A Me Made Day

Today hubby and I took a drive up to Prescott for a bit of antiquing, and lunch at a favorite spot called The Raven Cafe.   If you are in Arizona and venture up to Prescott, I highly recommend this restaurant. 

I was so excited that I would be able to wear a few of my handknits.  I personally enjoy the ability to layer my pieces, and what I wore today was perfect for the cool morning air of Prescott.

The cardigan is the perfect layering piece for traveling around our beautiful state during the cooler months.  The pattern is the 2914 Cardigan from Plymouth Yarn and is knitted up in Plymouth Yarn Mushisi Big.  You can read about it on my blog post from July of last year.   The shawl is Mother of  Dragons , a pattern designed by my friend Lara Smoot and knitted up in MadelineTosh Wren.  I love this shawl and wear it often. My handknitted socks were the perfect compliment to my ensemble.  The pattern is My Knitted Heart Vanilla Socks by Elizabeth Suarez and I used a lovely self- striping yarn by Opal.

I made these mitts from my own handspun and love wearing them.  The pattern is Blenheim Roses Mitts by Anne Podlesak, published in the Summer 2012 issue of Spin-Off Magazine.  I have been thinking I need to make another pair, along with the matching cowl.

Wearing my handknits today made me extremely happy and made me realize how much I love knitting and the fiberarts.  

Until next time, be creative!

Sewing On Vintage Machines

In my first post “The Joy if Creating” I talked about sewing and hand stitching.   As I continue to think about my creative endeavors and I have made the decision to learn how to use my vintage, and antique, sewing machines more.  

I collect antique and vintage Singer, Jones and Frister & Rossmann 
Handcranks , Treadles and Electric 

Singer 9W7 - manufactured when Singer bought out Wheeler and Wilson. They were manufactured from 1905 until 1913.

Why you ask ?  It’s quite simple, to me these machines are not only a work of art but stitch better at times than my modern machine.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my Husqvarna Viking , especially all the built in embroidery features it offers, but at the same time I want to start doing most of my decorative stitching by hand, and for two reasons.... the pure joy and relaxation of doing it, and the sense of accomplishment knowing that I did it by hand and not by machine.  

I am not in a hurry for finished pieces and I want to learn to slow down and take in the act of creation instead of just going through the motion of creating.  I personally feel that my vintage and antique sewing machines will slow me down quite a bit, especially my treadle machines, and that my sewing will become much more of a sense of accomplishment, as well as a true labor of love.  

I am extremely proud of a set of squares that I sewed using my Singer 9W7.  All my points match up perfectly and by using this treadle machine I was able to sew a little slower, which means I took my time and did not rush.  Honestly, I think this helped.

I also finished my hand quilting my piece, which measures 18” x  18” square.  Since this is a practice piece of sorts, I am thinking about adding embroidery to the squares.  I love the look of Sashiko and Boro stitching, and think it might be fun to add this style of stitching to this piece.  Then again, it might be just simple embroidery.

I want to end my post with a few links I came across regarding sewing on vintage machines that I thought might be of interest to you as much as it was to me.

  • The Joy of Sewing with a Treadle Sewing Machine  “ You don’t have to be a survivalist to appreciate the ability to sew without electricity. It’s reassuring to know that even if you lose power during a storm, you can still use a sewing machine.” - Peter Lappin
  • The Virtues of a Vintage Straight-Stitch Sewing Machine “ The greatest strength of these machines is their precision.” - Peter Lappin
  • Chatterbox Quilts Vintage Sewing Machines 101 “ First, let me explain what I mean by “vintage sewing machine”, these are the all metal, built-to-last, sewing machines that your mother or grandmother used for sewing. These quality sewing machines are not only still available at inexpensive prices, but as they are all mechanical, you can restore and maintain them yourself!” - Kim Jamieson Hirst
  • Quiltville’s Quips & Snips!! Vintage Machines “ There is NOTHING like sewing on a vintage machine. Nothing in the world can connect you to Quiltmakers Past than feeling the hum of their machines beneath your fingertips as the fabric pieces feed through.” - Bonnie Hunter

Do you enjoy sewing on vintage machines?

Do you enjoy slow stitching or embroidery?

Until next time, be creative!

The Joy Of Creating

I haven’t been knitting as much as usual as I have been reading, spinning and hand quilting. Sometimes it’s good to put knitting down and do other things, especially for me as I tend to over tax my elbows when I knit too much.   

So for now I am working on a few needlework projects and plan to make a few more garments.  I throughly enjoyed sewing for the #memademay project on Instagram and I still have a stack of linen fabric that I bought this summer that needs to be cut out for a few more Shirt No. 1 tops and maybe a dress or two as well.

I think my resurgence and desire to sew is coming from Katrina Rodabaugh’s book, Mending Matters. I bought her book earlier this year but never read it until now.  I love her thoughts on taking a fashion fast and for me this really hasn’t been a huge necessity as I can honestly say I do not buy a lot of new clothes (jeans really is the only thing I buy new) but buy from my local thirty stores. The main reasons I tend not to buy new ... I really do not like today’s fashion, the fabrics used or the poor quality. 

There is a lot of things in Katrina’s book that hits home with me but the number one thing is ... slow stitching.  While she focuses on mending in her book, which I absolutely love, the process is the same, her over all emphasis is slowing down to enjoy the motion and the process.  

While I may not be quite mending garments, over the next few months  I plan to sew and use various styles of needlework to compliment finished pieces.  I am excited to incorporate many hand stitching techniques from Natalie Chanin’s book “The Geometry of Hand-Sewing” .  If you enjoy hand stitching/slow stitching, this book is wonderful to have in your reference library.

My little creative space - antique oak table in front of our couch

While I have plans of sewing, this doesn’t mean I’m giving up knitting or spinning, just slowing down a bit to enjoy other creative means.  To me personally, I believe it’s important to do other things and not focus on just one thing.  Learning new ways of doing something, or just learning something brand new, will make your creativity bloom even more and you will become more rounded in your artistic life.

Until next time, be creative!

Handmade Holidays

I love the holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas.  For me it’s an awesome time to let my creative nature take over and make hand stitched pieces.  I had fun today getting all my Halloween pieces out and placing them around our house.

I made these fun pieces last year .....

Finished August 2018
... I really enjoyed working on Quote the Raven by the Cricket Collection.  I made a couple of changes, basically just color and love how it turned out.

Finished October 2018
... finished Boo To You , a quick and easy two hour project.  I traced the design onto a piece of light pumpkin batik fabric and used one thread of DMC black for the embroidery. 

Finished October 2018
.... a fun Halloween embroidery piece designed by a favorite artist of mine, Kathy Schmitz.  This pattern is called Mr. Boo and is part of her Sweet Stitches Collection.

Finished July 2018
.....Halloween Too Cute embroidery pattern by Hudson's Holidays.  This was a lot of fun to embroider and the only change I made was framing my finished piece. Shirley has quite a few other patterns I might have to make for the holidays as well!
This year I have all these finished pieces out and it’s really making me want to start stitching !  I am really into vintage inspired Halloween pieces, and love this new piece by Hudsons Holidays 

Photo courtesy of Hudsons Holidays 

Halloween SamplerThis is a very vintage like Halloween sampler design.... a Fun embroidery project. I designed and created this...to look old, like it came from the attic. The design measures: 7" x 9 1/2".  ~ Hudsons  Holidays 
I really think I need to make this piece, as well as a few more of Shirley’s vintage inspired Halloween pieces.

Until next time, be creative!

A Finished Hat!

I love knitting with my handspun yarn and I am so excited that I have finished my handspun Photographer Hat, a free pattern download by Lavanya Patricella.  This pattern is super easy to follow and well written, just like all of Lavanya’s patterns, and to me perfect for handspun.

This pattern calls for 150 to 160 yards of worsted weight, and quite honestly I was worried I would not be able to finish this hat as I used the entire finished skein of my Northbound Knitting handspun a few rows above the ribbbing.  

After going through all my finished skeins of handspun, I decided that my finished skein of Quillin Fiberarts would work nicely for the top and that the color would compliment the bottom of the hat.

For this project I used my own handspun....

  • Quillin Fiberarts spinning project finished in July - read post here
  • NBK spinning project also finished in July - read prepping post here , spinning post here and the completed skein post here
So I used all 100 yards of my NBK Blue Faced Leicester skein and about 50 yards of my Quillin Fiberarts skein.  I plan to use the rest of my Quillin Fiberarts for Mitts and pair it up with another skein of handspun in my stash.

Do you knit with your own handspun?  If yes, what is your favorite project to use it for?

Until next time, be creative!

Happy October

I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” 
― L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I can’t believe it’s already October but I am truly happy it is as this means cooler weather is coming and my love of the fiberarts comes alive with knitting and spinning.

This month I am participating in #spookyspin15 hosted by Sherrill of The 1764 Shepherdess on Instagram.  For those of you who love to spin and want to join in the fun,  Sherrill still has a few Spooky Spin items left  in her shop.  

I purchased this hand dyed BFL from Sherrill and can’t wait to start spinning it!

The colors are perfect and I am thinking about my spinning possibilities.  Stripes is coming to mind at the moment, and hopefully I will achieve enough yardage to make a nice accessory piece, such as mitts, a hat or a cowl.

I am also working on my sweater, which seems to be dragging on but the end is nearing on the body so I am hopeful that I will be finished soon so that I can start wearing it.

As a reminder, I am using Patons Classic Wool in Grey Marl and I am modifying a top down pattern, making this sweater my own and unique for me.  So far I am loving how it is looking but will be quite happy to finish it so I can finish thrust of my WIPs.

Until next time, be creative!