Thursday, November 26, 2015

I Am So Thankful

Every year on Thanksgiving we go around the dining room table and mention what we're thankful for, which made me think of writing this post.

The years have flown by since my three sons were small, and they are all adults now.

I have had a simple philosophy as a mom that I tried to pass on to my sons, that life's focus shouldn't be about ownership of things, but instead it should be about going outside to have adventures in the scenic outdoors that surrounds us.
And I'm so blessed to have a family who shares the love of being outdoors!


Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season, full of life's joys and lovely winter scenery. 
Tomorrow we'll be heading up the mountain to spend our Black Friday skiing with big grins on our faces.

Let there be peace, and not violence, in this wonderful world that we live in.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Working Through An Idea While Pedaling

If you've read my posts, you know I'm a bit of an outdoor enthusiast. Okay, maybe a bit more like an avid outdoor enthusiast! While I'm out hiking or cycling, I'm usually working through design ideas in my head, thinking about possible color/design/size, etc. For months now, I've been thinking of making a bear's paw quilt, pondering how I wanted to make it, and then one day while pedaling it came to me.

When I got home, I sat down (after showering!) and started working on the quilt. I know that there are a lot of labels in the quilt world, and I don't think my quilts really fit any of them. Modern? Traditional? Improv? Hybrid mix? Well, anyway, I'm not convinced that labels really matter, so on to the quilt. I used the Whitewash Cottage fabric line from Moda to go with the bed quilt that I just finished. The blocks were pieced using long strips and segmented strips, some cut straight and others curved free hand.

This quilt measures 46 x 46 inches (117 cm x 117 cm) and it was hand quilted using pearl cotton thread in a soft peach color. 
I was so excited about finishing this quilt, I took this photo of it early one morning, just as the sun was coming up. 

It's now on my bedroom wall, hanging from a cherry quilt hanger that was created by my husband, Marshall.

On the spinning side of things, I have some lovely vivid purples dyed using drink mixes and acid dyes, from the Merino fleece that I bought from Cleo. 
Have I mentioned how much I love wool? 
There's such a delicious softness to this Merino that makes you want to gently squeeze it while saying, "ahhhh."

I'm spinning a soft single on a Marshall original spindle with a walnut whorl and an oak shaft turned from a branch from the oak tree in our front yard. How neat is that??

 I've started knitting another lace scarf with the purple Merino yarn fresh off of my spindle. 
Now I understand why people love knitting lace-it's airy and simply lovely to wear.

Here's hoping that you have time for fiber/fabric today,

Monday, November 16, 2015

An Improv Four Patch Quilt-Finished At Last!

In June I started sewing a new quilt for our bed using the Pandora's Box pattern created by Pam and Nicky Lintott. Halfway through sewing 200 blocks, I realized that what I wanted was to change the pattern somewhat by shifting to an improv approach. So I started by cutting up one finished block at a time, and changing them to improv blocks using the slab method. I kept some of the blocks in the original format so that I could scatter those across the quilt's surface. I was working with a lovely assortment of fabrics from Moda called the Whitewashed Cottage and the fabrics ranged from a soft yellow to a deep butterscotch, a light peach to a dark rose, various white fabrics, and various gentle grays. As soon as I saw the collection, I knew that it would make a lovely quilt for our bedroom blending wonderfully with the warm peach paint on the walls.

The finished quilt is 120 inches by 120 inches (305 cm x 305 cm), with a Quilter's Dream wool batting, and I hand quilted it using a soft peach pearl cotton thread size eight. It was a challenge to photograph due to the huge size!

It's now on our bed, and I love it!

I've been spinning Merino singles yarn using spindles and the wonderful Merino fleece that I bought a few months back (I finally washed/scoured all of it!). I found a lace pattern for a scarf and I've been having fun creating airy scarves. I spun the first scarf using a spindle created by my husband, Marshall, and it has a canary wood whorl with a lovely ebony shaft. I dyed the Merino using food dyes, drink mixes, and acid dyes to achieve the colors that I wanted.

The hat is a Cormo wool and silk blend handspun yarn that I knit up for a tight fitting hat to wear while I'm cycling in the winter. It's warm and fits quite nicely under my helmet.

I tried a cold pour method of dyeing some Merino top, putting a long length of top in an old glass mixing bowl from the thrift store, covering it with water with a small amount of acid, and then pouring the dye solution over the top. I let the dye settle, gently pushed on the top to make sure that the dye had covered all of it, and then I poured more dye in random areas, letting the dye sit as the solution was heat set in a microwave.

Have you ever tried unraveling a sweater in order to reuse/recycle the yarn? I had read about some women who collected nice sweaters from thrift stores in order to do just that. I found a thick cashmere sweater from my favorite thrift store, unraveled it while watching a football game, and I'm in the process of dyeing it to add to Merino singles to knit up special hats/scarves/gloves. 
Oh, the possibilities!

We had a snow storm roll in last night, dumping fresh powder on the mountains around us. I have my skis in the garage ready to go :-) 
Any day now....
Happy, happy dance.

Here's hoping that you have time for fiber/fabric today,