Wednesday, October 31, 2007

fiberart necklaces

Dreams of playing with yarns, beads, crochet, knitting and velvet millinery leaves started me on this path of experimentation.  The great thing about these pieces is that they can be worn as an ornamental neckpiece to add a stunning accent to any simple outfit and they cost a lot less than real jewelry.  In my mind they express a certain fanciful element that I find very charming.  There is an added bonus though, when not wearing them, they can be hung on the wall as a small wallhanging to add color and interest to that small area that just NEEDS something.  Tomorrow morning, I am off to meet with a magazine editor about an article on my work.  Wish me luck and I hope all goes well and I have what they would like to publish in their magazine.  I am bringing all kinds of things for them to chose from so we'll see how it goes.  Must admit, I'm a bit nervous as I always am when putting things out there for scrutiny. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Entrelac hat

Over the weekend, Entrelac was calling my name and this is what I came up with as a new design. I love hats and enjoy wearing them. Working Entrelac in the round always seems so much easier to me for some reason. I hope you enjoy this.

ON November 2-4th, the Contemporary Craft Market is at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. I can't wait as there are some tremendously gifted designers and craftspeople in this show. I will give you a report when I get back. If you have a chance, you should really check this show out. It is amazing.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Flower Power!

Okay, yesterday's class was great fun. We laughed, played with yarns and everyone learned a new technique as well. Who could ask for more? There was even a light sprinkling of rain which is badly needed here in Southern California. It was just enough to give the firefighters a break. There is still a lot of ash and the smell of smoke in the air but things are improving.

Today, I have dug out some flower patterns of mine with photos to show how they look when made. Hope you like them and if you would like to give them a try, just get in touch. They are fun and easy to make and are great as embellishments or as pins for gifts. Remember, Christmas is around the corner, scary, huh?

Additionally, I got seduced by the Chevron scarf everyone at Unraveled is currently making and just HAD to buy two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug and started one last night. As if I need another project, but then I must be an optimist as there are many on the needles at any given time. What can I say?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Log Cabin Knitting Classes

Tomorrow I am headed for Unraveled to teach a two part class in Log Cabin Knitting. This will include an introduction to this technique from 11A-1:30P and purse construction from 2-5P. This should be a lot of fun as this is an exciting and very versatile way of constructing bags, garments, scarves, afghans and shawls. The color possibilities are incredible and crochet can even be incorporated to spice things up even more. As Unraveled is such a beautiful and welcoming location for classes, students and yarn customers, it is my all time favorite place to teach and even though it is almost a two hour drive from where I live I consider it my local yarn store. Yes, I do love it that much. I am posting a couple of photos so you get a peek at the technique and what we are going to be doing all day amongst the piles of yarn choices.

Another draw to teaching here is that I usually get to meet friends for breakfast at the lovely Peach Cafe next door, a charming place where the food is wonderful and you feel like you belong there because of they way they treat you.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Glorious handspun yarns

Yesterday, a big box arrived from Ozark Handspun. As I opened it, glorious yarns came burgeoning out all over the place. There were so many splendid and astounding colors, I was practically gasping for air as I unearthed each skein. Lots of new colorways, some of which aren't even named yet. No one packs a box like David Gentzsch! He has really outdone himself with these new ones. My fingers are itching to start some new projects. Mentally, I am already sorting yarns into potential garments, shawls, scarves, shrugs, hats, etc. Such riches, I feel so lucky!

Today, I've also posted a couple of items made up using Ozark yarns mixed with others to create a freeform tote and a necklace/small wall hanging piece. I know that I have a tendency to rhapsodize about these yarns but they are truly gorgeous. As for the tote, I used a Tilli Tomas premade silk lining as a base and created the freeform piece and attached it to the grommets hidden under the fold at the top. This is such a great idea and they have other shapes to chose from also. You end up with a great looking bag without all the work of lining it and it's silk! What's not to love?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Socks that Croc!

On doing an inventory of my own socks, I've discovered that there are 15 pairs to chose from on any given day. Not to mention, socks in progress. You know what they say, once you go handmade socks, you never go back! Boy is that a true statement! I absolutely love the feel and look of handknit socks. I even knitted the husband a pair, which he promptly proceeded to lose one. Needless to say, he was banished from the knitting queue! About four months later, he found his other sock and all was forgiven but I still hesitate to knit him another pair. He has to regain my trust! I mean you really have to love someone to make them a pair of socks (estimated 33,000 stitches in average pair) and they WEAR OUT! Say it isn't so.

Usually I wear Crocs or some other kind of handmade sock friendly shoe and love to see them peeking out under my jeans. I feel so decadently wonderful and luxurious. I made my darling mother-in-law pink silk socks in a lace pattern and they made her giggle. It was so cute. As a girl in Holland during WWII she had to make socks and hated it as they were always boring colors and very plain. So these are something new for her.

In the near future, I might be adventurous enough to take a photo of my sock yarn stash. Boy, I see a moment of truth in the making!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Projects, projects, projects

My trip to Ikea yielded some nice project baskets which are collapsible. My original intention was to use them in the bathroom but of course I thought of something knitterly to do, using them to corral small projects. One contains an eyelet cardigan of Blue Sky Alpaca Cotton, one has four sock projects in it, another a swallowtail lace shawl and last but not least an entrelac scarf I am working on currently (today.) I feel very smug having these tidy little groupings of baskets lined up in a row. They look decorative and don't seem as much like needy children begging to be my sole focus (less guilt.)

Today, I took some photos of an Autumn in Taos jacket I finished a while back and am posting so you can see it. There are even knitted shoulder pads inside (how Joan Crawford!)

After my work on organizing my stash, I am worn out today, who knew that one could get so tired playing with yarn! But, I am an old person and everything seems to take much longer to accomplish than it used to do. The good thing is that I can still do it at all and believe me I'm grateful for that.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Workroom stash revealed

Now I've done it! Today, I actually worked on phase 2 of stash organization (just the yarn mind you. Yesterday, my husband and I went to Ikea for storage containers. It was a little crazy in there, tons of families and lots of kids (I promise I will never go on the weekend again.) Anyway, we navigated our way to the storage systems area and after oohing and aahing over all the new stuff, I managed to make my selections and head for the exit with only a few minor sidetracks on the way. Since we did this at the end of the day and we both were tired, the storage containers made their way to the workroom where they spent the night in my cat's favorite chair. Needless to say, he walked on us all night long to show his displeasure.
This morning, after life-sustaining caffeine in massive quantities, I had enough ambition to stumble towards the workroom to tackle my task. First, containers were assembled and then filled, categorizing by yarn types and arranged by how often I use certain things. Of course, the Noro yarns, Ozark yarns and silks had to remain where I could fondle them at will without any plastic container coming between. I piled up all my fleece pieces in a cloth basket and stood back admiring the colors and textures. Wonderful! There are still uncorraled yarns milling about in random bags but we won't talk about those.
Organizing spinning supplies and actual spinning fleeces will constitute phase 3 of Project Organization. Now, concerning cataloging all of this on Ravelry, it will only be new acquisitions, pre-Ravelry stash does not count in my mind. Good plan, don't you think? Otherwise, it will drive me crazy and believe me it is not a long trip! So, I'm giving you a peek into my yarn world and the insanity that dwells in that one room is rather impressive. Don't tell anyone, I have more yarn hidden in closets, etc.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Freeform wearable vest

This wearable art piece photo has been in hibernation for a while but thought it might be fun to let it out to play. This was made for a private collector of wearable art, who looks absolutely fabulous in this piece by the way. The construction of this piece actually began as a scarf and morphed into this vest. I couldn't help myself - it said that a scarf was not big enough it wanted more. So it ended up here. If you have questions about how to do something like this, contact me and I'll try to guide you through the process. It was really fun and EASY to do. Try it, you'll like it.

Earlier this morning, my sock collection got documented on film. I have 15 finished pairs of socks just for myself. There are also four pairs hanging out on the needles which are in various stages of completion. Additionally, I looked through my sock yarn stash: Koigu, Lorna's Laces, Schaeffer, Cherry Tree Hill, Socks That Rock, Regia, etc, etc. It is staggering how much sock yarn I've accummulated. I need to get busy. Lots of socks for Christmas gifts this year!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Orphan freeform sweater

Okay, I have finally faced the fact that I have neglected finishing this sweater for more than a year. Now, I've taken photos to document the process and hoping this will nudge me into completion of this piece. I have completed the sleeves incorporating some hairpin lace into the lower portion of the sleeve, which I kind of like. The body is almost done and the yoke part is yet to be finished so I can put this together. It will have a somewhat asymmetrical look when done with more detailing (like it needs more stuff, right?) Oh well, as Mae West said 'too much of a good thing can be wonderful...' Let's hope she was right. When I complete this, I will post it so it can be seen.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Here are the photos I promised yesterday, for some reason, Blogger would not post them. Today, a glorious box of goodies came from Ozark Handspun, stunning new colors and textures as well as a piece of natural alpaca batting (fabric to use in creating garments.) It is an incredible mix of dark greys, black and brown fibers semi-blended to create a depth of color that I really like. This is something I intend to needlefelt onto and make some interesting new items.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Danger Will Robinson!

The work area has finally reached critical mass! If I breathe on anything, there is an avalanche of yarn and works in progress - now that may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on a knitter's point of view, right. Being buried up to my eyeballs in knitterly goodies is wonderful and terrible at the same time. I am running out of places to stuff it all. I even turned the ironing board into an extra shelf in the closet. No problem, the bed can serve as an ironing surface in a pinch or, good heavens, maybe I'll never iron again. The rumpled look could become a trend, don't you think? Wistfully gazing at the closet, it does make a very nice shelf and holds quite a bit of yarn. So a small part of the space problem has been addressed. I will think about the rest tomorrow...

Here are some projects that were in hibernation for a bit and now that they are seeing the light of day again, I thought I would post them here. I also discovered that I have three pairs of socks on the needles; two of which are almost finished. What got me sidetracked was Colinette Jitterbug and I ended up making three pairs before I returned to the poor orphan socks in the work bag. I also discovered a freeform sweater that is pretty close to completion that has been sitting there for about a year. I must get it done as it looks like it will be pretty interesting (like I need another project.)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Whew, I made it

Well, it certainly has been a hectic week. On Saturday, I taught an introduction to freeform class at my all time favorite place, Unraveled. The shop was humming with activity all day and I got an opportunity to see friends I haven't seen in a while. That was a real treat with lots of laughs all around. The photo for the book submission arrived and Lina, Christine and I went through them and ended up agreeing on what would be submitted. On Monday, it will be on the way to Lark Books and hopefully at least one will be accepted for the 500 Handbag book. Keeping my fingers crossed. I know I promised a peek so am adding a kind of obscure photo of one of the bags.

Of course, while at the shop I was seduced by new books, Vogue Knitting and yarns! I just had to take some home with me. Honest, I couldn't help myself. In proper penance, I will spend a few hours tidying up my work space which really needs doing as it has reached avalanche proportions at this point. God forbid, a woman could be buried up to her eyeballs in yarn and projects! Wonderful and terrible at the same time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Photo shoot day

Today has been a busy one. Up early, went to the County Fair to pick up some items entered in professional category. The green fleece shawl shown below won an Award of Merit for innovative use of fiber and a knitted mitered sweater also won an AoM for best use of color. My darling mother-in-law does counted cross stitch and received two third place ribbons and one second place ribbon. She was proud of herself and her work is gorgeous.

After picking stuff up, I went to Unraveled to meet with the photographer to decide what three bags were going to be submitted for the 500 Handbags book due out in January 2009. My deadline is October 15th so we really have to get a move on! We decided on the giant bag of shock and awe fame, a teal freeform bag and a grey wild child bag of mine. We are getting together on Saturday as I'll be at Unraveled to teach a freeform class and I'll then have the bags and photos in my hands and ready to send. I promise to give a peek at what's up then.

Also, I've got some new things in the works for Ozark Handspun and they are looking pretty good to me. Needlefelting, embroidery and other goodies are being incorporated so it should be interesting. We are aiming at a TNNA event in January 2008 in Long Beach, CA and want to have some spectacular new things to show. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Finished new bag design

It is finally done and ready for fulling (felting.) Pre-felting, it is very large and looks like a family of five could fit inside. I did want it to make a statement. When it arrived at Designer Handknits for the felting process the size provoked shock and awe by all those who saw it. After the moment of truth (the trip through the washer) it had reduced in size somewhat but still required three large bathtowels to fill out the bag for drying. I haven't seen it yet but am going in on Saturday to pick it up. I was told that everyone that has seen wants the pattern which right now is a bunch of cryptic notes as I made this up as I went along. At this point, it is in its naked state. Once the Ozark stuff is added it should jazz it up quite a bit. I will post photos of the naked bag and the completed bag as soon as it is in my hot little hands. I have high hopes that this will be a winner! Keep your fingers crossed. Felting is always an adventure.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Well, I checked on my Ravelry status today. I signed up in August and was 26,000 and something in line at that time. As of today, there are only 5073 people ahead of me. I feel like a hen sitting on an egg waiting for it to hatch! This site looks intriguing and I have a suspicion that one could get lost in its wonders. Hopefully soon I will find out. It certainly promises to be a great resource if stuck on pattern or some esoteric question regarding knitting.

Today, I have been working on this new bag design and so far it is looking really great. The proof, however, is in the fulling of the bag when any design flaws will become apparent. Wish me luck. After it is fulled (felted) I am going to needle felt on the surface with Ozark Handspun that I have crocheted using a size U (yep that's right) crochet hook. This thing is a monster but is so neat to work with when using very bulky yarn. It is made of wood by a guy named Ed Jenkins in Oregon and feels wonderful in your hand. He makes hooks sizes N through U so it is possible to have a beautiful crochet hook in large sizes to use while creating your own fabulous work. Love it! No more plastic hooks!