Monday, July 23, 2007

the weekend of loose ends

The great undoing
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
i am not a woman of UFOs. i am a woman of completion. but for almost ten years, i have had the mother of all UFOs heavy round my neck. here it is.

my doom - delightful frogs nestled in a bed of reeds and sunny yellow algae.

for reasons that no longer are clear to me, i decided to would be fun to handquilt this beast. i would do a stippled pattern in the border of my boggy paradise and outline individual frogs in a bright green to contrast on the underside. unfortunately, i had no appreciation at all for the gaping suck that is handquilting. one can easily spend days toiling away for a few square feet progress. until this last weekend, my goal was to complete this bast**d in time to be wrapped within for cremation.

this weekend, that all changed. after unboxing my new Singer, sewing Bear a new bed and rice bags for backs, shoulders and eyes, i screwed up my courage and attacked the UFO with seam ripper clenched tightly in hand. with Travy's help, it took less than six hours till the handquilting was no more than a bad dream. i'll need to baste the layers and then on to the wonder of machine quilting.

Shermie the sheepie
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
Wednesday i got my first lesson in spinning. my new colleague Linda sent me home with her spare wheel - an Ashford Traditional with lazy Kate - and rovings from her sheep Shermie. my first work was a mess, between basic muscle memory problems and accidental dislodgement of the Scotch tension. in addition, her wheel had last been used for demonstrations at a pioneer-type festival and the spools were clouded with bits of work from a number of spinners. i plied the spools off to make a clean start and am much happier with my results this weekend. its not particularly thin but it is much more consistent. between social engagements and other loose ends, i did not have nearly as much time as i would have liked to play, but i do feel i have a better understanding of the process.

Fatal alpaca
Originally uploaded by jacquichris
speaking of process, in excited anticipation of fleeces generously offered by Cathy, i have been busy learning about washing fleece. being a treehugging radical, i of course have a front loader so the logistics have been a titch complicated. Linda had given me a fleece from her alpaca Cy, which i carefully washed, spun with my washer* and teased out to dry. with all the kettles burbling and a 'wet dog' smell, it seemed a little reminiscient of Fatal Attraction.

*it has a drain and spin option so i can spin without agitation. :)

then, in the midst of all the burbling, what should arrive but a big box of fleecey fun! thank you SO MUCH, Cathy!!! i can't wait to get it clean.

finally, i did get a little knitting done on both the Britannia and the MS3. photos will have to wait for my next post. it is bedtime and then some!


Spinny Bunt said...

I can has quilt?
I now know what I must send you to perk you up. I shall assemble the parcel this week.
PS: I've got the last clue all done. nyahnyah : P

Cathy said...

Wow! I love the quilt. I'll look forward to seeing progress. I am also glad you have access to alpaca and other sheep. The more you play with the more you decide which you want to play with the most. AND!! Lovely spinning! You are doing great.

Denise said...

Cute quilt!

Your spinning looks wonderful. and tremendously better than my initial attempts. I knew you'd be a natural!

Mabel Ross is a great reference for technical spinning if you're interested (I think it would appeal to your detail-oriented and precise mind). Most of her stuff is unfortunately out of print but you can still get her spinning video/dvd from Victorian Video and one of her books is back in print (I found 2 books here:

The video is somewhat mis-titled as 'Advanced Spinning Techniques' but it's really a good basic primer.