Friday, July 31, 2015

Happy Friday-Catch Up

   Good morning, the cooler morning temperatures have been a welcomed treat here in the ozarks. Starting early mornings in the low 60s opposed to high 70s with high humidity is a huge change for us.

    I did make a half batch of sweet dills that I think will turn out really awesome. A blog friend from Missouri shared her Mom's recipe and I decided to take her ideas for spices and adapt them to the Ball canning book recipe for Sweet Gherkins. That method really makes a nice pickle and they stay crisp after canning do to the method and the Japanese Long cucumbers I now grow-for everything cucumbers. When I canned them I added two peeled organic garlic cloves and a tablespoon full of dill seed per pint. I didn't plant any dill this year and I think the dill seed also gives a stronger flavor. So now the jars need to sit at least a month to get the flavor. I think I will make one more batch of these dills, perhaps some bread and butter pickles and then we will have a couple years supply of pickles in the pantry.
    The tomatos are not producing well so I can can them this year-we just had too many months of constant rain and cold temperatures with no sun. I really wanted to make at least one  batch of salsa this year and more quarts of tomato soup-so will see what happens with that.
    The other day I went through the boxes of empty canning jars and got them organized as to size-and went through my shelves of canned items to re organize and see what I have. I still don't have much in cupboards here or storage space so I need to remind myself to look in boxes for food-lol I found a box of the homemade apple juice I made last fall that I totally forgot about. I have 3 pints left of the apple sauce so would be nice to make more if I get some apples again.

    Not sure why but I have been having more troubles with arthritis, in my bad left hand and also in my right shoulders down my arm this week especially-probably from canning and spinning. I refuse to give in though and do stuff anyways. No baby'en these joints lol  

     I am still totally loving my navajo spindle and my yarn results are so much nicer. I am not sure now if I really like the Russian spindle that I got with my class. Not really liking the hook on top for a support spindle. I am getting nicer yarn though than I was with my drop spindle. Also since I am not spinning lace weight yarn the spindle fills up quickly with yarn and then it does not spin properly. This would not be as much a problem when spinning finer yarn.
     The traditional Russian spindle I purchased should be here next week-I have been watching videos on the process of using a traditional supported spindle and found a couple really good ones especially. This will definately be an exercise for my bad hand-but I think it is better to continue making my hands work than not.
   I  know I am still a beginner with spinning, but I want to try everything now and see what I enjoy the most. I was searching Etsy for cotton to spin. This fascinates me and I really want to try this. I think the traditional Russian spindle I have coming should work out well for this-if not I will look into the little ones with the metal whorl on the bottom. I found a shop selling cotton grown in the US with no added chemicals and it was the natural green cotton, So I am thinking of purchasing this cotton to try. When we first moved here I grew a small batch of my own green cotton-very fun and has always intrigued me-so that is one of my newest adventures coming up.

   I checked my indigo plants and I believe they are ready to process really soon. I re checked a recipe I am going to try first and I need a couple things first, so that's a trip to town. This being Friday and the weekend not sure I want to do that til Monday-less people lol

At the request of my friend I went out and took a photo of my indio plant-this is the nicest one I have, the other 2 plants are so so. The soil in this area needs better drainage for these plants. and the second photo is my favorite-Grandpa Otts morning glory. I have a few seeds that came back-I will be needing to purchase more for next year-the hummingbirds love these too-and the deepest purple I still have yet to dye with-per India Flints method of freezing first and then using the thawed liquid as dye.

photos will enlarge just click on them




    Lately I have been so undecided on what to cook for supper. Never really had this problem before-I need to go to Pinterest and get myself inspired with some new recipe ideas.

   Happy weekend everyone!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Good Morning Sunday Still Spinning and Making Sweet Pickles






   I am so pleased with myself making "real" yarn on my Navajo spindle. By real yarn for me I mean it is not super thick. I am so enjoying this process-a supported spindle opposed to the drop spindle. I have been carding up and making rolags for a few hours and then spin them up and make more. I am getting a little better at more even consistency too, and this yarn will be woven as singles. I can see that these spindles would be fun to make art yarn on-like I want to make with the little crochet flowers.

    My Russian spindle that I had gotten from taking my spinning class I love too, but I decided I wanted to try spinning on a traditional Russian spindle also.
     I went on Etsy and totally fell in love with this beautiful spindle from this shop It comes from Denmark and is the traditional Orenburg style-more about it here This one has a totally different bottom than the one I have now-and no hook. I have been finding some excellent you tube videos that you can find on my spinning Pinterest board if interested.
   
   Now that I have a better understanding of the draw I think I will be better able to spin on my wheels-my winter project.

  I also am working on sewing up one of my hexie flowers, thought I would sew up the flowers I have ready to go first and then try out my new template for cutting up more strips.

I really do need to get some looms threaded too-and I will be natural dyeing real soon as my Japanese indigo plants are getting close to being harvested-so fun in the dye pot coming up.

   This morning I have been washing up lots of 1/2 pint canning jars so they will be ready for canning up a full batch of sweet gherkin pickles later this afternoon. I usually can these up in pint jars but decided I think we will like them better in the smaller jars. 
     Next batch will either be bread and butters or sweet dills. I have not made sweet dills before but I think we will like them better than just the plain dills. Any of you that can do you have a sweet dill recipe you love??

It is still super hot and humid here but that's an ozark summer for sure.

Have an awesome new week ahead! What have you all been up too?

    
A lazy Sunday this morning


Friday, July 24, 2015

Making Progress With my Navajo Spindle

I played with my Navajo spindle a little bit the other day and then after a long day yesterday-after supper I played some more.

I also watched my instructor Robin's video again and his explanation of the pinch and draw finally hit "home" like a light turned on and I got this finally. Don't ya just love it when that happens?

I had gotten the idea down of what I needed to do over the winter but when I went to my wheel was just having major problems again-so decided to go back to mastering my spindles first. At the class the girl next to me helped me by saying-you know I think your troubles are with your pinch and then the draw-that helped me to concentrate on that again. Which for me really needs to be mastered before I can go forward.

I got in my stone spinning bowl that I thought would work for both the Russian and my Navajo but it did not fit the Russian at all. Instead of returning it for a different one I decided to keep it for my Navajo-which really helped the process and I chose another one for my Russian-I love beautiful craft tools anyways 

This is the new one I ordered from the above link (the Dancing Goats Folk Studio) it should fit my Russian spindle perfectly as the indention is wider and not as pointy



      After learning how to use my drop spindle over the winter with the help of reading my books again, you tube videos, and friend Gene Black I had the basic concept of spinning but I am really enjoying the method of supported spindles better where you spin with the bottom tip of the spindle into a bowl. It also seems easier for me to master right now as well. Supported spindles need to be used with cotton so am happy I learned this method 

photos will enlarge just click on them-please excuse my dirty floor you can see I am too busy spinning to worry about vacuming lol






If you remember my past spinning attempts my yarn was quite thick: this is still thick and thin, but is not over twisted and much thinner. I spun up all of my hand carded rolags so now I need to work up some more. Which I have been watching you tube videos on hand carding too-as I was always doing it a little different-back in the late 70s and 80s there were no you tube videos-lol and I didn't have access to a teacher. 

I also wanted to mention that using the Navajo spindle is easier on my left arthritic hand as that one is not pinching but rather rolling the spindle off my knee area. Of course this can be done either left or right handed just check the video link. I am spinning up my Navajo churro wool and this is woven as singles.

Today starts another string of days with extreme heat indexes-like 110 degrees f sooo I need to get out there this morning and water my tomatoes in the big tubs and then work on stuff in the house-start the next batch of pickles-a full batch this time, catch up with laundry, and do some hand carding mixed in with sewing my hexie flowers together.

Happy Friday!!



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

No Photos but I Got Lots Done in the Garden

  I so needed to weed my sweet potato patch. When I went through the garden a few weeks ago I didn't get to this area so the weeds were thick and very tall.
   The compost I got in this year was sooooo full of weeds that is making things difficult for me to keep up with, even with the thick straw around my veggies.
    We were cool yesterday-and I was still washing some churro wool, and remembering how to hand card properly and today cool too so I just really needed to get out there.
  It took me all morning but no more weeds and the vines are all hilled with soil to produce more potatoes. I also finished laying out the rest of the straw I still had. When I finished we had a nice gardener's rain-so that worked out perfectly.
    I picked 8 pounds of the Japanese long cucumbers the exact amount I need for a batch of sweet pickles-I use a recipe that takes 4 days to make-and they are sooo delicious all the guys that come over love these. This is also the only cucumber I grow now-it stays crisp like you want pickles to be all through the growing stage-from small to a little too large. The are delicious fresh too with no burping or gas. I had to hunt and hunt this year to find the seeds again and I finally found them online from a small seed company in Missouri.
   I have a half a batch ready to can after supper tonight. I think I am going to be moving pretty slow tomorrow morning lol from all that bending over and weeding. Oh well I needed the exercise too.
   Happy Wednesday!!

Political Post

I rarely share anything political here, but for the last 8 years I can see that our country's values have changed, many of the young have been so influenced that they want their handout from the government instead of working for it and taking pride in their work. This is not everyone, I know, but reality shows this is the new majority. so sad to me.

I just found this and wanted to share it there are always different opinions so comments welcome






Please take a moment to digest this provocative article by a Jewish Rabbi from Teaneck , N.J. explaining why he believes Hillary will win the presidency in 2016. It is far and away the most succinct and thoughtful explanation of how our nation is changing.
The article appeared in The Israel National News, and is directed to Jewish readership. 70% of American Jews vote as Democrats. The Rabbi has some interesting comments in that regard.
Rabbi Steven Pruzansky is the spiritual leader of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, New Jersey
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"The most charitable way of explaining the election results of 2012 is that Americans voted for the status quo - for the incumbent President and for a divided Congress. They must enjoy gridlock, partisanship, incompetence, economic stagnation and avoidance of responsibility. And fewer people voted.

But as we awake from the nightmare, it is important to eschew the facile explanations for the Romney defeat that will prevail among the chattering classes. Romney did not lose because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy that devastated this area, nor did he lose because he ran a poor campaign, nor did he lose because the Republicans could have chosen better candidates, nor did he lose because Obama benefited from a slight uptick in the economy due to the business cycle.

Romney lost because he didn't get enough votes to win.
That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons. Romney lost because the conservative virtues - the traditional American virtues – of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness - no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate.

The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff.
Every businessman knows this; that is why the "loss leader" or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama's America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who - courtesy of Obama - receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentives looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.

The defining moment of the whole campaign was the revelation of the secretly-recorded video in which Romney acknowledged the difficulty of winning an election in which "47% of the people" start off against him because they pay no taxes and just receive money - "free stuff" - from the government.

Almost half of the population has no skin in the game - they don't care about high taxes, promoting business, or creating jobs, nor do they care that the money for their free stuff is being borrowed from their children and from the Chinese.

They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else's expense. In the end, that 47% leaves very little margin for error for any Republican, and does not bode well for the future.
It is impossible to imagine a conservative candidate winning against such overwhelming odds. People do vote their pocketbooks. In essence, the people vote for a Congress who will not raise their taxes, and for a President who will give them free stuff, never mind who has to pay for it.

That engenders the second reason why Romney lost: the inescapable conclusion that the electorate is ignorant anduninformed. Indeed, it does not pay to be an informed voter, because most other voters - the clear majority – are unintelligent and easily swayed by emotion and raw populism. That is the indelicate way of saying that too many people vote with their hearts and not their heads. That is why Obama did not have to produce a second term agenda, or even defend his first-term record. He needed only to portray Mitt Romney as a rapacious capitalist who throws elderly women over a cliff, when he is not just snatching away their cancer medication, while starving the poor and cutting taxes for the rich.

During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai Stevenson: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Stevenson called back: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!" Truer words were never spoken.

Obama could get away with saying that "Romney wants the rich to play by a different set of rules" - without ever defining what those different rules were; with saying that the "rich should pay their fair share" - without ever defining what a "fair share" is; with saying that Romney wants the poor, elderly and sick to "fend for themselves" - without even acknowledging that all these government programs are going bankrupt, their current insolvency only papered over by deficit spending.

Similarly, Obama (or his surrogates) could hint to blacks that a Romney victory would lead them back into chains and proclaim to women that their abortions and birth control would be taken away. He could appeal to Hispanics that Romney would have them all arrested and shipped to Mexico and unabashedly state that he will not enforce the current immigration laws. He could espouse the furtherance of the incestuous relationship between governments and unions - in which politicians ply the unions with public money, in exchange for which the unions provide the politicians with votes, in exchange for which the politicians provide more money and the unions provide more votes, etc., even though the money is gone.
Obama also knows that the electorate has changed - that whites will soon be a minority in America (they're already a minority in California) and that the new immigrants to the US are primarily from the Third World and do not share the traditional American values that attracted immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a different world, and a different America . Obama is part of that different America , knows it, and knows how to tap into it. That is why he won.

Obama also proved again that negative advertising works, invective sells, and harsh personal attacks succeed. That Romney never engaged in such diatribes points to his essential goodness as a person; his "negative ads" were simple facts, never personal abuse - facts about high unemployment, lower take-home pay, a loss of American power and prestige abroad, a lack of leadership, etc. As a politician, though, Romney failed because he did not embrace the devil's bargain of making unsustainable promises.

It turned out that it was not possible for Romney and Ryan - people of substance, depth and ideas - to compete with the shallow populism and platitudes of their opponents. Obama mastered the politics of envy – of class warfare - never reaching out to Americans as such but to individual groups, and cobbling together a winning majority from these minority groups. If an Obama could not be defeated - with his record and his vision of America , in which free stuff seduces voters - it is hard to envision any change in the future.

The road to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and to a European-socialist economy - those very economies that are collapsing today in Europe - is paved.

For Jews, mostly assimilated anyway and staunch Democrats, the results demonstrate again that liberalism is their Torah. Almost 70% voted for a president widely perceived by Israelis and most committed Jews as hostile to Israel . They voted to secure Obama's future at America 's expense and at Israel 's expense - in effect, preferring Obama to Netanyahu by a wide margin.

A dangerous time is ahead. Under present circumstances, it is inconceivable that the US will take any aggressive action against Iran and will more likely thwart any Israeli initiative. The US will preach the importance of negotiations up until the production of the first Iranian nuclear weapon - and then state that the world must learn to live with this new reality.

But this election should be a wake-up call to Jews. There is no permanent empire, nor is there an enduring haven for Jews anywhere in the exile. The American empire began to decline in 2007, and the deterioration has been exacerbated in the last five years. This election only hastens that decline.

Society is permeated with sloth, greed, envy and materialistic excess. It has lost its moorings and its moral foundations.. The takers outnumber the givers, and that will only increase in years to come.
The road to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and to a European-socialist economy - those very economies that are collapsing today in Europe - is paved.

The "Occupy" riots across this country in the last two years were mere dress rehearsals for what lies ahead - years of unrest sparked by the increasing discontent of the unsuccessful who want to seize the fruits and the bounty of the successful, and do not appreciate the slow pace of redistribution.

If this election proves one thing, it is that the Old America is gone. And, sad for the world, it is not coming back."

The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.
God Bless & Save America .....

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Photos of my Spindles

  Gene asked for photos of my Russian spindle so thought I would do a little blog post this morning to share.

  Here is a photo of my own navajo spindle which I bought back in the late '80s to go with all that navajo churro wool I had gotten as a gift back then. The cotton bag (old pillowcase) is what I washed up yesterday ready to card-make into rolags and spin




This is my Russian spindle (not traditional since it has a hook on top) and I really love it. The video by the instructor for the Russian spindle is here This can also be used as a drop spindle but once I get more practice and get better I do love using a spinning bowl better. I didn't purchase one at his booth cause most of the girls said they would just use an older dish they had at home-which he had suggested too-but I didn't find one that worked the same, so I ended up purchasing one of his stone dishes at his Etsy shop.
    Oh and some of the ladies were winding their spun yarn at the bottom area of the Russian spindle and I was doing it the way shown in the photo. He had mentioned in the class if you get too much in that bottom it will fall off and you will have a big mess of fine yarn going on to straighten out. I saw in his video that it was wound the way I have shown.


(photos will enlarge just click on them)

    Two years ago I had purchased some roving that I just loved. It was her sheep's and alpaca's wool that she sent to a mill to be processed and I loved it much better than commercial roving. The wool still had it's character and was easier for me to spin too. I found her booth again this year and found out she was an instructor too, and was selling bags of roving for around $2.50 an ounce so that's what the grey roving is-and it spun better for me than what was at the class.
   There were a couple ladies that were accomplished spinners on the spinning wheel and wanted to take the spindle class to learn that as well. They were making very fine yarn on the navajo spindle as well as the Russian spindle-so I was in awe at their ease of spinning-with practice practice I hope to get there too someday soon.
   If you enlarge the Russian spindle photo you can see that my spinning is actually much nicer than it has been on my drop spindle. I also learned from the class by watching others that my biggest thing to master is the pinching and drafting part as the twist gets into the roving where it is not suppose to be. lol
    Gene had asked me my instructors name and I think he mentioned it in the beginning but when I looked it up in the booklet we got- the class was under his wife's name instead-she teaches allot of spinning classes-which I may just take next year to help me with  my wheel. His presence online is The Dancing Goat Folk Studio.
    The instructor mentioned that at another event he was speaking on how to get a presence online without giving out your real name everywhere-more protectection from identify theft. I have done that as well especially on facebook where I don't give out my name but rather Kathy Inozarks instead. I also do not give out any information what so ever in my profile there. Online I mostly try not to give out exact details as to where I live etc.



    This morning I am going to wash up more navajo churro wool, do some laundry, and do some spinning. I cut a couple fingers somehow on some aluminum foil-especially my sewing finger-so that needs to heal first before more sewing hexies.

Oh and friend Barbara asked me about pain in my thumb area-yes spinning does bother that so have to remember not to over do it in one sitting. I am right handed and my left lower thumb area is giving me allot of troubles since last winter. I asked the doctor about it-arthritis and calcium build up. Asked if I should "baby" it-no way-make it work so that's what I am doing-but I am in the beginning stages of all this arthritis stuff.

Have an awesome day!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Loved my Spinning Class

  I really enjoyed my class, this was the first class I have taken since we first retired here back in '03. I believe it was the following year that I attended a weekend of classes at a quilt retreat about an hour from here. I had learned about punch needle felting, how to embroider around wool for applique work, and also a flower pounding class-which is really allot of fun-haven't done that in a few years now-the colors are not permanent but is still fun.
   These events can really be quite costly though and this was the first year I could afford to take a class. I discovered though that out of the full class of 11 students I was the only local person. Most travel quite a distance and spend friday through sunday afternoon especially if they are also vendors and instructors. Many sign up for classes all day saturday and sunday too.
    I did learn how to use my navajo spindle, I brought mine with and mine was the traditional with no hook on top. He called his navajo type spindle that he added a hook to- his southwestern spindle. It ended up that about half the class loved the navajo spindle and chose that one for their free spindle. Some took his traditional and some liked the hook better.
    We also learned on the Tibetan type and a Russian spindle which were both supported with a spinning dish opposed to using a drop spindle with no support. I really liked this method allot and for my free choice I chose the Russian spindle as it was designed to spin very fine yarns, or short yarns, and does well with bamboo and alpaca and I can use it for cotton too. He called these two his inspired by spindles as these did have a hook on top and the traditional ones did not.
     I also learned how to start spinning without a leader-I liked that-you just spin and then take that off use a weavers knot to tie it back on and there is your leader-that was just more "organic" than the way I learned with a piece of yarn tied on to the spindle.
    Our instructor is a "folk artist" and also raises sheep and took several classes at the Campbell folk art school and makes all his spindles, spinning dishes and other items. He also has several you tube videos that he said he made in place of a class handout-so those are good to go back to if I forget something lol here is a link  he  is also on etsy here  He makes beautiful tools and is always researching and bettering his line.
     The class was informative with the input of others, the top whorl spindle came up-and I said that was the spindle I first tried to learn on and just could not get it all those years ago. He looked at me and said he now considers the top whorl for intermediate or advanced spinners-it's that more difficult. He said he started out teaching that one and had about a 40% rate of success with his students but with these others he has an 80 to 100% success rate with students that grasp spinning with the spindle.
   At this event they had a table filled with vendors cards and event information. I found in a town I go to all the time for the resale shops a fiber event in October and is sponsored by a fiber artists guild. So will definately check it out. The guild meetings are further away so will see if anyone drives from my area.
     This morning I got out a bag of my navajo churro wool to wash up so I can card it and then see how I do spinning it on my navajo spindle-which is why I bought it at the time.
   Sorry no photos. I did bring my camera along and we were all having so much fun spinning that I totally forgot all about it.

   Other news, I have a long time blog friend that lives in California and I love her jewelry work. So I boxed up several beautiful beads and sea glass pieces for her to make me a couple bracelets with. She just messaged me over on facebook with photos-and I am sooooo excited-she will be making me 3 bracelets and each one is awesome and unique-can't wait now lol although I have told her no rush.

  That's it for my Monday, oh and I did finally get my template for my hexagons today and at first I didn't think it fit but when I turned it side ways and it fits perfect! so I now I am in business to cut out better hexagons-as I was worried with some of the ones I did already they just barely had enough fabric to turn over with that square shape.  I did start sewing a flower together with my silk-and I love the silk thread for sure.

Happy Monday!!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Brought Home New to Me Natural Dyestuffs

This weekend is Fiber U at the town down the highway a bit from me. They hold classes all day today and in the morning tomorrow. My class will be tomorrow morning.

Most of the vendors also teach, some do not but the vendor area is open to the public-always fun to browse through all the lovely handspun yarn and hand dyed yarns, and lots of roving for spinning available too. Some of the more unique vendors were not here this year-I missed seeing the European couple that sold all sizes of handmade crochet hooks and other items-I don't knit or crochet but I admired the beautiful workmanship.

I was disappointed that to me the prices seemed very high this year for the yarns and the rovings for spinning. I don't get out of the woods all that much, stay pretty isolated, but I do better shopping online at Etsy and even Ebay for roving, raw fleeces and spinning tools. The roving for the most part ran from $3.00 to $6.00 an ounce I thought that seemed pricey?? Some of the dyed roving I am saying to myself "I am a dyer and I can do better than this".

I did run into a booth that hand dyed beautiful pieces of wool fabrics for use in rug hooking, applique work, or other sewing crafts. She also was selling an excellent assortment of books on the subject and also natural dyestuffs-they were from Earth Hues which I am familiar with and love their items, the vendor had excellent prices compared to another vendor there. 
      So I came away with several natural dyes that I have not worked with before and am excited to try soon. I also have been in need of a small stick shuttle for my mini loom, and her husband just happened to make some-so was really happy with that purchase-it will be perfect-and the wood looks beautiful and feels even nicer.  (click to enlarge)


I am taking the class Spindles of the World where we will learn how to spin on three different spindles. I met him today so am excited for my class. I told him I was taking the class mostly to learn how to use my navajo spindle-which is one of the spindles he will be teaching. He asked me if I had brought it with and I said no-he told me to be sure and bring it tomorrow-so I loved that-learn on my own spindle.
       At the end of the class we will be able to choose one of the spindles to take home with us. He is also providing the roving for spinning too. I am really happy to be getting allot back for the fees of my class-learning and a spindle too. 
   There were a couple other classes I would have been interested in but they were allot more pricey, added a materials fee, and we also had to spend $20.00 per day for registration fees which I thought was a bit craziness. So if we took classes on saturday that would be $20.00 extra and then if we took another class on sunday had to pay another $20.00 I guess I watch my money too closely but that was too expensive to me on top of the class fee and most had a materials fee.

  Of course it is still super hot here with high heat indexes-they are saying rain moving in next week-which we could actually use a little of now-so I don't need to water my large tubs of tomatoes every morning for a few days lol

Happy weekend all

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Decided on a Different Brown for Color Path

  I got to thinking this morning that the fabrics I chose to go around the hexi flowers were too busy.

  Then I decided the Barbara Brackman fabrics are so high quality that the dark brown fabric I chose for the path just did not meet the same standards. (first photo)

    The jelly roll strips (using for flowers) are her Civil War Crossing collection, and the pretty lighter striped brown is her Metropolitan Fair collection.(am using that as the light to go around each flower) I did also have one yard cuts of the matching in chocolate brown and one other. The other was definately too busy for me.

   I am liking the second photo much better-what is your opinions? and I did locate a fabric shop on etsy that still has that luscious chocolate brown, so I am really thinking of going with that. The patterns are the same just two different shades, and both have stripes of two shades of browns so I think that will add interest to the quilt as well-

   I also spent most of the morning looking for this time period of reproduction shirtings or neutrals-but just did not find anything that would work. I did find one piece I really liked by Molly B at Hancock's of Paducah and on sale for $4.99 a real bargain for sure but I am liking that last photo the best so far

click to enlarge photos




I tried making waffle cones this afternoon and they were a failure-I used a gluten free recipe made with almond flour, coconut sugar, coconut oil but they would not stick together to make cones-or they were too brittle to roll into cones-they taste good so at least won't go to waste. I will explore another recipe soon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Stuck in the House do to the Extreme Heat Index

   Still needing to get up at daylight if I want to accomplish anything at all outdoors. It is 80 degrees f  by 7am along with heat indexes so I am not going to fret over weeds this week.

   However, I am enjoying getting my process down for my 1800's hexagons.
   I finished up today taking apart the 6 flower sets and redoing them the better way-not sewing through the papers. In this case much better not to follow the instructions that came with my papers lol

    I also started working up the next strip-which gives me 3 flower sets and then I choose three different fabrics for the centers. I should have enough fabrics so all the centers will be different except for that 4 flower focal point in the center of quilt. I had won this jelly roll of 2 1/2" strips several years ago-civil war reproduction fabrics by Barbara Brackman. I never realized how much fabric is in one of these-I will have strips left over after making up my 50 flowers.



These fabrics just make me feel happy and comfy-now I can really enjoy them more while sewing them up. Thanks again Karen for all your help and inspiration too

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sharing a Little on my Hexie's Adventures and Finally can Work in the Garden

     I want to share with you what I have learned so far. Around a year ago I made about 6 coasters with hexies to see if I would like making these. I went by the instructions that came with the papers on basting them together and as I started making these again now I remembered my really sore fingers from back then.

   Like anything especially quilting there are no rules but lots of different methods to accomplish the end goal. I was so glad I posted my last  post with questions, and Karen was like No don't sew through the papers-lol

  So I went back online especially on Pinterest to get ideas on how they sewed these. I need a simpler less painful way of basting as I have over 1000 little hexies to make for this quilt. and this needs to be fun.

  I found this link and at the end she has part 3 where she shows her ladder stitch-that's another discussion to whip stitch the edges together or to ladder stitch. I also ran into a site where she does neither but sews the two pieces together lying flat and no stitches at all show-I hope I remembered to pin and save that one.
         Going back to the link I shared, I really like her method and once I get the hang of it better this will go much faster for me, save my papers from holes and save me from sore fingers too. In the post she has her young daughter helping her to make lots of hexies so I surely can do this lol 
      I also discovered I needed to go back to a finer needle-much kinder on the fabric too. Now that I am only sewing through fabric I grabbed a straw needle.
   I am taking apart the 6 sets I already put together for practice.

   I also did some reading on using silk thread. I really want to use the silk for it's strength and cause it melts into the fabric. I found some videos on how to make a little knot up at the end of the needle to keep the thread from unthreading while sewing. Any of you that use the silk for your applique or hexies I would love any tips. Especially how to knot at the end of stitching.

  Oh and I wanted to share with you the layout for my quilt. I am not good with math at all so Karen designed the layout for me, and with instructions on how to sew it together-thanks again Karen. 
     I found some free down loadable hexie graph paper in a larger size so with her lay out I could see what I was doing lol  Her design made it perfect to add in a center focal point-as the original 1830's quilt had-but I changed it up to my liking. So I colored in my design on Karen's layout.
 click to enlarge.




   I am going to work with a light brown around the focal point and then a darker brown path in the rest of the quilt-haven't decided on the edges yet but a possiblity I had thought of was to use the light brown to fill in the edges and then still sew on borders.

  I did allot of weeding in the veggie garden early this morning. We have had soooo much rain here the last month especially that I couldn't get in the garden-of course some areas are totally over run with weeds. I need to continue to get up at daylight and work a few hours before it gets too hot by 10 am. 
      The cucumbers are starting to come on, I pretty much lost all my squash, all my onions rotted too-sigh. The sweet potatoes are starting to get their runners, and the pole beans and soybeans are finally blooming. I managed to weed a small area behind the fence where I planted trumpet vines along a fence and also planted japanese indigo, tansy, and yarrow. I lost allot of my indigo plants with all the rain but I have 3 plants growing well and one is large-excited about the dye prospects soon for that. That area is totally over run with weeds.
      I had one calendula resin-the strongest medicinal one come back from seed on it's own-I have been harvesting lots of flowers so far-the seeds I planted are coming along now too-they got too much rain as well.

   I am off to prepare some ribs for the grill soon Oh and I almost forgot to tell you, unless I mentioned it in my last post-I order a waffle cone maker and got it in the mail yesterday-I am quite excited to try it out-and I found a gluten free recipe that looks really good too she converted the recipe that came with the cone maker which I was going to work on

Happy Sunday!!

Friday, July 10, 2015

A Few Hexie Flowers Basted Up & a Couple Questions for You Hexie Quilters

  Happy Friday everyone!

     Allot of rain yesterday again so I decided to hand baste up some hexies. I had messed up and ordered the wrong template (but paper pieces is swapping it out for me at no charge) so reading their little how to paper that came with their papers they show taking the papers placing on the 2 1/2" strip-eye balling the top and bottom and cut off.
    This seems easier than cutting out the hexie after tracing around the template, but with this method I am getting one corner that just makes it being folded over-so after I make this next set of three will wait til the new template arrives next week and see how that works.

   I am really enjoying this so far, especially since I am so in love with these fabrics-I think that makes a huge difference, and these are high end fabrics in quality which always makes a big difference too in the process.

  Here are a couple photos-click to enlarge





I completed 3 sets yesterday of the one with the pink in the middle. I also won't do another flower with that complex of a pattern as it does not cut up well unless I were to fussy cut it and I really don't want to do that with these fabrics.

I can not hold the folds and baste without pinning first-just goes better for me. The pins are no fun so I got the idea to use a new box of paper clips I had and that works really well for me-don't get stuck on the pins-lol  I had thought of those cute little plastic clips I have seen around but I think those are just too costly now unless I can find a deal, and I like the paper clips cause they lie flat.

I do have a couple questions for those of you that have sewn up hexie quilts. I know this ends up being personal preference as I have read there is always many ways to do the same thing. 
      I have been sewing through the papers it seems more stable and I probably have too many stitches? Do you sew through the papers or no?

    Before sewing together do you steam press them first or not?

      I am going to sew these together with YIL silk threads- do you prefer whip stitch or the ladder stitch and why?

   This will be my first large project with hexies, how do I keep everything flat and not puckering up as I sew it all together-or is that even a concern with these hexies?

   As you baste up the flowers then do you start adding the light blocks around it or wait til the end? Seems like it could get boring sewing up all those lights-lol

   I am also a little intimidated to be cutting up yardage into 2 1/2" strips-how do you handle that much fabric??

thanks everyone-and have a great weekend

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fabrics for my Hexagon 1800's Quilt

    I started getting really excited last night when I realized I finally had decided to start working with  my 1800's fabrics. These fabrics just "speak" to me and make me happy. I think it goes with my love of natural dyeing, and that I really believe I have been born in the wrong time period-lol

    I had been collecting most of these fabrics when I found a sale about 5 or 6 years ago, and I had also won the jelly roll collection over on that bunny hop before then. I did purchase a collection of Barbara Brackman civil war era fabrics for another quilt recently but decided not to make that-and they will be perfect for this hexagon quilt instead.
     I  grabbed only the civil war era fabrics and kept the 1830's fabrics on the shelf-as I have an applique reproduction quilt I would like to make with those.

   I wasn't sure about the making of allot of hexagons for a queen size quilt project do to my age and arthritis in my hands now; but like anything else I do; just need to pace myself and switch up my crafts like I usually do. With the help and guidance of my friend Karen at Faeries and Fibres I am not worried about the math any more, and if I get stuck on something she is an awesome teacher and friend. Thanks again Karen for all your help so far.

  I can not visualize how much fabric I need-but I am sure there is plenty here and then some. I am going to start with the jelly roll 2 1/2" cuts first and then match what I have to that.
    I have a gorgeous chocolate brown that I have two cuts of cause I loved it so much and went back for more, and I have yardage of a lighter brown piece with two shades in stripes over the fabric by Barbara Brackman that I am thinking of using for the lights that go around the rosettes. I will need to test that out and see if I like it. I have never been into using just whites in my work.
    I just checked and the brown with 2 cuts is a yard each so may not have quite enough. I do have a deep chocolate brown that I really love by Sara Morgan but I only have one yard of that-possibly mix the two-not sure as the values are quite different  I will need to solve the chocolate brown soon-I see a shopping trip online soon lol

I took photos this morning of all my civil war era reproduction fabrics: click to enlarge





above not sure if I will use that piece on the right-does not really match in well with the other pieces although I could use as the center to some of those greens



  Thinking of using this piece above for the lights around rosettes, lovely piece of fabric printed in Japan this is a Brackman piece






and this piece above for the dark I have two cuts of one yard each and below I have a small yardage cut from Sarah Morgan that is a real deep chocolate brown that I like much better but don't know if I can find more as I bought it a couple years ago. Photo below 
   




and perfect-hubby just brought the mail in and my papers are here a day early-cool!!  I always wash my fabrics first but for this project I may not do that  Thoughts??

Still more rain and gloomy til tomorrow afternoon-then a steam bath hits with mid 90's we are never happy with our weather it seems lol


Update: I did find both of these chocolate browns online still available but much more costly now per yard. I decided to go with the first brown photo as it will blend in better with the light I chose. Also looking at this bottom photo and laying out the hexi for cutting-I would need to fussy cut to make it look nice-too wasteful to do that with this expensive fabric.   My math and thought process is bad sometimes, so  when I was auditioning my 1" hexie paper on to my jelly roll strips it just looked like a big waste of fabric being cut off-I forgot about the seams duh   lol  so the template for 1 1/8" hexies finished with a 3/8" seam on all sides is just too big for my 2 1/2" strips  so I am trying out something else-just snip off a piece of the strip with the paper in the center looking for seams and cutting across. With all the hexies I need to make will try out different methods-I am off to look at Karen's tutorials

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Getting Ready for Hexagon Making Soon

  I don't know about you all, but when it is rainy and gloomy for days, weeks, and yes months I just really have a difficult time getting myself motivated.

   We have had just enough sunny days thrown in the mix since March that I have managed to do allot of cleaning in the house-more needs to be done, and planted my small veggie garden in the spring kept up with most of the weeds too, but other than that have not finished threading my loom though it sits there waiting, or gotten into a quilt project on my list, or back to serious spinning. 

   My Mom's passing was in there too, but still it is not like me to not do something useful. I don't like to waste a day with nothing learned or accomplished. Today is really gloomy and in the 60's if you can believe that, and flooding around me this morning and lots and lots more rain coming in tonight, so I decided not a good day to travel to the resale shop til this weather clears out again. I really  need to do that too-I have a summer bag of clothes to drop off and I need to pick up a few things for me.

     I did dig out that embroidery block that needs finished up so I can complete the first Turning 20 quilt for us-so that's a little progress lol

  Today, I still wasn't in the mood to thread my loom, but I remembered I have a little basket ready to go for hexagons. I had won (years ago it seems) a jelly roll of one of Barbara Brackman's reproduction civil war fabric lines that will be perfect for what I want to make. But sigh the hexagon papers and templates I have on hand are not quite the right size. One is a bit too large and will cause problems in the sewing process, and the other size is a bit too small and will waste fabric. I am just not good at making up an accurate template although I know many of you hexie quilters do that, so I went online to Paper Pieces company and ordered an acrylic 1 1/8" inch template along with a small package of papers.

   I also found a package that I had of two sizes for the apple core template which I have always wanted to make. I didn't like the finished sizes on these either and these are designed for machine sewing, and I want to English paper piece instead. So I ordered that as well. 
     If anyone reading this would like the apple core templates message me-I paid $12.00 has not been used and it also comes with sewing instructions-I would welcome a trade or take $12.00 with free shipping.

  Along with my civil war reproduction fabrics I also have many pieces of 1830's reproduction fabrics which I can also mix in with the civil war hexies. I was looking online for an 1800's hexie quilt-and I fell in love with a quilt. I also have the perfect border fabric as well in my stash. See here  at Quiltville's blog post. I instantly fell in love with this quilt-depending how it goes I think I will make something smaller than a queen size quilt-perhaps the size shown would work out well on an oak coffee table I have in the living room.

   I also needed more YLI silk thread colors for piecing the hexies so I shopped for those too. I am now ready to start this project, hoping I get lucky and at least the hexie templates arrive by this Saturday.

   My hand spindle class at Fiber U is coming up soon too, not this weekend but the following weekend-I am anxious to learn how to spin with my navajo spindle. We are to learn on 3 different spindles in this class. This event has lots of vendors for shopping and inspiration too. I have lots and lots of wool ready to wash and card so I don't need anything but perhaps I will look for some roving ready to spin

What is your latest craft projects??

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Very Busy Week for us With Friends & I Need Some Little Crochet or Knitted Flowers

  After this past week of spending time with our friends from Pennsylvania, it occurred to me that we really need to get out and about more-lol Especially while we are still able.
   Hubby can no longer do allot of walking, and he gets tired easily too, and I really do enjoy just being home with my projects; and we have been quite poor since the economy crashed-what 5 years ago now? til just recently, so we just haven't gone anywhere. I really didn't miss it either, but I had forgotten what a gorgeous area we live in and near to us.

   Our friends stayed in a couple different hotels, one up near Bagnell Dam-Osage Beach in Missouri and then one nearer to us. We continued to have soooo much more rain, major flooding everywhere so that was a challenge as well. But hubby gave them little day trips to cool places near us. One day the guys did their adventures and us girls did ours. I made good dinners and I really enjoyed visiting with them and getting to know them. Hubby met Mr T through his online business and they call each other all the time-hubby also flew out to visit him last summer with his friend that has his own plane, so Mr and Mrs T just decided to take a vacation and visit us.

   We took them to sites at Bagnell Dam, Bennett Springs State Park, Ha Ha Tonka state park, toured the Bridal Cave in Camdenton and drove around to show them nearby historic places and beautiful views. We are set down in the woods and just a few miles down the road is the river so at our place you don't get the long range gorgeous views that are all around us. 

    I am not used to hiking and walking around, stooping in caves etc every day for a week so it all caught up with me this morning. Our friends left this morning to visit Branson, Mo for a couple days. I had thought of going with them to try out the zip line-but decided I wasn't up to it today-and I wasn't. They were also going to take in a couple shows-which I am not really in to.

  All this rain has just gotten to be too much, storms too have taken down trees and huge limbs. My garden is swimming in mud and getting over run with weeds-as are the bugs-so no fun being outdoors working in that. We are dry now for 3 days until the next round of rain and storms. a very unusual summer for this area for sure. Getting difficult for us to even keep up with everything, the grass never gets a chance to dry out when the next days of storms arrive. oh well can't fight mother nature as they say. 

    This weather has also given me no break from allergies-sigh as the mold etc continues to be high out there. I am hoping to get started back on the bathroom project soon, and also finally get back to some craft projects. Mrs T loved my silk blouse that I nature printed with leaves from our woods, so she wanted me to make her something similiar. We found a couple garments at the resale shop so I have dyeing on my mind too.

   Also I saw a video on adding in little crochet or knitted flowers to handspun yarn. I would love to try this out. Any of you that knit or crochet contact me if you would like to make me some and what you would charge me. I would like a dozen small flowers to start with. I prefer natural yarn-cotton, bamboo, wool etc no acrylics.

   It sure has been a treat to see the sun though the last two days.

Happy Sunday all

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