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11  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Fleecey people, I need advice! :) on: June 02, 2008 12:29:52 PM
So, I've decided that the next time I see some fleeces available at a fiber fest, I'm going to get one, even though I've never cleaned a fleece before (or never really wanted to, honestly).  However, I'm having one of those times where my brain is trying to convince me it'll be a good idea, so I'm going to take the plunge.

What I ultimately would like to get is something that looks/acts like mohair locks.  I always look for undyed mohair locks when I'm at a fiber fest, and have had a really time finding undyed ones the past year - the only ones I ever see are dyed, which I don't want to get, because that kind of takes the fun out of it.  Smiley 

I honestly don't know the first thing about different types of wool.  So, if I'm looking for a fleece that I can use the fiber as embellishment locks if I want to, what kind of sheep should I be looking at?  And if I'm looking for really soft wool, what should I go for?  I don't want to accidentally buy the wrong thing because I can't tell what the fiber is going to be like once it's all clean and bouncy.  Anyway, any fleece advice would be appreciated.  My plan is to write down a list of sheep breeds and carry it with me like a cheat sheet.  Smiley
12  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Fiber Friday 05-30-08 - Returned Mojo Edition :) on: May 30, 2008 03:27:51 AM
Yep, I got to go to the Fiber Fest in Wooster last weekend, and while there, I bought a bunch of roving (mainly from Dianne at Creatively Dyed - woot, Dianne!  http://www.yarnsforever.blogspot.com/) and some other misc. fiber.   So, after having not spun for about a month, I'm back with a vengeance, baby!  Smiley

First, I had to get some yarn I had spun a while ago off my bobbins.  I left these both as singles, because I was afraid they had lost some of their twist from being bobbinized for so long.

So, here's Dribs and Drabs (194 yards, 4 7/8 ounces, spun from misc. wool bits that I dyed and had no plans for):

And here's Bisongrass, which is from some wool I dyed a while ago - 280.5 yards, 4.5 ounces:

Now we get to the new stuff!  Dianne sells these gigantor handdyed roving braids full of awesomeness - they're 8 ounces a braid, so that's a lot of spinning fun.  I'm calling these my 'In the Garden' series.  The first one I spun was a wool/seacell blend, and it wound up being broken down to 3 skeins.  The first one was plied together with white cotton thread that I strung orange and green glass beads on.  It's 278.5 yards/5.25 ounces:

Next is the simple 2-ply (185 yards/3.125 ounces):

And finally, I was able to ply this wee little skein of navaho plied extras:

Then, I started digging through the alpaca fleece I had bought.  I think I have something like a pound and a half of it, so I've got a lot to play with.  The alpaca's name was Jericho, and his fleece is described as a "rose grey," so as an experiment, I combed together these fiber balls:

The fiber balls contained Jericho's fleece, handdyed wool, soy silk, and sparkle, and a touch of undyed camel down.

Here's the resulting Rosegrey yarn (in the first pic, it's reclining on a bed of the Jericho fiber, so you can see what I was originally working with).  140 yards/3.75 ounces.

And then yesterday, I got out my other wool/seacell roving braid from Dianne, and spun an uber-skein!  This is called Desert Dust and is 8.125 ounces/374.5 yards.  It's incredibly soft and shiny.  Smiley

So that's my goodness for this week.  Let's see what you've all got!  Smiley
13  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Either I just skinned a yak, or... on: May 21, 2008 11:26:21 AM
...I made fake fur!  (Hint - it's the latter)  Smiley

I had busted out my Bernina with the felting foot attachment the other day, and after making some more felted fabric, I had the idea to try making fake fur.  It actually turned out to be pretty easy.  All I did was lay a layer of roving down on some scrap wool, and felt along one edge of it.  After that row was done, I layered another layer of roving down that overlapped the first, and felted the edge of that.

I just kept doing that until the whole piece of fabric was covered.  Here's what the back looks like (and yeah, I know, my rows aren't straight):

Anyway, when it was all done, I had a nice fake fur pelt.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, although I had a notion to make more fake fur so I could sew together a Village People-esque furry vest.  Smiley  In the meantime, though, I'm mainly just throwing it on my dogs so that they can play Musk Ox.

14  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Macro Challenge - Sexy Braille on: May 14, 2008 09:59:43 AM
Holy crap, there are a ton of excellent entries in this contest!  It rocks!  Smiley

Here's my entry.  This was taken at Elephant Rocks State Park in Missouri, which has a hiking trail designed specifically for the blind.  There are guide ropes and signs in Braille, and lots of interesting tactile experiences.  I took a pic of one of the Braille signs, and then converted it into a black and white photo in Photoshop.  If you click on the photo, it'll take you to the Flickr photo page where you can get to a larger view.

Thanks for looking!
15  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / I developed film! Woo hoo! (pics, of course :) ) on: May 02, 2008 05:23:07 PM
I've been getting more and more into photography lately, and decided to make the plunge into developing my own film.  I bought a book and ordered a bunch of chemicals from Freestyle Photo, and today, I finally was able to to try it out.

The first thing I did was type out a cheat sheet that I could refer to while I was doing the developing so I wouldn't freak out.  Smiley  Then I started mixing up the chemicals.  I ordered liquid versions of most of the chemicals, so that made diluting them down easy.  Time consuming (because it was scary!), but easy. 

The film I was using is 120 sized Kodak TMax (100 speed).  It makes considerably bigger negatives than 35mm film.  I shot the film in this camera:

I got it a few weeks ago at a flea market for about $10.  It's from the 60s.  Using the camera is kind of tricky, because the viewfinder shows everything opposite of what it actually is.  Also, the inside of the camera is probably pretty dirty, and I didn't think to clean it before I loaded it up with film.  Oh well!

Anyway, you have to unload the film in complete darkness, so I shoved a blanket against the bottom of my bathroom door, turned off the lights, and camped out in the bathtub with the shower curtain closed trying to get the film in the tank.  This was easier than I thought it was going to be, after I figured out how to tear off the paper backing from the film.

The whole developing process is a little stressful, but relatively simple.  I had problems getting the cap off of the tank every once in a while, but I don't think the extra few seconds the film was in certain chemicals really affected anything.

The developing process took about 20 minutes, and after it was all done, I actually had film!  With pictures and everything!  Smiley

After the negatives dried, I scanned them into the computer.  Here's what 2 of them looked like without Photoshop.  Most of the pictures came out a bit underdevolped, like this one:

This pic was the only one that came out that had a proper contrast:

You can see the dust and hairs and stuff on the pictures.  I think this is mainly because the inside of the camera is kind of funky, but also because there's so much dog and cat hair floating around my house, I think it's impossible to dry the negs without getting some of that on them.  That being said, I think the underdevelopment and hairs and stuff kind of look cool, like the photos are really old.

Here's a few after I Photoshopped them (adjusted the levels, mainly):

Here's the first pic, now more contrasty and in sepia!

And here's the pic Travis shot of me.  This was the first picture on the roll, so it came out rectangular instead of square:

Anyway, thanks for looking!  I'm all excited!  Woo!  Smiley
16  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Pinhole Camera madness! Warning - tons of pics! (New pics on Page 6!) on: April 17, 2008 04:57:28 PM
I can't remember exactly how or why, but a few weeks ago I read some reference to pinhole photography online, googled it, and then became acquainted with my new obsession.  Pinhole photography!  It's awesome! 

The basic concept is of a camera obscura - A tiny pinhole in one side of an otherwise light tight box will produce an upside down, reversed image opposite the pinhole.  If this projects onto film, well, then you've made a camera and now you've got a picture (or at least, a negative).

This sounded like the coolest thing in the world to me.  I mean, how fun would it be to make your own camera?

So, I found the following instructions on how to make a pinhole camera out of a matchbox that uses 35 mm film:  http://alspix.blog.co.uk/2005/12/  The instructions are really easy, so if you want to make one, just go there and read about it. 

I think my matchbox was a tad too tight fitting for my film.  My 'frame' on the inside of the matchbox got all bent, which you can kind of see in the following pictures.  Also, I had a wee bit of difficulty figuring out the whole film advance thing, but I blame that on my not having shot film in forever.

Anyway, here's the matchbox pinhole camera:

Electrical tape is my friend.  Smiley

And here are some pictures from that first roll of film (I used 100 speed Kodak black and white TMax):

Shutter speeds for the three above pictures were, from top to bottom, 1 minute, 10 minutes, and 1 second.  The one I did for 10 minutes, I just set the camera on my bookcase and then screwed around on my computer until the timer went off.

A really cool thing about pinhole photography is that the depth of field is unlike that of regular cameras.  Normally, if you take a picture of something really close, the objects in the background are blurry.  But with pinhole photography, everything is in focus.

The matchbox camera was kind of a pain in the butt to deal with, mainly because after you shoot all of the film, you have to basically destroy the whole camera in order to take the film in to processing.  So, my next solution was to go to Goodwill and pick up some junky 35 mmm cameras to convert to pinholes.

I have two pieces of advice for you if you want to do this - get the thinnest camera that you can find - fat cameras are going to give you serious vignetting.  Also, if you're intending to use a lens cover as a shutter, get a camera where the lens cover button moves easily.  I'll explain in a moment.

The first regular camera to pinhole conversion that I did was the Klutz camera.  This is what it looked like at first:

The yellow slidy thing in the front is the lens cover.  Unfortunately, this is hard to open and close without shaking the camera, so after the second roll of film I shot in the Klutz, I just fashioned a shutter out of stiff paper to use instead of having to open and close the lens cover all of the time.

Anyway, first I knocked out the cheap plastic lens in the Klutz.  Then I disabled the actual shutter by just kind of jamming it up inside the camera.  After that, I increased the size of the hole in the front by drilling through it with a big fat drill bit.

I was a litle more exact this time and fashioned a pinhole roughly the size that the pinhole camera builder recommended to me (pinhole camera builder available here:  http://www.mrpinhole.com/calcpinh.php ).  I did this by scanning part of a ruler that had millimeter markings on it into my computer at 2400 dpi.  Then I scanned in the bit of tin I had drilled the pinhole in at the same dpi, and compared the size of the hole I had to where I was coming up on the ruler.  It's a pretty good way to get close to an exact measurement, because when you're trying to drill a hole that's .298 mm, that's kind of hard to judge by sight alone.  Smiley

After I had my correct sized hole, I cut the piece of tin into a circle and krazy glued it to the Klutz.

With the pinhole attached to the camera, I checked to see of the lens cover (now the shutter) would still open and close.  It did.  Yay!  I finished up by decorating my camera with Moo Stickers and sewing a little wallet for Moo cards that I then attached to the back of the camera with Velcro, so it's detachable.

(My husband's Moo cards are in the picture - I hadn't received mine yet when I took it Smiley

The final thing I did for the Klutz before I started shooting pictures was to sew a little stabilizer pillow for it.  Since you use longer shutter speeds with pinhole cameras, I wanted to try and make sure the camera would shake as little as possible when I was taking pictures.  Here's the finished rig:

Finally I had a pinhole camera that was reusable.  The main benefit of repurposing an already existing 35 mm camera into a pinhole was that the film advance is a lot easier to deal with than the matchbox pinhole.

So, here's some pics from the Klutz:

You'll notice that the corners of the pictures are black.  That's due to something called vignetting, and basically means that something was obscuring the pinhole view in those areas.  That's why I said that if you're going to retrofit a 35mm camera into a pinhole, the thinnest cameras will work the best, because you'll be able to keep the vignetting down to a minimum.  That being said, I kind of don't mind the vignetting.  When I got some pinhole pics developed the other day, the guy at the drugstore asked me, "Why do all your pictures look like they were taken through a toilet paper tube?"  So that was pretty funny.

I've made one other pinhole camera so far, the Vivitar Gray.  This is another 35mm retrofit from a camera I got at Goodwill.  The main difference between this and the Klutz is that the lens cover (now the shutter) moves really smoothly, so I can open and close it without camera shake, and it's motorized, which doesn't really mean anything besides that you just have to hold down a button and the camera will advance the film or rewind it.

I also put a piece of Velcro on the back of this so I can exchange out my Moo wallet from the Klutz.  Smiley

My vignetting with the Vivitar is a little more severe than the Klutz, and I also have a little "bug" along one edge from where (I think) I disabled the shutter.  Here are some Vivitar pics:

Anyway, I'm totally in love with the whole pinhole photography thing right now.  Smiley  If you have an interest, check out this page - it's from the Worldwide Pinhole Society, who are gearing up to celebrate Worldwide Pinhole Day on April 27th.  Smiley 


Thanks for looking, and if you have any questions, let me know, because I have become freakishly obsessed with this.  Smiley
17  FIBER ARTS / Weaving: Completed Projects / Upholstered Toby Step on: April 17, 2008 02:20:11 PM
I've been kind of on an upholstery kick this year.  It's always really hard for me to find upholstery fabric I like that is A - Pretty and B - durable.  So I decided I was just going to weave some on my loom when I need to.

Earlier this year, I spun up a 4-ply yarn to use for making something for my bedroom.  I wanted to do a 4-ply because I thought it would be pretty damn durable.

Yesterday, I finally got off my butt and made something.  We a bed that's pretty high, especially if you're a 4-legged creature who is getting up in years (our golden retriever mix named Toby - she's going to be 10 in August).  So, we had this crappy white box made out of MDF that we were using as a step for her if she wanted to climb onto the bed.  It didn't have a lid, so we flipped it upside down and put a blanket over it so no one would get hurt on the sharp edges.  So not only was it ugly and dangerous, it took up space, too!  Here's the fugliness of the step before:

Anyway, yesterday I repainted the step, Travis cut a lid for it, and then we got a warp on the loom for me to weave fabric for the top.  I basically took the dimensions of the lid, added 3" to every edge to give me enough fabric to fold under, and then added another 40" to my warp (because that's how much yarn my Ashford rigid heddle uses - crazy!).  My measurements turned out to be spot on.  Yay!

Here's the finished piece of fabric:

The upholstering process:

And the finished product:

Now Toby has a comfortable way to get up on the bed, and we now have extra storage.  WIN!  Smiley
18  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Blossomfeathers (wee experimental artsy quilt) - Pics! on: March 22, 2008 02:01:24 PM
A few days ago I dyed a piece of silk, and when it dried, I realized that it would go perfectly in my bedroom.  So even though I have a stack of unfinished quilts I need to get working on I immediately took my nice piece of silk and started cutting it up into random squarish pieces.  I was going to make perfect squares, but silk is squirrelly and likes to shimmy on the cutting mat, so I just kind of went with whatever it wanted to do.

After I had my stack of squares, I needed to figure out what I wanted to do with them.  I got a larger piece of fabric ready (about 22" x 48") and sewed my first square on, but then I was all... wait a minute.  Do I know what I'm doing?  And the answer was no.  I wanted to try to do something that I could have raw edges on and still look cool.  So I put the larger piece aside and just started working on a smaller, test piece.  The smaller quilt turned out to be 12 1/2" x 15".

Here's the finished result:

The background fabric is my favorite fabric everSmiley  It's some really drapey embroidered and printed cotton that I got at JoAnns a few years ago.  I made the drapes for my bedroom using this fabric, and also have a quilt top that incorporates this fabric in it as well that I need to finish for my bed.  I am so doing the matchy-matchy thing, which I normally don't, but I don't care since I love that fabric so much.

I took the silk pieces and folded them up and quilted over the pointy ends.

After I put the binding on, I went back and added the beads.  I think the quilt will be nice in the summer, when I have my windows open, and the breeze will blow the little silk blossoms around.

Here's a pic of it in my bedroom (I don't have a hangy thing for it yet, so we just stuck it on a dowel rod to take the picture).

I have those stripes painted at random widths and intervals around the whole room.  Smiley

And here's a pic of the silk before I cut it all up:

After making this, I'm still not sure how I'm going to incorporate my silk squares into the larger piece I was originally planning on making.  I'll figure it out at some point.  Smiley 
19  FIBER ARTS / Weaving: Completed Projects / Homeless scarf :) on: March 16, 2008 04:44:47 PM
After I spun my first yarn with fabric scraps in it, I knew I immediately wanted to try making something out of it.  So this morning I wove a scarf.

It turned out to be about 8" x 74".  I used some leftover superwash yarn for the warp that I had dyed last summer.

Some of the fabric scraps came loose on me as I was weaving, so I let some edge hang free (we thought it kind of made it look like I was homeless, hence the name Smiley ).

Here it is one me:

And here it is on Toby:

She's all, "Why must you humiliate me?"  Smiley

Incidentally, this was the quickest scarf evah to knit.  Travis and I warped the loom this morning sometime, and I was tying fringe at 11:57 am.  I am mad in love with weaving.  Smiley
20  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / DonkeyHorse Plushie! on: March 15, 2008 06:13:58 AM
I made this recently for teapotdnky.  It was supposed to be a donkey, but I went off-track somewhere and it turned out kind of looking more like a horse.  It's a donkey with an identity crisis.  Smiley

The big donkey ears decided they didn't want to stand up.

The mane and tail are made out of handspun, handdyed soysilk.  It was a tiny little skein I had spun, and my first attempt at spinning soy silk, so the yarn was all uneven and weird, but it worked perfectly here!  Smiley  Thanks for looking!

PS - Teapot says she's going to name the donkeyhorse Sugar!
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