Mammatus | Webster Fiber Arts

Mammatus

Crochet

I have another new 12″ x 12″ piece to share with you. This one is called Mammatus:

Mammatus | Webster Fiber Arts

A few weeks back, we had some pretty stormy weather here in Kansas City. That’s not too unusually for late spring in Missouri, but our stormy skies don’t always generate mammatus clouds—those bumpy, lumpy, smushy looking clouds that stretch across the sky in a sheet. We had them with that storm a few weeks ago. The storm wasn’t that bad in our area, which is good, and the clouds inspired me to make this piece. Bonus!

Mammatus Side View | Webster Fiber Arts

After I made my clouds and attached them to a blue background, I added some glass bead raindrops to finish off this stormy weather piece. The crochet work is attached to a felt wrapped canvas and is ready to hang from a wire attached to the back of the piece.

You can see more photos and purchase Mammatus in my Etsy shop.

Until next time,
Annie

This Old Thing? Fiber Wall Art | Webster Fiber Arts

This Old Thing?

Crochet

Hi folks,

I have been working on a LOT of new pieces and I am finally ready to show you one! I call this piece This Old Thing?:

This Old Thing? | Webster Fiber Arts

This piece began with picking apart a sweater that I didn’t want anymore. This thing was like putting on a shirt made of plastic wrap. It was so hot and so uncomfortable, but I really liked the colors in it, so I unraveled it. I forgot to snap a picture before I started the destruction of the sweater, but you can get the idea of what I was working with from this piece:

This Old Thing Sweater | Webster Fiber Arts

I separated the unraveled yarns into piles of the base colors of red, yellow, purple, and white. I knew I wasn’t going to make another wearable item with theses fibers, so I tied the pieces together to make big yarn balls of each color (I will note that as I picked apart the sweater, I noticed the manufacturer tied each of the colors together to make the joins—most crochet folks frown on that because they are uncomfortable and can come undone with wear).

Since that sweater was so confining, I wanted to make shapes that were open and airy. I came up with these little cup forms, then attached them to a black wool background that I crocheted to match the size of the canvas I was going to be using. I attached the cups to the background, attached black felt to the canvas, then attached my piece to the felt.

This Old Thing? Fiber Wall Art Detail | Webster Fiber Arts

This piece is ready to hang from a wire attached to the back of the piece.

You can see more photos and purchase This Old Thing? in my Etsy shop.

Until next time,
Annie

Waste Not Want Not by Annie Webster | Webster Fiber Arts

Hands Across Missouri Exhibit

Crochet

Hi folks,

I am going to have two pieces in the upcoming Hands Across Missouri Exhibit in Chillicothe, Missouri. This is a juried exhibit put together by the Missouri Artisans Association/The Best of Missouri Hands. I’m taking my pieces to Chillicothe tomorrow, and I might be just a little excited to be in my first juried show.

My pieces include Bulldog Landmines, which I wrote about when it was included in the 12x12xMoFA exhibit last year:

Bulldog Landmines by Annie Webster |Webster Fiber Arts

My second piece is one I finished a couple of months ago. This is one is called Waste Not Want Not:

Waste Not Want Not by Annie Webster | Webster Fiber Arts

I originally conceived this piece as a rug, but for display purposes, it hangs on the wall. I used numerous bits and bobs of yarn leftover from past projects for this piece. All of those scarps can turn into something big (around 3 feet across) when you put them all together. This piece also reminds me of the rag rugs my grandma had at her house (a lot of grandmas had those rugs).

Hands Across Missouri opens June 2, 2017 and runs through July 7, 2017. The exhibit will be at the Cultural Corner Gallery in Chillicothe, MO:

Cultural Corner Art Guild & Gallery
424 Locust Street
Chillicothe, MO 64601

Hours:
Tuesday through Friday: 10 AM – 4 PM
Saturday: 10 AM – 2 PM
Closed Sunday and Monday

There will be an opening reception on June 2 from 6 PM to 9 PM. The reception is free and open to the public.

Until next time,
Annie

In the Weeds Detail | Webster Fiber Arts

In the Weeds

Crochet

Hi folks,

A few weeks back, I showed you some yarn I dyed with natural dyes. Today, I have one of the pieces I made from that yarn to show you. This is In the Weeds:

In the Weeds | Webster Fiber Arts

I made a large mandala from my yarn. It is earthy and muted and I am quite happy with it.

I started my mandala on the computer. I drew a chart for several rounds of the piece, but I wanted to get to crocheting, so I didn’t draw out the whole thing, and even the part I did draw, I didn’t make a full 360-degree chart of—just the parts I needed to get me going on each round.

I made it six or seven rounds in before I started deviating from my chart. I love the look of the bullion stitch when made with a chunky yarn (those are the coil-looking stitches in light yellow in my mandala), so I made a bunch of them. This gave me a bit of waviness in my piece, which is not usually something you want in a mandala or doily, but in this case, I thought it worked, especially since I knew I was going to be mounting my piece so it could hang on the wall.

In the Weeds Detail | Webster Fiber Arts

My finished mandala is about 16 inches across, so I got an 18-inch square canvas to attach the crochet to. Mounting crochet to hang is something that I am still getting the hang of, but this piece was fairly easy to mount. I dyed some wool felt with tea to get my tan background color, then stretched it around the canvas and stapled it down with a staple gun. I had to put the canvas on the floor to do my stapling. I needed the support of the floor on the base of the stapler to work against as I squeezed the trigger because I don’t have the hand strength to just go shooting off a staple gun willy nilly (probably for the best).

Once the felt was attached, I stitched the mandala to the felt with beige all-purpose thread.

I loved working with these natural dyed fibers. I’ve dyed a few more yarns since, and I have almost completed another piece with those yarns.

Until next time,
Annie

Baby Mary Janes | Webster Fiber Arts

Baby Mary Janes

Crochet

Hi folks,

Have you ever seen anything quite so cute?

Baby Mary Janes | Webster Fiber Arts

I mean, really! These little guys have been hanging around our house for the past week and they just made me grin every time I saw them.

My niece is having a baby this summer, and I wanted to add a little handmade something to her shower gift. These little shoes fit the bill, and worked up very quickly. Since I had never made a baby shoe or bootie before, I searched for a pattern. I landed on the Little Dot Mary Janes by Bethany at Whistle & Ivy. I used the 3 month sized pattern, and they are so tiny and precious.

I did make just a couple of changes to the original pattern. I left off the dot accent. I did make some dots in a few different colors, but they just never looked quite right on my shoes. I also made my own little yarn buttons because I am paranoid. I know, a newborn is probably not going to chew a button off of a little shoe, but I feel better about it. My buttons are single popcorn stitches (I don’t remember if I worked 3 or 4 double crochet in them) that I made, fastened off, then stitched to the side of the shoes.

Until next time,
Annie

Eco Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

Eco Dyeing with Weeds

Dyeing, Yarn

Hi folks,

I hope spring is treating you well. I have been busy making things and working in the yard. I ended up with quite a few mosquito bites from my weeding and mulching last week. It is too early in the year for the number of bites I have, but I am now the proud owner of two tubes of anti-itch cream (one for the house and one for my purse), so I should now be able to find relief from the itching where ever I am.

I have also been doing some yarn dyeing, this time using nature to get my colors. While I have been weeding, I have been collecting yard waste, and have come up with some pretty cool yarns:

Eco Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

I am so pleased with the way these turned out! I have three skeins of 100% wool yarn there, one worsted weight and two bulky. I broke these into little mini-skeins for my dyeing because I didn’t have huge amounts of dye stuffs. I have looked at several books and websites about natural dyeing, but I referred to the directions at The Spruce while I was working this time around.

Some of my plant matter worked better than others, but I had (and am continuing to have) fun experimenting with flower petals and such. All of these colors are very muted, which is what I was expecting. Since I am usually so drawn to bright, vibrant colors, this is a big change for me, but I really do like these shades.

Grape Hyacinth, Tulip, and Tea Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

In the photo above, from front to back, I have grape hyacinth, red tulip petals, and a bag of Luzianne tea. Initially, the tea skein was to be dyed with little violets that I painstakingly plucked from the yard before Mike did his first mowing of the year, but those petals yielded no color in the pot, so I threw in the tea bag and I love it!

Dandelion Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

These three skeins are from dandelions. I popped a bunch of these babies out of our flower beds, roots and all. I separated the flowers from the greens for my dyeing. On the left is yarn dyed with the dandelion flowers, and the two skeins on the right are from the greens. I did not drain the plant matter away before I threw my yarn in the pot, which may account for the slight color variations in the yarn. I love the result, but cleaning the little bits of dandelion off the finished yarn was a pain.

Daffodil Dyed Yarns | Webster Fiber Arts

Last, I have this super awesome buttery, lemony yarn that I dyed with spent daffodil heads. This yarn was such a wonderful surprise! I love it so much. The color is so creamy.

I have been plucking dried flower petals and weeds this last week and have a bag of them in the fridge ready for more dyeing. From what I have read, flowers in bloom are probably a better choice than dried up ones, but I can’t bring myself to cut down a flower in its full glory to dye yarn. I’m such a softie.

Until next time,
Annie

My Craft Show Booth | Webster Fiber Arts

I Survived the Show

Crochet, Shows

Hi folks,

Well, it is over. My first craft show is in the books. And I survived! In that respect, it was a complete and total success. If we are judging success on whether or not I sold anything, then…no, it was not a success, for I sold nothing. Not even a pot scrubber! And while I am a little frustrated by that, overall, I’m still pretty pleased, because I actually did a show, I figured out a lot of stuff, I learned some things, and I won’t feel as intimidated by shows going forward. Woo-hoo!

I will admit it also helps that nobody else seemed to be selling much either. There were just no customers at this show. I had some visitors to my booth, but most of the people who came through were other vendors. It was just really slow. Mike stayed with me through the whole show, which was great, because it gave me someone to talk to, and he was able to calm me down when I was ready to leave about 2 hours in and we had only seen about 3 people.

When last I wrote, I said that I was thinking of this as a learning experience, and that is was. I also had a lot of fun getting my booth together. Here’s what it looked like:

My Craft Show Booth | Webster Fiber Arts

Yay!

I’m going to give you a rundown of the things I used in my booth, because I found it really helpful to read about other people’s experiences when I was putting my booth together. Hopefully, this will help someone else! Also, I am not clever enough to monetize my blog, so all of the links to products are just links—I don’t get a cut if you look at them or buy anything.

I had an 8′ x 10′ space to work with, and I laid my space out so it was like you were coming into a little shop. Mike and I sat toward the back of the space, or stood, depending on what we felt like at the time. As I was getting all of my work together, I realized that I had a lot of pieces, and that I tend to favor fall-ish colors, not super awesome for a spring show. I pulled some of my spring-ier pieces out to feature at the front of the booth to draw people in.

My dress form, Bea, came with me to model the shawl. I would have liked to have another form to stand on the other side of the booth, but I wasn’t quite ready to spend money on another Bea, and the less expensive ones I found had patterned coverings that distracted from my scarves. I used a plant stand from our deck to show off a few more pieces, which worked well for this show, but might not work as well outside on a windy day.

For the rest of my scarves and wraps, I bought this clothing rack, which worked really well. It comes apart and goes together easily, so it fit in the car with no problem. This rack comes with wheels, but I didn’t want the rack running all over the place at the show, so I did not attach them.

For hanging my pieces, I used these velvet hangers, which are the nicest hangers I have ever had, and may be the nicest hangers anyone in my family has ever had. They are kind of ridiculous, and were the biggest single expense in my booth, which is definitely ridiculous, but I went with these because my pieces stayed in place on them. I didn’t want to have shawls slipping off of hangers and onto the ground every 5 minutes during the show.

I store my finished pieces rolled up in tubs at home so they don’t crease when they are not in use, but I pre-hung my work on the hangers the night before so set-up would go faster at the event. I draped the hangers in trash bags to protect them from rain.

The Cowl Table | Webster Fiber Arts

Tables and chairs were available at this show, but I did not request them because when I registered, I had no idea what my booth would look like. The table in the back of the booth is from our basement. It is a 6′ table that folds in half for transport, which makes it pretty easy to work with. I put all of my cowls on this table. To add some height, I used jewelry displays and wreath holders. I made a simple sign with my name and credit card logos that I put in a sign holder. I think the sign is too small—I’ll go bigger next time.

Under the table I stored the plastic tubs I brought everything in, as well as a tub that had tissue paper and bags for purchases. The table is draped in a white full size sheet. It does not drape to the floor on the right side of the table so I was able to easily access those bags. I used a piece of white duct tape to secure the sheet to the right side.

Idea that I am stealing: a woman across from me selling lip glosses and such had her table on risers, like these. This brought everything closer to eye level for the customers. Such a good idea!

wfa-dishcloth-table

Behind the plant stand were two TV trays. I displayed all of my dishcloths and scrubbers in baskets on those little tables. The trays are not very tall, so that wasn’t great, but they fit the space well. Bonus: we already had them and I didn’t have to buy anything. I draped the two tables with one white twin sheet. The baskets came from Target.

I brought crochet to work on while I was at the show. I always like to see artists making things when I go to shows as a shopper, plus having a hook and yarn in my hands is really comforting to me. I needed that comfort as my anxiety increased at the idea of having to talk to people, and then increase more at the realization that there wasn’t really going to be anyone to talk to (yes, both made me anxious). Here’s what I made:

The Show Cowl| Webster Fiber Arts

It’s a sweet little cowl. I finished this before noon, then pulled out a bunch of stitches so I could keep crocheting. Next time, I will bring more yarn and hope I don’t have time to use it.

I printed my own business cards with this Avery stock that I cannot say enough good things about. They are sturdy and the perforations are very fine, so you get a pretty clean edge when you tear the cards apart. I also used this stock for my price tags. I printed on both sides of the paper for these and was amazed that the stock stayed together with two passes through the printer. My advice on these is to print one sheet at a time, even though it is a drag to keep putting in paper, because it prevents paper jams and wonky printing, and to use the highest print setting your printer has (I used “Best Photo”). Yes, you will use more ink, but I think the resulting prints are worth it.

I did a super grown-up thing and bought liability insurance for the show. At least, it felt super grown-up to me. I went through ACT Insurance for this. I could just see myself setting up next to an artist that makes delicate, hand-blown glass pieces and knocking over their display with my clumsiness. Some shows require this insurance, others don’t. My show didn’t, but I was prepared.

I got a Square reader to process credit cards at the event. I signed up for an Etsy card reader, but never heard from them, so Square won. I got the free reader, which is just a swipe to process the card, not the chip reader. I felt okay about this since there are still major retail chains in our area that don’t have functioning chip readers, but for a bigger show, I will probably get the chip reader because I am a rule follower.

I think that is everything. Congratulations if you made it to the end of this post! I hope some of this information was helpful to you folks out there thinking about doing a show. You should definitely do it! Even though the selling didn’t go so well, I got a lot of really nice compliments that boosted my morale. This first show felt like a hill I needed to get over, and now I am ready to take on more.

Until next time,
Annie