Unwinding and winding in Halifax

You can see the sign for DeSerres “the Creative Marketplace” reflected in the upper part of The Loop’s storefront.

A couple of weeks ago my job took me to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and since we were working the afternoon shift I had time to wander around downtown in the morning. It was fun to be out of my regular routine for a couple of days. (The work was fun too, but that’s not what this blog’s about.) Obviously my art angel was with me because I stumbled upon an art supply store and a yarn shop.  Of course I went into both.

I was very keen to make another cowl, so I focused my search on yarn. To ensure warmth, it had to have a high wool content. I also wanted the yarn to work on at least 4.5mm needles and not be self-patterning.

???????????????????????????????It didn’t take long for me to zero in on these teal and taupe skeins of Cascade 220 Heathers yarn. As I was making my purchase, the store clerk asked if I wanted to wind the yarn. At first I said no because I didn’t want to lose half an hour of my morning winding yarn, but I was told it would take only a few minutes. Now that was promising; so much better than sliding the untwisted skein onto a chair back and manually winding it into one massive ball.

In no time at all the clerk had me set up on the winding apparatus. On the left below, you can see where the full skein is loaded onto the “yarn swift”. It looks like an old-fashioned baby gate that’s been shaped into a circle. All I had to do was turn the crank on the ball winder. Boy that thing could fly. Three minutes later, ta-da! Not only did I have a tidy ball of yarn, but I could pull the yarn out through the centre hole.

Ball winder landscape b+ midtones

In my opinion, yarn in skeins is so inviting, whereas the finished ball doesn’t quite capture the imagination. This may be the perfect way to market yarn. Let the skeins do the seducing and offer a yarn swift and ball winder to take care of the drudgery. Maybe then I could be persuaded to make a whole sweater 🙂

Cascade wool before and after

Before and after. The skeins of yarn as sold by the shop (top), and the quickly wound, neat and functional balls I left the shop with (bottom).

Mail for my Valentine

DH and I don’t usually make a big deal of Valentine’s Day. Nonetheless, on February 14th each year we exchange memorable cards. I had decided to make the card myself this year, and having taken a class on fabric collage last Saturday I was inspired to make a quilted valentine’s postcard. This is an original design. 

Valentine postcard

Valentine postcard

First I ironed some white Kona cotton to Pellon fusible fleece. Using a variety of reds from my stash, I free-hand cut the hearts and fused them to the prepared fleece. Next, I machine quilted the hearts to ensure they held fast.

The hearts were fused, left, then machine quilted, right.
The hearts were fused, left, then machine quilted, right.

 But how to embellish them? I thought that making 5 identical hearts would be boring, so I made 2 different from the rest. A 0.8 Micron Pigma pen was used to write “Happy Valentine’s Day” on the front.

Steps 3+4

Red and clear beads were hand sewn on the bottom left heart to echo the shape, while the top-most heart has a series of clear beads stitched to make a solid heart at the centre. The remaining three hearts were outlined with a running stitch of 3 strands of embroidery floss.

Given how often I mess up the message on paper greeting cards, I wanted to be sure I got the message right before attaching it permanently. So I wrote my personal message on a piece of fabric to which I had fused some Steam a Seam Lite. Once I was happy with what it said and how it looked, I fused the solid piece of fabric to the back and machine stitched around all layers at the outer edge.

The red and white twine I luckily bought on spec a few months ago was glued on top of the machine stitching. No photos of the back, of course.

Another view of the finished card

Another view of the finished card

I’d have posted this earlier, but DH is my most loyal fan and I didn’t want to spill the beans. Hope you were in touch with someone you love this Valentine’s Day.