Monday, August 30, 2010


Lisabeth pattern was from the hands of She-knits Sharon Dreifuss, mastermind of KAL mystery patterns. While sometimes fun, this one was a challenge. Why? This person has never done intarsia knitting before so you can well imagine why it took so long to finish this up. While everyone else in the group was finished and wearing their Lisabeth shawl, we were still trudging along with the pattern. Was the second thread pulled too tight or left too loose? Were the threads twisted around the right way? Gee whiz......
Now if this doesn't look like a mess and tangle of threads.
So many loose ends.....
Don't know what's worse--weaving in all those loose ends or doing the intarsia!
Weird looking patches of color in odd places makes one wonder what this pattern was all about.
So sadly out of shape and looking like a heap of knit stitches.
To the basement carpet we go, taking along pens, spray bottle of water and pillow for the knees.
Stretch, well, just shape the 'blob' into some reasonable looking shawl. Try it on and see what the pattern is all about. Well, there was a little cheating here first--just to make sure this shawl was knitted the right way.
It does fit just right though! Hurrah! Maybe another intarsia project will be in the works before long.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Henry Moore Sculptures in Garden Setting

Our outing this week took us to the free day at Denver Botanic Gardens. It was a pleasant morning but too bad we didn't arrive earlier! Everyone was on an outing as well--seniors, young mothers with babies, small school groups and loners like us. We began our day with refreshment in the Offshoots Cafe where we planned the best way to view all the gardens and see Henry Moore's sculptures, which are on display through January, 2011. Each area of the garden hosts one of these massive sculptures. Near the Ornamental Grasses area was "Large Reclining Figure". This area is the Rock Alpine Garden.
In the Porter Plains Garden sits this piece titled "Large Totem Head".
One of the lovely spots to view was the Water Garden, where "Hill Arches" rested.
This piece titled "Two Piece Reclining Figure: Points" was at the top of the amphitheater.

In the Fragrance Garden was "Oval with Points". This was a favorite area of many as they enjoyed the smells of the surrounding garden. Also, the piece allowed some shade on the sunny day.
From this photo you can tell how massive these pieces are as this young man surveys the view from his angle.
In Lanie's Cutting Garden, one could view "Goslar Warrior".
And a delightful piece to see was "Mother and Child"in the Le Potager area.
Near the Ornamental Grasses area was this striking piece, "Large Reclining Figure". It was an interesting outing as we didn't know about Henry Moore's work. It was also a chance to see the updates to the gardens. And now, we'll leave you with some sights of the gardens.

Look closely for the bee!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

From Nature to Human Hands

We attended a natural exhibit from the hands of Regina Benson. Her pieces use various techniques to achieve the end results. She will take black fabric to “discharge” the color. There are ways to do this with certain pastes. She will use soy wax resists and Shibori techniques to enhance the fabric texture; then she over dyes or rusts the fabric surface several times with natural and acid dyes. The unusual markings are then over sewn with free-motion stitches using hand-dyed threads. Sometimes she will intensify the fabric with encaustic or burning processes.
Here are some samples of her work in progress. This piece is wrapped around PVC pipe before being discharged.
Examples of stitched or shibori fabric after discharge.
Here is bowl of soy wax shavings. Her note says that soy wax is derived from plants and more earth friendly than bee wax or paraffin.
This piece is entitled "Night Bloom"; it is dyed, discharged on snow, layered and stitched.
Entitled "Ablaze", this pieces is dyed, resisted discharge, layered, stitched and burned.
"Solar Storm"--dyed, discharged on snow, soy wax resisted, stitched and burned.
"Breaking Ground"--rusted (who would have thought that age of rust will give us a nice color), discharged, pieced, layered, burned and stitched.
"Unearthed" is another rusted piece, soy wax resisted, pieced, layered, stitched and burned.
This was truly a favorite--"Baltic Seaside" dyed, discharged with reeds and stones, painted, layered, stitched.
This large installation was eye catching! "Amber Grove"--dyed, shibori discharged, embossed with leaves and twigs, stitched and burned.
"Twilight at Sea" is a very colorful hanging. Techniques used--dyed, discharge on grass, re-dyed, painted, layered, stitched.
And before you enter the exhibit area, you are greeted with this wonderful exhibit of three large hangings. From this angle it's hard to see the other two, but all three were discharged.
What an appealing show--well worth the time and visit to the Botanic Garden Exhibit Hall.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Red and White

When you want to add some pizazz to your decor, why not add some red. Actually, orange will do the same, but just a little of orange goes a long way. Well, there isn't much red around our house. There is always some orange though--be it either fruit or a small pillow or just an accent thrown on the sofa.
Last month this 'mystery' quilt pattern appeared on Lyn Brown'sblog. It looked interesting but after starting in on the second clue, we could tell there was going to be lots of sewing to get this thing finished.
Red and white was the choice of fabrics. Of course, as the cutting began, the red fabric on hand wasn't enough to satisfy the requirements. Why go to the fabric store without taking a sample of the fabric you want to match? Oh, yes, the eye will know how to match.....oh, yeah, right! Here is what came home. Does it look like a match? Just a little off but maybe no one will notice and don't all reds go together in a quilt? At least, someone said that once upon a time.
After lots of cutting and lots of chain stitching--sure saves thread and all those long strings at each starting point.
Okay, we are on clue four and it looks as though we need to make 12 blocks.
Still stitching.........
Now, we have 12 blocks. Wonder what the setting will be and will more red be needed? If so, the next visit to the fabric store, we'll take a sample to match.

We have to wait till August 31 for that final clue--don't you hate waiting?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Treadling Softly

In the late afternoon it is great to sit, relax and softly treadle Ashford Joy wheel. It's a wheel that was pre-treadled before it came to this household. That makes it better--quite broken in by other caring feet and hands. She is a pleasure under the feet and spins wonderful yarns.
Wool from the dumpster diving fun at Brown Sheep Company back in ought O 100.
A mixture of wool, mohair and some silk.
The bobbin contains Como wool brought at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. After spinning for some time, the hands were tried of wool so silk roving was spun onto the bobbin. Well, needless to say silk spins forever....................................................................
Lovely gray wool from friend's sheep.
Now, to the plying. Since the Como was spun first and silk afterwards on the same bobbin, it was easy peazy to wind off and ply from inside and outside of the bobbin. Gee, that was a great thought, but just coincidental. Now, we have a wonderful sheeny yarn--to dye or not to dye?
Okay, the feet are idle for now, but itching to return to the wheel for more adventure spinning. Yes, projects are whirling around in the brain too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pedal to the Metal!

Nope, we're not talking about the gas pedal, but the sewing machine pedal and spinning wheel treadle. So many projects and so little summer left to complete them. What happen to the resolution that a new project wouldn't be begun until at least two UFO's were finished? It went out the window! Who can resist something different, unique and unusual? New fabrics, new patterns, new techniques....all there for the taking. A chance to fill the brain with more energy! Besides who made that resolution anyway?
Well, these two barn blocks were completed so can't these count towards UFO's? More paper piecing, which are fun to make.
This is the first time hexagons were ever made--not so sure it was as much fun as paper piecing.
Oh, look--this project has been wrapped up!! so, that definitely counts towards finishing UFO's!!
These 12 blocks are from the jelly roll sampler project.
Now, here are three new UFO's to add to the growing list. This one is called All Points North and South.
This project took more time than was first expected--lots of small 3.5" blocks--over 200+ of them. Since this is a mystery........hope, it's all worth it in the long run.
And this final project--made from batiks--first month, make 4 blocks of the same block. This should be interesting.