Playing with Nuno Felting

blueberry swirlEvery year there is a juried art show called Art In The County that is open to all artists living in Prince Edward County. I have entered a fibre art piece each year for, I think, 5 or 6 years now.

This is the piece I entered for the 2016 Art In The County and it actually won an Honourary Mention Award! This came as a complete surprise since usually the judges are painter, photographers, sculpters, graphic designer. They don’t usually have a whole lot of exposure to the Fibre Arts so to be recognized as my piece being a quality piece of art was wonderful!

Fibre Arts are sometimes a bit frowned on by people that admire high end art work. Fibre Arts are many times considered a craft and not an art form. This designation I have been working on breaking through for a decade now. I’m a knitter and a felter and so far the felting pieces get much more respect than the knitting, though in reality the knitting is way more complicated in many cases!

One of juror’s comments that was posted on the wall beside my piece was this:

“The technical ability of this work is remarkable. Silk and felt blend together in areas that are mesmerizing.” 

I have to say this made me feel really good that someone figured out how tricky it was to lay the wool the way I did and keep it from wiggling around while I felted it all!

Also I did sell the shawl at the show as well so I did an extra happy dance when that phone call came in!

IMG_8396 (200x300)IMG_8397 (200x300)I did have a free form knit & crochet shawl that was accepted in 2013 to Art In The County. This was a surprise to me since I thought for sure that one would be not accepted into a gallery of high end art. I always put my pieces on a lovely mannequin and let’s face it display can make a big difference in whether a piece looks high end or not. This shawl I got obsessed with finishing and since it is completely free form it was so hard to know when it was done! I was up until 3 am the night before the piece was to be taken in to be juried!

I did sell this piece to a lovely lady that looked spectacular in it and hopefully she still loves it as much today as when she walked out of the shop with it!

The Blueberry Swirl shawl shown above I tried something I have wanted to do for a while. I love swirls and curls and use them constantly in my art work and I wanted to do swirls on the edge but allowing the curls to have open areas around them. The tricky part was keeping the areas open that I wanted to stay open and not letting them get too big so that the shawl would not drape properly.

Felting is obviously a technique that shrinks wool and when you have a hole or opening as the wool shrinks it pulls away from the hole which then becomes larger. The other issue that occurs is all the tiny hairs from the wool that still sneak over top of the hole opening. Each hole has to be worked individually with fingers and your thumb rubbing around each holes edge to push all those fibres out of the way and clear and shape the hole properly.

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Each colour of wool was laid down individually and most of the openings between the colours I had to keep working separately to them open.

I want to keep working at creating negative space or openings around the wool. I have a couple of other ideas to help make this work closer to what I have rolling around in my brain.

Never a dull moment in working with wool!

Yarn Swap

April 9th, 2016 at Jackson’s Falls Country Inn

2 pm to 4:30 pm

Jackson’s Falls Country Inn

1768 County Road 17 Milford

This is a free event for the whole community!

Bring along full balls or skeins of yarn that you are interested in trading with someone. We will be doing the swap in a way that you will be swapping yarns of equal value with the yarn that you bring in.

Any yarns that are leftover after the swap will be going to a group of charity knitters.

Also bring along any knitting magazines, books or patterns that you are tired of and want to trade as well!

Yarn-Swap-Horizontal

Bursting With Colour!

It seems that every February I become so irritated with the grey weather and cold that I feel the need to create a very colourful new project.

I crave lots of bright colour, a dash of texture and some simple but interesting stitches to keep my brain happy.
rosehaven poncho
The fresh colours seem to bring in spring so much faster since I know that usually by the time I finish the project spring might well be on my doorstep. This also makes me stay on task and knit faster!! Oh the silly games we play with our brain to make the winter end as quickly as possible.

IMG_0947I made the “Summer Breeze” triangular shawl last year and my “Wonder Vest” the year before that so I decided on creating a poncho this year. I knew I wanted it to be a generous size that would cover down to at least my waist and I wanted it to be a rectangle that I would sew up to make the poncho.

This is my Wonder Vest that I used Malabrigo Worsted yarn a bit of Nuna (green) and every 3rd row is Fiesta Yarn’s Boucle in Rainforest.

summer breeze shawlThis is my “Summer Breeze” shawl that I actually did write down as a pattern and we have available in the shop. It’s a free pattern if you buy the yarn to make it. I made it with all cotton and linen yarns. Rowan Handknit Cotton (2 balls @ $7 each), Baby Bamboo by Sirdar (1 ball @ $7), Quince & Co.’s Sparrow (1 skein @ $12) and Katia’s Tahiti Spray (1ball @ $10) , which is a varigated cotton ribbon yarn.

 

 

 

I always start by going through tonnes of free patterns on ravelry to see if I can find something along the lines of what I want to make. I check on what needle size they are using and how many stitches they are casting on. After that I do my own thing.

Then I run around looking for colours that call out to me and textures as well. I try to start looking for yarn in my own stash but as you can imagine owning a yarn shop is sooooo hard! All those yarns calling out, “Take me! Take me!”, “I’m so pretty, you really must use me!”, “Look at me, I’m new and gorgeous and you know you need a sample of ME!”

IMG_0981I grabbed all my balls and piled them on my desk and then look at how well they will work together if I used the same needle size throughout the project. This usually cancels out a few balls. Then I look at colours and which ones look best next to each other. The colours to me are very, very important. They need to compliment each other and in this case I wasn’t looking for any background colours. I wanted all the colours to have equal prominence. Sometimes you want the fancy yarn to stand out and therefore need any other yarn to just be more of a framework or background.

This project I wanted all the colours to equally pop so they all had to have an equal intensity of chroma or brightness and clear colour. Lower chroma colours are usually a bit greyer. As if grey or a dash of black has been mixed into the colour to dull or quiet it’s intensity.

grey bluebright blueThese are two blues that show a good example of what I mean. The bright turquoise has a very high chroma while the more denim blue has a much quieter, more grey tone to it.

 

I found a poncho design that cast on 225 stitches and I was using 6.5 mm needles with a 60″. I started with a heavy cotton boucle yarn so that the bottom edge wouldn’t constantly try to curl on me. I also did few rows of garter stitch to also help it want to lay flat.

After that I just played with rows of K2tog and YO so it would create some eyelets in rows. I also added an occasional row of  K1, YO x 2, K1 repeat then on the next row I dropped all the yarn overs so that the stitches became nice and long and stretched out. This is a great way to make a row wider quicker too!

Every 6 rows or so I would switch yarns to change up the colours and textures. I always try and make any rows of one yarn a different number of rows to the next new yarn colour. Keeping the rows different widths keeps the design interesting to look at and doesn’t bog you down with having to be symmetrical. The human eye will look for symmetry in a design of colour so good design need to stick with good symmetry or go completely away from it or there will be something about the design that will bother you when you look at it. I like to pick asymmetrical since I then don’t have to do so much counting!!

I bound off the rectangle the other night and realized pretty fast it was way longer than I thought it was going to be. Now the question is do I keep it as a rectangular shawl using a pin or buttons to wear it or sew up the front edges like the image below?

front seam poncho wrap with button

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to play with some buttons and see if anything talks to me otherwise I’ll be sewing up of the edges. Also I’m not sure if one button will be enough to hold the shawl together well. It’s fairly heavy and it might just pull the whole thing a bit wiggy.

Well it turns out the button size I need for the weight of the shawl don’t fit through the fabric well and smaller buttons don’t hold the weight well so a sewing we will go.

IMG_0986Well sewing up the seam was definitely the way to go and it turned out fabulously!! It’s going to be a keeper for myself for a change, to actually wear!

I sewed the front seam but I didn’t start the seam at the edge but up about 6 inches. This leaves a bit of an opening which works great for your right arm to be able to easily come out from the edge of the poncho.

I love how it turned out, so bright and cheerful. I can’t wait for the weather to actually warm up enough to wear it out!

IMG_0983

New Cool Tools!

I’ve been working on this cable sweater for my husband for a while now and working with the chart has been a bit of a highlighterheadache at times.

I have tried to knit this sweater at Knit Night but usually have to put it away because there are too many interesting conversations and distractions for me to keep track of where I’m at!

I knit everywhere I go; the movies, a restaurant, the doctors office, the kids school functions where ever I’m sitting down. Some projects work fine for this but boy this sweater is not one of them!

knit chart keeper

 

Knitting on the run doesn’t work when you have to track each and every stitch and row. I know there are the magnetized chart holders with the long magnet bars holding them in place. I’m always moving too fast and I know I would end up shoving it into my bag and those magnets would move and I would be lost as to where I left off!

I like having my patterns in a plastic holder keeping them away from the inevitable tea stains and such.

Then the day came that someone whipped out of her knitting bag her highlighter tape and slapped a piece onto my pattern and I was hooked!

The highlighter tape is inexpensive ($5.75), repositionable on paper or a plastic cover and covers three to four lines of your chart so you know where you are and where you left off. I can run around with it clutched in my hands and have no worries about magnets slipping or sliding.

Plus you get a whole role of the stuff so you will have plenty for all those charts in your knitting future!!

 

Free Knitted Skirt Pattern

This free pattern for a simple knitted skirt is made with Berroco’s Vintage yarn. Berroco has a lot of great free patterns for their yarn that are well tested before released to you and I to knit up.

This pattern uses Vintage which is a pretty standard worsted weight yarn so it offers lots of possibilities to be created to a variety of different yarns.

Click here to download the pattern.

KNit skirt

Pam De Groot’s Felting Workshops

Well our week with Pam De Groot certainly flew by!

We had full classes of enthusiastic women that got to play with colour and fibre and what could make you happier than that!!

dying techniques The first day we made pre-felt using natural white merino and silk. The next day we got to play with all the different ways we could come up with to do resist dying on the fabric.

It was fascinating watching how the colours would change, blend and bleed to different colours from the points were there was pressure clamped onto the fabric.

We had all raided the hardware stores for everything from pvc pipes, clamps, screws and scraps of wood to create our designs. Even a few wine bottles were put to good use.

The results were varied and even the colours were different from fabric to rich coloursfabric. It depended on how long they stayed in the pot to how much dye had been already absorbed by the first fabric pieces to go into the pot. There was no disappointment just lots of ooohs and aaahs as we opened up and laid out the fabric to dry.

We all kept an eye on each other’s discoveries and borrowed ideas and dye pots to try to get similar colours that we liked. Each piece of fabric was like a snowflake and very unique.

The next part of the creation of our garments was the hard part. Now began the planning of where each piece would lay in the design of the tunic. It was like more planningcreating a large puzzle of colours and shapes but without a wasting a scrap!

Cutting into the beautiful fabric was a bit scary since once you cut you were offically commited to what you were doing. At least when it comes to felting you can save every scrap to be used another time in another garment.

There was also a bit of bartering going on between some of the ladies. A few bits of fabric that didn’t work for one person but worked for someone else were happily exchanged.

Most of the ladies didn’t finish fully felting their tunics but we did get a few photos and I’ll add more as I get photos sent to me.

Esther tunic dress Esther tunic back dress back Leah tunic's beginning

 

 

The Sock Diva is in the House!!!

Socks from “THE SOCK DIVA” are in the house!!!!!.

Each pair is lovingly created by our very own SOCK DIVA – Amy.

Come on in and take home yours today!

Sizes and styles may vary.

Sock Diva Socks

The Sock Diva Card

 

Knitting in the Round the Magic Loop Way

Knitting in the round is one of those things that comes up often in the shop when chatting to customers. There begins a discussion about favourite approaches and tools of choice and the Magic Loop method usually comes up. Lots of people don’t know exactly what this method is or in the case of new knitters they look apprehensive and just want to avoid the thought of trying to figure out another new thing. After all learning how to simply hold the yarn in your hand and how to knit and purl without dropping it is a bit daunting!

Isn’t it funny how simply giving a technique a fancy sounding name can make it seem like it will be scary and complicated? I was always intimidated when I would come across some new stitch in a pattern or horrors of horrors the dreaded bobble/pop corn stitch! I would tense up and then start the search online with our dear friend google and then off I go to see which of these links will actually explain clearly and give visuals so I can do it right. Then as I go through the steps and do it myself I find that I am surprised that it wasn’t nearly as scary as I though.

This definitely holds true with the Magic Loop method. I discovered I was already doing the magic loop method when I was determined to make a hat but couldn’t find my usual needles that are the correct length. The trick was that you use an extra long cable needle so that the excess cable can sneak out between two stitches on the far side of where you are knitting. Well duh! My cable has popped out through my stitches plenty of time when I was decreasing on my hat and hadn’t bothered to switch to my DPN’s.

Many new knitters when wanting to take on the next challenge after the creation of a rectangle, also known as the scarf, want to try creating a hat or socks or some other tube like creation. This of course means you are stepping into the unknown of “Knitting in the Round”!! (que scary music!). Cheryl Toy is our go to knitting guru in the shop and has classes on this exact thing so if you need a hand to hold while you try this then sign up! Cheryl is a fabulously patient teacher and knows all the ways to learn this easily.

Of course for those of you that can’t squeeze into your busy lives a class on this we have to rely on the good old internet! While crashing through various web searches (surfing is way too smooth and cool to describe my way of finding what I want on the web!) I came across a very decent and clear video of knitting in the round. Imagine my surprise when I discovered it was done by our favourite knitting needle makers KnitPicks, all the more reason to trust it!

So without further ado here is the link to the “Magic Loop” video tutorial.

Happy knitting!

Wine & Wool in the County Knitting Retreat was FABULOUS!

DSC_0001 DSC_0009 DSC_0020 DSC_0012We had an amazing 1st Knitting Retreat at Jackson’s Falls Country Inn this past November and all the feedback from the ladies that attended has been fantastic!

The Inn keepers Lee and Jason were so great at making us welcome and keeping us cosy by the fire with tea and excellent food all weekend long.

The classes were enjoyed by all and the surrounding area coaxed a few ladies out exploring and walking to enjoy all the fall colours.

 

Felter Extraordinaire Pam De Groot is Coming HERE!!!

I am so excited to announce that Pam De Groot is coming to Rosehaven Yarn Shop to teach a 4 day and a 2 day workshop on felting!

The 4 day workshop will be August 24th to 27th from 9-5 and the 2 day workshop will be August 28th to 29th from 9-5. After that Pam is winging her way to Vancouver!

10491212_852928628052497_8674838530394716852_nPam is going to teach us how to create a gorgeous mosaic garment in the 4 day workshop.

Here is Pam’s description of the class;

In this workshop we are creating a cloth from multiple dyed pre felts. It is method of construction, deconstruction and reconstruction to discover a cloth with interest and complexity. The garment pieces are linked to unify the cloth with each maker creating their own garment of unique beauty and interest.

We will learn how to make a template from our own body measurements and to allow for differing shrinkage rates. We will be dying our own pre felts using safe dyeing practices.

467647_540222562656440_501844913_oDSC_0083 copy-001

 

 

The 2 day workshop will be focused on creating jewellery. Pam has told me that this class is one of the best for learning a large multitude of techniques that can be utilized when creating many other felted items. We will be working with roving, silk fibres, pre felts and lots of other different embellishments that can be added to wool. Learn the skills of felting on wire and sculpting wool to bend to your will!

524140_481562238522473_1284598392_nThe 4 day Mosaic Garment Workshop will be $475 with materials included (plus HST). There will be a lunch break so you can bring a lunch or visit one of the local cafes right around the corner for lunch. There are 12 spots available and we have a list already begun of interested people so don’t wait too long if you are interested before you call the shop to register.

 

 

DSC_0007 copyThe 2 day Jewellery Workshop will cost $275 with materials included (plus HST). There will be a lunch break so you can bring a lunch or visit one of the local cafes right around the corner for lunch. There are 12 spots available so register by calling the shop at 613-476-9092.

We will be hosting the workshops at Picton’s Salvation Army gymnasium and large kitchen so we will have lots of room and good lighting.

Thermohair Socks Promise Toasty Toes!

Rosehaven Yarn Shop has been carrying Thermohair socks for a number of years now and I am realizing it has been a bit of a secret.

Thermohair socks2

 

The people that know we carry them come year after year to buy the socks for gifts because they know that nothing beats them to keep away the cold.

Then we have the customers that happen across the socks in the display and are so thrilled to find these often dreamed about elusive socks.

They are made by a family run farm in South Mountain, Ontario from their lovely Angora Goats. Thermohair socks are 75% kid mohair. This is the most soft and expensive of the mohair grades. It’s micron count is close to cashmere, giving the socks the softness of cashmere, but the strength of mohair.

goathead

The socks trademarked under THERMOHAIR are made of kid mohair, which is the first hair sheared from the young kid. This particular hair is very fine and soft, the most luxurious and expensive of the mohair grades. The finished socks are knit in a looped sequence for cushioning, and are blended with 25% nylon for stretch. THERMOHAIR socks are especially insulating for those working or sporting in the cold outdoors. They are ideal for contractors, hunters, fishermen, linesmen, skiers, skidooers, skindivers, hikers, etc.  The men’s all grey are slightly heavier than the other colours, suitable for  work boots and loose footwear.

We also carry the therapeutic version of the socks for people who have cold feet, resulting from various health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. These have no extra elastic at the top, allowing an unrestricted blood flow to the feet.

Even our UPS driver Dave is a convert to the Thermohair socks and bought his wife a couple of pairs for their evenings in the hockey arena. She was thrilled by the fact that her toes stayed warm throughout the entire evening watching the kids play hockey.

They also are machine washable and I throw mine in the dryer and they have survived my abuse for 4 years and are still in great shape. Now my teenagers have discovered them so my socks seem to have migrated to their dressers. I guess I know what the family wants for Christmas presents this year!

Wine & Wool In The County Knitting Retreat Materials List

knitting tool essentialsSo time is flying by and fall is here and we are organizing and getting ready for our big Knitting Retreat at Jackson’s Falls in November.

Our two instructors, Robin Hunter and Elizabeth McCarten have organized their materials list which I am posting here for you perusal.

Double check which class you are signed up for and then you can start organizing for the weekend too!

Seamless Techniques Class Materials

100g chunky weight light-coloured wool
25g of contrasting colour chunky wool for use as waste yarn
Size US #10 / 6 mm 24”/ 60 cm circular needle
Size US #10 / 6 mm set of 4 double-pointed needles
6 ring markers
small scissors and a tapestry needle
a CROCHET HOOK, 5 to 6 mm in size. (No crochet experience is necessary)
pencil and notepaper, or other means to take notes

 

Lace Knitting Perfected

Students should bring worsted weight yarn in a light colour, needles in an appropriate size for the yarn (4 – 5.5mm), a crochet hook in the same or a slightly smaller size, stitch markers in several colours, waste yarn in a lighter weight, paper, pens in several colours, rulers, darning needles and scissors.

 

Steek Class Materials & Homework
(Because you need something to cut!)

Materials:
50 g of non-superwash worsted-weight 100% wool in a light colour (MC)
50 g of non-superwash worsted-weight 100% wool in a dark colour (CC) (omit if not working stranded knitting)
25 g or less of a contrasting colour lighter weight non-superwash yarn (sport or
fingering weight
a few yds of waste yarn for holding sts
sewing thread (cotton or polyester)
5.0 mm circular needle, 40 cm long
set of 5mm dpns (for 3-needle BO and borders)
3.25 mm crochet hook
large-eyed blunt tapestry needle
small-eyed sharp sewing needle
small scissors with sharp points
sewing thread (cotton or polyester
6 ring markers
Prerequisite Techniques (these are all available on Youtube):
longtail cast-on,
although it is not necessary to know how to crochet, please take time ahead of class to learn how to make a crochet chain,
3-needle bind-off (this is what the dpns are for).
Homework:
(If you do not know how to do stranded knitting, then simply CO 72 sts, work 4 rnds of k2, p2 ribbing, and then 3” of Stocking stitch.)
With 5 mm circ, CO 72 sts using the longtail method.
Join into a rnd, being careful not to twist and work corrugated ribbing as foll:
Rnd 1: *K2 MC, k2 CC, rep from * to end of rnd, place marker to indicate start of rnd.
Rnd 2: *K2 MC, p2 CC, rep from * to end of rnd.
Rnds 3 and 4: Rep Rnd 2.
Rnd 5: Knit around in MC.
Rnd 6: *K1 CC, k3 MC, rep from * to end of rnd.
Rnd 7: K2 MC, *K1 CC, k3 MC, rep from * to last 2 sts, k1CC, k1 MC.

Rep Rnds 6 and 7 until work meas approx 3”.
In class, we will set up 2 armhole steeks and a neck steek, learn how to secure them, cut them open, and, if there is time, finish the cut edges.

 

What the Pattern Doesn’t Tell You (and the class for the Sunday afternoon about Garments)

Students should bring small amounts of worsted weight yarn in 3 different light colours, needles in an appropriate size for the yarn (4 – 5.5mm), a crochet hook in the same or a slightly smaller size, paper, pens in several colours, rulers, darning needles, scissors.

 

Afterthought Buttonhole Class Materials
50g worsted-weight wool
Size US #8 / 5 mm 24” circular needle
Size US #7 / 4.5 mm double-pointed needles
Size US # 5 / 3.75 mm crochet hook
small scissors and a tapestry needle
pencil and notepaper, or other means to take notes