Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sure Sign of Spring

It was so warm today I did the dyeing of the 3 120 yd skeins that I am going to ply together. I wasn't sure at first exactly what colors I wanted to use; I was leaning to doing each skein a different bright color, like maybe turquoise, red and orange but then I saw some pretty yarn done in turquoise, pink and tan so I decided to do something more along those lines. I used pink, blue a medium brown and left part of one skein undyed, although the brown crept just a bit too much. I also decided to do variegated skeins just because. And so instead of the original pot dyeing, I ended up steaming the skeins in the oven. But the resultant skeins hanging on the line are a sure sign of warmer weather! I have them all wound on bobbins now on my lazy kate waiting to be plied tomorrow sometime.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Crafty Pictures and Spinning

Here are pics of the other blue finished rug, the blue tam, the squares in squares quilt top, and the thrifted goodness I have ready to be made into rugs and other items. The neatly folded blue piles are shirts I've taken apart and it's mostly what I've used in the quilt; the exploding box is scraps from bed linens that I am going to use for quilts, pillows, table runners etc. I decided to add another row to the quilt which is why I didn't finish it the other day. I've been at moms for the last couple of days so I didn't get a chance to get back to it. I'm hoping to get the top finished up this morning and then start quilting it later on today. I have been spinning in the evening and have a bobbin full of the Corriedale top spun. I am going to take it off today and see how much I have. I want to have about 120 yds or so of a 3 ply with each ply a different color; maybe orange, red and purple or something. Sio and I went to Borders the other day and I was reading Spin Off magazine; there was an intentionally bumpy yarn in there that she liked a lot. It was a thick thin thing and was done in bright colors but I'm having problems spinning a nice worsted singles lately; the thickest I can seem to do is a sport weight. The article said this could be spun without a jumbo flyer, but I don't know. I might try although I have to go back out to Borders and either buy the magazine or take some notes.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pandora is Really Cool!

Ok, so I tried Pandora radio today. It is the best thing since sliced bread! Put in a band, any band, and it will make a radio station just for you based on what band you put in. Or genre, you can put in genres too. And when you register it saves your station. I typed in a band name (Lunasa) and got Lunasa, the McDades and now Danu. I really think I'll be listening to this a lot. Plus it has an about the music tab and it will tell you a bit about the artist and the song. Too cool!
On the crafting front I finished another rug, and I also made a tam from the Lambs Pride I bought at the yarn store in Geneva. I have all the roving spun up that Melissa gave me but I haven't started a project yet. I have been combing some of the Corriedale fleece I bought. I also have a throw quilt top almost done; it's based on a quilt in the Denyse Schmidt book I bought. I'm going to finish the blocks today (there are only 3 left) and maybe get the layers basted before I go to bed. It's not going to be very big, about 45x54 inches. The nice thing about it is that almost the whole thing is made from fabric from the thrift store. I think 5 of the blocks are made from some homespun fat 1/4's I had in my stash but that's the only thing that didn't come from the thrift store besides the batting. I may end up putting it in my Etsy store, or maybe not. It goes well with the rugs I've made and the big quilt I haven't finished yet so it may end up in the bedroom.
We've been out fishing a few more times and so far we've had no more luck. We were planning on going today but it's pretty cold and windy. I think Saturday is supposed to be nice so we might go then.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nothing But A Song

Video from the GBS show

Also the set list; this was an incredible show.

Donkey Riding
Captain Kidd
Paddy Murphy
When I'm Up
Jack Hinks
Gideon Brown
Nothing But A Song
River Driver
Let It Go
Sing-a-long (I Fought the Law, Faith, Jesse's Girl, 500 Miles, Bohemian Rhapsody)
Run Run Away

5 Solos - Bob - Come and I Will Sing You
Murray - Tennessee Stud
Sean - Sooner or Later
Alan - Hit the Ground and Run
Kris - Where the Streets Have No Name

Process Man (Chemical Worker's Song)
When I Am King
Everything Shines
General Taylor
Scolding Wife
I'm A Rover
Sea of No Cares (Living Room Version)
Helmet Head
Consequence Free
Mari Mac
Ordinary Day

Captain Wedderburn
Excursion Around the Bay
Fortune Set
Old Brown's Daughter

I'm really glad that the last 3 times I've seen them they've done the living room version of Sea of No Cares; I really like it so much better than the original version. Also Sean's solo of Sooner or Later was really great too. A truly superb evening!

Great Big Sea House of Blues

Ok, so my dislike of House of Blues was unreasonable. The guys put on one of the best shows I've seen, ever.It was the last night of the tour and they just went all out. The solos they do instead of an intermission were excellent; the sing along was beyond all expectations, and that part is always a ton of fun.There were so many of my favorites that I can't remember them all; Mary Mac, River Drivers Lament, Paddy Murphy, Bob did Come and I Will Sing You, Run Run Away, Sea of No Cares, Captain Kidd and Donkey Riding, just to name a few. They did Captain Wedderburn, and I don't think I've ever seen that live before, and Kris and Murry did an excellent cover of Where the Streets Have No Name. They also did 2 new songs that are going to be on the new album which is coming out in June. One was called Hit the Ground and Run, Alan co-wrote that with Russell Crowe, and the other one was called Nothing But A Song. I got video of all of that one. Didn't take much more video, but it's hard to hold a camera when I'm dancing. Sio has the camera with the pics and she's still asleep; I'll post them later.

I will add that Bob looked tired through the show, and there seemed to be some tension with Sean. Alan was his usual self, and Murry seemed to be having a great time. We were talking to a couple from Atlanta who went to Friday night's show, too, and she said last night was a bit better.If someone posts a set list on the GBS site I'll copy it and post it here later when I post pics.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This is why I FISH!

See the pictures? Those are 2 different fish. One 19 inches, one I didn't measure but probably is 18 inches. Caught them both yesterday. If I could catch fish like this every day I would NEVER come home.
I've been playing around trying to come up with a nice crocheted bowl pattern. This one is ok I guess. I crocheted it from a shirt from the thrift store. Sio says she wants several.
GBS is Saturday and I still haven't got tickets. Money is a bit of an issue this time around but I think we'll still be able to go.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Craffts and 1st Fishing Pics

John and I met Chris at Hidden Lake yesterday; it was a gorgeous day, warm and sunny. There was still a bit of ice on the back lake but more than half was open water. We were out for a couple of hours with no success, we had tried spinners, plastic worms and minnows. John was still out on a minnow about 3 feet down or so while Chris and I were kind of getting stuff together when BAM! his bobber went down and took off. He grabbed the pole and it was apparent to him that it was a big fish. He and Chris saw it while I was trying to get the camera out, but as he was getting it close to the shore it snapped the line. He and Chris said it had to have been 5 lbs. We are going back out tomorrow and probably on Friday too. The only reason we aren't going tonight is because I have a dentists appt and then we are going to Punkys for the St Patricks Day celebration.

The roving Melissa got me spins up so nice! I have about 170 yds of a sport weight yarn in skeins and I'd say about another 70 yds on a bobbin on my wheel and then close to half the roving that hasn't been spun yet. I was originally going to ply it but I've changed my mind and am now looking for a pattern to use for it. I'm sort of waffling between 2 lace patterned scarves; one is knit and one crochet.

I've also been working on another crochet rug which I finished this morning.I think I may put it in my store. This one is a bit smaller than the last one, it's only 29 inches in diameter. These rugs are perfect to use for pieces of fabric that have been given to me that I will never use, large scraps left over from other projects and for pieces of clothing and linens from the thrift store that are in less than perfect condition or are just plain ugly. They are also pretty quick to make. I use a size N crochet hook and work on them in the evenings while I watch tv. I like this one; if it doesn't sell after a couple of months I'm going to use it in the kitchen.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quiltmaking Modern and Historical

So I got both the books I ordered from Amazon and there are some really nice projects in them. I especially like the I Love Patchwork with the zakka sewing projects. There is a cute little sewing kit and some coasters with a little box to hold them as well as pillows and quilts and other stuff. Plus the book shows using linen for the neutral solid instead of the more traditional muslin, and I really like that a lot. I do see myself using the book quite a bit, both for the patterns and as a source of inspiration. I like the Denyse Schmidt book, too, but as I was reading the introduction it occurred to me what the different generational outlook in quiltmaking might be. She talks about how younger women have seen quilting as a hobby that their mothers and grandmothers have taken up, and that younger women want to change the hobby to make it more modern. What she doesn't mention anywhere is that most of the women from my generation who quilt started because they admired the quilts from the past that our grandmothers made, and that the real reason women quilted in the past is because they had to. It was essential to save and use every little piece of fabric because it was hard to come by. And at the same time, by cutting and sewing all those little geometric pieces together, not only were you using every scrap you were also showing off your sewing skills. It's not easy to make 8 diamond points come together perfectly, and then fit in squares and triangles to make a square block. I think in this age of over consumption the spirit of making do and using up is almost gone from quiltmaking. Every fabric manufacturer comes out with 100's of new fabric lines every year, and we all rush to the store to buy them. Denyse Schmidt has her own fabric lines, and while she isn't pushy about them in her book, it's an inescapable fact. And I'll say I have been guilty of buying fabric indiscriminately myself. I worked in fabric stores for 10 years and it was just way too easy. However, it is nice to see the amount of young women who are going to thrift stores for their fabric source these days. So while the designs are becoming more modern, maybe it will be able to stay true to it's roots of using up and making do as more and more women are making responsible choices for the environment. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years I think.
I got 8 ounces of the nicest roving for Melissa for my birthday. I started spinning it at mom's yesterday but I had to leave my wheel over there because of space issues in the car so I don't have pics. I'll take some later on today after I bring it home and post them then.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


It was sooooo warm yesterday. John called from work and wanted to know if I wanted to go fishing. He got off at 2 and then we went down to Graue Mill and fished right above the dam. There was another guy fishing below the dam on the other side of Salt Creek and none of us caught anything, but it was just too nice not to go. I had my jacket off for awhile. Siobhan came with and dug some clay from the creek bank to take to school with her. It's nice we got out yesterday because it's supposed to rain all day today.

I finished the blue rug. It's 41 inches across which is a nice size for a throw rug. I am going to warp the loom today or tomorrow and start the blue woven rug for John's side of the bed. I might not have enough blue fabric so I might have to make another trip to the thrift store. In the meantime I started another crocheted rug in browns and greens. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it; it might end up in my Etsy store.

I made the blue and white coasters yesterday and listed them this morning. I am marking down all the clothing items as they come up for renewal and just concentrating on crocheted and knitted items and home stuff. The clothes don't sell much anyway. I was thinking about selling them in lots on Ebay just to get rid of them.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Rug Update

So the rug is growing. It's almost 3 feet across. I started out thinking I was going to make one big room size rug, but I'm not anymore. I'm actually leaning towards 3 smaller area rugs; one on either side of the bed and one at the foot. The round one will go on my side of the bed; I'll make it about 6 inches wider than it is now. Then I'm going to crochet another smaller one for John's side. I don't think it will be round because there isn't much room on his side. A narrow 2 1/2 foot by 3 1/2 foot should be nice there. And then I'm going to warp the loom and weave a rug about 3 x 5 feet to go at the end of the bed. With the hardwood floors I think the handmade rugs will look really nice. I also want to paint the walls white but I'm waiting til it gets a bit warmer out.
I got 2 new books for my birthday at Borders. One is Last Minute Patchwork Gifts, and the other is Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day which Melissa loves and uses all the time. We are having oven problems though so I think I am going to go over to moms and bake over there either tomorrow or Thursday. I would like to stop buying bread and just bake. John also ordered a new fishing rod for me and I'll be excited to get it. I also have 2 more books coming in the mail as a birthday present to myself. One is the Denyse Schmidt quilting book, and the other one is Zaka sewing.
I have been spinning a bit too, I have some red yarn that I want to ply. My wheel came with a lazy kate, but I have an antique one that belonged to my friend Joan's mother and I like it so much better. The one that cam with the wheel is just 2 metal rods screwed in to a piece of wood, the antique one is much better as shown in the picture. It came with 6 small bobbins, but the kiwi bobbins just fit so it's ok. I have a ton of fiber that still needs to be carded or combed and spun. I combed some of my Nfld Heritage fleece and I am going to comb some more. When I have about 3 ozs combed out I'm going to dye it; I have another hat pattern I want to try. I still haven't made the tam from the 2 oz bits that I dyed and spun last week. I've been really busy with the rug. Carla and I have been talking about having a green crafting workshop in her space and seeing if there would be any interest in classes. It would be a fun thing to do; I'd be wiling to teach a one day workshop on recycling sweaters. We could do something with felting wool sweaters and also recycling yarn from sweaters; and maybe some basic crochet stitches. I'm sure there are plenty of people in Evanston who are making things from other things. If there were enough classes and workshops set up then maybe she and Jimmy could make enough to pay the rent on the space.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Fox River Fishing

Well, we went out to the Fox River today and tried our luck in a couple of different places with no success. But it was gorgeous out; we couldn't have asked for a nicer day this time of year. Sunny and no wind to speak of. This time of year is so hit and miss anyway so neither John nor I were upset about not catching anything. We may go again tomorrow although it might rain. Since it's my birthday I get to pick the activities and if it's warm enough I wouldn't mind going again. We are also going to Punkys and playing cribbage tomorrow night. We've started doing that on the Sundays when Chris works.
I have a nice amount one on my rug and I went to the thrift store and got a couple more things to go into it. I want it to be done rather quickly so I don't get tired of it. I also dyed some more wool fleece red and will probably spend at least part of tomorrow carding it. I really need a scale so I can measure how much fleece I am dyeing and get an idea of how much yarn I can get out of it. I also want to make a new handle for my wool comb and maybe get the dowels fastened to the scrap wood for the warping board. If I remember I'll bring the 1x2's over to Chris' and cut them down.

Friday, March 05, 2010

First Fishing Day of the Year

John called from work and said they are pretty slow and wanted to know if I wanted to maybe fish today. How could I say no? So instead of going to the thrift store I'm going fishing instead. He's on his way home now and then we are heading out to Braidwood. From the reports on the internet it looks like there aren't a lot of fish being caught, but the ones that are being caught are decent. It's supposed to be 46 degrees, sunny and no wind so it should be a nice day.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


I spent the day at mom's waiting for the cable guy and got a nice start on the rug that I'm making for the bedroom. I also pulled out the partly finished quilt and took a look at that; and I might take the white sashing out and replace it with blue if I can find a nice cotton sheet at the thrift store. I also am going to look for something to make curtains with; I was thinking white with an embroidered edge if I can find a nice embroidery pattern. With the warm up we've had I'm going to bike up to the thrift store tomorrow morning. I haven't been up there in awhile so it will be a fun trip. The thrift store trip isn't just for redecorating the bedroom, though. My copy of the Rag Rug Handbook came the other day and I really want to warp the loom and weave a rug. There are some really nice rugs in there and I want to make one. We need a runner for the front door, and a rug for the bathroom. Siobhan said she was going to warp the loom 2 weeks ago to make a scarf and she still hasn't so I'm going to.
I made the pillow yesterday and listed it in my store. I like it; Siobhan thought it was a bit boring, but whatever. I am maybe going to make another one tomorrow, I like the random patch pillows and I have TONS of fabric.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Catch Up and Let the Fishing Begin

Well, I am still really loving my new wheel. I have spun the roving I dyed last week and am trying to figure out exactly what to do with it. I'm leaning towards fingerless gloves, but they may have to wait for a bit. I have been inspired to finish off the string quilt I started last spring. I also went through my stash and pulled out some blue fabrics to make a crocheted rug with. My original thought was to make a crocheted rag bowl and then maybe sell it in my store; but it changed to a rug in the wee hours of this morning when I couldn't sleep, and then it became a bedroom makeover when I thought how nice the unfinished rug would look with the quilt and maybe some new curtains made from white sheets from the thrift store. I've also been making things for the Etsy store, too. The fingerless gloves are made from recycled, hand dyed yarn that I got from a sweater. The coasters are a mix of vintage and new fabrics with a wool backing, and the pillow is made with stash prints and then quilted. I really like the pillow; it reminds me of pond water. I wanted to applique a big jumping bass on it, but Siobhan said no. I have also been making crochet hook organizers. I'll post more pics later on of some of this stuff.
So Braidwood opened I think on the 1st of March. It's supposed to be 50's over the weekend so we are going out to try our luck. I don't know if we'll catch much, but Chris, John and I are so looking forward to just getting out.