Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quilting and Weaving

Yes, I know it's been a while since my last post. Thing is, I'm spread a bit thin these days, and the creative projects get done in between everything else. Right now we've got the house construction, which luckily is nearing done, although the little details keep dragging on.... I've also been working on and off on my secret project, which I really should devulge soon, as it's been slowly leaking out to those close to me. Between these is a project with one of the quilt guilds that I'm a member of, time on the road, and of course all the regular day to day stuff. Oh, and how could I forget but trying to get the tax paperwork done with help. Anyway, I keep hoping to get back to the time when everyone left for work or school early enough that I could have a nice stretch of time to work on projects or get things done that I need to do, like quilting and other projects!!!

Since I don't quilt every day, I thought I'd quilt up some of the little hand stamped quilts before I quilt the bird and portrait, so here's a little heart quilt, all machine quilted, and waiting for some hand quilting and beading.

I finished weaving the hand towels, although I was only able to get three towels out of the warp instead of four, because the beginner weaver in me didn't think about the fact that the towels called for a set of 24epi, and I decided to do them at 20 epi, and to keep the design square, it also grew longer. They're not perfect, and as I was weaving them I did consider the fact that I probably should not have chosen a design that required 4 shuttles quite so soon, but managed to finish them anyways.

The close-up shows the pattern a bit better, and I'm happy to say that they have been washed and pressed and are waiting to be hemmed!

Monday, January 18, 2010

bag and quilt progress

I think this is my favorite little art quilt right now. I only hope I can quilt and finish it in a way that will enhance, and not take away from it.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do with some of the leaf and flower stamps that I carved last year, and many were just stamped on fabric to be fussy cut, or collaged. However, I did two little panels with these flower and leaf combinations, and am thinking that brighter quilting threads and embellishments will spice them up.

The other thing I did was to finish covering the clothesline cording, and sewing it into bags. These two are smaller than the one in my last post (probably half the size, because that one was HUGE). They're almost finished, with handles tucked inside that need to be sewn on by hand (I've found that I prefer to use buttonhole thread and hand stitch them on, because they have holes that are pre-punched). Still need to make a couple flaps, and find some embellishments, or cute buttons to decorate the flaps, but they're almost done, and will soon be filled with class supplies and projects!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

UFOs, and time in the studio

The Stray Threads Quilt Guild is having a quilt show, and with the deadline coming up soon, I decided I had better look at some of my UFOs, and finish at least one to enter. I had started this project amost a year ago, when I was taking Pam Allen's online class, called "Think Like and Artist". When the class ended, this first picture is how the quilt looked, and although I liked the color and partial face in the upper right, it didn't seem to be working with the rest of the quilt.

As I was going through the layers on my design wall (it's small, and I tend to "store" things there so I don't loose them), I found this black bird and pinned it to the portrait. I think I like it, but should it be black? I think it's a bit too dark for the rest of the quilt, but am thinking on it for now, and will need to make a decision soon, so that I can start quilting.
Another thing taking up space in my studio are some clothesline and in-project bags. I had made one a while ago, that I had loaned to the local quilt shop, and decided to make another, so I'd have one to use. I should have called the shop and asked them to measure the starter strip in the bottom, but did I? Of course not, I remembered 12 or 13" from somewhere, and began from that, but before long I had sewn all the covered clothesline into it, but it had a huge base, and I didn't have another Bali Pops package with more strips, and no more clothesline, so it was set aside until I could purchase more - which I did, but by then I was working on another project, so it waited. Finally, more covered cord was prepared, and also two more bags started for a demonstration, but when I came home, the secret project took over and they were set aside again. Well, finally I'm back working in the studio, and trying to finish up some of the things that have piled up there, so here's the jumbo bag, with the cording all sewn on, and paired up with fabric that I think I'll use for handles and a flap closure (maybe some interior pockets too).

I thought a picture with my machine for a size comparision would help you get an idea just how large it really is....

I also pin basted a few smaller art quilts, but of course, my camera battery decided it would not cooperate, and ran out of power before I had finished taking the pictures, so more will follow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Busy, busy

but at least I have something to show you:-) I've been making progress on the loom, almost finished with the third one, with only one more to go!
the New England Quilt / Blanket Basket (slightly altered, because my base / handle was not quilt the same as the one the designer used), and
finished the Bread Trug. (Thank you Cathy!)

On the quilting side, I've done a little shopping and washing, and need to get the fabrics pressed so I can begin some bed quilts!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Color and Weave Pinwheels - beginning to weave

As you can see, I have already threaded the yarn through the reed in the beater, tied it to the apron rod at the front of the loom, and started to weave. It's a challenging project, and I've gone from using just one shuttle at a time to three, with an occasional fourth. I tried cutting the yarn each time, but they change too frequently, and I found that it was best to work with the three shuttles, carrying the unused threads along the side, and only starting and stopping the black, because it is only used four times in the whole towel.

I can see that these will be taking me quite a while to complete, but will be beautiful when finished, so I'll keep working. I figure if I get tired, I can always do one pair with the beautiful stars, and another pair that are just stripes, although I've got other things to do, quilts to quilt, baskets to finish, so it shouldn't get tiresome when worked in between. Besides, I was able to get this far in just one evening!

I don't know if you can see the swirls starting to show up, but since I have 20 warp threads / inch, I found that I needed to beat harder to get 20 strands of weft yarn per inch.

The tighter 20/inch weft finally made the stars appear as they should!

Color and Weave Pinwheels - warping

New year, new warp!

This is only my 5th project on this loom, with only a few projects made on my Ashford Knitter's loom and Schacht Inkle Loom last year, so I'm still a new weaver, learning as I go.....

Anyway, since I tend to just jump into learning new things, I have purchased some books and e-books with lots of projects that attracted me. Although some are well beyond my understanding right now, those that have projects that I'm able to follow are game for me. So here's the start of the new project Color and Weave Pinwheels from the an e-book, Winning Towels from Handwoven's 21st-Century Towel Contest. I figured I might as well start with a pattern that didn't take too many colors, but was calling to me (and now "jumping in" is more of an understatement).

The warp measurements and lengths are for 2 towels, and since I knew I'd need some practice space, and had purchased plenty of yarn, I made a 4-1/2 yard warp, the size of my warping board, hoping that I might get 4 towels, even if one is a bit smaller.

Front of the loom with yarn going over top, and spread in the built-in raddle on the back.

Back view of warp being wound on, with layers separated by heavy brown paper.

Close up of warp threads. The colors I'm using are cream, tan, rust, and a black accent.

Once the warp was wound onto the back beam, the texsolve heddles were threaded, and threads were temporarily secured with a little slipknot until they are threaded through the reed.

Oops fixed: I found a single long strand slipped out as I was beaming the warp, but couldn't tell where it came from. When I spread the yarn in the raddle, everything looked ok, so I can only assume that when I tied the end of one yarn to the beginning of another when winding the warp, it was not a good join. Anyways, I had purchased a couple large bobbins for lacemaking, and one came to the rescue, allowing me to wind the warp thread and keeping it from tangling (of course, I'm going to need to remember to lengthen it every once in a while).