Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Surprise

Sunday June 29th is the last day our interim minister will be with us.  She will be taking the job of priest at a church in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She has worked quite hard at filling in while the search for a new minister took place.  In honor of her work with us, I decided to make a priest's stole for a going away present.
 There are a number of embroideries on the stole.  On the back is a knotted Celtic cross which holds meaning for her.
On the front right chest is a chalice - which is used in the sacrament of Eucharist (Holy Communion). This is a "redwork" design, but I made the cross on the chalice a different green.
On the left chest is another Celtic cross.
On the lower ends are an angel and dove, and an angel and lily.  I apparently only took a close up of one of them.
You will notice the fringe at the bottom.  It was supposed to be sewn into the hem, but I could not find the fringe when I was sewing it.  I was planning to leave it off.   Then two days after I finished, it reappeared.  So I figured out a way to add it anyway.  I am thrilled with how the fringe came out on this.  I will possibly use that method again.

Godspeed Pastor Nancy.  You will hold a place in our hearts.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Peaceful Saturday - Getting my Weave On

A fun random plaid weave. In case you are wondering, the plastic grocery bags are used in place of waste yarn to even out the warp threads at the beginning.   (They are at the bottom of the picture.)

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bookmark Embroidery Sew-out

Today I made this little embroidered bookmark for a friend who will soon be leaving the area.  She loves music, so I think this will be great for her.
I also got up early and cut and trimmed some of the base plantings around my house.  By 8:30 I was sweating profusely and decided that was enough for one day.  Later I helped a neighbor with an electronics project.
It was after all of that when I finally got to make this bookmark.
I hope you had a great day.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Quilting inside the Box

The title here is a play on words.  These adorable little fabric boxes have been showing up all over blogs.   Needless to say, I had to make one. Yes, I am sure I will make more.

I have a confession. I don't follow directions well. I do read them, in fact I am obsessive about reading directions.  I got going as I was making this and left out one important step.  I forgot to quilt it!  So the corners were ripped out- and of course I had double sewn them for strength.  That makes for tedious ripping out of stitches.   Once that was done, it was quilted and then re-sewn.

You can see that these boxes are a great way to have a few sewing supplies at hand.  I put Aurifil goodness along with my scissors and a wood turned seam ripper that I got as part of a gift basket.  I love the heft of it.  I used it to rip out those corner seams and it worked like a charm.
I had planned on some really cute buttons that I bought in Mexico, but I couldn't find them.  They are stored safely away.  Ha ha. So these black buttons were used.  Actually they probably go better with the fabric than the ones I had planned to use.

I found the tutorial for the fabric box at Seaside Stitches. If you click that link it will take you right to it.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Nesting Seams and Quick Piecing

I have made a new video on nesting seams.  It also shows how to quick piece four-patch and nine-patch blocks.
This was inspired by a former co-worker who asked for some quilt making basics.  I am always looking for ideas for new videos.   If I know how to do it, I am happy to share.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Piece by Piece - and fused too

Some of you are probably thinking that I have forgotten all about quilting.  I know I have shown lots of weaving lately. But I do still enjoy sitting at the sewing machine and piecing.

At my retirement party, I was given a delightful basket of quilty goodness by a quilting friend who retired from our office a few years earlier. (Thanks Judy!!!)  In it was a kit that she had cut out and put into kit form. It really appeared to be a kit that was purchased, but it wasn't.  This lady has some skills in packaging and presentation.  (not to mention excellent quilting skills.)  Sadly, I forgot to take a picture before I tore into it.  Here is a picture from the party when I saw the basket - yes it brought a big happy grin.
Yesterday, I pulled out the pieces and started doing a layout since this kit had extra pieces so you can do it "your way" - I love that idea!   Before I knew it, I had wrapped a board in fleece to use as a design wall and started sewing it all together.  
Then I pulled out the pre-fused (yippee) applique pieces and started arranging that part. Next thing I knew it was ironed in place.  Wow- what a fun project.
This morning, out the front door to the mostly clean cement parking pad we went. The picture was taken and now I am blogging it.
Yes, another surprise- mister "I like lots of color" used the pieces and made this lovely neutral piece. You can't see it in this picture, but the center, which forms a diamond, is a very light tan with a tiny design on it.  When I was cutting out the branches,  I strayed from the design and made it more to my liking.  I call it "artistic license."

What are you doing these days?  I hope you are not suffering with the high temperatures we are having here in Alabama.  But if you are and you have a "stay cool" tip for me, I would love to hear it.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Sort of Marriage - Quilting and Weaving

It is interesting and fun to find ways to combine two of things that you are passionate about. I have managed to marry my quilting to my weaving in a small way.
You may remember this picture of the fabric I wove to make a vest.  There are bits of quilting fabric making some of the colored lines in the fabric.  It is added while weaving as an "inclusion."  When I did this I just used what was in my threadcatcher - which normally gets dumped into the trash.
As I was trimming some hand dyed fabrics the lightbulb went on.  "I can save these trimmings for use as inclusions." So I started saving them.

I now have a plasticware container full of lovely bits to add in when weaving.  You will notice some yarn bits in there also.  When I trim the fringe or have a small piece left when the shuttle runs out while weaving, I save those bits too.   These all go into other weavings and just add to the beauty -and not the landfill.  It makes me happy.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Just a Glimpse

There isn't really much to post from yesterday.  We had storms again and lots of rain.  During some of the dry(er) times, I got out with the drill and a 3/4" spade bit to drill holes in a stump that needs to go away.   Part of it is already rotting. The above ground roots are up to 5 feet long or more.  Those are harder than the stump. But I managed to get a few holes in them.  One section of root was rotted and part of it came up in my hand -yaay!  This will be an ongoing project. Sigh

I started on a project I am making and you will see bits of it along. This is a machine embroidery piece that I got from Embroidery Library.
It is a lovely "knotted Celtic cross" done on a linen type fabric.  The fabric and the two green threads are a bit more green in color than the picture shows.  The color of the gold knotwork is fairly accurate though.
There will be more machine embroidery before this is finished.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Weaving Whoops - When Weaving Goes Wrong

There are things that can go wrong when you weave.  Aside from the obvious mistakes that you can make during weaving, there are other things that can happen.   This scarf that I was making shows some serious problems that can happen.

This scarf is a combination of alpaca, wool and silk.  One of the two alpaca yarns might have been okay on its own, but when combined with the others was a serious problem.  You see it is stretchy.  As I bought it mail order, I had no way of knowing that.
As you can see, it caused the edges of the weft to draw in.  This made the edge a bit wavy and my selvedges are not straight.  For this, it does not make me happy.

I had also used some in the warp.  It caused the ends to draw in.
See the dip at the lighter yarn.  I love the silk blend (golden tan) right next to it though.

Overall, it also caused the scarf to shrink a lot.  This scarf should be a little more than 48 inches. It came out to just over 39 inches.  Totally not acceptable. I expected some shrinkage when I wet finished it, but that is absurd.
The scarf is still very attractive, but it will not go to my client.  I will start again and make another one when the extra yarn I ordered comes in.
It is still a nice looking scarf and I will probably give it to one of my great nieces since due to shrinkage it is child-size.

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Monday, June 09, 2014

Possible Decision

The leftover Saori fabric that was left from the shirt was teasing me.  I knew I had to make something with it to satisfy the urge to create.

So I put the sewing machine on a basting stitch and  tried a simple mobius scarf from it.   Since this is mostly cotton yarn, it would not be too hot to wear in the summer.  Actually it is very lightweight.

I took several shots and made a simple collage of the images. Just try to ignore the "turkey neck" and focus on the scarf.
What do you think?  Should I make the stitches permanent?

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Saturday, June 07, 2014

Weave Then Sew

After weaving over twelve feet of fabric that was roughly eleven inches wide,  I took it off the loom and started sewing.  Yes, it is a bit scary to cut into your woven fabric. But if you do it properly, it will not fall apart.  Before you cut a piece you zigzag on each side of the cut line. I used the zigzag stitch that has a straight line of stitching to one side of it.

I had plans to make a shirt. This would be for me.   One of the joys of being retired is that I can make something for myself without any guilt.
So I cut the fabric into pieces that were 24 inches each - except for one piece which was shorter. That piece was cut in half lengthwise to make the parts under the arms.

Okay, enough talk here are the pictures:
 Ignore that odd look on my face - I had to take "selfies" and I hate doing that.
Then there is the back  with me wearing the shirt.  I will have to wear a T-shirt under it.  I am a little bit modest. 

I decided to take it outside and get some pictures on the hanger. 

and back
 It is a bit loud perhaps,  but I am calling it "Art to Wear."

I have a nice piece of this left over.  I am deciding what I will make with it. And I still have a warp on the loom so I can weave MORE!

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Friday, June 06, 2014

Weaving; A Metaphor for Life

"We look at life from the back side of the tapestry. And most of the time, what we see is loose threads, tangled knots and the like. But occasionally, God's light shines through the tapestry, and we get a glimpse of the larger design with God weaving together the darks and lights of existence."-----------John Piper

When I started this post, I went looking for a quote on weaving to borrow for the title.  Instead I found quotes using weaving as a metaphor for life.  We each weave in and out of each others lives - some of you weave in and out silently and I never know you were here. That is okay.  It just means that my life influences yours and I never know how or how much (or how little.)

Since I got the new loom I have been weaving quite a bit.  In fact until last night the amount wasn't apparent to me.  I unrolled the cloth beam to show a friend. The cloth just kept coming. Oh MY! I couldn't get it all in one picture!

My plan is to take this cloth and make a shirt from it. At this point there is a little over eight feet of fabric that is 10 1/2" to 11" wide.  Most of the material in it is cotton and cotton/linen blend so it should not be too hot for summer wear.
There are some interesting inclusions in this piece.  Vicki at Field Trips in Fiber  mentioned cutting the threads off of her freshly dyed fabrics.   I immediately thought "What a great way to add little pops in weaving!"  So I emailed her and asked if we could work out a deal on getting a small amount to try it.  She was quite agreeable.   While it isn't obvious in the above pictures, this cropped out bit will give you an idea.
All of the single row bits there are waste thread.  But it is wasted no longer.  This is a great recycle trick. I am also saving scrap trimmings from batiks and hand dyed fabrics when I trim blocks.  Those thin bits that are colored on both sides are excellent for this also. And when I have a scrap of yarn I save it for this also.  And sometimes, I am cutting small bits of yarn when the piece "needs" something in a section.

Now how much more will I need to weave to make that shirt?  I really don't have a clue.  I plan to weave out the entire 6 meter warp and hope it is plenty.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

What a DAY!

Today has been amazing.
Yesterday Mom and I went to visit her sister who is having chemotherapy.  I had made her seven chemo caps to wear.  She had me use the clippers to remove the hair that was left on her head.  Then I put one of the caps on her.  She said "Oh I want to save this one to use when I go back for Chemo. It will be my Sunday-go to meeting-cap." So I put a different one on her. Ha ha.

Today I woke naturally - no alarm clock, no light turning on to wake me.  It was wonderful.  Then I got ready and headed out.  Where?  I went to Peachtree City, Georgia which is south of Atlanta.  There I got my new loom!!!!
This is it.  Thankfully it is very portable so I can move it easily.  It even fits in the back seat of my compact car when it is folded.  (and I can fold it with the work in progress!)  For the moment it is in my kitchen where I set it to just weave "for a minute."  Ha! There you can see it was more than a minute.   I now have yarns on four bobbins and have even put some inclusions in the fabric.
See those bits in the yellow section?  (purple, pink even a different yellow)  There is also a bit you can see in the aqua section.
 This is the boat shuttle turned sideways so you can see the Saori name on it. The bobbin fits inside the boat shuttle. That little hole is where the thread/yarn feeds out as you throw the shuttle through the warp.
You can see the boat shuttles started through on this one.

But, that is not all! I also got a package from the guy in the brown uniform today. 
Quilter's Newsletter had a giveaway in celebration of having over 100, 000 fans on Facebook.  I couldn't resist entering.  So what was in the box? A treasure trove of quilting delights.
 A TrueCut rotary cutter, the book Color For Quilters, and some Quilter's Grips.
 A lovely collection of fat quarters.  This is Briarcliff by Audrey Wright from RJR Fabrics. While it isn't the entire collection, it is a lovely representation and I love it!

 This New York Beauty Template from Ready Templates - I guess I will have to attempt sewing those points.  Ha ha.  It will be a good challenge.
Then there is this little quilt hanger for a mini-quilt.. I love the sewing machine design.    There were a couple of other things I didn't photograph.  There is a Silver Marking pencil, both a medium and large set of Clover Clam Shell forms and finally a large plush ironing pad to put under my ironing board cover. 

Wow! What a day!  I may not leave the house for a month.   Well,  I will because I have a party to attend Friday night and Church on Sunday..and..and.......
Someone told me I would be busier AFTER I retired.  I think they may have been correct. 

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Sunday, June 01, 2014

A New Chapter - And an Update

Today is actually the "official" day of my retirement.  I have retired from my day job.  My last day was actually Friday.  Thus I am starting a new chapter in my life.

Recently it was Sew Mama Sew Giveaway day.   I did enter a few of the giveaways and I actually won one.  Yaay!  My win came from Aunt Polly's Porch.  I won a lovely layer cake of Hemming House by Moda.  And it came with a book "The Sweet Life" by Anka's Treasures.
This book features projects made with layer cakes!  Perfect combo huh?  

I have lots of yard work that I need to do -sigh!  That will slow down my creative time for a few days.  I have some volunteer trees that need dug up.  My decorative bushes need pruned severely!  And I am going to start doing my own lawn again since I will have a lower income and can't really afford to have it done now.

I was going to show my roses which have been blooming but it appears I was a bit late. So the one picture I took got the photoshop treatment to make it look better.
The roses have faded badly and the thunderstorm yesterday trashed them.

I have a volunteer magnolia that sprung up in my compost pile.  It is in a good place so I will not be digging it up.  Last year it had one bloom.  I am hoping for several this year.  The magnolia is as tall as I am!
 It is loaded with leaves and lots of bud pods.   I was thinking these were going to be blooms, but while I was out taking photos, I realized that they are new leaves that form in a husk.(I doubt husk is the right word, but I am at a loss.
Here is a closeup of one of the leaves breaking out of the shell.   Magnolias are fantastic to have for the leaves if you are doing a tablescape.  The leaves are clean and don't shed bits that need cleaned up.  The flowers of the magnolia are big, beautiful and fragrant.   I am happy that this one volunteered.

I have sewn a few more chemo caps and turbans but I didn't photograph them.  Tomorrow is delivery day for the ones I am taking to my aunt.

See you soon - unless I get lost in the weeds -either literally or figuratively! Ha ha.

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