Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Fiber Mamas

There are three outstanding fiber Mamas' in my life, Barb Marr of www.marrhaven.com, Ruth Walker of www.feltmaker.com and Susan McFarland of www.susansfibershop.com. Each of these incredible women gave me more than I could ever have asked.

Barb gave encouragement in the early days of Hooked On Felt designs and the opening of the website. She pushed my business for my sake. Blessing after blessings this woman has been to me. She knows the fiber business and she is so willing to help me. She was there at the start of the whole needle felt hat form inception. She is so "my Fiber Mama!"

Ruth Walker and I met on a phone call. I was needle felting hats but I wanted to learn how to wet felt them. I wanted beautiful felts, soft felts, strong felts. Ruth, in a phone conversation alone, gave me all of the information that I needed. It all worked! How cool is that!!!! It really, really worked. That one conversation put the whole of my fiber life in a different direction from the one I had been on. It was amazing to me how that chance phone call to an on-line felter whose work I loved, could have so much impact on me. What a gift she gave a total stranger! Ruth became a Fiber Mama to me, but I don't think she really knows how much I appreciate her. Shame on me! (Ruth and I had opportunity to meet in person several years later. She has become a delightful friend, source of much inspiration, and wonderful creative genius! One of the things on my "do before I die" list is to own one of Ruth Walkers hats. While I too am a hat maker, there are none like hers. Check'em out at www.feltmaker.com )

Susan McFarland is in a Fiber Mama class all her own. This gal is DYNAMITE and FIREWORKS in continual motion, all at the same time. She knows fiber, she knows people, she knows whatz hot and whatz not, she knows machinery, spinning wheels, knitting, crocheting, weaving, felting, dyeing, bead making...and a whole bunch of other stuff she hasn't even had the time to share with me, .....yet. Susan is one fast woman! She talks fast, moves fast, thinks even faster and sells faster still . I stand in awe of this woman in so many ways. I cannot keep up with her, so I just stand back and watch her keep her whirlwind in motion. Susan has come along side and befriended me. In the world of fiberarts, there is great pleasantness and an underlying friendly competitiveness as well. Between Susan and me, it does not exist. I count it a great blessing. I think Susan and I suffer with the same malady...too many ideas, not enough self to get them all done. Once you meet her, you'll know that every word I've written is true.

These are the women who have lead me, pushed me, inspired me, corrected me, shown me the way, been and continue to be forerunners in imaginative fiberarts. They are more than mentors, they have also mentored my heart, my spirit, and my mind. They are my Fabulous Fiber Mamas. I am grateful for them and to them for all they have done for me. I could have been very happy with just one, but God figured I needed more help. He sent me these three! I hope you get good ones too!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

" Places In Time" alpaca farm, Ohio

These are the class members from " Places in Time" Fiber Shop. Two of the gals had never needle felted before, most had not wet felted either. From looking at the results, I think you'd be hard pressed to find even one who was not very happy with their new skill. All of the hats were lovely, the women even more so. I had a great time with them and hope that we have the chance to meet up again. Aren't these hats just great? Truly, I get the best students!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Shades of Gray

Packing for the Ohio trip has started. Packaging is nearly completed, then packing the van begins. I am finding that I grow more and more aware of the limited amount of space I have in this van. It has served me well and I am so grateful for that. However, if it were to grow a foot or two longer, I'd not complain. So other than little or no heater, it is a great little mini-van. We are suppose to warm up to the mid 30's today so I hope to get much done before the majority of the thaw happens today.

From my eastward front porch window, I am witnessing a splendid sunrise with pinks being the color of the morning! Most of the past two months, mid-Michigan has been covered in various shades of gray. Seeing the pink this morning is nearly "high contrast". Thank you Abba Father, for both the grays and the pinks.

Pictured is 400 yards of a dye lot I've been doing for some weaving I've planned. With two torn rotator cuffs, spinning, needle felting, carding and peaceful sleep are quite out of the question for me these days. While I am giving both shoulders a rest, I can still dye and hope weave on a triaingle or square loom. After Ohio, I'll know better what I can and cannot do.

I hope to bring back wonderful photos of spectacular hats made by the women I'll be teaching. I am expecting great things from them.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The weeks work and back on the road again

These are the results of our week together. I am so proud of her work. I expect to see many more wonderful thing from Chris from Jacksonville. Can you find the felt mouse?

Friday I leave for Ohio to teach a day long workshop. We'll be making needle to wet felted hats, felt flowers, and maybe some other little fun things to make the hats more interesting. I've been carding and dyeing merino for the class. I am looking forward to the class, but traveling in this very cold weather leaves a good bit to be desired. It is 11 degrees here this morning and more snow is on the way. Did I mention that the heater is out in the van? I think not. Well, the heater is out in the van and 5 hours of driving in 11 degree temps is not all that thrilling to me. I may be packing all of the wool fibers around me! I wonder if shivering creates felt if you are wrapped in it?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Splendor in the Snow or the Post Groundhog day fatigue!

It must be the joy of friends being together, or the bitter, wet cold of Michigan in Feb. or the lack of sunshine, but this time with Chris is moving fast, inspiring much, and making me a bit punchy… uncommon for me. Admittedly, I am fatigued, but I am teaching to a very bright woman who naturally asks intelligent questions. Sometimes my brain is just tired I think. Nonetheless, I am having a wonderful time, though the time is passing fast.

Since I tend to enjoy working alone, I’ve been getting up at between 4-5 AM to get some work done while Chris sleeps I’ve been dyeing some wool and DK weight yarns with wonderful results. I think that these yarns are going to be named after some of the lovely places in Michigan, or places I hope to see. Nearly every time I am playing in the dye pot, I wonder about how much fun God must have had giving color to the whole of creation.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Chris, from Jacksonville!

There are magical moments and miracle people in our lives! If we pay attention, we all have them. Chris, from Jacksonville is one of mine.

Chris and I met via the telephone several years ago when she found my website. Each time I answered the phone she'd say "Hi Suzanne, it's Chris....from Jacksonville". She called, we talked about felt making. Several days later, she called again to place and order and we talked about felt making. This calling and talking went on for several weeks, often for an hour or more. Each time, she is asking more and more questions about felting, about fiber, about dyeing, about spinning, weaving, books, what this was, what that was, all with a deep eagerness to learn it all. Finally, one afternoon, I said to Chris, from Jacksonville, "I so wish you were here so I could teach you in person." With that comment, Chris made her reservations to visit with us. It was magical and miraculous the entire time.

It has now become an annual event for Chris, from Jacksonville to visit Michigan in the dead cold of Feb. to share our friendship, our fiber, our ideas, our faith, our families, much laughter and the innate knowledge that people have who have known each other for a very long time seem to have, and "Mr. Jim's " cooking! YUM! We haven't known each other all that long, of course; it is just the magical, miracle thing that God has given to us, and fiber was the vehicle.

Chris, from Jacksonville, has started me down the blog spot path this morning. I hope to eventually talk about needle felt hat making, but this day it's , " Hat's off to you, Chris, From Jacksonville". You are a precious gift! I thank God always for you!

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