Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nothing much to say, no pictures to share........

Well, I have nothing much to say, haven't done a whole lot fiber wise other than knitting around 6 rows on my current shawl project which has now reached the stay focused, pay attention, don't talk while knitting stage. Played with the embroidery machine this morning stitching on my friend Yvonne's t-shirts and towels, got my supplies together for seminars at the weaving conference that starts on Thursday, and put together more felting bunz kits to list in my etsy shop.

We spent the holiday weekend on the coast, friends from down the coast came to visit bringing their lab mix which Bailey thought was great fun. We drove up to Florence on Saturday to browse all the shops and galleries and they've got some great ones. We also had the Royal Tea luncheon at Lovejoy's Tea Room. We've been there before and always enjoy relaxing with a pot of tea or two and eating yummy food.

Not much happening other than unseasonably cold rainy weather, just like it does all winter long.......

Friday, May 27, 2011

Playing with beads again......or skirting everything else.....

I really have wanted to get some jewelry put together but right now it's become a diversion to what I should be doing......but what I should be doing isn't life or death so I guess I shouldn't care! Have been feeling lately like I'm not getting done what I need to......weaving, more sewing, photography work so I can sell what I've made (no one sees it, it won't sell) cleaning out my closet, dyeing (but it's just been too cold and wet for that), weeding.......on and on. So, continuing on how I've been going I'll sit down and read a book this afternoon, this is unheard of for me, I never take the time to read (other than fiber related mags) but I took this book out at the library and it's got to go back tomorrow so rather than sign it out longer I'll read it.....and I am enjoying it. Think I might just make myself a cup of tea to go with sitting and reading......rainy, cloudy, windy day it seems perfect.
I've been wanting to put together these two necklaces for a long time......sorry for the bad picture, I'm definitely not a photographer. Those are swarovski crystals on the necklaces, very sweet, pretty little necklaces. The dragonfly earrings and pendants were made from cloisonne pieces bought at Shipwreck Beads in March.

Finally finished plying......

So does anyone else find plying extremely boring? I finally finished plying this big skein, 708 yards in all. The fiber was from Crosspatch Creations, their Rainbow Roving in the Victoria into the Woods colorway - Corriedale cross/tussah silk/silk noil. I love the way it turned out with all the bumples from the silk but it was a challenge to spin....my own little personal challenge to spin because I normally like to spin nice smooth soft fibers with no bumplies. Not sure what it will become yet, will think on that later down the line.........

Thursday, May 26, 2011

All in a day's work......or play........

Today I spent a little time at the serger - this pattern bought at Sewing Expo by my friend Kathy is for a wrap/shawl that's cut in a kind of spiral and then just serged on the raw edges. It's really hard to show the drape and ruffly effect on the mannequin but I tried. The fabric is a sheer. I was going to start another type of serged edge sheer vest/cape pattern but as I laid out the fabric and the pattern piece didn't fit I found that I needed 58-60" wide fabric and mine was only 45" wide - oh well........wasn't bought for this project so it will be used for the original top and the shawl/cape pattern will have to wait until I find another fabric.

 So, then it was on to playing with jewelry. I put together 2 charm bracelets, pendants and many earrings.....notice the coastal theme? The teal ones in the bottom right corner are actually swarovski crystal starfish. The hearts are silver charms I bought from a bead shop in Port Townsend almost 5 years ago.....time to make the bracelet!
Above are cloisonne pieces that I put together with swarovski crystals for pendants & earrings. The cloisonne pieces are by Gita Maria, beautiful work.....have had these for a few years too.

Monday, May 23, 2011

More NWRSA...........

These were my entries in the NWRSA gallery. I got a 1st place on my knit scarf (center) and on two of my handspuns, then two 2nd places and two 3rd places all on handspun yarn. I was just a bit miffed over them, not the actual judging on the quality of my work, they were right on, I don't strive for handspun yarn that looks like it was machine spun so I have no complaints about comments on little slubs here and there or inconsistencies in twists per inch in some of my skeins. But those top four skeins were either to be judged together or just put on display and not judged - I wanted them shown together to share with others how I created 4 coordinating skeins from one length of hand-dyed roving. They took them apart to judge them, spread them out over 4 different tables and did not include the pictures I gave them of the roving and how I separated it. Another comment was that my items would be scored higher if I only included 35 yards in a skein, well, yeah, if I cherry picked 35 yards they would be higher......but in that skein that flows from yellow at one end to black at the other sure wouldn't have worked in only 35 yards, they would have only seen one color. Oh well......I really shouldn't complain because I'm very grateful that there were volunteers who took on the gallery and everything else connected with this conference. I truly had a great time, once again.
Thought I'd share a picture of  the basket the 5 of us attending from our little area donated as a fund raiser for the organization. It's hard to tell but this was a gigantic tub - those sheep are huge!

Great fun at NWRSA conference......

Early last Thursday morning my friend Pat and I set off for the NWRSA spinning conference up in Salem, OR - we met up with others from our area and many other fiber friends from elsewhere. We had a great time and came home totally exhausted last night. I took one great class with my bud Janis Thompson from Dyelots in Eugene, OR on spinning art yarn - what fun! Looking forward to spinning more yarn adding bit and pieces of ribbon, beads, or whatever to add in as accents in my woven scarves. Took a knitting class that was a bust, the teacher had a handout with typos in the pattern instructions, she left out pertinent parts of the pattern and couldn't/wouldn't answer questions - I had heard from someone who took another class from her in the morning that she wasn't a good teacher, she was right. And there were only 5 of us in the class, perfect for getting more one on one help......with any other teacher, what a disappointment and waste of my time and money.......oh well........that happens once in a while, thank goodness not very often.
Each year I try to find or make a goodie for my spinning friends to hang from their wheel. This year I made little felt balls, added beads and charms and made wheel jewelry. I think everyone liked hanging a special bauble on their wheel.....they can also hang it from a chain or cord later and wear it as jewelry. I made my self a necklace with matching earrings I wore one day in one of my favorite colors - lime green. I'm trying to decide if I should make some of these to sell.....I tend to get scattered selling too many different items but I'll give it thought, they were fun to make.
I don't have alot of treasures to share as far as shopping - I didn't need a thing - all I bought was one knitted beaded scarf pattern. I felt bad for the vendors, not enough shoppers since attendance was down and not many came in on public day. I would have liked to have supported them but when I've got hundreds of pounds of fiber here at home already that I sell I just couldn't justify buying more.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Busy, busy..........

I'm still here and busy, did some more sewing the end of last week, had a weaving guild meeting Saturday and Sewing Sunday get together on Sunday......duh, of course it would be on Sunday being called Sewing Sunday. Yesterday I spent working on 'favors' (you'll see those next week) for my spinning circle peeps at an upcoming event, also finished up a birthday gift. Today is spinning get together, tomorrow hopefully some time at the sewing machine.
I do have some new spinning happening - this is a mix of fibers from Crosspatch Creations, very fun to spin some not perfectly smooth yarn full of bits and pieces.
I finished knitting the Hydrangea Scarf from a Fiber Trends pattern the other night - it's wool/bamboo/silk, so lovely and soft. It's still in need of blocking but am hoping someday soon spring will arrive and I can put the blocking foam out on the deck table to block it out in the warm weather to dry quickly.
And this is the new knitting happening. I found this free pattern on Ravelry, the Holden Shawlette. I'm knitting it out of some of my handspun that was spun from Butternut Woolens merino/silk. The first part of the shawl is mostly stockinette, soon I'll start knitting the lace. I'm going to knit it into a full size shawl rather than the shawlette that the instructions are for. I can just keep repeating the pattern and to make it easier to figure that out I'm going to train myself to read from the chart rather than from the written word which I've always found easier......so this will also be a learning tool.

Soon I'll get back to weaving, I've been away from it for a long time for me and am feeling disconnected from it, not a good thing. Also have a few hundred pounds of fiber to dye but that needs to wait until it's decent enough to work outside.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bernina time........

Not much to blog about lately - took off Friday evening for the coast, back Sunday night......been doing a little sewing and weighing out wool since. I did end up getting a pair of crop pants out of the rest of the rayon batik from the flouncy top pictured in my last post. Yesterday I started this outfit after spending 90 minutes trying to figure out how to make buttonholes on my Bernina. The only time I made a buttonhole was in the new owner's class I took over 4 years ago, book was lacking a bit in details. I eventually figured it and boy amd I ever impressed with how easy it is and how wonderful the option of it saving the size to do multiple buttonholes all the same, even the next day. Of course, after all that I decided just to sew closed the front of this top and put the buttons on as embellishment......decided after putting the button tabs on that it's never the kind of top I'd wear unbuttoned and it slips easily over my head. Now I need to find a pattern with lots of buttonholes so I can use that feature on the machine. The fabric is more of the rayon batik I bought up at Sewing Expo in March....pattern - Indigo Junction, Asian Nights PJ's (although these aren't pj's).
Below is a close-up of the bottom of the pant leg. I would have put the pants on the mannequin except it would have been a pain to turn the mannequin on it's side to slip them on just for a picture.....I'm lazy.
Have picked out more fabric from the stash to start another outfit, may get to work on that tomorrow.....need to put the machine to sleep soon and get back to weaving though.....after a few more pieces of clothing.........

The rest of the afternoon will be spent weighing out Ashland Bay roving in 8oz bags, labeling and storing in tubs for future sales. I started this job Monday afternoon, need to finish it up as the room I'm working in has little floor space left....it's covered with at least 60 bags of wool roving now, more to come.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rayon batik.....yummy

Yesterday afternoon found me taking the pattern for the Keshy Jacket (see Feb 26 & 27th) and reworking it for a new top - then today I cut the fabric and got it made. I took the sleeves off which leaves a nice little cap sleeve. And the bottom section of the front was totally reworked but slicing a copy of the pattern in two spots, spreading it out, taping more pattern paper behind and creating a piece that would be a bit ruffly and drapey. I also lengthened it 2" from the original. I love the results! I do have more of this fabric left, was thinking a pair of slacks or crop pants but I'm not so sure I have enough fabric for either. I could always make a cute little tank to wear under this, I do have a couple different solid color tanks that will already look nice under it though, it would be nice to be able to get pants out of it.....will look at my patterns tomorrow but I'm having my doubts about having enough.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tea & cupcakes anyone.......

So got home from spinning get-together,a birthday tea & crepes with a couple friends after spinning and a quick run through the local art museum to see a tapestry exhibit (no comment on that, you don't want to hear it) I found a little time to learn a bit more about my new toy. I chose to use the tea motif again just because it's a line drawing and doesn't use up much thread or time to use for learning. My first attempt at putting letters under the design is to the left - not exactly what I expected. I couldn't figure out why the machine kept saying I couldn't put anymore letters in.....well, I guess if it's set on 'large' that will happen. So, next try I set the font size to small - much better. These are just one of the canned fonts in the machine - I haven't downloaded other fun ones yet. Gee, looking at this my lettering doesn't line up perfectly under the mat in the design, that's not my fault though, I never took it out of the hoop - the mat isn't perfectly horizontal.

Tomorrow I'll have to move the new toy out of the way so I can get to sewing.........that's after I go buy and plant some flowers. I need to get back to the loom, that's my first love and I've been getting scattered lately. Oh and then there's around 150 pounds of roving that will need dyeing......will get to that sometime..... Deep End of the Loom asked if I'd use my embroidery on my handwovens, not sure but it is a thought, it will definitely work, I'll probably have to put a water soluable interfacing on the top as it embroiders like I would have to for towels.

New Toy........

I'm still here, spent the weekend on the coast reading, knitting and working in the yard. I'm not spending time taking photos for my etsy shop so I can list new items, not weaving much, sewing I want to get done in the next few weeks is pushed aside........trying to not beat myself up over it........not to mention pulling weeds and grass out of the flower beds here. And to add to the mix a new toy arrived yesterday - my new inexpensive (downright cheap) Brother SE-400 embroidery machine - only $368 from Amazon. This is something I never thought I'd buy but I caught the bug. My plans are to embellish everything in sight......well, not really but I will be putting it to work. I can picture using very simple designs to embellish clothing, art quilts, etc. I've already seen a ton of them I'm adding to my wish list at Embroidery Library. This place has very affordable designs. There are lots of ginkgos and dragonflies, my favorites not to mention spinning wheels and other fun designs. Hubby Sam and my cousin Jim are already eyeing the golf designs for their golf shirts and such.
I first pulled the manual out of the box to read it over, lots of info on the sewing part of the machine - lacking in general info on the embroidery module. I then watched part of the dvd that came with it, still very little info so I decided to jump in. The machine comes with many designs, most of which I'd never use, but great for learning on.
The first one I tried was a one color teatime design - I like it
Then on to a cross-stitch looking rose, I wanted to see how changing colors worked
Then I needed to learn how to download a design off the internet, hook the laptop up to the machine and stitch - this is where instructions were really lacking but it was easy! Had a little issue with figuring out colors but that's ok, it was a learning experience. Not sure what I'll do with this basket of flowers, maybe sew it into a little pouch, it was a quick free download to learn on.
Next step is playing with the alphabets and how to line them up under a motif. I bought a fun 40 rayon thread pack, also through Amazon, to start with, need to look at my colors and see what I need to fill in. I have  a number of different stablizers to try out, much to learn about those, which is right for what project. So many to choose from - different weights, tear away, wash away, knit like, sticky, iron on. I could see from downloading only 2 free designs yesterday that I needed to figure out a good pattern management plan on the laptop before downloading more. Programs can be bought for this but I didn't want to spend another $100 so I set up files, put the design file in it, copied a picture of the finished embroidery off the website and put that in it along with a list of the color numbers for thread - great solution and it was free. What a time sucker this all was yesterday but it was fun! Today I'm off to my spinning group, then to meet a couple friends for tea & dessert to celebrate a birthday so nothing will get done in the studio at all today. Tomorrow am  hoping to buy more flowers to plant in the deck planters and then get to the studio to think about sewing some clothes from some of that fabric I bought at the Sewing Expo. Eventually I need to get back to the loom.....oh and dyeing roving will be coming soon too.........