Great Finds!

The Minnesota Textile Center is a favorite place for enthusiasts of all things fiber.  They have several galleries, an amazing library, a shop, a dye lab that can be rented by members, classroom and lecture space. In addition, the Minnesota Handweavers have a large space filled with rooms and weaving equipment. When I hit Minneapolis and St Paul it is always a stop and a place I like to support.  Every spring they have the Textile Garage Sale which is a great place to pick up used equipment, fabric, yarn, thread, patterns and books. There is also a silent auction for larger pieces of equipment (looms, knitting machines, sewing machines, etc)  This year I am happy to say I won the bid for a serger.  I'm still learning how to use and it's been more fun than frustrating.

Vintage textiles were also in my shopping basket.  There is a great pin on Pinterest for some brooches of old embroideries so I will give that a go.  The needlepoint was to be remade into a new pillow but it needs a lot of TLC.  After removing the old rotted backing I gently washed it and blocked it.  The more I worked with it the more problems I was finding.  It was made with two colors of yarn, one wool, one acrylic, there are lots of missing stitches and it is wonky.  The pillow idea has gone by the wayside and smaller pillows or pincushions are more likely.  If you have any ideas for what this might become I welcome them!

Please forgive the upside down orientation of this image...computer glitch that I cant seem to fix.



Yarn for Aranami Shawl
For the third year in a row my sister-in-law and I have gone to the Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop and the Textile Center's Garage Sale.  It is our fiber filled rite of spring.  The Yarn Shop Hop features 17 yarn shops in and around Minneapolis and St Paul. Not only is it a great way for friends to get together and explore the yarn shops, it is also a fundraiser for local food banks.  This year $37,500 dollars were raised - yahoo!  
Future Socks and Scarf
Each shop provides a free pattern (of which many can be found in their Ravelry stores) and special yarns to go with the pattern.  This year I found some beautiful yarn for a shawl called Aranami (find the pattern here), some socks and the scarf below.  The scarf was super-simple, easy-peasy and the pattern is free.  I used Schoppel Ambiente a self striping yarn - a bit heavier than sock yarn but any yarn will do.  The trick is to use the size needle the yarn calls for and not what the pattern suggests.  Here is a link to the pattern.  If you try out the scarf I'd love to see a photo! Next time - the highlights of the Textile Center's Garage Sale!
Not a Celebrity Scarf


Sew Mama Sew Softie Contest

Unfortunately I did not escape this winter's round of horrible viruses. My activities for the last week and a half have mostly been blowing my nose, sucking on cough drops and napping. I'm happy to report I'm nearing the end of all of that but alas, not much to report on. While I was sick, I was still checking my e-mail on my tablet and I kept seeing great posts from Sew Mama Sew (one of my favorite places). They are sponsoring a softie contest with some amazing prizes. In addition to the contest you will find posts by designers, some free patterns and tutorials, and lots of fun. Go here to check out what they have going on. While you are there notice their background full of pins and needles.  It's darling!


Circles in the Squares

Circles in the Squares
Circles in the Squares is now complete!  The last time you saw this the circles had been stitched down and shortly after that I added some detail hand embroidery work which gives some movement to the piece.  
Embroidery detail

This is the first time I had tried doing the quilting on the small blocks before putting it all together.  I am quite pleased with it, especially the part about not having to manhandle a large, heavy pile of fabric through the sewing machine.  It is a bold statement piece but it is only 25 inches square so it would fit perfectly on a small wall, perhaps an entryway. Now I get to decide what my next piece will be....
Circles in the Squares detail


Reubens Tapestry Series

Detail Triumph of the Eucharist Series
While in art school I wrote a paper on the influence of Italian Renaissance painters, particularly Raphael and Peter Paul Reubens, on Flemish tapestry weavers.  In a nutshell, the painters guild lobbied to have all tapestry cartoons designed by painters.  The style of tapestries went from colorful lively hangings with jumbles of figures and small floral bands to powerful figures and designs that could be woven and interchanged.  This change  lessened the power of the weavers and changed tapestry weaving forever.  I had only seen images of these weavings in books but while we were in Florida a visit to the Ringling Museum of Art gave me a great surprise.
Detail Triumph of the Eucharist Series
Upon entering was a 14 foot tall tapestry designed by Reubens from the Triumph of the Eucharist Series which had been commissioned by the Infanta Isabella Claire Eugenia of Spain.  While not one of the original twenty tapestries (which hang in the Convent of Descales Reales in Madrid) this tapestry was made from the original Reubens cartoon   To see the delicate threads and perfect color changes up close and personal was a highlight of my trip.  In addition to the tapestry the cartoons of four of the tapestries from the series were also on display.  If you would like to read a bit more about the history of these works in the museum go here.
Tapestry from Triumph of the Eucharist Series
If you find yourself in Sarasota, Florida you will not be disappointed by the Ringling Art Museum.



When I return from vacation and look at the photos I've taken they are usually filled with close up shots of foliage and textures.  Our recent trip to Florida was no different.  Close ups are so compelling and offer inspiration for textiles.  Textiles are informed so much by texture, no wonder my camera is filled with these. When you travel what  inspires you?

Bombax tree with enormous red flowers and interesting flower pods that resemble nuts.

Colorful Berries

Swirls in the trunk of a felled Banyan tree


And the Winner Is...

Posting has taken a bit of a backseat while my sweetie and I were driving from the horrible cold and snow of the upper midwest to Florida.  Today was the first day we sat on the beach.  To say it was wonderful to feel the breezes and sun on my skin is an understatement!

Also today is the day to announce who won the pincushion prize from the Grow Your Blog party!  And the winner is Threadpainter's Art.  Congratulations!