Friday, March 28, 2008

Turtles (Honu)

I simply love doing needle-turn applique......and it's been quite some time since I've picked up a needle. So to get my feet wet I decided to do something small. Hence, the turtles (or honu). These are small pieces.....made to fit in a 8x10" frame. Something small that can be displayed either hanging on a wall or sitting on a shelf (table, etc). They were hand-appliqued using some lovely batik fabrics for the turtles....and machine quilted using a blue variegated thread. I'm really pleased with the way they turned out. Now to buy frames and finish them up.

My newest applique project is a wool applique wall hanging called "Wooly Sheep" designed by Rachel Pellman (love her designs!). This is another small project (13" x 15"). I bought it as a kit eons ago and wanted something small to work on after I had finished the turtles. Just not quite ready to pick up one of my applique-in-progress projects just yet. This has proved to be a fun little project to work on! I made the quilt top and had all my sheep placed in an afternoon. Then I spent that evening happily stitching away. I'm using thread to match and an applique stitch to stitch my wool applique pieces to the background. I had thought about using embroidery floss and a blanket stitch.....but really didn't want to have the stitching that visible. Yes, the stitching is still visible...simply because you need to take a bigger "bite" with the wool........but the sheep are seen first and then the stitching. Last night was spent cutting out flowers, leaves, and stems for the border applique. It's all tacked in place (with a bit of acid-free, water soluable glue) and ready to be stitched down. This piece will be hand quilted. Just haven't decided on whether I will frame it or not.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Orange Crush mystery quilt

It's almost time for mystery #2 to start.....Orange Crush! Thought I might as well get my fabrics put together for this. Although, by the looks of it, Orange Crush won't be an appropriate name for my completed quilt. Maybe Strawberry Crush instead?? Anyway, I ended up going with colors a bit different than what I had thought I was going to use. Also discovered that while my stash has a wide variety of fabrics, it didn't have all that much yardage in it. Mostly smaller pieces.....and not everything played nice together. So I purchased the black print, the green, the red, and the cheddar yellow (my accent color). The lighter colored fabric is my "lights" or background fabric. I will cut my "scrappy" strips from the small pile of fat quarters (pictured above). After going through what few scrappy strips I do have, I decided that I wanted a more controlled look.....especially since I was using yardage.....and pulled fat quarters that would play nice with everything. Yes, my completed quilt may have a calmer look to it than one that is completely scrappy.....or even partially scrappy. I'm okay with that. I really like the way the colors and fabrics all look together. Love the "feel" of it. Now I can't wait to actually start sewing on it.

Felted lamb

Here is another felted lamb. This one is made from Shetland wool off of one of my very own sheep. It was dyed a bit darker for the face, feet, and ears. I simply love the way the personality emerges as each one of these is done. To date, I have made three felted lambs.....and all have their own look and personality.

My felted penguin is coming along nicely. The head and body are done. As is the bill......and one foot. Another foot and wings (flippers) left to do before it is ready for felting. While this one has proved to have its own unique little challenges (of which I will remember for the next one), it definitely has been a lot of fun to knit up.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Carolina Crossroads

The borders are finally done! Yea!! Took a while to get my templates made. Took even longer to get the borders marked. Didn't take all that long to get them quilted though. I used the same blue variegated thread for the border quilting as I did for the quilt center. Yes, it does make the border quilting a bit hard to see. Which is what I was going for. I wanted it to be there, but not to jump out at you. I feel the focus of the quilt should be the quilt center and not the borders.

The binding is made and attached. I just need to sew it to the backing and then get my label made. Then the quilt will be finished. I used the border fabric for my binding. Just seemed to fit the quilt. I will be sure to post a picture of the completed quilt just as soon as it is done.....and I get new batteries for my camera.

Mystery quilt #2 is due to start soon. April 1st to be exact. This one is called "Orange Crush". Wasn't sure I was going to even participate in this one. I do have a few other quilts I would love to finish up....and really don't need to start a new project. But......I have chosen my colors and will be pulling fabric for it sometime this week. I have decided to go with purple, green, yellow, and possibly blue......or maybe pink. Haven't quite decided on the last color. It will all depend on what I have in my stash and what will play nice with the other colors.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Weekly Updates

It's time once again to take stock of what has been done so far this week.....and of what I would love to get done. Life has sure kept me busy this week so not a whole lot has been done. At least not what I would have loved to have gotten done anyway.

Carolina Crossroads: The quilt is still waiting to have the borders quilted. One border template is made. The other is waiting to be made. I do hope to have this finished up by the end of the month.

Other Quilting: The applique that I started last week is now finished and waiting to be sandwiched. Haven't quite decided on how the two pieces will be quilted though. Been teetering between hand and machine quilting all week. Both pieces are small so either way shouldn't take all that long. Haven't taken any pictures....but will try to do that sometime this week.

Spinning: Still spinning up the hand-dyed polypay. As with other things, the spinning got put on hold due to life getting in the way. I still hope to finish spinning it up by this weekend. There's really not a lot left.

Knitting: The knitting on the felted fair isle bag is done. The bag is felted and waiting to be lined. I will be sure to share pictures of the completed bag (which I'm hoping to have done by this weekend). I did start a new project the other night. Another felted lamb. I love making the felted animals. This one is about half-way finished.

My sheep: The expecting ewes are getting larger. Looks like at least two of them may have twins.....although the one is so large that I wouldn't be surprised if she had triplets. The other expecting ewe is getting large as well....although I suspect that she will have a single lamb....which is just fine with me. Her last lamb grew up into a lovely horned moorit ewe. All the sheep are going out in pasture more now that the snow has finally melted and the grass is starting to come in. A few of them are also starting to roo (shed). A sure sign that spring is right around the corner, along with shearing. It's something else to walk through the pastures and see bits of wool hanging off of lower limbs and small trees.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Weekly Updates

Carolina Crossroads: The machine quilting in the quilt center is now complete. The red inner border has also been quilted. Did a simple serpentine stitch on the inside edge of both sides of the red border using the blue variegated thread. The only thing left to do is to get the two blue borders quilted. I started working on that yesterday, but need to play around with my quilting design just a bit more. I thought I had a quilting stencil that would work. The design was exactly what I was looking for. It just wasn't the right size. So out came one of my favorite books, Encyclopedia of Designs for Quilting by Phyllis Miller, and my circle templates. I'm now in the process of drawing up and making a template for the quilting design that will be used in both of the blue borders.

Other Quilting: Last night I started on an applique project. Nothing real complex or large. It's simply two turtles appliqued on a blue background that will end up being framed and given as gifts. The huge thing about this project is that I haven't picked up an applique needle in months. Probably seven months if not longer. Considering I'm a huge needle-turn appliquer.......this is definitely a very good sign of things to come. Looks like those applique projects I started on so long ago will finally be pulled back out and finished. Yea!! The turtle design I'm using is actually an Hawaiian applique design being done in hand-dyed batiks. I will be sure to post a picture once they are done. I'm really just so incredibly happy to be stitching again!

Knitting: Still working on my felted fair isle bag. The bag itself is finished. I just need to knit the loops at the top edge of the bag that the handles will be attached to. I hope to do this today and then get the entire piece in the wash for felting (or fulling...whichever term you prefer). The bag is actually rather pretty. I still need to practice keeping even tension when stranding while doing colorwork. I'm sure I'll eventually get it though. :)

Spinning: The Manx Loghtan is now all plied and ready for use. The rest of the Columbia/Dorset is also plied and ready for use. I am now spinning up some polypay that I dyed using one of my new colors - gunmetal blue. It's actually a very pretty blue color. I was expecting it to be more on the gray side of a very pleasant surprise there.

I still have a bit of Gotland to card up and then it will be ready for spinning. This has carded up into some very lovely, very soft batts. I think this will spin up into a lovely dk weight yarn (if not a fingering weight). Still don't have a clue as to what it will be used for. All I know is that my basket (wicker laundry basket) of hand-spun yarns is very, very full.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Quilting on Carolina Crossroads Quilt

I had someone ask me if I could put up pictures showing the quilting on my Carolina Crossroads quilt. So here they are. I hope the quilting can be seen clearly enough. The center of the quilt is being quilted in a 1" grid using a serpentine stitch and variegated blue thread. I have a Bernina 150 QE and this doesn't really have a serpentine stitch on it. So to get the stitch used above I set my machine on stitch #4.....stitch length is on 3, as well as stitch width. This gives me a very nice gentle serpentine stitch.....which I love using quite a lot! As is evident on most of my quilts. I have 3/4 of the quilt center done and am hoping to finish it up the machine quilting in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


It's the middle of the week....time to take stock of what has been done so far......and of what still needs to be done. Or you would like to get done anyway. :)

Carolina Crossroads Update:
Only 13 more rows of quilting left to do and all the quilting in one direction will be finished. Then the basting taks will need to be removed before starting on the quilting in the other direction. So far, it's looking really good and I'm pleased with how the quilting is turning out. I was hoping to have this all finished up by now, but just haven't had any time to work on it the last few days. So now the hope (goal) is to have the quilting finished up by the weekend.

Spinning Update:
Spinning is another one of my hobbies that I just haven't had time for lately. I finally got my wheel set up for plying last night....meaning the jumbo flyer is now on. Even spent some time plying. Have the smaller skein of Columbia/Dorset all plyed and ready to have the twist set. Even got the Polypay plyed and ready to have the twist set. Am in the process of plying up another skein of Columbia/Dorset singles. I'm guessing about half way done so far. There are two more skeins of singles that need to be plied after this one is done. I prefer plying from a center pull ball. No "extras" to worry about like you have when plying from two separate balls or bobbins.

The Manx Loghtan roving I was spinning up is all finished. Just needs to have the twist set on the singles and then it will be ready for plying. With any luck I will get the twist set on all three bobbins of singles today. It would be nice to have it ready for plying while the jumbo flyer is still on my wheel.

One last just about finished carding up the Gotland locks I purchased quite some time ago. It's carding up beautifully and it so incredibly soft!! Not exactly sure what this will be used for. All I know is that it will most likely be spun up into a 2-ply fingering weight yarn. Or at least that's what it is telling me right now. :)

Knitting Update:
Making progress on the large felted fair isle bag I started last week. It's about half done. I'm definitely getting lots of practice with my fair isle technique on this one. The colors are all looking really good, too. All the yarn was spun and dyed by me from a Polypay wool. It will be interesting to see how it felts up once all the knitting is done. I've only been able to do a few rows here and there each day so it's not progressing as quickly as I thought it would. That's okay though. It's been very enjoyable to work on.

Sheep Update:
The weather is getting warmer (although there is still lots of snow on the ground) and the sheep are wanting to be out in pasture. Three of my ewes were bred in the fall. They are getting larger by the day. Still another five to six weeks before they are due to lamb. Looks like we may be blessed with at least on set of twins....although the last time my one ewe was this large she surprised us with triplets.

Everyone's fleeces are looking incredible! Shearing won't happen until after the lambs are born so the only way I get to enjoy all the beautiful fleeces is to play with my sheep on a daily basis....which I do anyway. Wonder if they know that all I can think about when playing with their wool is how lovely it will be to spin??

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Timmy's Mother

Timmy's Mother is the third of five sheep for a sheep mobile that I've been working on since January. She measures approximately 4" high and 5" long. She has black pipe cleaners in her legs to give them a bit more stability and shape. Yes, the entire mobile could have been finished by now.....but I really enjoy making a sheep every now and then.....when I need something a bit different and fun to do.