It's alter art time again! Yep, moon is full. Tomorrow to be exact. And, as the Native American's called it, the Worm Moon.
Full Worm Moon
At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins. -- source: The Old Farmer's Almenac
Well, let's just say this month I tried to PLAN. That's right, I had really cool ideas. I was SO inspired. I've taken up rollerskating again and am fascinated by what people are doing on skates. I thought it was a lost art. But, people are dancing as fluidly on roller skates or more so, than with their feet on the ground. Blows my mind. And there's this amazing phenomenon where a whole group of people skate in a single file line really fast practically dancing. It's fascinating to watch and scary if you're skating too slow and they come racing through the crowd. So, you learn to stay toward the center and just watch.
How does that fit with my alter project this month? Well, I thought I'd be sketching skaters, doing some cool 3-D art. Spent hours looking at skaters, watching videos and out skating. But, I don't have enough time under my belt drawing bodies, observing the skating movements I want to convey, nor enough experience skating to intuitively know how those movements should feel or look. And queue melt down. The harder I tried, the more frustrated I got. I even went outside and had myself a good cry. You've got to let go of the emotions so you can get on with making the art! Ok, ok. I surrender. This is not what I should be making right now. Too early.
I went back inside and just started working on making the background or inner box with samples of water color paper I had messed around spritzing and daubing alcohol inks and dylusions sprays
. I knew I needed a background. Didn't know where I was going, what it would be. That was cathartic. I made something I knew would be needed and work. I even got to try my new perforator tool. Cool tool, that. Voila. A beginning. I made another, and tried to put the roller skaters back in and hit another wall. OK. yeah, got it. No skaters this time. I'm moving on universe. Message received.
Mom took me out to her studio (a place of wonder) and started pulling out all the bits and bobs, doo dads and whirly gigs she's collected and stored from the you-never-know-when-you-might-need-this pile. And my Parisian Dream began to take form. We found wheels, skulls, mini light bulbs, and so much more. There were a few stencils - an Eiffel tower, a hot air balloon, an old Model T, and a guy riding a 1910 big wheel tricycle. First, I tried to reduce them on the copy machine to check fit. Then drew a few Eiffel towers on shrinky-dink with colored pencils. FUN! The first was so fun I did another. Then, remembered how cool things look en masse and made 2 more. Each is a little different. Added a hot air balloon and shrank them all in the oven. Oh they became so wee! When they finally landed on the background, they ended up circling one another like going down the rabbit hole or the view from a kaleidoscope.
While each piece (background, shrinky-dinks, etc) was made independantely and I had no intention of creating "Oz", I discovered that the balloon & a spot on the background paper worked out to be just that. So, I let myself be inspired by Disney's Oz
and I let the balloon act as though it were The Great & Powerful Oz floating his way way to Paris by night. All while a French bulldog barks at the crazy multiplying Eiffel towers.
I'm SO happy. But if you'd asked me when I started if this is what I'd have ended up with - I'd have told you entirely different. Not at all what I planned or imagined, but better. Reminds me of phrases in many of Summer McStravick's flowdreams
What can you do with dingleballs?!?!
Well, I'm cultivating a Pinterest board
just for you. It has a few great ideas for knitting & sewing patterns along with some crafty things like flowers and garland. Pop on over and check it out!
Once you've used your kit, just about all of the yarns I sell will be perfect for making dingleballs. I'm spinning up some new colors for an update later this month to inspire your muse. :)
Fellow felters and spinners, I ask you... - Do you have a project that needs a dash of fiber, but not a whole skein?
- Maybe you want to add cocoons or beehives to your handspun for that extra charm?
- Want to wet felt some beads or balls?
Then FELTY BITS
are just the thing for your next project, my dears! I made these especially for small projects or little bits of adornment that Felters, Crafters, and art yarn spinners just like me are always looking for. You don't want a whole skein, but can't find that small colorful amount of what you need. Here I come to save the day!
I've priced these just right so that your project budget won't be taxed. At $5 for hand carded fiber, it's a steal! I've already sold many of these at previous shows to lots of very happy customers.
Every $5 bag of Felty Bits:
- Is stored and shipped in a seal-able plastic bag
- Contains approximately 1/2 oz of fiber
- Is a wool blend. Some contain sparkle, silk, angelina and/or mohair locks.
- All are hand carded to align fibers and create the most loft
- Is a unique batt. If you see another in a similar color, best grab it,
because you may not see it again.
I started by making these for my own projects and have had so much fun carding and using these small bits of fiber that I just had to share. I used one 1/2 oz bag with a needlefelting machine, adding several medium sized leaves and petals to a shirt. I was amazed by how much fiber I had left over.
I hope you love them as much as I do. I love them so much, it's really hard to sell them. But I know they'll be going to good homes and will make many amazing projects and bring happy, joyful color to many lives. And that, makes me happy. :)
Making dingleballs. Some with, some without haircuts.
"Oh what fun
it is to make
Yes, I do make up my own lyrics to songs. It's a family tradition. I was singing about dingleballs to the tune of Jinglebells. Kinda fun, huh? Yeah, I thought so.
I've been saving this bag of yarn scraps for ages. On 4th of July, I blogged about making potholders from my leftover dreadlocks making days (see pics below) and knitting project scraps. That project wasn't enough to satisfy. Besides, I had lots of different colored scraps. I needed a way to pull all the colors together. And they weren't really colors that I typically worked with. I'm a bright and bold color girl normally. But these colors were soft, muted and nature toned. I do love those colors and enjoy working with them, but they're not usually my first grab from the yarn or fiber basket.
Then, my mom found this color work style, ready-to-wear, sweater with some crazy long fringe all round it. When I say long fringe, I mean long... 4". I looked at her like, "Uh, what do you want to wear this for?" She said, "Dingleballs!" Oh. my. goodness. That woman is amazing. The sweater was perfect and already had holes in it, from the fringe, that would be perfect for tying on a few dingleballs.
So I took the sweater home and dug through my bag o scrappy goodness. Wonder of wonders, all these leftovers that didn't have a purpose or a project all of a sudden fit the sweater perfectly. Various shades of blues & purples (dusty to royal), tans and browns, and a variety of olive greens including a few forest green. I even used some of the fringe (it had polyester in it though, ick!) to make itsy bitsy dingleballs.
I made dingleballs using the tool from my kits. But, I wanted to have big and small dingleballs. I thought that would give the sweater some character. I do love the wee kit tool, but, the tools aren't offered in any size smaller than 3/4 inch. I recently learned on Pinterest how to make a dingleball using a fork. Using a fork doesn't give the same uniformity that the pom pom tool does. but the dingleballs are still super cute! Below are a few photos of the finished sweater. I think it would be adorable with a belt and a fun olive colored skirt instead of my amy butler tunic. ;)
Kits will be posted to my etsy shop this weekend. So you too can make your own amazing dingleballs.
Last year I launched 2 handspun yarn kits, only available at shows. I'm now offering a limited quantity of kits in some very fun colorways. I started making kits because I often want a project, but don't have the time to commit to anything major. Plus, with everything else going on in our lives, I think we all appreciate a little instant satisfaction (I know I do).
The kits will be going up in the Etsy shop
this week. Look for an shop status updates on the Facebook page
or sign up for my newsletter
to get an email as soon as the store is updated.
The first kit is for a magical toad. It's magical because it reminds me of the frogs and toads you see or read about in Harry Potter. I love magical things, stories about wizards and witches and other wonderfully fantastical things. Well, with a name that comes from the story of Camelot, how could you not love magical things? Can you guess the queen I'm named after? But I digress...
One day I discovered Brigitte Read
's amigurumi style crochet toys. I fell in love. She designed projects that were small, fun, and had lots of character or were a great base that allowed me to give them further character. It's her amazing pattern (used with her permission of course) that supports the handspun yarn I create for this cute little "Toads!!" kit. I think you'll find her patterns easy to understand and the little toady fun to create. Though, they do need names once they are finished. Send me a photo and your toad's name and I will post him here. I love to see finished projects and loved toys!
The second kit I currently offer is D.I.Y. Dingleballs. These are also known as pom poms to the the misinformed. Why call 'em dingleballs? Well, I am a bit of a clown and I love funny things. To some, the name may bring about nasty bits and icky thoughts. But, to me, they are like the pom pom trim seen adorning the top-edge of the windows
in a VW Bus just dingle dangling
away, bobbling along, as the vehicle hits bumps in the road. Dingleball makes me think of dancing. I love trim that dances. It's a ball that dingles and so... dingleballs. They also make me think of big fat cherries ripe on the tree. There are so many fun, happy visuals to imagine, so get your minds out of the gutter. ;)
This pom pom maker in this kit is fabulous. When I first ordered them for kits, I was in the middle of a big knitting project and needed a mental and hand-resting brake. So, I sat down and made like 50 dingleballs in a single Saturday afternoon. I could barely tear myself away from them. I was floored by how much fun it was to watch them evolve into these gorgeous spheres. I'd made many dingleballs before with lots of other tricks, tools, etc. but none compared to this one. Then, after practicing on commercially spun yarn, I "bit the bullet" and dared to cut my handspun. OH it was scary let me tell you. But it was glorifying. Never have I seen such amazing color than when using the handspun I had spun up specially for dingleballs. I was in awe. My mouth began to water. And on I went to make more, and more, and more, and ... well, you get the idea.
Then, I observed that many indie knit designers were creating scarves with knit or crocheted pom pom like trims. Oh God, the thought of having to knit all that trim makes my eyes roll into the back of my head. Too much work! It's beautiful, but not something I like to spend my time doing. So I made kits that would allow a knitter to work up a simple scarf or shawl, then adorn the edge with dingleballs. You'd get the same happy dancing effect like in the VW Bus, but you could wear it everywhere. After I created the kits, I discovered more and more ideas and uses for dingleballs. I will be sharing another post that will show off the sweater my mom & I trimmed with dingleballs. It's gorgeous and super fun (and comfortable) to wear.
I imagined that there is some Tony Dinozzo
character mocking my chameleon calling him McGecko
I finished him
on February 12th, he's made from a small amount of leftover handspun. The fiber is BFL (Blue Faced Leicester)
. The pattern
was created by Brigitte Reid. Isn't he just the cutest?