Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

We fly our flag proudly in honor of those who serve and have served our nation.

Blue Angels

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lace Sampler Continues

We are trying to keep up with the mystery lace sampler from Ravelry group . Each month, around the 15th, a different theme lace pattern is revealed. Of course, there are some faster knitters who want the pattern sooner. At times, the reveal has been as much as a week early! So now, we are working on May patterns--just one small problem occurred--a mistake in counting--isn't that the pits!! There is talk about placing a 'life line' in case you need to rip back. That would be a good thought and should be followed, especially while knitting these lace patterns. Do you think that this knitter placed a 'life line'? Of course not! Anyway, the knitting is back on track and into the second repeat of the pattern for May.
There are some challenges along the way which lead to learning new techniques and stitches. March pattern included adding beads and making nupps. April was just straight forward with yarn overs. Now, May's pattern includes decreasing 3 stitches while increasing 7 stitches! It's very interesting!!
There is another mystery lace KAL (knit along) on Ravelry beginning in June. This one is the fourth of such mystery challenges through She-Knits and there is still time to join in on the fun. Pattern is sold on her website for all the past mystery knits but now you can actually see the finished product.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We're on a Wool Roll!

Let's continue on the wool theme today. Finally, a handspun wool scarf has been finished! Hurrah!! It seemed that this was one of those never ending projects! First, you spin the yarn; then you knit. Then you run out of yarn and go back to the spinning wheel. Why this method? The yarn will run out with the completion of the scarf! No yarn leftovers to worry over and wonder what to do with them. But, there is leftover unspun yarn to contemplate over. We can tackle that with another adventure.
This was the pattern: Of course, why follow the pattern? Why not add more stitches than mentioned in the pattern? Hence, the reason for the never ending scarf--didn't count the stitches, but well over 300 and this was knit in the round. For someone who does not like to purl this was a challenge. Since you are knitting in the round, you must purl to get the garter look. So, periodically, why not turn back on the other side and continue to knit? Yes, there will be a small hole in that spot. But who is going to notice that in the scheme of the whole? Besides, you can always stitch that small opening closed. Can you see the hole? Up close and personal! and the finished wool scarf.

Long enough to loop around the neck three times--over three yards in length. All pure softness. There could be other ways to wear this creation--we are still experimenting. This was great traveling knitting--no reason to worry over a pattern, just knit like the wind!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wool Musings

While we are on the subject of wool look what was discovered upon return to the summer home--more wool! Not wool fabric though but wool rovings which have been out of sight and mind. So can we say it has been properly aged? Why not? When we leave the summer home in the fall, every fiber related item is packed away in nice plastic bins and upon returning in the spring, it's a wild adventure to open the bins and enjoy these new found things! The first bin contained this lovely roving purchased from South Dakota friend, Marilyn. A former book wholesaler, Marilyn operates a farm called Black Hills Woolies (no website available). She markets the fiber of her own sheep, llamas and alpacas, selling yarns and roving (carded fiber) to spinners at various shows and other outlets, along with other fiber art products. We usually meet up each year in Estes Park and sometimes in Taos for wool markets.
That bin also included this wonderful black mohair roving as well as the next roving
red, white and black wool/mohair blend. This roving was bought on a field trip visit at Brown Sheep in Mitchell, Nebraska. Boy, was that fun--they let us 'dumpster dive' in the leftover yarns! The fiber retrieved from the bin was weighted and priced accordingly.
In another bin this white roving was rediscovered. This fleece was purchased two years ago at Maryland Sheep Wool festival--a springy corriedale breed. The fleece was sent to Ozark Carding Mill to be processed. It came back in this nice compact package.
And then in the last bin, this small bag of fiber was found. It's interesting that these fibers always write on my memory where they were purchased but never can remember that they need to be spun! This fiber was bought at Estes Park Wool Market The local guild hosts a vendor booth at the front of the vendor barn. And it's always a definite place to stop for shopping.
And in the midst of all those prepared fibers, look what was discovered!! a nice dirty fleece--this was one of those prize winning fleeces bought at wool market during the judging session. Another fleece to dye the one pot method!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wool Works

A First--working with wool fabric to create small wall hangings. Two kits had been well aged (meaning they have been in the closet and out of mind for quite some time)and finally, it was time to complete these small kits. This original pattern was purchased last summer at the very interesting The Little Wool Shoppe in Windsor, Colorado. This shop has everything but mostly deal with wool. This pattern was called "Celebrate the Seasons".
Complete except for some handwork detail, eg. eyes for the snowman, detailing the season banners, outline work around the bee flight pattern.
And this pattern was purchased who knows how many years ago at International Quilt Festival, held annually in Houston.
Close-up. These sheep definitely need eyes!!
All the blanket stitch was done by machine, which made the project move along.
Out of the closet and into the world!! Maybe more wool work will be forthcoming. Probably, after sufficient aging.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Loose Ends

Before heading out for the summer home, there were a few loose ends that needed to be tied up; mainly, because when we return in the fall, who can remember what was what and where it was put! Guess notes should be written--but, it is exciting in one way--it is new when you return to the old! And sometimes, a game to figure out where my thought was in the first place.
Okay, here is the first thing to be pulled together. The pinwheel block group has finished with all the blocks--all 12 of those blocks were stacked neatly (well, almost neatly) on the desk. This was going to be a charity quilt so tying all the blocks together with sashing worked just fine. And not adding much of an outside border worked okay as well. It is probably over the 'limit' of fabric width for the quilter (she requests charity or Binky quilts be around 40" wide). And this one is way over that number!!! The floor is the canvas for placement. Someday, maybe we'll make a flannel board for the wall.
Using black printed sashing with accent connector blocks tied them all together.

We are working on the Jelly Roll blocks (behind one at this point). Each of these block challenges have been interesting and great way to go stash diving. This is the last block that was constructed. Here are the previous four blocks from the Jelly Roll Sampler.
Also, finished May block of the row from Fat Cat patterns. This is a great idea--all attached and finished when that last row is added on.
Okay, now we'll take time to do some handwork and continue on the journey to make more loose ends that will need to be tied up.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Foolish Goose Tracks

What a great name for a quilt! This BOM (block of the month) quilt was produced in 2008 and the design came from the talented hands and mind of Heather Finnell of Burning the Midnight Oil . The term burning the midnight oil means to work late into the night. Originally this was by the light of an oil lamp or candle. More recently, the phrase is used figuratively, alluding back to its use before electric lighting. Well, the quilt top wasn't completed in 2008 so guess you could say there was some 'midnight oil' being burned to finish this quilt top. Just recently the quilt was returned from Sandy, creative long arm quilter. She chose Clematis pattern with variegated thread to use for an overall effect. It's smashing! Here is the center section. There was some concern that all the reds were not of the same value, hue or tone, but doesn't really matter in the scheme of the whole. Besides, who buys all the fabric that is needed for a quilt right off the bat? Or, if you do buy all the fabric required, don't you forget what the fabric was for and somehow, gets cut and sewn into another project? There is no way, these hands can be the only ones that do that--nah.
The 2010 BOM is named "Fall Fancy". So, if you are interested, join in the fun. Sign up for the yahoo group (on Heather's website there is link) and receive a block each month, which will be available till the next month when a new block is revealed. You can always purchase those blocks that you have forgotten to download.
A word here about backing fabric: previously, several widths of fabric were sewn together to achieve the necessary amount needed for backing. Lately, 108" wide muslin has been used. The muslin doesn't come in colors so union dyes are used to create the color combination needed. To me, this is a more desirable look--no seams.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spinning One Pot Dye Fibers

Okay, so you've dyed the one pot method and now are thinking how to go about spinning those fibers? Away we go--take wheel, find a comfy chair and the bag of lovely fibers and you are set. Maybe, you want to keep the colors uniform and in the same color range. Then just pull those colorful locks from the bag, find the cut end and spin away--no need to card (unless you just love to card). This is a great way to spin if you have long locks and with the one pot dyeing method, you have no boiling, no stirring so the locks should remain intact.
All range of yarns can be achieved from these locks. How about just pulling locks from the bag with no rhyme or reason to adding color?
You will get an unusual yarn--of course, it's hard to repeat but it's also unique and one of a kind.
And to ply, why not just ply the full bobbin back on itself? This is two ply yarn kept in colorways, plied from ball. The front skein is just "helter skelter" yarn, plied from ball.
And nothing thrills a spinner more than to skein off the yarn from the bobbin to find it has been perfectly spun and in balance--no twisting back! Hip hip hooray! Pat yourself on the back when that happens.
This is the way my yarns are done to set the twist. After washing in mild soapy water and rinsed clear, take two plastic coated hangers and bath towel. Place the skein over the top of one hanger
Take the second hanger and lay the bath towel across the wide section. Place this hanger into the bottom loop of the skein.As the skein dries and water drips onto the towel, weight is added to help set the twist in the yarn. Once dry, you are ready to create magical items. If you knit with the multi colored skein, you could get this result.
Happy treadling!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weavers and Their Weaving

Weavers always say 'you have to be warped in order to be a weaver'! Yes, isn't that the truth in many ways. Rosemary is warped and ready to go!
Just recently one of the weaver study groups enjoyed their yearly May luncheon. Several members brought along samples of their recent work. New weavers have joined our group and shared their accomplishments. This sample used twill setting and some gold threads as weft. She is excited to be learning how to weave! We have to admire those who want to learn. They know no boundaries and have no fear--they are just willing to learn.
Barbara shared her lovely shawls. She uses 'new' yarns on the market--bamboo, soysilk along with rayon.
This is 8H twill weave pattern.
She finishes off her fringe with beads, adding more texture and highlights. Here is another one of her shawls, on the same threading and treadling. Interesting how color placement plays a large role in the look.
Close-up view.
Julie, who has returned from three years in Norway, has set up one of her looms and was weaving with Fox cotton fibers. Here is a sample of her twill towels.
There is some color difference as the above weaving hasn't been washed as the one below has. The color deepens with washing.
Oh, what a lovely shawl this is--light and lacy!
Close-up of this twill.

Yes, we are warped, but we sure can produce some wonderful pieces!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Spotlight--Judy M!

What a bargain for quilter friend Judy M! She bought this quilt top at auction for mini bucks. The price included the top and border fabric, which was not attached. Judy designed the border with machine applique plaid fabric. Looks smashing! She also did the quilting herself--great job!
She pulled the border fabrics from her stash.
Quilting detail. We measured the blocks at 6.75 inches--easy block to do and turned on point gives it an added feature.
This quilt was casually thrown over her lounge chair. From this pattern, purchased last summer at The Quilt Cabin in Denver, Colorado I made this quilt top from purchased pre-printed panel and Moda Fabrics. Judy M was the quilter.
She chose this tree pano.
Judy M is our go to gal for any quilt info! She is a master quilter and we enjoy learning from her knowledge and expertise.