Thursday, May 29, 2008

Orange Crush - Step #4

Here it is! A picture of my completed step #4 of the Orange Crush mystery quilt......all 30 blocks!! I wasn't real crazy about how the blocks were looking when I first started sewing them together. But after about the 10th block or so I noticed that they really didn't look all that bad. After about the 20th block I noticed that they really were pretty.....and had a nice folk art/primitive feel to them. It will be interesting to see how they look in the completed quilt. I will start on step #5 tomorrow.

This must be my week for finishes. I *finally* finished spinning up the North Ronaldsay fiber yesterday. Yea!!! I was starting to feel as though there was no end to this particular fiber. It felt great to finally see the bag it came in empty. Now to set the twist on the singles and then get it plied....and ready for use. I was so excited to have finally finished spinning the North Ronaldsay that I went and wound the Gotland singles off of my Prelude.....then wound them onto a bobbin on my Sonata. I even spent about 20 minutes spinning a bit more. The bobbins on my Sonata hold way more than the bobbins on my Prelude (almost twice as much). Plus with the Woolee Winder on my Sonata, it makes spinning go so much quicker.....and way more enjoyable. I don't have to stop all the time to change hooks. Lets me really focus on my drafting and spinning a fairly even single. Someday I will have a Woolee Winder for my Prelude.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Long Weekend

Well, it's the end of a long weekend and I didn't get done near as much as I was if that's anything new! :) I did get quite a few errands taken care of. Groceries were bought. And I even spoiled myself with a couple of new tank tops. After all, summer is trying to make its way here.....albeit rather slowly. I even managed to get a bit of quilting in. Didn't make as much progress as I had hoped, but at least I did get a start on step #4 of the Orange Crush mystery. I have a whopping 6 blocks done out of 30. :) I'm hoping to finish these up this week....and possibly start on step #5. I've a feeling that this mystery is just about finished up. It will be interesting to see what the completed quilt looks like.

I did manage to get a few more pieces prepped and pinned in place on the two applique blocks I am currently working on. It's amazing how little is left to do on the one. It looks like only a few more large roses and a bow to stitch in place and it will be done. How exciting!! I simply adore the way this block is turning out. As for my Baltimore Bunny block.....well, that one is still in the beginning stages so it doesn't look like a whole lot right now. I'm just about done stitching the leaves on. Then I get to do the flowers. Yea!! I really love doing flowers. Hopefully I will be able to finish up at least one of these blocks this week. There really isn't much to do on either one.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Quilt Labels

Quilt labels are something I know should go on each quilt I make......and it's also something that I seem to drag my feet on. I think I've tried it all. Stamping, inking, running it through the ink jet printer, photo transfer. I've even simply written the information directly on the quilt back using a pigma pen. But the label always seemed to be lacking. So quilt labels were never my favorite thing to do.....until I got my embroidery machine that is. Now I enjoy making quilt labels. The embroidery program I have allows me to design my label and save it to a stick drive once I'm happy with the design. Then I simply plug the stick drive into my embroidery machine and I'm off!! Pictured above are the latest quilt labels. All were done on the embroidery machine.....and all are ready to be stitched onto their appropriate quilts. I think it's a really fun and creative way to put that final touch onto a quilt.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dragonfly Completed

Okay, it's not perfect....but it is done. And I really like the way it turned out. The completed quilt measures approximately 17" x 13". It was done using needle-turn applique and is hand quilted. I hand quilted cattails along the bottom of the quilt.....and followed the design of the border fabric for the top part. I just need to make a hanging sleeve and label for it.

Last night was spent working on my Botanika block. It's actually of a basketful of roses. It's about half done (50 pieces had been stitched on as of last night). This block has over 90 pieces in it....and I'm really loving the way it's turning out....even though it doesn't have near the contrast with fabrics that it should.

Yesterday I had cast on for my sweater....twice! 15 rows into it and I ended up getting lost in the lace pattern....even though it is a very simple 8 stitch repeat. So I frogged what I had done and started again. Didn't make it quite as far the second time before I got lost. So frogged what I had done and now it's sitting there waiting for me to start yet again. I'm sure one of these times it will actually click and then there will be no stopping me. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Orange Crush - Step #3

Step #3 is done!!! Of course I'm still behind. Oh well. That's seems like it is becoming the norm for me anyway. Don't think I would know what to do if I was actually on top of things. :) Thankfully there is a bit more time before step #5 will be posted. Who knows? I might actually be able to get step #4 done and be caught up. At least for a little bit anyway. :)

I finished the hand quilting on my dragonfly wall hanging last night. Felt great to put those final stitches in! Now to find the perfect binding fabric and get a binding on it. This has been such a fun quilt to work on. I've learned so much along the way....and discovered how much I have missed the hand quilting. Looks like I will be pulling out another UFO and finishing it up. I started hand quilting it who knows when. I think it's time to finally get it done. I will be sure to share a picture of my dragonfly wall hanging just as soon as the binding is on.

My applique projects are coming along rather nicely. Of course I haven't done a single stitch the last couple of nights. Got distracted with the hand quilting. :) My first block for Botanika is about half done. The vines are in place ready for stitching on block #6 of my Baltimore Bunnies. Plus I've been playing around with an idea for yet another applique quilt. Just haven't started on it yet. Soon though.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Weekly Update

Quilting Updates: If you are looking for updates on the Orange Crush mystery it is. Haven't touched my mystery quilt since I completed step #2. Got distracted by other projects. Mostly applique I haven't spent much time in my sewing room. The applique projects are coming along nicely though. I pulled out a kit I had purchased who knows when because I needed something fun to do. Turns out the kit was short on fabric (which I was not happy about)....and it was a block from Robyn Pandolph's Botanika patterns....which tickled me to no end, especially since this quilt has been "talking" to me since the first time I saw a picture of it. After some searching I was able to locate the complete set of patterns (and for a very reasonable price, too)....which I then purchased. Yea!!!! And a new project was born.

My Baltimore Bunnies quilt began talking to me again. It has kept quiet for quite some time now. I pulled out block #6 and hope to be starting on that soon. It will be a nice break from the Botanika blocks.....which are large (20" square designs) and have lots of pieces. I hope to have all my Baltimore Bunny blocks finished up by the end of summer....if not sooner.

I do hope to get back to my Orange Crush mystery quilt soon. I've been downloading the clues and love the way things are coming together.

Knitting Update: Completed the knitting on a second "Little Slip of a Thing" bag. That's been done for well over a week now. Just haven't felted it yet. Maybe sometime this week. I did purchase a wonderful new book - "A Fine Fleece" - and have been swatching for a sweater from it. I'm using a Shetland lamb's wool/kid mohair blend yarn that I spun up a couple of years ago. The yarn is so lovely that I was saving it for a special project....which I found in this book.

Spinning Update: Haven't been spinning on a daily basis like I was hoping to do. It's been basically whenever I can fit a few minutes in here and there. So not a whole lot has gotten done. I am still spinning up the North Ronaldsay on my Sonata.....and have started spinning up Gotland on my Prelude. Both are spinning up very nicely and will make lovely yarn (possibly dk weight).

With spending the past week shearing, free time has been rare. Thankfully most of the flock is now sheared. Only two left to go.....and these two are just being stubborn. Well, they will soon join the ranks of newly sheared just as soon as I get my clipper blades sharpened. Of course this year's fleeces are just lovely and I can't wait to start washing and carding them up.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Felted Fair Isle Bag

Here is my Fair Isle Bag....all done. I must confess that the bag itself has been done for quite some time. I just kept putting off getting it finished. But it is! The bag was knit using a pattern from Interweave Felt....2007 issue. It was my first large fair isle project. I spun the yarn from polypay x wool and then hand-dyed it the colors I wanted. I think the bag came out a bit on the bright side of things.....but really love the way the colors all work together. The bag is lined....complete with pockets. It has a solid bottom and vinyl handles. A magnetic snap closure was used. And 3/4" inch elastic was inserted in the casing around the top of the give it more support so it doesn't gape open. All in all, the completed bag turned out much nicer than what I was anticipating. Loved doing the fair isle work, too. I even took a picture of the inside of the bag (next to the picture of the bag bottom) so you could see what the backside of the fair isle looks like after felting. Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"Little Slip of a Thing" Bag

Well, here is my latest felted project finished. The pattern is from ( . It was really fun to knit up and I learned yet another new technique. The color changes on the bag was done using slip stitches. Yes, you still had to strand your yarn across the back of the piece....which I still haven't gotten the hang of........but only worked with one color per row on the colorwork rows. Someday I will figure out how to get the perfect tension on my floats when doing colorwork. In the meantime I will have fun knitting up all kinds of colorwork projects. I've already got a second bag done using this same pattern....only in different colors. Just need to felt it and then finish it up.

As with all my projects, I did learn something new (other than technique). I learned that I really need to pay more attention when felting my projects. I definitely left this one in the machine too long and it came out much smaller than what I was hoping for (about the size of a large lunch bag). Also made for a much thicker fabric. I also learned that I really need to put cotton crochet thread in the top of the bag so it doesn't stretch out during the felting project....and I end up with a bag where the top is wider than the bottom. This was my first time working with grommets. Discovered that I really like using them. I think it gives the completed project a more finished look.....and is worth the extra effort and time....even if it means you have to cut the fabric first before using the grommet pliers because the fabric is too thick for the grommet pliers to cut. As always, cording from the home dec. department at JoAnns always makes for a nice handle. And it comes in such a nice array of colors. Oh....I also learned how to do an I-cord bind-off. It was an interesting way to bind off and made for a nice finish around the top of the bag.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Orange Crush - Step #2

Here is step 2 of the Orange Crush mystery quilt....."before" and " after" pictures. Took me a while to get these all sewn together. Just didn't seem to get very much time in front of the machine the past week or so. Step 3 has already been posted. I will start on that just as soon as I finish up a couple of other smaller projects. I'm hoping sometime next week. It would be nice not being a step behind all the time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Finally here

Meet Angus and Mocha (twins).....the last of the lambs to be born. They made their appearance late Tuesday afternoon. Angus first, followed by Mocha. Carrie, their mama, had an easy time lambing (thankfully) and enjoying her twins. She is such a good mama. Angus is a katmoget male (the light colored lamb). Mocha is a chocolate brown female (ewe) with white spots (the dark colored lamb). And she has lots of spots! Unfortunately it looks like she will end up being brownish-gray in color with white spots once she gets a bit older. She will keep the chocolate brown legs and face though. Shetlands have this funny way of changing color as they get older.....or at least most of them do anyway. With Mocha, you can see the color change when you part her wool. It's lighter in color near the skin. This will eventually be her "grown-up" color.

The birth of these lambs was bittersweet. It was wonderful to see them being born......and will be a joy to watch them grow. It was also a bit sad knowing that these will be the last lambs born as my flock has gone from a breeding flock to a spinner's flock. The upside is that now I get to look forward to years of beautiful fleeces for me to spin without all the worries and hard work that a breeding flock brings. With the addition of the new lambs my flock now consists of 21 beautiful, loving, playful Shetland a nice variety of color.