2.27.2011

an old one but a good one

my mentor and friend bonnie lent me one of her spinning wheels on friday. it's a lovely old wheel which has a lively history. while visiting england, she stayed with a friend who was in her eighties. this grand lady knew bonnie was a spinner, and decided to pass onto her this spinning wheel. she told her the story of it's provenance; when she was a girl of sixteen her scarborough beau crafted it as a gift of love. sadly though, he soon died, and they did not marry. bonnie brought it back on the plane, and her husband soon had it in tip-top shape. i'm very honored that my friend let me start my spinning on this wheel, and i was able to spin some soft grey alpaca on it today.

this is my first spinning wheel spun yarn, it's a white/color specked merino/silk and grey alpaca. the merino blend i had spun on my drop spindle several weeks ago, and i thought would go lovely with the soft grey of the alpaca. i'm very pleased with the end results!

quilts as comfort food

i finished the quilt yesterday, and was quite proud of my work. the entire piece was hand quilted, as well as the binding. it went surprisingly quick despite my none traditional quilt stitching method. i love the feel of a quilt; it's warm, and bumpy, but soft despite that.

i photographed it on my bed, but that's not where it's staying; my cat meiko is having hairball/bulimia issues right now, and let's say she does a bit of sleeping in my bed. in fact, that's her right there in the top photo. sneaky kitty. i had to stand on a chair to get all of the blocks in the photograph. they remind me of birds, some going that way, and some going this way.

i incorporated a lot of my favorite prints into the pinwheels, quite a few of heather ross, and some nani iro, along with several prints i've had for over 10 years (originally intended for my dollhouse as the prints are small). these are my favorite blocks, i think it's the colors. not that i don't like the others, but that's the thing with the rainbow, we all have a favorite group of hues we're drawn to.

while i was quilting, i thought it would be nice to make quilts out of silks, linen, my own woven cloth; something tactile, more neutrals and subdued colors. i've been on the hedge about getting the book 1000 artisan textiles but perhaps it would be really inspirational, and if nothing else it may be able to help me take better textile photos.

2.23.2011

decaying beauty

after a month of loveliness, my orchid blooms grow weary and fall; their beauty all the more fragile and delicate.

2.21.2011

i need to get out more

i've been wrapped up in my quilting (timewise and literally) for several days now, and find myself sad to leave it to do other things. one of those things was attending the scad fibers open house on friday, and forgetting to bring a camera. however, i saw some really amazing work, grabbed some business cards, and made an indigo dyed bit of shibori fabric to remember it by.

in quilting news, the triangles and squares have been machine stitched together (otherwise i would still be hand sewing the top still) and i have the top, batting, and back done and basted together. one of the goals of doing this quilt is to hand sew it together. thanks to my lovely new thimble and a bandaid, my hands are pain free, and one of the things i can rest assured about is that after having the quilt in my lap for some time it is definitely warm and cosy.

today was a sunny, breezy kind of day, and with trees budding i thought about picnics in the grass and soaking up the daylight while lying on my quilt. a pin popped that idea, as i was reminded about grass stains (thanks mom!). but still, the idea is a good one, but perhaps an old blanket would be okay too.

2.16.2011

wait...isn't teal a blue-green color?

i had visions of blue-green silk against cream and natural linen. and for once i made test samples before throwing the good yarn in the pot. i made bundles from the silk remnants of my last project, mixed up three mordants; aluminum acetate, tin/tartar, potassium aluminum sulfate, threw in the samples and let them soak for a day or so.

then, today, i mixed up a bit of the teal extract, which made the water a lovely turquoise, applied heat, and tossed in the silk samples. let them soak for an hour, checking every now and then, waiting to see the lovely blue-green develop on the silk. and waited. and waited. green bluish yes, teal, um not really. then, i finally removed them and watched the rinse water run away with the small bit of blue which had developed, leaving a bright green in its wake.

it is a lovely green, but when one wants blue-green, it's not really a happy accident. i had used the extract before on cotton, and the results were a lovely minty blue, exactly what i wanted. one thing i noticed though, is that were the strands came together in the middle of the bundle of silk there is a blue area. so, from this, i can suppose that the tighter areas of overlapping thread hold onto the blue molecules, which is why the cotton fabric is blue, but not the silk thread. another funny thing is that a piece of hemp cloth came out absolutely neon. so, not even the cellulose fibers all acted the same here. ah, the joy of dyeing!

2.13.2011

under the influence

i was watching tv the other day and caught an episode of sarah's house, a really neat interior designer from canada. in this episode they went to christie's antique show and happened along a beautiful antique yellow and white quilt. the quilt was a simple patchwork of yellow suns with an orange triangle border. from what i could see the stitching was really beautiful as well. when they showed the finale show of the entire farmhouse i kept seeing these really simple but bold colors against white kind of quilts. i've always wanted one but have felt intimidated by the shear size of quilts to ever try my hand at one in human scale. but i felt really inspired after watching this show, so i decided a lap quilt of random pinwheels patchwork would be nice.

i'm not sure if my method is accurate, but i've seen quilts made on a number of occasions so i just did what came to me. i sketched out my idea, made measurements, and cut out a triangle and square template from paper to use. i cut everything with a pair of shears, not too worried about complete accuracy, because i want a quilt you know is made by hand; and hey, imperfection is it's own perfection.

one thing which was nice about making this quilt is that i was able to raid my neglected cotton collection to come up with nine different color combinations. i am really happy with the colors, some pale some bright, but allover a soft palette.

i started work cutting and piecing friday night and as of this morning the top of the quilt is sewn together. i'm plotting what is to be done with the back, i don't like the idea of just having a plain solid back. tuesday i'll be able to buy the batting, maybe bamboo, maybe cotton, definitely not polyester. hand quilting will be my method of madness and i wonder if buying a large embroidery hoop will help. time to make a shopping list: thimble, safety pins, batting, hoop, thread...

2.09.2011

off the loom

i'm trying to work on my backgrounds, and thought the grey color of the aged wood would help the creamy color of this scarf pop better. but today was a bit sunny, and no matter how i hoped for some clouds to filter the light of the sun it was all in vain; so i think the contrast is a little too much. better luck for tomorrow, i hear there'll be rain! but hopefully not before i can take more photos of my freshly woven scarf.

2.03.2011

starting up

i've added two things to my new big cartel storefront, *a n a s t a s i a ~ weaving handmade, please check it out and let me know how it looks. i'll be adding pieces as i finish them. for now, mostly scarves and shawls. then, later, some wall panels. what do you think of tea towels, or table runners? yes, you love them or definitely not?

2.01.2011

plans and things gone awry

i'm in the planning stages of setting up a big cartel shop for my weavings. i was thinking of just adding them to my etsy store, but then i realized they wouldn't fit in with the patchwork and pins. and as far as setting up another etsy store, the idea of having to log in and out of each one, build up feedback for the new store, and try to be found amongst the slew of products, makes my brain hurt.

so, instead, i will give big cartel a try. i like their simple layout, and it's fun to create banners and headers with a different colorway.

in dyeing news, the mistletoe was a disappointment. the green was so pale as to be called celadon, and though an afterbath of ammonia made a deeper color, once dry it wasn't as bright. but i'm not giving in yet! i will try a copper mordant to hopefully boost the green, use more plantstuff in the dye bath, and use wool and silk instead of cotton. there was a very slight difference in color between the leaves only bath (top left) , stems only bath (bottom left) , and a mixture of both (top right, and bottom right-no ammonia afterbath).

but strangely, the paper towels i was drying the samples on absorbed some of the dye and had blue and green areas. and, no, there aren't any dyes or prints on the paper itself. hmm.