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The Year Ahead

The Year Ahead

I’m ahead of myself this year, usually I start by planning to be more organised, but I bought some new tubs a few weeks ago and cleared up a few piles off my desk! And yesterday I sorted through a large box of fabric from the well being centre and put it more tidily into different bags and labelled them. One of the bags is lots of ready cut strips for making experimental nuno samplers. There are lots of unusual fabrics in there for beginners to try before they pick up any ideas of which fabrics ‘work’ and which ‘don’t’.

One of the first things I need to do this year is write a constitution for our group. We have our own light hearted rules, such as ‘You’re not allowed to be disappointed, we don’t make failures, we make unintentional discoveries’! but maybe we’ll keep that as our motto ūüôā

Looking back at the things I made last year, I saw a lot of things I started to learn, but never really progressed with. One ‘unintentional discovery’ I made was that I quite like freestyle crochet:

I would like to learn how to do it properly though, so I can maybe make something, or at least freestyle a lot better! Another thing I didn’t really progress with is spinning. I did spend a few days practising and made some yarn I liked:

But I think trying to spin some Superwash, which spins about as well as it felts, put me off a bit:

I want to learn to spin on a wheel so I can knit some really cool jumpers, or at least a funky hat, but not being able to do a good job of sewing up is quite limiting:

And only really being able to knit with chunky pencil roving on fat needles is too:

So, I’d like to learn to knit better, or more, or just differently! And I’m really looking forward to the Surface Design challenges this year, I’ve already started thinking about mine for the 4th Quarter. If you missed Ruth’s post the other day, have a look here. Have you made any plans for the year ahead?

Pandagirl’s Year End Round Up 2017

Pandagirl’s Year End Round Up 2017

I’m always amazed at what I accomplished at the end of year. This year I took a few classes in order to expand my creativity in addition to experimenting on¬† my own. I also tried to use up more materials and finish some UFOs.

Here is a bedside case for odds and ends made with some merino inside and unknown fiber batt with silk embellishment.

Experimenting with different types of yarn to make a table runner.

Our First Quarter Challenge – Fauvism.

Weaving then felting.

A Valentine gift for granddaughter Lisa.

 

Teri Berry’s Snail hat class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing and hanging an eco print.                                                  Crochet around wire bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Framing the felted weaving.

I did a lot of experimenting with crochet stitches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practicing for Ruth’s Free Motion Embroidery class.

Crochet hats for my granddaughter and her new premature brother Ken.

A dimensional potholder.

Learning more crochet stitches.

Making a crochet hook case from a crochet sample.

A bowl for the Second quarter Challenge – Celtic

Using yarn on a resist for a vase cover.

Adding dimension to the hummingbird/tiger lily picture.

Crocheting scrubbies.

Felt and crochet earrings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crochet beaded bowl with stiffener.

A Pumpkin for Ken.

The Third Quarter Challenge – Edo Period; felt and hand embroidery Sakura.

Ribbon embroidery and framing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playing with thickened dye for Ruth’s class on felt.

 

Finishing  a case from UFO pile and FME Butterfly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maneki-Neko for Third Quarter Challenge Edo Period.

Framing the Rooster.

More stencil play with acrylic and thickened dye.

The Fourth Quarter Challenge — Suprematist

Penguin’s Poinsettia Holiday card.

A couple of scarves for my daughter in laws parents in Japan where it’s as cold as Chicago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I want to let everyone know I am taking a leave of absence to focus on my health and family.  I will be around just not posting weekly.  We have a lot of talented artists that will be filling in starting with Tracey Thompson next week.

I want to thank everyone for helping out to give me this time.¬†¬† If you or someone you know has something to share — it doesn’t have to be felt but anything fiber related including paper, please contact me or one of the other moderators on the forum and we’ll get you on the schedule.

I hope everyone has a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!  Happy Creating in 2018!

Learning to Crochet

Learning to Crochet

I’ve had tradies in for weeks, so haven’t had a chance to felt. Having a rare bit of quiet time the other day, I thought ‘why not give crocheting another go?’ After about 8 videos, I remembered why! I did manage to make some things you could loosely describe as chains, though:

I thought felt and knitting were hard to photograph, until I tried to photograph crochet! All these photos have been redone at least 3 times. I thought I might have better ‘luck’ if I used some commercial yarn instead of my handspun superwash which spun about as well as it felted. I also looked for a better video, and finally found someone who spoke slowly enough for me to understand and had a really clear explanation:

So with some commercial Aran wool and a new video, I made a neater single chain:

The thing I’d had most trouble with on other videos was their explanation of how to do the next row, which stitch was the ‘second stitch’ etc. Luckily, Lesson 2 was SO clear, I did it first time:

My samples weren’t perfect, but much better than my first chains!

I thought I’d try it with the pencil roving I was using for knitting:

But, what now? I don’t know what the next part is called so couldn’t find a video for it. How do you do a 3rd row? Turn it over and do the same thing? It didn’t look the same, but I gave it a go:

Is that right, how it’s meant to look? If you have any tips for what I need to know next, I’d be grateful! So, wanting to keep practising my new ‘skill’, but not having a clue, I thought I’d freestyle it:

Yeah, that is some kind of small crochet bowl! I wondered if I might be better at bigger crocheting, like I am with chunky knitting. So yesterday, I made myself a chunky hook, here it is next to the size 4 one I was using:

It needs a bit more sanding and maybe a bit of beeswax or something, but I had a go and made a chunky sample:

I am now going to enjoy the first peace and quiet for weeks, by clearing a space to do some felting! Any crochet tips greatly appreciated!!

More Crochet Adventures

More Crochet Adventures

I took up Lyn’s challenge to crochet a wool bowl then felt it.¬† I got as far as making a small bowl.¬† I haven’t had time to felt it yet, but will show you the results when I do.¬† It’s a little floppy now, but should be firmer after felting.

Then I’ve continued to try new stitches.¬† Here is the Box stitch which is alike on both sides.

The Crocodile Scale stitch was a bit of a challenge but  definitely has interesting dimension.  It looks like little tongues or leaves, too.

Of course, I had to try a hexagon, this one has a flower center.

Spring is finally here in the Midwest, so I couldn’t resist the Tulip stitch.¬† Here it is in one color.

 

Then I tried another Tulip stitch and learned how to change colors. It looks entirely different. I decided to finish it with the same stitching as the bottom.

 

Here is the back.

The front really looks like like mini tulips.

My sister Carol’s ewe Dusty recently had a new lamb.¬† 13 lbs. 12 oz!

Happy Spring! (For those of you that are experiencing it now.)

More Crochet Textures

More Crochet Textures

I continue to be fascinated with the variety of textures that be created with crochet.

While some look similar there are subtle variations that make them unique.

This is the Crunch stitch.  It is a tight pattern that looks similar on both sides. I especially like it with the shiny yarn.

The next two are the Spider stitch. Both were made with the same hook, but because of the difference in yarn, look slightly different.

The Raised Treble Diagonal stitch.  I completed this sample with the same first row just to give it a finished look.  The back of this one is plain.

 

Another favorite is the Primrose stitch or maybe its the color.

 

The Aligned Cobble stitch has two different sides. Its been overcast here, so the photos aren’t the greatest.¬† The second one on the dark background is the back.

 

The Textured Combo stitch has an interesting texture and is the same both front and back.

 

So, my crochet adventure continues.

 

Finishing a Vase Cover

Finishing a Vase Cover

Last year I made a couple of vase covers using hand dyed Domestic 56 wool from Cathy (Luvswool).  Normally, I like the bright colors, but I really liked these subtle natural colors. Here is front and back.

But it seemed like it needed something. So, it has been sitting in the UFO pile waiting for some inspiration on how to finish it.

A few weeks ago when I wrote about crochet, Lyn provided a link to make a rose. https://feltingandfiberstudio.com/2017/03/19/discovering-textures-in-crochet/

So, I tried it. It was very easy, thanks Lyn!

Then of course, I had to learn to make leaves and a stem.

When I laid it on the vase cover, I really liked it.

Then I sewed it on.  Here it is finished.

What UFOs have you finished recently?

Shaping up the Crochet

Shaping up the Crochet

Now that I’ve learned the crochet basics, I’ve challenged myself to follow instructions to learn to make shapes.

I guess I’m really thinking spring because I first tried flowers using two different methods.¬† I like the yellow one better since the hole is less noticeable.

A little fancier flower which wasn’t as hard as I thought.

Then a circle.

Feeling more confident I did a triangle motif. Since I’m using medium weight yarn it ended up larger than I expected and kind of floppy.¬† I may try again with a smaller hook and tighter yarn.

Of course, I needed to try  a heart.

And my favorite shape an octagon.

By accident in making an octagon,¬† I made a nonagon (a nine sided polygon) which I didn’t know existed.¬†¬† There is a cool animation of how a nonogon is calculated here. It’s not perfectly balanced, but I like it.

All of these were made with combinations of the basic stitches.¬† It was interesting re-learning how to follow instructions to create these shapes.¬† I thought the videos would be better, but found I kept referring to written instruction. Probably because I could reread instead of rewinding. That is if the written instructions are accurate which in a couple cases they weren’t.¬† I did a lot of tearing out and redoing, but that’s how we learn.

Have you tried something new recently?

 

Relearning to Crochet

Relearning to Crochet

I’ve been trying to think of projects that weren’t labor intensive since I’m having back problems again.¬† My son and his family gave me a set of ergonomic crochet hooks for my birthday.¬† Then for some reason I started getting crochet posts in my Facebook news feed. I’ve been intrigued with some more complicated textures and dimensional stitches.¬† But I haven’t crocheted in years and figured I’d start with the basics.

I do have a book on crochet, but the Internet is loaded with tons of videos that keep calling me.

I’ve been practicing, but not have gotten my tension mojo just right.¬† So, bear with me. For these samples I used a medium weight (worsted) acrylic yarn I had on hand with a 5 mm, (UK 6, US H8 hook.)

Next to making the chain (ch) for a sample, the Single Crochet (sc) is one of most basic stitches.

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Next I tried the Double Crochet (dc).

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Then I made a sample with the Half Double Crochet (hdc) which I don’t remember ever seeing. A little more intricate and I liked the added texture.

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The Triple Crochet (tc) is more open and less dimensional.

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Then finally, the Double Triple Crochet (dtc.)  Very open and airy.

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While they aren’t perfect and I’m getting the tension a little more consistent with daily practice, I’m far from making a project.¬† I try a new stitch everyday to keep my hands on fiber and learn something new.¬† Which I’ve learned helps spark creativity when you learn a new skill.

Have you tried something new lately?

Easing into the Third Quarter Challenge

Easing into the Third Quarter Challenge

I’m working on some projects for the Third Quarter Challenge, but had completed this project earlier which also falls into the Second Quarter Challenge.

While going through some old craft boxes, I found a piece of crochet I did many, many moons ago as a young woman.¬† I set it aside with my felting supplies.¬† Every once in a while I’d pick it up and set it on some roving or prefelt, unsure what I wanted to do with it.

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It was definitely acrylic, so I used a small tail on a prefelt when I was making samples and it felt in very nicely.¬† However, because it has such great dimension I didn’t want to lose that either.¬† Finally, I made some gray batts with merino and corriedale and decided that’s what I’d do and use a resist under the center so I wouldn’t lose that nice dimension.

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I purposely left the center open so that would be firmly attached.

Here is the result:

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I don’t know why this one looks orange.¬† Lighting I guess.¬† But you can see where some of the gray migrated up through crochet piece.20160609_123520_001

My next dilemna was what to do with it.¬† I tried it over a small pillow, but didn’t like the way it pushed the design up.¬† Then I tried a couple of pre-made square frames.¬† But I didn’t like them either.¬† The frames were either too wide, the wrong color or not big enough.

There was something lacking.¬† I just couldn’t put my finger on it.¬† Then I tried stitching a design around it.¬† That gave it a little balance, but I’m still not sure.

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I may take it to a professional framer and have something like this done.¬† I tried a new program — Ribbet to super impose a frame.¬† I know the top and bottom are¬† cut off a little but it was just to see if I liked it.

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Or this?

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What do you think?

At least now I have a piece of my crafting history preserved and not stuck away in a box.

The Results are in…

The Results are in…

In an effort to evaluate our marketing plan and see if we were meeting our Felt and Fiber Forum Members needs, we conducted a member and guest survey May 20 though 27.

Overall, the results were good in terms of the satisfaction of our members.  There are a few things we will be working on to make some improvements to enhance the site and information available to members.

Our first question¬† was “What Brought you to the Felt and Fiber Studio forum/Blog?”¬† Since we are an online community, it was important to know how people find us.

forum

I added invitation to the list on the graph because several comments we had included that as an option we hadn’t offered on the questionnaire.

For those members who found us on an online search, half of the respondents chose “wet felting” as their search criteria, 25% “fiber,” and 25% used “needle felting.” Other comments included — felting, fibre, fleece,¬† and wool roving.

93% of the respondents said they were satisfied with the interaction on the forum. Sometimes was the response for 7%.¬† The comments for “Why not” were,¬† “I don’t feel I have much to contribute to the conversations, but find them interesting” and “I check in occasionally, but not regularly.”

Meknittingmbers (79%) feel valued.  65% feel their interests are well represented. Friendly and helpful members rated 93%.  Comments requested more information on spinning, weaving, crochet, etc.

 

 

One of the most interesting answers for me was the activities members are looking for on the forum.

activities

Comments included “Mixed media is more interesting to me,” and “online classes.”

class

Participation would be higher if we were able to give our members more time.¬† 100% of the respondents checked this off.¬† What this tells me is that those regular members somehow make time to visit, while others pop in occasionally when they have a few minutes timeavailable.¬† Giveaways and classes were also considerations at 8% each.¬† “A larger membership with increased posts would naturally prompt me to respond more frequently” was a surprising comment for this question.¬† We’d love to have more members participate, if only we could find a way to give them more time!

 

92% of Forum members also subscribe to the Blog.  Again time was mentioned in the comments as to why members did not belong to both.

One of the reasons I wanted to do the survey was to see how we could get our members to help us increase our membership and participation.  Here were the results:

promotingAgain there is that power of “word of mouth.”

I was also curious how people felt about the lack of advertising since we make an effort to keep the site uncluttered and supportive of the purpose of the forum without compromising the integrity of the site.¬† 71% liked not having advertising.¬† 29% had no opinion.¬† However, the comments were revealing — quality fiber related vendors would be welcome. Others commented that the sponsorship banner was a good idea.

What does all this mean?

Generally, it means for those members who responded,  The Felt & Fiber Studio Forum/Blog is doing a good job as a friendly place to share most things fiber enthusiasts care about.  The information gives us a few directions to improve or make changes that would benefit our members and, hopefully, engage our current members to help attract new members and other ways such as Search Engine Optimization clues to drive more online traffic our way.

Can we improve?  Of course!  There are things we will be doing in the future to offer more of what our members want to see and do.  In addition, we will provide some material to promote the forum for anyone who wants to help.

help

In the mean time, keep telling your friends about us and come by often to share what you’ve been working on with us, offer some tips or let us know how we’re doing.

Our thanks to everyone who took the time to complete the survey!

We hope to see you all on the Forum soon! http://feltandfiberstudio.proboards.com

 

 

 

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