Friday, December 23, 2011

Lilia's Mitts

My friend Tonantzin commissioned these fingerless mitts as a Christmas gift for her mother Lilia.
The fiber is 100% angora that I spun from my bunny Midnight.
I'm thrilled with the look of the gloves and they are unbelievably soft.




Monday, November 28, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bunny Puppets


They are not really Bunny puppets but I made these fingerless gloves out of some handspun angora fiber that came from a bunny I had loooong ago. They are so much like an actual bunny that I named them Bunny Puppets. Would you like the pattern? I swear I will NEVER spin 100% angora again...or at least never until I forgot I said that...I will be carding it with wool in the future. Why? Because I don't like fluff flying up into my nose and a knitted garment that is so fuzzy it looks like a rabbit pelt. But for now I do really like these silly gloves.

Ebay

I'm trying selling some of my previously loved belly dance items on Ebay. I have no idea how this will go, but I'm hoping that in the big world there will be someone else short who wears a small and wants my old stuff. tee hee...
We'll see...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Failure


A few months ago I agreed to do a Weave Along on the backstrap group on Ravelry. I was really inspired by the pictures and watched lots of videos. Then I bought a backstrap kit and thought I would do it that way. It was kind of stupid to buy the kit, I don't think it was worth the price and I ended up giving it to Riley. She has done some beautiful weaving on it and is happy to know it's her "loom"(or bunch of string).
But I haven't been as successful as she. I haven't given up yet though and I'll show you some pictures of my 2nd attempt. So far all I have to say about back strap weaving is that it hurts my back, I got the yarns all tangled, couldn't find anything suitable for tying the end up to and it is difficult to make a good open shed and those cross bars just keep spinning all around...ugh!
I will conquer...eventually...I hope. I thought I could do something bigger than I was ready to do because heck I'm already a weaver right? Maybe not! Ugh here is the jumble I wanted to throw out! I'm going to start again with some thicker yarn a smaller piece and I'm going to look for a spot where I can support my back while working. Maybe I will use a rigid heddle instead of a string one but I'll try again with the string first.


Today I'm warping the floor loom so I can feel happy and some what successful.
This is a bit of a depressing post yes? So I will follow it up with something more fun next!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Check out Sparrow & Crowe

This is a new book that will come out in 2012 and I guess I'm proud of it cause my son Jared Souza is the artist. Take a look!!

The stupidest tea party I've ever been to, the mish-mash that is my brain, and plans





Last week was my youngest daughter's birthday and we had an Alice in Wonderland Tea party for her. Here are some pictures. It was crafting insanity for us for over a week! We made, all kinds of things inspired by the book Everything Alice. My oldest daughter was supposed to be a white rose that was painted red. And her boyfriend was a card with a paint brush.
Naturally the birthday girl was Alice & her boyfriend (who shares her birthday) was a Madd Hatter.


Riley was her own new character the Cheshire Queen!
And we played croquet on the front lawn.
Two things that have recently inspired my crafting plans are Project Runway and the pianist Vasily Primakov. How do two such unrelated things inspire my crafting plans well this is how.

Project Runway had a challenge where the designers had to dress a rock band naturally they made quite a few pairs of jeans. This made me realize I can easily do that! I love making pants.

AND

I got to see the New West Symphony because my friend Michael Williams was a guest conductor and composer (he was fabulous of course). My inspiration though came from guest pianist Vasily Primakov who wore a very cool tux with pants that looked very modern.

I'm going to make my handsome husband (Robert) a pair of slacks for Christmas! He never ever wears slacks. The only time he wore a suit was for his mother's funeral...yeah, kinda bad isn't it? He couldn't even wear a the slacks with his jacket for our wedding...he wore jeans. I don't want to wait for someone to die before he wears slacks again. So here is the plan...I'm going buy some beautiful slack fabric and make his pants to fit exactly like his jeans. It may sound stupid but well I know if they fit like his jeans there's a chance he will wear them.

Here is his picture so you know he is really handsome...he is also a big goofy man! I chose this picture from Pirate faire cause I think it's funny how serious he looks! Ha!

The other idea I got is that I want to make Robert a sweater out of this dark blue handspun I made for him a long time ago and never knitted up. I've found 2 of the skeins I know there are plenty more. Last year I bought him a cashmere sweater which he wore every single day from December 25 till April...I am NOT kidding...I told you he is a goof ball.

Ok! Thats all for now folks! I'm busily preparing for my guild's harvest sale! Hopefully I'll sell something to make money to buy more fiber & fabric! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Forgive Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy | Forgive Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy

Forgive Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy | Forgive Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy

I don't want to sound like a boring broken record. If there were jobs out there our kids would be able to pay these student loans off, instead they are saddled with major debts because this is what it costs to get a degree. In many cases $100,000 or more and gaining interest every day! The banks, got major bailouts, the middle class needs some help! If you can't give us jobs then forgive Student debt!

Friday, September 16, 2011

My name is Elizabeth and I'm a spinner



Somewhere along the way I changed from being a knitter & sewist (is that a better word than sewer?) into a spinner. What does that mean exactly? It means that I used to spin knitting or weaving yarn for specific projects. My focus was on the finished product. This was not a bad thing it kept me a bit more organized and kept the stash down to a manageable size.

Then I started spinning aimlessly because it's a relaxing and meditative activity. I spun tons of the default yarn, worsted or sport weight, 2 ply. And I was happy doing this for a long time.
Now I analyze my yarn a lot more. Largely due to the influence of spinning books & dvd's that have emerged in the last couple of years. It used to be I NEVER read about yarn, I just made it! These days I read and study about it all the time.

Since yarn is now my end goal, and I really don't want to become a hoarder I also have to look for ways to best use my yarns. And that is a really exciting creative goal. I love yarns just the way they are but it doesn't seem right to do nothing at all with them, and since of I have collected an enormous stash I must either sell or make something with it. This is a redefining of myself and I like it.

And you know what? Just because this is what I am at this point in my life doesn't mean I will stay this way. So don't get too comfortable!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Making batts & scarves


This is some less than perfect random wool I had in red, I mixed it with pinkish red mohair and some Angelina. It's really nice now.
I made a huge batch of this black I'm calling it Witch's Hair!


My guild has a beautiful Pat Green drum carder. And generally we are not allowed to rent it. They use it for the sheep to shawl event & maybe at the guild open house for demonstrations but it was really expensive so they don't loan it out. But I've been a member a long time and for some reason I was trusted to rent it. And I was really scared to use it! I was so afraid that I would do something wrong and everyone would get mad at me and I'd have to pay them $500 for a new one.
But I finally used it and once I started I guess I couldn't stop cause you should see the pile of batts on my coffee table. I love it. I love it so much it's my mission to buy one of my own. eek! I hope I can find a gently used one somewhere. And since I had to unregister myself from SOAR I'm going to use that money to help buy one, I feel it's best to use the money as a fiber investment.
This was a batt I purchased online and it didn't look the way I expected it to when I received it in the mail. So I blended it and LOVE it now. I made a very fine 3 ply...I hope there is enough for a pair of socks.
Carding is so much fun, any wool that isn't so perfect on it's own or you dyed weird colors & you want to fix them to be pretty...just run them through the carder and voila! You have a lovely bunch of fiber.
This is a blend of 2 wools that I had dyed green (much of it was really ugly and too dark) some of it was merino, & some just random lumpy wool plus I added cotswold locks and tried to make sure the locks stayed under blended.

Another mix of lumpy wool, w/ merino & cotswold.

And I've been weaving too...some scarves for the gallery...I hope someone buys them!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Michael Rhode Dye workshop


Over the weekend I took a workshop in dyeing given by fellow guild member & weaver extraordinaire Michael Rhode. He uses liquid dyes and has a very scientific method for getting the exact colors he wants. The dyes we used were Remazol Liquid Reactive dyes you can get them from Dharma Trading www.dharmatrading.com & www.prochemical.com I love this no more danger of breathing dye powder. Although I've got so much dye powder it may take my entire life to use it all up.

During the class I was so busy that I didn't snap one picture! But we made a great dye reference book and that I can show you!

Michael uses 6 colors for all of the colors you will see here. A cool & warmer version of Red Yellow & Blue. I've labeled the color names below each photo.

First we made these samples of colors from full strength to more dilute.
Fuchisa, Bright Yellow, Bright blue.
Scarlet, Golden Yellow, Navy.
Then mixing Fuchsia & B. Yellow, B. Yellow & B. Blue, Fuchsia & B. Blue.
Scarlet/Golden Yellow, Golden Yellow/Navy, Scarlet/Navy.
Fuchsia/Green, B. Yellow/ Violet, B blue/ Orange
Scarlet/Green, G Yellow/ Violet, Navy/Orange

It's pretty involved with formulas etc, but simple once you understand. If you ever get the chance to take the workshop from Michael I highly recommend it. I'm really excited to have this notebook because I can just pick the colors I want and then read the formula. I was also thinking it's great for blending fibers on the drum carder. Some other great references for color are the books Color in Spinning & Color Works by Deb Menz.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Elizabeth Mahina @ Big Buddha Hafla

Sometimes it's good to watch yourself perform. I was afraid to this time because I got a huge foot cramp early in the dance (from standing around in heels waiting to go on without foot stretching) and I was certain my dance was really bad. But it wasn't so I feel better now. It's nothing earth shattering just me & a little song.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Help

I finally went to see The Help last night. It was a really entertaining movie, good engaging story, well acted and all that. And it's generally agreed that the people who went through the civil rights movement of the 1960's did many great and brave things to improve the lives of everyone.

I can't help but bringing my thoughts back to the struggles we are going through NOW in 2011. More and more people are loosing jobs every day, the actual unemployment rate is much higher than the official numbers say, in my county alone it's 10% officially, in reality if you count everyone who is underemployed, has given up, or has fallen out of the system it would be more like 20%. That means 1 in every 5! Teachers & firemen in Wisconsin -in fact all over the country are loosing the rights to collectively bargain for their benefits and salaries that were gained by the sacrifices of brave union workers in the early part of the 20th century. I'd like to see another movie about that, how people gained the right to a 40 hour work week & ended child labor. These days people have made student loans for unbelievable amounts of money only so that they could get jobs that don't exist -I speak from personal experience on this one, I have 2 children with beautiful college educations, massive loans, and no jobs. One even attended an Ivy League school, a sure guaranty of a job right? Wrong. What can he do? Go to more school, hopefully get a job in one of the only professions in this country where people actually work, the law.

What is really going on here? The struggle has become colorless, the struggle has become one of the wealthy against everyone else. The tea party is trying to fool everyone, they don't represent the common man who they say will loose from high taxes, they represent the wealthy. The corporations and the rich will continue to get unfair tax cuts. They have paid less and less taxes every year since the Reagan administration and while the poor and the middle classes have gone into debt and work more and more jobs (which no longer exist) just to make ends meet. Just to pay their children's medical bills & educations- which by the way are the only debts that cannot be wiped away by bankruptcy...it's true, if you are bankrupt you still have to pay those enormous medical bills and unrealistic student loans (just so you know, it costs $40,000 a year to go to both Art Center & Columbia University, ask me how I know). And bankruptcy has become nearly impossible, for the middle class to file any more...another safety net removed by the Bush administration. That's right if your child gets cancer and you have thousands of dollars in medical bills you might as well just give away your house and live on the street. I'm sorry to say the bill collectors will probably still find you sitting on your box in the parking lot while you panhandle.

What is going on here?

Pardon me while I shout....THE HELP NEEDS A JOB!!!!

We need to be focusing on creating jobs, not cutting more through budget cuts. We need to be taxing and regulating those who can afford it best, the wealthy & the corporations. I would like to see Obama give a real helping hand to the American people not just the banks. I would like to see congress step up and do the same. I would like to see those who are supposed to work for the people really do their jobs and be brave.

And I'm going to suggest this to people who really want to learn some interesting things from a news network that doesn't benefit from any corporate money and was the original public radio. It's been around since the 1940's, it's called Pacifica, in my area I listen to 90.7 KPFK but you can listen all over the world streaming live online...

Friday, August 26, 2011

School started - the house is quiet


Why does school start so early? It is still summer, and the last 2 days have been the hottest we've had so far. It doesn't seem right to me, we should have been at the beach. Ok well we weren't, the house is quiet from 8-2:45 so I can get a lot of work done.
Like carding batts:

And then spinning them

Doing a breed study of raw Shetland wool washed-carded-spun-washed again.
And a bit of garden clean up