Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The next adventure of a farmgirl

One of the things that being a farmgirl has inspired me to try is quilting, but I don't have a whole lot of interest in doing a lot pieced work. What I'm really interested in is a technique called called wholecloth quilting or white work. It's very simple, you draw out a design that you will follow with your stitching on the quilt top, sandwich the top batting and back the way you would any quilt, baste the layers together, and then just stitch. Just to play around I picked up a basic book on hand quilting, couple of stencils and a quilting hoop (which is different from an embroidery hoop, this kind of hoop accommodates the thickness of the quilt). I had some fabric, some poly batting left over from another project, and some quilting thread that was my mothers at home. I put together my sample last night and I've already completed two of the motifs.

A close up of the front. The blue lines are done with a fabric marker and will wash out once I have the whole thing completed with binding and all.

A close up of the back, this view gives you a better idea of what it will look like when it's completed

Doing the stitching is very much like following a pre-printed embroidery pattern using a running stitch. However it's not mindless work. The challenge comes in trying to keep your stitches as even as possible. My stitches are far from perfect but I'm happy with what I've done so far and can tell you that this is definitely another fabric aer I plan to pursue with a passion. The rhythm of the stitching is very soothing in much the same way that the rhythm of spinning is soothing for me.

I was thinking that I might make this into a pillow, but a much better idea came to me this morning. I'm going to make this, and at least two more similar panels, into wall hangings for the for the wall of the staircase. Hubby and I used to have our heraldic banners hanging on the wall as you go up to the second floor. I used my banner to mark out our home to arriving guests and it was stolen ages ago and when we renovated we just never hung his banner back up. The one thing we have noticed since we did this is that the sound from the TV carries very loudly right into our bed room now. So if one of is napping the other needs to keep the volume very low while watching TV. Don't even get me started on what Hubbies video games sound like as the noise carries up the stairs. So the quilted panels will help to deaden the sound and look very attractive. Now my only question is should I do all the panels in white and change the motifs or should I keep the motifs the same but make each panel a different color? I think I'll let Hubby decide that.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Busy busy busy

For the last week or so I've been doing a lot of sewing. Mostly box bags that I have for sale on my Etsy shop (see the side bar for some of the pictures and the link to the shop). I've also taken some time to ply up the single that I had going on one of my drop spindles. This what the yarn that I was spinning way back in June has come out looking like.

I really like the way this yarn has plied up. Some areas are a solid color and some is a combination of colors that have a beautiful tweed look. I've got more fiber to finish but I also need to decide if I'm going to knit or weave with this. If I do weave it then I also need to decide if I'm going to use the yarn for both warp and weft or if I want to pair it with a neutral solid. I'm thinking that stripes or perhaps even working a check might be fun. Decisions decisions.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Project number 3 for the day - a needle case

I'm tiered of keeping my embroidery needles and sharps in the packaging they come because the needles always fall out or I've put them somewhere safe then can't find them. So project number 3 to keep me entertained today was sewing a simple needle case. The pattern came from Sew Pretty Homestyle and was a little fiddly to do. I need more zippers and when I get them I'm going to make a box bag that will contain my smaller sewing supplies. If I go to all the trouble to make a nice home for the bits and bobs then perhaps I won't loose them.

Box bag #2

Longer and less wonkie.

Todays sewing project - A Box Bag

I was going to go to an SCA event today. I say was because last night, when Hubby and I looked at the weather forecast for today a heat index of 97degrees with high humidity, we agreed that air conditioning was just going to be the better option to make sure I keep breathing.

So I broke out the fabric for a sewing project that I had wanted to try for a long time, a lined, zippered box bag to keep a sock/small sewing project in. I followed the tutorial from Dragon{knit}fly. Since this is the first time I've made this, there are a couple of things that are a bit wonkie, like the bag could be just a bit longer to accommodate my DPN's, but over all I love the way it came out. It took just two fat quarters of fabric and a 12" zipper so this is a very inexpensive to make and I see myself making a lot more of these in my future.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Projects leading to projects

On Sunday Hubby went to play D&D with friends in New Jersey. So that left me looking around for something to do on my own. I went to a couple of farmers markets and the local dairy farm, Merry Mead. I picked up some plants to start a garden (pictures of the garden later). It was very satifying to get down in the dirt. I knew by the time I was done that really needed a sun hat to keep my little brain from frying. Today I got out the fabric and Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing book. Dr. Schrodinger decided that he needed to supervise the sewing.

This was a very easy project to get accomplished. This is the way I'll wear it to keep the sun off my face while I garden.

Here's how I will wear my hat when not in the garden. I think it's very cute but with the bring up I think the hat needs a big fabric flower pinned to it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Yesterday was a really great day. Hubby and I went to our firends Marion and Thomas's house to hang out. There was lots of schmoozing and boozing. A bunch of folks fenced, I sat on the deck with some of the ladies and knit. I finished the first Nanner Sock and started the second one but the knitting was slow going for me. You might be wondering why it was slow going when I managed to crank out most of the first sock in a little over day. The answer has to do with the boozing.

See this is what can happen when you try to graft a toe while a bit tippsy. Notice the purls where no purls ought to be in my toe. I've already sunk the ends so no I'm not going to re-do the toe. Every time I look at those purls I'll remember what a nice day I had.

When I arrived home I found the yarn the Griff had ordered for me in payment for last weekends scroll. He bought me two skeins of thr STR instead of one. I should have know that since last weekend ha had asked me if I knew what it was that I had asked him to buy. He was shocked that the skeins were measured in ounces and he obviously thought 4 and some ounces just couldn't be enough. He's such a sweet guy.

This Morning I stopped in to the book store to use a credit I had nad found this:
The designs in this book are just so cute. There were 3 things that immidiately jumped out at me that I really want to sew. Slippers, fabric boxes and an adorable pin keep.

I need to get a ring of some sort to do the pin keep and some felt (unless I want to make my own) for the slipper but other wise I have all the supplies I need for these project.

Friday, July 04, 2008

My first apron

The other day I finished hand sewing my first apron. The pattern is from MJ's Ideabook. I do a lot of sewing but I've just recently started to get into doing my sewing by hand and this pattern it was so easy that I wanted to make the project last for a little longer.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Last Thursday I get a phone call...

From my friend Matt asking if I can do whip out a scroll, specifically a Letter of Marc for the King to sign and give to our mutual friend Griffith for a bit of shtick during Court. I'm thinking to myself that Griffs a Pirate and will be come a Privateer with this scroll so what's in it for me. For about 3 hours of work (not including the time it took to restart the scroll 3 time because I kept making mistakes) my payment will be a bottle of Chambord and a skein of STR lightweight sock yarn in a colorway call Walk On The Wild Tide. So here's the letter:

Doing this much calligraphy on such short notice was no problem but did leave me a little crispy but it's nice to know that I can still do it after having a hiatus of about 6year away from my pens. Before that I had been working on my Nanner! socks. The pattern was a gift from Wendy Johnson to all her Plurk Buddies who asked for before the end of June. This is very fast knit since I got this much done in just a day:

The scroll put that sock on hold but I have made a bit more progress since I took that picture. I'm about half down the foot and will definitely have it done and the second sock started by the weekend. Because I was feeling rather crispy from having done the letter I knew I was going to want to knit on something pretty mindless at the event, Bhakail Investiture. I started a dish cloth baby blanket. I've been working on it this week along with my sewing and am almost half way thru.

We are going to spend Friday at home but will head off Saturday to our friends Thomas and Marion's home for a day of fencing and Rock Band for him, and knitting and schmoozing for me.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My Sisterhood Badge

One of the things you get when you join the farmgirl sisterhood is a cute badge that identifies you to other sisters. One can just take the badge, finish off the edges, and slap it on a denim jacket. That's just fine. Me, I had to play with mine and add a bit of my special touch to it. Here is how I did it:

Please be sure to read all my instructions before you do the project for yourself. The badge is printed on muslin and really is cute as is but if you want to add embroidery is wise to use a fabric stabilizer on the back so it will stand up to the needle and thread. I used an iron-on tear off stabiliser which you can find in most fabric stores. I then placed the fabric in a hoop to hold the fabric taunt while I worked.

Here is what it looked like from the front and the colors of floss that I used

You can find instructions for all the stitches I used in MJ's Ideabook. I used split stitch and running stitch and you'll be able to see that better in the pictures towards the end. Once you have your embroidery complete it's time to sew a backing fabric to hide the back of the work. Cut your badge out leaving a quarter inch or so of fabric beyond the black outline. Cut your backing fabric to the same size.

Lay the two pieces of fabric right sides together and use a running stitch to join the two pieces together.

Be sure to leave an opening in the stitching in order to turn the right sides out

to decrease the bulk of the fabric near the corners of the octagon trim off the excess fabric just be sure not to cut into the badge.

Here is my badge turned right sides out. I then whip stitched the small opening closed. Notice that I added a Lazy Daisy and my farmgirl member number to the badge. I just free handed the daisy but I used a water soluble tailoring pencil (available at your fabric store) to write in the number.

I wanted to add a fancy ruffle behind my badge so I took a piece of cloth 4" by 22" and folded it in half. I also folded in a .25" hem at each end. When I do these kinds of folds I iron them down to make them more secure while I work. You can also use ribbon instead of fabric. I then placed a long running stitch along the raw edge of the folded fabric. Be sure to secure one end of the running stitch securely as this is going be what you use to ruffle the fabric.

By pulling the running stitch and watch as the fabric becomes a ruffle.

I adjusted the fabric to fit around my badge and pinned the fabric in place from the front. I then basted the ruffle to the back of the badge, making sure that the basting stitches were only in the backing fabric.

I then made a circle by sewing two pieces of fabric together the same way I made the badge for the back of the badge to cover the raw edges of the ruffle and to sew a pin back onto. You don't have to do this step unless you want to make your badge into a pin like I did.

I sewed the pin back firmly onto the backing circle. Then stitched the backing circle in place.

I added some buttons to the badge, sewing thru the badge and the ruffle, which are both decorative and hold everything in place. And here it is, my farmgirl sisterhood badge. I haven't found all the buttons I want to put on it yet.

Please let me know what you think or leave any questions you might have in the comments.

The Plurkette Henhouse is up and running

One of the things that marks out a farmgirl is her sense of community and to that end the first assignments for our on-line henhouse is to get to know one another. So I'd like to introduce myself to all my farmgirl sisters.

My name is Christine and I live in a small suburban town that's about an hour north and west of Philadelphia. Living with me are two cats, two spinning wheels, a couple of looms, lots and lots of fiber and yarn, lots of art supplies, my trusty sewing machine, and some where in here is my wonderful hubby.

I think the main reason why the whole farmgirl thing apeals to me is because I've always had a real love for what is considered traditionally woman's work and the value that it has played in the shaping of the the world around us. I very much enjoy all the modern conveniences of the 21c but I feel equally at home unplugging from the modern world.