Tuesday, October 13, 2009

2 Blue Ribbons!!!

My Blue Ribbon Bag!!!

I got the result of the SC State Fair judging and I've gotten two blue ribbons so far. The first for the pumpkin salad felt bag and the other for a skein of yarn I had spun from one of my dyed teal and blues combo of Lincoln and Mohair spun 2 ply sportsweight. I guess I'm a better spinner than I thought I was. On my Dinosaur rug and my handspun Welsh wools original design knitted lace shawl I won't know until I go to the fair Friday with the Conagree Fibre Arts Guild to do a demo if I have any other ribbons or a mention. They only post 1st prizes on line on the fair site. This is my first ever win of anything for my crafts.

I did get some design work done today before I hit the computer. I laid the first of my designs for the RHM article out on the linen. I'm going to do an identical one on the other piece. One is going to be worked with my fiber blends of rovings and the other is going to be done with commercially available rovings. This way too I can figure out fiber amounts for the project both from my fibers to make kits and how much one needs to get from an on line store or a fiber shop. I also managed to get the central design out of the leftover linen to do a one sided stand up figure and just for grins I might do it in wool strips to see how it looks. I'm in the early stages of color planning for this and with all my dyeing done for the felt and for sale fibers I have a bunch of colors all ready done up that I have to sort through to see what amounts of each I have. I am still thinking about the border I did for the design and am still not sure whether I like it or not and whether to change it for the second one. It looks okay but I keep thinking it's not quite right. I had to come in early so I didn't get a chance to play more with it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Project--Tribal Butterfly

Okay, I'm in a better mood today. I'm checking out some possibilities with galleries and shows to market and sell my felt and rug designs. I'll see what comes from my inquires.

To make me feel better I started a new project. One of the designs that didn't sell was a Tribal Butterfly that was based on some tattoo flash I had made up a couple of years ago when I was thinking about being a tattoo artist and was apprendicing under an old biker tattoo artist for a while. I have a number of tattoos on my body, mainly ones I have done myself and I think all my children (adults) have at least one tattoo somewhere on them. To us it's art, abet a bit permanent but still art. I get some weird looks from ladies my own age locally because I guess respectable ladies don't have tattoos but to me is was another medium to try my art on.

Back to hooking-- The design is 34 x 37 with a 4" border surrounding the 28 1/2 x 30 inner design. The border is blank right now until I figure out what I'm going to do in it. Maybe either more tribal swirls or writing something about butterflies, the spirit and freedom they symbolize to me. Butterflies to me are comfort, joy, freedom, imagination let free, and a bunch of other happy feelings, doing one tribal style is adding the primitive to it, the primal, spirit of the forest, nature and just life in general to the mix of emotions I feel from the design.

It is on burlap (sorry that's all I had to work on) and I'll be hooking it in sheep fleece again. I'm continuing my experiments in it to in preparation for writing my article on hooking with fleece for Rug Hooking magazine. I still have to finish the designs for the article and submit them to my editor for final approval before beginning hooking. I still have to line up fiber for making kits for the article designs and am working on that through emails and calling.

For this design I am using some of the fibers I had carded and bagged for my show. While putting bags together I discovered I had bunches of blues dyed up, way more than I realized that I had after I went through all my different bins and tubs of fiber. These are sky blues, lavenders to medium blues and purples with touches of pinks mixed in. The main body of the butterfly will be in deep purples with touches of bright medium blues. The background will be in different shades of the blues and lavenders from very pale ice blue to a medium lavender color towards the edges. I'm using fine and primitive hooks on this. I do wish it could have been on linen or rug warp but can't buy any right now.

I still have to finish a felted vest made entirely from white mountain Welsh and Badgerface sheep. It needs a bit more wet felting and then I'll be able to add a lining. I also have the round felted rug to finish with a backing and embroidery. I had also found a unfinished dragon purse too to do in my going through my supplies last week. The dragon design is getting put on the piece of blue felt I did last month.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Depressed and Frustrated

The Fall Heritage Festival at the SC State Museum was a total bust--$6.00 and free stadium chair that someone had left behind. Just feel like all those months of non stop working 7 days a week since April have been for nought. The only rug everyone wanted my my granddaughter's Cat rug which was not for sale. People did like Walk Me dragon and the other dragons. I had WMD hung up on a long pole suspend between a step ladder and a bunk ladder so you could really see it. They loved Greenman. I had some minor interest in my crocheted purses and some in the felted ones but no sales. The only thing that sold was 2 small bags of fluff for spinning. We didn't have that large of a crowd became the local USC football had a home game at noon, and we have the big Walking With Dinosaurs show here in town. I'm not sure what other events were also going on. Very little interest in my new rug canvases. I had done up some new dinosaur rugs and some pillow sets, new angels, angel cats, tribal animal designs, abstracty type designs, snowmen, sheep, and some of the Chinese zodiac characters.

This is the worst I've ever done at at show and I needed to make some money very badly. I just feel like a total failure and that I've let my family down by not being able to contribute or pay back what I've spend in craft supplies the last couple of years to at least justify my being an artist. Maybe I had too high of hopes for this show--I dunno. I'm not even sure whether my work is good enough to continue trying to do it, especially since no one wants to buy it either as finished work or as canvases. I'm not even sure what to do with it all now as I can't afford to do another show any time soon and I'm never had any luck selling on line. The few times I've put canvases up for sale no one has been interested so I really wonder if my stuff is sellable at all? I was really hoping for a break or a miracle.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Dyeing Again and Greenman

Today was spent mostly dyeing up batches of fleece for projects and to sell at the festival next weekend. I did about 9 or so big batches using my two 6 qt pans and my 12 qt pot. I started in at 8AM and quit finally around 2:30. My kitchen looks like a rainbow herd of sheep exploded. I have 2 screens set up to dry the fleece on with a fan blowing on them and had another batch outside drying too. I finally got some good deep blues and purples, along with deep greens. These are always the hardest colors to get right and I had to double dye these to get them dark enough. I started with dark gray fleeces--Navajo-Churro, Jacob, and Shetland but still had to dye them twice to get them as dark as I needed. I also took time to wash a Lincoln fleece I must have missed in previous fleece washings, and I still have another one yet to do. These are the last of the Lincoln's I got from my friend Barb in Iowa.

This is the outside batch

After the sheep dyeing and lunch I debated on starting in on the carding I still have to do to have some bags of roving for both spinning and fleece hooking but I was too wiped out physically--maybe tomorrow on the carding. I did re-frame Greenman and had started doing some work on him yesterday and decided to work on him again to day. I'm almost through with the upper left side except for one leaf. I might even get him mostly done before the show at this rate. I have promised myself that I will get him done before the end of the year. I'm still blanking out on what to do with the border. I alternate between Celtic knots, or acorns and oak leaves, and also the different names of the Greenman.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Glow Sheep Bag done!l

Glow Sheep bag is done. I got it whipped into place last night and did the sewing on it and the lining plus 2 pockets done today. What I love about it is that the purples in the felt match the purples in the sheep which was hooked in early spring. The felt was made earlier this month during my felting frenzy out of a combo of black Shetland, Jacob, brown Icelandic, dyed Karakul and Lincoln then carded and blended on my carder into big batts. I was aiming for close to dark purple and managed to achieve it happily. The darker colors are the hardest ones to do especially with the food and cake dyes and I have to overdye and blend with the natural dark colors of the sheep breeds to get dark colors. Navy blue is the hardest color to get along with deep reds.

I used a piece of tie dyed ctton in bright blue, purples and greens for the lining and added a large and small pocket to the inside. I had to make 2 small handles about 1" wide because of what fabric I had left and to make sure they were solid and sturdy. I forgot to measure the finished bag but estimate it to be about 18 x 24--good size for carrying projects. If it doesn't sell I might keep it for myself.

I'm going to try and get the cats paw runner done. I got the the stuff out of it and had to make up a batch of black strips as I used up all I had cut on dino rug. I may try to get some more done on Greenman before the show but doubt that I will get it completed before the show.

Tomorrow I'm going to start work on new designs and mats to sell at the festival, then look at what I can put together out of my fabric and fleece stashes for kits. Now if I can come up with hooks between now and then for kits and demoing.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Here Be Dragons Finished!!!!

Finally today I got Here Be Dragons Welcome mat finished. It measures 29 x 28 and is hooked in old t-shirt cottons from some of my favorite tie dyed t-shirts and some black ones. I say farewell to my favorite blues and lavenders swirl shirt, my Con-Cat sci-fi convention 1989 shirt, and a burgundy and purple pocket T. This was done on rug warp with a Black Peaches and Creme cotton yarn to make it 100% washable.

Also finished today the linings and final finishing on 3 felt bags. Now I'm working on the Glow Sheep insert and making it into a bag. Only 2 weeks to go until the festival and I'm hoping I can get everything done.

I got some more burlap to do canvases for sale at Hobby Lobby. I wish I could offer better backing fabrics but I was lucky to be able to buy 9 yards of fabric today @ 1.99 a yard. It was a choice between fabric and putting money on my cell phone. Fabric won out. I really hate being this broke where 20.00 is a lot of money to me. I am praying very hard that some of the things I'm creating will sell at the festival as we need the money so badly. I am hoping too that I get at least one commission to do a rug. It won't solve our problems but it'll at least help. I'm good at creating things, I'm just not that great at making money with them.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pumpkin Salad bag finished

I got my Pumpkin salad bag finished Sunday complete with cotton burgundy and small black check cotton lining with added pockets. It measures 19 x 22 and is designed to carry large projects. It's going in the SC State Fair.

Out of the rest of salad fabric I got 2 more bags I have to put linings in.

Canteen bag 12" round

Medium size tote bag 14 x 16

Other felting projects--

Spiral Gray rug 36 x 36 done in all natural colors Karakul fleece

Glow sheep bag in pre sewing progress

A blues and purples piece I haven't figure out what it's going to be yet

And today I finally got the outer border finished on dino rug and will be spending tomorrow whip stitching the edges and giving it's final finishing--yeah. It's going in the SC State Fair. I decided on it because it's all original rather than Walk Me which has some problems on it's braided border which didn't come out as well as I hoped it would as my braiding still has a ways to go and WM is based on one of my cross stitch patterns. I was also afraid that WM would freak the fair people out because it's a fantasy dragon and this is the Bible Belt South--dragons don't go over very well here with mainstream SC folk. I figure WM will do better with me at the Heritage Festival since it is in front of the SC State Museum and gets more art lover and open minded people coming to the festival. I have lots of run in with locals with my paintings over the years so I tend to air on the side of caution when presenting any of my fantasy art work locally.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Felting and making bags

It's raining today off and on for the next couple of days so I'm glad I got a bunch of the felting done when I did. Today I am making bags out of the felt done so far. First is a bag using a pumpkin with cats paw background I hooked for a Rughookers Yahoo Groups swap as an insert in a bag from the "salad" piece of felt. I got it inserted into the felt last night and have to sew up the sides and add a lining and handles to it. There's enough left over for a second bag without an added insert. The pumpkin one will be going in the SC state fair. Still haven't decided which rug is going in the fair yet. I've only got to the 7 or 8th of October to get stuff in for it. Then the Fall Heritage Festival is the 10th, with a demo at the state fair on the 16th, and finally SAFF in Asheville, NC at the end of the month.

I really hope I make some money at the festival as I need to get backing fabrics for my projects, especially for the RH mag ones--I'm out of everything and there is no money right now for anything--really. Playing this month's bills is scary. I don't use credit cards or charge anything so if I don't have cash on hand I can't buy anything. I'd rather not have than have a massive credit card dept I can't pay off. If I didn't have stashes of fiber and other things I wouldn't be able to do anything at all. I hate being this broke but it does force me to be even more creative and inventive with what I do have.

I have 2 more hooked pieces to add to purses-- my glow sheep done last Spring and a hooked dancing star. Still deciding if I need to make more felt before I put up all my equipment and fleece.

My article on hooking with fleece is a go with Rughookers Magazine, I will be doing a small oval rug for it and be doing a step by step instruction for the fleece hooking and it will come out next fall sometime. I feel very honored that they are letting me do this and hope my article will get more people to try using fleece in their hooking.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


This weekend and part of the week is for felting. I've run out of all the hand made felt I had made up and have been having to make up new batches for my purses and other stuff. I haven't done this in almost 2 years as I didn't have studio space or room to do it. We've been eating over the shop as the kitchen is full of fiber, dye pots and plastic for the floors. I'm dyeing up batches of fibers for both the felting and for my fleece hooking. I've used up a lot of my colors already on projects and am also out of a bunch of shades so I'm doing both the felting and dyeing at the same time to minimize the mess.

Yesterday I got one 30 x 8 foot piece of purse fabric done, though it might end up a shawl. Have to see how light weight it is after it dries fully. I'm calling it Fall Salad as it looks like a fiber salad before and afterwards.

It started out as going to be all dark browns and I started getting low on what I had to work with brown wise so I carded up some miscellaneous fall sort of colors and layered them on top then started adding more and more until I had a sort of fiber salad going. It used Jacob, Black Welsh Mountain, Black Shetland, and Icelandic for the browns, Lincoln, Karakul, Columbia, Merino, Jacob, Icelandic and Shetland for the colors. It took most of Friday to layer and card up enough to have the thickness I needed for the felt. Then it was about 4-4 1/2 hours doing the actual felting. I'm a bit out of shape on this so it took longer than I usually take. I now have a table to work on where as before I was felting on the floor for large pieces like this. The table is better for my back but I was still exhausted and hurt a bit after I was through doing this. At 59 I am really starting to feel my age and what is scary is that I'm in better physical shape than some of my kids.

Here's the finish piece. I'll try to get shots of the backside tomorrow.

I'll be doing a purples and blues piece tomorrow and try to layout a green one, maybe to do a another greenman bag. I also need to make up some fabric for my swap circle project as I will be doing it into a tote bag like I did the Ravens. The felt I just made was going to be for that but I'm not sure if it will work now.

Sheep rug is finished as a hanging now. I got the straps and rings on it. One project down upteen to finsh and time slipping away.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Patterns For Sale

If anyone is interested I have 2 of my snowmen canvases for sale right now on The Welcome Mat under Yard Sale.

The original version as a handpainted needlepoint canvas back in '95

I have my Barbarian Snowman (42 x 38) on JoAnne Fabrics sage green burlap. Has 4 to 5" margins. It's designed for either narrow or wide cuts. It is based on a needlepoint canvas I did in mid 90's, that later got translated into a cross stitch design for Stitcher's World magazine in 1989, along with an original design for a female Viking snowlady? The original did not have a background so I have added a snow barbarian horde landing on a sea shore with their long ship in the background and a sea serpent. Great for a kid's room (this was going to be for one of my grandson's but don't have time to do it and can always make it again). It was created when I was doing a big order for a needlepoint shop and had done one too many cute snowman, I also have snow ghosts, snow vampires, snow Frankinsteins, snow Cthulthu's, snow TV stars, and other snow characters. Will gladly give color suggestions and help as needed on this. $55.00 plus shipping to your zip, Paypal only or will trade for backing fabrics.

Done as a needlepoint canvas in '96

My Patchwork Snowman pattern drawn on monk's cloth. It was designed to be a large stand up figure aproximately 15 w x 24h. It has a 3 to 4" margin on each side. I would recommend narrow to medium cuts 4's to maybe 7 cuts. I can also provide coloring guides for this or make suggestions. The design is based on one I did for handpainted needlepoint canvases in the 90's and was later translated into cross stitch patterns for Stitcher's World magazine to be part of the Snowman Tree skirt in 1997. $40.00 plus shipping to your zip. Paypal only or will trade for backing fabrics.

Just email if you are interested at fanxstitch@yahoo.com.

I finally got my knitted bag with hooked sheep pocket finished today. The yarn for this was all done by me from a couple of different breeds of sheep, and the fleece was dyed first, carded into different color batches then spin. I made the pattern up as I went along and was knitted on wooden straight 11's mainly while I was in Wales. Then I sewed the bag and threw it into the washer and dryer to felt (several times as some it refused to felt up--Tunis and Suffolk do not felt very well). I was not really happy with the results because the handle was too long and not right and I couldn't figure out what to decorate it with--it really needed something so put it up for almost 2 years. I came across the bag and my little test sheep done in all fleece on burlap done last Fall and it finally clicked together. The sheep looked great on the purse and I hadn't figured out anything else it could go on. The sheep needed it's edges finished and I found some leftover of the green yarn from the purse so I just did a simple whipped edge. I was just going to sew the sheep on the bag but then saw it was just the right size for a pocket. I found some dyed teal with colors close to the yarn and sewed it to the backside of the sheep, then I whipped and sewed the three sides to the purse to make a pocket on the front.

The handle I took loose from the bag carefully as I had really sewn and whipped it on there. I cut out segments from each end of the strap, found some wooden rings and made loop on each end of the strap. I took the leftovers I had cut off from the strap and reattached them to the purse and to the rings. It had shortened the strap to the right length and looked way better than it had. It has a 2 button closure. I didn't line the inside of the bag and am still debating whether it needs lining or not. This is definitely a one shot purse as I really knit then felt.

Later today I am going to get the raven bag done. I found a large piece of teal wool which I may or may not dye==still debating on that--for the back of the sheep rug. There's also enough to put either a sleeve on do straps for hanging. Then I'm trying to figure out what to do with the small "Glow" sheep 11 x 14 and one of my finished stars 8 x 8. Might have to create some new felt for them as all I have left unused is a very hot pink piece for a purse with a pick speckled end which won't work with either of the hooked pieces. I'll figure something out. This week is get all the almost done projects done before starting on new ones. Though yesterday I did lay out some new designs on some monk's that may be going in an article for RHM next year on fleece hooking.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Project--Snowman

New Project this week one of my snowmen adapted from my cross stitch and needlepoint designs. I started him Saturday the 29th after I got through with the sheep rug. It's not as far along as I had hoped it be because of staying over at my daughters and helping with the three grandkids. She's recovering very well and is almost back to her normal self.

The snowman is all in fleece on burlap and has a matching back that will get hooked too to be a standup figure. This will be my first one. I'm doing him in xmas colors for my display at the Fall Harvest Festival Oct 10th. I decided to do him with cats paw circles instead of patchwork or swirls as I have done some of my other snowmen. I've already got some mini snowman drawn out to hook too. And I have been playing around with some more Vogee dolls too since Halloween will be coming up too. Now that I'm home I'm hoping I can get his front hooked up by Sunday and start working on his backside.

Right now I am debating between putting either the Dino rug or Walk Me in the SC State Fair. I have to drop off my entries Oct 7-8, so I'm debating which needs to go in the Festival and which needs to go into the fair. Any opinions?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sheep Rug hooked!

Except for the final finishing and some treaking it's hooked. Finished at 11:58PM August 28th, started August 19th with minor delays and interruptions. All in natural and dyed fleece and hooked with fine and primitive hooks on rug warp. 22 1/2 x 28 1/2.

My daughter had gall bladder surgery yesterday and I will be over at her house helping with the three grandchildren 6, 2 1/2 and 10 months until Thursday at least. Taking projects with me as I have to still get ready for Fall Harvest Festival and SC State fair in October.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday's hooking

As promised Monday's hooking

Tuesday's 9/25/09 hooking--This was between 10AM and 3PM

I finished the ruff on the sheep and then started to fluff out his top mane.

Today's Wednesday 9/26/09 hooking from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM This was by 1PM

I trimmed down the some of the fluff with scissors and sculpted it a little so you could see the fiber tools better, then I worked the top fluff a little more before I started doing the lettering and lines.

This was in the shade at 4PM

The lettering, especially the word dyed is clearer in person than in this photo. I may have to add a thin outline to it so it will show up better.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

More Sheep rug progress

Close ups of right and left sides

Today was my 59th birthday and I spent the biggest part of it hooking on the sheep rug while sitting outside, even in the heat. I have better light outside and can maneuver my hooking frame easier too. I worked from 8:30 Am to 4:30. I did have to drag the boom box out to drown out next door. I just not handle hellfire and damnation preachers that well while I'm trying to concentrate on my work. I got a lot of the background around the sheep done today. I decided on using greens--to try and make people think of recycling, green crafts, nature, etc.

Before I started hooking I was writing some ideas for a possible article on hooking with fleece for eith Spin-Off magazine or for Rug Hookers magazine. I'm going to contact both and see what I have to do to submit something. I have been taking pictures of some of my processes, sorry that they are with the camera phone but they
hopefully are okay.

These are some of my 'pallets' for the sheep rug

This is what I am hooking. Pulled fluff

Rolled in my hands like a clay or felt snake

Hooked into the rug warp

Close ups of eyes, an ear, and nose

Three Ravens bag semi finished--just have to add strap to it, and finish upper edge then take a much better outside picture. This was in the living room and does not do it justice. It's 18h x 20w. The main panels are 15w and the added side panels are 4 1/2 w.