Meet Mim:


Mim

Mim Bird is the owner of Over the Rainbow Yarn and a knitting genius extraordinaire. In June of 2011, on her birthday, she opened this shop in Rockland, Maine in order to share her love of fiber crafts with the world. Mim is the creative mastermind behind almost everything that we do. She's a knitting history enthusiast as well.

Get to know Mim by reading her latest blog posts below.

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There, I Said It

 

IMG_3147

I hate wrapping felting armatures. I hate, hate, hate, hate it. I am so not a fan of it that knowing it’s the next step in the process for something I’m working on can sometimes keep me from wanting to continue a project all together. The amount of naked wire frames I have piled in my closet is horrifying. Unfortunately, it’s also important when working with armatures. Without a wrapped layer around the frame, it’s incredibly difficult to get fiber to stick around the wire for your sculpture. So, if you’re just starting out with armatures or are having a bit of trouble with them, here are a few tips you may find handy when wrapping:

  1. Pipe-cleaners are your friends. You can use them solely for your armature — and I often do if I’m making something small — but if you bend them around the wire of a larger piece, having that bit of fuzz will help keep your wrapping in place.
  2. Be sure you’re wrapping the wool around the wire taut and flat as if it were ribbon. I find it easiest to keep it in this formation by holding the fiber between my index and middle finger. If you don’t keep it flat you can end up with bulges that may take extra time to needle felt into your desired shape later on.
  3.  It’s ok to have a few blank spots. The goal is to have enough of your work covered so that you won’t have any issues adding wool to your sculpture later. I usually end up having the very tips left blank.IMG_3150
  4. If you’re wrapping the fiber tightly enough, you won’t need to use the actual needle very much to keep it in place. It does help to use it here and there if something seems like it won’t stay secure the way you want it to, but be sure that you’re felting very gently and around the wire. If you end up striking the wire frame, it’s ok, but if you aren’t being gentle your needle can blunt, bend, and even snap.
  5. This happens to me frequently and it gets incredibly frustrating. Eventually when you felt with an armature– even if you’ve finished with wrapping — your needle may very well get stuck between wires. If this happens to you DO NOT WIGGLE THE NEEDLE TO GET IT FREE. To get the needle out, pull it gently but firmly straight in the same direction it went in. If it doesn’t want to be removed immediately, ease up on it and try again until it releases. It may take several tries.

The Perfect Pincushion

Today’s quick blog post (before we see another rep) is all about pincushions. Yes, pincushions — those squishy things you stick your pins and needles into for safe keeping. I recently visited my sister and got a chance to see her workshop where she makes her amazing bags (coming soon to Archipelago in Rockland — I wish I could show you how gorgeous they are). While picking my way between the rolls of leather and fabric, I happened to notice that the floor was littered with pins! For my sake and hers, I’ve decided that she needs a pincushion. It’s going to be knitted, and it needs to be cute/fun/pretty so that it makes her smile when she uses it. To Ravelry!

© Gari Lynn

© Gari Lynn

I’m a sucker for traditional nostalgic designs, so this little tomato designed by Gari Lynn caught my eye right away. I remember seeing fabric versions of these by the sewing machines of my friends’ mothers and grandmothers. Pattern available here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/heirloom—tomato-pin-cushion

 

 

 

© Amanda Berry

© Amanda Berry

Since my sister shares my slightly kooky sense of humor, I was considering this adorable (but slightly grim) voodoo doll pincushion by Amanda Berry. Perhaps it would come in handy for those days where the sewing machine spits oil onto an almost finished bag, or when an order of leather gets lost in the mail? http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/voodoo-doll-3

 

 

 

© susan cornish

© susan cornish

But my favorite pincushion so far is the cactus. What a perfectly adorable item! There are several on Ravelry, some tall, some short, some knit in chunky yarn, some with flowers… The tiny terra cotta pot is a great touch. I especially love how the pins add to the cactus-y appearance, though it looks fine on its own, too. I really think that my sister needs one of these, and it seems like a super quick knit. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pin-cushion-cactus

 

 

Do you have a favorite pincushion at home?

Where the Magic Happens

I can knit or crochet just about anywhere, but when it comes to needle felting I’m very particular about the space I work in. For this blog post I’d like to show you where I work, and maybe give you a peek at some of the treasures I use in my needle felted pieces.

feltdesk

To start, this is the desk that I felt at. It’s technically a TV stand, so there’s very little space for material set up. Most of what I use is either under the shelves or in the closet behind it. (It may or may not have received a much needed cleaning before this shot.)

stuff

Now on to the treasures! On my desk I have an antique tobacco drawer (that’s been cleaned, thankfully). This is where I keep broken and unique buttons, various shell beads, and black spruce cones.

shellbeads

I carry more shell beads in a separate container, as well. These are shells I’ve found on beaches that have conveniently placed holes from hungry worms. These tend to be used more as pendants than as glued or sewn in textures.

thimble

Safety is important, and sometimes my jelly thimbles just don’t cut it if I need to be more aggressive with my felting needles. This is a very special thimble I received from my Papa that used to belong to my grandmother.

keys

These are some of my favorite things you can find on my desk (if you know where to look )– antique keys and iron nails. I have more of these nails, but at the moment they’re being soaked in water to create an iron mordant I’ll be using for natural dyes. I have yet to implement the nails into a piece, but the keys have already made an appearance with Essex, the Archivist.

featimage

 

As an extra little treat, this is my antique desk that I sit at when I’m drawing.  It isn’t all in this shot, but the top does lift up to a larger compartment and some drawers (which is a horrible, horrible mess). As some of you may know, I’m not only a fiber artist, but also a (professional) illustrator. It’s been a little while since I’ve done any of this sort of work, so I’m very excited and eager to have the opportunity to be working on the coloring pages you’ll be receiving in our newsletter!

drawdesk

You get a virtual cookie if you can guess where I went to see and get a print of that sculpture/memorial in the upper left corner. (No one should be surprised that it was one of my favorite parts of that place. 10/10 would go again).