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,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cathy's Great Idea of Patchy Details

For some time I've read inspiring posts done by a talented British potter, Cathy Daniel, who adds her own artistic touches to classic quilt blocks in order to create unique pottery. The attention to detail in her work is just lovely. She has come up with the great idea of further exploring the quilting theme by opening a shop,, where she is selling all sorts of nifty things for the home using a quilting theme.

Cathy, best wishes on your new endeavor!

I'm off to work on the Dresden quilt.
Enjoy your day,