Saturday, November 22, 2008

Northern Lights Post Cards

I'm still experimenting with ways to depict the Northern Lights in fiber and stitch. This series was done with various fibers trapped under tulle.

At the Wisconsin Spin-in a few weeks ago, I purchased some deliciously dyed mohair locks from Colorfield Farm. This is what I did with them :

I'm quite happy with the way these turned out. I love the sheen/shimmer/luster these locks have. The curl makes them appear to be in motion--like real auroras. On a small 4x6-in postcard size, this method works really well. I'm not so sure it would work on a larger scale. It's certainly worth doing more experiments.

It's also interesting to note that various colors of tulle offer different effects. Some colors virtually disappeared (which is what I was looking for). Other colors obscured the fibers beneath. It's worth having a stash of tulle in various colors as well. For the post cards above, I used forest green and black tulle.

This is a sample of soy silk with tencil trapped under black tulle. I thought this one would be really hard to photograph, but it turned out well. At certain angles, it appears to have too little contrast with the background. But the flash picked up the luster just fine. This fiber feels really nice, but it lacks body.

The two below are soy silk. I'm not thrilled with the colors--looks more like cotton candy than northern lights. But for an experiment, it served it's purpose ... I used a sparkly while bridal tulle on this one because the fiber was kind of flat by itself.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kitchen Inspiration

Can you guess what this is?

My husband was doing dishes (a shared chore in our egalitarian household). He called me over to share this interesting and reproducible pattern. The cutting board was soaped up and a smaller plastic cutting board was pressed on top. When he pulled it off, this veined pattern appeared. Nice!

Now--what can I do with it?

Odds and Ends (Literally)

This journal is made from scraps left over after I finished my huge quilting bag a few years ago ... I love this fabric. And this is the last of it--so I turned it into a journal : Italian Countryside.

These postcards are leftover pieces of Faux leather, not big enough to make more journals. I wanted to see if this no-sew technique would work for postcards. It works beautifully! The letters are cut from something like ultra-suede (but not). M is my initial. G -- no reason, other than it's a pleasingly plump and interesting letter to work with.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Still More Journals

Fabric Journal No.18.

Fabric Journal No.19.

Fabric Journal No.20.

Fabric Journal No.21

Fabric Journal No.22.

Tissue Paper Journal No.25.

New Faux Leather Journals

Faux Leather Journal No.29 with cover flap. Cranberry with copper highlights. Paper-clay button.

Leather-bound journal. This is the first one like this I've tried. If I can find a good source of leather, I plan to make more.

Faux Leather Journal No.30. Purple with gold highlights.

Faux Leather Journal No.28

Faux Leather Journal No.26

Faux Leather Journal No.27

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fiber Fest!

I spent Saturday at The Wisconsin Spin In. This is a wonderful gathering of farmers, crafters, artists, vendors--people interested in Old World Traditional Arts and new trends. Spinners, Weavers, Farmers, Knitters. I was planning to restock my stash of wool--as I spun the last of it the other day ...

Although this might look like a lot of fibre, this will probably last me 10 years.

Here's what I purchased, and from whom :

Angora Goat Locks dyed at Colorfield Farm. She had a nice variety of colors to choose from. I have plans for these!

This was a smallish bag of washed "Lotswold" fleece from Two Black Sheep, Ann Lagorio, who lives just outside of Oshkosh. It's good to know the local suppliers! I wanted to see what her wool was like.

2 bags of raw wool (1 light : 1 dark + light) from Hidden Valley Farm
I think it's Coopworth. Raw wool means it's the fleece as it was shorn from the sheep with no additional processing. The wool still has the "grease," or lanolin, in it. These days it's unusual for vendors who raise sheep to bring raw wool. Funny--that's exactly what I was seeking this weekend. People seem to prefer the clean, fluffy, ready to spin fibre. Buying the raw fleece and doing the washing and carding myself saves a lot of money. 1 bag of raw wool from 1 sheep is about $50. It's about twice that (or more) for processed wool. As I process it in coming weeks, I'll share the pics here ...

Carol said her sheep wear jackets, so the fibre doesn't get full of grass and leaves and organic matter that has to be "picked" out in the cleaning process. Her wool IS clean.
I wish you could smell the lanolin. It smells like "down-home-on-the-farm" without the manure.

Stege Springs Llamas was selling paper shopping bags of fibre for $10 each. Nice stuff! The great thing about going to a show like this is that you can touch and feel the fibres. The llama fibre I've seen previously was uncomfortably coarse. I'd written off llama as NOT a fibre I wanted to pursue. But Stege Springs proved that not all llamas are created equal. This bag of fibre was as soft as the "wool" from my fibre-hound, Maggie. I bought a bag of fibre from Taebo, the prize-winning stud of Stege Springs. I'm planning to mix this with Maggie's wool.

My friend Lynda and I bought a second bag of Llama fibre to split between us. You can see the difference. Taebo (2 pictures above) is silkier, smoother. This bag has more body--It's fluffier, more wooly. This stuff spins up very nicely.

Finally, I couldn't resist this "Sweet Leaf" button from Ogle Design. She had all sorts of interesting buttons. They'd be great as closures for journals. This one is for an actual Sweet Leaf Notebook! See more stuff at her Etsy Shop. She actually has much more in stock than in her Etsy shop.

There were many other vendors there worth mentioning :

Susan's Fiber Shop
I bought my spinning wheel from her about 10 years ago. It was an investment, and I'm happy to say that I'm still spinning!

Hillcreek Fibre Studio
She sells triangle looms, and all sorts of ingredients for natural dyeing. She even had woad and natural and synthetic indigo. And she had samples of all the natural dye stocks on various fibres with various mordants. It's amazing the variety that is possible!

Wool, Warp & Wheel
My friend Lynda purchased a spinning wheel from this vendor. She bought a Baynes spinning wheel from New Zealand.

This shop is in Fond du Lac. When I want to get a larger loom, I'll probably get it from them some day ... They were very knowledegable and helpful. They also sell these really nifty and comfortable stools that I'd like to have some day.

Handspun by Stephania
This shop had some GORGEOUS (and pricey) drop spindles. I've never really liked using a drop spindle (a wheel seems so much more efficient and easier to operate), but their wares, made me consider changing my stance on that ...

One vendor I was really hoping and expecting to see there was Patty Reedy of Rainbow FLeece Farms in New Glarus ... The fleeces I had were both from her farm--they have a wonderful luster that she's bread into the sheep and fibre. I guess I'll have to plan a trip down to her farm someday ...