Friday, October 14, 2011

Fibery Pursuits

 We've had quite a few rainy days lately. Not just rainy days. But those cool, rainy days when there's a chill that only a nice fire in the woodstove will chase away. Those days are absolutely perfect for spinning, knitting, and quilting....which is exactly what I've been doing.

Pictured is a few of my latest creations. The first picture is of a fulled hedgehog. He was knitted using a hand-spun, hand-dyed polypay yarn...and Erda tweed eyelash yarn. He stands 9" tall and is about 22" around at his widest point. He has button eyes and a nose that was needle-felted using chocolate brown Suri Alpaca fiber. When you press his tummy, he plays a lovely little diddy. Wish I knew the name of the tune. Unfortunately when I purchased a group of those musical buttons, there were a few that weren't labeled. And this just happens to be one of those "mystery buttons". Still, it seems to fit him.  :<)  The pattern for this little guy is from FiberTrends. This happens to be one of my favorite patterns to knit. I love all the short row shaping. I find it very relaxing. I have made about a half dozen of these. Most of them were given away as gifts. I kept my very first one. This little guy is available for purchase at my etsy shop. (Was that a shameless plug or what!!)

Another great thing to do on those chilly wet days is to spin....which I've been doing a lot of. Pictured here is a skein of hand-spun, hand-dyed superwash 2-ply yarn.  I have to confess that I wasn't real happy with the way the roving had dyed up. Wasn't real pretty at all. But the yarn...Wow!! The yarn was a very pleasant surprise.

The pink/red skein pictured is also superwash. And, it too, was another rather disappointing dye job. I had pictured the roving coming out with reds and pinks transitioning softly from one shade to the next. Not the case. When the newly dyed roving finally dried it looked like it was a nearly solid red with not the slightest hint of pink anywhere to be seen. Have to admit, my heart dropped when I saw that. All I kept thinking was, "great...another skein of red yarn". Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised when I spun it up. The finished yarn reminds me of those peppermint candies that are popular around the holidays. The kind that starts out a stark red and white....then the pink starts emerging as you suck on it.

I have a soft spot for superwash wool. I think it's because when I first started spinning I had such a hard time spinning it. Could never get enough twist in it. My yarn was always falling apart. Plus I found it to be a rather slippery fiber to spin. Now I can spin superwash without any problems. Actually find it to be rather enjoyable. The only challenging part about it is the dyeing. I have yet to have a superwash roving turn out the way I had thought it would. It seems to take dye a bit differently than normal wool. And that's not always a bad thing. It is kinda nice to be pleasantly surprised when you see the finished yarn.

Onto quilting...another one of my favorite ways to spend a wet, chilly afternoon. Pictured is a quilt in progress. I know it really doesn't look like much right now. This is a UFO that I pulled out. The pattern is fairly simple...but you need to pay attention to the way the pieced blocks are laid out. I don't know how many times I've had to un-sew seams because I got the pieced block in the wrong way. The quilt is a large one (108" square when finished) and won't fit on my design wall. So I'm doing it in sections. The first section is on the left in the picture. The second section (shown in progress in the picture) is on the right. I'm using all civil war reproduction fabrics for it. Sometimes I look at it and think "what a jumbled mess!"....then my hubby will walk in and tell me how pretty it is looking. The quilt pictured in the pattern I'm using is done in blues, grays, and taupes. For some reason I chose to incorporate as many colors, prints, and patterns as I could. Who knows what I was thinking when I originally started this quilt eons ago. The blocks are 6 1/2" in size (unfinished) and there are something like 324 of While the quilt is taking time to make I have a feeling that it will end up being one of my favorites...not to mention my hubby's....who has a passion for large quilts.  :<)

I signed up for my very first online quilt class at Quilt University. Today is the first day of class. Yea!! The class I'm taking is on how to design and make your own Hawaiian quilt. I've had a passion for Hawaiian quilts for y-e-a-r-s!!! So much so that I've spent years collecting books and patterns on it. Even have a couple of dvds on how to make your own Hawaiian quilts. Spent years trying to convince hubby that we really needed to go to Hawaiia just so I could take a class.  :<) He never really bought into that one. Just imagine how happy he was when I discovered this online class. Lesson one covers how to design your own pattern, among other things like fabric choice, yardage, etc. Can't wait for the first lesson to open so I can get started.

Update on civil war quilt: Section two is finished. Section three is on the design wall and partially sewn. Just might have the top together by the end of the month. Yea!

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