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October 5th News Announcement:  New Featured Projects posted!  Congratulate these artists for being selected!
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1  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Camping swap on: July 22, 2016 07:44:21 PM
I'm really looking forward to doing some camping during the late summer/early fall, and I'm always looking for fun camping gear. Wouldn't it be fun to have some crafted things like mits/cast iron handles, totes or roll-ups for cooking equipment/camp dishes, bottle totes, socks, gloves, hats, etc.? I feel like people are pretty creative in coming up with things that can be functional and crafted which is my favorite combo. Anyone else interested?
2   / FIBER ARTS / 2016 Featured Projects in Fiber Arts - 2nd Quarter on: July 03, 2016 07:36:55 PM
Here are the featured projects for Fiber Arts from second quarter of 2016. These projects were chosen by members of the Craftster community by hitting the "This Rocks!" button and leaving lots of replies. Please give a round of applause and some love to these talented artists that represent this board!

Mr Steampunk Pirate Fox by ThreeLittleCats

Shibori style dyed felt scarves by Belladune

Purple Rose Yarn by meleriffic

Mr Rex, felted T-rex by LevelleCreations

To see projects from the first quarter and other years, please visit the archive -->here<--!
3  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Rusty the Moth Guy - mostly needle-felted art doll on: July 01, 2016 05:39:06 PM

I was sooo very excited to participate in the Strange Doll Swap in June, and when I got partnered with petskin for the first time in my swapping career, I was all the more excited. I decided to go with "moths" for the primary theme and "mushrooms" for the secondary theme of her list. I experimented and did somethings I don't usually do, and it was all a ton of fun. I really want to do more projects like this now Smiley

Rusty's body is needle-felted mostly of a plain white core fiber and then a nicer plain white top roving with four natural grayish insect-like arms, and dark natural wool accents around his eyes, legs, and forehead. Around his collar are bits of white wool locks from yet another batch of wool I have to give him a ruffled look. He has a fairly wimpy armature, unfortunately - I didn't realize how weighty he was going to get, and he didn't hold his pose well after handling and moving a lot. He can balance on his own, but his head looks down quite a bit Sad His legs were wrapped in jute twine with polymer clay claws to help provide a stable and durable foot.

For the non-needle felted bits, he has feathered ear tufts - each "ear" is three or four feathers stacked neatly and I built up the felting around them to hold them in and make them stand. You maaaay have noticed that Rusty has some abnormal "growth" on his back - mainly a few slender white mushrooms dotted with green and blue "moss". I made the mushrooms from polymer clay following a tutorial I found here. I added wires to the stems of the mushrooms, which are embedded into Rusty's humped back. The mossy bits are what I like to call "sweater droppings" or "wool pellets". They are the bits of balled up wool left in the corners of my garment bags when I machine wash/wet felt sweaters for craft projects. I have a couple bags of them because I always though I would find a purpose for them. Never through anything away, right? Wink They are also felted down in place. His eyes - which I am in love with - are made from big, flat beads that I had in my stash for a long while with plans to use for some steampunk-style accessories that never came to be. I layered on polymer clay with brushed on pastels to create the eyes. They are slightly insect like but not at the same time. The beads change from orange to green depending on the angle of light.

Now we are getting to the part where Rusty gets his name! The top of his moth wings were created using muslin fabric that I soaked for a few days in water filled with coffee grounds while the fabric was wrapped around rusty nails, screws, and hinges (kindly and gladly donated to me by geekgirl1000100). This was the biggest experiment of the project. I had never really dyed things by intentionally staining with things that tend to stain. I discovered that rust stain does not soak through fabric well. I attempted to get a symmetric look to the wings by doing two layers at once, but I wound up having to do one side and then the other (I had a small supply of rusty bits for this). I was really impressed by the overall result and found some things surprising. I expected the coffee to turn the fabric brownish, but it turned out more grayish. I added vinegar to the water bath because I heard it was good for making dyes brighter/hold better - I don't know about this and I'm not sure if it caused the coffee to change color either. Even though it was unplanned, I really liked the gray tinge around the outer bits of the fabric, but when I cut down the wings, I lots a lot of that. Finally, his wings are backed with felted sweater bits. I decided to intentionally mismatch the undersides of the lower wing parts since he is such a strange character, and it seemed fitting. Smiley

4  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Discussion and Questions / Wool fiber sources on: June 07, 2016 02:55:22 PM
Ok, thanks for the answer. It gives me an estimate: about 15 ounces, maybe more. I would definitively need to buy it online as this stuff is incredibly expensive at my craft store.

I definitely recommend buying online or from a local craft shop (not a big craft chain). I have tried a few sellers on Etsy and usually get my dyed wool in 1 oz bundles for about $3 to $3.50. The wool I started felting with was the Dimensions brand from Michaels and Joanns which was very tiny, expensive, and usually a little dirty/smelly compared to the stuff I get online. I recently bought a pound of cleaned, undyed wool roving from a fiber festival that I'm going to try to dye, and it was a lot cheaper that way. My plan is to dye chunks for trying more felting projects :3 (yet to happen a few months after purchasing though...)
5  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Wet-felted Cat Cave Beds on: June 06, 2016 06:40:34 PM
I'm not much of a wet-felter yet, so these were experimental projects for me. My dear friend geekgirl1000100 teasingly sent me a Pinterest link to a cat cave quite a while ago putting in her "order".

I decided to try making one for a different friend in my local craft meetup group when we did a group swap and had a lot of fun with it. Unfortunately, I didn't make it big enough, so her chubby little kitty Vashti just sleeps on top (the little kitty Penelope never had a chance to try it, I think). The colors were chosen to match my friend's living room - coral and green with touches of dark yellow.

A month or two later, I decided to make one again, this time actually for geekgirl as a present for watching my cats for a week while I was out of town. The second try was a little too big, so it didn't hold its shape very well with the amount of wool I used. The colors were supposed to be a little more inspired by several spacey sci-fi shows that geekgirl is a fan of - blues, purples, grays, and flecks of yellow (I didn't tell her my inspiration for the colors Tongue).

I definitely have some more learning/practicing to do with wet felting before I'm comfortable doing it and happy with the finished products.

This is the first attempt (with Vashti as a model). It looked like the perfect size for my kitties to curl up in, so I didn't suspect it to become a much loved pancaked bed Tongue

And here is attempt two with my buff tabbies Gemini and Castor and geekgirl's kitty Rygel testing it out.

(Gemini would only go in while it was upside down)

(Castor had some growing room)

(Even fluffy Rygel had room for a friend)

6  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / You're Oh So Clever - Whimsical Fox Woodland Shrine on: May 17, 2016 10:15:51 AM
In the recent Shrine Swap, I was partnered with kwality570 which I was very happy for. In the Whimsical Shrine Swap a couple years ago, I was her angel after her original partner flaked. I was super excited to make a companion piece for the "Oh Hello Deer" diorama I made her before (with her permission of course). I still had a couple of round boxes that matched the one I used for her first shrine from me and decided to do an opposite-ish night scene.

After doing some initial sketches, I sketched each piece individually, painted it, cut it out, rubbed the cut edges for a nice crisp black line, and proceeded to assemble in a layered scene. The "opposites" in this shrine are that the scene takes place on the other side of the tree from the first scene, it is night time instead of daytime, there is a female cardinal instead of a male cardinal, and the owl in the tree has taken off and is in flight. Previously, the fox was hiding behind the tree, and now he is pouncing around which a rabbit peaks out from a boulder. I tried to keep the feel of the scene very similar. I included mushrooms again, but this time they are slender white clusters instead of the fat spotted red mushrooms. There are a few things I forgot to do - like highlights and fine touches with color pencil after painting - because I was excited to put it together, and the fox looks like a more youthful pup than previously - perhaps this scene takes place first?  But I'm still happy with how it turned out Smiley

See the first "shrine" in the series here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=435660.0
7  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Woodland kitchen set on: May 15, 2016 02:49:57 PM
This is a set I made for a friend during a round robin style swap with my local craft group. I went with a few fabrics she had on her Pinterest to get started and then chose some lovely coordinating fabrics I couldn't resist. The apron was made based on one I've had for several years and keep tracing to make new apron templates for. This time I added a towel loop, offset the main pocket, and attached the straps on the front so I could put button accents on them. With the leftover and scrap fabrics I made some scrappy quilted potholders to match. I went a little overboard with the quilting, so they wound up being a little overly stiff. I also added a little back pocket for slipping your hand into while taking things out of the oven. I'll talk about the kitchen towel on another board since I didn't do any sewing on it - just hand stamping Smiley

I am in love with the color combo and fabrics in this set. And the theme of the fabric is very up my alley and very fun to work with.
8  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Woodland Themed Stamped Tea Towels on: March 28, 2016 11:07:48 AM
Another one of the projects I made for the Woodland Creature swap was a set of tea towels using a pair of stamps I carved.

I tried some fabric medium to mix into acrylic paint this time instead of using oil based stamping inks like I usually do to make sure they dried fast enough before I sent them. I'm not really happy with the results of the fabric medium and acrylic combo, but I last minute decided to add these as an extra to my package and didn't have many other options since the oil based stuff takes a couple weeks to fully dry. The fabric medium and acrylic paint didn't stick well when trying to roll it onto the stamps, so it was all uneven and difficult to apply. Anyone have recommendations on fast drying stamping mediums that roll on well?

I'm still happy overall with the results if you ignore the ink issue. I will hopefully make a nice little set of these for myself in the future Smiley And I forgot to take pictures of the stamps, whoops!

9  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Needle Felted Fox on: March 06, 2016 03:08:12 PM
Ok. So I like foxes. Whatever. This was for a swap, and I wasn't going to pass up an opportunity when my partner in the Woodland swap specifically asked for a needle-felted fox.  Grin It is possible I may have already made some needle-felted foxes in the past for swaps and other reasons. Like that one time. And that other time. And the time after thatWink And for the record, I don't actually own any needle-felted foxes myself. They all have found homes elsewhere. This one my be my new favorite though, so I really hope Treemoon is treating him well Wink

This was the first time I actually used a tutorial for needle-felting to see if I could learn any new tricks. And I did! I highly recommend watching a few Sarafina Fiber videos on YouTube. If you are an experienced needle felter and can get past hearing all the beginner stuff, you might pick up a few different techniques too! My fox looks nothing like hers because I went my own direction several times, but I really love the way she does armatures and some other tricks she does.

10  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 112 ENTRIES / Sleeping Fawn Pendant on: March 03, 2016 08:45:33 PM
I happened to make this mid-February for my partner in the Woodland themed Swap and since I don't usually make many small things or polymer clay things, I thought I'd give it a shot in the challenge.

This sleepy little fawn is a pendant inspired by one that my partner had on her Pinterest. I made it with a brown polymer clay with a slightly rough "carved" texture. I then used a very light coat of shimmery gold paint to give it a slight bronze effect. It is sealed with a luster Mod Pudge for extra shine Smiley The spots in the clay didn't show up well, so I gave them a touch of paint also to stand out.

The finished pendant is about 1.75".

Work in progress shot:

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