Taos Wool Festival

Back in October my mom and I met up with a couple friends in Taos, NM and went to the Taos Wool Festival. It was loads of fun, both the festival and just hanging out and shopping/sightseeing, but I didn’t get around to writing a post about it right away, so lots of the details have slipped my mind already. I do have lots of pictures though!

The festival was interesting and enjoyable. I had expected it to be huge like the Fiber Fiesta, but it was much smaller and closer to the size of the Fiber Arts Festival at home. That was okay, because it wasn’t so overwhelming. There was a nice variety of booths and a few interesting workshops as well as lots of adorable animals and a dog sweater fashion show! I ended up getting an abbreviated private session of a spinning workshop because a heavy rainstorm blew through and we hid out in the booth of the person who happened to be the teacher for the workshop. So I’ve been experimenting more with color in my spinning since then(I’ll post more on that later). There were also Churro sheep, which are an adorable heritage sheep breed from NM with gorgeous, but rather course, wool.

After the festival we wandered through the shops in Taos, including a local yarn store, and found some neat things including a big installation of prayer flags, a knitted skeleton, and a yarn-bombed bicycle.

 

Then we went back to the hotel and I taught one of our friends to spin with a drop-spindle.

She caught on really fast, too!

She caught on really fast, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taos doesn’t have an airport (at least not a commercial one), so we flew into and out of Santa Fe and drove to Taos. The drive was gorgeous, and of course we stopped at a local yarn store in Santa Fe too.

It was a really fun trip, and I would like to go again. My mom seemed to enjoy it but was also generally uninterested in returning, so maybe I’ll have to find some other folks to take back with me!

Postcard Catch-up

My mom kept bothering me to write an update here, and I wasn’t too worried cause I thought I was only one postcard exchange behind, but now I discover I’m two behind and never posted anything about the Taos Wool festival! So I’m starting with the last two months of postcard exchanges.

Because of school I got a bit behind and didn’t have a postcard finished for November, but I did get one finished for January. The theme for this one was Big Town on the Prairie aka Fargo. One of my favorite things about living in such a flat part of the prairie (sounds redundant doesn’t it? But the Red River Valley is even flatter than the rest of the prairie) is the fact that you can basically see forever. Theoretically on a clear day the only limit to how far you can see is the limit of your eyes ability to perceive or the curve of the earth. Pretty cool, huh? Several people had already done the skyline of Fargo as seen from the distance, so I decided to go a different direction and do the skyline at night. Because the area is so flat you can see the lights of any town, but especially one as big as Fargo, for 50 or more miles in any direction.

Debbie, the woman the postcard was for, really liked the ATCs I made with the lightning, but didn’t get one in the exchange. I had told her that I would make one for her, but I never got to it😦, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to improve on the promise. So I made a pretty plain looking postcard, which lights up when you press down in the right spot! The skyline in the front is more opaque than the background, so it gets backlit while the background gets washed out, just like with city skylines at night.

Thankfully she loved it! The lights are three LEDs connected to a watch battery, similar to the construction of the lightning ATCs. Unfortunately I couldn’t get them situated right so that it is really easy to press down and get all three to light up, you tend to get just two of them, but Debbie doesn’t mind and was actually quite happy to be able to turn just one on at a time if she wants, so that turned out well!

Now, the other postcards! There are a lot here because it’s two months worth of exchanges, but there are still at least three cards missing. My mom is still short one, as am I, and I still have one that I need to finish. But I should be done soon! (Hopefully :-/)

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My mom says that Mary Ann and I are each others fan clubs, which I have no problem with at all. Everybody needs a fan club. I just love her sense of humor, it works for me, and she’s so good at the deadpan joke delivery that it’s even better!😀

Next up: the Taos Wool Festival

September Postcards

More postcards have been exchanged, and this time I got one! And it’s a cool one, but first I’ll tell you about the one I made.

This time around I made a postcard for the theme “When Pigs Fly”. Every time I hear the phrase used I always think about the fact that pigs can fly, if you throw them! (I seem to have inherited my mother and grandfather’s contrariness🙂 ) So when I saw this theme I just knew I had to make a pig catapult! So I spent some time looking for a pig button or bead, with my mom’s help, so that I could put it on a wire that it would slide along when “catapulted”. Then I needed to figure out the catapult arm, and I decided that something looking like a small wooden spoon would work really well. I ended up making several of them out of shrinky dinks, as well as several pigs for the background (thanks to my mom having print-able shrinky dinks!). To make the catapult create it’s own momentum, I needed a small spring, and I decided to salvage one from a pen, which worked out quite nicely. Once I had all those pieces it was just a matter of assembly.

The assembly on this one was a bit trickier than usual. To get the catapult arm working I had to attach a wire to the back of the top part of the spoon and needed to give it an axis on the bottom to turn on. I decided that the easiest way to make it turn was to use a couple of buttons with wire to connect them. It seemed to work pretty well. Between that and the wire for the pig, I did a lot of gluing things to the back of the piece. Then I added an extra layer of timtex to smooth out the back of the postcard.

Now, for the rest of the postcards! You may (or may not) remember that the theme people are supposed to be using to make postcards for me is fractals. The one I got this time is a picture of a tree, because Mary Ann said that a tree is the only fractal she could think of. A tree is a fractal because the shape is the same and repetitive in both the large and small scale, like how you can look at a small branch with the little twigs splitting off and it’s the same shape as the whole tree with the branches coming off the trunk. Here are pictures of all of the new ones!

I’m working on a new needle felting project right now, so assuming school and work don’t go too crazy, I will have a post for you about that soon. I will definitely have another post about the postcards after the next exchange, in November!

Postcards- and a Sheep name!

First, for those who may have been waiting for a while, I decided to name the stuffed sheep Ramona. Today she’s keeping an eye on the garden for me to scare rabbits away.

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Don’t worry, it’s just a nerf gun and she has terrible aim, no rabbits were harmed. I’m sure she will continue to have adventures for me to share with you.

Now, the postcards!

My postcard this time was on the theme A Rose, is a Rose, is a Rose. The obvious thing to do would be something involving roses or flowers, but I don’t enjoy making flowers all that much, so I was trying to come up with something else. Then I remembered that Andy’s grandmother’s name was Rose, and there are a lot of Roses out there. So I decided to do a postcard covered with pictures of people named Rose. First I did a good deal of thinking and google searching to find famous Roses, or Roses that Virginia (the card’s recipient) knows and pictures of those folks. Then I arranged them all into the right size on the computer and printed them onto fabric (I love that printable fabric!). I decided that the fabric was too see-through and the color of the backing I was going to use (brown) wouldn’t look very good behind it, so I found a red/pinkish fabric in my stash to put behind it. You can’t really see the background fabric, but I didn’t want it to be real visible and it works.

Then I decided it looked a bit too plain, so I wanted to add some flowers and “vines” to it. I embroidered the vines on and bought some little premade silk flowers to put on (I don’t know how to make them and was too lazy to learn for this, I really don’t enjoy making flowers), as well as a shiny one with sequins! Then I just folded the edges under and zig-zagged the postcard back on, and voila!

I had trouble finding enough Roses, so I added in some Rosies as well and decided to call it A Rose is a Rose is a Rosie. Everybody asks and I do know who each Rose is, but I don’t have an easy way to show which is which so I’ll just list them in sort of rows starting at the top left corner.

Top row: Rose from Dr. Who, Calypso Rose (a musician), Rose from Titanic, Rose Nabinger (a composer), Karla Rose Hanson

Middle row beginning with picture on left edge: Rose Lynch (Andy’s grandmother), Rose (an actress whose last name I don’t know and I can’t find where I saved the picture), Rosie Perez (actress and film producer), Rose Wilder Lane (daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder), Rose Leslie (another actress), Rosie O’Donnel

Middle row beginning one picture in from the left: Rose Bassino (one of the victims of the shirtwaist factory fire which prompted workplace safety reform), Rose from Goldengirls, Rose Ortiz (the Pink Power Ranger), Rose Kennedy

Bottom row: Rosie the Riveter, Rose Mcgowan (another actress), Rose Venkatesan (I think she’s an Indian actress, I don’t remember for sure), Rose Stone (I believe also an actress), Rose Porteus (possibly an actress, mostly famous for an infamous boyfriend), Lady Rose Gillman (a British noble/possibly sister of Kate Middleton, can’t remember)

That took up way more space than I expected, sorry. But now, pictures of all the other amazing postcards that were given out!

Sorry about the bad memory on some of the postcards, I got really busy immediately after the meeting where we exchanged them so I don’t remember them as well as I usually do. I’ve had a less busy week now, so I’m a bit rested up but we’re coming up on a week filled with birthdays and then the week before the Fiber Arts Festival, so I’ll be busy again! I have at least one other project I want to post about (I think it’s just the one but I’m not certain…) and I will try to remember to take pictures at the Fiber Arts Fest so I can share those with you as well!

Name that sheep!

So my mom got me this adorable stuffed sheep at a rummage sale recently, and gave it to me today. Isn’t he cute?

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But I need help naming him! So, any ideas? Let me know in a comment, and I’ll let you all know what I decide.

Also, while we were still at my parents’ house, the sheep got a quilt top thrown over him like a blanket and it was adorable. Somehow it sparked the idea of dressing him in different outfits and taking pictures of him in the backyard in different seasons. Then I got home to take the first picture, and we decided to take an adventure, so here are the highlights from that!

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The first investigations into our grass, he seemed less impressed than one would expect from a sheep.

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He decided to see if the bird feeder had tastier food, but discovered he is not a fan of sunflower seed shells. Incidentally, I’m not either!

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Then he got into a tree to try for some leaves, and it went so well that he tried to go higher.

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Getting out of the tree was a bit uncomfortable for him though, face first at the ground is not an ideal climbing position. I don’t think the giraffes need to worry about sheep eating all their leaves any time soon.

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Then we got back up on the deck to go back inside, and he discovered Andy’s “living salad bowl” and that seemed to go over quite well.

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Don’t tell Andy! Does he look a bit sheepish here? (I couldn’t resist the pun!)

The adventures may continue, and he may start getting accessories, it all depends on how long my silliness holds out. Now, what to call him?

Needle Felted Dolls

My mom reminded me that I made a couple of needle felted dolls a few months ago that I should post about.

I play tabletop RPG games with a group of friends, and before we started our most recent long-term game our game master asked us to find pictures to give each other an idea of what our characters look like. I would have liked to draw my own picture, but I’m not very good at drawing, and I looked a bit for a picture online, but couldn’t find anything I liked. I had also been thinking for a while about trying to needle felt human figures, so I decided now was as good a time as any to try it.

I started out with the head, because I figured the face would be the most detailed part so I wanted to be sure it was big enough that I could get the details on. Once I had the basic shape of the head I started the more intricate shaping of the face with the eyes.

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I enjoyed working on the eyes, but I think I should have done them last. And I had trouble finding a good skin color in my current wool stash, although I have since ordered many better skin colors. Trying to fix the color and shape the face while working around the eyes was rather difficult, but it turned out well enough.

Then I started working on the body. First I just connected the different body pieces to each other, trunk, arms, legs, and head. Then I started shaping the large blobs into more realistic body shapes. It’s a large project, and I tend to get a bit bored and ADD on large projects, so I added the skirt on and then went back to finishing the upper body, adding the shirt and finishing the shaping.

Once I had the body shaped, I went back and worked on the feet/shoes. Initially when I put the color for the shoes on the feet, it looked rather like they had been dipped in blood. Luckily when I added the white details they started looking solidly like shoes. The hands were the big challenge. I tried making them all from one piece and adding contours for fingers, but didn’t like that, then I tried forming each finger separately and putting them on the palm, but that really didn’t look good. Finally I went with a basically hand shaped piece where I added the thumb on separately, and put minimal shaping on for the fingers. They’re not as realistic as I might have liked, but they work.

I had some trouble getting the hair just how I wanted it, but it worked out really well. In the end, I felted a portion of it as a flat piece on its own, then felted the back portion of the onto the head, with the front part over the top of the face. I cut the front part into the shapes I wanted for the bangs, and intended to just leave them loose, but they looked like they would fall apart if they got looked at wrong. So, I felted them down a bit to the face, and it turned out really well, letting me get the contours into the hair farther up on the head too.

For Christmas, I also made a different doll for one of my friends in the gaming group. This one is based on her character from our last long term game. This doll is a bit smaller, and I started out with the body, which I think worked much better. The face is much less detailed, but the face wasn’t the more important part of this doll. The difficult part was the lower arms that stick out. I was sure that I could get them to keep their shape correctly without adding wire or something, and I did, but it took a bit of work. I’m quite proud of the flames in her hands, they turned out really well. They also made it much easier to deal with the hands, because I didn’t feel the need to worry about the detail in the hands since they were mostly covered by the flames. I was short on time when I made this one so I don’t have much for process pictures.

Now that I have more skin tones, I want to make more dolls. I told another of my gaming friends that I would make a doll of her character if she gets me a good description and/or picture of approximately what she wants, so if she ever gets that to me I’ll make him. I also think I may make some characters from some of my favorite books. I was inspired by these board books of classic literature that are all illustrated with needle felting (I thought I had posted about them at some point, but I can’t find the post. Here’s a link to their website). But I have lots of other projects I want to do too, so who knows when I’ll get to more dolls? I’ll post those when I do, though!

Postcard exchange-May

For this exchange I made a postcard on the circus theme. I had trouble coming up with an idea for this one, because I didn’t want to do your basic big top tent or clown or anything like that, and I really liked the Ring of Fire piece that had been given in March for the circus theme. I considered an elephant of some sort, but wasn’t real inspired by that idea, so I tried to think of the more unusual parts of circuses and thought of the sideshow. My first though with a sideshow is the bearded lady or the strong man, but then I thought of the song Lydia the Tattooed Lady (which is all my mom’s fault because she likes to start singing it at me because of my tattoo), and that was an idea I could get behind. So I was thinking I would do a piece with some sort of tattoo design across it, maybe something geometric/tribal looking, and I took to the internet to find ideas. I didn’t find any geometric designs I liked but I did find some pictures of actual tattooed ladies and got some ideas from them. Then I was trying to decide what to use as the background to look like skin, and I realized that I have some leather I could work and leather actually is skin. After a moment to get over the slight yuck factor from that thought (it doesn’t seem gross until you really think about it, does it?), I got excited and started drawing. So, here are pictures of the whole process!

The postcards exchanged were again really awesome, and mine was well-received. A couple were exchanged at the April meeting, because the makers couldn’t wait to give them away🙂, so I’ll include those in with the rest from May.

Calm was a very popular theme this time, and I can’t wait to see what people make next! At this point, I don’t have a plan for my next post, but I have a few projects in the works, so I’ll have to post about those as they get worked on. Worst case scenario, I’ll post the next exchange in July!

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