Thursday, June 30, 2011

50th Anniversary Table Runner- Part 2

Close up of the finished runner...prefelt, neps and scrunched-up silk gauze.


In its entirety.


Embroidered heart.


50 loving years together.


A cousin recently sent me a DVD with family movies on it...

...from half a century ago.

My favorite parts were the scenes of my aunt and uncle canoodling in the corner... young, and so very much in love!

Somehow, throughout 50 years of married life, they've managed to keep that passion for each other...

...what a rare and beautiful thing!

To commemorate this milestone, I did a little embroidery...

...just the number 50 in an embroidered prefelt heart.

Happy Anniversary, you two!! <3

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

50th Anniversary Table Runner- Part 1

Laying out synthetic fabric and roving.


Adding under-the-sea elements.


Stitched pre-felt, Angelina, neps and roving.


The runner wetted out.


My aunt and uncle recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary...

...and I wanted to make them something special.

I've also been wanting to play with some open-weave, synthetic fabric that I bought recently... see how well it would felt.

So, I laid out a layer of cotton gauze (purely for structural support)...

...and covered it with a fine layer of variegated green roving.

I added the synthetic fabric next...

...and 'trapped it' with a bit more roving.

To make the undersea tableau...

...I added strips of sewn pre-felt (for seaweed), rings of roving...

...sparkly Angelina fibers, and other waveform sections of pre-felt.

Next time: the finished runner (with a tiny bit of embroidery!!).

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Yarn Giveaway--Winners!

For Fiona.


For Fiberdance.


For Nicola.


For Countrymice.


After reading at all of the lovely comments on my last post...

...I decided that I couldn't have just one winner... I chose four!!


Winners, please send your full name and postal address to my e-mail...


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Friday, June 24, 2011

A Tale Of Two Spinnings-Yarn Giveaway

Lincoln locks spun into yarn on a spinning wheel.


Yarn made on my drop spindle with locks and other 'add-ons'.
(Double click on the photo if you want to see what each is made of!!)


Yarn made with dyed Finn locks...close-up.


Locks spun with sari silk ribbon.


The top photo is of yarn that my friend, Linda, and I made together on her spinning wheel...

...using dyed Lincoln locks and (for part of the skein, anyway) a 'core' of wool- blend string.

I found it quite interesting, trying a wheel...

...because other than driving a stick-shift car...

...I don't normally do things that require both my hands and feet at the same time!!

I must confess that I don't think I'll be buying a spinning wheel any time soon...

...not just because of my ineptitude ;), but also because I really don't need to produce yards and yards of yarn at a time.

I did learn some new ways to make my 'spindle-spun' yarn better though...

...and it was a wonderful experience, overall!

If you'd like a chance to win an assortment of my hand-spun yarn...

...for felting or other purposes (remember, they are small quantities!)...

...please leave me a comment on this post.

If you let me know your color preferences...

...I'll try to give you some in that color range (if I have it!!)

I'll close the giveaway on Sunday, June 26th at Midnight (EST)...

...and please make sure that I have a way to contact you if you're the winner!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hand-Dyed Roving And Silks

Hand-dyed roving.


Hand-dyed silk gauze (microwave method).


Silk that was dyed, wrapped in plastic wrap and steamed to set the color.


Dyed silk chiffon scarves and silk gauze yardage.


As you can see, we were quite the prolific little dyers last week...

...and I'm delighted to report that my biggest fear went unrealized...

...(that my wool roving would felt during dyeing).

I'm always a little unnerved by chemical dyes, but we were very careful...

...and since the icing dyes didn't worry me at all...

...I was much less cautious, and still have stains on my hands to prove it! :)

I think I prefer the speedier methods of microwaving in a dish or a ziplock baggie... the more traditional 'steam in an enamel pot' method... the summer at dyeing is quite nice, too!

Next time: What I did for yarn! :)

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Monday, June 20, 2011

What A Week We Had!!

Jars and roving ready for solar dyeing.


Shibori dyeing silk with icing dyes.


Small glass accent gems tied into a silk scarf.


Silk chiffon with dye applied, waiting for the microwave.


My friend, Linda was here for five days last week...

...and boy, did we have fun!!

We each made a couple of felted bags, spun locks into yarn (with a wheel!)...

...and tried several different methods of dyeing wool roving and silk.

We even had a surprising and unique encounter in a discount fabric store...

...when we got to chatting with a woman in line at the cutting table...

...who sews teeny-tiny costumes for exotic dancers (strippers)!

(...and yes...she tells us that the fabric she buys must be very stretchy!!) Giggle.

Linda showed me how to use both 'acid' and 'icing' dyes...

...and we steamed, microwaved...

...and even cached jars of roving, water, vinegar and dye in my hot car for a day!!

I sewed several scarves into packages for Shibori dyeing...

...and even stitched little flat marbles into a scarf, prior to dyeing, for a tie-dyed look.

Next time: photos of some of our finished work!

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Garage Full 'O Wool

The wild and the wooly.


What an inviting chair!


Fleece strung on orange snow fencing.


A close up of very dirty fleece.


I managed to get my hands on a lot of raw fleece lately...

...from an area farm that raises sheep for its meat, not its wool.

This fleece is a combination of Dorset, Suffolk and Romney...

...and when clean, the colors of the wool are strikingly different!

Because these animals were not coated, nor was the fleece well-skirted during shearing...

...there's quite an aromatic scent that wafts from my garage whenever the door is opened! :)

(I can just imagine what my neighbors think when they catch a quick peek!)

I've made two quite disparate projects from it so far...

...and I'm hoping to use more of it, soon.

After all, I'm afraid that if I leave it in the garage too long...

...I may find that it's become a home for all manner of living creatures!! Shudder.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Eggplant Casserole and Sewing Project

Eggplant custard casserole.


Covered with yummy cheese and sesame seeds!


Eggplant Custard Casserole

2 medium to large eggplants (aubergines) peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 eggs
2 c milk
pinch of salt, dash of pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 grated carrot
1 minced onion
5 pressed garlic cloves (less if you're a vampire...or just don't like the taste)
1- 16-oz can diced tomatoes and juice, blended in a food processor
Fresh(chopped)or dried basil and taste
1/2 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded.

Peel and slice the eggplants into rounds and lay them flat (not overlapping!) in two greased 13x9-inch baking pans. (Cut some in half to fit.)

Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper until smooth and pour over the eggplant.
(Custard should come up just even with tops of the eggplant slices, not over.)

Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes, or until custard is firm.

While the custard bakes, saute onion, garlic and carrot in oil for 5 minutes.

Add spices and tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes more.

Pour the sauce over the eggplant custard.

Sprinkle with cheese and seeds.

Return to hot oven for a few minutes, until the top is lightly browned.


Re-purposed vintage tablecloth that I made into a raw fleece storage bag.


Action shots of the bag! Giggle.


I got some new Icelandic fleece the other day...

...and needed a new storage bag for it.

In looking through my considerable fabric stash...

...I was delighted to discover a heavy linen tablecloth with a wide faggoted hem.

Since I rarely iron, it's unlikely that I'd ever use it for it's intended purpose... I sewed up the edges and made a casing at the top, for a new bag!

I took a discarded grey tie that came with a dress...

...and fed it through the casing, making a drawstring closure.

Now my fleece has a new home...

...and there's one less lonely and unused piece of fabric in my cabinet! :)

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My First Handspun Yarn!!

My Ashford top-whorl drop spindle on its first outing.


Yarn made with variegated roving.


Red variegated roving plied with green and blue variegated roving.


The results of my various combinations.


You may recall that at the Maryland S&W this year, almost on a whim...

...I purchased a top-whorl drop spindle.

I wasn't sure whether I would ever use it or not...

...and actually had one of my daughters watch a video and try it, first!

Before long, though...

...I was actually making yarn! Woooowhee!

Because I do not knit or crochet...

...the yarn that I make is intended for use in my felt.

Therefore, what many spinners strive for...

...consistency in width, uniform plying, and yards and yards of yarn... not what I'm after at all!

You can probably pick out the yarn that I made with two different colors of pencil roving... it's quite uniform in size and ply.

I am now experimenting with adding bits of sari silk waste, strips of finished felt, flax, mohair...

...and various other odds and ends that I find in my cupboards.

My friend, Linda, is coming for a much-anticipated visit this week...

...with not one, but two of her spinning wheels!

She's going to give me a master class in how to make art yarn...

...and I can't wait!!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Barnacle Pillow Tutorial- Part 4 (of 4)

The pillow covered in netting and wetted out.


After felting and spinning dry.


The finished pillow...stuffed a little less firmly than the earlier two.


Barnacle pillows in all their glory!


Well, I hope by now you can see why I call these barnacle pillows...

...since they're covered with the kind of stuff sailors spend a lot of time scraping off!! Giggle.

You can see the differences that come about when working inside-out and

...and how the schlumpy placement of raw locks in the smaller ones...

...resulted in a completely different 'look'.

I think they'll lead to some interesting conversations when my daughter displays them on the sofa in her new apartment...

...or maybe she'll keep them sequestered in her own room... sort of an 'eyes-only' kind of thing! :)

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