Saturday, April 23, 2011

I’ve Had an Amazing Day!

DSCF3286Wow…I learned a new skill today!  Spinning!

I am so proud to announce that I bought a 40 year old Ashford spinning wheel on Thursday night!

I’ve oiled it and tightened up the screws, then buffed it out this morning.  It still makes a bit of noise when spinning, even though I oiled every place I can see or think of!  All I can say is ..more oil is needed…somewhere!!

I spent the morning with my friend Diane, of DSCF3296Russet Lodge Knits, who has given selflessly of her skill and passion for knitting and spinning, learning the basics of spinning yarn from a raw fleece! 

Seriously, the woman should write a book! 

She even worked a bit of my raw fleece for me on the carding combs her husband makes, so I could practice spinning!

Of course, being true to my nature, I gave her an opinion on what she should have in the to-be-determined book!  Hee hee!  I would totally pay full price for such a book!

I haven’t gotten the hang of spinning just yet, but getting close…I *might* be a left handed spinner, even though I am right handed….and I seem to want to spin counter-clockwise, to form an S-curve, rather than the Z-angle clock-wise angle.  Maybe that is the machine, maybe that is me….I do seem to do everything backwards!

Now, I am going to ship the fleeces I bought on Craigslist.comDSCF3069 to a professional processor,,  for cleaning and carding.  I’ve heard that they provide a good service and the product that comes back is very nice.  I spoke with them on Friday; being a newbie, they answered all of my questions and even gave me some idea for blending one of the fleeces I purchased to enhance it, something I hadn’t thought of previously.  They have a lot of great information on their website, so I would highly recommend looking at it if you are interested in processing fleece.

Diane writes knitting patterns, and even has a sock Knit-Along going, using a pattern she wrote herself (she has several for sale on Ravelry)!

I SO want to learn to knit socks…but then, knitting cuts into my quilting time!  Oh, that, and the fact that I keep reversing the sides of my sock, so that I have reversed sides in the outside of the sock …sigh!  I blame the sock affliction all on my friend Christine

Yes, I could process the wool myself…but as I keep reinforcing to Diane, I am a Quilter who knits, not a Knitter like she is, (yes, with capitals!), and I can have it back in 2-4 weeks and keep quilting!  So, I plan to have my fleece boxed up and in the mail on Monday!

I have been considering bringing my Bronco quilts to several of the summer markets, as well as the spinning wheel, to work on some of the yarn production there, if I don’t have a quilt related project I can bring.  Bown Crossing is a possibility, which is a part of the Indie Works project, or  maybe the Eagle Market, but I haven’t contacted them yet (I’ll post the links later in the week)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Using Up the Stash!

DSCF3215Woo Hoo!  I actually got the borders on two of my own projects…AND took pictures!

I made the tops awhile ago, when I was playing with what I’ve heard described as a Lasagna Quilt, and they’ve been hanging around waiting for me to finish them. 

They are a nice size to use for baby quilts, or lap or stadium quilts, since they don’t drag on the ground, but you can still tuck them around your legs or even your feet if you want them to, like when I’m sitting at the computer.

They are quick and easy to do, too, and I love that the finished quilts can look amazingly different, just by adding borders.  I must confess, though:  I added the borders by simply sewing them onto the existing top.  You know, the sure-fire way to create a wavy border!  And that’s what I got on the pink top, so I will probably have to fix those wavy borders.  I figure that’s a great tutorial to post on my website, because I’ve been asked about this before and why it’s bad practice.

DSCF3218I guess once I fix the border I can move these off the Current Project List…oh, wait, I guess I have to decide if that includes the quilting and binding, or if that only means tops.  Hm….

All of this came from my stash, too, including  the backing I want to use.  It’s a US Post Office print of 37 cent stamps that say I “heart” you .  I’ve had it about a year, I just couldn’t pass it up from the clearance bin at JoAnn’s when I saw it.  It’s really a bit smaller than what I’d normally say is OK to try to use for a project that is going on the long arm frame, but I’m going to make it work, probably by adding a fabric “leader” to the length, because the colors are  just perfect!

I haven’t yet decided what backing to use on the one with the dark purple border yet.  Maybe a pink or yellow flannel….

DSCF3226I think I’m going to use up some of my larger leftover scraps of batting I have accumulated, to continue the theme of “use it up”!  Sure didn’t make any sort of visible dent in my fabric stash, though!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Focus on Finishing…sort of!

This weekend was way too short!

I’ve been so focused lately on trying to get everything done that I want, and need, to get done, that it seems that nothing actually gets finished, everything seems to be in various states of completion…and I’m finding that frustrating right now.  I feel like I’m just *this close* to having something to show for my efforts, but it’s just not ready yet.  I guess that’s how I end up with several projects in progress at a time!  Oh, that, and the fact that ideas pop into my head, one right after another, and I don’t have enough time in the day to do them all!  Or I need to learn a new skill in order to even start….

I ended up working on the computer for most of yesterday, rather than getting into the Quilt Cave as I’d intended, then stayed up far too late trying to finish up a separate computer project, so I slept away half the morning.  That’s just Robbing Peter to Pay Paul…hmmm…maybe I need to make that quilt to remind myself not to do this anymore….!

Today, though, I finished one of my customer’s quilts that I’d started last weekend, although I haven’t had a chance to take pictures yet.  Once I finished it and trimmed it up, I started auditioning border fabrics for two small baby quilts that I’ve had hanging in my closet for awhile.  I got news that one of my cousins just had a baby girl, and I’d like to send them a quilt, and I’m thinking one of these would be perfect!  That is, after all, why I made them!

Speaking of finishing projects, earlier in the week I was excited to find more of the white and pink border fabric I had purchased to complete the flannel quilt.  Yesterday I realized that the amount that was cut was actually less than I’d asked for, but I can also use that initial amount of fabric I’d purchased to complete the project.  So now I just need to find it, then cut and add the borders.  Now, where did I put that??  The backing was purchased awhile ago and the perfect thread arrived last week with my Superior Threads order.  I’ve been thinking I should do an overall meander because it’s so busy, rather than a pantograph design, although on flannel, a design could be really interesting.  I’m still not sure if I should use cotton batting or cotton/poly, though, considering the nature of flannel, that is.  It sure would be nice to have this done in the next couple of days, so I can take it to the Guild meeting on Thursday!

Borders are sort of a stumbling block for me, although I’m not quite sure why.  Maybe it’s the pressure of putting them on so that they aren’t wavy when I’m quilting them.  Or maybe, it’s knowing that the borders can make or break a quilt; they add such personality!  Or maybe it’s just the perfectionist in me….

In any case, I wish I had another day to play…

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