Trying to put groceries away with Harry in the house is quite an adventure. (You will note he has grown rather significantly since his last appearance here.) Bob is no more succesful with getting Harry to stay out of the fridge than he is with the teenage boys.
This is just a weekend wrap up -- I'm working on a special project. It's very exciting and I'm not quite ready to share it in case I jinx myself, but it involves dyeing and fabric and fiber and collage art all rolled into one, and I'm looking forward to letting you all in on the secret very, very soon! For now, I'll show you pictures of what went on here this weekend.
Most of the merino I dyed in this wonderful colorway that Ellie named "Dandelion Dreams" because, she said, these are all the colors that beautiful golden dandelions dream of being as they dance in the late fall garden.
This is some roving I dyed, using similar colors. It's meant to become some book covers that I need to get started working on for the holidays! The roses are La Reine Victoria and they smell fabulous. They're a treat this late in the year.
I have to tell y'all about a wonderful discovery I've made of a product called Moonshadow Inks. You mix a powder with water and it creates wonderful backgrounds with a metallic luster. This sample was painted on butcher paper -- I'm not sure if that's what it's really called, but it's what the butcher wraps my meat in and I asked for a bit extra to play with. Shoshanah at Hannahgrey is an exceptionally nice person -- the customer service is just wonderful.
Finally, I have a problem that I'm hoping someone will have a suggestion for. I have just two 3.5 oz. skeins of this lovely handpainted yarn from Beemer Knits. I've been swatching it to try and decide the best stitch to use to turn it into a scarf for Ellie. I tried seed stitch, stockinette, and garter stitch. I'm undecided about the best way to knit it up (and I should mention that the reverse stockinette actually looks pretty lovely). So, suggestions, patterns, and ideas are all welcome. Miss El has a fabo pink jacket from Mini Boden and this yarn is clearly the perfect scarf yarn for the jacket, so I need to do something wonderful for her this week.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Knit, felt, sew, and make art!
Amber! As soon as you send me your address, I'll pop this lovely skein of yarn in the mail to you.
Since many of you kindly reassured me that the fiber of the space time continuum would result in a rebound effect that would cause the Oh Jan dress to suddenly gain excessive length, I feel the need to share with you that it is simply not the case. If you will scroll down to the original post, you will notice nearly a full skein of yarn attached to the needles. In the course of this trip (we will not discuss the entire repeat that had to be frogged. Nevah, evah knit at two in the morning after drinking gin martinis) that skein, and all but the last few yards of the next one were consumed. The Oh Jan dress, however, appears to be not much, if any, longer than she started out.
The great knitting gods continue to mock me.
Today was, however, a great fiber and fiber acquitistion day in my house.
My merino arrived -- I've been skeining it up all day, but couldn't resist dyeing a few skeins before I got all of the work done. This is my favorite colorway so far.
Roving steaming in the pot. I love how the steam gives it an eerie glow.
I needed one last skein of yarn for Teddy's science fair project (dyeing yarn), so there was a quick detour to the yarnshop. Teddy's skein is pictured at right, but I had to grab two skeins of the Blue Sky alpaca because I'm a terrible sucker for low-twist single ply yarns, particularly when they are chunky like this. I like how soft they always are. I felt entitled to the nifty hanging needle holder because when I returned from my trip, I discovered that the demon from hell adorable three year old child in my house had pulled all the needles out (who knew they were the arrows that fit his elvish bow?) and I'm going to have quite a task finding them and sorting them out. But when I do, they'll have this nice new home. The books were because I'm a book whore and I've been really good lately and the black sheep tape measure just jumped into my basket.
Finally, can you believe it? For the umpteenth year in a row, my husband got cheesy-crappy candy for Halloween. He does it every year. I'll have to go out and get some of the good stuff.
I got home from my trip last night, with many thanks to all of you who left wooly and arty comments here and linked me to your photos and blogs. It has been truly wonderful to read through everything and pour over all of your photos and stories. When the kids get home from their Halloween candy-buying trip with daddy, we will draw a name and package up the yarn to send to one of you -- I wish I had enough to send a skein to everyone who took the time to brighten my week (and hopefully yours too).
In the meantime, I am dyeing up some yarn for my swap partner from Wooly Wonders. I have some lovely merino and it is in the pot right now with some colors that have been lovingly mixed in hopes that she will really enjoy this yarn!
When I got home, the first thing I saw was a package the husband had left out for me. I'm not sure how he knew it was the special package I was waiting for, but it was from Carla, who was very very nice and sent me this beautiful piece. I saw it on her blog and shamelessly asked if I could have it for my office. It's going to be a very treasured piece of art in my life, both because it is perfect for what I do and also because Carla is one of the nicest people I know -- she is incredibly encouraging to new artists and one of the warmest, friendliest people I know. Her Collage Cats yahoogroup is one of the best places for mixed media artists to hang out online.
I've decided I'm going to send a skein of my hand-dyed yarn, this one:
to one nice person who shows me theirs -- their current "project". You see, I'm in a warp in the space time continuum. I have been diligently knitting the Oh Jan dress. I knit straight through from the start of John Stewart to the end of The Colbert report, every night, Monday through Friday. I knit in the morning while at Starbucks with my oldest before the school bus collects him. I even manage a bit when I have coffee with husband and his friends in the morning and sometimes at work during a particularly annoying meeting (stress relief). I knit while waiting to pick up Miss Ellie at ballet. In other words, I knit a fair bit. But, friends, the Oh Jan dress is showing no signs of progress. It is no longer this week than it was last week. I have been knitting and knitting and knitting and, if anything, the dress is shrinking. I do not understand this. Not one bit. Surely there is some scientific theory to explain this phenomenon, but I am unaware of it.
So please show me yours! Tell me in the comments below what you are knitting right now and how it's going (you can add a link to you blog so I can take a look). And, if you don't knit, tell me about your collage or your sewing or whatever it is that is inspiring you right now. You see, I've got to leave on a business trip tomorrow for the rest of the week. I'm taking Oh Jan along to haunt me. I know I'm going to need to hear other people's success stories to keep me going with Oh Jan. When I get back, I'll have the littles pick one name at random out of a hat, and will send the skein of hand-dyed Peace Fleece pictured above to the lucky winner!
And, just in case you don't believe me, I'm including a picture. We'll see, when I get back, if she's grown at all.
note: for some reason, typepad seems to get up to about 20 comments and then delete them and start over. please don't worry, if you have submitted a comment, i have them all saved as email and you will be included in the drawing. and, i have contacted typepad to get them to look into this, so we can all read through everyone's projects.
The weather has finally turned cool here, which means that all I can think about is felting. There is something wonderful about working with roving when the air is chilly.
This year, I started with soap. Over the weekend, we felted big bars of handmade soaps from two of my favorite soapmakers (and work at home moms), Kristerae at Dreamseeds and Tami at the eponymous Tami's Soaps. The kids really enjoy it, and when we're done, we have wonderful bars of soap contained in their own naturally anti-microbial wash cloths. The soap is fabulous for scrubbing dirty knees and feet. Although I used to make it just for the littles, the soap would tend to migrate to the big kids' and the husband's shower, so I've finally learned to make them for everyone.
Barbara from Mielke Farms has directions for felting soap here. You want a wool that will felt very quickly so you don't lose too much soap in the sudsing/felting process. Merino is best and although it is more expensive than some other fibers, it takes just a bit to felt a bar of soap so it isn't too extravagant. Mielke farms has fabulous fibers, as do a growing number of internet businesses. I have a few colorways of hand dyed merino on my website if you are interested in trying this. It is the perfect project with children because they take so much pride in making something beautiful and useful. A perfect gift for grandparents come holiday time!
I was excited to finally get a little bit of studio time this morning while my angel baby played with a friend. The weather here is gorgeous, so I couldn't stay in for long, but I worked on my altered cabinet card for Lou McCulloch's box of altered women and I also made some art for a trade with the uber-wonderful Carla Naron (if you don't read her blog, you should). This was the first cabinet card I had done in a long time, but the other altered dames inside of the cool wooden box Lou decorated for this round robin were an invitation to whimsy.
On the back it reads "Eunice got stuck looking after all their important ideas. It wasn't really fair, but then so much of what happened to them wasn't."
I couldn't spend much more time indoors, it was so pretty. So I took some bamboo velour outdoors to dye. This was a combination of dip-dye and low water immersion with a loosely scrunched fabric through two different dye baths, and it seemed to take forever with three yards of it to do, but the weather was so nice it didn't matter. I'm torn between using this to make play clothes for the kids and a sort of big, loose, blue fish style tunic for me.
the fabric is way prettier than the photo which looks sort of washed out. I poured soda ash solution over the fabric almost immediately during the orchid dye bath, to get the dye to stretch out and give a nice halo effect over the lavender-blue beneath it.
Finally I have to show you my little angel baby who is so in love with his patchy panel pants from Dancing Bears that he refused to take them off. Just flat out refused. He really loves them.
I was lucky enough to be a part of Beth Bricker's Black & White Fabric Collage Book, after missing out on her first book (what was I thinking?) The book arrived last night. It is really amazing.
These fabric books seem like a logical progression from the little fat books we all did last year. Beth's book was slightly larger at 6x6" -- I thought it was the perfect size and would really like to do more work on fabric. It was hard to get pictures, but I'm going to share the ones that came out with you.
This is my page, which y'all saw in progress in an earlier post. The angel image is from the wonderful ladies at Artchix, one of my favorite places to buy art bits.
This is Jood's page. Isn't it awesome? How did she ever think of that? I love the rubber stamp sheet music with the fabric overlays.
On the left is the back (signature portion) of Jood's page. On the right is Beth's wonderful page. Beth does vintage collage work that is just exquisite. She was nice enough to gift me with one of her most beautiful pieces earlier this year, and it is the piece I chose to hang in the most prominent spot in my office -- I don't ever get tired of looking at it.
Kara's back was as incredible as her front, plus, I really love the idea of "happy everything." If Kara doesn't hurry up and do her own blog, I'm going to have to make one for her. We met when she agreed to be a last minute replacement in the Random Words fat book I hosted, and her work was stunning.
I got to see Karen's pages in progress when I was in Atlanta for our felting workshop. The finished pages are gorgeous and her pink flowers were the perfect touch.
Seeing art like this is enough to make me want to quit my day job and do nothing but make art. Each of these gals is an amazing inspiration and the finished book is a gem. Thanks Beth!
Hermione really, really likes it when she sees the dye pots come out. She like to watch and even help. Wool is her friend.
I dyed up some cashmere for a baby sweater for a friend and she helped.
She was very pleased with the results too!
This is the softest yarn I have ever dyed and I am in love with it! I have two extra skeins, that I'm going to offer for sale at Midday Faire Tuesday at noon.
And, if you are looking for my article on Crackle Dye on Paula Burch's fabulous fabric dyeing website, it can be found here. I've put a permanent link on the top right hand of the blog for easy reference.
I'm so excited! Over the years that I have been involved in fabric dyeing, I have continuously experimented with and refined a low immersion process I call "Crackle Dye" (a trademark for the process that I use in connection with my business, Elliebelly) that creates a lovely multi-colored effect with rich veining on fabric.
Although it is a time consuming process that takes the fabric through multiple dye baths and color mixes, I have always found the results to be well worth it, and I guess a lot of other people have too, because I get a lot of email requests for tips on how to achieve this effect.
I have been working on an article that takes you through the steps and offers some pictures of this process. It is finally complete and I'm incredibly excited because my Crackle Dye process is now available on Paula Burch's (yes, THE Paula Burch, the one and only queen of dyeing who has THE website for directions and information on fabric dyeing) website. When I was first learning how to dye, I consulted Paula's website constantly, learned from her expertise on the dyer's list, and have always found her advice to be the best there is over the years. I still visit it as my first stop whenever I have a question. I'm stunningly happy, both that she thought my process was valuable enough to be included on her website and to have the opportunity to give back to the community of dyers.
so, go and get it here. This is a free gift from me to all of my favorite people, artists and fabric dyers.