Sunday, May 17, 2015

Creative News From My House

A short time ago I was in the store browsing through fabric for a quilt for our bed and I came across a lovely collection by Moda that is called Whitewashed Cottage. The soft colors range from mellow yellows to soft peaches along with light grays. As soon as I saw the collection I knew that these would be the perfect serene fabrics for a quilt for our bedroom.

Happily, they came home with me! For the past few weeks I've been thinking about what pattern/block I wanted to use and I've gone back and forth on what I wanted. Then yesterday I realized that I wanted to go with a simple log cabin block that would showcase the fabrics and that would be fun to hand quilt. So today or tomorrow, I'll start cutting out the strips to start my new quilt. *Happiness*

Do you remember the BFL top that I had been spinning? Well, I finished knitting the socks and I wore them for the first time. Yeah, I know, I'm seriously addicted to sock knitting.

I finished weaving the cottolin/hemp washcloths on my vintage Harrisville loom, cut them off the loom, and then I sewed the hems by hand. I washed them on hot in my washing machine and dried them on hot to shrink them. So they went from an open sett/look

to a handwoven fabric that has a lovely hand/feel to it. I love it when a weaving project turns out just the way that I had hoped!

The past few mornings I've been spinning a silk hankie or mawata silk square that was dyed by Frabjous Fibers and this is the colorway called "Daffodil".

I've never spun a silk hankie before, so I did a YouTube search for it, and watched how someone else spun theirs. Isn't it awesome to be able to do that? You pull one thin layer off the stack, like this.

Then you put a hole in the center and gently pull the silk until it makes a larger and larger ring. I've found that I like to predraft the silk to the size that I want before I start spinning.

This is predrafted and ready for me to spin-such fun!

In a rather serendipitous turn, I found a cone of tencel in just the perfect shade of burnt orange in my weaving hutch to go with this silk, so my plan is to weave a summer silk scarf with this silk yarn that I just finished. I've never woven anything like this before, so I'm looking forward to the challenge.

One day this past week, a friend and I had a dyeing day on my back patio where I had set up my dye solutions, a microwave and a camp stove. The night before I had weighed out fiber and placed it in bags so that my fiber would be ready to go.

For this batch, I just started pulling colors as I thought of them, so I used turquoise, tangerine, bright blue, a soft rose, and a medium brown at 1/4 strength. This is 4 ounces (114 g) of superwash BFL from Paradise Fibers.

I liked it so much that I started spinning with it as soon as it was dry :-)

Another batch was dyed using black cherry, a soft rose, and a light pink.

For this batch, I pulled colors that appealed to me (I'm trying to use different color combinations to push myself out of my comfort zone), so I went with: a strong, sunny yellow; a medium violet; turquoise; and bright blue. I painted the dyes using long strips of color for a different effect on this wool top.

I left my dyeing supplies out, so one day this week I thought that I'd dye four or five more batches of wool. So for the past few days, I've been thinking about color combinations, and when one comes to mind, I make a note of it. I daydream about color, do you?

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Having Fun With WIP Wednesday

I was able to start knitting with the BFL handspun yarn and I can't tell you how sweet it is to knit with yarn that I've created! Don't you just love those soft color gradations?

Since it is work in progress (WIP) Wednesday, I thought I'd share with you a small quilt that I've started. The other day I was browsing in a quilt shop since I had a gift card to use and I came across a jelly roll of Richmond Reds by Barbara Brackman for Moda. I'm more of a batik/solids gal, so choosing reproduction prints was unusual for me, but boy, were they calling my name. I decided to make a tumbler runner for my living room coffee table, and I started cutting out small 2.5 inch (6.4 cm) tumblers.

I noticed some tiny goslings the other day when I was out cycling, just cruising the grass alongside the Boise River with their parents.

And further along, I had a buddy who watches me pedal by each morning come closer to the fence to say hello.

Another WIP is my cotton warp for kitchen towels, where I've started another towel, this time in a balanced or 2/2 twill. I'm throwing two shuttles, one with a sunny yellow cotton yarn and the other with a natural linen yarn. I like the combination and it's going to be a cheery addition to my kitchen!

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

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,

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,