Monday, July 28, 2014

Hexagon Fun and Hiking the Around the Mountain Trail

This morning I realized that it's been a long time since I've sat down to answer email and to write a post. Do you find sometimes you just feel dry creatively? The past couple of weeks I've felt rather uninspired to be creative, but I find that I've started dreaming about quilts and weaving once again. Life goes in stages, I know, so there are times when it's good to slow life down and rest a bit. If my family reads this, they'll be laughing quite hard, as I hardly ever slow down.

I tried something different with the batik and solid hexagons that I have been sewing in the evenings over the past year. Instead of the traditional flower form, I chose random colors and sewed them into strips, then sewed the strips together. It's funny how the hand sewing seemed like such a big deal when I first started working with hexies as it was much slower than I was used to ( I sew with my machine pedal pushed to the floor ;-). Now I find that it's rather peaceful to sew each hexie together and to watch the quilt build one piece at a time, knowing that it gets done when it gets done.

This small quilt was hand quilted using a neutral thread. I dyed the quilt back by pushing the cotton fabric into a small yogurt container filled with dye solution and then letting it sit for 24 hours without agitation. This small quilt is now hanging on my front door and it's a cheery burst of color that welcomes us home.

I've wanted to create new quilts for my studio walls in different colors (no more blue!) and I've been thinking of what appeals to me. Right now I'm really liking solids and batiks, so online I found a couple of neat Kona cotton fat quarter collections that I ordered in various purples and pinks.

Then I started thumbing through quilt books, thinking about quilt designs/patterns that I want to make. I chose the first wall quilt,which is another hexie quilt. Gee, what a surprise, right? Okay, maybe this is as addictive as knitting socks! The first quilt for my studio will be in these colors with the addition of gray, which is not a color that I use very often.

I'm hand quilting the lady of the lake quilt using big stitches and perle cotton. It's coming along nicely and I'm hoping to sew the binding on soon.

This past weekend I was hiking with my family up at Bogus Basin where we were able to escape the heat in the valley. It's so awesome that Bogus is close to Boise! We hiked trail 91 to where it connects with trail 98, which in turn goes around the mountain providing great views and a nice hike. There were many other hikers and mountain bikers out enjoying the day on the mountain so the word is out that this is a fun trail to do.

 We caught views of wildflowers
Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa)
Small-flowered Paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora)
White Mariposa Lily (Calochortus eurycarpus)
and butterflies along the trail.
Max found a trickle of water to roll in, cooling himself off. Then he was all set to keep on hiking-

He's smelling the cheeseburgers now, pulling me along faster and faster.

A very dusty Max
 Bogus Basin had their grills fired up which we could smell as we were finishing the hike down towards the ski lodge. Mmmmmm, that just smelled simply too good to resist, so we sat outside in the shade with our dogs, polishing off delicious cheeseburgers while watching the other hikers/mountain bikers coming down the mountain. What an awesome way to spend a day!

Maybe we'll see you on the trail next time....

Judy & Max

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fun Vacation Times in Idaho

My family and I just got back from a camping vacation in the Sawtooth National Forest where we fished, hiked, rode dual sport motorcycles, and then collapsed into camp chairs after having so much fun over the fourth of July weekend. Our son, Seb, stopped long enough for me to get a good photo of him.

As we drove along, we noticed that our favorite fishing spots were quite busy, in fact in some areas it was combat fishing with four or five people standing close together. I guess the word is out about how nice the fishing is on the Salmon River!

Early in the morning, my husband and I enjoyed listening to the birds while hearing the water flowing in the background, and watching the sun come up while sipping our French pressed coffee. Bliss.

I took along a backpack filled with fiber to spin and my favorite hand spindles, so I had plenty to play with.

 I was spinning Cormo wool and kid mohair that I had dyed using bright blue and turquoise dyes which was then blended on hand cards into rolags.

 I was also working with Corriedale blended with alpaca on my hand cards that I had dyed using spring green, cheery yellow, and a soft plum. The Corriedale is soft and springy to work with-

We rode our dual sport motorcycles for hours down a forest service road that followed a small stream.

 As we rode along the road got progressively narrower and rougher as we climbed altitude. I did my first water crossing which was a hoot.

The views were outstanding from the mountains around us to the wildflowers that covered the surrounding hills.

It was a great vacation that we look forward to every summer. I think these photos sum up our feelings quite well :-)

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

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Weaving Again

I was reading a post by Francoise the other day who is a talented quilter, artist, and weaver. She mentioned that she was going to make time to weave again so that she could finish up her project on her loom. Zing! That was the motivation that I needed to realize that I've missed weaving and I need to just make time to weave again. Thanks for the nudge, Francoise! The other day when the weather was fine, I carried my vintage Harrisville Model A loom

out on our back porch, where I could weave while listening to the birds and looking at our garden. I have a warp on this loom to weave mug rugs so I thought that I'd just play with the rug wool, and let myself try whatever came to mind.

I wove the first mug rug using handspun Lincoln yarn that I dyed in a bright blue, spring green and a sunny yellow, alternating that yarn with a sunny yellow rug wool.

While I was out weaving, I noticed that our blackberries are covered with flowers, which makes my husband and son very happy as they love the homemade blackberry jam that my husband makes. Sweet anticipation!

Our raspberry plants are just covered with fruit, so sometime soon, we'll be picking ripe raspberries! Yum, those are my favorite berries to eat.

Yesterday my son and I decided to put on our hiking boots and drive up Bogus Basin Road to the ski resort to do some hiking. We passed so many avid cyclists pedaling up the mountain, which would be an incredible workout at it's quite a climb to the top, and as we were driving up the mountain, we noticed that it was getting cloudier and colder. The temperature dropped from the 60's (16 C) in Boise to 42 (6 C) at the parking lot up at the ski lodge. Brrr. I was wishing that I had a wool sweater or a fleece with me, that's for sure, but five minutes into the hike on trail number 91 my heart was beating like a drum, my sunglasses were fogging up, and I was no longer cold. We were passed on the trail by runners, other hikers, and many mountain bikers. I love Idaho! It's such an awesome place to live if you like being active outdoors. There were wildflowers all over the place which are so lovely to see and I've tried to identify them by name.

Western Virgin's Bower, Clematis occidentalis

Idaho Bluebells, Mertensia campanulata
Sandberg's Biscuitroot, Lomatium sandbergii
Sam and Max had a blast running the trail together-don't you love those happy faces?

And I think that Seb had a great time too-

Seb noticed something in the bushes close by-
 The views were outstanding-

And you could see the low clouds rolling in-

What an awesome day for a hike! This morning I feel a wee bit sore,okay, a lot sore, so I think today is a good day to spend some quality time on the back porch ensconced in a comfy chair so that I can knit a shawl. And not move. Anywhere.

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

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Neat Surprise in the Mail

My son brought in the mail and to my surprise there was a letter from Brigitte in Switzerland! How cool is that? I opened up the envelope to find a lovely textile card with patchwork and special stitching :-) Thank you so much, Brigitte, for brightening my day!

Hello to the new followers to my blog! Thanks for joining and I hope to get to know you better.

I haven't had as much time to be creative lately, as I've been camping and motorcycle riding with my family. But when I have a moment, I've been knitting a pair of boot socks from handspun wool/mohair.

In the evenings I've been spinning Cormo wool in lovely shades of lilac, plum, spring green, and a bit of yellow on one of the spindles that Marshall made for me with the goal of spinning enough yarn for a new wool hat for camping.

And work is progressing on my lady of the lake quilt. I now have enough blocks to sew them together and then put the borders on. Woohoo!! I'm going with wool batting for this quilt as I want it to be warm for camping. I know that some people don't care for wool, but you just have to respect the qualities of wool while treating it gently. That means washing it on a gentle or wool cycle and then air drying it. I haven't had a problem with shrinkage when I do that and it reduces the chance of pills forming. I've seen so many tiny wool sweaters at the thrift store that were once lovely cashmere or merino sweaters, but were washed too hard or thrown in the dryer which turned them into perfect doll sweaters. I think wool is worth the extra effort, but I have closets full of it, so I know that I'm a bit biased!

How's your garden growing? Here in Idaho we've had a cool, wet spring and my roses are happy, happy, HAPPY! They are all flowering and putting on such a lovely show. I'll share a few with you. These are Cl. Blaze roses, climbing up a wooden tower that my husband made and it's the first year to see them flower.

This rose is a Queen Elizabeth grandiflora rose and I have to admit it's my favorite rose in our backyard. It's rather majestic looking and the soft pink is an awesome color.

I've started a new blog, Judy & Max's Motorcycle Adventures , so if you want to read about our camping and motorcycle trips you can find posts there. It's been wonderful exploring new parts of Idaho. And it's been fun rediscovering how fun a dual sport motorcycle can be.

Happy stitching,