Whimsical and Homespun Art Creations with a Little Rural Living Thrown In

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Dyeing to Play with Some Yarn

If you want to have some serious fun, check out your local fiber fairs.  I love going to purchase local fleeces to spin but ended up trying a whole new art... dyeing fiber.  Here is the booth some ladies had put together.  The large skeins are 250 yards of natural Corriedale.  They were a squishy DK weight and soft to the skin.  I passed by a few times, and the class tables were empty.  Too many times, I have passed on opportunities to participate.  I made a concious decision to change my way of thinking by pulling out a chair, putting on an apron (fashioned cleverly out of a garbage bag), and delve into the world of dyeing yarn.

 As I lined up baby bottles filled with dye (which is an absolutely fantastic way to dispense it by the way), curious bystanders decided to check out the craft.  I never turn down the opportunity to talk about fiber, and they happily joined in the fun.  It only takes one to step out of their comfort zone, and pretty soon, you'll draw a crowd. 

The ladies had the most intriguing set up.  These tin roasting pans held two sheets of plastic wrap and a skein of your choice of yarn or sock blank soaked in vinegar.  The trick of dyeing yarn in this method is to keep your colors far apart and work them with your hands back together.  This creates a nice blend between the two colors.  Being familiar with the color wheel, the possibilities in the dyeing process are endless...  I was hooked!  Can you imagine the possibilities?

Once the skein is to the liking of the dyer, the skein is wrapped up in the plastic wrapped and whisked away to have the dye set.  The dye was set for several minutes in a microwave on hot.  It was done in intervals, so the fiber was not harmed.

After the yarn was taken from the microwave, it was dipped in a bucket of water a few times.  Then, the skein had the water squeezed out of it and draped over a hanger...   with my name proudly attached. lol

As you can tell, I tried as many colors as possible on my first skein (on the right in photo).  I even did some over dyeing.  The blues didn't really draw me in, but all the others did!  By the time I was finished, I commented to the girl next to me that it looked like a pile of fruit loops.  lol

With the second skein (to the left in photo), I was much calmer and controlled... And it shows!  It will be interesting to see how they both translate when knitted.  The colors are bold and vibrant.  A little less vibrant than my photo with the flash but bold just the same. :)

 The fiber fest, and the group of ladies overseeing the dyeing booth, was the best way to experience this craft for the first time.  The dyeing mini class was a memorable event.  The ladies only charged $10.00 a skein.  Such a small price to pay for the beginnings of a great adventure!  :) 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Grinch Returns

Okay, so remember how the paper pieced pattern was incorrect on the Grinch?    I know, I am going a ways back in 2018.  Well let's just say, the quilt UFO was put into a box with the new extra yardage and forgotten about.... partially on purpose and partially due to some twists in life.  But I am taking this word of the year "Actualize" seriously here.  I looked at the beautifully cut pieces and decided to make this quilt "real".  So, I got out the orange spooky dot fabric and began to cut.  Are you ready for another unbelievable crazy turn?   I never measured the yard of fabric upon receiving it all those months ago.  It was cut at 31 inches in length... not 36.  Arrrg!  Seriously?  What are the odds of that?  I am most certain in the belief that God is teaching me a lesson of patience and perseverance with this quilt.  Although hopefully, the lesson will end with the orange fabric! lol   Back I went to the online store, that luckily still had some of the fabric, and purchased another yard of the orange due to arrive later this week.  I am figuring this little quilt will be the most expensive quilt ever made.  Sheesh!  What more can I say?
On a joyous note... It was a perfect weekend to bring the quilt pieces out from their slumber.  I completed all but 14 paper pieced corner triangles.  Hopefully, they will be completed this weekend.  The larger 12 inch squares were also started, and two were joined together to give a sneak peek to the larger picture. Wow!  The colors and theme still makes me smile.  Maybe that is why quilts fascinate me so.   A quilt draped over a bed tells a story.  The story is not just of the fabrics it is comprised of, the image it conveys, or the skill level of the quilter,  but the memories of the artist who creates it.  Memories composed of triumphs and failures, perseverance and patience,  joy and unhappiness, and above all life's moments that happen in between.    As with all art, how can you put a price tag on that?     

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A New Year and Sleigh Bells

Happy New Year to all my blogging friends!  Here in Northern Illinois, we welcomed the New Year with a heavy dusting of snow.   It was beautiful, and our town's first real snow for the winter season.  Made me think of a purchase I made back in May.... Some gorgeous sleigh bells.

These are the real deal.  Horse sweated on leather and all!  I fell in love with them at the What Cheer Flea Market.  I purchased the largest strand first for fear of losing them to another thrifty hunter.  Later after showing Mr. Hollow my find, we went back and purchased the other two.  Their sound is amazing!  Classic sleigh riding jingles.  Makes me think of my Dad and his stories of growing up around the big work horses.  I can just imagine how grand they would look in these strands.

Just look at the size of the largest bell!

Even the Shepherdess said the sleigh bells were really neat!  Trust me, she is a hard one to impress.  Lol  The purchase kind of encompassed the tone (in more ways than one) for 2018... A year of reflection, nostalgia, and perseverance.  Maybe turning 50 had something to do with it as well.  Either way, these bells enchant me and fill the air with the sound of inviting merriment.  I give them the honor of being the best purchase of 2018.  :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is enjoying a Wonderful Christmas!  I have been lounging around tonight soaking in the Christmas lights and gearing up for formulating my New Year's life enhancement list (sounds a little more optimistic and achievable than resolutions!  lol).  Let me tell you, a lot of reflection is going on...  The second half of 2018 has been unbelievably crazy beyond words.  It has kept me away from my blogging friends/family and my many of my artistic endeavors.   After a long talk with my sister yesterday, I now realize the need to shake off past distractions and focus on my family, my passions, and me.  No more pushing off my pursuits.   I am going to empower myself with a new word to live by for 2019 which is going to be... insert drumroll... Actualize.   The definition of actualize is to make real.  I love it!   I will hold off on the details of my choice of a word for now, since today should be spent with great consideration to our faith,  spending time sharing joyful moments with our families, and (in my case)  eating way to much delicious  food.  ;)      
From My Family to Yours,
A Very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Grrr... I Have Been Candy Corner Grinched!

What is the old saying?  Measure twice and cut once.  Well, this wouldn't have helped me much with the Candy Corner Pattern from Robert Kaufmann Fabrics for the Grinch Halloween Quilt.  Maybe, a test triangle would've helped?  Not sure.   Can you believe there was a flaw in their paper piecing pattern?  Unfortunately, I found it after I cut out 48 triangle templates and used two different fabric colors to construct them.  Half a days work lost.  The problem was crazy stupid.  When you lay out the design for a paper piecing block or in this case a triangle, a designer has to remember the image you want to construct will be the layout on the reverse side of the line drawing.  I should have caught the error with the sample triangle in the pattern looking identical to the line drawing.  It does not work that way in paper piecing.   I am now the owner of 48 useless triangles.  Grrrr….

They are so beautifully useless for this project.  *sigh*   I let my knowledge of this being an older quilt pattern blind me to the fact that there could be an error.  Little did I know another problem reared its head shortly after.  This truly is an old pattern and so is the fabric... Yes, old fabric...  It took quite a bit of searching to locate 2 yards of fabric to replace the lost yardage.  Thanks to sellers on eBay, I was able to get the replacement fabric.  The extra $24.00 added to the pattern kit is going to make this a pricey little quilt.  That really drove the lesson home.

I did decide to contact Robert Kaufmann Fabrics to let them know of the error.  I received a friendly email assuring me that my problem was being reported to the marketing department.  Nothing has changed on their site.  I am sure with a pattern this old nobody cares, but I think it is still worthy of a correction. There is still a quilt kit of this pattern being sold on eBay.   I am staying positive and am foraging on with my beloved Seuss quilt with more to follow.  Like they say, every quilt has a story.   I will not let this dampen my enthusiasm.  I am thankful the fabric was able to be replaced and will cut, piece and sew 48 replacement triangles.  And yes, I still do love paper piecing.  That fact will never change.  :)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Maquoketa Iowa Flea Market Finds

Today, my hubby and I went to a Flea Market in Maquoketa, Iowa to relax from a long week. Great choice, since they were packed to capacity with outside vendors.  I still love to walk around the inside venue as well.  It was there I found a vintage Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck puzzle, along with a cool flour sack and child's hand held chalk board.  Total spent $10.00... Not bad.  Then, I went to the outside.  I could not believe the amount of vendors!  The weather was beautiful, and the grounds have never been so filled with sellers.

My first find was a couple of washed out Funk Feedsacks to be used in embroidery projects and another flour sack.  I ambled along until I caught up with Hubby.  He pointed out an aluminum tree stand.  It would work great to anchor my small Christmas tree holding my Shiney Brites.  But as I was looking at it, my eye caught a vintage slate chalkboard balancing against the table leg on the ground level.  The chalkboard was heavy and awesome.  My Hubby rolled his eyes and held his breath, but I went ahead and made an offer for the bundle.  Deal done!  And you know what?   Mr. Hollow even carried the chalkboard for me during the rest of our hunt.  How sweet was that? :)  I even stayed on my budget spending only $30.00 for all of my outdoor finds... Until...

Mr. Hollow decided to do some shopping for himself!  How would his shopping involve me?  Well, read on...  ;)

Hubby’s favorite stop to shop is a gentlemen, who we see on the Flea Market venues, that sells tools.  Hold your breath you are not going to believe this!!   The tool guy had a treadle sewing machine?!? She was so beautiful and definitely had been someone’s pride and joy… A well cared for Montgomery Ward Damascus. The decals were phenomenal, and she was in perfect working order. She even came with her original book and attachments. I don’t know if she was a good buy at the asking price of $100.00, and overwhelmed by her glory, I honestly didn’t care... I have wanted a treadle for so long. All of my run ins over the years were basement rotted disappointments that were beyond repair. My hubby, searching for treasures for himself, looked at me in horror as I asked the tool guy for his absolute bottom buck on this vintage treasure. He responded quickly with $80.00 before my hubby could get a word in of caution. I looked quickly at Mr. Hollow, told him I was sorry, and gave the gentlemen 4 twenty dollar bills. The rest is left to be written in Maquoketa Flea Marketing history!  Well aside from the tool guy and his son harassing my hubby mercilessly.  LOL

Can you blame me?  Just look at her... *sigh*

What a great way to start the wind down to the 2018 season of hunting treasures!  :)

P.S. Once hubby found out she would load in the back of our Jeep standing up, his demeanor improved dramatically! LOL

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July Happenings

I cannot believe we are at the end of July.  This month was a busy month but still seemed to fly by!  I spent the weekends out hunting deals at the Flea Markets, spent a Monday serving jury duty and ended that week celebrating my 50th birthday, spun like a crazy woman during the Tour de Fleece on Ravelry, and got my quilt pieces cut for my Grinch Halloween Quilt... along with working my day job.  It was a blast!

Here is the disassembled Grinch quilt.  It will be paper pieced.  Paper piecing?  Haven't done that for a while.  I actually had to watch a YouTube video to refresh my memory.  Paper piecing is one of my favorite ways to quilt.  I cannot wait to begin the assembling process, but the piecing was put on hold while I spun for the Tour de Fleece...

Tour de Fleece took its tole on all of us.  As you can see, a few ladies couldn't handle the pace. lol  Lots and lots of wool spinning.  It is my favorite event on Ravelry!  

Luckily, I took my birthday off from work and made a long weekend of spinning.  The Shepherdess and I spent the morning of my birthday going to a quilt shop, coffee shop for lunch, and an antique shop to round up the trip.  The following week, I did a little hunting on the internet and found a gentleman on Ebay selling sewing parts.  I inquired about a stitch dial for my 3/4 size Kenmore 158.1030.  (It is the niftiest little sewing machine but arrived to my home with a broken dial.)  He had one!!  He not only sold it to me but took photos on how to install it.  What a great seller!   Big thanks to Scott and five stars to his seller store found under Flapicker.  :)

I think it will do its maiden voyage piecing the Grinch quilt.  It is so light and portable.  If you can find one, I highly recommend the style.

August is right around the corner.  So much to do and so little time! ;)