Fibre+Needlework

Recently I’ve started working with little children after a long time out of the classroom. It is exhilarating and exciting and exhausting and so much fun. I want to work with the children to make finger puppets, we are going to design puppets based on the children’s drawings.  Wish us luck!

In the mean time, here are a collection of links to tutorials and patterns for some finger puppets I love very much.

paperkittens

Paper Kittens by Laura at Cupcakes for Clara, published in Mindful Parenting Magazine

gnomefingerpuppets

Gnome finger puppets by While wearing heels

fingerpuppets

No sew finger puppets by Crafty Gemini

alienmonsterfingerpuppets

Alien Monster Finger Puppets by Whispered Whimsy (pattern on Ravelry)

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Finger puppet tutorial by Maritza at Soto Softies

Which ones are your favourite? Have you made any finger puppets that you’d like to share with us? Comment below or send us an email at vagusvenus [at] gmail [dot] com.

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If you have an idea for a post, or would like to submit a tutorial for Whipup, email vagusvenus [at] gmail [dot] com

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For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

Reviewed by Megan: Megan is a wife and a mother to four children who spends some of her days in a hospital looking after sick people and some of her days at home hanging out with her gorgeous family. When she finds some spare moments she heads to her work table in a corner of the house to knit, embroider or sew. Megan can also be found in the kitchen cooking far too many cakes and biscuits. She will always choose reading a craft book over sweeping the floors!

Today Megan reviews Doodle Stitching: Embroidery & Beyond: Crewel, Cross Stitch, Sashiko & More by Aimee Ray

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Embroidery has come a long way in the last few years. Traditional embroidery techniques have been reinvented and given new life. As a long term embroiderer I have sat on the sidelines and watched in wonder as stitching designs have become brighter, bolder and just a lot more fun. Aimee Ray has been in the forefront of this embroidery revival and her series of Doodle Stitching books is a treasure trove of fun and funky embroidery designs and ideas. Aimee’s blog, Little Dear Tracks, is a great adjunct to her books with inspirational images and tutorials.

Doodle Stitching: Embroidery & Beyond is the latest book to come from Aimee and her approach is a little different this time round.  The book chapters are divided into descriptions of different embroidery techniques including crewel, redwork, sashiko, cutwork and stumpwork. Each chapter has very clear instructions on how to construct the stitches and there are several projects outlined in each chapter for the reader to complete or to simply use as a springboard for their own design. Some projects are quick and straight forward, for example, the Snow White, Rose Red Fleece Scarf. A cute and cosy idea that I think would look quite stylish around my neck as the cold wind blows. Other projects like the stumpwork Mushroom Pincushion are a little more involved but still provide a great way to practice a relatively little known embroidery method.

At the beginning of the book Aimee outlines the way to achieve basic stitches but the emphasis in this book is just to get in and give it a go. Aimee sees ‘Embroidery and Beyond’ as the next step on for the beginner embroiderer and at all times her ideas are accessible yet inspiring. I decided to give cutwork a try and completed my own version of Aimee’s cutwork book mark. It was ‘quick fix’ craft project that has become quite useful for my daughter to ‘mark her place’ as she reads.

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I loved Aimee Ray’s new book and I would highly recommend it for fledgling and experienced embroiderers alike. It’s a book that inspires any crafter to take up the needle and thread and create something beautiful.

[Thanks to publishers and distributors for sending books to review, we don't get paid to post reviews but do get to keep a copy]

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DO get in touch if you are interested in writing a guest post for whipup this year! Send Kate a short email with your idea to vagusvenus[at]gmail.com

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"Breeze Sunflower Spindle" by Lab Cat “Breeze Sunflower Spindle” by Lab Cat

July is one of my favourite times of the year, and that is because thousands of spinners around the world dedicate a couple of weeks to spinning in the Tour de Fleece. The idea is clear – challenge yourself, spin, and have fun.

This event, started in 2006 by Star Athena on her blog Keep on Knitting In The Free World, is a spin-along that happens for the duration of le Tour de France. Spinners spin on racing days, and rest on rest days. On days when the cyclists are climbing mountains, lots of spinners challenge themselves, by using a difficult technique, or by treadling out amazing lengths of yarn. Over 7000 spinners are registered on the Tour de Fleece Ravelry group, where they encourage one another, chat about their spins and post photos of their fibres and yarns.

9287046915_8a2b3fb53a_b “Why are there so many songs about rainbows?” by Fluid Pudding

Like the cyclists on le Tour, spinners can join teams like the Peloton (main group), Rookies (first years), Sprinters (fast, or high mileage of yarn), Climbers (personal challenge), Breakaway (art yarns), and countless Wildcard teams which may be sponsored, friendship groups, local spinners, spinners who use the same equipment or brand of fibre, or based on just about any interest you can imagine.

Even though I spin all year round, I really love having a dedicated annual spinning event, which reminds me to clear some crafting time and devote it to spinning, and gives me an opportunity to form some spinning goals. This year my own goals are to finish off some yarns that have been works in progress for some time, and to work towards turning fibre stash into usable yarn. I’m not achieving as much as I had hoped, but I’m still glad to be a small part of a worldwide community of spinners, taking some time out to make yarn together.

9270753740_3f7c799b5c_b “Tour de what?” by knitting iris

These images are all from the Tour de Fleece Flickr group. Pop by and have a look at all the gorgeous yarns, wheels, spindles, fibres and finished objects from this year’s Tour.

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The Textile Artist’s Studio Handbook [Quarry Books (July 1, 2012)] by Visnja Popovic and Owyn Ruck [Textile Arts Centre website + blog]

Brought to you by the textile arts centre in New York, this book brings a beautifully laid out overview to various ways of creating and embellishing fabric: felting, knitting and crochet, weaving, printing, dyeing, sewing and applique, needlework. With only a chapter on each of these subjects, the information is not in depth enough for a beginner, but certainly gives some interesting ideas for those already familiar with the required techniques. There is also some great information on fibres and setting up a home studio.

Crochet Boutique [Lark Crafts (September 4, 2012)] by Rachael Oglesby. [blog]

A really cool wearable crochet book for beginners. The stitches are not complicated, and there is no fine hooks and yarn involved, but I think that more advanced crocheters looking for a fun ‘in between’ project will find something here to love too. Lots of scarves and hats and shawls, a couple of tops and sweet accessories too. I love the yarn and colour choices – making this book very visually appealing.

How to Make Stuffed Animals [Quarry Books (July 1, 2012)] by Sian Keegan [website  +  blog]

I loved the how-to illustrations in this book, and the toys are all very cute. They are all small-ish stuffed animals with big personalities – quite life-like faces and 3d body shapes. These little guys would make very sweet gifts. The instructions are good, making these toys look more complicated to make than they actually are.

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Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at whipup.net over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Laura Malek is a felter and sells her creations on feltjar. When she isn’t felting she is found behind a camera. Her work can be seen at www.lauramalek.com and in the book, 1,2,3 Sew by Ellen Luckett Baker.

Thanks Kathreen for inviting me to share my creative process with your readers today.

Five years ago, I was parenting a toddler and eager to find something to do besides day to day mom duties. This is when I began to felt. My good friend Ellen Luckett Baker from The Long Thread had found her place and much success in the craft world, creating a blog, selling on Etsy, and writing a book on sewing. I found myself inspired by her work along with the countless other moms who were sharing their hobbies, work, craft and parenting through blogs. It was here that I discovered the beauty and originality of felted items. My curiosity led to searching the internet for how to’s, which then led to lots of practice, blood and broken needles. After five years, I can say that there is far less blood and I rarely break a needle.

It was just over a year ago, with Ellen’s urging, that I decided to sell my creations on Etsy, opening up feltjar. It was exciting to take something that started out as a handmade hobby and turn it into a super part time job (financially) but with full time hours. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

But what I really fell in love with is the wool and the idea of sculpting simple, modern designs. With just a needle and a penchant for poking something for sometimes hours on end, I am able to create just about anything. And because wool is a natural fiber – tactile and colorful – it is only natural that my work would be inspired by nature. Most of my inspiration comes specifically from the change of seasons which serves as an invite to design something new.

Before I delve into felting an object, I create several sketches – deciding on size and color options. Most of my work is quite small except for a very large nest that I created as a prop for newborn baby photography. Fortunately, because felting does not require much space, my studio is my home – but more specifically my couch – in front of the television. I love that I can sit just about anywhere and create. Although, I do find that any sort of distraction will usually result in injury (ie. a real good finger poke).

While I have the privilege of working anywhere, I do require a lot of storage space for the pounds of wool that I have amassed over the past few years. It is easily uncontrollable and is spread out between closets, storage chests, and scattered here and there throughout my house. Because each creation may require a different type of wool (ie. coarse vs. silky), I buy from a few different online shops. Besides the wool, a felter requires either a barbed needle (for needle felting – I prefer Wizpick) or hot sudsy water for wet felting.

My day to day work schedule no longer consists of obsessing over a clean house, but revolves around parenting, felting, photographing and promoting my work through various Etsy teams. I am constantly inspired by the variety and amount of talent I find on Etsy, and the pleasure of creating relationships with others whose days look similar to mine.

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