What the fuzz?

Felting? Fulling? What is it?!? We decided to put together a little ‘infomercial’ on what sets our products apart and what it is that we actually do.

I believe it should also be noted that that some folks may have been attempting to confuse what we do with wet felting. Wet felting is basically using the raw, unspun wool and turning it into a felt sheet. This is nothing like our process. If it does not say fulled or seamless shrunken wool then it is not created the same.

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What it takes to make.

I may seem like a lucky jerk for being able to work from home. Sure, I know that I am very fortunate to be there for my kids, day in and day out. I’m raising them while working, and I’m so thankful for that. But I really don’t see ‘makers’ talk about the ugly side of this ‘industry’, the sometimes depressing side of it: the roadblocks, the cynicism, the doubts, the time invested, the rip-offs.  You see our nicely finished, hand-made item being held by a freshly-bathed babe on a beautiful antique quilt and you think “their life is so perfect, I hate them.”
Am I wrong? I don’t think I am because I am guilty of thinking the same about other makers.

But it’s far from perfect. Maybe in always putting our best foot forward, we kind of lost that personal connection with others. Maybe we’ve become un-relatable, though we are probably the most laid back, easy-to-get-along-with people.

So yeah, this line of work can be a big bummer at times. Have you ever worked for two years on a design, shown a sneak peek and said “coming soon!” as if you were going to have a stinking parade for yourself, then you find out a few days later that you are finally pregnant and you get sick? Like dead almost. I mean the kind where you lose 30 lbs in a month and are in and out of the hospital to get your fluids replenished because everything made you sick—crackers, water, air, Kleenex, you name it. And then that new pattern you should’ve had done before Valentine’s day is still in limbo come April because you haven’t been able to eat food for two months, much less count stitches.

When you are a ‘maker’ for a living, life can really put a hiatus on things.

And, when you’re finally able to eat, you demolish half a bag of tortilla chips with salsa and stare at a half-knitted doll dress and think “What am I doing with my life? I’m thirty-one, I should be knitting trendy chunky blankets or neon pink speckled shawls or something.” But the truth is, I don’t want to make either of those. I want to make dolls and knit sweet little baby sweaters and bonnets. But, I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I have questioned what I’m doing. Ask my mom, she has about 1,743 text from me of half-finished projects and I’m asking, “is this stupid??”

Then, when you decide that the dolls you spent months making actually look stupid, and ‘who is gonna want that rabbit/grasshopper hybrid…’ (don’t even judge the fabric pile in the corner and the paint-swatch walls. That wall has since been painted and all that fabric has since been hidden from my husband)…


…and you toss that junk into a basket full of others, destined for the Island of Misfit Toys along with those dolls that only have hair stitched on half of their head; the ones who look like they should be named Olga and have a face that only your child will love:


And as if I wasn’t enough of a hindrance to myself, I get the ridiculous emails. You wouldn’t believe the kind of emails from people wanting us to make a whole pattern from an item we made 11 years ago so that they too can make it. Like we can just pull all that from memory… Or people, who have no intention of buying, request a complimentary 1”bear for their blind aunt, I kid you not. Would she tell the difference from the bear and a piece of lint?? Or the emails from people that don’t even care about the product you made but instead ask where they can buy the tea set in the background of your photo. The constant emails alone are enough to make me grey—you don’t earn a dime for your time dealing with that stuff.

I wish that was the worst of it. I think the worst is creating something from nothing, not earning nearly enough for your time, then seeing your design duplicated by someone who is making money off your idea, hand-over-fist.

You may see the perfection of the finished item, but boy does it take a long path to get there. I’m sure more venting will come.

Just know that if you’re a maker enduring these things, hang in there. You’re not alone.

Hugs,

Rhonda

November Light

I don’t know about there, but it has been unseasonably warm here in our neck of the woods. Today, finally today, the weather dipped a little bit. Our noses were numb on this morning’s walk, but it was good. I was beginning to grow tired of the perfect temps as odd as it is to say. But we are knitters and crocheters. We live for the cold.  Those unbearable 70-80 degree days have had their highlights, though. For about a week there, I would look out my front windows to see dozens, if not a hundred little butterflies floating around all of my Perky Sues, Petunias and Alyssum. The kids would go outside and just twirl around in the butterflies. It was awesome. And even for about a week after Halloween, we had still enjoyed ‘spooky sprinkles’ on our cocoa. A certain little someone even wore her costume day and night for a while there (below she can be seen delighting in a yogurt breakfast and walking brother to the bus stop dressed as a butterfly).

The days are more noticeably shorter, the stretched out shadows outside begin at about 4pm now. And there’s just something about November’s light around here. Especially at the beginning and end of the day. Everything seems more golden.

But we are bundling up today–hooray! And so are our creations. I mean, look at my mom’s most recent bear below. Is he not the sweetest little guy you’ve ever seen. With his little hand knitted overalls and cowl… He is available here for a very short time! This little guy is unlike any other artist bear–he was crocheted out of 100% wool then put through a vigorous process to shrink him up, making him more plush and fleece-like. Impressive work from that woman! She also has a pattern just released for her Knot Head bears which is for sale on Etsy and will be offered at other venues soon. We’ve also got some warm wooly knitted designs coming up, so look out! Thanks for stopping by!

Hugs, Rhonda

 

 

Fleeting Moments

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img_6246img_6382img_6402img_6501img_6563img_6963img_7145img_7230img_7249-800x533img_7252-800x533I feel it–the summer season is beginning to fade. Masses of flowers are staying bloomed a bit longer, now that they aren’t so quickly baked in the sun. There’s a cool morning breeze that teases us, only making way to warm midday temps. The occasional wind gusts whip through and scatter petals all over like confetti. This is when I begin to beckon the sweater weather by baking everything with pumpkin and cloves and leaving an apple cider candle lit all day. This is when I eat entirely too much bread. And yes, I break a sweat waiting for a pie to finish baking. Completely worth it.

In spite of my baked-sweets Fall summoning, it comes in it’s own slow-as-molasses timing. As soon as it’s here, it’s gone. The seemingly shortest, most beautiful season. As soon as it passes I feel like I spend the whole year waiting for next fall.  Here in the Southwest, I feel like the Dog Days of Summer last soooo much longer than in other regions.

Though the trees have yet to turn golden, I’ll take my time and enjoy the rest of what the warm sunshine has to offer in this last week of summer–no matter that it feels like an eternity. Besides, as the seasons grow and change, so do my kids. And I’d be okay if that would slow down.

Here’s a few things we’ve been working on, eaten, or enjoyed looking at while the weather hasn’t complied with our desires. If you’d like to see some more of those adorable rattles, view them here.

Thanks for following.

Hugs, Rhonda

 

 

 

Whimsical!

As you may have seen sneak peeks on our Etsy and Instagram–we will now be incorporating some more kid-friendly items! The new Out of the Thistle® Whimsicals include rattles and dolls! These items are still 100% handmade, crocheted from 100% wool.  They are created with the intent of being passed down for many generations. Their unique design allow for young children to easily hold and play with the new dolls and rattles. These toys have heirloom-quality, yet they are durable enough for everyday play. they are also visually appealing to fit perfectly into any child bedroom décor.

These dolls and rattles were put through a vigorous washing technique to shrink them, making them firm and durable. Their soft exterior makes them safer to play with, as well!

You may view all new items in our Etsy shop while our website is under construction. Be on the lookout for more whimsical designs!

 

A well-rounded week.

This week has been a full one.

We picked about 200 plums from our tree. About 70 were gifted, another 100 were used in homemade plum chutney, and a few dozen were plucked by the kids and inhaled right where they stood. And I’ll be the first to tell you that canning is no joke. Chopping and pitting all those plums was, well, the pits. However, I can’t wait to pass around this chutney and enjoy a spread of it on crostini with some brie. The plums that are still on the tree are being thoroughly enjoyed by a dozen birds daily.

Though it was extremely hot down here in the Southwest, we enjoyed some of our time outside letting loose a few thousand lady bugs. The kids were in heaven. They squealed and let the bugs climb all over them, carefully picking them up and placing them on rose petals. It was really sweet and entertaining.

And as we usually do, we spent entirely too much time taking photos of our flowers and ate too many sweets. It was a good week.

On the business side, my mom finished a few little bears and had them photographed, patiently waiting for their debut. Keep an eye out for these 100% wool, crocheted-then-shrunken, creamy-hued cuties on Ebay. Also be sure to check back soon with some new and not-usual products from us! we’ll also be making visual changes as well!

Thanks for following!

Hugs, Rhonda