Demo Time

In September I do two demonstrations at local country fairs. They are a lot of fun and we get to meet lots of people. Wet felting is not the easiest to do as a day long demo so I take lots of sample to put in the display and explain it to interested people.


I usually take my drop spindle but one day I did Kumihimo ( Japanese braiding) on a meridi.

richmond bernadette and i richmond me on the meridi

Jan did some weaving on a table loom and Carlene was on the peg loom.

Carp jan 2 Carp Carlene and the peg loom

Alison( trying to keep warm on a freezing morning) spinning  and Bernadette combing some fiber to spin next to the lace maker.

Carp Allison richmond Bernadette and a lacemaker

As usual there were other things to see.

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There was some felting in the Agriculture competition building.

richmond hand crafts

I zoomed in to show you . The Santa and dog and the two dogs.

richmond needle felt

Doing Demonstrations is really fun. Anyone else do them?


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Win a New Knitting Book!

We were contacted by Sellers Publishing again to see if we would review a couple of their new books. They generously offered to have a book giveaway without limiting it to a certain area. We have no connection with Sellers Publishing but they have provided a free book for us to review. So if you’d like to win a copy of the book reviewed below, please leave a comment on this post. I would appreciate it if you also shared this post on social media as well.

The first book to review is called Baby & Me Knits by Celeste Young. I will review the second book next week so keep your eyes peeled! Since I am not a knitter, I had a couple of my knitting friends, Sally and Paula, give me some input on the book.

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Here is what the publisher has to say about the book:

Baby & Me Knits (978-1-4162-4541-4) features 20 hand-knit designs for every season and style. Knitters of all levels will find inspiration in author and new mom Celeste Young’s patterns — simple knit and purl textures that give way to subtle lace, cables, and stranded colorwork, each accompanied by clear instructions and how-to photography. Young’s combination of modern, washable yarns and stitch patterns are sized for newborns through 24 months of age. The blankets, sweaters, and coordinating accessories for baby and mom are perfect for that keepsake knitted gift from a friend or family-member. “The patterns in this book are designed to work individually and in sets, perfect for creating heirlooms for your family or special gifts for an amazing parent and child,” said author Celeste Young. “I have left plenty of room for interpretation in my designs so that you can add your personal flair to them. Choose your own color scheme for the Sweet Berries set, for example, or knit simple or wildly striped socks and fingerless gloves from the Bright Stripe set, or increase your yarn gauge and repeat count on any of the baby blankets to create a full-sized throw. It is my hope that Baby & Me Knits will introduce you to fun, new techniques and empower you to be creative as you make these sweet knitted pieces.”

Baby and Me-1

From my knitting friends:

This book has beautiful photos and appealing patterns and designs. It is primarily for babies 3 to 24 months old with a few coordinating accessories for mom! The difficulty key and needle size information right at the beginning of the book is very helpful and information about interpreting it your own way is great to take the ideas further.

Baby and Me-2

Directions were clearly written and easy to understand. The photos and breakdown of specific techniques and tips was very helpful. Each of the projects had specific technique photos for a certain portion of the project. The book assumes you know the basics of knitting but these additional explanations will certainly help a beginner to progress to more difficult projects. Each of the projects is marked as to how difficult it is. These are fairly simple patterns using cables, stockinette stitch and pattern work. Enlarged charts are a plus! It’s good book for a beginning knitter and new Moms.

Baby and Me-3

There are projects for Mom and Baby and the authors has suggestions for ways to increase the designs to make a standard size throw instead of a baby blanket. All patterns call for Cascade worsted weight yarn but any worsted weight yarn could be used. It would have been helpful to list types of yarn you could use for each project instead of listing a specific yarn. But all in all, we all thought this was a great book. It would be perfect for a knitting mom to be, new moms or grandmothers or even if you knit and want to create a keepsake gift for  a new baby. I took a look at the Amazon listing for this book and it already has four 5 star reviews.

Leave a comment and you could win a free copy of this charming book. The giveaway is open until October 17th. I will be announcing the winners of both of the books on October 18th. Please make sure to have an e-mail attached to your comment. I won’t be able to contact anyone who comments anonymously. Then Sellers Publishing will send the book to you directly anywhere in the world.

Posted in Book Review, Giveaways | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Dyeing for Special Projects

On the Felting and Fiber Forum, I had mentioned doing some dyeing for projects and Zed encouraged me to write about it.

I’ve had a couple projects in mind that I needed specific colors in silk and wool and needed to mix colors to get the shades I needed.

The first one was for my daughter in law for a wall hanging.  More about this next week. This one I used a dye bath for silk gauze, silk roving and merino.  I also threw in some Corriedale to have on hand. I washed the silk gauze in synthropol an soaked it and the silk roving overnight in a vinegar bath.  I soaked the wools in a vinegar bath for about a half hour before dyeing.  I didn’t need too mix colors for this job. It was an Idye mix I had made a couple of years ago.  I wasn’t sure if it would still be ok, but it worked well.

I was pleased with the results and got the exact shade I needed.










The second project I wanted to try mixing browns,  greys and a green with acid dyes for another project. Here are a couple of my color tests.  I’m not sure where the rest went I had quite a few formulas I tried.



I used saran wrap, a squirt bottle and a sponge brush to apply the mixed dyes to the pre-soaked silk pieces.

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I used merino pre-soaked in vinegar in baggies and steam for this one.  I thought I had saturated the fibers enough and rubbed the acid dye into the fiber.  However, while it was in the steamer and left overnight the dye settled in spots.  I expected the mottling on the silk which was fine.

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However, all was not lost.  After running the grays through the drum carder the colors were perfect.


Stay tuned for more on this project later.  I ended up only using the gray wools, then making prefelt for the project.  I will have to think of another project to use the silks and the browns.  I did use some of the green wool as well which was fine as it was.

I find it interesting to mix colors to get a specific colors, some times it works well, others not so much.  How has your experience been mixing dye colors?



Posted in Dyeing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

4th Quarter Studio Challenge

It’s a bit early I know, but it was either that or a bit late! All our challenges this year have been on the theme of colour. Ruth’s challenge for the first quarter focused on Colour Theory, and we learnt about the colour wheel, hue, value and intensity.

colour wheel by LynAnn’s 2nd quarter Challenge was to upload a photo to different Palette generator websites to create a colour scheme to work from.

scshot 2 cropMarilyn’s 3rd quarter Challenge expanded on this and the challenge was to use dyeing or blending to create the colours the palette generators suggested.

2015-06-17 14.30.08-1So, what’s my challenge going to be for the 4th quarter? Well, after all the very colourful previous challenges and entries, I thought how about ‘no colour’ i.e. grayscale. Then I remembered Teri had messaged us with a suggestion about a study in shades and tones, and she sent us this link:

So that’s when I thought ‘Monochrome’ would be better than ‘grayscale’, it’s similar, and limiting enough to really be a challenge and get the brain cells working, but also has lots of scope for potential.

It’s upto you how you interpret it, and how far you take it. For example, you could use some of the things we learned in the first quarter and choose a colour of wool to make tints and shades by blending it with various amounts of white and black wool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOr you could use photo editing software to colourise a photo:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen upload it to a palette generator site:

pallette fxAnd use the palette to create a monochrome piece of felt or fibre artwork, or maybe even have a go at blending or dyeing the shades from the palette too. Those are just a few ideas, but simply the challenge for this quarter is ‘Monochrome’. Have fun!

Posted in Challenges | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

The Red Hat

Last time I showed you the buttons I bought at Fiberfest to go on a hat I had made. I wanted to make something little different using the same resist as for the bubble hats.

I thought I took a picture of the hat on the resist but my camera says I didn’t. So here is a  purple hat I did last year to show you the starting shape.purple before bubbles

I pleated the sloped pointy side. I worked the edges of the pleats and secured them tightly with strong thread.

red hat tied up

After it was dry I took it with me to the show to find the buttons for it and did the sewing while I was in my booth. I attached the buttons threading through all the pleats to make sure everything stayed the way I wanted. People seem to like to see you working on some finishing. Nothing that is to involved because then they don’t like to disturb you if you look to busy.

red pleated hat

Here is a friend of mine trying it on. She looked quite good in it I thought. Shortly after that another lady tried it on and it sold.  the lady who bought it wore the pleating at the back and it looked quite good. I had a friend quickly take the picture above so I would have one.  If I can find some time I will make some more in this style.

red hat with buttons

Posted in Design, Fairs and Shows, Felted Hats, Wet Felting | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Using the Screen Printed Rusted Paper

I showed you last week how we made screen printed rusted designs. I haven’t used any of the fabric yet but I did make some greeting cards from the paper. I like to have greeting cards on hand so if I need one, I can personalize it and have it ready in minutes.

All the Rusted Cards

I use standard blank off white greeting cards as the base. The rusted backgrounds are 4″ x 6″ so they fit nicely on the 5″ x 7″ cards. I then had some left over pieces that I had done some leaf printing on several years ago. The prints didn’t turn out all that well on some of them so these were the left over bits. And they seemed to  match nicely with the rust.

Rusted Card 1

Here’s an example of one that I added two pieces of leaf print paper. I use matte medium to glue everything down.

Rusted Card 1 with Details

And then I took a glitter gel pen and outlined some areas. I usually leave the card like this, and then when I need a card, I can add words to it if I want.

Birthday Card

This is an example of a card I made for hubby’s birthday. It is all leaf printed paper without any rust as I made it back in August.

And here is a little closer look at the rest of the cards I made. I really like having the square hole edges of the journal paper included. So that is how I used some of my rusty paper. The rest went back into my journal and I am sure other techniques will be added on top at some point.

Posted in Mixed Media | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival 2015

Last year Cathy (Luvswool) and I attended the Midwest Fiber Fair and were disappointed there were no live sheep.  So, this year we decided to attend the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival in Jefferson, WI.  Since we weren’t sure how big the Festival was and it was a two hour drive one way, we booked rooms for that Saturday night.

They had an extensive schedule of events and classes.  Since we were interested in the Stock and Whistle Dog Trials, that’s where we headed first.  We were under the impression they had started at 7 a.m. and we arrived around noon.  We waited for almost an hour on a cold bleacher with the wind blowing like mad while they had meeting and set up the field (obviously they didn’t start early.)  Fortunately, a gentleman with a headset and speaker was walking around answering questions and keeping up apprised of the activity.  The first up were the more experienced trainers and dogs.  It was hard to get good pictures because of the distance and the fence. The event itself lasted less than 10 minutes.  Still unsure of what we were seeing, we listened to others around us say the trial went well.




Cold and hungry we headed for the food stands.  After a quick lunch we perused an auction and saw a bit of the Make it with Wool competition and saw the Wonderful Wisconsin Quilts and Wall Hangings Exhibit.



There were two long buildings packed with over 130 vendors.  However, it was fairly crowded and dark so we didn’t take a lot of pictures.  Most everything was fiber, tools, and some finished goods.  We ran across this display and thought of Zed who has been thinking about fiber packs.  We thought this was an interesting way to market a variety of mixed fibers.

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We even found a a copy of Ruth’s book on a display shelf.


There were contests and displays of all sorts and dozens of classes.  We visited the class building but weren’t able to access it.  They also had a Walk and Knit Relay challenge, and a Kids Fiber Camp in addition to judging for youth activities and sheep.


We had to visit the Lambing Barn, but passed on the Carcass competition. Here are the lambs born that morning.20150912_132256

There was also a Hall of Breeds, a couple of breeds we hadn’t heard of.  But we did get to see many breeds we were familiar with. Although there was an Icelandic sheep there, a vendor told us she had just been to Iceland and our sheep look nothing like the real ones. Huh.

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The shearing demonstration was next. The gentleman doing the shearing gave us an explanation as to why the moccasin shoes he was wearing were important to the shearing process.  Having his feet close to the ground and animal,  he could easily feel the slightest movement of the sheep between his legs to make adjustments as he sheared.  He has been shearing for 38 years and does this all over the world. When asked how long it takes to shear one sheep, he answered in averages depending on the type of sheep, size and location.  Evidently, shearing in New Zealand is quick.  Sorry about the angle of the pictures we didn’t know when we sat down what view we’d have.

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Really the whole Festival was indeed about sheep.  There were even classes for sheepherders.  By the time we got around the whole fair, we had to make one more run through the vendor buildings.  We couldn’t go home empty handed.

Cathy bought a handmade broom, black silk tussah, camel/silk roving, white Navajo churro, linen embroidery threads, hand-dyed silk thread,  and an eco-dyeing book.


I bought grey and white Navajo churro, black corriedale and black silk tussah.


We were glad we had rooms for the night.  We had dinner in Whitewater and returned home in the morning satisfied we had seen plenty of sheep.



Posted in Fairs and Shows, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments