Saturday, November 27, 2010

Various, Assorted, & Sundry

My post today is about a little of this - and a little of that - hence my title.

In a couple weeks my little quilt group will have our annual Christmas gathering. Normally we each make a small ornament and swap them around - each person going home with one treasure that someone else has made. Our numbers have dwindled to only six this year, so we decided to make ornies for each person in the group and we'll go home with one from everyone. I got my ornies made a couple days ago, but couldn't decide how to wrap them up - after all - presentation is half the fun sometimes!  I ended up making my own little gift bags by cutting up paper grocery sacks and stitching, stamping & stapling them till they were just the right size to fit snugly.

I made the ornies using old wooden thread spools, scrapbooking paper, and a few glass beads from the craft store. I'm pleased with the way they turned out and sure hope the other gals like them too!

A few days ago I received the newest issue of BH&G American Patchwork & Quilting in the mail and I devoured it - I think it's the best issue they've ever done! There was tons of stuff inside that really caught my attention. First, the incredibly beautiful & unique work of a gal named Odile Gova from Toronto Canada. She creates wonderful stuff using recycled wool sweaters & metal teeth zippers, and sells them in her Etsy shop. You can visit her shop here, and check out her Flickr album here - lots of eye candy to look at!

I especially like the paisley brooches that she makes

You can buy her instructions on how to make little wool felt beads

There are instructions in the magazine on how to make this delightful bracelet, so you'll have to check it out for yourself!

On the cover of the magazine is a cute quilt that I decided to tackle using all my favorite colors. Here is a bit of it that I have hanging on my design wall so far - can't wait to get more pieces cut and start stitching it up.

The magazine has 30 suggestions from quilt designers for getting organized - the picture of Polly Minick's wool stacked neatly in an antique cupboard is yummy.

I have promised to teach a couple neighbor girls how to sew recently, and I had planned to help them make little quilts. Then, I read about the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge that the magazine is sponsoring, and I decided that a pillowcase would be the perfect project for a sewing novice to tackle, so I'm going to sort through my stash and find some fun fabrics that they can use to stitch up a few - THEN we'll tackle a quilt after they get some practice at sewing straight seams. I know their mom will like having them do a service project while learning a new skill, and I think they'll have fun doing it.

Today hubby & I bought supplies to start updating our 30 year old kitchen cabinets and I'm so excited to get it done!  I'm taking pictures as we go and I will share them eventually.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wooly Goodness

Sometimes I just want to sit down and make a  project and have immediate results - that was the case yesterday when I stitched up this little wool pincushion similar to one I saw at the quilt store. Easy peasy!

I recently watched a new episode of Sewing With Nancy and she had two gals on there who have a business selling scarves that they make out of recycled wool sweaters - the polka dots make me smile and the colors are just yummy! Their home parties sound like fun evenings! I even like the name of their business: Go Dotty Go!

They also have fingerless gloves using the same ideas.....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Toy Sewing Machines

I have a small collection of vintage toy sewing machines displayed in my living room on a shelf above the windows up near the ceiling. Because they're up so high, they're kinda hard to see and appreciate - I need to find a better place to put them. I'm always on the look out for more to add to the collection. My mom has a wonderful tiny Singer that I hope to have some day - she remembers my grandma using it to sew heavy wool coats for the children when she was just a little girl.

A couple years ago my friend Eileen told me about a quilt shop in the tiny little town of Urie Wyoming that has a collection of these little treasures decorating their store. I've been meaning to go see them ever since and Friday turned out to be the day. After a 1-1/2 hour drive to get there, I arrived and got to look around. I was surprised at how large the shop was and how up-to-date their fabric selection was.

This display case had quite a variety of old machines.

And here are a few more.

The plastic machines made in the 60's, 70's and 80's were displayed on a long shelf on the back wall of the store. It was hard to get pictures of them without standing on a chair so I just held my camera high above my head and hoped for the best.

The next day I was looking through magazines at the grocery store and saw that the newest issue of Quilter's Home has an article about toy sewing machines with lots of pictures too, so I thought that was very serendipitous!

What about you? Do you have any vintage toy sewing machines? I'd love to see you share pictures of them on your blog too!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Marigold Dyeing

I spent a little time outside  in my yard yesterday enjoying a beautiful fall day - next week winter is supposed to arrive here in Utah! I noticed that the marigolds were still blooming like crazy and I rememberd that they can be used as a natural dye for wool, so I picked a bunch of the flower heads and went inside to give it a whirl. It actually turned out pretty good - I got a bright golden orangy color - the book I used says this dye is very stable and won't fade out like a lot of the other natural dyes are prone to do.

After treating the wet wool with alum and cream of tarter to mordant it, I layered it in my glass cassarole dish (used only for dyeing), sprinkling flower heads between each layer of fabric. Then I poured some boiling water to fill the dish halfway - covered it with foil - and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.

After letting it cool slowly for several hours, I pulled it out, washed it up and started oohing and aahing...... Now don't laugh at the shape of the finished product - I've mentioned before that all my wool comes from recycled clothing, so you can tell that I used the wool from a pair of thrift store pants! LOL Kinda pretty, huh? One interesting thing that I noticed is that it smelled like artichokes in the kitchen while this was cooking - yum! Much better than the normal smell of wet wool mixed with vinegar.

Last night was my quilt meeting. Jayna makes and sells her jewelry at a great local shop called Just a Bed of Roses. She taught us how to embellish an old skeleton key using wire & burlap & lace & ribbon & charms to wear as a necklace - so that was a fun activity.

Besides being a quilter, Jackie is an avid knitter also. In fact she has knitted over 100 pair of socks through the years. She recently found a pattern for an afghan that she's now knitting using all the little leftover bits and pieces of the socks she's knitted. The finished size will be 60" x 60" - the perfect size for snuggling under on the couch! It's just beautiful and all the yarn she used is wool, so it's going to be really warm. Each square is about 4".

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hooray - I'm Back!

I made it to one of my monthly rug hooking meetings today and actually pulled a few loops! My arm & shoulder seem to have healed up enough to manage this a little bit and it sure did feel good! The physical therapist I've been going to has worked wonders and I'm so happy! Anyway, we had only a few gals there today, but the conversation was great - the food was yummy - and the show & tell was awesome! Here are pictures of what people were working on:

Marliss is hooking a fall-themed rug which was a free design she found on Bird In The Hand Primitives' website. That yummy golden yellow background is so pretty! It's the first time she's ever hooked lettering and she did a great job on it!

And here is another pumpkin rug that she's got half finished - we all urged her to get it done so she could enjoy it for the fall season. I love that she used so many different colors to hook the pumpkin. I really like this one because I'm partial to pumpkins & crows together.

Jeanette is almost done with a darling sheep rug - the red wool she used for the house automatically hooks up to look like bricks - just wonderful!

Tonia is on the home stretch of hooking a great floral - she just has mostly background left to do and doesn't plan on adding a border.

And Sandy has made huge progress on this fun Halloween rug - it's big & round and she's hooking it with a #10 cut wool - such a great design. Probaby measures 36" across.

I worked on a lighthouse rug that I'm hooking for someone else. I need to get started on the background soon so I don't have to do it all at the end of the project cuz that gets kinda boring to me. This was a design in a recent issue of Create & Decorate magazine.

We recently organized a guild called the Utah Rug & Fiber Arts and we have a meeting on Saturday that I'm looking forward to attending. There will be a make & take project, and we'll have a hands-on color theory class that I know will be SO helpful in planning rugs in the future.