Lessons In Fiber Art

IMG_8998

This fall I have been teaching some handwork classes to the kids at the homeschool co-op our family is apart of.  We started of with cleaning raw wool & cotton fibers.  Then we hand carded & spun the fibers into yarn.  We did some wet felting & we made some natural dyes using walnut, tumeric, & black beans.  Now the kids are working to weave the fibers we dyed.  I have been so happy with how the projects are turning out.  Mostly it’s been a great reason to try out all of these amazing projects that I’ve been meaning to try for years.

I’ll have more pictures of the finished weaving projects soon.

Advertisements

Advent Capsules

adventWe have one of those advent calendars where you open a different door for each day of advent, so every year, I am trying to find creative ways to fill each space in a way that won’t matter if my children open all the doors on the first day of advent. One method I have come up with is to seal each days activity in it’s own decorative capsule.  Here is how I make the capsules.

Advent materials copy:: Materials ::

* Advent notes * Washi Tape * Plastic straws * Pliers * Lighter *

Advent collage

1.  The first step is to seal one end of the plastic drinking straw. To do this, hold the tip of the straw shut using the pliers.  There should be a small of amount of straw sticking out of the pliers.  This is the section that is going to be melted.  Hold the straw tip to a flame until the end is melted down to the pliers and sealed shut.

2. Write out the messages and activities that you want to open each day of advent onto strips of paper.  Roll these up tightly and secure them with washi tape.  Cut the sealed drinking straw so that it is slightly larger than the note. *You can find a few of my favorite advent activities below.

3.  Insert the note, and seal the other end of the drinking straw in the same way that the first end was sealed.

4.  Cover each end of the straw with washi tape.  Then continue to cover the rest of the straw until it is completely covered.  You may want to use the pliers again to press down on the sealed ends to ensure that the washi tape is stuck down well and the ends are properly sealed.

To open each note, carefully cut off one of the sealed ends of the straw and pull out the message.

advent 2My favorite advent activities:

* Drive around & look at Christmas lights on the “Minivan Express”

* Make a snow globe

* Unwrap & read a Christmas book each night.  Here is a list of books with crafts!

* Make a sugar cube house

* Make garland and ornaments out of gumdrops, popcorn, Cinnamon sticks, orange slices and/or cranberries

Share with us your favorite Advent activities in the comments!

Snake Grass Weaving

This is a great project to do with kids while camping!

Snake Grass Weaving

Materials

Snake grass likes a lot of moisture, so look for it near wet areas like creeks, rivers, lakes, ponds, and marshes.  You will only need one long one that has at least 3 sections to it.

Yarn

Scissors

Yarn needle (optional)

1. Find a strong reed of snake grass and take it apart into it’s sections.   Make sure that it is big enough to fit the yarn inside.

2. The center of each section has a small “plug”.  I was able to use my scissors to scrape it out.  You could also use, a yarn needle or even a small piece of driftwood. You’ll find that each section also tapers a little where it joined the section below it. I used my scissors to cut of this section making it easier to slide up and down my yarn.

3.  Decide how wide you want your weaving to be.  The more strands that you have, the wider the weaving will be. Cut the yarn to the desired length and tie all the strands  together. Thread each strand of yarn through one section of snake grass.

4. Tie the working yarn to the last strand, and begin weaving.  When you are running out of snake grass, simply slide each section down to provide more work space.

When you have finished, pull the snake grass off and tie the ends together.  I just used one big knot to finish, but if you are doing a wider weaving, you may want to do several smaller knots across the bottom.

Have fun!

Blue-Violet

RN879_paint_pigment_photograph_dioxazine_violet_detail_emRecently, I have been working on a fiber project.  I kept running into a problem with the logistics until one night I woke up at 4 am with the solution.  The next day, I was in the  car with my 9 yr old daughter l when I mentioned that I was tired. Of course my daughter asked me why and I told her about solving my fiber project problem at 4 am.

I went on to explain:

“Sometimes when you are a creative person, you wake up in the middle of the night with an idea.  It can be impossible to fall back to sleep until you try out your idea.”

My daughter’s reply:

“Yeah, that happened to me once. I woke up in the middle of the night wondering what purple & blue make when they are mixed together.  I just couldn’t go back to sleep until I figured it out.  So I went out to the kitchen & got some paper so I could mix blue & purple.  It just made a purple color, but at least then I knew.  Colors – you gotta love ’em.”

This little conversation warmed my heart.

Rooster Egg Cozy

I love little vintage treasures!  I enjoy sifting and hunting through old things; and the rush of adrenaline I get when I find that perfect item.    Last week, I was out thrifting in hopes of finding some unique things to add to my children’s Easter baskets when I came across an old hand-knit egg cozy in the shape of a rooster.   I found myself smitten with the quick little knit, and wanted to write a pattern for making more.

Materials

I used some of my stash yarn to create this egg cozy, and have long lost the yarn band to it.

Fingering weight yarn in white & red

One pair of strait knitting needles size US 5 (3.75 mm)

Gauge

6sts x 5 rows = 1″

Pattern

CO 40

2×2 rib pattern for 4 rows

Switch to St st and work 12 rows

BO 13 st, K to the end of the row (27 total st)

BO 13 st, P to the end of the row (27 total st)

K 8 rows

BO

Finishing

Fold in half lengthwise, and using your favorite method,  stitch the sides together.

Using the red yarn, single crochet stitch across the top of the head, and down the outer edge (the roosters face).

Tail

Loop yarn around your hand several times.  Tie at the center to secure the loops, and attach the tail to the rooster.

The cozy will fit any XL sized egg or a plastic Easter egg.

knitted tissue cozy

IMG_0039 copy

mka101536_wi08_tissue_lAs I was looking for some handmade stocking stuffer ideas on Pintrest, I came across these felt hankie holders made by Martha Stewart.

It gave me the idea to create some knitted ones.  Here is a pattern I came up with while making some.

Materials:

worsted weight stash yarn in 2 (or more) colors (or any yarn that you prefer for the project)

a pair of straight needles US9 ( or an appropriate size for your preferred yarn)

a yarn needle

>>>>

i-cord co front

Using an i-cord cast on, cast on 20 stitches in the contrasting color (cc).

IMG_0028Switch to the main color (mc) yarn and knit in stockinette stitch for 6.5″ ending with a knit row.

With the cc yarn purl on row.

icord BO frontBind off using an i-cord bind off.

Turn the knitting wrong side out and fold so that the two i-cords overlap slightly in the center and sew the top & bottom shut with a mattress stitch.

Weave in all the loose ends.

Embellish with a crocheted edging, or embroidered designs.  You could also add some ribbon or buttons.

boys tissue cozy

roller skating party

I have a lot of fond memories from roller skating.  Growing up, I loved roller skating parties.  My school would have a party every quarter.  They were great! The girls would all gather in the center of the rink and take turns locking hands to spin.  Then, when it was the boys only skate, we would all line up along the wall with our hands out for the boys to high 5.

When we became too old for school roller skating parties, we took to skating on the street with roller blades.

It was at a roller rink when I first discovered that my husband “liked” me. He surprisingly took my hand while I was on the sideline and pulled me off to skate a couples skate. I was 18 & he was 21.

I didn’t skate much after that. We got married, my husband began his career, and eventually we started a family. I hadn’t given roller skating a second thought until our kids began going to school had their first skating party.  The first time they went , I noticed how everything was the same. The racks of skates with bright orange laces, the slick wood floor.  The flashing colored lights. Of coarse, it was mostly me picking the kids up off the floor.  I  had offered them my help to regain their balance, but I too felt awkward being on wheels.  I quickly got the hang of it, getting my skating legs back, & they quickly improved. Neither of them need much help now, so last week when we went to the first party of the year, I was able to sit back and watch them create their own roller skating memories. They looked so cute, all bent over with their arms stretched out in an effort to keep balance as they skate.

As we were getting ready to leave, glow stick necklaces in hand, I remembered how when I was kid, we all wanted to have those huge pom-poms tied onto the toes of our skates. I looked around.  There wasn’t a single pom-pom in the building! This can’t be, so I decided that before the next school skating party, the kids & I are going to make some huge pom-poms.

You can find a great tutorial for making pom-poms here.  Just remember, the larger you want your pom-pom the wider you need to spread fingers.  It’s also a lot of fun to attach bells!

knitted tissue cozy

IMG_0039 copy
mka101536_wi08_tissue_lAs I was looking for some handmade stocking stuffer ideas on Pintrest, I came across these felt hankie holders made by Martha Stewart.

It gave me the idea to create some knitted ones.  Here is a pattern I came up with while making some.

Materials:

worsted weight stash yarn in 2 (or more) colors (or any yarn that you prefer for the project)

a pair of straight needles US9 ( or an appropriate size for your preferred yarn)

a yarn needle

>>>>

i-cord co front

Using an i-cord cast on, cast on 20 stitches in the contrasting color (cc).

IMG_0028Switch to the main color (mc) yarn and knit in stockinette stitch for 6.5″ ending with a knit row.

With the cc yarn purl on row.

icord BO frontBind off using an i-cord bind off.

Turn the knitting wrong side out and fold so that the two i-cords overlap slightly in the center and sew the top & bottom shut with a mattress stitch.

Weave in all the loose ends.

Embellish with a crocheted edging, or embroidered designs.  You could also add some ribbon or buttons.

boys tissue cozy