Saturday, August 4, 2012

Just Our Yarn Blog - August 2012

HGA Convergence
Convergence has always been one of our favorite shows.  It is always fun! This year we managed to do a bit of sightseeing and joined in some of the tours.   What better place for inspiration than the Long Beach Aquarium for some texture inspiration and a lots of colorful fish.  Makes us want to head straight to the dye studio.

We also got the chance to visit the homes of local textile artists.  A huge thank you to everyone who opened their home and shared their textile treasures with us.  Here are few of the things that we saw (eyes only we promise!).  Okay, okay, we also saw with our hands. 

Spools of Aziza, Almaza and Amani
I was pretty sure that spools of our tencel would work with a sewing machine…but best to do a trial run. There’s something very freeing about not having a deadline or a project in mind, just play!  I doodled my way through plenty of yarn. 

While I was playing, I figured I should at least attempt to use up my stash.  We won’t discuss the amount of hand-dyed fabric I have. Often they begin life as mop-up cloths from the yarn dyeing. I pulled out a pile of fabric and just started patching them together. My first thought had been pin size but it had a mind of it’s own. I called it quits when I started getting ideas for a bed size quilt – after all my son is in Wisconsin and it gets cold there… Not that I need a justification.

What to quilt?  I laid a piece of tracing paper over the patchwork and did a few drafts. That got old pretty quickly and I just started sewing!  Working from a pattern is not a habit of mine. 

I have some new vanishing markers I’m testing. They disappear with heat. Sometimes they work great, but on other fabrics they leave that tell-tale white line. It is a black marker and once the line was ironed over the black disappeared but left a whiteish line – note as noticeable on the actual piece as in the photo but still not ideal.

Amani – started with the finest thread (20/2 Tencel) and machine quilted some areas. Size 16 embroidery needle and normal tension. No problems.

Put the feed dogs down and tried free-motion quilting. No problems. On a roll!

Now some programmed embroidery stitches –tweeking the top tension, they seemed to work too.

I have more feet for my machine than I care to admit and only a few get used regularly. But the right foot for the job is invaluable (or at least that’s what I tell my husband!). Twisted a few threads together and couched them using one of those “special” feet and a zigzag stitch. The couched thread is one of our hand-dyes and so is the thread I used to stitch it down – different weights and textures.

I have 2 sewing machines. An old faithful friend (we know each other well) and a new Bernina 830 (that stranger you don’t know and are on you best behavior with). Up to now I was working on old faithful, but I have a new couching foot for the 830…

Spent the morning ripping out! Not sure if it was user error or the thread I wanted to couch was too thin. The foot is supposed to allow you to stitch down the center of the thicker thread – sometimes it worked and sometimes the needle and the thread I was couching just missed each other. After all that ripping, I could see the pattern I wanted to stitch from the back! So back to old faithful and into the bobbin went the Aziza (5/2 Tencel). Worked like a dream!

I’ve done some great embroidery work with the Bernina 830 but for general sewing I clearly need more practice!  Sounds like I found a second justification for this quilt.

Here’s the final result -

Stop by our booth at Stitches Midwest to see the real thing.  See you there!