Sunday, September 23, 2012

Polymer Clay for Fall

Well, its been, what a year?  I pulled out some polymer clay and let it set a few days (you know to kind of ferment). 

Kato Polyclay is very strong after curing, but is a pain in the a--- err neck to condition.  It calls for specialized equipment to begin the conditioning process.

Each little package got a thorough beating with the hammer.  Then it was off to the pasta machine to finish conditioning the polymer clay.

I also added a little orange to the purple and a little purple to the orange and red.   Here are the the conditioned colors.  Well, mostly conditioned.  The copper color in the bottom left corner was fairly uncooperative.

Okay, so now you are probably wonder what I going to make? Good question. I have no idea.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mmmm, soft yummy wools

So I was going to lock myself up in my "room" and work on some polymer clay.  On the way there this fiber jumped up and said "It is a good day to dye!"

So, I weighed out about 8 ounces of merino top and I forgot how much blue faced Leicester (BFL) top. (Top not roving.)  For me the BFL is next to the skin soft.  But the merino is squishy, yummy,  cottony, cloud soft. Mmmmmm. . .

So after a huge mess in the kitchen and considerable time cleaning the stove, sink and counter I ended up with this:

The black fiber is the merino.  I was shooting for charcoal grey, but added to much dye.  Researching after the fact, I found out I wouldn't have achieved grey anyway.  This particular dye isn't pure black, but a mix of colors.

Also, it is fairly compacted.  Not sure what I did wrong, maybe too much fiber and not enough water in the pot? I'm having to fuss with it quite a bit to get it to spin.  There are those who say toss it, the sheep will grow more wool.  But, it seems wasteful and I can't really afford to that.  I'll just have to see how it goes.

The two fiber piles in front are the BFL. They are not nearly so compacted.  I love the color on the left.  This is straight out of the jar burgundy. The one on the right was suppose to be a blend of yellow/purple/burgundy/red/blue.  Well, the colors all blended together and it ended up various shades of rusty brown.   Oh well.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

'Smooshers Scuptural Highlights

I still haven't started any new polymer clay items.  But, my fellow guild members in the "Polymer Clay Smooshers" Guild on ArtFire have tons of wonderful items!  One thing I love about polymer clay is its versatility and how it can be so many different things.

I love this whimsical squirrel and acron necklace Creative Critters.  She tends towards bold colors and creative sculptural pieces in her polymer clay work.  But, this fun little squirrel is one of my favorites in her shop.

Just wow!  I can feel the warm sunshine from this bold yellow sunflower by Fantasy Clay. She has quite a variety of items in her shop, including some adorable wedding cake toppers.

This salad on a ring by Mystical Me is amazing! Romaine and iceburg lettice, slice tomatoes and hardboiled egg. Looks good enough to eat! Lots of eye candy in her shop (I also love the doughnut charms).

Such sweet little Christmas mice in their warm winter scarves.  The Mouse House (QuernusCrafts) specializes in creating sweet little mice for a variety of occasions. 

This is just a small sample of items by the talented members of the Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild on ArtFire.  Go and check them out!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Well, I'm doing more frogging on the vest.  I messed up somewhere and lost 5 stitches! Probably in the red "lacy" section.  It's a simple yarn over and knit 2 together.  I suspect I forgot some yarn overs. *Sigh*

But here is a in progress picture of it anyway.

Tomorrows plan: Break out the polymer clay and start "smooshing" it.  It's been close to a year.  Hopefully I'll actually have some inspiration by tomorrow morning. . . 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First Post of 2012

Woo-hoo! First post of 2012! Happy New Year!  Err, wait, what do you mean it's September already?  Okay, so I'm a little slow.

Yeah, a bit of a prolonged creative slump.  I have been doing some spinning and knitting off and on over the last few months.

These autumn colored yarns that were hand dyed and handspun by moi, I'm using for a vest knit along.

The pattern is "Riverstone" from JaneThornley.  The KAL is being sponsored by her group on Ravelry.  I believe you have to be a member to access any of the groups/forums on Ravelry.   (I'm Desertwind on Ravelry, btw)

I'm currently finishing up frogging the vest (I was nearly done) so I can start over.  It was way too big!

Here is another knitting project I'm working on.  This is a square for a blanket I'm working on. (It's in bad need of blocking!)  All of the yarns are random wool yarns from my stash.  Most it has been dyed or overdyed with Kool-Ade. 

This pattern comes from another Ravelry group called Horst Schulz Fans. The "bowties" are a good cooler weather project.  Knit them up and then put them all together when the weather is warmer.

Well, that's it for now!  See you next year!  Okay, just kidding.  I have some more things to post, once I find batteries for the camera.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I finished the "Halloween" hearts I was working on. I'm just not into some of the Halloween creepiness, and I thought hearts would be more fun. And, well, they don't look very Halloween-like, so now they are autumn/fall/harvest hearts.

They were fun to make and I like how they turned out even it they aren't quite right for Halloween.  

I added purple mica powder to the black heart and beads before curing.  I love the shine that it added.

On the orange heart and beads I added copper mica powder before curing and then afterwards I use acrylic paint to antique them.

I have one more heart, but not quite enough beads for a necklace.  I'm thinking of keeping that one when I finish it, and actually wearing it.  Part of that shameless self promotional thing - wear your own jewelry. 

Once I get all the fall colored stuff off my polymer clay work table, I plan to start on some winter/snow themed ideas I have rolling around in my head. . .

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lendrum Spinning Wheel, Learning to Spin

Well, last week I took a drop spindle class.  And Saturday I started a spinning wheel class that lasts for three Saturdays. Now, I had every intention of renting a wheel, but I found this used Lendrum last week and just had to bring her home.
From what I can tell she is probably 20+ years old, and is in pretty good shape.  The age guess comes from some searching about Lendrums on Ravelry (I'm desertwind on Ravelry).

Learning and practicing with the drop spindle helped.  But, without having help from my spinning teacher, this would be incredibly frustrating.  It's like walking and chewing gum at the same time.  Youtube videos and things are great, but having someone to teach really helps with the steep learning curve.

I did have a bit of a catastrophe last night while spinning.  There is a plastic piece that connects the "footman" (the long skinny wood piece attached to the wheel) to the pedal.  It snapped in two! 

First, hubby and I fussed over what we have in the garage that could be used to fix it. Then I surfed Ravelry for some ideas.  Finally, hubby cut a piece of nylon rope and attached it where the plastic connector was. He is going to cut me a couple more back-up pieces and depending how it works, I may or may not order a replacement connector.

My spinning teacher, Cheryl, gave us quite a bit of fiber in the drop spindle class.  She gave us a large amount of this soft, yummy puff that came from a local sheep named Homer.  Apparently Homer is a mixed breed sheep with perhaps some merino in his heritage. I'm planning on making either a hat or fingerless mittens with the yarn I making.

Using a variety of wools she supplied us, this is what I spun for the drop spindle class.

It was interesting how different each of the wool fibers are.  There is some grey stuff in here that I hated.  It was like spinning barbed wire. Not something you would want next to your skin.  There is also a bit of yummy white merino in the skein as well.

She also gave us some small bits of superwash merino,  silk, alpaca, and some other things to spin.  I haven't gotten to any of it yet, but the alpaca is soooooooo soft! Yuuuuu-mmmyyyy!