Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Back to School

Today I have been working hard as a fiber artist person!
I spent a long (really Long) time crocheting this morning.  My goal was to use up enough red wool yarn so that the box where I store the reds would easily close.  So I started what I thought would be a bowl, but it then morphed into a throw rug, and by the time I set it aside,, it was still growing!

This afternoon, I wanted to sew, but I am still "blocked".
Recently, I have noticed some blogger friends who participate in the Free Motion Quilting, (such as Patti, "Retired to Quilt" here)  (Isn't that great, to have such a passion-- but really you need to start quilting Today! Don't wait!)
So, It turns out that Leah, here, at the Free Motion Quilting Project, is amazing. 
I have also added her link to the side-bar, with the logo.
One of the features of her blog is that she has a large back-list of demos that feature various free-motion quilting motifs.  So, I decided that I would "go back to school" and learn to do some new patterns.  I don't know when or where I will use them, but that isn't the point.  I just need to stretch myself to learn something new.  And it turns out  that I don't really know too much about free motion quilting.  Mostly, I tend to do a meander, or some stitch in the ditch, combined with some meandering...

I started with the chronological order of Leah's demos. 
The front and back fabrics I cut to 7" square, and the batting to 6" square. 
Then, I watched the little you-tubes she has with each pattern, and made notes in my sketchbook.  Then, I went to my sewing machine and tried them out.
 It was surprisingly tiring.  I learned that I need to develop a lot of fine-muscle control to be more precise in where I put the stitches.

I also learned that my sewing "table" (a door that is set over two saw-horses) bounces when I sew at a medium speed, but doesn't bounce when I go fast.
I think it is hard to let myself do things that don't have a finished outcome.  Maybe that's the result of having been a studio potter who had to have finished items to sell, or from having the shop and doing so many samples for kits. 
However,  today, I think it is valuable to try to develop some new skills, -- who knows when I'll encounter the perfect opportunity to put them to use.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Embroidering on Felted Bag

Over the last couple of days I have been working on a knitted felted bag.  It is similar in style and size to the striped one I made last week. 
However, the yarn is more of a mix, and I tried a different style of handle:
I think the handle is a bit too large, or thick for this size of bag.  I also felted it more lightly than usual.  It is actually quite thick, because the striped pattern is knit with two strands of yarn, and the yarn that doesn't show on the front makes "floats" on the inside.  I thought if I felted it a lot, then it would be really really dense.
 To me, the stripe are sort of an optical illusion.  They look light and dark, but really the grey on the top section is the same as the grey on the bottom section, but offset, so it isn't that noticeable.
 I embroidered some simple flowers on it, with french knots in the center.  I tried to embroider leaves, but that didn't work very well, so I sewed on some felt leaves with perle cotton down the center instead. 

I also had the idea of possible using a crocheted chain to use in braided rugs.   This is my test strip, below.
 I chained a 12 foot section and loosely tied it so that it won't get hopelessly tangled in the washing machine.  I've washed it once so far, dried it, and now it's in the washing machine for it's second wash.
I did wash up the rectangular rug that I was working on last week, but something went very wrong, and it is bundled up in the back of my closet.  I might be able to cut it up to use for smaller projects. Maybe.

I've also got this bowl in the washer as well:
 I made this one a bit larger than the ones I made last week, it is about 12 inches across and 4 or 5 inches tall.  I also thought that I would try to see what an added ring around the base would do...
we shall see....
I also got an idea from Regina about turning the bowl shapes upside down.  They might be able to be used as a tea cozy or something if I refined the shape and added a sort of ball at the top.
 Finally for now, this is the little skein of yarn that was the result of the introduction to felting workshop from the other day. 
I think that I need to do bit of quilting after all this wool stuff, but I am quite immersed in the latest mystery novel from Val McDermid, so I don't know when that will be.  Plus, I hit a bit of a block in the quilting.  I think because I don't really want to start anything new until I finish something off, but I don't feel too excited about the last project I started with the dresden plates.  I think this is because I am using the fabric left over from the last quilt I made in Saskatoon a couple of weeks ago.  I should have used some totally different fabrics. 
However, I am stocked up again on Steam a seam fusible web, so maybe I should do some applique.
Well, I can see that I am descending into indecision, so I'd better just Stop!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Spinning workshop

On Saturday, Laurel and I went to the Oatland Island Wildlife Center to the Fiber Guild's workshop: Taste of Spinning with Sally Kroenke. 
This is the room where they do their spinning and weaving
These are the hand carders that you use to brush the wool roving to open it up and get it all fluffy
We used drop spindles to spin the yarn,
 It was quite a learning experience.  It was quite interesting, and we learned a lot. 
 After we spun our fluffy wool into yarn, we wound it on a "niddy-noddy" to make it into a skein.
 It was fun, and I certainly developed a deeper understanding of the whole process.
It was a bit tiring, however, so of course, we had to pop downtown....
 for a Coffee!!! at our favorite, Gallery Espresso!

P.s. our yarns have been washed and are hanging up to dry--
 Hope you're having a great weekend....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pickup Block #13, and the 7th Applique block

Block 13, Lucky Star

The 7th Applique Block, Three Butterflies

Friday-- The Savannah Museum of Art

 the Savannah Museum of Art has only been open for a short time-- a couple of months perhaps.  It is a wonderful building,with some beautiful spaces for exhibitions, and lots of other spaces as well.

Below, this is from an exhibit about the blacks who were brought here to be slaves-- they made the bricks that built many of the beautiful buildings in the area.  These bricks are highly coveted today.
 One of the areas is the Andre Leon Talley Gallery,
 appropriately focusing on fashion
Vera Wang
 This magnificent dress was worn by Christina Ricci to the Alexander McQueen "Savage Beauty" exhibit in NYCity.  (You can see more about that incredible exhibit here )
 totally fantastic, it has about 3 layers of gauzy mesh
( and it is for a very tiny person)

This is me, below, in the side gallery  (the photos below are taken by my sister)
 Earlier that day, we had gone to the Book Lady used book store on Liberty Street
 which stocks an excellent assortment of books in a very cozy collection of rooms, also including the smallest coffee shop I have ever seen.
 And we also went to the Savannah Tea Room where we had a lovely lunch!
 Today.... we go to learn how to spin wool at an afternoon workshop!! wow!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Friday Finish

Yesterday was a nice day to sit outside and do the hand-stitching of the binding on this log cabin quilt, so I am happy that it is finished.

Happily, I also did the machine quilting on the Art to Heart Sampler quilt yesterday.  I trimmed it up but haven't put the binding on it.  I am contemplating whether to make it larger by adding another wide border, pieced and appliqued.  That's sort of a big project though, so I might have to approach it on a day when I am able to fully concentrate.  Also, I would have to go buy some off white background fabric! 
So, now I must decide what to sew next.  I have a few items in progress right now.  Maybe today is the day I actually list them.

Items in Progress:
1. collage on linen background
2. Sue Spargo applique quilt (needs borders)
3. Fig Tree Ribbons (top fininshed-- needs quilting)
4. 1930's disappearing nine-patch extended block (needs borders)
5. taupe tilted checkerboard (needs borders)
6. vintage blocks that I bought but haven't sewn together-- bonnet girls, grandmothers flower garden, dresden plate
7. dresden plate Pam Kitty Morning
8. double wedding ring  (top fininshed-- needs quilting)

But perhaps it won't be a big sewing day today, as we have just made plans to go out to the Savannah Tea Room and the SCAD Museum of Art!!!
Have a great friday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

the Felting Continues, plus my Art to Heart quilt

 Alongside the crocheting I was doing, I also keep a knitting project going.  I have been making a tote bag using 6mm needles and two strands of Cascade220 in this striped pattern.  I had started it from a book I have,


But when I started it the first time, It had said to cast on 150 stitches. I did this, as you can see above, and I knit about 5 inches before ripping it out.  When I took the needles out, the circumference was about 60 inches!! So, I took it down to 80 stitches and started again.
 This time, things went a bit more quickly.
I washed it up and was quite pleased with the end result!  It measured about 14 inches wide and 19 inches tall when it was unfelted, and now it is still about the same width, but it is quite a bit shorter. 
What I particularly like is the way that the handles curled over to make a nice rounded piece to hold onto.
 And on the sewing front, lest you think that I have forgotten my quilting--
Yesterday I worked on the border for my Sampler with blocks and applique:
 I had finished all the buttonhole stitching around the appliques, but realize that some of my birds have no legs. :-(
 I decided to do quite a simple border.  I had sewn a whole bunch of the squares, because I thought I would put on 2 rows of them in a little running four-patches border.  When I put them next to the quilt they were a bit too heavy, so I dropped it back to one row.
 I got it basted as well, so hopefully I'll get to some quilting on it today!
 Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Explorations in Felted Crochet

These are some observations I have on felting crochet:
Although I have another floor mat in progress, below, I wanted to make a few smaller items using this technique.  (The "technique" is a single crochet stitch using multiple strands of shrinkable wool yarn, and then felting it in the washing machine)
So I crocheted several little bowls.  Before felting they looked like caps.  Basically they are flat bottoms with short sides.
I washed them once, dried them in the dryer, washed them a second time, and pushed them into the shape and allowed them to air dry.

I crocheted them as a spiral, and so there is a bit of a lump where the stitches end on some of them.

 They really do shrink up into quite a pleasing thickness.  And there is no problem with the walls flopping inwards.
I will need to do a larger one now! 

This is the mat that I am currently working on:
 I started with a section of back and forth rows for the center.  Then I started to go in rounds around it.  It became a little too squarish, and so I added a few extra rows in yellow at either end.
 I am still using my 15mm hook!  and I'm holding many strands together.  I like the blue.
I started to wonder what would happen if I added in accent colors with thinner thread pulled up in the spaces using a smaller hook and a chain stitch.  So.....
I decided to make a little test swatch (what? just now after making several projects?)
this shows the back of the chain stitch
this shows the front of the chain stitch
this shows the swatch washed once.
I really like how the chain stitch blends in so well when it is felted, so I will pretty surely add it to the mat.  You can also see on the swatch how some combinations shrink quite a bit more than others.  The green is a lot bigger than the yellow, although it might have more strands to start with.   This is not a particularly scientific process, (but the intention is to use the yarns productively)

print friendly

Recent topics;