Thursday, May 17, 2012

and just cause "666" freaks me out....

I am posting number 667 right on it's heels.

As you may know, we moved in the fall. Fall was rough to say the least and I really didn't get a look at what was in the flower beds or in the yard. I did note that there was a bed out front with bush like things in it and a small bed in the back yard. And then I started to deal with the inside of the house and teaching for the first time and life in general and didn't give the outside a second thought.

Fast forward to spring and this is what the front bed looks like. Ick. Some nice hostas, a burning bush, false spirea, a couple of cute box woods, a hydrangea that has seen better days, along with a smattering of wood chips of some sort and exposed landscape cloth. The people that we bought the place from bought it 5 years ago and I am assuming that the people that they bought it from had a little landscaping done to give the house "curb appeal". And that was the end of doing anything (short of mowing) in the yard.

And the neglect shows. No curb appeal from this vantage point.

We need to have the drain tiles cleaned out and may of may not have to dig up this corner of the house so I am leaving this bed until we find out how much digging needs to be done.

In the back I was able to start digging some of the weeds out of the bed. I waited until I could get an idea of what was in there and other than the bush in the middle, nothing but weeds have appeared. Well, there was a brave showing from a tiny bit of creeping flox but not enough to have my heart singing. The soil in the bed is very depleted ( I only saw two worms) and we will get some manure to make it happier.

 We are going to lengthen it and make it a bit wider and plant things that need to be picked in a timely manner. Like lettuce and cherry tomatoes and spinach and maybe even a special place with lots of sand for carrots! And my herbs. Parsley, sage, thyme, basil, oregano, and tarragon. Rosemary will go into a pot as she can come inside for the winter.

And look! I have lilacs!

Journal April

After the failure of March, I am happy to say that April is finished, and even happier to say that I am pleased.

I was having a hard time being inspired after the disappointment of March, so I put out a call on Face Book which said "Waiting for inspiration........"  and one of my friends (thanks Mel) pointed me here.

And I found this.

My original inspiration. This was lifted from the internet but was uncredited so in the highly unlikely event that it is yours and you would like credit, let me know and I will do so.
April started out as a regular white vessel into which I cut irregular holes.
Freshly cut vessel
I felt that the cut edge was a little rough
sharp edges

 so I soaked it out and felted them a little more to soften them up a bit.

Poor soggy vessel
 After I had finished felting it, I rinsed it well and squeezed out the excess water but I was left with a floppy pile of felt.
Rung out but still floppy

So I decided that the best way to make it full and round again was to insert a balloon to give it some structure. I just happened to have a balloon hanging about because I also just happen to have an 8 year old who loves balloons!
the best way to puff up wet felt
When I first saw the picture that was the inspiration for April, I dropped it on my desktop and didn't look at it again. I had a vague memory of something in the center and something spherical. I had a small red vessel left over from a previous project and I thought that it would look lovely in the centre.


If you scroll back up to the funky fungus, you can see that there is no red, but there is something inside and something something somewhat spherical. 

I put the small red vessel inside and had fun stitching it in place.
close up of the internal ball
Now I need to get going on May! The month is half over and I have no idea what May will be!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I am sorry to have been so silent lately in terms of my Felted Vessel Project, but it turns out that March is an abject failure. Well, maybe I should be quite so harsh. I did learn a lot. Isn't that usually the way though.

If you remember (it was so long ago in time, but only a few posts) March was inspired by seeing street lights at night from an airplane. This necessitated finding streets upon which to set some lights.

Google maps came to the rescue. I started in Ottawa and "flew" towards Montreal ( the one place even I recognised from the air) and stopped when I found a particularly pleasing arrangement of streets. Just as I had no idea what towns I was flying over, I have no idea of the name of the particular town that I used. A print out and a couple of enlargements later, I had my streets. I had to do a bit of creative rearrangement to make a flat town fit on a curved surface, but through diligent application of scissors, managed to come up with a pleasing arrangement.

Through trial and error, I decided that the best way to mark out my town was to lay "lights" along the streets, and some how mark them.
preparation of pattern pieces
Enter the tiny hole punch (1/8th of and inch) and dressmakers chalk.

Patterns, chalk, and holes

Next came the punching. Hundreds of little holes. To punch effectively, I put a dowel into the vice, the vessel onto the dowel, and with my trusty hammer, beat the thing into submission.
Punching holes like nobody's business

After a while, the center of the dowel would be so chewed up as to not actually work as an effective brace against which to punch, so I also had to saw the end off the dowel several times.  Actually, this was a job that I pawned off on my wonderful husband.
A pooped punch pole

I was left with a bunch of small felt plugs. Every 5 or 6 holes, I would have to stop pounding and dig the plugs out of my punch. I ended up buying a couple of more punches, which turned out to be a good thing because I damaged my first punch a short while later.
Doughnut holes

and the doughnut

Next, I started to stitch the beads in. This in itself was a trial. I had finished the punching the night before I, my mother, and my friend Sarah were scheduled to leave for a Fibre Arts Retreat in Nova Scotia. The drive was about 5 hours and I felt safe that between going and coming home, I would have enough time to stitch my vessel. Not to mention that there would be time to stitch when I was not spinning, eating, etc.

I was right. I had plenty of time to stitch. I thought that I might not have enough beads so before we left, I ran to the store and found some more gold beads. What I didn't figure was that the beads were a slightly different gold. Not much of a difference, but enough of a difference that I couldn't use them.
If I had been at home, I could have taken the beads out of my trial piece, or run back to the store to see if I could find the right gold colour. As it was, I ripped the beads out and started to stitch with the new beads. I managed to get most of the stitching finished on the drive home (thanks Mamoo for driving!)

Finished....or is it?
Beads all in, and all of the same colour, it was done, but all of the manipulation that it gone through had left it somewhat.....floppy.  No worries, I thought. I'll pop a balloon into it and give it a quick felt to firm it up a bit.

Smart eh?

Not so much. It seems that there were a few places where I had punched the holes a little too closely and with the further manipulation the holes actually ended up acting like perforations in paper.

They tore a bit.

And created holes.

@#&^%$% holes!

As you can see in the "finished?" picture, there was still snow on the ground. It was actually just a couple of days into April when this happened and I have to say that with everything else that has been happening in my life, it acted as a bit of a gumption trap. It took me a couple of weeks to decide how to proceed.

First was to decide to start on April without having satisfactorily finished March.
Second was to decided on April.
Third was to accept that I will be redoing all this work and using my hard earned knowledge of what not to do, hopefully end up with a successful piece.

But give me a couple of months to get up the gumption to punch all those holes again!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Weaving Books

Hey All You Weavers Out There.....

I was wondering if you would let me in on your favourite weaving books. I am teaching weaving at NBCCD next year and have a few dollars that I can spend on books.

So if you can gave me a suggestion and tell me what you like about it, I would be grateful!