Saturday, September 19, 2009

And I sewed, finally

Here is the latest installment of what has become my once-a-month blog.
But this time I SEWED! (Yes, I did shop too, but that is surprisingly less important.)
Thanks to all my wonderful Canadian friends for having me back to the Retreat at the lake. I especially loved meeting new friends. And the A/C was quite a change. And I loved that I sewed and sewed. And learned things, like staying up until 3 am does NOT make me more productive.

My stated goal for this retreat was "piece 3 baby quilt tops". I didn't achieve it- but I did piece the majority of 2 tops and I am quite happy about it.

The first shot is sideways (note the feet). It will have a free form tree in very dark brown appliqued over the geometric design. I may add a bit of the red to the tree- wispy branches perhaps? And probably the red as an inner piping border. Then probably a thin dark brown border with dark brown finish.
Number 2 is this sailboat quilt- you can see that I will be adding the dark blue/stars as an inner border. I get get to use Y seams too, because I had not planned to keep the outer parts of the nine-patches there. But once I saw it together, I decided they need to stay. Then a nice thick border of that Waves fabric! (Isn't it great stuff! I got it from the clearance rack at the delightful Fourth Corner Quilts in Bellingham.)
Number 3 baby quilt will be 5 turtles in batik. I have all the fabric. I have an actual pattern (shocking thought, I know) and I WILL sew in my studio regularly.
All three of these are for boys already born.

I did take more photos of retreat... but I think I will save them for a different post! Maybe one finished this month!
Many, many, many thanks to my friends at retreat for helping me with the design bits.

Friday, August 7, 2009

she shops, She SCORES!

Have you noticed a certain theme to my summer- a certain shop-iness?
I have...
Oh well.
I am good at it! Look at my new stash of weaving finds!
It was an estate sale, and no one had an idea of what went with what. Or even what they were. It was a bot of a treasure hunt.

A spool rack, a niddy noddy, spool winder, a pair of carders, some interesting prints of old looms and a set of lease sticks. And at a different sale later in the day, I got there just as they were putting out a nice selection of quilting rulers.

Of course, there was a lovely basket full of shuttles: stick & boat & rag, plus spools and a nice tangle of string heddles. And a nice big basket. Oh- there is a tapestry beater in there too.

But look at this- THE BOX OF THE UNKNOWNS

What the heck are these things???
The upper right is some sort of shuttle with a tweezers type end... but for what specifically?
Bottom left is a pair of things for... something?
Upper left- no idea.
Bottom right- hubby thinks it is a sewing type thingy?
Any ideas?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I am covered in Dirt

I am covered in dirt. And I am rather happy about it.
This has been an INCREDIBLY busy summer for me. For example, I got home at 8 pm last night, and it was one of the earliest nights this month.
So today, when I had nothing scheduled (and could have slept in), of course I woke up at 5:30 am. Which allowed me to do lovely things like think. And surf around online. And look at blogs and Facebook and update Twitter and follow newslinks and all those lovely things that simply are not a high enough priority in the busy-busy work day.
When it became a decent hour, I mowed. Not the grass- it is in that happy state of summer-slow-growth. But the dandelions were putting out seed puffs. And there were a couple corners of the yard the blackberry brambles are encroaching on. And a corner or two where the grass has seed heads and is actually 4 feet high or laying on the ground.
Anyway, the mowing progressed into weeding some flower beds, then into a trip to the garden store! So I am $90 poorer, but plant richer :)
Here is project #1:
Lavender is now planted all along the front walk, with a nice mounding type of strawberry as ground cover (thanks Jewel- I will be returning the bucket they came in). We 5 different types of lavender & some chives too. And I picked up a couple bright red Astilbe to try in that spot next to the front steps which is always a problem.
We couldn't stop with just one project of course!
Project #2 is for the back yard.
We have a little triangle of grass, kind of beteween the garden house and studio that is a waste of a perfectly good garden spot. It gets full sun, is visible from the house and patio and is well contained between sidewalks.
We grabbed 2 types of coreopsis (one of my all time favorite plants after our trip to the National Botanical Gardens in Wales) a hebe (never planted one of these before), a lovely gray-greened foliage primrose with tiny yellow-white flowers, and something that is like a heather with large bell flowers that is new to this area. Oh- and one echinacea. I will move the existing irises to be a mid height plant I think. And that shrub thing (a privet I think) will be a nice backdrop, until I decide it needs to live somewhere else.
I think that is a good variety of heights and foliage and flowers... hopefully it will fill in this bit of space and inspire me to more time in the yard.
While I didn't spend the day sewing, as I had hoped, at least my day is filled with pretty things. And maybe sewing will happen this week.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Acquiring yes. Actualizing no.

I am going to blame work this time.
Too much of it and very little down time. Which I seem to need in order to be creative and make stuff. I have tried to sew/knit/visualize/think after doing a 10 to 12 hour stint of client stuff and I just get nowhere.
But I do find I can relax while running around looking for treasures.
Hence the ironing board leaning in my living room.
I was at Goodwill (retail therapy) and lo and behold! an extra wide ironing board, of the variety Costco was charging around $50 for a couple years ago. So I bought it. (And something else... maybe a shirt? hmm...) So it is in my living room, awaiting the day I will actually go out to my studio again.

The other bit of acquiring a lovely gift!
My charming, sweet, wonderful thoughtful sister sent me a 17 pound box of crafty things! 17 pounds weighs a lot. It was chock full of thoughtful things she has decided she doesn't need since she hasn't used them in two years. (Shocking attitude, I know, but I love her anyway.)
Oodles of Christmassy fabrics, patterns, hard plastic pattern templates, knitting needles, thread and all sorts of other things.

Yay! Good sister!
She claims to be sending more box(es) as she sorts and rids. I will have to send her some money to at least cover the cost of the postage. And I do think some of these interesting items may be rehomed during my guild's raffles. Sister thinks this is a fantastic idea, (actually, she doesn't care. She just wanted them out of her apartment.)
I also get a knitting machine!
It was Grandma's. But sister lives in land of Sunlight where knitted things are not practical. Or something like that, I wasn't really paying attention to the reasoning, but was immediately having delusions of making things. When I get it I will be sure to post pictures of all the interesting bits and pieces, as I have never used one before.

So there you go- my craftiness so far this summer.
One day I hope to use some of these wonderful things. Until then, I suppose I will think of it as summer harvest :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

An embarrassment of riches

An embarrassment of riches...
or perhaps the title should be "why you should find a guild when you are just getting started".

I may have mentioned how impressed I am with the Olympia Weaver's Guild, of which I am a newer member. I have probably mentioned how openly the welcomed me, invited me to get involved and just assumed I was interested in things so included me. That in itself would make me sing their praises forever. I know this is not the experience every new member finds in guilds.
But I also am astounded at the depth of knowledge of my guild members. And their willingness to share. Anytime I have a question, I will be given all the information I could want, with mini-debates about the easiest way to learn, and who is the best teacher.
I even found two of my guild members referenced in the last WeaveCast!
And all of that is wonderful.
But my biggest reason for recommending newbies find a guild...
Acquisition Costs!

I attended the annual Summer BBQ & Garage Sale for my guild this past week. Look what I got! (And at an incredible discount to full retail.) Wools and cottons and mohair and all sorts and sizes. I limited myself to one bag only, and didn't buy any of the specialty handspun out for sale. I was truly looking for end of cones and fun bits to bulk up my stash.I was quite content with all this loveliness. It was quite a heavy bag.
But as I was getting to ready to leave, I mentioned that I had decided to look for a rigid heddle loom.
"Look no further, I have one for you" was the response.
And here is my new loom!
It is a lovely solid loom by Craft Yarns of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. I am going to do some research and see if they are still around, see if they have additional heddles at different dents, and of course I will have to start playing with it!
(I won't even tell you the embarrassingly generous price she gave it to me for. Let me just say I am indebted.)
And now I have another loom.
Time to start making things!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Treasure hunting

Not too crafty in this bit of the world lately... unless you consider scheming, in which case, I am CraftyAuntie! (see below)
But I have been doing a bit of Treasure Hunting (garage sales to the pedestrian).

$2 bag of obnoxiously bright mohair yarns
$1 puzzle of a pretty quilt (distraction for this year's retreat I think)
$1 shiny thing (little Mexican aluminum thing with mirror inside)

There have been other treasures too... but these are the ones on top of the pile.

Now, about the crafty/scheming...
I may get to have my amazing nieces and nephew with me for a couple weeks this summer! Yay! I will go camping and we will make fresh pasta and we will sing and pick berries and I will get to show them off to all my friends. And maybe I will work somewhere in there.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My new studio

This past week I developed this real issue with sharing.
Specifically, I developed an attitude about sharing my sewing room.
I attribute the attitude problem with the fact that it really wasn't my sewing room anymore (as shown here). In fact, it hasn't been a Sewing Room since the day, in June of 2007, that I invited the man into the house to share it with me. It was a good idea for energy conservation, reasons, and he wanted carpeting and easier access to refrigerator and bathroom, and because, honestly, he was earning an income with his use of the space.
So I said, "Let's share!"
Of course this didn't work for me.
I haven't sewn in my own home since about that date. My sewing machine is always packed and ready to go out the door for a sewing day. My cutting table would sometimes get used, but sometimes I would come home to find it covered in computer bits. (Computers is what my darling hubby does, look here for his website.
So, to make a long rant short, I decided to have a Studio.
I took over the Man Cave!

Our sheds/shops in the backyard have been sitting all empty and forlorn since our good friend took his belongings and moved into his completed home.
So the larger of the two shops is where I will be spending a LOT of my time. I am even toying with the idea of bringing my work office back to home so I can just work from home. And I will be honest and admit to a certain amount of attitude toward the number of hours I am working lately too LOLMy new studio has two sections. The front half is pretty much finished. The back half needs a bit more insulation and drywall installed, and we really need to make a dump run to get rid of all the old shelving from the back half.
I have truly no idea how I am going to organize it yet.
The whole thing has a nice concrete floor, (which fits nicely in my scheming to learn spinning and dying!)

I installed a screen door so I can get even more natural light and nice breezes.
There is MORE than enough electric.
I do have internet out here.
And who knows- I may just get an attitude about the seriously overgrown backyard and start doing some gardening! Or even mowing.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Well... I have been an incredibly bad blogger for some reason. I keep blaming it on the workworkwork thing, but I know I could have posted something at least once in the last 45 days.
Anyway- here is proof I am still around.
Up above is one reason I have been so bad- I went on a bit of a break to the ocean. Ocean Shores is always so nice when it is quiet out and there aren't a million people around. And it is only an hour and half from home. And thankfully I have friends with little beach condos who will let me & hubby & small dog stay for a weekend break. At stare at the above from inside all warm and cozy.

The big dog shown with Lilly the Pug is one of the friends we met while out walking our many, many, many miles that weekend. I just love Bernese Mountain Dogs.
There is indeed a quilt store in Ocean Shores. Actually there are two, but I only stopped in at this one during this trip. I was more motivated by the idea of lovely chowder to do more than pop in for a bit of batik to finish off a project I had planned to start while at the beach. Of course, I promptly did nothing other than stare out the window at the lovely ocean view, but I did think quilting.
My biggest Happy Thing of the last month:
I found a warping board! (See the picture below) This was at a the Woodland Woolworks in Carlton Oregon, out in there bargain area. Woodland Woolworks is a new dangerous place for me. Good thing it is 3 hours away! I got to visit it while in Portland for a work conference. I also got to explore a few other shops like Yarnia (which is AMAZING) and Ruthie's Weaving Studio (which is also AMAZING). But I have no pictures of those places, so you will have to enjoy the one below.
For all the non-weavers, a warping board allows you to measure out yards of warp at a time. (Warp is the string that goes onto the loom first.) It keeps the warp orderly and untangled, and relatively even tension. Obviously, it is not a complex piece of machinery, but everything weaving related seems to be quite spendy lol So I was thrilled to find this one slightly used.
So that is my show and tell. And if I ever actually Start anything, or Finish anything, I will be sure to throw a party and tell you all about it. :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Yummy fabric

Today I did a naughty thing.
I went to the always wonderful Ruby Street Quilt Works. That in itself is not so naughty.
The naughty thing: I enticed a friend to go to the shop with me for the first time. It was such fun listening to her and her daughter say ooo and I NEED this and Look! and eeeeeeee! I think I will be seeing lovely fabric things in their home soon LOL
I did have another purpose for going to the shop, aside from enticing someone else into the fiber lust that I know so well:
Baby Quilt fabric selecting!
So here is what I picked out. I know some people won't see a baby quilt in this, but the fabrics are gorgeous and I really get tired of soft pastels that are all washed out without any strong design elements. Rant over. (I hope I bought enough to create lots of scraps so I can make something for me too.)
So my question... what quilt design would you make with this selection?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fibers in hand, finally!

I finally had a chance to start my long awaited love affair with Weaving shops. For all the quilters I know, and knitters, there simply aren't many brick & mortars around me that carry supplies for weavers. Which means I have to order cones and tools online. And that is just not so much fun, since I want to TOUCH things.

Anyway, I recently had a chance to drive from Tucson AZ to Olympia (3 days, tired butt, missing espresso) and I took a bit of extra cash so that I could stop in to a Weaving shop somewhere along the way.

The Where: Eugene, Oregon.
The Shop: the Eugene Textile Center (
The goodies: 10/2 cottons & a sleying hook (Harrisville Designs).

I loved the shop- they are just chock full of great 'things'. And VERY friendly. (That ranks up there with supplies in my opinion of value.)
They have a ton of classes, and since I am only about a 4 hour drive north, something I will be watching for. She has looms available for people to use and make things. There are new & used looms for sale, new tools like hooks and warping boards and reeds and carding tools and more & more. Even a couple beginner looms- there was one marketed as a Knitter's Loom, which I think was just a good little rigid heddle loom with the basics to get started.
And of course fibers- silk & bamboo & wool and all. Just plenty to choose from. Oh- her "end of the cone" remnant selection was $8/lb.

I am proud of myself as I reined in my fiberlust and spent a very conservative $30- a half cone of pink and a new cone of natural, plus the hook. I could have easily spent a LOT more.

Take a look at the shop's website for directions, but it is north of Eugene on Hwy 99, right behind that Donut Shop you see in the picture.
And I must say Thank You to my father for agreeing to the side trip and letting my play in the shop a bit!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Raffle quilt progress

I have been sewing a bit-
Not at home of course, as that would require I clean up all the computer detritus and innards strewn about the former sewing space.
No, I sew On the Go!

This weekend I took my bits and pieces and sewing machine up for my monthly (sometimes only time each month) sewing day with the other ladies of WASIQ (Washington State Internet Quilters) (and yes, there may be men in the 300+ membership, but I haven't met any) and we sewed and ate and sewed and gossiped and sewed all day Saturday.

I am glad I got the majority of the top completed. I even pieced a house to add some more hominess!
Now I just need to trim down the side and add borders now and I will be ready to add borders. I am thinking two borders. Solid borders- not pieced. This may change of course, as I originally thought little pieced border would be very charming!

But the plan as it is now...
First will be a thin-ish border of the with with blue. Then a thicker border of the green with dots. Then I think the dark blue with stars makes the best binding.

I may actually get this finished before the March meeting where we are supposed to be raffling it off! One step at a time though... I still need to cut those border and apply them. Then quilting of course.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Card weaving for newbies!

I attended my weaver's guild meeting today and besides all the amazing show & tells, we got to try out Card weaving. (If you haven't seen card weaving, just do a search on YoutTube. There are some really interesting videos, where people are basically shuffling the cards!)

In card weaving, you really do thread the yarn through the cards. Different threads through different holes at different intervals. Then you twist the cards and whatnot. Complex! (Fascinating!)

We used only 7 cards- apparently some amazing types will use over 100! (That just makes my brain hurt.) I brought it home halfway done and have it set up on a side table ready to complete. (I hope I remember how to finish... something about a crochet hook and the second to last row??? eek)

Anyway, card weaving is one the multiple ancient types of weaving, and it is used to make bands. Think horse decorations, bell pulls, belts, guitar straps, and any other thing needing long decorated straps. Sometimes they are sewn together to make wider fabrics too.

The one we started today is about the size of those friendship bracelets. But I am very proud of it!

If you have a chance to try it, do so. It is one of those things I have a sneaking suspicion is highly addictive, as the opportunity for variation is basically limitless.

And if you want to do a bit more research, just google it. It is a really interesting subject of a web-wander!

Oh- our wonderful teacher today was Lana Schneider, a woman of amazing amounts of energy and knowledge who loves to share it. I very much look forward to taking some lessons from her in the future.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm alive- I promise!

I am alive, I just haven't had much time to sew. Or even try to knit. But I have photographic proof that I am still cutting up perfectly good fabric when I have time.

The first picture here is a raggy quilt I started making from the bin I lug around. I started this at the retreat in BC last summer and I will just keep adding bits and strings when I have time. It is relaxing work, perfect for doing after getting through a grueling bout of pressing. (There are 2 sections pictured here, pinned to my design wall.)

The next 2 photos show the raffle quilt I am working on.

Rather the raffle quilt I have NOT been working on, but which I had rather hoped to have completed and quilted and photographed and made into a lovely poster so we can sell raffle tickets to support Habitat For Humanity.

I am working on it now. I still have not quite decided on layout or actual blocks... but I HAVE decided that the posters the kiddies drew will have 3 inch blocks separating the pictures and accompanying essays about What My Home Means To Me.

In case you are wondering what all this is from, these drawings are the winners of the annual Third Grade Poster Contest which the local Association of REALTORS holds. It has been going on for decades and is a lot of fun. All third graders in Thurston County are invited to created a poster & essay. A lot of the teachers incorporate the contest into their yearly lesson plans writing and art and computer skills. Then all the entrants are posted at the Capital Mall (Westfield Shopping Center) in West Olympia and the public is invited to vote for their favorites.

These are the winners from the 2008 contest. My goal is to have the quilt completed and hagning up at the mall during the Voting. Then we should sell LOTS of raffle tickets. And don't you think teachers and parents would love the opportunity to get it?

I am rather happy with the palette for the quilt this year.
What do you think?