Thursday, February 28, 2008
I collect sheep things and thought it would be fun to have a sheep pincushion that I could use while quilting. Never could find one so I thought I would try to make one myself. Above is pictures of the end result. I used a sheep toy pattern I had found on the internet (Woolie the Ewe from Gritty Knits) and then put it through the washer to felt it down a bit. I also used smaller sized needles than what the pattern called for. The finished pincushion measures 4" high and 5" long. It didn't felt quite as much as I was hoping for. As you can see, it still has stitch definition.....and this was after running it through twice. It probably would have felted better if I had put something in there (like a pair of jeans) for a bit more agitation....and didn't have it in a lingerie bag. The pieces were so small that I didn't think it would be safe to not have it in a lingerie bag during felting. Didn't want the machine accidently eating something. :)
My pincushion is knit from hand-spun, hand-dyed (face and feet) Shetland wool. The same yarn I used for my felted Charlie lamb. It is stuffed with washed Ile De France wool. This still had quite a bit of lanolin in it so I thought it would be perfect for using in a pincushion. It has button eyes and a bit of needle-sculpting on the face to give the appearance of a nose and mouth. I untwisted some of the yarn, fluffed it up, and then needle-felted it to the top of the head to give it a nice fluffy appearance. This was a really fun project and I just may be making another one (or two) sometime in the near future.
Carolina Crossroads Update: I started machine quilting on my Carolina Crossroads quilt. I'm using a variegated blue thread for the top and a matching red thread in my bobbin. The backing is a lovely red fabric. I have the quilt marked in a 1" grid and am using a serpentine stitch for the grid. This breaks up the straight lines of the quilt a bit while keeping the quilting simple, yet interesting. Or at least I think so anyway. :) It's been very enjoyable to work on this quilt. I will be a bit sad when it is finally finished. Hey, at least there will be another mystery starting up on April 1st.....so I will have yet another fun project to look forward to. :)
Monday, February 25, 2008
Here is a "before" and "after" of my small Fair Isle bag. The picture on the left is the bag before it was felted. I used perle cotton around the top of the bag to keep it from stretching out of shape while in the wash. The handle was made by casting on a pre-determined number of stitches (I used 150 because I knew about how long this would make my handle), then doing a row of garter stitch, and then binding off. Once I had bound off I noticed that my handle wanted to roll, so I took advantage of this and loosely stitched the sides together. Gave me a very nice round handle when it was felted.
The finished bag measures approximately 5 1/2" square. No, the sides aren't perfectly straight. Shows that my tension wasn't kept even through out the piece. Something more practice will help improve upon. The bag is lined and has a magnetic closure. I really prefer lining the bags I make. I think it gives the bag a bit more stability and seems to hinder the natural tendency for it to stretch from use. Plus it makes the inside look pretty and finished. Always a nice thing! :)
Friday, February 22, 2008
Here is a picture of the real Charlie. His wool is a lovely oatmeal color and very soft to the touch. Charlie's horns never did grow in like they should have. He's still a sweet thing and loves being loved on.
Here is it!! The intarsia bag (or tote as I've been calling it) is finally finished. It started out with good intentions of closely following the pattern. But, I only managed to get through a quarter of it before I found it just too fiddly. So off I went in my own direction........and above is the end result. The bag is approximately 9" high (excluding the handles), 10" or so wide, and about 2" deep. It is made from hand-spun, hand-dyed polypay x yarn. Yes, it does tend to flare out a bit at the top. Don't quite understand that, but it does give the bag charm. A piece of acid-free foam core board was used in the bottom of the bag to give it a nice solid bottom (reason it can stand on its own). The bag is lined with the same fabric that is used for the handles and has a velcro closure. I think it will make a wonderful little spindle bag. It's just the right size for carrying a spindle with a bit of fiber. Will I tackle intarsia knitting again?? Probably, but not anytime soon. This was a wonderful learning experience though.
Another first for me.....fair isle knitting. I've always wanted to try my hand at fair isle knitting, but have found it to be so incredibly intimidating. I've got books on it (all of which I've read), plenty of patterns to choose from....even have yarn set aside for a couple of fair isle projects. It took a simple pattern offered by the Philosopher's Wool website to give me the push I needed to actually give it a try. Here is the end result. I was able to knit this little bag up in a few hours using the two-handed method of stranding. I found it incredibly easy to do once I got going. The yarn I used isn't hand-spun. It's yarn I had purchased from Knitpicks quite some time ago (most likely for a project that will never get made). I was real pleased to see that the little bag lay nice and flat after I had finished knitting. This means that I got the tension right on my stranding. Yea!! Now to get a handle made for it and then get it felted. Then it's off to tackle an even larger fair isle project.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The first border is 2 1/2" finished. The second one is 1 1/2" finished. I pieced together the rest of my 2" red strips so I would have a nice scrappy border. Plus I think it brings the red out from the quilt center. The final border is 3 1/2" finished. I think I may go with the blue border fabric for the binding. I was toying with the idea of putting a red binding on. Then toyed with the idea of using a scrappy red binding. With looking at the quilt, I'm thinking that a binding from the blue border fabric would be best. The blue seems to frame the quilt center very nicely.....and I think a red binding would just end up being too distracting. And this from a person who prefers a contrasting binding on her quilts. Go figure!! :)
I have a beautiful multi-tonal red fabric that I will be using for the backing. It will bring out all the reds used in the quilt front. I even bought two different shades of red thread so that my bobbin thread will match my backing. I will be using a variegated blue thread for the machine quilting. Right now I'm thinking I will quilt the entire quilt center with a 1" grid. At least that's what the quilt has been "telling" me it wants done. Not sure if I will extend it out into the border.....or if I will do something a bit different. I hope to start machine quilting it in the next day or two. Have another small project that I would like to finish up before I start on the machine quilting.
Monday, February 18, 2008
The intarsia bag is finished. At least the outside of it anyway. I still need to line it and make handles for it. Wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do for handles, but am leaning towards fabric handles. I think if I make them from the same fabric used for the lining it should look really cute.
I've started on the third sheep from my sheep mobile.....Timmy's momma. She is looking really cute and has tons of personality already. I hope to finish her up this week. I also started on a felted lamb. This is being made from Shetland yarn......that I spun up myself......that is from one of my own sweet sheep. The felted lamb is coming along rather nicely. The knitting part should be finished up and ready for felting in a couple of days.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Here is Timmy!! He is the second sheep from Shaun's the Sheep and Friends Mobile. He is approximately 4" tall....and is pretty round. I opted to give him a different color pom-pom for his hat instead of one that matches his hat brim. Makes things a bit more fun, I think. Timmy's mom is the next sheep in the set. I will start on her just as soon as I finish up the intarsia bag I'm working on.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I have started sewing my rows together. It's going slowly simply because of all the seams to match up. That's okay though. I think the completed quilt will be well worth all the time put into it. This is definitely not something I would have tackled on my own. Doing it as a mystery was a wonderful idea!!
Friday, February 8, 2008
Update on the intarsia bag: It's coming along very nicely. Love the way it's looking and should have the front side of it finished up tonight. Definitely a very colorful bag.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Speaking of spinning, I started spinning up a Columbia/Dorset (?) blend yesterday. It's ecru in color. Not one of the most thrilling colors for me to spin up....but it is spinning up into what will be a very nice worsted weight yarn. I was able to spin up half a bobbin yesterday. Hope to finish up the bobbin today.
My order from Paradise Fibers arrived yesterday. I had ordered a pound of grey Norwegian top and a pound of light grey Suffolk roving. The Norwegian top feels a bit softer than the Suffolk. Both should spin up very nicely. Even though I have my own sheep, I still enjoy spinning wool from other breeds. I plan on making felted (or fulled) teddy bears from the fiber I got yesterday. Along with the fiber was also a small Yarntainer. I have a medium sized one and absolutely love it! Use it for just about everything.....especially when I'm plying my singles. Keeps my center pull ball in one place and I don't have to worry about it rolling around everywhere. The only time I run into a problem is when I am plying and knitting at the same time. Reason why I ordered another one. Thought I would try the smaller size and see how that works out.
Monday, February 4, 2008
It was definitely a week for finishing up things. I also finished up the embroidered denim pillows that I had started oh so long ago. I fell in love with the zebra embroidery the moment I saw it and knew that I just had to use it for a pair of pillows. I used cotton threads for the embroidery. Gave it a nice matte finish. I also reversed the design for the second pillow so that the zebras would be facing each other when the pillows are on the couch. A simple frame of darker denim seems to set the embroideries off very nicely. The backing is a simple four-patch using a light colored denim and a striped denim. Nothing fancy.....although fun. I think it carries the "stripe theme" to the back.
Quilting update: All of the signature split nine-patch blocks are finished. They look great!! There are 36 in all. I had purchased a couple of Christmas fat quarters for the other 36 split nine-patch blocks that still need to be made. Wasn't sure I would have enough light colored squares for them. I also purchased fabric for borders and binding. So I'm all set. Just need to finish up my mystery quilt.
Step #6 for the Carolina Crossroads mystery quilt is finally finished. Everything looks really good. I started on step #7 over the weekend. Got things all laid out. Even managed to get a whopping 8 blocks sewn up out of the 25 that I need. I hope to finish sewing up the blocks in the next day or two. Once that is done then I can start sewing the top together.
Knitting update: Started on a new project the other night. A felted intarsia bag. I've never done intarsia before so thought this would be a great way to learn a new technique. Especially since the project is a fairly small one. I'm using all hand-spun, hand-dyed yarns for it. All I can say right now is that it is definitely a learning experience. I had a third of the bag knitted up when I noticed things weren't coming together like they should. So I ended up taking it all out and starting over. I was using clothespins for yarn bobbins and I think that was causing some problems. They were just too heavy. I switched over to floss bobbins and things are going much better. Of course it's the second time through and I have a much better idea of what I'm doing.