Monday, January 29, 2018

Something New

Recently I was talking with a friend about starting new projects (the start of the year seems to always bring an abundance of quilt alongs, knit alongs, spin alongs...). She suggested it would be a good idea to remember being excited about projects we already had on the go when they were new, and to work on them for a week at a time to get them done. Brilliant idea!

So for the past week I worked on a project that I started exactly two years ago - a Pineapple Quilt. All the pieces had been cut and I had pieced 18 blocks before I got sidetracked by a few new quilt alongs that year (two of them I finished, and a third has morphed into another project). This week I finished piecing the rest of the blocks!! It was amazing how the thought that I was just doing this for one week made piecing these so much better (these blocks were not a joy to put together - 14" blocks, 53 individual pieces per block, they would have been better if they were 10" blocks).

I pieced 31 blocks last week. These are 49, 14" blocks in a 7x7 layout, the quilt will be 98" square. Sewing the blocks together and quilting will wait until another week!

For my 'Year in Craftsy' this week I dyed some fibre following a 'recipe' from the class Next Steps in Yarn Dyeing with Sarah Eyre.

I happened to have the dye colours called for in the recipe, and it was the first time I have dyed fibre this way (in citric acid in a shallow roasting pan).

It came out so nice, and definitely a technique I will try again.

the full bobbins
finished yarn
This a Merino/Nylon blend for socks, which always spins so easily.

All the best!♥︎

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Few Finishes

I finished weaving the M&W fabric (M&W is the threading pattern of the warp on the loom) -

This was a project to see how the crochet cotton I was given would weave up (to determine a good Ends Per Inch - EPI - the spacing of the warp thread on the loom), and what kind of fabric it would make, also to try out dyeing warp and weft threads. It was a good experiment, and I learned a lot! If you are interested in more information see my Ravelry project page for more of the weaving details.

I put the long piece of fabric on the buffet in the dining room. I was told by my children that it looks like a stained rag, but I think the colours are interesting -

close up of the dyed warp threads

When I was weaving I tried out a stretcher system on my loom (to keep the warp from drawing in too much during weaving). I had seen a fancy set up similar to this for about $80 (Leclerc Clip Temple System),

but I used $4 tarp clamps from Princess Auto, some string and a couple of old glass door knobs as weights (now that I know that it works I will add some eye screws to the loom, and figure out some better weights). I was amazed with how much it helped with the weaving.

I also crocheted a little thing out of a small amount of cotton I had dyed a few years ago. I wanted to see how the variegated thread would crochet up (since I plan on dyeing more of the gift cotton), I was also trying out some different patterns.

This past week I dyed some yarn (this is a Merino wool and cashmere blend from KnitPicks). This is for my sister.

This next finish is a little quilted mat - 10"x12" (the Thimbles are just over 1" tall).

I keep little cut Thimbles next to my sewing machine to use as 'leaders and enders' when I am sewing, then all of a sudden I have enough to make something with them (they are also a great way to use up the smallest scraps of fabric). This mat used beige fabric leftover from a GO! cutter project for something different.

This last finish of the week was a joint effort between my oldest son and I. He had wanted to learn stained glass so we made this together (the idea is from Pinterest - feathers are so popular these days). I just demonstrated each step, and he did great. We finished it off with some real feathers, a strip of moose hide and beads for decoration.

I am still working on a piece of embroidery, knitting the Tealeaf sweater, sewing,

and I have also been combing some wool for spinning. I am amazed how lovely it comes out with a couple of passes of the combs.

All the best!♥︎

Monday, January 15, 2018

Crochet Scissor Case

This week I made a little scissor case.

I was pleased to follow a crochet chart for this. It did take a couple of time to figure out the rows, luckily it is just small - the chart was different from the well explained Craftsy class pattern.

It was also the first time that I have crocheted around fabric - this is felt so it was easy to poke holes into.

The weaving that I started last week is progressing nicely, I've woven over 1m so far. It is nice to have something on the loom that I go just go work on when I have 5 minutes.

One of the Craftsy classes that I watched recently was 'Fabric Play: Sewing Mojo Minis' with Suzy Williams which inspired me to start the follow project -

So far I pieced a stylized log cabin block, painted fabric, added free motion embroidery with the sewing machine, and hand embroidery. I'll keep adding hand embroidery and embellishments.

Another Craftsy class I watched was 'Quick & Delicious Meals using a Vitamix Blender' with Nicki Sizemore, and I made a jar of  peanut butter!

All the best!♥︎

Monday, January 8, 2018

Cotton Dyeing

Last week I was given about 10 pounds of #10 crochet cotton, so I thought it would be fun to experiment weaving with it.

I dyed about one pound of it - it has been a few years since I have dyed cotton (I dye wool quite often and it is much easier), I had forgotten how long it takes - the cotton has to sit in the dye for 24 hours (wool only takes a couple of hours from start to finish).

The dyed warp and skeins plus the original cotton.
I have never had much luck dyeing cotton - the colour always seems to shift. I am happy with the colours. I dyed a some warp for weaving and a couple of skeins that I might use for the weft when weaving.

Above are the warps (4 metres long) - the two on the left are spot dyed, and the third I just washed with the other yarn so they would all be the same colour. I have only seen photos of spot dyeing the warp and it looked lovely, I am hoping that mine won't look like a rag used to clean up a spill (if you don't see this project again you'll know that it wasn't successful).

Putting the warp on the loom is a long process - I have over 500 ends to thread through the reed and the heddles. I am trying out a new-to-me weaving pattern too - a 'M&W' draft.

I finished a knitting project this week - a Rainbow Leftie.

The pattern is 'Leftie' by Martina Behm. I used Merino wool that I had dyed and then spun (a skein of grey and skein of a rainbow gradient). More details on my Ravely page.

I also finished spinning a skein of yarn - this one is a BFL wool and nylon blend for socks, that I had dyed.

The Tealeaf Sweater is coming along nicely - I am working on the lace at the bottom of the sweater (it is a lovely, easy stitch pattern).

All the best!

Monday, January 1, 2018

The New Year!

Happy New Year!

I don't make resolutions for a new year, but I do like to make 'crafting' plans - usually involving trying something new, a year long project etc. 
For 2018 the plan is to diversify my crafts. 
Lately I have heard of people calling themselves - a quilter with a capital Q, or a knitter with a capital K. I can't say that I am obsessed with one particular creative outlet, I enjoy everything that I do. So for this new year I want to try a larger variety of crafts - lots of old, but hopefully some new ones too.

This plan did start at the end of 2017 when we remodelled our storage room and I now have an area for stained glass (the boxes of glass had been packed since our last move 10 years ago!)

My first piece of stained glass in 10 years - idea from Pinterest
I used to make a lot of stained glass, it was really nice to try it again, and this is what motivated me to expand my crafting experience.

At the same time Craftsy introduced a membership plan. I have been a Craftsy fan for a long time, so signed up for the year with the thought to try as many things as I can.

This is the first project from a Craftsy class - a sampler cowl from 'See It, Crochet It: Reading Diagrams' by Charles Voth. I know how to crochet and made a lot of things when I was young, but I just made things up as I went along. Finally I learned the names of the stitches, new stitches and how to follow a pattern. Now I remember why I enjoyed crochet so much as a child. This cowl is made out of leftover silk and merino, fingering weight handspun.

This is a new project that I started today - the 'Tealeaf Sweater Knit-Along' by Bristol Ivy, another Craftsy class.

I just wanted to show something else new that I tried recently -

Soft and Stable batting to make a bucket bag. This stuff is fabulous.

The bag is lightweight and sturdy.

It is a perfect project bag.

I also tried some cross stitch again. This is a pattern by Veronique Enginger.

Another plan for the new year is to blog more regularly - I'll see how that goes!

All the best!
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