Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Free Motion Quilting Flower Pattern

My sewing machine is back from the repair shop and works better than ever!  I've really gone through sewing withdrawal the last few weeks - it felt so good to sit down and sew again!

So ..... back to the pinwheel scrap quilt I last worked on a month ago.  When my machine broke, I was about to start trying out various patterns to quilt the white squares (I'll quilt the pinwheel squares with stitch in the ditch).  Well, today I was inspired by some gorgeous ranunculus I bought for my kitchen window and decided to try a flower pattern.  After a test square I'm sold!

I began with a small circle in the middle of the square,

made five petals,

and then just kept sewing around and around the petals until I'd filled most of the square.

I'm off to quilt!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Inspiration - April Showers ....

I've been up in Oregon and remember that there really are April showers!  So it's time to be inspired by rain ....

Laura Edgar's Rain Onto Dunes (textiles, paper, paint, and embroidery)

Terry Aske's Rainy Day People

Su Williams's Clouds Over Herefordshire Hills (textile collage)

and Dream in Color's Rain Cloud colorway.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Recycled Yarn

Happy Earth Day 2015!  If you're a knitter and wondering about recycled yarns, I've been looking at a few this week and have some possibilities for you.

Lion Brand offers a recycled cotton yard made from the scraps of fabric that are left when t-shirts are cut out.  This is always something I've wished I could do with all the scraps left when I cut out patterns!  I've used this and it is very soft - it crocheted up into a nice, snuggly baby blanket.

Rowan's Purelife Revive is a cotton, silk, and viscose yarn created from recycled garments.  I might have to order some of this - it has the look of a nice soft yarn that would be great for summer tops and comes in nice colors.

Berroco offers Remix, a yarn from recycled fibers - nylon, cotton, acrylic, silk, and linen.  Like the Revive above, this looks to be a good yarn for hotter weather garments and also has a good selection of color choices.

Paradise Fibers offers skeins of silk yarn made from the leftovers from making saris.  It's very colorful!

If you've always liked the idea of recycling yarn from knit garments but haven't wanted to do all that tedious unwinding yourself, check out these possibilities!  The Green Yarn Company is a group of women who offer already recycled yarn from discarded garments.  Their selection varies tremendously.

And Penelope's Fine Yarns Etsy shop offers cashmere yarns from recycled sweaters.  If you love to knit with cashmere and don't like the high prices of cashmere yarn (who does?!), this yarn is significantly less expensive!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, April 17, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spring Knitting

I've been enjoying some beautiful spring weather in the Northwest, playing with Charlie, and finishing up a couple of knitting projects!

The first is a tunic/dress I made for Charlie, Sebago Cove by Alicia Plummer.  I made a few changes:
- I used four colors of yarn to give a bit of color grading, from top down Mica (followed the pattern for the top section), Hosta Blue (5 inches), Kelp (5 inches), and Turquoise (see below) in Madelinetosh DK.
- Instead of switching to the smaller needle for the bottom section (it pulls the dress in), I stayed with the size 8 to keep more of an A-line.  I did switch to size 6 for the sleeves.
- Using the woven stitch for the whole turquoise section looked too heavy to me, so I continued on in stockinette for 4 inches and then did one inch of woven stitch before the two rows of ribbing.  In order to keep the eyelet pattern on the sides in the additional stockinette without continuing to increase, I did "fake" increases - ssk, yo, k2, sm, k2, yo, k2tog.

The second is Adrienne Krey's Portland Hoodie Cowl in the Rain colorway of Madelinetosh Chunky.  Madelinetosh Chunky is really more of an aran weight yarn, so I had to go up to a size 11 needle to get the gauge right.  This made a looser fabric than a true chunky yarn would have, but as I want this for spring weather and those summer days at the beach when a cold wind's whipping in off the Pacific, it's perfect.  It turned out very soft and snuggly!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Inspiration - Alice Springs Beanie Fest

Here in the Northern hemisphere, with the cold weather winding down, I imagine many are looking forward to putting away the winter hats until next fall.  However, in the Southern hemisphere, cold weather approaches .... and what better way to get ready for it than a festival that celebrates that essential piece of winter wear, the beanie!

If you're in Australia, this year's Beanie Fest in Alice Springs will be held from June 19 - 22.  There is a lot of information about activities and venues on the website here.

Even if you're not close enough to go join in the fun, be sure to take some time to look through the winning beanies from the last several years - they range from hilarious to beautiful!  You just might be inspired to start working on a creation for next winter.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dyeing Doilies

With my sewing machine still in the repair shop, I'm getting caught up on several other fiber projects I've had sitting around for awhile!  After a two day Goodwill shopping spree, I gathered several crocheted doilies and table runners with the plan of dying them.

Most of these were marked down to $1.00 and were in great condition except for a few spots and some questionable colors.

The spots are no problem - the dye covers them easily.  

The questionable colors are sometimes challenging!  After starting off dying the white and off-white ones, I tackled the long variegated yellow/orange piece.  Dye is transparent, so the color is affected by whatever color the piece you're working with already has.  My hope with this one was that the blue I used (Blueberry) would be dark enough to cover the lighter yellow spots and that the orange areas would be brown, leaving it a variegated blue/brown.  I got the first part of my wish, but instead of the orange areas turning brown they turned an odd greenish brown.  You never know with dying!  So this is likely destined for the dark brown or black dye pot.

I used Procion Dyes from Dharma Trading Company and basic dying instructions are in a past post here.  For this piece, I used Terracotta ....

..... this one Yucca ....

.... this one Kingfisher Blue ....

.... and this one has a story!  I wanted a darker rose color, tried Rose Red - nope, much too bright.  So I removed it from the dye bath pretty quickly and tried a few quick dunks Light Mist with some shirts I was dying.  Even worse!  A third try in Clear Sky gave me a nice blue, so I'm happy now.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Inspiration - Isobel Moore

I've been continuing on with my spring cleaning .... or maybe I should call it my spring re-sorting.  Because right now, much of it is in different piles but little has gone in the donation or garbage sacks!  And it's artists like this that make it hard for me to let go of those little bits of great fabric and lace - I always have plans to use it, someday.

UK artist Isobel Moore recycles paper, fabrics, and fibers using machine embroidery to create gorgeous works.  I have a few here to pique your curiosity, but be sure to check out her website and look at the many, many more great pieces.  Also, she teaches embroidery classes - see her schedule here.

The colors, textures, patterns!  Very inspiring.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

An April Fool's Wednesday

I got up this morning all excited to try out some different free motion quilting patterns, see which one looked best on the pinwheel scrap quilt I've been working on, and then spending the day getting started ..... however, it was not to be.  In a freak incident, a quilting pin went down a hole in my sewing machine's presser plate and lodged in very tightly.  I don't know if that in itself would have derailed my plans for the day because I decided to take the presser plate off and see if I could get the pin out.  I couldn't.  And after I replaced the presser plate, the thread no longer went into nice stitches, but instead bunched up around the bobbin.  Even after rethreading everything, turning the machine off and on, and taking the presser plate off and making sure all parts were in place - several times.  So my poor machine is at the repair shop and the pinwheel scrap quilt sits off to the side.

And now I have a knitting day!  I have three projects currently on my needles, including the laceweight shawl that I swear is going to take me a decade to finish - after awhile of stockingnette in tiny yarn I have to take breaks with something bigger.

I've been mainly working on this piece in gorgeous Madelinetosh ocean colors .... and day dreaming of everything I'll do when I get to the Oregon coast this summer.

Come to think of it, the lace work I have going is also in ocean colors!  This time Malabrigo.

I'll post more completely about them when finished .... which may not be in too long if my machine does not get to come home soon!

Happy Creating!  Deborah