Monday, October 15, 2012

My Sister Came To Visit and Work A Little! YIPPEE!!

It's only been a week since my sister was here for a visit, but I think she'll be surprised at how much I've accomplished with my needle felting since then.

It would have been nice if she was here for a whole week of crafts fun and games but we had work to do on her new Rock Garden Alpacas Fiber website and work to do on her Inspired Creations By D wall art quilt kits. So, we were a little busy.

However, I'd be lying if I told you we didn't have a chance to play. We did go fabric shopping one day and, well, truth be told we did buy some fabric. We had a delightful time shopping and I must admit we probably bought more fabric and crafts supplies then we needed, but we couldn't pass up such good deals. At least that's what we told ourselves.

We went fabric shopping first and then went to my favorite lunch restaurant - California Pizza Kitchen. I just love their garlic chicken pizza and for the last twenty years every time I've had lunch there that's what I've ordered. In fact, most of the time whoever I went with whether it was my mother, brother, granddaughters, or grandsons we ALWAYS had the Garlic Chicken Pizza. Since I knew what I wanted I wasn't even going to look at the menu but for some reason decided to look anyways. I was really disappointed when I couldn't find it on the menu and then the waitress told me they didn't have it anymore. Boy, was I disappointed. My sister suggested we try a garlic cheese pizza. Needless to say the pizza wasn't anywhere near as good as their Garlic Chicken Pizza.

I can't tell you how many times over the last twenty years I've had lunch there with my Mother, granddaughters, grandsons, brothers, and sister. Such great memories with everyone laughing about the garlic breath we all had afterwards and my searching for the hot red cinnamon Tic Tacs in my purse. After all, who wants to walk around with garlic breath when they're shopping. I was so disappointed I decided that California Pizza Kitchen just went to the bottom of my favorite restaurant list.

After our disappointing lunch we went shopping for some crafts supplies at both A.C. Moore and Michaels. This cheered me up as I just LOVE browsing through all the aisles and craft supplies thinking of all the things I'd like to make. And, of course, we bought a few craft supplies. Okay, make that many supplies. We probably bought more needle felt craft supplies than we needed - but, you can't pass up good deals especially when you have coupons! That's our story and we're sticking to it.

We decided to spend the next three days working on her websites, fiber products, and quilt kits. After a grueling three days of computer work we finally finished as much as we were going to do this trip so we had some time to play. We wanted to learn as much as we could about needle felting and working with roving.

I had bought two mini roving kits for making a snowman and a penguin that I thought would be a good introduction into working with the fiber so we started there. We just wanted to get the feel of the fiber and how easy or hard it would be to work with before we embarked on our free style hand creations and working with the molds we had bought. I took the snowman and my sister took the penguin.

We learned how to form the roving into balls or whatever shaped we needed and which roving tools to use as each had their own purpose. After pricking my fingers twice to the point of drawing blood we decided needle felting was not a craft for young children. The needles were really sharp and THEY HURT when you pricked yourself. OUCH! At the very least if you're needle felting with children adult supervision is definitely required.

I finished my snowman, as shown in the picture above, and my sister finished her penguin, as shown in the picture above and to the left. For her first attempt and my second attempt at needle felting roving we were pleased with the results. Two years ago I had made a winter penny rug that had sheep in it and required you to needle felt the sheep's body, but that was just felting the wool roving onto the felt piece. I didn't have to shape anything then so this was a little different. I reviewed this in my "The Book Review Corner Blog" in a post entitled: "I Really Wanted To Try Needle Felting and Penny Rug Felting - I Loved It!

My sister decided to take a bold step for her next needle felted creation and try a free style hand felted picture. She wanted some sort of mountain scene with trees, sun, mountains, grasslands and a moose. She's into nature, gardens, and quilted landscape wall art not dolls, silk floral, and genealogy.

I opted for an easier winter scene with the blue felt roving backing, a snowman with a tree and presents.  I wasn't surprised at what my baby sister choose as she was always more adventurous than I.

Well, we worked on this for several hours and between the laughter and "bleeding - OUCH! OUCH!" we managed to get several needle felted projects completed.

By the time we were done we definitely had a better feel for needle felting and knew which of the products we liked or didn't like. My sister had brought some of the white, brown, dark brown, and black/gray combination roving from her alpacas that we used in almost all of the creations. My sister's alpaca roving was clearly the best roving by far. Very fine, very soft, and very easy to needle felt.

Some of the small packages of dyed roving that we had bought might have said 100% wool roving but they were anything but. Some were roving, but some looked more like dyed raw mohair to me. I will definitely not be buying that again. However, we wanted to create needle felted pictures and to do that we needed different colors.

My sister's white alpaca roving would be wonderful for dyeing except we haven't learned how to do that yet. It's on the agenda - maybe next year.

In any event. her alpaca roving makes exceptional doll hair, especially the white for Santa's. I'm hoping to have some time this winter to create dolls and ornaments using her alpaca roving. I'm fortunate that my baby sister gave me some roving last year and this year to use with my dolls and crafts - and use it I will. It is definitely the best roving I have ever used for my doll hair.

If you'd like to see for yourself just visit her Rock Garden Alpacas Fiber website.

We had a delightful time as we always do.  We  worked hard, shopped, ate, laughed, cried from the pricking of the fingers, and learned A LOT.  We still have a lot more to learn about using the alpaca fiber, but we're off to a good start.

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