Monday, June 29, 2009

My First Tie-Dye Ever!

So, in my quest for good performance clothing for drumming (provided I ever get good enough), I've checked out a lot of websites with some truly spectacular garments I simply cannot afford to buy right now. Lucky for me, I remembered Dharma Trading Co. while on my quest. I cannot say enough good things about this little company, so I'll touch on my favorite basics: excellent customer service, huge variety of products, great prices, and mega-fast shipping. If you're looking for dyes and cool items to dye, look no further than these folks. Awesome. Simply unbeatable!

Anyhoo, I like Caftans. They are big, floaty, and really comfortable, and Dharma has beautiful plain white rayon ones just waiting for dye. They also have iDye, a Jacquard product for those of us who want to experiment with easy-peasy fiber-reactive dyeing. I didn't know if I really wanted to invest in a lot of extra dye-setting chemical yet, so iDye was perfect. See?
They do caution that iDye is not the most colorfast dye they sell, but it's way better than anything one can buy in the local Wal-Mart, certainly. And I expect the color to last well enough with an occasional cold water wash. These caftans will not see heavy every day wear.I will wear these to church in the summer, mostly, and if I drum "out" someday, I will wear them in performance.I ordered the plus size, so I would have extra room to move. These pics were all taken after all the pre-washing, post-dye rinsing, washing, and machine drying were done. There was a lot of shrinkage, BUT Dharma has these things sized so huge you could fit a couple of elephants in them prior to processing. Shrinkage was a good thing in this case.Yup, see how big it is? I do love the way it came out, though. The orange one has just finished simmering, so it's bath and rinse time for it now. And very soon I will have two whole brand-new dresses for summer and drumming wear for a mere $50. That includes the dye and sundries needed for the job. Can't beat that!

Friday, June 26, 2009

On Being Re-invented...AGAIN!!!!

What does an ex-chorister do for fun when the singing is over?

No, that's not a joke. There is no punch line. Say hello to my new djembe!
This beautiful drum came from Mali, via Sidy, who teaches my drum class.

I wanted to provide the goatskin head of my drum with extra protection while toting it around in its case, so I knitted up a djembe hat from some handspun I had lying around. The color mix is quite Rastafarian. I thought so when I bought the roving from Sue a couple of years ago, and I still think so. It looks great knitted up, and I might even have enough left over to make a slouch beret for myself.
Having sung higher voice parts all my life, I decided I wanted the deepest-toned drum I could possibly get: the exact opposite of what my voice does. Deep, low, and loud. This drum is perfect in that respect.It's also a lot of drum for me to grow into. It will last me a long, long time.
Here's a close-up of the hat. I do love the way it came out.

Now, why African drumming, when I have never (up until 2 weeks ago, that is) touched a djembe before?

Well, there is a nice little drum circle in residence at my church. They don't play in church often, but they did on Pentecost, and it totally blew me away. I had been intrigued by the idea of playing myself in the recent past, but there was no time. I was too embroiled in choir. There were plenty of other excuses as well, all lined up in neat little rows. But the drums were always in the back of my mind.

Now, at last, the time is right. "Stop thinking about it. Just do it," came the message, loud and clear.

Interestingly enough, that was one of the directions Sidy gave, too, to everyone in attendance at my first meeting with the class.

So, I am trying to let go of thought as I practice alone. To feel the rhythms without over-analyzing them. There are three I am working on for this week's class, and they are not as easy as they might seem to a listening bystander. Sometimes I can drum accurately, without even looking at my hands. And sometimes I get terribly out of synch. But it will come in time. A new rhythm bit will be added for me to learn this week. Piece by piece, stroke by stroke, a whole song will emerge in time. I don't even aspire to solo. It's enough for me, now, to strive to be a competent part of the whole, and feel where I fit within the structure, and listen while Sidy takes a solo.

I love it. :-)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Goodies!

Please stop by the shop for a closer look!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New Stuff!

For sale now at Mad Angel Creations!
Hand-dyed Sock Yarn, "Tourmaline," 100 % wool, non-superwash, 500 yds (475 m).
Hand-dyed Sock Yarn, "Periwinkle," 100% Superwash BFL, 400 yds (365 m).
Hand-plied fingering weight, a blend of equal parts Silk, Flax, and Polyester, 600 yds (548 m).
Hand-dyed Sock Yarn, "Dayflower," 100% non-superwash wool, 500 yds (475 m)
Hand-dyed Sock Yarn, "Autumn Splendor," Superwash Merino & Nylon blend, 440 yds (402 m).

Friday, June 19, 2009

June Phat Fiber!

My box came in today! What to mess around with first? I am completely unable to make a decision, so at the moment am simply spinning what I already had on my wheel. Some really pretty stuff in this box!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Remembering Rory

I miss you, Rory...


The Dolls are coming! The Dolls are coming! To think I will get to see Jo-Jo perform again after all these years! Wheeee.......
Off to see if Rhapsody is smart enough to offer their latest CD!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

New in the Shop!

Please visit Mad Angel Creations for further details and/or Retail Therapy!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Me and my big....

Hair! And finally, a solution to keep it off my neck and out of my nose and/or mouth!
Here's the yarn, from String Theory in Blue Hill, Maine. It's a nice, hand-dyed sock weight yarn, merino and bamboo blend, in a colorway they call Labrador. It shines so beautifully! And I have enough left over to make something else semi-substantial, like, maybe a pair of socks?The pattern is the Lacy Starfish Snood, which I found free on Ravelry, thanks to the nice ladies in the Veiled Knitters group. It was a really pleasant, quick knit. So, if you find yourself in need of near-instant gratification...I love the way this contains my hair so elegantly! I may not be so quick to chop my hair short this time, now that I have an effective way to tame it.

Monday, June 01, 2009

In this Litigious Society...

I'm wondering if our local Wool Festivals are going to become Things of the Past for small vendors. Each and every one is now requiring liability insurance for participants, and my insurance agent just informed me that I must buy a commercial policy from a commercial agent in order to have this coverage. I can't just bump my personal umbrella or homeowners' up to the next level for a few days a year.

I am such a tiny vendor, with a tiny inventory and an equally tiny profit margin. I just don't see how I can possibly afford a whole separate insurance policy for a business I run publicly from a 10' x 10' booth two days a year.

I'm afraid the Death Knell has rung for Mad Angel Creations, as far as festival participation goes. I intend to maintain an online presence as long as I can, but am saddened to know selling face to face is probably not going to be possible anymore.

So much for small, independent business enterprises. [sigh]

Rosie the Riveter Kerchief

I made this kerchief from one of my own batts. wish I had thought to photograph the batt ahead of time, but oh, well...

The blend was hand-dyed wool, undyed milk fiber, and a bit of dark red angelina. I had a total of 1.3 oz, which I spun on the fine side and Navajo-plied. I ended up with a total of 106 yards, and at the end of the project, I think I had maybe 3 yards left. Talk about knitting on the edge!
"Rosie the Riveter" is a free pattern on Ravelry. While I love the shaping of it and will experiment with that more in the future, the pattern itself either has way more mistakes than a pattern should, or I had a bad case of the stupids when I sat down to make it. I ended up reworking the whole thing, and while it came out nicely enough, there are things about it that did not please me. I think some math was done wrong, either by me, or the designer, or both.Anyhoo, the problems are not so glaring that I felt a second trip to the frog pond was necessary. I wanted this thing on my head, not in my UFO pile!Yesterday was Pentecost, so we were supposed to wear red to church. So, I dutifully wore the new kerchief and paired it up with this vintage caftan I found in an antique store on my last trip to Maine.Can you believe, only $30 for a real Balinese batik caftan entirely made of SILK????? And I have lost a few more pounds, so it fits even more comfortably than it did back in April when I bought it! Wheeeeeeee......
And the orange-red motif really did look rather obligingly like tongues of fire...

And now I think I need to add a djembe to this ensemble. Seriously. I am really thinking I want to try joining the church's drum circle. They were so good yesterday, and just seemed to be having so much...FUN! I wants me some of that fun...