A small finish

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Despite the surprise extra days of leisure due to weather, there hasn’t been a lot of sewing lately – I’ve been on a knitting and spinning kick – but I do have one small sewing project I can check off the WIP list.

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These four placemats have joined their kin in a kitchen drawer, replacing some woven ones that were irretrievably stained.  A fun, quick project that used up a bunch of scrap strips and batting pieces.  I stitched each strip to the batting as I went along, so minimal topstitching was needed to keep the backing in place.  Of course, the tops lingered on the work table for a month before I actually got those backs sewn on . . .

Meanwhile, I’m still dunking fiber into dye pots.

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And I’m completely obsessed with how the colors of handspun are coming together in my cardigan knitting project.

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And then there is watching the snow fall – 8″ since it started last night.  A tremendous amount for where we live in Oregon!

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Puttering

As the holiday winds down, I’ve been puttering about, craft-wise.  Mostly with yarn and fiber.

I spun up some pink and brown BFL, and then dyed some humbug BFL to make a second ply.  For a third, I used up a bobbin of brown and black alpaca that I spun quite some time ago from a batt I carded.

I ended up with about 240 yards of worsted weight 3 ply.

The brown alpaca ran out first, so to use up the rest of the bobbins, I mixed in random left overs from other spins, first some gold/brown, and then some pink silk/wool.

Note the classy toilet paper tubes – they fit over the yarn winder and are perfect for clearing bobbins for reuse.   A bit bumpy when rolling during plying, but not too bad.

It seemed very over-plied when it first came off the wheel, but the soak evened it out.

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Since I was running out of colorful fibers, I dyed some more today in 4 oz. batches.

They’ll need a day or two to dry out, and then ready for new year spinning.

I also gave the wheel a coat of Danish oil as the wood seemed thirsty to me.  It was drying outside until the rains started up again, so it is finishing inside.  The brand I bought is low fumes and food safe, and I could tell the wheel was grateful for the attention!

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Other than that, I’ve gotten a bit of knitting done, but haven’t touched the sewing machine.  The craft room needs some clearing out so I can free up work space.

Egg hunt

Our Easter is fairly low key.  We generally put more emphasis on Passover – our Easter celebration is about the egg hunt.

Saturday we dyed eggs.  There was only one fatality, and nothing permanently dyed that we didn’t intend.

Our eggs aren’t fancy – basic dye tablets and dunking.  The boys don’t have the attention span or artistic interest in fancier decoration options.  But we all like bright!

And the extra dye didn’t go to waste.  I used it to color some more of the gray merino/alpaca that I have so much of. (I’m currently on bobbin three of the bag I over-dyed red earlier.) The blue/purple dyes broke, but I always like that effect.

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I’m envisioning fair isle mittens or hat, mostly gray but with color bands.  More spinning to do.

In the afternoon the sunshine departed and the hail arrived. I left the sugar bingeing boys to their dad and Harry Potter movies and went to work on the purple floral quilt.  I’d already stitched along the edges of all the navy lines.  The big squares are too large to leave unquilted.  I tried some big free motion flowers in the middle – big fail.  The were off kilter and amateur looking.  I picked all that out and went with my usual loops.  I will practice the flowers for another day.

I’m always torn with the quilt backs with which color thread to use when they are pieced together with very different fabrics.  Although it looks white in the pics above, that part of the quilt is soft yellow.  The rest is a yellow green and two different purples. So what color should go in the bobbin?  I went with a purple, since that was the largest expanse, and it didn’t peek through with the navy thread on the front, but it shows up more than I like on the back.  I like my thread more unobtrusive.  On the front I’m changing thread colors depending on the fabric, but that wouldn’t work with the back given where the fabric changes fall.

I was only two and a half squares away from finishing when I ran out of the purple thread.  So close!  I ran to the store but it was closed for the holiday, so I’ll have to try again tomorrow.

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The half finished looped square where I ran out of thread.