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

Friday, February 27, 2015

Progress

I finished the improv quilt for our family room, sewed the backing pieces together and then I pinned the top, cotton batting, and backing together. Hurrah for a finished top!

 I'm hand quilting it with white pearl cotton # 8. Hand quilting is quite relaxing and I find myself really enjoying the rhythm of my needle moving in and out of the quilt.

I made a spring postcard (okay, I'm early) to brighten someone's day using raw edge applique.


Our crocuses are putting on a lovely, cheerful show. Don't you just feel the cheeriness radiating off of these flowers?




















And some of our roses are waking up, which is like seeing good friends once again. I've been wandering around my flowerbeds, putting down compost, and just enjoying the sunshine. If it's too warm to ski at least there's hiking and gardening!




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

Thursday, February 19, 2015

An Bland Oatmeal Quilt Transformed

Before I forget, I wanted to share with you the wonderful Valentine's postcard that Linda made for me during the swap that Sheila organized.

 Don't you just love the vintage looking flowers? Linda has a cool stamp that she uses on the back of her postcards.

And I thought that you'd like to see the Canadian stamp.

I forgot to take photos of the Valentine's postcards that I mailed out to Linda and to Sheila, but if you go on their blogs, you can see photos. I painted the background fabric using textile paints and then appliqued hearts over that, which was a lot of fun.

Okay, I know you're thinking, what the heck is an oatmeal quilt? This past week I started an improv quilt for my family room using a variety of fabrics from batiks to prints to solids. I pieced ten blocks, put them up on my studio wall and I realized that they reminded me of bland oatmeal because just about every fabric had the same value. You know what gloppy oatmeal looks like and you eat it because it's good for you, but it can be rather uninspiring by itself. 

I don't know about you, but when I'm stumped with a quilting/weaving project I either go for a long walk with my dogs or set out for a bike ride. And while I'm out enjoying the fresh air, I'm thinking about color/texture/design and how to solve the problem that I'm facing. It came to me about four blocks from my house that I needed to add more color and I needed to add different values for visual interest. So I started scrolling through the color wheel in my head while I'm walking home and I decided to add bright orange, acid green, sunny yellow, and plum. I fairly ran home to start quilting again-I cut up all of the previous blocks into smaller units and remade each one.

This is where I am so far and I can tell you it's much, much better :-)



It went from boring oatmeal to oatmeal with cranberries and orange zest. Okay, no more talk of food-I'm not starving, honest.

On the weaving side of things, I'm still playing with the long 8/2 cotton warp that I put on for weaving twill kitchen towels. This time I'm using a navy 8/2 cotton weft and the weave structure is crepe weave from A Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite P. Davison.



The other day my husband and I were out hiking in the foothills with our two dogs and we noticed this bird's nest swinging in the breeze.

 I saw a few small mushrooms growing in amongst the sagebrush.

And an interesting erosion break in the hillside close to us.


Well, I'm off to create more improv blocks. It's a rough life, but I'll soldier on ;-)

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