Category Archives: Fiber

Jewelry to Show Your Love of Fiber

Once you begin your fiber arts journey, it is amazing how it takes over your life! I recently placed a custom request on Etsy for a piece of fiber arts-related jewelry. I received some wonderful bids from many talented artists! I finally settled on two. First a wood-burned pendant and three silver charms.

Tanja Sova is an incredibly talented artists in a variety of media. She does wood burning, origami and fiber arts. She made me an amazing wood-burned pendant exactly the way I wanted! We emailed back and forth and discussed what I was looking for and then she let her creativity fly!

I can’t tell you how happy I am with her work! She really took the time to help me discover and communicate what I was looking for. It never ceases to amaze me the talent and creativity of the artists on Etsy!

If you have never checked out Etsy, I highly recommend it next time you need a special gift. You will not only find an original hand-made item, but you will be supporting artists in hard economical times.

As soon as I receive my silver charms I will be sure to post them as well!

The International Year of Natural Fibres

On January 22, 2009 The International Year of Natural Fibres will commence in Rome at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

The FAO defines natural fibres as ‚Äúthose renewable fibres from plants or animals which can be easily transformed into a yarn for textiles.” The goals of the International Year of Natural Fibers are:

  • raise awareness and stimulate demand for natural fibres;
  • promote the efficiency and sustainability of the natural fibres industries;
  • encourage appropriate policy responses from governments to the problems faced by natural fibre industries;
  • foster an effective and enduring international partnership among the various natural fibres industries.
  • Those of us who spin, weave, crochet, knit and the like know the wonder and benefit of natural fibres. Make a goal this year to introduce and educate someone about natural fibres. This is the year to do it!

    For more information on this special year, click here.

    My Crochet Coral Reef

    I wanted to share my major submission for the New Jersey State Fair for 2008. After all the talk of crocheted coral reefs and hyperbolic crochet, I decided to make one. I can’t tell you all how happy I am with the finished piece!

    What is hyperbolic crochet you might ask?  Mathematician Dr. Daina Taimina developed the crochet concept based on a certain number of increase stitches included in every row. For thousands of years, this mathematical idea couldn’t be proven in the living plane. Now Dr. Taimina has taken crochet to show this space.

    Now I am FAR from a mathematician, but I love the concept! As you look at these hyperbolic masterpieces, it is obvious how well it lends itself to create coral reefs. The idea has caught on and people all over the world are stitching their own reefs.

    So, here is mine. I created the “ocean bottom” by using a sandy-colored fabric. I then used the stitching concepts from Dr. Taimina to build my reef. Of course I had to add other pieces like fish and jellyfish! I am really pleased with it.

    I will be dropping it off this weekend for judging at the NJ State Fair. I’ll be sure to tell you all how I do! For more information, you can check out Dr. Taimina’s siteas well as The Institute for Figuring.

    My New Hero!

    This morning I was inspired by a segment my husband turned on for me on the Sunday Morning Show on CBS. They were talking about Karen Allen. We all know her as the lead actress in the Indiana Jones Movies and much earlier in Animal House.

    Well, later in life, she went back to school, at FIT no less in 2002, to study machine knitting technology. She now has a wonderful line of sweaters, scarves, gloves and the like, as well as a shop in Barrington, MA.

    After a terrible week at work and thinking at my age, where you are is where you are, Karen has given me new hope! My husband Glenn and I keep talking about a “plan.” We need to take care of certain things at this point, taking care of our health benefits, sticking to a reasonable budget and so on. If we continue to stick to that plan, there might just be a “part two” to our lives where we can truly do our passion. For me, fiber arts. For Glenn, fly fishing.

    So I say to all of you, don’t feel stuck! Find your passion and make a plan! And look to Karen, a life-long knitter who has gone back to her love of fiber and re-invented it as her “part two” in life. She is most definitely my new hero!

    You can see Karen’s beautiful designs by clicking here.

    Why stash?

    Recently, an interesting question was posed on a discussion group I belong to. Why stash? As I am sure you all know, the stash is the all important, and ever growing, collection of fiber, yarn, fiber tools and the like. So, why do we stash? Why do we find new and unique ways to sneak yarn and fiber into the house past the husband? (By the way, my personal favorite way to sneak is to buy the yarn, toss the store bag and put it right into my crochet bag like it was always there.)

    For me, it is the creative wonder of what that wonderfully-feeling yarn or fiber could become. I love buying one skein at a time and combining it into my freeform projects. If I really love the yarn, of course I have to go back and purchase enough for an entire project! One of my favorite things to do is wander a yarn shop and just feel all the skeins of yarn until I get what my husband refers to as “the oooh factor.” That exact moment that you know you must purchase whatever yarn you are holding.

    This is how the stash grows and grows. I even have a trunk my husband bought for me as a coffe table that is now filled with yarn on one side, fiber on the other side and spindles in the middle.

    I would love to hear from some of you what your stash means to you and why you stash in the first place.

    Stash on!

    New Jersey Farmers Rally in Trenton to Oppose DOA Elimination

    Today the farmers of New Jersey made their voices heard in Trenton when they protested the proposed elimination of the state’s Department of Agriculture.

    Estimates of the crowd varied from 500 to 2,000, not counting the more than 100 tractors and several farm animals. Many of the animals were pigs, signifying the pork that can easily be found in the state’s budget.

    I do not keep farm animals, but I have great respect for those who do and the Department of Agriculture provides important support and services for them. If you crochet, knit, spin or weave, the fiber used for your yarn comes from animals that those farmers care for. It is important that we who enjoy fiber arts support those farmers.

    According to Rich Nieuwenhuis, president of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, the last time the New Jersey government shut down, approximately 35 percent of the DOA employees were considered essential personnel and still needed to report to work. This was by far the highest percentage of all state agencies. This says how important the department is to the approximately 9,000 farmers of the state.

    I hope you will consider contacting your local representatives and remind them that we live in The Garden State and the DOA needs to stay a part of the farming heritage of New Jersey.

    To read more about today’s rally, click here.

    NJ Department of Agriculture At Risk

    This week there has been a lot of chatter in my great state about the proposed budget cuts by Governor Corzine. Many programs are at risk, including the complete elimination of the NJ Department of Agriculture. What does this have to do with a blog about fiber arts you may ask? Well, there are still many farms in the state that rely on the assistance and information the DOA provides. One of the products these small family farms provide is fiber. Fiber that I, and many others, spin to make yarn and felt to make amazing art pieces. They also provide great fresh meat and produce to many state residents.

    The DOA is responsible for the very popular “Jersey Fresh” program and the very important NJ Farmland Preservation Program. As someone who visits Sussex County often, I cannot tell you how saddened I am when I see the many “for sale” signs on the farmlands I pass. Farming is a way of life for generations in our state and is a great part of our state’s heritage.

    NorthJersey.com had a pretty extensive article about the entire plan, that you can read by clicking here.

    I am urging all readers who are concerned about the proposed cuts to contact your state representatives and the Governor and ask they not eliminate the DOA. After all, we are “The Garden State,” not “The Blacktop State,” although it may be sometimes hard to tell if you live in North Jersey and our Governor may have forgotton.

    I consider myself lucky to live in such a diverse state. New Jersey has everything from big cities to great fishing areas to rural farms. I hope the DOA will continue to be able to serve our farmers and preserve the important resource!

    A Creative Rut

    I have to be honest, I have ben in a creative rut for awhile now. I hate the cold and grey of the winter and miss hearing the birds sing in the morning and the warmth of the sun on my face. As a result, I find it hard to be creative this time of the year. I am doing a lot of community projects that are pretty straightforward, but am not doing anything “new.”

    I would love to hear from all of you how you “snap” out of a creative rut. Maybe we can all help each other!

    Hooks and Hugs,
    Andrea

    A Needle Felted Nipple!

    I love all kinds of fiber arts, crochet, spinning, and of course I can’t forget felting! I specficially like needle felting because it is easier to do in the confines of my condo in Morris County, New Jersey.

    I also have a passion for getting the word out about breast cancer. I have met some of my best friends through my volunteering with Casting for Recovery, a unique breast cancer support organization.

    Well, when I heard about The Nipple Project in California, I jumped at the opportunity to participate! The Nipple Project will be part of the group exhibition, “Enclosed, Encased & Enrobed.” This collaborative project will be shown at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in The Artist Village in Santa Ana, California June 5 – 28, 2008.

    I used some lovely flesh colored fiber I am using for another needle felted breast cancer project, which was supplied to me by Michelle at Sunshine Day Dream Gardens. I knew it was right for the project because it just came together so easily! I am very happy with the way it looks and I will be mailing it out tomorrow. I have made it in honor of all my friends at Casting For Recovery, from whom I have learned so much. I love you all!

    If you would like to participate, chck out The Nipple Project at: http://www.thenippleproject.com/. I know you won’t be sorry for participating in this important project!

    Shop for a Cause

    Let’s face it, as hard as we all try to curtail the size of our stash, it is an almost impossible task. Well, I have a solution to feeling guilty about that ever increasing fiber, yarn, book and tool pile. Shop for a good cause! The Black Sheep Creamery in Washington State suffered devastating loses recently due to the flooding on the west coast. Washington Wool and the Northwest Shetland Group are currently holding an online auction to help the creamery get back on its feet. You can check out the auction by clicking here and bid on great fiber-related items guilt-free!

    This is part two of the auction. I had donated a spindle kit to part one, which raised approximately $4,000 for the creamery.

    I hope you will consider checking out the auction and possibly bidding on an item or two. I know I will!