IS #71: Local Happenings

I don’t know what it is about this little state, but ever since I moved to Rhode Island, I’ve felt surrounded by craft-y goodness. Last weekend was Craftopia, a nice little craft fair organized by the owner of Rhodycraft in Pawtucket. Lots of different independent vendors to discover, lots of fun handmade items to covet. (Excuse my less-than-stellar cell phone photos, please.)

0427141308

These necklaces made from real butterfly wings by Crystal Popko were a real eye-catcher. Aren’t they gorgeous?

0427141312

I also really liked the simple lines and knit-stitch-like designs on the rustic ceramics made by Elizabeth Benotti.

0427141313

This shirt from the Fraggles and Friggles shop is basically the cutest shirt in existence. (Get it? Those are cuttlefish!) I love me some science geekery, and Elizabeth’s shop is full of it, for sure.

0427141325

I absolutely adored these small leather card holders by Shara Porter. The colors, designs, and display were just so appealing. I regret that I didn’t purchase one while I was there.

0427141342

There was a surprising lack of handmade textiles at this festival.  The only artist working with something other than t-shirts or cotton bags was Heather Jeany, who took previously crocheted doilies and hand-dyed them to convert them into interesting statement jewelry.

0427141346

This display needs no words, am I right? It’s just pure awesome. But to give credit where credit is due, these adorable faux dead things were created by Jen Bennett Gubicza. She makes non-dead things, too, but I really love that narwhal taxidermy piece. SUCH A CUTE DEAD THING!

I had a lot of fun checking out so many local artists making so many interesting things. I was especially inspired and paid close attention to displays at this show because Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe will be vending its first show in a couple of weeks! The Fiasco and I will be at the Rhode Island Sheep & Fiber Festival with lotion bars galore on Saturday, May 17th. If you’ve never been, RISF is a great little festival with lots of local yarn dyers, spinners, and other makers. It’s held at the gorgeous Coggeshall Farm Museum in Bristol. Please let me know if you’re planning to stop by, I’d love to meet you and say hello!

What’s your favorite way to discover new artists? What’s been inspiring you, lately? Let us know in the comments below!

IS

Advertisements

WIPWed #55: Experimental Swatches

My main knitting work-in-progress goal this week was swatching up four little skeins of experimental handspun. (Don’t forget to enter by Thursday night to win 8 oz of Louet Perendale fiber of your very own! Check this blog post for details.)

Twist Experiment Swatches:

IMG_6444

knitting + science = awesome

They haven’t yet been blocked, but they will be A.S.A.P. so I can report back on my results by Friday. Each swatch was knit on the same size needles with the same patterns (7 ridges garter stitch, 10 rows stockinette, and a little lace-y rib pattern). I immediately noticed that the two opposing ply yarns (bottom row) were much plumper and knit up into larger swatches than the normal 2-ply yarns (top row). I’ll discuss more about why I think this is after I see how they block out.

Scummy Cedar Grove:

IMG_6447

Blue Moon Fiber Arts De-Vine, colorway Pond Scum. Click for project page.

I picked up this shawl again this morning and literally just knit half a row so I could call it a WIP in good conscious and share it here. Perhaps that’s cheating, but I felt like so little knitting has been happening lately. Possibly because I almost forgot…

Boxed Wind:

hat

Sanguine Gryphon Zaftig Bugga, colorway Box Jellyfish. Click for project page.

I knit a super quick Windschief hat for a good friend’s birthday last weekend. So quick, it didn’t even see the blog until it was gifted and gone. It lasted just long enough to make me super sad that the Zaftig yarn is discontinued, though. It’s scrumptious.

Speaking of good friends, that same friend went to Iceland with his knitterly husband recently. I pleaded that they bring me back some handknit mittens and boy, did they deliver:

IMG_6433

Pretty, pretty mittens.

Could I knit myself lovely, fingering-weight, colorwork snowflake mittens? Sure, probably. Am I likely to do so anytime soon? NOPE. I have a terrible track record with finishing mittens and have no pressing desire to knit that much colorworkso I’m super happy to have this pair. They feel great and will be just the thing when it gets cold around here again. Plus, they came from Iceland, so they are extra awesome.

In a final bit of news, I added a new lotion bar fragrance to my Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe:

IMG_6288

Are you drooling yet?

Lemon Cake! It smells exactly as you’d think it would: citrus-y, sweet, butter-y, cake-y, yummy. I also re-stocked a couple scents I had sold out of: Crisp Pear and Sandalwood Vanilla. I’m so happy that my bars have been receiving great feedback! A couple of  customers have been kind enough to write wonderful, 5-star reviews and a few others have sent me direct messages telling me how happy they are with their purchases. It’s thrilling! I’ve also created a Facebook page for the shop if you’d like to ‘like’ it and stay up-to-date with news and sales there.

Phew! Turns out I had more to chat about than I thought… Check out more WIPs at Tamis Amis and enjoy your Wednesday! (And don’t forget the Louet giveaway!)

Workin’ On The Weekend

I spent this weekend as a busy, busy little bee and it felt amazing. I haven’t had 2 days to myself in so long and I got quite a few things accomplished that have been on my list for a while.

IMG_6217

Sweet Sheep Solid Lotion Bars, in progress!

I finally finally finally had some serious time to devote to the lotion bars that so many of you volunteered to test several weeks ago. I tweaked the formula a bit more and came up with something that I now really, really love — your input was invaluable, THANK YOU! I (mostly) set up my (forthcoming) Etsy shop, made lots of business-related decisions, ordered a few more things I need before I can open things up, and made a few dozen full- and sample-sized bars to start off with. Things are getting exciting! I also set up a little info page on the blog as well as a Facebook page for the shop, if you’re interested in following and finding out exactly when I open my virtual doors! (I’m getting super psyched, can you tell?! Overuse of reclamation points!!! YES!!!!!)

Now my big question: what’s your favorite type of fragrance? What would you like to smell on your hands/body if you used the lotions? There are literally hundreds of fragrances available from my supplier of pretty much anything you can imagine. I have an undeniable bias towards sweet, fruity, vanilla-y scents and I have a sneaking a suspicion that perhaps not everyone will want to go around smelling like cake. Any suggestions of scents you like would be much appreciated!

IMG_6219

This is basically just for proof of making the deadline.

I finished the handspun I was making for the CTA Pigeonroof Fibers spin-along, just in the nick of time because the deadline was today! I finished plying at 1 a.m. and was too tired to wind the second bobbin off into a skein (that’s tonight’s job). I’ll post more info and better glamor photos when both skeins are fully washed and dried because let me tell you, the first skein is so fluffy and delightful after drying, it deserves a better photoshoot. Scroll through all the other beautiful skeins produced in the group here.

IMG_6198

Squoosh Fiber Arts Rapture, colorway Raven. Click for project page.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand finally, I also finished my Loch hat, designed by tin can knits. I am not sure if this hat is entirely flattering on me, it’s essentially a slightly slouchy beanie… like it’s not sure if it wants to be all-the-way-slouchy or not. It’s just sort of an odd shape on my head, though I believe it’s so slouchy because the Merino/cashmere/silk blend yarn relaxed a lot with blocking (so not due to the pattern). Or perhaps I just have a small head. Either way, I do like the FO because I needed a black hat and the sport-weight fabric is really great for spring. It’s making me want to knit more lightweight hats, now!

Phew, that was a lot! See, didn’t I tell you I’ve been busy? Hope you all had great weekends, too!