more cowbell!

more halloween! i've created several decorations for the foyer and kitchen, going with purple, orange, and lime green colors. nods to witches, hovering bats, jack-o-lanterns, spiderwebs, spanish moss, eyeballs, candles, sweets, a vampire ducky, a black cat, candy corn, a candy apple dipped in caramel and chocolate, and a ghost. at this moment i may be finished, but you never know!


squishy but not squid

alpaca is really an incredibly lovely fiber. i find it so soft and a joy to spin. of the 16 colors available i've sampled 6; white, light fawn, dark fawn, dark rose grey, light grey, and dark grey. thus far the browns feel softer and loftier than the white and greys (but not really by all that much, at that).

i've been collecting undyed unspun fiber specimens the last few months so that i have samples on hand to touch and examine when choosing fiber for spinning and weaving projects. i've also come to discover they're an important tool to educating myself on different fibers when you're shopping, or have an unidentified fiber in front of you. i've become very familiar with the samples i have and so it's gotten quite easy to identify fibers based on feel, smell (yes they have distinct smells), length, thickness, and color.

there are two boxes with 25ml jars: one cellulose fibers, and one protein fibers. the protein collection is nearing a somewhat complete state, with a few missing (anyone have any byssus they're willing to part from?). the cellulose fiber box is a little empty, but i'll remedy that when i order another habu sample book this coming december and place the older sample sheet offerings in their labeled jars.

what i've discovered is that vicuna, cashmere, bison down, are the softest, followed by guanaco, camel down, and alpaca. i found mohair and qiviut to be the springiest and least soft. i'm still on the shelf about the qiviut as i'm not 100% sure of the authenticity of the sample i have. i'm in need of new zealand possum (the ones not killed by poison), angora, pygora, and yak samples (the one yak i have is a blend of yak/tussah).

the silks are in a category all their own, they're just amazing; so soft and such sheen! i have cricula coccoons, muga silk, red eri silk, eri silk, tussah silk, bombyx silk, and both tussah and bombyx noils.

in the cellulose box there are 14 shades of color grown cotton from peru, pima cotton, organic cotton, and flax. i'll be adding nettle, ramie, hemp, pineapple, kenaf, kuzu, pine, zenmai (fern cotton), milkweed, and washi paper as i come across them. the milkweed fiber from the pod might be an issue as they don't grow in the south. any cellulose fiber i may have missed? i've left out soy silk, milk protein, corn, and seacell as they require too much processing to manufacture, so i'm a little leery about their environmental impact (actually come to think of it, i'm not really fond of bamboo for pretty much the same reason).

why no wool, you may ask? well...one, there are way too many breeds that collecting samples of them all would be quite a task, and two, i really don't like spinning wool. not at this point in my life. especially when you have soft alpaca to spin; no felting, degreasing, or lanolin to deal with!

p.s. if anyone reading this can help me out with small samples of the fibers i'm missing, i would be incredibly thankful! it's always nice to come across other fiber fanatics like me!


happy dance

a wheel, a wheel, a new spinning wheel! one that plies as well as spins, with both jumbo and fine yarn abilities. we decided to go ahead and get an ashford traveller with a jumbo flyer accessory. i'm so happy! it could be in part because of the fumes though (i just put the third coat of st. john's wax on); not bad fumes, just strong. here's the beauty now! happy dance!


a new spin on plastic food

it feels funny to do baking for a dollhouse; let's just say you can fit a whole lot of cookies and cream puffs on a relatively small life sized cookie tray.
 i decided to bring the halloween festivities into the kitchen. to me this meant cookies, cookies, cookies, cream puff tower, and pennants. frankenstein green, pumpkin orange, and witch's purple were the main colorways throughout.

 i made all of the baked goods with some sculpey i've had for years (bought in bulk when i was making dolls). painted them with acrylic, and decorated with glitter. glitter is fantastic.

a downside to all of this decorating is that the dollhouse is going to feel empty when i take it all down. don't even tell me about christmas. just don't.


never too early

the days are getting shorter, cooler weather has blown in, and there's a crisper feel to the air. all this means one thing, halloween is coming! well, and fall, of course. but let's focus. halloween, the best holiday ever.

i've started early this year, as inspiration struck, to decorate the foyer of the dollhouse. bats made from pipe cleaners and paper, witch's broom and hat, cobwebs of cotton, and a paper jack-o-lantern. i'll add more as i think of it. but for now, it's very festive!


creative interpretation

a summer guild "assignment" we had was to read a book which mentions a particular textile skill, and create something using that skill which was inspired by the book. a read/create challenge you could say.

i've read the brothers grimm since my childhood (having a copy of the complete fairy tales of the brothers grimm), and several mention textiles; usually something to do with breaking an enchantment. one which i remembered well, and which had lots of possibilities, was the six swans.

here's the basic storyline: brothers become enchanted by evil stepmother, sister takes vow of silence for six years and begins sewing 5.5 shirts from asters (a flower), king falls in love with mute maiden living in woods, marries her, begets heirs which disappear soon after birth, maiden is accused of cannibalism by crazy mother in law, after third "disappearance" maiden sent to stake, at last moment saves brothers, vow is ended, proclaims innocence, mother in law dies, everyone lives happily ever after.

well, almost everyone. back to that .5 shirt; like any project which spans a few years, it's not quite finished when the deadline approaches. something about a sleeve. so, the sixth brother gets to keep a swan wing instead of an arm. a bit awkward, but hey, would you rather remain a swan?

i crocheted rather than sewed, but i wanted the finished piece to have more of a feeling of being crafted from nature. actually, i cut and spun the yarn from paper, then crocheted it. the wing was crocheted with a really cool paper yarn from habu i've been hoarding for years.

i figured the method used for creating the actual shirts was open for interpretation as i can't imagine sewing flowers together in the woods would be doable. they kind of skimmed over the details anyway. what did she use for thread? did she use the stems, or the leaves, or the flowers? how were they kept flexible after so many years? how were the shirts constructed? see, the way i see it is that the word sew could have been translated from a different word, like weave, maybe. it makes more sense for her to have woven the flowers into cloth, or knotted the stems into a cloth. that's the thing with translations and getting a story however many generations passed down verbally, there's a lot of interpretation and maybe the grimm brothers didn't know too much about the variety of methods found in the womanly art of the needle. it was written down during the 1800's after all. so there.

i'm thinking this would be an interesting series to pursue. i've got some ideas for the story all fur. well, we'll see where this thought takes me.


kusha cushy

while lusting after the habu projects on ravelry, i decided to go ahead and finally use the cone of silk wrapped stainless steel yarn and some of the slubbed cotton yarn i had purchased several years ago and knit a kusha kusha scarf. because the kit had been discontinued, the pattern is available from purlbee for free.

 i made some modifications to the length, as i did not need to felt it, creating a 51" length. well, that was the goal, 51". but, i ran out of the stainless steel; only remembering afterwards that i had used some of it in a previous shawl. oops. but it's still nice at 42". stretched.

i have my eye on the infinite loop kit vers. 2. hopefully, it goes on sale in december.


tv for my kind of person

i've been catching some television lately and i've found two shows which i love. they are different from each other, but not really by too many degrees; sometimes i give some attention to the 12 year old boy inside me.

the first is an fx show, wilfred. it's mesmerizing. or maybe that's just elijah woods' eyes. awkward and mesmerizing. but really, really funny.

the second show is cartoon networks' adventure time; so cute, colorful and fun.

and strange though it is, they both leave a warm, fuzzy feeling inside when the credits roll. thankfully, they are 22 minute shows, so the humor doesn't wear on you or tax your funny bone too badly. in a way they remind me of my name is earl, wonderfalls, and 3rd rock from the sun. i miss those shows.


mixing it up

i wrote this awhile ago, but hadn't posted it.

i started my trained art life in illustration, using paint and paper. since graduating, i've slowly leaned towards fibers, and have focused on them in the last few years. every now and then i would take out the paints and canvas, work on a piece, and once complete, put the paints away again.

 the other day i had an inclination to do some needle lace, so i grabbed a scrap of linen, and practiced some lace edging. it was a small piece, and i wasn't really sure what to do with it other than find some way of framing it. riffling around under my bed, i came across two canvases i've had forever. ah, inspiration! i took out the paints again, and have completed two canvas's incorporating my fiber work. i like the texture of fiber, the color of paint, the mixture of flat 2-dimensional and the slightly more dimensional fabric.

is this the beginning? who knows, but it is fun.


here's the yarn stash i'm taking to the georgia national fair. it is a nice assortment of colors i think. there are definitely some which i will be keeping (they're so pretty, it would be hard to part from them), and some i will post to etsy when the fair is over. other entries you may have seen before if you read this blog; mini quilts, lap quilt, various cushions, weavings, smocked pin, beaded pin, etc.