Monday, April 26, 2010

Earth Day creations with natural fibers

Members of my fiber arts guild, the Riverbend Fiber Arts Guild, and I met up with the Recycle Right Raccoon at an Earth Day Celebration on April 22. The celebration was sponsored by and held at Memorial Hospital here in Chattanooga, and we participated in the event by conducting demonstrations on spinning, weaving, knitting and quilting.

A spinning wheel, inkle loom, and sewing machine were set up and in operation. Examples of alpaca fibers, hand spun yarn, various inkle woven straps and belts, knitted pieces in wool and wool blends, and free-motion machine quilted quilts made of 100% cotton fabrics and batting were also on display. 
Hospital employees and visitors stopped by our table and inquired with interest. They shared their personal experiences with knitting, crochet, quilting and other needle arts or reminisced about watching family members—mothers, grandmothers, and aunts—doing needlecrafts. Several people were quite intrigued with seeing present-day applications of time-honored crafts and how both manual processes (such as hand spinning and hand weaving) and machine processes (like free-motion machine quilting) are used to create contemporary pieces.
Earth Day or any day is a good day to create something with materials from nature. So dust off your needles and hooks, pull out your wheel, loom or sewing machine and start creating!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Go Green with Fiber Arts

On Thursday, April 22, I'll be with fellow members of the Riverbend Fiber Arts Guild to celebrate Earth Day 2010 at the Memorial Hospital Earth Day Celebration. We'll be giving demonstrations on spinning, weaving and free-motion machine quilting from 11 am. to 1 pm. in the community rooms at Memorial Hospital's main campus, 2525 de Sales Avenue, Chattanooga, TN.
Other companies, organizations and hospital employees will also be showcasing ecological, recycling and environmentally-friendly items and projects at the celebration. The event is open to the public. Go green with Fiber Arts!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Great Cuddle Quilt Quest

My local quilt guild, the Choo Choo Quilters (Chattanooga, TN),  supports the community by making small quilts—what we call "Cuddle Quilts"—for children at the Children's Home/Chambliss Center. This year, the guild has created an initiative called the Great Cuddle Quilt Quest to promote this guild community service project and increase our quilt donations to the Chambliss Center. Here's the plan...

For the next several months, a quilt block and color family will be presented at the monthly guild meeting. Anyone wishing to participate can make one or more blocks which they will bring to the following meeting. The blocks are collected and sorted into groups of six. Each 6-block-set will make one Cuddle Quilt. Guild members can then take the block-sets home to add sashing and borders to make a quilt top. Tops are collected at the next meeting for other members to quilt, and then bind. Members can choose to do one or multiple steps in the quiltmaking process. Points (chances to win in a drawing at the end of the Quest) are awarded for making blocks, tops, quilting and binding.

This is a great opportunity to dig into the fabric stash or scrap box (we all have one) and make a quilt or two... or five... for a great cause. Everyone can participate by choosing the step or steps they most enjoy (piecing, sewing the top, quilting, binding). The first block pattern issued is a 9-patch. The block size is 12-inch (finished) using primary colors (red, blue, or yellow). Let the Quest begin!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

One Million Pillowcase Challenge

One of my quilting friends organized a Pillowcase Sew-in in support of American Patchwork and Quilting's 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge. With about 10 people cutting, sewing and pressing, 53 pillowcases were completed in an afternoon. Some sewers even took additional pre-cut pieces for homework. Two local charities in Chattanooga will receive the pillowcases.
The pillowcases were fun and easy to make. Free patterns can be found at Take the challenge!

Friday, April 2, 2010

House-warming quick knits

A friend of ours moved into his new home in our neighborhood this last weekend. After I got a peak at the color scheme of his kitchen, I was able to knit up some quick dish cloths in a 100% cotton yarn (i.e. Lily's Sugar 'N' Cream). It's fun to whip up a project "a la instant  gratification."

These are easy, fast knits: seed stitch (k1, p1 over an odd number of stitches), basket weave (k5, p5, k5, p5, k5), and garter stitch (knit all rows). Cast on 30-35 sts. with size 7 needle. Garter stitch was used on the row ends to prevent any curling and some cloths were trimmed with a row or two of single crochet in a contrasting color (an easy way to introduce an accent color).

I've made several of these dishcloths with left-over bits of cotton yarn for my own kitchen. They seem to last longer than the traditional kitchen cloths and are machine washable. You can coordinate yarn color with your kithen's color scheme and there's something comforting about doing the dishes by hand with a hand-knit dish cloth.
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