Friday Finds – February 19, 2016

We are all artists!  Resistance to doing our work can be paralyzing.  Melissa Dinwiddie is a creativity coach who published this great list of ways to overcome that stuck feeling.

10 Rules For Artists By Melissa Dinwiddie.
10 Rules For Artists By Melissa Dinwiddie.

Stephen Pressfield’s book Turning Pro is full of great ideas on overcoming resistance.  Here’s a very short YouTube video of him discussing some of the ideas from the book.   This book is definitely worth reading.  I enjoyed it more than his other books on this subject, which I found a bit too aggressive and even warlike.

Procrastination can be a form of resistance.  A common reason for it is perfectionism.  This article about Breaking the Perfectionism–Procrastination Infinite Loop is full of insight and techniques to get you moving forward.

I’d love to know your experiences and thoughts on this subject.  Do you know any great books or websites that might help others?  Comment below to share.

Here’s a fiber picture for the yarn lovers.

A New Handspun Yarn. I Named It Apricot Preserves.
A New Handspun Yarn. I Named It Apricot Preserves.

 

 

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Let’s Share

I was poking around on a random blog and saw a great idea – sharing blogs we follow!  I’d love to share some of my favorites.  And I’d really like to find new ones by seeing what you love.

Here are a few of the blogs I follow.  These are in no particular order.

Granola Shotgun – urban design and sustainability

Socks for Mum – fiber

Curvy Lou – fiber

Colouring With Yarn – fiber

The Seeds For Life – philosophy and wisdom

I’m going to do this regularly.

Comment below to share your own blog or any blogs you love.

A picture of pretty fiber

Yummy Rolags
Yummy Rolags

What Can I Do With Super Bulky Art Yarn?

I get a lot of questions about the small yardage super bulky art yarns I spin.  Typically  someone admires one my yarns like this one.

IMG_5683And then they ask me “But, what can I do with such a small amount of yarn?”

A great use for this type of yarn is a headband.  I have made headbands from super bulky yarns spun from 1.75 oz. of fiber.  This one is a 2 ply, but used a small amount of yarn.  Don’t be fooled by how little it looks, it stretches to fit a woman’s head perfectly.

Headband Knit From Super Bulky Hand Spun Yarn
Headband Knit From Super Bulky Hand Spun Yarn

Check out my Ravelry project page to see all the headbands I’ve knit.  As of today there are seventeen. Scope out my other projects while you are there too.  Friend me and say hi.

You can get my free headband pattern here.  It’s easy and fast, you’ll have a gorgeous headband in less than an hour.  Warning:  These are addictive knitting!  You’ll want to make another one immediately.

These yarns can be used in weaving projects, to stripe in a cowl or hat, or to create a face framing edging.

Combine with other super bulky yarns, handspun or commercially spun, to use in a larger project.  This is a great way to use up leftovers.  Make the colors coordinated or wildly contrasting.  Try it for a scarf or a larger project.

The Rogue Wave Wrap is perfect for this kind of yarn when combined with others.  There are a lot of patterns that would work.  Here’s one that’s free.  I am knitting this now.  watch for pictures soon.

Wrap a gift for a women in a pretty tea towel and tie with fabulous yarn.

There are a few ideas get you started.  Do you have others?  I’d love to hear them.  Comment below to share!

 

 

 

 

Six Things I Learned At My Spinning Retreat

As a beginning spinner I am always learning things that surprise me.  I attended a spinning retreat in Northern Indiana recently and some things I learned amazed me.

1.  Some spinners think it’s easier to spin a thin yarn than a bulky.  Along with this goes the belief that it’s difficult to control the thickness of the yarn.  I am NOT an expert spinner by any means, but I know the secret.  It’s nothing glamorous and your parents and grandparents knew it.  It’s practice!  Simply practice spinning different types of yarns to get better control.  Along with this goes acceptance of what you make.  Let go of the need for perfection.  Things made by humans cannot be perfect.  I think even DaVinci had days he felt that everything he made was junk!

Some Spinners Thought This Yarn Was Quite Remarkable.
Some Spinners Thought This Yarn Was Quite Remarkable.  I Just Thought It Was Yarn.

2.  Some spinners don’t like to knit.  They make yarn and save it or give it away.  That amazes me.  But see the next point to understand about giving away precious handspun yarn.

3.  Spinners are generous.  As a newbie (first time I attended), I received a gift that included two rovings and some llama fiber.  Someone else gave me a beautiful handmade shawl pin.  When I asked to buy a second one for a friend she would not accept payment and insisted on giving it to me.

The spinners donated an enormous pile of hand knit outerwear to a women’s shelter in Gary, Indiana.  Some of them knit all year long and fill shopping bags and totes full of hats, gloves, scarves, socks, children’s wear.  They’ll never meet the recipients or hear a thank you from them.

They also created a piece of art when they yarn bombed an old chair.  It was given to an art studio.

I love these people!

4.  Other spinners love to try new things too.  There were spinners teaching themselves to spin coils, to spin bulky yarns, to chain ply.  I sold many rolags to people who were excited to try them.  Here’s one that sold.

I Called This One Tokyo Nights.
I Called This One Tokyo Nights.

I will see the buyer regularly, can’t wait to see what she created.

5.  I can spin without hurting myself!  This is marvelous news.  For a long time I didn’t understand how to stay pain free when spinning.  I’ll blog about it soon.

6.  My yarns don’t have to look like everyone else’s.  They are still beautiful.  Most of the spinners were spinning, white, cream, gray or black wool into fingering or worsted weight yarn.  I was spinning bright batts and hand dyed rovings into colorful super bulky yarn.  And that’s ok!

IMG_5774
I Started With This Batt.

 

IMG_5889
I Ended Up With This Yarn.

One of the things I enjoy most about spinning is the endless opportunities for learning.  I plan to attend the retreat again next year.  I’m looking forward to seeing all my new friends again, and immersing myself in three days of spinning and learning.

Friday Finds – Feb. 5, 2016 Life Inside The Box

 

I’m still crazily obsessed with very interested in shipping container homes. I dream of building a smallish one for the two of us once all the kids are gone. My Pinterest board has lots of ideas.  Here are a few I really love!

shipping container
From Freshome.com

I love the texture and light in this living room.  I don’t envision anything quite this elaborate or large for us, but this is spectacular.

http://www.homedsgn.com
From homedsgn.com

I can see myself in this kitchen.  I love the light and all the counter space.  A galley kitchen is very efficient too. Perhaps not all white, but I do like the layout.

Of course, business is jumping on this trend too.  Starbucks has a permanent store in Tukwila, Washington made of four shipping containers.

shipping container starbuck
From apartmenttherapy.com

A one floor layout is my dream, but this is so cool.  Perhaps not really practical for residential use, but I love it for a commercial building.

Shipping-Container angled stairs
From De Zeen Magazine

Containers can also be used as emergency housing for disaster victims.  FEMA could have floor plans ready to go and purchase containers from the nearest port.  High risk areas could have containers fitted out ready to be placed in service.  Containers can be stacked, so it seems like a very efficient and fairly inexpensive way to supply post disaster housing.  Emergency housing doesn’t have to be super luxurious, just basic shelter would be an improvement on tents. People  would have a decent place to live while rebuilding their lives after a disaster like Hurricane Sandy or an earthquake.

Could you live in a shipping container house?  Why or why not?

 

Batts – Eye Candy For Hand Spinners

We now have more spinning batts in the Etsy shop.  This post is eye candy for hand spinners, showing off our a few of the new batts.  As a hand spinner or a wannabe hand spinner, you love color and texture, and batts have them in spades.  Be sure to scroll down for a little encouragement to try them (free shipping!)

These batts can be spun on a spinning wheel or hand spindle.  See this post for more information on getting started if you are a newbie.  There is a great guest post from Carla Hanson here too.

IMG_5757
Iris Garden – Hand Dyed BFL, Sari Silk, Alpaca, Silk, Faux Cashmere
IMG_5665
Vita – Hand Dyed Wool, Alpaca and Sari Silk
IMG_5695
Sand And Sea Glass – Hand Dyed Wool, Fawn Alpaca, Sparkle
IMG_5774
Hyacinth -BFl, Bamboo, Border Leicester Locks, Silk, Sari Silk
IMG_5775
Kachina Doll – Superwash Merino, Rambouillet, Mohair, Silk, Polwarth, Sari Silk

Aren’t they gorgeous?  To tempt you even further,  in February we pay your shipping when you purchase 2 or more of our spinning fibers.  This includes batts, rovings and rolags.  Look here to see them all. Use coupon code FREESHIP2FIBERS to get free shipping.

Spinning is the perfect activity for these long days of winter. Find some time to sit down with your wheel or a hand spindle and enjoy these beautiful batts.

 

Friday Finds, Jan. 29, 2016

Valentine’s Day is at our throats around the corner.  There’s a lot of marketing effort to get you to part with cash to show your loved one how much they mean to you.  Is it necessary to spend money on a “hallmark holiday” like Valentine’s Day?  I’d rather have the cash.

Having trouble coming up with ideas that won’t break the bank but will make your beloved feel special?  I present here an assortment of inexpensive gift ideas and ways to make your day special.

I really love this little book.

what I love about you a to z

Lauren at The Thinking Closet wrote “Thinking Outside The Gift Box”.  She’s clearly a gifting genius.  This looks like fun to make and it will awaken a lot of gratitude for your beloved.  I predict some great conversations as you look through it with your darling.

Smart folks avoid restaurants on Valentine’s Day.  Who needs the crowds and expense, right?  Cooking at home can be romantic too.  Chloe at Her Campus has some clever ideas for heart shaped food.  Pizza hearts, anyone?  Surprise your sweetie or cook together, whichever you enjoy more.  Both can be very romantic.  Kisses while cooking?  Yes, please.

Mini-Heart-Pizzas

If you must go out on Valentine’s Day, go out for lunch instead of dinner. It’s likely to be cheaper and maybe even less crowded.  Or go to an upscale place and have dessert and coffee, and skip the expensive meal.

How about making a playlist for your sweetie?  You can make a romantic playlist, dance music, music for running, or music for whatever hobby you enjoy together.

My favorite Valentine’s Day idea is a quiet walk holding hands – just the two of you.  It’s great for your body and relationship, and it’s free.  Sounds like the ideal “gift” to me.

I’d love to hear your ideas on inexpensive gifts for your sweetie in the comments.

Happy Valentine’s Day.