Saturday, December 29, 2007

TA-DA!







It is finally finished. In my opinion, it turned out pretty good. As you can see, I applied the more is more principle to completing this jacket. In addition to the needlefelting, I did some simple embroidery touches and then lined and edged it. There are two more of these felt jackets in the works which are each very different from this one. Will post when complete.

The LAF Guild is offering a 5 month felting course (wet felting) and I am going to participate in this so there will be more techniques to add to what I am already exploring. That should be a lot of fun and very interesting. Una Walker is facilitating the group and she does some amazing work.

TNNA is almost here and I still have a few projects to finish up. I am actually getting kind of excited about the whole thing. I'll be in the Ozark Handspun booth on Friday and Saturday, so if you are coming to the show, stop in and say hello. I am sure you will fall in love with their yarns and other products. I know I have.

New Year's is just a few days away and that means Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game. That translates into a lot of excitement in Pasadena and all around Southern California. In my younger days, my family lived a few blocks from Colorado Blvd. The whole neighborhood set up chairs on the street and we took turns watching our spot during the night. The thing I remember so well is the beauty and perfume of the flowers and my father with tears in his eyes as the Marine Corps Band passed by. It was unforgettable. Now, I watch on television warm and cozy with a cup of hot coffee. So Happy and prosperous New Year to all of you!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Miters, modules and squares, oh my!





With deadlines looming and the holidays eating up time like Godzilla devouring Toyko, keeping focused on anything has been a challenge. However, my yarn experiments continue with varying results. Lately, I have been looking for a variety of DK weight yarns for intarsia work. I want to stick to natural fibers unless of course a color is to die for! So far, I have found some lovely Rowan colors with tweedy effects and am searching for more possibilities. I did discover that some of the Noro Silk Garden Lite will work and it certainly adds something wonderful to the mix. I find that I like the yarns with undertones of other colors as it really makes intarsia work come alive. So far, this has been an interesting learning process.

There has been some progress made on the new modular purse design as you can see. Not sure yet how I want to finish this off but I want to use a set of nice leather handles after lining. Also, am debating whether to leave the jagged edge on the bottom or fill in with triangles. We'll see how it looks when I get to that point. Also, I have posted a modular square swatch using a variety of yarns in mostly greens and rather like how it turned out.

Hope you all have been having a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to an exciting New Year.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Intarsia mania is growing




Do you think there might be a 12-step program out there for intarsia addiction? This technique has really got me enthralled. Of course, adding three Kaffe Fassett books to my library probably has something to do with it. They are truly inspirational. Some of the projects contained in them are absolutely astounding! One of the things that I am learning from making these samples is chosing colors with enough contrast is crucial for some things and will take a little time to work that out on my own. Going from DK weight yarns and small needles to using Ozark and larger needles keeps thing interesting as well. I also located an English translation of one of Horst Schulz' books and am waiting for it to arrive. Even though intarsia is fascinating, my love of modular knitting still remains.

TNNA Long Beach is almost upon us and I have been working feverishly to complete a host of new samples for Ozark Handspun as well as write patterns that will be available on their web site in mid-January. It seems like my brain is buzzing with new ideas and I feel really motivated to make things! So keep your eyes peeled, there will be more photos to follow as the yarn adventures continue.

Oh, I also included a photo of one of the new Ozark designs (haven't finished the pattern yet though.) Hope you like it. It is a very quick knit and the new yarns are so soft as Dave is incorporating more gorgeous New Zealand mohair and Romney cross wool into them. Just wonderful to work with and feels nice next to the skin.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Project updates














Time is passing so quickly, finally all Christmas knitting and gift wrapping is complete and only Christmas cards remain. I feel pretty good about that and not my usual wild-eyed and confused holiday self who is trying to juggle too many things at one time.

Okay, here is a project update. Needlefelting jacket is coming along well, apple peel sweater is done (will post photo) and the Adobe Brick vest is almost complete (just the edging and buttons to go.) Additionally, I have added some books to my knitting library including three Kaffe Fassett books and Koigu's From a Painters Palette. Modular knitting continues to fascinate me and I have also been knitting more swatches of intarsia work. It is really interesting how quickly it becomes second nature to carry along a bizillion colors without losing one's mind (h-m-m, maybe it is because I have already lost my mind) and I am enjoying the results and the process. This is definitely an intriguing area of knitting and worth exploring further.

In January, will be teaching some mitered modular knitting workshops and have designed a new purse pattern using this technique and I must say it looks pretty nice so I hope students will like it too. Next year promises to be full of exciting new events and challenges and I am looking forward to it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Pirtle spinning wheel & new projects





Over the past few days, I have been trying some new things. I acquired the Kaffe Fassett Pattern Library book and have been experimenting with learning how to do intarsia work. The intricacy of his design concepts really appeal to my love of color and design. I can see that it will take some experimenting to get the color contrasting and blending together in this knitting medium but in the long run it should be very rewarding. Nothing like swatching to be able to play with technique without a big commitment. Additionally, I have started another vest using the modular techniques I love so well. This one should go together really fast.

Finally, I have taken some photos of a Pirtle spinning wheel so that people can see what they look like. This wheel was built by Paul and Beverly Pirtle(who lived in Huntington Beach, CA in the 1970s.) They only built about 200 wheels and contrary to internet lore the wheel was not built in a hippie commune but in their garage studio. The beauty of this wheel is the fact that it has no hooks and also has a one inch orifice as well as huge bobbins which will hold up to 2.2 lbs of spun yarn. They made two flyers (one high speed for fine spinning and a bulk flyer for really chunky spinning.) In my opinion, they were way ahead of their time in the design of this wheel. Unfortunately, they no longer make wheels and have retired from the spinning and weaving marketplace. In light of all the current art yarn and novelty yarn spinning going on, this is an ideal wheel for the making of these kinds of yarns. I also have their original paperwork including use instructions and catalog on this wheel. So, if you have a wheel and want more info, contact me.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Needlefelting jacket progress




This project really intrigues me. The idea of "painting" with Ozark Handspun on clothing seems to be having a pretty interesting outcome. This jacket started out using a hand-dyed alpaca batting (needlefelted on a scrim.) It was then cut and shaped into a jacket. Next, using a single felting needle, I sort of "sketched" using handspun and pulled out tufts to create the flowers. Then, when pleased with layout, I used a needlefelting machine to secure everything. I still need to line the jacket and do the finishing touches on the edges but I think this is coming along nicely. The whole idea of the possibilities sends my imagination soaring. I really want to experiment more with this whole thing.

Today, I sent off the descriptions and photos to Ozark Handspun for the TNNA fashion show in Long Beach, CA in January 2008. Also, will be in their booth during the show and there will lots of examples of what I've done using their yarns. If you are at the show, stop and check us out.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Conceptual Design sweater finished




Well at last, the Conceptual Design sweater is completed. This is a pattern from the Dazzling Knits book by Patricia Werner. This was an interesting knit and involved a bit of thinking as I decided the order in which to knit the modular pieces together. Also, this can be sized up or down by adding or eliminating modules and certainly has many possibilites for other things such as pillows, afghans, scarves, etc. So, I am proud of myself for finishing it but not completely sure I like the color combo in these photos. I might do another project using this technique but change things up a bit. The apple peel sweater is nearly complete too and will post when done.

We finally had rain two days ago and the weather has been crisp and clear. Today, I made a big pot of homemade soup brimming with tomatoes, carrots, celery, corn, green beans, onions, garlic and some leftover beef. There is nothing like it on a chilly day and needless to say the husband is a happy camper! Hopefully, this will get me off the hook from cooking for a couple of days. All I need to do is make him a chocolate cake and I will be able to knit uninterrupted for at least a few days.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I think I'll live!





Over the past week, I have been laid low by what seems like the flu. Wouldn't you know, I get my flu shot and then contract the one flu virus not covered by the vaccine. Yuck! I don't think I have slept so much since I was an infant. Throughout the ordeal, I have pecked away at some knitting projects, just to keep myself from going stir-crazy.

As you can see, the conceptual design sweater has progressed. I only have about ten modular pieces to go on one sleeve and then assembly. The apple peel sweater is connected and am just doing the sleeves. There is a new Entrelac beanie and also some knitted vintage button bracelets. I had to do something! Being in bed sick makes me feel guilty that I am not accomplishing anything. Also I have been finishing off writing two upcoming articles for Belle Armoire magazine. So, in looking at the overall picture, I guess I did do a few things while under the weather.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Quick crochet projects



Okay, I have been putting off the Christmas knitting and crocheting. But, the season is upon us and my little sweat shop is in full swing between now and December 25th! Here are a couple of quick cutie pie presents. What little (or big) girl wouldn't love a cupcake bag or a flower bag? These take only a few hours to make and I have written patterns for both of these, if you are interested.

Additionally, am working on another bag using mitered squares made with leftover sock yarn and size 3 needles. Insane, right? It is really cool looking so far though. So I guess the ends justify the means. Happy knitting and crocheting!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Finished project




Today, I finished this shawl and it turned out pretty nice I think. The colors are cheerful and I like the way the more smooth crochet and knit bits peek out of the fleece. Hope you like this one. Now, I just have to finish the other projects in the queue.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Evolution of a sweater




A few posts back, I mentioned getting an idea for a sweater from looking at an apple peeling. Well, here is the next stage in the evolutionary process. I started with two scarves of an appropriate length for body size. Using a mannequin, I wrapped and pinned to create the sweater shape and will add crocheted sleeves and a bit of fringing at the bottom to complete. This is a very easy way to design a custom fit sweater. If you have a mannequin use that or get a friend to help you with the draping and pinning to size on yourself. I will post a photo of completed sweater when done. Also, here is a photo of the next stage in my Dazzling Knits conceptual sweater experiment. So far, so good. Hope this gives you some new design ideas and encourages you all to experiment "outside the box!" Happy knitting and crocheting.

Monday, November 12, 2007

In loving memory




Today is Veteran's Day, a day of reflection and remembrance for all of those who have served our country since the Revolutionary War. This year, we lost a nephew to a roadside bomb in Iraq. He was honored for his service with a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Order of the Golden Spurs. However, this is small recompense for the level of sacrifice. He will be missed and never forgotten. There can never be enough said or done to honor our service men and women in my mind. Freedom does require responsibility, duty and honor and our military personifies this in full measure. As my father would have said, "Semper Fi!" As Americans, we should always be faithful to their memories.

Sidetracked again



Well, it has happened again, I've set aside the ball of yarn for a while as I needed a break from it.  I am winning the battle and will re-engage soon.  In the meantime, I was seduced by the Dazzling Knits book and started not one but two projects using different colorways than my usual.  The whole knit as you go technique intrigues me and it is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle as it assembles itself as you go along.  As you will notice with the photos, one of these sweaters is just a couple of blocks and the other is the one that has really gotten my attention.  I am enjoying the way the colors are playing off of one another - blues, pale gold, deep plums, browns of silk and wool.  Subtle but interesting.  The other piece will be a vest in creams, pale beiges and greys.  This is unusual for me to work in these colors but I decided to try the "neutral" route for this project so we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Argh, the skein from hell


Have you ever had this happen? A perfectly normal-looking beautiful skein of yarn just waiting to present challenges worthy of a Gordian knot! It all started out innocently enough. The lovely thing was placed on the swift and the process of balling it up started and then, IT happened! Something went terribly wrong and it became tangled beyond description. Notice too that it is fingering weight yarn (500+ yds)destined to become Entrelac socks. All of this happened on Saturday. It is now Thursday and for the past days, this skein and I have struggled with each other. I, of course, am determined to win and just plug along at any moment my hands are idle. As you can see, I'm gaining on the little sucker! When I reach the point where I can actually cast on the socks, I will be thrilled. Tune in to see if I reach that point and it becomes a pair of socks.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

hat and shawls




Having just finished this hat this morning, thought I would put up a photo. This was an interesting pattern but actually was pretty darn big even knitting to gauge. Lucky I have a big head, 'cause I am going to keep it for myself as it is a happy looking hat to wear on a winter day. This is one I would like to make again and next time, I would leave out a square on the first row and see if that makes it a better fit for the average head. Oh, by the way, the pattern is called Diamond Head by David Xenakis. It is based on the techniques of Horst Schulz. The shawls are Sursa by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton. This is my favorite quick knit for a shawl as they all look so different. It is a joy to make.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Working, working, working

Today, I took a nap in the middle of the afternoon and woke up with a new idea for a design. Have you ever looked at apple peeling? I thought this could be turned into a garment. I know it sounds a little nutty but it could work, I think. So, took a long strip of muslin and draped and pinned on a mannequin. Voila! The idea is a good one and now a new project is in the works. Will be posting pic soon so you can see what I'm talking about.

Also, working on a chevron scarf (I got sucked into it by my friends at Unraveled) and so far it is really pretty. Next, I'll be making Baby Surprise Jackets - oh my gosh, will it never end? There is also a swallowtail shawl on the needles and three pairs (I finished one - yipee)as well as a eyelet cardigan and that orphan sweater. I think the sweater should go to the front of the line for a bit as it has been languishing the longest. I don't want it to feel neglected (ah, who am I kidding, it's been there over a year and probably has forgotten me by now.)

The husband is happy though, as I've been cooking lately and so he feels loved again. Bless his heart, it doesn't take much, a hot meal and the occasional chocolate cake and he's good.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Contemporary Craft Market




On Saturday, I went to the Contemporary Craft Market show in Santa Monica, CA. It was fantastic! The most spectacular show I've seen in quite a while. The quality and scope of the artists was amazing. There are just not enough superlatives to describe the offerings. Check out their site and link to some of the individual exhibitors to get a taste of how fabulous it is. http://www.craftsource.org

Afterwards, I went by Unraveled and meet some friends and sat and knitted together. All in all a great day. Oh by the way, the meeting with Belle Armoire Magazine went very well on Thursday and a lot of items were left with them for photography for future articles. It seems that Michelle Flores, the managing editor, has left and the magazine will be trying some new directions. It should be very interesting to see what happens. This has been a busy and productive week. Today, I decided to relax and take it easy with a little "mindless" knitting.

Here are some photos for you to check out: Two denim vests which I embellished using vintage hankies, doilies, buttons, embroidery, etc. Also, my Lady Eleanor made from Noro Aurora on size 5 needles. I love how it turned out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007