Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Roman Stripe Quilt

I decided to play around with EQ7 a bit the other day as I was thinking of making a small quilt and I wanted to explore various possibilities. I decided to go with the Roman Stripe block as I've never made one before and I knew just the fabrics that would work great for that block. I played with the block size a bit, decided to put the blocks on point, and then I was ready to start sewing.

I printed out pieces for paper piecing, pulled out the hand dyed or hand painted fabrics in the colors that I wanted to use, and started sewing. I was listening to the new book by Alexander McCall Smith, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon. Have you ever read any of his books? I love his characters and how real they seem. While I'm listening I can almost see the view of Botswana or feel the heat of the day. 

I pulled some leftover Kona black fabric from one of my scrap bins for the triangles and the borders. I decided to hand quilt this using pearl cotton and a larger running stitch which was a lot of fun to do.

The back piece had been painted by immersing the cotton fabric in some leftover textile paint. The piece turned out a soft pink with purple and blue highlights.

I just finished making an Echinacea or coneflower fabric postcard as a thank you for a friend. I love coneflowers and I noticed that mine are just starting to come up in my back garden :-) I appliqued the flower by hand and then used my sewing machine to sew swirls around the flower. I think that she's going to like it!

Speaking of machines, I went to an estate sale the other day and I had the opportunity to buy a newer Bernina at a very good price. I decided to think about it a bit, well, a bit too long as it turned out, as someone else jumped at the deal. Darn it! Well, I have no doubt that there will be other used Berninas to turn up...but that one was the GOOD one that got away ;-)

I'm off to cycle with my son on this sunny afternoon.
Here's hoping that you have time for fabric/fiber,

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friendship Star Baby Quilts from Vintage Pottery Barn Duvet Covers

I don't know about you, but I love frequenting the thrift shops in town. You never know what treasure you'll find. Sure, you have to comb through piles of junk, I mean stuff, but once in a while you come across something that makes the searching worthwhile. Speaking of finds, I'm always digging through the vintage cotton sheets, looking for good ones to use for donation quilts. One day I came across two lavender polka dotted vintage Pottery Barn duvet covers. Jackpot!! Those immediately went into my basket as I knew that they would make great baby quilts. I just finished sewing the binding on three donation baby quilts using the cotton fabric from those duvet covers :-)

Reading the modern quilt books inspired me to enlarge the blocks to 24 inches (61 cm) and then all I needed to do was to choose the quilt block. The friendship star block won out this time around and this is my version:

While out walking my canine buddies along the Boise River, I came across bushes that are covered with golden yellow flowers. I've been using my wildflower app to try to figure out what the plant is, but I've not been successful so far. They add a lovely splash of color to the walk.

I just finished knitting some Lincoln/Merino wool socks. I thought that I'd try this combination as I had the dyed wool on hand and I wondered how the Lincoln wool would fare as sock yarn. I had dyed the Merino a soft turquoise, bright blue and gray, then I spun that on one of my handspindles. That was plied with the Lincoln that had been dyed in yellow, green, and blue. I had no idea what the yarn would look like so I was pleasantly surprised at the result. I love hand dyed handspun yarn!!

Yesterday I started spinning another batch of Merino roving that I had previously dyed crimson, bright blue and gray.

Hmmm. I think more socks are in the future. It's a sickness, I know. But hey, one can never have TOO many hand dyed, handspun, handknit socks, right?

Our garden is putting on a nice spring show-

I thought that I'd drop off the baby quilts at the women's shelter in downtown Boise while I'm out cycling today in the lovely spring sunshine.
Enjoy your weekend,

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Silly Corgi Quilt and Other News

Lately I've been reading about modern quilts and what constitutes a modern quilt. It's so interesting to me to see the old favorite quilt blocks reborn into something fresh. Don't get me wrong-I still love traditional quilts-but one of the reasons that I love quilting so much is the variety that it offers. Art quilts, traditional quilts, modern quilts, and then quilts that don't really fit a label. In my book, it's all good.

One thing that I've learned is that it's okay to play. I think sometimes as adults we lose sight of how fun it can be to just follow an idea to see where it takes you. To try something that might not work, but if it does, it's magical and simply a lot of fun.

So yesterday, while my dinner of comfort food, macaroni and cheese, was cooking, I pulled out my scraps and started playing. I was inspired by reading the book, Modern Blocks, specifically the Checkers block by Monika Wintermantel. That block made me think of my beloved corgi, Max,

who quivers at the word squirrel and then dashes out the back door to chase one or two. He's too slow to ever catch one, but boy, does he try and his stubby legs just fly! I quilted dog bones floating in the sky, getting bigger and bigger as they went skyward, which would be like winning the lottery for Max-a dog bone bigger than he is. Pure bliss. This is hanging on my front door now, giving me a laugh every time I come home.

A friend gave me a wonderful gift of a quilted bag. You know, I've always meant to make one, it's on my bucket list, but somehow I have never gotten around to it. So thanks, Marty, for an awesome new batik bag that I've filled to the brim with handspindles and fiber :-) It now goes with me wherever I go so that I'll always have my spinning with me. Woohoo!!

A big hello to the new readers that have joined my blog. Thanks and I hope to get to know you better in the future!

My garden is starting to flower and I love seeing it so I thought that I'd share some photos with you. My bleeding heart which is so neat to see each spring-

The delicate grape hyacinths are flowering and they add a little burst of color to our yard.

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

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Warmer Weather = Time to Garden & My First Giveaway

Lately it's been lovely here with the sun shining and some of the flowers blooming. Last year someone posted about people painting quilt blocks on their barns, which I thought was a nifty idea. Well, I don't have a barn, but I do have a garden shed so I decided to paint one large quilt block on one side of the shed and a smaller one above the door. While I was at it, I painted the door a bright blue that brings a smile to my face when I open the door to get my garden tools.

I've never done a giveaway, but I'd like to do my first one today. I'll mail a quilted postcard to the first person who can tell me the name of the quilt block! Good luck.

I have Swan Lavender Columbines in my garden that are flowering right now. I love to see them each year as they are such unique flowers.

In the evenings I've been knitting the yarn that I have spun using two of my handspindles. I'm just about finished with the second hiking sock, so I'll soon be able to wear these for the first time. I like the soft color changes in the Lincoln wool and the pairing of the dyed wool with the undyed BFL.

Do you remember me telling you about the spring postcard swap that Sheila sponsored? Well, the other day I opened my mailbox and I had a cheery flower postcard waiting for me that had been created by Annette. I love postcard swaps :-) Thanks so much, Annette!

I'm very (okay, extremely) happy to report that I'm making headway on the Dresden quilt! Hurrah for that as I'm ready to start something new. This morning I sewed the borders on and then I'm on to the next step of layering the wool batting with the backing. Then I'll do some simple outline quilting to retain the loft and warmth of the wool batting and I'm one step closer to being done. Hallelujah! Hip hip hooray!! I get to start a new quilting project soon....

One day while walking my canine buddies along the Boise River, I took some photos of the Great Blue Herons that are nesting along the path. They made an interesting humming sound as we walked closer that reminded me of the sound that the trees made in the Lord of the Rings movies.

It's supposed to be 74 and sunny today, so I'm hoping that I can convince my youngest son to go cycling with me :-)
Here's hoping that you have time for fiber/fabric today,

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Creative News

It's been warm and sunny here so it's been a fine time to do some gardening. Putting around my flowerbeds is a great start to my day. I love seeing my flowers coming up in the spring, especially the daffodils. Their sunny faces add a ray of sunshine to my day when I see them.

Last weekend I decided to paint some Lincoln wool roving from a lovely, soft fleece that I bought years ago. I don't know if you've ever worked with Lincoln wool, but it has a nice sheen to it that reminds me of mohair. I've never used Lincoln for knitting socks before so this will be an experiment to see how it holds up under wear. I pulled out a bag of fluffy Lincoln wool that I had run through my wool picker and then run through my drum carder. I decided to paint the dyes on using foam brushes, adding various colors until the roving looked like this:

I decided to ply that with undyed BFL that I spun on one of my top whorl spindles. I have one ball done, so I thought that I'd start knitting the socks this afternoon while sitting in my garden enjoying the sunshine.

I like to have an accent yarn for the toe and heel, so while the Lincoln was in the microwave heat setting the dyes, I painted various blue, plum and turquoise dyes on some other roving that I had on hand.

 Last night I plied this combination on one of my top whorl spindles that Marshall created for me:

I've found over the past few years that the Smooshy Merino sock yarn that I love so much doesn't hold up very well like the other sock yarns that I've knit with. The yarn feels wonderful, but the heels/toes of my socks are already wearing out :-( Maybe the Lincoln wool will be a suitable substitute-only time will tell. I usually knit a simple rib sock that I like to wear with my boots or my Birkenstock sandals.

I just finished some BFL socks where I played with color in plying. I started out with dyeing a portion of my BFL a medium orange, then I dyed a similar amount of wool a soft yellow. I plied those together on my Matchless wheel at a ratio of 11:1. I just finished the bind off last night and have the socks on my feet this morning :-)

The toe/heel was dyed using a cherry drink mix, then I plied that soft red with the orange to produce this yarn:

I wanted to play with that combination once more, so I dyed another batch of wool orange, soft red, and yellow. Then I plied that with black to create these hiking socks:

I was out walking my canine friends along the Boise River the other day and came across several trees filled with bird nests.

After walking my buddies, I decided to go fishing so I tried a new fishing spot that I had noticed while out walking. It was a lovely day to be out on the river. I didn't land that huge trout, but hey, there's always next time ;-)

On the quilting side of things, I'm on to sewing the inner circles on the Dresden blocks, so I'm one step closer to the finish on that quilt. I signed up to do another fabric postcard swap that Sheila is organizing, so I've been dreaming about what spring postcard I want to create. One day this past week I stopped by my favorite quilt shop, The Quilt Crossing, just to browse. Well, I wanted some bright batiks to continue making hexies for the curtain project for my kitchen and dining room valances. I love to just wander in the store, looking at the new fabrics and samples. I had a stack of batiks in my arms until I saw one of the sample quilts that they had on display and it drew me back. It was a simple, classic nine patch quilt designed by Waltzing with Bears. The pattern is called Pam's Nine Patch Garden and it has flower embroidery in the open blocks that appealed to me. I haven't done any embroidery like that in so long and I haven't made a nine patch quilt in quite some time either. So I walked out of the store with the pattern and some wonderful fabrics to make the quilt with nary a bright batik in the pile. That's okay. I know I'll be back to look at those batiks. Or something else....

I'm off to paint an old birdhouse that I found at the thrift store. And then maybe a nice cycling trip along the Boise River!
Have a great day,