Publisher’s Notes: I’m certain I heard some teeth gnashing from around the globe when people opened these kits. But, I also heard “Squee!” too. As you can see in the picture, the kit that I’d named in my head, “Hello, Dolly!” contained some type of plastic doll. And, the kit contained some glorious fibers, too: included was a good quantity of Cheviot roving from Alba Ranch, grey locks from Namaste Farms, brown wool from Picasso’s Moon Yarn Shop, silver sparkle from Hello Purl, hand dyed rainbow wool top from Wild Hare Fiber Studio, thread from Mada Vemi Alpacas and vintage beads from Homestead Wool and Gift Farm. As you can see, the kit included a doll. What you can’t see so well is that each kit also included a quantity of vintage chenille bedspread. Some players got complete dolls and some got doll heads. The doll and fabric were from the Spin Artiste studio.
Knowing what I know about the players in this round, I waited eagerly for the photos to roll in and tonight, I am super excited to be able to share them with you!
Player 1: “Spinner Chick”
When I opened my Secret Stash envelope I realized I was in trouble. This doll had a body – dress, hair and hat, constructed entirely out of that awful awful crunchy feeling nylon ‘yarn’.. a real 70s nightmare. I had trouble even touching it, to me it was the equivalent of fingernails down a chalk board. And I am no yarn snob, really! It was the feel that put me off dealing with the project straight away. I decided to totally reconstruct this doll as a doll, but one after my own leanings, and in a more timeless way. I do love to reuse and recycle, but in this case, I cut off her hair, her dress, pulled her arms off, and bascially only re-used her head and hands. I had initially thought that I would’nt be able to find a use for the strips of old bed cover, but in fact that rolled up to form her body, and I stitched the roll with some of the thread that came in the bag. I also used the rest of the bedspread to sew her some trousers, also with the thread. I gave her some wet and needle felted boots and stitched those in place inside the bottom of the trouser legs. For her hat I used the plain white wool to spin a fine single, and crocheted it into the hat, and added the buttons around it. Her hair is some locks of the natural shetland just stuffed up under her hat and tied slightly back. I sewed her neck onto the body and then carded the silver locks with the angelina and some of the white wool and spun that into another single, which I used to crochet her jersey, which also creates her upper body and is just slipped over the rolled up bedspread and stitched into place. Her hands are wrapped with thread and stitched into the jersey. I stripped some of the colored fiber from the multicolored roving and spun a fine single which I knitted into her scarf and stitched a button on it to hold it in place. My one addition to this doll is her spindle, it is a working spindle, and you can see she has already spun some Shetland fleece on it.
Player 2: “Tea Party Gone Wrong”
This kit has been my favorite secret stash so far! I have been wanting to spin a doll into yarn for a while and hadn’t actually done it yet. It was so fun to break the head and arms off the doll, in a voodoo kind of way, to spin into the yarn. I had just finished spinning a lovely little white yarn with rosettes in it right before getting to do this yarn and the contrast was so nice. The name of this yarn is “Tea Party Gone Wrong” because it looks like this lovely little prim and proper girl just got her ass kicked!…and the colors are perfect for a lot of spilt tea, torn clothing, and messed up tea setting!
Opening my bag of Secret Stash goodies is always a surprise but this time SpinArtiste pushed it even further. What to do with a naked baby doll? Then it came to me. Put clothes on her, get her a wheel, and send her to Yarnival! Utilizing each of the fibers, I wet felted her wrap babydoll style top then hand stitched tiny beads and buttons on it for embellishment using the pink thread. The vintage chenille material was hand sewn into pants with fuzzy cuffs because everybody should have vintage chenille pants with fuzzy cuffs for Yarnival, right? The hat was sewn out of the vintage chenille material and embellished with felted fiber and a star shaped button. She’s got her outfit, she’s got her wheel, now she just needs to figure out how to get to Yarnival.
I used all the materials in the stash package and didn’t add anything of my own. I spun and plied all the fibers and plied them with the pink thread strung with add ins of buttons and beads or singles against singles. I cut up the vintage piece of bedspread into long strips and braided them with the handspun yarns that I had freeform crocheted and knitted into strips of assorted lengths. When I was done, I took all my braids and knit/crochet pieces and looped them, tying them all together at the top with more of the bedspread strips. This made a long scarf that can be worn by pulling the ends through the loop and letting the different lengths hang fee.
Now, about that dolly! I’m not creeped out by baby dolls but I also couldn’t bear to cut it up so I left the little sweetie as is. Stumped, I was turning it over in my hands one evening and realized that the little hole underneath the tummy was about the right size for a nail, so I pounded a nail in the wall, popped it on there and it became a odd/creepy/cute little scarf hanger!
SO much fun, thank you for the opportunity to participate and work with some new materials! It definitely pushed me out of my creative rut!
This is my finished piece of wall decoration. I had to look a long time to the stash before I know what to make of it. I wanted to make a wall/window decoration. First, I carded a batt of the grey locks together with the silver sparkle, spun the yarn and twined that with the pink thread where I added the vintage beads. Then I spun the brown wool right out of my lap to a single and then I spun the rainbow wool top. They were so soft they meant to be for each other! Then I striped the vintage chenille bedspread and spun it together with the Cheviot roving.
First, I made this beautiful barrette for my oldest daughter, I used the very soft rainbow yarn for the brim, and then I made stripes with the grey vintage buttons yarn. She was very happy with it. Then I wrapped the Chenille yarn around a pace of wood (my contribution) and after I finished the barrette, I freeformed crochet the leftovers and attached it also to the wood.
When I saw the little doll, all I could think about was, “The baby angel falling from above.” That was said by Lexi Boeger when she made a mohair batt.
It was a very nice game to play, Thanks Arlene!
What a crazy package of goods arrived in my mail. They sat on the table waiting for inspiration for a couple of weeks until I gave in and just started. As they came I didn’t see how everything would go together. I dyed the white roving to blend with the bright colored one, and carded all of the wool and the silver angelina into big fluffy batts. There was not as much material as I would have liked so I spun a thick and thin single to make the yardage go farther. I was so impressed with the dimension the silver sparkle added, and how it brought the fibers to life. I have since placed an order with Hello Purl to add some to my collection of sparkly stuff.
The baby charmed me right away. I knew I wanted to make a Mom’s bag and include the little guy. I didn’t have the heart to cut his head off so I painted him green and gave him a few tattoos, a mohawk, and a necklace strung with the little beads in the bag. He is nested in a flower made from the vintage chenille topped with a little fabric paint. The pink thread ended up as the accent pompom on the front of the bag. I added a yard of animal print velvet to complete my trendy Mom’s bag.
These challenges are a blast! Thank you to all of the wonderful vendors and friends who contribute to this opportunity…..I can’t wait for the next one!!!
I knew within minutes of opening the secret stash package that my naked doll with black hair was actually Marie Antoinette waiting to be transformed…and I imagined that she had gone to a huge party and gotten trashed on pink champagne and tiny frosted cupcakes and passed out with fishbones in her hair. I went thru several sketches of what the end product was going to be, all the while working on making the doll look as much like Marie Antoinette as possible. I used the sparkle for Marie’s hair and on the bodice of her dress. The vintage chenille fabric I sewed into an authentic “court” dress and as an applique on the pillow. I stuck the fishbone beads in her hair and sewed buttons onto her dress. One of the challenges I faced was keeping her from looking “bridal”. I spun every scrap of wool I had in my package and knit it as the background of the pillow. I used the pink thread all over the place: to sew the dress, to wrap the hair, to attach buttons, to sew the yarn onto the pillow, as the words on the fabric, and as an auto-wrap on the white wool yarn that I knit. The one element I added was a feather pillow base. The best part about this pillow is that Marie’s eyes open and close. So when the pillow is laying flat, she’s sleeping on a feather bed in a drunken stupor. And when the pillow is upright she opens her bored empty eyes and tells you to go eat cake.
I needled felted this flower out of the bits of wool from the Secret Stash contents. I then created the middle of the flower using fabric sewn with the thread then attached a blue button in the middle as well as the arms of the doll. I only chose to use the contents provided. I did not add anything extra.
Added Item: Silver Paint
When I first got the package, I outlined three goals for myself:
1 – I had to use all the fiber,
2 – I had to spindle spin it (my wheel is currently dedicated to a long term project) and,
3 – I had to ultimately make something I would use, or wear, rather than a display item.
I started by pulling out the chenille bits out of the fabric, and carded them with the rainbow colored braid, some of the grey locks and some of the silver sparkle. I spun that on my trusty go-to workhorse spindle. I then cut up most of the silk thread and carded that with the brown Shetland and cream Cheviot roving, throwing in some more of that silver sparkle for good measure. I spun all of that on the same spindle. Finally, I did some minimal flick carding on what was left of the grey locks and the last of the silver sparkle and spun those.
The whole time I was spinning I kept smelling this great smell – at least one of the fibers (couldn’t tell which) had been washed in something that had a great perfume (as a side note, I will give money to find out what it is!) It reminded me of a perfume I used to wear in college. The whole time I was spinning, I smelled it and it kept bringing me back to my freshmen year of college, when I was studying Egyptian art, so I decided to make a necklace that was slightly reminiscent of those you see on the bust of Nefertiti, but with its own fibery slant. I knit a base out of the blue-chenille-locks yarn and then built up several layers of squares by knitting them onto the base. I ended up with five layers of squares on the inside and two toward the back. I painted the beads and buttons silver and attached them to a small number of squares.
I struggled with how to use the doll – at first I thought I’d paint the head and attach it somewhere, but it looked too ridiculous. Instead, I took off an arm, painted it silver and made it into the clasp at the back. Instead of looking macabre, I think it actually gives it a tiny bit of whimsy that keeps the whole thing from taking itself too seriously. At first I planned on replacing the arm for wearing out in public, but now I plan to keep it, because I’ve gotten attached.
The name is after a Queen Consort from Egypt’s first dynasty.
Thanks so much for letting me participate! It was AWESOME!
I carded all the fleece and sparkles together and spun them into a thick and thin single. I then plyed the single with the included thread which I threaded with the beads and buttons which I slipped on whenever. I decided to crochet the spun yarn. I worked on a back post stitch circular shape, which I then steeked. I took the chenille and cut it into strips to make fabric yarn. I then used applied crochet to go between a few of the rows on the edge and throughout the piece to add more structure. I left the ends hanging on either edge to tie the piece together when finished. The doll was cut up (oh no!) and made into buttons which were sewn on with a bit of the extra yarn. When it was all done, I decided to dye the whole thing one colour, which was my one thing I added. I used Landscape dyes to kettle dye the piece.
Corespun and chain plied, with one arm and the head added, along with strips of the quilt and autowrapped with the pink. I carded the fiber all together, the only thing I added was the core for the yarn.
It’s called Grandma’s Attic.. creepy doll, vintage quilt, silver flatware (angelina), old yarns (pink thread), silk flowers (rainbow fiber) all packed into brown boxes (brown fleece), Grey steamer trunks (locks) and white plastic (white fiber).
This project has been an extreme challenge right from the moment I opened the package. The vintage stick doll really threw me for a loop. Right off the bat I was stunned! My first thought was, “Do I really have to use this? Really?” Then visions of cakes and Toilet Paper holders danced madly through my head. I got scared… What was I going to do? The other pieces of the kit were almost equally challenging, due to the variety. More challenging yet to find a way to put them together in a way that was going to really work–together. But I knew that was my job. That’s what I signed up for!
I let the kit sit for quite a while, stumped. I would go visit it, take it out and look at the contents hoping that inspiration would finally hit me as I gazed longingly at each piece, hoping for them to speak to me, I began to get worried why it was taking so long! Would it ever come? Would I be a failure before I ever started? One day when I was in the shower (the place where all good inspiration strikes) ideas (Finally!) started flowing. First I saw the kit elements combine to create a three dimensional painting with the doll as a central figure. But that just didn’t feel right, but the thoughts and ideas were now flowing and kept streaming in my mind–connecting the dots. As they flowed I could feel I was close, but something was off, so I kept pushing. That is when I had the vision for “Mother Earth” as you see in the photos. She would be a jewelry box/vessel on the bottom and the doll would be the decoration and lid in one. Though as I began I planned her to be a fairy. I decided at this point that this was either going to turn out amazing or terrible and I probably had no way of knowing until I was done! Nervous, I planned out each step carefully. I had never felted a vessel nor created a doll up to this point, so I was really winging it. Both parts challenged me in unexpected ways. I had to push past the ‘not knowing’ and just follow the art. Just to be present and in the moment as I was creating. I spent several ‘all-nighters’ creating on this project. I would have to say that it was an intense and rewarding experience in so many ways.
I decided that I would dye most of the loose fibers in the kit to create a bright & bold color scheme. I carded them up in several different sections along with the other fibers. The first was the base, which was a felted vessel, then the skirt, the blouse & finally the wings. In order to incorporate the vintage bedspread I decided that I would cut out the two pink roses that were part of the motif, and then felt them into the top layer of the vessel to create a 3-D relief. I ended up needle felting the fiber through the channels to secure them in before wet felting the vessel.
The other pieces were also wet felted, but into sheets and then cut and sculpted by needle felting into place. I used a disk of felt with a hole punched in the center to put the ‘stick’ part of the doll in. I melted the stick and flattened it into a button to hold it into place. I felted on a little flower to cover up and pretty the base as you can see in the photo in which the base and the ‘lid’ with the doll on top are separated. The dolls hair is made entirely from the mohair which I needle felted in many layers into the dolls existing hair. It was magical as I watched each portion of the project come together and then finally become the finished product. Before I attached the wings on I placed the doll on the base. I realized that the sculpture looked like Mother Earth — the doll as the Mother, and the base she was resting on the Earth. That is the moment I realized what I had created, and that she didn’t need the wings. )
I feel this project is so typical of the creative process. We are pushed we are challenged, and even when we plan the art has a life of it’s own and becomes oftentimes something grander even than we had planned! I am so pleased with the results. I hope you are too!
What a challenge! When I opened the secret stash game kit, I just looked at the materials thinking ‘what in the world am I going to do with THIS stuff!’ The doll head came with hands (no body), and “punny” person that I am, it occurred to me to make an out of this world ‘hand’ bag.
I decided to deconstruct the doll head and right away cut off her pink acrylic yarn hair. I blended the doll’s pink yarn hair with the silver sparkle, brown shetland and cream cheviot on my drum carder, sending it through twice for a more even blend. I spun part of the batt into bulky yarn to make a thick i-cord strap for the bag, and wet felt the majority of the batt into a base fabric for the bag. The vintage fabric became the bottom, top edge and lining of the bag, sewn together with the pink thread supplied in the kit. The rainbow fiber I spun into yarn to decorate the felted part of the bag: I divided the colors and spun small skeins of two-ply yarn while thinking about how to put this all together with the locks and buttons to create a bag. I made plastic ‘donuts’ out of the back of the doll’s head that became the base for crocheted rosettes. I kept the face and hands, and continued thinking of how I could use them too.
The project evolved a lot as I worked on it. I didn’t want to lose the subtly of colors and sparkle in the felted batt by having too many colors and textures competing with it, so I decided to simplify the colors in the bag to natural white, gray and pink. I painted the vintage fabric and the doll face and hands and some of the buttons with a silver metallic paint. Other buttons I sewed around with the wool embroidery thread I had spun, keeping to white and gray (so I have lots of little balls remaining of the other colors in the rainbow). While assembling the bag I decided to use the pink thread to embroider swirls as well as for sewing the bag. I put it all together, adding the crocheted medallions, covered buttons and embroidering french knots with the gray and white yarn. The doll face got a mane made of the locks — think of it as the sun from an fantasy alternate universe with rosette planets and button stars. The hands adorn the ends of the handle. It all came together in a size and shape that will be ideal for holding a spindle and a few ounces of wool, or a small knitting project like socks.
Pretty darn amazing, don’t you think? So, let us know what you think — please leave comments letting us know your favorite. Later this week, I will create a gallery page for the pieces and include the artists’ identities. So, make sure to check back in a few days for that.
Now, also as promised, the winner of Pam Blasko’s wonderful Spinner’s Notebook is one of Spin Artiste’s past featured artists, Melisa Morrison of Alba Ranch. Congratulations, Melisa! I know you will enjoy it.
So, I have a fantastic surprise for you this coming week — that is, if you love fiber combined with fashion…until then, all my best, Arlene