Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Road Goes Ever On

I've been hit with a serious case of Lord of the Rings fever! Not that I haven't had it before, it just seemed to have been dormant for some time ;-) And it started with a customer (and fellow geek, I might add) asking me to spin an Elanor yarn for her. I have to admit, I had to google this, and I found out that Elanor is Sam's daughter, named after a golden, star-shaped flower which grows in the forest of Lórien.

My mind went off into hyper creative mode and I started carding and spinning like mad. I have not only spun the requested yarn but three more Lord of the Rings inspired ones - and I'd like to thank my customer for the inspiration! :-)

Elanor 

 The colours were suggested by my customer, and I added not only the flowers ans leaf ribbons, but also small golden leaf sequins which are not visible in this photo.

Galadriel 

Spun from exquisite blend of merino wool and silk, with added alpaca fibre, wild silk, a small amount of shiny green bamboo, a bit of sunflower yellow merino and sparkling gold and silver angelina. I decided against pure white, which was my first thought, and instead added a hint of the colours I chose for the Lothlórien yarn. There are white leaf ribbons in the yarn, as well as lovely white and transparent glass beads, and silver and golden leaf sequins.

Lothlórien

This was spun from merino wool in tones of green and a small amount of sunflower yellow, with a hint of shiny bamboo and wild silk. No beads, but lots of golden and silver lead sequins.

Misty Mountains

This has been on my list for years, I think. Somehow I never got around to spinning it, until now. I decided on mostly grey with a bit of brown and a touch of dark teal, and white, cloudlike mohair spun in irregularly. No add-ins beside the mohair, just silver thread and lovely yarn texture.









Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Introducing: Vegan Art Yarns

When I started spinning, about eight years ago, I started testing many different types of fibre. As the possibility of sock knitting and of spinning my own sock yarns occurred to me, I bought some artificial fibres to make the yarn sturdier. I never spun my own sock yarn, as I then dived into the complex and enjoyable art of spinning art yarns, and the artificial fibres (which I didn't like much, as a concept, I much preferred wool) were forgotten in one of my stash drawers. Until someone asked me to spin a wool-free yarn to due allergies. And then another person asked me to spin a vegan yarn. I took out the artificial fibres again, and bought black viscose fibres as an addition, which is a fantastic fibre, by the way! Anyway, I started rethinking the concept of artificial fibres, and although I personally still prefer wool (and alpaca fibre!), I thought that some people might want art yarns made from artificial fibres, due to health or ethic reasons, and why should I not give it a try?

I went ahead and spun the Flower-Eating Dragon - which sold before I could even list it in the shop (sometimes people see photo previews of a new yarn on our Facebook page and request a reservation before I get around to listing the yarn in question. Not complaining here! It's the best of compliments :-))



I liked how it turned out. The black viscose gave it a sleek, smooth look, and it felt kind of flowing, very drapey. I decided to experiment more, and I've been carding vegan batts and spinning them into art yarns :-) (unfortunately, the pictures could be better...)


Melting Ice
White artificial fibre (details unknown), carbonized bamboo, turquoise bamboo, white bamboo, and glass beads.

Fake Snow
 White artificial fibre (details still unknown), white bamboo, snowflake sequins.

Art Yarn yet to be named
Yellow artificial fibre (no idea what exactly), carbonized bamboo, turquoise bamboo, white bamboo, sequins, glass beads.

The fibres require a bit more attention and spinning skill than wool does, as they tend to be slippery, and bits of fibre tend to fly around and settle in your eyes and mouth. But all things considered, it's worth the extra effort. After spinning, a yarn has to be washed so the twist can set, and afterwards it's usually much less curly than directly after spinning. That's not the case with artificial fibres, as it seems - the yarns were still rather curly after washing.

I will put these in the shop soon. Please note that they have been spun in the same environment as my other yarns, and the fibres have been blended on the same drum carder. I cleaned it extra thoroughly, but the vegan yarns might still contain traces of wool. Very, very light traces, but I still think I should mention that.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Eleven. Doctor Who Inspired Yarns and Mitts

I wrote about shrinking TARDISes a while back, and the plan to spin an art yarn inspired by Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor. My customer decided against a yarn full of TARDISes and asked me to incorporate charms relating to the eleventh Doctor and London/England in general, and only one TARDIS.

I did both, as I was so curious myself how the yarn would turn out and how the TARDISes would look in it that I spun an all-TARDIS yarn before all the charms arrived for the custom order. Here are both of them:

Raggedy Doctor


Eleven

This one contains one shrinky dink TARDIS, and one of each of the following charms: Cowboy hat, cup of tea, teabag, apple, Union Jack, double decker bus, Big Ben, vampire teeth, soccer bead, snowflake, whale, angel wing.

Now look what my customer Jane made from the second yarn: Eleventh Doctor Mitts!



Aren't they wonderful? Thank you for sharing these pictures, Jane! :-)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fresh Supply of Stitch Marker Candies

Life has been good. So has business - nearly all my stitch marker candies have gone which means I have sold as many yarns :-) Thank you so much, my dear customers!

As I have promised one free stitch marker with every skein of yarn until Christmas eve, I took some time today to make more. As I also have a new mobile phone with a much better camera than my battered old one had, there are some photos of the process, too.

The beginning - just a few markers, and I played around with some photo filters, too (mainly the frame)
 
 
20 stitch markers, each a little different, all of them beautiful and made with great care.
 

Sewing the candy packs - each containing one stitch marker. I used floral paper, paper with hieroglyphs, and even some with cute Halloween spiders (it's never too late for a little Halloween mood!) and other designs.
 

Finished! 20 unique little candies, ready to be shipped out with future orders.

I like the new camera very much! I couldn't have taken these pictures in this light with my old Galaxy S, but the Nexus 5 gets the job done very well. I'm looking forward to taking yarn photos and see how they turn out. I won't have time over the weekend, I think (still renovating to do), but I will take photos and list new yarns next week.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to make a wearable TARDIS real quick


As Whovians around the world know, Saturday is the big day - the day the Doctor turns 50, although he is technically nearly a thounsand years old, of course. Depending on which incarnation, which current time and which wibbly wobbly stuff you're adding to the sum, or something like that. Anyway - my beloved husband secured us some tickets for the big show in the local cinema and I have been wondering what to wear. I thought of spinning and knitting something wearable for the occasion, but there is not enough time. Also, alas, TARDIS blue is not really my colour. This morning I had a sudden inspiration, though, and I am going to show you what I did.

Here's a list of what I used
  • one (piece of) elder branch or any other wood with a soft core
  • a saw
  • a knife
  • fine sandpaper
  • acrylic paint in blue and white
  • brushes
  • a very thin metal knitting needle or something similar
  • something you can stick the knitting needle in (a flower pot filled with soil will work)
  • wire - silver plated or what you like
  • a white glass bead
  • wire bending equipment

I took an elder branch and sawed off a piece of about 4 cm in length. You can use any other wood with a soft core, which will be essential later on.I removed the bark with a carving knife and I sandpapered the whole thing, wiped it with a wet cloth, and let it dry.
I stuck it onto the knitting needle to make a hole and to be able to paint the whole thing in one go.



I painted the TARDIS-to-be with blue acrylic paint and stuck the knitting needle into my incense holder / fragrance lamp thingy. A flower pot should  also work, or just stick the knitting needle in the grass outside if the weather is good.

I waited about 50 minutes for the paint to dry, but I guess that depends on paint brand, room temperature and other things, so just make sure the paint is completely dry. You don't want the white paint to merge with the blue.




When the blue paint had dried completely, I painted the windows and the sign on the door with white acrylic paint. My only good and fine brush was sticky and disgusting, so I had to use a fat one which was also not the best choice overall, so the windows are a bit blotchy. It looks okay from a distance, but a little raw when you look too closely.



Then you can also mess the whole thing up by spraying on clear coat, not shaking the can for long enough and ending up with some kind of snowy surface... I don't recommend this! I'll go through with the plan, though.



Now for the wire stuff - the thing needs a hook or something, so it can be worn around the neck, dangled from a purse or displayed otherwise.







I chose a white glass bead with a silver core to go on top, as the TARDIS light. The wire I used was 0.8 mm and I tried to make the bottom piece nice and flat, so the TARDIS can even stand on her own.


I think the whole process took only about half an hour of active time, plus some time to let the paint dry. Maybe I'll make another TARDIS charm as this one really is kind of snowy on the surface due to the clear coat incident... I'd probably make the next one a little less tall, as the proportions don't seem ideal.

If you try this, please drop me a line and a link, I'd love to see yours! :-)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Christmas Special: Stitch Marker Candies

As Christmas is nearing I thought about some specials I could offer, one of them being the gift set option I already blogged about recently.

And now there is another special - a free gift with every purchase: From now until Christmas Eve, you'll get a free stitch marker (same as in our Stitch Marker Surprise) for every skein of yarn you buy from our shop. I sewed each of them into a cute little candy pack for the occasion, made from decorative paper and sometimes maps (there are a few I made from a map of middle earth, for example).

I only hope they won't be squashed flat when I ship your parcels. This thought came only when I had already finished them, of course ;-)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Shopping for Christmas? The Gift Sets are Back

I have been busy participating in the Etsy Holiday Boot Camp and preparing the shop for Christmas. That's the strange part about owning a shop of any kind - you have to think about Christmas before the leaves even turn red. 

The past few years, I offered gift sets - each containing one art yarn, one handsewn project bag in a matching colour, and a set of stitch markers, usually also in matching colours.
This year, after consulting with Twisted, I decided on a different approach: there will still be beautiful, handsewn project bags and equally beautiful (equally handmade) stitch markers, but they won't be tied to a specific art yarn. I will list gift options containing a project bag and a matching set of stitch markers instead, so you can choose which yarn you'd like to pair with which set.


I have made eight sets in different colours, and there is no doubling - so be quick if you want a specific one ;-)
As always, each bag is adorned with two charms attached to the cord. I tried to decide on favourites, but it's hard. I love the black one with the raven charm and the black faceted bead, but also the turquoise one with the silvery bead and the seahorse. Oh, and the white one with the silvery bead and the snowflake charm, I really love snowflakes... I will list these beauties as soon as I can :-)


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