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A New Year A New Start

Eco Print DyeingHere we are a new year and a new start. It feels good to begin something different, my plan for the foreseeable future is to work on small scale portable projects, the main reason behind this is of course that I have a lot less time to dedicate to my passion. With working part time it is amazing how little time I end up with to create….with hearth and home and everything else, no complaints just observations!

I have been busy making  eco prints, when the weather has allowed. I do this outside because I do not as yet have a pressure cooker to do the “cooking” part of eco bundling. I have quite a few lovely pieces of fabric with various designs of  leaves and flowers from our garden, some I love and others not so much. My plan is to take small pieces of eco printed fabrics  and start working embroidery stitches, use other bits and pieces to embellish with and see where the path leads me!

I hope you are feeling creative as well and I wish you joy and passion with your endeavours.

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A New Year

Well here we are again another year. I feel as if time flies the older I get! I distinctly remember as a youngin’ that the days where long and I couldn’t wait to be a grown up and now it all flies by in a rush or is that just me? Anyway whatever the time frame I plan to crack on with my new years plans, not resolutions but plans! and always subject to change.

My hope for this year is to perfect my spinning skills, this will involve lessons and the hope of purchasing my own spinning wheel. My intention is to take some lessons and hopefully test run a few different types of wheels and go from there.
I would also like to dye some wool and fabric this year using environmentally safe products. All this of course combined with working, keeping up with household chores, enjoying time with friends and family and staying creative!

I have been working on a small felting project that I started back in the summer! As you may know I do most of my felting outdoors so the summer months are my busiest. I wet felted a large piece onto a grey mesh fabric and added some silk threads and tussah pieces. I really liked the colour combinations but not the overall shape of the design. So I took my scissors and cut it up into smaller bits and stitched them together to create a new piece. I worked some small hand stitched designs onto the project and now I am almost finished. I need to find a way to make some “cool” closures and a collar. Here is a sneak peek at the project.
The reveal will be soon!

Wet felting using mesh fabric base.

I wish you all a very happy and creative year whatever your endeavours.

Thank You

Thank you to all of you that came out to the craft fair last w/e even in the pouring rain. There were lots of booths and over 2,100 people came through the doors. I had a good day and with the help of my daughter I was even able to get around and see some of the other wonderful crafters.
Now it is on with the family and friends Christmas gifts I always like to make as many as I can. I really need to get on and bake my Christmas cake as well. Does anyone have a really good wheat free Christmas cake recipe? if so please drop me a line.
Thanks again and have a happy holiday time with friends and family.

Wheat and Gluten Free Victoria Sponge Cake

Yes, this really is the best sponge cake I have made that is wheat and gluten free. I filled it with homemade strawberry jam and Devonshire cream ( clotted cream !) decadent I know …but so worth it.
I will post the recipe this week.

Sewing A Skirt

Here I am making another attempt at the Alabama Stitch project skirt. I have made one in plain oatmeal coloured jersey…but the waistline was a little big, I know that is a good thing !!! but to unpick all that hand stitching and re-do each seam, six in total seemed (pardon the pun!) daunting.

I had another skirt cut and ready to sew, this time I thought I would do the leaves stencil from the aforementioned book. No problem, I used my sewing machine to baste each seam plus the waistline to prevent bagging or stretching while working on the appliqué stencil work. Each panel was laid out to start the stencil, I then realized I had stitched each panel (gore) to the backing fabric. So I decided to draw around the leaf stencil with a Sharpie pen.

At some point along the way I made a decision to appliqué all the leaves. I started out with the creamy coloured fabric on the grey, but I wasn’t sure I really liked it. So I had some cream fabric that I had done some practice stencils on and so I cut out the shapes from this and placed them on the drawn leaves to see if that made it better or worse. I liked it and so began the process you see now.

My creamy fabric has been painted on with a mix of green and cream fabric paint and I used real ferns from the garden to get some leafy designs. I just painted onto the backside of the fern with a sponge and then lay it onto the cream fabric and pressed down gently. Pull off the fern and you have a very delicate imprint of the ferns leaves. Remember to heat set your painted fabric BEFORE cutting out you pieces. I cut my appliqué leaves out of this fabric, some have more defined leaf designs than others, I just went with what I liked the look of at the time!

As usual I cannot follow the basic design….my mind goes off at a tangent…I believe that is called being creative !!!

If you like let me know what you are working on that gives you pleasure, happy summer sewing to you 🙂

Market Bag- Alabama Studio Style

Here is my own design of the lovely market bag from the wonderful Alabama Studio Style Book by Natalie Chanin. I love the designs from this book and the previous one, aptly named Alabama Stitch Project.

The work is slow and therapeutic and uses old gently used cotton t-shirts. I had originally thought I would be making the skirt from the first book (ASP) when I designed this stencil pattern. But on closer inspection I decided that the pattern for the skirt would not fit me! So the fabric with the stencil painted on languished in the corner of my sewing area for a REALLY long time! Finally I hauled it out and planned a market bag shape and used the sewing instructions from the second book (ASS)

I will have used three t-shirts in total, one turquoise, one pumpkin with a Pennsylvania logo, and one for the lining. At this time I am not sure what colour I will use for the lining but I am leaning towards green, always one of my favourite colours. I do have leftover turquoise pieces from the skirt but I would have to piece them as I did for the front of the bag and I would rather not have to piece the lining, you will have to wait and see what I do! I still need to make handles for the bag BUT I am almost finished. Just a little note about thread, I used jeans thread which comes in a lovely array of colours, it is polyester and is made by YLI corp and comes in 200yard / 180m spools and is called Jeans Stitch.

As you can see from the photos I also made a hat band in the same method using small scraps of leftover t-shirting. I think the process so far as taken me about a month. But I also knit in between!

I have knitted up a green shrug to go with my blue dress that I made a little while ago. I didn’t use the Alabama style completely for the dress. I did however use the spiral designs in green and the rosebud stitching and I added pewter grey beads around the swirls. I am hoping to add more spirals and stitching to the dress before I wear it again. The shrug came about because the dress is sleeveless and I sometimes need a little extra warmth. I had thought I would make just a pair of knitted long sleeves but it morphed into a shrug. I have to say it is very cosy.

Calculating A Sale Price

The lighter evenings are here now and making me stay up longer to knit! I am having fun making knitted shawls of all shapes and sizes. I do, of course, have a stash of yarns from which to choose. My goal is to use as many as I can BEFORE I buy any more! We will see how that goes!

Yarns are so addictive; they come in so-o-o many different colours and textures. I like to support my local weavers and spinners by buying their hand-spun and hand-dyed yarns. Hearabouts they usually have a sale twice a year but I really should use up my stash first!

The colours of these hand-crafted yarns are much more subtle and muted and I prefer these to the commercial dyes. I would like to learn how to dye yarns but for the moment, I shall support the local artisans.

hand dyed and commercial dyed


Markets and craft venues abound and people are looking for that unique, reasonably-priced item. Oh, how I wish I found it easy to price my work. I so enjoy making things but pricing them is always a challenge. Some shoppers believe that if an item is hand made then it should be cheaper than a mass-produced one however, those who know a bit about making unique and beautiful hand-crafted items understand the amount of time involved in their creation.

I have been given a formula for pricing hand-crafted items:

Hours spent on a piece x Hourly wage = Labour
Cost of materials plus labour = At Cost
At cost x 2 = Wholesale price
Wholesale x 2 = Retail Price

One of my small knitted and felted pouches takes me about four hours to knit, felt, sew in the lining and zip plus embroider so using the formula above, it would cost $32 if I calculated my time at $8 per hour. Even though I receive positive feedback, unfortunately shoppers are willing to pay $16-20. I wonder sometimes if it is worth my while making these specialised items.

Another suggestion for calculating a price is:

Cost of materials x 3 = Selling Price

I am pleased to say that I have been accepted to sell my work at a local craft venue in the Fall and it has been suggested that I make shawls and bigger bags to add to my repertoire. My latest shawl, the Purple Petunia, took over six hours to make so the labour alone would be $48!!

In the meantime, I shall be very happy knitting and knitting and knitting then think about pricing later!! Maybe I will have a brainwave and reach a happy medium before the Fall!

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FeltUnited

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feltingandfiberstudio

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dyefeltsool

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tremblinginsidethecocoon

Just another WordPress.com site

The Procrastinator Dyer's Diary

A Journal of Observations

rosiepink

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

The Creative's Tribulations

From the perspective of a frustrated creative.

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

lil fish studios

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

Attic24

Adventures with Felting, Dyeing, Knitting and other stuff

FeltUnited

Uniting the world wide felt community

feltingandfiberstudio

An international collective of felt and fiber artists

dyefeltsool

documenting the process

tremblinginsidethecocoon

Just another WordPress.com site