Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Winter Wedding Art Yarn

I spun this yesterday, and I love the texture and the mostly-white-with-hints-of-colour :-)

It's a pity I don't have enough of these gorgeous cranberry freshwater pearls left to use in more yarns, they are so beautiful!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Christmas and Winter Art Yarns

I finally surrendered to the thought that the time for spinning Halloween yarns is nearly over and that it's necessary to plan ahead and put some serious thought into Christmas and winter yarns. It's not been that hard these last few days, since the weather was really ugly and the winter mood started to kick in ;-) I realized this meant I could get out all my nice wite fibres, of which I have many different kinds, so I can take playing with texture to a whole new level. I also had some ideas for some darker yarns, so there will be a nice variety. Oh - and I also have some Halloween batts I MUST spin up, so there will also be a few more of those ;-)


This one I made for a special occasion. As I said the other day, we'll be selling our yarns at a local craft fair called Lametta (=tinsel), shortly before Christmas. I thought it would be great to spin a small skein of Lametta yarn, knit it up and put a yarn graffiti up somewhere close to the fair, maybe even in or outside the building. This skein is already dry, so I can knit it up whenever I have some spare time.

Ice Flowers

I discovered an online sequins shop the other day, where I found my beloved snowflakes (see two photos below and some sold yarns from the shop), which I had nearly ran out of. I was so happy! They also had these blue, shimmering flower sequins and I decided to compose a yarn around them. I love all the different kinds of beads I spun into this one. The texture is heavenly, too - I've been playing around with coils and plied-looking parts with my latest creations, and I so love the look and haptics!

Holly Wood

Another art yarn composed around some of the lovely charms I bought from nicoledebruin on Etsy. I wanted a darker one this time, ended up with dark green, thought about the name (I just had to use someting with holly in it), grinned and added some brown and light green ;-) Also, lots of texture here.

Fresh Snow

My husband said I should name this one "Neuschnee" (the german word for fresh-fallen snow), but I haven't decided yet. This is another art yarn spun from a variegated fibre blend, and with lots of texture, too. These are the snowflake sequins I wrote about earlier. What I love about them (apart from their "obvious" beauty ;-p) is that they are thicker than normal sequins, so they are more impassable (hope this is the right word...).

I also spun a Ravenclaw/Harry Potter yarn, and some Strawberry Jam, but I haven't edited photos of these, yet. They will be listed soon, though :-)

The Colour Of Tea - Part II

Anyone remember my tea dyeing experiment? I've been wanting to post photos ever since the yarns were dry, but the weather has been really bad for photos most of the time. I have decided to take some pictures now, just in case I won't get any good ones before spring - and should I be able to take better ones later on I'll post another set :-) 

Lessons I learned from all this:

* tea smells a little weird when you put wool or goat hair in it
* I should have used more tea for more intense colours. When I complained about the wool being too light in colour, my husband asked "didn't you want camel colour?" :-D No, I really did want dark copper (AND he knew ;-)). Well, maybe next time. I like camels, though, maybe I'll name the dye lot after them. And the yarns are beautiful, as I realised once I got over my expectations.
* documenting things like this and blogging about them always takes longer than you might think - though it helps to do it right away and not postpone it to some other time. Thank you, blogger, for enabling me to start and save postings! :-)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Banners, YAY!

I'm sorry I still can't post any pictures of the tea-dyed yarns, it was so dark and grey these last days I couldn't take any photos. BUT I do have good news! The wonderful Twisted gave in to my complaints that I wanted a new banner, and we didn't stop after one, but made several :-) That is, she made them and I offered opinions ;-) We thought it would be nice to have banners according to season, so we started with a Halloween one:

I won't show you the others yet, so as not to spoil the surprise, we'll use them when the time is right.
Ahhh, I love the bat charms :-)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Have you ever sewed paper? I hadn't - until today. The possibility had never even crossed my mind before, but yesterday I found a tutorial on how to make colourful little paper gift pouches and I was hooked instantly. Wild imaginations of all the things I could do with this and all the kinds of forms and paper I could use nearly kept me from sleeping. The tutorial (which is in German and English, by the way) suggest printed scrapbooking paper, so I started looking for free downloadable paper as soon as possible. But I think newspaper (maybe Chinese or Arabian) would also look great, as would sheet music or simple brown packaging paper. For a start, I printed a few colourful papers and had a go - I love the results!

I am currently thinking of making enough of the open pouches to put the sets of stitch markers in I made for the "Lametta" market in December, so whenever I sell a set I'll have a pretty envelope handy. I also thought about giving away one free stitch marker per sold skein of yarn on the same market, and that's where the closed pouches (the ones from the tutorial) come in: simply make a few with a little note attached saying "thank you", put them in a basket and throw one in with every sold yarn; it makes the whole thing even more fun and who doesn't love a nice surprise? Now excuse me, I'm off to make more ;-)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Colour Of Tea - Part I

Quite some time ago, one of our friends from Authentic Fiction blogged about dyeing with black tea. I loved the colours and thought about trying this myself, but somehow I never got around to it. Today I received my copy of "Harvesting Color" by Rebecca Burgess, and I SO felt like trying out some plant dyes! I don't know whether I will keep the book, as some or maybe even many of the plants can't be found where I live (the book is really beautiful, though!), and when I looked at my supplies I returned to a German dyeing book for the recipies. As it turned out, all the leaves I could use would have to be soaked over night, so I desperately thought about what else I could use and the tea came back to mind. I've had a huge package of black tea for ages, and it wasn't that tasty in the first place (I used small amounts for my henna hair dyeing sessions, but 500 g do go a long way), so I decided to have a go.

I had previously (one or two years ago) spun some white fibre into yarns I wanted to dye - so you can see how long it can take me sometimes to actually realize my plans ;-) It took me a while to sort through the yarns and to label them. I put the details on pieces of paper, laminated them, and fixed the info to the yarns with thread, so I won't have difficulties knowing which is which after the dyeing process. I have lambs wool, a gorgeous blend of kid mohair and bluefaced leicester wool, merino/bamboo blend, and bluefaced leicester wool on its own. 7 skeins altogether.

I decided on using the dye bath twice, first with 300 g of yarn, and then again with about 200 g. I googled about dyeing with tea, found this blog entry (and the one by Authentic Fiction already linked to above) and some reference in German. I decided to just experiment with the amount of tea I needed. I took out my sewing machine and made a very simple bag which I filled with about 150 g of black tea.

I stitched it up, and now I had my very own, handmade tea bag ;-)

I put the tea into hot water, and I think I let it boil for about 20-30 minutes. Then I turned off the stove and let the dye bath sit for a while because I had other things to do

After about an hour, I put my first four skeins into the dye bath, without washing or even dampening them first. They didn't need to be washed because the fibres I used were commercially processed and thus without any grease or plant matter or anything.

I plan to simmer the whole lot for about an hour (which is nearly over, since I've taken my time writing all this) and then removing the yarns and putting the second lot in for another hour. I am so curious how the yarns will turn out, I do hope to get some gorgeous copper, though I am afraid they will be just brownish... We'll see :-) I'll take photos of the finished yarns when they are dry and when there is more suitable light.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Christmas is not as far away as you might think

It's been weeks since I read on Etsy that sellers should already prepare for Christmas, and start making Christmas items. I was somewhat reluctant to start that early, especially since I always have more ideas for Halloween art yarns - but I thought it might be time to start, after all. Sooo - here's my first Christmas yarn for this year:

I love the holly charms (which I purchased from nicoledebruin on Etsy) and was looking forward to using them, anyway ;-) I hope to list this one soon, but I need more light to take better photos.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Creative Chaos

Are you running out of time, too? A few weeks ago I realized that Halloween wasn't that far away, and Etsy already advised to plan the Christmas stuff. Today, I realized it's already Octobre and I haven't even managed to put all my Halloween plans (yarnwise) into action. Sooo, there's still a lot to do, especially since I didn't do much over the last two weeks. My husband is on leave and we've been enjoying having more time together, and I've also jumped at the opportunity to take some time off, myself - and I got some knitting done :-) Haven't managed to take photos yet, though.

As for the Christmas plans, I thought about offering some gift sets again (of art yarn, project bag, and stitch markers), and I ordered some beautiful brocade fabric over a month ago. I thought it was lost since it take that long to be delivered, but it finally arrived a few days ago - aren't these beautiful?

I've never worked with brocade, and when I found these beautiful pieces I just couldn't resist. I've also got some tafetta left from the last years, so there should be enough for a wider variety in the gift sets - now all I need is time ;-) Speaking of which, yesterday I finally took some time to make stitch markers while watching the last few episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which I didn't watch when I was younger, and when I heard the show was interesting from a feminist/emancipatory point of view I decided to catch up :-))

When I had unpacked all my stuff, I realized there was not that much silver wire left, so I went out to get some - need I say that was a waste of time? What's the use of extreme opening hours when the shops don't have what I need? *gnaaa* ;-) It's not that I didn't have anything left to work with, I just wanted to be on the safe side and prepare for excessive stitch marker making. Not that there was too much time left after my excursion and dinner and all that, but I did make five sets:

I especially love the pumpkin stitch markers, and I don't know if I can part with them. I probably will, though. These were harder to make because they have a loop instead of a hole. This means I have to use a different technique for securing the wire and that's still a challenge - but I am proud to say it worked :-)

Oh, and I have some great news :-) We have been accepted to the "Lametta"(which translates as tinsel), an all handmade bazaar which will take place in Karlsruhe/Germany shortly before Christmas (here's the link, but it's all in German). I heard there were a lot of aplicants, but I understand that we were among the first to get accepted - YAY! We're so looking forward to the event, but this means I really have to spin more yarn and make more stitch markers. So excuse me, I'm off to more creative chaos! :-)


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