Making Stuff

Fiber-y Goodness

Many years ago (thanks to the "search" feature here on the blog, I see it was 2013), I went to a workshop and learned needle felting.  I made a sorta-cute-but-also-sorta-creepy ornament thing.  And then I put away my newly-acquired needle felting tools, intending to try it again sometime, but . . . well . . . not trying it again.

Fast forward to the Michigan Fiber Festival last August.  I was shopping the vendors with my friend Karen, and we stumbled into one of the most lovely, inviting, and charming booth set-ups I have ever seen . . . for an Ann Arbor company called Felted Sky.  It was ALL needle felting stuff:  kits, supplies, wool.  And the kits were super cute!

Before I knew it, I had a couple of kits in my hand (this one and this one) . . . and I was checking out!  Totally ready to go home and retrieve my plastic bin of needle felting supplies from the depths of my "craft closet."

Yesterday afternoon, I fiber-sculpted some pumpkins!  Beginning with wool . . . 

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and moving on to shaping and felting with a needle.

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Needle felting is really fun -- and very forgiving.  There are always chances to add a bit more shape, whittle it down here and there, poke it to get just what you're looking for.

And adding the roving makes it kind of magical!

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After a couple of hours, I had one finished pumpkin, one ready-for-the-details pumpkin, and one shaped blob that will become a pumpkin.

Very satisfying.  Kind of addictive.  (Like any craft in the fiber "line!") (And I only stabbed myself once.)  Plus . . . charming little nuggets of fiber-y goodness when you're done!

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Have you ever tried needle felting?  If you've got any little niggling desire to give it a try, I highly recommend the kits from Felted Sky.  They include everything you need to get started (except the foam mat; you'd need to buy one of those separately) - including needles.  The kits come with complete and detailed step-by-step written instructions including color photos --- and links to video demonstrations, should you need them.

I'm hooked!  (Maybe this time I won't just shove my needle felting bin to the depths of the "craft closet" . . . )

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Read With Us

I thank you all for your thoughtful and insightful comments so far for our first Read With Us book discussion I truly wish we could all be together, talking about this book in my living room!  I can see that . . . there are true limitations to replying to comments IN the comments section, at least when it comes to my Typepad blog, so my apologies for the cumbersome nature of this discussion.  Please continue to comment and discuss the book on yesterday's post --- while I figure out the settings to make replying to comments IN the comments work.  (Because I've run into an issue.  But I'm working on it!)

 


A Retreat of Our Own

Almost two years ago, Vicki and I took a trip together . . . to Alabama for an Alabama Chanin stitching workshop. Somewhere along the way, we stopped on the side of the road to take photos of the cotton growing in the fields.

Last Thursday, we were together again, driving in northern Michigan . . . and, once more, we stopped on the side of the road for photos.  This time, though, it was pumpkins growing in the fields that caught our eye.

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Vicki and I first hatched our plan . . . to create our own Alabama Chanin "retreat" where we could stitch and cut and paint and plan together . . . about a year ago.  I knew it would be lots of fun and inspirational to spend time with Vicki again.  I had no idea how productive we'd be, though!  Creating Alabama Chanin garments is complicated.  There are so many options and so many choices:  pattern, fabric, color, stencil design, paint colors, embellishments.  It takes a while to sort through and figure out exactly what you want to DO!  It's much more fun - and much more productive - to discuss and talk it all out with someone else who is as geeked about the process as you are! 

And then . . . even when you have your ideas all figured out and clear in your imagination . . . you still have to do all the prep work.  Which is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and messy!

I can't tell you how much better it is to do this with a partner-in-crime!  (Especially when she brings her air compressor and an airbrush.  And teaches you how to use it.)

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So now . . . in addition to my memories of a fun week with Vicki . . .  I have four (!) Alabama Chanin projects planned, (mostly) cut, stenciled, and ready to go.  (And - bonus - I have new airbrushing skills AND an air compressor of my own now.)

A great week - and a perfect retreat - all the way around!