Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fantastic Fiber Book

Just wanted to share this book that I received, Fiber Gathering. This is such a neat book. This book takes you to 10 of the top fiber festivals in the states, and gives a few photos and beautiful descriptions of each (and trust me, if you don't already attend, you'll be convinced you'll want to make a way to fit them on the calendar!) I want to go to all of them now! But wait, there's more.

There are lots of inspiring knit & crochet project instructions, such as sweaters, socks, scarves and mittens.

The book also includes really great instructions on "how to skirt a fleece", and "washing a fleece" "dyeing multicolored yarn" "andean plying" "spinning for speed" (in case you wish to enter the competition at the Tennessee state fair spinning competition!) "making a spindle from a knitting needle and a potato" and "making knitting needles using dowels, sandpaper and beads" "rug hooking" and even more.

I don't know how they managed to get so much information packed in this book! Yet, it was put together well and it is a book that I will greatly enjoy curling up with this winter while I plan my festival calendar for the upcoming year. (ok, I doubt I'll be able to travel this year, but someday)

Monday, December 19, 2011

An update

Wasn't I just blogging about how long it takes to sometimes finish a piece of pottery here? Well, that piece took 5 years to get glazed. This one, I couldn't believe it was all the way back in January that I posted about making it! That's nearly a year to get it glazed, but I guess it beats 5 years. (actually, this was glazed in October.. so that's not too bad, right?)

This is my second sculpture. (I was thinking it was my first, but I just remembered that I made a sculpture of Christ holding a lamb that I gave away) It is made from stoneware clay, fired and glazed. I have several ideas in mind for future sculptures, all in the theme of "Sheep Chores". I think I'll call this one "Getting to know the sheep".

Any shepherd knows an important aspect of caring for sheep, is knowing the sheep.

"The more you understand about their behavior, the easier it will be for you to spot problems" - Storey's Guide to Raising Sheep

As you can see though, getting to know the sheep really isn't a "chore", but a special time between sheep and shepherd.

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Make Do" Niddy Noddy

For the longest time, I've been meaning to pick up, or order a niddy noddy. I have just been spinning for personal use, so my hand to elbow has been a substitute for the n.n. We had a few pieces of wood down in the shop that was left over from ripping down some boards and I thought it was worth a try.. scrap wood and 2 screws, what was there to lose? I cut the 2 ends to the same length and left the center piece as it was. If I was to be technical, I would have measured it to a length that would work out easy to calculate the yardage by the wraps, but ...ok, i didn't.

I'm just wondering now why I wrapped yarn hand to elbow all this time? The n.n. would be more comfortable if I rounded the edges in the center, but until I find that niddy noddy that I just can't live without, this one will do!

It certainly helped to make a nicer looking skein than my arm winding did!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How long does it take to glaze a pot?

Jimminy Christmas. I made this pot back when I was first learning to make pottery - the date on the bottom is February of 2007. (and it just got glazed a couple of days ago!) So, I guess the answer to how long it takes? Right now, up to 5 years.

I guess I waited so long because I didn't know what glaze would be best for the design. Some glazes are applied so thick that the design can get lost, so I guess I was waiting for the right glaze. As it turned out, I mixed up a new glaze to try - one I had never even sampled, and I glazed half a kiln load of pots. (risky, but I was just tired of looking at all the unglazed pots on the shelf!)I really like the new glaze and don't know if i could have found a better glaze for this particular pot, so this pot has a happy ending.
This pot on the other hand I left bare. It's dated January of 2007. Again, soon to be another 5 year old pot.

I don't really get attached to my own pottery, but this vase is one of two pieces that I've made that I think I'd like to hang onto. I made this just a few months after I started in pottery. (back when I was trying different shapes, and experimenting) For some reason, I have a hard time reproducing this shape? Anyways, I have yet to find a glaze that I think would work on this piece. At one point, it was going to be a copper red, but that glaze is too thick. I'm leaning toward the new denim blue that is on the iris pot, but we'll see... it's sort of ridiculous to put this much thought into it. Maybe something will come up in the next 5 years!

(anyone else have projects that sit around this long unfinished?)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Double Blessing

Today was a beautiful day.

My friend Donna offered to watch Wyatt for me today as an early Christmas present. How nice was that? Priceless. (not that I needed to get away from my lil guy, but I did have some things that needed tending to) So a welcomed Christmas gift that was.

The second blessing of the day was the incredible sunshine.

I needed to fire the kiln again today. I did a glaze firing last week (i glazed outdoors in 29 degree temperatures - not complaining, yet theres a possibility that the pots were very uncomfortable! I wondered if the glaze would freeze before it hit the pots, but all was well) The firing was successful with the exception of an element coming loose and the bottom shelf of pots in the kiln did not fire properly. Fortunately, things like that can be corrected by running them thru the kiln again, which brings us to today. In order to fire the kiln again, I needed to glaze a few more pots to fire along with the underfired - well today was just a perfect day for being outside glazing pots!

Sunshine on my face, I soaked it up. Sunshine drying the pots as I sprayed them - they were soaking it up too.

Just a perfect day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Designs

Sending thanks out to Kelly at http://mainelyewesfarm.blogspot.com/
and Christine at http://frontporchindiana.blogspot.com/ for submitting great photos and the opportunity to try something new! (and for the permission to reuse the designs!) I am excited to see how the designs turn out on the mugs. (they're in the kiln now, and will be glazed tomorrow)

I watched a show the other day on PBS where a lady would make animals out of gourds and she said sometimes she would get ideas while she slept. I thought that was funny, then last night while sleeping, I saw an ornament made from clay hanging on a tree that was an icelandic ram head - semi/side view. Even while I was dreaming i thought "here's an idea while i sleep..this is awesome" So I guess I need to get a good head shot of Leroy (because the ornament looked like him) Oh goodness, I have a list of things that I need to catch up on, but I'd better sketch this one out before it's forgotton. (or quite possibly, I might need to take a break from pottery?)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Birthday

Dear Wyatt, Happy Birthday to you!

Wow- 2 already.
Looks like someone might have got into the cake too before the candles were blown out! We had a great day, and hope his birthday was the best to date. Of course, we had cake and ice cream after lunch, and we wrapped up the day with a trip to the zoo with friends to see the festival of lights.

(hm, those lights make my hair look gray)

I have been noticing that Wyatt will address everyone by name now - Daddy is "Da'e" or "jack" papaw is "paw" but he's only said Ma, or Mom when he was fussing, and that happened some time back. (not that he hasn't fussed recently) Well.. this picture, when he saw it downloaded on the computer, I got a solid "mom"! So.. Of course, I had to hear it again and again... "who is that?" "who is that?"

His birthday was special for us, and hope it was for him as well.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New addition

We had a new calf born last Saturday. This is the 2nd calf we've had born here - the last one was over a year ago and we have one more cow due any day now. Aren't baby calves beautiful?

We borrowed a black angus from a neighbor, but a red bull from another neighbor was in our yard a lot just prior to that... hm... lil calf, who's yo daddy?

(i know now to write down dates of when we turn a bull in, and when a bull is just roaming... not that it's a big deal .. it would be if we had stray rams running the neighborhood though! Our sheep are the only sheep that run loose in these parts)

Looks like we had a good frost / freeze last night. The ground was just covered with white this morning. (Sara, is this the freeze you've been hoping for?)

Bet the boys (most of them) are glad they missed their fall shearing!