This morning I had a meeting with my lovely weaving study group. We have been together now almost two years I think, 9 of us. (8 women, 1 man). Every month or so we meet to discuss our current study topic, which usually involves some type of goal or project that we are to have completed. Honestly, I think know this group is the only reason that I get any weaving done at all. We decided when we started the group that we had to commit to it, to really make sure that we were getting the most out of it, both for ourselves and for the other members of the group. It has turned out to be an amazing group, and as we sat around this morning looking at the beautiful weaving spread across the table, we realized how much we have all grown. It’s definitely a good feeling.
However this month I came dangerously close to not finishing my project for the first time in two years. So close that I just might have started yesterday morning. Not started the weaving, oh no, starting the PLANNING. Whoops. The summer just seemed to get away from me. I did have a good idea though, and I was pretty sure I could crank it out in a day.
We have been studying crackle weave, which is a type of block weave (meaning in it’s simplest sense that there are squares or rectangles of pattern within the weaving). If you follow me on Instagram you know that I was posting lots of pictures as I went along.
I am sure most people don’t want all the details on the weaving (they are at the bottom for anyone who does) so here’s what I made with it!
It’s a fold over clutch! I have been seeing these around done in cotton fabric, but I figured, why not in wool?
It simply unfolds, no snaps or anything. I was using it today and it stays folded up well on it’s own.
The corners have a little vinyl detail (I need to find a place that I can buy scrap chunks of leather) and the zipper is a heavy brass style.
Inside it is lined with a linen blend. I like the insides of my bags to be light so you can see what is in them. Especially at an evening event where it is often low light.
The fabric itself has a chevron in it, which was acheived by block placement. The pattern colour (Bluegrass) stands out while the tabby colour (Aubergine) blends with the white.
I am super pleased with the results of this project, and relieved that I got it finished in time! I think I might still try to find a little leather or vinyl pull for the zipper. I know I will use it a lot this fall – I can see using in an outfit with a shorter dark dress and my tall boots. Aaaaah, boots.
Warp: 2 yards, 161 ends + 2 floating selvedges. Jaggerspun 3/8 Maineline wool in Snow.
Weft: Harrisville Designs Highland in Bluegrass and Aubergine
Pattern: Zig-zag crackle threading woven in overshot.
Thanks everyone for chiming in on the shawl knitting topic – I am glad to see that it is not just me that only feels like knitting shawls at the moment.
You might remember way back when, that I had set a goal for myself to make 6 quilts this year. Let’s just say that is not going well. I have managed to finish a couple, but they were gifts, that that wasn’t really what I wanted to do as part of the goal.
I made this one for my new nephew, out of some fun Cat in the Hat fabric that I had:
I did one of my favourite quilting patterns on this one; bubbles.
The back was a solid print, and the binding was a stripe – which I think completes the quilt well.
It seems to have been in use lots, so I am glad to see that. The second quilt was all plaids, and was for a family friend who is going through treatment for cancer.
This quilt was very reminiscent of the large plaid custom quilt I did last year. Again I used homespun fabrics, and I used a nice soft flannel on the back. For some reason the plaids just seemed to be right for this recipient.
I hear that it has also received lots of use, so once again that makes me happy.
What does not make me happy is that I am still not finished my double wedding ring quilt.
The top is completely finished and ready to be quilted. The back and batting is ready to be quilted. Heck, I even did a row of quilting on it!
Thaaaaaat’s when everything went to pot. You see I want to use invisible thread on the top, and a grey on the bottom. I thought everything was going along fine as the machine ran, but when I took a better look at the end of the row it was skipping big sections of stitches. Which meant I got to spend ~6 hour tearing out each and every one of these quilting stitches. Gaaaaaaah.
I posted on some of the online Statler Stitcher groups and I have a couple of suggestions for things that I can try to make it work. But I just can quite bring myself to try it again. Obviously this time I will try things out on a muslin first, but what am I going to do if I can’t get it to work? I really want the invisible thread on the top because I don’t want the quilting to take over the fun colours in the rings. And I really want to do this all over pattern, rather than one that is just in the centre of the rings.
I am going to try to forge ahead with it one day next week. So everyone cross your collective fingers and hold your breath for me, ok? If I could just get this one done I could get working on the other 12 million quilts that are floating around in my brain.
I have to say that my knitting has slowed down significantly this summer. I have just had so many sewing/weaving/cross stitch/house projects on the go that it has just been put on the back burner a bit. But with the cooler weather starting to show it’s face, with lovely evenings and cool damp mornings, I am getting ready to pick up my needles again. It had been a while since I had updated my Knits page, but that is all done now. I do keep my Ravelry page pretty well up to date, but for some reason I often forget to post on the blog.
While I have been slower on the knitting, I did get bit by the shawl bug this summer. The first one I completed was a Travelling Woman shawl.
It’s done in my first ball of Madelinetosh yarn (sock), in the seawash colourway. It is quite wearable and saw some use earlier in the summer. Before it was 8 million degrees every. day.
I found the perfect pair of earrings to match, which was a bonus.
The other shawl I finished was a basic Sunlight Shawl out of my first ball of Socks that Rock (gifted to me by a lovely friend). This one didn’t stay in my possession though, it went off to my bff missbedora.
The colour just reminded me of her the whole time I was knitting it. And I thought she could use some sunlight (even though the colour is the total opposite of sunlight).
The last shawl is one that is currently in progress – Piper’s Journey. It was supposed to be a Ravellenic Games entry, but with traveling most of the 16 days the games were on I didn’t get it finished. But I am ready to pick it up again, and it shouldn’t take long to finish. It’s good to use up some long marinating stash on this one – and of course 100% silk is pretty nice to work with.
So that’s where I am in the knitting front. Has anyone else been doing shawls this summer? Or one particular type of project?
Hey, ho there! I blogged! Can you believe it? I could give a big long explanation about how busy I have been, but you are all there with me so I will skip that and just say I am happy to be writing again. And I’ve had an idea! One thing that I really love to do is organize. I have talked about it here and there on the blog, but I think I am going to make it a regular feature: Organize Me! Once every couple of weeks, I will either post some organizational ideas I have had or used, or discuss something I have seen in the vast knowledge base that is Pinterest/Instagram/Blogs/etc etc. What do you think? Would anyone find that useful? Or at the least, interesting?
I thought I could start by showing you how I keep my fabric organized. This is no small job, as there is A LOT of it. As a casual sewist there was lots, but now that I am sewing for my business it has grown exponentially. It got really out of hand a couple of weeks ago, so I took some shots as I worked to get it cleaned up so that you could see what I do to keep things in check. So lets start from the largest pieces and move down to the smallest, yes?
Anything full yardage that is over 2 yards in length goes on bolts. Most of the time your local fabric store will have a surplus of cardboard bolts that they will give to you if you ask nicely. You are usually saving them from throwing them away or recycling them. If that isn’t an option for you, you can cut down a large cardboard box and make you own!
Cut your cardboard down to 7.5″ x 47″.
Make 4 little creases in the cardboard with a pencil or stick, tearing through one side of the cardboard but not all the way through at 11″, 12″, 35″ and 36″.
Fold over the cardboard at these two spots and tape the layers together. Tada! Bolt!
(You might wonder why you wouldn’t just use a flat piece of cardboard. I find that the fabric doesn’t crease as much if it is on a bolt with some “depth” rather than just being folded flat around a cardboard chunk.)
Once you have your bolts, place your fabric on a table with the fold to the top and the selvedges to the bottom. Tape the left end of the fabric (I use masking tape) to the bolt and roll away! The reason you do it in this order, (fold to the top, roll from the left) is that when it is unrolled off the bolt, you can line up the fold with the bottom of your cutting mat. Just trust me, it works. I like to fold over the end at a 45 degree angle and pin.
I use a numbering system to keep track of my in stock fabrics, but that isn’t necessary if you don’t have a reason to do it.
For fabric that I still have over a half a yard of, but less than 2 yards, I like to store these flat. You can use cardstock for this job, but it is a little wide (and could be non-acid free, which could affect your fabric). I like to use comic book cards, which are 6.75″ x 10.5″. You can buy these in huge packages from your local comic book store pretty inexpensively. (I think my pack of more than I will ever use in my lifetime was $9). Again, I tape the end of the fabric to the cardboard and then roll away.
I don’t bother pinning for this size, as I haven’t found it necessary, but you might want to if you intend on storing them for quite a while. Once rolled up you can place them upright like a book or stack them flat.
For fat quarters (which I actually do not have a large number of) I like to fold them like this:
Two long sides into the center:
Then in half:
Then the two ends into the center:
Then in half.
There are so many different ways to fold fat quarters, but this one is my favourite. Once folded you can store them on a shelf stacked by colour, in shoebox sized plastic bins, or like you will see below, in a CD case!
Scraps and Smaller Pieces
Two main ways to organize scraps are by size and by colour. I actually do both. As I am working I put all my offcuts in a basket for later sorting. Then once I am finished, I pull out any pieces that can be used for shop pieces and sort them into small labeled bins (you will see those below). Then all the little pieces get organized by colour. I love this part!
I love using shoebox sized bins for this because I know when I outgrow a bin it is time to either use, sell it, or give it away.
One other thing that I have to store is colour cards and coupons. I keep these neat and tidy with my shorter pieces that are on the comic book cards.
I thought you deserved a before and after of the studio during this process. Here is the scary before pic:
You can see on the back wall on the right that I was using a hutch for books, and my fabrics are supposed to be in the bookshelf on the left. Supposed to be. I had long outgrown it.
I took a trip to Ikea and I picked up one Billy bookcase ($59.99) plus a CD case to match ($39.99). I set them up and voila! Loaded to the hilt with fabric!
The top shelf has my larger cut out pieces (boxes are from Target):
The second and fourth shelf have my bolts of fabric, and the third shelf has my comic book card fabrics (along with my colour cards and some extra voile that I had and didn’t want to put on a bolt).
On the left is my CD case holding all of my fat quarters. See? They fit perfectly!
From top to bottom: Solids, Flea Market Fancy, special pieces, vintage sheets.
The remainder sorted by colour (there are also some odd shaped pieces in here with the fat quarters), as well as my Cat in the Hat and Civil War repro fabrics.
This little corner of my studio just makes me feel happy now!
And here is the same shot from above, but clean!
Hopefully that gives everyone some ideas on how to sort out your fabric, regardless of what level of organization you have now. Does anyone else have any good fabric org ideas or tips? Leave them in the comments!