22 November 2013

A peek at a circle

Had a bad weekend so this MAY be the only thing I have for Friday.

 Four blocks in formation.

I will try to get 16 done and set up as the traditional 16 square Drunkards Path. 
If I do circles, there will be 36 circles and if I do the traditional Drunkards Path, there will be 9.

I also received a 3000 yds cone of periwinkle for the top quilting. I love Superiors "Bottom Line" thread. It's a fine 60 wt thread, eliminates bulk and leaves a nice smooth flat finish. Hopefully I will be adding to this later in the week.

OK, now I really feel silly. I did the 16 blocks and when I went to arrange them realized that I was supposed to have had a different cut out pattern if I was going to do the traditional drunkards path. I cut half green pies and half purple L's. For the traditional I would have to have cut 1/4 green pies, 1/4 green L's, 1/4 purple pies and 1/4 purple L's. Oops. Guess I am committed to a circle  quilt which WAS the original idea. With the circle quilt I can do a quilt as you go design which will be far easier than trying to quilt an entire queen sized quilt under a home machine. So I guess I'm good to go!

19 November 2013

The felted bag is finsihed

This project was a bit of a lark and a way of using up some of the smelly wool I purchased last year. Surprisingly most of the smell left after the dyeing process. After all the color choices I made, I wasn't that thrilled with the effect of the two yarns combined but what the heck. Another problem was not really knowing how many stitches to cast on. I did a gauge swatch and all was good until I ran out of yarn. This cute square bag ended up looking like a clutch.

Here I sewed the sides with double yarn on the outside because I wanted a tightly felted seam.
Next I popped the entire piece into a pot of boiling water for a while and stirred. I then added the knitted piece as well as all the boiling water to my front loader (lots of pounding motion for the felting process) and set it on the "sanitize" cycle - boiling!!

I didn't even realize this was inside out but I actually like this side better.

The felting process really blended the colors much better than I anticipated. 

Right side out is a bit boring. Think I will stick with purl side out.

So now I have an oddly shaped purse but what I did learn was 
1) Use 17 needles with 2 strands of yarn, 
2) Knowing the finished size of the piece I can plan an appropriate number of stitches to cast on,
3) Dye more than one skein of each color

I am going to try to make some sewn on leather handles.
Expectations were low since this entire project was a lark but I have to admit, it looks pretty good. The handles are pigskin with clothesline as piping.

15 November 2013

Squares Cut but...

Here I thought I was way safe by dyeing 4 yards of purple and 2 yards of green. Oh well. I needed 196 squares to get 49 blocks done but I ended up with 144 squares of purple and less of green. Fortunately I use so much olive I had a few scraps left around and managed to get just enough (144) to make 36 blocks.
Thank goodness for that.

So now my 7 ( 12") block by 7 (12") block has become a 6 (12") block by 6 (12") block with a 6" boarder. It could have been much worse. I will still end up with my 7 foot square quilt. The only thing is that now there is no room for mistakes.

Another thing is that I have been rethinking the circles in favor of the tradition layout of the Drunkard Path. When I get the blocks cut and sewn, I will do a final layout on the floor and make my decision. Remember this is going to be a quilt-as-you-go project.

Now on to the circle cuts, yikes!!

12 November 2013

Telling it like it is

Recently a friend of mine posted about her health crisis and that her way of posting might change.
Well, many of you know about my breast cancer diagnosis this past summer and to tell you the truth, the chemo has really got me down for the count. Tomorrow I start a new chemotherapeutic agent which I hope will be a bit kinder. Between the nausea and fatigue I sometimes don't make it out of bed and my ambition has gone out the window.
I am the guest blogger on the And then we set it on fire blog for December. I am so excited about the project but can't seem to get out of my own way. I am also looking at the fabric I dyed for the circle quilt and can't seem to move. I think unless you've been on chemo, it is hard to imagine the extent of the fatigue.
I am telling you all this because I too will be continuing to post but the posts may be less frequent and not connected to one another. It's the best I can do now.
Now to add a picture. This is the hat with a brim I knitted all blocked and ready to wear. Hope to see you here soon. 

08 November 2013

Answers to Tie-dye Judy's question

Wow! I have never tried dyeing wool because I thought it had to be boiled... now that I know it can be done like silk, I might just have to give it a try! I found a gal not too far away who raises llamas and sells her yarn... can't wait to see what you do with yours! BTW, did you have to use anything after to soften the yarn, or did it stay fairly soft? 

The only difference is instead of soda ash I use 1 cup vinegar (white) to a gallon of water for a mordant. The dye is a ACID dye which will last a year (or more) mixed in bottles so it is so easy to grab and go. I had this mixed, heated in the microwave on half power for 10 minutes. I covered with plastic wrap the punched about 10 slits with a sharp knife. All these are must does. Mordant, acid dye, microwave, half power for 10 minutes (that's for a skein) and punched slits in the plastic wrap or you'll burn your material (ask me how I know). I use a dedicated corning ware pot and then I can go directly from the microwave to the sink and rinse in cold water. Squeeze and rinse til water is clear then squeeze out and hang to dry. I hang them in the shower. It takes two days to dry thoroughly. I use a swift to roll into balls. This is the one I bought. Didn't think I would use it much but I'm actually surprised how often I do use it - four times this month. It breaks down into a thin box and you can just slip it on a shelf.
The yarn did stay soft but still smells a bit. I am going to knit a boiled wool (felted) hand bag and THEN I will wash it in Woolite.
Wool dye (acid) does have to reach boiling but the microwave can do it in 10 minutes. The acid dye must be mixed with boiling water as well. Boil in- boil out.

Easily fits in box for easy storage

Sets up in less than a minute

I will be using the two strands together to knit the felted bag

05 November 2013

Side Tracked

Today is senior day at the Co-op where we buy most of our food. When I returned and put the food away I was overcome by a compulsion to dye wool. Go figure! 
A few weeks ago I went to a craft fair and bought two cute felted handbags. A local teacher knit them and they were so cute. Now the long story. A friend told me about a friend of hers who had sheep and was learning to spin wool. She said this woman had a large amount and wanted to sell it cheap. I bought it sight unseen and this was the bag of wool.

At the top of the bag you can see the one skein I wound into a ball. Well, I thought knitting a bag with double strands on big needles might be a way of using up some of this wool. It really smells bad. So today the dyeing bug bit and this is what I did.

I picked out 2 skeins

Look like ramen doesn't it? I poured in vinegar water and blue dye on one side.

I mixed yellow and blue for green

I added that to the other side

Ask me why this is a dye only microwave? I ended up burning some silk while trying to dye it and the microwave instantly became my dye only microwave.

Now I see that I should have flipped the skein over for better color saturation so I made sure I did on the second skein.

This time I just mixed it in the pot

It is actually purple

As you can see here