Playing with Natural Fibers by Melody Fulone

Since beginning work at a yarn and loom company, I've been inspired every day to go home and be creative with fiber art. Sometimes I'm too tired to keep up with the creativity, but I never run out of ideas. My latest obsession is working with a little rigid heddle loom I bought - it's super annoying to warp, but so addicting to weave on.

Just look at how gorgeous this is! Woven with linen and cotton.

Just look at how gorgeous this is! Woven with linen and cotton.

I've been on the lookout for high-quality natural fibers lately to add to my pieces. One component I really wanted to include in my pieces was wool roving. My coworker Michelle happens to be an expert on wool, and she helped me figure out where to find it, what to ask for and look for, and she even brought in a massive bag of the stuff for me! 

I'm planning to incorporate more wool roving into my weavings and wall hangings, but I couldn't resist trying this woven hoop piece. It's so delightfully natural and organic - it felt like weaving directly from a sheep. Which... it pretty much was. Ha!

It looks like a woolly mammoth!

It looks like a woolly mammoth!

Working with linen has been rewarding, too. It's a little stiff, and a bit like weaving with grass, which makes for a delightfully minimalist, organic finished product.

natural linen fiber

The two pieces pictured in this post will be making their way to a special maker's market on Saturday. Be sure to follow me on Instagram or like my Facebook to keep up with updates, and subscribe to my email list so you'll never miss a post!

CHICAGO by Melody Fulone

A few months ago, my friend Tori from my time in Arkansas asked if I'd like to meet her out in Chicago for a long weekend. I leaped at the chance - my second fiber art commission for Nando's is on display there! Plus, Chicago seemed like a really interesting city to visit, full of Art Deco charm and beautiful architecture. We planned the trip and I booked my very first Airbnb.

We went to see my lamps the very first night! It was surreal seeing 53 lampshades I knit myself, hanging in a public restaurant for all to see. The cashier was surprised when she realized a person had created all of those shades by hand. I got to snap a few photos and gawk at them for as long as I wanted. :) To create these lampshades, I designed a pattern for the shade from a big lightbulb and concept photo they sent me. Then I simply made 52 more shades from the same pattern. It was really fascinating to figure out the size, number of stitches, etc.

We did touristy things the rest of the time, including visiting Millennium Park where the Cloud Gate (the famous 'Bean') is and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. We also stopped by the Art Institute of Chicago, which was amazing!

After the art museum, we took a river cruise to see the architecture of Chicago. Apparently the city was pretty much a playground for up-and-coming architects back in the day - each building more modern and innovative than the last! 

Later, we visited Chicago 360 and enjoyed some amazing views of the city. 

Walking around the city at night had its charms, too. The city is crisscrossed with train tracks and bridges, and many of the buildings were lit up purposefully for night viewing.

The remainder of the trip is a blur - we visited the Brookfield Zoo, the Shedd Aquarium, took another cruise on the lake to see the skyline, walked around Navy Pier, and more. I can't imagine living in a city full-time, but I love visiting! The hustle and bustle is compelling.

Thanks for taking this little tour with me! I'm so glad I was able to visit this city. I think my favorite part was seeing my handiwork on display, but I would visit again for Chicago itself. 

Plants in Pots on the Deck by Melody Fulone

Since moving to a solo apartment, I've expanded my plant collection quite a bit. I currently own three succulents, three string-of-pearls, a painted leaf plant, a pepperomia, two ivy plants, and a big sun-loving plant that I cannot remember the name of. I also have a few cherry tomato plants growing on my deck, along with lavender and rosemary. 

Plants in Pots on the Deck

My ivy plant was bought on clearance at Lowe's and came back to life quite satisfactorily. It is thriving in a big pot on my coffee table under the sunny window, but I wanted more ivy elsewhere in the house, and preferably in a smaller pot. So I chopped a few stems, stuck them in a glass of water, and waited for roots to grow. Now, I guess you can actually just plant the chopped stems right away if you want, but I neglected to Google this and just let them root in the water at first. This worked out, and I think gave them a stronger foundation. I spent some time doing this on Saturday after yet another trip to Lowe's expanded my plant collection to include a mini green succulent with red tips and a blue-green succulent called 'blue chalk tips'.

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I settled in on the deck and began re-potting. I used regular planting soil (regular in my mind -  there are so many types of soil!) for the ivy cuttings, and well-draining cactus soil for the succulents.

Plants in Pots on the Deck
plants in pots on the deck (7).JPG
Plants in Pots on the Deck

Now I have a beautiful array of plants everywhere, that get moved at will. Poor things! Sometimes I can't decide where to put them. But there's something about green growing things around the house that make it a home. Have you ventured into the world of plants? Do you have a favorite plant? How about a favorite planting tip? Start the discussion below!