Monday, November 17, 2008

Altered Couture Magazine Project

Only 38 days until Christmas - are you ready? Or are you still looking for that perfect gift for a special friend? If so, you might be interested in my newest designs I created for Altered Couture Magazine Winter 2009. These simple accessories are both trendy and practical, and best yet - they're made from things you probably already have on hand! For a sneak peek, visit their web-site My designs are on their home page, the "Coming up Roses" set. My daughter was the inspiration for this sweet set, and I kept it quick and easy to make! Enjoy!

SAFF Fiber Show

In October I attended my first BIG fiber show in Asheville, NC. What a treat! I signed up to be a helper in a class about painting wool fibers, and that was a great experience. The teacher was wonderful, as was the class; we learned all about dyes, painting the wool top, the kind of stove to use to steam the fibers, etc. I even got to join the class in dyeing my own wool fibers! (see photo at left) And it was pretty interesting to be the helper as opposed to the teacher; I spent much of my morning carrying buckets of water from the barn to the little overhang where we did our dyeing outside...good thing I'm a country girl! ^_^

I also made a special needle-felted wrap to wear to the show (see photo at left.) I made the wrap from black wool, then needle-felted my original tree design to the back in Merino wool fibers. I then added silk leaves I hand-dyed with some luscious Colorhue dyes I got from June Colburn at one of the shows - these dyes are great, they're so easy to use! And I love the wrap, I've worn it so much since I made it, it looks great on every body and is so warm and flow-y!

Nuno-felted Scarf Class

In October I taught a nuno-felted scarf class to a group of very talented gals from Winston-Salem, Faith and Mooresville. Sara was kind enough to host the class in her spacious home,and we were fortunate to have beautiful, sunny weather. I brought kits for the girls to choose from in an array of colors (see photo at left) in hand-dyed silk chiffon, merino wool fibers and some novelty fibers, and the girls also brought a few of their own fibers to individualize their scarves. We rocked and rolled all morning, and by early afternoon, each student had a beautiful hand-felted silk scarf to wear with pride! At left is a photo of Gail and Sara modeling their gorgeous scarves. Well-done, ladies!

Fall Show Update

Wow!What a crazy, busy, wonderful fall it's been with so many great quilting and sewing shows, workshops and classes! I can't believe it's been 3 months since I last blogged, but that just shows how hectic things have been around here. I was fortunate enough to be a part of several awesome shows up and down the east coast, both vending and teaching, and I couldn't have done it without my wonderful friends Alby and Debbie. They were with me keeping the road hot and helping me through thick and thin, setting up and tearing down booths and meeting all sorts of interesting people in between, even a couple of 4:00 a.m. fire drills! We dined with Carol Cypher one night, the very talented fiber and bead artist, and she was so down-to-earth and full of advice on all sorts of things like writing, getting published, etc. We had the opportunity to hear Marianne Fons speak, and how she and her friend Liz Porter got started years ago with kids in tow but with a dream...sound familiar? We met June Colburn and marvelled at her soft-spoken words of wisdom, and we drooled over Sue Spargo's gorgeous hand-dyed wool. All my students were amazing, from the sweet little 10-yr. old girl who made the most perfect wool beads, to the young lady who proudly sculpted her "pac-man" beads with big wide smiles, from the beginnig sewer who painstakingly worked hard on her Santa, and was so pleased she bought kits to make more for Christmas gifts, to the expert dollmaker who put her own spin on her Needle-felt Santa, and all the girls who skipped dinner to make big luscious needle-felted lily pins and proudly wore them to the show the next day - my thanks to you for making the shows so very, very special!

A highlight for me at one of the shows was when some of my creations were modeled by "volunteers" during a wool lecture I gave; a huge thank you to those who graciously gave their time to show off my designs in front of everyone at the show! My wearable art never looked so good!

I also had the opportunity to create a special sample showcasing my talents for the Faculty Display at some of the shows. I created an original wall hanging called "Wallflowers", shown at left. First, I drew a stone wall, then created the wall from different shades of Woolfelt appliqued to a dark wool background. Then, I needle-felted all sorts of different kinds of orchids separately, and I nuno-felted orchid lips from hand-dyed silk and merino wool (you can see them all lined up.) I sewed the lips to the petals, and after appliqueing stems and leaves to the wall, sewed the dimensional orchid blossoms on top. I needle-felted dark brown wool "dirt" in between the Woolfelt "stones", and needle-felted harmonizing fibers to the lower part of the quilt to represent the decaying at the bottom of the wall (in contrast to the beauty of the flowers.) The final touch was some green yarn "Spanish moss" stitched randomly on the quilt. Lots of research went into those orchids, I'm telling you, I felt like an orchid expert after finishing that quilt!

I also had some "orchid lips" left over, I had made a few extras so I could pick and choose my favorites, but I hate to waste anything. So I made a little flower pin out of the leftover lips, sewing them together for flower petals with a button in the middle. See the photo at left, amongst the peaches from our tree (yes, I finally got around to picking those peaches!)

Altogether, it was a most exhausting, exhilarating autumn, and I look forward to returning to the shows and both seeing old friends and to making some new ones._