March 14, 2009

bits & bites of a d.i.y. life

I've been having a lot of fun lately experimenting and growing my skills. A friend and I had a great time last weekend doing some dyeing. I taught her the kool-aid technique, and I also got to experiment with using food coloring as dye for the first time. It was definately a success; check out the skein I dyed below:

This yarn comes from our local mill in Carstairs, which is a working museum and uses historical equipment to produce yarns and fibers. I haven't yet had the chance to visit there, but am definately making plans to go there in the summer (check out custom woolen mills here to find out more). This was my first time dyeing using food coloring, and it was sure a lot of fun. I used vinegar as a dye fixative; therefore making it a fairly non-toxic, earth-friendly process (although I definately think twice about using and consuming any sort of artificial food coloring seeing it's pungency in dyeing). I love the vibrant colors you can get with professional dyes, but I don't like their dangerous ingredients. I have been working with food dyes for a while now and I am very happy with the results. I just have some final tweaking to do with the technique, including making sure the yarn is color and lightfast, and I will soon be offering vibrant skeins such as this in my shop!
Next, I was lucky enough to be "spotted" on indiefinds a few days ago. Indiefinds is a neat little site that highlights one-of-a-kind handmade items. My Mountain Girl crocheted womens booties were highlighted:
I also (finally) found time this week to participate in a project called Thursday Sweet Treat; where a theme is posted every Friday and then the people who choose to showcase their work post their new creations on the following Thursday. This past week's theme was Artistic Safari, you can check out the blog post with all the wonderful submissions here. Lucky for me, I had just went on a fiber run and had a whole rainbow of fibers and colors to choose from. So I made this little tiger handspun beaded art yarn:
Which was so much fun!!! I finally got to use the black alpaca I had gotten from the farm way back in the fall! And it was my first time putting beads into the yarn, which I think turned out wonderfully. I've just opened yet another door in spinning it seems- adding bling! Back in university, I used to make and sell a lot of jewelry, but I don't make too much anymore. But... I've still got lots of beads left, so I thought, what a wonderful way to use them! I'm hoping to participate in Thursday Sweet Treat again, the next theme is Vibrant Chaotic Rainbows- sounds like spring to me!

Next, and I am *so happy* about this, is that I'm cleaning my studio. It's gotten ito such a terrible state (the nice thing about spinning and crocheting is that it can be done almost anywhere you can bring your tools, so I've been avoiding my studio). It seems the room has turned into an unfinished project wasteland. I don't know about you, but as an artist, I have a really hard time throwing potential art material away. I always have good intentions, but there just never is enough time to follow through on everything. So, day by day, I'm cleaning, purging, and organizing the space, and I have to admit, having that extra bit of sunshine is sure helping- I was so happy about springing forward last weekend! So hopefully that will clear out my mental studio as well, and more inspiration will start to shine through!

So, in the spirit of green spring cleaning, here's a word cloud to ponder (and if you haven't played on wordle yet, you definately should go and try!)

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