Starbucks Partners

To everyone who stopped by my table today at Starbucks HQ – hey! Thank you for giving me the opportunity express my love of wool. It was a great day. Big thanks go to Heidi and Dave for car valet, lunch, staffing my booth and good cheer. You are the best!

Several people expressed interest in the flower lariats. They wanted to know what other sorts of flowers I’ve created in the past. The flowers are truly one of a kind, though I have made several in a certain color scheme because I created six or eight flowers from a single piece of flat felt.

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If you were wondering how the scarves look in three dimensions, here are some shots taken in the fading light of Thursday afternoon as I rushed to sew on the last labels and buttons.

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While these items are one of a kind, I can usually approximate a style or colorway again. There are still two more shows to go this weekend, so it will be a couple of days before I can get anything posted to my shop. In the meantime, visit my flickr account to see the full archive.

EtsyRain Mystery Sampler

As a promotion for the Seattle Etsy Street Team, known collectively as EtsyRain, we are offering a mystery bag in our shops. Items were contributed by ten different artists, each worth $10. The samplers contain five items for a total value of $50, but priced just for you at $25. What a steal!

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I contributed ten felt scarves made out of hand painted merino roving. If these were in my shop, I would sell them for between $18 and $28 considering my time and materials, but as you can appreciate, making something of value that is worth $10 is really difficult, so my loss is your gain.

Other Contributors include:

livewire.etsy.com
emmakat.etsy.com
sweetpeacardsgifts.etsy.com
kimberlyatstir.etsy.com
scarywhitegirl.etsy.com
wovenchains.etsy.com
imakecutestuff.etsy.com
baublesbyhand.etsy.com
wiretree.etsy.com

You should find a listing in each shop for two mystery sampler bags. Happy Shopping!

Jagged Little Collars

Announcing a new collection of neck cozies and cuffs just posted in my shop:

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Each piece is made from hand dyed merino roving; the color palette is subtle, but interesting as the roving had lots of variations in the depth of color creating gorgeous pieces. I have a few more additions to make to this collection, and have added more roving from this supplier, so there will be more items coming soon.

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My love affair with making little pointed ends on felt accessories continues. These pieces remind me of something out of an Elizabethan court. If you don’t have this flair for drama, the collars can be worn inside your coat, or under your hair, but why be shy?

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I just realized I’ve forgotten to post about my new tags. Soon!

BookMooch

I just heard about a great way to rid a little clutter from your house and fill it all over again: BookMooch. You list books you are willing to give away, and create a wishlist of books you want to have. For every book you list you get 1/10th of a point, mailing a book earns 1 point, and getting a book costs 1 point. I earned 2.7 points just by listing books last night, and by the time I woke up, I had fourteen requests for books. Eek!

All the pregnancy and baby books are going out the door, as well as some old paperbacks from book clubs gone past. Next on the list are childrens’ books we no longer read. Busy day!

Blue Roses NunoFelt Scarf

I learned a difficult lesson today: the difference between silk and silk-feel polyester is that the former bonds with felt to form a firm fabric, while every micron of petroleum in polyester resists the process with a force much stronger than mine.

Since silk comes in so many different forms, and my experience up until now has been limited to a few scarves my mother kept in her dresser years ago and my wedding gown sewn out of dupioni silk, I wasn’t sure if the slightly artificial silky fabric I found at Goodwill this morning was actually another form of silk. After today, there is no doubt in my mind, and that bag of six scarves I bought are going right back to the store first thing tomorrow morning.

I’m so thoroughly frustrated with the scarf-gone-awry this afternoon that I can’t post any pictures right now, though I did document the entire nasty process, expecting to write a tutorial. Instead, I offer my first attempt at an inlay silk design on a nunofelt scarf.

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On Wednesday, my friend Caterina and I worked on nunofelting a very thin, yellow silk scarf. We tore the large square in half, and laid strips of merino across it in diagonal stripes. It was so fragile that the bare spots in between the stripes tore as we worked with it. But we noticed that the pieces covered in felt took on an interesting texture, similar to crinkle of brain tissue.

Inspired, I tore the remaining piece of felt in two again, then laid them end to end to create a rectangle more than 6′ long. Using up the last of my blue roving, I covered one whole side in a thin layer of finely drafted merino. On a whim, I laid out some circles of tussah silk sent to me in a nunofelt kit by Tracy at Copperpot (she will have these kits for sale soon in her shop).

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Overall, I’m pleased with the effect though three of the roses refused to adhere to the scarf. Since I am trying to build up an inventory of twenty pieces to consign for a holiday show that opens on Saturday, I need to find a fix for the roses hanging on by a thread.

My thoughts are to sew a few sead beads in the middle, or a dyed freshwater pearl, or to embroider a single french knot with sea silk yarn, though none of these options seem appropriate for the shape of the flower. The blobs suggest roses, which have no centers. Ideas anyone?

NunoFelt Variations

The big news last week was a wholesale order for ten scarves destined for Italy. The buyer wanted three simple merino and seven nuno felted scarves. I hadn’t even negotiated the price before I was ordering silk and merino. Today it was play time.

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It started with 2 yards of silk georgette printed with a ‘Fantasy Flowers’ pattern. My first instinct was to lay strips across one side so the fabric would show through. Not bad, but probably not something I would wear.

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My preference is to leave most of the fabric exposed with hints of wool for warmth and structure.

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Some little bits of fabric were left over after I trimmed the scarf, so I placed them on a single layer of the same blue merino. Now we have a felt scarf with a hint of silk.

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The second piece I ordered was a bold print called ‘Black and White Carnations’.

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Without realizing the implications, I ordered a single yard, which left me with a piece too short and broad to wrap around several times, but perfect for either a neckerchief or a collar.

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Somewhere in the middle of working on the seafoam scarf, I realized the perfect solution was to use wide strips to construct a scarf the length I wanted; the gap between the two vertical pieces is obvious in the picture on the right. This is by far my favorite scarf. Layered with maroon merino, the carnations take on a chocolate color. One layer of merino creates a supple yet warm scarf. There is more of this silk in my shopping cart already.

This Wednesday, November 7th, I’ll be teaching a NunoFelt workshop at my house from 10-12. Leave a comment if you would like to try your hand at this versatile technique.

Sturdy Supports

Disappointing sales at my first craft show last month, inspired me to reflect on what went well and what needed work. A week later, I attended a craft show to gather more impressions and data. Which tables enticed me to slow down, and which tables did I pass by?

I liked the tables where there were multiples of the same item in different variations: a woman who made many upcycled cashmere scarves, rolled in tidy bundles, arrayed in rows with a just couple stretched out for handling; another woman who made whimsical wire paper clips and bookmarks out of pounded copper wire, displayed in a set of IKEA drawer units with different sizes grouped in the open drawers.

My display at the October show had lots of different items: upcycled felt scarves and hats, handmade felt boxes, wire crochet, felt brooches, felt wall pockets and much more. They were arrayed on a square table, without a lot of room in between items. The scarves were draped in layers over a child’s chalkboard; the wall pockets and hats were pinned to the edge of the table, falling to the ground every time someone walked with a swish of their skirt.

While people seemed to enjoy looking at the items, their eyes had a hard time taking it all in. You could see them scanning the table without really focusing in on any one thing. To make my presence more effective, I needed fewer items displayed more clearly, and I needed more variations of my most popular item: the windowpane scarf.

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Armed with an intrepid spirit and a can-do attitude, I enlisted the help of a friend to build a set of bamboo stands for the scarves. Edith is a collector, builder, sculptor, and artist who knows how to see a project through to completion. Over the course of two weeks, Edith faithfully worked through the design and execution of three six foot bamboo racks, wearing her pinky fingers to the bone bending, twisting and binding sanded bamboo poles with 250 yards of copper wire. Lance stepped in after we finished the first two, building a sturdy base for each rack.

bamboo_ladders2.jpgOver the course of two weekends, I cranked out multiple variations and permutations of my beloved scarves, loving every minute of creativity and industrious effort. In addition to the more time consuming windowpane scarves, I made a few narrow merino scarves, deliberately creating something that I could sell for less than twenty dollars, thinking that was probably the maximum someone coming to the Crocodile Cafe for Sunday brunch would be likely to spend on an impulse purchase.

The other item that sold quickly last month was felt soap. The two bars I brought with me sold quickly, so this time I finished fifteen soaps. The stack of colorful soaps made a nice display.

The result was a resounding success. This afternoon, I sold three times the volume compared to my first show, plus lots of people stopped to handle, fondle and try the scarves.
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There is still more work to do, but every time it gets a little easier. Thanks to Edith and Lance who offered me the technical support I needed, and a big thanks to Sophie who helped me set up the displays this morning.

One Roving, Two Ways

Four merino rovings dyed and blended with a drum carder by copperpot on etsy:

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Shades of blue, navy and lime green remind me of a blue spruce.

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Dark blue, true red, mustard yellow and brown reflect the multicolored hues of indian corn.

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Red, brown and white make up a blend called Red Robin.

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Lavender, lime green and white seen create a muted blend that from a distance remind me of a desert winter landscape.

If you would like to see, touch or wear any of these scarves, I’ll be at I Heart Rummage this Sunday from 12-4 at the Crocodile Cafe in Belltown – 2200 2nd Ave, Seattle WA 98121.

Sassy Writers

Since I haven’t been able to manage writing at all lately, it seems fitting to recommend two writers I’ve recently added to my favorites list:

Carrie is a spunky mother who often wonders out loud how best to navigate the world she inhabits. I love her irreverence, her inquisitive nature and her endless search for a better way, whether the subject is reducing her impact on the earth, making a better felt bead or managing a list of Christmas ufos longer than her arm.

The picture of Wendy in the sidebar of Wisdom of the Moon was my first clue that this was a blog I wanted to read often. The caption says: “I always say that I like knitting, but honestly, I think I like just like the *idea* of knitting.” I don’t think I need to say any more.