Friday, December 30, 2011

Snow Faerie Hood


I've wanted to knit a hood using my Winter Wonder art yarn for quite some time, but first I needed to work up a pattern. Pictured is my Snow Faerie Hood which I knit using some of my juicy, extra special yarn stash I've been hording for a couple of years, it's Colinette, Prism, in the colorway mushroom, a fitting color for a Faerie hood. I love the comfort of a hood, which is gentle on the hairdo, while still keeping you cozy and warm.


It looks cute with the edge folded back a bit too. My model here is the Greek goddess Eirene, the goddess of peace and of the season of spring. She used to be one of my garden sculptures, but lacking enough garden space, she has lived indoors these last couple of years. (And I don't think she minds it a bit.)


I spun a huge 10 ounce skein of my Winter Wonder art yarn this week and now that the pattern is complete, I will use it to knit a Snow Faerie Hood..or two! I'm excited to see how this knits up into the hood. It's a pretty palette of colors with lots of sparkle and texture.



Oh Boy!!! This cake of art yarn is all measured off and ready to become a Snow Faerie Hood in the very near future. It felt so good to card up a batt and spin it just for me, it was a little post Christmas treat for myself after all the busy holiday doings.

I hope you are having a delightful holiday season and I wish you all Happy New Year!!!
Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!



However you may celebrate this season of love, light and new beginnings, I send you warm thoughts and good wishes! (And lots of creative energy too!)

Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, December 16, 2011

Faerie Nest


The Faeries have built a nest in my house tree recently, a very sparkly blue nest! At first it was just a little wispy snaggle of sparkle clinging to one of the upper most branches. It stayed like that for the longest time...weeks. I can't even remember how long ago I noticed it and thought, that's pretty, how did that get there? And I just kind of left it there, didn't really pay it too much attention. Then, it became something, and that something was a nest that was settled into a perfect little crook in the branch. How do I know it was the faeries, you may ask, and not the pink curly birds?

Well, I peeked inside and saw there was a stash of faerie treasures and trinkets! They're very speedy, I haven't caught sight of them yet, but I've got an eye out. I think they were attracted by the sparkles from my icicle collection.

My Santas are all set up, I pushed the coffee table over in front of the window, they make a cheery display. I love looking at them and remembering where each one came from. I set the whole thing up while my Mum was out of the room and she was so tickled when she came in and saw them. But later that afternoon, she completely took credit, not only for setting them up, but she also took complete ownership of all the Santas! I said, I bet you remember where each and everyone of those came from...No..she says, I can't remember. She's silly, she keeps me on my toes!

Other exciting news on the fiber front, forever and ever ago I pre-ordered this new art yarn spinning book by Jacey Boggs and yesterday it arrived!!! I've peeked through it and I'm looking forward to digging into some different techniques. It looks really good and it includes an instructional DVD as well! The bonus is that it's signed too, super cool right! You'll definitely want to add this to your art yarn spinning reference library.

I hope you are all having a warm and loving holiday season!
Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm A Sparkle Junkie

I freely admit it, I'm a sparkle junkie! I make no apologies, I love the combination of color and sparkle in spinning..and,well, in anything. So it's not a big surprise that I have added tons of Angelina colors to my shop but I've also given them a little twist of my own. I'm in the process of creating custom blended Angelina fibers based on some of my favorite color palettes that I've been using in my dyed fiber and art batt blends!

PixieDust
This special blend is my PixieDust color palette. I could dive into this yummy sparkly goodness! The picture doesn't completely capture the depth of color and sparkle, but it comes close. My all time favorite color palette captured in sparkle, what could be better!!!


LightningBug
One of my other personal favorite color palettes, this is LightningBug. This color palette evokes quiet summer evenings and the childhood delight of chasing those glowing little lightning bugs that seem to twinkle and disappear only to reappear as if by magic.


Paint a Sunset
We have beautiful sunsets here in Michigan (I may, however, be partial.) and I tried to capture the glorious hues and depths of color in this palette I've named, Paint a Sunset. This was so tricky to photograph,
as anyone who has tried to photograph Angelina will confirm. Angelina is a very mysterious fiber, very chameleon like, which is what makes it so wonderful and surprising when blended with other fibers like wool, alpaca and silk (just to name a few) but this same quality makes it a bit of a bugger to photograph! (Camera shy maybe?)

I have a few more custom blended Angelina palettes I'll be listing in the next few days. I painstakingly blended each batch by hand, which is no easy task, as you can imagine if you've ever worked with Angelina, but it's totally worth it for the depth of color and sparkle that is achieved. I'm very excited about these one of a kind blends!

I hope you have a delightful weekend and that in all the hubbub of this wonderful and festive season, you are finding some creative time for yourself too!
Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, November 25, 2011

Felted Fiber Goddess-Plied Skein


I can hardly wait to knit with this yarn! I finished plying my Felted Fiber Goddess Art Yarn.


Just l
ike the spin, plying this yarn was fun, it really kept me on my toes. I like that, these little challenges keep the spinning interesting. I really love all the colors and textures of this art yarn, there is a lot of sparkle too...yum!


I ended up with 55 yards/4.5 ounces/ super bulky (1-6 wpi)

As I said, I'm so excited to knit something with this yarn. It will be interesting to see how the felted bits are incorporated into the knitted fabric.

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday, have a safe and enjoyable weekend!
Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, November 18, 2011

(Felted) Fiber Goddess



Alchemy: A power or process of transforming something common into something special.

I love creating little figures. No matter what medium I'm using, at some point I always seem to find myself working up little figures, whether
they are angels, faeries, little people or like this one, a wildly whimsical and colorful goddess figure. She's a little fiber goddess. I'm reminded of the kiln gods from pottery class, a little figure to watch over the creative process and help ensure a happy outcome. It should be a happy outcome too, because this little goddess was a part of a happy accident. Quite some time ago I was experimenting with nuno felting and while I knew that a more open silk fabric was used as a foundation, I thought I'd give it a try using one of the silk scarves I use (and had on hand) for silk painting. Well the fiber did not entirely mesh with the silk. I was not, however, the least bit disappointed, because what I ended up with were all these gorgeous, wildly colorful, ropes with beautiful clusters of organic growths and tuberous roots! I wanted more! So I tried to duplicate the process and it turned out entirely different, though equally gorgeous, I say gorgeous without meaning to take any of the credit, since the alchemy at work here was clearly out of my jurisdiction. This second time, I was given something more like fabric. Stunning passages of color and texture resembling a topographical map, I was in love! I knew I would use these beautiful felted pieces, but it took awhile to discover what was needed. They were quite beautiful all on their own, several times I pulled them from their box and spread them out on my work table, arranging and rearranging them, but they always ended up put back away. It just wasn't time yet I guess...till now.


I suddenly (haha after a year!) knew that I needed to spin them into a yarn. I carded up a nice sparkly batt, chock full of texture and color. But before I could spin, this little fiber goddess just needed to be made. Her headdress is a crown flowing with hoarded scraps from my handspun yarn. It's hard to see in this picture, but her breastplate is an Indonesian silk cocoon that I had dyed pink. She'll be added to the yarn once it's plied.


It was crazy fun spinning in the felted pieces. Thank goodness I have a Lendrum, I was able to power the bulky sections through all the tight spots as it made it's way on to the bobbin. And once on the bobbin, I tucked all the flailing tubers and organic growths safely under the yarn as I went along. Next week I'll show how it all came out!

Before I end for this week, I want to thank Heather Woollove for the fabulous messenger bag she felted for me, you can see the whole amazing process over at her blog, be sure to check it out! Part 1 and Part 2. Heather and I decided to do an exchange, I am busily working away on hers, she and her work are extraordinary, I hope I can do her justice with the gift I am making for her!

Have a delightful weekend! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, October 28, 2011

Juicy Art Yarn Spinning, Fun, Fun!


I had the opportunity to do some juicy spinning this last week, boy did I enjoy myself! You may remember the Big Blue Sky, Flower Power art yarn I spun up for a special order, well this is a second skein. This version is slightly darker with the addition of a deep sapphire blue and it is also slightly bulkier. It was a really enjoyable spin, with all the different elements it really kept me on my toes. The whole process involved managing the time/space between the thick and thin and the different focal points spun into the yarn. I tried to distribute all the elements to balance out the yarn, so there would be passages of thicker yarn or the cute little lamb locks, blending into passages where the yarn thins down quietly, to welcome surprising little pops of flowers or other colorful accents. One of my personal caveats for the art yarn that I spin is that above all, beyond the flash and all the various exciting elements, it must also be entirely functional, so I try to be mindful of the fabric it will eventually create.


This companion yarn (to the Flower Power) is a super bulky 3-4 wraps per inch, I'm calling it Deep Celestial Sky, it's a gorgeous blend of deep sapphire, and multiple tones of turquoise, with a sprinkle of silver.


Gosh I love spinning coils, probably because it took me so long to get a handle on the technique, the coils look deceptively simple...I had a lot of jacked up looking yarn for awhile there when I was learning this spinning technique, lol. This batch of coils has been sent off to a felting artist, I can't wait to see how she uses it!


(This is my jumbo Lendrum bobbin)



While I was getting all my fiber prepped for the spinning projects I had in my the queue this week, I thought...what if I spun some really GIANT coils...I wonder how big I could make them? So I dyed up some fiber just for me and had some fun playing around with the size. These coils are super chubby! It was so funny squeezing them through the orifice on my Lendrum, even though I was using the jumbo flier, it was still a tight squeeze! But it was also a good test of their durability, I figure if the coils can make it through that maze of tunnels and guides and then being squeezed like sardines on a bobbin and still look good, then the yarn will hold up!

So there you have it, a little peek at some of my fiber adventures for the week. I look forward to reading all about your creative adventures too!

Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Preparing Washed (scoured) Alpaca Locks For Spinning

In response to the big pile of alpaca from last weeks Fiber Arts Friday post, I had this request from Beth;
Spinster Beth said..."Would you mind sharing a brief description of how you prep and spin alpaca? I have three big zip bags full of alpaca, and I know how to wash it ... but it is giving me the dickens carding and spinning. Is there a secret to it?"

Well, I don't know that there is a secret, but this is how I prepare my alpaca for spinning, I hope you find it helpful!






(I've also been known to use a fine comb.)






Often times alpaca has guard hair, depending on how coarse or fine it is, you'll probably want to remove it if you can see/feel it.





At this point, I quite often just spin right from the lock, my preference is drafting from the tip end. Or I can take the locks from this stage and blend them with other fiber (more alpaca, or wool, silk, angora...) on my drum carder or hand carders. Alpaca can get a little bit fly away, so I keep an atomizer with water handy and all it takes is a fine mist to settle things back down. I have also discovered that if I let it rest on my drum carder for a couple of hours it gives the fibers time to settle into a nice cohesive batt. I also let it rest like this if if I am going to pull a roving off my drum carder, it makes a world of difference. If you don't mind mixing your fibers, just adding the smallest amount wool makes the alpaca behave so much better, it's amazing! I like to lay out a layer of alpaca, with a little "dusting" of wool and feed it onto the drum carder. Not only does it help with controlling the alpaca, it's also a very complementary spinning/knitting blend.

The following describes blending fiber using a homemade hackle. Before I decided on the Pat Green Big Bat Carder, when I was doing research on drum carders, I stumbled on a tutorial for making and using a homemade hackle. It's a great, easy to make and use, tool for fiber blending. If you are interest in more information on this tool, a search on youtube will provide you with lots of information.















Goodness, I've used more than my fair share of pictures in this post! I hope you have found something useful to take away and apply to your fiber prep techniques.

Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, October 21, 2011

Whew!



Whew, I am so glad to have this project behind me! For the last three weeks, along with all my other fiber projects, I have been diligently spinning away on 2 3/4 pounds of alpaca, spun worsted weight. (Zzzzzzz) In between alpaca spinning, I got some dyeing done for my shop, and took advantage of some nice weather to get some more fleece sorted. Then it was back to the alpaca, always back to the alpaca! I ended up with 9 skeins, each 4 ounces (some were a little more) and the average yardage was 146. (I add this info, because I know my fiber friend Jan will want the statistics, we like to talk about stuff like this, we're fiber geeks, lol) By the time you read this, all these lovely little skeins will have been picked up and I will have happily said good-bye to them. I'm already working on other things, my eyes needed a goodly dose of color!

Pretty cosmic looking, huh? It's silk I have prepared for painting. This is photographed from the underside. (It reminds me of Close Encounters) Before I can paint on the silk, I needed to draw the design on in resist (It keeps all the color trapped in one place on the fabric, otherwise the dye would seep all over.) It needs to dry completely before I can begin painting.


The silk is all painted and drying at the mo, when it's dry, I will set the color and wash out the resist. Since I needed two of the exact same design, I cheated and stretched them on the frame together...we will see how it worked, the resist went through both layers, so that was successful. But when I pulled back a little corner and peeked at the second layer, it doesn't look like the color is as intense. This was just along the edge though, so that may be why the color wasn't as concentrated. We shall see how the more saturated images transferred to the second layer of silk when I am able to separate them. The white sprinkles all over the surface are large salt crystals. The crystals absorb some of the dye and create an interesting effect.

I hope you have been having some wonderful artsy adventures yourself this past week!
Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tonks Socks


Many, many moons ago, I bought some of this fun Opal yarn, it's part of the Harry Potter collection, this particular color/pattern is of course Tonks. As you may remember my mum hornswaggled me out of my last pair of socks, so I started another. Fortunately I don't thinks the colors in the Tonks skein is as appealing to her as the colors I knitted in the last pair, she doesn't seem nearly as interested...maybe I will get to keep these! Though they are a simple vanilla sock pattern, I did try a new cast on just for fun. It's the picot cast on, and it adds a nice little ruffled edge, which I think will be comfy, especially for socks I will mainly wear as slippers. That being said, I cast on, knit what you have before you and they have been languishing in my knitting bag untouched. I've been busy with other fiber activities, spinning, scouring wool, carding batts, mostly taking advantage of this bit of nice weather we've been having, and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

I hope you've been having a wonderful, fibertastic week, can't wait to read what you've all been up to!

Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, September 30, 2011

Blue Skys


Blue Skies Flower Power Art Yarn with Gourmet Mix-Ins

I had a request for my Flower Power yarn, so I spun some up, with a few little twists, I thought I'd share a picture for this week's Fiber Friday post. Like all my art batts/yarn, this contains multiple colors, distinct textures from multiple types of fiber, and added elements, all spun together to make (hopefully) a beautiful, interesting yarn.

As autumn approaches, folks (including me!) are thinking more and more of cozy spinning or knitting projects to keep our loved ones warm. With that thought, I'm off to do some spinning, two pounds of alpaca is calling to me!

Have a wonderful weekend! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Friday, September 23, 2011

This Just In...


When I'm interested in something, I like to learn as much as I can about it, so I am always on the look out for useful books. I recently picked up the wonderful book, Beautiful Sheep by Kathryn Dun. It's chock full of gorgeous, full size, glossy, color photos. Each breed gets a two page layout. The left hand page outlines all sorts of useful information about the breed and the fiber. It's such a nice reference book. It will go right on my desk next to the book, In Sheep's Clothing, by Nola Fournier and Jane Fournier, this is my "go to book" when I'm sourcing fleeces and fiber. It's well organized and it's a good size to tuck in your bag when you head off to the fiber festivals.

At spinning recently, one of my friends recommended the book Sheepish, by Catherine Friend, which lead me to another book of hers, Hit By A Farm. Both are great reads, they are the perfect combination of information, paired with hilarious anecdotes.(And some not so hilarious, but it's important to see it all, right?) I came away with an honest glimpse at their path as they became sheep farmers.

The last two are oldies but goodies, Raising Sheep The Modern Way and Turning Wool Into A Cottage Industry, both by Paula Simmons of Pat Green Carders fame. I have quite a few of her books, love them all!

Now you may be wondering, why does a spinner need to know so much about raising sheep? It's interesting for one, but also, I have learned so much about the fiber I work with everyday. There is also the dream of so many spinners, me included, that someday I will have a little spinners flock on my own little farm. Stay tuned for that!

If you have any books you would like to recommend, I'd love to hear about them!

Have a wonderful weekend! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Love All the Way From South Africa!!


Look at this awesome package I received from Natalie, all the way from the Republic of South Africa! We were paired in the Sending Love Heart Swap over at Natural Suburbia and I couldn't be more thrilled! Natalie sent me these wonderful red fingerless gloves, which I really need, since my hands get so cold sometimes. I will get just as much use from them indoors as I will outdoors, very nice. Plus she made me a beautiful little silver plaque embossed with a tree and a moon and star. I need more trees in my life, maybe this will be the first of many beautiful trees to come into my life. Natalie also makes and sells yummy seasoning blends in her shop, Marigoldsloft and she shared a delicious blend of herbs, Himalayan salt crystals and sea salt. I used it when I made chicken soup the other day, it was a good complement to the soup. I love it! And I really love my heart swap parcel, thanks Natalie!!!


This is the little stained glass panel I made for Natalie, it's about 8x8 inches and I was so relieved that it made it all the way to South Africa safe and sound!


It has been a good week for crossing things off that old to do list, and some of those things were knitting UFO's which are now complete. This is the Mystic Midsummer Wreath Mystery KAL I had been plugging away on. As you can see, I have finished it and it's all blocked, YEA!


I really enjoyed this KAL, and now it makes the boring vanilla socks I cast on so that I would have something on the needles, a big giant snooze fest.

It's hard to tell, but I added a little sprinkle of clear iridescent and silver beads in the rows between the two lace charts.



My bobble sleeping socks/slippers, became my mum's slippers. As I was finishing them she made so many comments about how nice they matched her robe...Sooo


How could I resist? They look so cute on her, and she is tickled with them, plus they're really warm and her tootsies get cold. I think I'll try for another pair for myself, we'll see how that goes LOL!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Blessings Friends!
Melissa

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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!