Friday, December 14, 2012

Fibre Friday

I'm excited...I FINALLY figured out how to create a banner for my blog.  We limit the amount of technology in our home so this is like learning a new language.  I know old version of CAD for Architectural drafting but that is about it.  I am on a learning curve here so for this day...I'm a Genius!!  Pull out the party balloons and streamers!

Heading out to pick up some Christmas gifts...we are very last minute this year.  Praying our parcel gets to BC on time.  Then home to get the printer working (I found the cable) to print off some Inklingo and give it a try.  I'm very excited about this!  Will keep you posted on how it goes.

I managed to do some spinning yesterday.  It was great sitting behind my wheel and just relaxing.

Do you like all our snow?  Please send some our way.

I love this skein.  I's a barber pole but it can be very effective knit up. 

Description:  50/25/25 Angora/Wool/Silk 2-Ply Orthogenous Skein.  The angora gives the yarn a beautiful halo.  The hand of the yarn is so soft (like a little kitten).
40 metres 
16 WPI (wraps per inch)
Recommended Needle Size 3-5

The wool/silk blend was a "scrap" in my fibre bin that I wanted to use up.  The white Angora I purchased from Jan and Peg at Friends in Fiber (the bunny that donated to this spinning project was Snezhinka).  If you need beautiful, clean angora fibre this is definitely my "go to" place. The customer service is fantastic and they are extremely helpful.  They rushed off parcels of angora fibre for me on very short notice to help me cover a fibre shortage that I experienced with my OHS spinning project that I undertook this summer. I even got some wonderful New Hampshire holidaying tips for our next trip through that area.

Here are a couple of other projects that Snezhinka contributed to.  These were my sample projects that I submitted for my OHS design challenge.

Blueface Leicester blended with angora

The projects were inspired by patterns found in my daughter's knitting book.  I'm not sure where she has put it but once she gets home I will post the title.  It is one of the best books I have found for teaching children how to knit and full of lots of fun projects.

100% Angora

Sorry to my quilting non-spinner friends for all the fibre lingo.  The munchkin in the photo above was reading over my shoulder the other night and told me how much she loves me because I "love string and thread" and when I talk quilter and spinner language.  We do have our own language that can baffle others...WPI, HST, QST, PIB.  I hadn't really thought of it until she mentioned it.

Before I head off I just wanted to share something beautiful that took place last night.  On the news it isn't often that we hear good.  This warmed my heart beyond words.  If you have been following along you know that we were blindsided last week and it affected everyone but more so my oldest daughter.  I'm not going to go into the details...what mattered was that she was crushed, sad, hurt, disappointed, and broken.  On top of it she learned some difficult news about someone that she really cares about.  It was a lot to handle, even for an adult.  Last night, this wonderful couple took the time to reach out to our daughter through their own pain and challenges to elevate her, make her feel loved, special, and to show her how much she matters to others.  
They were our angels.  I am so grateful to them for the gift that they gave our daughter.  
A small token that meant the world to her.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

O Christmas Tree

This was my view last night.  The kids did a great job!
I pulled out my spinning wheel with the intention of relaxing and unwinding.  I guess it was effective...I curled up on the couch and was fast asleep for the evening.  
I didn't realize how tired I was.

Today I need to tidy up.  Next Thursday I am going to have 8 girls crashed out on this tiny floor space to celebrate my daughter's 12th birthday (a Dec 23rd baby) AND the last day of school!  Friday starts the beginning of Christmas holidays so who knows when they will go home...we didn't set an end time.  My plan is to needle felt Christmas ornaments with them or make some Stars like the ones that Cathy at the Blueberry Patch made.  
I love this time of year.

My breaks from tidying up include:
Relaxing at my spinning wheel ~ I am spinning up a bit of 50/50 wool/silk that I found in my stash.  I plan on plying it with 100% angora that I spun up for my OHS spinning project this summer.

Learning about Inklingo ~ how come my brain starts shutting down when I start reading about computer programs?  I have been following Cathi at Quilt Obsession and I have become intrigued and obsessed with how she makes her quilts!  I will get through my computer issues to figure this out...and if not I will be messaging Cathi and Linda...a LOT! I'm determined to get this to work for me...I'm envisioning lots of hand sewing at dance and music lessons.  If you want to check it out you can go to the Inklingo website and download a free Shape Collection (this is the link to the one I have downloaded...Diamond, Triangle, Stars...thanks Cathi for telling me about this!)

Quick Update:  Cleaning is not happening.  I've left the Inklingo Guided Tour and jumped in to the Shape Collection that I have downloaded and I have to say...I'm really impressed!  It is very user-friendly, great tips and samples, no special ink required or programs to download (my nemesis).  I'm off to get my printer running so I can give this a try!  Woohoo....those 20,000 hexies that I need aren't looking so daunting now! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lost and Found

I seriously didn't know that I had a lost and found bin in my house but I guess I did.  Last night my youngest wanted company in the basement while she practiced her piano.  As I stood there I eyeballed the last of the bins that have yet to be unpacked.  They are my nemesis!!  Most look like the movers just picked up drawers and dumped the stuff in.  For two and a half years I haven't had the energy to even touch them.  Last night I sucked up the courage and opened the first looked mostly like a junk drawer on steroids.  I reached for the garbage bag and removed the first layer...hey there is my power bars...and then what to my wondering eye did appear...


I was wondering what had happened to the rest of my Halloween stash, batiks, sample blocks, Christmas panels, and kids prints.  Welcome to my lost and found bin.

This junk box was brought to you by the packers that used my antique quilts to wrap toiletries and cleaning supplies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jelly Roll Chopping and Inspiration

Yesterday was heavenly. I sat behind my sewing machine for the whole afternoon completely uninterrupted....ahhhhhhhh! That is pretty rare around here. I had decided that I was going to do a baby size jelly roll race quilt. I cut my pieces and loved what I had chosen. I sewed it all together...and didn't like the end result. All my greens had lumped together; matching fabrics sat on top of each other...all the light fabrics at the top and dark at the bottom with a big white strip through the centre like a little target. I ripped seams out to break up the chunks of matching fabrics and still didn't like it. After ripping and sewing and ripping and resewing again, this is what I had....

This is the blurry folded in half version

Eventually I lost my patience with it and pulled out the rotary cutter and began chopping it up! This is not like me. I am a pattern follower...a rule follower.  Normally doing something as radical as cutting up my quilt top would have had me one step away from a nervous breakdown, however, after last it was rather therapeutic. It was very liberating to just say forget it and cut away without any regrets! Then my girls came home and gave their opinions...they pretty much were in agreement with the chopping of the quilt top.  

After cutting the strips I rotated every other strip. I didn't plan it at all and didn't really notice but the second row from the top and bottom is exactly the same. I'm quite happy with that turned out.

This is where I finished off last night...

I have been thinking about putting a stripe of green in the border but I just love how fresh and clean this looks so I think I will quit now before I have to chop up another top. It reminds me of springtime and fresh cut grass. I think now I will just pluck up the courage to quilt it...thinking straight lines to keep with the minimalism of the design. So now you know...when you lose the Jelly Roll Race, make Chinese Coins!

I'm now hanging out in my basement staring at my fibre and considering possibilities.  I just had an inspiring conversation with Joanne at Merry Poppins. (She is making cake pops for my daughter's 12th birthday. I can hardly wait to pick them up.  Her work is beautiful. You can find her on Facebook too at Merry Poppins.)

Anyway, when creative people get on the phone together there is no telling where the conversation may go. We went from cakes to quilting then spinning to felting. My mind is now running through the possibilities of where I could take Twistfully Yours and the idea of teaching workshops. Feeling more inspired than overwhelmed...that's a good sign! This isn't a new thought but the unknown keeps halting me in my tracks...
  • how to start a cottage business
  • how to price my work
  • farmer's markets
  • booking keeping and tracking inventory...eek
  • how to take a decent photo 
I would love to hear your thoughts on some of these questions.  Wishing you an inspired week!

(PS there are only 118 classroom days left of the school year...
I am completely pumped about summer holidays now! lol)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Welcome Home Little Laptop....Come see what I have been working on....

My friend was able to "fix" my laptop....okay, the battery is completely dead and my A/C connection is loose...the DVD/CD drive is toast BUT I can access my OHS spinning thesis and photos that I hadn't already uploaded...or is that downloaded...over to the external hard drive.  I'm a happy person! that is starting to shop around for a new source of technology.

Last week we were completely blindsided and any creative cell in my brain disappeared.  (Everyone is healthy...that is always the first thought on bad news). It was one of those moments where you are left speechless and you feel all the connections in your brain snapping as you try to make sense of what you are hearing. I woke up with this morning with the resolve to keep moving forward and to stop second guessing myself.  I wasn't called in to work today so I have headed downstairs to tidy the sewing room.  Then it dawned on me that I have yet to get something for my new little nephew for Christmas.  We are sending the parcel out west tomorrow. Typically we each draw a name and make just one gift for the person whose name that we picked.  This little guy wasn't around when names were picked and being his favourite only aunt on this side of the family, I had better step up to the plate and do something.  I have yet to make him anything with the hectic summer and fall that we have had so rather than tidying I have pulled fabric out.

But first...what have I been up to?

  • Finished my dad's Christmas photos (just in case he decides he should actually read my blog...highly unlikely but you never know).
  • I have been helping my husband and daughter's with their gifts...mostly teaching them how to sew, etc....again no pics until after Christmas.
  • I started adding colour to my thread painted portrait of my youngest daughter when she was 3.  I am using Prismacolour pencil crayons.  The photo doesn't do it justice (goal for 2013...learn how to take better photos)

  • Our guild had a request for approx 40 placemats to donate to Meals on Wheels.  They deliver the placemats to recipients of Christmas meals to make the holidays a little more special.  As a presidency, we challenged the members to make 80.  At our Christmas potluck last week, there were 96 beautiful placemats turned in.  I wish I had my camera...there were so many creative ones.  My wonderful husband made my potluck contribution so that I could actually find time to make a couple of placemats.

These are really simple but very effective for a quick and easy project (again my photos don't do justice....or maybe it is the horrible yellow light fixtures in this house.  I may have to do something about those too.)  I am going to make up some miniature ones for a little one who just loves tea parties with daddy.
Pattern source:  Pink Penguin (this links to the tutorial but definitely check out the rest of her blog...lots of wonderful inspiration!!)
  • At the beginning of the month I attended a spin-in with the Atlantic Spinners and Handweavers.  I went to spin however they had a hands on day.  I wish my laptop was working so that I could have downloaded the instructions for these.  I have made some before but not as intricate as some of the ones that I saw at the workshop.  Inspiration came from the book Temari Traditions: More Techniques for Japanese Thread Balls (this is on my list to Santa)and a variety of other sources.
Here is a little eye candy that the workshop coordinator brought along

Some of the workshop projects in progress....


I should get back to sewing and the mess in the sewing room...I'm thinking a little Jelly Roll project.  This is what I pulled from my stash. Now to get cutting and sewing like there is no tomorrow (because has to go in the mail tomorrow...why do we do these things to ourselves??)

PS....Hop over to the Quilting Gallery.  Michele is having a Blog Hop Party to Celebrate the Quilting Gallery's 5th Birthday.  I was hoping to get in on it but the computer issues killed that thought but there are lots of other blogs that are linked up with tons of inspiration AND give-aways.  Happy surfing and good luck!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 1st!!!!...errrr....ummm...2nd!

The question of the day for Reverb'12 is was How are you starting this last month of December?

Based on my post title I think you can pretty much guess.  December 1st started with me going to bed around 2:10 am after a night of exploding marshmallows...long story...and preparing stuff for my daughter's dance comp team's bake sale table today.  There was so much food I could have shown up with nothing.  We got to the bake sale a few minutes late then my daughter headed off to assist her teacher with the pre-ballet dance classes.  A couple of hours later she was back to the bake sale to get me and was ready to go home for a quick lunch and a little R&R before I headed out with her and her sister to go back to clean up from the bake sale then pick up one of their "orphan" friends that they met in the musical (they had a play date with her yesterday).  Off we went to Ms Hannigan's house for an Orphan Cast Party.  Dad and I came back home so he could rest (he's been feeling yucky since last night) and I could work on my Dad's Christmas is almost done...I just need to sew up the opening in the seam where I turned it out.  I'm realizing I am not a fan of fusible interfacing...either I am using crappy stuff or I'm not doing something correctly as it does not want to stick.  I'm so used to hand sewing interfacing...I may revert back to doing that.  After losing track of time, we raced out the door to pick all the girls up a few hours later taking note that my girls had wet hair!  How is this possible?  They jumped in the hot tub in their clothes!  I should have expected that!! lol  As soon as we got home, I jumped back in to sewing while the family curled up to watch The Polar Express.  I have one placemat just about just needs binding...and one to quilt and bind.  They are for Monday's guild meeting.  Somewhere in all of that I raced in to town to pick up a parcel from the post office and find a gift for the guild Secret Santa exchange.  I did manage to find time to take a hot relaxing bath before starting the placemats.  I needed a break!  It is now December 2nd and I am sitting here at 12:56 am wondering what happened to December 1st and my “be kind to yourself” mantra for the month!!!!!  As much as my goal for today was to finish the placemats to the point of needing binding, I am going to have to call it quits.  I am starting to get that "too tired" shaking feeling...must get sleep!