Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How Many Miles of Yarn Can a Spinner Spin?

That is the question I hope to answer by the end of the day once I measure. It was a successful Tour de Fleece. I know I have spun a tremendous amount of yarn, yet I still have a few singles to ply before I can calculate a total yardage. All I know for sure is that I made a huge dent in my fiber stash and that's a good thing.

There was a lot more going on around here than just spinning during the tour. While walking off a large lunch one afternoon I found a set of antique quilt blocks that had never been assembled in a local shop. Still feeling inspired by the Chicago quilt show, I had to have them. The humble but charming blocks had been made of old men shirts - you can still see some of the seams. I sewed them together, added a pieced ticking backing in the form of a giant nine patch block and tied the whole thing together using my homespun yarn. I think it looks like a little boy's crib quilt.

I also couldn't stop thinking about the wonderful giant cutting table my friend Karen had ordered during the quilt show. Having a huge top to lay out projects is a wonderful luxury. As I sat there in the studio one day I had and idea. What it I pushed two furniture pieces together and just put a piece of plywood on top?

Look at how well they fit together. It was like it was meant to be. I love it. And when I tied that crib quilt I didn't have to crawl around on the floor to do it, which makes my shoulders and knees very happy.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Prairie Pursuits Series of Workshops

Hey, for all of you who keep saying you'd like to learn how to do some of the things I do, there are workshops coming up at Conner Prairie. Go ahead and sign up! There are other workshops than what I've listed here such as blacksmithing and pottery so go check out the website Prairie Pursuits Workshops 2014 Schedule.

Prairie PursuitsSeries of Workshops
2014 Schedule

Prairie Pursuits offers how-to workshops geared to adults in a variety of topics, from historic trades, to culinary skills, to the arts. Browse the offerings this season and see what new skills you can develop on the prairie.
Call Guest Services at 317.776.6006 for reservations or register online

Beginning Weaving - Four Harness Loom
August 23 & 24: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (both days)
$185 ($175 Conner Prairie member)
This class will focus on designing, step-by-step warping and weaving an attractive wool scarf on a four harness floor loom. Includes all materials needed for the class. Ages 14+

Basketmaking - Make a Kentucky Egg Basket
Wednesdays, October 18: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
$145 ($135 Conner Prairie member)
Learn the basics of weaving an attractive and practical Kentucky style egg or melon basket. Using eye and rib construction, the fundamentals of weaving a basket of reed will be covered. All materials included. Ages 14+

Wool Spinning
Saturday, November 8: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.$
90 ($85 Conner Prairie member)
From sheep to spun wool- You will find it all in this class. Learn to wash, card wool and spin it on a drop spindle. Then try you hand spinning on a modern treadle wheel. All materials included. Students will get a drop spindle and a bag of wool to take home. Ages 14+

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tour de Fleece

It is that time of year again where spinners across the globe gather in clumps and even more often in the privacy of their own homes to compete or at least just do a little spinning each day. I fall in the latter category. The tour coincides with the Tour de France running July 5 through July 27. Just like the "real" tour there are rest days and challenge days. I am on Team My Favorite Sheep.

Just like the cyclists in France, you need the right equipment in order to truly compete. It is all about the technology. It just so happens I recently had a birthday. My dear husband gifted me with this beautiful great wheel and so far she and I are off like a heard of turtles. (Picture me with a wide-brim hat riding a three-wheel tricycle with a flowery basket hanging in front of the handle bars while all the streamlined cyclists whiz past me.)

They are really hard to find in good working order around here so he has been looking for years. We had even been considering taking a trip to the East coast where you can find them more often. All along I thought it was interesting how willing he was to try to find one. I mean he's always supportive, but not necessarily "actively" supportive. Once we were home and setting her up he admitted he wanted one because his grandmother had one in an old home in Harbor Grace, Newfoundland where he visited as a child. So it has been decided the wheel's name is Beatrice, aka Be Be, in honor of his grandmother. It is fitting given that my cherry Norwood loom is named Lula in honor of my own great-grandmother who's maiden name was Norwood.

I am making good progress and hopefully will continue to do so. I'm not competitive at all, for me it is just therapeutic work that in the end results in something beautiful and useful.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Finish What You've Started

I have a list a mile long of projects I want to start. Things I want to make or do. However, I also have a list a mile long of things that need finishing. The guilt of those unfinished projects has gotten the better of me lately. I've been whacking away at that list like a woman searching weeds for snakes.

First off, I quilted and bound my small pile of doll quilt tops. All of the patterns are by Kathleen Tracy at A Sentimental Quilter. I plan to use these to decorate the guest room at some point in an antique toys theme. I still have more kitted up and another needle turn appliqué already finished to add to these but I plan to hand quilt that one which can wait awhile.

I also needed to get a housewife made for my son. The sewing kit kind not the marrying kind. (Although if anyone has any leads on the latter let me know.) He works as a Civil War interpreter and  his uniform needs repaired often so I pulled out some scraps and made this last night. Now that he can sew on his own darn buttons maybe he won't be quite so rough on his uniform. :)

After bringing home the new loom I needed to reorganize Sheville a little. I've been plugging away at filing, sorting and making tough decisions about what can stay and what has to go. I've started loading my Etsy page with quilt patterns, historical costume patterns, roving and whatnot and will continue to do so over the next few weeks. Then, hopefully, I can finally start production on the Tenth Street Textiles projects laying in soon as I finish taking inventory. *sigh* There's always something.