Posted in hand embroidery, painting, quilting

Milestone

Today I am writing my 100th post on Daily Fiber blog. I am pleased that this milestone arrives at the same time as another mini-achievement: the completion of my oakleaf hydrangea block series. After some consideration I determined that the final block count will be nine, as you see pinned to my wall boards in the photo above.

Decisions still need to be made on how to finish. After consulting with a few friends, I have settled on the arrangement of blocks and the decision to use a dark border around each block as if it were an individual painting. Also, I will add a border around the whole quilt – width and color yet to be determined.

Here are some close-ups of the groups;

As you can see, only the first block is quilted so far. I will finish the quilting after assembling each row.

Hand-painted cotton fabric , hand embroidered with a flannel background. Each block is 10 by 12, including flannel border.

Posted in hand embroidery, knitting, quilting, sewing

Old-Timey County Fair Fiber Fun

Who loves going to the fair? If today’s attendees are representative, I would say everybody! There’s a lot to see and a lot to do. Our county fair focuses on all things agriculture, but also includes some things that city folk enjoy, like growing flowers and taking photographs. Here is what I did at the fair today.

I checked out all the Fiber Providers:

Some chickens managed to get into the picture.

Oops, NOT fiber providers, just cluckers and layers.

And I got a good look at the various needle arts entries.

Sadly, there were not near as many needle arts entries as there were in past years. Achieving a couple of blue ribbons for my two was not that gratifying.

But I was very pleased to see that some of my fiber arts kids had entered items that they made during our class last year. Here is Gianna’s Blue-Ribbon strip quilt.

Going to the fair felt so nostalgic to me. It made me wonder: How many more years can the county fair tradition continue into the 21st century? Are needle arts as a craft doomed to die out? Or can they be revived in a brave new world?

Posted in hand embroidery, quilting

Mojo Mini Quilt no 2

Yesterday, during my daily browse of WordPress blogs, I came across Cindy Anderson’s post announcing her one-woman quilt show featuring her art quilts. These are exquisite little works – no wonder she was invited to display them. After viewing her blog I became energized to make another mojo mini in the same style as the one I made last month. But the inspiration for this quilt actually originated in last Wednesday’s yoga session.

The instructor ran a playlist of music that started with a mantra. After five minutes, those words lodged in my brain and wouldn’t let go. Arriving home later, I quickly wrote down the mantra as a potential inspiration for a fiber object.

So yesterday, when the energy took hold, I reached for the mantra, grabbed scraps of fabric with colors like those in my mind’s eye during yoga practice, and scribbled a quick sketch of interlocking arches.

The structure of this mini will be built up with raw edge appliques and it will also rest on a gray background. But to make things more interesting for me, I decided to start with a paper pieced object.

Okay, I’ve never done paper piecing before. But I’ve watched it! Thankfully, I only made two or three mistakes as I cut and sewed this little section. I had to rip out AND also re-cut a scrap that I had trimmed incorrectly. Here is the finished applique.

After mulling over the top half of the design, I sewed an arch from thin strips of fabric. Here is it.

And that is essentially the design of this mini quilt. After glue basting and stitching down the two appliques, I wrote the mantra on the white arch.

…..machine quilted the strips and hand embroidered the background.

I used a couple of my painted fabrics. The red-orange planet is from a printed fabric.

It was very satisfying to make this mini. Thank you to Cindy Anderson for motivating me to get started. You can see Cindy’s art quilts here. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/2331528/posts/2396379576

Posted in quilting, recycling

Addressing UFO Sewn Objects

Six months into my adventures with Daily Fiber Fun, I find myself surrounded by a bunch of Unfinished Objects. Here they sit, silently reproaching me for leaving them in a partial state of completion: unfinished, unused, unloved.

Resolved to address the cries, I have selected this guy to work up into an FO.

I made this 21 inch square block of hexagons during my week of learning to piece angular shapes. The teacher behind my success is Joanna Figueroa and her class on Bluprint, “Smarter Strip Quilting.” Since I had a bunch of fabric left, I turned to Joanna’s class again for another lesson. This time, I used the same type of piece – a 60 degree triangle, but cut in a way that makes diamonds.

I reasoned that this shape would work nicely with the hexagons as the back side of a large sofa cushion (!) After sewing and cutting many 1/2 diamonds, I came up with an arrangement that ignores the diamond shape (!) I’m going with chevrons instead.

Five columns of diamond shapes, roughly 21″ wide.

Skills that I learned in class the first time helped me speed through any little technical difficulties encountered while making this block.

Nesting the seam allowances together makes it a breeze to match points.

That said, it still took me the better part of Sunday and Monday to make.

I added white triangles to balance and fill the chevron ends.

The next step is quilting. There was so much going on in the chevron block, I decided not to risk messing it up with bad machine quilting. But I did choose to quilt the hexes, using parallel and dot to dot machine quilting technique.

I Love the red cotton thread.

Now to construct the pillow: I recycled a zipper from a disassembled cushion and a king-sized feather pillow which had got slightly mashed over the years. After I squared up the two blocks, the zipper was inserted into a side seam and the four sides sewn together. Using 1/2 inch seams and zig-zagging the seam allowances make it sturdier. Here is the completed pillow, resting peacefully on my sofa:

And here it is showing the chevron side:

Which side do you like better?

A big shout-out to Joanna Figueroa. You can find her class here: https://shop.mybluprint.com/quilting/classes/smarter-strip-quilting/40436?utm_expid=45q-ktsMT9eh9lDyPHy43Q%3A2&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mybluprint.com%2Ftopic%2Fquilt&redirect=svodPlaylist&skipMod=true

Posted in crochet

Crochet in the Round Workshop

The first fiber arts workshop I will teach this year takes place in October. I selected crochet in the round because minimal skills are needed to make basic shapes. There are no long chains to work into, no need to turn the work and it is easy to keep track of the number of stitches in each round by using one marker. I am so excited about the patterns I have found in researching for this workshop!

May I present Princess Pigtail and Knight Greyling of Corkshire?

This adorable characters can be crocheted in less than an hour and require only a small amount of yarn. For the princess, I used a wine cork as the filler. The knight is filled with a tall thread spool.

Both patterns are available free. The knight is by LucyRavenscar http://lucyravenscar.blogspot.com/2010/02/cork-and-crochet-knights-ninjas-and.html

The princess is by Tarkheena Crafts: http://tarkheenacrafts.blogspot.com/2014/04/crochet-pattern-princess-fleurette-of.html

Have fun making these little figures!

Posted in knitting

Finishing the Baby Fern Sweater

I had stopped working on this project until I could verify the baby’s arm length. My original design allowed for an 8 inch sleeve. To learn the truth I took a tape measure to the lake house. While she attempted to evade measurement by considerable wriggling, I won the battle, and determined her arms were 7 inches long. In the interests of planning for growth, I made the sleeves 7 1/2.

Finally moving on to the yoke. Remember, Elizabeth Zimmerman’s battle cry: Knit body to underarm, sleeves to underarm, unite! Here is the sweater after the yoke was worked as far as the first round of decrease.

My plan to keep the stockinette stripes evenly spaced worked out well. As I began to run out of yarn I added the white and pink stripes. The blue ribs were carried through by slipping those stitches in the white and pink stripes.

Yoke worked to 4 inches in depth. Per the EZ method, three rounds of decrease happen at 1/2hf, 3/4th and 4/4th of the yoke, or in this case, 2, 3 and 4 inches.

After sewing up the sleeve seams and grafting the underarm seams, I decided to use single crochet to finish the front edge including six button holes – 2 in the yoke, 4 in the body. Here is the sweater, knitting complete.

Now I’m off to my LYS to buy the buttons.

Posted in recycling, sewing, weaving

Fiber Fun at the Lake House

While I and my family were soaking up the sun and splashing in the water at the Lake House, my daughter proposed that we work on a fiber project together. The family lake house, which was built in the 1950s, contains random pieces of furniture and what nots from several decades. The object of attention is a floor lamp with a silk shade that had disintegrated completely. Used in its present condition, the unshaded light got into everyone’s eyes. She thought we could solve this problem.

Of course, the Lake House Challenge is to make it work with limited materials and tools. After a bit of brainstorming, during which we rejected piecing panels together and shirring or gathering fabric, we came up with a weaving concept. We had on hand a few bed sheets and a ball of cotton blend yarn.

Yarn is left over from the Luna Moth baby dress project.

Fortunately, Daughter had brought her sewing machine.

I took on the task of warping the yarn over the lamp shade frame and she hemmed and turned the strips of white sheet. They were about 2 inches wide. We thought we would need six rounds. Here is the shade with the warp in place and the first round of weft weaving.

It took a few days because it was possible to work only while the baby was sleeping. She sewed together the two ends of each strip and trimmed up the yarn.

FINISHED LAMP SHADE.

We agreed that it was pleasing to the eye in a bohemian kind of way.

Posted in embellishing

Fun with Embellishments

This school year I will again be teaching fiber arts to students age seven and up. I’ve organized the sessions into 4-week workshops. One workshop will explore techniques to use in embellishing clothing and other fiber objects. Today I am learning to make pom-poms using these:

It seems like an easy, anyone-can-do-it craft to use up extra yarn, so I’m all for it.

What I learned in my first attempt is that the instructions included with the tool were incomplete. I got lots of bits of yarn falling out of the plastic holder.

After a quick trip to U-Tube – source of every craft technique in the world – I discovered that the yarn needs to be wound until the holder’s center is filled completely. Then, when the holder is closed and the yarn cut, compression keeps the cut bits together long enough until they can be tied up with a piece of yarn.

I made one medium and three small. Here they are decorating a cross body bag.

I’m confident all the students will have a great time making pom-poms. I can’t wait to see how they use them to jazz up their clothes One final note: Don’t lose these little pieces, or your pom-pom makers will be useless.

Posted in knitting

From the Design Idea folder

Dear Fellow Makers,

Over the past few days I have been engaged in work on fiber objects that take a lot of time to complete, such as painting the hydrangea leaves for a wall hanging and knitting a sweater. So I don’t have anything new to share on the blog today.

In perusing my design book, I was reminded of a project that I made in 2013. It has an interesting story which involves knitting sweaters for a little boy.

Have you ever worked hard on a hand-made gift, only to have it rejected on the spot by the recipient? I have! As a new grandmother, I was joyfully knitting sweaters annually for my grandson. One year it was an Elizabeth Zimmerman design (the modular Tomten Jacket described in The Opinionated Knitter.) After unwrapping it, said grandson simply cast it aside. (sigh.) I resolved never to let that happen again. For his birthday sweater the following year, I chose soft, brightly colored acrylic yarn and came up with a design that no little boy could resist.

Like all boys, my grandson loved trucks – BIG trucks and BIG earth-moving equipment. I decided to make a rugby style sweater with the image of a John Deere digging machine on the back. This project required a custom chart and my husband gleefully helped me to create it.

The picture was downloaded from the JD website, but the grid required a little adjustment. In knitting, the number of stitches per inch almost never matches up with the number of rows per inch. To avoid compressing the image, the squares of the grid need to be fatter than they are tall. I gave husband my gauge (stitches per inch and rows per inch.) He calculated the ratio and used spreadsheet software to adjust the grid to match. From this chart it was relatively simple to knit using a combination of stranded and intarsia techniques.

Upon receiving his gift the following birthday, my grandson jumped for joy.

“It’s an excavator, it’s an excavator!!”

This sweater was happily worn for several years in all kinds of weather.

One final note: If you try this technique, you may find it helpful to outline the details of the image in black yarn. This will help the image come together.