Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Playtime with Yarn

This morning I "should" have been doing some store related tasks-- compiling T4 slips, entering all the mountain of bills and invoices and other mail into the ledger book, even starting the quilt sample for the shop that I want to get done while I'm here in Saskatoon for a couple of weeks.  However, I got sidetracked the last couple of days into a crochet project. ... which turned into a "use up ugly yarn" project,... which turned into a "dye the ugly yarn a new color" project.
 A couple of months ago I was experimenting with using multiple strands of wool to crochet with.  I was using all shrinkable wool, because I planned to felt the projects.   The white/grey thing, above, is one of  my first attempts at crocheting a circular flat thing. It turned out okay, although a bit lopsided where I started the new rounds.  But it is pleasingly squishy and fuzzy. 
(Around now you might be wondering "Why? Why is she doing this, with all the other fabulous things that a person could knit or crochet,...."  Well. You might remember that last summer I took on the task of dispersing the yarn from a retired weaver.  I did manage to get a great deal of the yarn out to new homes.  However, much of what was leftover from assorted sales was a bunch of odds and ends that includes older yarns that are quite rough feeling for many knitting or crochet projects,-- understandable since it was intended for woven rugs, i think,-- and also a lot of the "less desirable" colors, like weird pinkish browns, and lots of orange.   They also run the whole range of weights from lace-weight to quite a bit heavier.   I had to think of something to use all these yarns for so that they are useful, and don't spend the next twenty years just sitting on some shelf. 
 So, I started to compile them into heavier yarns. 
It can be really pretty to combine colors and it is a hobby in itself to make new combinations!
 These are temporary balls that are only 2 or three fine-weights wound together.
 For the crochet projects here, I am using about 6 to 8 strands held together, and using a 15mm crochet hook, I think.  It is pretty big, but a light plastic. 
After the test piece above, I thought it would be fun to do some hexagons, and sew them together like you would in quilting,
I made several hexagons in various colors and whip stitched them together. (  I did take photos, but unfortunately my camera has been hauled around a lot the past few days and somewhere I slid the focus from automatic to manual without really noticing, and so the photos came out all blurry). :(
Then I crocheted a few rows around the whole thing.
Then I felted it in the washing machine. 
Not all of the combinations felted to the same size, as you can see.  The purple seemed to shrink most, and the bright blue stayed a bit bigger,
This shows the rough proportion of shrinkage.  It is interesting that the color also changed a bit in the felting process, since the un-felted yellow hexagon shown here is exactly the same yarn combination as the felted one in the center of the mat. 

I really like the way the colors mesh on the green edging: 
I think that a crocheted base like this might also be a very interesting surface to embroider onto.
I decided to wind balls of the yarns, since most of it is on cones or in skeins, and pack it up and mail it to Savannah where I can play more with this process. 
However, some of the colors are really blah.... I used up most of the pretty colors already.  I don't want a bunch of ugly pinkish-brown, orange and black floor mats, No.  So I decided to over-dye some of it.  So I did. 
I came up with some nice purples, (also some bright reds, although they are sort of on the rust side, and some that are sort of navy)
 But for now, after all these explorations, I am definitely ready to do some "work"!

Pickup Block #11, And the 6th Applique block

Block 11, Blue Mountain Star

Applique Block 6,Vase of Flowers

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Lighting Store

 For some reason, there is no light fixture in our dining room, and it gets a bit dark in there.  So we went to a very nice lighting store the other day to find one. 

 It was a very interesting place.
 I was amazed at the beautiful fixtures that are available.  It was almost like going to a museum, or an art gallery. They are really adornments for  your home, like jewellery is an adornment for your body.  

 And while the one we chose was a lot more modest in size and style than the ones I've pictured here, I enjoyed looking at these modern sculptural ones quite a lot.
 It will take a couple of weeks for ours to arrive, but hopefully it will soon be installed and we can enjoy a little more decoration in our house!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Some Knitting...

Well, as you know, I love to knit.  This week I went to a couple of places where I knit with some other knitters.  I was surprised to find out that many other knitters get bored with easy knitting projects!  They like to do really complicated things!  Not me.  I like to do easy things.  I also like to do small projects so that they don't take too long.

These are my two most recent knits. They are cushions.  I wanted to use these really lovely soft yarns and try out some textured patterns.  The pink one is on big needles, maybe 6.5 mm, and the blue-green one is on size 5mm, I think. 
 I think I love them.  But not as much as I love my pink camellia.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Finished Quilt!

Happily, my Japanese x and pluses quilt is now finished!
Richard very helpfully held it up for me outside for this photo.  I like the way the grey and taupe colors are echoed in the background with the spanish moss and the painted deck. 
As I might have mentioned, I tried to be a bit more ambitious than usual when I machine quilted this one.  I had thought that the wide white space would be a nice place to try some quilting that would show up well.  So I bought a variegated gray 12 wt thread.  I have mixed feelings about the thread.  On the one hand, it is quite visible, but on the other hand, it created more lint than usual, although I could have remedied that with a larger needle--but I didn't have one on hand, and I was determined to do it right then!

So I did the leafy vine thing in the white spaces, the "oak leaves" in the "ribbon" and the "loop-de-loop" in the beige border with the thick thread.  Then I switched to a lighter weight plain gray rayon for the rest of the quilting.
Ta da!

 This morning I was outside pruning a lot of trees, and I took some More photos of the beautiful light pink camellia.... I love this tree.

Another technical breakthrough

Although this might seem minor to some, I am quite happy to discover that blogger has an application to use on a mobile device so that one can make posts. Hence this is my test to see if it will work. There is still the problem that most of my photos are on my laptop, but on the other hand there are some things that are only here on my iPad such as some hipstamatic photos and some screen captures.
The questions I have are,
1. why don't the photos appear within the body of the post,
2. How much memory do the photos take?
3. Will the screen captures be blurry?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pretty quilt

I just came upon this quilt on another blog, isn't it pretty?
it is from the superscrappy blog, here
the setting sort of reminds me of the "Town Square" pattern, but a little more complicated.

and here is another one, from here

This one too!
I came back to Saskatoon and am so glad to be home
Today I am meeting with my rep from trendtex to order more fabric for through the spring and summer which probably includes Christmas
Have a great day

Finishing an Old Project

That's the big picture of a wall-hanging that I "finished" this week..   Actually, I sewed 99% of it a few years ago.  I had sewed some beads on to it and had run out of them, and although I looked for more, it was only recently that I found some that matched enough to use.  So, this week I finished outlining some of the arcs with the beads, and the wall hanging is technically done... that means I don't intend to do any more to it. 
I sewed the project about 5 years ago from using a book called "Strips and Curves", by Louisa L Smith:
 It was so much fun!
First you sew a lot of strips together in gradations of color, and then cut out various sizes of arcs, like drunkard's path blocks, and superimpose other arcs or circles on the blocks.  You can have so much fun in playing with the juxtapositions of colors and patterns.  It is hard to know when to stop.  In fact, I might just need to go make another one right now!

 Seriously, it wasn't as "hard" as the finished project would have you think.  I had already sewn my blocks together when I decided to add a few more arcs, and so I just used fusible web and machine appliqued some extra pieces right on top:

You are probably wondering what the shiny fabrics are-- the green one is a gorgeous shot silk that I had stumbled upon in a clearance bin someplace, and the patterned ones are "batik lame" (lam-ay)  I loved those fabrics.  We had them in the shop some years ago, and they were great to work with, and you could iron them without shrinkage, but I was never able to find anywhere to obtain them again.  Sad.

When I was adding the last beads, I was quite surprised by how much thought i had put into the quilting back then! (pat on the back).  I think that I've gotten a bit lazy these past few years.  However, I will try to remedy that!  I have a quilt in progress right now (the Japanese x and pluses one) that I will try to do something more ambitious than meandering on.

But a wall-hanging is really a place where you can do something special isn't it-- the smaller size means that you can twist and turn it more easily, and you can quilt it quite densely without worrying that you are making it too "stiff".
I like to do echo quilting, where you just do rows side by side around the edge of a seam...  It's like mowing a lawn, around and around...

 I think I had also just sewn a new york beauty, and so on this arc I made these "rays" like you would draw on a sun.
 I sewed the beads on with an invisible thread, which was a bit finicky.  and I see that I also couched on a line of navy thread as a little frame. 

 Now I must go see what all the others in the Work in Progress Wednesday have been doing!
    Thanks for visiting!
and Molly, I was wondering where you have been.
@Joyce, thanks,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Printer Friendly!

This is what I think is great news!
There is a new "widget" that will turn the web-page into a PDF that is suitable for printing.  I have installed it here on the blog, and also on some pages of the Periwinkle web-site, such as the classes page, (here)  and the Saturday Surprise Sampler information page ,(here).
So this means that you can press on the bright green button that says Print Friendly, and it will convert the page to a document that will print without all the colored background and the headers!!
How handy is that?!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Musings (long!)

Monday today.  I guess we all figured that out by now.
I'm about to have my afternoon cup of coffee, while I muse about my weekend.

First of all, I wonder about technology, and how a person has to develop new neural pathways in order to keep track of one's "devices".  (You might want to skip this next part if you are easily bored.)

Each of the "devices" are able to do so many things, but then you have to remember what you have done where.  For example.  I have taken photos using my camera, my ipod touch, and on occasion, Richard's iphone.  I'm pretty good at remembering to transfer the photos from my camera to my computer, where I can edit them and then upload them onto my blog.  However, I sometimes go to upload a photo, but I can't find it in my pictures files.  Then I remember that I took the photo with my ipod, so I have to go find it and connect it and transfer those photos too. Sounds easy, doesn't it? but in reality it all takes a bit of time.
oh yes, and now that I have an ipad, it has it's own stack of pictures.  Oh, and I've also recently started to use Pinterest, which has it's boards full of photos as well!  So really, there are pictures all over the place!  And I haven't even tried using Flickr or any of those other photo stream places.   One has to develop some sort of strategy to deal with all the different methods of storage and retrieval.  It is very different than how we used to have only a stack, or album, of real developed photos and an envelope of negatives.  Oh, and maybe a scrapbook or cuttings file where we put pages cut out of magazines.
And photos/pictures are only one facet of using an electronic device.  My poor brain has to remember a lot of new information.  It is a wondrous thing to have such a capable arsenal of equipment at one's disposal.

Okay. that's out of the way now.
The photos that I inserted above were taken at a nice bakery/coffee spot called "Back in the Day Bakery", on Bull street, near Victory Drive.
It is a nice place to have a break, and on Friday afternoon we stopped in there on our way home.  I had been thinking about coconut cream pie for some days, and so when I saw that piece on the shelf...!!!
It was amazing.  Very much worth the calories. 
They have a nice 1950's retro decor going on in there, plus a few pastel colored doily garlands!
 Now on to quilting:
I was able to complete the quilt I showed you last week that I had pieced in November.
 It has no name. but since I am back to taking photos of quilts lying on the ground, they again have that tapered appearance.  Trust me when i tell you that it is really square.
The dark fabrics were mostly some oriental style prints.  I started by piecing a large number of half square triangle units that were light and dark, and then playing with the placement as you would use light and dark log cabin blocks.  I decided on this arrangement because I liked the prominent square design being emphasized.  That meant that it was sewn into diagonal rows.  However, I first had to make a lot of dark/dark units and then I sewed the units into some larger chunks before sewing the whole top together. 
 For the backing, I used a nice pop of turquoise to add some surprise!  I had purchased it for another quilt, but ended up not using it.  I really like the pattern on it.  I quilted the quilt with a few straight lines, and tried to venture past my usual meandering filler pattern in the darker areas.  I tried some leafy parts, and some flowers.  While it may not be that great, I am pleased that I tried to nudge myself out of my comfort zone.
 Last night I basted this one: the x and pluses quilt.
I had worked away at sewing the little plus signs last week, until finally I had enough to go around the whole thing. 
 I sort of liked the little stacks of plus signs: 
 It made me wonder whether a block made from them might be nice....
So I drew it out with my EQ6 program,, and then wondered about alternate colorings..
this makes a sort of woven effect.  You could get another new block by simplifying the piecing of it.
But, back to my real quilt!
I finished the top off with a final little strip of white and grey, and then got it basted last night.
This morning I began to quilt it, with my usual ritual of some in the ditch quilting at strategic intervals so that I can remove the pins.  This also gives me some time to think more about how to do the more overall quilting.  I also stitch around the edge,

so that I can remove the extra batting and backing fabric. ( I do this so that it can't accidentally fold under where I can quilt over it, having to un-pick it later.)

Now, I will need to think a bit about what to do next.
I hope you are having a good start to the week! 

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