-spindling, spinning your first yarn.  (Left is Wanda of Jenkins Woodworking showing off one of her baby kuchulus; right photo is Connie of Spindlewood Co and off right Barbara aka diJeannene)

From shearing a large wooly animal called a SHEEP, to putting it on something called a SPINNING WHEEL, or a drop spindle, which then turned it into yarn fiber or decorative items.

Scoping out the merchandise. locker hook rug making demo, or visiting with shepherds.  Old friends, new friends, laughing, coffee, bathroom breaks, sheep and lots of wool to look at and feel!

The pink goat (yep, a 100% genuine goat–no sheep,) colored with organic dyes! I am seriously considering purchasing…the dyes, silly…and dreaming of a pygora too 😀

So much beautiful fiber, accessories, spinning gadgets under one roof!

I wanted to take it all home with me.

As much fun as I have, I do miss hooking up with my wonderful fiber peeps (partners in crime)  i.e. KristinLeAnn, NancyAnnieMoniqueKirsten, Mollie, Mary...   However, I’m ecstatic about meeting Mr. and Mrs. Pocketwheel in the flesh–coolest couple!  (Note to self to ask Jon about the green gem made by their friend in Kirkland area.)

It’s not a huge event so you may usually walk through everything in about an hour or so to get the lay of the land so to speak.

If you find something that looks interesting, take a business card, write on the back the item, and the price.    Spend more time on things you’re particularly interested in.  Compare and know where you saw that handsome skein of handspun to go back to.   Meanwhile, you won’t blow your budget on first few booths you visit!  Be warned:  Blue Moon Fiber Art is a dangerous one to be the first on your list.

Talk to the vendors.  I found everyone so helpful and just absolutely delightful.  Suzie Liles of Eugene Textile Center is definitely a class act and a hoot.  If you don’t have a large fiber support circle in your area, it is really resourceful and fun to talk to people with the same interests here.

If you have the time; look at everything.  You never know what you may find!   Have fun!

It is a pretty easy drive from Bend or Portland.  If you don’t like crowds, I recommend going on Sunday.

You will actually get to talk to vendors then and it is much more relaxed.  Best of all, you may support the local economy too. 😀

There are plenty more to come…the Spinner’s Lead, Fiber Art Division entries, my favorite new vendor and gadgets.  Catch y’all next time.

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook!)