Unexpected Treasures

Unexpected Treasures

I have been contemplating books for the Read Harder challenge. The categories are most interesting… some are easy for me to fill in a book or two or three, while others will require more research! I have been enjoying doing this research tremendously until I got derailed yesterday…

The mail person brought the most amazing package all the way from Salt Lake City! I wish you all could have seen the look on my face when I opened the package to discover these treasures! And, yes, there might have even been a tear or two shed as such an amazing gift! Dear Margene, you are truly one in a million! I cannot tell you how much these books mean to me and I have been pouring over them this ever since! They are truly wonders that are filled with such incredible inspiration! Why they even have practical application that is MOST APPRECIATED!

Now I can barely wait to begin my new stitching project on Thursday!! It will almost feel like Margene is sitting with me as I begin this new project – for truly, Margene, you are such an inspiration, and I am thrilled to take this journey with you and do so with profound thanks and so much love!

Finding Success in Failure

Finding Success in Failure

On Friday, I shared an idea I had for this year’s stitching and over the weekend I swatched a bit with less than stellar results.

So, I spun a bit more to see if I could improve the “thready-ness” of the yarn.

I stitched with more tightly plied yarn. I stitched with less tightly plied yarn. I stitched with singles. And, even though my results were not wonderful, I am sharing what I learned here.

  1. Dressmaker Linen is not suitable for yarn stitching. It is abrasive to the fibers and I had problems with breakage in the yarns. I also needed a needle that could pierce the fabric, but the needles I have on hand might not have had a big enough eye, which also caused more abrasion to the yarn.
  2. Plied wool yarn is very difficult to stitch with in linen fabric. I had issues with the plies wanted to be untwisted. I had issues with one of the plies breaking. I had issues with stitches laying how I wanted them to lay.
  3. Singles wool yarn is too fragile to withstand the stitching process in dressmaker linen with a needle.
  4. I did like some of the results I got with Pygora singles I tried, but it did not want to be stitched in satin stitch at all.

I admit that I am surprised by my results, but I am unbelievably happy that I am finding out these problems through swatching and not as I am beginning my new project. And, I am really happy that I have a bag filled with Pearle Cotton staring at me while I spend the next few days pondering how this changes my idea, if at all. But then, I texted with my friend Beth, and she gave me lots of advice but this made my head spin: “I would go to the internet and see if people use wool for the same stitches as cotton. By the end I would have tried 400 million fabrics and 200 million wools…”

Okay, so seriously? I don’t have that much testing drive in me! But, I did go to the internet and found some fun things on Pinterest, like this and this! Which led me to Judy’s Journal…I could be heading down the couching rabbit hole but, for today I am not going to think about this anymore. I have a bit of wrapping to finish up for things that need to be shipped out before Christmas and a quick trip to Costco.

Have a good Monday!

Fiber Friday, December 8

Fiber Friday, December 8

The knitting marches on, albeit slowly. However, today I am going to share a bit of a preview about my 2018 Stitching Project, which will begin on December 21 and I am taking a bit of license from Vivaldi and borrowing his Four Seasons. There will be four much larger stitching projects; Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn. And, while they will still be free-hand stitching – no drawing out of my design, the season of stitches will all be the same motif, but will change color as the season does.

I have also been wondering how handspun yarn would work to use for stitching, so I have been playing with some fiber to create some “crayons” to stitch with. I will test this out before hand to see how I like it. I am not the best at spinning super fine yarns, so I am not sure that this will work as I am envisioning it. But, I am going to do some experimenting swatching and see what it looks like over the weekend and I will share my results back here on Monday.

Now, how about some links???

That is all I have for this week, have a great weekend – stay warm! I will see you back here on Monday!

Sewing Contemplations and Questions

Sewing Contemplations and Questions

I have read through my Alabama Chanin book three times now and I think I am ready to give a tee-shirt a whirl. I think my first “go” will be from a couple of Steve’s old shirts. I hope to stop at Jo-Ann’s this weekend to get some craft thread and get started.

Beyond that, I have this pile of clothing which all no longer fits. I have been pondering how to “re-sew” all of it into wearable items. However, the thought of ripping out all these seams and removing all the neck binding and pockets is a bit daunting. Really? That is lots of ripping!

This leads me to wonder if there is an easier way to do this, but if there is I cannot figure it out. So, my question to any sewists out there – is there an easy way? They are all too big in the shoulders and the bodies of the garments. However, perhaps if they fit better in the shoulder, the garment would not look so large? I am not certain at all and my garment alteration skills are limited to hemming pants and skirts!

It is days like this that I wish my Nana was still here, because she would certainly have a plethora of ideas on how to accomplish this!

Figuring out a solution would certainly give a boost to my summer wardrobe!

Once I was a Quilter

Once I was a Quilter

I have been watching with great interest some hand stitching in my Instagram feed, particularly from David of Southern Cross Fibre and Vicki knitorious. They are each hand stitching on different projects that are equally beautiful. Vicki’s Alabama Chanin inspired stitching is incredibly gorgeous and I am very intrigued by this method of slow stitching. David, however, has taken to a field that I have some experience with, although I did not do any hand piecing as he is doing, and his results are absolutely stunning.

Why does this all interest me so much? Well, early in the 1990’s I was an avid quilter. Okay, maybe not avid, perhaps it is better to say that I was a member of a Quilting Group of avid quilters who had been quilting together for years before they invited me (the novice) to join them. The group met weekly throughout the year, working on one large quilt that they would enter into the Tulip Time Quilt Show. The most challenging quilt that I worked on with them was this hand appliqued flower quilt. Each block was hand appliqued and then the blocks were machine assembled. However, the best part, for me, happened once the quilt was carefully stitched into the quilting frame. Then the quilting could begin! Those were quite simply the best times, with all of us sitting around the quilt, carefully stitching the fabric in front of us. The key was to never be able to tell where one quilter’s stitches began and another ended. I look at this quilt today and to my eye there is no difference in any of the quilting at all. And if these stitches could talk, what stories they could tell about the joys, the heartaches, the struggles, and the lives of the quilters. This quilt took a good number of months to complete with the end goal being to sell it and start the process all over again. My then husband surprised me and bought it at the quilt show, which might have been one of the nicest things he ever did. The quilt won a ribbon at the quilt show, but it holds far greater meaning for me in the memories of all the stitches it contains, worked by the women I grew to love dearly. It is a vivid reminder of all we shared together.

PicMonkey CollageI just loved sitting around the quilt with those ladies, stitching and talking every week but, all too soon my house was filled with children and getting to quilting became a challenge, especially with a spouse who traveled most of the time. Sadly, I soon became far too busy to quilt and working on a large quilt at home was not very “child friendly”. I did continue quilting for a couple of years at home in the evenings when the kids were tucked away in bed and I managed to make several miniature quilts, some of which even won some awards as well!

I love the basket quilt, pictured above, that hangs over the back of a tiny,  hand-made wooden chair with the well-loved Raggedy Ann of my youth.

But, my favorite is this Autumn Leaves quilt that I made (and subsequently had framed to hang on my wall.)

I think often of those ladies that I quilted with and learned from, and while many of them are no longer here; the things I learned from them have not left me.

There are days that I really miss quilting, but then I am reminded of the lack of space we have, and, more importantly – my lack of time. It is nice though, that the slow stitch movement is shining light on the forgotten art of hand quilting and sewing. And, I hope they are never forgotten!

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