Monday, June 29, 2009


I really should change the title of this blog at this point because I have completely abandoned all things fiber in favor of all things fabric. I am loving! the sewing! True to my usual obsessive, need to know self, I have signed up for four on-line sewing classes. Three are through and the fourth is through Three are obviously quilting techniques--time for some formal education in this. One is basic garment sewing, also time to stop winging it on my own and learn the proper way to do things...
I am currently working through the lessons of "Starting from Scratch", a class on basic patchwork techniques. The precision with which you have to do everything is almost unbearable! It never occurred to me to square-up my blocks before assembly and right now, as I quilt my log cabin quilt, I am suffering the outcome of this knowledge deficit. I don't know if it will be worth trying to struggle through quilting this extremely poorly constructed quilt top, or if I should just abandon it as a teaching experience. Perhaps it can be hacked up for some other use. Reduce, reuse, recycle...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Things I would like to sew...

From Amy Butler's Stitches:
Decorative throw
Placemats and napkins
Patchwork duvet cover (make as a quilt)
Wide-leg lounge pants
Kimono-style bathrobe
Decorative hanging towel
Fashion checkbook clutch

The sewing bug has bitten me big time. On of the first things I did was downsize some PJ pants. They were mine but the elastic waistband had torn out. I cut them down for Elizabeth who was delighted!

She has worn them a ton since I finished them!

I am also working on a simple outfit for Elizabeth, a Burda Pattern. The top is cute, and I am very proud about my success with the zipper!

The last thing is a little summer cover-Up from Weekend Sewing. This is just the facing. I used a Liberty Lawn. At$38 per yard, it wasn't a bargin!

Many more pictures and projects for a later post. I have been sewing up a storm!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Is it possible to be a post-a-day kind of gal? Who knows, but I am accumulating a bunch of projects to blog about. These are pictures I took during a class at Madrona. It was about a special Japanese dying technique called Kakishibu. The dye is extracted from the persimmon and then is used to paint fabric, paper, yarn, basketry, you name it. The hue darkens over time, and can be modified by the use of different chemical modifiers such as tin. Chris Conrad taught the class and had some stunning examples to show us. The diverse uses to which this dye has been put are amazing. The picture above was acheived using a stencil resist to paint parts of the flower, and leave other parts white. The picure below shows how the dye looks different on two different fibers. The background is a silk scarf, with chenille leaves taking up the dye in a different way.

The picture below is of a basket that has been covered with paper, and then dyed. The dragonfly stencil was added later. Just amazing!

Another picture from a basket. I enjoyed learning this technique but don't think it is something I will pursue further. I prefer to work with more brillant color. It was a great example of making the most out of a technique. My own sample is 'curing' in my yarn room. I will need to finish it in someway so that it is appropriate for hanging.

And finally, lovely Tacoma from my hotel room...only three months ago. How the time flies!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I am in the air on my way to the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat. It has been a whirlwind these last couple of days. The big karate push paid off when Elizabeth and I graduated on Friday night. She received her advanced blue belt and I received my advanced red belt. I got a few pics of her. She was the photographer for my graduation so the pics aren’t great but what can you expect from a five-year-old. She was at least enthusiastic!
Look at that great back stance! I am so proud of her for really sticking with the karate. And it is amazing to see the progress she makes. It seems like forever that she cannot do a specific move and then all of the sudden, she can, and she does it well. So much fun to see!

Saturday E ran in the Medtronic ½ mile race for kids. It was pretty chaotic for her age group (first grade and under). The faster kids quickly lapped the little ones and you could no longer tell who was ahead. E was in first place for about the first ½ lap and then she slowed down. Due to the chaos, she accidently did an extra lap before I was able to get her attention and signal her into the finishing area. Pretty funny! At least she had a good time and is excited about doing another race in May.

Having finished the Grant Ave Vest, I have had some serious starter-itis. This is in part due to a visit to Bella Lana after E’s race on Saturday. I was able to find the Tilli Thomas yarn for the stitch diva sweater I have been eying for the last six months. I am excited about this pattern because it is knit from the top down, something I have little experience with, and it might be dressy enough to wear to Danny’s graduation in May. I also bought enough Twinkle Soft Chunky to make the Potter cardigan from Town and Country. I have been working on this, it is such a quick knit, and have one sleeve done (my swatch) and am working on the body.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Crisis of confidence revisited

So this is the project that got me thinking of all of my UFOS and why they continue to be UFOs. It is the Celtic Vest kit by Fleece Artist. I picked the kit up at BeeHive in Victoria British Columbia. I just couldn't make this work. I got 3/4 of the way done with it and realized that even with some heavy blocking, it just wasn't going to work. Also, the neck shaping looked funky and I just didn't have the endurance to redesign the whole thing. So, to the 'repurposing pile'.
As I thought of my other UFO's it is apparent that most of them have some aspect with which I am not happy. I will have to think long and hard about each one before expending more effort.
Finally, the Grant Ave vest is done, all but the buttons. I am a little unhappy with the way it gaps out away from my waist because it has no shaping along the shoulders. It is a generous size and I might wear it belted which will solve the problem.
To get geared up to really work some fairisle, I started these mitts. I am very happy with the way they are going even though I am only on the first one. Once the fairisle bug bites me, I am usually good for a fair amount of it. We'll see if it gets me through these mitts.
Lastly, this is what I got for my birthday this year. It is my fifth (and final) stripe on my red belt, which qualifies me to test for my advanced red belt! I am very excited and have been working hard to get here. I need to continue the push to try and qualify for my brown belt by May, otherwise I have to wait until September. Elizabeth will also be graduating, to advanced blue so I will put up pics from our graduation on Friday.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm over it

I've had enough of the subzero temps for this winter. It was quite depressing to note the -3 on the car thermometer on my way to work. I am tired of cold hands and feet. The saving grace is the blue, blue sky today. And I heard a cardinal singing when walking to the office from the parking lot this am. Hopefully the bird knows that spring is on the way.
I haven't had the energy for any serious spinning lately so I have been working my way through several shipments of CrossPatch Creations sampler packs from the Bellweather. I love these. They are one ounce samples of various colorways and I can spin them any way I like without worrying about final weight etc. These are pics of my recently completed fourpack. I have another all spun up into singles and waiting to be plyed. I am trying to have a shrinking fiber inventory this year. So far, I have taken in 8 ounces of Merino/tencel from Chameleon Colorworks and have completed these little 1 ounce skeins. Once I ply and wash the others, I will be negative 1 ounce!
Aren't they fun?! I think the black/brown/white will be cuffs for some black mittens/gloves/mitts. I think I have a skein of soft, soft Kimmet Kroft Fibers yarn, or perhaps my black Malabrigo--either will be luscious!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Resolving a crisis of confidence

...or How a good blocking does wonders.

I spend a quiet day at the hospital yesterday and was able to get the stranded part of the Asian-Inspired baby sweater done. It only took about FIVE episodes of the Closer to get through this part of the sweater when I discovered puckering...! Argh.

It is not as visible in this pic as it really appears. I threw it aside, disgusted. Before ripping the whole thing out, I decided to wait until this morning when I could subject it to some serious steam ironing.
Hurray for irons! It looked much better after a little pressing. Enough that I can continue without ripping my hair out.
I have been very frustrated with my knitting these days, perhaps because I am not allowing myself to start new and exciting things, with the exception of the above project. I am trying to get those UFO's done but I am realizing that each is a UFO because it was a problem. With each one, I hit a snag and lost interest in the project. Something about it ruined my ability to see it as a viable finished garment. I may end up frogging more of them then I originally intended. The list in the side bar was culled from all of my UFO's as being the most likely to be completed, but I may find more of them get 'repurposed' then I thought.
Anyway, this project was a roaring success...

Name of Project: Sunrise Scarf
Weave: Plain weave
Warp: Purchased handspun
Weft: Handspun BFL, fiber from the Spunky Eclectic. Worsted spun, 2 ply
Rowan Kidsilk Haze, color Blush
EPI: 12
Width in reed: 10 inches
Finishing: Edged with Herringbone stitch.
Thrown in normal wash cycle, then pressed.
Final Destination: Christmas gift for my mother. She loved it.
And finally, a little handspun I finished before the first of the year. It is a merino/tencel blend from Chameleon Colorworks that I purchased at SOAR 2006. It is navajo-plied to preserve the color changes and I am very happy with it. I don't know the yardage off the top of my head.