Monday, November 2, 2009

New ATCs for trading in progress

So as I'm here trying to get some things to sell up on my new Etsy store, I also discovered that happy mistakes in wet felting make great backgrounds for ATCs. So Soon I'll be posting up the picks for trading with other fiber artists making ATCs. So dont touch that dial! Be back soon!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Facebook takes a back seat!

Ok Confession, I guess a big reason for not blogging was the discovery of facebook and the huge and unexpected class of '93 reunion that I experienced on there. But you know what? I wasnt doing anything else with my time and there is so much more to life than tripping down memory lane! So thank goodness I came to my senses and am slowly ridding myself of facebook addiction, one day at a time. I much prefer the flickr crowd anyway because it's much more about my creativity and life through pictures and nice comments than what I am "up to" every 5 minutes of the day!
That being said, I managed to finish a project that was kicking around for a while in my studio and I want to show my crocheted Waldorf style doll.

He's about 12" long and basically free form, when I started this I had intended it to be from an Amigurumi pattern but then realized it wasn't coming out the way I had imagined then I decided to make my own doll in a more traditional style. The hair was crocheted in from handspun romney that was dyed with coffee and the sweater (not pictured) is also free form crocheted from hand spun angora/alpaca mix.

As far as this cow; it was a commission piece that never happened because the guy ticked me off. Never insult the artist! So it lay there for a few months until I finally decided it was time to finish it. He's about 9 or so inches tall (sitting) and made 100% of wool, mostly Jacob from my fathers sheep and the black is from a Jacob / Merino cross that I got from the Jerusalem Zoo. I'm still trying to decide whether he needs horns and someone suggested a cowbell! I have to look for one!

He's a caricature so I am also wondering if I should get really silly and make him some jean overalls or is that beyond kitsch!?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Please dont boot me off I am still an artist....

Just a very lazy blogger! For goodness sake I am still here just been busy with my garden! So maybe I'll tell you all about that. I have been trying to grow my own organic veggies in containers because my back yard was tiled in to make a patio and there wasn't enough space left to grow much. Although I do have some very nice and giving fruit trees and a few others, I do not have a patch for a garden. I started out with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, purslane, and red and orange bell peppers. The cucumbers became diseased and I cut them down, and the cherry tomatoes also have some disease but they are still producing, slow they may be. All of the peppers did quite well, I guess it's due to the heat. So we have been enjoying those, not enough to do any canning though.
Right now I am excited for my pomegranates and citron! We always get tons more than we can possibly eat, problem is that I don't use pesticide so if they arent picked early enough we get many infested fruits and they make a big mess in the yard.

The Citron or Etrog in Hebrew is a fruit that is basically grown for it's peel. It's also used, most importantly among Jews as a ritual object for the upcoming holiday of Sukkot. There is a certain blessing that is said during the morning prayers along with other species of plants, this blessing of the Lulav and Etrog has been done for thousands of years and it's source is from the Torah. So we are very happy to have a tree in our yard, even though it hasnt been a big producer and we have yet to get a kosher etrog from our own tree. Whatever I do manage to pick I have made etrog liqueur and the peel can be preserved to make candy or jelly. This year I want to juice it and drink it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Got pulled into to the world of Amigurumi

I am so loving these Amigurumi crochet animals and dolls on the Lion Brand website. I was getting tired of crocheting baby blankets and it's too hot for hats and scarves, so what to make? I have lot's of skeins of hand-spun and random colors which work perfectly for such projects! So I'm currently working on a little boy doll and did some pattern altering and made the face resemble the Waldorf style, and added some curly hair from my own hand-spun. Pictures to come!
Check it out, they are quick projects and make great gifts to your own kids or friends!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Been busy cleaning fleeces

Well it's been awhile but lots of catching up to do.

Here in Israel wool is not as popular as in colder climates and all around the US. Meaning there isn't a huge fiber arts movement and we have maybe once a year a fiber fest. So that being said what do the farmers and Bedouins do with all that wool from their flocks after shearing time? Well, the good news for me is that they throw it out! I was fortunate to learn this in the fall and inquired from some friends of mine and at the local zoo and made arrangements to get the spring shearing.

I got six bags altogether this year.

Two of the bags were Jacob fleece, this was a mix, naturally of black/brown and white fleece.

Two were Jacob- Merino cross and was almost entirely black and very soft.

The last two were Angora goat or Mohair. I think the mohair is adult but fine adult and I got one entire fleece.

Cleaning the fleeces is a smelly job but fun nonetheless. I make sure to use apple scented Palmolive dish soap because it's the best grease fighting soap agent we can get easily here. The mohair was particularly smelly and for some reason the sheep smell doesn't bother me as much as the goat. I can stand goat dairy products either because of the smell being too close to the taste. EESH!

I found much information on-line for cleaning fleeces and am very greatful for the internet for being such a great resource.

If anyone out there is looking for info about how to clean fleeces I have here a few resources;

Rexenne for one has really informative videos for fiber artists, spinners mostly she can be found on you tube and flickr.
Ronan fibers has alot of info about mohair and how to pick, skirt and clean a fleece.
And here are some general wool scouring directions. There are tons of places to find information on-line, my advice is to experement and see what works best for you in your set-up.
In the next post I will show some of the cleaned product and how I went about doing that.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

So much catching up to do!

Thanks to Ariella for taking the time to comment on my last post. She gave me a little kick start and reminded me that I DO indeed have a blog! I should just write even if I don't think I have time or anything interesting to say.

Well first of all I have been wanting to share a story. G-d has His way of bringing people back into your life at the right time and place. Well this is just what happened to me. My dad and I are reunited after some years of lost communication. I couldn't be happier! What brought about this reunion G-d, my mom and fiber. Can you believe it?

Here I will explain;

I speak to my mom on a weekly basis usually every Sunday. She lives in Michigan. Anyway, from time to time she tells me that my dad called and wondered how I am? For various reasons, that seem silly to me now, I resisted the urge to get in touch again.

The last time my dad spoke with my mom he told her that he and his wife just bought a large horse ranch in Michigan and would soon be moving out of Oregon. He's been there many years so this was quite a surprise to hear. He told my mom that he and his wife, Dawn, raise angora rabbits and sheep to sell the fiber to spinners! They have a web site called "Webfoot Woolies" .

My mom got her gears working and decided to tell him that I happen to spin and told him about my flickr site and my blog. She told me that she thinks we have something to break the ice. She was right.

My dad happens to be one of the most talented people I know. He makes amazing things from wood, beautiful bowls and lots of small items such as pens and wine corkers. He can make anything. He is making a spinning wheel for Dawn. I am so impressed!

I am so proud to have a beautiful hand made walnut skein winder that he sent to me. I love it! It is smooth and adjustable and really beautiful. It works great! If you're looking for a functional yet esthetically pleasing addition to your spinning wheel look no further! If anyone would like to purchase one or any of his handcrafted items or some rabbit fuzz, there is an email at the website. I am trying to get them to start an shop.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Update on Socks and such

I just realised that I never posted the finished pair of socks. How rude! Sorry, so here they are. Yay! I am so glad to have finished something that I can wear. This time they were made from acrylic and the next time (now that I know what I'm doing) I will make them from wool.

I am nearly finished with my pair of wrist warmers from this pattern. I took a risk and decided to try and knit with my own hand-spun, inconsistent as it may be! This is so much fun to make something almost entirely from scratch (well I didn't sheer the sheep or card the wool myself!). I did most of it, the dying and the spinning and the knitting by hand.

I had to play around with the gague a lot because my yarn is thick and thin. I decrease the cast on stitches to 36 intead of 40. I probably could have gone with even less. The first one in the picture above is a little loose, not to bad, but would have preferred a tighter fit. the second it coming out just right. They knit up quite fast so maybe I'll just unravel this one and do it again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This is something new for me

I am always in pursuit of new projects and mainly with needle work, I stick to what I know, which is crochet and I have not given up on this, in fact I am working on the Afghan simultaneously as I start this new project.


I have been admiring all the pretty knitted socks I have been seeing by my flickr contacts. Chawne gave me a beginner pattern that she learned on and now am grappling with Double Pointed Needles or DPNs. I have always been intimidated by DPNS. I guess I once saw my mother knitting a hat with them and it just looked frightening to see all those sharp looking points sticking out in every direction. I have been assured that I will get used to it and it will be "a breeze".

I guess the hardest part was casting on and getting it into a round and making sure I didn't get the cast on stitches twisted. OK got past that and starting the cuff.

I was confused why I wasn't getting ribs until I figured out somewhere my K1 P1 sequence got mixed up. Start over. I am using cheap-o acrylic yarn until I can turn out something worth wearing. When I'm convinced I want to put sock knitting on my needle work agenda then I will order from the States all the necessary birch and Adi- Turbo needles. I am partial to circular needles as I am more familiar with them and they have a relatively low risk of the little ones pulling out a needle, which happened just yesterday. Knitting on DPNs is not to be done around small children for various reasons.
Here's where I am so far:

Not bad for a first time!

So I wanted to share a tutorial that I found most helpful for anyone who finds this blog and wants to start knitting socks and hasn't a personal tutor. It's from the Knitter's Review and it's a Sock Knitter's Companion. There is even a tutorial on using DPNs. Stay tuned to see if I ever get to the heel, scared of that!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Experement: Dyeing silk roving

Today I dyed some silk roving samples. My thought is to blend them into batts (when I get a carding machine). Here I am going to explain the process as I did it step by step.
***** I am making my disclamer here : The end results turned up a roving that was a little on the rough or "felted" side. Perhaps from being overhandled. I suppose I will have to do some experementation. Never the less it can be carded, it was really simple, although it may turn out a little slubby.


* Silk roving (I used Blending silk from Paradise Fibers)

* 3 Bottles of Pebeo Silk Dye (my colors cyan, magenta and black .... I had run out of yellow)

* Warm water

*Disposable cups

* Disposable latex gloves

* 8 Zip lock sandwich baggies

* 8 Sheets of news print

* 8 Sheets of aluminum foil

* Pot (with lid) for steaming dyed fabric (See: "make your own stove pot steamer")

* Synthrapol Textile soap

1) OK first, separate off 8 sample sizes of roving. I made each between 1 - 1 1/2ft. in length, Soak them for about 30 min in warm water in a bowl. Gently drain out the excess water from the roving samples. Place each sample into a separate plastic zip lock baggie.

2) Make several mixtures of dye in various colors, you only need about 2-3 Tbsp. of dye/ liquid for this amount of silk, even less (add water) depending on the shade. I did most of mine full strength and at the end added water to the dye that was left for some lighter shades. Magenta and black, Magenta and cyan, cyan and black, Cyan and less magenta, etc. is how I formulated. You can measure by the teaspoon and record your results, I never do.

3) I then put each dye batch into the plastic baggie holding the roving and seal the zip lock and gently press againt the baggie until all the roving is covered in dye. This way your hands don't get messy. You can let that sit for 15 minutes (I have no patience for this part :)

4) Now lay down a piece of foil onto your work surface and on top of that a piece of newsprint paper. Remove the dyed roving from a bag and place it on top of the paper.

5) Next wrap the roving gift like in the news print.

6) Then wrap the newsprint gift again in the foil.

7) You will have a double wrapped silk roving that looks like this:

do this for all 8 pieces.

8) When they are all wrapped place them on a rack inside the pot of your steamer making sure not to touch the bottom of the pot. Add water up to the trivet (i use a stainless steel circular trivet and an old toaster oven rack that I bent to fit inside like a cradle) or whatever is elevating it from touching the bottom. turn on the burner bring to a boil with the lid on and turn flam to a level that will maintain a steady boil. Then place a brick (or a can of beans) on top and allow to steam for at least an hour and a half. Check periodically to make sure you have enough water.

9) After the steaming session is finished take the foil packets out carefully (use tongs). Bring them to a sink not used for food. Here you need synthrapol and warm water. Gently wash each sample until the water runs clear. Roll in a towel and gently squeeze out the excess water. Hang to dry. Viola!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

More wonderful mail!

I received some ATC's recently, just wanted to share and give credit where credit is due to all of these wonderful artists and new swap friends.

This one is from Aileen Clark in Scotland, Titled "Brads , Beads, Wire and Wool" It is a sensory experience on all fronts; visual and tactile. And she sent me some little extra bits that are from her stash, thanks!

The next is from Neki Rivera from Spain. It has needle felt and fiberfusing and embroidery. Great stuff, Beautiful card!

Then all the way from Australia is Doreen Gray, Such a pretty card, all my favorite colors! Plus little gold embroidered stars. Thanks so much Doreen!

From the Netherlands, Margreet made this lovely crazy quilt in gold fabrics and embroidery, such a nice combination. And also some yarn samples for future projects. How fun! Thanks!