Thursday, March 31, 2016

Another Lovely Spring Day

Has it warmed up where you live? Here in Boise the weather 
has been grand, warm and sunny,
which has been perfect for gardening.
My roses have been watered with the compost tea that I make
and the other bushes have been fertilized.
I really enjoy watching things grow,
so gardening doesn't seem at all like work to me.
Plus, I love being outside,
so gardening is a win-win for me.

My husband, Marshall, has finished a couple of birdhouses 
that I think are rather cool.
The first was painted using milk paint in two colors,
and then coated in Tried & True,
which is a combination of linseed oil and beeswax.
He has attached it to the side of the shed in our backyard,
and I can see it from my sewing window.
Maybe it will have occupants soon
that I'll be able to watch!

The second birdhouse was constructed using the 
cove and flute method which is used by
canoe makers. It gave him the ability to make the birdhouse
sides have an interesting curve to them
since the sides were made with thin strips of cedar.
He asked me to hand it to him while he was on a ladder,
and unfortunately I didn't think about my compost 
covered gloves, hence the dark smudges on the sides :-(

On the sewing side of things, I've been making a star quilt, 
using the pattern Starlight Express from the book,
by Pam and Nicky Lintott.
It's a great way to utilize jelly rolls,
which are 2.5 inch (6.35 cm) strips 
that come packaged as a collection.
The one I'm using is called Union Blues
and it's by Barbara Brackman
for Moda Fabrics.

I need to make four stars for this quilt
and I have three finished so far.

I've started spinning the red, orange, and bright yellow 
Merino/nylon roving that I dyed last week.
It's been a pleasure to spin as it drafts quite easily,
and I love the colors.

On my knitting needles, well, 
they are just off my needles,
are the BLF handspun socks that I dyed
in long strips of yellow, sky blue,
and lavender.
They are simple socks spun heavier than normal
for socks that I can wear with my 
Birkenstocks or hiking boots.

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

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Creative News From My House

Hello there!
I haven't posted in a while as I've been moving sprinklers in
our front yard. Not very exciting, I'm afraid,
but necessary in this dry climate that we live in. 
We've discovered some dry zones in the yard 
(ahem, dead plants)
that needed to be addressed 
sooner rather than later.
Hence the digging.

My husband, Marshall, has been creating some
unique bird houses in his shop.
And one of them now has milk paint on it, 
so it's ready to share with you.
He's currently working on curved designs
for two more birdhouses.
We'll be getting the ladder out soon
to hang these around our yard
and hopefully we'll see some bird
occupants using them!

 I finished the London Square quilt top!!
It was rather hard to photograph due to it's size
of 64 x 80 inches (162 x 203 cm),
so sorry for the wonky photo.

Since this was designed as a snuggle under quilt for the sofa,
it has Quilter's Dream Wool batting,
which is soft and warm.
I'm hand quilting this in the evenings
using pearl cotton thread.

On the knitting needles right now I'm knitting up some heavier socks
that I plan on wearing with my hiking boots.
I spun them from superwash BFL top that I dyed
in long color sections.

I'm always fascinated with how you can play with color with spinning.
Not only can you influence the outcome by lengthening 
or shortening the color bands while painting the dye on the wool, 
but you can change things up by stripping off
thicker or thinner sections while spinning.
The thicker sections turn into longer sections of one color.
And then you can effect how the yarn looks depending 
on how you ply it-two ply or three ply?

Speaking of dying, I've felt like dying the last couple of days,
so I set up my supplies on my back patio.
I used a combination of food dye, drink mix, 
and acid dyes to create the colors that I wanted.
I placed plastic wrap on my rudimentary dyeing table,
and painted my mixed colors on my wool roving.
Speaking of roving, I decided to try out the superwash Merino/nylon
blend that I bought from KnitPicks.

First up was bright red, orange, and yellow.
I wanted this to vibrate with color!

After painting on the dyes, I sprayed the wool roving 
with a vinegar/water solution,
and then covered the whole thing with 
another layer of plastic wrap.
I rolled this up and placed it into a vintage canning pot
to be steamed for approximately 30 minutes.
I use a camp stove with a small bottle of propane
for this process.

This is the result:

Changing gears, I decided to try some paler colors, 
reminding me of the delicate pastel colors
of lovely Easter dresses. 

I left some white areas just to see how that would look
against the soft pastel colors.
I'm excited to start spinning one of these soon, 
but first I have to finish what's currently 
on my wheel.
And yes, the divine cherry Matchless spinning wheel
came home with me!
Happy, happy, happy birthday to me ;-)
I use it every day, so it's an awesome
addition to my fiber tools (toys?).

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

Friday, March 4, 2016

Creative News

Can you believe that it's Friday already? How did that happen??

If the snow has to melt, there's gardening to look forward to
and our tulips, daffodils, and crocus are waking up.
So wonderful to see!

Do you have a quilt top that simply made you happy to work on?
I do.
This week I've been happily sewing each day,
continuing my vintage block, scrap quilt theme.
This time I'm using various reds and beiges from my scrap stash.
The block is London Square and it's from the book,
101 Fabulous Rotary-Cut Quilts
Judy Hopkins and Nancy J. Martin.

I've wanted to make this quilt for the longest time
and now I am :-)
The blocks are 8 1/2 inches (22 cm.)
The quilt is partially finished,
but I'm so happy with how it's turning out
I wanted to share it with you early!

On the spinning side of things,
I just finished spinning the Frabjous Fibers
Colorshift Superwash BFL top in the
Tourmaline colorway.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought 100 grams of Merino/nylon roving to dye myself.
I've been thinking of how I want to dye it,
and I'm hoping to have a dyeing day soon.
Crimson, bright orange, and sunny yellow are calling to me....

I've been working (playing!) in my garden, trimming rosebushes, and putting down compost.
And maybe buying a pack or two or three of flower seeds
to spread come May.

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