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Monthly Archive for August, 2011

Winner: Evolving Though Handiwork Giveaway

We have a winner!

Christine Condon
Submitted on 2011/08/16 at 8:35 pm
What an absolutely lovely business you have. I would love to see your beautiful farm and B&B! Thanks for the fun contest!




Christine has won a VT Grand View Farm one night’s stay in their Farmhouse Suite which sleeps up to 4 people.

Posted by Living Crafts on Aug 25, 2011 03:17 PM | No Comments

From Sunlight to Sweater

Columbia Sheep

Imperial Stock Ranch

My dear friend, Jeanne Carver (Imperial Stock Ranch), has always referred to her wools as “nature’s miracle.”  She speaks of the energy transferrance of sunlight to the grass to the sheep to our finished objects.  We had a number of our handspinning students ask us for a class on the full process of taking a fleece through all it’s processing

and I’ve been to ISR during shearing a number of times so I asked Jeanne if we could use her wool for the project.  She invited our group out to see the shearing and selected the 10 for our project. Back in studio, our group rolled out their “blankets,”  the intact fleece, so that they could pick out all vegetable matter and short cuts.

A Pico Accuardi student picks her fleece

We began our washing process by talking about all the ways you can clean a fleece (some stinkier than others) choosing to scour in our studio washing machine using just Murphy’s Oil Soap.

Everybody dyed their fleece the colors they hoped to see in their sweaters.  I encouraged everyone to dye a larger percentage of their wool the overall color they wanted with a small percent a contrast color and another a deeper shade to get their color to really pop!  Some decided to blend in different fibers, such as our 100% silk, to make it softer and add deeper color interest.

Columbia Wool dyed in three colors

Our next class took place at Andersen fiber works in Gresham.  They are the one place in Portland where you can rent time on the drum carder to blend your own batts.  You

Andersen Fiberworks, downtown Gresham Oregon

can see some of the owner, Jen’s, beauties under the Hanks in the Hood label ( I’m ridiculously addicted to anything with sparkle she makes!).  Everyone took turns putting their dyed locks through the mini picker to remove seeds and then blended their fiber on Jen’s large Duncan carder and began test spinning their fiber.  Did I mention Andersen fiber works serves local beer and wine?

Wine and Chocolate at Andersen Fiberworks

The next piece of the process is going to be spinning to gauge for specific projects for the group.  We just got serious practice at the fleece to foot at sock summit couple of weekends ago- we had to go from sheep to pair of socks in 5 1/2 hours!  Yes, the yarn had to be spun to fingering weight, plied.

I think I’m going to make a pretty simple sweater out of my Lavender-mauvey-grayish fiber.  I”m still deciding about whether or not it should be fully picked and carded or just spun from locks, whether I should , how I want to ply it, etc.  Sometimes it’s fun to just let the fiber tell you what it needs to be.

Stevanie Pico dyes yarn for Pico Accuardi Dyeworks in Portland, OR.  She has also designed colorways for Cascade Yarns, Imperial Stock Ranch Yarns and Autoctona jewelry.  Her work is featured in Chrissy Gardiner’s Indy Socks,  Larissa Brown’s My Grandmother’s Knitting and Judy Becker’s Beyond Toes.

She enjoys rocking out with her three kids, running around with Larissa Brown and Deb Accuardi, playing with yarn and fabric, spinning weird yarns and singing really loud.




Get your own Sheep to Sweater on!

Pico Accuardi Dyeworks is offering a giveaway of 8 oz. of wool roving to start your own project.  Winner may have the roving dyed a custom color.  See below for palette ideas or send a photo  to  To enter drawing for this gift, valued at $32 please leave a comment  by Sunday August 28th midnight pst.  Winner will be announced on Monday.

We Have a Winner!

Mary Whited
Submitted on 2011/08/25 at 2:44 PM
WOW! What gorgeous colors! I don’t know if I could choose if I were to win. I love to dye my roving, I use the Slow Cooker method.

Posted by Stevanie Pico on Aug 25, 2011 06:15 AM | 370 Comments

Winner: Harmony Susalla Fabric Cloth Bags


We have a winner for the Harmony Susalla Fabric Giveaway!

Noelle   Submitted on 2011/08/20 at 3:36 pm
“This is so inspiring! I love all the designs and her method of working! I would LOVE to win this giveaway and show all sewing buddies her fabulous work!

Be sure to read the wonderful interview story  My Life My Craft:  Harmony Susalla of Harmony Art.

Posted by Living Crafts on Aug 25, 2011 05:52 AM | No Comments

Winner: A Living Crafts Wedding Story and Giveaway

Wedding Shawl

We have a winner for the Wedding Shawl Giveaway!


Submitted on 2011/08/15 at 4:16 pm

This shawl is beautiful!! Thank you for the lovely giveaway.

Wedding Shawl Yarn

Even if you did not win the giveaway, you can still enjoy these lovely fibers at a special price.

Kattikloo is offering 20% discount to Living Crafts readers, until September 1st. Visit the Kattikloo shop and use the Living Crafts reader appreciation code:  LCSUMMER2011

Posted by Living Crafts on Aug 21, 2011 12:16 PM | No Comments

Flying Felties!

We’ve been having so much fun making and using these flying felties with our young visitors this summer.  I think they are better than fireworks and just as beautiful as they fall from the sky! Children from the age of three can make them, with some assistance, and both children and adults have fun tossing, flying and chasing them!


1 wooden or plastic egg 2.5-3.0 inches (6.5-7.5cm)  long

0.3 ounces (8 grams) wool roving or batting in assorted colors

5 x 30 inch (75cm) lengths of ribbon in assorted colors

1/2 cup beans, rice or lentils ( we used black turtle beans)

bowl filled with warm water

natural dishsoap

small piece of bubble wrap

sewing needle and thread

Tip: sometimes we’ve used the felted pouches that remain once we’ve finished using a felted soap scrub- perfect for flying felties, or little felt treasure necklaces!

Open up the wool fibers by gently stretching them, keeping the wool in long strands. Wrap the egg completely with the wool,  turning and wrapping like winding a ball of yarn.  The egg should have about three layers of wool wrapped around it. Play with alternating colors.  Feel for any thin spots and add more wool with an extra wind covering that spot.

Cup the wool egg in your hands, add a drop of dishsoap, and dip into the bowl of warm water.

Lift the wool egg out gently and start squeezing it between your hands, turning occasionally. Do this for a couple of minutes until the wool develops a felted skin. Start rolling the wool egg in your hands. Rolling…rolling…rolling….Roll the wool egg under your hand on the bubble wrap.

Bowls of soapy water and bubble wrap hold lots of potential for play!

To finish felting, roll the wool egg in the bubble wrap and roll for a few minutes.

Squeeze out any excess water and leave the wool eggs to dry.

Cut open the bottom of the wool egg in a cross. Squeeze out the egg. Fill with beans or rice.

Sew up the opening at the bottom of the feltie, leaving a small opening to insert the ribbons.  Tie your selected ribbons together  in a knot at one end, insert the knot into the opening in the feltie, then finish sewing up.  Be sure to stitches are tight so no beans will fall out and to secure the ribbons well!

Ready for flying!

Hold the feltie by the ends of the ribbon, wind up and toss and watch the feltie fall to the ground, ribbons flying brightly behind. Make a chalk target on the ground and see if you can get your flying feltie to land inside.  Toss and juggle with a friend….Hours of summertime flying fun!



Fiona Duthie

Fiona Duthie is a regular contributor to Living Crafts.

In her studio on Salt Spring Island, BC, she creates in a bountiful beauty of color, wool, and texture, inspired by the natural world. Fiona designs fine feltwork, felting and knitting patterns, gives workshops in natural craft, and runs her hand dyed, artisan fibre company, Kattikloo. You can read more about her fibers, projects and creative living at and on Facebook.

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Aug 21, 2011 10:04 AM | 37 Comments

My Life My Craft: Harmony Susalla of Harmony Art

Harmony Susalla is one of the most honest designers in the organic fabric community. She is true to herself and to her work, and she is dedicated to bringing good organic fabric to those who need and appreciate it. All of this is reflected in the quality of her fabric and design.

Harmony Art Organic Design, her organic fabric company, was listed as one of the top companies in both of our articles on organic fabric. The first, in the Spring 2009 Issue, written by Tara Boyd and Winnie Culp of Nearsea Naturals, as well as the current Summer 2011 issue, with our Organic Cotton Fabric Resources by Fiona Duthie, which includes a Selection Criteria section by Tara Boyd and Winnie Culp.

Harmony’s fabric.

photo selected from our Summer 2011 article photo shoot with Harmony’s Ten Flowers, Morning Dew, and Thirty Nine.

Here is an interview so our readers can get to know her better:

When did you start doing handwork?

It’s funny, but I am not sure where or when my crafty/arty side started to develop. I always loved to color and draw and create things. My earliest memories of doing art are from when I was a child and would go to work with my father. He worked at the Space Science Lab at U.C. Berkeley as an engineer designing layouts for circuit boards and such. He would set me up on his tall stool with paper and lots of colored pens and pencils. I would spend hours drawing and coloring while he worked.

At summer camp, I always picked the arts and crafts projects. I remember making cards for friends and family in third or fourth grade and signing the back of each one with “Harmony Art” and a copyright symbol …like I saw on Hallmark cards. So, it was the very young me who named my company. No one in my immediate family is particularly artistic or crafts oriented. The only art my mother ever created was the result of a painting class she took when she was pregnant with me.

Mom's painting

I like to think that seeing those paintings and knowing she created them had something to do with my own artistic bent. This painting of hers hangs in my home/studio (she painted a grand total of three paintings in that art class in 1968). I cherish it.


I did have a wonderful art teacher in high school who was very influential in supporting my own creative spark. Her name was Mrs. Hermann. She was a gem.

What were your interests when you started making things and how did you stumble upon fabric design?

For years, I made a lot of cards, particularly collages for Valentine’s Day. I spent a few years making beads out of FIMO clay and selling necklaces and earrings at Grateful Dead shows. I took art classes and did a bit of batik and tie-dye too. I worked at an after-school child-care program and dreamed up lots of art projects during that time of my life. I stumbled upon fabric design back in 1997 in a chance conversation with a second cousin. Here’s a link to the longer version of how Harmony Art Organic Design came to be:

Can you share your story of how Harmony Art started and any advice you have for others who want to have their own textile business?

I guess my advice would be to start with a question: Why do you want to design textiles? If the answer is about seeing your own artwork on fabric, I would refer you to one of the ever-growing providers of digital printing services, such as Spoonflower, KarmaKraft, and AdaptiveTextiles just to name a few. The prices aren’t cheap, but the initial investment is manageable, and you can make that dream a reality with very inexpensive start-up costs.

If your reason for designing textiles is that you want to make money, well, that’s a different story altogether. Honestly, the easiest way to make money is to work for someone else. To start your own business takes a lot of cash, and the more successful you are the more money you will need to keep pouring into the company to keep up with demand. Having no business background, this was a very rude awakening for me. With the explosion of Etsy and digital printing, you can get your feet wet at a much more reasonable cost, but to produce a line of fabric that can compete price-wise with the big fabric houses is no easy, or cheap, task.

Working for another company designing textiles (which I did for five years) is a great way to get experience and have a steady stream of income. However, when designing for someone else, it is best to let go of your artistic ego and attachment. It really doesn’t matter what you like, as you are tasked to design what the client wants. I know many designers who struggle with designing to another’s tastes. To be successful and happy in the textile design industry while working for someone else, I would provide this advice (collectively gleaned from my time at the California School of Professional Fabric Design): Get over your “self.”

Where do you get your inspirations for your design?

Nature, nature, nature, nature, nature. If you go to and click on an individual design, such as Morning Dew, on the left you can read description of how I was inspired to create that particular print. Here’s a photo of dew drops hanging in a spider web, which inspired the Morning Dew print.


Do you teach fabric design or other design?

I don’t teach fabric or any other design, but I do have some interest in doing so. I have often imagined a one-week course of hiking, sketching, designing. Of course the program would also include dining on organic meals. Anyone interested? Contact me!

Can you tell us anything about your personal life?

Harmony Art is so woven into my personal life, it is often hard to know where one stops and the other begins. I make it a point to go hiking at least twice a week. An ideal week provides me at least five days of getting out there and looking for inspiration, but realistically, I am lucky if I get my standard two, with one extra hike to watch the sun set. I am lucky to live 2.2 miles (straight downhill) from a sweet Pacific Ocean beach. I will often run out the door to “catch the sunset” and hope to catch a ride back up the hill from my husband.

sus and me

Sus (husband) and me. I couldn't have created Harmony Art without his never-ending love, support and confidence in me.

Me on a hike

I find that being outside, surrounded by nature, keeps me sane and refills my artistic well. So, although I do it for “fun and fitness,” I also consider it time spent working, as I am always on the lookout for patterns or pattern ideas from nature. Having lived in the same rural environment for almost 10 years, I have come to appreciate the small changes that happen throughout each season.

Besides your web site, where can our readers find your products?

One of the great perks of Harmony Art has been getting to meet and work with so many wonderful people. I truly believe that I have the best customers in the world!

Here’s a link to the retailers who sell my fabrics

And here’s a link to some of the companies who use my fabrics in their product lines:

Facebook Fan Page.

One thing that makes me a bit crazy is the single-use-plastic-bag phenomenon. Did you know that the average single-use plastic bag is used for only 12 minutes, and only one percent is ever recycled? Each year, people the world over use a total of 500 billion to one trillion single-use plastic bags. In fact, in the U.S., it is estimated that every five seconds 60,000 of these bags are used! Plastic bags break down into small, highly toxic chemical particles, which end up floating in our ocean water. These tiny particles are eaten by sea animals, and thus enter our food chain, which then threatens our health. Birds, fish, turtles and other animals consume larger pieces of these bags, as the plastic can be indistinguishable from other sources of food. Unable to digest these items, the creatures’ stomachs become bloated, often causing death by starvation, as plastic contains no nutrients and blocks passage of any other food that does.


In an effort to assist you in quitting the single-use-plastic-bag addiction and help you transition to fabric bags, we will be giving away three organic cotton (Harmony Art fabric) Green Bag Lady reusable bags. The Green Bag Lady began as an eco-friendly art project in 2008, the brainchild of artist Teresa VanHatten-Granath. Teresa and her team of volunteer “Bagettes” sew reusable bags created out of donated fabric and give them away in exchange for a promise to refuse paper and plastic when shopping. The use of these bags worldwide is documented on her web site She also has step-by-step tutorials, patterns, and a video on how to make your own fabric shopping bag.


Shopping Bags

Shopping Bags

Please enter comments on this post by Sunday, August 21st midnight pacific time, and a winner will be drawn at random. In addition, you will receive some of the fabric sent to us for our article’s photo shoot (shown above), which includes one yard of Ten Flowers, 1/4-yard of Morning Dew, and 1/4-yard of Thirty Nine, all at 110″ wide,  making this giveaway valued at least $90.  Good luck!

We have a winner!

Noelle   Submitted on 2011/08/20 at 3:36 pm

“This is so inspiring! I love all the designs and her method of working! I would LOVE to win this giveaway and show all sewing buddies her fabulous work!

Posted by Living Crafts on Aug 18, 2011 03:05 PM | 512 Comments

Evolving through Handwork: The Value of “Process”

In our modern world, we have become a “product” oriented society. The enthusiasm and appreciation for “process” has been lost. With technology, we insist upon immediate gratification and instant results to meet our ever-changing whims. Vermont Grand View Farm, a sheep farm in the Green Mountains of Vermont, runs fiber classes and summer camps for moms and children in hopes to provide a means to slow down, observe, explore, and create. Children and their moms are invited to spend a week at the farm learning about animal husbandry, farm life, and the many fiber arts of spinning, felting, weaving, and knitting.

Getting to Know the Sheep

One goal for their summer camp focuses on teaching children how to enjoy the “process” of creating, by engaging all of their senses. The farm becomes the perfect tool for meeting this objective as it abounds with numerous opportunities for learning. The setting allows the children to slow down, discover the world around them, and fully engage in the steps necessary to produce a product without distractions.

This July, one group of summer campers met this challenge with much enthusiasm and proved that children can still enjoy the creative process. Within a week’s time they learned how to go from sheep to yarn. They began their week being introduced to the sheep, angora rabbits, and llamas who live on the farm. All week, they cared for the animals, providing them with fresh water and new pastures for grazing and learning about the relationship between nutrition and fleece quality.

Washing Wool

Their first day, the children skirted and washed a newly shorn Romney fleece. They learned about lanolin, crimp, and lock formation as well as the importance of careful feeding habits to reduce vegetation from contaminating the fleece. In the days that followed, the children dyed the fleece and learned how to card it into batts for spinning.

Dyed Wool Drying on Screens

By the end of the week, they were ready to spin the wool with drop spindles made with recycled CDs. At last they had yarn to take home with them.

CD Drop Spindle

To help them bring all of these steps together and to better understand the “big picture” of where knitted items come from, the children worked on a group mural which highlighted what they had learned. With wool as their medium, the children made the background for their mural using a wet felting technique. After layering the wool into a large batt, they covered it with a sheer curtain and began gently massaging warm, soapy water into the wool. Next, they rolled it up using a swim noodle and recycled pool cover. Now they were able to work the wool more vigorously rolling it back and forth until the wool turned to felt. This piece of felt became the background for their mural.

Gently Wetting the Wool

Rolling the Wool

Once they had made the background wool fabric, the campers were able to begin depicting each of the stages of going from wool to yarn. The children had decided to represent the sheep, shearing and washing the wool, carding and spinning, and lastly knitting the wool. They spent one afternoon making sheep and placing them on the background. Needle felted clouds and flowers were also added.

Making Sheep

Over the next couple of days, the children each made felt dolls which represented themselves. The dolls had pipe cleaners for arms and legs which were wrapped in wool. Then, they wound more wool around their figures for pants and shirts needle felting them into place. Using wet felting, they created small wool felted balls for heads and found yarn or wool to match their hair color. Each of the campers decide which stage of the process their doll would engage in on the mural and they began felting and assembling their portion of the mural.





Completed Mural

By the end of the week, the children had completed their group project. With smiles on their faces, they proudly presented their masterpiece to their moms.

The children approached their work all week with much joy and laughter. Often, as adults, we sometimes lose sight of the joy in the process of doing something and get bogged down in the steps. We want to hurry along just to get to the end product quickly. The value of taking time and savoring each piece of the project gets lost in the desire to have a final product in hand. When this happens we often skip the process entirely and grab the finished product from the store. The campers at Grand View Farm, fully embraced each day and the tasks set before them proving that there is just as much value and joy in the process as there is in the finished product.


Kim Goodling

Kim Goodling

VT Grand View Farm

Kim, a home schooling mom, is shepherd to her flock of Romney sheep on her Vermont hillside farm. Kim’s sheep, llamas, and angora rabbits provide the fiber for her mill spun yarn which she sells as yarn CSA shares. In addition to tending her flock, Kim teaches fiber arts classes and runs fiber retreats and camps for adults and children. Her farm offers B&B Farm Stays and invites you to visit their farm for a full farm immersion experience into the wonderful world of wool. Follow the activities at VT Grand View Farm on their farm journal and facebook pages.




VT Grand View Farm is giving away one night’s stay in their Farmhouse Suite which sleeps up to 4 people. Sleep under cozy down comforters in 4-poster beds and enjoy waking up to roosters crowing, farm fresh eggs, and home baked muffins. Relax on the porch overlooking the mountains, visit with the sheep in the pasture, or stroll the dirt roads and forest trails.  To enter drawing for this gift, valued at $200 please leave a comment by Thursday, August 18th midnight pst.  Winner will be announced on Saturday August 20th.

We have a winner!

Christine Condon
Submitted on 2011/08/16 at 8:35 pm
What an absolutely lovely business you have. I would love to see your beautiful farm and B&B! Thanks for the fun contest!


Posted by Kim Goodling on Aug 15, 2011 06:15 AM | 321 Comments

Digital Version Available Now!

I’m happy to announce that you can now purchase a digital subscription to Living Crafts.  Single copies will also be available next week.

If you’ve been waiting for a digital version to subscribe, now is the time! Click here and go for it!



Posted by Living Crafts on Aug 14, 2011 10:31 AM | 5 Comments

A Living Crafts Wedding Story and Giveaway

We love to hear from our readers; your comments, ideas, questions, and especially stories about your finished Living Crafts projects.

I received an email from Marcia Kimpton recently, sharing her family’s wonderful story of making the Wedding Shawl from our Spring 2011 issue.

Jean and Dave: Wedding day photo by Lynn Poulin @ Lyndahkicks Photography

“When I saw the article in Living Crafts, I was inspired to create this for my son and (to-be) daughter-in-law’s wedding.  I contacted her family and her sister, who had never knit before, took on the task of doing one half.  A dear friend who is an expert knitter started the “bride’s” side  and sent it on the needles to the bride’s sister on the west coast.  She  had some help from a friend, but she knit this side almost entirely, tutoring herself with yarn store and internet help.

Hillary, the sister of the bride, knitting on the west coast

Maine relatives and friends of the groom worked on the other half.  I started the knitting and had many helpers here, several who had not knit before, including a brother, a dad and a stepdad.  I taught them to purl, and they each did some purl rows .

stepfather of the groom, Tim, purling on the east coast

There were nine of us who worked on the “groom’s” side.  For me, the pattern took intense concentration (for the first 10 inches at least) and I kept coming up with the wrong number of stitches, but corrected it in the next row, and it is a very forgiving pattern.

Before I left Maine for the wedding, I had “our” half and the center piece  ready to put together.   I sewed the pieces together on the train out to Seattle.

Catherine and Andy: Wedding day photo by Tim Matsui @ TuaLua Photography

This project brought us together so wonderfully as a combined family- for all of us, not just the bride and groom.  I got to know the bride’s sister a bit from our early correspondence about the shawl, and ended up staying at her peaceful apartment while we were there for the wedding.  During this time  I worked on the wedding shawl with my son’s stepmother and her daughters, and it was a wonderful bonding process for us.  I was so very happy that they wanted to participate with me!

Catherine and Andy- Wedding day photo by Tim Matsui @TuaLua Photography

I have also made a journal for all of us to record our thoughts and wishes in.

Thank you so much for this inspiration!”

Marcia Kimpton

The wedding shawl is already a heartwarming project for me, and to hear Marcia’s story just makes it all the more special.

This pattern makes a great all season wrap for everyday wear, as well as special occasions! Light and warm over a summer dress; as an extra layer over a fall sweater; with enough drape and softness to be worn wrapped as a scarf into the winter. Try making the pattern with fewer repeats to make a gorgeous Fall scarf.  Think ahead to holiday gift giving! Last Fall we made scarves using this pattern for each of the women in our family as secret handmade gifts. Everyone was knitting on scarves, but no-one knew they were also going to receive one! Such fun…and so connecting to share stitches with each other, across the country.


To celebrate these shared craft projects, Living Crafts and Kattikloo Fibre Studio are sharing in a giveaway! A fabulous package including three 100gram (3.5 ounce) skeins of Kattikloo Baby Alpaca yarn as used for the Living Crafts wedding shawl, a copy of Living Crafts Spring 2011 issue that features the wedding shawl story, plus a one year subscription to Living Crafts magazine (Total value $100.00) . Yarn color will be the winner’s choice. Please leave us a comment by midnight pacific time on Monday, August 15th.  Winner will be announced on Tuesday, August 16th.


We have a winner!

Submitted on 2011/08/15 at 4:16 pm
This shawl is beautiful!! Thank you for the lovely giveaway.

Kattikloo is offering 20% discount to Living Crafts readers, until September 1st. Visit the Kattikloo shop and use the Living Crafts reader appreciation code: LCSUMMER2011

Fiona Duthie

Fiona Duthie is a regular contributor to Living Crafts.

In her studio on Salt Spring Island, BC, she creates in a bountiful beauty of color, wool, and texture, inspired by the natural world. Fiona designs fine feltwork, felting and knitting patterns, gives workshops in natural craft, and runs her hand dyed, artisan fibre company, Kattikloo. You can read more about her fibers, projects and creative living at and on Facebook.

Posted by Fiona Duthie on Aug 11, 2011 10:44 AM | 445 Comments


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