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Secret Stash Game, Round 2 – Spring 2012

Publisher’s Notes: For the second round of the Secret Stash Game, the players had the materials shown at left which included wonderful fibers and items from Alpacaboose (the caramel colored alpaca), Mada Vemi Alpacas (batts, green thread, and brown chenille), Woolwench (batts), Alba Ranch (cheviot roving) and Rose Nectar Fibre Couture (the origami birds). In this round, the players had to use something of each element of the kit AND could add something else of their choosing.

Below are the artists’ expressions

#1: “In The Depths Below” by Melissa Bohrtz of Hello Purl


Medium – Wet and needle felted fiber (wool, alpaca, mohair), wool locks and textured art yarn (added item). The paper cranes hanging above.

Artist Statement – I layered the fibers and started to wet felt by hand (using soap, water and bubble wrap). When the fibers dried, I added details such as locks and textured art yarn creating seaweed as well as an ocean floor. I started the piece as a beach scene but as I needle felted the layers on top, it transformed into an underwater scape. I hung the paper cranes above the ocean floor felted seascape.




#2: “Flying the Nest”, Decorative Fiber Bowl by Suzy Brown of Woolwench

Notes: This bird in her nest has some eggs to keep warm but she also has some wee ones just flying the nest! This work can also be used as a bowl, at Easter on the table with chocolate eggs in, and the bird and felted eggs are removable so it can be set up in multiple ways depending on what there is to go in the bowl or to be displayed. I wanted it to be versatile.

I was so inspired by the secret stash contents, I hope I have done them justice! Of course the little paper birds really triggered my creation, and we also have a blackbirds nest right by our back door, so I HAD to make this :) First I spun the beautiful soft alpaca into a fine single and created a ‘snarl’ yarn with lots of sticky outy bits to make a textured nest, I wanted the snarls to look like little twigs sticking out. Then I crocheted the nest, I made that up as I went but I think the shape turned out pretty good, and I twined the dark brown chenille to fill the nest.

I wet felted the body base of the bird, using the wonderful blues, greens, purples and oranges from the stash. I loved the green locks so wanted to feature those in a flambouyant tail. My one addition to the stash were the sequins, which I used on the tail feathers, on the eggs, and also as eyes. After wet felting, I needle felted some more details. I attached the wings and emerald locks by needle felting, too. I used the green thread to embroider some details as well as to attach the sequins. I think the photos don’t really show the pretty colours in the bird as well as I would have liked to, she has some of everything from the stash!



#4: “Birds on a Wire” by Nicole Constantin of Rose Nectar Fibre Couture

Notes: I wanted to really do the birds justice and have them be free and suspended in air to look as if they are flying…the element that I added was a wire core. This necklace was designed to highlight the whimsical and delicate nature of the birds.


#5: “Country Dreamer” by Alica Davenport – Reader’s Favorite!!!

Notes: I was so so excited receiving this package in the mail, and even more thrilled as I opened it up to discover all the fun fiber. I was most pleasantly surprised by the paper cranes – so gorgeous!! I’ve been wanting to make a dream catcher for a long time, and knew it would be perfect for this challenge right off the batt(!).

As a little girl, I was very anxious, and was especially afraid of going to sleep at night. I worried about ghosts, fires, burglars, earthquakes, and whatever else my imagination could conjure up. I remember my dad bringing me home a dream catcher one night and hanging it over my bed. He told me that it would protect me and bring me positive energy as I slept. It helped me so much and every time I see one, it brings me a great sense of comfort.

I started out by spinning a lace weight single from the beautiful citrusy batt from Mada Vemi Alpacas. I then knit the circular doily and affixed it to a fiber wrapped metal loop and finished it off with a crane. I tied the natural Wensleydale to the sides and really love the natural element it brings to the project. I then had a look at the fiber that was left and separated it into groups of corresponding colours. I carded a couple of mini batts and took the opportunity to practice some techniques, and also to try some new ones for the first time. I spun some coils, super coils, corespun, and finally my biggest accomplishment, conquered tail spinning. I draped all of the finished yarns and added a few more cranes. I call it ‘Country Dreamer’.”

Note that I used a free pattern on Ravelry for the doily in the project — here is the link.

Thanks Arlene – This was SO fun!!

#8: Winged Capelet by Carol Hughes

Notes: I signed up for this project as a way to help get a new view of the fibers I already own and to bust out of spinning the same old thing.

Receiving such a variety led me to spread everything out on a table – including the colorful birds – and contemplate for quite a while. I was not quite sure I was up to this challenge when I originally opened the package.

I eventually carded all the yellow/green batts to alternate with the blue top which I had divided into several strips. I made a fairly overspun single, alternating the yellow and blue. Kind of hard to see amongst the chenille…

I plied that single with the brown chenille interspersing the locks. What was left of the single was plied it back on itself.

I contemplated the finished yarn for a while. I tend to let my handspun ‘speak’ to me as opposed to planning everything out. I had several ideas for the yarn including a woven scarf, cowl, hats or mitts. As I knit the capelet it seemed to ‘fly’ off my needles. I started with size 13 needles for the collar, moved up to size 19 for a few rows, then finished with size 35. I wanted to create something I would wear – and most wooly things are too warm for me.

I had challenged myself to use every scrap of material supplied. As a result, I had a little of the green thread and a couple of birds left over. I did not add anything to this project. And I’m very surprised that I like how it turned out. Most of the colors I would not choose to use for myself, but combined like this – let’s say I will be experimenting more with color and texture in my future spinning!

Many thanks, Arlene, for the opportunity to participate in such a fun project. I look forward to seeing all the other participants’ FOs.



#9: “Zippety Doo Dah” by Jessica Hutchison of Sweet Redemption

Notes: The name of my project is “ZippetyDooDah”. It seemed to fit my crazy little idea for a sort of avant garde piece … one that I could just let the practical go and let the sunshine flow! I used the green batt that was already carded up as is. I then carded the rest of the fibers together on my drum carder. I spun both batts around the brown chenille yarn as a corespun. I used the green thread in a new technique that I invented during this project that I like to call “peekaboo plying”… it’s a candystriping / plying method that worked great with the corespun technique. Basically I would hold the green thread and brown yarn together while I corespun the green batt, and then when I switched randomly to the other fiber batt I pulled the green thread out and let it spin on at will. The effect makes it look like 2 different yarns, when actually they are one yarn. I ran out of the green thread so I spun the rest of the fiber without it. The plied yarn I used for the upper portion of the piece and I used the regular corespun on the sleeve.

As far as the design for the piece itself… it’s just a whimsical piece that I have been dying to try… and it just felt right. It’s a sort of deconstructed sweater with a wrap around scarf for the neck… kind of combining my two favorite wardrobe pieces – cardigans and scarves. Sticking with the song… I added the bluebird on my shoulder… and used the lovely green locks as fringe on the scarf. My one add-on is the green buttons.

I really didn’t over think this… I just wanted to enjoy the artistic process and let the fiber become what it wanted to be. I love it and I hope others will be inspired to just take a breath, and color outside the lines! THANKS!

#11: “Japanese Breeze” bu Fawn Mackey

Notes: I used everything in the package and added buttons that I covered myself with antique japanese kimono fabric. I felt I needed another element to make the wonderful cranes stand out. The yarn is navajo plied and consists of twists, coils, locks and core spun areas. The whole thing was set in hot water. The hand made buttons were tied on with the brown chenille which was spun through out the yarn. I was so excited with all the ingredients that I could not leave a drop out. I had the hardest time parting with the alpaca that I wanted to save for a pair of fingerless gloves! I spread all the fibers and add ins on a table for a week until the yarn was reveled. I am waiting to decide on a project for the yarn but for now it is happy hanging in my studio. I feel a new purse in the wind.





#12: “Spring Pixie” by Joelle McCarthy

Notes: OMG, this was so fun and way more challenging than expected. Since spring just can’t seem to make it to Utah, I thought the spring pixie needed some slippers. As she sprinkles fairy dust on the flowers, her little toes might get cold in the snow.

The slippers are made using the alpaca fiber from the kit plus about 2 oz of merino that I dyed purple and yellow (the “add something”). Using a double resist method of wet felting, the green and yellow are layered. All the colors of wool were great for needle felting the leaves and flowers. The yarn and thread were used as accents while the locks and birds added the finishing touch.

Now spring can come and stay. Thanks to Arlene and all the wonderful sponsors!!!!





#13: “Good Luck Clutch” by Adele Michelsen of Looliemom Fiber Arts

Notes: I used all of the elements provided in the bag of stash, and then my add in was some lace weight cone yarn used as the core for my coiled yarn and the ply for the alpaca yarn. I knitted the alpaca yarn with the Chenille to make the body of the bag, then knitted on the coiled yarn, and used the left over coiled yarn for the handle of the clutch. I also used the Chenille yarn braided together for the tie closure of the bag, and then used the crocheted Rayon floss to attach one of the origami “Good Luck” cranes.




Thanks so much, I had a lot of fun with this challenge.

#14: “Bird of Paradise” by Jessie Nordholm of Hello Purl

Notes: I spun the yarn for the cowl by taking small bits of fiber from the kit at random and then plied it with the green and brown commercial yarns. I knit the cowl using a seed stitch pattern and added a handmade wood button.




The wood button is made from left over pieces from my dad’s segmented wood-turning. Finally I added the paper cranes by the button closure to complete the cowl.






#15: “Loon Lake Hat” by Sandy Ryan of Homestead Wool and Gift Farm

Notes: The piece includes each of the items included in the Spinartiste kit. I spun each color up separately so the hat would be self-striping. I spun in the locks as I went to off set the colors. The green silk thread wrapped randomly as I spun the single ply. Knit up on bulky needles, used the chocolate chenille yarn to make a ‘nest’ and add the bright green paper loon (crane) on top. Too much fun!


#16: Cowl by Lori Schafer of Walking Wool

Notes: I loved spinning with the gorgeous fibers donated by your crew of resources. Using the locks was especially fun, of course and I tried a technique new to me. I spun using my beloved Louet S10 making 2-ply out of the fiber.

The pattern is from Teva Durham’s wonderful book, “Loop-d-Loop”, page 42, “cowl with optional drawstring and trim”. I did not incorporate a drawstring or any trim, as the supplies you sent were enough to generate loads of interest, I think! I used the green thread during plying and during knitting with other yarns. My least favorite (no surprise!) to work with was the brown velvety stuff. But, I think it contrasts boldly with the colors so that they really jump. It was great to have the origami birds to finish it all off with. Wasn’t sure how I’d use them until the very end.

Hope you like it. Many thanks for the opportunity.



#17: “Stopping by a Brook” by Victoria Smith of Follow the Star Studio 

Notes: I tried to make these ingredients something that made none of us happy, but finally a cabled yarn fit the bill. Loose fibers were spun lightly while the blue made the brook to ply along. The brown chenille and lovely spring green thread were also spun together. These two yarns plied together and made this meandering walk along an early spring brook where the cranes have gathered for an early morning pause. Added to the ingredients were chenille stems used for photography purposes only. Alas, my photography skills miss the shock of the brook and the pop of the spring green thread, but captures the rustic ebb and flow of the brook in early spring.





#18: “Spring Fling” by Gabi Tomas

Notes: I had taken my beautiful loot out of the bag and spread it out on the table, and I spent days ogling it, feeling it, smelling it, waiting for it to tell me what is was meant to be. There was but one answer: This was all about spring, which has been on my mind of course, after the long winter. I am longing for my little veggie and flower garden, and I had visions of warm soft earth, flowers and grass, and a blue sky with soft clouds and birds soaring.

On this grey rainy Easter Sunday I finally got going.

I left the drum carder for what it was and started carding the lovely alpaca by hand, spun a not too twisted single and plied it with the brown chenille.

I needle-felted flowers from the lovely yellow bits of roving and some of the orange Wensleydale locks.

Then I sat down at my wheel and spun a soft fluffy single from the green batt, which almost broke my heart, it was so beautiful and soft and shiny. I incorporated a few colorful nubs, extreme tailspinning and of course the flowers.

At the end of the batt I spun in a merino lace yarn (my personal addition to the package) and used it as a core for the blue Cheviot roving, adding soft alpaca clouds and some of the darling crane birds.

I got a beautiful but crinkly skein of yarn, having used all the material except for the green thread.

My dear Other Half had made a little weaving frame with nails on the top and bottom and I set up the warp with the green thread.

I then started with the weft: at first I wove in the alpaca/chenille with a long blunt needle. Onto this soft layer of brown soil I wove the even softer grass with plants and flowers. I wound lengths of yarn onto one of these little fish used as a device for intarsia knitting; I cut the closed side further open and made a tiny weavers’ shuttle. Above the grass there came a blue sky with clouds and birds.

The outcome is a tale of promise and hope. And maybe a longing for the Seventies, when textile wall hangings were to be common everywhere. And no matter what happens next, no one and nothing can take away the great moments of contemplation and peace from me. And the fun, of course. Thank you for making this possible, all you givers of yummy stuff, and of course you, Arlene, for hosting this lovely event.

#19: Scarf by Kristina Underhill of Under the Hill Crafts

Notes: When I very first opened the Secret Stash bag, I knew it had to be a landscape wet felted scarf. I first used the blue Cheviot roving and carded it to give me a more even texture. I used this as my sky texture. Then I used the golden yellow and orange locks to make my sun. I made it slightly off center because I don’t know of anyone who wears a scarf evenly on both sides. I then used the Alpaca as a transition from sky to earth. I used a bit of the gray locks from WoolWench Handspun Yarns as clouds in this area to help the transition. I then used the batt from Mada Vemi Alpacas in the lemon lime color to make my green earth background. Using the Alpaca from Alpacaboose again, I designed the tree trucks, using the brown chenille as bark designs. I also used some of the lime green thread from Mada Vemi Alpacas as earth designs like hills in the earth area of my scarf. I used the green locks, slightly hand picked as the tree branches and leaves. A bit of the orange made a hole like a hollow tree. I then wet felted the whole thing together using multiple techniques. The trickiest part for me was the surprise origami cranes from Rose Nectar Fibre Couture! Paper doesn’t really hold up to wet felting, so once the scarf was finished and hung, the paper cranes were nestled into the branches of the trees. The completed scarf measures in at approximately 80″ long and 9″ wide!

Thank you so much for letting me be part of this project! This was a lot of fun and exciting to make! Those paper cranes sure threw me for a loop, but I am glad that I had to think outside of the box a bit.

#20: “In the Garden” Scarf by Brenda Vance of Split Rock Ranch

Notes: When I first opened the package and saw the “ingredients” I thought…”Oh my, what can I do with this?!” I set it aside and came back to it later and it immediately told me it wanted to become a garden. I first carded the tan alpaca into a batt for spinning. I then carded the loose locks into a batt. I then spun the alpaca batt into a singles and chain plied it into 40 yards of yarn. I then lock spun a bulky singles from the carded loose locks batt. Then I spun the blue Cheviot and plied it with a blue organic cotton thread. I carded the green batt with the green locks to create a textured batt for spinning. I spun the green batt and then plied it with the green thread provided in the kit. I steamed all the skeins to set the twist.

Then I crocheted the brown chenille yarn to create the rich, loamy earth for the garden. I followed that with a layer of sand created by the fawn alpaca yarn. I then planted grass using the green yarn. On top of the grass is the flowers created from the bulky singles loose locks yarn. I topped it off with sky created with the blue cheviot yarn. I hand sewed two bluebirds in the sky using the origami birds and some of the lime green thread. Voila! “In My Garden”!

In My Garden can be worn as a scarf or neck warmer or hung on the wall as a wall hanging.


This was SO much fun! Thank you for doing this.