Thursday, September 28, 2006

Felt Bags

Recently I've done a couple of felt bags. I really love to work with fleece and see the result of water, heat and agitation. It's amazing to see what happens.
The first one I did was the "Chicken Skin" bag, as my daughter refers to it. She thinks it looks like a dead chicken. The Feltmakers Ireland Guild was gifted 50 kilos of fibre from a sock knitting company in Dingle. We were all given the opportunity to dig in and use as much as we wanted. Fibre varied from 100% wool (super wash) to wool/synthetic blends. It all needed an under layer of merino to adhere the sock fibre to it. I used a resist on the inside and garbage bin bag for the resist in the handle. It has a cream coloured flap and some leather trim which came from elbow batches. I couldn't find any source for leather pieces in Dublin, so you have to be resourceful. It's a good size and I like the roughness of it.

The second was a brown base with some contrasting red and beige. I did some pre-felt (under cooked felt) pieces and applied them before finishing the felting process. The handles and button clasp was applied at the pre-felt stage too. After the piece was felted, I stitched it randomly with metallic thread and made a button. Sewing the sides and button on, completed the bag. I was really pleased. I'd like to make a large bag with the red and brown combo. I found some beautiful ribbon that has red poppies and a brown background.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Last Bit - I Promise

Ok, here is the last bits of the show. Went to two classes with Isobel and we did a crazy patchwork bag and a felt house class. Had no idea what the Felt House class was, but I love to felt, so bring it on.

The Patchwork bag class was fun, even though I sewed a few pieces on backwards. Oops! The felt house, well I didn't really appreciate what I was seeing until I gave it a bit of a chance and thought of the possibilities for my kids and Christmas decorations. Daughter, Avery thought the house was the best thing from the show when I got home. She immediately furnished it with miniature furniture and people who now reside in the Felt House. Our teacher was very insecure about her choice of projects due to being torn apart the day before with disgruntalled class goers. Boo to them for poor behavior.

Spent the last couple hours on Sunday seeing the bits of the show that I hadn't seen on Saturday. Found an amazing new yarn by Sirdar. Sublime, which it is...Cashmere, Merino and Silk blended into tranquil colours that are very soothing and classic. Bought 3 balls and a pattern book with a lovely waistcoat pattern in it. At last, 2 hours resting our weary shopping bones and getting a bit of knitting in.

While in the presence of Sock Knitting Scholars and after ripping that Self Striping Sock down one more time, I finally got help for my problem and turned the heal at the airport before tucking the sock and needles into the suitcase! YES!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Show - Part 2

We made it to the show on Saturday around 11:00am. I could feel my heart racing. The unknown awaited. Would I find what was on my list? Would I stray before then? Could I control my compulsion for colour, wool, thread, buttons, dye and everything else. Would we be able to see it all? The answer is YES to most. It was a shoppers paradise. Small crowds and lots to see. Taking two workshops today so that will impede the shopping. Will have to be organized. I will succeed!!

This is the community haul after the first day. Not to bad for 5 Knitting Fanatics. Could have been a lot worse. Still one day to go.

This is my haul. Not much I know, but I got what I needed and a few other things. First was the Brown Sheep yarn that I needed to complete a Christmas gift. I was getting very edgy about this as there are next to no vendors or stores in the UK that sell it. I did find one.!I now love this place. Get Knitted had the worsted weight and in the two colours I needed. I was ecstatic!! Now I'm well on my way to finishing. Also bought buttons for another gift, a bit of roving from the International Feltmakers and the Rowan 40 and the Country Escape.

Ended off the day with a yummy dinner of Italian food. Pizza for me and the starter of tomato, mozzarella and basil. Lemon Sorbet for desert with dark chocolate straw and shavings. What a day!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Birmingham Knitting and Stitching Show - Part 1

I've gone through a wormhole for a moment. I have a few pics to share. Be prepared there will be more.

We had a fantastic weekend. Sara, Isobel, Sharon, Cheryl and myself left Friday for a fibre filled weekend. We arrived mid afternoon and were treated to a lecture tour of the city by our taxi driver. Making several references to the abundance of night life for us to enjoy. We got to the hotel and promptly asked for a room in the back. Top floor. One room was brisk and the other a sauna. So much so that it had to be traded in for another room on a different floor. The sacrifice was made. Cooler room, hall way that smelled of dirty sweat socks. At least you could close the door.

We were very close to the canals and restaurants, so the options for food was plenty. The first night was Japanese. Anyone in the US been to BeniHana?? Cook the food in front of you? That was us. Plenty of metal banging metal causing banging heads. Food was great. I loved mine. So did everyone else.

Saturday morning we decided to go into the city to Selfrige's for a look around. Cool store. There was a miniature American section in the food section on the lower level. Jelly Belly World, Double Stuff Oreo, Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix and Syrup, Marshmallow Fluff and our children's all time favourite is Lucy Charms. £6.99 if you can't read the price. At current exchange price that's about $12.00 a box. I bought 2. How many times do you get a sugary cereal and ripped off at the same time??? Not really. The husband was relieved.

This is the outside of the store. I think it's really cool looking, but most City Dweller's say it looks like hubcaps. Entirely possible.

P.S. - Our cook at the Japanese Restaurant was entertaining, yes, but the mole/fu-man-chu was on the verge of a health hazard, but you just can't keep your eyes off it. The hairs, which looked as though they were waxed together, must have been at least 2 inches long. Unbelievable... I was sure he should have had a chin net for that thing, hygiene and all. Couldn't let that pass..

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

And Now A Word from Our Sponsor

Blogger is unable to load my pictures from Birmingham Knitting and Stitching Show right now. Maybe there's to much fuzz in the gears. Anyway, check out Cheryl and Isobel's blogs for a good rundown until I can post. Please stand by...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Will It Ever End

The volume of events and deadlines coming my way is like being sucked up in a tornado.

Birthday 7 for our daughter. Must have party. Sleepover before school didn't work out so we opted for the Dublin Zoo. 12 girls, 2 boy, 2 parents and we managed to come out with the same amount as we came in with. Not sure if they were the right children, but we had the numbers!! Weather cooperated, food was made and intact, plenty of drinks for thirsty kids, party bag stuff purchased according to zoo theme and some moms pitched in with their family zoo passes, so it was a lot cheaper than I thought it was going to be.

The final spinning is in the works. I over dyed the pastel, but managed to nearly felt the roving beyond use. After much stretching, tugging, pulling and very slow spinning, the yarn is hanging.

Make the actual birthday cake. I will be away until evening on the daughter's birthday. I know, I'm a terrible mom. We had the family party tonight with lots of cake, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Her request. Fine. She is thrilled. I am happy to be part of that. I love being her mom.

Next will be getting ready to go to Birmingham, England tomorrow with 4 other knitting fanatics to the Knitting and Stitching Show. We will be there for the weekend and return Sunday night late. I'm looking forward to being away from the list. Still need to pack. Shouldn't be much, it's only 3 days. I'll have to let you know what happens. I do have an assignment though. I need to take pictures of an exhibit that will be on display at the show. It will be coming to the Dublin show in November. The Feltmakers Ireland Guild will be hosting the exhibit and need to have an idea of what to look forward to. Plus one of my friends has a piece in the show. Cool!

Lots of knitting on the list too. Just bought some yarn for a scarf for one of my nieces for Christmas. Also have a baby item to knit as we have a new baby (Not Mine) in our family. She came last night.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

One of These things is not Like the Other

I've started a little project. Felting a piece. Not making felt. Did that with the roving, but knitting and "Fulling." I'm picking colors I have and that I like. Bought some Brown Sheep Bulky last summer in the US. Started with that. It really doesn't go very far up to Holly's Yarn Emporium (Rubbermaid containers upstairs) and find another set of colours that are very similar. A good mix of Manos (old), Manos (new), something Icelandic (old) and Cascade (new). It's kinda like the wedding thing. Something old, something new... blah, blah, blah and but nothing blue. Yeah, that's how it goes.

If my memory serves me right, which it often doesn't, seems to me that the old (more than 15 yrs.) Manos tends to fade in the felting process. Better do a test run. What do you think??

They all shrank equally. Yeah! I still like the effect a lot, but something is different.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mama, What's for Dinner??

It's the cry I hear every day, shortly after lunch or coming in from school. "Wool children" I say, "Ah, wool again" they shout from the computer or Lego pile.
These days I am working on a project for a friend at the kids school. Enough yarn for a jumper and matching scarf. 800+ grams of spun wool. I've never done that much at one time. It's also not all the same colour, so stretch out the wood planks and plastic table cloth.

It makes me tired just thinking of the wool that has passed through my hands in the past few days. This is the second batch. The first turned out to be very pale pastel. Not what she ordered.

Best of all, I ran out of purple dye. No one sells purple dye in Ireland that is close to Cushing's Violet. What to do? Cheryl to the rescue with some Deep Purple Procion MX in a close colour. Mix that for the second batch. By this time my back is killing me and oh, did I say I have to steam them one at a time due to the size. Oh, yeah, put to much dye on and it started to tidal wave liquid as I rolled it. Mop, mop, mop, roll, mop, mop, roll. All done. All steamed, all dried. Looks pretty good. Not as dark as I remember....

Spun it up today and guess what? I have another lovely pastel yarn!!! A wee bit darker, but still pastel. So I took 100 grams of roving and redyed it. It's drying now. We'll see tomorrow. It doesn't even look as good as the picture. If it doesn't work out with the next one, I'll be bagging it up and selling the dyed roving at the Knitting and Stitching Show in November.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

National Heritage Week

This was National Heritage Week at the Collins Barracks Decorative Arts Museum in Dublin. The Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Guild was asked to do a textile demo for the a few hours today. Cheryl, Maire and I went down with our spinning wheel, loom and weaving sticks this afternoon. We weren't sure what type of crowd to expect seeing that it was the Cork/Kilkenny Hurling Match at Croke Park today. OK, Hurling in Ireland in not a vomiting competition. It is a very fast paced game involving a small hard ball and men wielding wooden mallets flattened at one end like a spatula. Dangerous, emotional and everyone comes in to support their county.
Indeed not everyone had shelled out euro for tickets today. We were swamped with primary school aged children and their families. Cheryl did the most popular ride at the theme park. No, the weaving sticks were a great success. You wrap yarn around the sticks in a figure 8 pattern and come out with fantastic bracelets, hairbands and body jewelry. The children were patient and everyone that wanted one got a turn.

I did spinning with some very awful wool I got from a mill in Kerry. Lots of lumps, bumps and other uglies you just don't want, but great for demo purposes. Dyed in Kool Aid. Lemon Lime and Blue Raspberry? Children had never seen the rare breed sheep of Ireland in blue and green. Oh, the faces, oh, the questions. Oh the terminology used by parents to describe an art form they've never seen! It's great. Got to talk to lots of people, young and old. Met a new knitter that will join our Tuesday night group. Yippee!! I love new knitters!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to school we go!!

Well it's the morning of the first day of school. Everyone was up, dressed and ready to go with time to spare. It is the first day after all. We skipped out the door and met up with fellow classmates making their trek.
The yard was jammed. This year school starts at 8:30. Last year it was 8:50. Line up began at 8:30 and the children all went in a semi orderly line into their classes. OK.
Somehow the school that my children go to is 20 minutes short of the national average each day. So this year we'll "Start at 8:30!" and get those extra minutes. Hmmm! The lineup in the yard is still at 8:30 this year. I don't really get this. The "opening" time is earlier, but their not in their classes any earlier. Glad I'm not in Government Education here.
Around 9:00, most parents were leaving the yard. Seems like a national holiday for parents. Laughing, talking, leisurely walking down to the coffee shop with half of the parents at the school. The sun is out, light breeze, coffee, scones. Man, we could get used to this and we will!! Most of the toddlers that were around last year have started school. There is an expression of FREEDOM on some parents faces I have never seen. No whinging, tugging, screaming or interception of conversations with anyone over the age of 3. FREEDOM I tell you. In the words of Martha "It's a good thing" I don't usually quote her, but it is. All that and I must say, we've been beyond that for a good many years, but it was great to see it happen to others.