Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Handmade Do-It-Yourself Holiday Gift part 2

Last week I was up to my elbows in wool, soap and water and eventually felt, so I took a break from blogging, but I thought I do a couple of short post this week. I am in mad-high-production mode while trying to build up my inventory for my winter shows.
during my last couple of post, I showed some of the stuff I have done with my scraps and wool roving. But what I should have said was 'Here are some great ideas for handmade holiday gifts!'. So this week I thought I re-touch on the ideas and show the kits and supplies listed in my Etsy shop so you can made your own.

The first was the longest scarf in the world- not really, but sometimes it feels that way! The supply pack I would recommend are my 'handmade wool felt square bags':

They have pre-cut felt squares that all you have to do is sew together two of the edges together and proceed down the scarf til the desired length is reached. It really is a very easy, but dramatic and functional handmade gift for the holidays!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

my Thursday mornings-Farewell

The farm is closed for the season and the workshares are done! The last day was one of the hardest we have had on the farm. We spread the 500, which I am not even going to get into here. If you would like more info, please search biodynamic farming! But I will tell you spreading the 500 is a strenuous job! We walk the entire length of the farm with liquid filled 5-gallon buckets and 'spread' all the hippy-dippy goodness. So we did that twice, then we worked to remove a green house that had been in one spot for 5 years. Trying to pull a tarp up that has 5-years of grass growth through it is not easy!

But, it is now done. We did get a few last crops that day: garlic, basil, kale, carrots, rutabagas. And as my sign-off from the farm until next year, yes I do plan on worksharing again, here is a photo of my favorite carrot of the season... careful it is a bit racy  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

'What do I do with it?' week-ornaments

I also made these last winter for gifts. Hand-felted wool balls decorated into ornaments.

I started with some of my wool roving, formed a softball sized ball of roving, then dip in hot soapy water and felt into a small ball- not to tight, but enough for the ball to hold it's shape. Then let dry and hand decorate with thread, beads, dye, yarn- whatever else you can think of. Or try needle felting some decor on them. 
Please see my rockymountainfibers etsy store for wool roving!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

'What do I do with it?' week-stockings

I made these last year for my husband and my two stepsons. I really liked how they came out.

I used a large felt scrap for the stocking, cut to shape. Then I used other smaller pieces to compose the decor, sew down. Then sew the two stocking pieces together and add a little piece around the top with a piece of bias tape for the hanger! Pretty easy and a great gift for the little and big boys and girls!

Totally customizable for whom every you want! This one is my favorite!

Monday, November 1, 2010

'What do I do with it?' week-scarf

I thought this week I'd focus on some of the other work I do and what others could do with some of the supplies I sell in my rockymountianfibers store. There I sell crafting supplies like wool roving, alpaca roving and other roving, felt sheets, felt scrap baggies and natural fiber fabrics, I have been listing more and more bags of felt.
This scarf is one of the projects I made with some of my scrap felt pieces. It is about 10 feet long, so it wraps many times around my head. It is warm, soft with a nice cheeky-ness about it.

If this is something you are interested in making for some this holiday season, I would suggest buying one of my felt sheet baggies- any size- for a more custom made look and cut and sew the pieces together end to end. It is pretty easy to make, but a great and functional gift for someone in our life.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Winter shows

After the long post earlier this week, I thought I'd keep this one short and sweet. Just a listing of my winter shows this year.

One-Day Craft Fair Wilson, WY Date: TBA Nora's (this will be the only local winter show I do!)
The One of a Kind Show: Chicago; Dec 2-5 Merchandise Mart.
Bust Holiday Craftacular 2009: Dec 12 The Metropolitan Pavilion 125 W 18th St.

The maybe list:
The Buyer's Market ( Trade only): Philadelphia Convention Center Feb 18-21
The American Craft Council Show: Baltimore; Baltimore Convention Center Feb 24-27

For those of you in the Chicago area, email your address for a free entry pass to the show!! kristagorrell@hotmail.com
Thanks for reading....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

my Thursday mornings-week 16

 This is the 'sunny john' and yes, that is a composting toilet for those of you unaware.
Henry, an old Ford pick-up, which is now the storage site for tools, hoes, gloves, etc
 This is a pic of some of the fields, with my husband and oldest step-son.

 Our cute little piglets, bound to be sausage some day.
This week I thought I'd share some photos from the farm. These were taken during our work-share party on Oct 17. The weather was great, as it has been this long, warm fall we have been having here in  western Wyoming. No snow yet! but it is coming.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Last week I talked about getting back into my studio to get work started for the winter shows I have coming up this year, but today I thought I'd touch on one of the things that was keeping me away from the studio, the e-course Marketing for Makers I have been taking. And while I don't want to turn this into an open-bitch-forum, I do want to address the class with a pretty honest eye.

First, I really like Megan. I feel she has a very strong and professional presents on the web with all that she does: jewelry, cozy/cuff, forums, classes, blogs. She seems to have a great passion for not only the handmade, but in seeing those who make handmade succeed. She has taught in the class room and that has helped and has shown presences in her e-course manner. Her work has been covered in national press and well-known blogs, and has been shown in high-end retail and wholesale shows. All of this success and achievement made me feel she had a thing or two to teach us up-and-comings. 

But, I have not been totally happy with the class and some of the ways it was run. I understand e-courses are different from in-person classes and that Megan has a lot going on. But, so do I and most of the others taking the class.  If I have set certain nights aside to be 'in school', then the teacher better show. More then once, the lessons were late to be posted, not just a day, but sometime not until the next 'class day' and with no acknowledgment of the late posting. Thing happen, events change, computers go down, yes but acknowledge the fact that the lesson was posted late. I and my fellow students are also paying customers, using a product bought from Megan. Would she treat her jewelry clients or a gallery owner in the same manner. I hope not, but if so perhaps I could teach Megan a thing or two about professionalism. 

Okay, so now that that is off my chest, all in all I am glad I signed up for the marketing class. It has taught me some valuable things about marketing and has change my perspective on marketing. And with that change, how to better use my marketing resources. Because this posting was not a stellar A+ for Megan, I am not linking her website, the class site, anything. If you want more info or are interested in the class yourself, I don't want to tarnish that. So you will have to find her yourself.
Thanks for reading....

Friday, October 22, 2010

cracking my own whip

Over the last week, by me dedicating my blogging to the launch of my new scarf/cowls it was such a good exercise to force me back into the studio. Which might sound odd, as a working studio artist, that lately I have not spent much time in my studio creating stuff.  I mean sure, I have been in there sewing the alterations that have been coming in, but to be activity creating work and new work, is something I have not been putting my time into. I have been so 'busy' putting work into my business instead of putting time into work for my business. It is such an easy thing to do too!
I saw a post awhile back on Crafting an MBA about just that; too much time on the business instead of in the business.
I did choose to take a break and focus on the e-class I am still taking, but the break turned into a few weeks and it can be hard to get the creative momentum back once it has been on hold for a while. So I decided to try and get that momentum back, to try and make 'something' everyday. My first something was to finish a dress for myself I have been working on for months. Though I spent more time that day on the dress than I originally wanted, it feels really good to be wearing that dress: sew, finished and dyed, while I was writing this post.
I figure if I only have an hour on some days to try and create something, that is better than nothing. It is also freeing when you can just 'make' for your own creative freedom instead of working on an order or someone's dress (which is never a good place to be free with yourself). I have steamer trunks full of fabric waiting to be sewn into something, so I figure that is a good place to release some creative energy and get the creative ball rolling.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

my Thursday mornings-week 15

 Last week was the final share week for those who bought a share. We, as workshares, get an extra share called the winter storage share. But the farm owners decided to incorporate both, so we walked away with massive shares last week. I had to take the photos on my table because there was so much:

And the crop list is: tomatoes, peppers, greens, kale, cosmic salad mix, argulia, garlic, pumpkin, cucumbers, cabbage, basil, parsley,  kohl rabbi, onions, beets, carrots, carrots and more carrots... about 20lb. of carrots.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

official launch of infinity scarf/cowl

So today I thought would be the official on-line launch of my infinity scarves and cowls. I have a few listed on my etsy store now and will continue to list more in the coming weeks.  Now that you have seen some of the process and making, it will give a larger understanding to the scarf/cowl, and it also gives you a nice story when people compliment your accessory.
Also, here are some photos of the now finished cowl that was demonstrated in the previous photos. I'm really happy how it turned out.

Monday, October 18, 2010

launch week-infinity scarf/cowl-concept/production

I was originally going to write separate post about concept and production, but decided to streamline and make it one post.  Like I was saying the other day, the idea of the infinity scarf/cowl came from a Lucky issue. But, taking the idea from the photo to concept took a little experimenting. Most of the time when I get a new concept in my mind, I ponder it, hem and haw over it and then when I finally decide to try it- I jump straight in, head first! The first one made started at 10 feet long! and ended at 70 inches around, and about 7-8 wide. It came be wrapped around up to three times- but is pretty smug at that point.

I first had figure out what materials to use. Most of my wet felt work is done with bamboo curtains. It was the first technique I was shown and has continued to be my preferred. But the bamboo was not going to work for the scarf idea. I needed sometime more flexible and also a way to form the resist in the middle ( to keep it from felting together). I decided to try bubble wrap. Some felt artist really prefer the bubble wrap, and it works great to form areas of resist, which was imperative for the scarf to work, and also is available many more lengths, which again was totally necessary for the scarf idea to work.

The first one made turned out pretty good. In addition to felting in the round to form a seamless felt loop, I also incorporated a technique called nuno felting. Nuno felt is when a piece of fabric, I use mostly silk, is layered into the roving and as the felting process is happening, the fibers intertwine themselves into the fabric, causing it to wrinkle, scrunch, bunch, crinkle and whatever other term you want to use, to form a lovely texture in the felt. And, it also helps to add structural integrity to the scarf. Above are some photos showing nuno felt.

 I started a new cowl to show the steps. Here I am using a piece of silk crepe that has been dyed previously by me with some natural dyes, the wool is a ramboulette and grey alpaca.

Be sure to check back for the photos of this finished cowl and for the official launch.