Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Linda's Review of Dimensions Counted Cross-Stitch Tree Ornament Kit

I just love to cross-stitch and always have a cross-stitch project half finished. Some of my projects are finished quickly while others seem to linger for months on end. My cross-stitch tree ornament is in the lingering category. I don't remember when I started my tree ornament. My guess is sometime last spring.

So, with the Christmas holidays looming I thought it was time to finish it.

The Dimensions Counted Cross Stitch, Tree Ornament kit contained the presorted thread, 14 count plastic canvas, needle, and instructions.  The  pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching for emphasis and depth.

The pattern came with starting, stitching, finishing and even cleaning instructions as well as samples of the various stitches required, and color coded keys (with code #'s, color names, and cross-stitch symbols) and a chart with color coded symbols. The colors and symbols on the keys and chart were easy to read and follow.

While I was very pleased with the end results of this design there are some things in the kit and in the instructions that can be improved upon.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dyeing Alpaca Fiber & Roving and Creating Carded Alpaca Fiber Batts

I have been in love with needle felting creations like art dolls since they started becoming more and more popular several years ago. And, when my sister became an alpaca farmer I was definitely smitten. I LOVE fiber - especially alpaca fiber.

My sister has been teasing me with fiber surprises all year. Several times now when checking the mail  hubby has brought in a package in from my sister. The packages are usually filled to the brim. When you open them they literally explode with the fiber trying to get out.

The last package she sent contained a wonderful selection of alpaca fiber she had hand dyed. They looked so pretty in the package. Almost too pretty to use...

So, when planning my trip to Rock Garden Alpacas and Rock Garden Alpacas Fiber last month she told me I was going to learn how to dye roving and washed fiber and learn how to create carded batts. If you don't know what carded batts are they are lengths and widths of fiber produced on a drum carding machine like my sister's which is shown below:

You can card natural washed fibers alone or in a combination of natural colors, card dyed fibers alone or in a combination of dyed colors, or add various other fibers like Angelina silk to natural or dyed fibers. The possibilities seem endless.

We decided to set several days aside for dying and carding our fibers. I should say we set several days aside to play and have fun. And, have fun we did.