Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You may have noticed that my crafting tends to be somewhat cyclical. What I have been doing lately is playing with dyeing yarn and fiber. It's easy to get a bit carried away. Just to give you an idea of the craziness, in the last 2 months or so, I have dyed 54 hanks of yarn, and 2 lbs of fiber. I have found playing with color to be very satisfying.

Today, I'd like to show you some of the sock yarn I've dyed up.

Patriot (superwash merino)

America's Sweetheart (superwash merino)

Raspberry Cocoa (Superwash merino / tencel)

Cornucopia (tencel)

Autumn Field (tencel)

Clouds at Sunset (tencel)

Swell (superwash merino / tencel)

Imperial Jasper (superwash merino)

Grace (tencel)

Monday, October 12, 2009

To celebrate my dad's birthday, we went to see Sleep No More. I had gotten a postcard about the show, and thought it sounded interesting. The rooms in an old school are outfitted into different set pieces, into which the actors and the audience is free to wander. I understand that the plot of the play is supposed to be representative of Macbeth. I feel like conceptually, this is very good, but the execution left me underwhelmed.

We were given masks before entering, and combined with the stifling hot air and very strong scents in various parts of the building, I quickly found it difficult to breathe, which limited my enjoyment of much of the evening. Our family group was split up as we entered the space, which is part of their design, but honestly was a little disappointing. J and I wandered through a couple of the incredibly detailed sets, examining all of the props and feeling a little creeped out, due to the very dark lighting and ominous music. So it started out pretty good. After a while of wandering aimlessly and not seeing any action, though, this process started to get a little old. A few times, we stumbled into the end of a scene, but the actors quickly left before we had a chance to figure out what they were portraying, and often we would start to follow someone and some slowpoke in front of us would stop abruptly, or just be too leisurely, and we would lose the actor. At least twice, we could see a scene going on in a room, but one of the "ushers" prevented us from entering, which was annoying. After more than an hour of this, quite frankly, I was tired, hot, and bored. Finally, a scene stumbled into us, and as the actors moved through the building, we were able to follow them for a little while and see a little bit of the action. By this time, I was wondering how much longer I would have to stay before everyone was ready to go home, and not really feeling interested in the play anymore. The players portrayed their scenes skillfully, but since I had no clue as to what characters they were portraying, it was difficult to get a sense of scene. Finally, the bar was open, and we went to get some water (did I mention that it was oppressively hot?) and stepped outside for some air. At which point, we learned that we would have to return the masks at the end of the evening, which made me not want to put it back on.

I get the impression that you are supposed to want to go back to see this show again and have a different experience, see different things, and although having been once, I think I could probably make a second experience far more interesting, I just don't care enough to do so. Although at least we did get to see a little bit of the drama. I overheard a couple of people talking and it seemed like they hadn't seen anything, which I imagine would be very disappointing. I think that more could have been done to help the audience find the scenes, as I felt like we hadn't really seen anything, but discussing it with the rest of the family later, it seems that we saw a lot more than they did.

On the plus side, there was quite a bit of gratuitous nudity.

My advice? If you go to see this show, it is probably a good idea to wait in one room until one or more actors come in and then follow them around for a while. Push everyone out of your way to avoid losing the actor. Wear light clothing and running shoes. Check your coat. Bring lysol to spray on your mask...because, really...ewwwww. Don't wear glasses - now would be a good time to invest in contacts, unless you like having your glasses smooshed into your face, and fog up as you breathe.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I may be able to cross a second item off of this year's Crafting Goal list. I bound off on my Pioneer sweater last night. If not for the fact that I am unhappy with the scalloped edging right now, I would be done. I plan to rip that out and redo it tonight. Fingers crossed.

Friday, September 25, 2009

This weekend is Lowell Open Studios, and I will be up at the studio doing my thing. In preparation for this, A & I finally got around to painting the outside wall this week and I think it looks pretty good. I'm excited at the idea of finally getting some pictures of our work up and getting the place looking all spiffy. Tonight should be a quiet one. Just going to rest up for tomorrow.

I did a lot of yarn and fiber dyeing in the past few weeks, so I will have pictures to share soon!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My portable spinning wheel has this little screw thing that attaches the foot to the wheel (I don't know what this particular piece of hardware is called). Lately I have been having a problem with it coming unscrewed while I am using the wheel, which is annoying to say the least.

This morning, I decided to bring the screw to the hardware store to find a replacement. Not wanting to seem silly, I went over to the wall of screws and started examining my different options, but after about 2 minutes decided that I didn't want to spend the rest of the day looking at the billion different kinds of screws to find the one I wanted.

I went to the front desk, held up the object and said, "I need one of these. I don't know what it is called or where I would find it."

The guy looked at it and said, "That's interesting. I don't know if we have anything exactly like this. What's it for?"

"My spinning wheel."

"Oh. Do you keep that next to your butter churn?"

(I was, in fact, able to find an replacement for my item, which, while not as pretty, should be functional, which is the most important thing."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Home from stART in the Street, and I am exhausted. It was a fun day and I am glad that I followed through on this goal. More news later, when I am less tired.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I am getting better at my method for making these bracelets. The first one took me about 4 hours. This one took me 2.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In preparation for the stART on the street festival this weekend, I put together some finished items to complement my selection of handspun and hand-dyed yarns. Labor day weekend, I was a busy little bunny and made several knitting needle cases, which I really like.

This one features a fun polka dot print:

This one was made from a thrift store purchase of a very cute (and extremely tiny) skirt and has a surprise inside:

And last, I made this one toward the end of the day, when, apparently, I had lost my ability to measure accurately.

As you can see, the flap which is supposed to hold the needles in place doesn't actually cover the tops of the needles, rendering it useless. *sigh* So I am keeping this one for me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New yarn

I spun this up a while ago, but didn't get around to taking pictures. It's a superwash merino, tencel blend with a little bit of angelina. Sooooo soft and yummy!

Also, I am pleased to note that I am vending at stART on the street this Sunday. If you are in the Worcester area, stop by and say Hello!

Friday, August 28, 2009

An Apron for M - or Why do I always end up making Pink things?

About a year ago, I made an apron for a swap, and several of my friends kind of fell in love with it. M finally bought some fabric and notions and asked me to make her one.

I think it came out pretty cute, though VERY pink. And I hope to never make anything with bias tape again.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A few weekends ago, I got together with M to help her make some earrings for her bridesmaids (you may remember this post about my earring experiment that went out of control). During our crafting day, M posed the idea that perhaps she could make bracelets to match the earrings, and true to form, I began experimenting.

Last night, I finished this:

Although I am happy with the results, it took much longer than I would like, but I have an idea which might help speed up the process. It's sad that I have to go to work now, instead of playing with my beads.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I have not managed to complete any crafting projects in several weeks. I hate being sick! If I could sleep for about a month, I might feel better.

Despite the illness, I had an opportunity to go on a dinner cruise the other evening, and since I have totally missed out on going the last 2 years, I was determined to make it out for a night of fun. Thought I would share some pictures, in lieu of having anything crafty to talk about. Photography is kinda crafty, right?

Monday, June 22, 2009

On Saturday, I headed out to western MA to visit a friend and check out the Easthampton Bear Fest. If you happen to live in the area and you like that sort of thing, I recommend checking it out (preferably in the near future while the bears are still mostly intact).

Otherwise, you can check out my pictures here.

I mean, really. How do you say no to that?

Although it was overcast and a little humid, the rain did hold off until after we had completed our walk around town. We also had an awesome lunch which included "Pierogi Skins" as an appetizer. Yes, they were, in fact, pierogis covered in melted cheese. Yum! Then we had ice cream for dessert. So, it was definitely a good day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Finished another needlecase a little while ago. I think it looks pretty cool:

The best part? This is what it looks like on the back:

This is not at all craft related, but it amuses me:


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

It looks like Amber and I will be moving into some new and exciting studio space in a month or so. Whee!

It's funny because we were just starting to talk about how we needed to decorate the space more, because everyone else has been painting and making their studios look all pretty, and ours, well, it kind of looks like a dump. :(

I am looking forward to settling in to the new space.

Also, I successfully cast on for a sweater. Yay!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I attempted to cast on a sweater last night. I learned that 9:30 - 10:00 pm is not the right time for me to begin a new project. I needed to cast on 94 stitches. As usually, I cast on counting very carefully, then counted again to make sure I had the correct number of stitches. And then started the first row. Missed a repeat of the pattern somewhere in the middle and ended up with 5 too many stitches still on the needle. Took it out, cast on again. Was apparently a little lax with my counting, ended up 2 stitches short. Took it out again.... You see where this is going.

I stopped trying to cast on the sweater at about 12:30 am. The current status of the project is that the yarn has been wound up again (minus the bits at the end that were getting a little fuzzy from overuse.


Friday, May 22, 2009

I have exciting new yarns to share!

First of all, I have been working for a while on spinning up some kind of funky grey fiber that I have had in my stash for some time. It's a blend of wool, a little bit of sparkle, mohair, random other fibers, and there is supposed to be a glow-in-the-dark fiber blended in, though I haven't been able to confirm that it actually glows in the dark (either because it is old, and no longer glows, or because it is blended in so well that it is not noticeable). Anyway, I ended up making 3 coordinating yarns from it, which I call Ghost Stories:

In "Lady in White," the gray fiber is plied with a natural creamy white alpaca.
In "Haunted," the fiber is plied with itself.
And in "Shadows," the gray is plied with natural black alpaca.

Next up, is a yarn that I am particularly proud of; it's my first attempt at navajo plying (which is a method of plying that allows you to turn 1 thread of yarn into a 3 ply yarn).

I am calling it "Tutti Frutti". The fiber was really colorful, so there are some fairly drastic color changes, and the yarn ended up being really sproingy, so it should be an interesting Knit.

I found the navajo plying so enjoyable, that I immediately spun up another yarn and used the same process.

This is a baby camel and silk blend from Foxfire Fibers in their "Wisteria" colorway. Spinning it was a dream, and I wished that I had more than 2 oz of it, because I didn't want it to end. I specifically spun this to maintain the integrity of the color changes in the fiber, so the plying technique turned it into a gently self-striping yarn. I am not sure what I am going to make with it - maybe wrist warmers or some kind of scarflette, definitely something that will go next to the skin. Did I mention that it was dreamy?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Goals 2009 check-in

I am pleased to say that I have made some progress on my craft goals for 2009. Not much progress, but still. Socks are still in limbo, as is the sweater project. However, I am now confirmed as a vendor at my very first craft fair. Yay! The fair isn't until September, but I am very excited about it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A friend of mine is getting married, and she was looking at jewelry to buy for her bridesmaids, but was finding everything to be very expensive. She got it into her head that it would be a good idea to make some jewelry for them, so of course, she turned to me for help. She showed me a picture of the earrings she wanted to try and replicate.

I meant to mock up a single pair of earrings, but got a little carried away:

Fun, right?

Friday, April 24, 2009

My pretty little pink

It seems like everything is in progress. I have 2 different yarns that are still on the bobbins, in various stages of completion. I am also working on another little crocheted purse, which just needs handles and a lining to be complete now. And of course, the neverending socks of doom are still on the needles, along with a few other semi-abandoned projects.

On the plus side, I did complete a set of hair sticks that I promised to a co-worker months ago, but didn't take a pic. They came out pretty though. I used black hair sticks, black coated wire and a variety of red beads.

I also completed another necklace. Don't laugh, but it's pink. I don't know what it is with me and pink these days. I have been noticing that I have a lot of pink crafting supplies and I am not quite sure why that is, unless I have secretly loved the color pink and have been afraid to admit it to myself. Nah. I don't think that's it.

In any case, here's the necklace:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I rarely make anything for myself. Somehow, it just doesn't seem like as much fun as when I am making things for other people. But I haven't been feeling particularly creative lately, and thought that making myself a present might perk me up. I've had all the materials to make this necklace for some time, in fact, I bought all the beads at the same time, with the intention of using them together, but then, like so many of my fantastic ideas, it took 2 years or so to come to fruition.

In any case, here's the final product:

Also, I took these pics of the studio a few weeks ago, after I put the lights up on the bar.

Pretty awesome, right?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I have been supremely un-crafty this week. I haven't worked on any of my projects. Instead I have been playing Guitar Hero. Yeah, I know, I am a slacker.

But I do still have one more item to share from last week. I call this one "Blossoming".

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So here is one of the yarns that I finished last weekend. This was inspired by this month's EtsyFAST challenge. Our theme was "books" which I took pretty literally, because I am funny that way.

I call this one "Leatherbound"

Monday, March 23, 2009

I swear by my pretty floral needle case.

Spent some time at the studio this weekend, and finished a new knitting needle case and lots of yarn. Check it out:

I have 2 other new yarns as well, but no pictures yet.

Also, I hung lights on our bar, and it looks AWESOME!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Had an excellent weekend at Open Studios. Got to hang out with my studiomate and do some spinning, and even had a sale. Some number of years ago, I made myself a cute black hat with kitty ears...only due to a serious inability to judge height, I made the decreases too soon, and the thing barely covered the top of my forehead. I was very pleased to finally find it a happy home with someone who will actually be able to wear it. The nice weather brought all the people out so it was pretty fun.

We also bought a new bar for the studio, which will make a nice place to work and greet people on open studio days, in addition to providing a flat surface for measuring fabric and the like. We are going to decorate it with red christmas lights to enhance our "college dorm" design aesthetic. Amber recently purchased some huge hanging paper lanterns and we have other lights up on the wall, and tiny paper lanterns at our door. It feels all fun and quirky there now....just like us!

Friday, February 27, 2009

New bags

I don't know why, but I seem to be on a "brown" kick, and have 2 finished bags to share.

The first is a tote bag. I actually started this last summer, and then it sat on the sewing machine for several months until I was inspired to finish it. I think it's cool that there is this crazy paisley pattern in a very neutral color. The outside fabric is ultrasuede, so it is slightly fuzzy and soft to the touch.

The second item is a crocheted purse. I was experimenting with an alternating double crochet/single crochet stitch pattern and really like the texture. Added the leaf applique because it seemed a little too plain for me. Yeah, I had to add some metallic paint. You know how I just love shiny objects.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I turned the heels on my socks last night at knitting. I may actually finish these sometime this year. Woo-hoo!

Monday, February 23, 2009

New yarns

Finally got some pictures of my newest yarns.

This is the one that I started a while back and finally completed earlier this month.


So this is one ply of black alpaca and multi-colored firestar (batt purchased from loop on etsy) and one ply of natural black suri llama and alpaca blend (from thecritterranch). It is super soft and has just the right amount of sparkle. I love it. I will be keeping this for myself, but I haven't decided what to make with it yet.

The second new yarn is for this month's Big Damn Crafters challenge. Our theme this month is Mal, and so I used a batt of alpaca in 3 natural shades of cream and brown which was blended with coordinating angelina. I liked the idea of using undyed fiber, but couldn't resist the sparkles. Go figure. I know that you are all surprised by that. In any case, I think it is a good representation, if Mal was going to be a yarn, I am pretty sure it would look like this:

Friday, February 20, 2009

I create!

Still no pictures of the yarn to share, I am afraid. But soon, I promise. I had a productive evening at the studio last night. It was good to have some company, and I completed 2 items. The first was a little tote bag, which has been waiting to be done since about August. I haven't done much sewing lately, and it was kind of fun to break out the sewing machine. The second was a new needle case. I don't have new pictures of those to share, but the needle case looks pretty much like this:

Smoky Skulls Needle Case - inside

I absolutely adore those fabrics.

In other news, I am looking into some craft fair options and need to submit photos of my work. I have a hard time picking which things to submit. So, I ask for your opinions. Take a look at my etsy shop or my flickr collection and pick 1-3 items that you think best represent my work. Also, since the shows will be in the spring/summer, keep in mind that winter items are probably not my best bet.