Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Here is my latest knitted creation. I call him "Teddy". It's a simple name, yet seems to suit him to perfection.  :>) Teddy is a whopping 7" tall when standing. The yarn used to create him is a blend of Shetland, Llama, and Soy Silk.....hand-spun. The Shetland and Llama wool is from my very own fiber flock (compliments of Oreo and Cavi, respectively). The yarn is all natural colors

Teddy was my first attempt at a jointed knitted bear. He is string jointed (or, in this case, yarn jointed). His head and body were knit as one piece. After the pieces were all knit up, they were then lightly stuffed (to help retain their wonderful shape) and then popped in the washer for fulling. This produced a firmer fabric while still maintaining the stitch definition. After everything was dry, a bit more stuffing was added and the pieces were assembled. Teddy has button eyes. His nose is needle-felted alpaca (compliments of Whitkin)....and there is some needle-felting on his face to give his nose area a bit more definition. He sports a simple blue bow. He was tons of fun to make.  :>) I hope to create a larger teddy bear some day. One that uses plastic joints. I even hope to make one that will wear little outfits.  So many possibilities!!!  :>)

On the knitting needles now is the sleeve for a sweater I started way too long ago. I had knitted the back, both front pieces, and a sleeve before it was put aside. Well, this is the year of finishing for out came the sweater. Thankfully I had kept good notes, so it was real easy to see exactly where I left off. I hope to have a completed sweater by the end of the  month.....or very early into next month. Don't want to rush myself with time constraints.  :>)

Onto quilting.....things have been pretty busy in the sewing room lately....which is good.  :>) Anything new that has been started, has also been finished. Pictured below is a lap quilt....which started out as a wall hanging.....which was a kit (someone gave me) that has been sitting on a shelf for way too long. Well, I wasn't real pleased with the way the wall hanging came out so thought I would simply add to it. Wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Somehow in the process of stitching the daffodil down the background got all skewed. I didn't find this out until I was adding the rows of Chinese Coins. Just couldn't figure out why one side was longer than the other......until I put it on the design wall and took a really good look at it. It was definitely a "smack on the forehead" moment for me.  On the cutting mat the whole piece went to be squared up so that I wouldn't have any problems whatsoever when I added the log cabin border.....or so I thought anyway. The log cabin blocks went together beautifully.....unfortunately they didn't go onto the quilt as well. The fit left a bit to be desired.....and I was starting to get frustrated with the whole thing. So instead of doing a lot of ripping and re-sewing, I opted to simply use a bit of starch with a good pressing.....and see how things looked after that. Turns out not too bad. I still don't care for the center daffodil panel....but maybe things will change after it is quilted. I'm planning on doing an all-over pattern of some sort and then binding it with blue. Should make for a nice snuggle quilt.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Strata Quilting

Strata quilting was the name of the class I took earlier this month. The technique was new to me and rather fun once I knew what I was doing. The pillow pictured is my finished project from that class.

Basically, the technique was rather simple. You laid one fabric on top of another....right sides facing up......made a slightly curvy cut with your rotary cutter......flipped one piece onto the other.....and sewed, using a narrow seam. The hard part (at least for me) was trying to picture what I wanted the end piece to look like. You were creating a picture of sorts. I'm a very traditional sort of quilter, so I found this way outside my comfort zone and rather challenging to do. I did manage to complete a small piece in class.....but didn't finish it right away. Once I got home I wasn't sure what the piece wanted. So I patiently waited util if finally decided and let me know. It had decided that it wanted to be a pillow. One where all the seams were done with a decorative stitch using rayon threads....which I did.....and had lots of fun doing.  :>) I had backed the pillow front with a piece of cotton batting before doing all the decorative essence, quilting it. I used a couple of the maxi stitches available on my machine in the larger  areas of the pillow front. The stitch used in the blue was left as is. The stitch used on the gold fabric didn't really show. It got lost in the color and pattern of the fabric. So I opted to color it in with colored pencils. While the end result is subtle, it does give the eye a bit of relief from such a busy fabric.

As for the pillow backing......I tried something new (for me). The piece decided that it wanted a string backing using a flip-and-sew on a foundation method....something I have never done before. So out came the older books on string quilting.....and I was off and running. Loved this technique!! It was fun and allowed me to create a beautiful backing that was quilted as well (since I used batting as my foundation piece).

The pillow itself is now on display at the shop where I took my class. I hope it brings inspiration to all that see it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Here's Horace!!!

Horace the Bear that is.  :>) This is a pattern that I've been wanting to make for quite some time. Years, actually. The yarn is a hand-spun Targhee/Lincoln blend. The roving was already dyed when I bought it (most likely at a fiber show). The pattern is by an artist in Britain. Horace was a ton of fun to knit up.

I  had wanted to try something a bit different. Horace is a knitted bear and I wanted to create a fabric that was a bit firmer. So after the bear was knitted, I lightly stuffed it would retain its shape.....and then into the washer it went.  I checked on it often....holding my breath most times.  :>) He came out beautifully!! I got the firm fabric I was looking for without any of the distortion that I was worried about. There was just enough stuffing to help the knitting retain the shape I wanted. Once he was dry, I then finish stuffing him (even put a small pellet bag in his body to give him a bit of weight when sitting).....and then put all of the finishing touches on. I couldn't be happier with the end results.  :>) Horace is about 7" tall when sitting......11" when standing. The flower  Horace is wearing was made by a friend of mine.

I do have another knitted bear on the needles. Different pattern, different technique. This one is being knitted with yarn from my very own animals. It's a blend of shetland wool and llama with a touch of soy silk. Very pretty yarn. I simply adore the way it is knitting up as well. If someone were to ask me what my favorite fiber is I would have to say.......anything from my own fiber flock!! And that I've processed myself. So far this year I have spun up close to a pound of fiber.....and all of it from my flock.

Monday, January 11, 2010

First Finishes of 2010

Well, here it is.....the new year.....and I have finishes. Yea!! They are small, but finishes all the same.  :.)  The teddy bear was made from left-over border fabric from a UFO that I have been working on since the beginning of the new year. Really loved the fabric and just couldn't bring myself to toss out the scraps. Found a free pattern online.......little bit of cutting, some sewing.......and a teddy bear is born. He is a whopping 7" tall when standing. His head, arms, and legs all move. I really didn't have the proper "hardware" for him, so made due with what I had on hand. So button/string joints for the arms and legs. The head joint is actually an lock washer eye that I had left over from another project. I opted to do the cross-stitch on the seams to give it a more "folksy" look......for lack of a better word.

My other finished project was an embroidery one that I had started when I first got my "new" Pfaff. I coudn't wait to try out the larger hoops so I stitched out an embroidery that was already built into the machine using a variegated rayon thread. Loved the way it turned out. Then I decided to play with the mirror feature.....and stitched that out as well.  Ended up getting sidetracked with something else and both pieces were set aside. I'm sure at one time I had some wonderful project planned for these embroideries. What it was I have no idea.  :.) All I know is that an acquaintance had come over and the blocks had been pulled out for some reason. She really loved the I thought it would be nice if I did something to finish them up and then give the completed project to her as a gift. Well, I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with these blocks. Then it dawned on me. Why not frame them? Sounded good!! I could see them framed and hanging off-set on a wall looking pretty. Well, off to the store I went to get the "perfect" frames. I'm standing there, looking at frames, when this larger frame catches my eye.  What if I framed them as one piece instead of two? So the larger frame comes home with me. I find that I have the perfect fabric in my stash that will compliment the two embroideries very nicely. Sew it all together, then decide that a bit of quilting would look nice, too. The end piece is pictured below. It turned out so nicely that I decided to keep it for myself. My loving hubby found a wonderful place to hang it. The finished piece ended up being 14" x 11". I have a few other smaller embroidery blocks that I did (and don't know what to do with). I'm now thinking that they will look very nicely framed. I even saw the "perfect" frame. Sounds like yet another UFO will be finished.....which is always a good thing.  :.)