Monday, December 14, 2009

New Question of the Day

Hi folks,

It's been a while since my last post. Sorry got really busy with custom orders etc. So without further ado onto the Question of the Day

What are your phobias/hangups. Snakes? Fingernails on Chalkboard?

I actually have 2 weird ones but they stem from actual experiences. I am definitely freaked out by birds flying around my head. I'm a mess in the city with all the pigeons. I have trained most of my friends to walk in front of me if there is a flock ahead. This actually stems from the fact that we had bats (which turned out to have rabies) in our 150 year old house that I grew up in.

My other weird hangup is cotton. I cannot stand the feel of raw cotton. I'm ok with cotton clothing, but I have to get tweezers or help to get the cotton out of asprin bottles etc. Cotton balls will not be found in my house. I think this weird one comes from the fact that I broke my leg and was in a cast lined with cotton for 3 months. If you have ever had a cast you know how itchy and annoying it is.

I'll share my husbands too because I find it funny. He loves the taste of peaches but cannot handle a fuzzy peach. He can't even watch me bite into one.

What's yours?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Starting to think about Christmas

It's funny getting into retail selling has definitely had me more focused on Christmas in terms of sales. Sadly with the extra work, I haven't really focused on getting our home part of the Christmas equation into the works.

Today I was starting to feel that sniggle of Christmas hope and whistfulness. This year we are hosting Christmas and my neice will be here. This is a big deal as we don't have any children. The idea of having a child opening presents under the Christmas tree has got even the bah-humbugs in our family excited. My mother in law (who was a teacher) is picking out books and games to keep little Sierra busy.

Even I (professed tomboy) gave in to Sierra's fashion taste and had a pink and purple tutu made for her. Well I guess I'm starting to feel it.

So here's a virtual christmas card for you. A couple years back, my dog gully sported this fabulously holiday inspired outfit. And remember it's not all about the sales. Gotta remember to stop and smell the mistletoe.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Stay home if you're sick

Gonna have me a little rant here. Please bear with me.

So as we enter the Christmas holiday, those of us who sell items know that this is kind of the Superbowl. Gotta have your A game going and all.

Well yesterday at the vet, I was helped by this lady who was very obviously sick. Sniffling sneezing etc. She processed my credit card and got my pooch prescription filled. I wanted nothing to do with her (well she was nice enough) but I had to pay and Mr. dog needed his meds. When I got home I immediately washed my hand.

Unfortunately today I started sneezing and coughing. Sure enough I have a cold at the worst time ever. I guess there is a slight possibility that I'm allergic to my new wool delivery that arrived today but I think not.

Here's the rant. If you are sick, please please please stay home. If you have to go out be considerate of the rest of us. I know you are miserable but that doesn't mean I have to be too. And those of us who aren't sick should remember WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY!! A trick I heard is to sing the alphabet song while washing. That's the amount of time you should be scrubbing.

Anyway rant over. Got dayquil on board and still working. Off to knit.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Fiberpuppy was featured on the Front Page

Well amidst all the chaos of black friday /cyber monday prep, I neglected to check out the front page. Well apparently my owl hat was featured on Friday. After desparately trying to keep some items in stock I took a break and checked out our dteam thread. Well sure enough someone else had seen it and gave me a shout out. I guess I know why I was so busy.

The theme of the page seemed to be geek chic. Should I be offended? Only kidding, it's certainly better than regretsy. Oddly enough the actual owl hat did not sell. Any takers? Oh well, I now now how hot a commodity the cats are.

Wondering if I am now target fodder for all the owl and cowl haters in the etsy forums. Maybe I should make a cowl. If you can't beat em join em.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chaos and Mini crisis averted

Had a small crisis today that worked itself out. I had pre-made some replacement cat hats so I could relist if they sold. Well sure enough they did and then one of the relisted ones sold.

So in the midst of my busy weekend, my husband decides to be "helpful" and redo my entire office for more storage. (I'm sure its because my sweat shop migrates to the living room often). Anyway we certainly tore the house apart but never quite got it back together as of this morning.

In any case, I'm putting together shipments and I cannot find one of the gray cat hats. I thought I looked everywhere, but at this point the entire house is in chaos. I'm freaking out here (already stressed can't plug computer in etc) . So I decide I'll make another one and I'm off to Joann for more yarn. Well Joann doesn't have the color. Neither does Michaels or my other local yarn store.

Well now I'm in panic mode. I figure I'll eat the cost and get some fedexed. Still couldn't find the darn yarn online. At this point, I start piecing together the very end of balls of yarn in the correct color. Not the same dye lot and still not enough but I'm thinking I'll just lightly felt it then stretch it a bit.

As I'm putting the hat into the washing machine, my husband walks in toting said missing cat hat. Apparently in all the chaos it had fallen on the floor.


Anyway needless to say if I find that darn yarn I'm buying a boatload.

But the hat I made I think I will donate. I am so grateful to have found the original and realized I could have such worse things to worry about.

I just joined an etsy team called host that helps folks in need. They have a store to generate money and people can post things they need (like presents for christmas ). Well I think someone is getting a gray cat hat for Christmas.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bags Glorious Bags

No Imelda Marcos am I. I do not collect shoes. (well that would be a fruitless venture as my size 11 huge feet preclude that) What I do collect is bags. It's definitely verging on obsession. I don't even always wear them, but I just gotta have them. And for me, I want a bag that no one else has so Gucci is out (even if I could afford it). I may not be able to buy all the bags I love, but I've collected a few in my favorites. So I thought I would share.

Picnic Tote by Avrilloreti. What a cool iconic picture. Love it.

Hobo Shoulder Bag by CreativeChics. I love the colors on this.

Tethy's interchangable wristlet and shoulderbag by FuchstBags. I love that it can be worn a number of ways.

Michelle Light Brown Soft Leather Handbag by Artoncrafts. Soo classy! I really want to touch this one. Yummy

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Teal Aran Knit Shrug Modeled by Elle

I gave my mannequin Zelda the day off. Instead my very good friend (and the person who taught me to knit) Elle graciously agreed to model the latest addition to my store.

I originally knit this for myself. I really wanted to play with putting different cable patterns together. I found that I'm really a sweatshirt kind of girl and the bell sleeves kind of drove me crazy. (great advertisement huh). But it is truly one of a kind and took me about a month to knit. Thus the ridiculously high price. Elle said she would buy it, but being a knitter herself, she was inspired to go create her own version.

In any case, it's the only non-felted item in my shop.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Question of the Day

We are entering the holiday season and I have been pondering gift ideas. My 5 year old niece will be here for Christmas morning, so I've been scheming about toys. I thought it might be useful (and insightful) to ask the following.

What was your favorite toy as a child?

My absolutely favorite toy was a pogo stick. I could literally hop for hours on end. I have the distinct memory of hopping about on my squeeky pogo stick. Apparently my mom was trying to nap and she came running out of the house with butter in hand. She proceeded to grease my pogo stick with butter and silently return to the house. LOL She was definitely the kind of lady who would fix anything with duct tape.

Anyway, what was yours?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Everyone's got one even the dog

I have a friend who is what the world would call a "real artist". He makes metal sculptures that sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Right about the time I was thinking of selling my felted items he gave me a couple great nuggets of advise.

The first thing he told me is that it is never a rational business decision to sell your craft. Next he asked me if I'd gotten to the point that I couldn't give my art away as gifts as everyone already had at least one already. I laughed and agreed that everyone had at least one felted item. He told me well then you have to take the leap. You're going to be doing your art anyway so you might as well sell it.

I thought that was a great way to look at it. The work involved in selling one's craft is the selling not the making. I, at least, am compelled to create regardless of whether it sells. The hard part is putting it out there.

And, as you can see from the photo. Even my dog has a scarf.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Question of the Day

I wanted to start a weekly Question of the Day post.

So here's the first question.

What three items are always in your fridge?

Ok for me;

1. Ketchup always always always. We go to code red when we start to get low.

2. Pickles and usually more than one kind cornichons, dills, half sours we love them all.(are you sensing a hamburger theme here).

3. Sriracha hot sauce. This is mostly for my husband. Where I put ketchup he adds Sriracha.

I was going to say 4. mold. But really my husband is the ultimate fridge sniffer so that's not true. He's constantly asking me to smell stuff to see if its bad. I mean really if it smells bad why do I have to smell it? I guess he want's to share the pain.

Anyway, I'd love to hear anyone's answers to this. Please post below. You blog but have no idea who's reading. I think a fridge is a unique insight into a persons personality.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I was having one of those days where nothing really works out. My calculations on a purse were off and when I took the item out of the washer it resembled a wine bottle cozy. I had no inspiration to go back and re-knit it.

So I took out a felted black scarf to work on that instead. I've been trying to come up with men's items somewhat unsuccessfully. Everything is just a little to feminine. I decided I would try my hand at a jolly roger. I mean even grown up boys want to be pirates deep down inside. And hey even my husband would wear black.

So here it is. The white felt I cut the skull out of is a bit tricky. If I do another, I may have to knit up thinner wool.

I guess it goes to show that sometimes the best inspiration comes when give up and try something new.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Harold and Maude kind of afternoon.

You are either going to get the idea of this post or think I'm a total weirdo, but so be it.

Today we visited our local graveyard, not because we knew anyone there, but just because.

It's actually a really beautiful site with gorgeous views of the San Francisco Bay. I brought along my camera and thought I'd share some photos.

I took a couple pictures of old graves from the 20s that had photographs. The portraits are so stylized.

There were also a number of unique things that people had left as offerings. There was a huge pomello which struck me as odd. Well I guess I might like oreos left on my grave who knows. And a little boy's grave that had a toy car someone left.

We also played a game to choose the our favorite unique name. Believe it or not a cemetary is actually a good place to find unique names. And the winner is

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Work in Progress Octopus Scarf

I figured I would share this scarf since it won't be seeing etsy. I sold a similar scarf to a local shop. The shopowner called to say that after it sold someone came in looking to buy it. She asked if I would make another.

So off I set to exactly recreate the prior scarf. It definitely isn't exactly the same that would be impossible. In fact I think it's turning out better.

In any case Enjoy!!

Oh Oh and tomorrow is Felty Friday on Can you guess who the featured artist is???

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dogs greeting their homecoming soldiers

A friend passed a link to this on to me and I am still teary eyed. These videos really show the sacrifices both our soldiers and their families make.

If this doesn't get ya, then nothing will. Happy Veterans Day and Thank you all those who have made such sacrifices to keep me safe.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The hat with the cat is back

Well last week I sold three hats to one person. I was so excited until I realized that they were in California and I had neglected to charge sales tax. Obviously a newbie mistake. I posted in the forums and discovered that you can set up paypal to automatically charge sales tax. Well live and learn. I ate the sales tax on that sale.

After coming down from the "I made a sale" high, I realized that I had no critters in my shop. I kind of consider them my signature (If I even have such a thing). So I was off to critter creation mode.

I am happy to announce that the critters are back. Black and gray cats. The dog hat is currently setting on the hat stand and will join the cats shortly.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Grocery Store Embarrassment

We had a skunk that began prowling our yard. This of course led to some unhappy interactions with my dog. After the second time in a month he had been sprayed I asked our neighbor who is a dog groomer what she recommends. She sort of chuckled and gave me the name of a particular brand of feminine douche.

Well about a week later I (stupidly) opened the door for the dog in the middle of the night. And pow!! Right outside the door was a skunk who sprayed not only the dog but got me as well.

After coughing and crying and washing my face (and of course locking the dog outside) I figured no time like the present to try out the new supercure. So off I went to the all night Safeway.

I wasn't sure how much I needed so I figured I'd get about 8 boxes. So as I am unloading my 8 (yes 8) boxes of douche at 3 a.m still smelling awful I look up at the checkers face. She was horrified. I started laughing so hard I almost couldn't explain what the douche was for. I can just imagine what kind of horrible medical problem she thought I was having.

In any case, I have since learned that it is the baking soda and vinegar in the douche that is key. So no more awkward moments at the grocery store.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weekend of Food Food Food

We had houseguests this weekend. My good friend Jenn (we went to law school together) and our friend Ruth who flew in from Germany. They arrived safely and soon a feeding frenzy ensued.

They had both been away from the Bay Area for awhile, so they were dying for a number of local things. On Friday, they barted into the city to have Pho. For those of you who do not know Pho, it is vietnamese noodle soup. Friday night I made spaghetti and meatballs from the tomatoes in the garden. Saturday Latin food was in order. We absolutely pigged out at a El Salvadorian restaurant in Richmond.

After that we were stuffed, but Jenn wanted to get some Japanese spices that she can't get up in Arcata, so we rolled into Ranch 99, which is an Asian Grocery the size of Walmart. Jenn and I somehow convinced each other we needed lobster, which is funny because neither my husband nor Ruth would eat it. So late that night, I cooked and cleaned (yes I'm from Boston) a Lobstah for Jenn and I.

Saturday, I sent Jenn and Ruth off to Thai Temple for breakfast. It's a Buddist temple that raises money by serving food on Sun. Meanwhile I cooked up a Ragout of Beef for dinner. We had another law school buddy over and made a party of it.

Well they just left this morning and I think I need to go on a diet. But it did make me appreciate the wonderful food I have locally.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shibori Felting Techniques

So as promised I'm sharing the method I use to create the textured lace scarves I make.

You need to start with fabric made with animal fibers. No acrylic and no superwash wool. Keep in mind that it will shrink. I knit my own blanks for felting, but you could use this technique on second hand sweaters or cloth so long as it is all wool. If you are knitting, I recommend Patons Classic Wool or Lambs Pride.

Next you will need some objects to create the texture. I used hazelnuts for this, but I've added some other weird stuff I sometimes use. You will also need rubber bands to secure the items in place.

Stretch the fabric over the object tightly and secure with a rubber band. Repeat this creating whatever pattern tickles your fancy.

Once you have created your pattern its off to the washing machine. Place the object in the wash. I recommend adding some other clothing to help agitation. Keep in mind that fibers will be coming off the fabric so choose wisely. Next set your water to hot and agitation to high and start the machine. Stop the machine and check the item every so often to see if it has felted to your desired stiffness. When it's done drain the machine.

Leave the nuts (or whatever you use) in the fabric for at least 12 hours until it has dried. This will create the maximum texture. After drying, remove et voila Shibori felt.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What a Week I made the top 10

This is a picture of my cat hat featured in the window display of Lava 9 in Berkeley. I stopped by to take a photo and drop off new tags for the items. The sales lady informed me that my gray cat hat had sold the very first day it was in the store. I had to replace the tags because the original ones had my etsy shop. I didn't want to undermine their sales as my etsy items are lower priced.

Well apparently I was too late, I got a convo on Etsy from someone who saw one of my hats and wanted me to make it for her for my etsy price. I haven't replied. Is that bad karma for me if I do it?

I drove by the store yesterday and the cat hat was gone replaced by my frog. I guess they sold that one too.

So I'm totally riding that adrenalyn rush when I discover my gingko hat is #9 on Timothy Adam's top 10 list. That's just crazy. He has over 95,000 people following him on twitter and 1,600 fans on his blog.

He hasn't posted it on his blog yet but it went out over twitter.

Here's the twitter page

It should eventually be here

OMG better get knitting.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good Neighbor ups the Ante

This morning as I was leaving to run an errand I found the above on my doorstep.

It's a goody delivery from my neighbor. It contains some Indian spices, chilis, apricots, her homemade tomato chutney and the recipe for the same.

So the background for this goody delivery is kind of funny. Our new neighbor bought the house next to us about two months ago. Prior to moving in she had some work done while the house was empty. Every day about an hour after the workmen would leave, an alarm would go off in her house.

Since there was no one in the house to complain we wrote a note explaining that we weren't fussy but the alarm was kind of making us nutso. I left a jar of homemade jam as a gesture of goodwill. Since I made at least 40 jars this was no skin off my back.

The next afternoon, the painter came over to tell me that she had arranged to have the security system ripped out. Two days later there was a bottle of wine and a kind note on my doorstep.

After she moved, in I asked her if she wanted any tomatoes. We have so many they are literally rotting on the vine. She looked estatic. So I've been leaving deliveries on her doorstep. Since leaving the tomatoes, I've found homemade bread, and other goodies on my doorstep.

Well today she upped the ante. Please note that we do not normally get the newspaper. (although that could be a one-time freebe from the Chronicle).

I'm kind of afraid to leave more tomatoes. She might just come over and make me breakfast in bed. Only kidding.

So the moral of the story here is that Karma does exist. I could have been bitchy in the note, but instead I included jam, and that has made all of the difference.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Felting 101

History of Felt:

Felt is the oldest known fabric. Wall hangings using felt appliqué were found in Turkey from 6,500 to 3,000 B.C. Lore claims that St. Clement, patron saint of hatmakers, discovered felt when as a wandering monk he put wool in his sandals. The resulting sweat and agitation from walking created felt. The historical use of felt is widespread.

What is felt and how does it happen

Felt is the textile created by the interlocking mesh of animal fibers. Wool and animal fibers have scales. (See the above photo of wool fiber taken with an electron microscope) These scales are shaped like barbs on a hook i.e. if rubbed in one direction it will catch. Heat and moisture cause the scales to open and interlock. Wool fibers contain keratin, which chemically bonds the fibers together when the material cools the scales close and the keratin chemically bonds the fibers together.

How to make felt.

If you have ever accidentally thrown a wool sweater in the washing machine only to find a shrunken facsimile come out you have some idea how this works. Technically, felting only refers to the meshing of FIBERS not fabric or yarn. The meshing of fabric or yarn is referred to as fulling. In either case, the principal is the same. In order to mesh wool you need 2 things, agitation and warm water. The use of a little bit of soap can quicken the process allowing the scales or barbs of the fiber to slide more easily across each other.

The easiest method for meshing the fibers is to start with wool fabric and use a washing machine. Top loaders are the best as you can stop the process at any time you feel the fabric is meshed enough. Simply load the fabric. I tend to add something else to the wash to increase the agitation. Keep in mind that fibers will be coming off the wool so don’t use anything you can’t get wool pills off. I usually use a pair of jeans. Add a small amount of detergent and run the load using hot water. Stop the cycle every so often to check the progress. When it’s shrunk enough take it out and allow it to completely dry. While it is still moist you do have the opportunity to add some shaping. For my hats, I place them over a bucket to create a head shape.

This is the basic technique. I will be adding more advanced felting techniques such as Shibori and needle felting in further posts.

Try it out. I swear it’s just like shrinky dinks.

Photo by Gerry Danilatos

Under Creative Commons license

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License. In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of the file under the conditions that you appropriately attribute it, and that you distribute it only under a license identical to this one.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How Breast Cancer Taught me to Knit

This started as an attempt to write a very academic how-to in series about felting it’s history and techniques. Maybe because it’s October and breast cancer awareness month, this kind of turned into my own story.

I think I first fell in love with felt when I was a child. My godmother was Austrian (thus the weird spelling of my name) and my parents regularly traveled to Austria and Germany. My dad obtained a boiled wool jacket in the black forest of Germany. I had never seen such a thing. It was obviously made of fiber but was thicker than leather. Water beaded on it and the wind just could not penetrate it. It had hand hewn silver buttons and I totally coveted that jacket through my teen aged years. I mourned the loss of that jacket but did not give it much thought until my 30’s.

At age 33 two weeks after taking the California Bar I was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer. With Chemo and hairloss impending I did what all crazy people do. I had a party and had my friends dye my hair blue. (my mom even bought the dye). At the party, my friend Eleanor presented me with a hat that she had knit. Since it was looking like I was going to have a lot of stressful time on my hands I asked her to teach me to knit.

Eleanor was a free-form knitter. There were no mistakes only cat toys. I had so little to do and so little energy, I began to pass time in rows, feeling proud that I had at least something to show for my time. Then I discovered my local yarn store Dharma Trading. This was my salvation. They offered free drop in knitting classes every day. The woman who ran the classes was known (behind her back) as the knitting nazi. She was very proper and I think I sent her into heart failure when I presented my half knit socks which were knit inside out. But who can be too angry with someone so obviously going through cancer so I got a pass. I did not go out much but I pretty much went to Dharma every day.

That Christmas my I presented my husband with the most god-awful misshapen sweater that I had to pry out of his hands this year to see if it would felt as I couldn’t stand looking at it.

Later, I saw an article in interweave knits for a felted purse. My skills (which weren’t much at that time) were up to the task. I tried it and I was hooked. I practically shivered in anticipation by the washing machine as my ludicrously large sack of cloth was magically transformed a la shrinky dink into a dense beautiful bowl.

Well that’s how it started and next post will be the actual how felt works and techniques post.

So if you know someone going through this. For sure knit them a cap, then ask them if they want to learn how to make one.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A messy situation the secret to clogged drains.

Yesterday night after dinner I discovered that my kitchen drain was clogged. Now granted it could possibly be the remnants of my greasy meal, but I was also concerned as I am a felter. If you have ever felted in a washing machine you will understand the amount of fiber that comes off wool. Normally when such things happen I rely on my husband. (I'm not much of fixer unless it involves duct tape). Unfortunately said husband is in Germany at the Frankfurt book fair.

So I do what any normal person would do and I buy some draino. I pour it down and wait and wait and wait. Being of the school that more is better, I decide to buy 2 more bottles of draino to add to the mix. When this fails to fix the problem. I call the landlord, who informs me that he would have used draino too but that I should leave it overnight and call a plumber in the morning. I'm a bit dismayed at the prospect of spending the night with toxic soup in my kitchen, but understand that emergency plumbers do not come cheap.

After waking, I peer into the kitchen to find toxic soup still there. So I call the plumber my landlord told me to call. The plumber calls me back 2 hours later. He does not speak English very well but I think he gets the gyst of the problem. He asks when I would like him come. I say now. He says he cannot because it is raining. "I'm sorry because it's raining??" I say. "Yes, the trap to your sink is outside and it is raining. I'll call you back when it stops raining."

Ok I'm not a plumber and don't want to insult any of you plumbers out there, but don't they have to deal with things much worse than rain. Like poop for example. Granted we are having quite a rainstorm right now but really???

At this point, I take matters into my own hands and go on-line to discover the mysteries of drain clogs. After a quick trip to the hardware store for a plunger I boil water. After pouring the water into the sink I very carefully (remember this is draino here) start plunging. Well that managed to get the toxic soup out of the sink, but the drain still clogged.

Ok here is the cool part/secret ingredient. Remember when you made volcanoes as science projects..... Yes the secret ingredient is baking soda which I funnel down the drain. I then add vinegar and put the plunger over so the pressure goes down not up. Add hot water et voila.

Who needs plumbers (Ok I may live to regret that last line.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weird Wonderful and Just plain bizarre fiber creations

I was inspired to share this collection by my fellow Etsy D-listers. I shared an incident in which I had been felting in the washing machine and suddenly a huge fiber poop came shooting out of the drain. My teammates suggested that there might in fact be a market for this kind of thing. Well I don’t know if anyone is buying, but people certainly are creating strange and amazing things.

Ok first photo was the inspiration for the blog post. Honestly, I don’t know who made it or I would definitely give credit where credit is due (or doo-doo).

The second image is part of an entire series of knitted superheros. Here we see Argyleman. These were done by Mark Newport. He had a show at the Greg Kucera gallery. To see more check out

The third and fourth creations are by Janet Morton. Tree Cozy anyone? Also you have to appreciate the time it took to make an entire living room.

And finally in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month knit tits. There’s a special place in my heart for these. I am a breast cancer survivor but fortunately, managed to keep my breast. You should really read the article it’s pretty touching. It appeared in Knitty fall 2005 She actually wore these instead of prothesis. The pattern is also contained there if you are interested in making and donating to a local organization that helps breast cancer survivors.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Swiss Cheese

I was asked on the Etsy D-lister board if I could make felted food as a toy. Unfortunately, this is not my forte, although it did give me ideas for next year. So as I'm chugging along working on some scarves I thought about making a swiss cheese scarf. The beauty of felted knitting is that you can cut into it and it doesn't unravel. So here is a sneak peek into my first stab at felted food. (It still needs to be trimmed before being posted) .

Should I market this to Wisconsonites? Don't they wear cheese heads for football games? I'm not much of a sports fan I admit.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New technology meets old

I've been thinking about creating a new line of lower priced items for my etsy shop. I am so excited I just finished my first iphone cozy. Ok I know this dates me, or maybe it dates you if you don't know that this is a rotary phone dial. I really like the irony of keeping a cell phone in a handmade pouch with the old rotary phone decoration. This is the first item I've made using old sweaters that I felted and then hand sew. I hope to make more.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Meeting our new mannequin or how I found Zelda.

After a number of critiques of my etsy shop, I decided I needed to up my game with the photos. Many had suggested I find a model. Since I pretty much work alone and didn't want to show my pudgy figure in a photo I decided to either buy or create a mannequin.

I searched online under how-to make dress forms and was pretty put off. One suggested duct taping oneself, peeling it off and putting it back together. Another involved paper mache. While I am not opposed to these necessarily, what I really wanted was a model not a perfect replica of myself to make a dress from. Besides I had to wonder about the duct tape thing.

Next I checked on craigslist. et voila, a one day sale of slightly damaged mannequins. Torsos going for $25. The place was called mannequin madness, they were located in Oakland and would be open from 1-2pm. When I showed up the door was locked so I called the number on the ad. A man answered and let me in through an old warehouse to a back room. Inside...well, I'll let the photos show you. I found one that was not too crooked. Her left breast was a little dirty, but hey, my left breast is a little crooked too from breast cancer. I took her home and named her Zelda. Here she is. I hope she can help me sell my stuff.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Manly Art of Knitting

A couple of years ago I was puttering through the craft section of the library and I came across an amazing book called the Manly Art of Knitting. It's a paperback pamphlet-style book. The cover shot looks like the Marlboro man on a horse knitting. The back flap reads "Only a man would knit a hammock with shovel handles for needles and manila rope for yarn."

Needless to say I was taken.

Despite the kitch value, the book was incredibly well-written and concise. It contains instructions on how to do the basics. The close-up photograhs show what the stitches should look like. The diagrams show how the yarn is supposed to wrap around the needles. I remember wishing I had such great, clear instructions when I began knitting.

Although it is a short book (only 64 pages), it contains a number of patterns that are perfectly balanced in the kitch to utility factor. These include a dog bed with different sizes for a small, medium and large dog, a ribbed cap, a horse blanket knit with garden hose in the round and of course a hammock knit with shovel handles.

After bringing the book home, I showed it to my husband who is a book publisher. I think my enthusiam rubbed off on him. We went on-line to purchase a copy and discovered it was out of print. Ok here's where my wheels started turning. I suggested that Gingko press re-print the book. David was a bit sceptical, but he brought the book in to show around the office. After discovering that copies were selling for over $100 I think he was sold.

Since that time I managed to secure my own copy and have written a number of letters to the author to see if he would re-publish. Unfortunately, I have had no response. I'm not sure I even have the right address. Well today while trying to get a picture of the book I came across contact info for a woman who says she published it. Well I just e-mailed her. I am so excited. Everyone cross your fingers and hope that we can get this gem back in print.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dog or Bear

So after trying to handsell to shops I was told that I should make more things for men. Additionally the color brown was suggested. So I made this hat (obviously not finished yet). I can't decide whether to make it a dog hat or a bear hat. For the dog, I would have to add some floppy ears. It kind of already looks like a bear. Well we'll see.

I did unwillingly post this scarf on Etsy. It was cold today so I wore it to the office and I kind of fell in love with it. I know I need to sell but sometimes it's hard to let the objects go.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Patterns for Textiles

I wanted to share a cool resource for patterns. First a caveat (yes I am an attorney). This book is published by my husband who is the editor at Gingko Press. So this is shameless promotion for him. Ok onto the meat. This book is a great resource for patterns. Basically, it is a compilation of 483 pattern images. It costs $24.95. It comes with a cd which contains all of the patterns for download royalty free. The images are eps scaleable vector files (so says my husband). For those of us that do not speak vector, this means you can open them in photoshop and choose what size etc. you would like them to be and save them as a jpeg.

I used one of them as the background for the title of this blog. I found them inspirational, but since my fiber work doesn't run through the computer, I've been using them more as background for posts etc. If any of you do screenprinting though, they could be used for that as well. I've posted a couple images from the book of patterns I like.