Detonating the Yarn Bomb

I know I’m over a month late with this, but better late than never, right? I have a ton of yarnbombing photos to share!

For my contribution I made sure to do much of the work ahead of time so that the actual installation would be as quick and painless as possible. It only took me about 10 minutes to get this up! I just pinned the top middle and bottom together on the light post with safety pins to hold it in place and then I climbed up onto the railing and quickly whip stitched the seam together.

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I was going for a vague Welcome to Night Vale theme, so I included the purple eye logo on the front.

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I made a tentacle too. There aren’t really any tentacles in Welcome to Night Vale that I can recall, but it seems to be the universal symbol for “creepy and/or weird” so it seemed appropriate. I also included a handful of red dots for Dot Day. I thought about including a few blue dots as well, but I don’t really know what the consequences might be for such a subversive action. I figured the yarnbombing organizers might be upset if it resulted in an explosion or a black hole or something, so I decided against it.

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That pale yellowish pink thing is my pathetic attempt at a Glow Cloud. There’s silver thread woven through it and I used lots of bobbles to make it look cloud-like. It didn’t turn out as glowy or cloudy as I had hoped. Oh well. I tried.

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The whole time I was making this and thinking up ways to incorporate the Night Vale fandom I was pretty much resigned to the fact that no one would get it. I mean, I know the fandom seems to have completely taken over the internet and any pictures I might post on the internet would probably get some love (and there was indeed a huge spike in views on my Tumblr page), but I wasn’t making this for the internet I was making it for a bridge. Well, someone DID get it! There was a poster board set up to allow people to leave comments about the project and it appears a city council representative stopped by to inspect the yarn bomb.

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I was able to help put together a second lamp post cover on installation day. There was a really cool looking panel of black knitting with a gold spikey detail, but it was just a small section and needed a lot more added to it to fit around a post. I crocheted enough extra black fabric onto it to wrap around the post and added a small panel of knitted black eyelash yarn and gold-ish stuff at the bottom. Then I sewed on a woven piece that was donated and some black feather boas and tied it all onto a post in the dead of night. The next time I saw it someone had added a spiderweb to it which I think really ties the whole thing together.

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Since mine was so quick to go up I was able to help install some of the other pieces. I helped out a woman named Amber with a few of hers.

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There was a person stationed at the bridge most of the day to help out and give directions, but most of the time everyone was too busy to sit down.

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Someone from the local TV station came by to check things out.

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It was amazing how quickly we were able to fill the bridge.

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After all was said and done Spectral Spiders managed to cover every single lamp post on the bridge – 30 in all! I’ve already shown you a few, but here are the rest:

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Apparently we couldn’t stop at just the lamp posts. A few other yarn bombs were found at the bridge.

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It was all up in time for Arts Walk! Unfortunately some of the pieces didn’t last beyond that night. Vandalism is something that happens frequently with yarn bombings, and this time was no exception. By the next day several of the pieces were gone, including Yoda which was a beloved traveling yarn bomb that had graced the streets outside the creator’s house for years.

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The giant octopus was cut down as well, and was doubly painful due the fact that it was made by the same artist who made Yoda.

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It sucks to have art vandalized like that, but that’s a risk one takes when making street art. There was one uninvited guest I found who seemed to really understand what we were trying to do. A tiny spider showed up on one of the spider-themed pieces in honor of the Spectral Spiders.

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All in all it was a great experience! I’m definitely going to participate in more yarn bombings in the future!

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Radio Silence

I have been taking pictures I just have barely touched my computer in the past few days so they are sitting on my phone unedited and unexamined. I have until Wednesday to finish putting together my yarnbomb and then we’ll be installing it on Thursday so I’ve been frantically knitting crocheting and sewing this thing together. Until I’m finished with it I won’t really have much computer time. When I come back though I’ll have lots of pictures to show you! Stay tuned!

 

WIP-Cracking Wednesday: Zooming, Bombing, and Sculpting

WARNING: This post contains a ridiculous number of pictures.

Part 1: Zooming

The photo prompt today was “extreme close up,” which is what I frequently seem to do anyway. This time I decided to see just how close I could get.

Staging and lighting: While I was out and about I decided to zoom in on an art installation. It was about 3 pm and partly cloudy. I took the photo about an inch away from the surface of the piece.

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Just for fun, I Instagrammed the full photo of the art piece too. I like it better than the reference photo.

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Anyway, back to the actual challenge photo…

Instagram edits: Lux, Mayfair filter and border

Computer edits: cropped, enhanced, increased definition and sharpness to the max

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

It’s hard to go wrong with something this abstract, but for the Instagram version I went with the filter that gave the biggest range of colors without darkening the photo. For the computer edit I wanted to bring out all the cool bubble shapes in the glass, so that’s why I pumped up the definition and sharpness. They both turned out awesome!

Part 2: Bombing

You may have noticed that for once my challenge photo is not in my house or my backyard. The reason I was lured out of my cave in the first place was because I needed to do a fitting for my yarnbombing. I have a whole section seamed together at this point, and many more pieces pinned together, but I needed to actually put those pieces up on the light pole to see how they all might fit together and how much more I need to do.

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The main section I have seamed together fits on the lower part of the base quite nicely. I just need to smooth out the edges.

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I purposefully did not seam together enough pieces to fit all the way around the pole yet. I needed to figure out where I would stitch up the piece when installation day comes. I think I will stitch it up along the corner to the right of the tentacle.

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So now I just need to add about 7 inches worth of pieces to the other end of this section so it can reach the tentacle corner.

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This strip of swatches should help pull the bottom section in tight around the middle of the base and prevent it from slipping down.

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I had another strip of swatches that I wanted to use for the top of the piece to hold the whole thing up, but it didn’t quite fit around the rounded section I had initially intended it for.

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It fits perfectly above the rounded section though, and it should help hold the piece up even better with that lip in the way!

Part 3: Sculpting

I made a LOT of progress on Ducky this week! I worked on filling in the holes around the left cheek.

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Then I smoothed out the shape of the cheek.

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I filled out the head shape some more and started building the brow ridges.

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Then I attached the brow ridges and filled in the eyeballs. And with that, the sculpting of Ducky’s head was FINISHED!!!

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I started coloring the nose and the brow ridges.

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Ducky is really starting to look like Ducky!

Multiple WIPs Are Cracked and a Confession

Let’s start with the confession just so we can get it out of the way and hopefully you’ll have forgotten about it by the end of this post. Today’s photo prompt was “guilty pleasure.” I could have thought of some BS guilty pleasure to show everyone, but I was just too lazy for lies. I actually photographed something that makes me feel a little bit dirty every time I do it.  So, since that’s what I used for my Instagram photo I guess I have to fess up here on the blog too.

I’m a rubbernecker. There are all kinds of rubberneckers, the most well-known being those who gawk at car-accidents, but I’m a very specific breed of rubbernecker. I LOVE reading drama on the Ravelry forums. People behave badly on the internet all the time, and Ravelry is no exception, so when a throwdown starts in a thread I want to read every juicy second of it. It’s like watching a slap-fight on Jerry Springer. I’m not alone in this. There’s a whole group dedicated to locating drama and poking fun at the sheer spectacle of it, so I took a photo of the group page on my computer screen for the Instagram challenge. I’m not going to link them here for your own good. If you really want to find them you can look them up on Ravelry yourself and then figure out a way to live with your shame.

Staging: This is probably the weirdest photo I’ve ever taken…I just pointed the camera at my computer screen. I did expand the screen so all my bookmarks aren’t visible and zoomed in to the group header so it was easier to see what was going on, but that’s it for staging. Just point and shoot.

Instagram edits: cropped, tilt-shift horizontally, Sierra filter and border

Computer edits: cropped and enhanced

kind of edited with iPhoto

kind of edited with iPhoto

I only did the computer edit for the sake of continuity. There was really nothing to edit. I have no idea what to do with a picture of a computer screen. That being said, I like the Instagram better. The filter and the tilt-shift added some interest to it.

On to the WIPs!

I did some more work on the yarnbombing this week. I have quite a few fragments made at this point and yesterday I started piecing some of them together. Here are just four pieces pinned together and two more fragments waiting to find their neighbors. See how they’re kind of like a puzzle? That’s basically how freeform works.

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Ducky is also inching closer and closer to completion! I finished coloring the upper jaw.

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Then I attached the upper jaw to the head and started using some of the pre-felted pieces to form the cheeks.

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Before I attached the cheeks I decided to work on the nose. I decided to just start slapping random colors on at this point to stretch the wool supply. As long as I use light colors or other shades of green it should all be pretty easy to cover. I put the basic shape of the nose together and then needed to add a bit more around the edge. Once I attached the middle of a long piece of felt to the front of the nose it looked like Ducky had a moustache, so I decided that was the perfect time to pause for a picture.

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Then I attached the cheek shapes and started filling in some of the gaps with green.

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Ducky almost has a face!

WIP-Cracking Wednesday AND Photocalypse!

First the WIP-Cracking

My week was mostly spent working on the yarnbombing. There was some family health drama and I was in need of portable crafting, so no needle felting progress this time.

I’m running with the Welcome to Night Vale theme and have been working in as many references as possible. So far I’ve made the Eye, red dots, a tentacle, a bunch of amorphous shapes and I’ve started sewing suckers onto the tentacle. I made a glow cloud at some point, but then I decided it was neither glowy nor cloudy enough and ripped it out. I may make another attempt at it. We’ll see.

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Photocalypse

Today’s prompt was “shoes” and seeing as I don’t really own any super-cute shoes like everyone else seems to be Instagramming I decided to go a more realistic route. I didn’t want to photograph boring empty shoes though, and it’s kind of hard to take pictures of your own feet so I asked my sister to be my stand-in. She pretty much only wears sandals though, which is fine since I have a very similar pair, but having bare feet in the photo just seemed…boring? odd? I dunno, so I told her to put on some socks. I’m a knitter though, so of course they had to be hand-knit socks. So basically I threw “realism” out the window during the course of staging this photograph because these are not my shoes, or my feet, and I don’t actually wear socks with sandals despite my geographical affiliation. I’m a bad North-westerner I guess.

Staging and lighting: There were two main light sources for this one – the dining room lights to the right and the standing lamp to the left and in front. I had my sister stand on a chair both to bring her closer to the light sources and to avoid doing detailed photography of the cat hair carpet.

light source on the right

light source on the right

light source on the left

light source on the left

location of lamp in relation to chair

location of lamp in relation to chair

For the Instagram I cropped the photo and used the Hudson filter with a border. The unedited photo was very yellow and the Hudson filter added the most blue to counteract that.

On the computer I cropped the image, enhanced it, and increased the blue.

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

It’s still nowhere near true-to-color. Conclusion: the living room lights are way too yellow to be a useful light source. If I want to do living room photography without the benefit of natural light I’ll have to switch out all the bulbs.

 

Photocalypse: How to Make Stuff Up

I’ve been attempting to knit and crochet this entire yarn bomb freeform, which is quite a feat considering how much of a control freak I am. I actually had to read a book in order to learn how to make stuff up as I go along. This is the book I’ve been reading.

Staging and lighting: I put the book on the footrest of my recliner. The lighting here is a bit odd. It’s mostly from the entryway light which is behind and to the left of the foot of the recliner.

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Instagram edits: cropped closer, used tilt-shift vertically and moved it so it didn’t obscure the title and author, used the lux function, Hudson filter, and border

Computer edits: cropped, enhanced, and increased the blue

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

Conclusion: this is a really bad spot for photography. The lighting is just too weird. It’s a wonder how I get so much crafting done in this chair.

Photocalypse: Freeform

Around 3 pm I came out to the living room and noticed a bit of sunlight on the couch. I decided to take advantage of it for today’s photography prompt – texture.

Staging and lighting: I tossed the freeform fragments I made yesterday into the ray of sunshine on the couch and tucked all the loose ends underneath them.

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I used the Hefe filter and border in Instagram.

I cropped and enhanced the photo in iPhoto.

edited with iPhoto

edited with iPhoto

WIP-Cracking Wednesday: Crochet Appreciation Day

I just finished blocking my crocheted shawl! It’s too dark to take final photos though, so it’s still technically a WIP. I took some pre-blocking photos yesterday that I can share with you though.

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The pattern is Eye of the Storm by Ryan Hollist. The yarn is indigodragonfly Merino Sock in Ruxpinosferatu (the darker center color) and “Only the Exact Phrase I Used Was ‘Don’t'” – Inara (the outer red color).

I’ve renamed the project Galactic Storm since it looks so celestial. After I finished I went digging for some NASA photos and found one that looks remarkably similar. It’s the center of the Milky Way.

image from NASA/JPL-Caltech

image from NASA/JPL-Caltech

After I unpinned it and brought it inside, I showed it to my mom. She thought it looked lovely, had a wonderful drape to it, and seemed surprised that it was crochet. After a bit of prodding she admitted that she’s never seen a crochet project that wasn’t made with thick yarn (often acrylic) and resulted in a bulky, stiff looking project. I would like to change that perception.

Now, I’m a die-hard knitter, so I don’t exactly go out looking for awesome crochet patterns. Despite that, I have come across some exceptional crochet designs while browsing Ravelry. Here are a few of my favorites:

Bel by Aoibhe Ni

Phoenix by Aoibhe Ni

Lop by Aoibhe Ni

Venus by Aoibhe Ni (in fact, maybe you should just browse all of Aoibhe Ni‘s designs)

Fibonacci’s Biased by Julie Blagojevich

Himbeerwellen by Tanja Osswald

Venetian Carnival by Michelle B.

Vera by Katie Grady

Newland Tank by Beth Nielsen

So, get out your hooks and let’s start showing the world how pretty crochet can be!

WIP-Cracking Wednesday: Time Traveler’s Edition

I am giving you a glimpse into the future. This WIP doesn’t exist yet. I’m not allowed to start it until Friday because it’s for a knit-a-long. I AM allowed to swatch for it though! In a shocking twist, it is NOT a knitting project. I will be crocheting for the first time in years!

It’s kind of hard to explain my preference for knitting. I learned how to crochet long before I learned how to knit, but it never really caught on for me. There’s nothing wrong with crochet and I will defend it to any naysayers who try to claim it’s inferior (and there are some very opinionated crochet-haters out there, which just baffles me). I think part of the reason I haven’t done much crocheting is because there seems to be a lack of attractive crochet designs out there. It’s rare for me to come across a crochet pattern on Ravelry and instantly think “WANT!”

Thankfully, the tide seems to be turning. When the indigodragonfly Giftapalooza patterns came out (now available to everyone!), Eye of the Storm grabbed my attention immediately. Shockingly, it was the only crochet pattern in the bunch! Now there’s a Giftapalooza KAL happening, so I instantly went digging for my hooks.

I really liked how the colors seem to blend in the sample shawl, so when I went stash diving I looked for a pair of colors that could give a similar effect. This is what I came up with:

indigodragonfly Merino Sock in "Only the Exact Phrase I Used was 'Don't'" - Inara and Ruxpinosferatu (April 2012 club colorway)

indigodragonfly Merino Sock in “Only the Exact Phrase I Used was ‘Don’t'” – Inara and Ruxpinosferatu (April 2012 club colorway)

The darker Ruxipinosferatu will be the inside color, and Inara will be edging color.

Next I started swatching, both to figure out what hook size I wanted to use and to see if I could remember how to crochet. Once I got the first row done I had to stare at the stitches for about ten minutes before I figured out where the hook was supposed to go next. Eventually I busted through the cobwebs in my brain and remembered how crocheting works. I made two swatches – one with an E hook (what the pattern calls for), and one with a G hook (since I seem to be missing the F hook).

top swatch is with E hookbottom swatch is with G hook

top swatch is with E hook
bottom swatch is with G hook

The E hook produced a nice solid aesthetically pleasing fabric, but was a bit too stiff. The G hook produced a fabric that looks a little messier (it always bothers me when fabric is just a little hole-y, but not so hole-y that the negative space looks like a design element), but it feels fluid and soft and fabulous.

I think I’m going to go with the airy G hook swatch this time. I want to wear this shawl when it’s done, not just stare at it. Now I just have to sit on my hands until Friday.

Urban Craft Uprising!

Yesterday I made my bi-annual trip to Urban Craft Uprising! Usually I end up coming home with bags full of goodies, but since I’m dead-broke this year I was content to just marvel at all of the glorious hand-made things. This time I came armed with my camera, and I have LOTS to show you. So much that I can’t possibly fit it all in one post. Let me introduce you to some of my favorite vendors from the Winter show.

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Our first stop was Craftwich Creations with beautiful hand-carved crochet hooks making me wonder if those pointy sticks are all they’re cracked up to be.

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I bought a gorgeous shawl pin here at the last show, and it’s now my favorite! (Some people may call them hair sticks, but those people clearly don’t have enough shawls).

KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn

KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn simultaneously exploited my addiction to popcorn AND salted caramel by offering tastings of their Hawaiian Salted Caramel Popcorn. Holy crap, it was delicious! The popcorn was thoroughly coated with the caramel so it had a satisfying crunch, and the balance between sweet and salty was absolutely perfect! They also had a Tuxedo flavor – caramel corn covered in white and dark chocolate – which in this household is known as “crack.” I avoided tasting that one out of consideration for the vendor. I’m really not kidding about being dead-broke and I cannot guarantee the safety of anyone standing between me and a bag of crack.

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The first geekery of the day was provided by Polymath Design Lab and their wonderful collection of scientific adornments. What self-respecting lab rat wouldn’t want a test tube necklace?

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There were cufflinks for the male geeks.

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There was even a Cthulhu.

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A variety of geeky Christmas ornaments were available as well. My favorite was the chromosome.

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Circle Couture 2

UCU always has at least one booth featuring breath-taking fashions, and this time Circle Couture was the one.

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LOOK AT THE PRETTY.

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Afternoon to Remember 1

Back in tasty-land, I came across Afternoon to Remember Fine Teas and Gifts. You know it’s a good sign when the tasting tray is nearly empty. The Creme Brule Tea Cookies (middle tray) were so heavenly! The cookies themselves weren’t for sale, they were there to entice people to buy their cookbooks. The Creme Brule cookie recipe is in Drop by for Tea, by Amy Lawrence.

Afternoon to Remember 2

For the French enthusiasts among us, I apologize for the appearance of the words “creme brule” in the blog. I can’t for the life of me figure out how to add the appropriate accent marks in WordPress, and without those the extra “e” looks really weird. It’s not just you, it’s bothering me too.

Cellar Door 2

My first narwhal sighting of the day was at Cellar Door Mercantile, where they had shirts and cards featuring my favorite animal!

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They had really cool non-narwhal illustrations too!

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Almeda Pottery 4

Almeda Pottery was absolutely mind-blowing.

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These are the teeniest tiniest vases I have ever seen!

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I mean seriously, look at how small and skinny those are! And the glazing jobs on them are gorgeous!

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HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?! (Pro tip: there are process videos in the link provided above…I still don’t believe it though).

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In case your brain still can’t process the scale of these things, here’s an adult human hand for reference. Rumor has it you can buy some of this miniature pottery at the Seattle Art Museum gift shop.

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This was one of my favorite booths from the last show and I’m so glad Careful It Bites was back for another round.

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I would have killed for one of these as a kid. Hell, I’d STILL kill for one. Who wouldn’t want a severed Sasquatch head?

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This booth is all about the details…bloody fur still sticking to the shears, fresh from the Sasquatch beheading.

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Other monster parts can be found poking out from under the tables. Best. Booth. Ever.

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For your cooking pleasure, Beautiful Briny Sea was back again with more delicious salts! I LOVE these salts and have been spreading them throughout as many kitchens as possible. At home we have three flavors so far: Chorizo, Truffle, and Magic Unicorn.

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While all are delicious, Magic Unicorn is probably my favorite. It seriously goes with EVERYTHING.

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Yarny contact was finally made with Victory Garden Yarn! I had a fabulous time talking with Anna about her crocheted creations. Here she is modeling her super-cozy Wisteria Wrap, which she had available in a variety of bold colors.

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Her booth was piled high with giant color-blocked and striped cowls.

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This sky-blue and orange one really caught my eye, and it was SO SOFT. I was shocked to find out it was an acrylic/wool blend! I know intellectually that there are good acrylics out there that don’t feel like plastic, but it’s rare for me to actually find one! This whole booth made me want to find some super-bulky yarn to cast-on with…

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For more yarny goodness I went to the UCU regulars, Spincycle Yarns.

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I’ve had my eye on their Natural Novelty Yarn for a while now because I am just itching to knit Purlieu. I was waiting for the right color to come along though, and of course the second my wallet is empty, there it is. They came out with a new color called “Fever Dreams” that is the most beautiful purple with tufts of blue and cloud gray in it. Someday, Fever Dreams…someday.

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Finally, I ran into Moxie/Hi-Fiber Needle Felting Kits, which is where I got my needle felting kit that I used to make my test pony in The Art of Stabbing Oneself.

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As usual, there were lots of super cute needle-felted things on display.

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There were even some with lights!

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I spent some time watching Moxie work (without stabbing herself at all, I noticed). She gave me some tips on how to build up a design – in this case a simple ball. She didn’t poke the ball nearly as vigorously as I did, which probably added to the lack of blood-letting. I will try to be less violent next time and see how that goes.

I’ll have many more vendors to show you tomorrow! There are just too many craft artists I’m excited about to fit into this one post!

If you want to help support a developing craft artist, there are still 5 days left to contribute to my Knotty Narwhal Indiegogo campaign! There are many cool perks you can claim in exchange for your donation, including my own needle-felted art! (I promise not to bleed on them).