Sunday, September 30, 2018

Slow Work : Turned Under Applique Flowers for the Morningstar Quilt

This should really pop on a black background!

I've been trying to think of an easier way to do the applique for the Morningstar Quilt.  I decided against the technique of raw edge fusible applique (my usual method).  This is going to be more of an heirloom piece, will be washed more than a wall hanging, and would need more stability -- hence I am biting the bullet and investing the time to build these flowers with a technique I learned from WendyButler-Berns in a workshop many years ago.

She taught us to use freezer paper templates and a glue stick to build the pieces.  It works!  I've put together a kit with scratch paper to use as a blotter (1 per flower), the glue sticks, baby wipes, scissors, the freezer paper templates, the fabrics, a model to follow ...

I have to make 8 small flowers and 4 large ones.  Then I can start working on the filigree in between.
1 step at a time ...

Maybe I  can work on these in the evenings before supper?  I hate to take precious weekend time.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Haul from Sheep & Wool Festival 2018

My main mission this year was to get an Alpaca quilt batting.   I'd tried to find them online earlier in the summer, but every place seemed to be out of stock.  When I got this one, the vender / farmer said that was the last one he had, and that another alpaca farmer said Pacafil was no longer making these batts for quilting.   Hmmmh ---  I wonder if there's a production problem, or what?

Of course there was lots else to see too.  I had to get another alpaca fleece in preparation for the new Schacht-Reeves spinning wheel coming in October!  I've been working at carding the older fleece I have (from last fall), but it's slow and seasonal work -- and it's not a clean fleece.  Alpaca doesn't have the lanolin in it that sheep fleece has, but there's something in this one ...    Since I started spinning alpaca, most of the sheep's wool --even merino--feels course and rough to the touch.  This 2.4-pound fleece is clean and already carded.  With a little dizzing, it will be easy to spin on the new wheel in a few weeks.  This came from Sharoza Ranch Alpacas by Zach and Sharon Allen in Pine River, WI.  It sounds like they a have a carding mill and offer the service. 

The Weaver's Loft had a few more Jim Hockett shuttles at a really reasonable price.  $35 for this double shuttle in bubinga wood.  Beautiful!   I think Lynda bought one in a dark color, lighter weight wood -- walnut maybe?    She also had some Jim Hockett end-feed shuttles.  You see them for sale online, and they are always so much more expensive than other shuttles -- they are smaller, slimmer -- which makes sense, if you have a tight end of the warp you're trying to wring every last bit out you can, and can't raise the shed much anymore, you want a thin shuttle to squeak through there ...  I didn't get one, but I probably should have!

I always like to buy something at Mielke's Fiber stand, too.  This year, they had 1 cherry Schacht boat shuttle left.  If they'd have had more sizes in cherry, I'd have gotten them, too.  I've decided this is my favorite shape (that kayak shape) and the finish is what I like to touch.  Of course, you need a variety of shuttles for different jobs, but the Schacht cherry is one of my favorites!

Finally, at The Wool Gatherer's stand, I bought a small bottle of "Hans' Own Spinning Wheel Oil."  Lynda asked if 3-in-1 machine oil, or regular old sewing machine oil would work just as well.  Hans said, "No--those oils are not heavy enough for spinning wheels.  That's 10-30 weight motor oil."  I know I can pick that up at Fleet Farm, but it was the bottle I really wanted, with that needle nose spout to help you get the oil right where you need it.

I did stop by Patty Reedy's Rainbow Fleece Farm stand  -- such nice fleece she raises there!  When I first started spinning, I remember her fleece really had me mesmerized because it sparkled.  It actually had a luster and a sheen you just don't see anywhere else.  Not sure how she does it ...  Like magic!

Lots' of gorgeous hanks of spun yarn ...  I would like to try something more artistic and adventuresome than just my straight run-of-the mill spinning.  Perhaps mixing 2 colors in the plying stage?  Or adding some bling?  I think I saw a video about how to add sequins ...  Someone was selling orphan calls of spun yarn with tiny seed beads incorporated into it.  Very nice -- I'd like to learn how to do that!

One stand was selling rugs as what seems to be more than reasonable prices for a buyer.  Might have been slave labor to her -- because I know what it takes to make one now.  Beautiful color combinations at her stand.

Another lady was selling felted scarves --  some looked like northern lights!  Neat!  I think she also had some nice shawl pins there made from cut off tree branches -- finished nicely.  There is always something I wish I would have purchased, but didn't.  I think if I'd have gone back on Sunday, I probably would have gotten one of those shawl pins.

Soap -- One stand was selling French soaps, so I got 2 bars of my favorite Miel (honey) soap.  I don't know what they do to it!  I know I can make soap, and I put honey in it, but it never comes out smelling so light and flowery as the French Miel soap does.  And so I keep buying it when I see it!

After we got tired of shopping, Lynda and I went to sit and spin in the park area -- same place we were last year.  Much cooler this year, with a breeze.  Last year we had company as other spinners came to work their magic alongside us.  This year, it was just the two of us.  Lynda brought a Turkish drop spindle this time -- more portable than her wheel.  I had my trusty Louet S90--plying some of that silk and wool mill end mix I got last year.

Another good day at The Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Morningstar Quilt Comes Together

I got the star sewn together a few weeks ago.  I am amazed at how cool this looks!
It's so large, it hangs off the edges of my design wall, so I can't even show you the points right now.

The colors are just right -- kind of like a kaliedescope.

Now for the corners, and edging.  It's all black fabric, and the kit / patterns offers a design to be appliqued ...  I'm wondering if I can just free-motion stitch that design in a bright multi-colored thread.  It would be subtle, but visible close up.  I'll probably outline the applique that way.  I can't say I'm really looking forward to the putsy work of putting those blocks together, but maybe I'll be surprised, and it will go faster than I think?

Monday, September 24, 2018

Spinning into Infinity : Embellishments on my Old Spinning Wheel

With the new Schacht-Reeves Saxony spinning wheel coming in a few weeks, I wanted to show my old Louet S90 wheel some love.  I'm still using it regularly, and probably will even after the new wheel arrives just because it's portable and compact. The new wheel won't be so portable. 

I got this lovely vinyl wall decal via Etsy.  I wanted a non-permanent way of decorating my spinning wheel.    This option had some obvious reversible benefits over painting with a stencil. 

I choose the burgundy color with the idea of adding some gold or copper highlights with a sponge before installing the decal on my wheel.  I didn't wind up doing that after all, as I was afraid the added layer before installation would mess up the adhesive in the installation process.  As it was, the hardest part was peeling up the backing paper.  It was relatively quick and easy to apply the decal.  ;-)

This is the 18-inch version.  My wheel is just over 19 inches in diameter.
I laid it on the wheel, and pressed down as per the instructions.  Then I took an exacto knife and cut out the parts with the holes / no wood.   Though it occurred to me later that I might have been able to wrap some of those edges.  The hardest part was peeling off the backing paper, so take your time with that step.

Didn't have this brilliant idea in time to do it up for The Sheep and Wool Festival earlier in the month.

Here's a short video showing the mandala in action.  The maple on the solid wheel really does flash like that as the light hits the different facets in the wood.  It's really a neat effect! 

The music in the background is from Cindy Kallet and Grey Larsen.  The song is called "Opus 53. " I was lucky enough to hear them at a house concert last night in our neighborhood -- a small gathering of less than a dozen people.    And yes, I did buy some of their music.  Check out Grey's The Orange Tree, and their Welcoming CD.   ;-)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mande's Orange and Blue Star Quilt is done!

Mande's Quilt is done!

This is the quilt my mom asked me to make for my sister, Mande.  Ma would have done it, but health problems prevent her from quilting anymore.   She gave me the color requirements, and then I was allowed to do as I chose ...  Ma and I had plenty of blue in our collective stashes, but I had to purchase the variety of oranges.  Then I used the Sonia's Windows pattern for the basic blocks -- a very simple, but satisfying strip piecing technique.  Then I chose a more classic log cabin star layout.

It was supposed to be quilted and finished in August when she was here so she could take it back to Japan with her.    Unfortunately, it was done the day after she left.   [I don't even want to think about what it would have cost to ship it to Japan!]  Mande wound up coming back this month for a funeral, so she was able to take it back with her. So things worked out ...

It seemed a lot bigger when we held up the naked quilt top [See above.]    I was thinking it might even be too big for her bed.  Now it looks like it might be too small.

The long-arm quilter used an all-over swirl pattern.

Ok-- I'm done making quilts for other people for  while.  
Time to work on some of my own projects!  
Quilt camp is coming up in 2 weeks,so I'll have to plan my to-do list!