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Monthly Archives: April 2010

In case you were on the fence about attending the Great Western Alpaca Show this weekend in Denver, I want to encourage you to go. And by encourage I mean show you the beautiful things I bought to make you jealous-enough to go.

Great Western Alpaca Show finds

These finds are from:
Paradise Valley Alpaca Ranch

Outback Fibers
Currently located in Georgetown, Texas but moving to Colorado in the next year or two

I watched some of the animal judging today and the judges were great. They explain why they are giving which animal what ribbon, greatly helping all of you potential alpaca breeders out there. Just think, this definitely counts as Going Local. Raise it, shear it, spin the fiber, make/wear/sells things from the fiber.

Now if only I had land and that land was zoned for Alpacas…

“Human history is a race between education and catastrophe” – H G Wells


Apparently I spent the weekend weaving Barbie’s Dream Scarf.

Barbie's Dream Scarf

I used some Silk City Fibers bamboo, by way of Green Valley Weavers and Knitters.  I’m not sure why I thought the pink would be toned down by the black, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Ah well. I saw someone wearing a winter coat this shocking pink color today, so there is at least one person out there who might consider this scarf a plus. I’ll set it aside to put in the fall Guild sale and see if anybody else loves pink.

“Think pink! think pink! when you shop for summer clothes. Think pink! think pink! if you want that quel-que chose.” – Maggie Prescott, from the film Funny Face

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” – Langston Hughes

For earth day I actually had to drive to a conference and back – seven hours in the car in one day. For my treat on the way home, I stopped at Green Valley Weavers and Knitters in Colorado Springs,

There was a torrential rainstorm going on and I’d just missed the hailstorm that blew through town. A yarn shop was even more of a refuge than usual. Green Valley? Beautiful/shiny/soft/alluring selection, helpful staff, and overall just a great yarn shop. Clearly, I was in a stash building mood.

Bamboo, alpaca, and hemp - oh my!

I was also distracted by some weaving yarn called “Slinky.” Honestly, that is the name. I’m going to have to weave this up with some shiny black and see what happens.

Slinky weaving yarn from Green Valley

“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Not on one strand are all life’s jewels strung.” – William Morris

The Rocky Mountain Bead Society is holding their 2010 Bead Bazaar this weekend (April 24 and 25) at the Denver Merchandise Mart.

Denver Merchandise Mart, Expo Building
452 E. 58th Avenue (I-25 at 58th Avenue)
Saturday 10-6, Sunday 10-5

Loads of bead and supply vendors, about a dozen classes, and plenty of free parking. Check the website now to see what classes are still open for registration.

Sometimes at the end of a bead show, we’ll get home with big bags of beads, maybe have a receipt and maybe don’t, and don’t have record of what things cost or where to get more. The vendors don’t all have business cards, or they don’t have enough to go around. If you don’t record the price, when you start to make your jewelry, you won’t have the slightest idea what to charge to recoup your initial investment.

Tip 1: Be proactive and logical – record the info yourself. If you’ve got room, bring along small ziplock bags, a sheet of computer mailing labels, and a pencil. Once you’ve purchased something, write the vendor name AND price you paid on the mailing label, wrap the sticky mailing label around the bead string – securing the label to itself. Then put the labeled bead string into the ziplock. It takes a little time, but it is worth it at the end of the day.

Tip 2: Before you head to the show, spend 15 minutes making a reference string of beads. Go through your bead supplies and put together one long string – one of each type bead you have. Use something strong (like fishing line), that won’t break under the weight. For some of you, the string might be pretty long! Now you have a reference string-o-beads telling you what you have, what you might need, and more importantly what you don’t need to buy.

“The rarest things in the world, next to a spirit of discernment, are diamonds and pearls.” – Jean de la Bruyere

Spring cleaning this year has involved taking all the boxes of craft supplies out of the closet and organizing things. Put all the sewing supplies in one box (Five rotary cutters? I have five rotary cutters?). Put all the knitting yarn in one set of containers, the weaving yarn in another set.

Spring cleaning has also involved finishing up some long-delayed projects. Getting those UFOs (UnFinished Objects) out the door. One of these projects was the Labyrinth Quilt lap quilt, from a pattern by Laurel Reinhardt,

You can see my version here:

Labyrinth Lap Quilt

This quilt has been sitting around for a couple of years, patiently waiting for me to finish hand quilting along the walking path of the quilt. Soon the new owner will be able to trace the path of the labyrinth with her finger, from the entrance through to the center and back again. Hopefully it will provide warmth and comfort, even if it is arriving in time for summer.

“He, who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through a labyrinth of the most busy life.” – Victor Hugo

I’ve made a second attempt at Alexandra’s Needle Case

Knitting Needle Case Take Two

Tips this time around if you’re thinking of making one of these:

1) Leave enough extra around the backing fabric to fold it over and make the outside binding.

2) Make the double-pointed needle strip shorter to fit shorter DPNs.

3) Cut each strip a little taller than suggested, to fold it over twice and make a simple binding at the top of each strip. This makes it easier to sew the channels for the needles themselves. You have to turn everything face-down to sew the channels, which means you’d have to pin down any binding on the front carefully (lest it turn up whilst you’re sewing on the opposite side).

4) I ran over to HotTopic and got some skeleton shoelaces, which I think will make great ties for the case.

If I was better with a sewing machine I would have sewn this all with blood red thread, but I think NekoMade will like it anyway. And hopefully it will be useful to her with all of her own crafting!

“Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness.” – Richard Bach quotes

With my generous holiday gift certificates for Shuttles, I finally bought a Schacht boat shuttle. Up until now I’ve been weaving everything, including a couple of shawls, with a stick shuttle. You can see the new boat shuttle in action on Elizabeth’s bamboo scarf here:

View of the new boat shuttle

Trick is, you have to wind all the weft yarn onto the bobbin, and right now I’d rather spend money on yarn than a bobbin winder. Someone in my first weaving class said that she modified her electric drill to wind bobbins. It looks like lots of other weavers out there have tried this, so I thought I’d make a run at it as well. Works pretty well, especially since I have a drill bit that is just the right size to fit tightly with the bobbin so there’s no wobbling involved. This boat shuttle makes weaving that much faster and even more enjoyable!

Electric drill as bobbin winder

“I’m more interested in what I discover than what I invent.” – Paul Simon

“Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.” – James Russell Lowell

Ran over to the Handweavers Guild Sale this morning. Scored:

1) Autographed copy of North American Dye Plants by Anne Bliss ($7). Over 200 pages of info about using plants in hand-dyeing

2) A copy of Handweaver’s Pattern Book by Marguerite Davison, revised edition. ($12) Pretty much THE basic book of handweaving

Definitely worth the trip!

“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.” — C.S. Lewis

The Great Western Alpaca Show is coming up at the end of this month in Denver. 500 stalls worth of alpacas from 30+ states. Quite a remarkable show, filled with tons of gorgeous fiber, classes, and the Denver Fiber Fiesta.

Be sure to make room on your calendar to go if you’re in the area. And if you’re a fiber artist who has something in Alpaca, you can consider donating it to the Silent Auction. Get your name (and your crafts) out there for other folks to see.

“It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.” – Albert Einstein

The loom cover is now complete and a relative success.

Completed loom cover and accessories holder

I had barely, barely, barely enough fabric to cover the loom using the Martha Stewart curtains from ARC. If you decide to make one of these for yourself, measure your loom ahead of time (height, width, and length both top and bottom). Then bring your measuring tape with you to the thrift shop so you can measure the curtains – or coverlet, sheets, or blanket – whatever you choose to purchase.

I was a little too generous when measuring for the seam allowance, so guard against that. You only need 1/2 inch for the seam allowance, and it may turn out that you need that extra inch or two somewhere else. I ended up using the scraps – top of one set of curtains and bottom of another set – to make a fabric accessories envelope for the other loom pieces. I’ve secured both the cover and the fabric envelope with large snaps, which I sewed on by hand. Overall, it took my brain a long time to figure this project out, but I’ve ended up with a solid, washable cover to protect the loom from sunlight – plus a holder for the spare reeds and other loom parts. Let me know if you try this!

“I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living.” – John D. Rockefeller