Monday, January 24, 2011

Relaxation Before Craziness Sets In

We are taking our annual sojourn on the Florida Gulf Coast--first, we will relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the area. We overnight in Covington, LA--always an interesting time. We found the local coffee shop, where you can listen to the 'locals' converse. We saw signs to farmer's market, which was located across from the cemetery--all above graves due to the water table.
Nothing like the Satsumas from the area--a sweet, easy to peel citrus.
A snack to take along is fresh popped kettle corn. The vendor uses a cake cooler to separate the unpopped kennels. He noted that the chickens like the loose corn.
Onward and then we cross over into our destination--Destin, Florida! This is our favorite sight!
Along the main drag we stop to purchase fresh picked strawberries offered by Plant City farmers--yummy!
And for our evening treat, we enjoy a glass of wine, along with variety of cheese bought at the Destin Cheese Shop.
A walk on the beach is in order for our first full day in Destin. The skies are bright blue, no clouds in sight--walk on the white sand is perfect way to begin the day.
There are a few hardy souls picnicking and feeding the gulls. The fence breaks and sea oat plants help protect the dunes.
Ah, a super day!
RELAXATION! Craziness sets in Tuesday----

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We're Talking Needlework!

There are the traditional needleworkers, who use patterns and follow the rules right down to the wire. Then there are the unconventional, who will break all the rules and follow no pattern. Here are two of such people: Prudence Mapstone and Jenny Dowde. There are books in my library that show their imaginative creations.
This is the cover of Jenny's book--such superb knitting and crochet ideas.
And there is no comparison to Prudence's work. Several years ago, we had the opportunity to study with Prudence--how inspiring! Of course, one wants to begin that journey to freeform work.
An idea struck........take a pair of mesh shoes, loose the bangles and top stitching......
Make some freeform pieces................
and create an unique pair of slippers. Such fun to just take needles, yarn and GO!
"Green Head" has decided to come and play. She is modeling the latest knitted sun hat that comes from Berroco web page. It's a free pattern that fit perfectly into the theme for January 2011 spin-in.
This is handspun silk, spun on spindle, plied 3 or 4 times. Yes, you can take various colors of any single yarn and ply to get an interesting yarn.
So look for the hat as this person proudly walks the beaches of Florida later this month.
Ahhhh, a finished project came off the needles about two weeks ago and of course, there is the need to block the lace patterns into shape. This was from Advent Knit group on Ravelry. Beginning December 1 a lace pattern was given--now, try to keep up with the 24 days of knitting before Christmas--impossible! But, it was finished shortly after the Christmas holidays. Looks crooked on the floor--doesn't it? But, it came off perfect. The yarn is Jojoland Melody. Several vendors carry this yarn. Beads were added in the break areas before another pattern.
Keeping on the pace with freeform thinking, Another idea struck--why not use three different skeins of yarn to make a scarf? Yes, use three on one scarf. Here is the result. Two lengths are blocking (each yarn sports a different lace pattern). Now, just pick up stitches in the middle of the two and add the third yarn to complete.
Third scarf blocking--this should be fun to wear!! So many combinations to swing around your neck.
Happy stitching everyone!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fiber Artist Gallery Tour

This past week was the Fiber Artists "Looking At Art" gallery tour, led by Victoria Lightman. Our first stop was at Devin Borden Hiram Butler Gallery where the gallery director lead us on a journey through the works of Vernon Fisher, Jasper Johns,Richard Tuttle,and Meg Webster.
Two weaver friends were on hand to take in the sights as well. Charlene (left) wearing one of her lovely woven scarves and D'Anne, wearing the art work from the hands of Laura Viada.
We chatted with Sarah, who uses peyote stitch to create a freeform necklace.
Outside the main doors of the gallery, a garden awaits the visitor as they exit the building.
Onto our second artist studio--Cara Barer. Her studio is on the outskirts of her home. Cara is an international recognized artists whose work of paper are outstanding! She calls herself a photographer though.
Here we met Etta, who is wearing a freeform crochet jacket that uses small scraps of leftover yarns.
Onto our third artists studio, which is also located in her home. Dixie Friend Gay does large commercial installations. You might see her work at major airports. She has two studios--one 'clean' for her paintings and a 'messy' studio where she does her glass/mosaic work. Several gather outside the main gates as we await our leader's arrival.
As you walk down the pathway into the home, you notice large chunks of colored glass surrounding the trees and other flowerbeds--yes, this is definitely a glass worker!
The final destination was the home of Victoria and Marshal, where we toured her three story metal house and enjoyed a box lunch. This was a rare occasion to take in the artwork and studios of international artists, who make a living through the creative use of their hands.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January Beginnings

It is the best way to begin the new year--with friends and good eats! At the ex-patchers gathering this week, we had some delicious (although non calorie free) treats. Of course, meetings of any kind should begin with a layout like this one.
Jane was proudly showing off her new apron, purchased over the holidays. Jane is not the hostess for the day, but she loved the apron when she saw it.
At these gatherings, it is always great fun to be nosey and seek out treasures! Look around your surroundings and see what wonderful handmades are in sight. Here on Annette's chairs were two 'trip around the world' pillows--opposites.
Sandy was showing off her 'Birch Tree' hanging that she is having fun with. She found the pattern in Sept/Oct issue of Quilter's World. The nice thing about some magazines is the fact, with your paid subscriptions, you can view them on line. And the archives is right at your finger tips. No thumbing through piles and piles of magazines--that was always a side track from what was being sought!
In the front area of Annette's house we found this delightful pillow tucked behind the kitty's bag of toys. This was from a quilter gift exchange several years ago.
And to accompany the upcoming February holiday, Annette had draped a wonderful heart quilt over the rocking chair--all cozy and inviting.
Now, we move onto "sort of" finished UFO's. Here is the quilting view of the last top that Sandy did--feathers design--great balls of fire! how super is this design!
She placed it on this wall hanging--now, to just bind and it will be ready for the spring season.
Here is another Halloween bear from Fat Cat which will be added to the other two bears. If you haven't checked out the new 2011 BOM from Sindy--better hop over there immediately--it is awesome!! and Sindy offers each block free of charge for one month.
We are off and running with the Layer Cake happening. This is the fifth block in the group. So far, we are keeping up with this.
Okay, folks, back to the grindstone--dashing off those UFO's. Next time, we'll discuss knitted wear.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


The first week of each month is dedicated to weavers. Two different study groups meet during that week. One group has found a permanent location for meetings in a historic home.

The Wright House, built in 1898 is a museum and weavers only add to the element of the site.
Each weavers' meeting begins with show & tell. And in December we have a gift exchange but this time the moderator ended up with her own gift. She had the last number & her bag was the last on the table. She wasn't unhappy about keeping her handspun yarn though!
Our January meeting brought out recently acquired items. Leigh's sister is living on Navajo reservation and has met a weaver from whom she bought these lovely rugs. We were all envious of such work.
There were three rugs presented to Leigh, each beautifully woven by 80 yr old Navajo lady.
Leigh was taking orders from the members--we can keep this little Navajo weaver busy for a long time.
Barbara was showing her log cabin towels, woven of cottolin a 50/50 blend. Just lovely work! We always look forward to seeing Barbara's work.

The study group is working on their 2011 project--summer/winter weave. Since the house is available, those who have portable looms are bringing them. With assistance from each other, warping takes place after the regular meeting.
At the other weavers' meeting that takes place on Tuesday, we have another similar show & tell. Olga, our felter exordinare', is wearing one of her wonderful scarves that she has fashioned as nuno felt. In the background you see Rosemary and her prize Christmas tree that is loaded (!) with handmade ornaments. We always enjoy meeting in January at Rosemary's house so we can relish in her delights. It must take her days to place all those tiny ornaments on the tree; not to speak of how long it takes her to put them away. And she can tell you where each ornament came from and who gave it to her.
Connie brought her latest weaving exploration--trying to duplicate Huichol bag. Huichol is an indigenous ethnic group of western central Mexico. Below is Connie's weaving.
And here is the original bag. You can read about Connie's weaving adventure in the Jan/Feb issue of Handwoven beginning on page 56. Looks darn close to the original!!
Rosemary showed off her Christmas card from Antje, who was absent, a felted Christmas tree. Antje added embellishments after all the shrinkage occurred.
Two good meetings each and every first week of the month. There is plenty of encouragement to return to the looms and weeeeeeeave!