Monday, June 28, 2010

Handspun Yarns and Handmade "Fulled" Crochet Flowers in the Works!

I know it must seem like I dropped off the face of the earth.  Well, I haven't!  I'm alive and well.  It has just shaped up to be a very busy summer so far.

I have been able to do a few fiber-filled things though.  I've found that wet felting is a little too time consuming right now, and needle felting, although easy to pick up and put down, is not very baby-friendly with those super sharp, barbed edge needles.  Therefore, I have settled on spinning and crocheting for a while.  I have found that it is easier to pick up and put down a drop spindle or crochet hook out of harm's way while periodically chasing after my baby girl.  I prefer to full, or shrink, my crocheted items because I like the final effect - a texture sort of like traditional wet felting which I adore!  The crochet process is much, much different though.

Most of the handspun yarn that I've made has been done on my Kundert drop spindle with one in the photo (the lime green skein) done on my new mother marion style kick spindle.  Each skein is anywhere from around 30 - 60 yards and made of various combination of wool, mohair, and tussah silk.  Although the kick spindle is much quicker at cranking out yarn, I have found it to be a bit awkward to use, and it appeals a little too much to my baby girl.  I think that she sees it as one of her toys because she heads right for it when I try to use it around her.  I guess that, for now, I will be sticking mainly to the drop spindle for its ease of use and the lesser attention that it draws from my baby girl. Even though I like to use the kick spindle for the bigger skeins it can produce more quickly, it just isn't practical for me most of the time.  I have even thought of selling it, but can't quite decide on that because I do like it.

As for crocheting, I think of myself as a complete novice.  I learned how to crochet in an elementary art class, but have only practiced it off and on casually in the past.  I can't read a pattern very well and usually resort to small free-form objects like the flowers.  I am taking a crochet class at the upcoming MOPACA Fiber "U" event though so I am hoping to learn to read a pattern and venture into making some larger things.  If anyone has any ideas for small (easy!) crochet items that I could make, I would appreciate knowing.  Although I like doing the flowers, variety is the spice of life!

As for traditional feltmaking, I actually do have a few felt art objects in the works, but it is slow going right now with all the summer plans.  I gradually get time to work on them and hopefully will have some photos to post later in the summer.  I still feel somewhat like I'm in a creative dry spell, but I'm trying to focus on just a couple of things at a time to not get overwhelmed and discouraged.  On the bright side, I have the opportunity to teach felting at the Fancy kitty Missouri Fiber Jamboree on September 25th.  Although I've taught a lot of other subjects on design in the past, I haven't ever taught felting hands on so I'm pretty excited about it!  If any of my fellow feltmakers out there has any teaching tips or online sources, I would sincerely appreciate the information.  I'm a bit nervous about teaching.  I have always wanted to though.

(And, some of you probably noticed that I referred to my Crochet items as fulled rather than felted.  I guess that I'm somewhat of a stickler for this terminology.  By definition from what I have always understood, felted items are non-woven; therefore, a shrunken crocheted piece would actually be considered fulled rather than felted.  I know that opinions on this subject vary widely so to each their own.  It seems that often times anything that is shrunken, no matter what process or fiber it is made by, is referred to as felted.)

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