Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Bamboo Spinning Part Two

A few people asked for more information about the bamboo fiber I am spinning.  So I have taken several photos and will also add some information about both the fiber and my process for spinning it.

First I should tell you that I learned to spin wool both by self study and by taking a couple of classes.  I have had no training on spinning bamboo.  I just used the ideas from wool spinning (and cotton spinning) and adapted them to bamboo. 

When I first started with the bamboo, I was adding it in with wool to add shine.  However,  wool shrinks when washed with agitation and dried with heat.  So, spinning bamboo alone makes for a yarn that is less finicky when washing.   Also, wool is hot to wear and I live in the South. Bamboo is cooler.
Let me show you the current bobbin of "yarn" first.

You may notice that there are fuzzy bits "hanging out" of the yarn.  The way I spin  the bamboo, that just happens and I live with it.

I start with purchased bamboo fiber/roving. What I purchase is generally pre-dyed. 

However, I do have a rather large ball of white. (you can see my thumb in the upper left of the photo)
Trust me, that is a LOT of fiber for spinning.  Now, I can dye the white bamboo using the dyes I use for cotton. BUT, it isn't fun to do and it makes a mess of the fiber.

I also have something called "faux angora" that is amazingly soft. It is a nylon fiber.

 The faux angora spins very easily.  Sometimes when the bamboo keeps separating and coming apart as I spin, I add some of this just to give myself a break.  Then when I go back to the bamboo, it seems to spin better.  (yes dears, I know that it is all in my head - but it works for me!)

I basically spin the bamboo just like I spin wool, but a bit thicker so that it stays together better.  It does require a bit more twist but not nearly as much as cotton.

The following link is one place that bamboo fiber can be purchased.  This is not a recommendation, but just for educational purposes.  I bought mine at a fiber festival, on Etsy and other online vendors.
Paradise Fibers Ashland Bay dyed Bamboo fiber. 

So what is bamboo fiber? Is it from a bamboo plant like you have in your yard, field, planter?   It does indeed start as one of those long bamboo plants.  The cellulose fiber is extracted from the plant then treated and processed into a form of rayon. (any cellulose plant fiber can be made into rayon - but to be called bamboo it must be from the bamboo plant.)   The fibers are then sold as fiber for spinning or (more often) to  a mill that will make yarn/thread or fabric from it.

And now a quick update on the Grid.
I have done a bit of it with black lines over the cut edges of the fabrics.
This seems to be adding more definition to the shapes as well as intensifying the dimensional effect of the grid.  I will eventually finish it, but for now it is being worked on it "as I feel like it."


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bamboo Spinning

I have been spinning some bamboo fiber into yarn on my spinning wheel. I will show you more later. But, for now, this is the photo I have of it.

There is a lot more on that bobbin now but I am not stopping to take another picture.

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A Bit more on the Grid


I worked on the dimensional grid project and really didn't like how it was coming out.  So I stepped back and just took a break.  I had used a black yarn with a slub in it. The thought was that it would add interest.  Nope, it just looked messy.
There was also some problem with the stitching - I did nothing to fix it after I quit in disgust.  But it seems fine now.

So I took a different yarn/thread and tripled it to couch over the existing lines. Here are the two threads.
The slubby thread is on the bottom, the one that I tripled is on top.

I went back in and couched right over the slubby thread.  (since this is an experimental piece I am NOT ripping out all those zigzag couching stitches.)

I think it looks better. Can you tell which lines I haven't done yet?
If you are thinking lower left corner you would be right.
Now, do I couch all the other lines?  Do I use the black or perhaps try to match the color in the blocks? Hmmmm... time will tell.  Feel free to let me know which you think would be best and why.

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Shirt "Upgrade" & Comments fixed-maybe

I have taken a brief sidestep and fixed a shirt which had a very frayed collar.  I confess that I will wear something until it falls apart and even then I don't want to give it up.



Look how badly the collar has frayed.   I grabbed three of my seam rippers and eased the threads holding the collar on apart. 

Each one of those were used as they are all a little bit different.
Pretty quickly it was separated from the shirt.


I used this foot whatever it is called - Maybe an edge joining foot? It allows me to stitch very close to the edge.  So I sewed the collar opening closed.
And the shirt is ready to wear for a few more months or maybe years ? LOL. 
Oh by the way, when you do a lot of seam ripping there is one tool that I find very handy.  It is this really sticky lint roller.
It grabs most of those bits and helps with the "mess."

I saw a solution for blogger comments at Jeanna's blog.  So here is a link to that post. I think it has worked from my blog.
Have a great weekend my friends!


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Grid - All in Place

All of the pieces of the dimensional grid are now in place.  Now I need to fuse it down and decide on the next step.















Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Back to the Grid

I have spent a little more time cutting pieces and placing them into the grid.  It is coming along, although I am not rushing through it.
One thing that I have found really helpful is this set of fine tipped tweezers to place the pieces. To give you a better idea of the size of the pieces, here is a photo with a quarter for size reference.
Until next time,

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Dimensional Grid - part two

Although busy with other things,  I did get a bit more of the dimensional grid in place.
It isn't perfect but it is fun to see it developing.  The shadings in the hand dyed fabrics add more depth to the design. I think that is a real plus.

Google has messed up the part that sends bloggers notifications of comments - so if I don't reply it may be because I haven't seen your comment OR that it is just too time consuming to find your email address to reply.  I am truly sorry about this.


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

A Start - The Dimensional Grid

Back in early May,  I showed a grid that I had drawn with the possibility of making it into some type of quilt art.   This is my start on it.
On a piece of foam core board, I taped the drawing down. Peeled of the top layer of the Steam-a-Seam so that the sticky part is accessible.  Then thumbtacked it over the drawing.   I used a card stock version of the same drawing to use as a pattern. I cut the pattern into five or six larger pieces.
Starting with the center I cut black and white pieces for the  center rectangle(rhombus?) It isn't square.   Then I took the next section and cut  dark blue and white pieces for that section.

I will tell you that some good tweezers are very helpful in placing the pieces to get them where you want them.  I will show those in a future post as I work through this process and share it with you.

Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Pillowcases

The hand dyed fabric for the pillowcases just kept calling my name.   I could not resist.
The pillows on my bed are not standard pillows.  So I had to adapt the pattern to make it work. However, you can find the pattern that I worked from on Wanda Hansen's website in the "Free Resources" area.

When I started laying out the plan, I realized that the pillowcases would have to be pieced.  So I made a front and a back piece for each of them.  One of the pieces has a flap/pocket that the end of the pillow goes in so that the pillow doesn't come out of the end. I really like that feature as it keeps the end of the pillow cleaner.  That flap is supposed to be the front but mine is the back so I made the front hem even with the edge.
Here is the first one (the pillow that I sleep on nightly.)
 Now, let me show you the back where you can see and 
appreciate why I changed the position of the flap.
While this side is pretty too, the other side has a nicer design symmetry. 

Then I made the other pillowcase and repeated the "mistake" for the sake of consistency.
The second one is in the front here.  I love these new hand dyed pillowcases. 

BoNuS!!!!
 There were some nice scrap pieces left over from the pillowcases. 
These will be so much fun for piecing or perhaps another project. 

Now I want some 100% white cotton sheets to dye too!
FYI - my posts may be sparse for the next few weeks as there is a lot of "non-crafty" stuff going on in my life.  But no worries - these are mostly good things.
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. However at this time Blogger is not notifying me of comments. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Fabric Dyeing

On another blog I saw a pattern for pillowcases in the European style.  I really liked the idea of them so I decided to dye some fabric to make them with.  I mixed up some dye, pulled out some fabric and made it happen. 
Since there is no point in dyeing - at least for me - if you are going to do a nice batch of fabric,  I also did some other pieces to effectively use up all the dye that I had mixed.
 First let me show you the other pieces that are NOT for the pillowcases.

These two were dyed using mostly a "light red" dye. 
 Although I did drizzle just a little bit of a blue on this one.

Next up: the blue fabrics



And now the pieces with both colors 

 The above is nice and will be great for quilting
But the next one is my favorite of this batch.
I love the way the colors blended in places, the patterning and 
just everything about this piece. 

Finally the big piece of fabric that will eventually become my pillowcases:
 I am showing both sides since when I hung this to take photos, it was still folded in half.
I got more delightful patterning on this big piece, but there is a bit more white than I intended. 
After it is made into pillowcases, I will use it for awhile and decide *if* I want to 
overdye it to add more color. 

I think this dyeing session was a big success.  This is the first time that I have dyed fabric to make something specific.  The pillowcases made with the big chunk of fabric will be for my bed and will go perfectly with the quilt that I use on it.  That quilt has hand dyed fabrics in it also.
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Improv Process and a Recipe

The improv quilt block process is basically whatever the quilter makes it to be.  What I am showing is my personal process.  In truth, this changes from time to time depending on my mood. (Yes, seriously.)
Some quilters think that they need to cut neat exact pieces for any block, but that is not how I do this.  For me, improv is grabbing a piece to add on that hopefully will look good and have a nice value change. (dark against light.)   My pieces don't always fit exactly.   Look at this piece.
The hand-dyed yellow/white was a piece that a piece had been cut from.  It wasn't quite long enough so I just sewed it on and then sewed another bit over the corner. It still wasn't enough so I added the green triangle to fill out the corner.  I don't trim it all neatly as I go - but I do trim seam allowances as I go - usually with my scissors.  That curved edge will be trimmed into a straight line before I sew anything onto that side.

This next piece (the center section) was scraps cut away from some other block parts.
It was in two parts.  On one part the dark green bit was added to bring up the width and then the pieces were sewn together.  The yellow triangle was added on one side.  Then the burgundy bit added at that top. Obviously I will be adding more to work toward a square shape. Some of this may be cut away in the process, but the scraps are getting used.

In the final one, the green strip was added across the top without trimming.  It is faster for me this way and I stay more in the creative flow.
Perhaps you noticed that new fabrics are being added as I go?  This adds some variety as well as allowing other scraps to be used from the scrap basket. But if you notice, the greens pull from the greens in the snails on the yellow fabric.  The burgundy is close in value and color to the purple that has been used in most of the blocks.  Honestly, I didn't think about this until I had sewn these fabrics in. I suspect that my subconscious mind was giving me hints.  I have learned that you should trust your instincts.  At worst, you may have to cut up a piece and re-do it.  But following your instincts will speed you up and develop your own style in the long run.

Recipe as requested!


Several asked for the recipe for the "cake" that I made for Mom's birthday.  The recipe that I used was for the filling between the layers.  It is Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting.

* note: I did cut this in half as I was only using it between the layers - but then I added a bit more cream cheese - because---YUM!.
Peanut Butter/Cream Cheese Frosting

1(8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1⁄2cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 -3 1⁄2cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk or 2 tablespoons cream

DIRECTIONS
Mix together cream cheese and peanut butter with mixer until smooth.
Add vanilla and powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, along with the milk or cream and beat until spreading consistency.
(I used only 3 cups powdered sugar and 2-3 tbsp. of milk).
Spread on cooled cake.




Big Confession:  I used a Duncan Hines dark chocolate cake mix - it said "3 large eggs" but I substituted 2 Jumbos and one Large egg.  Other than that I followed the directions.  I alway put a parchment circle in the bottom of the pan.
Next- for the outside frosting- I used Duncan Hines  Dark Chocolate Fudge frosting. (no high fructose corn sweetener.)   I put it in a bowl and whip it pretty good with the mixer to make it spread better  and look prettier on the finished cake. 
Then I used some mini chocolate chips all over the top which worked out very nicely. They add a surprising bit of "chew" to that you wouldn't have otherwise.  I really liked that addition.



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Monday, May 21, 2018

Improv Quilting - and a Birthday

I have been slowing adding to the improv blocks that I am making. I have no idea what this will turn into, but I am having fun playing with it.

I took the original two and added an applique piece to the one on the left here so that the pink fabric "marries" the two pieces a bit better.

 In other news, my mother is having her eighty-err something birthday this week,  so we had a party for her this past Saturday.  We did it early to attempt to surprise her.  I am not sure if it worked or not. Ha ha. 
Besides making some roasted brussels sprouts for the meal, I also made a chocolate cake with a peanut butter/cream cheese filling.  I regret that I didn't take a photo.  I can assure you that it was delicious.  I did save a bit so that Mom can have a piece on her actual birthday.  She doesn't know about it, so that will be another surprise for her.
Here is a photo my niece took of me with Mom that afternoon.
Happy Birthday Mom!



Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.