Monday, October 26, 2009

Inspiration: Mandy Greer

I want to showcase Mandy Greer, who has without a doubt become one of my all time favorite artists. Her Fiber Performance Art goes beyond inspiring thrills me, literally gives me goose bumps. I find myself lost in the images of her work for hours. I read every article and piece written about her that comes up in search engines, and it's still not enough. I dare say I could easily become obsessed. When I dream about the direction of my own art, I find myself wanting to follow in her footsteps, and knit large elaborate installation pieces. She combines my two favorite themes: Nature and Fiber, with a whimsy, fantasy and freedom. These images have been borrowed from her blog. I recommend to everyone interested in Fiber Arts, check it out! These images are from her show Mater Matrix Mother and Medium. The waters of your face. Enjoy!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another Fun Rug

I glimpsed this idea in a book somewhere long ago. It was a pattern for using up scrap yarn I think. So I apologize to the creative person who came up with this spirit I'm giving you credit even though I don't know who you are!!! Thanks!!

This is basically one long strip of stockingnet, about 18 sts. wide on size 7US needle. Although I worked in smaller lengths, more portable, and sewed them together later. It's wrapped around a one inch thick cotton cord and seamed up, then coiled and sewn together. It's fat and luscious! The colored parts are scrap yarn left over from various projects, and the gray is ripped recycled yarn from an old sweater.

This rug is the best! It has become well loved in appearance. I use it as a meditation mat, and sit on it when I'm going to spend a couple hours in front of my book cases searching old magazines for patterns that I've promised to make. Last fall, I threw it into the back of my friends open pickup bed when we went riding in the country to enjoy the scenery!! I have another bag of leftovers started so I can make another one someday!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Blanket of White

Ok, this is funny. We live in a Yurt, and it has a domed sky light on top, in the center, that can be opened and closed with a very long pole. We sleep in the center of the yurt on our king sized bed. So last night Daniel opened the sky dome inorder to keep down the smoke from the woodstove, but he forgot to close it again. This morning I woke up early....and realized that we were covered in a blanket of white! Yes, snow. Huge white flakes were falling down on us through the open dome. It was too early to cope, so I pushed myself further down under the covers, figuring I'd deal with it later. The comforter is still drying!! And this was the view from my front door this morning!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rugs: Past & Present

So here I am at home laid up on the couch. I majorly messed up my back yesterday while I was arranging the shelves and things in my studio. It was bad last night, but nothing like it was this morning when I woke up!!! So I had to cancel my Girl's Day in town today. I'm so bummed, but inorder to cope, I started a project long put off because of Wool Festival.

This is a new rug I'm starting for the yurt. I have a few others that I did back before I started blogging, so since I'm on my butt, this is a good time to blog about those old things too. This is my just started rug, done with the Ten Stitch cicular pattern. I'm using stash yarn that I ripped and recycled from some old heavy duty fisherman/ski sweaters. The yarns are bulky weight and I'm using a size 10.5 US. It's delightfully easy and I'm just going to keep spiraling around with different colors.

These two are little kitchen rugs that I knit out of acrylic yarn, backed with canvas and fringed. They've been great, kept their shape and color...and have been washed alot. I think acrylic belongs in the kitchen! This is the Log Cabin quilt sqare design, found in the book "Knitted Rugs".

I've made two braided rag rugs, and have strips cut for a third. These are made out of recycled cordouroy and velvet. (the combo makes them thick, cushiony and heavyduty) Thanks to my good friend, Jesse, who runs one of the thrift stores in Taos. She set aside many many things for me as they came into her store. That's where alot of my old sweaters came from too! I still had to pay for them, but I got first pick of all the goodies!
This is my first one. I spent so much time drooling over beautiful rugs that I could never afford, and I was determined to have nice rugs for my beautiful wood floor. I've learned that even with grown children, we are extremely hard on rugs!! So I'm glad I never forked out hundreds of dollars!!!

This is the second rag rug I made! I love the colors I had to work with!! I backed them with burlap to keep down the wear.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bella's Mittens

My daughter Saschia is a huge "Twilight" fan. Not my Twilight....the book and movie series. Saschia has all of the books...which she has read and re-read. She also has the books on tape, which she listens to while doing her homework. And of course she's anxiously awaiting the release of the second movie this coming Thanksgiving!! Well, I confess, me too!!! Thanks again to the very best online community ever.....Ravelry provided me with the perfect gift pattern. Thank You to Marielle Henault, who painstakingly put together the pattern for us and provided it for free. Bella's Mittens. Bella is the star of the popular vampire series, and these are a replica of the mittens that she wears in the first movie!! She's gonna love them!!! And I just CO on for another pair for me!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Suri Dreams

I just finished another hug shrug as a Christmas gift for someone special! This great pattern came from Ravelry. Then I used the left over yarn (I bought an extra ball) for a pair of leg warmers. I made these with the hand-dyed Suri Dream, an Alpaca yarn from KnitPicks. This colorway is called "Tiramisu". Both projects used a total of 3 balls. Now, if you haven't tried this yarn yet, I have to say "Just Do It". It's fabulously light and soft. Not even a smidgeon of scratchy and it's just delightful to knit. Wearing it is like have an almost invisible shield of warm against your skin.
The legwarmers. I sewed on the tops of worn out thigh high stockings to give them stay-up power. And then the nylon part I tossed into my candle making supplies! Old nylons are the very best for polishing candles to give them a professional look. I'm always looking for ways to keep my winter layers looking sexy, and I think this works!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

New Members of the Stash

The last thing to mention about WF weekend is the great shopping! Needless to say, I ate from every food booth, and I purchased some of my favorite goat cheese. But then I shopped!!!

I bought two new fleeces....7 pounds plus. I bought a 3 plus pound black fleece and a 4 plus pound gray fleece. The gray one came from a beautiful sheep named Studmuffin. I couldn't resist.
Then the yarn. Yummy new members of the stash!! These yarns are all New Mexico Wool and Alpaca and Mohair blends. Most of these will go into next year's merchandise, but I did buy two skeins of delicious Alpaca Lace Weight in beautiful earthy browns for a special treat just for me!
(pictured left of the purple and above the orange)

I just sent this whole batch home with Twilight. She's going to make these skeins into cute little yarn cakes for me with her swift and ball winder. In trade?? Cookies. I made her one batch of peanut butter/choc. chip cookies for when she picked up the yarn, and she'll get another batch of some other kind upon completion of the yarn!! It's not just that she doesn't bake, and I don't have a ball winder....she knows how much motherly/sisterly love I put into my cookies!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Taos Wool Festival 2009 - the people

I haven't mentioned some of the coolest parts of the Fest which are the live music, the goat cheese stand, the lamb kabobs, the gyros and the almond stand that sells roasted almonds coated in toffee and cinnamon and sugar. The smell of them wafts through the entire grounds and you can't help but get a little paper bag full of the warm nuts!!! And then there are the 30 booths filled with vendors selling raw wool, yummy rovings, and delicious yarns!! But of course the very best is all of the people!! Now I didn't get pics of all of my good friends that came to visit the fest and my booth.....Jezz, Amber, Whitney, Liz, Gayle, Jan, Jesse, JB and numerous others.....but I did get pics of our local Ravelry group and our local knitting/spinning group!!!

This is what our good yarn husbands look like at the end of the long Fest weekend!! Both dressed in their beautiful handknit cabled sweaters.......and Thebes in his handknit kilt hose. These guys rock!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Taos Wool Festival 2009 - the contests

One of the exciting parts of the Wool Fest is the collection of contests. I entered into the "Bag/Container" competition. I decided to enter my green and purple entralac bag because people gave me really positive feedback on it, and it's the one bag that I planned on still using. I didn't really want to sell it. The competition is fierce!! The judging is pretty intense too. They are very thorough and give plenty of positive constructive criticism, which is nice to get from crafters who really know their stuff!! I won Second Place and got a red ribbon!!!

Twilight entered two contests. She entered her Fisherman Shrug that she knit from her own handspun New Mexican wool. She won Third place and recieved a white ribbon!!! She also entered two skeins of her handspun yarn into the spinners contest. They had three categories?? I think. She didn't win, but she got amazingly good feedback and was still thrilled to have entered yarn for the very first time!

Merce had a heck of a time!! She was trying to enter the contest early in the morning, but everytime she grabbed a skein to enter.....someone bought it out of her hands!! LOL But she did finally get one entered!! And it won the Grand Prize in the "Novelty Yarns" contest. She got a giant purple ribbon!!! She also entered one of her pieces into the "Wall Art" contest, and she won First Prize and a beautiful blue ribbon!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Taos Wool Festival 2009 - the booth

There is so much to say and so many pictures, that I'm going to break this up into 3 or 4 posts. I'll begin where every good story does!! In the beginning!! On Friday, Daniel and Gypsy (Merce's husband) went into town and set up our tent and tables for us. Everything was ready to go at 6am when Merce and I arrived on Saturday! It sure was a cold October morning! Here are the pictures of our booth just before the Festival got into full swing!!

This is Merce with all of her Ribbons from past years!!

The felt skull heads are one of the things that Merce is famous for. They sold out before the day was over!! Each one is unique, and some people collect one from every year.