Saturday, November 21, 2015

Working Through An Idea While Pedaling

If you've read my posts, you know I'm a bit of an outdoor enthusiast. Okay, maybe a bit more like an avid outdoor enthusiast! While I'm out hiking or cycling, I'm usually working through design ideas in my head, thinking about possible color/design/size, etc. For months now, I've been thinking of making a bear's paw quilt, pondering how I wanted to make it, and then one day while pedaling it came to me.

When I got home, I sat down (after showering!) and started working on the quilt. I know that there are a lot of labels in the quilt world, and I don't think my quilts really fit any of them. Modern? Traditional? Improv? Hybrid mix? Well, anyway, I'm not convinced that labels really matter, so on to the quilt. I used the Whitewash Cottage fabric line from Moda to go with the bed quilt that I just finished. The blocks were pieced using long strips and segmented strips, some cut straight and others curved free hand.

This quilt measures 46 x 46 inches (117 cm x 117 cm) and it was hand quilted using pearl cotton thread in a soft peach color. 
I was so excited about finishing this quilt, I took this photo of it early one morning, just as the sun was coming up. 

It's now on my bedroom wall, hanging from a cherry quilt hanger that was created by my husband, Marshall.

On the spinning side of things, I have some lovely vivid purples dyed using drink mixes and acid dyes, from the Merino fleece that I bought from Cleo. 
Have I mentioned how much I love wool? 
There's such a delicious softness to this Merino that makes you want to gently squeeze it while saying, "ahhhh."

I'm spinning a soft single on a Marshall original spindle with a walnut whorl and an oak shaft turned from a branch from the oak tree in our front yard. How neat is that??

 I've started knitting another lace scarf with the purple Merino yarn fresh off of my spindle. 
Now I understand why people love knitting lace-it's airy and simply lovely to wear.

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

Monday, November 16, 2015

An Improv Four Patch Quilt-Finished At Last!

In June I started sewing a new quilt for our bed using the Pandora's Box pattern created by Pam and Nicky Lintott. Halfway through sewing 200 blocks, I realized that what I wanted was to change the pattern somewhat by shifting to an improv approach. So I started by cutting up one finished block at a time, and changing them to improv blocks using the slab method. I kept some of the blocks in the original format so that I could scatter those across the quilt's surface. I was working with a lovely assortment of fabrics from Moda called the Whitewashed Cottage and the fabrics ranged from a soft yellow to a deep butterscotch, a light peach to a dark rose, various white fabrics, and various gentle grays. As soon as I saw the collection, I knew that it would make a lovely quilt for our bedroom blending wonderfully with the warm peach paint on the walls.

The finished quilt is 120 inches by 120 inches (305 cm x 305 cm), with a Quilter's Dream wool batting, and I hand quilted it using a soft peach pearl cotton thread size eight. It was a challenge to photograph due to the huge size!

It's now on our bed, and I love it!

I've been spinning Merino singles yarn using spindles and the wonderful Merino fleece that I bought a few months back (I finally washed/scoured all of it!). I found a lace pattern for a scarf and I've been having fun creating airy scarves. I spun the first scarf using a spindle created by my husband, Marshall, and it has a canary wood whorl with a lovely ebony shaft. I dyed the Merino using food dyes, drink mixes, and acid dyes to achieve the colors that I wanted.

The hat is a Cormo wool and silk blend handspun yarn that I knit up for a tight fitting hat to wear while I'm cycling in the winter. It's warm and fits quite nicely under my helmet.

I tried a cold pour method of dyeing some Merino top, putting a long length of top in an old glass mixing bowl from the thrift store, covering it with water with a small amount of acid, and then pouring the dye solution over the top. I let the dye settle, gently pushed on the top to make sure that the dye had covered all of it, and then I poured more dye in random areas, letting the dye sit as the solution was heat set in a microwave.

Have you ever tried unraveling a sweater in order to reuse/recycle the yarn? I had read about some women who collected nice sweaters from thrift stores in order to do just that. I found a thick cashmere sweater from my favorite thrift store, unraveled it while watching a football game, and I'm in the process of dyeing it to add to Merino singles to knit up special hats/scarves/gloves. 
Oh, the possibilities!

We had a snow storm roll in last night, dumping fresh powder on the mountains around us. I have my skis in the garage ready to go :-) 
Any day now....
Happy, happy dance.

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