Oct 28, 2012

Dog Hair Felt.

 This week I finished an unusual order. Mind you not that unusual, since one of my last ones was a mushroom hat, hehe...
This time a lady rang me, she'd heard I can do creative stuff with fibre, and she wondered if I could make her some keepsakes with the combings of her 2 beloved husky dogs?
Well sure, I could have a play, to see if I could spin or felt it, I said.
How much fibre have you got? A rubbish bag full, she answered.
I nearly fell off my chair... I laughed; are you planning a full-size quilt?!

So I started playing with just a bread bag full; yes, it felted by itself, but not sufficiently strong. Therefore I would have to use 2 bottom layers of merino and the top all husky. One husky had grey hair and the other was more ginger. So I played with different background colours.

In case you are wondering about the doggy smell: The undercoat combings were pretty clean and super soft to start with. The felt gets absolutely drenched in soap suds and once the dog is out of the hair, it just smells of fresh fabric.
Your woolen jerseys don't smell of sheep either, do they? They probably smell of you...

She decided on 4 small wallhangings, with the edges kept wild and natural, and layered, with a simple design as focal point. I also spun some of the undercoat, and used the resulting thread to make a few simple stitches, and little loops on the back.

 I made 2 with hearts, although somewhat different from each other.
I wanted to add more stitching, but it felt finished, and I must always remember not to go overboard. KIS or Keep It Simple is the motto. The fibre had to be centre stage in this project.
Very pleasing results!
I'm not scared of the big bad husky ...

Oct 26, 2012

My Collaged Critters.

Sorrowful Rabbit Lady
So I wrote in the sideline ( see top right ) that I "play a little with  paper, glue and paints."
Except I hardly ever show you...
Well here then some play-time from the last few months, while my studio/workroom was in a mess, and all my stuff in at least 3 different places.
 I asked for my small art table to be put in the livingroom, and when my hands got itchy, this is what I made with some magazines, scissors, paint, glue, a black felt and a white gel-pen.

 I had been surfing the how-to-art videos on you-tube, and was inspired by Sandra van der Geest, who was inspired in turn by Teesha Moore, a well known art journaller .
And that is how things work in the world, one person sees something, which triggers off another vision, which in turn triggers off something else again.
It has always worked like that for millennia, except now we are going at a flying pace.

Can I just say that I find You-tube immensely helpful in anything arty; there are so many generous people out there, so enthused about their own, or sometimes others' little technique in this or that. They just have to share it with other likeminded people around the world.
Want to learn a particular way of drawing , or spinning technique? Someone has already filmed it!
Thank you!
 I have had oodles of fun!
Koala Baby.
I have always cut out interesting pictures from magazines. But with this method I can make them come together as a whole. They look slightly cartoonish, a bit surreal.
Even a little dark.
Seawitch and her Captive.
And most of them are actually giving me a message.
So I might still write some words next to them too. In an arty kind of way.

Teatime Ducky.
And before you go asking me that annoying question "what are you going to do with them?", well I have already done it. I made them.

It was really relaxing to just sit there and muck about with paint and scissors. Not knowing what would appear on my page was exciting. Trying to fit pictures together, here an arm, a skirt, weird big eyes, bit of hair, an animal part.
 Then drawing lines and pulling it all together, that part was hypnotic and soothing.
The new critters, my weird little people: they made me smile when they were "done".

Seriously addictive process, beats watching t.v. anytime.

Unless of course if you were watching "The Killing" episodes, at a rate of 2 episodes a night.
 No, not the american version (what is with that anyway? Can't they read subtitles, or come to grips with another way of telling a story except for the 5 Hollywood prescribed plot outlines....) , but the original Danish series, "Forbrydelsen". Very good plots, marvelous acting! No car chases, and 2 gunshots in 20 episodes in the first series. But brilliant tension levels.
We Highly Recommend it.
Took a while to get to New Zealand...
I have even picked up some Danish words like tak ger, I guess it means thanks very much.
(Cousin S. please correct me if I got it by the wrong end of the stick!)

Birdgirl letting go.
Anyhow, I don't think I can do much with these collages, since there are copyrights on the photos I have used.  Unless I have altered them sufficiently in percentage levels ?..

Oct 14, 2012

Happy 21st !

Look there we were in 1992. Our new tradition; a family christmas photo. A young mum and dad and their wee toddler daughter of 14 months.
 And today is your 21st birthday!
 We are so proud of you!

Have a happy day, daughter!!

Oct 13, 2012

Elmtree's Handspun Art Yarn.

Elmtree's Handspun Art Yarn.
 My first 20 hanks of handspun art yarn all ready for the shop!
Phew, what a job, but one I did with a big smile on my face!
 Today, before we went for our Saturday morning coffee, we dropped this lot off at the shop ("Gather" in Napier) and the shop lady loved it. Now we'll see how it goes!
  Here they are on the shops' blog .Super exciting!
whitewashing floor.
 This was us last week white washing the newly sanded floor with a 50/50 mixture of white sealer with danish oil. He brushed it on and I rubbed it in and off.
The next 5 consecutive days it got another layer of only danish oil rubbed in.
It is done!!
 Although my love didn't really like the blond finish at first, it is growing on him, and he now thinks it is alright.
 I think it is perfect. Just how I pictured this room in my head for the last year.
 Thank You Darling! You are a D.I.Y. Meister!!

Oak cabinet Before.
I found a hanging cabinet ( $25 nz ) some months ago, thinking it would be very handy near my sewing machine, or just for displaying some treasures in.
But full of scratches and a cheap particle-board backing. Dark too.

Oak cabinet After.
So a bit of sanding and a few layers of white (yes! ) paint, and a scrap of vintage wallpaper.
Now it is worthy of being called shabby chique.
Come into my room, little cabinet...

Pinks, red and white.
 This is what happened to the pink lolly fluff I showed you in last weeks' post. Scrumptious threads.

Elmtree's labels.
 Each hank weighs around 50 to 60 grams, I'm not a machine, so never exactly.
They look pretty spiffy in their wrappers I think.

Natural colours with Gottland curls.
The other side of the wrapper provides all the info on contents and length and weight and washing instructions.
This yarn has long curls of Gottland wool spun into it. Quite time consuming to spin, but when you knit it up, the curls will stick randomly out of the garment or scarf. It will make it look wild and feral. I think the shop keeper might keep this one for herself, she really liked it.
And she reckoned I should keep going...
But I might have a little break. And decorate my room first.

Multicoloured art yarn spun wiggly with loads of bits in it.
This yarn was fun, it has a myriad of colours in it, all left over from many felting projects over the years, and not just mine, but also my Ma's . I have been going through her stash that was left to me, and selecting colours and combining them with my own wool. I then threw in handfulls of bits of different yarns and threads, including sparkly stuff.
 Well, she was the one to teach me how to spin in the first place, so very fitting!

Multi coloured handspun art yarn.

Oct 4, 2012

My new Freedom Flyer for Ma's spinning wheel.

chunky with blobs!
 Now you have seen quite a bit of home improvements, and it was all done by my love. So what have I been doing in the meantime?
 Apart from earning the money to do it all with, and keeping normal things going like washing and cooking nice dinners, I have got a new project.
I have been spinning up a storm. A whirlwind of fibres.
There's a new yarn shop in town, which also does knitting and crochet workshops. A month ago I was sniffing around in there ( lovely yarns, nice books, pots full of indigo, madder, roots and bark for dyeing with) and saw some homespun merino from the South Island, and mentioned to the lady shop keeper, that even though I don't like knitting, I do like making yarn.
She showed me some art-yarn she had bought from a lady in Australia, and asked if I was capable of that?
The next visit to the shop I took along all my examples of yarn and she liked my crazy stuff the best!
So I left with an order for 20 balls in all colours, and she'd leave the art part up to me!

Sanding the floor.
Here was my love sanding the floors, getting rid of all that darkness. It took him most of last weekend. We saved quite a bit of money by not getting someone in to do it.
There is another tick on his Can-Do-That-Too-List.
He is so clever!
All smooth & without dark varnish.
But the floor does need protecting with a layer of something. He experimented with several sealers and stains under that bit of carpet where the ugly floor is, and his own concoction of white sealer and danish oil will be the choice. That way the floor won't go dark again, but will look like a blond glaze has gone over it.
I want to keep it light and bright.
Maybe next weekend we can put the furniture back in!

"Joy" wheel with new freedom flyer.
This is the spinning wheel I inherited from my Mother-in-law. It is an Ashford "Joy", and I remember she was really happy when she managed to get it for a good price. These had only just come out then, and a lot of people didn't even recognize it as a spinning wheel. You can fold it up and carry it by its' handle, it fits behind the seats in the car.

For my art yarn I needed a new gadget. Because the yarn was going to be fat and chunky, it would be difficult to get through the hole and around the hooks (snagging!) . Ashford has made a new flyer ( the 2 bars that zoom around the bobbin of yarn-in-the-making, and hold the bobbin in place ).
This flyer has a jumbo sized bobbin, and more importantly no hole or hooks, but open ended loops, which you can move around to where you want to fill up the bobbin.
You can also by-pass the loop, so that any extra fat bits can be wound on by hand.
Blues, white and a little purple.
Our first port of call these days is TradeMe.com to see if anyone is selling one. Nothing. And nothing in past auctions. But within a week someone was!
The universe provides!
 And now it is mine, all mine (my preciousss), for half the price of a new one, plus spare parts and instructions.
 Away I spun...
My new art-yarns.
I am carefully choosing colours so things don't get out of hand. I use my colour knowledge from a 4 month course I did through the National Creative Fibre Society, many years ago.

Ofcourse when I spin I need to have the fibres ready before hand. So I needed to card all my bits of thread and fabric and sparkly stuff into the coloured wool.
I needed a drumcarder. Ouch! because they are not cheap... $515.00 as a matter of fact.
 But wait , my local weavers club has one.

It was time I became social again after 2 years of not being a member of any club or society. Revisit my old friends and catch up on the gossip.
And it was quite nice, they signed me back up on the spot, although they pretended to have to check my character first, while winking to each other.

4 hand carded bats ready for spinning.
I have used that little wild carding machine lots already. Here is the new lot (about 200 grams) in shades of pink, red and white. Just like lollies.

Oct 3, 2012

Taking a break from the house.

Shabby Chique Decorating in a  Wellington cafe. 
2 Weeks ago we made a weekend trip to Wellington. We had managed to get a good deal on an inner city hotel, with parking and breakfast included. Time to catch up on our eldest daughter, some friends and my brother and his wife. And also to stop my husband from wearing himself out on renovations.

I really like what they did to the lighting in the cafe above, it makes you smile!

A spring weather trip.
We had a great afternoon ride there, seeing all the lambs and fresh young greens. The weather was super and the bulk of the traffic was going away from Wellington.

Fresh snow on the Kaweka ranges.
Snow from the week before was glinting in the sun, but the weather was not as nice across those ranges as you can see, often we have beautiful weather in Hawkes' Bay, because the clouds get stuck behind the ranges.

A part of Wellington we hadn't seen yet.
Our daughter took us for a walk and we saw a bit of unknown Wellington. Very picturesque, gorgeous old wooden houses and shop fronts.

Old colonial style shops.

Houses clinging to the hill side.
She cooked for us 1 night in her crowded student ( 5 students ) flat, which is damp and cold. It has just been renovated, but this did not include insulation. The new curtains already have mold on them. I really think that houses and flats should get a Warrant of Fitness, just like cars. They have 1 lousy little heater in the main room, but no doors on the hallway or kitchen.
I brought her some new woolen slippers (homespun) and bags of fresh vegetables and spuds, and 6 liters of milk.
 Her studies are going well! and she is loving Wellington!

The weather was very kind and sunny, causing us to have several coffees on a terrace with her and her boyfriend ( 1st time we met him) , and also with old friends.

Here a fab display of retro serving trays at the same cafe.
 Where did they find that super retro (but awful) wallpaper...
Display of serving trays.