Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Longarm University mystery quilt

I've decided to do the mystery quilt at Longarm University, and hopefully learn some new quilting designs, techniques, or just have fun. Today is piecing day, and tomorrow is quilting day, but I'll have to hold off on starting until Jan. 2, because today I need to prepare for guests, and tomorrow will be cooking and hosting. It will be something to look forward to....

Thorpe hat - finished

I'm not sure if David likes his new hat or not, but it's finished! I think he really wanted it to be made out of thinner yarns like the one that his brother purchased, and I would have preferred to have the knitting a bit tighter, but this was the best I could do with stash yarn and the only earflap pattern that I had on hand when the power was out - so all in all, I think it's ok, but I might have to look for a fairaisle pattern that I can make from sock yarn and make another.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Teal Wool and Mohair

Something else I managed to do was spin up this beautiful yarn from wool and mohair roving that I purchased from Black Bunny. I think this is the most beautiful yarn I've spun so far, but I have a pink / purple / blue spun up that I might ply with white, and also a couple more rovings from them in beautiful warmer shades that should also be wonderful when spun up.

Now that I'm able to spin up beautiful yarns (even though they aren't totally consistent yet), the next thing to learn is how to spin a yarn that will work for the project that I want to make, instead of spinning yarn and looking for a pattern that I can use it for. There's alwayse something new that can be learned!

Christmas knitting - Thorpe hat

Since we had no power and no guests for Christmas, I asked my oldest son if he would like me to knit a hat for him (after all, I've made hats for everyone else more recently than the last one that I had knit for him), and what kind. He held up his brother's fairisle earflap hat (purchased), and told me "like this". Luckily I had printed out a free pattern from Through the Loops, called Thorpe (look in the sidebar), which had both plain and pattern designs, so we looked through my yarn stash and found a yarn I thought might work.

The gauge for the yarn I'm using is a bit smaller than the pattern requires, so I thought about starting with one size larger needles, but couldn't find double pointed in the correct size, so started with the size on the pattern. I love the design, but it's coming out too small, and of course we can't go out to purchase the correct size, so last night I considered adding columns to the pattern, but have now decided to just go ahead and start over with needles that are two sizes larger and see how it works out. If it's too large, I'll just have to wait until I can shop for the right size when the weather improves. At least I love the pattern, which is working out very nicely, especially since I done almost no fairisle work.

Power out for Christmas

The phrase "let it snow" has new meaning this year. I'm already to the point that I'd be very happy not to see any more snow at our house, as we have received more than we usually get for the entire winter - at least 24 inches! Our winter usually consists of some snow, usually less than 6 inches at a time, and roads that clear up within a day or two, so even if we have snow laying in the yard, the roads are passable as long as you watch for a few small icy areas. Because of this, our cities don't have the gear that cities in snowy areas have, so it is more difficult for us to handle.
I took pictures yesterday, on Christmas, but did not post them because we lost power at about 4am, and it never came back until nearly 8pm. While that meant no Christmas dinner, at least we were able to stay comfortable at home and thankfully, we have a gas cooktop, so I made soup for dinner that didn't require opening the refrigerator, yet tasted good and warmed us up inside.
I greatly appreciate all those at PSE here, who spent their Christmas day repairing the power lines so that we could have our power back on, and who are probably still out there trying to get it back on for others.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Hope you all have a very

And even more snow....

Yes, this is the view at our house today, and it's a good thing that my husband and son shoveled some of the snow off our deck, as otherwise we would be worried about it supporting all this snow. I really think we must be breaking records withall this snow! As I'm writing this, more is coming down, although the weatherman said some areas may turn to rain, although I'm betting we will continue to see snow, as we're at about 500' (at least we seem to get the weather that is predicted for that elevation). I think I'm about as prepared as I'm going to get for Christmas, other than maybe some more decorating / baking, and yes maybe I'll try knitting up a quick hat for another hand made gift, but it looks like the family dinner will end up being postponed until they can make it here safely.
Hope all of you have a warm, safe and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It snowed!

I can't remember when we have had this much snow! I've been guessing that it was 5 or 6 inches, but decided to run out and measure it - it's just shy of 6 inches of snow piling up out there, and it hasn't stopped yet, just lightened up! We usually get mostly rain during the winter, so are considering ourselves snowed in.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Channel Quilted Slippers - information

I've been asked about the pattern for these slippers, and while I'd love to be able to share it, I have to respect the copyright of others, and I hope you'll understand.

This design is copyrignt 2003 Carol Harrington for Ana-Cross-Stitch, with a statement "May not be copied without permission", so you'll need to contact them to see if they still have it and will share - they gave it to me free when I purchased yarn to make the slippers, which was only 2 balls of yarn (don't think it was expensive, as it was to be my son's project, when he was learning to knit). I would imagine that if you contacted them and asked they would do the same for you, but it's just a guess. I tried to Google a website for them, but came up empty, other than their contact information: Ana-Cross-Stitch - 719 Commercial Ave., Anacortes, WA 98221, Phone: (360) 299-9010.

Channel Quilted Slippers - update

One down, second is in progress, with about 1.5" knit so far - although I've managed to make it a bit more difficult, since I hurt my left ring finger this morning, so right now knitting is stalled, and hand in ice pack, while I type one handed and hope it feels better soon.
Top view:
and side view:
Since it isn't a secret, I did have him try on the slipper to see if it fit, and luckily the only change will be to sew up a little more of the top seam. I also did a weight comparison of the yarn left and the slipper, and the scale says I'll have enough, whew!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Organizing blog

In case you haven't noticed, I've updated my blog. On the right side are all the links, and now there is a section for labels. Labels are new to me, but I think I've been able to figure out how to make good use of them. I've gone back through my older posts and added labels to most of them to help you find what you're looking for, although there are more that still need work.

If you're interested in seeing progress on my quilt patterns, new colorations, etc, just click on the name of the quilt. Of course I'm not perfect, so missed adding all the possibilities, and found I need to add the "quilt pattern" tag to some more, but now you can click on "janet's influence" and easily find the posts without searching through months, or even years of posts. Not all my patterns are pictured on my blog, as I started my company before blogging got so popular.

Most of yesterday was spent working on my website, and I was able to come close to a front page that I like (without a template this time), and started to create the other pages, although I'll probably try to upload it soon, with some of the pages with "coming soon" on them, just to see if it really works.

Channel Quilted Slippers

Right now, I'm trying (really hard) to work on my son's slippers that were started 2-4 years ago, and I'm finally decreasing for the toe. He saw the slipper model in a knitting shop and loved them, and of course it was supposed to be "easy" but both of us have had our own problems with it. He followed the directions, and knit about 1" or less, before wanting help, as he couldn't see the channels forming. We worked together, and then he gave up and I ended up starting them, knitting enough to see that the channels were forming, and a bit more. I don't think it's fun to knit, although it is an interesting design, and for some reason this project makes my hands tired, especially my left, so it was put aside for awhile.

Well, the other day he reminded me about these slippers, and said he would still like them, and luckily I managed to find where they had been stashed. Although the knit fabric looks ok, I'm wondering if I have knit so tightly that I've used up too much yarn, and will there be enough yarn to make two? I'm thinking that maybe I could make an educated guess, if I weigh the finished slipper and the remaining balls of yarn. If the yarn weighs less than the slipper, I'm in for trouble and will need to have my son try on the finished slipper to if he still likes it (for all I know he might not like the feel of those ridges under his feet).

I guess the worst case is that I go find new yarn and start over. I wish I lived closer to the shop that had the sample, as I could have gone there and looked at the sample as frequently as I needed to, maybe even worked on it a bit at the shop, they would know if I made a mistake, and I would have finished this the same year we started it, but I'll just have to figure it out on my own (this is what I usually end up doing, and I guess I haven't done too bad so far).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hot Waffles Mitts and Hat

Yes, I'm feverishly working like a busy beaver, trying to get ready for Christmas and also finish a new quilt pattern.
For this red set of hat and mitts, I used Cascade 220 yarn and the Hot Waffles Mitts and Hat pattern from Knitspot. It was great to be able to find a quick to knit project, download the pattern and get started right away!
These were small enough a project that I could take it along, and managed to finish rather quickly, even though I worked on them between other projects. Tuesday, while working at the gallery, I managed to make one complete mitt, and about 1/ 3 of the second, which I thought was great, especially since I have never knit a mitt or glove. This morning I finished darning in the loose ends, so now the set is finished and ready to wrap!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A little time for spinning

In between everything else that I've got going on, I did manage to take a little time out to spin up some new wool batts. Spinning from a batt is new to me, but I was drawn in by the beautiful pictures that I've been seeing in Spin-off Magazine, and onliine posts by others, so of course I had to order some and try it. Some of it spun very nicely, some parts were a bit more difficult, and I am not going to decide how I feel about it until it is plyed and I have a chance to knit something up with it - because if I can't knit up something for a gift or me with it, it isn't worth spinning more, is it? The batt was created by Crosspatch Creations and is in the Kaleidoscope colorway, however I purchased it from The Bellweather.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Water Quilt - finished!

I was working down to the wire on this one, as I really wanted it finished in time for the gallery opening last night, and managed to make it happen, but just barely. In fact, I wanted it to be there so much that I was up until 3am Friday night, finishing the beading, and then the binding and sleeve still needed to be done yesterday before heading to the galery to hang everything. Yes, I ran a few minutes late, but it was finished and ready to hang. Since I ran out the door the minute it was finished, I took this photo of it hanging at the gallery (hey, at least I remembered to take a picture).

Of course it could have been finished without staying up that late if I hadn't volunteered to bake cookies for last night's opening, but it turned out ok, the quilt was finished in time, and we had chocolate chip, coconut oatmeal, and ginger cookies to snack on too.

Now today is my day to put my feet up and take a break, but since it's really difficult for me to just sit and do nothing, I'm going to be knitting a christmas gift. Of course it probably won't be finished today, and I won't be able to post it for a while (don't want to spoil the surprise), but I'll remember to take a picture to post later.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Featured Artist at Gallery 113!

Don't forget, tonight is the gallery opening! Karin, the other featured artist was kind enough to write the press release for the Woodinville Weekly newspaper, and also create this beautiful flyer that showcases our current favorites. We're not sure why they only printed the photo of her watercolor, but I'm guessing it's because my quilt was printed in color with the press release of it's acceptance in the APNQ Quiltfest quilt show, earlier this year.
Please plan to stop by and say hi, we'd love to meet you!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Home and Studio Construction - update

Now it's been so long since I uploaded the picture of the living room after the demolition work was done on our house, but the work is slowly progressing. As the smaller changes we had planned to make, ended up growing as we found things that needed to be fixed or brought up to code, eventually we ended up basically gutting the house and starting over on the inside. It was so bad they had to jack up and level the floors, and replace 3 major beams that hold up the roof! If you look closely, while they have decided where the outlets will be, there aren't any wires going to them, since this room is one of those that hasn't been wired yet.

At least I'll eventually have a great studio in the space above, and a second laundry room with old upright washer and dryer so that I can dye fabric more easily again, as well as store all my dyes and fabric paints. We also managed to gain a loft for my husband in the attic space above part of the garage, entry and a bedroom, so he will have his own space too. The rooms have been framed out, and the new windows have been installed, along with new plumbing above the slab, and they are working on the electrical work. Eventually it will be finished, but it's going really, really, slow, and right now, I'm just looking forward to seeing drywall being installed so that we can get a better feel for how it is going to turn out.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mermaid Forest Socks - finished!!!

Since we haven't been spending as much time on the road lately, these have taken quite a while for me to finish, but tonight I was able to finish the toe of the second sock and now have a pair! They are called Mermaid Forest Socks from SuzisKnits, and I love the way they came out (although I did decide not to continue the lace pattern down into the foot). The yarn is Jumbo Gems superwash fingering yarn by louet, that has been hand painted in the Key West Waters colorway by Cherry Tree Hill. I really love the way they turned out, and can't wait to wear them.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Kreativ Blogger Award

While I was busy hosting Thanksgiving and off checking on our building project, Sherryl nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger award! Her blog Having Fun, showcases her long arm quilting projects, as well as other things she is working on, and she has another blog called Fields of Color to showcase her beautiful hand dyed fabrics.

1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.

2. Put a link to the person you got the award from in your blog.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

As you may know, I have varied interestes, so here are my 5 nominees:

Jane LaFazio's Janeville - I love her sketches and art quilts, and not too long ago took an online class from her. Her sketches inspire me to take my sketchbook along with me so that I can practice my drawing skills, as well as using them when working on my quilts.

Jenny Bowker's Postcards from Cairo - I started following Jenny's blog quite a while ago, and love being able to almost visit another country through her blog on my computer, as well as admire the quilts she makes that reflect

Carol's blog, Carol Lenthall Dreamstitcher, is full of her awesome bead and textile art. What can I say, but lots of eye candy!

Glennis Dolce, known as Shibori Girl, dyes the most gorgeous shibori ribbon and other silk products and shows them off on her. I've had the pleasure to take both an online class with her as well as one in person at Houston Quilt Festival this year.

Lisa is an art quilter and fabric dyer, as well as teacher, and it's very inspiring to see what she and her students are up to. Her blog is called Dyed and Gone to Heaven, and I think it fits - I'd love to be able to take one of her classes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Featured Artist at Gallery 113!

I wanted to let you all know that next month I will be sharing the Featured Artist spotlight at Gallery 113, here in Woodinville, with another artist, Karin Strauss Quinn. The show opening is Saturday, December 6, from 6 to 9pm, and you can come meet us and other gallery members. Along with my quilts, I will also have other items like quilted postcards, hand dyed silk scarves and jewelry. Yes, I have been working on the display, and should have taken a picture of the scarves, and I'll try to do that asap so I can add it to this post

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Urban Scraps - a preview

Here's a sneak peek of a new project. In between working on Donnie's quilt and other things, I've been planning a scrappy looking quilt that has it's roots in the Urban Couture fabric from Moda. As soon as my local shop received their jelly rolls and 10" square fabric packs (I think they call them layer cakes?), I went down and purchased one of each. After doing some math and playing around in EQ, I was able to come up with something I liked, although I didn't take the time to count the number of pieces I would be able to cut from each piece and color them exactly. Since then, some bolts of coordinating fabric arrived, and of course I ran down to make sure I could get fabric for the borders before it dissapeared. Hopefully when it is finished I will be just as happy, if not happier with the real thing.

Donnie's quilt - update

I've finally finished quilting Donnie's quilt, and thought you'd like to see how I decided to quilt the blocks. Although I must admit that it isn't my best quilting, and it took longer than it should have, it's just because it's been difficult for me to work on since she passed away. In a way, I guess no matter how difficult it was, it has also been therapeutic for me to work on it, so I'm glad I kept going. I am planning to send it off to my dad asap, so the edges are trimmed, and later today I'll start binding it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Class Reminder

Don't forget, next Friday is my Artistic Freemotion class at Gathering Fabric in Woodinville. Come learn to free-motion quilt with me! A large collection of quilting motifs and fill patterns will be demonstrated, followed by your working on practice quilt sandwiches to begin or expand your free-motion quilting styles. If you wish, you may also start a free-motion stitch sampler to use for ideas when you are working on quilts in the future. I'd love to teach you how to quilt so you can finish your quilts yourself!

Here's one of my samplers from class:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Annie's Frog Quilt

Annie is a dear lady who is mentor to a whole group of us art quilters. She does so much to help all of us that it was nice to have a chance to make a little art quilt for her. It's a small quilt, only about the size of a piece of notebook paper.

Houston Quilt Festival - classes

On Thursday, I took Katrina Walker's Layering Silk Fabrics & Fibers for Textural Effects, and have fallen in love with felting (I'm really glad I had already purchased the felting attachment for my Bernina, as it's going to get lots of exercise now! She demonstrated how to use the fabrics and fibers and let us go to town creating our own designs.
Friday was a busy day, with three classes. The morning started off with Exploring Stitch-Resisted Shibori with Glennis Dolce. Boy, did I learn a lot! I've always been intrigued with shibori, and have played a bit with a few styles, but never got the hang of using stitches as a resist. Now there are more tools in my toolbox for further exploration on my own.
In the afternoon it was Silk Sensations with Marlene Glickman. What can I say, more dye on my fingers, and some beautiful silks that I can say I dyed myself. The most interesting part of this class was seeing how the different silk fabrics came out when dyed in the same bag. My little silk flowers didn't show up on the backgrounds, so I tried using markers to color another piece, but I think I'll just have to dye a new background for them.
By the time the evening class rolled around, I was tired, considered just going back to the hotel to crash, but went anyway. The class was "A Reversible Silk Purse - With Vintage Overtones", and Gay Gerlack was the teacher. I must have forgotten to check her website to see what her style was, so I was kind of expecting something different, but it turned out ok anyways. We were each able to choose a little reversible purse to embellish, and inside was a practice square. I chose to try out the silkscreen on the square before the purse, but did screen the reverse side of the purse with the same design. If you look closely, you can see the painted embellishment on the printed panel.
Saturday morning was my last class. Yep, another silk class, and another opportunity to get dye on my fingers. This class was Dyeing in the Third Dimension - Shibori Techniques with Carol Lane-Saber, and was another excellent class! I've always been intrigued by the tiny wrapped shibori that the Japanese make, and had tried it once on my own, but couldn't get the hang of how to tie the fabric, not to mention how to see what I was doing, once the fabric started scrunching up. Carol provided us with the technique, and I spent most of this class wrapping small areas of the fabric, and guessing at their placement. I can see I'm going to be revisiting this technique, with and without marking the design before starting to tie the fabric.
All I can say is that I wish I could have stayed longer and some of the classes I loved could have been longer. Although at the same time, if they were longer, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to learn so much from so many great instructors, so now I just hope to be able to return again.

Houston Quilt Festival - classes

My first class was Quilt Design Exploration with Jean Wells Keenan, and it was a fun and interesting class!I was the last student to arrive in class, so the colors here aren't what I would have chosen if I would have arrived earlier - I guess it was the early birds that got the fabric strips. The wavy striped piece was my main accomplishment in the morning, and the crazy log cabin blocks were made in the afternoon. I really like the blocks that have more complex centers, and am thinking about cutting the boring, more regular log cabins to make more centers and then I can make them into complex blocks too. I'll have to look through my stash for solid fabrics, or maybe I'll just take all the blocks with me to shop for border fabric, and see what I can find to work with these, then I will be able to decide on a setting for them.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Houston Quilt Festival - more shopping!

I was surprised to find this slightly glittery roving in Londa's Creative Threads booth.
These stencils were found in the June Colburn Designs booth. Yes, they're expensive, but they're ready to go (all I need to do is cut them apart), and they will last a long time, as long as I take care of them.
Now here's a group of purchases that all came from different booths. The tiny purple and magenta things are pompon making tools that are a Clover product, although I can't remember where I purchased them. I couldn't resist the sheep pin, as I have a lamb for my logo, and had a stuffed lamb when I was little. Here again, I'm not sure the booth it came from, only that their other products were shawls, shawl kits, and things that go with them.
The ginko bead kit came from the i-bead booth, I don't even need to look for my receipt, as I've purchased from them by mail and at other shows. Whenever I need a tiny bit of this and that color of beads for one of their designs, I'd rather buy a kit from them if they have it.

When I was at the show, I wore a rayon duster as a light jacket most of the time, as it is so comfortable, and I always get compliments! These are all rayon batik fabrics that I plan to make knee-length dusters from - that way, I'll be able to coordinate them better with my other clothing. The two on the left were found at the DYEnamic Fabrics & Designs booth, while the one on the right was found at the Indonesian Batiks booth. They're all beautiful, and I can't wait to get them sewn up!
This is a gorgeous piece of hand dyed shibori fabric from Shibori Girl Studios. She has such beautiful ribbons, scarves and shawl sized pieces too, and I had the pleasure of taking a class with her too! (I'll post about the classes later.)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Houston Quilt Festival - shopping!

Shopping opportunities were abundant, the problem for me was limited shopping and looking at quilts time between all the classes that I was taking. Of course there are so many great shops that are represented there, it is really easy to go over budget in a short amount of time! Quilter's Threads is an online shop that carries some of my patterns as well as many other things. About a year ago they started offering online classes, of which I am also an occasional teacher, and this year had their first booth at quilt market. You can find a picture of the booth in an earlier post. Back to shopping - There were wonderful threads and fibers, along with all her other products, and I fell in love with the hand dyed threads, and fibers, and can't wait to work with my purchases.
Another shop I couldn't resist was the Artfabric booth, and purchased some lovely packages of silk fabric and threads, as well as a beautiful silk scarf (although I don't think I'll cut into the scarf any time soon - I'll wear it for a while first).

The Great Yarn Company was another place I had to stop and make a purchase. The Noro sock yarn is destined to become a lacy shawl someday, while the Kaffe Fasset colored Regia sock yarn will either be socks or maybe something else, as I haven't really decided yet.

After taking Katrina Walker's layering silks class, I was on the hunt for more fibers and tools, and the ones above were found in the FeltCrafts booth.
All these needle felting products are made by Clover, but were purchased in a variety of booths - wherever I could find them! Many stores carry the Clover products, so it's usually quite easy to find them either locally, or online.

Of course I did make a few more purchases, but alas blogger will only let me upload 5 pictures in one post, so I'll save some for later.

Houston Quilt Festival - some of the winners

Below are some of the pictures I took at International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX. There were so many beautiful quilts at the show, so many that I'm glad I wasn't a judge, as it had to have been a very difficult job. I wish they would have had a CD of the entire show, and this year they had two CDs but not one of Quilts: A World of Beauty show - bummer. (My camera kept running the battery down, so I don't have as many as I would have liked.) At any rate, here are a few with notes so you know who created them, and what they won. I'll post more as time permits, and in case you didn't know, you can also go to the Quilts, Inc. website to see official pictures of all the winners (once you enter their website, click on the ruby slippers).

Three Guinea Fowl by Pamela Allen is such a fun quilt. I think the hen bodies are velvet,
and if we would have been able to touch them, they would have probably been touched to the point of being worn and aged by the end of the show. It won an honorable mention in the Art - Whimsical category.
Sharon Schamber's quilt Spirit of Mother Earth, won Best of Show, and is such a gorgeous, detail oriented quilt, and I know I had taken more photos of it, one with her in it, but my old pocket camera must have eaten it, as this is the only one I have.

Twilight by Rita Steffenson, what can I say, but another gorgeous quilt. She has so much threadwork on this quilt to give the flowers dimension and make it explode off the dark background, it is just awesome! It won the Fairfield Master Awardfor Contemporary Artistry.

Sonja Grasvik's embellished quilt is called Praise Ye Now Our Gardens Green, and won first place in the embellished category. I recognized her name, as she is from Seattle, WA, which is not that far from where I live, but had never met her. It was nice to meet her in person, and we were able to have a good chat before it got busy. Maybe I'll be able to take a class from her sometime.

Seasonal Sisters by Gail Thomas, Annette M. Hendricks, and Helen Godden is another gorgeous quilt by this trio. I do have pictures of the quilt by itself, but wanted to post one with them in it. It amazes me how they are able to work on the same quilt when they live so far apart. It won the World of Beauty award.

That's it for now, as I need to unpack so that I can show you more.