Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Trip to Autumn House Farm

In mid-February I joined some knitter friends on a retreat at Autumn House farm just outside of Punxsutawney, PA.  My portion of the retreat was short--just Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, but I was looking forward to knitting, relaxing and meeting the sheep.

Autumn House Farm
View of the farm in the early morning light
We stayed across the street in an old house with a fireplace and lots of cool antiques.

Autumn House Farm

I got the impression that the owner, Harriet, liked to collect old clocks.

Saturday night we went out to dinner and came back to the house to knit by the fireplace.  We also visited Harriet's shop where she sells her own hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn, patterns, knitting and spinning accessories, etc.

Autumn House Farm

Sunday morning we met the sheep and watched the dogs help move them around the barn.

And we met the many ginger-colored kitties.

I had never been to this part of PA before and the area and drive were really beautiful.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quilting and Weaving Along

I have my Scrappy Trip Along top all sewn up!

#scrappytripalong  The top is together! :) 

The backing is pieced and the batting is cut so now I am ready to attempt to mark the top with a quilting design (flower petals, I think) and baste it.  The week is looking pretty busy so I will probably only get the top marked over the next several days.

The thing that has been great about this quilt is that I don't overthink it.  I do spend time thinking about it but I am not allowed to obsess over it.  Two blocks have the same center fabric next to each other?  Oh well! :)

I am taking a class at my LQS, Stitch Your Art Out, called Fearless Improv Block of the Month.  We are learning to design and piece blocks improvisationally.  It comes at just the right time for me in my quilting life, I think.  I want to enjoy quilting more and feel more free to do what I want without making all these rules up about how things have to be and not stressing if things aren't "perfect".  I can get so caught up in how not perfect I think my quilts are that I lose the fun of making them.  I am paying more attention to my thought process so I can change it.  Our fearless leader, Kim, calls the voices in our heads that tell us we can't do things our gremlins.  I am becoming more familiar with mine.

Improv class block 1 rail fence

Our first project was to consider the Rail Fence block. I vaguely thought about it for a couple of weeks. One night, I sat down at my computer and googled rail fence pictures. Then I took my general impression and sketched it (there is a cool app for iPad called Paper). When I got to the stage of actually figuring out how to make my block, I really enjoyed the process of looking at the sketch and thinking how I would cut the fabrics and sew them to recreate it.

Also, there has been weaving.  I can't tell you how much I am loving the weaving.  There is something so mentally stimulating about it.  I made a set of two tea towels from the Craftsy class on weaving with Angela Tong.  This was the second lesson in the class.

Weaving project number 3-- striped cotton tea towels! 

I learned how to stripe my warp and use a warping board.  Somehow, the warp got a bit twisted which made it a pain to run the shuttle through when the reed was in the down position.  I am going to ask about it in the class and see if anyone can tell me what I am doing wrong.

Tea Towels! Done and dusted 

How are your crafting projects going?  Are you confronting any gremlins?

Saturday, February 09, 2013

That Weaving Stuff I Mentioned

Several weeks ago, I mentioned that I had gotten some weaving done late in 2012.  Here is what I worked on:

1st Weaving

Lovely braided Tassels

I purchased the Craftsy class on beginning weaving with Angela Tong.  It was a great class and really helped someone with no idea what she was doing (me!) manage to actually weave something without help.  I wove this too densely I realized after I finished it.  That whole 8 dent reed thing--I didn't understand that the 8 would refer to the threads per inch (oops!).

Yarn: scraps of Ella Rae Classic (blue) and Queensland Collection Rustic Tweed (purple)

My friend Meredith showed me how to use her amazing gizmo: the fringe twister.  Such a simple gadget and amazing at the same time. :)

2nd Weaving 

 This is project #2.  I used sport weight this time instead of worsted.  I paid attention to how many threads per inch I should have.  The two challenges with this scarf were, 1. I made a mistake somewhere and although I allowed for shrinkage--it was still way shorter than I intended.  It is just long enough to still be a scarf for an adult.  2. Somehow the selvedges were really tight compared with the rest of the warp on the loom.  Not sure how I managed that but then I don't really know what I am doing, so I managed it pretty easily. :)

Yarn: Louet Gems Merino Sport (golden yellow) and a sport weight alpaca from my step-sister.  She has an alpaca farm and sends her fiber to a mill to be spun into yarn.  The yarn is a mix of her own animals and those of the other farmers who send their fiber in.

Thanks to Cynthia Spencer for taking great pics of the scarves one Sunday morning.