Friday, April 24, 2015

Creative News From My House

The other day I spent a very fun afternoon with a friend dyeing wool. We had tables set up on my back patio,  our dyeing supplies spread out, and a camp stove set up to steam the dyed wool. It's been a long time since I've done any dyeing and the first batch that I did was six ounces (170 g) of Bluefaced Leicester top, otherwise known to spinners as BFL. I spot dyed that with the following dye solutions: a soft yellow; a spring green; and a medium lilac. I left open areas of the creamy natural wool just to see how it would look. I spun this on my spinning wheel at a ratio of 7.5:1.


I haven't started knitting socks with this yet as I'm making myself finish my current pair of socks that I have on my needles, but I can hardly wait to try it!

I participated in a spring postcard swap sponsored by Sheila, and my partner this time was Egléa who created a wonderful postcard filled with unique flowers and Easter eggs. Her postcard came this week, and it was so neat to see it waiting for me in my mailbox.



Thanks so much for the lovely postcard!!

I sent out a postcard with a freeform rose that I had made out of hand painted fabric that I cut into strips and then wound around in a circle as I stitched it down.


I finally got a warp on my vintage Harrisville Model A loom and I have it set up to weave the pattern called Ms and Os. Okay-it's a strange weaving title I know-but it's a cool weave structure to play with! The warp is cottolin in a natural color and the weft is a hemp yarn in natural. I'm weaving 16 inch (41 cm) square washcloths that are a bit stiff now, but I know that the hemp will soften over time.



Isn't it rather neat to see the floats emerge across the handwoven fabric? 


I just finished a quilt that I've been working on-I got bogged down on-taking a block from the Vintage Quilt Revival book. The block is the classic tea leaf block and I sewed strips of batiks together to create parts of each block along with Kona cotton solids for the center blocks.



I quilted bubbles in all of the background triangles and squares and let me tell you, I'm not doing bubbles any time soon!! I quilted wavy lines in the green sections using various Sulky rayon threads.
Woohoo-it's done and hanging on the wall in my family room....


Yesterday morning I was cycling along the Boise River, just enjoying the fresh air, the wonderful view and the sparkle of the sunlight on the river.

I cycled by a kite sculpture that brought back fond memories of flying a kite while growing up in Nebraska. Good memories.

And Mr. Giraffe had his head up to where he could see over the back fence at the Boise Zoo, watching the joggers and cyclists flow by while munching on his breakfast.

I just had to stop cycling to take a photo of this nest that was built on a crane way up in the air.


Do you think that the baby birds have one chance to get their first flight right or it's goners for them? Wow, that would be rather daunting, wouldn't it?

Our Angelique tulips are putting on a lovely show in our backyard.


And the bee balm is coming along nicely, which is great to see.


Well, on this rainy morning I'm off to throw my shuttle and then start a new quilt. 

Here's hoping that you have time for fiber/fabric today,
Judy

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Creative News With More Delicious BFL

I've finished spinning the pastel BFL and it was a lot of fun to spin. I think that now that the weather is warming up I need to get my dye supplies out soon and do some dyeing on my back patio.

The other day I was out cycling on my bike and noticed this unusual planter in someone's front yard. Their next door neighbor is trying to sell their house, so I'm not sure how excited they are about having a commode in the front yard of the house next door, but I thought that it would make you laugh.
The flowering trees are putting on a wondrous show here in Boise, so I stopped cycling long enough to take this photo. Aren't they simply lovely?
This week I've created a few postcards to mail out and it's reaffirmed my belief that small quilts are just fun to create. I pulled out my scrap boxes and started sewing to create this one.
The others haven't arrived at their destinations yet, so I'll have to wait to share those. I finished my pink improv sampler quilt and I can't tell you how happy I am to see it  on my studio wall :-)
I am now spinning more BFL deliciousness, this time in a balsam colorway by Frabjous Fibers, which is now being carried by a local yarn shop. Hurrah for that! Usually I have to mail order the fiber that I want to spin. I can't tell you how nice it is to be able to feel the wool and see it before buying!!
Speaking of small projects that allow you to play-I created a small quilt for our front door that adds a dash of color. I added tiny prairie points in various colors just for the fun of it.
Here's hoping that you have time for fabric/fiber today,
Judy

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Creative Time

A lovely surprise was waiting for me in the mail coming all the way from Lin in France.

She does such lovely hand embroidery work and the crocuses that she created for me are quite nice. This just brightened my day-thanks so much for thinking of me, Lin!

I've been spinning the soft BFL top that I recently bought and it's a dream to spin. The top is by Frabjous Fibers and the colorway is Capital Collection. I've actually dusted my wheel off and I'm using it to spin this which is a different choice for me since I usually use a high whorl spindle.



One of my bleeding hearts is flowering, which is always a delight to see.

Our grape hyacinths are putting on a lovely show.

And Myrtle stopped by to see what I was up to,
meowing at me so that I would stop to pet her.

The hand quilting of the improv sampler quilt is coming along. I like seeing the simple lines flowing across the quilt surface.


Creative time just feeds my soul.

Here's hoping that you have time for fabric/fiber today,
Judy

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Creative Time

Out of the blue I had someone contact me, saying that they wanted to send me something :-) Quilters really are the nicest people that you can meet, that's for sure. Speaking of kindness, a huge thanks to all of you who take the time out of your busy day to read my blog. It's been a blessing to my life to get to know you over the years.
The weather here has been warm and just right for gardening! My Creeping myrtle, Vinca minor, is exceptionally happy and flowering around my front flowerbeds.



We have cheery daffodils coming up, and maybe they don't last as long as the tulips do, but I sure love seeing them each year.

We have a mystery flower that is coming up and the petals have a lovely fuchsia color, and the plant has three long leaves. I don't remember planting it, and we can't remember ever seeing it before, so it really is a mystery.


I had some spare time the other day while I was out running errands so I stopped by my local yarn shop, The Twisted Ewe. I haven't been in there in ages and it just feeds the soul to go in, look at all the wonderful yarns/fibers and simply soak it all in. Wool-it's just so awesome. Well, some wondrous woolen goodies came home with me-a lovely superwash BFL Colorshift top by Frabjous Fibers that will make wonderful socks. I can hardly wait to start spinning and I'm trying to decide whether to use my wheel (which has been gathering dust) or to use one of my spindles. Hmmm-that's a tough choice....

And some sock yarn by KFI that is extra-fine Merino, polyamide, and cashmere. Talk about luxury for the feet :-) I started knitting up some socks while watching the extended version of LOR, (Lord of the Rings) which was a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

Speaking of spinning, I started spinning what is left of the Merino top that I had dyed a couple of years ago. I used bright blue, medium blue, and various solution strengths of black to dye this top and I'm spinning it on a spindle that Marshall made me. I thought that I'd ply it with black Merino top blended with alpaca and Tussah silk.
This seems to be the week for smaller projects and I thought it would be fun to make some coasters to go around my house. I had been reading the book, Improvising Tradition, by Alexandra Ledgerwood. I remembered that she had created some coasters using linen fabric and leftover scraps that she called Jewel Box Coasters. Well, I have lots of scraps, haha, and I have leftover linen pieces from sewing pillowcases. These were really fun to make so I think that I'll keep making them in all sorts of colors for myself and to keep on hand for convenient gifts.

This year our Forsythia bush is putting on a colorful show in our front yard, which is a huge improvement over last year when I think it had maybe one flower on it.

Here's hoping that you have time for fabric/fiber today or maybe a bit of gardening,
Judy

Friday, March 6, 2015

An Improv Sampler Quilt Top

Lately several bloggers have posted photos of lovely sampler quilts that they are working on which made me think of making one-only I thought why not make an improv sampler quilt? I'd like to be able to say that it all went together swimmingly, but there were several sections that were ripped out and redone. And the circle around the mariner's compass, well, let's just say it gave me fits! Curved piecing is my nemesis....

Here's my version of a sampler quilt done in an improv style:


The winter here has been rather disappointing with hardly any snow or cold weather. I hate to say this as so many of you are buried under snow, but for us here in Boise, there really haven't been many opportunities to ski on decent snow. Okay, I'll stop whining ;-) On the upside, due to the unseasonably warm weather, our flowers are starting to put on a nice show and it's been lovely weather for riding my bike.


We had a visit from several dark-eyed juncos, which are always neat to see.



Here's hoping that you have time for fabric/fiber today,
Judy