Lena Brown's Profile

About

***ENTER MY SHOP HERE***
http://www.etsy.com/shop/lenabrowndesigns

Welcome. Let me introduce myself - my name is Lena Brown and I am a creative design engineer or that is my self-made description of what I do. That is also a fancy name for an artisan. I spend my days thinking about new creative design projects, fabricate those ideas and sell the items to you. The bulk of my handmade goods (creations) are knitting needle / art tool cases, handspun yarns, angora rabbit sock yarns, spinning fibers (wool and alpaca) wallets and fine art photographs. Oh, one more thing, I also handpaint my own angora sock yarns. You'll find a few of those in the shop as well. Stop by anytime to see what is new! I enjoy making just about anything. The creative process I find most intriguing is using basic materials and turning it into something useful. To whip up these ideas, I use a variety of…

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  • Female
  • Joined January 19, 2006

Favorite materials

fabric, tape, plastic, yarn, wool, angora, fiber, alpaca, needles, paper, thread, equipment

Shop

lenabrowndesigns
Knitting Needle Cases and Knitting Supplies

About

***ENTER MY SHOP HERE***
http://www.etsy.com/shop/lenabrowndesigns

Welcome. Let me introduce myself - my name is Lena Brown and I am a creative design engineer or that is my self-made description of what I do. That is also a fancy name for an artisan. I spend my days thinking about new creative design projects, fabricate those ideas and sell the items to you. The bulk of my handmade goods (creations) are knitting needle / art tool cases, handspun yarns, angora rabbit sock yarns, spinning fibers (wool and alpaca) wallets and fine art photographs. Oh, one more thing, I also handpaint my own angora sock yarns. You'll find a few of those in the shop as well. Stop by anytime to see what is new! I enjoy making just about anything. The creative process I find most intriguing is using basic materials and turning it into something useful. To whip up these ideas, I use a variety of equipment. Here is a short list of my equipment or should I say collection: sewing machines (new, antique, industrial), serger, spinning wheels, drum carders, circular sock machines (antique Legare 47 & NZAK ), flatbed knitting machine and more - lots more.

Let's move on to my studio space. Currently I work out of my home. I have separate spaces for different types of projects. My sock machine is located in my large kitchen with my yarn stash. The office is in a room with my ready to ship inventory like needle cases, wallets and fine art prints. Fabric projects are created in the sewing room along with my collection of antique sewing machines. I prefer to keep the fiber/yarn projects separate from the fabrics. They don't get along well. :) I've been dreaming of someday combining all my creative spaces into one single building where I can keep all my equipment ready to use at any given moment. Organize all my materials by color or type. Throw in a TV, bathroom, dye sink, stove, heat and a couch - it will be my perfect creative space! Eat, sleep and play!

Now to the interesting part of my biography: (scroll down to the bottom for a summary)

********** FIBER ART **********

My mother taught me to knit and crochet. Soon this new found craft turned into a passion and then followed learning to spin my own yarn. In the meantime, I wrote a few patterns and sold those on eBay (user lenasbrown) and also crocheted many shawls (when those were trendy).

Then came the equipment - I had to have it all! Knitting needles, crochet hooks, stitch markers (I made and sold those too), accessories to get any project done and of course yarn. A fiber artist can't create anything without yarn or at the very least fiber. When I used store bought yarn for projects I didn't really like the feel of it flowing through my fingers. Then I discovered hand spun yarn through a friend who raised Targhee sheep. Her yarn was simply divine! I had to learn how to spin my own and started with a handmade drop spindle. After I mastered the spindle or so I thought, I needed a spinning wheel. Whoa! Those are pricey, so I started with a Babe's Fiber Garden Black Sheep production wheel. This baby was light but got the job done. As I progressed my spinning techniques and learned short and long draws, I upgraded to a solid maple spinning wheel made by Lendrum in Canada. The Lendrum upright wheel was great and had all the accessories I wanted, but the bobbin was still to small for my liking. Then I moved up to a Majacraft Alpaca wheel. The alpaca wheel is my current workhorse I use for all my spinning. Of course I had to have all the attachments and tons of bobbins including a Woolee Winder for production. And I can't forget the other important equipment: squirrel cage, niddy noddies, skein winder, ball winder, felting machine, drum carder, hand cards, picker and most importantly fiber. Phew! This is an equipment heavy art and heavy equipment.

As my passion for natural fibers grew, I tried my hand at raising my own fiber animals - angora rabbits and 2 alpacas. The bunnies gave me great joy when I harvested their long wooly fibers with my scissors. My small herd produced around 5-10 pounds of fiber every 90 days. I had it stored in every nook and cranny in my house. When my stash accumulated to a sufficient amount, I sent the fiber to a local cottage mill to be made into sock yarn. As I eagerly awaited months to receive the fiber back as yarn, I brainstormed projects and colors. I dyed and handpainted samples of my own yarns with Sabraset dyes. Oh by the way, I love color too. The way in which the colors flow into the fibers and intermingle with each other is mesmerizing to me. Its like a surprise in every batch! When the yarn arrived it was absolutely the softest I have ever held in my hands. I handpainted and dyed most of it and hand knitted the warmest socks. Until I discovered antique sock machines.

Knitting any project can be a long process and my attention span is short. When I discovered antique hand-cranked sock machines, I knew I had to have one. I searched eBay and online for a machine. Then settled on a Legare 47 that needed some work. It was originally in Quebec, Canada and arrived safely to its new home in my studio. The learning curve to making a sock on this machine was steep but I tackled it within a week. When I want something really bad, I work hard to get it and that is just what I had to do with the sock machine. The ribber was another story. But I could make socks, lots of socks for warm feet.

********** SEWING **********

As a young child, I played in my mother's sewing room while she designed and made custom clothing for women, formal wear and wedding dresses. When I was ready to learn how to sew, she taught me on her noisy Kenmore sewing machine when I was 5. Our first project was a purple plaid "boob tube" gathered around the top and bottom with white elastic straps. It probably has an official name, but I prefer boob tube. I think I still have it stashed away somewhere.

After I accumulated a large stash of knitting needles and accessories, I needed something to store this mess in. My first sewing machine was a gift from my loving husband and sewed my first knitting needle organizer. It also made it through 800 more! Those sold like hot-cakes on eBay. My new hobby turned into a part-time semi-lucrative SAHM job and kept me busy but on my schedule. As this grew, I added more fabrics to my selection of knitting needle organizers, but kept the same design. My customers loved their new organizers, but my sales were very seasonal and I didn't like the lull. I brainstormed other things I could whip up with my stash of fabrics. Those ideas are still in the works. My sewing machine needed an upgrade too. I fell in love with the Janome 6600 and we became good friends. Then I sewed on it too much and needed an industrial machine - the Juki 9000. She is my everyday workhorse and pumps out all my products as fast as I can sew.

Also visit www.LenaBrown.com to read my blog and see what else I am up to.

Let's sum this all up:

Fiber Stash +
Yarn Stash +
Fiber Art Equipment +
Fabric and Thread Stash +
Sewing Machine Collection +
Digital Camera and Lenses +
24" iMac +
Creativity wheels at work 24/7 +
Miscellaneous Craft Items like acrylic paint and beads +
_________________________
One big encompassing creative life full of possibilties


- Lena Brown

www.LenaBrown.com

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