Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spinning Romney and Walnut Dye.

Happy Autumn my friends! It is hard to believe that October is almost over! Only one day left. This month has flown by. I have not accomplished quite as much in the fiber arts as I was hoping to this last month as we have been busy preparing for winter. The garden is cleared of produce though we still need to pull out plants and burn them. We also started on a new venture that has taken up quite a bit of time, I'll be sharing that in my next post! We had a beautiful week and a half of Indian Summer weather this October. It was amazing to have such warm weather for so long in October, we spent as much time outside as possible! I was picked up my Romney again and started working on it during our Indian summer. I finished carding all the Romney locks and now have a bag stuffed full of rolags. I also started spinning up the rolags into this yarn. This is a project that I am taking my own sweet time on as it is for me and doesn't need to be done at any particular time.

I still am completely happy with my purchase of this Romney! It was a joy to card up the locks and such a pleasure to spin as well! 
The other big project I have going right now is walnut dye. My brother and I saw a bunch of walnuts scattered along the side of the road and stopped to ask permission to pick them up. The gentlemen said to take all we wanted so we picked two grocery bags of ripe, green walnuts.

I let them sit over the weekend as I was busy and a few of them ended up going bad. I was following the instructions for walnut dyeing in the Spin Off Summer 2011 issue. I wore old clothes and gloves as I did NOT want brown hands for several weeks. I used an extra paving stone and hammer to pound off the husk.

All the good husks I tossed into one of our big metal tubs. The few bad pieces I had I tossed into the fire pit to be burnt.

And the nuts went into a basket to dry and later be cracked!

Despite the fact that I wore gloves, a little bit of walnut juice somehow managed to leak into the glove and my finger was slightly brown for days! I ended up putting some slim plastic gloves under the heavy gloves to protect my hands. 

I put just enough water in the tub to cover them. The next step is to let them soak for a week to a week and a half. We ended up going on a short family Holiday so my walnut dye will have been soaking for two weeks come tomorrow. I have three more grocery bags of walnuts to prep tomorrow. My Dad found a place where we can get as many as we need, and can come back next year too! Such a blessing as we have had a hard time finding somewhere to get decent walnuts. The walnuts that my Dad brought me look amazing! They are huge, and almost flawless, they look like pears! I'll probably end up soaking them for two weeks as well because I want my dye to all be of the same strength. Though I suppose if I mix it all together in one big batch it won't make any difference. My end goal is to dye up enough of the alpaca fiber that I was given this summer to make myself a sweater. I'm hoping to make the sweater this winter, but that might not happen as I'll have to spin all the fiber up still! Right now I'm just trying to get the dye made up while the walnuts are fresh and available, and the fiber dyed. Maybe after all my Christmas presents are done and set aside I can focus on making some sweaters!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

After The Rain

A few weeks ago, when our grass was still green and the leaves had not yet started changing, we had a fierce thunderstorm with lots of rain. When it quit I was able to take some lovely after-the-storm photos.

At one point the double rainbow was arched all the way across the sky, it was stunning!

It was a gorgeous evening, with such interesting clouds and lighting! Everything was bathed in a mellow, golden light.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Just A Bit Of Birthday Sewing

This past week my sister and I puled out the scraps and did a little bit of birthday sewing for a friend. At first we were contemplate a small quilted table scarf but then we hit upon the idea of these coasters. Everyone needs and uses coasters, right? Of course! It was the perfect idea. We brainstormed colours, then patterns. We decided upon Courthouse Steps, Log Cabin, Vertical Stripes, and  Crazy Quilt block.
Once colours and patterns were decided we set to work cutting, tracing, and sewing.
The coasters went fast, and were fun little projects to make up.

Court House Steps Coaster

Now I RARELY machine quilt anything, (in fact I believe in all my years sewing I have only ever machine quilted one thing and that was my quilted knitting bag) but we decided to quilt the coaster as they will be seeing a lot of use and also tossed in the washer quite a bit. Machine quilting will give them more durability and they should hold together for years to come. 

Log Cabin Coaster
Crazy Coaster
The Crazy Coaster was my personal favourite. I just love how the colours, shapes and quilting came together for such an interesting textured look.
Diagonal Stripes Coaster

We made them approximately 4 1/2 inches square. Not too big, but just perfect for holding a large mug of cocoa!