Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Time With Friends

It was Tuesday and time to spend with expat friends. We were small in number but mighty in conversation. We welcomed Cathy, our wayward friend who moved to California. It was spring break for her son and a visit to grandparents was on the agenda. We also welcomed back Brenda, who showed off her camping quilt for her grandson. She used this theme fabric to make a nice roll-up sleeping quilt. She added ties on one side to contain the quilt once it is rolled up.

Judy was stitching the binding on quilt for Binky Patrol
Sweet quilting design.
Sandy was deciding on how to connect her star blocks for holiday table topper.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Day to Dye!

Any day that you can dye is a perfect day! It just takes a little time, some supplies and away you go--first, gather your supplies. You'll need an outside source for heat and space:
This is my standard go to stove when at home. There are also two propane stoves that are used when there is a workshop. As you can see, this stove has been Used!
Gather up plastic gloves, dye product, mask, setting agent, old spoon enamel pot; measuring equipment (all designated for dyeing)
We are dyeing wool/silk yarn so using acid dyes from Pro Chem . Every dyer has their favorite brand of dyes. Even though every dye product has been used in the past, this is the one that is returned to time and again.
And of course, you will need yarn, making sure that you have tied off the yarn in several places with a figure 8 tie to keep yarns together in the dyepot.
Into the dyepot--water, dye (be sure to put on your gloves and facial mask first), vinegar (our setting agent for this brand of acid dyes), set on heat source and let simmer (not boiling) for 30 minutes or longer. The ideal dyepot uses up all the dye in the water and attaches to the fiber. Remove yarn from pot and let dry, then rinse when at room temperature. This yarn was wool/silk blend from Wool2Dye4 . Sometimes silk will take the dye differently than wool.
On hand was another skein of yarn but the color of this yarn just didn't do it anymore. What can be done? Over dye, of course. But, first it was necessary to wind from one skein to another which gives the opportunity to use the swift and weasel (yes, this piece of equipment gave us the song "pop goes the weasel"). Aside here, the weasel makes a popping sound every 100 turns as it is a yard around the weasel and 100 turns lets you know--100 yards.
Knowing that there is only a couple of dyes that will overdye this strong color, we used turquoise, which will give a nice green blue color--alot better on the eyes! Dry, rinse and ready to be used in the next project.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Back on Track--hopefully!!

Okay, crochet is not my usual technique so when this group, English Country Garden came online in Ravelry , there was a reason to give it a try and improve the crochet skills. As you will note from previous post, the first attempt was sad--very sad! This was not defeat though! Trying again, here are the results.

Looking good! The plan is to use hand spun silk--these are at least 4 ply. Bring on another garden motif--these hands are primed!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Do You Paper Piece?

Do you paper piece? Otherwise known as foundation piecing. This is a simple effective way to piece together a unique pattern without all the templates. Years ago, it was more of the rage to paper piece. Now, we are seeing more and more patterns will a little PP involved. If you receive Jinny Beyer's email newsletter, then you will be receiving this free PP pattern once a month along with her newsletter. The pattern will be available for one month only. There is also a kit with fabric bundles available. Of course, there is also the option to hand or machine piece the pattern, by making a template and adding the quarter inch seam allowance.
The website offers other free patterns along with a weekly block pattern. Check it out and sign up for the free newsletter and Jinny's Garden BOM pattern.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sunday Drive on a Tuesday

Do you ever or did you ever take a Sunday drive? One of those Sundays when there just wasn't anything to do around the house and the beautiful spring weather beckoned you to come outdoors? Or maybe, there was just too much that needed to be done around the house and you wanted to play 'hooky'? We had one of those days today--but, it was Tuesday instead of a Sunday. Tuesday is also the day for ex-patcher quilters meeting and this Tuesday found us taking a Sunday drive into the piney woods to our hostess, Linda's house. The weather was perfect! Yes, perfect! The drive was also perfect for me because Annette was the chauffeur. My eyes could wander along the landscape and point out various spring features to her. 'Oh, there are red buds blooming.' Or, 'oh, my gosh, there are dogwoods bursting forth with their lovely flowers'. And along the roadside was red clover adding color to the otherwise dull asphalt. Sorry, Annette you can't look as you watch for unruly traffic. Next week you can bask in the spring eye candy. We stopped at one house that advertised "eggs for sale"--bad timing on our part. Just the day before she had sold 10 dozen to one lady. Always, a day late and a dollar short!

Linda had decorated her main sitting area with a grandmother's love quilt--. Linda estimates the quilt was made in late 1940's or early 1950's.
fabrics cut from daughters dress of old; sewn on a treadle machine
and handstitched with loving care to bring warmth and fond memories to all that sleep under.
Both Linda and Karen are working on this project; using brillant batiks. Maybe by next week they will have a completed top.
Annette brings along her sewing machine and quietly stitches away. She is working on this pattern--Hunter's Star.
She chain stitches and takes her units to the ironing board where she lines them up. She sets the stitching before pressing open.
And this jewel of a wall hanging is situated in the back corner of Linda's sewing room. Yes, it was a good Tuesday to take a Sunday drive.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Back To The Drawing Board

This stitchery should have been posted on the previous blog! It states the fact very well--but, needless to say, it's time to return to the drawing board and repair mistakes made. Too bad the brain wasn't functioning correctly--it knows better than to use all the same color values in a quilt!! Anyway, time was taken to work on couple of smaller projects.
Another two blocks completed for the pinwheel sampler QAL.
And this block for the jelly roller sampler QAL. These are quick, simple and painless to do. Okay, back to frogging those mistakes!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It Just Ain't Working!

Well, who knows what is going on here? Things are just not working out right--
maybe, it's spring fever but these past couple of weeks, each quilt top that was sewn up look pale and anemic. This applique is almost finished; just needs to be sewn down to the center section.
This just isn't working. So, frog it for sure! It needs stronger borders--out come all the white. But, what to replace the white with? And then there is this piece--gee, whiz, what is going on in the mind these days? Pale and washed out to say the least! Trying out different borders seem to help it some, but still........
And then to top it all off, this crochet flower doesn't look anything like the photo! Granted, it has been years since these hands have tried to crochet and the thought behind this piece was to use the hand spun silk on hand. Well, maybe, that just won't work.
No, something ain't working right these days? Hopefully, this spring fever will go away soon. Hopefully, it will take this wimpy thinking with it!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

There Are Many Ways to Get Warped

And this is only one way. No, we're not having a warped sense of humor or playing a warped record, building with a warped board and no, there is no warped mind involved--well, maybe, just a little warped! The Loom is warped!! Hurrah! It's been a long time since warping has taken place in this household.

What is warped, you say to yourself or the person sitting across the room? According to the handy dandy "Rigmaroles & Ragamuffins" book by Elinor Kapp: 'The warp is the word for a series of threads that stretched in one direction, usually the length of the intended fabric, to make a base. The word warp came originally from an Indo-European base wer, from which descended the Latin vertere, to turn and the Germanic werb. From these we get warped, meaning bent or twisted..' You've got to love that book!! In other words, the loom has been threaded and it's ready to be woven.

First step, figure out the math(and this is one reason why math studies should have been strengthen in school). Say, you want to make a towel @ 10" wide, 20 threads per inch--you multiply to get the total number of ends per inch (epi) and wind that warp. But, wait--how long will each of those threads need to be? let's count on 5 yards in length--well, that's a lot of thread! check that cone of yarn to make sure you have plenty on hand before winding 200 threads, five yards in length = say, how much? Oh, gee, got to get the calculator-well, that's 1000 yards
Alright, the threads have been wound around the warping board (seen in previous blog) and you chain off all that yardage. Aren't these lovely lease sticks? Made by Michael Harris from Mississippi--he does wonderful inlay work. Lease sticks keep the threads orderly.
And now you must pull each of those threads through the reed, which is 10 dent per inch--2 threads per dent = 20 epi. We aren't aiming for tight weave with this setup.
Through the eyes of each heddle. This is a four harness (or shaft) loom. and in order to get an interesting weave structure, a pattern of pulling through each heddle must be followed. Pull one thread through heddle on harness #1, then thread through harness #2, etc. Weavers have elaborate threading books with intricate threadings to follow--it's like reading a Chinese puzzle sometimes.
Tie the loose threads onto the back beam and roll on. Here is the front look. This is warping from the front to the back. Remember, this is just one way you can get warped. Tie all those loose threads, which now have been contained and placed in their perfect order, to the front beam and begin to throw the shuttle.
It's those first few throws that gives you pause to worry--did all the threads go where they were suppose to? did one get crossed over another? Throw the shuttle, even out the ties and hold your mouth right and YES, we are warped!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Another Bite--Chomp, Chomp

We are taking small bites from our projects.
This April 2010 issue American Patchwork and Quilting features a Bunny Patch quilt by Anne Sutton--a spring quilt with applique. Why not try my hand at this? Well, needless to say my hands aren't too great with applique--there are various methods of how to applique so for these tiny pieces two different methods were tried--spray starch (which was used for the bunny) and light weight interfacing (leaves and flowers). It's difficult to use the starch method with such tiny pieces and even more difficult with other technique. Maybe, we'll try just needle turning. We are learning as we go!! Bunny Hill Designs
Here is another one of the pinwheel sampler blocks ready to be stitched. Quick and easy (when you have the time!)
Two more sampler blocks from last weeks sewing
This is the block for the Jelly Roll Sampler project. When we attended Paducak last year we stopped in Hancock's Fabrics and found these wonderful bags of jelly rolls--only this bag was cut 3" wide instead of regular 2.5"--but, who cares? The price was right!
And ain't these guys cute? This is such a fun project--quilt a row by Fat Cat This has been a blast to work on--machine applique.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Warped with WOW!

It was not only a meeting with quilters this week but also one with WOW (Way Out West) weavers group. We are small but we are mighty in our weaving power! Here is a sample from Marion on her color and weave project (linen in warp, Claudia's Handpainted yarn as weft). She was sampling--don't we always say 'sample, sample, sample'?? Marion was worried about shrinkage.
Here is Leigh's towel in three harness weave. She also wove hanging tabs on inkle loom, which makes the towel even more impressive.
This lovely bamboo turned twill scarf was woven by Joan--looks great on her and has a nice handle.
Woven by Anita is the wonderful color and weave towel in purple and gold--she titles it "Desert Flower" but we kidded her about it being LSU colors!
We also previewed Lone Star Loom Room , which has moved into our hostess new residence. Julie is 'baby sitting' the shop since the owner has moved to Singapore. Julie is just back from Norway after a three year stint. Wonderful how weavers work together.
Is that a warp you see on my board? Why, yes, it is indeed!! A white 8/2 cotton warp that will be for hand towels.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March Birthdays for Expatchers

It was another birthday celebration for the expatchers and as luck would have it, two of our expats were back in town. Yes, it was their birthday month--Camilla was in from Mexico with an interesting story about her car accident on the way to the airport for her departure to the states. This accident, no fault of her own, put her off schedule by a day. Debby, who has moved to'foreign' Louisiana was also in attendance. We were missing our other March birthday gal, Chris, who resides in Australia. A shout out to Chris!! Happy Birthday!!
Several of the gals brought along their finished flannel blankets, which will be sent on their way to the welcoming arms of new mothers and their babies. The gals have certainly been busy. In the upstairs studio of our hostess, we viewed Judy's design wall where she is working on an Easter gift for her two young grandchildren. She is using this pattern from Block Party She had several of the patterns pieced and ready to assemble. She was planning to add a chalkcloth as a button on feature. The paper pieced flower garden blocks are not part of this block party quilt but a continuing journey in her handwork.
In the dining room, Judy had hung this wonderful quilt that she had recently quilted for a friend, who had pieced together a wonderful collection of sampler blocks.
This is just one example of how individual blocks can be tied together, giving one a restful and peaceful look.