Monday, June 15, 2015

What goes around, comes around

I was listening to Yarns at YinHoo, one of my favorite podcasts, a few weeks back
and Sarah, the host, mentioned that she was enjoying a book about embroidery.
I was intrigued.
Sarah was also taking one of Ringquist's classes on Creativebug.
I researched all of this and promptly purchased the book.
Then I signed up for a couple of Ringquist's classes on Creativebug.
I have been embroidering off and on all of my life.
My earliest recollections is at about age five,
so that is a good sixty years ago.
I also used to be a card-carrying member of the Embroiderer's Guild of America.
 I had never heard of several of the advanced stitches Ringquist teaches.
Can I tell you I'm in love????
Yes, I am!
Move over knitting, I'm picking embroidery back up again!

The nice thing is, I am incorporating all of these stitches into
silk backgrounds that I have dyed,
stitching primarily with threads that I have also dyed.
Several years ago my friend Joan was cleaning out her closets,
and I became the lucky recipient of several boxes of
DMC floss, perle coton, and Au Ver A Soie silk.
Now I'm thankful that I'm a packrat!
So, if I need a specific color in a hurry,
I have my and Joan's thread stash to fall back on and can stitch almost immediately.

Pictured above is my trial piece - just a piece of hand-dyed crepe de chine
upon which I am trying out new stitches.
Below is a piece that I'm calling Yellow Bird.
She is coming right along,
and I am enjoying adding new stitches and new threads
each day.

I am using a new-to-me product called Sulky Sticky Fabri- Solvy.
You can draw on it, print on it with your printer, peel off the backing and apply it to fabric,
embroider over your lines, and then swish it around in some water,
and pooof(!) the Solvy disappears.
Here is a close-up of Yellow Bird when the Solvy was still on my silk:

I love how her wing came out:

I had purchased the 'bigger' threads from an indy dyer in England
(not my buddy Maggi Birchenough, but someone whose name 
I cannot recall), and they were just screaming out to be used
on Yellow Bird.  I couched them down using some of my own
hand-dyed variegated floss (you can see bits of yellow and blue
couching threads).

Now I'm adding some raised needle weaving:

I apologize for the blurred photo.

It's really a fun and relaxing process.

But, I am still knitting, 
don't let me kid you.
Such an idle threat from a big talker!
I finished this adorable little Baby Tea Leaves cardigan
for our soon-to-be born grandchild.
I am waiting until it is born and we know its gender
 to add the buttons.

The pattern is very easy and really quite sweet.
You can find it here.
One of the things I like best about this pattern is
that it is written in various sizes, so I can make one for myself
and also one for Mags.

Since I finished that sweater yesterday,
I have allowed myself to cast on a top for myself.
I had purchased the yarn in the early Spring when I first saw it
at my local yarn shop and knew that it would be snapped up soon,
so I had to have it!
Here is the knitting book.
This is the top I am knitting:

It shouldn't take me long,
and as warm as our Autumns are here,
I expect to be wearing it up into October.

Here is my yarn:

It is basically black with bits of cinnamon or copper running through it.
The yarn is very interesting.
It is a blend of 15% silk, 15% cashmere, 30% viscose, and 40% polyamide.
It is tubular, so there is no worry of it splitting,
and it is bulky weight, so it knits up fast.
I've finished the ribbing on the back and am now working my way up.

Sorry I am so long between posts.
Life is flying by, and I'm hanging on and enjoying the ride.
I get out in my kayak at least one morning a week.
Here are a few of the friends I've met recently:

Thanks so much for stopping by.

See you soon, I hope!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Live and Learn

WOW: so amazing!
I learned so very, very much 
while doing the banner project for our church!
I love a good challenge, and this certainly was.
Above is a photo of our Nave
that I took Saturday morning after we had hung the banners.
As you can probably tell,
some hang flush against the pillars and some stick out.
Being pretty much a seat-of-the-pants dyer,
I was afraid that my method of dyeing would result in a mottled effect,
which was not what we wanted.
So I got out my dyeing Bible: "Dyes and Paints" by Elin Noble.
As Elin says, "For 'level' dyeing (even color), stir, stir, stir."
.......and she is so very right!

In the meantime, I've been piecing a crib quilt for our
soon-to-arrive grandchild.
We do not know the gender, so these are fairly whimsical and neutral fabrics.

I'm enjoying it so much, that I'm now planning another bed quilt 
for our granddaughter Maggie.
I will dye the fabrics for this one.
.......or perhaps I can get Maggie to lend a hand.
I think she would love it!

I'm also knitting like crazy.
I've begun the Baby Tea Leaves cardigan for the new baby.
The yarn is a yummy madelinetosh Pashmina
(75% merino wool, 15% silk, 10% cashmere)
in the Spectrum colorway.

.....and I continue on with my Fisherman's Daughter Sweater.
I'm on the home stretch: almost up to the armhole decreases on the front.
When finished, I'm going to miss it like one misses a best friend who moves away.
But the good news is, there are lots more yarn and patterns out there!

That's all for now.

Thanks for stopping by.....
and even more thanks if you leave a comment.
I do love feedback!

Peace to you and yours.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Banner Month

I've always been intrigued with Pentecost Sunday,
especially how some churches go all out with wonderful banners
to celebrate.
Being a member of the Creative Expression committee 
at our church, I proposed that as a parish-wide activity
we dye banners and carry them into the Nave on Pentecost Sunday.
After much discussion, it was decided that we needed to ease on into this
rather 'risky' business, and that perhaps
simply hanging red banners from the pillars in the Nave 
would be a less radical start to this endeavor.....
maybe more banners next year.

So, we measured the pillars, decided on the banner dimensions,
and then I, hoping to find said dimensions of prefinished scarves online,
would order them and we would gather for a dyeing session.
We liked the way 5mm Silk Habotai hung and sort of gently fluttered 
in little breezes,
but of course nobody wears 5mm Silk Habotai scarves:
much too fragile.
I ordered 5mm Silk Habotai yardage and have cut and hemmed
(by machine) the silk.
Next I will do the dyeing.
Sewing rolled hems by hand on twelve banners,
was not part of my bargain.

I've learned a lot.
First: sometime many years ago I actually purchased a
rolled hem foot for my Bernina!
Second: this foot does a marvelous job,
with a bit of practice from the operator.

My serger does a passable job at rolled hems,
but not nearly as nice a job as my sewing machine.
Here's my serger in action:

The important thing to learn about the rolled hem foot is to keep
just a bit of your fabric curling around the little tongue on the foot.
Not sure if you can see the little white roll below
(it's just a bit above and to the left of the screw,
in back of the metallic roll).

You also must hold your tongue in just the proper position,
or the slippery silk has its way and flops off of the tongue.
I was thankful to find many You Tubes on rolled hems,
both using a serger and a sewing machine.
What would we do without You Tube these days?

Cutting 5mm Habotai is a real treat.

I found that if I gently taped it in place on my cutting mat,
and then ever so gently placed my Olfa ruler in line,

I could get a good cut if my Olfa blade was sharp.
I tore all of the other edges
except the bottom final edge,
but there again, tearing 5 mm Habotai is tricky.
It likes to make little runs in the fabric,
and it stretches like the dickens.

So, I've learned a ton about rolled hems
and sewing on this finicky silk.
It will be loads of fun to put this new knowledge to use in
other areas of my sewing and dyeing.

** I'll post more pictures after my dyeing session. **

Thanks so much for popping by.
It's always nice to see so many people read,
even when they don't leave comments.
That said, comments are always appreciated!


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mothers' Day

It's Mothers' Day here in the States,
so I wish you all a happy Mothers' Day
simply a happy day.

My Mom, 
Ruth Evelyn Peterson Hill,
was pretty darned special.
She had a lot of drive and spunk.
One of my fondest memories of Mom is seeing her up on
the roof of our new garage, shingling it!
My Dad had added two bedrooms, a breezeway, and a 2-car garage to our house...
and Mom was doing her part by adding the shingles to the roof!
She did a lot of other things too.
Mom worked her way up from the position of bank teller to manager of the branch,
which made her pretty powerful in our little town because
she was in charge of giving loans.

Mom's parents were immigrants,
arriving in Massachusetts from Sweden in the early 1900s.
She spoke only Swedish until she began first grade.
She told me that her mother used to dress her in scratchy tights
every morning before she left to walk to school.
As soon as she got into her classroom,
Mom would find a pair of scissors and cut the leggings off, 
as it was not stylish to wear tights in those days.

The family doctor removed Mom's tonsils
in the kitchen of their home,
by the light of the kitchen window!

Here's Mom with my uncle Eldon, aka "Pete":

 Both photos must have been taken on the same day,
as Mom looks the same.
notice the leggings!

Her parents had a beautiful home, 
but they worked very hard for the little money they had.
Grandpa worked in a shoe factory,
and Nana cleaned houses.
They never owned an automobile,
but had a fabulous vegetable and flower garden,
and always kept chickens, a pig,
and a cat named Trixie.
Nana could knit, crochet, sew and embroider.
If she admired a dress in a store window,
she could go home and duplicate it!
She taught me to knit, sew and embroider.
Our sewing sessions together consisted of me sitting in her lap
and treadling her machine....fond memories!

I think this must be a later family photo:
different outfits on Mom and Uncle Pete. 

Mom would be 98 tomorrow.
I still miss her.

Thanks to my Swedish cousin Eva
for supplying these wonderful old family photos.

Thanks for stopping by.

Have a wonderful day.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Rainy Days & Sundays.....

It seems that I can barely recall a day when it hasn't been raining!
I'm not complaining, mind you.
We purchased a new rain gauge a few weeks ago.
It is larger than it's predecessor.
Wise decision on C's part.

I love walking in the rain.
It's a good thing -
it's a good thing I love it,
and walking in the rain is a good thing, as well.
It seems to cleanse my spirit.

Above is our neighbor's Forest Pansy Red Bud,
just leafing out.
Both their grass and their Red Bud
appear to enjoy the precipitation.

We visited with Charlie and Mags on their Mommy's birthday.
They were eager to wash my car -
and I was more than ready to accept their offer.

They did a rather nice job on the left front bumper, 
but became more distracted as they proceeded around the vehicle.
Poor Mags had only a 2" paint brush to use,
so she had a slight disadvantage,
but she persevered.

I brought them these knitted bunnies

The pattern came from the Woolful Podcast April Knit Along.
It was a fun pattern,
and the kids liked them.

(If you haven't listened to the Woolful podcast,
you really should.  
So much information there!)

I finished my Yowza Weight-It Shawl

a few weeks back,
and have been wearing it more and more.
It feels great to throw over my shoulders
 on damp and showery days.
If you are interested,
this shawl was designed by Susan B. Anderson
and uses one skein of Miss Babs' Yowza yarn.
It comes in many different and beautiful colorways
and is a fun knit.
Even the picot bind-off was fun.

I continue to knit along on my Fisherman's Daughter sweater.

The pattern was designed by Carol Sunday,
and I am using her yarn,
which is lovely!
I have mastered knitting the honeycomb (center) portion
2-over-2 cables without the aid of a cable needle.
Although still a challenge to me, I love the process.

When I finished my Yowza Weigh-It Shawl,
I wanted some bright sock yarn for more 
'social knitting' afterthought heel socks.
Lisa Souza did not disappoint

The yarns are lovely and I have a difficult time putting these socks down.
The colors brighten up even the soggiest of days.

I've been sewing skirts!!
We had one week when the temps were quite high,
and it suddenly occurred to me that skirts
might be more comfy than confining slacks.
I was right!!
and have used that pattern as a guide.
I like the darts and I like the invisible zipper.
I do not like the below the waist 'waistline',
so I found this free pattern
from Tessuti fabrics.
It works well,
if you like a skirt that sits right smack dab at your waistline.
Sorry I don't have any skirt photos at this time.
Maybe next week?
I've enjoyed scoring and sewing on some nice 
Hoffman Batiks - on sale-
from Hancocks of Paducah.

It's about time to begin a baby quilt
(and sweater?)
for our newest grandchild,
who will be making his/her debut in early August.
I have the fabric and can't wait to get started.
I've also been perusing sweater patterns.
Ysolda has some nice ones that are calling my name.

Thanks for stopping by.
Wherever you are, and whenever you read this, 
I hope your day is sunny and bright - no matter the weather.
Peace to you and yours.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Measure Twice, Cut Once

I am a slow learner.
I've heard the 'measure twice, cut once' mantra all of my life -
particularly from my mother
when she was teaching me to sew my clothes
when I was in the fifth grade.
So, it's been going on for a while now.

I was happily working away on my
12 x 12" Art Beyond the Surface challenge piece
for this month.
It measured well beyond 12 x 12,
but when I applied the pillowcase backing,
and then snipped the corners,
it measured only 11-1/2 x 11-1/2".
I had forgotten my math.
If I hadn't clipped the corners,
I could easily have ripped out the seams
and ended with a cute little 12 x 12.

Here's the too small piece

I still had more stitching to add to it,
but thought it was time to back it.
Oh well........
For some reason,
I wasn't even upset with myself.
I was in the rhythm, or flow, or whatever,
and I was listening to a great book
(more about that later).
I turned around to the cutting table in my sewing room,
spied the ginkgo fabric shown in the top image,
and decided that it was a far more attractive piece in the first place.
So, I was off....
but this time measuring about 15 times before cutting!

The book:
I am in love with Ann Patchett's writing.
I first read "Patron Saint of Liars",
her first novel,
about a month ago.
What a terrific book!
I am now listening to
"This is the Story of a Happy Marriage",
and it is fantastic.
I can't stop listening.
My knitting requires all of my attention right now,
so I cannot listen and knit,
so sewing is a wonderful way to listen.
Patchett reads the book,
and she is an excellent reader.
It is available on Audible, if you decide to give a listen.

Thanks for stopping by.

Peace to you and yours........

ad remember: measure twice, cut once!

Monday, April 06, 2015

It's That Time again.....

This beautiful Wisteria caught my eye as we walked Bosco
in Midtown on Saturday morning.
Wisteria will now forever remind me of Cas Holmes 
and her visit here - smile.
Has it really been a year?

I've been keeping busy with a lot of knitting.
has me captivated.
I've completed both sleeves now,
and thought that venturing onto the back would be a piece of cake....
not so!
It takes every single bit of concentration that my weee brain has to offer....
and I still manage to mess up 
and leave a 'trademark error' behind.
Now that Easter has passed, I'm knitting bunnies
for Maggie and Charlie.

.....go figure!

I ordered this gorgeous skein from Purl Soho last week

My intent is to knit their Traveling Cable Hand Warmers.
Aren't they delicious?
The yarn is even better:
to feel it is to love it!

And then along came a nice little email from Quince & Co
chatting about their new Spring Kestrel colors.
I had to order the color card and the new colors

I love knitting with their linen yarns,
so I'm sure I'll be placing an order soon.

I've got just a week left until the ABTS 12 x 12" reveal
of shapes.
I spent a wonderful couple of hours
monoprinting on my Gelli Print Plate.
If you saw my last post
you know that I'm focusing on my beloved Rio Star Grapefruit.
Here are a few images
captured during my printing session

I'm looking forward to a play day tomorrow:
hopefully something magical will occur.

Well, that's it for now.

Thanks for stopping by.

Peace to you and yours.