Saturday, 9 October 2010

Organising Work for On The Go.

I have had a really nice friend for a long time. Pam and I may not write or email each other every week, but I always know she is there for me. She is the type of person of whom you would say, "She has a lovely soul." Pam has just retired, and I am so tickled for her. Her work is a meticulous, no matter what kind of craft she does, and at long last she will have time to settle and do what she wants, without the constraints of work getting in the way. Her husband and his friend have booked up a Caribbean cruise for the two wives, and Pam and her friend are going to have fun relaxing in the sun, whilst knitting, sewing and doing Dear Jane. Yes. Pam has dug out her DJ book, after reading about my exploits, and is going to get going again. I promised I would show her how I organised my blocks for taking on holiday so here goes.

This is the most important thing. A cd case from the cheap shop costing £1.00

 The next most important things are my sewing supplies, which I keep in this beautiful huswif, which I told you about, from Petra.
 I have very roughly planned out my DJ colours, using the materials I have been given, and I reduced the plan, so that it was easier to fold into the first page. You will notice i have crossed some blocks off. I have now finished nineteen blocks.

I then select the blocks I want to take on holiday. For this, I choose blocks which will be hand pieced and not too difficult. Who wants to be wrestling with a difficult block, when you are supposed to be enjoying yourself in the sun? I scan the block picture from the DJ book, so that I know the placement of colour, and copy the pattern pieces. I pick my material, using the master plan at the beginning of the case. As you can see from the picture below, I have used freezer paper to iron on shapes onto the back of the material, so that I can then applique these pieces into position.
All the material, patterns and pictures are put into the separate sections in the cd case. This is popped with my huswif into my handbag or case, and I am organised.
Hope this helps.
Till next time.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Dyeing (Part 2)

After dyeing part of the fleece with Kool-Aid (see yesterday), I left it to cool down in the crock overnight and then rinsed it very gently in cold water a few times. I rolled it in a towel to get the excess water out, then left it to air dry.
The fleece was darker coloured in some places, but I rather liked the effect. 
 I carded the wool on the drum carder, when it was dry. It is gorgeous. It is fluffy and light, with no felting.
I have not made up my mind whether I will spin the wool, or use it for felting. It is so nice, I think I will just pat it for a little while. It is, after all, my first experiment with Kool-Aid.
I did not get any sewing done today, as I was unpacking boxes, which have been stored in a shed, since we came here. Lots of lovely 'finds', but oh how I hate unpacking!!
Till next time.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Dyeing (Part 1), Goodies and DJ Block

I have been thinking of dyeing some of my fleece with Kool-Aid,for some time. I went online to get instructions, and found some really good ones at this site. I have been unable to contact the owner of the site, to tell her I have linked to her, as there is no email address. I do like to let people know in advance I am talking about, or linking to their site, as it is considerate (netiquette) to do so, but in this case I hope Carol does not mind.
I used Berry Blue Kool-Aid , three packets for just over three ounces of fleece. I mixed up the Kool-Aid(KA) with the vinegar and water (1 cup vinegar to two cups water) and poured it into the crock pot (£5 out of the charity shop!)
 Now Carol said to put on rubber gloves,  as you might end up with blue nails! I did not do that, as I was not going to handle the dyed wool. I got one tiny drip on the counter, and I wiped it up without thinking! Guess who got a blue thumb and finger and a blue nail, all from one drip. The rubber gloves went on there-after!
Before I mixed up the KA, I soaked my fleece in cold water. I had previously soaked it in detergent, to get rid of some of the muck on it. You can see that there is a slight blue tinge, at the bottom of the picture. That is where I tried to clean my blue fingers!!

When I put the fleece in the crockpot, there was not enough liquid to cover the fleece. I mixed up more vinegar and water in the same ratio(1:2) and poured it gently in. I could not mix it really well, as the fleece is not supposed to be agitated, or it will become felted. I thought that this might give me an interesting result ... you will see tomorrow. The picture below shows the fleece in the Kool-Aid. I do not think I could drink this, but it is a lovely colour!
 I cooked the fleece on low in the crockpot until the water was clear and then let it cool overnight. I will show you the results tomorrow. I also started a dyers recipe book, so that I can replicate anything I produce. I used KA at the moment, as I am not sure if commercial dyes will affect my septic tank. Anybody got any info on this? I would like to do some natural dyeing,  but I know the chemicals used for mordents can be hard on the enzymes in the tank.

Thankful Thoughts
We were out last night with friends. We were talking about how the actions of one person can not only affect their lives, but the lives of everybody about them. I thought about this when I went home and realised how much Rosa had affected my life. If she had not offered chunks or chunkettes of Civil War fabric as a giveaway, I would not have commented on her blog. She would not have posted about my sister dying on various newsgroups, and I would not have received such a wonderful amount of material, goodies and well wishes from people all over the world. I would not have started a Dear Jane quilt, and my patchwork skill would not be improving so much. I have been in contact with such wonderful people. My sister would have been tickled pink that this has happened. It is just wonderful. I received a lovely, surprise packet from Rosa again, and today she was emailing me, as I had been quiet for a little while. What a wonderful friend!!

Below is the latest DJ block - J4 - Adelaine's Apron Strings - a very easy one, because I am struggling with two others, which refuse to piece together properly. If they think they are going to win, they will have to think again!

Till tomorrow!!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Salt Dough

I forgot to post about the salt dough ornament I had to make for the WI monthly competition, last month. I went online for the recipe, as I had not used salt dough for a while. I meant to bookmark the recipe I used, but I can't find it. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, drew a rough sketch out on silicone paper(baking parchment) to get a rough size and started off by weaving the basket. I then laid a trellis of fine, overlapping stems on the background, to stabilise the work, and made the flowers and the leaves on top. I let it dry and then painted it using my granddaughter's paint box. After drying it again, I gave it two layers of varnish, to try to preserve it. I know it will not last long here in the damp, salty air, but I thought I would at least make the effort! I had great fun making this, and it is so easy to do. I got first prize.

I have not touched a needle this week. We have had loads of people dropping in, we have been busy getting the place ready for the winter (we have already had a few days of very high winds/gales) and we have been here there and everywhere! Not very productive on the sewing front, but good otherwise.

I am getting my head down this week. Promise!
Till next time.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Afghan and Surprise Parcel

I have been blog hopping a lot recently, as I am still being careful with my back. I saw a lot of crochet and Granny squares being made, so I thought I would share my afghan with you. I have not completed it, as you can see, as I have run out of the black for the last few rows, but this will be a nice, cosy project to do on a cold, winter night. Here is a close up -

I got a nice surprise packet in the post today. A nice Civil War fat quarter from Susie. I do not have your email, so thank you so much.

I think I have thanked everybody now, but if I haven't - THANK YOU, THANK YOU,THANK YOU! I am slowly getting on with Dear Jane. I am now over ten blocks and attempting L10 - Nan's Naiad. It is a stinker!! I am really enjoying the challenge, and I LOVE the materials. I squirrel each tiny little scrap, so that nothing will be wasted and have plans for these little beauties.

The weather here is changing slowly, but I am not worrying about the shorter days. I will be warm and cosy and have loads of things to do.
Till next time.

Bonnie Leman Tribute

Bonnie Leman 1991, courtesy LCPQ #74

It is with great sadness I heard of the death of Bonnie Leman. Although she did not know of me, I thought of Bonnie as a close patchwork friend, a friend who was much more talented than I could ever be, but who, unstintingly, passed on her knowledge and gave me great encouragement, via her magazines. 

Way back in the early seventies, when I started to do patchwork, there was very little information about it in Scotland. I had taught myself how to do hexagons, using the paper method, but when my sister sent me over a copy of Quilters' Newsletter, I was off. I loved the American way of sewing seam to seam, without having to tack in papers, and I immediately sent off for a subscription, so that I could learn all the techniques. The magazine was wonderful. It told me of all the beautiful materials which were available, notions I had never heard of and gave me wonderful ideas for quilts and projects. I was in seventh heaven.

Because of Mrs Leman, I went on to take the City & Guilds exams in Advanced Embroidery (at that time there was no C & G Patchwork!), started the first patchwork group in Scotland (the Sew and Sews in Glasgow), was a founder member of the Quilters' Guild and went out to California and sat the NQA Teacher Certification exams - all because of Bonnie Leman. The two most wonderful things to result from all this  - I got a mini quilt published in the magazine, and I participated in a block competition, also in the magazine, and won! I cannot tell you how I felt, when these events occurred!

Patchwork and Quilting would not be what it is today, without Bonnie. We all owe her a HUGE debt of gratitude. May she rest in peace. Thank you.
With sincere condolences,
Rosemary Dempster

Monday, 6 September 2010

DJ Blocks + Noah's Ark


These are the latest Dear Jane blocks to be completed. I am having trouble with the disc in my back again, so I have been laid up for a few days. I have been doing a lot of blog hopping, listening to audio books and embroidering.

I had this BOM by Lynnette Anderson Designs. It is a really old BOM, which I had downloaded, and it lay about, waiting to be done for a long time. I started it in  December, just before my sister got ill. I put it aside, when things got bad, but I really wanted to complete it, so I got it out again, when I had to sit in the chair. I cannot leave designs in their original state. I have got to add something in, or take something out. I have always been like this!! The original Noah's Ark design is beautiful, but I wanted to make this a welcome wallhanging, when you come to visit, so I added a few words, making the letters random, and made one of the blocks say 'Welcome'. I also added a few fancy stitches and changed some of the colours. I hope Lynette does not mind!! I have checked on her site, but this BOM no longer seems to be there. Please excuse the pictures. I can't get the ironing board out (can't lift anything yet), so you can see the marks where the hoop was, on the block I am finishing. Noah's bald head needs to be redone in a darker colour, as it is receding (no pun intended!) I have another five or six blocks to go. There is a block with birds eating fish. I am going to change the birds to puffins, to make it relate to Orkney. When the blocks are finished, I have then to cut them out and put a thin border round each, in different colours of cotton, and these are then sewn together, to make the wallhanging. These are my favourite blocks so far -

The Noah's Ark BOM is being offered again for $5Aus, on Lynette's site above.

Thankful Thoughts
Jeni has come through her operation and is feeling very positive. Thank You.
Till next time.