Friday, November 26, 2010

Hand Dyed Fabric-Upcycling

I had fun experimenting with a new fiber this past week, and my upcycling friends will love this! I was thinking about a fabric to use for lining the gift boxes I made a few weeks back. Then I remembered something I learned from my multi-talented craft group ladies who are scrapbookers/paper crafters. They had painted dryer sheets and used them to embellish their art projects. I experimented with different pigments made for scrapbooking, but in the end I decided to try dyeing them with my fiber dyes. I wasn't sure the acid dye would work because this is a synthetic fiber and also because of the fabric softener residue left on the sheets. As you can see it worked out wonderfully! The colors turned out so beautiful and I left the rumpled textural look to the sheets when I affixed them inside the boxes. Gosh I love texture!

I found I was able to achieve a really great dimensional look by layering the fabric and applying dashes and swirls of shimmer on the multiple layers. This creates a neat effect, which doesn't quite photograph, it's very understated, but adds that extra little zing.

With some of the scraps I made these cute little Yo-Yos with buttons and sparkle trim. They will make great embellishments for my boxes and decorations, and they'll make a fun addition to gift tags too! I'm also saving up sheets/scraps for spinning into my art yarn, I'm hoping it will add a cool textural effect to my yarn too. I think I'll do a little test spin today!

Have a wonderful weekend! Blessings Friends!
P.S. My friend Tamara (Via Verde Farm) saved me a large sheet of similar material which came wrapped around a new appliance! Thought I'd pass this on to everyone since this is the season for giving and receiving electronics of all shapes and sizes so that you can be on the look out for upcycling opportunities of your own!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Icicles on My (Inside the) House Tree

I know, it sounds kind of strange, right? Referring to my House Tree, so let me explain.

I stumbled across an image once, this was quite awhile ago, of a beautiful tree that someone had made to cover a support pillar in the middle of the room. I think it was made from paper mache, but picture something far more beautiful than the stuff we worked with as children. Anyway, I thought, I need a house tree too! I wanted something a little more portable and I was on the look out for the structure I had in mind to make my own paper mache house tree. Before that could happen, mother nature gave me the perfect little branches to create a house tree. I had an old enameled French flower bucket, and using plaster of paris, I securely set the branches in the base. Voila, House Tree. My idea was to use it as a display for pretty little collections of one type of item. Some of my past displays include old antique keys, curly birds (birds with curly feathers or long curly tails) and hanging tea light holders. Last year sometime, in one of my favorite catalogs, I saw some beautiful quartz crystals that had been made into hanging ornaments. They were sort of pricey, and I thought, I bet I can make some of those myself. So the idea of the icicle collection had it's germination. Being a big fan of icicles I had already made or collected a few, so I had a nice start. Here's how I work when putting these collections together, I gather the items I have that obviously fit into the category, and figure out how to hang them. But then, over the course of a few days, other, not so obvious items that fit the collection will come to mind and I add those too. It's a really enjoyable process, I'll stop, add an object, and go on about my work. Or sometimes it's just about looking at the collection as a whole and deciding where things can be better placed or maybe removing something that really doesn't fit after all. With that wordy explanation/introduction, here are pictures of the House Tree all decked out in icicles, it's my favorite color, shiny! (click on any of the photos to enlarge)

(L)The tree with full branches (R) One of the crystal icicles next to a wire icicle

The quartz crystal and lead crystal garlands

The long dangling icicle is actually a rhinestone necklace of my mums, I added a tear drop lead crystal

On the left is another of my wire icicles and one of my most favorite is on the right, a stunning aurora borealis necklace, more of Mum's bling from glamorous days of yore!

If you would like to make your own quartz crystal garland/ornaments, it's simple. I just used E6000, my favorite go to adhesive for jewelry design, to attach little silver rings to the crystals. Once dry, they're ready to hang individually or as I have, as a garland.

Have a wonderful, sparkling weekend! Blessings Friends!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lots of Fiber Fun!

It's been a busy fiber week, lots of projects and experimentation. I did an extreme tail spin yarn with some of my baby lamb locks, it turned out soft and fluffy. I have two long strands which I ended up spinning and plying on my spindle, it was just too chubby to fit through the orifice on my wheel, even the jumbo orifice on the plying flier! I love how this spun up and I have been swaddling fluffy curly lengths of it round my neck as a scarf, it's so cozy warm and luxurious feeling!

Next up, some more tail spinning, I've done another PixieDust blend, and this time I spun in some of the lamb locks dyed in soft gorgeous shades of pink! (my favorite color) I'm tempted to keep this for myself, but it is destined for the shop. I know I'll be whipping up some more of this yarn, it was super fun to spin.

I started knitting this scribble scarf yesterday, using some of my hand spun coils and my gumball yarn. It knits up really fast, I'm using some of the pink mohair I received a while back from katie7, in the shawl exchange group on Ravelry, it's a perfect base yarn for this project!

Also on the to do list for this week was to make up little window boxes for the spin-ins I have listed in the shop. I'm loving how they turned out and they will keep the spin-ins tidy and safe until they reach their new homes.

Have a great weekend! Blessings Friends!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wet Felting Fun

I've been having so much fiber fun lately, dyeing, spinning and felting. Yesterday was another big dye-fest, once I get started, I want to keep going. Next thing you know the drying racks are chuck-full and am forced to pause long enough to let the fiber dry. Which gave me a good opportunity to update my spinning/dyeing journal. I keep track of my dye recipes and color blends along with spin combinations and new types of fiber I've spun. For each new submission to my journal, I sew in swatches so that I have a nice little visual reminder.

Once I got the journal caught up with my latest dye blends, I decided to try some more wet felting. I've had this idea for a long skinny scarf floating around in my noggin and thought I'd give it a go last night. I used merino, alpaca, silk, mohair, finn/merino, wenslydale lamb locks and of course some sparkle. I positioned some of the locks so that they came off the edges of the scarf. It ended up working out nicely, with cute little curly locks popping off everywhere.

I love how the silk strands formed beautiful shimmering streams on the topography of the scarf. There is a nice soft hand to the fabric too, with a very inviting textural surface imparted by all the various fibers I used. The other project I wet felted used mostly merino and had a much smoother surface, I liked that look too. But the softness created by this blend is perfect for a scarf. I think I will embellish it further by using some silver floss to stitch patterns onto the surface.

These felted beads are what I like to call a happy accident. I tried one of those short cut methods I read about for scouring fiber...I should know better by now. Some things just can't be rushed. It really ended up taking longer using the "short cut" method! Plus some of my alpaca started to tangle and felt. I was able to gently separate/open up most of the tangled fiber. Some of it, the messiest, I decided to use either for wet felting or felted beads. You can see I went for the beads. I dyed the tangled locks, originally white fiber from Birch at Lonesome Oak Alpacas, adding all my favorite color combinations. Alpaca dyes up so beautifully. I love felting beads, it's so addictive. By the time I forced myself to walk away, my hands were shriveled prunes! I enjoyed it so much that when the tangled locks were used up, I started looking for more fiber to felt. That's when I said to myself, OK Miss, that's enough, walk away! The largest beads are about the size of a ping pong ball, the smallest about the size of a pea.

I hope you are all spinning and knitting up a storm too, it's good weather for it as the temperature begins to drop.
Have a terrific weekend! Blessings Friends!

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I'm a crafter, knitter, tinkerer, who always seems to have a project or two on the launch pad. I love to share what I'm working on and I love to see what other folks are working on too, so please comment and let me know where I can see your latest creation!