Sunday, March 27, 2016

Post-2016 CFF Demos Report

Two days of fiber arts demoing at the 2016 Carolina Fiber Fest are now behind me. There were a few minor glitches, but overall all went really well. For my Friday demo I had lots of visitors talking with me about recycling materials for fiber arts and crafts. And several children had fun braiding candy laces. But, although I brought a camera, I totally forgot to take any photos...oh, well.

On Saturday, Tri-Tatters, my local tatting group, displayed and demonstrated tatting. We were there for the entire day and had lots of people come by and share their tatting stories. We also got many people to sign up for our mailing list so maybe we'll see some new faces at our monthly meetings. This time I finally remembered I had a camera and could take some photos before we packed up. I've posted them on the Tri-Tatters Facebook page:

Did I do any damage to my Visa card this time? Yes, indeed I did. On Friday, I was incredibly restrained, telling myself that my yarn stash was in the SABLE range. For those new to this acronym, it stands for Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. So I left the event with one bar of gardenia fragrance goat's milk soap from Humbug Farm from up the road in Holly Springs, NC...what a good girl I was! I've bought Kate Shirley's soaps at past Fiber Fests and they are a pleasure to wash with.

But on Saturday, I lost a bit of this self-control. I began with a vintage knitting copyright date, but from the pictures, it appears from the 1940s. Then I started cruising the yarn vendors. Since I've been wearing the little scarf of silk yarn I bought in Vancouver, I've decided I really like that fiber for items worn around my neck. So I was on a search for 100% silk yarn. I ended up buying 2 skeins of single-ply silk, one in black and the other in turquoise with tiny sequins. I'm thinking of knitting it up in Martha Behm's "Leftie" shawl pattern. I purchased the pattern a while back, but never got around to using it. The nice thing about it is that you can knit it as large as your available yarn. While the yardage I bought seems sufficient, this pattern will work fine if it looks like I don't have as much yarn as I thought. All these yarns came from Sheepish Creations, a mother/daughter business out of Huntersville, NC. As an added bonus, all their silk is fair trade fiber.

I also bought a skein of variegated silk strung with tiny beads from Sheepish Creations. It's quite thin and more like thread than yarn. Not sure what I'll make out of it, but I'm thinking this might work into a 2016 State Fair entry.

And, finally, I did succumb to the lure of wool yarn. I bought a big skein of superwash merino sock fingering in a heathery lavender shade from The Fibre Studio out of Charlotte, NC. Not sure what I'll make out of it (definitely not socks!), but I fell in love with the color.

In the past I've posted photos of my Fiber Fest purchases, and many of those purchases are still in the same form as when I brought them home. But this time I shall wait until I have finished pieces to show. That will be much more satisfying to me than more pictures of balls of yarn waiting to fulfill their promise.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Demo Prep

Getting ready to pack the car for my Friday demo "Fiber Arts and Crafts Using Non-Traditional Materials" at the Carolina FiberFest.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Digging out of the backlog: What were these supposed to be?

Continuing going through UFOs and came across these two pieces of crochet. Have no clue what I was making. The yarn has now been reclaimed for a future project. This is a lesson for me to keep project and pattern together.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Digging out of the Backlog: Squiggle Scarf

I have been getting very disgusted and impatient with myself lately as I view the backlog of UFOs (UnFinished Objects) in my craft room. How much neater and organized the room would be without all these baskets, boxes, sacks, and totebags hiding projects started, but stopped midway. How much more I would experience the satisfying feeling of a project finished and put to use. But I seem to be better at beginning, rather than finishing, projects. So, contrary to my nature, I've decided to make myself do something with all these UFOs and try to resist starting more new projects even though my mind is buzzing with new ideas.

This week I finished a knitting project that grew out of another unfinished project. I had started the Morehouse  Farm "Hedgehog Mittens" some time ago. This cute pattern has a stitch they call the "quill stitch" which intrigued me. What if I used that stitch in a scarf and made it longer and more colorful? Abandoning the Hedgehog pattern in mid-mitten, I set off to design a scarf using the stitch. My idea was to create my first knitting pattern as I finished the scarf. More than a year later, both mittens and scarf remained unfinished.

But this week (hooray!) I have finished the scarf and written up the pattern. As this is my first attempt at pattern writing, I'm not sure how well I did, but maybe I'll get some feedback when I release it to the world. One frustration: in the time between starting and finishing the scarf, one of the yarns I chose has been discontinued so duplicating the color scheme would be difficult. And I ended up with a child-size scarf since I had only bought one skein of each color.

Closeup of the "squiggles" on the scarf:

I've posted the PDF version of the pattern on my pattern blog
Now I should really finish the mittens that inspired this scarf...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Candy Lace "Yarn"

Continuing my quest for materials for my demo at the Carolina FiberFest this month, I'm playing with candy laces (also known as licorice whips). I bought a couple of pounds of rainbow laces online. Each lace is about 3 feet long in red, blue, yellow, or green. 

I tried a couple of techniques (crochet, tatting), but found that braiding them works best:

I also tried weaving them on a potholder loom with a bit of success:

This was a fun and interesting exploration for an afternoon, but I  probably won't use this material again. The laces are rather slippery and stretchy making weaving with them a bit tricky. You have to be careful not to tug on them too much or they'll snap apart. And the short length makes them impractical for projects of any significant size. While I think candy laces might be available in very long lengths, I wasn't able to find any source for them. 

I have a lot of extra candy lace left over so I hope I'll get a lot of kids stopping by my display to try their hands at braiding candy.

Denim Yarn

I'm getting ready for a demo/display on using non-traditional materials in fiber arts and crafts at the 2016 Carolina FiberFest in Raleigh, NC, later this month. I like to add new things each time I do this demo. I already have tee shirt yarn, so I'm adding denim yarn to my collection this time. Pictured above is yarn I made from denim fabric sleeves that my daughter cut off a jacket. I didn't get many yards from the pieces so I'm on the lookout for old pairs of blue jeans to make more. I'm thinking of making embellished wristlets with the cuffs I cut off.

Information on making denim yarn can be found on the Fiber Artsy & Craftsy blog.