Monday, December 22, 2008

Goat Turds and Christmas

No Kochevar family Christmas is complete without these cookies--the best cookies of all holidays recipes. Ok, so they are really called Swedish Cocoa Balls, but nobody (except my Mom) actually calls them that. My oldest bother Marty--classy guy that he is--christened them years ago and the name has stuck. And they are awesome cookies.

Case in point: an old childhood friend found me recently via Facebook--we haven't been in contact for over 20 years. The first thing she asks (yes, even before the obligatory "what-have-you- been-doing- the-past-20-years" question), was "Hey, can I get the goat turd recipe?"

And now the dilemma: I'm visiting friends tomorrow for holiday fun and have been asked to bring said cookies. The household includes two impressionable and hilarious boys, ages 5 and 8. They already think that the name of my cat--Booger--is the best pet name they've ever heard. So of course, I feel like it is my duty to introduce them to the best cookie name ever. Their Mom is all for it, but Dad would prefer that the boys not know about it. I have a feeling that Mom or I will spill the beans. Or turds, as the case may be.

And the photo? This is my second-favorite family holiday photo. It's my nephew Joe (offspring of the the oh-so-classy Marty) circa early '90s, proudly posing with the plate of goat turds that he made. The cookies are actually supposed to be round, but in his hands, well, you can see the result..... The apple does not fall far from the tree.....

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Bliss

This is the scene that greets me after a snowfall--it is one of the skylights in my living room. I love how the snow creates shadows on the wall.

I am an unapologetic snow lover--it bothers me to no end that the weathermen in Chicago are constantly apologizing every time there is a snow forecast. And they always over-predict, which leaves me disappointed (expecting 8-10 inches and we get maybe 4). There is a joke in here about men overexaggerating about size, but I'll leave that alone....

Anyhow, we have a glorious snowcover that is ready for cross country skiing!! I'm going to finish up a few Etsy orders and head out on my skis for the first time this season!

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Looks Like Bacon"

Oh, the things people say. One of these days, I'm going to write an entry just on the things I hear from customers at art shows. So this weekend was the last of my shows for the '08 season--the busiest so far. Thanks to everyone who came out and supported my work and to those of you shopping on Etsy.

And the bacon quote? Hands down, this was the funniest quote I heard from a customer all year. Usually the strangest comments come from men, but this was from a woman looking at my Flamenco scarves. Her husband was mortified and said, "No, no, it's really sculptural. " She looked at him skeptically and deadpanned, "No--it looks like bacon".

Now I do love my hickory-smoked breakfast meats and now that I think of it, the Flamenco scarf in brick red does kind of look like bacon, but I'm not sure that I'll use that description for marketing purposes.

This however, really looks like bacon:

It is created by fellow fiber artist Chris Chunski, who believe it or not, is a vegan from California. She has sold over 30 of these felted bacon scarves on Etsy!!

And here I am, a meat-loving girl from the hog butcher for the world, Chicago. Maybe I should use the description-- I can see it now: Da Windy City Bacon Scarf. Or the Kielbasa Cape?


Friday, December 5, 2008

Cornelia Arts Holiday Show and $5 Coupon

This weekend (starting this evening) is the Cornelia Arts Holiday Show --my last show of a busy, busy season! Thanks to everyone who came out last weekend at Bucktown--since the $5 coupon was so popular, I'm doing it again. And for the first time, I'll be having sale basket with items that are 50% off!

If you haven't been to this show before, it has a fun atmosphere. Located in a converted warehouse in Ravenswood, it is a collection of artist's studios that is only open to the public a few times a year. It's a great opportunity to see the work spaces of local artisans. And a few of us lucky folks are invited to participate with them each year.

Since you're in the neighborhood, be sure to swing by Architectural Artifacts. Instead of the usual 25% holiday sale, everything in the gallery (I hesitate to call it a store) is 50% from December 6-23! This is one of the coolest places in Chicago, with wonderful finds from all over the world. I plan to pick up some more Art Deco tiles.

Have a great weekend and stay warm!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bucktown Bazaar and $5 Coupon!

Step away from the malls, people! Come on over to the Bucktown Bazaar this weekend for your fun shopping with local artisans. I'm not quite sure if I fit into the "irreverent young DIY crafter" category or the "elegant established artisan" category here, but it matters not. There is always a fun atmosphere at this show with a fantastic selection--I do a lot of my own shopping here!

Bring in a copy of this page or mention this blog and receive $5 off your Felt Inspired purchase! I'll have a fresh selection of Flamenco scarves and am introducing a scarflette version of this scarf, as well. Hope to see you this weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Felting Class

Last Saturday I taught another felted scarves class at the Fine Line Creative Art Center in St. Charles. I still find it hard to believe that I'm considered "faculty"at the center--they are such a talented and experienced group and I feel fortunate that they have asked me to be a part of them.

The group on Saturday was the speediest I've had so far. It's funny--I always try to build in breaks for day-long felting classes, as felting is not a gentle fiber art. But no one ever wants to stop! I'm also always amazed at the different designs and color combinations that participants come up with--I learn something new from them each class. I wish I were a better photographer, but here are the participants and their creations.

If you are around this weekend, I'll be at the Bucktown Bazaar show on Saturday and Sunday at the Holstein Park Fieldhouse in Chicago--lots of fun artists are there and no mall crowds! I'll have a fresh supply of Flamenco felted scarves and scarflettes in fun colors.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends-

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tag, you're it!

I feel like I'm now offically part of the blogosphere, as I've been tagged. The talented Corinne has tagged me for 7 little known details about me. So here, in no particular order, are 7 random details on me:

1) My parents are Depression-era kids, which makes me believe that this recession is going to bring out the best in us: living within our means, learning to make do and being resourceful, increased importance of family and friends, making things from scratch.

2) I haven’t dated an American guy in several years.

3) I saved two people when I was a lifeguard.

4) Flannel sheets make me very, very happy.

5) I have double-jointed hips and knees (maybe I should mention this on dates…)

6) I’ve never understood the appeal of Ken Nordine’s Word Jazz on NPR. His voice gives me the heebie jeebies and creeps me out.

7) Opera music either makes my skin crawl or it makes me giggle uncontrollably.

OK, Mary, you're it!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Time to Make the Doughnuts....

Sigh...I meant to write about the Fine Art of Fiber show last weekend before it occurred. (gotta get that marketing stuff down...) It's my largest show of the year (4 days) and it's held at the lovely Chicago Botanic Garden. And I love that the focus is on fiber arts. But.... it is run by local guilds (quilting and weaving primarily) and instead of each artist having their own space, it is organized by item and the show is run collectively with tedious rules. It's fair to say that I have a real love/hate relationship with this show. Well, maybe more like love/really annoyed relationship.

I've noticed that many quilters and weavers tend to be on the Type A side and I am decidedly Type B. Add that to the fact that many show participants are from the North Shore (read: Ladies Who Lunch) and well, I seem to need a drink after the show. To be fair, I'm sure that I have the same effect on many of the people there. The whole square-peg-round-hole sort of thing.

The setting was beautiful as usual, with the trees and late blooms putting on a spectacular display. I saw many old friends and made a few ones as well. And now I'm putting the ole' sweat shop into full drive, as I try to re-stock my inventory for another show this weekend (Barrington Junior Women's fashion show) . It's a good "problem" to have but it kind of reminds me of that old commercial: "Time to make the doughnuts..."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I am so proud to be an American and a Chicagoan right now. And I am so very relieved--my stomach has been churning all day reliving the 2000 election night mess.

After the celebrations, it is time to harness all that energy, inspiration and passion from the campaign to continue working together.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My name is Laura and I approve this message

So a few weeks ago, I signed up on Google Alerts for the phrase "Felt Inspired". (For those of you who are unfamiliar, Google scans the internet for all mentions of the phrase and sends a daily email with the listings). I knew that I would receive findings that had nothing to do with my items and that I would have to scan the findings.

While I meant this as basic marketing research to see where my items were being mentioned, it has resulted in some very interesting findings. On any given day, I receive a list of about a half dozen mentions of the phrase "felt inspired". And every day, at least one of those mentions is in regard to Barack Obama and the Obama/Biden ticket. Not a single mention has been in regard to the McCain/Palin ticket.

People blogging about wanting to do more for their neighborhoods, their communities, to volunteer for a cause--all because of the vision that Obama is sharing and that people feel like they are being heard and included. People feeling a sense of empowerment and their own inportance in the future of our country. And the strong feeling that something better is on the horizon--for all of us.

Think about it--do you ever remember our electorate being this involved and empassioned over a candidate or campaign? We have one week left--do what you can. Talk with your friends, neighbors, co-workers. Visit a swing state--I plan to go to Indiana this weekend. And if you're undecided, dig deep into your soul.

Vote Obama/Biden!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Color My World

Here are the results of Day 1 of the dye workshop. Believe it or not, there are 21 colors in this pile. Some of the dye recipes I chose were pretty similar, so they are just a few shades different. I'm pretty happy with the results, even though some of the colors didn't turn out as expected.

Tomorrow I'll learn how to use a drum carder to blend the fleeces and come up with even more colors! I ended up bringing the wrong type of wool to the workshop (I brought merino roving), but a friend gave me some of her Border Leicester fleece that she bought this summer in Wisconsin and washed herself. The sheen of this wool is so pretty, and is it supposed to be a good felting wool. In return, I'm giving her some gorgeous Cheviot wool I bought last year that doesn't felt worth a darn. Im sure it will spin up nicely--friends keep telling me I need to learn to spin, but I'm almost afraid to get started on yet another fiber technique.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Official

This is the year of the Flamenco scarf (and maybe shawls, too!). They were flying off the rack and I wish I had made more! And to my joy, the taupe and black shawl sold before the show even opened!

The Uncommon Threads show was a lot of fun--the people at the Fine Line are such good folks. And the quality of pieces in the show were truly inspirational.

To keep up with my inspiration, I just signed up for a workshop this weekend with Deb Menz at the Fine Line, to learn color theory, fiber dying and carding. I can't wait! As an added plus, I'm carpooling with Dagmar Klos, who is an expert dyer herself, and a very cool person to boot.
In other news, I have a Halloween party to go to this weekend--any costume suggestions?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Runway Ready

A few more shawls--I'm really having fun with this! I love the idea that all of them are reversible--I'm so not into getting dressed up, so I think that this appeases my inner voice. This one was made right after the taupe/black one in the last post, with a little more shaping and a shirred silk collar. I also added ruffled edges like the flamenco scarves.

I love the feel of this one--the fiber is 80/20 merino silk and so, so soft. It's hard to tell in the photo, but the shawl has a subtle tone-on-tone swirl design.

I dropped off three wraps for the fashion show at the Fine Art of Fiber next month. This weekend is the Uncommon Threads show and I will be in the boutique, but not the runway (maybe next year I'll try!) I'm trying to get a few more wraps done for the boutique, so that I can get an idea of people's reactions to them.

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Directions

Sometimes I just need to be nudged. I've been shying away from larger pieces like shawls and wraps thinking that they would be too cumbersome to make, that I wouldn't be able to come up with any interesting designs, etc. Needing to make some for a fashion show was just the push that I needed. Yes, they are more cumbersome to make, but I'm getting the hang of it and really having fun. I've made 4 wraps and have many more designs marinating in my mind. Being the practical gal that I am, I have made them all to be reversible.

I was finally brave enough to use some gorgeous silk that I bought several years ago and I'm really happy with the result. This is the first wrap I made:

Now I just need a name for it--any suggestions?

Here is the second wrap:

I'm thinking of calling this the Honeycomb Wrap. Thoughts?

More photos tomorrow!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Feelin' the Love

Over the past week, I've been fortunate to have been mentioned in several blogs. Hello to anyone who is visiting as a result! Most prominent was a feature in And Lily Makes Three (thank you Mary!). Her kids are waaaay more adorable than anything I could ever come up. The oh-so-creative Corinne and Bonne Marie also mentioned Felt Inspired prior to YarnCon--thanks gals! And just yesterday, I saw that one of my scarves was featured on the Kiss My Style blog.

On the studio front I'm shifting gears once again, trying my hand at felted shawls and wraps. There is a fashion show at the Fine Art of Fiber and they no longer accept scarves in their fashion show, only larger pieces. I've been wanting to try some larger pieces, so this has nudged me. It was slow going at first since my work space is not quite large enough, but I slogged through (quite literally making mess) and made two wraps yesterday. I need to finsh them up and take some photos.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Are you registered to vote????

We interrupt this blog for a VERY IMPORTANT public service announcement:

If you are from Illinois, you have until tomorrow at midnight!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shifting Gears

Whew--thanks to everyone who came to the Barrington show this weekend! I ran out of business cards, postcards, shopping bags and almost ran out of a few scarf styles! In fact, I'm a bit concerned about making enough scarves to keep up!

But I'm shifting gears completely for YarnCon this weekend. The scarves are staying home ('cuz knitters have enough scarves) and I'm breaking out the knit sterling jewelry. Well, provided I finish it all in time. I have yards and yards of knit Argentium sterling waiting to be made into earrings, bracelets and necklaces.

So what is Argentium sterling? It is a new composite of sterling silver that is tarnish resistant, which is great because most of my jewelry includes cultured freshwater pearls.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Art in the Barn--Barrington

This weekend is a new show for me--the Art in the Barn in Barrington. I've heard great things about this show and it is an annual fundraiser for the Good Shephard Hospital in Barrington.

I'm especially excited because this will be the first show for my new Flamenco Felted Scarf design. It is always helpful to hear the comments from people on new designs. I'm not a girly-girly type of person, but I love the ruffles on these scarves and how it hugs your neck. Just the other day, it occurred to me to make a shorter, scarflette version of it. I like this version, too. It's just the perfect size to keep the tuck on and keep the wind off your neck, yet still has that fun, elegant look to it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oh, no you didn't....

I've been trying to keep calm, really, I have. (Well, except for my Tourettes-like outbursts during the RNC.) But now They have done it. Dis my city for political gain? Include outright lies (not that that is new for Them) about Chicago folk? Uh, uh.

Ok, deeeeep breaths. Think happy thoughts. Keep felting fun things....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Swimming in Lake Michigan

One of my greatest joys this summer has been open water swimming in Lake Michigan. In addition to swimming down at Ohio St. beach where all the triathletes train, I also swim in the basin area between North Ave and Oak St. beaches. Early Sunday mornings, I meet up with a group (I use the term loosely--it is whoever shows up) called the Lake Monsters. We started out at 6:30 am, but have since moved it to 7:30 (thankfully) . Still, it's amazing how many folks are out there in the early hours. There are the usual hoardes training for the marathon (I'm glad those days are over for me) and lots of dog walkers.

Then there are some folks you wouldn't expect: there's a guy who scuba dives and is known simply as "Diver Dave"; the extended Ochoa family who come all the way from Cicero to set up camp for the day, bringing a myriad of lake toys. But my favorite, by far, are the twins--two ladies 72 years young who are out there every day, swimming backstroke together, wearing the old-fashioned caps with chin straps. They really are amazing and look fantastic. I want to look like them when I'm 72. Hell, I'd like to look like them now...

Enjoy the last official day of summer!
* Photos couresty of Steve Hernan of Lake Monsters

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Raining cats and dogs and....raccoons?

One of the many things that I love about my space is that is feels like a treehouse (I'm in a third floor converted attic). The back window looks out into a large tree and I'm eye level with birds and squirrels. Yesterday afternoon, I found this guy lumbering up the trunk and nestling into the crooks of the branches.

I've seen evidence of these guys, thanks to the gnawed-off garbage can lid, but I've only seen possums in my backyard. I'd rather look at this guy. He sat up in the tree for hours, I guess trying to keep dry.

On a completely different note, this is the first entry I am writing WIRELESSLY!!! I did it all myself (ok, also with the patient help of Ken in the Philippines on tech support), but still, I am really excited not to be tethered to the phone jack any longer.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Food for thought.....

It makes for a good bumper sticker, no?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Big Shoulders and the best t-shirt ever

Yesterday was the annual Big Shoulders open water swim in Lake Michigan. This was the third year I competed and I was happy to take 7 minutes off my previous time. There is something about open water swimming that is so fascinating to me. Some find it boring, or even frightening, but the lack of a black line and endless flip turns is so relaxing and even zen-like at times. Swimming was my first sport—before rowing, cycling and cross-country skiing, so there is such a back-to-basics relaxation there for me.

This year I only had time to compete in one race, but of course, it’s my favorite one. It’s deemed as the most “architecturally significant swimming race” and who is going to argue that? With every breath, you see the amazing Chicago skyline.

While I was happy with my time, there was little time to get heady about it. Shortly after I finished, not one but two guys came in having done the entire race in butterfly. Then came two amputees: a woman with one leg and amazingly, a man with one arm.

And then there’s the t-shirt—you gotta love the t-shirt!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Good Stuff

Since I've been felting up a storm, it was time to buy a new block of olive oil soap. You can felt with just about any type of soap, but I find that this is really the best: low amount of suds (which can impede felting), supposedly the best ph level for felting and eeeeeasy on my hands. Plus, the organic look to it is kind of cool.

I picked this up in Lincoln Square ( a fun neighborhood in Chicago) at Merz's Apothecary. Very cool place to check out--an old-fashioned pharmacy, featuring homeopathic medicines and all sorts of lovely imported soaps, creams, colognes, etc. A real treat.
In unrelated news, Joe Lieberman is a weasel...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Summer is NOT over yet!

I hold firm to the fact that summer lasts until the vernal equinox, September 21st--I'm hanging on to every last day. (But I do agree that summer starts Memorial Day weekend--I will have my proverbial cake and eat it, too)

This has been one of the best summers I've had in a long time, lots of swimming, biking, time with friends and family--hope it has been wonderful for all of you, too. Twenty-one more days to go!!!

This image is from two summers ago, kayaking in the Apostle Islands with my brother.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bucktown ArtsFest this Weekend!

My favorite show of the year is here--the annual Bucktown Artsfest, Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 - 7:00 at 22oo N. Oakley in Chicago. Great artists, food, music and atmosphere. I feel like I got my start here--six years ago (can it be that long ago?!?) I did the Bucktown winter show after years of shopping the summer and winter shows and wondering "what if?".

I'll be at the same booth as last year--#171, right by the entrance to the food/beer tent (do they know me or what?) Stop by and say hi!

I have lots of fun new scarf designs, as well as new flower pins and felted jewelry, thanks to the encouragement of my great customers!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Felt Inspired in da Haus!

Silly pun, but I couldn't help it. I had a wonderfully serendipitous (it's my blog and I'll make up words if I want to) turn of events last week that resulted in my knit silver jewelry being sold in a great boutique.

I was checking out the sidewalk sale in Andersonville (my lovely neighborhood) and stopped in Haus, a boutique that carries the work of some local artists that I really admire. I happened to be wearing one of my knit sterling necklaces and the owner noticed it immediately. One thing led to another and well, Haus now carries my work.

Friends and family are always telling me that I should wear my stuff more often and be more forward about promoting myself. Tooting my own horn is not really my style, so for this to have happened is such a compliment and I'm really thrilled.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Before - After

I'm fascinated with this kettle-dyed merino/silk roving that I picked up at the fiber festival a few weeks ago. The color gradations just melt into one another and the fiber has a subtle sheen from the silk content. Makes me want to A: buy some more, or B: get out my dyepot and give it a try. Neither is particularly practical right now since I'm in the process of moving and don't really have the time or money to spare. Definitely something for my to-do list!

Mother Nature was raging last night--it was the first time that I headed to the basement for a Chicago storm. When the radio alert mentions your neighborhood by name, the sirens go off and you live in an attic, it's time to hide!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Making up for lost time

Ok, so it's been a while.... Not sure where to start--how about yesterday? I went to the 2nd annual Midwest Folk and Fiber festival and was just blown away by the selection of fiber and other fun stuff. Silly me, I thought I would be able to whip through there before heading out to my folks for the afternoon. (I really should know better by now). First of all, I couldn't walk 10 steps without seeing friends from all over the midwestern fiber arts scene-lots of fun catching up with people.

And the fiber, oh, the fiber....I've been playing around with merino and silk mixes and love the sheen and drape. So I was thrilled to see so many options of hand-dyed and blended mixes. I also bought some gorgeous merino/tencel mixes, which also look lovely.

Lots of felting planned for this week to try out the new stuff. Perfect timing, because I'm doing the Indie Designer Market show at the Randolph Antiques Market this weekend.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Last week, my parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. I took the day off to spend with them. We just did a bit of shopping and ran some errands, but they enjoyed it since they don't get out and about as much has they used to. The highlight of the day was finding a dress for my Mom to wear at my nephew's wedding this summer. Mom was just beaming when she tried on the dress--it's just perfect for her. And Dad took one look at her and started to dance to the musak playing at the store, talking about dancing at the wedding. (I'm going to have to make sure that my nephew has a polka or two at the reception) This is a photo from their honeymoon in New York City. They're just the best!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Trunk Show this Weekend!

May 17 and 18

12:00 -5:00

3759 N. Ravenswood in Chicago, buzzer #134

at Circa Ceramics Studio

Nancy and Andy, the dymanic duo behind Circa Ceramics have graciously opened their studio for fellow Chicago artists on Etsy. A dozen of us will be there this weekend, so come out, shop early and often, Chicago Style :), and say hi.

I'm really looking forward to being there among some very talented and fun artists--I always come home inspired to create more! I'll have some fun new scarf styles, as well as pincushions, bowls and knit sterling jewelry.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A rose by any other name....

So, I've been playing around with a new scarf design that I really love. It's two-sided with cutout elements that give a peek to the other side's color. This design has been marinating in my mind for a while and I finally got around to making a few. I've only taken photos of this one so far, but I've also made a few other combinations: lime/teal, red/black and lime/black.

When I posted this one on Etsy, I needed to call it something. It's kind of a funky design and it reminds me a bit of Swiss Cheese, hence the Funky Swiss Cheese scarf. I took a look at the posting earlier today and it occurred to me that the combination of "Funky Cheese" may not be a good one for something that goes around your neck. I may need to think of something else.....

Monday, April 21, 2008


I was in DC for a few days last week attending a conference for work and managed to do something horribly embarrassing (but kinda funny) within the first two hours.

After setting up our booth, I decided to check out the other displays and see who was there. I wasn't in the mood for small talk and since there was no one around (or so I thought) it seemed like a great opportunity to check out materials without having to chit chat.

Down the row, I noticed a fairly big exhibit with a huge stack of DVDs as giveaways. I always tend to be a bit jealous when I see non profits with more stuff than us, so I had to take a look and see who it was. So I walked over and picked up a DVD and was surprised to see who it was: "The Tourettes Association--what the f*ck?!?" Unfortunately, I said this out loud to myself, and even more unfortunate was the fact that the Tourettes Association staffer was just off to the side, within earshot. It was all so fast: she shot me dagger eyes, just as I realized what I had actually said out loud. I was mortified. Well, mortified and almost on the verge of snickering because I realized how bad and how funny this was. Had I been thinking on my feet, I could have pertpetuated the whole bad medical sterotype thing and introduced myself: "Hi, I'm from the Alzheimer's Association...where am I?" I am a bad, bad person.

To continue the theme, I was disappointed that I could not find either a Pope bobble head or a Bush countdown clock while I was there. Gotta keep looking for that clock.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy Tax Day

I am a bona fide Crastinator at the pro level :)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Boston Bound...

Well, Cambridge, more accurately. These a just a few of the nuno felt scarves I sent off to the Cambridge Artists' Cooperative. I'm having a lot of fun playing with this new design, that I'm dubbing "Watercolors" for now. I was able to make lemonade out of lemons with two pieces of silk that were not quite the color I expected after I ordered them. While shockingly and scarrilously bright on their own, they became part of a beautiful landscape of color with the blends of merino and tussah fibers.

I really need to make more for Etsy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Healing Power of Knitting

I’ve been knitter for years, but felting has slowly taken over to occupy my time. As much as I love felting, I have to admit that knitting is a more soothing and meditative process. I just spent the weekend in the hospital with a sick parent again. Fortunately, it was not too serious, but just required a lot of time. I spent the hours working on an afghan beside my Dad , watching the NCAA tournament, occassionally chatting and napping . Mom was also sick this weekend, but not enough to warrant a hospital visit.

Saturday was spent waiting nearly nine hours in the ER for a hospital room for Dad. A long time in a stressful, sterile environment—Mom was exhausted by the time we got home. But waiting for us at my parent’s foyer was the best gift with perfect timing. An envelope filled with handmade Easter cards (out of purple construction paper) and a hand knit prayer shawl. The fifth grade class at Notre Dame parish, where my family has gone for years, has kind of adopted my parents since they’ve been on the prayer list at church. They write handmade cards and Mom occasionally sends treats to the class and answers their letters. A group of girls in the class are learning how to knit and surprised Mom with a hand knit prayer shawl. The shawl is acrylic and made of garter stitch swatches, complete with dropped stitches and misaligned rows, but is one of the sweetest things I’ve seen. It’s hard to describe how much it lifted all our spirits after such as long day. Even thinking about it now makes me smile.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Kid in a Candy Store....

…and the candy store is in my house! Lemme explain. One of my favorite felting artists, Nicole Chazaud of Festive Fibers is changing directions in her career. She has been known for her beautifully upholstered furniture in her signature colorful felts—she’s now going to design for the textile industry. The felting world’s loss is also our gain, as she sold off her hand-dyed wool. As soon as I received her email newsletter, I placed an order. Do I really need more fiber right now? “Need” as I’ve learned, is a relative thing. Good, upholstery-grade batting is hard to come by, especially in fun colors. Add to that the fact that this wool was dyed by an artist whose sense of color I really admire, and well, yes, I realized that I “needed” this fiber.

Honestly, I think I squealed in delight when I opened this package. Oh, the fun I’m going to soon as I finish up an order of Nuno scarves for the Cambridge Artists Cooperative. I'm really please with the new designs I've been playing around with. Gotta make sure I take photos before I pack them up!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Coolest Mittens EVER

I saw this kit when I was perusing Morehouse Merinos' website and just knew I had to make it. Things that make me laugh are high on my list. I didn't have anyone in mind when I was knitting these, but I think they might be perfect for a cute little two year old I know who is lovin' the snow this year. I also think I may have to figure out how to make the pattern larger just so I can have my own. Just so I can see people's expressions on the train...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Special Anniversary

It's hard to believe, but 20 years ago today, I left for the Peace Corps. I'm usually not such a sentimental person when it comes to dates, but the dates surrounding this event were easy to remember: we reported to Miami on Leap Day; landed in Costa Rica on 03/03/88 and swore in on 06/06/88. And 20 years later, our group is still pretty tight. It's funny that Osar Arias was president when we were there and he is president once again. And not so funny that there was a Bush in the White House then and also now....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shop Dogs

I taught needle felting last Saturday at a great little yarn store on the south side of Chicago. My Sister's Knits is nestled in the downtown area of the Beverly neighborhood and is one of the coziest shops I've ever been in. Great selection of yarn and all sorts of fun accessories. Of course, my favorite aspect of the store were the dogs. Cody and Goldie, sweet old Golden Retreivers, pad round the store and keep people company.

Ok, maybe I should't say they are my favorite part of the store (although I do have a soft spot for dogs), because the people there are great, too. The place has a real neighborhood feel to it and the owner Carol, makes everyone feel welcome.

Chris, Mary Ellen and Jenea were such fun in the class and were so enthusiastic. Here are a few shots of them at work:

This Saturday, I head out to St. Charles to teach Felted Scarves at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center. It's the first time I'm teaching this workshop, so it should be interesting!