For years I have wondered what to do with all my little scraps of hand spun, hand woven wool fabric off cut from larger projects that I just can’t bring myself to throw away, then I started making these little dudes and I need wonder no more! Best part is they are a delightfully quick project so all my loved ones get a cheery fulled wool Holiday ornament gift. I have an abundance of supplies on hand to make them and bonus- I also get to utilize all those heel & toe blown colorful knit socks (that I just can’t bring myself to darn one last time)- for gnome hats- win-win, grateful!
I then use a running stitch in a co-ordiating thread, use a strong yarn or rug warp as this will eventually be pulled through the top of the hat for an ornament hanger . . .
Hats are made using scraps from commercial and/or handmade socks (that are way past being darned for the last time) I use a serger for stitching each sock into many little hats, but a regular sewing machine or even hand stitching would work too . . .
Each sock will produce many various sized, delightfully wonky gnome hats, stuff each hat with wool, then. . .
I have often taught workshops on creativity, and have always included a section on diving in to your piles of scraps and odds & ends to inspire new work. I am fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful, colorful odds & ends left over from other fiber art projects (some would call me a pack rat or maybe even -shudder- a hoarder!) and this time of voluntary isolation has brought about wonderful new ways to turn out a body of scrap induced new projects, full of life and hope! Everyone stay safe and healthy, ever hopeful that we’ll get through this covid-19 craziness and meet again on the other side. In the meantime, make some beauty with what you have on hand – Love & E-hugs to my fellow humans!😊 (My Scrapsock pattern, shown below, is a free download at my ravelry store- just click on the store tab and scroll down to ‘Ring-toss Stash busting Scrap Sock’- or, even easier, use the link below the photo -enjoy!
I was 12 years old when I first heard the song ‘Vincent’ by Don Mclean and was immediately fascinated with Van Gogh’s 1889 masterpiece ‘The Starry Night’. The images conjured up in this beautiful work have become a touchstone of my life, so when I designed my Enchanting and Magical Witch Hat pattern https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/enchanting–magical-witch-hat back in 1999, I wanted to figure out a way to decorate my prototype in the spirit of this beautiful painting- that’s when I discovered needle felting. This technique has become the perfect way to paint with my vast collection of plant dyed wool. It has become a sort of annual tradition to make a new hat every year and this year I have done more than 1, the Starry Night interpretation has become a favorite and gives me a way to pay tribute to the incredible art of Vincent Van Gogh, as well as a light-hearted way to pay tribute to my 10x Great Grandmother, Mary Towne Easty who was hung as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 (along with my 10x great Aunt, Rebbeccah Towne Nurse- my Other Great Aunt Sarah Towne Cloyce nearly died in captivity for almost 2 years)
I guess that magical witchy gene just sort of comes with the territory in my family. These were 3 good women and it was a family tragedy to be sure, but I prefer to remember them with honor, affection and joy. I just get a feeling they would have wanted it that way. Happy Hallowe’en everyone!
Oh, and just in case you are still reading this, my fiber creations and handcrafted herbal soaps are available for sale at the Red Trillium Art Gallery in Troutdale, Oregon. You can drop by 7 days a week or check out the website: https://www.redtrilliumgallery.com/
Here’s a light hearted but mostly true little Tribute/Ballad I wrote for Mary:
Mary Towne Easty led a virtuouse life, She was a Mother, Sister, friend and a good hard working wife.
Until some Village girls came down with feigned afflictions, pointing fingers ’round the town and crying ‘WITCHES!’
Salem Massachusetts in 1692 was an OK place to be until they pointed at YOU, you and all the others must have felt so confused wondering why you were ever singled out for such abuse?
Still, at your trial your eloquence and grace almost made them see the error of their ways, when you spoke not for you but for your fellow accused with a courage only found in a soul pure and true. Maybe you planted a tiny seed of reason? The witch trials only lasted 1 more season.
With so much hope in that pure heart you pled “Let no more innocent blood be shed” But someone should have said don’t let them eat the bread, the moldy rye does strange things to a young girl’s head (the moldy rye madness theory has been largely de-bunked, btw).
You were at peace with your maker when they set your hanging date, 18 other blameless souls had met the same fate. They even executed 2 dogs- those puritan gears must’ve really slipped a cog! Still wond’ring why? Maybe land disputes, or was it that moldy rye?
What a dubious honour to be among the last of the innocent victims they hung, but Mary your prophetic words came true, all were pardoned no more innocents were murdered after you- they even issued an official apology, perhaps that’s the magic of your legacy?
I only know I’m proud to be, blood of your blood- blessed be, Mother Mary Towne Easty, rest in gracious Peace
-By Anne Carroll Gilmour 22 Aug 2019
(I sing this solo, accompanying myself on fiddle- the melody is a minor key take-off from the lullaby ‘Mockingbird’, a song that has lulled every baby in my family to sleep for generations, there’s a little ‘hangman’s march’ and ‘How much is that Doggy in the Window?’ sprinkled in just for fun )
Working with items on hand during the pandemic has led to some really fun re-cycling projects, I have had this idea in mind for several years now and it seemed the perfect time to try it out. I used bits and pieces of leftover handwoven and knit fabric from previous projects, empty yarn cones and water/beer cans, baling wire, duct tape, pva glue, hot glue, broken jewelry, found objects, paper cut-outs and because I was concerned about pile up in landfills, spent (rinsed and dried) clorox wipes (they remind me of knitted lace). Just the fabric wrapped cones looked so pretty I almost felt it was a shame to mess them up with angel bits but oh well. Each one has a little bell hanging down on the inside, and for good measure I stuff a cloth reusable mask inside as a gift for each angel recipient. Hard to see from these bad phone pics but each one has a heart bead, a hand charm and an inspirational message. Can also be used as Holiday tree toppers if so inclined. It’s a whole other story but my DH came home with a mountain dulcimer last month, I have been doing a deep dive into every Joni Mitchell dulcimer song since then and enjoying the @#$ out of it so reminded me of her Tin Angel song (not a dulcimer song btw) although these could also be called quaran(tin)e angels, and of course some are fearless Fridas and Maya Angel-ous 🙂
So (sew?) – lots of mask making going on these days, a little while ago my beloved nephew (a doctor- working his tail off in SoCal) advised us all to wear masks in public, “even if it’s just a home made one, if not to protect yourself, even more importantly to protect others”. That was all I needed to hear, the CDC is now on board with this and I know a whole lot of us have been busy making these, there are several great patterns available for download and lots of tutorials. I used this one for the ones pictured here:https://sarahmaker.com/how-to-sew-a-surgical-face-mask-for-hospitals-free-pattern/
A few tips: Borrowing from my quilter friends, chain piecing has really been a thread saver, especially when it’s inadvisable, or impossible to get to the store for more.
Also, the instructions say to measure out a 6″ piece of wire for the flexible nose bridge, I used pipe cleaners which are already 12″ so just cut them in half- no need to measure. Also, it’s much easier to install and stitch in the pipe cleaner BEFORE you install the pleats. They work great and I already had a big supply of them lying around- don’t we all? How else do you make pipe cleaner sheep?
My last tip- stores are running out of elastic, but everyone I’ve supplied these masks to likes the ties better anyway- and old t-shirts cut in cross-wise strips make great and very comfortable ties- also, making your own bias tape is fun too !
Ya’ll wear your masks and stay healthy- see you on the flip side of all this! <3!!!
Save the date for Clark County’s 7th Annual Open Studio Tour!
50 artists throughout the county will open their studios to the public Saturday, November 2 and Sunday, November 3, from 10am to 5pm. Open Studios is a free self-guided tour where local artists share how, why and where their art is created. This is a unique opportunity to visit artists and artisans, get inspired and shop local.
It’ so exciting to be included this year, and though we admit this old Pole barn is still under-going it’s transition to a weaving studio, there will be a warm fire crackling in the wood stove, hot cider and goodies for all comers. Join us in Ridgefield!
She will also be at the West Columbia Gorge Fall Festival of the Arts on September 22 and 23rd, click here
for more info on that event. Also, check them out on facebook here
Then, on November 2nd& 3rd Anne has once again been chosen as a participating artist on the Clark County Open studios tour, and very excited to feature her new work space in Ridgefield! More info on that event will be continually up-dated on the link below:
Hi All! Anne will be doing a waulking at the Utah Scottish Festival and Highland Games On june 9 at 11 am, The Festival is an annual event and will be held at the Utah State Fairpark on North Temple Street in Salt Lake City. More info can be found here:
Waulking, or luadh (‘loo-ugh’) in Gaelic, is the time-honored process of hand finishing woolen cloth in the traditional way. In the Scottish Gaidhealtachd, most especially in the Hebrides, this method survived into the twentieth century and consists of getting a group of people (usually women) seated around a large table where they thump, rub and pass the newly woven wetted cloth while singing traditional Orain Luadh (rythmic gaelic waulking songs). This is still one of the most effective (& fun!) ways to wet-finish hand woven woolens, and has always served the very practical purpose of making the resulting cloth tight, strong and weather-proof.
Anne was very fortunate to begin learning about these traditional songs and methods as a child at her Grandfather’s knee, and from Scottish Master weaver & tradition bearer Norman Kennedy. If you would like to know more about it, feel free to join us at the waulking on Saturday, as has been said “Many hands make light work”. See you there!
Anne once again participated in Salt Lake City’s annual Living Traditions Festival this past week-end to represent Scotland with her tartan weaving display and demonstration. It was a little chilly but the clouds parted and the rain stopped just in time to open the gates and a jolly, all inclusive cultural sharing good time was has by all!
Ridge was a big help and a hit in his kilt, bundling up in our woolies was just right for the highland-ish weather!
It was especially nice to have many friends and family stop by for a visit (sister Paige and Mama Marguerite pictured here)
Winding down after a busy Solstice season of Holiday shows and Farm work, it was fun to sit down and work on some Holiday gifts for loved ones. It was particularly intriguing to invent this mathematically complex cable design in a cap for my eldest grandson Elliot. I used elements of classic buckle braids in mirror image, interlaced with horseshoe cables.
Messing with the chart as work is underway, I always design ‘on the fly’ it seems.
The finished hat on the husbeast (easier to get him to hold still than to get Elliot to cooperate 🙂
I also did up a quick pair of mittens for my middle grandson, he now wears them non-stop!
I re-visited my fenceline Mittens design for this project
He’s always such a happy little camper
I did a pair of Celestial themed mitts for my daughter which have been in the works for some time, I was so happy to finally get them done:
Crescent mitt under way
All Done, and fitting for a Soltsice Celebration!
cuffs feature phases of the moon, palms have little stars
My initial design sketch, sort of pleasing to have the original concept somewhat resemble the finished product 🙂