Thursday, March 13, 2008
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 things......so 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
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
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 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 thing......am 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. :)
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.
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
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.