Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Just a Quick Check-in

Hi,   My life has been delightfully busy and I haven't had time to do much of anything "crafty." I can knit while riding so I have done a little knitting on a scarf I have started.
I am making up the pattern as I go. Basically it is "cast on 31 stitches(or odd number of your choice), knit 3, purl 3, repeat to end. Last stitch will be a single knit 1.  Repeat row.  Occasionally,  knit two or three rows all the way across to add variation in the pattern.  (and who knows what else I will do as I proceed. ha ha.  I call it free form knitting.)
Here is a close up.

I went to an Irish music party, called a Ceilidh, on Sunday afternoon.   As two of the host family were interested in spinning yarn (they are knitters) I took my spinning wheel.  I taught one of the fiddle players to spin.  I think she can teach her Mom to spin also.  The Mom was too busy to sit and learn since she was the hostess.   I was spinning on some fiber that I hand dyed. Right now that yarn is finished and drying after its "bath."     Here is the last yarn that I spun.  I made it from some rolags that I blended on my blending board.   I love the way this color combo worked out.
It is a bit more muted than my usual color choices but it will weave up into some delightful color play.

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

My First Fiber Festival - and my Haul

Friday was the day,  May 22, 2015.  A friend invited me to ride up to a fiber festival in Dickson, Tennessee with her.  She mentioned that another friend might come along - and she did indeed go with us. This was the Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival.   There were lots of vendors there selling fiber to spin or felt.  A number of them were also selling yarn.  Since I have my spinning wheel and a fiber blending board, my focus was on the fiber.
OH MY GOODNESS - there were so many choices.  I saw living sheep and angora rabbits, fleece that had been cut from the sheep and not processed, washed fleeces, all the way to processed and dyed fiber and even art batts and rolags.  There were also other fibers available for purchase.

I got a haul of:
Alpaca, an alpaca and silk blend, bamboo (white and red), imitation angora (for blending,) wool that has been dyed, a small art batt and even a couple of spools of ribbon yarn to use in my weavings.

This is the entire haul
The colors in this picture are not great.  So I decided to do a couple of "close-ups"
The left back corner is an Orchid wool and directly in front of it is one that he called "Brick Red" but has a decided purple tone to it.
Orchid on left,  Brick Red on right
And my last purchase was one that I looked at several times. It is a mini art batt of wool, and other fibers.
The "orange" is really metallic copper.  I love this.  I had to have it - it called my name and latched onto me.

The real surprise of the day was what was given to me not long after I walked in the door.  At one booth the lady had a small stack of Simplicity Bias machines.  A couple of them made piping also.  We stopped to chat with her and she GAVE us each one of the Bias and Piping machines.  I errr.....borrowed this photo from a website.
This little machine sells for anywhere from $75 to $100 at the online retailers I checked. I haven't taken it out of the box yet. So there could be missing parts or whatever.  But, if it works at all, this will be an amazing thing to have been given.  As I told the friend that I rode with "This was worth the trip"

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

More Weaving

Quilting is on the back burner for a bit.   I have been working on some weaving ideas.  When you wake up with an idea, it is best to just get to it.  Apparently, my dreams have been weaving because I keep waking up with weaving ideas.

The cloth with the silk ties came off the loom today  so that I could put on this warp that I made with lots of white, blue and purple.  I didn't get a picture of it before I started weaving though.  Here is the first section woven in white and then changing to blue. (Although it looks a bit purple in this photo, it is royal blue.)
The next section looks like this:
You may notice a curved shape that uses what we call Saori Shadow Weave.  The colors and the arrangement of the colors create the shape.  Or as I like to think "it is just magic!"

Then I added a variegated purple/green/aqua thread followed by a gold section.  Of course I have added various extra pops of color (or white) to add more interest to the piece.
If the cloth come out right for it, I do have a plan to make something with this. But if the cloth has other plans, I will not fight it.  Sometimes you just have to let the fabric decide.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Silk Ties And Weaving

On Tuesday I talked about four silk ties that I bought at the thrift store to deconstruct for weaving.  After I started weaving a little bit with them, I looked at it and said "I need some more colors to add to this.  I really like this."
With the black warp and black yarn I was using in addition to the silk, it popped nicely.  I wish you could feel this!

Then I had a bit of a brainstorm (why I didn't have this brainstorm BEFORE I bought the ties is beyond me.)  Hey!  I have neckties from when I was working and wore them all the time. (My last few years I didn't have to wear  ties - or as I like to call them "pretty nooses.")
So, I dove into that part of the closet - you know, we all have that one spot- where the stuff that should have gone away LONG AGO is still back in that corner.  I pulled out neckties and more neckties all hanging on nice necktie racks. I started sorting the silk from the not silk. I even found a couple of old knit ties - now you know how long ago that was!
So I decided which of the silk ties I needed to keep for weddings and funerals if I absolutely HAVE to wear a tie. (Hint- join your church choir and you can wear a t-shirt and shorts under the robe - no one will know!)  Then I took the rest to my deconstruction zone.
I cut and un-sewed until bedtime.  Then on Wednesday morning, I finished deconstructing and cutting the ties into strips.    Y'all, let me tell you - silk is thin material.  So I looked at the pile and said "I need something to store these in."
A while back I bought some 2 gallon zipper storage bags (at the dollar store) for storing my spinning fibers.  I pulled out one of those bags.  I filled it nearly full!
That big quilting ruler behind the bag is for reference.The top of that silk is at the 11 1/2 inch mark. I have a LOT of silk strips for weaving now.
So I wove a little bit more of it - actually until the bobbin  in my shuttle ran out of yarn/thread/
Oh...the picture of the bag of silk was taken AFTER I wove all of this.
I have no idea what this fabric will become..but it will be very interesting and have a lovely drape to the fabric.
Of course before this post was finalized I had this bit added.

You may have noticed that I am (hopefully) injecting a bit more humor into my blog posts.  I have been listening to a woman who speaks on finding the humor around you.   Her name is Jeanne Robertson and she is a delight.  I suggest you find her on youtube and listen to a few of her stories.  If you don't laugh, you may not have a sense of humor.  If you to one hear of her classic stories, here is

"Men don't know the style in NYC!"

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I have been a lazy quilter/blogger lately. My life has been interesting and not in a bad way.  But it has eaten into some quilting time.   A while back I had ordered an Ashford blending board from a friend who is an Ashford dealer.   It came in and I blended some wool into rolags.  Rolags are wool that has been carded and blended into long skinny rolls used for spinning into yarn.  Here are the first ones that I made on my new blending board.

I love this combination of pale lime green, light blue, rich yellow and deep purple.  I also added in some silk and a bit of "firestar" which is a shiny nylon fiber to add a bit of bling to the yarn.

This morning (Tuesday) I had an appointment with the respiratory therapist (RT) to check on my CPAP.  The last two times I have taken the data card to the sleep center they have said that they can't see any data on it.  Being a computer geek, I put the card in my computer and verified that there was indeed data on the card.  But I took it in along with my CPAP for the RT to check.  He saw all of the data but said that he filled in an empty field that may have caused them to be confused. He also verified that my CPAP is putting out the right amount of pressure.  (and I got a little praise for using it faithfully and having good numbers!)

Afterwards I went shopping for a new mailbox. I got one and later in the day installed it. (yaay!) But I also went to a thrift store.  I am really looking for some used mannequins or dress forms to use for display later.  No luck finding those.  But I walked by and saw a bin of men's neckties for 50 cents each.   Many of them were marked 100% silk.   So I got four of them to deconstruct.  I will cut the silk into strips to use for weaving; although you could use them for crazy quilting too.

As I deconstructed them, I noticed minor differences in construction.   And although they said "100% silk"  I am sure that the sewn in interfacing was NOT silk.  After picking out the stitches in the pointy ends of one of them, I decided to cut along the seams on the rest of them.  I got all four deconstructed in short order.  If you do this I suggest having a trash can right beside you - it saves on cleaning later.
The green tie is actually a Kwanzaa tie.  The yellow is a simple yellow Bill Blass tie. The red with white and black print had a French name tag on it and was imported from France.  The Blue. gold and red had a very fancy button/tag on it with CM on one side and "hand tailored" on the other.   As I got close to the narrow end of the CM tie, I saw this
I wondered "why Countess and not Count ___"  Then my creative mind kicked in on me.  Of course, it is obvious!  The Count had passed and Countess Mara had to cut up all her fine silk gowns and make neckties to keep from starving.   And of course she hand tailored them with her own royal fingers.  (Sniff, sniff - I may cry now.)  I am not sure I can bare to cut this tie into strips.  The Countess has suffered so much already.
Ha ha.  Of course that story is only in my wild imagination.   I realize that I should have gotten more of those ties to deconstruct....because I obviously need more projects - right?
Ha ha. I hope you got a laugh from my silly meanderings.

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Friday, May 08, 2015

The Blues Have It

Do you have the blues?

Knitting is one way to calm your mind.  On the advice of some readers, I got a set of circular needles. These are from Knit Picks but were sold in a local yarn shop. (Yaay) They are the options interchangeable Rainbow needles. I love the pretty colors on the wood needles.  When/if I buy another size I hope I can get some of the Caspian needle tips.  They are blues and greens.
Yes, I am kind of hooked on making these dish cloths.  But seriously, I am not ready to try to knit from a (gasp!) pattern just yet.

The real cause of "the blues" in my life are the family that has moved into the neighborhood.  Actually they are in my house - or part of it.  You see, these adorable Eastern Bluebirds have built in a section of my gutter under the front door overhang.  I see Daddy Blue a lot.  I saw mom fly out once, but she is hard to "pin down."  So I have pictures of Daddy Blue to share.

He watches me carefully when I come out to make sure I don't bother the nest - and I suspect there are babies hatched out already.  I discovered that bluebirds are monogamous pairs and that Mama Blue does all the incubation while Daddy Blue is the provider.
My mother also has bluebirds in her bluebird box and we enjoy sitting on her porch and watching them. (it is a great time to knit too!)
Yes, I have the "blues" -and they are making me smile a lot.

May all of YOUR blues be the kind that bring a smile to your face.

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Thursday, May 07, 2015

Quilting a Chunk - My way

Another chunk of my Arrowhead/Old Italian quilt got quilted on Wednesday.   I decided I need to get moving on this because I was asked about making two quilts for a lady's granddaughters. Then I was asked about helping a pre-teen learn to make a quilt.  Funny how when you retire, suddenly you are even more busy than when you were working.

So here is the "chunk"
  And I will show you some close-ups flaws and all.  The first one, I call Sorta Paisley.
 The next one I call "Converging Streams"

This one was supposed to be following a pattern I saw on a blog that teaches free motion quilting.  Ha ha. I did it my way....and it is different.

And then there is this one that I call "What If...."
I started with one design and then said "What if I....."  and changed it. I  think I like it.

And in other news, the knitting adventure continues.  I am glad these don't need to be perfect - because they are NOT.  Ha ha.  In  a couple of places it seems that I got the "yarn over" done a stitch early.  I think it gives it a bit of character.   I am sure the dishes won't mind a bit.

And just so you know:
Craftsy is celebrating Mother's Day by offering up to $20 off every Craftsy class.5/7/15 through 5/11/
These classes make great Mother's Day gifts, and during this big sale you may treat yourself to a class, too!

All Classes: 
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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Without a Word - Wednesday

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Sunday, May 03, 2015

First May Finish

I have my very first finish for this month of May.  

For years I have not been able to knit.  It seemed I just couldn't "get " it. So, a while back, I tried and had a minimal success. But I didn't like or enjoy it.  On April 30th I woke up feeling pretty sick.   I didn't want to do much, but I needed something to keep my hands busy.  So I watched a video on "How to Knit"  on Youtube.  I realized that I had been doing it wrong!  No wonder it wasn't enjoyable.  I got my needles and a ball of cotton yarn and started following the directions.  It was so much easier and my dishcloth started growing.  Even better, it looked right.
Sunday May 3rd,  I finished knitting the last rows and did the binding off before leaving for church.   After church, I wove the ends into the fabric I had knitted.
I know it isn't perfect, but it makes me happy!  I love the way the variegated yarn knitted up in this pattern.  I think this will be the first of many.

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