Monday, 30 December 2013

Is my knitting in tune?

I have a guitar. It is out of tune and I don't play it.  It is however a perfect instrument for this post, a beautiful model for the first of many felted guitar straps!    

For this 'prototype"  I used this Lion Brand pattern,  Felted Knit Guitar Strap   with the following mods.      Yarn:  Patons ColorWul,  Needles:  size 10mm needles, and 11 stitches wide.

Before felting, it was about  3 1/2 inches wide, and about  57 inches long (unstretched)    I felted it by hand yesterday and it dried over night.

After felting it is about 2 inches wide, and  56 inches long.    I am surprised how  long it still is.  

Now,  the strap is going to Saskatoon, to be rigorously tested.   I am going to make another one right away,  a bit wider I think!  One of the nice things about felt is it can be cut with scissors,  so if it is too long,  it is very easy to adjust!  Snip Snip!!

I have learned a bit about guitars over the last few days.    Electric guitars almost always have two buttons or pegs to attach the strap.  One on each end of the body.   Acoustic guitars do not always have two pegs.  Some acoustic guitars only have one,  on the bottom of the body.  For those guitars,  the strap has to be tied to the top of the neck,  up by the tuning nobs.     Who knew?       I felted a long braided string for tieing , but I think it might be too thick.     I might have to change that on the next version.

The felt is strong and feels good across my shoulders.  I think this is a hit!
Thanks  Emmy for modeling today!

~ Feather ~

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Sock success

I love the winter, everything looks so clean with a beautiful blanket of white. It's nature's canvas wiped clean just waiting for the new colours to burst forward.  The sun is amazing here, when it shines, it's dazzling! It all offsets the insane temperatures of winter for me.  My bones get cold in October and remain frozen till April's thaw.

I wanna share my latest project!  I am so tickled with it.  I have another ball of yarn and may head into another pair.  I can see myself with several projects on the go as my knitting progresses.  Thanking Feather for this developing addiction! 


Thursday, 26 December 2013

By request!

I am always knitting.  (Almost)
I love challenges. (Always)

Yesterday I was asked if I could make a felted guitar strap!  Of course, what a good idea!   So the next new project will be just that.   

... And a top secret project to go with a top secret project that Beadorh is working on.  I can't help saying that these top secret things are exciting and magically special.  But still a secret!...

Now to decide on the yarn for the guitar strap!

~ Feather ~

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Solstice Socks

The new energy arriving with the solstice is interesting, some peaceful some down right sparky! I started a new pair of socks and am really enjoying creating them.  I like working with light weight wool.  The pattern just sort of flows with k3, p1.  The green ones were my learning pair and I am happy with them even if one is about 1 1/2 inches shorter than the other.  haha!  I used two different toe patterns so I could see my preference and lo and behold, there's a difference in length too!

Just seemed to make sense to me to sit back with my knitting and balance myself after finishing up with the Christmas shopping.  I had more time to prepare for Christmas this year and still feel behind on everything!  I suppose it could have something to do with the knitting!

Here's the latest sock, not quite ready for under the tree but soon!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Snowy Winter Solstice: Hello Sun

We didn't even see the sun till about 10 minutes after the official time of sunrise (8:37).  -12 C. Not too bad. 

So now the new year begins full of promise and possibility. Happy Solstice everyone!

~ Feather ~

Friday, 20 December 2013

I claim this one for myself

This is one if the latest felted Druid bags to be finished. The other two are top secret for another five days.    I didn't intend to make myself a bag this week.  This is not the time to craft for myself,  I have gifts to make, a new business to  prepare for.....  however,  this bag had plans of its own.   After it was knit and felted, it started to speak to me,  " I should be yours",   "you need a druid bag to show people,  in person" and  the most compelling of all "you can decorate me" ...  well,    as the title of this post shows,   this druid bag is MINE.

Now,  to change wallets, and get ready for the  Solstice Celebration tonight,  “MANTRA” Christmas and Winter Solstice Celebration!.     

Enjoy the Winter Solstice everyone!

~ Feather ~

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

What does one do while waiting in the car?

Take pictures of the snow storm and the finished Winter Solstice Mitts!
This is looking up through the moon roof on the car.

~ Feather ~

P.s.  The car was parked!


I suppose I am not the only one who gets great ideas at 2:00 am on the night of a full moon.  And,  this is the night of a full moon:  according to it is named the  Full Cold Moon,  aka  the Full Long Nights Moon.   This is   interesting, we all know  a long night is the perfect time to have these middle of the 'long' night  bright ideas,  don't we?

So, enough about the full moon,  what are these ideas ?

Knitting ideas of course.

It started simply enough..    What else should I, or could I, knit for Christmas gifts this late in the season?  ...   Jump ahead  to me  browsing though the eye candy offering of patterns at ...  so many to choose from ...     thinking about the yarn I already have in my 'stash'  ( a few bags and plastic bins full of the most delicious and tempting yarn, stuffed into a closet ) ...  considering who's names are still to be to crossed off my list...  and factoring in colour choices and yardage avaiable and of course  time.... eeek!      

and it hits me... not like a flash, but softly, like a ball of yarn, ...  forget about the list.    why not just start at the yarn end of the equation  and see what each skein in the stash  wants to be made into and then decide what to do with the knitting masterpiece  afterwards....  oh yes, this is a great plan..  save money by knitting up the wool on hand....

of course,  I can finish crossing names off of the Christmas list at the mall tomorrow,  and be home in plenty of time to knit.

I am not going to commit to a yarn diet.  (you know,  the silly notion of not buying yarn until a certain amount of previously purchased fibre is used up).  That would be pointless.   However,  I do intend to finish some old  WIPs that have been patiently awaiting their turns.  And, here it is,  the kicker,  the pièce de résistance,  I will use up all  of the stash by the Winter Solstice next year.    We can call this the Long Night Stash Busting Deadline of 2014,    or for short,   The PLAN.

Now,  its time to go to sleep.  I have to go to the mall tomorrow.
~ Feather ~

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Quick Ginger Cookies

I put down the socks this morning to make a batch of ginger cookies, definately a must have for Christmas

Thought I would share this old family recipe.

Quick Ginger Cookies

3/4 cup shortening (I used butter)
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
4 TBSP molasses
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
Small bowl of white sugar set aside

Cream shortening and sugar together and slowly add the rest of the ingrediants in order.  Roll into balls (about 1 inch in size) and then roll the balls in white sugar.  Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes.  Do not double.  After baked, allow cookies to "set" on baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks.  Makes about 5 dozen

Monday, 16 December 2013

Slouch Socks Dream Protection?


When my feet are cold during the night, I have nightmares.  Big socks...big soft cuddly socks.  I don't want anything that is going to be remotely tight but don't want them to fall off either.  Can't make my feet too warm either.  Wakes me everytime.  A fine line.

Anyway, my first socks have come with lots of lessons...SSK, K2Tog, cussing, tearing out, counting, Sl 1 pearlwise, more cussing, kitchener stitch... Here's the first one done and despite going a bit rogue on the pattern, it looks like a sock!  Praise be!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The paint is drying on my frame drum!

This fall, Beadorh and I  went to our first ever drum circle .   We really didn't know what to expect,  other than it would be something new.   ...  Beadorh and I have been  friends (co-conspirators) since birth, although  for the last 20 years,  we have lived in separate provinces making it much more difficult to arrange things.   Anyway,  life sometimes makes adjustments and travel plans can be worked out.

All I need to say now about the drum circle was  WOW, it was fun,  alive, and full of promise and excitement and connection.    It will take me ages to compile my thoughts any better than that.  Since that first Friday evening drumming,  I have been back a couple more times with another friend of mine (a mermaid)  and, once on my own to a drum painting class.

A drum painting class.... oh yes,   paint your own drum, and take it home with you.     Have your own drum at home, (with a mallet too, of course)...  Oh, what fun it is to have a drum and bang it at will... of course, others within earshot may describe it differently.  .. but never mind that.

The afternoon class was wonderful.   There were only about half a dozen of us,  a small friendly group eager to make our mark visually, and audibly too!    First we had a mini drum circle to warm us up,  get the energy and spirit flowing and then it was to the tables and paints. Our instructor had everything ready, inspiration was everywhere, paints, brushes, reference material and advice.

I had seen the painted drums at the drum circle Friday nights,  so had tried to think what kind of decoration my drum should have.   I prepared myself with the Druid Awen symbol of inspiration.

I didn't finish my drum that afternoon,     but I did get it started.    Here it is,  with Awen in the centre,  a crescent moon and stars,   three trees, a feather and a bee.

Unfinished painted frame drum

Emac has been encouraging (harassing?) me to finish painting the drum.  She has been very generous with her brushes and paints and technical advice, and finally, after 3 days of working at it,    I have something  to show you.  I  painted it all by hand, and am quite proud of it,  wobbly lines and all!

The sides are dark brown, with a bit of a red stripe close to the front of the drum.   I want to eventually paint/draw on  celtic knots and braids,   probably with a gold paint pen.    There is a bit of  open space left on the face of the drum above the bee.    I think I will add another symbol there as well.   But for now,   I am happy with it and consider it complete.   I can't wait to take it to the next drum circle.

~ Feather ~

p.s.   This is what my drum looked like before I started painting it:  Remo Buffalo Drum

Friday, 13 December 2013

Finished Object Friday - Felted Blue Druid Bag

How about   tweed blue felted wool?    I had fun shaping the wet felt into a bit of a ruffle on the  front flap.   The  brown ties poke through from underneath and can be tied in a simple or fancy bow.

The 'process' for this druid bag was much like the others,  

  • choose the colour.   -  teal -  Wash + Filz -it! tweed color  blue felting wool,   purchased at  Make One Yarns in Calgary.
  • cast on and knit for a while...  15 mm  needles make the knitting a quick,  but they are quite a handful!
  • knit.   the knitting is loose, and it is easy to pick up and add on here and there,   to get the shape I want.
  • seem up the sides,  add the strap
  • felt.    I use some of Beadorh's  handcrafted soap, and warm tap water,  and just smoosh and rub and wiggle (technical term - agitate) the whole wet floppy mess in my hands until it felts (shrinks)
  • shape.  the wool does not always felt evenly,   its a bit of a mystery and it does exactly what it wants, and nothing much else.    so...   there is some pulling and stretching and more agitating....
  • dry.   it takes a day or two sitting in front of the fireplace until it is soft and dry again
  • photograph.   as you can see,  there is much room for improvement here.

So there you have it, another  felted druid bag.

Blue felted druid bag
blue wool felted druid bag

close up blue felted druid bag
Close up felted druid bag
I am participating in Tami's Amis  Finished Object Fridays link list here:  Tami's Amis Finished Object Friday  and  Fibre Arts Friday  Wisdom Begins in Wonder

~ Feather ~

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Snow Bard

White snow on the hill
A bit of grass poking through
Sun sets so early

Wind, always the wind
Leafless trees await the sun
Snow quiets the earth

This is where I live
I am a prairie Druid
Winter will not last

~ Feather ~

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Slouch socks

with a dash of spring colours. 

Wednesday's Incense

Beautiful fingerless mitts you got going on Feather.  I love the colours!

Happy Wednesday Interneshians

I thought I would share pictures one of my latest project.  

The beginnings of incense.  I started with dried roses, sage, lavender and cedar and makko.

A bit of hand crushing leads to this

Then the mortar and pestle step in

The aroma is amazing

After 3 days sitting on the drying rack, it's ready to sample.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Bright and warm in the snow - soon to be fingerless mitts

I thought I would show you all what I am working on today, although, I doubt I will have much time to actually knit.  So far today seems to be a shovel snow, drive someone somewhere,  get cat food,  bird seed,  groceries, and... on top  of it all,  I would really like to see the new Hunger Games movie...    It's still snowing now,  so maybe the movie will have to wait for a better day...  

These colourful fingerless mitts  have been on my  'to make' list for a long time.   Here is a link to the pattern Spatterdash Wristwarmers.       With all those buttons, they look very  Steam Punky, don't they?  Maybe I can knit a second pair in a solid colour and  dress them up with some shiny brass buttons...  oh yah,  that will be good! 

I joined the Work in Progress Wednesday posts at Tamiès Amis blog

~ Feather ~

Sunday, 8 December 2013

For the love of Incense

Have you ever felt a dense presence enter your space?  Whether it comes in the form of an tense conversation with someone out of nowhere or an expanded heart chakra or neck muscles stiffening..its there.  Once recognized as something foreign in my environment, I found incense a perfect way to clear it out.  It gets into all the corners and lifts out the energy dust bunnies.

I've made incense for years for this purpose and find my results vary depending upon how much "technology" I allow to mix with it so have opted for a real hands on approach.  My incense will never be mass produced.  I make relatively small batches of about 175 utilizing various ingrediants.  

I make small handcrafted cones from homegrown herbs, hand ground with a mortar and pestle and shaped with my fingers.  It makes me feel wonderful to know that what I am smelling is natural, isn't some crazy toxic cocktail that would have canaries falling dead in their cages if held in the right concentration.  It was created by plants connected to the earth; that grew in beautiful sunshine and fed with rain water. 

Because of the short growing season here, I start with growing the herbs I use by starting the plants from seeds under lights in January.  I get such a lift in the most brutal part of a Canadian prairie winter to witness life erupting from their pots.  I move them to my herb garden in early June and watch them blossom.  I have several established roses that compliment the incense nicely.  One of my favorites is Moondance.  She has the most amazing aroma and lives at the north point of the herb garden. Her first year with me, she had a pure white spider living on her flowers.  Here's a picture of  Moondance a couple of years ago.

Here's a picture of my latest.  Sage, Lavender and Rose with a smidge of cinnamon for good measure.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

First Hand Knit Felted Druid Bags

I took the first three bags outside in the snow for a photo shoot today. Knitting and felting come easy to me; photography, not so much. I suppose I can blame the weather! It's -20 C outside today, here in Calgary. -28 C if you count the wind.

 The next task is to upload the pics, and type out detailed description for the store. The payment system is set up now, with paypal, and Canada Post is set up for shipping. Slowly the plan is coming together! We need a proper set up for taking pictures, mostly, what's needed is a light.

 Here they are, taken in the back yard with my little point and shoot camera. Ta Da!


Friday, 6 December 2013

emac's intro

Hello Kittens 

My name is Erin E McDonald, or emac.

I am part of the Crescent Moon Collective. 
We are a group of artists and creators who have opened our own online shopping collective. 
I am a painting major working towards my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, I will be selling original paintings and prints of my work. 

This is just the beginning of what is to come. Stay tuned, keep checking back, and make a wishlist! 

Keep warm and cute. 


Bright and colourful soft and squishy wool


Thursday, 5 December 2013

A good sign!

On my way to knitting tonight,  I looked up and saw the most beautiful sliver of a crescent moon.  I consider it a sign of good luck for the Crescent Moon Collective.  The sky was completely black except for the moon.    I really should bring my camera with me!  
I have two felted  Druid bags ready to photographed and posted here.   I think they will look good hanging from a tree branch with the snow banks for background.  


A truth to share

I believe our outer world is a mirror of our inner world.  By creating a moment in time to recognize the reasons we are thankful, we invite gratitude into our lives.  Calm the waters inside and watch tranquility and peace flow through. So mote it be

As above, so below.

The Beginning

Thursday, December 5, 2013 marks the beginning of a new venture.   May the Spirits of this Place bless the Crescent Moon Collective.