Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just Checking In

Hello. I'm wiped out tonight. My kids are on holiday so I'm feeling the strain of running my little business and entertaining my kids. They don't really need to be entertained, but If I don't come up with activities, there is a couch potato tendency.

I have the spiral baby beanie pattern mostly written. I want to work through it one more time. I was doing great, diligently writing down the instructions as I went along until at some point I got distracted. The last third of the hat I kind of just finished without thinking about what I was doing. Since that doesn't do you much good, I need to make one more.

I have been feeling a little frazzled the past week or so. I'm about to go on a short trip to Asheville, NC. I think it will be a nice break. Asheville is a great town and I'm looking forward to spending some time there. On my last visit, a woman was just opening up her dream yarn shop. I can't even remember the name of her place, but I want to pay her a visit and see how her business is going. I also like to stop in at the Earth Guild. I should have some fun things to share from my trip.

I'll be checking in while I'm away, so let me know how those Baby Cozies are coming along. See you soon!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Spiral Newborn Baby Beanie - Crochet Project

Hello. Remember a couple days ago when I said I had an idea for a little hat to go with our Baby Cozies? Well here it is. What do you think? I think it turned out cute and what I like is the way the hat matches the cozy and makes it look like a little ensemble. I've been wanting to try out a spiral design ever since I saw a feature on them in this past Spring's edition of Interweave Crochet. I didn't use a pattern for this hat, but rather designed it as I went along. I used a real newborn beanie and my baby model to get the correct sizing. I promised to share the pattern if it turned out. I am now making a second one and writing down the instructions as I go so I will be able to write the pattern for you. I hope you will enjoy this pattern as well as the one for The Baby Cozy.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Crochet-Along: FinishingThe Baby Cozy

Hi all. I meant to post this earlier in the day, but it took me forever to sew on my little circles. Here's my finished cozy being modeled by my life-like newborn baby model. Up until now, I have made all of my cozies in three colors, but I made this one a little different. Not knowing if I'll be the aunt of a niece or a nephew forced me to change things up a bit. I know there are lots of colors that are less gender specific, but I was having a hard time finding three colors I liked together. I settled on these two and I was planning on making one color the body and making both the flaps the lighter shade. As I started crocheting, I got the idea to add the stripes and dots to make it a little more playful. What do you think?

Well I guess you're getting excited about finishing your Baby Cozy. The only thing left is to make a cute little tie for the side. You can really do this a number of ways. I think it would be pretty to find a nice silk ribbon and sew it on. On my prototype cozy, I joined the body colored yarn to the end of the top flap, chained to the length I wanted and then worked sl sts back down the chain and joined it with a sl st to the same space I started in. Then I carefully knotted the yarn on the underside of the flap. I attached the same kind of chain to the side of the body where the tie would naturally meet. You can see this one in the picture here to the right.

I like this look, but when I made my next cozy, I decided I wanted to make the tie more understated. With this in mind, I have started making plied yarn ties. I use my spinning wheel, but you can create a plied effect with your hands. Cut about a 30" piece of yarn. Pinch one end between your fingers to hold it in place while you twist the yarn counter clockwise. The Patons yarn we are using for this project has a clockwise twist so at first you will see it untwist and then it will start to ply in the opposite
direction. Keep twisting it until, when you release the tension, it wants to back spin or twist up on itself. At that point, holding your piece of yarn carefully so it doesn't unwind, thread it through the end of the left flap. I like to go up from the underside, skip about three sts and then go back down. Still holding the ends of the thread, make sure the flap is in the center and then bring the ends together. Holding the ends together, get the ply started by turning them counter clockwise. You will see that the tension in the twist will make the yarn want to ply together. Then I just tie a neat little knot in the end and trim the tips to make them even. You would repeat this to make the other tie attached to the body. I think writing this makes it sound more complicated than it is. Once you try it, you see how easy it is.

Well I guess that's it! I can't believe it! We are done! What am I going to do with myself now that I'm not thinking about this cozy? I know a lot of you are still working on yours. I'd love to see some of your baby cozies when you are finished. If you'd like to share, send a picture to j.pedersengiles@gmail.com. Let me know if I can post them on this blog to share with everyone. You could also leave a comment with a link to your flickr pictures or something like that. Anyway, I play show and tell all the time, so now it can be your turn!

Remember, I'm here everyday and I love to hear from people. Please feel free to share comments or ask questions. If you have feedback on this crochet-along, I'd like to hear that too. I plan to do more in the future and I want to make them as fun and easy to follow as I can!

See you soon.

The Baby Cozy ~ Part I
The Baby Cozy ~ Part II
The Baby Cozy ~ Part III
The Baby Cozy ~ Part IV
The Baby Cozy ~ Part V
The Baby Cozy ~ Part VI

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Crochet-Along: The Baby Cozy - Making the left flap

Hello there. I hope you are all having a nice weekend. I just got home from a couple hours in the park with my family so I'm feeling pretty happy and mellow. If you are just joining us and starting your baby cozy, welcome! I'm sure this is a crazy fast crochet-along especially for a project of this size. Just know that I visit my blog everyday and will be here to answer questions long after the final instructions go up. As you work through your cozies, I'd love to hear feedback so I can improve my future crochet-alongs. When you are finished, if you would like to share a picture, you can send images to j.pedersengiles@gmail.com and let me know if I can share them on this blog. I also wanted to let you know that once I finish with all of the instructions, I'll make a post that contains the pattern only and maybe a few less pictures. That way you'll have something easier to print off for your pattern collection.

Are you ready? Here's the left side panel or flap:

(When I posted this yesterday, I forgot to add that you make this left flap in the third color yarn you chose. Of course you can use your colors any way you like, but for the sake of this pattern, you would now be switching colors.)

Row 1: With the wrong side of the cozy facing you, join with a sl st in the lower left hand corner of the cozy. (When I say lower left hand, I mean the lower left corner of the piece when you are looking at it from the front. see picture) sc in same st and in next 57 sts. Equals 58 sts

Rows 2 and 3: Ch 2 turn, hdc across, equals 58 sts

Row 4: Ch 2 turn, hdc dec over first two sts, hdc across, equals 57 sts

Row 5: Ch 2 turn, hdc dec over first two sts, hdc across to last two sts, hdc dec over last two sts, equals 55 sts

Rows 6-38: repeat rows 4 and 5 consecutively, row 38 will have 7 sts

Ch 1, do not turn, crocheting along bottom edge, work 1 sc into the end of each row for a total of 37 sc, sl st in the end of the last row, sl st in the same space as the joining space of row 1.

Ch 1 turn, skip first sl st space and sl st into the next st, sc in the next 35 sts, 3 sc in next st (corner made) sc in next 5 sts, 3 sc in next st (corner made), crocheting along the top edge, work 1 sc in each row for the next 37 rows, sl st in last row, join with sl st in same space as the last st of row 1. Finish off weaving in all loose ends.

OK, that's it for today! I'll be back tomorrow with some final finishing instructions, the tie mainly and some pictures of my finished Baby Cozy. See you then.

The Baby Cozy ~ Part I
The Baby Cozy ~ Part II
The Baby Cozy ~ Part III
The Baby Cozy ~ Part IV
The Baby Cozy ~ Part V
The Baby Cozy ~ Part VI

Friday, September 26, 2008

Crochet-Along: The Baby Cozy - Pic of finished right flap

Hi there. I hope everyone is enjoying making their Baby Cozy. I also hope that you are finding my instructions easy to follow. I'm short on time right now, but I wanted to post a picture of my completed right flap. Don't pay too much attention to the stripes. I'm adding a little pattern to mine because I'm only working with two colors. I'm keeping my cozy neutral while trying to add a little visual interest. I'll be back tomorrow to get you started on the left flap. See you then!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crochet-Along: The Baby Cozy - Making the right flap

Hello! So how are our cozies coming? I know I said I'd be back by this morning, but this week has been crazy. Hopefully you all are in less of a hurry and can crochet at your leisure. I admit I'm stressing a little because I have a number of things I need to accomplish before I catch a flight next week. One of the other things on my mind is a little hat to go with this cozy. I have a design idea in my head, but I haven't worked in out yet. If I get a chance and it turns out cute, I'll share the hat pattern with you too. I just think it would be fun to have a hat to match the cozy. Don't you?

Ok, so now we are going to make the panel or flap to the right of the body we just finished. This is the flap that will fold over first and then we'll make the left side that will go on top. Remember to switch to the color yarn you chose for this piece. Ready?

Row 1: With the wrong side of the body facing you, join new color yarn in the upper right hand corner. Sc in same st and in next 57 sts. Equals 58 sts.

Rows 2-3: Ch 2 turn, hdc across

Row 4: Ch 2 turn, hdc in next 56 sts, hdc dec over last two sts, equals 57 sts

Row 5: Ch 2 turn, work hdc dec over first two sts, hdc across remainder of row, equals 56 sts

Rows 6-21: repeat rows 4 and 5 consecutively. At the end of row 21 you should have 40 sts.

Row 22: Ch 2 turn, hdc across, equals 40 sts

Row 23: Ch 2 turn, hdc dec over first two sts, hdc across, equals 39 sts

Rows 24-35: repeat rows 22 and 23 consecutively, and the end of row 35 you should have 32 sts.

Ch 2, do not turn, hdc across the bottom edge of your flap by working 1 hdc in the end of each row for a total of 34 sts, sc in the end of the next row, join with a sl st to the corner of the body (the very next st after the 58th st of the first row of this flap)

Ch 1 turn, sl st in sc from previous row, sc in next 34 sts, 3 sc in ch 2 space from previous row to form a corner, sc in next 32 sts, 3 sc in next st to form the second corner, work 1 sc in the end of each row going up the flap towards where you began for a total of 34 sc, sl st in the end of the last row, sl st in the same space as the joining st of row 1. Finish off weaving in loose ends.

So that's it for today. I'll take a picture of my finished right flap tomorrow to share with you. I know it may seem like a lot of counting, but once you've made one cozy, you will see how the pattern comes together. If you decide to make a second, it will go much faster. I'd love to make this up is some beautiful handspun yarn or play around with embellishing one with flowers maybe. I think there are a lot of possibilities for creativity and originality with The Baby Cozy!

See you tomorrow...

The Baby Cozy ~ Part I
The Baby Cozy ~ Part II
The Baby Cozy ~ Part III
The Baby Cozy ~ Part IV
The Baby Cozy ~ Part V
The Baby Cozy ~ Part VI

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Crochet - Along: The Baby Cozy - Finishing the body

Hello everyone. My day has been crazy and I still have a couple meetings to attend. Yikes! Still, I don't want to keep my crochet-along friends waiting, so here's the next step. We are one row away from having the body of our cozy done. It's just one row, but it's an important row because we are forming the pocket. I've taken a ton of pics for the visual people like myself and as always, I'm here if you need me.

The picture to the left is where we stopped at row 89. With the right side of the cozy facing you, fold up the bottom edge to form the pocket. You should have 37 hdc rows for the pocket leaving 17 rows unfolded for the head. (I'm hoping when you click onto the pic on the right, you will be able to read my writing. I can see it in iPhoto, so I hope it will come through.) Now it's time to place two markers where we will join the front and back of the pocket. Find your upper right and left corner stitches. Place a temporary marker in them if you like. There should be 40 stitches between the two corner stitches. From the upper right hand corner stitch, count down 19 stitches counting the corner as 1. Slip a marker through that 19th stitch and do the same for the other side. You will also need to slip the marker through the two top corners of the pocket. After you place your markers, be sure that there are 40 stitches between them on the top edge of the pocket.

Now that your markers are in place, we can move forward to the last row of the body.

Row 90: Ch 1, do not turn, sc in the next 2 sts, 3 sc in the next st (upper right hand corner made), sc in next 40 sts, 3 sc in next st (upper left hand corner made), sc in next 17 sts (you have reached your first marker and will now be working through two layers, the front and back of your pocket), sc in next 37 sts, 3 sc in the corner (lower left corner made), work 40 sc evenly across the bottom edge(see pictures below for a close up look at a corner and the bottom edge), work 3 sc in next corner (lower right hand corner made), (To be sure to place your next stitch correctly, I recommend counting down from your marker 37 sts) sc in next 37 stitches to the marker, sc in next 15 sts, join with a sl st to beg ch 1.

The body or center section of your cozy is now complete! Yeah! You can remove the stitch markers and weave in your ends. This is me being very detail oriented, but if you look at the upper right hand corner where you just finished, it tends to have two small gaps from your previous turn rows. I like to close these up a little while I'm weaving in the tail end. Below is a before and after picture of what I'm talking about.

If you find any of this at all confusing, just let me know and I'll help in any way I can. I'm hoping the pictures are useful. I know this is just one row and not much to keep the experienced crocheters busy, I'm going to get started on the right flap this afternoon and hope to have some more for you by tonight or at the latest, tomorrow morning.

Happy crocheting!

The Baby Cozy ~ Part I
The Baby Cozy ~ Part II
The Baby Cozy ~ Part III
The Baby Cozy ~ Part IV
The Baby Cozy ~ Part V
The Baby Cozy ~ Part VI

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Crochet-Along The Next Steps: The Baby Cozy

Good Morning! I apologize to people in other time zones who might be waiting on me. I wanted to crochet through the next three rows before I wrote them out for you so I don't miss any details. It's funny, right now both of my kids are studying functional text at school. My older son, who is very left brained, is not very happy about it. So which is harder, following functional text or writing it? I know I'm feeling some amount of pressure to write very clearly and get it right the first time. I don't want anyone to have to rip out rows because of me! So here goes:

Row 87: Ch 2 (counts as first hdc of the row) turn, 2 hdc in first st (first corner made), 34 hdc across, 3 hdc in last st (second corner made), do not turn, continue down the side of your rectangle, work 1 hdc in the end of each row to equal 86 hdc, 3 hdc in 1st st of beg ch on bottom edge (third corner made), 34 hdc across, 3 hdc in next st (fourth corner made), now continue working down the other long side of your rectangle once again by working 1 hdc for each row to equal 86 sts, join with sl st to top of beg ch 2.

Row 88: Ch 2 (counts as first hdc of the row) turn, hdc in next 87 sts (be careful not to crochet into the small space that almost looks like a st at the base of your ch 2), 3 hdc in next st (corner), hdc in next 36 sts, 3 hdc in next st (corner), hdc in next 88 sts, 3 hdc in next st (corner), hdc in next 36 sts, 3 hdc in next st (corner), join with sl st to top of beg ch 2.

Row 89: Ch 2 (counts as first hdc of the row) turn, (The side facing you now is the right side of your cozy) hdc in next st (again, be careful not to crochet into the small space that almost looks like a st at the base of your ch 2), 3 hdc in next st (corner), hdc in next 38 sts, 3 hdc in next st (corner), hdc in next 90 sts, 3 hdc in next st (corner), hdc in next 38 sts, 3 hdc in next st (corner), hdc in next 88 sts, join with sl st to top of beg ch 2.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn Bliss - Handspun Yarn

Show and tell time! Since I was holding off on my baby cozy this weekend, I spent some quality time at my spinning wheel. I spun three different skeins, but this one, I'm calling it Autumn Bliss, is my favorite. It's a bulky weight, but not super bulky and it comes to 83 yards/3.75 oz. One ply is my own "Golden Brown" and "Happy Green" rovings spun in turn to create a striping effect. The second ply is a gorgeous nylon that just sparkles in the light. The nylon combines bright shades of orange, green, pink, and gold. Together they look like a sunny Fall day. At least that's what it reminds me of!

OK, Now I'm off to work on my Baby Cozy for our Crochet-Along. I'll be checking in tomorrow with the next steps. See you then!

Crochet-Along Let's Get Started!: The Baby Cozy

Good Morning! Well today is "Go" day for The Baby Cozy Crochet-Along! I busied myself with other projects this weekend to give people a chance to find us, buy their yarn and get started. My Baby Cozy is still 18 rows big, but I'm going to find an hour today to finish the first 86 rows so we can move forward.

Now if anyone out there has already done Rows 1-86 and is tapping their toes waiting for the next bit, just let me know and I'll speed up for you. Once we get started, the project will go quickly. I only have two weeks before I need mine to be done so it's definitely a priority project. The baby is coming! :D

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baby's First Christmas Hats - Crocheted for babies 0-3 months

I know I made them, but I can't stand it, these are just so cute! There, I said it. I just wish I had designed these sooner so I could have made them for my kids!

I actually already had some of these in my shop, but people always seem interested in the one style or size you don't have. I didn't have this Red Hat with White Trim made up in a 0-3 month size. So here they are. One is made completely from boucle yarn and the other is boucle with a furry white trim. I can't decide which I like best, but I'm leaning towards the boucle one. What do you think? Boucle or Fur trim?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Crochet-Along Update at Wind Rose Fiber Studio: The Baby Cozy

Well it looks like a few people are joining in the crochet along.  I'm very excited!!  To everyone who has gotten in touch and anyone joining incognito, Welcome!

I'm going to wait a couple days to give people a chance to buy their materials and so perhaps a few more crochet friends can find us.  Then I'll be posting the next steps in the project.  In the meantime, you have 86 rows to hdc.

I'll be checking in.  See you soon!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Crochet a Baby Cozy - It's a Crochet-Along and it's just getting started!

Hi there. This is just the second post. I just started this Crochet-Along: A Baby Cozy today. I just wanted to post one more picture. I just started my Baby Cozy. Here are the first 18 rows. I thought of one thing as I was crocheting. When you get to the end of your first skein of yarn, join the new skein at the end or beginning of a row. It just looks nicer not to weave in loose ends in the middle of a project.

I hope you'll join me! :D
See you tomorrow....

The Baby Cozy: A Crochet-Along

Good Morning! It is still morning here in Arizona, just barely. A lot of people stopped by yesterday after I posted my latest Baby Cozy. Since I'm about to start another, I thought you might like to crochet along with me! I'll post my progress each day and give the instructions as we go. In a few days, I'll have a new cozy for my new little niece or nephew and you'll have one for the baby in your life, or for your gift closet.


The picture shows everything you will need. (Normally, I use three colors, but I'm going very neutral on this one because I don't know if the baby is a boy or a girl.)

Hook: Size H or 5.5mm
Large Eye Needle: for weaving in tail ends
4 skeins of Patons Classic Wool: I like using this because it's soft and I like to steer away from synthetics for baby. You will need two skeins for the body, and one for each flap. The flaps actually take a little less than a skein, but if you are working with three colors, you will want to pick two skeins of one color for the body and one skein of a different color for each flap. See the pictures above.

We'll start with the body. It's the middle part that you'll need two skeins for. I'll be using the peach color above.
Chain 38
Row 1: Half Double Crochet in 3rd stitch from hook and all the way across. Equals 36 sts (not counting the beginning two chains)
Rows 2-86: Chain 2 turn, half double crochet across

Well that's the beginning. It starts off simply really. It just takes some time to crochet 86 rows! I'd love to hear from you if you decide to join in. I'll be happy to answer questions along the way. Click on this link if you need a
Stitch Guide. It's a great one by DMC.

The Baby Cozy ~ Part I
The Baby Cozy ~ Part II
The Baby Cozy ~ Part III
The Baby Cozy ~ Part IV
The Baby Cozy ~ Part V
The Baby Cozy ~ Part VI

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Baby Cozy (Lighter weight for boys / 0-3 mos.)

Here's my newest Baby Cozy for boys. I've been sharing my Baby Cozies with you for a few weeks now. If you look through my other posts you can even see the cozy as I developed the pattern. I think it's kind of exciting to watch something go from an idea to a finished product.

So now I've made the Cozy in two weights, a bulky for colder climates and a worsted for everywhere else. each weight has a style for girls and one for boys. Now I guess I'll have to wait and see if people like them. I've already been thinking of all the color combinations I could do not mention the patterns I could work in, but before I go crazy, I want to see if they sell. I've done that before. I make something that I love, make 10 of them, only to find out that it's just not what people are looking for. It's never a total loss. I donate my things that don't sell to charities and feel like they are at least going out into the world and maybe someone will love them.

What's next for me? One more cozy. Now that I've perfected the design, it's time to make one for my new little niece or nephew that's on the way. I only have a couple couple weeks so I better get busy!

Knitting... We're all beginners sometime.

After over 30 years of crocheting, six years weaving and five at the spinning wheel, I've taken up knitting. I'm a beginner again! I think I got tired of saying "I do just about everything, except for knit." It's not that I couldn't keep myself busy with all of the crafts I already do, It just bugged me that there was one that I didn't. Not just any one either, but a needle craft that seemed to be taking over everything.

As a crocheter and someone who loves crochet, I started to resent knitting. It bugged me when people used the word "knit" to kind of be synonymous with all yarn crafts. HELLO! Just once I'd like to hear someone ask "Do you crochet?" instead of "Do you knit?" Knitting also seems to get more air time on TV networks that host craft shows and on the magazine racks. Even worse, I had to admit, like all other yarn crafts, I was drawn to knitting. There seems to be some things you can do with two needles that you just can't with a hook.

Finally, I gave in. I bought some bamboo needles and a cute how-to book and got started. The first thing I made was a felted cuff bracelet. I basically just knitted a rectangle and then sewed it together. After felting it, I embellished it with beads and some additional needle felting. It looked really cool, but I was kind of cheating. You can hide all kinds of imperfections with felting and twinkling beads. Next I started work on a baby blanket. I'm still only half way through that project. Basically, I'm kind of bored with it. So when I saw some cute fingerless mitts that a friend made, I asked her to show me the pattern. I figured a shorter project might be good for me. I'd have the satisfaction of completing a project. So here they are. I know what your thinking. They don't match. They actually are from the same skein, it's just a variegated fiber. I think I have enough yarn left to knit two more and then I should have two matching pairs.

I do like the idea that I will be able to combine my crocheting and knitting skills. I think the two interact well and being able to do both with open up more creative possibilities. I will no longer pass by a cute pattern because it's been knitted and not crocheted, but I think crochet will always be my favorite. It's what I design in and what I can practically do in my sleep. Maybe my knitting will get there someday, but for now ...I'm still a beginner.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cute Crocheted Coaster with Beaded Trim - Free Pattern!

Even though I already have too many projects in production, I ignored them all and made this coaster last night. The store bought ones I have are starting to look dingy and I just felt like playing around with something easy last night. So here's a pattern for you the next time you're feeling like crocheting something quick and easy:

Crocheted Coaster with Beaded Trim

Materials for coaster:
Lion Brand 4ply 100% cotton - Article 750 Natural
Crochet Hook size I or 5.5mm

Materials for trim:
Baroque Crochet Cotton - Article 158 100% cotton Ecru
Beading needle or a needle with an eye that will fit through your beads
32 6mm beads - choose any beads you like

Chain 13
Row 1: sc in second st from hook and in next 11 sts. equals 12 sc
Rows 2-7: Ch 2 turn, *skip next st, hdc in next st, hdc in skipped st (forms an X)* 6 times
Row 8: Ch 1 turn (the side facing you now is the front of your coaster), 3 sc in first st, sc in next 10 sts, 3 sc in last st. Continuing down side, work 10 sc evenly across the side, 3 sc in first st of beg ch row, 10 sc across, 3 sc in last st of beg ch row. Now work 10 sc evenly across remaining side and join with sl st to first sc.
Row 9: Ch 1, do not turn, *3 sc in next st, sc in next 12 sts* 4 times. Join with sl st to first sc.
Finish off and weave in loose ends on the botton of the coaster.

Cut a lenth of the Baroque Cotton long enough to go around the coaster. approximately 40 to 50 inches. With coaster facing you, attach the end of the thread to a st just right of one of the corners. Thread one bead on and working counter clockwise around the coaster, skip the corner st and make a knot in the next st. (This is done by pushing the needle through the yarn, drawing it through until there is just a little loop left, insert the needle through the loop and pull to secure)

In this fashion, work 7 beads evenly across each side ( it will come out to roughly a bead every other stitch) and one bead in each corner for a total of 32 beads. Note: try to give each bead about the same amount of thread so that they look even. Also, it will lay nicely if the thread is worked from the back to the front before stringing on each new bead. See close up picture.

Once you've worked your way around, secure with a good knot and either weave in your ends or carefully cut them. Your coaster is finished!

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm going to the Southwest Fiber Festival!

Hi there.  I've been kind of in and out for the last couple days.  Sorry for the inconsistency.  I've been on an organization tear around my house.  I think I'm a little out of control.  I was waiting for paint at Home Depot today and came home with two storage units. Yikes!  Actually, I'm excited about one of them and I may blog about it later.

So on the fiber festival.  One of the things I hated leaving behind when I left Northern VA., besides friends and family of course, was the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  If you live anywhere near MD, you have got to go.  It's always held the first weekend in May and it's phenomenal!!  I've lived in Arizona now for one year and three months and I need a fiber festival fix.  After a little searching, I've found my destination; the Southwest Fiber Festival in Amado, Arizona on October 25.  It's sponsored by the Southwest Fiber Arts Guild and from the website, it looks really organized.  Although it's only a one day event, it's seems to be packed full of vendors, classes, competitions and livestock.  What more could you ask for?

So I'll let you know what I think.  I'll have to be careful not to compare it too much the the one in Maryland.  I think that one is one of the largest in the country so I need to be prepared for a smaller scale event.  Large or small, I'm sure it will be fun!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Scrapbooking and Craft Fibers - Over 125 Yards!

Like many fiber fiends, I have a huge surplus stash. Yarns and ribbons, eyelash fibers and furry novelties. Even when they're reduced to an amount too small for any significant project, I cant bear to toss them!

Although I love my crazy collection, I have more than I could ever use, so I've started selling some at Wind Rose. Why not share the fun? I know that there a lot of different crafts in which people use smaller pieces of fiber. It's a mixed media world out there and everyone from scrapbookers and stampers to book binders and polymer clay artists like to incorporate some fun colors and textures into their work. The first person to buy scrap fiber from me made me smile. She said she didn't know what she was going to make out of it, be she couldn't wait to find out! LOL! I feel the same way. Just looking at this picture makes me want to get creative!

So what do you get in this lot of Craft Fibers? There are over 40 individual strands most of which are over 2 yards in length for a total of more than 125 yards. There are all kinds of fibers from eyelash and other novelties to ribbon and even sari silk. I make sure to give you a wide variety of colors and textures and I store them in a large hank which I wrap around cardboard before mailing to help prevent tangles. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I do!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Are you a guild member?

You know, I really love what I do.  I've crocheted for over 30 years.  I'm a dyer, spinner, pattern designer, weaver, and even a beginning knitter.  I often get asked if I'm a member of the crochet guild or one of the many other guilds and associations out there.  The thing is, I'm not and I really can't say why.  Many times I've gone to different web sites and thought about signing up, but then something stops me.  Maybe I'm afraid of spreading myself too thin or maybe I think I'm out of my league.  I think the bottom line is that I just don't have enough information.  What are the pros and cons of joining a guild?  Are you a happy guild member??  I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks and see  you tomorrow...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sharing Creativity with Friends

One of the things I love about being creative, is spending time with other creative people!  There is always a connection there.  It really doesn't matter if you like the same things or work in the same media.  The bond lies deeper than that.  It's the way your minds work and the excitement you feel about a new idea.  Maybe it's the pride in your finished product, but more often it seems to be the process.  

I spent this morning at a friend's house looking at her latest creations.  I oohed and aahed and tried things on.  We bounced ideas off of each other and talked about the craft shows we've participated in.  I really enjoy seeing what other crafters and artists are working on.   It always energizes me.  I leave wanting to race home and get busy on my own designs.  Getting away from your own studio and visiting someone else's is a great way to recharge!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Organizational Tip for Moms with Young Artists

Hello, I don't seem to be very productive at Wind Rose this week, so I thought I'd share a little something different today. I have a son who loves to draw. When I buy paper for my printer at home, I buy an extra ream to put up in my son's room. That's right, I supply him 500 pages at a time and that doesn't count the two different sizes of construction paper that he likes. Believe it or not, it only takes him two or three months at the most to use up all of that paper. The result is piles and piles of artwork!

I don't save every piece, but I do save a lot of it. It's like a time line of his life. His art represents everything he's interested in and everything on his mind. It dates back to his early childhood and has become a journal of sorts. It's who he is. The only problem is, "How do I keep the volumes of drawings organized?"

I was shopping for school supplies a couple months ago (we start early here) and I got an idea. I bought a 2" three ring binder and a couple hundred page protectors. It's perfect for all of his smaller pieces and his drawings done on printer paper. I've already filled one binder an have two more waiting. FYI, Staples sells the sheet protectors in bulk for a good price.

It's a simple sounding solution, but it's been great. He has enjoyed flipping through his own artwork which used to be stacked up in a drawer. It was also great when the grandparents came for a visit. They could sit on the couch with him and see his art just like looking at a photo album. I like that all of his work is better preserved and protected. Someday, when he's all grown up, maybe he'll have fun showing his own children what he did as a kid!

Have a great day! See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Spindle Spinning and the Turkish Drop Spindle

I was going to start with a *Brief History* of spinning, but then it occurred to me that someone has probably already gone there. I did a little searching and found this really well done article that I thought I'd share with you. It begins, "It is generally agreed that the spinning of fibres to form a thread or yarn has been in existence for over 10,000 years. The drop spindle was the primary spinning tool for almost 9000 years, it was used to spin all the threads for clothing and fabrics from Egyptian mummy wrappings to tapestries, ropes and sails for ships." It continues on and is very interesting. Click on this Brief History link to read the rest.

Recently I was chatting with a fellow Etsy shop owner
TeaNoir and she was telling me about the Turkish Drop Spindle she had on order. I got curious and started checking them out. I've been planning to buy a travel spinning wheel, but this is not an inexpensive purchase. I started thinking about the Turkish Spindle as an affordable alternative. I already own a couple drop spindles, but I did like the idea of winding the thread into a center pull ball and then being able to ply from both ends. Intriguing.

After drooling over the expensive, beautiful ones, I settled on a more basic Ashford model. After all, what if I don't like it? I haven't even finished my first skein yet, but I already feel compelled to give the Turkish Drop Spindle a positive review.
"The Ashford Turkish Spindle (the one I bought) weighs approximately 1.9 oz. and has curved arms and a 14.75" long shaft. Lets you wind your yarn into a ball; when full, just pull out the shaft and separate the arms." The weight felt really nice and the spin felt very balanced and easy. The only thing that slowed me down getting started was the winding process. Like a lot of creative people, I'm very visual. The simplistic picture drawings that they include as instructions left me wanting. I went on line and found a couple reviews with some better pictures, but in the end, I just had to go for it. I think I was over thinking the whole thing anyway. So I cleared my mind and just imagined winding a ball of yarn without all of the wooden sticks poking through. That may sound goofy, but it helped me. I began in a sort of God's Eye weave and then began to make my "X" pattern. Each time I wound a new length, I rotated to the next diagonal making sure to create the same "X" pattern on the bottom. So far, it looks pretty good. You can see in the picture that I'm just starting a new diagonal.

One thing I should mention, more of an observation than a crituque, it has such a long shaft that it feels more comfortable to use standing. It's not that you couldn't sit with it, it's just that you wouldn't spin very long before the almost 15" spindle was touching the floor. For that reason, I'll probably work with a smaller spindle when I'm on a plane, but the Turkish Spindle is definitely going in my suitcase!

I'll leave you with a few more pictures. The fiber I'm using is one of my own designer singles from
Wind Rose. It's fun to spin a roving that already has a lot of color and texture to it. I'll spin a couple ounces and then try out plying from the ball I create. I'll have more pictures when I get to that stage. See you Tomorrow!

*The Brief History of Spinning was researched by John Bennet and can be found at http://gp.mercuryconnect.com.au/sswdg/Brief%20History%20of%20Spinning.html