Friday, December 25, 2015

A very fibery Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

Hubby outdid himself this year.  Granted, some of this was known to me in advance, but that's okay.  For instance, I ordered the Spin This Box, but did not know what was actually in it until I opened it on Christmas eve.  It was neon colors for the month of December, and contained quite a few very yummy creations!

I love the way these are all packaged differently, and I love how the colors match or work together in the different offerings.  There were six different packages of fiber in the box, and an ornament.  Love it!  These are my two favorites, based solely on first impressions:

The braid is 19 micron merino (and I do so love fine fibers!) and the other is four mini-rolags.  I have found myself very fond of the mini-rolag presentation.  I had several months of a small fiber subscription from Phoenix Fiber Co. in a mini-rolag format and really liked her colors and presentation.  This one has the added distinction of clever packaging as well.

I also got two fiber-related books.  The first is The Big Book of Flax.  I have been interested in this one for a couple of years.  The second is In the Footsteps of Sheep.  This one "details the completion of a mission the author, a Welsh-born Scot, set for herself: to travel and camp throughout Scotland, find cast off tufts of wool from 10 Scottish sheep breeds, then spin the wool on her spinning stick while walking (or waiting for ferries), and finally design and knit one pair of socks to represent each breed".  That sounds awesome!  Can't wait to have time to read these!

Last but certainly not least (most spectacular, actually) there was a card in the tree, directing me to order the Hansen Mini-Spinner bundle I had been discussing with hubby!  The Hansen webpage says they will be closed from the 24th to the 27th, but I was able to place my order via the website, and I'm sure it will be shipped out soon after the shop re-opens next week.  I will be waiting with great anticipation for my maple mini-spinner, with both Wooly Winder and lace flyer!

The second set of I Spy quilts were delivered today, and suitably received.  I was happy to see the enjoyment displayed by the recipients.  I still have several finished tops that need quilting, but I've been enjoying some knitting time for the last couple of days.  I am up to 18 stitches (of 25 needed) between corner markers on the Perimetera shawl.  Once I hit 25 stitches I will be ready to begin the lace section!  I am also enjoying seeing those adorable Wee Ones markers as I work my way around!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Quilt #4 is done!

I finished Christmas quilt #4 and took it off the frame yesterday!  I also sewed the binding onto quilt #3.  Quilts 3 & 4 will be given as gifts on Saturday, when I'm having a family get-together at my house.  I'm sure it's something I will regret later (the family gathering, not the giving of the quilts).

Today I put together a backing for the Goose in the Pond quilt top.  That may get done for Christmas for my grandson at this point.  It's about half the size of the I Spy quilts, and should be fairly quick.

I was hoping to get another bunny groomed again, but the weather has been a little cool.  It's supposed to be warmer again next week (unbelievable, for Christmas in New England!), so hopefully I can finish grooming the last two bunnies, and do some barn cleaning before winter descends in earnest.

I have also been working on the Gina House shawl (Perimetera).  I am up to 15 stitches on each side of the (four) markers.  I have to get to 25 before I can start the next step - the lace edging.   It's coming along nicely!  I am also getting itchy to start some spinning, but I'm sure that will wait until after Christmas.  Every time I see some of the small baggies of fine fiber I have lying around (including that recently harvested angora!) I want to spin some of it!  Soon, soon...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Quilt #3 & Bunny #2 done

Finished quilt #3 and took it off the frame today!

I will get the last Christmas quilt on the frame tomorrow (Monday) or Tuesday.  I will need to change the thread and bobbin colors for that one.  I'll be using black because the backing is black (with colored guitars).

Yesterday I quilted in the morning and sheared a bunny in the afternoon.  All four were in need of haircuts, and the weather for the next week or so will be relatively warm.  Gus got a haircut a few days ago.  Yesterday I sheared Fester.  He's the chestnut agouti boy, born in April of this year.  Before picture:

After picture:

This was only his second haircut, and he was very good.  I got a few scratches, but that was just a reminder to take it slow with him.

I also got a package in the mail yesterday that I was quite happy about.  I purchased some fleece from a shepherd on Facebook (Genopalette Humble Hills) that is absolutely amazing!  It is just small amounts from two sheep - one is just under a pound, one is 10 ounces.  Both are in the 16/17 micron range.  Nice lock length, amazing crimp!  I am looking forward to spinning these as a superfine lace weight.  I may even try washing these by the lock.  They have such nice lock formation now.

Friday, December 11, 2015

More Christmas update!

The second Christmas quilt is off the frame!  Two down, two to go.  I have the binding cut for these two as well, from the leftover backing fabrics.

Quilt #3, which is for a nephew, is already on the frame and in progress. I managed to get to about the 1/3 finished point this morning.

If all goes well, I'll have these second two finished and bound by next Saturday, when I'm hoping to have a family get-together and hand these out.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

One down, three to go!

First Christmas quilt is done and off the frame!  It's completely finished, except for the binding and a wash.

The second one is on the frame, and has a good start.

The quilting frame is in my bedroom, right next to my grandson's crib (I really need to move that soon) so I am limited to being able to quilt when he's visiting his mom or when someone (usually hubby) is watching him.  If I can move the crib soon I might be able to get away with quilting during his naps as well.  The sooner I get the Christmas quilts done, the sooner I can work on other quilts that need finishing.  We've had custody of the grandson for a little over a year, and I'm just now starting to feel like I can be a little more productive - or maybe that's the busy, busy Christmas season pushing me on.

I've been working on something else on the Bernina at the kitchen table as well.  I can work there when he's watching videos on my iPad, usually when he's eating.  (He likes Thomas the train, and Blue's Clues, on Amazon Prime.)  I finished the borders, including the "piano key" border", for the Bear's Paw Sampler quilt.  This one has been in progress since late 2012.  It's now ready for sandwich  (backing and batting) and quilting, after the Christmas quilts are finished.

In the meantime, I'll be working on trying to finish Susan's Folly at the kitchen table.  This one needs four separate borders, including one made up of 624 (!) 1-1/2" squares.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Christmas plans progressing

I have been working on Christmas gifts (as much as one can work on anything with a very busy 2 year old in residence!) and I've actually made some progress!  It feels like these gifts just might get done before the big day!

I am making I-Spy quilts for four children in two families - 2 girls and 2 boys.  I also made pillowcases to go with the quilts.

I requested in formation on the kids' favorite interests.  The girls are dinosaurs and Hello Kitty.  The boys are guitars and trains.

Pillowcases - no train pillowcase.  Instead that one has alphabets.  I love the dinosaur fossils!  I might have to look for more of that for myself!

This is the first quilt.  This one will have dinosaur backing fabric.

This is the second girl's quilt.  This will have Hello Kitty border and backing.

These are the two quilts for the boys.  About half of the squares are the same fabrics, about half are different.

The first quilt has borders and backing, and is on the quilt frame.  After several issues with bunching thread, breaking thread, etc, the machine is finally co-operating and the quilt is about half done.  (It's just being started in this picture.)

One of the issues I've had with the location of this machine is that we have no ceiling light in this room, just one small bedside lamp.  Hubby and the teenager helped me figure out some lighting that will let me work on the quilt past dusk (4 PM, this time of year!).  It works well.  I'd like it better if I had some hooks to keep the cord suspended above the closet doors; maybe I'll try some Command hooks this weekend.