. Beautiful Buttons

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Beautiful Buttons

Category: fiber art

I love buttons. They can be so unique and beautiful, and they can brighten up even the simplest of garments and accessories. I’ll even use them to embellish my needle felted dolls from time to time!

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Every now and then when I’m facing shelves I get to take a peek through our button racks, and I always seem to find something new and entertaining. Today I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you, and hopefully spark some inspiration! (Ignore my gross fingers)

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He’s so happy!

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Sometimes I like to use these and the antlers above in my felting.

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Each of these coconut shell buttons can be vastly different from the others in the tube.

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When you’re trying to find the perfect button, look no further. This is THE perfect button for everything, no doubt about it. Everything you have needs to portray the heartwarming story of the goat that lived on a farm and was best friends with a toad. ~*~Everything~*~

There And Back Again

Category: fiber art

I’m back from an adventure, everyone! Well, it’s not technically an adventure, but it certainly feels like one. There was a learning experience, I tangled with a few monsters, and I got treasure at the end.

What I really mean is that I learned how to spin (thanks to fortunate circumstances and guidance from Mim)! Check out all these treasures I found yarns I spun!

 

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We started me out with a small drop spindle and cheviot. The first yarn I spun was a bit…too twisted. The left is a two-ply version from the single ply on the right.

 

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Then I got the hang of the drop spindle and was even able to spin beads into the yarn! Unfortunately, I hadn’t figured out how to set the twist just yet.

 

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Later I decided that I wanted to try a different fiber and went with some of Highland Handmade’s corriedale cross (in colorway “Bearded Iris”). This is when I finally figured out how to set the twist!

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The real test began when I learned how to use a wheel. In retrospect, Malabrigo’s merino top probably wasn’t the best fiber to start off with.

 

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We got along eventually.

 

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And now I have my own smaller wheel to use! (Well, ok, it’s temporarily adopted from my mom, but it’s mine for now. )

Celebrating Historical Fiber Arts in Maine

Category: fiber art

As I mentioned last week, I had a little adventure/vacation as a participant in an archaeological dig in Damariscotta. There were indeed no golden idols nor Nazis, but there were many pieces of ceramics, and a fair number of diabolical biting flies. One of the coolest finds was a button with a copper shank, complete with a scrap of thread still in place. But while I was geeking out over 18th century items, archaeologists in England discovered a ball of thread from 3,000 years ago! They’ve also just posted a photo of a bobbin still wound with thread from the same site at Must Farm.

Photo credit: Must Farm Archaeology

3,000 year old thread! Photo credit: Must Farm Archaeology

Clearly, it’s a great time for historical fiber arts around the world, and Maine is a good place to be. This weekend is the Annual Open House at Bartlettyarns in Harmony. Friday and Saturday, August 5 & 6, visitors can tour the mill and check out the spinning mule, one of the last of its kind. We carry yarn and roving from Bartlettyarns, and love them for their classic strength, and beautiful colors, and the fact that they’re made right here in Maine. I will have to wait till next year to attend the open house, but you should go this year and tell me all about it! (Take photos!)

The Waldoborough Historical Society is also getting in on the fiber action this month, hosting a Rug Hooking Demonstration. Waldoboro (the modern spelling of my hometown’s name) used to be known for beautiful hooked rugs, and Kathie Hills will be doing a demo on August 28th at 1 pm. The Historical Society Museum is definitely worth a visit — it’s located right by Moody’s Diner (itself a piece of Waldoboro history), and includes the old stone animal pound where they used to corral loose farm animals until their owners could come claim them. The museum is free to the public, and the collection also contains locally made quilts and cross stitched items.

I love that fiber arts have such wonderful historic roots, going back thousands of years. It always boggles my mind when I’m doing a complicated cable or stitch pattern and I pause to realize that someone, decades or centuries ago, was knitting away and thought, “I wonder what happens if I do this?” — and behold, a gorgeous cable! As a history nerd, it warms my heart to know that thousands of pairs of hands throughout time have done exactly what mine are doing when I cast on for a cozy hat. The tradition and history behind knitting definitely factors into my enjoyment of the craft, and when Maine winters are long and cold (unlike last winter), I imagine the ghosts of Maine women of yore, knitting right alongside me by the woodstove. May society never “advance” so far as to lose our fiber arts traditions!