Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another kind of weaving - baskets!

I'm a little behind on posting these pictures, as these were completed before Christmas, but better late than never:-)

I made this mini bread basket from a kit that was purchased online:

The wood strips that were included for wrapping the rim were troublesome, but my friend, and basket weaving teacher Cathy, helped me out and I was able to replace it with a nicer piece. I did end up doing just a plain wrap, even around the handles, because I couldn't get the fancy wrap in the instructions to be the same on both sides of the handle. At least I ended up with a basket I'm happy with!

This next basket is another Blueberry Basket, but much more rounded than my first. It was fun making this one in a larger class, but my life that day was super stressful (nothing like getting a call about a broken water pipe that is 2 hours away, from husband who is traveling out of state, and not able to go see it because I have to be there to drop off / pick up a child from school - luckily someone found it, and was taking care of it for us), and I can see it in the basket, although it's funny how looking at someone else's project can affect what I'm doing, even when it's not intentional.

You see, I was running behind because of "things beyond my control", and trying to catch up in class, while a classmate that was ahead of me had a basket that was rounded, and I was admiring it, wishing mine would be rounded too. I guess my hands listened and it became rounded too, so I'm happy to have made a beautiful basket on a day that would have been even more stressful if I'd been home worrying, when there was nothing I could do until the next day.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Mini Mochi and sock yarn

Yep, as soon as the loom was empty I wound a dark plum sock yarn as warp for this scarf. Mini Mochi is my weft (I learned my lesson with this yarn, as I tried it as warp on my rigid heddle and had troubles) and really like the self-striping colors emerging. I'm using the same 1-2-3-4 twill and plain weave tie-ups as the color gamp, arbitrarily creating a zig-zag twill when there is enough contrast for it to be seen. It's already off the loom and pinned to a pressing mat in my studio so I can get the fringe twisted.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Color Gamp

As soon as the loom was emptied it was warped again. This warp came prewound in a Laura Fry kit that I purchased at the Seattle Weaver's Guild sale, so no winding required, just warp and start weaving. Since the loom is like a magnet, calling me to sit and weave (even when I should be working on other things), it's hard not to sit and weave - just a few inches.... Before I knew it, I had used all the weft yarn that came in the kit. I tried out some 5/2 and 3/2 pearl cottons in black and cream on the remaining warp and decided I liked the more colorful weft. Maybe I can make a tote or something from the area woven with the pearl cotton - the colorful gamp that has matching warp and weft will be hemmed for a table runner (if I can stop weaving long enough to wash and hem it).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bamboo on Spring loom

The bad news is that I forgot to take pictures of my weaving progress, but the good news is that I was so excited I kept weaving in between all the other things one does preparing for Christmas and finished weaving the whole warp. I haven't measured it, guess I should before washing, but I wove as much as I could of the 4-1/2 yard warp (assumption of length because I used every post on my 4-1/2 yard warping board).

Even though I'm a beginner, first warp on a loom, other than a rigid heddle or inkle loom, I had to try out a design and threaded this 8-shaft design which looks similar to a tiny braid, and would probably show up better with thicker, and more contrasting thread.

Along the way I learned many things, and will need to learn how to add plain weave selvedges, as I found that when I wove this pattern edge-to-edge, I had a loose thread along the outer edges that wasn't caught (maybe it would have been caught if I had started the shuttle on the opposite side?), so I only used it here and there, and played with using just two treadles at a time, creating a design that did catch the edges.

Once I used up all the bamboo weft thread I had, I wove the rest with a matching cottolin, which actually wove up without drawing in as much, and that area of the fabric is almost as soft as the all bamboo part.

Of course as soon as I removed this project from the loom, it was immediately warped again with another project.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

spring warping part 1

A little while ago I saw an article with a projet for using Aunt Lydia's bamboo yarn (of course I can't find that inspirational article now), and happened to see the yarn in a local shop and purchased some (no, of course I didn't have any idea how much to buy, just guessed). I planned this pattern in my journal, and started to wind the warp for a multiple heddle test project on my Knitter's Loom, only to find out that I did not have enough of the correct colors, so just made do with what I had (I did reserve some for warp, and only time will tell if there is enough for all the warp).

Since it was wound and ready to go, and already planned as a test project, I decided it would now be the first warp on my Spring loom, and began to follow Jane Stafford's directions to warp the Spring loom from the Louet video. So far, I'm finding the only trouble I'm having is user error with the warping board (yeah, it's the first warp I've tried on it too:-) with a few ends that I tied to the post at the cross end, instead of tying to the next thread - oops! I did manage to figure out their positions and other than my errors, the warping is going along well. So far, I have the warp spread in the raddle, and hopefully I'll get it beamed later today (would love to continue now, but need to get some other things done first).

Lessons learned:
1. Always tie one end to another when changing colors, and if possible have it be at the opposite end of warp than the cross.
2. Put more ties on the warp before removing from the warping board (I only tied the cross around the X and through the loops, and had some twisting going on when I started putting it on the lease sticks, so had to fix one section twice (once to pick up threads I missed on one stick, and second time to untwist the end loop).
3. Post-it notes work very well for marking the center of the loom and the first raddle notch for spreading the warp.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Christmas came early

and guess what I got:

I had started out looking at table looms so that I could weave faster, and better than on my little rigid heddle loom, but in researching, thought a floor loom would be too large, too expensive, etc. I had looked at one used loom, but decided not to get it, as it needed work. My husband started a secret search, and found this Louet Spring loom. We went to see it last night, and were able to bring it home with us!

The partially woven warp is the same one that had been on it when the original owner purchased it, and although there are broken and loose warps, and I have no idea what the threading pattern was, I've found a simple treadling pattern that catches all the threads, and looks a bit like a crepe texture. I figured that I might as well weave off the remaining warp and work on my selvedges, as it feels like cotton, or cotton / linen that might be usable as a dish towel (or something).

The treadles and shafts are a bit sticky, so once I take the fabric and remaining warp off the loom it will be getting a thorough cleaning, as well as whatever else it needs to run smoothly.

Friday, December 04, 2009

I'm Back!

Sorry it's been so quiet around here. I had to get my secret project turned in, and every time I turned around, life got in the way, with all kinds of things that were beyond my control, and others that couldn't be ignored, because they were expected of me, or previously scheduled.

I have quite a few projects waiting for me on the design wall, and others stacked up elsewhere. I've got to get busy getting samples and projects ready for Creative Twist on Tuesday, so I'll get to work, but now I'll be able to blog about my quilting projects too:-)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Cardigan Progress

As promised, here's how my Mr. Greenjeans cardigan is coming along. I started it last spring (I think - hey, it's been a long time), but like my other knitting projects, only gets worked on when traveling, or when I can't work on my other projects. Instead of long sleeves, it has 3/4 sleeves, which should help me get it finished a bit sooner.

Once this sleeve is finished, I'll knit the second, and then it will be finished by adding a band all around the front and neck opening. In case you're wondering about the white, dotted line on the sleeve I'm knitting, it is my holding thread, like the one holding the left sleeve stitches. I've temporarily left it in so that I can take measurements from there when following the sleeve instructions.

Even though it won't be blocked until it is finished, I hope you can see the alternate cable and plain column ribbing.
Details: Pattern is Mr. Greenjeans , which is a free pattern from Knitty, and the yarn is Twisted from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Fabric for next project

I know, you're probably tired of me teasing you with fabric and no finished project, and frankly, I'm tired of only showing fabric and a bit of quilting too, and hopefully I'll be able to start showing projects again real soon, but this is all I have to show today. However, I have made some progress on my Mr. Greenjeans cardigan on the last few road trips and hope to show you a quick picture of that tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

More Construction Progress - dye studio

I know it's hard to believe, but this is not a kitchen, it is a laundry room that I'm going to use for dyeing fabric, and other messy projects that I don't want to do in my studio, as it has an easier to clean tile floor, as well as an exterior door, so that I can work outside, with almost the convenience of being indoors. I made sure we saved the old upright washer and dryer for dyeing, because it really is best for this purpose, and I'm not going to worry about water usage, because it won't be used every day, as I'm not a production dyer, and I'll be using a water-wise front loader for our regular laundry.
First order of business is to purchase enough plastic to cover the countertops!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Construction Progress

Yesterday, we checked on our renovation project, and other than a few little details that need to be taken care of, my new studio is finished! The rest of the house still has a bit more to go, and no, we won't be able to live there full time for a while, so I'll only partially fill this space when it is time to move in, but it will be great to have the space!!! This was the first time I was able to see the floor, as it was covered almost as soon as it was installed - it's a floating cork floor, and should be much easier on my feet when I do all the tasks that I like to stand for.

As you can see, there are lots of lights (daylight flourescent) because I said I wanted it to be like daylight, although I do have the option of turning half, or all of them on. Even though I have extra task lighting in my current studio, I am usually wanting more.

The entrance is in a wide hall, and I have double doors.

Hopefully, the beautiful view won't keep me from working, although it is a wonderful distraction, and will probably inspire some new projects.

Looking back at the entrance, my design wall will be on the left, between the hall doorway and the exterior door, while my office area will be in the right corner, so as to leave my sewing space close to the windows for lots of natural light!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Some quilting, some weaving

Yep, I've been a busy beaver, cutting, sewing and quilting, so here's a little preview of the quilting.

I warped up my inkle loom with a design found in Heather Heroldt's "Beginning Inkle Weaving" and love the design, although I'm still working on my selvedges as well as keeping the width even. This one was made the full length of the loom.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ready to Quilt

These are the main fabrics for my next project, and they're all cut out and ready for me to start sewing tomorrow. I've switched out the machine in my sewing table, as I really prefer the Pfaff for piecing and binding.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Off the loom!

Wow, this scarf came out much better than the other one I showed you, although the selvedges still need work, the weaving and selvedges are much better than the Mini Mochi scarf. It still needs to be washed and trimmed, but I'm saving that for another day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Woven Scarf

Here's one I've been holding out on, considering whether or not to post, but here it is:

This scarf was a lesson in choosing the right yarn for weaving, fixing a broken warp, and took quite a bit of patience to finish. After about 2" I almost cut it off the loom and threw it in the trash, because the warp was wanting to pill and shred, and one of the warp threads broke. I was able to continue, and finish weaving by using less warp tension, but that made it very difficult to get nice selvedges (hopefully it will look ok after washing). Both warp and weft are Mini Mochi, which is a gorgeous, soft, cushy yarn, but meant for knitting, and although it was nice as weft, I should have used another compatible yarn for the warp. Lesson learned.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Another quilted quilt and Demo this afternoon

Yep, I've finished quilting another quilt, so here's a sneek peek of the quilting on the back of the quilt. Time to move on to squaring up, binding and adding a sleeve, then on to another quilt.

This afternoon, from 12-3pm, I'll be down at Gathering Fabric, in Woodinville, WA, doing a demo for my Clothlesline Tote Bag made with Bali Pops. Stop by and say hi if you're in the area.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A little weaving

This one was finished a little while ago, but never made it to my blog:

It's just a little inkle band, this one made with 5/2 pearl cotton for the warp, and 3/2 pearl cotton for the weft. These sure do weave up fast, as it was warped one evening, and woven another, while watching TV.

On my loom now:

It's sock yarn on it's way to becoming a scarf. I'm still a beginner weaver, and sock yarn seems to be more difficult for me to get acceptable selvedges than non-stretchy cotton or linen. While I know many would have this done in a few hours, it will be here a while, as I only work on it between other projects.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

How it all began

Somehow when I say "yes" to something that sounds like it would be simple, the project always seems to grow into something larger than I had expected. There are those times I've been asked to make a quilt, and once I've said that magic word "yes", I find out that the project isn't what I had really envisioned, but much more.

One time it was a baby quilt, that ended up being two, because they later found out they were expecting twins. Yeah, I know there was no way to know at the time I was asked, but this is the way many things happen in my life.

I used to just quilt for family and the occasional gift, or helping finish up quilt projects with the kids at school. Then one day a quilt shop opened that was just down the hill from me less than 2 miles away! That's when it happened. I was asked by the friendly shop owner what I did, and of course answered that I did many different things, listing a few, including quilting. She talked me into bringing some quilts down to show her (I'd never taken a single quilt back to a shop to show them what I'd made), and said "ok". When she started looking at my work, she said I should be teaching, or writing, and I thought "who, me".

I began teaching, and then when it came time to design a block for her first shop hop, she asked me to design it. I was flattered, and said yes, figuring I'd just design it in EQ (Electric Quilt), and hand it off to her. We learned the rules together, and when the block was designed she looked at it on my laptop and asked what it would look like as a small 4-block quilt. When I showed her, she requested that I make the sample for her, which I did.

Then there was another remark "if we had a pattern, we could kit it up." Soon I was off getting a business license, researching to find out how to print, package, price, and all those necessary things to produce and sell a pattern. Finally it was ready, and off it went, into her shop, and my pattern company was on its way.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Creative Twist and Demo next week

Tuesday, October 13, from 10am - 3pm, is the next Creative Twist class, and it is called "Fun with Paintsticks". We will be stenciling and doing rubbings to create, or add to our fabrics, which in turn can be used for quilts, garments, or anything else you like.

Friday, October 16, from 12-3pm, I'm doing the Bali Pops demo at Gathering Fabric. I'll be showing everyone how I made my coiled clothesline tote from a Bali Pop, packaged clothesline, and a handle. I'm also working on a larger version (this one is giant) that is in progress that I will also be bring. Here's a quick picture of the one that is down at the shop, but before the handle was stitched on and closure finished.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Hitchhiker ST For Sale


Reluctantly, I have decided to sell my right treadle ST Hitchhiker spinning wheel (includes HH tote).

It was purchased earlier this year, as I had intended to use it as my travel wheel, but have only spun one skein on it, as I always use my other wheel at home. I'm asking $225 + shipping, payment through Paypal. I'm on Seattle, WA's Eastside, if anyone is interested who is local.

Here are a few pictures:

Friday, October 02, 2009

House and Studio Progress

Yes, our house is still a work in progress! The good news is that they now think it will be finished in about a month, and we can't wait!

I just love these pendant lights in the kitchen and dining room! Originally, we had picked out more contemporary ones, as they were all we had seen, but before the order was placed, we looked again, and these were available. They match the lighting in the rest of the house much better, since we decided to go with a candle "look".

On the outside, you can see there is still much to be done, although now it is mostly landscaping. If we don't do something with this sloped area of dirt, when the rainy season comes, we will be in for a muddy river eroding this area, so it has to be dealt with soon.

The lights have all been installed in my studio, and just in time for the painters to be able to use it as their temporary painting / staining studio. At least it will be mine once the house is finished!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yes, of course I've been quilting

The problem is, I just can't show you what I'm making - not yet. But in the meantime, I thought I'd show you how I quilted a couple of the borders on the quilt I just finished quilting. No, this isn't the front - it's the back, and I'm sorry to say I have been having tension issues.

Tension problems always seem to rear their ugly heads on this machine anytime I decide to use those pre-wound cardboard-sided bobbins. Yes, it's good thread, my machine just doesn't like the cardboard, and although I have tried, it doesn't seem possible to have good tension (I think the cardboard rubs inside the bobbin case), and in trying to get them to work, I usually end up messing it up, which sometimes takes me a while to get "just perfect". I finally did get it fixed, but I'm not as happy with this quilt back as I could have been. I've decided they are just not worth it, and in the future plan to wind any remaining pre-wound bobbins onto my own bobbins.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Beginner's Weaving

If you've been reading my blog for a while, or checked out the labels on the right, you probably already know that I can't seem to limit myself to any one media, even though my business is making quilt patterns, and other quilts.

I purchased an inkle loom recently, since I think it would be nice to make one of a kind straps for the tote bags and purses I make (of course they can also be used for belts). Below is my first weaving on the inkle loom, which was done with cotton yarn:

And here is my second, this one woven with Cottolin yarn:

I also have a Knitter's Loom for larger projects, like this shawl. I used rayon for the warp, and a lumpy, bumpy, art yarn for the weft. The fringe still needs to be trimmed, but I'm happy with it!

Here's a closer view:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ellen's Market Basket - Finished!

Before I left Sister's OR in July, my new friend Cathy gave me the kit for this basket. Well, I finally sat down and worked on it, searching a book and the internet for help when I didn't have much of a clue what the directions were telling me, and this is the result:

My first market basket, all finished, and in use! Thank you Cathy!!!

Roller Coaster Socks Finished!!

These have been in progress for ages, but since they were one of my purse projects (only really worked on when waiting, or passenger on trips), they took longer than they would have otherwise. The details were in an earlier post, so you can find them in the links on the right.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My quilts both won third place!

On the first day of Innovations (Wednesday) I visited the quilt show after my classes were finished for the day. I wondered who had won what, as there were no ribbons on anything, but hoped to check again before the show was over. Well, that never happened, as Thursday I was in Bellevue, where I gave two lectures and taught a class to the Eastside Quilter's Club, and then Friday turned out to be very busy with just a short visit to a couple vendors before heading to visit our construction project.

Tuesday, while I was working on a quilt project with Alice from Block Party Quilters, there was a knock at the door, and I had to sign for a package. It was my quilts returning from the show, so I anxiously open the box, and was surprised to find 4 third place ribbons. Two were from the official judge, as they were filled out on the back, and I can only guess that the other two were from the peer judged votes from visitors to the show - I'm so Grateful and Amazed!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Quilts at Innovations

This Fantasy Fish quilt and my Water quilt are in Tacoma, WA for the Innovations machine quilting show. Wednesday and Friday I'll be down there to see how they did in the show, as well as take classes (and of course, there's a vendor mall too). If you're in the area, the show runs September 16-19.