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Needle Felting & Needle Punching

January 29th, 2007 at 09:07 am » Comments (0)

Playing yet another Name Game,

It would seem I am possessed this year with this whole “what’s in a name thing”

But I really prefer when correct names are used unless one is intending to be Entertaining (i.e., I call my blog entries, Blog-A-Mentaries and fellow Blog writers, Blog-A-Venturers, cause you never know what is going to happen.

So, while the introduction over the last few years of attachments and machines – has been great

EXCEPT the almost epidemic of misuse of the functions served by these tools, it is just making me somewhat crazy

Felting is the process by which the follicles found on WOOL (from many animal/protein fibers, but most easily Sheep) are somehow encouraged to wrap around each other.

For WET Felting, there are basically three things needed.
1. A Solution (soapy water works best, but you can do it with even Tap Water) so that the fibers can be encouraged to expand making the follicles “stand out” a bit.
2. Agitation, so they can be encouraged to wrap around each other.
3. Finally Temperature Change, so those expanded follicles not only go back to their original “closed”, but are “set” in their new twisted, meshed, compacted configuration.

DRY Felting, although much less messy and requiring a fair bit more work, essentially tries to do the same thing, but without water/solutions.

Dry Felting is accomplished by the pushing and PULLING of those follicles by the tiny barbs on “felting needles” – creating tangling so that the necessary twisting, meshing and as a result, compacting of the fiber into some form of fabric or 3D shape like my little friend Piccolo pictured here.

Now I know it has become “politically correct” to refer to thread as Fibers, but I do not. WHY because Fibers are really what makes up a yarn or thread or FELT fabric before it undergoes any sort of spinning process to create yarn and threads.

Bottom line …

without that twisting/tangling/meshing compacting you are not making Felt,
you are not Needle FELTING

So what are you doing? Felting, Punching or A Combination, better called

Embellishing & XPressing yourself

Check back in a day or two.

What Is A Cooperative

December 18th, 2006 at 07:57 am » Comments (0)

Before you can “discuss” the pros & cons of either from any perspective, we need to establish some definitions.

According to the article at Encyclopaedia Brittanica On-Line domain and to quote from that articles’ comments on

>>> Consumer cooperatives, or co-ops, are retail outlets that are owned and operated by consumers for their mutual benefit. The first consumer cooperative store was established in Rochdale, Eng., in 1844, and most co-ops are modeled after the same, original principles. They are based on open consumer membership, equal voting among members, limited customer services, and shared profits among members in the form of rebates generally related to the amounts of their purchases. <<< From those early days have evolved US "versions" like the Harvest Moon group in Boyleston Massachusetts or the legendary Ithaca System of Service Hours & Dollars are open to any individual or family that is interested in buying products in cooperation with other members.

Clearly the standard established in our country, These United States, is that true Co-Ops require the element which gives it its greatest legitimacy is that ALL members MUST contribute MORE than just Dollars.

So how does that differ from the groups, such as The Yahoo Group “yarncoop” recenterly renamed “yarnbuyers” or http://groups.yahoo.com/group/YarnCo-op/ Quite simply, in each these case neither rises to the definition of Co-Op since only a tiny number of folks contribute anything but dollars – although all who participate “benefit”

So allow me to walk out on this limb (hoping there is no one behind me planning to use one of my favorite “home dec” tools,
the Milwaukee Sawzall And call a spade a spade. So far, about 99 out of 100 in the close to 700 hundred “Co-Ops” I have “visited” listed in Yahoo are really Group Buy groups.

Nothing to be ashamed of, just does not sound nearly as altruistic as true Co-Ops.

So let’s decide to call these 2000 groups and their probably many thousands of members what they really are – Group Buyers.

The New Competition? Maybe so…

December 17th, 2006 at 10:50 am » Comments (0)

Over the last few years, I have frequently written and been quoted as saying, that Independent NeedleArts & Sewing Retailers can no longer just rely on the “cyclical nature of retail”

Today’s competition is different than it was in the 80’s and 90’s. Whether you are Brick & Mortar, Mail Order/Internet, a “retail show gypsy” – things have changed and while we should not discount all we have learned over the years, we also need to be thinking about what is different today.

For quite some time now, I have been researching Group Buying activities on the internet.

And recently decided to participate in one on a group that seemed to be among the most reliably run. It has been an interesting experience.

As part of that, a retailer wrote to me and asked ” are Co-Op our new competitors ”

My answer, for now, is “Maybe, but it depends”

The first thing we need to do is establish some sort of “definitions” and context.

Like art, it is not my job to “judge” whether a form of competition is valid or not. I may disagree with some of their methods, but being pretty much politically Liberatarian (not to be confused with Liberal) in my views, if that is how they choose to operate, then that is there choice. Long as thier activities do not infringe on the rights of others to choose, “fine”

From the perspective of “It Is All Just Business” my opinion is that it exists and so need to be understood and that understanding used to leverage your ability to compete.

And it is from that perspective that I will share more thoughts.

Designer Resources: The Social/Hobby Organization

December 15th, 2006 at 08:13 am » Comments (0)

I was asked to explain why a designer should consider joining a trade association in addition to the social/hobby organization of thier choice.

After struggling for several hours about how to say what I so passionately believe – it was clear that a single response would not “do it”

Without the necessary background and context there is no way to answer the questions, much less have the discussion or more likely based on past experience – suffer a crucifixion. God knows every time I try to be a Horse Whisperer it gets me in trouble.

So, I gave up and decided to just write what I feel, believe, or whatever with no malice intended but positive that some will assume there is and who knows, where that will end up this time no body knows

The first controversial statement? It is completely beyond my comprehension how anyone who lives in the real world today – where rapid changes in circumstances can as fast as the click of the enter key, can still base their business decisions on information or experiences even a few years old.

If you belong to a Social/Hobby organization, with rare exceptions, you need to realize that is it not in their charter to help you develop your professional career beyond the development of your techical skills.

These Social/Hobby organizations have two primary purposes,
to provide fellowship
to provide education opportunities in the craft they serve.

There is NOTHING wrong with the choices made by these organizations to limit their focus. This is not to say no opportunities exist within these wonderful groups for the professional; but, we need to be realistic and not be misled by what we would like vs what exists.

So, where “should” those who wish to pursue a formal (primary or secondary) career look for the kind of contacts that will further their career…

In ADDITION to joining the social/hobby organization(s) that support your area of Professional interest and expertise; you need to first identify your goals.

And, that needs its own blog-a-mentary of its own

hope you will share your thoughts “on the subject” soon

P.S. To read more posts in this series, select the category

It Is All Just Business

from the side bar or Search for Designer Resources

Sometimes you laugh and sometimes you cry

December 14th, 2006 at 19:14 pm » Comments (0)

We have a circle of friends who enjoy sharing a bit of inspiration and humor or just plain good thoughts. It is how we let each other know that even if we don’t have much news, we hold them in our thoughts. We send each other jokes, poems, and often slightly distorted humor.

I won’t promise this series will be completely g-rated, and you may not agree with the political commentary from time to time, but that is okay.

So for all those who understand DVC, hope you enjoy these notes – at least I’m not sending chain mail

Peace of the Season


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