Weekend of Fiber Goodness

No, no, I’m not talking bran here.  I’m talking wool, in various forms.

I was fortunate to have a long weekend, meaning I had Monday off for Columbus Day.  It was fantastic.  First, most of what was stressing me out?  I got done by Sunday morning.  I had a lot of time then to do what I wanted to do! (See, I sweat the small stuff too much.)

 Sunday, I decided to get out my drop spindles and give then a whirl. (hehe).  I think I have the basics down.  I don’t have any workable yarn yet, but it is going to take practice.  I earned a free class on Craftsy.com, and elected to take their spindling class.  It’s interesting.  It will be fun to work through it.

Monday, I decided to needle felt magnets for my craft show, just as little cute things for people to buy.  I got so into felting the little flower here that I almost missed an appointment.  Luckily, I looked up at the clock with JUST enough time to get there.  I zipped out the door.

All I did for magnets was cut them into strips and used fabric glue to adhere it to the felt.  It seems to work pretty well, if you were wondering.  And the felting, I did that free hand.  It looks like it was free hand, but I don’t think it’s too bad.

In all of this other fiber-y fun, I got two scarves knit.  It was heaven.  I need a diverse fiber weekend more often.

Look, Ma, I’m tatting!

Back in March, my friend Amanda lent me a tatting shuttle and some crochet thread after she had shown me tatting.  Amanda did a demonstration on how to do it, and I thought it looked pretty.

A few nights after that, I tried to teach myself.  And I tried.  I just couldn’t do it.  I could not get that darn stitch to flip.  I gave up on it.  Until a few nights ago.

Oh, what is tatting?  Tatting is a way to make lace, usually with a shuttle.  Legend has it that tatting was the poor women’s way of getting lace for fancy clothing.  It evolved into an art that was fading and nearly forgotten, but is now making a comeback.

Three basic parts of tatting are the double stitch, the flip, and the picot.  The double stitch is the knot you make.  The flip is manipulating the knot to slide up and down the shuttle thread.  The picot is a little loop between double stitches.  Not the greatest explanation, but you get the point.

I was ordering a few things off Amazon for a friend’s birthday, and decided to grab a few things off my own and my DH’s to even it out for free shipping.  I had a few tatting books on my list, so I decided to get the cheapest one, Easy Tatting.  It had decent reviews and I thought it would be good.

The well-illustrated diagrams helped me A LOT.  I can do the double stitch! The stitches do the flip! I can make sloppy picots!  They slide up and down the thread like they are supposed to! Huzzah!

 I have been practicing making rings with the double stitch and picots.  See my poor little ring?  I’m proud of that ring. It’s not spiffy like Amanda’s, but I’ll get there.  I’ve only been tatting a few days!

This seems to be a repeating theme in my crafting life.  If I don’t succeed, put it down, and pick it up a long time later, and, BINGO, I’ve got the right idea! 

So, Amanda, THANK YOU!  I will get my own shuttle and return yours to you.  I think I’m going to like this craft.

Now, YOU win something!

Ludicraft is coming up on it’s 150th post!  To celebrate, I thought I’d have a quick contest/giveaway.  Interested?  If you are, leave me a comment below.  Here’s the awesome stuff you could win!

  1. A skein/ball/hank of NICE new yarn.
  2. A small knit item by yours truly.
  3. Some coffee or tea (specify which in your comment)
  4. A signed 4×6 print of the sunflower photo, without the watermark, of course. 

Sound good?  Great!  Leave me a comment below with your e-mail or Ravelry account name, and tell me if you like coffee or tea.  Follow me via the Google button on the right or on Facebook for another entry each!  Just be sure to leave a  separate comment to tell me you did so.  That’s three chances to enter!  Please, only one comment, “Like,” and Follow per person.  The winner will be decided through a random number generator.   The contest ends on Sunday, September 16th at 11:59 PM EST. 

Lancaster Creative Reuse

A few weeks ago, my friend Jessica shot out of her office as she saw me pass by.  “Jenn, I have to tell you something, ” she said, and proceeded to tell me about Lancaster Creative Reuse.  The more she told me, the more I was interested.  I got back to my office and checked out Lancaster Creative Reuse’s website and I was even more interested.  A place where people donate their unwanted crafting goods?  A place where I can purchase craft supplies at a nominal cost?  I was more than interested now;  I was intrigued, and I had to learn more.  So, I contacted Andrea Stoner-Leaman at Lancaster Creative Reuse and ask her if I could do a blog article on them.  She enthusiastically gave me the affirmative, and I prepared for the interview.

Fast forward to last Saturday, where I found myself looking up at the former Stahr Amory, now the Stahr Center, in Lancaster, PA, the location of Lancaster Creative Reuse.  The Stahr Amory used to be used by the Army, but now it hosts a variety of different creative endeavors.  It’s an historic building and I’m glad it’s being used.

I went down into the basement, where I found a cheerful, two room shop filled to the brim with lots of cool things with many crafty applications.  I met Daria, the volunteer I was interviewing, and we sat down at one of the crafting tables in the back room.

Lancaster Creative Reuse just celebrated its second birthday this month.  Recently, they just expanded into a second adjoining room because they were growing. The center is a non-profit, as many creative reuse centers are.  Eight regular volunteers staff the center, besides groups coming in intermittently to volunteer.

The center has an interesting story.  The founders, Stoner-Leaman and Jeanni Zeller didn’t know each other, but each had an idea to start a creative reuse center.  Luckily, they have a mutual friend who put both women in touch with each other.  After a few brainstorming meeting and after space was found at the Stahr Amory, Lancaster Creative Reuse was born, along with the Ugly Duckling logo that shows that something unwanted can turn into something beautiful.

Perhaps I should have explained this first.  What exactly is creative reuse?  Creative reuse is a concept that extras and unwanted materials are used.  “It’s a way to keep things out of the dumpster,” explained Daria.  Creative reuse centers depend on the donations of items items.  Half come from individuals cleaning up crafting stashes or attics, and half come from businesses who are getting rid of old fabric and paper samples.   Types of donations that Lancaster Creative Reuse takes include marbles to yarn, to sewing patterns to card stock.  Recently, Lancaster Creative Reuse acquired thousands of note cards from Lancaster County artist, Myrtle Tremblay, who recently passed away.  Basically, it’s the crafting supplies that no one uses.

Lancaster Creative Reuse has a steady stream of customers coming to shop, too.  About 800 people came through their doors last month, and about 30-40 children came in to use the crafting tables.

Ah, the crafting tables.  Let’s talk about these wonderful things.  For two dollars, anyone can come into Lancaster Creative Reuse and use one of their two crafting tables for as long as they’d like.  There are many supplies there for people to use.  It’s a great rainy day activity to do with the kids.  Also, if the children want to do craft, and you don’t want the expensive supplies and mess, Lancaster Creative Reuse is your place to go.

 Lancaster Creative Reuse hosts events, as well.  Besides being open for Lancaster’s First Friday, you can also hold birthday parties and other events at the center.

The center excels at community outreach.  Lancaster Creative Reuse is doing a great service to Lancaster County by offering a place to reuse unwanted crafting good.  The center offers its services to teachers and students by going into schools.  They also have a similar program for retirement homes.  As for getting the word out, Lancaster Creative Reuse has free crafting tables at local festivals.

 “Crafting is expensive,” Daria stated, and nodded my head heartily in agreement.  You can get a lot at Lancaster Creative Reuse for just a couple of bucks, and find some pretty unique things there, too.   Big craft stores have their place, but I urge you to check out your local creative reuse center or to learn more.  You may want to go shopping and find something special.  You also may want to thin out your stash and donate some items.  Either way, your local creative reuse center will be happy to see you.  

For more information on creative reuse, here are some links for you to check out.


Etsy Craft Party 2012 and Art of Recycle

Yesterday was Etsy’s Craft Party 2012, and a time where people all over the world could go to places and celebrate the wonderful world of crafting together.  I was excited to find one such event was being held in Ephrata, which is one town over from me.  I signed up, and went.

Ephrata’s event was at Art of Recycle, a creative reuse shop.  Creative reuse is a neat concept.  Take a large space and fill it with all kinds of crafting supplies people don’t want anymore.  What do you get?  A non-profit that has a crafter’s dream of inexpensive supplies, awesome events, and an excellent resource for the community.  Needless to say, I left not only with my craft that we made, but also a bag full of yarn.

We made kaleidoscopes.  How cool is that?  Chelas and Nobody, the fine proprietors of Art of Recycle, put together a great workshop for all ages.  There were teens, kids, and adults all working on their projects.  You can see my posh, velvety creation here. 

I would say that Craft Party 2012 was a worldwide success and I was glad to be a part of it.  And I got my first taste of creative reuse.  I’m addicted, but more on that later.

Cutting into my Knitting

I did something bad.  I cut into my knitted work and it wasn’t for steeks. 
And I don’t regret it at all.  I got the final product I wanted out it, so I wasn’t all that naughty.  Most knitters, myself included, cringe at the thought of taking scissors to an FO.  In this case, I wanted a particular result and I didn’t get it the first way, so I grabbed my scissors and took the plunge.
Mi’raj Shrug sans band.

I completed my Mi’raj Shrug last Monday in the car on the way to the beach with my husband.  It was also our seventh wedding anniversary, but I just felt like putting that it because, why not?  Anyway, there is an optional band you can knit for this shrug, and I took the option to do so.  Now, I had tried on the shrug WITHOUT the band and it looked lovely, so I though the band would be a nice finishing touch.  Either I didn’t do something right, but it didn’t.

When I had finished completed the band from the picked up stitches in the inside circumference, I tried it on.  The band made the shrug too narrow for me to wear.  I did manage to get it on, but The Hubs had to help.  And I couldn’t take it off the shrug by myself, either.  If can’t take on and off a casual piece of clothing without assistance, there is something wrong. 
Rather than stuff the shrug in a trashcan at a rest stop, I decided to go back to what I had originally had:  a nice, comfortable shrug.  I grabbed my travel craft scissor and cut.  It was a terrifying experience. 
I managed to cut that band off.  I couldn’t unravel it because I had bound off and woven in my ends.  I would’ve had to have cut anyway.  I cut that bad boy off right down to the original edge where I had picked up my stitches for the band.  
Bingo!  I chopped that band off!  I had my shrug back and did it in the most unthinkable way possible!
I do not wish to do something like that again.  I should’ve listened to that little voice in the back of my head saying, “Leave it as is!” before I started that band. 
Would I recommend this pattern?  Yes!  It’s cute and fun to knit. Would I recommend knitting the band?  No.
This was a strangely exhilarating experience, and not one I care to repeat.