Tuesday, June 19, 2007

turning fluff into yarn

How hard could it be to spin wool into gold, i mean, yarn? With rumplestiltskin as my muse, and a glance through the accompanying spinning instructions, i was spinning, and tearing, and butchering the beautifully carded, smooth roving.

i had to eventually rely on my good friend google to show me the way. like the hero she is, she took me to the joy of spinning complete with videos. the technique was still hard to grasp, the yarn came out a little too tight in some places, loose in others, the thickness wasn't a bit consistant, nor was my method of holding the batt in one hand and plying the yarn with the other. problems I had were pulling too hard on the batting while drafting & then tearing it apart from the rest of the batting. this happened repeatedly, and i tried my bestest to attach the next piece to the yarn. there has to be a better way...

upon visiting shuttleworks, and asking a living, breathing human being about which fibres are good for beginner spinners, he not only directed me to the yummiest pre-wound batts (8 oz.), but proceeded to show me how to draft, and how much to draft. a breath of fresh air.

so here it is, colours beautifully blended, and delicious. it may not be gold, but it's close for us yarn-o-holics... just need to find a project worthy enough to use it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

my new favorite craft store...

discovered shuttleworks with friends on saturday. love, love, love the shop that is located just south past the city limits. originally wanted to go there for the brown sheep, lamb's pride yarn that is only available there. what i found was a dream store for fibre enthusiasts. yarn, shelves and shelves of neatly organized mostly natural yarns (wool, cotton, silk, flax, soy, cashmere) in large skeins (100g and up) and cones (i've always wanted to buy a cone of yarn), and spinning batts, and all sorts of paraphenalia for knitting, spinning, weaving, felting, dyeing, and all things fibre related.

the owner was very helpful in guiding me to beginner's spinning fibre, already in skeins and ready to spin. the colours were delicious and i settled for "camoflage" my typical colours of emerald & lime green, and chocolate, and also "toffee" a wonderful mix of rasperry, light yellow, and brown. i also left with 14, yes 14 skeins of yarn (lots of lamb's pride wool/mohair, some spun wool/flax tweedy yarns, and some cotton fleece - cotton/wool), for personal projects, as well as for the upcoming fall designs for our shop. it couldn't be helped, but i did promise myself that this was THE LAST yarn excursion - that i have to use up most of my yarn stash before buying any more. we'll see how long that lasts.

must send a shout out to my friends marce, lola, and yukiko for indulging in my addiction.

ultimate t-shirt challenge

the members of starship awesome, ultimate frisbee team extrodinaire, received some goodies a few weeks back at our weeky thursday game...matching team t-shirts!!! they were a mixed blessing.

1. matching shirts so we can look hard-core. maybe we can intimidate the other teams into submission. put on the game face, cross the arms....yes, bring it on.
2. free, free, free. these shirts were from our team captain's company, so not only do we get free shirts, but they benefit by getting free advertising.
3. robots and vikings. who doesn't love robots and vikings. if our jumps and dives do not impress them, maybe the coolness of images will.

1. black. mosquitos are attracted to black. black attracts heat. not the good type of "bring it on" heat but sweaty, moist, mosquito-ee heat.
2. size m or size xxl (only sizes left), unisex, shapeless, tight necked t-shirts. they were free.

lightbulb. design challenge, how to make this ordinary freebie T into a thing of beauty and worship. so the great ultimate t-shirt challenge begins. diving head first into something i'm not that experienced or disciplined in (garment making). firstly i thougth it wise to use one of my favorite t-shirts from american apparel as a template.

i cut out that too tight collar with vigor. a little too much vigor as the neck was almost wider than my shoulders - it would, however work with our 80's themed team...hmmmm. next i took the sleeves off at the seams, and cut the sides of the shirt open. as sprite as a 5 year old, i traced the shape of the template T, adding a guestimated seam allowance on the sides. thinking that cap sleeves would look lovely on the field, i cut matching caps from the dicapitated sleeves. in my haste to see the finished product, i was surprised and a bit proud that i even took the time to pin the cap sleeves before sewing them on (something that a hastey, improvisational crafter like me doesn't do much of). seams sewn down the sides and voila! we have a female body friendly tunic t-shirt.

to remedy the too-wide scooped neck, i added a couple of pleats in the back. the pointy, stiff cap sleeves were tamed by a snip here and a sew there. while looking for a good position to place the contrasting viking symbol, i discovered that not only could i wear the shirt either way, robot facing front or back, but i could also wear it inside out with seams visible. gosh i love versatility. so i attached mr.viking inside out, and backwards. love it! now i'm really ready to play my A-game. Bring it on!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

we love you, we really do!

Friends scoffed at it. "what is that?" "you put tissues in there?" "like, why?". Well, belittle no more as there are people out there that appreciate the quiet beauty in the hand made tissue cozy, and they flock to our shop in droves. They find the fabric combinations - pleasing to the eye, the linen - rough, yet sophisticated, the accent patterns- delightful or bold, each hand cut leaf - exquisitely and masterfully cut, and the buttons - carefully selected to compliment the whole. They hold the tissue cozy delicately in their palm, like admiring a little piece of artwork. They love it, they cherish it, they long for their nose to run so that they may pull it out, to show it to the world or anyone who may be watching, and of course, to put it to use.

So it came to be knittle's first mass order, and it was finally completed yesterday after much cutting, sewing, hand emboridering & more cutting this weekend. Yes, that's right, a dozen tissue cozies were ordered for a gift shop retailer in Illinois. It is our largest custom order, and has subsequently turned my living room/assembly line into a GIANT MESS! My husband would say "what's new?". Can you guess the theme???
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