Monday, April 15, 2013

oooh, shiny

One of the things that spinning has given me in the past year is an appreciation for pretty wood and excellent craftsmanship.  I've always loved pretty things (who doesn't?) and have magpie/dragon tendencies to collect the shiny things and keep them around to stare at the pretty.  Back in January, I finally gave in and ordered a custom Golding spindle - a Scottish thistle inset on a purpleheart whorl.  I've seen several iterations of spindles made with that inset, but never one on purpleheart, and so I talked with the creator and he made one for me, even using a two-strand silver ring instead of a three-strand one to lower the weight to be closer to my ideal.  The spindle is incredibly beautiful, with chatoyance that I haven't seen on much purpleheart wood before, and it's a dream to spin with.  In the background of that photo you can see the tiny 2" featherweight spindle made of Karelian birch that I ordered at the same time.

I've also been considering a second spinning wheel, in particular a Hansen miniSpinner which is an electric spinning wheel designed to work on regular power, from a battery, or from a car cigarette lighter socket.  With a friend who loves hers, plus quite a lot of raves on their group on Ravelry, I went up to FibresWest in Cloverdale BC to try them out in person.  I liked them just as much as I thought (or feared to), and ordered mine while I was there.  I chose a purpleheart body with a WooleeWinder flyer/bobbin setup, with the bobbins and flyer done up in maple since they're not available in purpleheart.  I will definitely be traveling with this little critter, and I've even had it set up in my office on my desk so I can spin while playing WoW (during raid wipes or long flights, etc.).

And at long last, the quilt I've been waiting to make for quite some time now has been finished, gifted, and is now being used.  My best friend loves Dr Seuss, and so several years ago when the fabric line featuring his art and designs was released, I grabbed a fat quarter pack as well as flannel for the backing, knowing that one day she'd have a baby who'd need a quilt.  The pattern is quite simple, just a block with a "keyhole" on one side that is made up of just four pieces per block.  The fabric is quite busy on its own, and so I wanted to showcase large chunks of the designs while still having some pattern and play, so this idea worked out great.

I quilted this all in straight lines, using stitch-in-the-ditch along the blocks as well as simple diagonals across all of the blocks as well.  I did all of this freehand (but not free-motion) on my Janome MC6600P, using black/white variegated Superior brand thread on both top and bottom, which provided some depth to the stitching without being distracting.  This is probably my best quilting job yet, I'm quite proud of it.

I chose a black/white chevron fabric for the binding, which had the excellent effect of appearing to be a bias-cut diagonal stripe for most of if due to the small widths that I prefer to use.  I think it looks great against that eye-searing red/blue flannel background, and should be great for little infant eyes to focus upon!

Of course, I had a little helper when I was spending the better part of a week on the couch hand-stitching the binding...this is actually one of my favorite pictures of Curzon I think I've ever taken.  He was making sure there was extra love and naps put into every stitch!

And of course, the very-important label on the back.  My friend had not chosen to reveal the name of her son before he was born, so since I gave this to her at the baby shower, he got a generic nametag.  I thought about putting "Loki" on there, as that's what I had been calling him in place of his real name (he was due April 1, so I found that fitting), but decided in the end to go with the boring version.

And in closing, a most awesome picture that Chris took of Curzon and I at his first laser treatment a week ago.  He tweaked his back about a week and a half ago, probably from overenthusiastic (on my part) yoga ball work, and our teammate and veterinarian Nicole was happy to give him an adjustment, massage, and a red laser treatment to help him heal.  He's had 3 treatments so far with 2 more to go, and I think it's helped a lot - he certainly seems happy!

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