Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I'm going to take a blogging break for the holiday season to spend time with my family. You'll probably find us outside, enjoying the awesome Idaho scenery!

And hopefully we'll be skiing our legs off!

See you in 2015,

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Creative Time

I haven't written about spinning or knitting in some time, but I've been working on various projects. Of course I have a pair of socks on my needles (it's an addiction to be sure), but I'm also knitting with some handspun yarn fresh off one of my hand spindles. The other day I started spinning some Corriedale wool that I had dyed lavender, bright green, yellow and black. I spun it softly using one of my Greensleeve's spindles that is really a joy to spin with.

  I had dyed the Corriedale a year ago and after I dyed the wool I found that the green and yellow were too bright for my taste, so I put the bag of fiber away. A couple of weeks ago I rediscovered it and I decided to hand card the colors, blending/softening the bright colors with natural undyed Corriedale wool and the dyed black wool. I like it much better now!

I've knit up a tam to wear with a tiny bobble on top and I'm currently knitting a ribbed scarf. Don't you just love the texture of handspun yarn?

I've been sewing baby quilts that I dropped off at the women's shelter in town. 
Polka dots, anyone??

I've also been sewing a fun cardinal and pine tree Christmas quilt from a design by Mary Hickey. The blocks are paper pieced and they are a great way to use up some scraps from my overflowing scrap containers.

I hand quilted it using black perle cotton thread

and it's now hanging in my living room, providing a bright addition of Christmas cheer.

Lately the weather here in Boise has been all over the place with lots of rain and fog with cold temperatures one day and warm the next.  Strange weather! We won't be doing any skiing any time soon if it doesn't get colder :-( The other day I was out walking my canine buddies along the Boise River and I came across a couple of majestic bald eagles, which were so incredible to see. It was foggy that day so my photo reflects that-

and it was a great day to be out, enjoying the Idaho scenery. My dogs came home filthy from the wet and muddy path, but oh, so happy from the long walk.

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happily Sewing

I wanted to create a new small quilt for our front door with a winter theme so one day I gathered my white, gray and black scraps, along with my hand painted sky fabrics and I started working/playing. My Idaho winter quilt is the result-

I've been having such fun making new Christmas quilts I decided to press on and make a few more. After some searching at various fabric/quilt stores in the area I found a lovely red fabric that was just what I wanted.

It came home with me that day, along with a dark forest green print. I used them along with some Kona cotton in black to make this small Shoo Fly quilt for my living room. It was machine quilted in small circles in the black areas.

I'm just finishing work on a basket quilt using the same fabrics. I decided to hand quilt part of it and then machine quilt the parts that don't show up as well. Hopefully it will be done in a day or so.

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Christmas Quilts and Snow in the Forecast :-)

This morning it's 17 F (-8 C) out and it's rather hard to believe that last week it was 60 F! I can't complain though, as I do love the changing seasons-especially the cold weather, and lots of snow. Tomorrow we're supposed to be getting snow here in the Boise valley and the mountains around us are supposed to get even more. Happy days!! Should I get my skis out and prop them up in my family room? ;-)

A fall textile postcard that I created using improv piecing with various batik strips-

I've pulled out my Christmas quilts and hung them around the house. Don't you just love decorating for Christmas? I found a couple of neat things at the thrift stores-a cheery, round Santa to go on a library table.

 Some vintage Christmas ornaments to hang on our tree-

Every year I try to make one or two new Christmas quilts to add to the collection. It's fun rotating quilts in the wall hangers and draping a cheery bright red Christmas quilt on the sofa. So I've put the other projects on hold so that I could do some Christmas sewing.

I like exploring blocks using EQ7 as it gives me the chance to play with colors, block sizes and border ideas. Sometimes simple and classic is just what I want, so for the first quilt I chose the eight pointed star block, and then I sized it to a nine inch (23 cm) block. I pulled out a Hoffman Essentials print in various deep reds, a Kona cotton white for the background and I was ready to roll. I decided to paper piece this for accuracy.

 I outline quilted the stars using perle cotton and then it was ready to hang in my kitchen. How do you like my classic Christmas star quilt?

The second quilt that I'm currently working on is made up of Cross and Crown blocks, which is a block I've never worked with before. I decided to paper piece this as well as I didn't feel like fiddling with the small triangles. This time I went with a black background, using Kona cotton fabric and I stuck with the Hoffman Essentials print.

As I started sewing the blocks together, I paused for a moment to pin the blocks to my studio wall to see how they looked. I discovered a secondary pattern from the black squares which was detracting from the view of the primary design. I took the blocks apart, and then sewed black sashing strips to each block. That fixed the problem and allowed me to focus on the primary pattern that I wanted to see.

I still need to sew the borders on this, and I'm thinking a dark forest green that's almost black so a trip to the LQS is in order. Oh, darn.

I have another quilt in the works that I printed out this morning and it's a Christmas basket quilt. I think that I'll paper piece the handles and then rotary cut the rest. It should be fun to sew up today :-)

A couple of weekends ago my husband and I rode up to Thorn Creek Butte fire lookout one last time before the snow makes it impassable. Well, we had to ride through snow to make it to the lookout and the wind was blowing like mad, but it was an awesome day to be out in the mountains.

Happy stitching,