Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Goodbye March!

The last assignment that I had for my class was to make something out of materials that were not fabric and then translate them into fabric.
I had a few ideas kicking around my head but nothing really concrete until I walked by the library where the librarian had just put out some packing material that had come with some new books.

The light went on, the wheels turned and this is where it ended up. Very "non-fabric"!
Now came the fun part. Translating it into something that was made of fabric. It only had to be loosely translated so that made things a lot easier.
It reminded me of a down filled vest, so that is where my idea started.
The original had the usual advertisement of the product and the warning labels that "this product is not a flotation device" and "keep out of reach of children". I decided after much deliberation that I wanted poems of some sort that spoke of winter and cold. A few google pages later I came across the haiku diaries and found the words that I would use. I asked for and received permission from Rachel and Jenna (haiku artists extraordinaire) the use of some of their winter haiku's. ( I don't know if the 's is correct or if haiku is one of those "plural and single all in one" kind of words, so I will just use haiku from now on)
I made a silk screen (even though the screen mesh is some frighteningly synthetic material and not at all silk) and exposed some of the haiku on it.
Here is a close up of one of the haiku.
And printed them on the organza. I debated what colour of organza to use and finally decided to use a tan colour. It reminded me a bit of dirty, melting snow.
Then cam the fun of assembling them. I tried a couple of different things but they did not turn out at all satisfactory. So out came the stitch ripped and out came the seams.
I decided to pair each haiku fabric piece with a plain piece and create pillows quite like the air filled pillows of the original vest.

I sewed up most of the seams, leaving only enough open to stuff the pillows.

With what did I stuff them? Feathers of course! These are lovely polka dot feathers that I found at the dollar store. Nature is truly amazing!

After all of the stuffing, I hand stitched the openings closed and then stitched together the corners. I then decided to make a couple of smaller pillows to act as the closure area.
And the final product! I am not completely happy with the end result. I like the idea, I like the haiku, I like the feathers. But the final construction leaves a bit to be desired. But there is only so many hours in the day and so much energy in my old bones, so I decided to leave it for now. I think that when I get it back from marking, I am going to pick the bottom apart and reassemble it to more resemble the original. I am also going to sew all of the adjoining seams. But seeing as all of that sewing will be hand sewing, I am going to wait until I have a little more spare time and things are not as hectic.

Thanks again to Jenna and Rachel for allowing me to use their words.

Oh, and the name of the vest is simple "March Vest" which brings us back to the title of this post...

Good bye March!
Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

Making it Random

The basketry class happens on Friday afternoon, which is not a normal work day for me. Friday is usually taken up with groceries, bill paying, errands of various sorts, and sometimes some weaving or cleaning around the house.

But a couple of weeks ago, I decided to sit in on the basketry class and learn random weave. It is basically the same technique that I used for my pollen balls, but I was unsure how to make a rim. Now I know.
My little basket reminds me of a bird nest. If I put it in a tree, do you think that anyone will take up residence this spring.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Barn Raising Fund Raiser

Yesterday, all day, from 8 am until midnight, there was a fund raiser to help pay part of the cost of the my parents barn.

There was a yard sale,

Elvis came to sing. And he was just one of countless bands that played starting at noon and going almost non-stop until midnight.
There was also a silent auction with many, many, many wonderful prizes.
Breakfast and lunch was served by the church ladies and both sold out. The church committee said that they had never had so many for breakfast before!
In the afternoon there was a barbecue that was also a huge success. Breakfast was $5 but both lunch and the barbecue were by donations and the generosity of people was amazing!
There was also a 50/50 draw, a draw on a $100 bill, and the ever present bake sale as well as a donation jar.

The organizing committee was spearheaded by my brothers friends and girlfriend. There are a couple of people that were camera shy that are missing from the picture (and Elvis was just in for the photo op). They worked so hard to get donations for the auction and the yard sale, they were there from early in the morning until I don't know how late last night. I was there from about 10:30 until 6:30 in a "I'll do what ever is needed" capacity. I might have stayed longer but Nicole came down with the chicken pox yesterday morning and I was wanting to see how she was doing and get a cuddle or two. Or three. Or four.

I have a huge thank you to give to all the hard work that everyone put in to this successful fund raiser. And thanks to all who came out and had a bite to eat (even if it was just a biscuit) and bid on something. Every little bit helps and there were sure a lot of bits given yesterday.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Great Balls of Pollen?

Back to the heat setting experiments....

You remember the heat setting that I was doing back in early February?
This was the piece of fabric after I had filled it full of nails. The poly organza was laid over each nail and a small rubber band was wrapped around it. I went through the entire jar of nails. "How many nails?", you may ask. Let's just say that some things are better to remain a mystery.
After binding the fabric, I put it under the heat setting machine. As I mentioned before, the heat setting machine is basically a heating coil and fan. The idea is that the heat slightly melts the polyester fabric and when it cools down, it stays in what ever shape it was bound.

In this case it was poky bits that looked like some close up photos of pollen. Which is what I was aiming for.
I made a form out of reed from a basketry class that I had taken a few years ago and stitched on the fabric
It was a bit of a challenge to cover the entire ball, but with some creative clipping and stitching, I was able to get full coverage. This little guy is probably about 8 inches high.

The problem was that with full coverage I was missing the detail of the beautiful basketry that was the base. So I made a larger one and covered it with the clippings and some of the leftover fabric. I think that this one is my favorite in the series.
Next came the other pollen type. The fabric for this was a silver poly organza that had been bound and scrunched on a piece of PVC pipe and steamed to set it. I read about steam setting synthetic fabric in a sewing magazine while I was looking for something completely different. Instead of using the heat set machine, can bind and then steam your fabric using a vegetable steamer. Let's face it, vegetable steamers are easier to get then a heat setting machine.

This one I had great difficulty with. I first tried to cover the entire ball with the fabric but it ended up looking a bit messy no matter which way I put the fabric on.

So I cut it off and made swirls which looked great when there was only one, but looked silly when the ball was full of them. So I trimmed them to make then narrower. But that didn't look any better.
So finally, I cut them off again and laid the narrower strips along the ball to sort of mimic the inspirational pollen photo.

And there you have it! Great balls of pollen. So far the response has been positive. Very positive. So positive in fact that several of my class mates have asked me to show them how to make the basket forms. It looks like there is a workshop in my future!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

leaf pillow

In it's natural environment.

This is the perfect bed reading pillow! It gives a lot of support and yet conforms to your body. I love it!

Progress of sorts

Remember my mid-life crisis? The pink dishcloth? For about a week, I knit diligently one repeat a night. Then I actually took a look at what I was knitting.

The thing was HUGE!

Click on the picture to make it slightly larger and you will see that it was 14 inches wide. You can also see that the picture was taken while it was on both needles.
My ball was shrinking rapidly. I figured that I would end up with a dishcloth that was 14 inches wide and about 6 inches long.
I, thinking about it now, probably could have switched to smaller needles and had a fine sized dishcloth. But no. I frogged and dropped a pattern repeat and now my slowly progressing dishcloth looks like this....

Much better.
Now I just need to sit down and knit the fool thing!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Barn Progress

Note: I had to remove certain pictures because of complaints from occupational health and safety.

Friday 6th march, 2009. All the strapping and bracing are up. Next is the steel roofing to go up hopefully on Tuesday if the weather is calm.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Another Article from The Local Paper

The New Brunswick farming community has once again pulled together for the Bourque family in Lincoln.

BARN RAISING: The Bourque family of Lincoln is getting a new barn the old-fashioned way by having friends and family take part in a barn raising to replace the barn that collapsed. Above, George Bourque, right, pries braces off roof trusses as he works along with volunteers Thursday.

The Bourques' barn collapsed in January, trapping about 70 cows and killing three. Farmers and community members spent more than five hours rescuing the animals.

Now the same group of volunteers - and dozens more - are helping the Bourques rebuild the massive barn.

"George and his family are just great people, so no one hesitated to help when they heard of the family's plight," said Mark Bennett, a Lincoln-area resident. "It's just incredible the number of people who have been to the farm helping out. They all have their own families and work to look after, but they're making time to get this family back on its feet."

George Bourque, a third-generation farmer, said he would have a hard time getting his family's dairy business back to normal without the assistance of the community.

The old barn wasn't insured, and the estimated loss was more than $100,000.

"Labour costs account for about 40-50 per cent of any big job, so it's a big relief to have these guys here to help out," Bourque said, as six men pounded nails into the new structure behind him.

"At this rate, we should have the barn ready for the cows in a couple weeks."

Donations, from as far away as Virginia, have been pouring in since their story was posted on an online blog.

A load of hay was sent to them from a farm in Ottawa, and the local church, the Lion's Club and the Knights of Columbus are planning a fundraiser.

"My grandfather helped people, my father helped people and I try to help people because that's what the farming community does," Bourque said. "What goes around comes around. We look after one another - it's part of how we make it in this business."

The structure of the new barn is in place and the rafters are up, but there's still a lot of work to do before it's finished.

Bourque said it's a massive undertaking because it has to be big enough to hold about 120 animals.

Until the construction is finished, the Bourque family's milking cows are staying in another barn on their farm. Their younger cows are being housed at a farm in Keswick.

"We were going to wait until the spring to rebuild, but it's important to get the cows back into a routine as soon as possible so their milk production doesn't drop," Bourque said.

"The current setup also adds about three hours onto our normal workload, so it's definitely going to be good to get things back to normal. We can't thank everyone enough for helping us get to that point."


From the local paper.....

Anyone who is in the area, please feel free to stop by and give your support.

St. Francis Assisi Church on Lincoln Road is hosting an all-day fundraiser for the Bourque family, whose barn collapsed in January.

The event, with the help of the Lincoln Lion's Club, will be held March 28.

Here's what to expect:

* Community breakfast from 8-10 a.m.

* Soup and sandwich lunch from 12-2 p.m.

* A barbecue from 4-6 p.m.

* A yard sale, silent auction, and bake sale from 1 - 6 p.m.

* Activities for children beginning at 1 p.m., including entertainment and face painting.

* A name-the-new-barn contest and a prize for the person who dresses most like a farmer.

* A 50-50 draw

* Musical entertainment from 6 p.m. until midnight, with a lineup that includes a member of the Downtown Blues Band, an Elvis impersonator and a local "barn band"

The breakfast is $5, but the rest of the activities are by donation only. All the events are open to the public.

Money raised will go towards supporting George, Julia and Vaughan Bourque rebuild their barn.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Friday, March 06, 2009

spinning the forest floor

When I was dyeing fleece last year, I had a few bags that I wanted to spin myself. Thankfully, I kept pretty good records of what I did and so I was able to reproduce it.

Here is "Forest Floor" in fleece.

The singles.
The yarn.
Colour: Forest Floor
Content: 100% merino
Weight: 6.8 oz
Yardage: 234 yards
Source: My own hand dyed fleece.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Barn Raising

Note: I had to remove certain pictures because of complaints from occupational health and safety.

I was unable to be at the barn raising, but Mamoo (photographer extraordinaire) sent pictures and gave the commentary. (Thanks Mamoo)

Last week, the wall frames were built.

This is the first rafter with closed end that was attached to the portion of the barn by the milking parlor. The part that was covered with clear plastic.
The second rafter being hoisted by the crane.
This is about the fifth rafter and the boys are getting the hang of it.
The sun is shining but it is cold and breezy up there.
Coming close to the end of the 177 feet building
The last rafter is being installed
More framing going up on the end of the building.

Hooray for those brave and valiant volunteer men working in the cold all day. They were partially rewarded by a turkey lunch put on by my parents church.
They were also rewarded by the knowledge that in the farming community, a helping hand is always there.

To bad more people couldn't be like farmers.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Day: Snow at times heavy becoming mixed with ice pellets in the afternoon. Snow and ice pellet amount 25 cm. Local blowing snow in the afternoon. Wind northeast 30 km/h gusting to 50. High minus 5.
Night: Ice pellets changing to periods of freezing rain in the evening then to a few flurries overnight. Local blowing snow in the evening. Wind northeast 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming northwest 30 gusting to 50 overnight. Temperature rising to zero in the evening then falling.

On a brighter note...Did I show you these?

Silk noil scarves