Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Saguaro

Happy New Year's Eve! I'm enjoying a quite, relaxing end to 2010. In fact, I'm sort of making a point of it. It feels good to spend a couple days without creating my mental lists of things I want to accomplish. Of course my mind goes there anyway out of habit, but then I tell it to hush!

I have another Christmas show and tell for you. This adorable crocheted cactus was one of my presents. I was tickled because I had just been admiring some patterns for these little guys. They're so cute and I totally love the fuzzy yarn she used to represent the thorns.

The talented crafter who made my new saguaro plant can be found on Etsy at Catzilla Crafts. She taking a few days off right now, but she'll be back and then you can check out all of her designs.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Scrolled Yarn Wall Art

Okay, so it's actually tatted yarn wall art. I just can't stop playing with this idea of over-sized tatting mimicking scrolled metal. The trick is the yarn thickness to needle size ratio. The finished forms need to be structurally sound enough to support themselves and maintain their shape. I think I have that issue solved after a few test pieces and now I can experiment with larger and/or more elaborate designs.

Perhaps this is just crazy, buy as a yarnie and a lover of all things fiber related, going vertical appeals to me. What could be better than to look up and see a cool yarn design hanging on the wall? After all, that's what macrame is all about. I've never really explored macrame, but just from looking at it, I suspect that it has a few stitches in common with tatting. At the end of the day, it's all knot tying. I'm just using yarn and a really big needle!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Earrings

This year my mom and sister sent me some really cute earrings for Christmas.

These fiber earrings are so cool. They look great on and in spite of their deconstructed appearance, they seem to be sturdy and well fashioned.

I love their funky look and wanted to be able to promote the artist, but my search came up dry. All I have is the name Ma Su Ke. The best lead I can give you, is that if you live in the northern Virginia area, look for her at your local craft venues!

My next show and tell are these cute little Peace Crane Earrings. My photo doesn't really do them justice. It's hard photographing birds! I should have hung them, but now I'm digressing...

I'm happy to report the the creator of these little cuties is on Etsy. You can find your own pair of Peace Crane Earrings and other origami art at Origami Crafts.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tatted Wall Art

One of the things I've been thinking about since I started tatting is wall art. Many of the tatted pendant and medallion designs remind me of metal sculptures. My goal has been to get good enough to make larger scale models of shapes I like and then hang them on the wall just like a piece of sculptural art.

This is a picture of my first one. The yarn I'm using is variegated, so the finished product has a two toned quality. I carried six strands at once to get the thickness I was after and I used my homemade, super-sized tatting needle. The finished piece measures 14 x 14 inches.

Although there are a couple things about this design that I want to tweak (there almost always are), this pattern is a new accomplishment for me as a tatter. I made this by simply looking at a tatted image. I didn't have any sort of written pattern to guide me. This is exciting because it means that my brain has learned how to translate what it sees into the stitches. I've become much better about knowing which side I should have facing, if I need to reverse my work, in what direction my chains will curve; that sort of thing. In short, I'm gaining the confidence to start a little designing of my own.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Felted Photograph

Prepare to be inspired! Here's the Christmas present one of my customers created for her parents this year. She put her felting talents to work and made two incredible felted photographs. The one I have pictured here is her mom. I think she did an amazing job capturing her likeness.

It started a few weeks before Christmas when Angela contacted me in search of natural, black and gray roving. I was delighted when she came back to share her finished art. If you're wondering how she was able to reproduce the pictures in such detail, I'll let Angela explain:

"...I altered photos of my parents using a graphics program to give them a "mosaic look" (3 colors only). I then drew a grid on the printed pictures and copied that grid (with the mosaic shapes) onto a piece of flat felt. I then needle felted using the 3 colors you sent me. As a final step, I added tiny details (like the white around Mom's eyes) and those details are what really brought out the likeness. I then cut the image away from the felt (but, of course, left the felt on the back of the fiber) because there were still pen marks on the felt from my grid pattern. I then felted the mosaics onto a clean felt background, cut around the edges, and framed in shadow boxes."

I think framing the finished felted photos in shadow boxes was a nice touch. What an amazing gift and what a sensational idea! A big thanks to Angela for generously detailing her project and allowing me to share it with you!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It's quarter past 11:00 here on Christmas day. I've already been up for over five hours which feels a bit of a struggle given the fact that late night chores.... ahem.... kept me up into the early morning hours.

So it's a bit bleary eyed that I sit to write my post today. It's been a lovely morning. The kids are both happy which is all I want in the world. What's better is that they are hanging out with each other, enjoying themselves and taking turns politely with the video games. Who raised these boys anyway? ;~)

I know this holiday means different things to different people. I think what I appreciate most about December 25 is that for 24 hours, the world around me seems to slow down, take a collective breath and exhale slowly. It's like a fabulous, contented stretch and yawn or a deep felt sigh. I feel at peace.

So whoever you are, wherever you are and whatever your traditions may be, I hope this day brings you a bit of the same calm and peaceful feeling. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Jacob Horn Buttons

I must have been a pretty good girl this year because I received an awesome present from my friend Peg of Sweetgrass Farm. Peg is a breeder of Jacob sheep. I first discovered her and her farm when I went on the hunt for beautiful Jacob roving. She was the only one I could find selling wool that had been processed to showcase all of the gorgeous colors of this breed. It's appropriately named Jacob Swirl and is my favorite among the roving I carry.

Before I talk about the buttons, let me just say that any Jacob sheep who finds a home on Sweetgrass Farm lives a good life and is well cared for and loved. Sometimes they break off a piece of their horns, or as with all living things, life comes to and end. As their horns are so magnificent, they are saved and now Peg is looking into possible applications for them. Right now, with the help of a friend, she is making some Jacob horn buttons.

The horns seem to contain the same gorgeous range of colors as does the fleece. Still, it's incredible to me to find so much color in the cross section of a horn. The inside is hard as stone and perfectly smooth. The outside edge is textured as it is the outside of the horn.

They're so striking and the overall shape of the buttons is so appealing. I am going to have to search for the perfect garment on which to showcase these very special accessories!

Right now, Peg is not sure how many buttons she'll produce. If she decides to sell them, I'll be the first in line so I can carry some at Wind Rose. For now, I'm just enjoying the look and feel of my unexpected Christmas present. I thought you might enjoy seeing them too!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Big & Bold Necklaces

Okay, it's safe to say that I have gone absolutely crazy making my big and bold, tatted necklaces. I don't know if I can explain why they are so fun to make, but I guess I'd better try.

I like how they are sort of free form. I've come up with a basic order of shapes I like, but once I'm making a necklace, if I think I need one of the rings or chains to be larger or smaller, I just change it on the spot. I do what makes sense for the yarn I'm working with. It's always fun to let go and allow the project dictate the outcome.

I'm also loving the completed necklaces. They are long, from 30 to 36 inches, so they don't need any clasp. This means that you can choose the focal point and wear the necklace with say a row of three rings in the center for a symmetrical look. Then again, you can go asymmetrical, my fave, and have the shapes hanging off center.

You can also layer them and be super bold. How about letting the length fall to the back for a choker look or even better, a few strands to the front and a few to the back for a funky layered look. Who needs a scarf when your necklaces can keep you warm?

I told you I was going crazy! Oh wait, one more! How about wrapping them around a brimmed hat? Uh oh, more ideas are coming... you could interlock a couple for a belt or coil one on your wrist for a chunky cuff bracelet.

Okay, I'm stopping now. I get a little over excited when I can imagine multiple uses for one design.

What's terrible is that I'm showing you this and I haven't even listed any in my shop. I want to make a few more so I can offer a big variety of color and fiber choices and then I'll start listing. Of course I'll come back and let you know when they are available for purchase. At the rate I'm going, this shouldn't take very long!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tatted Sea Turtle

Here he is! My little tatted sea turtle. I was trying to wait for the sun to come out so I could take a good picture, but it looks like that isn't going to happen for a couple more days. I guess a few shadows never hurt anyone.

So this is the pattern I was talking about. I couldn't quite manage it when I first started tatting. I didn't even really know how to read tatting patterns yet. I guess I thought I'd just jump in, but this little turtle made me realize I had to learn the basics first.

I found this pattern online at Handy Hands Tatting. The pattern they have listed is for Tortoise Earrings. I thought the tortoises were cute, so I wanted to try to make one. I chose to make mine more of a pendant size. Mine measures 2.5 by 1.5 inches. I also chose disc shaped beads to give him more of a sea turtle look. I think it would be cute to thread a necklace through one of the front flippers so that the turtle would hang at an angle.

This was such a fun pattern and it makes me want to design my own little creatures. I'm keep forgetting that I'm new to tatting. I sit down thinking I'll just whip out a design and then I keep having to frog my work. Slow down Jenn. It will come!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oversized Tatting

I've been getting back to my tatting now that my house is fully trimmed and all preparations for the holiday complete. It feels good to sit cross legged on my studio couch with movies playing on my laptop and just tat.

I had a little triumph yesterday. I picked up a pattern that I tried when I first started tatting. At the time, I had to set it aside realizing that I wasn't quite ready for it yet. So I decided to try it again and got through it without any trouble at all. It was such a good feeling! The pattern was for a tatted turtle and it's really cute. I forgot to take its picture, so I'll have to do that tomorrow. I'll come back and show you. The light is pretty bad for taking pictures today anyway.

So after my turtle triumph, I just started goofing around when I decided I wanted to make a giant tatting needle. I happen to be the weird sort of craft woman who just happens to have a vise set up and a drill plugged in, not to mention an assortment of
wooden dowels handy. I started out with a 1/4" dowel. That's what I used for the green tatting in the photo above. I don't keep super bulky yarn around, so I had to twice double my yarn to make it thick. Even so, I decided my quarter inch needle was a little too giant.

Back to the drill I went, this time with a 3/16" dowel. I still had to layer up my yarn, but the width was much better. I sat down and tatted this chunky, asymmetrical necklace. I'm going to have to spin some super bulky yarn, because the hardest part of this project was working with four strings at once.

I have to say that oversized needle tatting is a little too much fun. It's amazing how fast the afternoon flew by. I always feel a bit guilty when I indulge in my hobbies all day. I guess I am on Christmas break and the kids seemed happy to have a chill day.

So before I go off and make a nice dinner so I can feel like a proper mom again, here's a couple more pics from my playtime:

Have a great night!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Love Felt? I've got a blog for you!

This little fiber star is from one of my own nuno felting projects, but I'm actually writing today with a blog recommendation. If you love felt, there is a blog that I think you'll enjoy. It's name is Wool love-functional fiber art.

I've been following this blog for a little while now, and I always enjoy seeing what this fiber artist will post next. She is nothing short of prolific in her devotion to felt.

In her latest post, she's creating a Christmas stocking, but don't stop there. Take a minute and scroll through some of her work. She makes gorgeous pillows and purses. She is simply always up to something!

For a long time now I've been thinking that I should share this blog with others. I have so many people come to my blog to see some of the nuno felt artists I have featured, so now I'm promoting a whole blog full of fabulous felt. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Claudia Chavez ~ Santa Fe Bead Artist

It's been a little over a year since I first discovered the work of Claudia Chavez. This is one of her necklaces that I purchased on a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I was excited to come home and share her work here on my blog.

Today I recieved and email from Claudia letting me know that she has launched her website. Now you can visit any time you like and see her beautiful Flower Garden necklaces. I think my favorite right now is the Burgundy Flower Garden.

Claudia's beadwork is impeccable and her designs original and enchanting. I'm very pleased to be able to share her new website with you. I love my trips to Santa Fe, but I'm so happy that I can now see Claudia's art whenever I want!

Checking In With a New Bracelet Design

My blog posts have become infrequent over the last two weeks. This is due to the fact that if you want to send handmade gifts for Christmas, at some point you have to hunker down and make them! Now that my gifts are all in the mail, I can start to resume more normal life patterns.

I sat down today and made this needle tatted bracelet. My son has art class tomorrow and I thought it would be nice to make something for his teacher. I like the look of several strands together so I decided to try to create that look with one continuous thread. All in all, I'm happy with my result.

Well I just had to check in. I didn't want anyone thinking I'd fallen off the face of the earth or anything. I've just had a case of busy holiday-itis.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Yarn Bombing? Art Installation?

Whether you call it yarn bombing or a form of art, all I can say is that it's totally fun!

Yesterday I took a field trip to The Fiber Factory in Mesa, Arizona. Ruth, our project leader, was already there with a few other fiber enthusiasts. Members of our guild, the TelaraƱa Weavers and Spinners, and friends of The Fiber Factory contributed remnants of their own knitting and weaving. There were also pieces of crochet and felt on hand so the fiber arts were well represented!

The next few hours were spent with needles and ladders as we wrapped and sewed our fabric to the Palo Verde trees in front of The Fiber Factory. I myself was up on a ladder working on the left arm of this tree from the yellow on up. There is something so satisfying about hugging your arms around a tree and sewing it up in a nice wool sweater. I'm also quite sure that the trees appreciated our sewing over the use of staples or anything painful like that.

We had fun embellishing the trees with flowers and furry scarves. The yarn clad trees will be on display throughout the holiday season, so if you're local, go for a drive down to 216 West Main Street in Mesa.

Thanks to Ruth for being the creative force behind this wonderful project. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part and I know everyone else did as well. It makes me want to wrap everything in warm, woolly goodness!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Now that the calendar reads December, I have embraced the holiday season. My mind has turned to decorating, shopping, baking and cards.

Wind Rose Fiber Studio has been busier than ever this year. Between filling orders and getting my home ready for the holidays, I've found little time for anything else.

Still, I can't neglect my blog, so I thought I'd at least say hello today. I hope everyone is enjoying the excitement that seems to come with this time of year. It's especially fun with kids in the house. Their eagerness becomes contagious.

Today's picture is by my son Wes. He drew this in an art class. His teacher had them use watercolor paints. He said the brushes were too big, but I kind like that it's a little sloppy. I think it adds a touch of whimsy. I also love that when they were told they could draw something under the tree, he chose a Star Bunny from Super Mario Galaxy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tatted Trio Bracelet

Well hi! I haven't blogged in a few days because I didn't want to bore you to death with day after day of tatting.

Of course here I am with another tatting picture, but remember, you had a few days off! :D

The reason I'm showing off this Tatted Trio Bracelet is because I'm actually selling this one at Wind Rose. It's my first tatted item for sale, so I'm excited.

You can see that it has three chains that are attached so it wears like a set of bangles. The rings and spirals are spaced out just right so they compliment and not overlap. This bracelet is perfect for a 7 t0 7.5 inch wrist. I know that's a little large for some. As time goes by, I want to make more for the shop in different colors and sizes. Right now the bulk of my production is focused on holiday gift giving.

I've also been playing around with more tatted shapes. I've gotten into the habit of trying out patterns with bigger yarn. It gives me a practice run before making it up in thread. I've also found that if I like it in the big yarn, I know it will look even more cute in small thread. If I'm not wild about it in the larger size, the same holds true for the smaller size.

So basically, making a large prototype is not only practice, but it saves me some time and effort. I get frustrated if I spend time tatting a tiny shape only to find that I don't really like the finished product.

This dragonfly is a case in point. He's kind of cute, but I'm not wild about the pattern. I think he needs antennae or something. He seems bald to me. I don't think I'm going to bother with making small ones although I'll probably use this guy as an ornament for the Christmas tree. I think that's what will become of all my larger shapes. It's a tatted Christmas here at Wind Rose Fiber Studio!