Thursday, January 29, 2009


On Monday morning before class M and I went touring downtown Vancouver taking pictures of monuments for our Art History class. We just "happened" to make a "quick" (I don't think you could ever just pop into this store! lol) stop at Jefferson's. The catch is, you have to either have a business account with them or spend a minimum of $50 (CAD). This isn't as hard as it may seem. All the prices are about 1/2 the cost of retail (yay!) so it's easy to get carried away, especially because they don't price anything. That's right, nothing is priced! lol. It can be a little scary, when you look at your basket and wonder what the bill is going to look like. lol.
Here is what I bought for just under $40:

- Eucalan (no rinse "soap")
-Pinking shears
-Quilting square
-Clear plastic bobbins (for sewing machine)
-Angelina sparkly fiber
-Shiney embroidery thread

I think that's quite a bit for $40, considering just the pinking shears can cost up to, or even more than $40.

The store was amazing! There was 2 full rows (that's 4 long walls) of JUST thread. 3 walls of buttons (and these walls were about 7+ feet tall and super long (I don't know how long in feet! lol)). If you're in Vancouver and love "crafting" supplies I would definetly recommend this place. Just make sure you have a few hours. lol.


It's amazing what happens when you actually follow the directions!
As you remember from this post, the fleece was quite dirty. Not as dirty as some of the fleeces I have seen, and also, not as white and fluffy as it is now!!!!

The method I used was:

-Fill sink with SUPER hot water (make sure you have gloves)
-Add a squeeze of dish soap
-Add fleece
-Do NOT man handle
-Let it sit for about 20mins (don't let the water go cold)
-Take out fleece (or use a another sink)(try not to let the water run on the fleece, this could lead to felting)
-Drain and add fresh SUPER hot water
-Let fleece soak for about 15mins (again, don't let it get cold)

I found it somewhere online and unfortunately I don't remember where so I can't credit the person. I can't wait to spin this Shetland fleece and also dye it. I just can't decide if I want to dye it as it is, or spin it first. I might do both :)

I also washed some Alpaca that Jana traded me using the same above method and it worked fairly well, but I think I should have opened up the locks a little better

I also think a few runs through the drum carder will help as well.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

THIS is why I love swapping on Craftster

The colors are a little off, but it definitely doesn't take away from the beauty of this swap! I got spoiled rotten! The patchwork yarn is amazing! (Merino) and the batt is a mix of Merino, Soysilk, and a little Corridale and Sari Silk. And isn't the little octopus adorable! Make sure you click on the above picture so you can get a really good look at the wonderful items!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Photo Transfers

On Wednesday in Surface Design class we learned a few techniques for photo transferring. I think it was a total of 5 and I did 3 of them. The first technique was using Medium and a photocopy of a picture (that has no copyright! lol) using a dry toner (key ingredient, (besides the medium ;) hehe) otherwise it won't work)
You lay down the photocopy and use the Medium and "paint" over it. Making sure to cover the whole surface and let it dry for about 24 hours.

(other side of the fabric)

Once it's dry you rinse it in cold water (hot will make the glue pliable and might ruin your print) and rub away the paper.

This is a really easy technique and the supplies are fairly inexpensive the only thing I'm not a super fan of, is the fact that the medium makes the fabric a little stiff. I think it would be a good transfer method for something that was not going to be worn, like a purse/bag, or maybe a wall hanging (?). It could work on a t-shirt if you don't mind the rough medium.

The second technique was also using Medium, but to make a "decal". This one didn't turn out for me very well, because the Medium wasn't thick enough. So you use the same technique as above, just minus the fabric and you'll want to paint the medium on the front of the photocopy.

I took a photocopy of an owl "painted" over with the Medium and let it dry/set for 24 hours. Then I rinsed it in cold water and rubbed away the paper backing.

As you can tell, the Medium was not thick enough and I got some tearing. The owl is a little transparent, but it was hard to capture in the photo. I'm definitely going to try this technique again, but I will glob on the Medium so the photocopy won't tear.

The third technique we learned (of the 5, I still need to do the other 2, which I will post hopefully by the end of next week) was using xylene or "Goof Off". This was my favorite technique of all because it was SOOO simple and super cheap! (which is great, because I'm a student.) I also really liked how it turned out.
The tools you need:

- A Respirator with cartridges for gases or vapors. Even though this product is designed for being used at home for "sticker remover" or "easy clean up" it is HIGHLY toxic and can cause health problems. Please use in a well ventilated area.

(sorry, it's kind of blurry)
Told you it was cheap! lol The technique: Tape down your fabric and photocopy on a surface that will not be ruined by the "Goof Off" (we used a glass plate) If you're unsure of the surface, do a test. (If you're printing on a piece of fabric, like a t-shirt make sure you put something inbetween to protect the other side of the shirt) Place the photocopy image (remember: dry toner) face down on a piece of fabric and dip the q-tip in a little "Goof Off". Do NOT get it too wet. (I can't remember why, but I remember the teacher making a point of this! lol) Rub the q-tip on the back of the photo transfer

Make sure you do this in small sections so that the "Goof Off" doesn't dry. After you apply "Goof Off" take the back edge of the spoon and rub the wet area. Make sure to put a little muscle into it, but not too much, you'll rip the paper ;) lol. If you're not sure the image is transferring, you can always take a little peak, just make sure you don't move the paper around too much. Finished result:

I also did a second print with the same image to see how it would turn out, and I got this:

It worked, but wasn't as clear (obviously) as the first one.

I hope you enjoyed this post, even though it was super long. If you try any of the techniques I would love to see them. Also, if you have any questions, please leave a comment.

Friday, January 23, 2009

oOo.. ahhhh

On Thursdays I have Design class in the morning. Um, I don't really know what to say about this class. lol. I find it challenging (mostly because of personal reasons, that I won't go into) but this week I am really proud of what I made and wanted to share it with the world!

One of our in class assignments was to create a self portrait and then create two design templates. The whole class was just doing this on a whim because the teacher was guiding us through it step by step. When we finished the three pieces the teacher told us to cut up our self portraits (I know, I couldn't believe it either, especially because I really liked mine! A lot of us did.) And then use the portrait for pieces in the templates. (Confusing, I know. I'm going to add pictures. It will all make sense. lol) One of the templates was supposed to be symmetrical and the other asymmetrical. (Apparently, this is a lot harder than I thought it would be) I really liked my symmetrical one (I actually "hung" (by hung I mean used masking tape to put it up. lol) it on my wall) I had a harder time with the asymmetrical one beacuse apparently there was too much negative space, but I was fairly happy with how it turned out.

On to the pictures!
(love this one!)

(the art work is lacking in text because I didn't have ink for my printer for about 2 weeks)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I am so impressed!

As you read a few posts back, I purchased 2lbs of Shetland fleece from Serenity Sheep Woolens on Etsy. Well, it arrived today! It came a lot sooner than I had planned! (I was expecting early or mid next week) So you can imagine my surprise when I opened up the mailbox and saw a key waiting for me! The thought ran through my mind that it could have been one of my swap packages from Craftster, but none of my partners told me they mailed their items. So, like a giddy little girl I grabbed the key and bent over to unlock the larger mailbox and found this:

(minus the kitty... hehe)

Right away I checked the label to get a clue of the contents that may be inside... and I was right!I grabbed the nearest sharp thing, which luckily was scissors! and opened up this bad boy!It was jammed packed in there! I was surprised when I pulled it out, and fluffed it up a little that this "tiny" little box (15-1/2"x11"x5-1/2") held 2lbs of fleece!!

(12" ruler for size comparisson)

And a crappy picture of the staple length for good measure. (no pun intended! lol)
This fleece is surprisingly clean! The first raw fleece I ever received was sooooooo (x10) greasy I still haven't de-lanolin-ized it (yes I just created a new word ;) lol) (I've written about it in one of my drum carding posts) But, this one! Beautiful! I can't wait to clean it up, dye it and spin it! Thank you Serenity Sheep Woolens!!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009


I bought some acid dyes from Maiwa. It's just your basic starter kit, but it came with everything I need for right now.

(Instructions, Acid, Red, Yellow, and Turquoise dye powders)

It was very exciting! Now I just need to find some time to dye. lol I think I'm going to dye the Shetland fleece I bought from Etsy, but that will take awhile because it will need to be cleaned in batches (unlike when I washed one of my llama fleeces all in one go .. big mistake .. lol)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

something new!

Caution: May contain TOO many pictures

Last friday, we learned how to weave! I finally remembered to bring my camera this friday, so that I could take pictures of my progress.
We started on a Woolhouse Tools (Canadian company!) table loom and next semester we will be on floor looms. (We do have the option of switching to a floor loom half way through this class for our final project, which I might do because I have a loom at home. Then I would only have to go to class in the mornings)

(my loom)

So, yesterday (friday) I got quite a bit of weaving done. I really liked doing patterns, and I think that will be where my main focus is. A lot of my classmates where using different weft objects, such as plastic bags, cloth, leather, fishing line, raffia, etc. Some of it looked ok, but I'm more of a fan of "traditional" weaving. Just plain 'ol yarn on yarn! lol But I did get a little "crazy" with the weft.
(click on the picture to enlarge it)

I used pipe cleaner and ribbon! (check this out, I found it while searching for a picture of pipe cleaners! lol)

(close up of pipe cleaner. so cute!)

I really liked how the pipe cleaner turned out, except the sharp little ends. If I were to use it in the future, I don't know how I could keep the ends from poking me. Maybe fold it back and wrap it around it's self? Please leave suggestions in the comment box. :)

While playing around I also developed my own pattern. I'm sure it's been done somewhere or at some point in the history of weaving (considering weaving dates back to at least 5000 B.C.) BUT, I drafted it on graph paper and wove it myself. So I'm calling it mine, until further notice. :)

Here is a close up

When I was drawing (writing/drafting?) up the pattern I originally wanted large circles, but I think I needed to take in consideration that I was working on a 10 e.p.i. (ends per inch)

I should have created something that was more spaced out or wove it on a bigger e.p.i. OR developed a pattern that had a different heedle set up (I think I'm getting too ahead of myself now! lol)

Next week we are finishing our samplers and moving on to color! I can't wait! I think we are also going to learn how to do more complicated patterns. I'm pretty excited about that too! So I'll try my best to remember my camera so I can overload another post with pictures.

Side note: I'm going to Maiwa today for school supplies, and also some acid dyes so I can dye more fleece (the Shetland I have coming in the mail!) and yarn.

Friday, January 16, 2009

look what I can do...

... in a 3 hour break between classes on a Thursday
("Party Gone Wrong" - 163 yards of Unknown Fiber)

Last semester we had a class on spinning and I got a little carried away and drum carded a few batts of random fiber from a giant bag of unknown fleece (I wish I had a picture of it)(I drum carded because I already knew how to spin). The batts sat around the classroom all semester and I finally decided that since no one was going to do anything with them, I would spin them. So the above skein is the product of my fiber obsession. The colors are a little darker in person. We have had really bad fog the past few days, so the lighting was bad in class.

Side note:
I ordered a 2lbs Shetland fleece on Etsy from Serenity Sheep Woolens. It should be arriving here in 5-7 business days! I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

a little update...

I HAVE been working on stuff, but I can't post it just yet, because they are presents. Mostly for Craftster swaps, so once my partners receive I can post lots of pictures! lol School has been good, definitely keeping me busy, as well as my part time job, so my crafting time has been cut dramatically. I'll try and post something interesting, maybe tonight? I did get my tapestry back, so I can post a picture of the whole thing... but.. i'll make you wait, to build suspense. muwhaha :D

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

i'm in love...

...with machine embroidery.

I had my first Surface Design class of the semester today and we learned how to machine embroider. (We also learned how to use Opulence Pigment as a painting medium on fabric by "watering" it down with ____ (can't remember what it's called. I'll update when I find out).) I first traced out an owl (I'm doing an owl themed swap on Craftster) and then traced it on to fabric with a fabric pencil (I don't have a picture of the sketch, unfortunately).

The owl was then machine embroidered using a special "free motion foot" (which pretty much just a foot that does not touch the fabric and protects your fingers (most times) from getting sewn).) I loved the owl just the way it was, in all it's free form glory, but because it was just black thread on a plain 100% white cotton, I thought it need a little ... "more" ...
So, I used a stiff stencil brush to apply a "watered" down brown pigment to him. (he looks a lot better in real life, but I think that I still like him in his first, "natural" state.) This process was easy enough to do, that I might replicate him and try different colors or even just a different brush to get a more even coat.I think he looks like a "Henry" to me...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Today, we shall remember....

I had to haul this thing back to school today. It must have weighed at least 10lbs. (which doesn't seem like a lot, but it is. Especially with a backpack on, trudging through the snow) I was happy and sad at the same time. Happy that I have my dining room table back, but sad that I won't have easy access to a drum carder. I will now have to haul fiber to school (at least it will be lighter *wink*) and card it there.

As I lugged this thing on the 2 buses, a skytrain, and another 2 buses, today, I set a goal for myself. If I pass my program with an A- or higher in all my classes, I will buy a drum carder. I've been wanting a drum carder for at least a year now, and I think this is a good goal. It will give me more motivation to do well in school and I won't just run out and buy one, now that I don't have my own drum carder at home.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

i'm going to need a bigger basket...

Today's post was brought to you by the letter "S" and the number 2.

Last spring my friend V and I did a spinning demo at a local farm called "Maplewood Farm". V was invited on stage and helped the sheep get sheared. (I wish I could have gotten a picture of that!) At the end of the day we were given a gift of a fleece and a half from the sheep that got their hair cut that day. One was white, and the other was "black" (it's actually almost black with a bit of grey and some brown tips (bleached from the sun)). Both of us were super excited, but had never cleaned a fleece before (that's a story in itself. hehe). After many mini adventures of picking, cleaning, and re-cleaning. I took most of the white fleece to school (I'm lucky enough to have full access to any kind of textile supplies you could think of. More or less.) and I dyed the fleece a rainbow of colors using Ciba Acid dyes. The fleece then sat on patio for a few weeks *cough* and then in a cardboard box, paper bag, and rubbermaid container (poor thing ... lol) until tonight. (I borrowed a drum carder (picture shown is not the actual model of drum carder I used)) So, I sat down on the floor and sorted all of the colors into piles.

(cat for size reference *wink* )

After sorting the piles it made me realize, I'm going to need a bigger basket for storing all the batts I have to card! haha. So now, making a large basket is on my ever growing "to do" list. After a few hours (with lots of breaks of course!) I drum carded 17 batts!So, that leaves me with the yellow, yellow purple mix (I don't think this one is going to turn out very nice), grey (it was supposed to be black), green, and purple. Unfortunately though, I have to bring the drum carder back to school this Monday. That means I'll have to bring my fleece into school and drum card after class, not that I mind. I actually enjoy drum carding, it's very relaxing.

Dealing with this fleece was definitely a challenge. I am sure I will have more challenges with it considering I'm not even half done (note: the fleece packed to the brim in the box; in the first picture) It was and still is fairly greasy, even after washing it at least 5 times (I don't think i used hot enough water.. and I also left it to cool). I am hoping that after I spin it, I'll wash it again and it will release more of the grease. Even though it was kind of a mess, and a hassle I would definitely purchase a raw fleece in the future. I really like doing everything by myself right from the start. I look forward to seeing what kind of yarn this will create. I think I'm going to spin a few skeins of patchwork yarn.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

happy new year

Well I can't believe it's 2009! I just wanted to wish everyone good luck and I hope they had a good holiday.

Some of my goals for 2009:
-get A- or higher in all my classes
-live a more frugal lifestyle
-post on my blog every 2-3 days
-stop procrastinating
-sell at a local farm market/craft fair
-learn how to knit intarsia
-make a minimum of 1 gift a month (to stock pile for next xmas... )

I don't think those goals will be too hard to accomplish, I just can't expect it all to happen in the first month :D

what are you goals?


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