Monday, November 30, 2009
The big news of the week, though, was the trip to the GPUs (grandparental units) for Thanksgiving and hugs-all-around. Of course there was a big dinner with the extended family. There was lots of chitty chatting around the kitchen table, and every evening there was a happy hour around the bonfire. It may have looked like candle at the start of happy hour, but it was a bonfire by the end, just like on all the old family camping trips. Of course that was Jim’s family, but I know a thing or two about bonfires. For fun we traveled to Frank’s big outdoor store to pick up a few fishing supplies for the cold-hardy fishermen, and I got to pick up a few treasures for weavings. Frank’s sells feathers for fly tying, but I just mumbled ‘hackles’ and ‘secret brookie stream’ and bought all their deep green and jewel tone feathers for my weavings. Will they ever be in for a surprise! On the way back I discovered a little used bookstore just down the road. I told the owner my criteria for books: no violence, no blood and gore, no mushy love stuff. I ended up with six new books in the queue and I set off reading the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It’s a story told through a collection of letters, which is great because it’s full of stopping points to pause and emotionally regroup when things get too intense. It bought me a couple of afternoons in Grandpa’s big comfy armchair with the sun streaming in. I almost finished it on the drive back home as the boys created monster cards in the back seat for three straight hours. I hardly missed traveling without my faithful needle felting needles, poking away at ornaments!
So now I’m back home, gearing up to create more scarves. I’ve got a little unpacking ahead of me, plus a little cleanup to recover from the whirlwind of preparing to travel. The boys are bathed and ready for school today, with only lunches to make and a little fire to light under them to get them out the door on time. They still don’t seem to get that bare feet and crocs for shoes doesn’t work any more. And who needs jackets?
Until next week…
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Tuesday brought the celebratory dinner for the Fourth Street Art Fair committee. This year it was a potluck and it was organized by Robin Halpin. It was great to sit around and bask in the glow of another successful show. My personal basking took the form of chatting with my friends while sipping a nice Shiraz that David Goodrum brought. I really enjoyed the kale dish that Dawn Adams made with sesame and ginger, and Robin’s brownies from the original Joy of Cooking were a real treat with the wine. My boys really liked the testing the individual recipes on the dessert table. My husband (as usual) ate all the treats they selected but decided were unworthy of their young palates.
On Wednesday my crew went with other parents from Binford to the IU women’s college basketball game. IU edged out the Cincinnati Bearcats in a close game, three boxes of M&M’s were consumed, the boys got on the court as part of the festivities, and much screaming occurred.
By late in the week I was back in scarf-making mode. I stopped in at Yarns Unlimited and picked up some beautiful cranberry merino roving, as well as two really wonderful rich blues that will work wonderfully in scarves. I went to Opportunity House and I picked up a big bag of novelty yarns that will make their way into scarves. Even now I still have a bunch of ideas for scarf layout, colors and materials dancing around in my head. That’s good, because the Unitarian Universalist Art Fair and Bazaar is coming up on December 4th and 5th. The art is great, but even if you just want to buy Christmas cookies by the pound it’s worth coming. As for the scarves, I’m still having a blast making them because they allow me to develop techniques that will eventually be incorporated into weavings. On a similar but sadder note, I’ve given up making ornaments. I feel like I’ve taken that craft as far as I can, and I learned a lot about patterns and color combinations that translate into scarf making strategies. If you had your eye on an ornament, the “UU” show might be one of the last opportunities to find one.
Anyway, I hope you had half as much fun as I did this week. I have a great job! Thank you so much for all the support over the year, and I wish you all a quiet Thanksgiving break with family, friends and good food.
And a pre-PS: Here’s a shout out to the person who wanted me to make the white scarf with red dots and black squiggles—I’m really sorry, but I’ve lost your contact information! If you read this, or you know who this was, please help me close the circle.
Until next week…
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Success, of course, breeds new problems. I didn’t have enough scarves to show at the Spinner’s and Weaver’s guild show this weekend. So I re-converted the dining room table to Scarf Central and geared up to make some more. I had one scarf that was a whole bunch of ribbons and strings and just enough just enough felted wool to hold it all together. It reminded me of my youthful days in a bikini, but that’s another story. It was a glorious week because I got to sift through my thirty or so 20-gallon plastic tubs of yarns and pull out the most delightful colors and textures to incorporate into the scarves. I also had to scamper over to Sheep Street in Morgantown to pick up several more pounds of merino. Of course I couldn’t resist picking up a bunch of new yarns to use, including some delicious jewel tones that I knew I wanted to work with. I especially worked on layering different colors of roving to achieve the depth and color gradients I wanted. The only downside is that my shoulder and arm muscles haven’t quite forgiven me for all the rolling I did to felt the materials.
I did launch into another project on a whim recently. I had collected a bunch of wool sweaters, including some in delightful greens that I knew weren’t going to fit into the color schemes I was using in the scarves. I decided to cut them up to make Christmassy fir trees. Of course it isn’t a tree until it is trimmed, so I used the tiny red felted balls that I had created using the new secret technique I learned. I trimmed them with gold rickrack and set the whole thing on beige fabrics with different textures. I glued them on to a pretty mottled beige card stock and inserted into each a piece of white cotton rag with the texture of vellum. I think they’re fun and perfect for the holidays—check them out at the Wandering Turtle gallery in Bloomington, or stop in and see them at the Unitarian Universalist show this December.
Finally, I put away my scarf-making materials and reclaimed my basement art studio. I picked up all the yellow yarns I had out for making my Autumn Aspens commission piece. I also had to clear away the remnants of my boys’ giant art project. I can’t really describe it except to say that it involves small pieces of electronics, popsicle sticks, fabric scraps and a glue gun. I’m so proud of my creative boys! Anyway, I herded their project into a corner and blocked it off visually with a tower of easels and tools. Out came the vacuum cleaner and once again I had a functional workspace. It’s really great to be back in my weaving space, and this week I’ll finish the autumn aspens piece. After I get some sleep. I’m still recovering from two shows in two weeks. Tonight I sleep; tomorrow I weave!
Until next week…
Friday, November 6, 2009
Speaking of scarves, last December I participated in a workshop organized by Pam Kinnaman of Wee Sheep and run by Patti Hodge. They’re both winners in the 2009 Hoosier Hills Fiber arts contest and good people to know. Patti taught me to make lattice felted scarves, and of course I got into the wet felting process—it’s fun. I made a bright red scarf with black silk and hand dyed nylon fibers that I bought at the Fiber Event in Greencastle. It’s really soft and pretty and happy, and I ended up wearing it all last winter. I decided I’d like to try to make my own scarves, but sometimes it takes a while to get started on a project. I carry it around in my head and eventually it comes out! Last summer, on one of my treks to Sheep Street in Morgantown, I bought several pounds of merino wool roving in black, white, red and periwinkle. I tucked it away, but I’ve been collecting funky remnant yarns for the project, which is waaaay different than my usual yarn collection for weavings. OK, not so much. But I still have fun doing it! I finally decided that this week was the time to launch my scarf project. I got my hands on an old pool noodle and cut it to wrap the wet roving. Don’t tell my kids I cut it! Last spring I ordered a bunch of mosquito netting on-line, and even though I didn’t know I’d need it for scarves I knew I’d need it. I installed both extra leaves into the dining room table and made it the design and wet felting area. I cleared off the kitchen island and that became my wet felting studio. Then I laid out some complicated designs, applied my wet-felting knowledge from last year (and added a few tricks and shortcuts of my own, and started rolling. And rolled and rolled and rolled! I used this wonderful olive oil glycerin soap so the skin on my hands is soft and smooth. Oh, and it worked beautifully on the wool too.
To summarize my weeklong adventure, some of my designs turned out really well (come to the show!), while others were just part of the learning process. Some of the materials I experimented with didn’t felt well. I tried incorporating my felted balls (link), which didn’t stick very well, and various fabric scraps, which sometimes really enhanced the design. All in all I have nineteen new scarves. I was a little concerned about whether or not I could show them at the recycled art show, since some of the wool was new. So I asked the sheep, who assured me it was recycled.
Until next week…
Oh and one more big event coming up next weekend...the Fiber Art Show...Nov 13, 5pm - 9pm & Nov 14, 10am - 5 pm at the First United Church, 2420 E. 3rd Street Bloomington, IN. If you don't make it to Columbus, I hope to see you in Bloomington. I'm sure Mayor Kruzan will be there!