Thursday, April 27, 2006

Name The Dinosaur

My youngest daughter brought over her latest knitted creation today. It's an incredibly complicated-to-knit dinosaur from the book "Family Circle Easy Toys". I don't know where that "easy" part came in!

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She has pictures of the new fellow, from all angles, on HER BLOG, and a request for name suggestions. She's not too good with the naming. Have you seen "Monkey", "Hedgehog" and "Duck"? The only reason Charlie isn't named "Dog" is because he already had a name when she adopted him. I'm afraid when she has children they will all be named "Baby" or perhaps "Son" and "Daughter". Please rush over there and give her a suggestion or two.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fuzzy Wuzzy?

A spur of the moment creation. Meet Fuzzy Little Amanda Bear.

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I didn't plan to do needle felting today but synchronicity stepped in. I had been trying (unsuccessfully!) to spin some dreadfully short fibred wool when the phone rang. It was a request that I do a needlefelting demo. Although I declined the invitation, it did get me thinking about needle felting, which in turn made me decide to give the "dreadful" wool a few test pokes to see it's needle-felt-ability. Moments before the phone rang I was considering throwing the whole batch in the trash. Well a few "test pokes" turned into nearly four hours of needle felting and little Amanda was born. She's two and a half inches tall and cute as a button but, unfortunately, not very photogenic. She's much less fuzzy in "real life".

Monday, April 17, 2006

Finished Stash Buster Rug

The Stash Buster Rug is complete!

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The finished size is 29" x 49". I am pleased with how it turned out and I would like to make another.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Rugs Galore

The Chilliwack Spinners and Weavers Guild had a big open house last night for their "Rugs Galore" exhibit. 50 Lovely examples of work done by guild members are on display until May 19 at Chilliwack City Hall. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. If you are close enough come by to take a peek.

My own contribution this time is quite small. I've been a member of the guild for only one year and designing and making a rug can be a rather large and time consuming project. When I first heard, many months ago, about the coming exhibit I did not feel I had the skills or resources to participate. Now, only days after the start of the show, I am in the finishing stages of my "Stash Buster Rug". Ah well, I'll make a point of participating in the next gallery show in two years time.

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I'm standing here with my friend and spinning teacher, Louise. In the display case beside us are a few of the "non-rug" items the guild chose to display to show the diversity of talent amongst the members. In the back left corner is her gorgeous temari ball. My beaded lace hand warmers, made of handspun wool/mohair, are in the front right corner.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Update on Rug and Curtain

Just a quick update on my ongoing projects.

The Stash Buster Rug is now completely woven and it's off the loom. I need to speak to a few more experienced guild members about how to finish off the warp ends. I have the general idea but need more specific information.

The Beaded Lace Curtain is still growing slowly. With all the work I've been doing on the rug my attention to that project has been limited.

Of course those aren't my only projects. I also have a pair of socks, some wool combing, and I'm spinning commercial combed top for my husband's pullover. Those are the ones I'm actively working on. I also have an appliqued Christmas stocking half done but begging for further attention and two more waiting in the wings. Oh, and a Christmas wall hanging kit that hasn't yet been opened. And a loom that needs to be dressed. Three looms that need to be dressed if you count the two Inkle looms awaiting projects (one for me and one for a friend).

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Catchin' A Few Rays

When I emerged after several hours weaving in the dark basement we call our guild room I could barely open my eyes in the bright afternoon sun. I wove 13 more of the chenille strips into the Stash Buster Rug today and only 6 more remain to be done tomorrow.

When I returned home I found these tulips open wide (at 7 inches across they are the size of luncheon plates!) and basking in the sunlight.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

All In A Day's Play

After several hours of "play" (I won't call it "work", it's too much fun) I have 17 inches of the rug woven.

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It would go much faster if I didn't have to rake each piece of chenille so that the ends stand upright.

Opossum Crossing

Our dog discovered a mama opossum and her sextuplets passing through our yard this morning.

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I love it when Mother Nature provides an unexpected show.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Hack It To Pieces!

I finished the first step of making my Stash Buster rug today. Here it is, off the guild's loom and laid out on my bed. The way this rug is woven, on the next loom, the color blocks you see will be broken up and small portions of them will be distributed randomly throughout the rug.

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Here is a close-up of a small section of the total piece. The vertical channels you see are then cut down the middle.......

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......forming narrow strips of fluffy chenille........

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..........which are then rolled into balls to prevent tangling as they await their turn on the next loom where they will be re-woven into a thick and cushiony rug.

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Stay tuned for further developments.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Blooming Good Time

This year Spring has sprung in pink. If you like this:

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You're really going to love a whole tree full!

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Our magnolia tree in full bloom.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Stash Buster Rug

Over the past few days I have been going in and spending most of my day in the guild's "loom room" working on a new project.

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Weaving the chenille.

This is the first step in what guild members are calling a "Twice Woven Rug". I prefer to call it a Stash Buster Rug because it really eats up the odds and sods languishing, long forgotten and often unloved, in a fiber artist's "stash" of yarn. Other than sorting a bit for general color or shade groups, pretty much any yarn can be used. I've got everything from ultra fine lace weight thread to chunky boucles in here. The fibers range from a few luxuries like alpaca, silk and cashmere (don't fret! These were just little sample skeins from Elann), through crochet cotton and wool (some of it handspun) to the ugliest of ACKrylics.

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First step completed and wound onto the cloth beam.

The next step will be to cut this weaving lengthwise into "chenille" strips that will be used in a second weaving. The end result is a thick, plush rug with very interesting color effects. You can see one in progress here.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Lacey Beginnings

I've got a start on the beaded lace curtain. This is being done in white tencel---very slippery but with a lovely sheen. It's much prettier than it appears in the photo.

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The 4mm beads are clear with a finish that looks like a soap bubble. I think they will look lovely in a sunny window.

Over the past few days I have found a little time to work in each of my current areas of interest. I've been knitting (2 different projects), combing wool, spinning and weaving. Life is JOYful!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Fibrefest Haul

I'm not normally one to stock up or "stash" but Fibrefest International only happens once per year and I'm not one of the lucky ones who gets to go to the giant American fiber shows.

I'm about to head out the door for day two of classes and browsing the booths but I wanted to show you the lovely stuff I picked up yesterday.

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In the foreground there are four spools of 8/2 cotton destined to become tea towels. On top of that is a handmade WPI tool (used for measuring wraps per inch for spinning, estimating proper setts for weaving, and for demystifying odd balls of unlabeled yarns in a knitters stash). To the right of those is a mini niddy noddy (for making small sample skeins). Above the niddy noddy is an 11 ounce cone of white 10/2 tencel I intend to knit lace with. To it's left is a bag of "Black Allsorts" roving that will eventually be spun up and used as accent in a cardigan. The large lot of browns-black-blue at the top of the photo is 1000 gms of "Hazelnut" roving I intend on spinning up for a sweater for my husband.