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Secret Stash VI – The Ottoman Empire — The Big Reveal!!

by The SpinArtiste on June 6, 2013

SSG6 - KitPublisher’s Notes:  Here it is!!!  The Ottoman Empire projects revealed!!!  About two months ago, kits were mailed out and our players were tasked me making a project using the contents of their kit plus one thing of their choosing.  At left is the kit that our participants were supplied with which contained:

A fabulous skein-lette of hand spun yarn from Sarah from The Forest Room;

Gorgeous fabrics selected and supplied by Khristina Thayer of The Naked Ewe;

Luscious jewel toned hand dyed locks from Monica Thompson of Just Ducky – Handspun Yarn & More;

Beautiful hand painted roving by Melissa Yoder Ricks of Wild Hare Fiber Studio;

A crazy little tassel and some miscellaneous fibers to serve as the base for the creations.  Now, onto the projects and the artists’ statements.  Enjoy!


Player 1:

I had such a great time working with the variety of fibers. My favorite challenge was the fringe, which I incorporated as 1) center of flowers and 2) a whole flower. I also enjoying the fun fabrics!

I spun all the tan and color roving; it ended up being a delightful combination of thick/thin singly ply. I free-form knit the hat using this yarn, binding off and casting on at randomly. I connected the “arms” of my free form knitting to form a hat. The result looked like a colorful, funky chunk of swiss cheese. I then used the yarn spun from the white roving to fill in the holes. After the hat was knit, I threw it in the wash to felt it to size.

In the meantime, I spun and navijo plied the various samples of jewel-toned fiber. I used these as the “stitching” within the white areas of the hat (I wanted to draw attention to these in a fun yet subtle way). I used the fabric and tassles to create flowers that I place on the side of the hat.

The only additional item I used was dark brown Shetland/black welsh that I spun to add variety to the tan/colored yarn.

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Player Two:  Nasrettin Leg Warmer

The first thing I did was to overdye the miscellaneous fiber in dark blue and purple. Then I carded it with the hand painted roving and some black alpaca, my one add-in. I cut the fabric into strips. I spun the carded batt into a thick-and-thin single, spinning in the fabric strips here and there. I tailspun the locks in a separate little skein. Then I freeform crocheted the leg warmers, adding in the tailspun at the very top. My tassel was made up of several small tassels sewn together, so I cut it apart and tied one little tassel onto the side of each leg warmer. I wove the art yarn into the bottom edge using the crochet hook. I enjoyed this project, because I never make anything for myself, and now I have a pair of leg warmers that I really like. I named the project after Nasrettin Hoca in the story, The Hungry Coat: A Tale from Turkey, by Demi, because they reminded me of his patched coat. This project did stretch my creativity. I have never spun fabric strips before, and I have done very little crocheting. Thanks for a great experience.

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Player Three:  Wild and Wooly Goddess of Wonder

I was so excited to open the package and pull out all of the fun and beautiful materials. I am not sure why, but when I first looked at all of them, I wanted to make a doll. I began by making an armature out of pipe cleaners, which I covered with the tan colored wool and then needle felted into place–this wasn’t the best wool for needle felting, but I got it to hold together. She is about 7 inches tall. Then I spun the hand painted roving into a two ply yarn with some locks spun in and and also some twists. I crocheted this yarn right onto my goddess to give her a top. I needle felted on some of the other locks to give her hair and I gave her some dreadlocks (inspired by one of your recent posts) out of the beautiful yarn from The Forest Room. I sewed her an underskirt using the fabrics in the package and the thread from the deconstructed tassel. After that, I carded more of the locks and some threads and fabric scraps from the fabrics along with the tan roving, and first spun a single which I then spun around a core, adding some more of the locks and some strips of fabric and even a few of the little tassels as I went. These were added over the skirt. My goddess was then completed with a flower made from a circle of the red fabric and one of the pieces of the tassel.

Thank you for putting this together. I had a great time!

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Player 4:  The Sultan’s Palace

I started out fraying up all the fabrics that could be frayed and blended the frayed bits with the brown roving and colored locks and about 1/2 oz of brown alpaca (my one addition) on my drum carded. I gave it three passes before I was happy with the look of the batts. The yarn was spun into a lace weight single. As for the multicolored top, I spun that into a lace weight single too.

I knit a shawl, did some eyelet rows on the top part and started striping in the colored yarn before I ended with a nice and pointy edging. The supercoiled yarn was threaded through one of the eyelet rows so that the twists was hanging down on the shawl.

The tassel was divided up and sewn on to some of the points on the edging.

The one thing that really threw me for a loop in this kit was the blue stretchy fabric. After much consideration I decided to make it into a flower that was sewn on to the tip of the colored stripe section.

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Player 5:  Otto Cowl
At fist came the anticipation of opening the package then as I sat there and pondered on the contents… I slowly put things together in my mind. I am not much of a spinner that follows the rules well… kind of like my sewing.. never really used patterns.. but the end results where always fun and somewhat a little unexpected. So this is how I tackled this project. I added the cocoons since they really called out to me.. The texture they added along with the coils was perfect.. after all me spinning as always been about the excitement of combining colour and texture. The end result a knitted cowl with a corset closure and a handspun fringe.

I corespun the fibers and cut fabric strips to incorporate them in the yarn. I took a couple of the small tassels for the handspun fringe closure. I followed the colour gradient of the dyed braid to incorporate the locks, coils and the free card of cocoons.

thanks for this fun opportunity..

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Player Six
Here are the photos for my project I call the Forest Bag. I was so excited to be a part of the secret stash game for the first time that I took weeks laying out the fiber and supplies over and over again before I even began. So many ideas and what beautiful fabrics I thought , how do I do the fabric justice and incorporate this all into something.

I began gathering all the fibers and cut the fluff from the tassell. I took this and the fibers and blended them all on my carder into batts. I spun half into a single and the other half into a fluffy corespun taking advantage of the freebie use of the core thread add in.

The fabric I cut into strips and stitched them together to create a long roll of fabric yarn. Once I had my yarns, I then free form crocheted them into a magical forest bag. I added a leather strap and it was complete. What a great way to challenge myself with different fibers and textures!

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Player Seven:  The Sultan’s Shifting Sands Garden

Once I saw that the name of the stash was “Ottoman Empire,” I wanted to do something themed at least somewhat accordingly. I have had one brief trip to Istanbul, and tried my best to recall my visit to the Sultan’s Palace there. I wanted to make something wearable, and after considering the ingredients, I decided I would be weaving them.
Since time was an issue, I wanted a versatile tie-up for weaving, where all I would have to do was change the treadling to achieve a different pattern — and that meant simpler patterns, no fancy Ottoman-style motifs. I chose a 4-shaft twill tie-up.
The ingredient that I added was the weft — an 8/4 cotton.
The “concept” behind the scarf is sort of a (mostly) symmetric walk-through of a Sultan’s grounds — the welcoming area with plush poof pillow seats (the fabrics, which I cut into strips to use as weft; draft: vertical point over), then a garden area (the mohair locks, spun, and bordered by the handspun on each end; draft: horizontal bell celtic), then the shifting sands, a zig-zag pattern in the sand-colored wool (spun; draft: uneven vertical zigzag) peppered with desert plants and flowers (the deconstructed tassel), followed by a colorful palace (the domestic wool, spun; draft: broken 2/2 twill, aka mini-herringbone), and then the same in reverse.

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Player Eight:  Illumination

In order to grow, you have to stretch the envelope; push and shove at the boundaries and that is the real beauty of the Secret Stash competition. To receive a package of materials that one might otherwise have ignored or overlooked and then, bound by constraints of time and rules, to create something artful and appealing is challenging indeed. The only flexibility available to the artist is their willingness to try something different and I am quite sure that everyone who has taken part in these challenges has encountered the same feelings of doubt and been nibbled around the edges by tiny fears. This particular challenge swished around with a dozen other life challenges and time was not on our side …but we made it.
One of the most important elements of the challenge is in listening to the gentle voice of the ingredients. I believe that everything wants to be something and this packet of vibrancy cried out to be seen, to be noticed, to be illuminated. Illuminated? Like a lamp?
A mooring buoy, washed up on the edge of the lake presented itself as the perfect form upon which to felt the body of the shade, but the multi-coloured hand painted roving from Wild Hare Fiber, was insufficient to hold a shape. I carded a batt from some of the tight brown sheepie locks from …miscellaneous fibers? – felting that over the roving and then turned the whole inside out to keep the colour on the outside. The felting was very demanding. It had to be thin and cobwebbed, in order to allow the light through, but not so thin that it would tear and permit the light bulb to glare; too thick and it would be a dark room! An evening of felting dragged into the night, as the felt was pummelled and rubbed down to a mat and teased out to a veil. The balance finally emerged.
The pale brown ‘Miss Elaneous Fibers’ inner worked perfectly, better at reflecting the light, whilst the colours of the hand painted roving remained strong on the outer surface. The yarn was one of those freeform delights. Cutting the exotic cloth into thin strips on the bias, provided elasticity and edge curl. So, with a basket on my lap, containing a riot of Just Ducky locks and Naked Ewe fabric strips and whatever glittering ‘baubies’ could be extracted from the supplies, the gaudy yarn was core-spun onto a short length of chunky, waiting for this particular moment, to be released from my box of odds-and-ends. Yet more teased locks from Miss Elaneous, were offered into the great orifice of the spinning wheel, blending everything together and providing the necessary key for attaching yarn to shade.
The resulting yarn was randomly, but carefully, needle-felted onto the wet-felted shade, careful not to disturb the Chinese lanterns of red and gold silk, and the whole thing sewn to the cage using a finer yarn spun from the thoroughly exhausted, Miss Elaneous locks.
The lamp was my husband’s doing. Using only a length of high-tensile bright-steel fencing wire, the lamp took as long to make as the shade, but it was worth it, skittering the light in all directions. This seemed like rather a large addition to the project, but no less than required to enable the shade to be displayed, and more importantly, to be used.
The bell-rope tassel was dismantled, with disturbing difficulty I might add, and I prayed that whoever put this thing together, presumably in some distant land, was well rewarded for their efforts! The glittery thread was welcomed into the fray of the yarn and the baby tassels, separated from their sparkling umbilical, were dangled as individuals from the steel springs.
Sarah’s Forest Room skein-lette was the perfect length to entwine with the steel spring that suspends the whole affair, accompanying the electric cable from ceiling hook to lamp.
Finally, the beautiful, home-grown, paper tags from ForestRoomArtYarns were too good to miss. These were ‘feathered’ using a razor blade and suspended on the fine wire that had bound the big tassel.
If I were to set out to make a lamp shade, I would not have elected these materials to partake. As it turns out, the lamp is a delight to turn on and so be turned on. Thank you to all who gifted time and energy and talent into this entire project. The tentacles of your energy have reached far and wide.
..and ‘Illuminated’ turned out to have an alternative meaning, since the gold embossed yarn resembles the illuminated manuscripts of old, an art form which my husband has a passion.

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Player Nine:  Ortusu Cowl Hood

I was excited when I heard the Secret Stash was about the Ottoman empire.

I was to make a modern head-wear for woman who can walk down the “Empire” streets and when they need to cover there heads it would be possible too.

When I opened the package it was like opening a present, such a vibrant colors and the lovely fabric was what I needed to make a piece that was in my mind.

Core-spun the lovely dyed roving to maintain the lovely colors wrapped in a gold thread. The black and white with the gorgeous Mohair Locks where spun a single, wrapped also in the same gold thread to really got the Ottoman Empire feel and then N-Plied it. Then I hand sewed the flower made from the fabrics and the tassel that came along.

The cowl hood was knitted in a free-form way and then free-form crochet a bit as well to get it into a hood form that keeps your neck warm too.

Thank you for this opportunity!

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Player Ten:  Game of Wools

Last time I was guilty of stash-addition.
I did it mostly because I did not know the rules, and also because there did not seem to be enough raw materials to make anything big. So this time I decided I would add nothing, and make something small.

Small like a little lord might wear in a medieval world. Or a fantasy medieval world.

Thus the creation of an outfit for the realm.

The little lord wears a felted helmet ornamented with shiny locks, a matching felt vest, and pair of felted pants. Around his neck is a striking neck scarf, made of luxury fabrics and a smart tassel at each end.

The pants are made from the brown roving, trimmed with black roving accents.
The pants also feature a stylish drawstring waist, tied with a belt made from the purple handspun skein. Should be enough to keep the pants on, but who knows?

On top, his massive chest is protected with a felted vest, trimmed with inclusions of colorful dyed locks. The felt was created with a flat wet felting technique using the hand painted roving and locks. The locks were laid in as the wool was felted. His helmet was also constructed of matching felt and locks.

His neck is graced with a jewel tone scarf, trimmed with tassel ends and neatly tied. The scarf was pieced together from the colorful fabrics. The large tassel was deconstructed into lots of little tassels, and stitched to the ends of the scarf.

All that is missing is his sword. Since I vowed not add anything- no sword for the lord.

Pics: The felted pants were created as a 3D felt over a plastic template, and shaped over 2 bottles of laundry detergent. The vest base fabric and paper pattern used to create. The hat was created from the felt cut away to make the armholes. The scarf was pieced as blocks and finished with tiny tassels.

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Player Eleven

Wow, great colors in this challenge. I wanted to use some of the color in the fabric without breaking it down, so started with fabric squares and worked out from there. I was reminded of the beautiful and colorful Native American woodland prayer shawls that I have seen and always admired, and very loosely based my project with that in mind. My add – in was two pounds of raw Wensleydale fleece. I dyed batches to match some of the colors of the locks that were provided, to make them go a bit further. I also dyed and carded some of the fleece to spin into corresponding yarns where a bit more fiber was needed for the pattern that was emerging. There are locks knit into some of the knitted squares, and of course in the fringe. I deconstructed the tassel, and dyed it and used the lovely coil hand spun as an accent in the middle of the fabric squares. What fun!

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Player Twelve
The big questions for this challenge were what to do with all the fabric, and how to use that (extremely ugly) tassel. I also wanted to make a project that was in keeping with the spirit of the ‘Ottoman Empire.’ It was a time of rich patterns and the rising importance of trade and travel between nations, so I decided to create something that a traveler would find useful: a treasure bag… which, as I began working on it, morphed into a water bottle holder. While they likely stored water in skins or ceramic vessels during the Ottoman Empire, for the modern traveller, a water bottle is a necessity made all the better by a nice handmade cover.

To make the bottle holder, I spun three yarns (pictured). First, I combined most of the off-white fibers and made a fingering weight two-ply, which I dyed in shades of brown. Next, I spun the colorful gradient dyed top into a single ply yarn preserving the color transactions. For the third yarn, I took the remaining fiber and locks, and carded it together with threads ravelled from the silky fabric included in the kit, and the fluff from the tassel. Yes, you heard that right — I completely unravelled all the silky woven squares of fabric, pulling them apart until I had a pile of threads that looked and acted very similar to sari silk thrums. I corespun this thread-and-fiber batt along with the silk ribbon in the kit, adding narrow strips cut from the red and blue velour fabic in the kit. (one of the pictures shows part of the batt and these fabric strips next to the yarn — another shows a close-up of the corespun yarn I spun).

The water bottle holder is crocheted: I began by using the thin brown yarn to crochet around the corespun yarn, coiling it around in a circle to form the base and lower sides. I added the handspun ‘skeinette’ that was in the kit next, continuing to work crochet stitches over these yarns (single crochet with thin yarn, trapping the thick yarn; chain one, repeat, working stitches into crochet on the previous row). I then switched to the gradient yarn, selecting some the section of colors that best coordinated with the rest of the bag. I ended with an eyelet row. I then made a strap using the brown and corespun yarns, leaving crocheted tails which were threaded through the eyelets. The ‘skein-ette’ featured danging locks; I added some dangling strands of the corespun yarn to make a loose fringe around the bottle. Other than a core yarn, I did not add anything to the materials provided. For the finishing touch, I attached what was left of the tassel (which I find much more attractive without its fluff). Water bottle holder complete and ready for adventure!

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Pretty amazing stuff, huh?!?!  I’m always so blown away by what people do and the projects this time were especially spectacular.  Let the voting begin!!!  Please leave a comment below for your favorite.  I will reveal the identities of the players in after a week — so you have until next Thursday, June 13th, 5 PM EST to vote for your favorite.  Good luck choosing!!!

SSG6P12 - ottomanyarnsBefore I leave you for now, I wanted to share one more thing.  In addition to the projects above, there was another project that came in.  As you will see, the artist was on track for making something really cool, but forces in her domestic environment conspired against her.  The artist shall remain anonymous (unless they choose to reveal themselves), but you can see she had a great idea and it was going to be fantastic.  We’ve all been here in one way or another…this is a situation where the “dog” really did eat the homework!!

Unnamed Player:

I have sad news to report. I am seriously crying while typing. My project is dead. I’m not sure who got it first, the cats or the kids, but it is thoroughly wrecked.

The theme “Ottoman Empire” and the supplies you provided inspired me to make a map. Specifically the Piri Reis Map. I shredded a piece of the white fabric to threads, blended it with the brown wool top on my blending board, and used a combination of wet and needle felting to create a fabric that would represent the skin the map was printed on. I cut the patterned fabric for the land, leaving the edges to fray to create the coastline, and needlefelted it to the “skin”. I cut the other fabrics for the rosettes, layered them with wisps of the wool and needlefelted them together, and then to the map. I spun a thread-thin single from the red section of the WildHare top for the map lines. The included art yarn was going to stand in for the lettering. The tassle was split into a bunch of mini tassels and spun with the remaining WildHare fiber into an art yarn which was going to be used for the edging (I figured such a mysterious, magical map should be well-decorated). I hadn’t used any “additions”; I was leaving my options open in case I got stuck.

And then, just before I could stitch the map lines and attach the border/decorative yarn, it got shredded. It’s a sort of sand mandala lesson in impermanence, I suppose, but it’s heartbreaking.

It is officially wine o’clock.

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